Monday, July 19, 2010

Thing #11.5 Evaluation

From this web2.0 exploration I particularly like screencasts, Bookr, and sharing videos. Second graders will find Bookr fairly user friendly. Screencasts will be valuable for training sessions that students can control to accommodate their individual needs. Sharing videos offer additional sites for teachers to use to access resources for students to learn from. No doubt virtual worlds has enormous potential, but I can not accept my students accidentally being exposed to a predator/prey scenario while exploring a virtual world.

Library2Play2 has provided me with the ability to learn technological skills that enable me to create tools that students can make use of. My students will be much more technologically savvy as a result of this training program. What student doesn't need that? In addition, my sense of responsibility to teach digital citizenship has significantly increased in that not only do students need to know what to say and how to say it, but how to avoid dangerous situations, be it personal safety or protecting a computer from spyware, etc. I look forward to Library2Play3.

I am delighted with the opportunities I have been given through this program. I particularly like sharing this blog with other people rather than trying to verbally explain what is available online. A better understanding of the online communication processes has come out of all of this.

What could Library2Play2 offer that would improve on this self-paced training? That is a difficult question. Library2Play2 is so well thought out I can't think what would improve it. I need some time to think about this some more. My thank yous to the creators of it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

2Thing #11 Digital Citizenship

Here is a list of lessons or discussions I plan to have with my second graders this year. The list is compiled from information found at the digiteen2008 wikispace. Digiteen2008 also contains a very nice list of vocabulary terms that can be used to support lessons on computer etiquette. I plan to use the vocabulary terms as time allows this year. Here is the list of lessons the children will need to be introduced to and practice.

1. Never share your family's information or your information: full name, social security number, address, telephone number, age, passwords, or pictures without your parent's permission.
2. Never talk with people you do not know and never arrange to meet someone in person.
3. Only visit protected websites, and with parents' permission.
4. If you are bullied, tell your parents or an adult you trust.
5. Write short messages, saying exactly what you mean, and be polite at all times.
6. Do not plagiarize, download unknown applications, and do close out other people's accounts if they are left open.
7. Limit your time on computers, get physical exercise, and interact with family and friends.

In addition, I plan to introduce my students to Woogi world, where they can learn more and practice the skills I have identified above. See

CoolCatTeacher wrote on these topics, as well. Both sites emphasize additional skills: literacy, communication and learning skills. I completely agree that digital citizenship cannot be taught by one teacher during one year of a child's school years. Rhondda adds that students must be guided through digital literacy and to differentiate between good and bad digital technologies. Good point.

2Thing #10 Virtual Worlds

There is enormous potential for students to learn at a more memorable level when using virtual worlds. In the reading there is discussion on the ability for students to experience different weather situations, places, and discoveries in a way that a textbook could never provide. Once I get the hang of it with my avatar, I can perhaps take students to different places via virtual world and an Activboard. Absolutely tremendous!

After reloading java, I was able to create an Avatar in Twinity and navigate around London, meeting a few people along the way. As CoolCat Teacher suggested, I had someone take me into the virtual world so that I wasn't so lost. It was night there and few people were mulling around the area. Twinity seems limited in places around London, Singapore and Berlin. Just as another blogger mentioned, there was adult content in the dialogue between Avatars. I'm not sure what avenue I'll take with this with students, but avoiding Avatars might be necessary when visiting one of the virtual places of interest. I think I will try Second Life as well as Twinity. I don't think you can fly in Twinity. Let me know if it's possible.

I have an avatar now on Second Life. It is pretty amazing where and what you can do. I visited a few places and do see the potential for students to explore places as if they were there. Virtual immersion. I was bothered when a dialogue box popped up and I was witness to a conversation between two people, one a predator on the lookout and the other responding to questions. This would be an incident for a lesson in digital citizenship (Post #11) in the classroom, at the very least. How do you prevent the dialogue box from appearing...just explore silently?

2Thing #9 Slideshare

Adding life to Power Point makes a lot of sense, it is a useful tool for presenting information. Slideshare enhances not only the quantity of available presentations, but also allows students to learn additional skills for presenting information. The human imagination will probably recreate Power Point by replication and innovation. Students learn in a "two-fold manner", the material in the presentation and the manner in which it is presented, with maybe inspiration for how it could be improved upon. I notice when joining Slideshare you are prompted to get your friends registered, then to upload files to share. I doubt elementary school children will have many to upload. They might find themselves searching on a topic as a resource for information gathering, with concise textual organization involved in what they find.

2Thing #8 Screencast

I like this feature to Web2.0. If each student had a copy of the screencast on their desktop, they could follow instructions step-by-step at the needed pace. I can't think of the number of times I have used ActivBoard to demonstrate the steps to working on the class's wikispace, only to have students be at many different places at any given moment. It usually means leaving the board with an image and then rotating around the room according to students' hands in the air asking for help.

It appears at first blush that Camtasia could be used to create video texts that could be "read" to students and then annotated in a way where students could see and hear how to refer back to a text to capture information for a reading objective (main idea, summary, cause and effect, etc.). This would save teachers from repeating lessons on a topic and would allow a great lesson to be created and saved for future use. It could then be embedded into a wikispace (maybe?) or blog so that students could refer to it as a tutorial or review, if needed. This application has a 30 day free trial, then purchasing option. The option to download a free key isn't available either. The tutorial is not so user friendly that I would pursue this any further. However, it does look like a great application.

I think I will go with the FreeScreencast, which doesn't require a download and is supposed to be simple. This too isn't proving to be easy. I downloaded the Recorder (no downloads?), then attempted the also necessary Windows Media Encoder. This would not download because of Windows Logo testing failure, claiming the encoder incompatible with Windows XP. Windows is incompatible with Windows. I think I'm drowning and will search for a lifeguard.

I am going to jot some notes I appreciate from reading Sue Waters' blog.

1. Camtasia lets you record and edit your screencast without the use of another program. However
2. Recording entire desktop okay for PowerPoint, but a fixed region (640 wide by 480 high) will give a better image.
3. Set the screen recording to autopan, which will move the recording in response to mouse movements.
4. The video format is important:
Consider using the .mov format, with a medium setting, when uploading to video sharing websites.
5. These tips may be a medicine for your sanity.

Note to self: It takes a good focus to keep size under 100 MB for the blog's requirements.

Argg! I am unable to upload a video, although I have followed protocol.

So, now I am trying Jing...the download isn't even going well. By the time I do get something published I will probably be pretty good at making videos!

My problem was java related. My latest Camtasia production worked!

2 Thing #7 Sharing Videos

There are some very good sites out there that offer incredible resources for teachers to use. I like NeoK-12, where I think I could find something to use everyday in the classroom. and Google appear to offer video producers and publishers opportunities to do so without difficulty. Here is an sample video from NeoK-12:

Types of Polygons - Geometry Help
More math videos on Geometry at

With the advent of ActivBoards, the technology is very user friendly, saving teachers a lot of time and frustration. Remember the days when perusing the catalog for videos, then ordering the videos from the state Educational Region Service Center, waiting for them, then using them within the designated amount of time, replacing them in their canvas bag, and taking them to the front office for an educational region center representative to come and pick the videos up? Those days are definitely GONE!!

Here is another video. This one if from U S National Archives Channel:

Frank Capra and Dimitri Tiomkin had a part in this series of films from the Army's Office of the Chief Signal Officer.

Might I add that I really like the PBS site, as well?

2Thing #6 ipod Apps

I'll be very lucky to scratch the surface on this topic. The topics will be narrowed down the elementary school: Use of an itouch by multiple students while in a library. Let's see there's Facebook Chat (this amends 2Thing#5), ibluetouch for mind mapping your thoughts while on the go, WeDict for a quick dictionary reference, Ifbyphone to collaborate amongst students, Stanza for digital books, as well as Classics and Bookshelf, Word of the Day, Wikipanion to get to the class's wikispace. Geopedia (finding places) and WorldCat (finding books in a nearby library) are two other freebie tools than can be used in elementary classrooms.

After looking at another section with actual game-like activities in language arts and math I want to conclude that I might just "play around in the sand castle" of the librarian on some of the apps she sees students benefiting from. After a trip to the Apple store to play around with an itouch and education apps, as well as talking with a store salesman, maybe I will have better sea legs.

Further investigation suggests that Stanza and Bookshelf will be helpful to students in that they can enhance literature that is in hard copy in the library. While working on a project in the library, students have greater resources of literature in their hands by using either Stanza or Bookshelf.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2Thing #5 Microblogging

These were much easier experiences than YouTube. But, then the media is not as complicated. Random Comment: The book Bowling Alone could use new chapters in that now people are together and alone at the same time, rather than just isolated from the various communities around them. Facebook has a lot of potential, as does Twitter, for students to learn about the world of actual two-way+ world of communication. Facebook is a good place to share information and embed items of importance or interest. A Facebook account following a relevant news feed could be used as an item for students to respond to and discuss with others. This will be fun to try with elementary students. This gives teachers an opportunity to instruct students in the differences in elaborated text and short responses that must make a point. The more I look at Facebook the more I like it. I still have some more to learn, though.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2Thing #4 YouTube

Teacher created videos that are shareable with other teachers reminds me of having Promethean for sharing of ActivInspire creations. The sites are a time savings for teachers and a potentially valuable resource for not only actual lesson videos, but also ideas for teachers' future creations. As an aside, I lack created videos, but with a webcam on the "to buy" list, the process will be more familiar. I was unable to upload an Animoto video to YouTube. Suggestions? I think older students could have fun adding annotations to their videos, as well as experiment with psychological effects of different types of audio on a video. Student-created pieces are a bit more multi-dimensional than some of the other sites for those reasons. The process is more involved and complicated, in general. Probably, student pieces would work well for a small group, and then shared with other students. Here is the only video I have (argg...for now), with annotations and an audio swap. You can catch it also at the beginning of the blog from last summer. Thank you to those who commented about uploading YouTube to this blog. I am working through some kinks on the video. I notice there are some time issues when doing audio swap and modifying annotations during the audio swap process. The saving process is quirky. These notes will help when my poor memory falls short. What is seen below is not the same video that I have edited. For some reason the edited version is not the same as the this one, from the video page.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2Thing #3 Skype

My brother used Skype a few years ago with family located in the UAE. It was a real saver, especially playing chess together. In the classroom there is much potential. I read the 50 Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom and found it very helpful and inspiring. Edublogger offers ways to perhaps network with other classrooms around the world. I have heard of middle school pilot programs in south western Louisiana with areas of England where social and geographical issues were worked on to resolve issues of erosion and other like concerns. Rather than debates or conversations on issues, the students worked in their local communities on similar geographical concerns and then discussed the steps each took to resolve the problems. This entailed using science, social studies, writing, math, graphs, charts, and much, much more. I think a similar project on a local issue could be used in elementary school, on a smaller scale, for a civic project benefiting the local community.

2Thing #2C Bookr

I love Bookr. Students could create a character analysis of a fictitious or historical character, solve math problems or explore a science concept using this website. The published books could be added to a teacher's student's wikispace to be shared with the rest of the class, etc. Students could also use their books while giving an oral presentation of a topic. VERY nice!

Monday, June 14, 2010

2Things #2 cont

Voki is fun, I suppose. I think students can use images and text to enhance a presentation. The video on TeacherTV was fairly interesting and informative. Here is a Voki character I created. I would like to investigate the possibility of finding additional facial characters to use. My Voki character is seen above. You can hear what she has to say about the summer 2010.

Click here to comment on this Voki.
Get a Voki now!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2Thing #2b

Students who work on Glogster may find it, I think, much more exciting to create posters for school. Opportunities for creativity are plentiful. Students will have to know where to go get accurate resources and how to import them successfully. That shouldn't be too difficult, and if it is, a student can merely go to another location to find something similar, or create their own text by quoting a difficult to handle location. What might be more difficult is for students to know when and how to narrow or broaden their topic so that a glogster poster is manageable. No more goes the thinking that "once I glue this, that's pretty much it!" Students can move items around and redo them at will, which means they probably need to know more about time management and doing what NEEDS to be done, not what is just fun guised behind needing to finish the project. I think this is something I would like to try with students next year.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2Thing #2

I like WordSift, but with caution. I pasted in Texas's treaty for independence from Mexico and immediately found links to Anna Nicole Smith in Texas. Not a good call, I am not sure how I would prevent this from happening. Preview text, prevent student independent control? I really like the Visual Thesaurus. The introductory reading on WordSift rightfully notes the value of this site for use with ELLs. This site makes it easy to help students sort through valuable and unnecessary information. It is a great way to build vocabulary and develop concepts. But, how would students take notes from this? And check the validity of an entry? It seems like accessing information is easier, but now time has to be spent validating it.


2Thing #1 - The video for how students can access information via Internet is interesting and a bit overwhelming. I worry about some students lacking sufficient technology in their homes and families. We have to start somewhere naturally, but for some children it will be like a home where the parents do not speak English, or in this case Internet. I also worry a bit about the ADD students because there is an abundant amount of information to sort through and connect together in almost too many ways. There is a flood of information to make contact with and many opportunities for students to become creative in connecting to it and with it. Librarians, let's just use elementary school librarians, are certainly a group of educators that can be an excellent resource for students and teachers, especially if from their repertoire of ideas a student can make use of one, then another for learning, thus limiting that feeling of being overwhelmed. But can an elementary school librarian do it alone? One shouldn't have to. Teachers have a role in building up ideas and resources for use, but, it goes without saying, secondary to good first teaching. However, that teaching is significantly enhanced by opportunities to employ Internet resources to gather additional information and to make use of it for presentation purposes, enhancing learning, demonstrating understanding, etc.