Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing 23

Oh my goodness, I am so excited to have made it! I love this course. I have actually sent it to my mom and all of my aunts so that they may become technology savy as well. I have also been talking about it to some of my friends and a few have requested I send it to them.

My favorite discoveries..oh, so hard to narrow it down. One was the image generators because I feel eager to try to get my students to use them in their poetry study. Also, they were just plain fun. I plan to share these with my friends. I was also really happy to discover Rollyo. This may have been my favorite for school purposes because I was literally looking for something just like this in the spring. I also found Delicious very helpful. I plan to use this a lot now too.

This program has assisted my lifelong learning goals because I have discovered so many new things that I certainly wouldn't have otherwise. Isn't that what lifelong learning is about?! I found many useful tools and I feel I have a wealth of new knowledge and resources to share with others (colleagues, family and friends). I was just thinking to myself yesterday about how I couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't want to do this program. To be introduced to great tools and to try them out for free, all from the comfort of wherever you want...sounds great to me! I was so busy this summer, as we all are, and am so happy I challenged myself to learn new things when I could just be vegging out in the little free time I did have.

I was honestly surprised at how much I learned and how eager I was to learn it. I am always excited to learn new things, but I wasn't exactly sure how this program would go. I was so pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. Moreover, I was surprised at how easy everything (pretty much) was. Also, it was fun to engage in an online community of learners through our blogs and comments. I liked sharing the process with others though we might be miles apart or working at different times. Our lunch at Corner Bakery was fun too in order to share that human interaction that makes learning together all that much more meaningful.

The program's format and concepts were great. I think it was easy to follow, but still challenging enough to stay engaged and to learn. I liked the variety of resources but also the amount that was selected. There are so many online tools out there that I thought the program did a fabulous job of exposing us to many without feeling overwhelming. One suggestion I do have is to introduce Delicious at the very beginning of the program, so that it may be used all along to tag the fabulous sites. Sure you can go back and do it, but it would be so much easier if you could tag the ones you like from the beginning.

I would certainly participate in another discovery program! This was a great opportunity. Next time though, maybe I won't be in Peru for the first half of the summer so I will get started earlier.


23 Things is a complex, yet simple, program that has inspired me to use my new found resources to improve teaching and learning in my class.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing 22

Wow! As a Facebook participant/fan since college, I am excited to see this social networking piece. I have never heard of Ning, so was thrilled to learn about a new site like this. What a great way for teachers (and librarians) to communicate and share things. Like the article 7 things you need to know about Ning mentioned, using Facebook could be seen as intruding on private domain and I would have to agree. I like my Facebook life to remain my personal life. Thus, what a great solution by using Ning. All of the recommended Nings seemed like great online networks for various professional needs. I could see using these networks to post questions or get advice. What a great support system for new teachers and a great way to keep veteran teachers fresh!

However, as great of ideas/resources/networks as all of these are, I am wondering if it would become just one more thing to keep up with? I don't know about you all, but it takes all of my breaks to answer parent emails. Then, there are meetings. I get home and can barely return my personal email and keep up with projects, planning, and reading. When is there time to fit all of it in? I think Nings would be something that might slip through my top priority list.

Thing 21

This thing is going to have to wait. I am currently in Mexico without my own computer and I don't think I am willing to tackle this right now. Thus, podcasting will have to wait until next week.

Plus, when I was in graduate school I created a series of podcasts about media literacy and have gone through the process before. I am eager to try the recommended programs and refresh my skills.

Until later next week (yikes, think it will be after the 10th deadline..but I guess it is never too late for learning)!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thing 20

Video embeding. I have been wondering how to do this since learning how to put pictures on my blog. I have used You Tube a lot and it was great for when I wanted to show my children little videos of what Australia looked like during our study in the spring. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is a video worth?

Oh my goodness! It actually worked on the first try! This is so exciting. You Tube makes it so easy because they give you the URL and the code for embedding on the right side of the screen. They even give you different choices of sizes and colors for the borders. Isn't technology great! I like this video because while it is an advertisement it shows the different terrain in Australia. I was trying to get my students to realize how big and diverse Australia is and this video would help toward that end.

YouTube can be quite overwhelming, so wouldn't be great to create a blog (or other document) and embed the videos (and pictures) I need for my lessons right there. Even when I know what videos I want to show it can take a little bit to pull them up in class, so this would be a fabulous way to have everything ready to go!

TeacherTube is another great resource and I am happy to discover this site. I found this little video about even and odd numbers.

It isn't great quality, but I like that it is short and a different way for the children to learn about even and odd numbers. We spend time using manipulatives, talking about, and playing with why numbers are even and odd and this could be just one more tool in the toolbox to help toward their understanding.

I was surprised how easy it was for me to embed these videos...wait I take it back. There is some sort of HTML error for my TeacherTube video...thus, I can only provide the link for this one. I don't really know enough about the code to know what is wrong. It could be one little character off. However, YouTube and TeacherTube made it easy by clearly providing the URL and the embedding code. I hope this wasn't just beginners luck and that next time I go to do this it will still be this easy on YouTube.

OK, so I tried to find another video just in case it was that video for some reason...still didn't work, but I found this funny video on TeacherTube about Top 10 Things You Didn't Learn About Teaching in College.

Any suggestions for embedding videos from TeacherTube?

Thing 19

Web 2.0 Awards is a great compilation of fabulous tools. Thus, the tool I chose was actually they entire list. I know, I know...cheating just a little, but I couldn't resist. There are just too many good resources that I couldn't just pick one. I tagged this list using my Delicious tags and plan come back to it as a need for a certain tool comes up.

What is special about the tool?
It is a comprehensive list of the best of tools and can help you fill any need you have. It is well organized by category and has several choices (in ranking order) for each category. If the first choice doesn't work for you, there are two more good options.

What are its useful parts, especially with regards to Libraries and school?
I think its organization makes it particularly useful. Each category is well labeled and the alphabetical order makes it easy to navigate. Also, I like that the awards were ranked, so that there is more than one choice for each category. Moreover, I like the variety of awards given. There are many sites for professional use, but also for personal use.

How might you use this tool in your own setting?
This is a great reference tool, so I plan to use it when various needs arise. I also plan to share this list with colleagues so they can easily find online tools. I have already emailed it to my dad so he can use it.

Some sites I particularly enjoyed:
For fun--One Sentence. A site with "true stories told in one sentence" The first one caught my eye and made me laugh so I had to keep reading. "I lost all faith in my doctor the day I saw him use Web-MD to diagnose me. "
For travel--Farecast. An easy tool to search for airfare and other travel needs. I enjoy traveling and have used many sites to search and book flights, but this one somehow seems better than the ones I have used. It is simple and fast and I like the "farecast technology" meter that gives you a green, yellow, or red arrow if you should book it. (I don't know how reliable the meter is, but seems like a good idea)
For philantropy-Care2. A well organized website with different causes and news, petitions (don't know that I'll use this part) and my favorite, a healthy and green living section. Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to be conscious of being green and living healthfully.This site provides different lists of tips, blogs, and everything in between.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing 18

I always forget how useful Google Docs is. I frequently used Microsoft Office with the track changes feature in graduate school when I was working with groups on papers. However, I would find it difficult to keep up with the different versions and would often have several different drafts of the same paper saved on my computer. Google Docs seems to help with this problem. Though I guess I would worry about accessing a certain document if I did not have Internet service or if there was some sort of interruption or technical problem on the site. But I guess this would be the same risk as a malfunction in my computer or emailing a document. Both have risks, so I guess it is always good to have a back up.

I am wondering if this tool could serve a similar purpose to a WIKI. I am thinking of the friends that are going camping from the video about wikis. Couldn't they equally create a Google Doc about their camping adventures? What would be the advantages/disadvantages of each?

A great online tool that I used for collaborative lesson/unit planning when I was in graduate school is called the Collaborative Curriculum Design Tool (CCDT). "The Collaborative Curriculum Design Tool is a web application that supports the development and dissemination of lesson plans and curriculum units that foster student learning through the application of the Teaching for Understanding Framework (WIDE World website)." It functions similarly to a Google Doc in that it is an online tool where many contributors can add and edit. However, it uses a certain teaching framework and is more specifically tailored to curriculum design. This would be a great way for teachers at our school (or any school) to "get together" to design curriculum through the summer or throughout the year without sitting in hours of meetings.

Thing 17

I could have used Rollyo in April when we were studying Australian animals! Oh how I need to go back in time, but I cannot WAIT to use this tool this year.

With my students being so young, it is difficult for them to do web research. First, I don't want them navigating the web by themselves and second, it is difficult for them to read/skim quickly and determine important/credible sites. This tool will help us so much. In fact, I remember thinking what a great idea it would be to narrow search sites to ones I had chosen. If I had only known...

I created a searchroll for my students to use to learn about Australian animals. I know this is a tool I will continue to use and tell my colleagues about. I enjoyed "exploring" the searchrolls already created and saved one about children's books. Can't wait to save and create more!