Wednesday, August 5, 2009

#11.5 Evaluation

Another fun experience - sometimes frustrating, but never dull. I found that working with a "Thing", taking notes on it, then blogging more than one at a time worked for me. I guess I need the think time, review time, try again opportunities, and the process time for these; and with my schedule this summer, it was a little more catch as catch can than last year, but that's the beauty of this format.
1. Favorite discoveries -
Wordle - just because it was fun.
280 Slides - there are so many possibilities for use with this.
Screencasting - again, so many possibilities; I'll have to try another one and see if its server is as slow as GoView.
2. Life-long learning goals - I have to keep up! Life-long learning is essential. Things are changing at such a rapid pace, that you can't stop for a minute, or you'll be left behind. That was brought home by my 24 year old son, who, when I was showing him some of the "Things" said, "Man, I've only been out of college for 2 years, and I'm already way behind." He's right.
3. Unexpected outcomes - how easy most of the Things are. It seems that even in just one year, most of these sites are being created for average users. Maybe I'm just a little more comfortable with them, but there were very few times when I found the directions, etc. confusing. Less intimidating sites will encourage more teachers to explore.
4. Changes - I can't think of any. The variety was great, and there's a practical application for all of them. Thanks for including the digital citizenship - a good reminder for all of us.

#11 Digital Citizenship

This one was interesting and something that I think many of us just don't think about - we just find something, or a website and off we go, using/creating. The references on the site were helpful, easy to read, and would be excellent for discussion among adult educators as we use more and more digital information in teaching and learning. We also need to make digital citizenship part of the beginning of every school year as a reminder to our students about their responsibilities.
In a lesson for students I would probably stress the topics of intellectual property (it doesn't hurt that we have an IP lawyer friend who is always reminding me about that in terms of educational use!), safe sites for students, and protecting their security on the web. For older students I might use some of the websites listed, such as the Digiteen, but I mostly chose ones for adult educators.
These are the sites listed that I'm considering sending to our faculty as reminders to be a good digital citizens as we start the year.
Under the Ning - the digital citizenship sites were helpful and the Internet Safety sites (especially the Beginners' Guide) were good.
The I-Safe factsheet would be a good starting point in planning any lesson.

#10 Second Life

This was quite difficult for me since I'm not a gamer. It was a bit odd and awkward at first. One of the initial problems I had was simply creating my account. I tried several times and could not get past the security words. That made the beginning experience even more frustrating.

I think you'd have to practice quite a bit to move easily in SL. I felt as though I was clumsy navigating around. My avatar was had very little "smooth". I can see how kids would love this. With some practice, and demonstration, this could be a fun way to explore new skills, create a new product for a demonstration, or travel to other places like a virtual tourist.

I do think it would have to be carefully monitored. I am not particularly comfortable with it, would probably not use it with younger students, and would make very sure that parents were well-informed if I was planning to make it part of a lesson.

So, my feelings on this one are mixed. There are definately benefits, but I can also envision it as a huge time drain. I'll just have to play with it some more and see how I feel over time.

#9 Slideshare

This has lots of potential. I did notice in the Comparison of PowerPoint hosting tools that SlideAware is no longer working, Zoho show can't be found, and Scribd is blocked by the district, so it seems that some of these sites are fairly fluid. 280 Slides is great. This is a marvelous resouce for students and teachers. It was easy to try, and the fact that the slideshows can be delivered in so many forms makes it better. I plan to recommend it to others so that they can include 280 Slides in their ActivBoard presentations, or even postings to class websites or blogs.

#8 Screencast

After looking at the choices, I chose GoView - and it was really simple. Interestingly enough, in small print it talks about how it's currently free and how they want feedback during this "beta" period, which makes me think it might not be free forever. I liked it, and if it's not going to be free all the time, check it out now.

However - word of caution - and this may be the huge drawback to GoView.

Their server seems to be very busy. It took almost 2 hours of wait time to view and edit my screencast because it kept telling me that the server was busy, and to check back later. My screencast could use more editing, but I wanted to post it in its first form. I did notice that the sound quality was not as good using the internal microphone because with my computer docked, the mic doesn't pick up quite as well. Next time, I'll try an external mic.

I plan to work on this screencast about updating records with SBEC and send it out to the faculty - it will save time during inservice before school starts.

This could be a great way for teachers to post information or directions on their website so that students would have it available anytime. It could save classtime for other projects. This could be used in so many ways. I need to practice, but this could be loads of fun for teachers and students.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thing #7 - TV Sources

What fun this one was. I spent far too much time just sampling all of the opportunities. Hulu was a blast, and you could spend hours exploring Blinkx. I didn't complete a video, but I think that there are endless ways to pull from the National Archives Videos and the stills and create your own videos for your own classroom. I found several stills about Civil Rights that would be great additions to reading the "Letter from Birmingham" or To Kill a Mockingbird. The PBS American Masters series has a video about Garrison Keillor, the host of Prairie Home Companion, on NPR (Garrison Keillor, the Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes). He is such an excellent wordsmith, that sections of this video could be incorporated into lessons on the personal essay. Having students see how Keillor puts together the radio show, how the show depends on the written word, and then listen to Keillor read from his work, would be an excellent way to have them hear works in the author's voice. Another PBS video that could be used to supplement any Shakespeare study is the Great Performances video of King Lear. There are any number of ways that this play could be used in conjunction with other Shakespearean tragedies.
With these video sites, using video in almost any lesson is a reality - the options are endless.

Thing #6 - iTouch Apps

Because we use a different cell phone provider and don't have an iTouch at home, this Thing was a bit more difficult. I did go to an Apple store and play with an iTouch, and they are very simple to use. However, the links on the Library2Play were quite helpful reading before testing the iTouch.
I did notice that any educational free apps were rather far down the list of the top 100, but I did like the fact that Paper Toss was #14! There are some great apps available that could be a huge benefit to students such as the calculators, the formula app (very cool), of course all of the maps, and my favorite, Classics, which had so many book titles available. Think how great that would be in an English class - a student could have access to more than one title, and not have to worry about hauling the book around.
In terms of group usage in the library, I could see the iTouch being used like an almost limitless "card catalog" by students almost anywhere and students could also work on projects/presentations in groups and have access to a huge variety of media and up-to-date information.
I think there are a wide variety of apps that could benefit all of our students, but like everything else, teachers and parents still have to make sure that students are on task, and making the best use of a great tool.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing #4 - Posting to YouTube

This wasn't difficult at all. I posted this film sent to us by a friend, but then took it down because it was already listed on YouTube. If you enjoy flying, either real or model airplanes, this is a fun video. While the process was easy, I would probably post pictures, etc. that are personal/family on Facebook rather than YouTube. However, I can see how postings by teachers or workshop presenters would be helpful to students or others who wanted to watch a lesson/presentation again. Also, it's another avenue that students might use in presentations - just as long as they give credit to their source!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thing #5 - Microblogging

This one is a bit difficult for me. I've resisted a Facebook account because of some of the difficulties that have been associated with it. However, after creating an account, I sent a message to a friend I haven't talked to in quite a while and looked at some pictures from an event I recently attended. I've seen how teachers are using Facebook as a class blog/website, and feel that with some pretty firmly established guidelines it could be lots of fun and helpful for students. However, I'm still a bit cautious about it and honestly don't know how much I personally will really use it.

Now about Twitter --- It can accomplish amazing events; look at how it's being used in the aftermath of the Iranian elections. And, I can see it's value for some applications in a classroom. However, after spending some time on it, reading a variety of "tweets", and noticing that no one in my phone directory is listed on Twitter, at this point I'm not a fan. I just don't think I'll use it. I've even checked with young people I know, and the majority say they would rather use IM or email; several of them say Twitter's become too much sharing of unnecessary details; they implied that it's technological TMI.

This was not one of my favorite things.

Thing #4

As the ad says, "I'll get back to you with more details." I've done the reading, but at this point don't have a video, but it looks easy. I'm moving on to other "things" while I work on this.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thing #3 - Like Skype

Signing up for Skype was easy. I tried it out with my kids who had used it frequently last summer when one of them was in summer school overseas. The other information on Thing 3 was helpful also. Students could use Skype or other similar things when working on group projects. It would be helpful because they could work without having to always meet together in the same place. It could offer a way for collaboration from home - creative/collaborative, but no parents of younger-than-driving-age kids chauffering for a project. A win for kids, parents and teachers.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

#2 - Image Generators

Wordle was fun to play with; at first I didn't use enough text, but I can see how kids and teachers would thoroughly enjoy using it. What an attention grabber it could be at the beginning of a lesson. Voki was fun, except that it told me my password was wrong when I tried to sign in again. Bookr was a blast. I can see how students would really enjoy using Bookr as an alternative to standard written assignments. It would also be a great way to do a lab write up in a science class. Of course, kids would love Voki - it's almost like a quick little "tweet" that could be attached to email and changed on a daily basis.

Here's a Wordle example for summer.

Wordle: summer

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thing #1 -

I enjoyed the video like I enjoyed the ones in 23 Things. They're informative and easy to understand for those of us who still aren't quite comfortable with some of these applications. Librarians can certainly play the role of the facilitator. Perhaps that's why we now call them library resource specialists instead of just "librarian" because the information in a "library" is in so many forms.