Wednesday, May 15, 2013

11th Post

My favorite tools are the variety of apps that I did not realize were so readily available. It will be interesting to test them this summer and build lessons with them. As as activity, the students could do a round robin peer edit with the iPads and google docs. This would be really great earlier on in the year to familiarize them with expectations and improve their ability to monitor their own progress. I've always known that I wanted to incorporate technology in my classes, but as a new teacher it has been a bit distant in terms of my focus. This course was nice to refresh myself on the possibilities that are out there. Overall, there wasn't anything that surprised me through this process. I've always been pretty technologically savvy, but I am happy to have learned a bit more to improve my classes. 

10th Post

Students need to realize that the internet does not provide the anonymity that they assume. Cyber bullying is become a more commonly punishable offense and many students simply do not equate it as carrying the same weight as real life actions. They need to understand the reality of this in order to maintain their safety as well as to help provide a safe environment for others. The internet can be a mean, cruel space. It's up to the students to cultivate a better online situation for themselves. I can use the Ed Tech website to provide students with specifics on the internet and other technology so that they may better understand the responsibility involved. To review the concept of digital citizenship, I would go over the technology contract that was signed by them long ago since I am sure they barely remember it, let alone respect it. I would come up with an informative sheet to give to the parents and have signed so that they understand what all is involved.

9th Post

It is crucial that technology be tied to a real objective; otherwise it is simply the use of technology for the sake of just having it. That's wasteful. It is especially so when there are actually so many innovative and interesting things that can be accomplished with what technology has to offer now.

Students should always be held accountable for what they do; utilizing technology is no different. They need to realize that just because they are being handed an iPad and told to use an app, that it is not license to play around mindlessly. It would be even worse if they were to handle the items carelessly and cause some harm to come to it--the district has worked too hard to get these things into our hands to allow them to simply be broken.

I think that Bubble Us is an excellent tool for pre-writing. There are many students I can think of who would benefit from the structure of it more than being given simply pen and paper. Lexipedia could be especially helpful for ELL's to build lists of unfamiliar words while reading. These lists can then be connected back to vocabulary that they do know, and they can continue to build their skills.

As for apps, I like Poetry Creator. Many students dislike poetry and find it difficult to create, but this app would streamline the process and hopefully help them to see how phrases come together as poetry. I've mentioned Skype in a previous post, but I think it could really open the door to interesting topics with interesting people.

Since I don't have many iPads, I think they could be used for group review using customized flashcard apps. We could also probably do a round robin peer edit with google docs and different colored text in groups.

8th Post

How to sinc the iPad with my computer.
How to set up an iTunes account (I've never had one...strange, I know)
About the SBISD collection of apps

I like the idea of recording lessons and then posting them on a class blog so that those who are absent can find out what was missed, as well as providing a review for others. I only have two iPads though and am not sure yet how to implement them fairly in classes of nearly thirty students.

7th Post

I would really like to have the students create alternate versions of Macbeth. They would compose a small screenplay and then perform it either live or prerecorded. It would likely take place after Spring Break. Since Houston has such a large theater district, I think it would be interesting to see if we could arrange to Skype with a few actors who have actually performed the original Macbeth or alternate versions of it. Since they are such creative minds, it could even be fun to bounce around some ideas for different versions of the play with them. From here, the students could use google docs to work on their screenplay in groups. Diigo could be used to centralize ideas found elsewhere. Live performances could be taped in the classroom and placed with the prerecorded ones on a class youtube channel to share with other schools.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

6th Post

Well apparently Wallwisher has changed names to Padlet, but is still is the same service. I like the idea of collaboration from a variety of sources, be they photos, videos, or written responses. Everyone think differently, and as such I believe that by offering students this website as a means for brainstorming or working in groups then they will seize the opportunity think freely and creatively. Plus, now the created walls can be exported to other mediums such as Excel and PDFs. I did create an account and can access it, but I can't seem to figure out a url for my account. It seems each wall you create is given a specific url that you can then share, rather than a whole account.

I think the Diigo site is also great for student collaboration as well as indiviudal research. The fact that they can pull from so many resources, yet all have access to it is really handy. This way, there is no need to worry about leaving valuable information at home or on the bus. Everything is easily accessible. I definitely prefer it to having a bunch of random bookmarks on my browser.

5th Post

I like the Wordle because it helps the students to really think about character descriptors. This would certainly prove helpful when we read things such as the Canterbury Tales with so many different characters. I created an example Wordle based on Lady Macbeth.
Another tool that I like is this blog. I am not sure if I want to have students create individual blogs to be maintained throughout the year or if I want to simply do a class blog, but one or the other will definitely be done. I like the extension of the classroom beyond my door and I know that students will be better prepared if everything is easily accessible at their fingertips. Perhaps through some kind of blog commenting we can generate discussions that will further enhance their understanding of material with help from their peers. Just because I don't want to be perusing a blog at midnight doesn't mean they won't feel like it, and I'd like to give them every opportunity.