Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thing 10

This week I decided to explore something new as well as spend more time with something I have used before. I have used Dropbox to share files between home and school, but I had not heard of Box. I decided to sign up for a Box account to supplement my Dropbox. This will allow me to have more cloud storage for free. I like the idea of cloud storage because it provides an easy back up and it's a great way to have my files available both at home and at school. I do a lot of work at home and when I find something I want at school, or I create something new, I need an easy way to get it on my school computer. I was emailing things to myself, but I find it much easier to use Dropbox. I am going to organize some of my files on Dropbox and some using Box. This way I will have those files available to me where ever I go. I like the way you can create folders and keep things easily organized. They also have a Box app that I was able to put on my iphone. I have had Evernote on my computer for a while and I used it to keep a journal when I went to Yellowstone last summer. I put some of my pictures in Evernote and wrote a little note to remind me where they were taken. I also wrote down what we did each day and when I returned I printed the journal to put with my photo album. I am interested to see all the other ways I can use Evernote. It seems to have a lot of interesting features. I like that you can share folders with other people. I read about how some teachers are using Evernote for student portfolios. My principal has mentioned that he would like us to have student led conferences with parents. I did not get to that this year, but if I used something like Evernote to create digital portfolios that would be really cool. I like the idea of digital portfolios rather than just putting everything in a folder. As we do more on the computer it's nice to have all of a student's work in one place on the computer. I see great potential for using something like Evernote to create student portfolios as well as using it as a tool to help me to stay organized. I really enjoyed this online course. Thank you so much for all the great resources and ideas. There are so many more things that I would like to investigate when I have more time. I have signed up for many new sites and I'm excited to use them more to enhance my teaching and hopefully make my life a little easier.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thing 9

I decided to focus on search engines for this activity. I tend to always use Google for my personal searches and I find the kids tend to head to that first as well. I am always a little anxious about my students searching on the internet and I want to make sure they are using appropriate sites. I also realize that they could use some instruction in how to search correctly. I played around with SweetSearch and KidRex. I like the results I got and I think both of these search engines would be useful for my fifth graders. I added them to my research folder in ikeepbookmarks and the next time we do research I will have them use these search engines. I also played around with InstraGrok for while. I found this site to be very interesting. I like the way it creates a concept map for a topic and allows you to add the sites, images, and information that you think is most useful. I could see using this as a teacher to create a map of a topic to share with students. It would allow me to put all the important sites and information in one place to use as I teach about a topic. I can also see how students would use this to collect information on a specific topic. The site is free, but you can pay $35 for a year so that each student can have an account. It also has a journal feature where it lists all of your information in a word processing document that you can then manipulate in a variety of ways. I would like to spend more time using this site and possibly set up accounts for my students in the future. I also looked at Bing vs. Google and while I found them to be similar, I think I will explore Bing more in the future to see how the results differ from Google. Since I have used Google so much in the past, I am interested in exploring more of the lessons on power searching with Google. I find my students doing more and more research, even for things I hadn't planned to be research projects. As research becomes more a part of our daily instruction, I want to be sure I have the tools to help the students find what they are looking for. Teaching is becoming less about providing students with information, and more about helping them to acquire the information they are looking for.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thing 8

There were so many great things to try in this assignment. I found myself signing up for a bunch of new things. I played around with Wikispaces and I can see where I could add my students to the account and have them create pages about what they are learning in class. I am planning to start a poetry unit when we get back to school and I would like them to be able to post their poems for others to see. I think this would be a great way for them to receive feedback from their classmates. I also signed up for Diigo and found that to be very interesting. I see similarities between this and Mentor Mob. I could create activities based on a certain unit we are studying. I especially like the highlighting and sticky note aspect of this site. I already have a Dropbox account, but I used this assignment as a motivation for organizing it. I find myself doing a lot of searching at home these days and I have been emailing documents to myself at school. The problem then becomes that I have all these things in my inbox and when I get to school I don't file them on my school computer like I should. My new plan is to save them immediately to my dropbox folders so I have access to them at home and at school. I found myself going through my Dropbox folders and organizing them so they are more useful. I was reading through some of the participants' blogs when I saw a mention of Kidblog. I did some blogging with my class last year, but we haven't tried it yet this year. I really like the looks of this site and it was very easy to set up an account. I posted an introduction to my students and when we get back to school I would like them to start using this site as a way to connect with each other about what we are doing in class. On another note, right before break my students all shared the Glogs they created using Glogster based on a scientist they had researched. Going through the process once more with our library media specialist turned out to be a great experience for the kids. Despite some computer glitches they loved creating the Glogs and many of them have expressed interest in doing some extra credit Glog projects in the future.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thing 7

I really enjoyed using Screenr this week. I had heard about it and I know other teachers who use it, but I didn't realize how easy it is. I did find myself making about 5 copies before I felt comfortable publishing it. I either went too long or didn't like something I said. I can see how planning everything out first is really important. I can see many uses for something like this. I like that I can give directions to something and students can have access to it whenever they want. I decided to make a video with directions to a computer program we frequently use for skill review. I know the type of questions kids usually have about the program so I was able to address those in my video. I can see using this for many other things in the classroom. Next time I will try something related to a lesson that I am teaching.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thing 6

I found this assignment to be very exciting, probably my favorite one yet. I use Pinterest for both my personal and professional life. I find that teachers put a lot of great things there so it's a quick, easy way to find new ideas. It's also a great place to keep things you want to remember. I have used ikeepbookmarks for my classroom for years. It is a great way to organize sites that I want the kids to use. I have quite a collection and now and then I need to clean it out a bit. My kids use it most days of the week. It's nice to have one place they can go for all the sites I've saved for them. My favorite thing this week is Mentormob. I am amazed by what you can do with it. I watched the videos and found it very easy to use. I put together an activity about the Oregon Trail, which I am studying with my fifth grade students right now. I added sites for them to go to, found a video for them to watch, created a couple tests, and attached a couple worksheets. I am really excited to see how it goes when they use it in class. I watched the activity about rocks and it was great. I teach rocks as well and I could definitely use that with my students. Mentormob seems like a great way to get kids to take more control over their own learning. I can find the resources and then they have to work through them to learn the content. It's a great way to incorporate technology and I think they will really enjoy using it. I took a while to put the activity together, but I think it is worth it. I can see me using this for other units as well. I really appreciate all the great ideas I am getting from this course. I look forward to trying more of them in the future.
Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thing 5

There was a lot to explore for this topic. I tried a few different things before I decided on one to use for my project. I think the tool you choose really depends on your purpose. I tried to think of things I could use for my classroom vs. things I would use in my personal life. We have used Glogster in the past and I plan to use that again this year with my students. I started a Glog, but found it to be more complicated than it needed to be. In the past our library media specialist has worked on the Glogs so I am going to defer to her as the expert and ask her to help us out again. I think I will learn more from seeing her use it with the kids. I finally decided to try Animoto for my project. I took all the photos I've taken of my students this year and put them into a presentation. I added music and headings for each event. I have taken pictures throughout the year, but shared very few of them with the kids and parents. I thought this would be a great way to share those photos. I plan to make another Animoto as I take more pictures in the new year. I won't wait for June, but rather put one together in a couple months or after an event where I took a lot of pictures. I could also choose certain pictures to highlight the whole year and put something together for the end of the year. I didn't put a link to the presentation because they are photos of my students and I want to respect their privacy. I will be sharing it with my parents on our webpage, which is a closed site accessible only to families in my class. I found this topic to be a little frustrating at first, but I really like my final project and I'm sure I will use Animoto again. I look forward to exploring some of the other tools as well.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thing 4: Photo Sharing

Snow Cat I did not have a Flickr account so I signed up for one. I found it pretty easy to copy a photo and add it to my blog. The video directions really helped. I would like to explore the second part of the assignment as well. I am interested in finding out what you can do with your photos once you have them on a site. I like the idea of using the mapping to find photos taken in different places. I think these sites would be great for sharing photos of students with my parents. I am getting better at taking pictures of my students engaged in various activities, but I would like to do more sharing. I've tried to share photos on our school website, but I often find that problematic. Flickr might be a good way to get around some of those problems.