Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thing 15 - Staying Informed

This is an important tool for my own learning (and enjoyment). I chose Al Jazeera and BBC because they give a different slant to the news than American news organizations. The RSS feeds help me quickly see the biggest stories in the world and lets me choose some current events topics that may have a connection to a topic we are studying in class. I also have easy access to my email, docs, and calendar on one page.

Thing 14 - Productivity Tools

1. Word has made it easy to save as a PDF file. Just do a "save as" and choose PDF. Portable Document Format may be necessary as an accessibility piece. Some students don't have Word or the same version of Word, so PDF allows them to open the file since anyone can download a PDF reader for free.

2. Zamzar was very easy to use. There are many output possibilitiesof different file types for Images, Documents, Music, Video, Ebooks and other types such as zip. The biggest issue this will solve is compatability. It won't matter the platform on which you may need to view a file, Zamzar can convert whatever file you need to a format that your platform can read. You could also convert a web page to a PDF or other document type for easier access or emailing. It was very useful today when a student emailed me a current events report as a .pages file and it wouldn't open. Zamzar converted it to a .doc file that I could open, and it was very easy to do.

3. I've created and shared multiple Google Calendars with my family so that any of us can add events and know instantly if one or all of us have an event. Our school uses the Moodle calendar for homework, and the course page of Moodle to highlight topics of study and coursework and study guides. Parents can sync the homework calendar with their Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar etc. To create another calendar would be redundant and perhaps be just another site parents would need to check in order to stay informed. They already need to check PowerSchool for grades and Moodle for course information, I don't think adding a Google Calendar would be helpful but redundant. That being said, because we share course information on Moodle with a sync-able homework calendar and grades on PowerSchool, there is no reason for parents to be uninformed about the education of their child. I think access to how a child is doing is better than ever, but it does take motivation and effort on the parent's part. As for communicating with colleagues, we us Google Docs often and effectively to get things done and communicate with each other (though we are a small enough staff that we often still communicate the old fashioned way: face to face!)

Thing 13 - Online Interactive Learning Tools

1. Fly to Friesland, Netherlands:


2. Placemark my house:

3. Here's the link to my flashcards: http://quizlet.com/7339504/vocabulary-practice-flash-cards/
This will be very helpful for kids who struggle to learn vocabulary. It gives a lot of options for review and will really help students who don't know how to study. I love the multiple formats/games to learn the material. I also love the speak it feature for auditory learners. The student could take the test here as well, then be confident coming into class to take the quiz in the classroom.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thing 12 - Assessment/Evaluation and Survey Tools

1. Google Form: Here's the link to my form: https://docs.google.com/a/calvinchr.org/spreadsheet/viewform?authkey=CJWqjs4E&hl=en_US&pli=1&formkey=dFVlLVNqcEtKcUNDREJjYkxXdTkzMFE6MQ#gid=0

I teach an elective course about media discernment and this form was used to get a feel for what the students listen to and watch. This gives me a starting point for what we will listen to and watch in class to help students be critical consumers of media. I can also use forms to get a quick class overview of class concepts with a quick 5 to 10 question quiz or survey so I can look for trends in certain responses. Google forms is nice because I can get the whole class' answers in one document, rather than 60 separate papers. Plus that saves trees! Here's a screenshot of part of the completed form:





I have students create a PowerPoint (or other presentation option) ABC book about people, places, or events in the Eastern Hemisphere as a way of sharing things they have learned as well as helping classmates learn new information. This rubric helps the grading of the project be more objective and lets the student be sure of what is being evaluated.

3. Data warehousing, SIS etc. can be very useful to let a teacher know if a student is showing growth over time. It also can show if there is a certain topic or standard that a student is struggling with. It can also give a school the opportunity to look at whether large groups of students may be struggling with a topic or standard every year. It may not be a student learning problem, but  a school delivery of instruction on that topic problem.
FERPA/HIPAA is important so that a students privacy is  maintained while information can be provided to sources that need it as long as the proper protocol is followed.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thing 10 - Digital Images

1. I used the FotoFlexer website to edit the picture below (http://fotoflexer.com/). I cropped the image, added a cartoon effect and a frame and glitter text.
Before
After
 I would use this kind of photo editing a lot with my yearbook staff. I could see the editors have a lot of fun putting effects on yearbook photos. We would have to be careful not to overdo it though, as this is such a fun thing to do. I don't know how much I would use this in my social studies classes, but I'm open to suggestions as to how others might use this. I'm not sure of the educational advantage of this compared to the time it might take to do the editing. I suppose students could find historical/cultural photos and create a comic book/sketch book that retells the event.

2. Here's a link to a Picasa page I set up so multiple people from multiple groups could upload pictures of our Middle School trip to Art Prize: https://picasaweb.google.com/118033297513059409515/ArtPrize2011?locked=true&feat=email#

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thing 7 - Digital Citizenship

The first hoax site I examined was
http://www.dhmo.org/ about dihydrogen monoxide being a dangerous chemical that should be banned.

         Credibility 
      The author is Tom Way – Script coordinator, researcher and production assistant in Hollywood. The registrar of the site is GoDaddy.

 Accuracy
Dihydrogen Monoxide is Water! 2 Hydrogens, One Oxygen=H2O=Water! Simple research or knowledge is needed to realize this is a hoax.
          Reliability

The website seems to have an obvious slant toward making money with all of the commercial space given. Serious research sites would not have something so blatantly commercial. 
Relevance
This site has no relevance to anything, unless a person were researching a hoax.
Date
This site claims to updated as of today, but when I changed the date in the settings of my computer, then refreshed the site, it showed the new date as the “last updated” date.
Sources
There are absolutely no sources for the information listed. There are links to real organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency to perhaps try to lend credibility. There is a place where the DHMO quotes an email from the EPA which insinuates that the EPA is trying to cover up the harmful effects of dihydrogen monoxide, but when you know the truth, the EPA is really trying to get the DHMO to stop the hoax so that “innocent” (ignorant?) people don’t fall for it.
Scope/Purpose 
The purpose seems to be to trick ignorant people into writing congressmen and looking foolish and/or to make money from the same people if they buy a product the site is selling. This little image should tell you that the author is not a scientific minded person, but a person with whom P.T. Barnum (there’s a sucker born every minute) would find kinship.
Serious science or serious charlatan?


There is no sneak preview to see what the lessons might look like


     The second web site I did was http://city-mankato.us/ which tells that because of certain geothermal  conditions, Mankato, MN is a tropical paradise.

Credibility

This is actually put out by a professor intending to show his students that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. A fictional Internet Web site that describes Mankato, Minn., as a tropical paradise was featured last week in a New York Times story about why information on the Net can't always be trusted.

Accuracy

Not at all, but obviously so (at least to most people)

Reliability

Reliably hilarious, all the way to the disclaimer at the end! Check out the heading: ATTENTION: This site has been hijacked by Sheikh Yarbouti. We are trying to resecure it. Because of this the proper Web address may not appear in your browser address window above.
The City-Mankato.US Website is published using 100% recycled electrons (at least 27% post-consumer). Please Recycle When Finished.
Relevance

The creator of this site, Dan Descy says that "It was designed for a class to show that you can't believe everything you see on the Net", proving that CARRDSS is necessary!

Date

Updated: The First Monday of Each Month (insert tongue firmly in cheek)



 


Sources

None, but to most educated people, there is enough humor on the site to be sure that it is satire.

Scope/Purpose 

College professor making a point to students that just because it’s on the web does not automatically make it reliable.

 

Posting Personal Information and Netiquette

1. I will use the core rules of netiquette to have my students go through, one of the ten topics per week. I'll have them blog or do a "Todays Meet" backchannel conversation to share their response to the rule of the week. http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html


2. I will use little video clips from NetSmartz workshop to highlight the need to be careful about what personal information you make available and what should or should not be posted on the web. http://www.netsmartz.org/Educators

 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thing 9 - Copyright and Creative Commons

Copyright:
I used an online copyright quiz from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/p/peachj/edte230/copyright/quiz.htm. I gave the quiz to my colleagues. We didn't do that well. The maximum score was 75% and the minimum was 33%. The mean was 52% and the median was 57%. The incorrect responses were almost equally split between things they thought should be illegal but weren't, and things they thought were legal but weren't. The upshot of this is that my staff has not had adequate training in copyright vs. fair use. My principal was one who took the quiz (neither the highest nor lowest score), so it should be easy to persuade him that we need a little refresher on this topic.

Creative Commons Example:
Creative Commons License

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thing 8 - Visual Learning

Easy to use and easy to see. Gliffy works quite intuitively.

These visual representation tools can be useful for the teacher by allowing me to visually represent information. They are easy to create and customize and can be used from year to year. Visual representation tools can be used by students to create their own graphic organizers just as I described the teacher may do. Graphic organizers can be used for pre-writing organization or visually representing material. I'm glad they're available online for free.

Text from blog captured in Wordle

Declaration of Independence done in Tagxedo




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thing 4 - Communication

I could see using this in my classroom to make sure everyone participates and allow classmates to clarify information. I think it would be a novelty and distracting at first, but then it would be useful to keep the students minds engaged and so that information could be clarified.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thing 6 - Differentiated Instruction

The clip about 21st Century Learners was very interesting. I loved the look at the school that had lots of media tools, but could put them away when they weren't the best tool for the job. I also found the idea that 21st Century Learners don't need to be as concerned with learning content as in working with it/producing something with it. I really like that idea. I also believe that we don't get enough out of the technology students already have such as iPods and phones. We need to be able to harness that and use it appropriately in the classroom.

1. Differentiated Learning: To me, the key to differentiated learning is variety. I already incorporate many of the aspects of differentiated instruction in my classroom, such as flexible grouping and giving choices. I also make teaching concept driven and I try to push students to think creatively and critically. I don't want a regurgitation of the facts, but a creative application of the facts and the ability to apply them in a new situation. While I do incorporate some differentiated instruction, I still have much to learn.

2. Digital Text: This reminded me that the textbooks I use are also available online. The student can choose to have the online version read to them, and it is human voice rather than the stilted computer voice of the text-to-speech engines like Vozme. Students are also able to highlight, underline, and add online postit notes into the text so it is much more interactive. Most students like to have the text read aloud to them, so it makes those students for whom reading is difficult not feel like they're "different".

3. I did make an account on Learnport and explored there a bit, but the thing I'll reflect on are the great current events resource I found on the UDL site that will work for both my 7th and 8th grade classes. The different ways these sites organize current events and how they are presented to students allows students to choose a way that works best for them and allows them to choose an article that piques their interest, rather than just choosing and article to get the assignment done. Below is a screenshot of my 8th grade Moodle page:

4. The text to speech converter of Vozme is easy to use and I like that no software needs to be installed. It will be very useful for copying and pasting bits of website text into for students who struggle in doing research because of a struggle with their reading vocabulary (as opposed to their listening vocabulary, which is normally higher for most students).

Here's the link to the video: http://screencast.com/t/5PCO4lK8yViW

Thing 5 - Thinkfinity

Thinkfinity lesson plan from iCivics: "Why Government?" Synopsis from the website:
By illustrating and sorting captions, students follow the development of John Locke's theory on natural rights. They then become familiar with Thomas Hobbes’ statement about life in a state of nature by exploring their own opinions in comparison to those of Hobbes. Students learn the vocabulary associated with the philosophy of the purpose of government through an activity called “word math.”

This is perfect for what I'm planning to do this week in 8th grade U.S. History. We will be looking at the Declaration of Independence, and this lesson is perfect for establishing the groundwork of where the ideas expressed in the Declaration came from. This lesson examines the philosophies of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.
http://www.icivics.org/teachers/lesson-plans/why-government

Thinkfinity lesson plan from National Geographic Xpeditions: "Culture Shock". Synopsis from the website: This lesson asks students to think about how cultural customs differ throughout the world. Students will research a foreign culture's customs and write stories pretending they are on vacation with a friend from the country they have researched. They and their friend will travel to a new country that neither person is familiar with, and students will describe each person's reactions to the new culture and how these reactions differ based on each person's own cultural customs and habits.
 
I'll be using this in 7th grade social studies where the focus is the Eastern Hemisphere. This will allow students to review and put into practice some of the ideas and terms we've already covered this year while getting a general overview of many places in the Eastern Hemisphere.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/04/g68/cultureshock.html

I think Thinkfinity may be my new favorite website!