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.