Monday, August 10, 2009

More Things #11.5 The Reflection Pond


Once again, it's been a summer of Web 2.0 challenges and discoveries. It's always a rush for me to finish but I truly enjoy the learning.
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
1. I loved learning how to screencast and playing around with the video resources and finding a Voki alternative to Avatar. I also enjoyed reading and reflecting on Digital Citizenship. It clarified some thoughts in my mind that I already had about the interaction between students, classroom behavior, home behavior, and the real-world consequences of interacting with a digital world.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
2. These two summer classes have, at once, made me feel totally panicked about how much I DON'T know and very excited about what's out there. I think I need to make a Word List of each application (and its use) that we have studied over the last 2 summers so I can just remember what we've done. If I don't use everything I forget what's out there when I need it. So many resources are available but it takes time to learn how to use them. On a side thought - since we have all started with the Activboards, I feel behind in my knowledge and use of flip charts since I didn't work on that TOO this summer. I guess it's best to just try to take what you feel are the best resources and familiarize yourself with them in small chunks.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?3. I spent HOURS on the SecondLife thing! Everything always takes me way longer than I expect. I was REALLY surprised about how excited I got about the IPhone/ITouch possibilities.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

4. It's difficult to explore some tools when you are not in possession of certain equipment over the summer such as an IPhone and a video camera. On a side note - I would like to have an Activboard summer class that had one lesson for each tool and how to use actions, etc. I'm sure there are lots of internet resources for finding, using and revising flip charts. Maybe it's not Web 2.0 but it would be helpful.
The highlighted and bolded suggestion would be to have a centralized HELP forum so we could all go to the same place for answers to our problems
All, in all, I am very thankful that you have developed this class for those of us that like to be summer learners! Thanks for all your work, creativity, and organization!

More Things #6 - Belated I-Touch


An apple by any other name....

I do not own any Apple products so I'm posting this out of order (last) because I wanted to go to the mall and have someone at the Apple store show me the hardware. Before I looked into this my immediate reaction was to be doubtful regarding its uses but the more I think about it the more applications I can imagine. Everything looked extremely easy as far as downloading applications. If it was going to be used in a library or classroom I think it would be better to have several I-Touches instead of I-Phones because, as long as there is wifi available you can have unlimited internet access, whereas with the I-Phone you have to pay a monthly account & media fee. I did not know this. Now I want an I-Touch! Also, if I understood correctly from the Apple staff, you can pay for one application download on your computer and then install it on an unlimited number of devices.
Possible Classroom Applications:
A classroom set of I-Touch would work GREAT as the warm-up math activity at the beginning of each class. What a way to get instant, actively-involved students. OK, where's the grant I can apply for?????
Use a group (4) of I-Touch as a Math Center where everyone is using the same application or practicing math when other work is finished. Lots of incentive to be able to listen to music AND do math!
Download presentations and videos made by students to be shared with other students
Send messages to participants of a flat classroom project
Use them as an in-classroom research center that doesn't have to be plugged into the wall (takes up much less room!)
Use to take and post pictures on another site for science walks and class projects
Places where I found Education Apps video reviews:
Here is an AWESOME Ning that is ALL about this subject.

Visit IEAR - I Education Apps Review for the IPhone and ITouch

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Things #11 Becoming a Digital Citizen

An Australian government web site aimed at teaching Digital Citizenship to very young children:

Thoughts for kids while researching on the internet:
1.SEARCH, VALIDATE SOURCES, DIG DEEPER - the first thing you find is not always pertinent, best, or valid. Google is not the be-all and end-all of valuable sources.
Begin to teach kids about the deep web of information that is not always found on a surface web search. When I was in college l had to get passwords for different data bases that were licensed by the college and actually check out the different disks! I think this is a bit analogous to the Deep Web. You had to d-i-g!

2.Give students the criteria to evaluate an online resource and have them practice. Make them realize that a library and the internet are places to dive deep for the pearl, not grab the first fake they see.

3.Teach students to take organized notes - even in math class! Teach kids to draw pictures to represent how they understand an idea-this will help them synthesize what they have read from various sources. I truly believe that if you can't draw the concept you don't understand the concept internally. Questioning, shifting, sorting, and pulling ideas into a cohesive picture is very connected to verifying sources and their worth.

4.Teach the kids, after reading a multitude of sources, to say to themselves, "What do I think?"

5.I love the Digital Citizenship blog that lists The Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. The internet is a REAL world so real-world behavior must be followed. There are laws that must be followed. There is etiquette that must be followed. There are safety and health rules that must be followed. I think students have a tendency to think the internet is not a "real" world. If a student has never been to a live performance or play before, they must be taught that it is not TV or video and that there are live performers on the stage that must be acknowledged, behaviorally, in the proper way. In the same way, students must be taught that the internet is also "alive" in that actions with hardware and on the internet stage can and do have real-world consequences.

Deep Web thoughts:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Things #10 Virtual Zoo!


View of Bell Library and towers, Info International, Second Life Library 2.0 and reference patio

Well the good news is that this Second Life thing is kind of fun. The bad news is that it takes hours and hours and hours to figure out what is happening even if you get help. I kept getting so much "lag" time (delay of actions and movements caused by the server load) that I had to keep logging off and going back. I still couldn't find much decent clothing even after going to the freebie sights so I was walking around in a tuxedo dress--better than see-through nighties and belly button rings! I teleported to London and found a BUNCH of free stuff. After I figured out how to open all the boxes (go upstairs in The Shelter} I managed to find other items of clothing and lots of other (ahem) items that needed to be deleted. Speaking of which (adult content) I didn't see any "You must be 18" signs or agreements and I even heard some very YOUNG people talking on chat once. Since there is a TEEN world, I imagine there are supposed to be restrictions but I didn't see any attempt at it. Something a teacher would have to watch. I think the best tutorials are the YouTube videos. Here is another good reference:

I agree with Nathan Lowell who commented on SecondLife on CoolCatTeacher blog - "Before a teacher can teach with these tools, they first have to learn how to learn with them. Any teacher who wants to know 'best practices for the use of tool X in the classroom' really better be using tool X in his/her own learning practice. If they're not, it's kinda like trying to teach driver's ed when you don't know how to drive....We cannot understand it if we do not participate in it....We cannot teach it if we do not understand it." This is not a learn-with-the-kids kind of thing. You HAVE TO know what you're doing.

I find it intriguing and I'll keep exploring but it is a long learning process even with at guide. At first I couldn't find any "friends" to help me but later on (much later) I found The Shelter (as suggested in the link above). I think the kids would LOVE SecondLife but it's basically a simplified computer modeling program that requires building items from geometric shapes. My daughter, who did computer animation throughout high school, says that students have at least a year-long learning curve when it comes to animation programs but this should be simpler for them (not me!). Social learning, math, music, language, life-skills, money management, local and community planning. All these things could be virtually experienced and shared. A friend of mine works in technical writing and training and she says the virtual avatar world is where all training is to learn it. At least in SecondLife, YOU CAN FLY!....WHEEEEEE.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Things #9 Slideshow Sass


I made a LOT of science PowerPoints to supplement class material when I was teaching 5th grade and I inserted a LOT of links to movies and other web sites. I guess some of these other tools allows for easier searching and direct insertion of videos from YouTube and pictures from other sources AND it enables uploading your PowerPoint . I actually find PowerPoints much easier to make than the FLIPCHARTS we are now learning to make for our Activboards. Students, however, could really enhance their research and technology skills by using these tools when they make a PowerPoint. An even higher level skill could be used to plan out how their PowerPoint could be interactive with their audience if it were to be shown on the Activboard.
Problem: Just to TRY, I uploaded a Powerpoint to Slideshare but it kept telling me there was an error when I tried to set it to allow "embedding" code. I looked at the offered widget which is supposed to allow you to post your presentations on a blog but it looked like it would take up lots of room so I used the Blog badge embed code. (see upper right side-bar)

I'm going to paste the recommendations here so I can access them later:
If you a have a long text-based PPT, use Scribd since visitors can quickly search for text phrases.

If you want to edit the PPT online before sharing, Zoho Show is the way to go.

If you want to integrate the PowerPoint presentation with pictures from Flickr, videos from YouTube and even MP3, SplashCast is the perfect service for you. Very clean interface. [NOTE: When I looked at this I could only find TV Viewing capability]

If you want a quick and easy way for sharing (multiple) PPTs, go with Slideshare. Your presentation will gain maximum visibility here.
[See note above]

[Note: authorStream is only for PowerPoint 2007]

More Things #8 Screencasting-It's One Word!


I used which required that I download the software (which was a Beta version) and the following Prerequisites:
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (22.42MB) If you run windows updates frequently, you most likely already have this.
Windows Media Encoder (9.92MB) Another Microsoft update to windows.
At first I didn't download all 3 and it didn't work so I went back and downloaded all 3 (then installed) and it worked. I just followed the step-by-step directions and it was really easy. I LOVE this!! Kids from the previous year could record "How To" screencasts for the incoming new students. Very useful tool for the teacher too!!
If it embeds OK - all went well! I'm trying to embed the smaller size option. There was a slight hangup with highlighting the code. I had to play with the html a little bit because it kept saying the tag was not "closed". I went to [] to find solution and it said that blogger sometimes doesn't close properly and to add an embed code at the end which I can't print here because blogger won't publish the embed script. Then I noticed that it changed the sizing a from 640x480 to 640x500 so I changed it back! I wish I knew how to size these videos a little better because now they are overlapping on my blog! I think I'm just going to change the number in the html and then you can click on "full screen" if you want to view. Did it work?