Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thing #11.5 Evaluation

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
Learning the secret behind screencasts!
Understanding the purpose and value of Twitter.

Playing with new online image generators that my students will use in their learning and when creating project final products.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
While in graduate school (online), I had a mainline to cutting edge librarianship through my coursework. Once again, participating in 11 1/2 Things was like being back in school with the bonus of no grades! I’m a slower and visual/hands-on learner, so going at my own pace in this type of learning venue is perfect. What's next, Lifeguards?

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Discovering how others have used or will use the tools introduced this summer.
Realizing the need to expand the scope of the digital citizenship skills lessons my students receive.
Feeling more confident about the bond technology that will be put in place this year.
Continued amazement at the tremendous at point of need support and professional development growth opportunities generated by SBISD Library Services. Kudos, Vaughn, for the 24/7 support!

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
Going through 11 ½ (instead of 23) Things this summer was more manageable and made it easier to delve deeper into each one. Where and what are we playing next summer?!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing #11 Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship involves a variety of skills that should be taught as stand alone lessons and integrated into research projects from elementary school through high school. Many students, even as young as the primary elementary level, now have access to cell phones, laptops with Internet access, and individual email accounts outside of school with little or no direction or supervision from parents, so teaching kids about privacy, cyberbullying, safety issues, and digital etiquette should be a priority. Two online sites my students enjoy using to learn and practice what they know about Internet safety, netiquette, and cyberbullying is Disney's Surfswell Island and "Shrink the Cyberbully" on McGruff.org Cyberbullies site. Another site is Privacy Playground with a three pigs and a big bad wolf theme that focuses on keeping information private, safety, and avoiding spam. Even my 5th graders enjoy partnering and exploring these three sites.

From there, these topics should be integrated into student lessons and projects

to give students the tools they need to become informed and productive consumers of the Internet, social media, and mobile technologies.

Look what's available in BrainPop!
This site includes movies(with closed captioning), quizzes, vocabulary, and activities for each one of these topics. When integrated with the tools of an ACTIVboard, all of these topics become even more interactive for students.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing #10 Virtual Worlds

No problem creating an avatar and downloading the software, but doing anything beyond walking around, bumping into things, and flying with abandon was beyond me once I was in SL. When my oldest (in Chicago) heard I was taking a spin in SL, she immediately made a date to meet me and help. What fun! The minute she saw me online, she decided we needed to go shopping so I wouldn't be a clone of so many other first timers. Off to Calico Kitty for hair and Pink Boutique for clothes. Then she helped me teleport to Sunshine Therapy Garden... a "Calgon, take me away!" scenario...butterflies, soft music, waterfalls... Good Karma City. Next we went to the Music Academy and caught a hot air balloon ride. I stood up just after take off and promptly fell out. Back in again, we floated over several periods of history like the Medieval period, Renaissance, etc. Interesting, but it's all rated "mature," so I can't see going there with kids. Went back to a beach scene in the Sunshine Therapy Garden, took a photo for the memories, and told her goodbye.

Had 1 1/2 hours really gone by in this time?! The experience was certainly worth the effort, and I almost felt like I had gone on a micro-mini vacation with my daughter, which was a weird, but fun feeling. A major drawback to the whole experience was the number of times I got a "Second Life (not responding)" message and had to close and login again. It happened a number of times before I realized that if I didn't try to change my appearance or get into my inventory, it happened a lot less. The good part of that problem is if you do freeze, the program will put you back exactly where you were before the freeze happens.

Lots and lots and lots of practice would have to occur before I would even think about presenting this to anyone, much less students. I would guess that using Teen SL might be a safer avenue in an educational setting because of the restrictions already in place. I'm glad to have experienced this program, but I can't see finding the time to become a proficient player. I will be interested in reading other blog posts about others' experiences and impressions of SL as an educational tool.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thing #9 SlideShare

SlideShare or some other form of hosting program will be important for students and teachers to learn how to use, so they can easily share powerpoint and multimedia presentations online in a Facebook account or a blog or a website or an iTouch or an iPod or YouTube. When using Slideshare, the software "creates a text transcript of your PowerPoint presentations making it easier for search engines to discover your content." Social sharing with others becomes instantaneous. Creating an online portable ppt presentation gives teachers the advantage of posting reviews of class content, assignments, and student-generated work for students and parents to easily access online or even offline if the presentation has been uploaded on an iPod. The enhanced features of authorSTREAM (narration, animation, music) enables the user to be more creative in their presentation. authorSTREAM even mentions users being able to discuss an uploaded ppt. in a chat room for more Web 2.0 interaction...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing #8 Screencast

The secret of the "How To" videos is out! Going through Thing #8 was like finding out the secrets behind a magician's trick. This is a marvelous teaching tool for any type of learner since it incorporates audio, visual, and motion. The bonus is that the screencast can be replayed at point of need by the user. I can see this tool being used by students, teachers, staff, and parents. Students can create screencasts for peers; screencasts could be accessed by teachers and staff to review what you have shown them as a group; parents could access them on a blog to learn about what their students are learning at school or for help in accessing sites pertinent to their lives.

Here is my first try using Screencast-O-Matic. It is a video showing how to add an image to a DotNetNuke page.

The audio syncs with the video, but for some reason I lost the pointer tool. The video is not as large as I had expected, so it is hard to see details on the page. Quick Tips for Improving Screencasts mentions greater success when using a smaller screen setting than I used and an "autopan" feature that automatically moves the region being recorded as you move the mouse, which wasn't available in the software I used. Will try another software next time. I rambled shamelessly at the end of this video, cut to other pages thinking the video had ended, and then couldn't get the editing tool to work, so I can see that lots of practice is needed before creating a final product!

Decided to try another software, this time Camtasia. Much easier to use and more options for editing. And the pointer tool showed up this time! I still don't like the small screen size...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thing #7 Video Sources

Found this video in the NeoK12 collection. Looks like they want to be portable as they are offering an iTouch application for NeoK12 "on the go" and videos in other languages. By right clicking on the video, you can easily copy the embedded code, watch it on YouTube, zoom in, zoom out, and download it to RealPlayer. How simple is that! This video would be perfect for 1st grade's study of insects. Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home...

This video from NeoK12 is a fascinating look at unusual plants. Any age/grade level would enjoy this video. A perfect hook to get students interested in learning more...

For the PreK to Kindergarten crowd, I like the TOTLOL site, but it asked for a $18 membership fee when I signed in as a member. Will this be a site Library Services could purchase with a district subscription?

This high interest video called "The Science of Speed Eating" from Hulu could be used in a high school biology class. It discusses the anatomy of and shows video images of the mechanics of the digestive system of several professional speed eaters. The video is 45 minutes long, but a great feature enables the user to easily edit the video by dragging the handles to adjust the start and end times before copying the embedding code into another site.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thing #6 - iTouch Apps

The lingo of Thing #6 has me thinking about the old term cyberspace, an imagined place where electronic information goes or is exchanged or lost(!), in relation to the new concept of cloud computing. Space (as in cyberspace) is cold, foreign, and impersonal. A cloud, on the other hand, is known, can be experienced, and is more personal. With the advent of communities like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and, now, the portability of mobile devices enabling access anywhere at anytime, we are not as isolated and ingrown as was once thought our computer dependent society might become.

For novices to the iTouch with no experience using a handheld mobile device, a helpful video to watch before going to the Apple store is Apple iPod Touch: A Guided Tour . When I went on my field trip to the Apple store to play with an iTouch, I found that figuring out how to hold it and manipulate the screen was awkward at first, but I finally began to get the hang of it. Students will have no problem manipulating the screen, and some will probably be able to teach their peers and me plenty. Their portability, small size, and familiar touch screen will appeal to and energize students.

Some things I can imagine students doing with iTouches in the library:

  • Using it as a reference tool - quick access to a dictionary/thesaurus/encyclopedia
  • Backchanneling - sprinkled around the room for small groups to use
  • Watching student-made videos, Photo Stories, educational videos (see Thing#7)
  • Creating and listening to podcasts
  • Creating music with apps like Band
  • Gaming preselected games - the Wii will be limited to 2-4 students and some smaller libraries have a space issue problem
  • Mapping - map skills with a real life application
  • Microblogging - Came across something called Edmodo, which is a free micro-blogging platform (like Twitter) for students and teachers, addressing the need for privacy when making a 2.0 technology tool available to K-12 students. An elementary teacher in the UK posted an enlightening article “Enhancing communication with Edmodo” describing how and why he intends to use this platform in the classroom.

A blog post from a high school teen's point of view as posted on Digi Teen: Digital Citizenship for Teenagers - Uses for your iTouch