Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How can I integrate student use of technology?

This is a great article that I found in the Learning and Leading in Technology magazine titled "Grounded Tech Integration: K-6 Literacy". In a table, it shows various ways students can use technology in Reading and Writing. It includes suggestions for word processing tools such as Microsoft Word, Inspiratin/Kidspiration, the Read Write Think website, multimedia software such as PowerPoint, podcasts, and interactive whiteboards (SMART Boards).

Telecollaborative Projects

Are you and your students finished with the boring research projects? Do you want your students to start thinking globally? Telecollaborative projects are the way to go! By using sources such as iEARN and ePals, students are able to share their work with a global audience. They have the opportunity to discuss their work with other students around the country or even around the world! These web resources are a great way to add rigor to your classroom in an exciting way! Telecollaborative projects offer a project-based learning approach that connects classrooms in over 200 countries.

If you browse the ePals homepage, you will immediately see various opportunities for your students such as discovering different cultures and discussing natural disasters that take place around the world. You can even search for projects by topic, age, and language. For many of these projects, it will be beneficial to take the county wiki or blog course.

iEARN offers wonderful opportunities to collaborate with different classes around the world. The purpose of many of their projects is to enhance learning and make a difference in he world by participating in service-learning projects. To start, you need to search for a project that you can integrate into your daily instruction. They ask that you try to answer the question, "How will this project improve the quality of life on the planet?" Even though I have found some really interesting collaborative projects such as connecting Math to our lives, an electronic school magazine, and a local history project, this program comes at a cost. It costs $100 per classroom or there is a larger fee if the entire school would like to participate. Teachers are also required to take a short online course, before they can have their class participate in the projects.

I found an article in the Learning and Leading in Technology magazine. It describes a project using Museum Box, another online tool that can be used to "jazz" up those boring research projects.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Screencast is a place for you to upload content to the internet for free. With Screencast, you are able to share digital content such as videos, images, and documents in multimedia formats. It allows others to observe your contents. One great feature is that you can hold the rights to your own content and you can decide who sees your content. TechSmith allows you to create a free account. With this account, you are able to have 2GB of storage space and 2GB of bandwidth a month. The bandwidth is used when people view your content. Therefore, if you have various viewers, it is possible that you would go through the 2GB quickly.

There is also an option of purchasing an account for $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year. With the Pro Account you would have 25 GB storage and 200 GB a month of bandwidth along with a customizable account.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Podcasts- Math

There are many great songs to help student memorize operations and strategies for solving math problems. My students always seem to forget the difference between mean, median, and mode. Due to this, I created a song to assist their memory! You can find the song on my classroom wiki. I put it here, hoping that it will give students an idea as to the variety of differnt ways they can post on our Math wiki.


Gcast is a resource that allows you to record a podcast from your phone or by selecting something from your computer. If you already have audio production software such as audacity, you can upload your posts for free. This is a great option if you are not using a blog or a wiki. You do have to register for this service. In the past year, you also need to pay a $99 fee if you want the option of recording by phone. The great thing about creating a podcast from your phone is that you will be given an ID and PIN. The podcast will be added to your playlist manager and then you can publish it from y our phone. This site also allows you to mix different playlists or podcasts. As a teacher, you could mold all of your students' projects into one podcast. This could then be put on a classroom blog or wiki instead of having 25 podcasts.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Using Jing to Teach Students

Jing is a great tool for teachers to capture images of your computer screen. You could then use your images to create instructions on how to complete a project. Students will be able to refer back to the notes instead of constantly asking the teacher, “What do I do now?” I have created a set of directions for my students about how to post on our classroom wiki. 

This free download can also be used to create a screencast. This is a short video clip that you can record of what you are doing on the computer. Another great feature is that you can use the voice-over tool to explain what you are doing. This would be another way to show your students how to do something. They can refer back to it if they have questions. One important thing to remember is that it only records for a maximum time of 5 minutes. I have also created an example of a screen cast to show my students how to create a simple PowerPoint. I was not able to load it to the blog.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How can the students use Jing to further their learning experience?

Students could use this tool to “teach” the class about a given topic. They could create a PowerPoint or a web in Inspiration. By recording their project and using the voice-over in Jing, the student could present their project to the class. The screencasts could be posted on the classroom blog or on Blackboard. All students can access the information at a time that is convenient for them. Due to the time restriction of 5 minutes, the student make decisions about what they are going to say and how they are going to present the information before they start recording. It forces the student to focus on the key points. By posting this on a blog or on Blackboard, other students will be able to comment on the presentation. The creator would be responsible for responding to his/her classmates.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Classroom Blog

I have created a blog in edublogs to use with my students. This blog will have multiple purposes based on the assignment. I currently have two sections, Social Studies and Language Arts.

Social Studies
Students will go through an interactive site. After they have explored information about slavery, they will create a song and post it to the blog. The class will have access to the blog which will give the students an audience. They will be able to post comments about the songs that have been created. Parents will also have access to the account.

Language Arts
We are required to have a Concept/Question Board for our Open Court Reading series. The blog will be used for just that! This will be a place where students can post any questions, comments, pictures, or web sites about a given unit of study. I would like to communicate with other classrooms in the county to combine our Concept/Question board.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How do I create a podcast?

Before recording your podcast in any of the following applications, it is important to consider five key components: prepare, perform, produce, publish, promote. When you prepare for the recording, you will need to create a title the reflects what you are going to say. In some programs, you will also have the opportunity to add a picture. After you have prepared for the podcast and you have entered your title, it is time for you to perform, or record. When you play back the podcast you will listen to your production to determine if you want to edit it or publish it. You can publish your podcast in a variety of different ways such as a blog, wiki, social networking site, etc. 

I have created an example from http://www.blabberize.com/.  I acted as Thomas Jefferson and created a biography about myself.  Students could use this site in the same way!  They could use it to present information that htye have collected about a person or an event.  One great thing about Blabberize is that you can post the podcast on their site, you can save it, or you can embed it into a site that has already been created. 

Below I have found a few products that you may want to consider when creating a podcast.


This is a great site because you can create a mp3 audio file by typing words in a text box. There are six different languages that the site offers including Spanish, English, and Italian. This is a great tool to type up a short passage to have kids post their work to the class wiki or a blog. The students will be able to listen to their work and make corrections based on what they hear. You can also install this on your browser and it can be used to listen to text on any page.  I did notice that the quality is not great.  However, students can still use it to practice and it is a great tool to change information to another language.

Try Audacity!
Audacity is a free source that can be used to record and edit broadcasts. You can download it at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/downlad/. After you download the software, you can easily record something by using an internal or external microphone that is connected to your computer.

Items to consider when using a blog in the classroom

Many schools have guidelines for using blogs in the classroom. I know my county only allows us to use www.edublogs.com, after we have taken a class to prepare us for use in the classroom. It is also worthwhile to look into your school’s acceptable use policy (AUP) and explain the policies with your students. The AUP should explain the terms and guidelines for students using the computers and the internet in your school. It should lay out what acceptable use of the computer/internet means and what it should look like. At my school, it is required that you have parental permission before you allow your students on the classroom blog.

Before you use the blog in your classroom, you should teach your students the importance of carefully considering the content of their post. Students should be taught safe, acceptable, and sensible behavior as online readers and authors. It should be stated that the blog is still a classroom, therefore, expectations of tone, respect, and consequences should be put in place. It is important that students know that content should be viewed as an opinion and therefore, it may not be factual information. Students and parents should also be aware of the privacy and security issues within your classroom blog.

Edublogs and Blogger are two blogging tools that are easy to use. As I said before, check with your administrator to ensure that you are able to use a blog in your classroom before you begin.

How can blogs be used in the classroom?

After looking through multiple pages on the internet, I was able to put together a list of ways that I feel a blog would be beneficial in the classroom.

Blogs provide a space where teacher or students from around the world can collaborate on a topic of their choice. This is a great way for teachers to offer extra help on assignments by posting podcasts or vodcasts. Multiple students will be able to access help at the same time. The teacher could also offer tips for solving problems or suggestions for research. Students can also participate in cooperative learning activities that require them to relay research findings, ideas, or suggestions.

Blogs can lead to discussion outside of the classroom walls. Every person that has access to the blog has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I like that students have time to reflect on what was taught in class and come back at a later time to post their thoughts. This can lead to a deeper understanding of the concept.

Student Portfolios
I really like the idea of having the students create a portfolio on a blog. Here they have a chance to present and organize their digital products for an audience to see. It will be easy for them to see how they have progressed through the year and intensify their understanding because their entries are archived. Also, the students will realize that their items will be published and therefore, they will most likely be motivated to produce a higher quality of work. By having their work on the blog, teachers and students can comment on their work and they can continually improve it.

Classroom Management
I had never thought of using a blog for classroom management until now! A blog could be used to keep students and parents informed instead of constantly sending home notices. This would be a great place to post homework assignments, projects, test dates, and it can also act as a question/answer board.

Information found at: http://teachingtoday.glencoe.com/

Monday, June 28, 2010

More about Wikis

A wiki could be used to create a class glossary that could hold terms covered throughout a topic. This would be a good way to have students create their own definitions that would allow them to remember them and to use them in their everyday vocabulary.  This is a wiki that I created for my Math Class. 

Wikis could also be used as an editing tool to aid in the writing process. This student could make corrections or additions easily. Additions could be made to the piece over time. Other students could also take time to peer edit the piece.  My students will be doing this when they work with a cooperating class on the Kindred Project. 

The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version)

This video shows how flexible text can be when it is linked to Web tools. Anything can be edited in a second. It is also updated immediately. Items can be separated and put into categories that can be seen around the world! It is amazing how one piece of text can be used my millions f people and linked to their work. Web 2.0 tools allow anyone to join a discussion on any topic. These tools are the new machines of education. We can now link classrooms around the world to analyze and discuss topics.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Examples of how Wikis can be used in the classroom

Wikis are a great tool that allow for collaboration between people.  I did find some free sites that allow teachers to set up wikis for educational purposes.  These sites can be made private and they do not allow adds.  Two of the sites that I have found are http://www.wikispaces.com/ and http://www.wetpaint.com/.  One place that I would like to incorporate a wiki in my classroom would be duirng my Language Arts block.  I would like to have my students set up in literature circles this year. In the literature circle, they would all read the same book and then they would be required to answer questions about the material and pose questions. By using a wiki, they could post their answers and questions, respond to their peers thoughts or questions and best of all preserve this work for the next class to review.  I am still trying to set this page up on my wiki, but it keeps deleting my text!

Below I have listed multiple links of ways teachers have used a wiki in their classroom. They are great resources to get you started on your journey of using wikis in your classroom! The  resources were found at http://wikisineducation.wetpaint.com/page/Wikis+in+the+Classroom

Ms. Durney's Class- Students worked in small groups to pick up where Billy Joel left off in 1989. They worked together to create the next three stanzas to the song. http://msdurneysfire.wetpaint.com/page/Assignment

ACFT 5th Grade Science Wiki- The class Wiki is a website designed to increase student learning and improve communication with families.

Science Lab Wiki- A collaborative wiki for students to complete their lab reports.

Are you new to blogging?

I have never created a blog before. It took me a few hours of playing around with the tools, widgets, and backgrounds before I found the following website: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-create-your-first-blog-using-blogger.html. This site was extremely helpful for my first blogging experience. I didn't even know how to hyperlink the site listed above, but bloggers for dummies walked me through the process!