Tag Archives: technology

Flip Cameras

5 Jan

Flip Cameras are a new favorite tool of mine!  I have two flip cameras in my classroom and then our school has an additional 12.  I have had several teachers ask “how can we use these in class?”  Usually with comments of how difficult of a task this would be.  First, these cameras are INCREDIBLY easy to use!  It took all of 5 minutes to explain the basics of how to record.  I did spend some time talking about facing the camera, not shaking/moving it, and speaking clearly, but these are the same things we teach kids for a live presentation.   As for ideas on how to use it in a lesson…here are a couple straight from my classroom.

One area my students struggle with is understanding why text features are so important, and why they shouldn’t just skip over them as they read.  I broke my class of 20 into 5 groups.  Each group was handed a text feature (captions, glossary, charts/graphs, maps, index).  Each group had to create a short (about 30 second) video telling people what the text feature is and why it is so important.  I won’t bore you with all 5 videos, but here is one to give you an idea of the end product.

Other ideas:

Fluency Practice– My students LOVED reading and watching themselves read.  Especially when reading dialogue, students would try again and again to make things “sound right”.  I have never seen them want to read the same thing so many times.  I did this with a group of low readers and the results were astounding!

Brainstorming– I have a couple of students who have a very difficult time writing.  They can’t seem to get what is in their head down to the paper.  Allowing them to have a friend record their explanations and then play those back and write what they said helps tremendously.  Could they do this to a scribe?  Sure, but the addition of another student asking for clarification, or giving suggestions has helped the students go beyond what they thought they could do.

Commercials– A great way to make a commercial. We shoot, load, and project them onto the smartboard for INSTANT gratification.  By recording them, they can show these off later to parents.

How have you used flip cameras in your classroom?

Wordle and Animoto in the Classroom

25 Jun

Last month a coworker asked if I would be a guest presenter at her daughter’s school.  Each child in this 3rd grade classroom had the opportunity to invite a guest.  I accepted the invitation, met with her daughter and we planned a presentation of animoto and wordle.  Two of my favorite tools.

We started with animoto.  Due to CIPA I couldn’t allow this group of students to create their own animoto videos, so we decided to do a class video.  I allowed my coworker’s daughter to choose the topic.  She chose rain forests.  I pulled up my schools.clipart.com account and typed rain forest into the search engine.  The students then took turns selecting images from the hundreds available.  I saved those images and we imported them into Animoto.   The video was created while the students worked on their next project- Wordle.

Our next project was wordle.  I have posted on wordle more than once.  It is one of my favorite tools to use with students.  They love using it, it is very simple and quick to explain, and they can customize to their hearts content.  Since they were down to their last few days of school, I gave them the topic of summer.  They creations they made were wonderful.  For 30 minutes, you could have heard a pin drop.

This is the one thing I love about technology.  Once the kids get into it, they become completely engaged.  I would love to hear how you have used either (or both) of these tools in your classroom.

Google Teacher Academy Returns

12 May

goglegabThe newest Google Teacher Academy is going to be held in Boudler, Colorado on August 5, 2009!  Applications are due by midnight on July 3rd.

The Google Teacher Academy is a wonderful, FREE, opportunity to meet and collaborate with educators from all over the country- and world! It is also an opportunity to learn about all that google has to offer educators.

More information is located at Google’s Teacher Academy site. The application process includes a written application as well as a video application.

When I applied, I was so nervous about the video application.  I had never really created a video and wasn’t even sure what tools to use.  Since creating that video, I have gone on to create many more.  If you would like some inspiration, here is my video as well as several others. All of these people were selected to attend the Mountain View, California Google Teacher Academy last June.

No Time for Technology?

30 Mar

Throughout my 4 short years in education, I have heard one phrase repeated over and over: “There isn’t time for technology.”   While my last 2 years have been dedicated to educational technology- one year in the computer lab, and this year as a coach- I was previously a classroom teacher.  I taught 5th grade for two years.  I had to teach the same standards with the same time and resource limitations, yet I did incorporate technology on a daily basis.   They made powerpoints, movies, brochures, used Palms, and did research.  There are so many more projects I would incorporate now.  Things that weren’t around 3 or 4 years ago.

Technology is not, and should not be, a stand alone subject.  It should be incorporated into everything, just as it is in the real world.   I have repeatedly heard that teachers don’t have the time to fit in a lesson on technology.   I have spent time today catching up on my RSS feeds, and have read post after post about the new 1 to 1 initiative in Maine, flattening the classroom, paperless classrooms, and how we tend to worksheet our kids to death.

It does take a little more time up front to incorporate technology into the classroom.  You do need to cover basic computer and typing skills, online ettiquette, and how to appropriately use the equipment.  You also need to gain parental permission to use blogs, wikis, email, etc.  and teach the kids to use these tools.  But that can all be covered in August and September.  Then there are many more months that can be dedicated to using the technology to learn, create, and share all kinds of new concepts.

Our kids will live their entire lives in the future.  Technologies that are little more than science fiction to us now will become tools used daily in their futures.  Who would have predicted 50 years ago that people would carry around  a device that could take digital pictures, surf the internet, and call someone across the world, and yet would be the size of a thin deck of cards.  Yet today, millions of people do.

We can’t predict the future of our students.  What we can do is our very best to prepare them for what awaits.  To give them the skills to think for themselves, search for the answers and verify that the source of those answers is credible- these are what will be valuable to them.

Much of what college students learn today will be outdated 2-3 years from now.  What does that say of the elementary social studies textbooks that are now 10 years old? Written before September 11th.  Written before many elementary students were even born.

There needs to be a complete paradigm shift in education, maybe the biggest shift in the history of education- or at least since we found out that the world was indeed round.   It is a shift that will require everyone- teachers, students, parents, administrators, school districts, communities, government, literally everyone.   Change is scary.  Change takes courage.  If not now, then when?  We owe it to our children and those children on down the lines to think outside the box and to really prepare them for the future.

So I ask this…No time for technology?  How can you NOT make the time?

**Ok, I will step down from my soapbox for a little while**

Finding Balance

18 Jan

Technology has always been a love of mine.  Last year I began to really allow technology to infiltrate my life both personally and professionally.  I joined many social networks, twitter, facebook, and started this blog.  I began scouring the internet for the most valuable technology websites and resources for the classroom.  All of this computer time had some unintended consequences.

I began spending more time on the computer than with my kids.  I am a mom to three kids (2, 6, and 9).  One of my kids has some significant emotional and behavioral concerns.  His needs increased by a lot this fall,balance1 and I I needed to refocus my priorities. I stopped using the computer at home except to occasionally check email.  I neglected this blog, and most other social network outlets.

As I sat down to write some new year’s resolutions over the past few weeks, I realized that I need to continue with my “online life.”  I had taken more or less two months off and needed to get back into it.  In my position as a technology resource teacher, I need to stay on top of the latest tools and resources.  Twitter, my RSS feeds, facebook, and several message boards are the main source of professional development that I get.  If I completely neglect them as I have lately, I am not growing.

I need to find a balance.  I have not found that yet, and probably won’t for a while.  My blog and twitter posts will be sporadic, but not as sporadic as they have been lately.  I am going to be more diligent in posting about resources I am finding.  Einstein once said Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  While I have been at a standstill for a while now, I intend to keep moving and in doing so, find and maintain a balance.

It’s Delicious!

3 Sep

When our year first began nearly a month ago, I asked teachers at my school to complete a survey about their technology knowledge.  One of the questions asked about Web 2.0 tools.  I dare say out of a staff of over 60, only 3 seemed to have heard the term.  Today was our first inservice since our initial week of inservices, and I did a short presentation on Delicious.  It was our staff’s introduction to Web 2.0.  I heard mixed reviews of the session, as I knew I would.  Some were very excited about being able to share websites so easily, some were still intimidated by the fact we were using computers, but that’s ok, everyone has to start somewhere.

We are going to try to link up everyone in our building who has created an account.  It should make sharing resources much easier.  While I am excited about the fact that so many want to use Delicious, I am more excited that even people who are intimidated about jumping into using technology in education are willing to try it. 

I posted last week about my world being turned upside down at school.  I went from being the computer lab teacher to a true technology resource teacher with the addition of a new teacher and the change of space required to accommodate a new classroom.  This change was met (like most changes) with some resistance.  Teachers gave up a 45 minute lab time, which means a 45 minute plan time each week.  I hope that teachers soon see that this means that I can spend more time helping the teachers become more familiar and comfortable with using technology in the classroom.

So while, we didn’t land on the moon, I think Delicious became “one small step for teachers, one giant leap for our school community.”

If you are not on Delicious, I would encourage you to sign up.  If you are, add me to your network!  My name on Delicious is 259lcox.

Digital Photography Contest

2 Sep

I was reading Kevin Jarrett’s blog Welcome to NCS-Tech where he posted about a digital photography contest through techLEARNING.  The contest is open to students in elementary, middle, and high school.  Students can win a digital camera, Adobe Photoshop Elements and other prizes.  Students can submit a picture “as is” or one that has been edited using photoediting software like Adobe’s Photoshop Elements.

This can be such a creative project with kids.  Team up with your art teacher and have it as an assignment.  I have used digital photography with some of my Tech Team and they absolutely love to get creative.  In fact, this sounds like something we may just try during our first few meetings.

Click here to learn more!