Friday, December 4, 2009

Thing 23 - I made it!

Wow, as I look back to the beginning of the year as I sat in our first days PD with Ron, listening to him talk about Web 2.0, I couldn't help but feel sad that it seemed like technology was the way of the future and that interacting was a thing of the past.  As I've taken this class and completed my "things", I have a whole different understanding of technology, its uses in school, and how much more interacting it can bring.  

I was so excited to complete the course so I could take all of these wonderful things I have learned and start implementing them into my classroom.  I've already taken my first steps with creating a classroom blog and slideshows starring my 3rd graders.  I have used photo mashups to create passports for my students as we begin our Christmas Around the World unit.  I've made connections with teachers from all over that I never would have made without taking this class.  

I have grown immeasurably and I think my feelings about education have completely changed.  I am feeling a sense of urgency to make change happen before we lose any more kids.  I have no doubt that this is just the beginning of my journey.  Web 2.0 has opened so many doors that I never knew existed and I plan on continuing to explore those avenues in the future.  This has given me the confidence in my abilities to foster those same abilities in my students.  Look out techie world, here I come!

Thing 22 - Online Video

I think there is a lot more to YouTube than I originally thought.  I had pictured it to be lots of inappropriate videos, something I should keep my own kids away from.  After exploring it over the last year with my son, I've found it to be filled with all sorts of creative videos.  There are so many kids who have created amazing things, incorporating both video and animation along with music, on the site that it's hard not to get overwhelmed at the sheer volume.  Imagine what these same children could do at school if they were offered such an outlet.  

I've actually used a few videos from TeacherTube in my classroom and have plans to use another next week when I start my Christmas Around the World unit and on my classroom blog reminding children how to treat library books.  I think there are still videos out there that would be totally inappropriate for the classroom, but sticking to TeacherTube and SchoolTube still offers A LOT of materials to use.  Luckily for me, YouTube is not banned for teacher use in our building.

Thing 21 - Your Heart will be all a Twitter

Initially, I would have said that I definitely wouldn't be using Twitter.  I didn't think anyone really cared what I was doing at any given time other than maybe my mom, and even that's pushing it :).  But after looking at the Twitter Search, I realized that this is another way to connect to other people with my same interests.  I was able to type in triathlons and immediately see others who were commenting on things I was interested in.  I put "3rd grade" into the search and got an idea from another teacher to use voicethread with my kids.  I don't know how much tweeting I will do but will probably be checking back frequently for ideas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thing 20 - Bookmarking with

My username is triteach.  I think this is going to be a fantastic tool for me.  I like to be organized but seem to have websites all over the place (bookmarked on my computer at home, bookmarked on my computer at school, saved in a folder on my emails at both home and school, on my Palm and written down on scraps of paper in various places).  I am so excited to be able to access these websites, and tons more that other teachers found interesting, from anywhere.  The tags are going to save time in finding what I am looking for too.  Instead of having to open each website to see what it was, I can choose education, 3rd, reading, etc. to narrow the search.  Yeah!  I can use that extra time to spend surfing! 

Thing 19 - Social Bookmarking

For me, tagging seems to be an amazing way to organize ALL of the many sites I have bookmarked on my computer.  It will be wonderful to "take" my bookmarks with me anywhere I go instead of constantly having to email the links to myself from home to school and vise versa.  Our district also reconfigures all of our computers every summer so we have to remember to save our bookmarks somewhere or we lose them.  I'd rather save them to and only have to save them one time.  I can see the disadvantages to tags though.  As the article talked about, we are amateurs after all, and if there isn't a "standard" for tagging it might be difficult to identify some sites others have tagged.  Hopefully people who are tagging read the 13 tips site and really think about the tags they are using so more people can find the sites they need.  Another disadvantage is having to remember that any tag you use on these sites can be viewed by anyone.  It's too easy to think you are alone on your computer and no one else can see what you are doing.  My motto, if you wouldn't tell it to your priest, you shouldn't type it on the internet :).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thing 18 - Building a Professional Network

I was a bit overwhelmed looking through Ning and MACUL Ning.  I think they would both be a great resource, but it seems like it might take a bit more time than I have to utilize them to their fullest potential.  I think the video conferences that are offered look fantastic (although I wasn't able to figure out yet how to access past programs, I am interested in participating in one in the future) and would be useful for staff to view as professional development.  It was wonderful to see by all the postings that there are a lot of other teachers like me who want to jump onboard Web 2.0.  This is obviously a great way to collaborate with other teachers around the planet.  The biggest problem I see is the time that it would require to stay on top of all of the information that I might be interested in.  In my time of browsing, I already found MANY sites I want to use with my kids!  The hardest thing will be to remember them all.  Some good ones I found were: where you can write stories, make movies, draw pictures, tons of stuff; where you can work on parts of speech with lots of different mad libs; has all kinds of internet activities to use at all grade levels K-8.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thing 17 - Web 2.0 Winners

I played with LOTS of sites but I'm writing about Pandora. Pandora is an internet radio site and was a first runner up in this year's awards. What I really liked about it was that it was very easy to set up music just by typing in groups I currently like. Pandora gives you a taste of all kinds of different groups and different songs that are similar to the ones you like and you can decide whether you like the suggested songs or not. I guess one of the things I liked the best about it is that I can continue to surf many other sites while my music plays on. This was a great motivator to keep searching! I can see using this in my classroom as both motivational music (I have a classroom FULL of singers and dancers this year!) as well as "writing" music, which I have always found difficult to find a variety of before. It also allows me to play the music the kids like without having to purchase tons of CDs as the times and music tastes change.