Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing #5 Reach out and touch someone

I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. My stepkids and grandkids post pictures almost daily, as do many of my cousins. I might create a Facebook account for my students, but I do not really want my students seeing my personal account. I already have a blog for assignments and updates, and use Scriblink a couple of times a week to help students with assignments. I will have to play around with Twitter to see if I think it is more useful or versatile than what I am currently doing.

I can see that back-channeling would be much more comfortable for students that do not like to participate in classroom discussions. Most of our students are used to email and blogging and would be more likely to use one of these mediums instead of speaking out in class. Student could use this to send questions during a lesson that they might not ask out loud.

There are so many things that can be used, it's difficult to pick the best. I will see how my students like some of these new 2.0 features this year and let everyone know how they are working.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thing #3

This is my first experience with Skype, but I have used OoVoo, which is basically the same thing. I talk to (and see) my grandkids at least twice a week. They sang happy birthday to me last night and I watched my granddaughter make a cupcake for me in her Easy Bake oven. She's going to bring it to me tomorrow. I also help my grandson and niece (in college) and assorted younger relatives and friends with their math homework. It's a lot faster and easier to follow with a voice and video link than IM or chatting.

I created my Skype account. My user name is barbara.greenlee. There are several ways I can think of to use Skype in the classroom. If a teacher is out, other teachers could use Skype to teach the lesson and students wouldn't get behind. Students really like sharing a lesson with someone in another city or state, or country if you can find the right time zone. Several of my students also used OoVoo to help each other with their homework. We also had a lesson taught by a professor at A&M that I downloaded to show all the Geometry classes. With Skype and similar programs, you have access to the world's greatest minds. How powerful would it be to have people from different professions in different countries explain how they use math? Or any other subject for that matter. Or talk to an author or scientist or astronaut?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thing #1 Revisited

Research shows that students today truly don't learn the same way as those of us over 30 (probably 25) do. The over 50's of us had a few tv shows we watched, the games we played involved dice and boards, and our fanciest toy was usually our imagination. Students are used to color and sound, constantly changing. Today's teaching needs to keep up with today's learning. I found that using the Activboard instead of my white board kept students' interest much longer. I didn't teach any new material or leave anything out - the only thing that changed was the package. If we as teachers can learn how to jazz up the package and keep students engaged, more power to us! The video was an excellent example of a new way to package whatever it is we want to teach. Many of our students spend much more time on the internet than we do, and if we can use what they are doing already to help them learn I think they will learn more, learn at a deeper level, and not complain so much while they are doing it. I can see students spending twice as long on a video as a powerpoint or poster with a much better final product. Let's show the students how to hang 10 with the Big Kahunas.

The student in the video spent much more time and effort than they would have if asked to do a more traditional presentation. I like the idea of the teacher being the concierge - knowing where to find the best for the students and let them go from there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing #2

Tired of the same old titles and printed words? Wordle is a great alternative. I can see using this for vocabulary words - a more interesting way to give students a word list. Or let them create their own flashcards. I like the links in Wordsift, which would be great for research. I do think that ESL students would have a difficult time with both of these. I can see my PreAP/GT students getting so wrapped up in the links that they would forget what they were doing.

Wordle: Geometry

Voicethread would be a good tool for group presentations and for recording lessons for students that are absent or need more help at home. Students could post problems and help each other. I especially like the DVD capability. About half of my students do not have a computer at home or do not have internet access, but almost all of them have a DVD player. I can also see an application for stations, with a different lesson or activity at each station. All a teacher would need is a laptop at each station. This past year a few of the teachers at Spring Woods used Scriblink (interactive online 'whiteboard' for multiple users simultaneously) to do online, real-time tutoring in the evenings, and we also recorded lessons on the Activboard. Voicethread could be used for some of the same things.

Animoto and Voki need to be unrestricted by the district filter! Some of my PreAP students used Animoto to do presentations this past year and seemed to enjoy it, although I think they might enjoy VoiceThread as much or more. The math teachers at Spring Woods have an assignment blog. If the district lets Voki through, I can add voice messages. I think the students and parents would get a kick out of my 'talking head'. A talking avatar would certainly be more powerful than just text. I could add it to my webpage also.

I can see a lot of potential for Bookr, both personally and in the classroom. What a great way to review for a test or quiz! Students could use Bookr instead of posters, or a powerpoint presentation. At least once a year I have groups of students teach a lesson and I think students would get a lot more carried away with Bookr than with Powerpoint. I am going to take pictures of the grandkids when they come to visit this week and do a Bookr for their parents.

Thing #1

The video demonstrated very well the role of the teacher - modeler, facilitator, and I especially liked 'concierge'. A librarian is all these things and so much more.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thing #23 - Reflections

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

I have quite a few favorites and discoveries for different reasons. The two that were the most fun were creating my avatar and starting a family cookbook using Lulu (#19) and starting to write a science fiction novel. The one that has been the most useful to me personally has been LibraryThing to catalog my books. The one that I think will be the most useful to me as a teacher will be my searchroll in Rollyo. I plan to add sites throughout the year and then take out the ones I don’t use that often.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

I used to teach Computer Science as well as math and for a few years I spent so much time on the computer doing things I had to do that I didn’t think of the computer in terms of relaxation and entertainment. The 23 Things has rekindled my enthusiasm for the computer again. After I assimilate all of these things, I am going to start exploring other aspects of the web. Having stepped out of my comfort zone, I don’t intend to lose what I have learned and plan to go on from here.

3. What were any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

The biggest surprise is that I have enjoyed all these hours so much, and don’t feel that a single minute has been wasted. There are some things I will use more than others, of course, but the joy of learning something I would never have done on my own has been worth the journey. I feel that I have taken a world tour, going places I never thought to visit and meeting people that I never would have known. Anne McCafferey actually commenting on my comment was a thrill. Who knew I would be writing a cookbook AND a novel?

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

I can’t think of anything that would improve the program. There were a few places that I got confused – Sandbox and Audacity – but I think I just missed something the first time around in the instructions.

5. If we offered another discovery program in the future, would you choose to participate?

Sign me up!

6. How would you describe the experience in ONE WORD or ONE SENTENCE?

Finally, a professional growth that is not only educational but enjoyable – well worth the effort!

Comments on other Players’ blogs:

I made lots of comments on lots of blogs. I read almost every blog. The vast majority seemed to think this experience has been totally worth it. I agree.

Thing #21

videoT

This is it!! My last thing!! Thanks, Vaughn!