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Monday, April 30, 2012

14 Things Have Been Tamed

14  Things to Tame was a wonderful way to get me to explore more options with regard to using technology in my classes. The creative side of my brain was totally stimulated and I felt completely at home with most of the programs that were suggested. I liked everything except for Prezi. Not one that I would suggest quickly to a colleague. I would and have already recommended the others and find myself practicing with them regularly.  I have already implemented ThingLink, have been asked by peers to do more Screenr lessons on using Whipple-Hill and DropBox, really enjoyed and plan to implement Voicethread, and have shown students how to improve their researching skills with Google.  For me personally, I used diigo all the time, have my RSS linked to my blog page and will probably go back to setting up a wiki for computer sign ups per grading period.  Its seems to be the easiest for everyone. Evernote is a must and I have downloaded it for my brother on his iPad.  Finally, next year since I will have three different classes, I want the students to maintain their own blog page while they are going through their projects. Alex Funnell did that with his Honors Conceptual Physics students and his Physics students and it has been wonderful. Instead of journaling only in their papers I want them to design and maintain their own blogs where they will journal, post pictures and so on, sending that link to their parents. I have all kinds of plans and ideas for next year which I need to add to my curricular binders. Thank you so much. I was fully motivated and enjoyed the entire experience.

Cartooning: The Digital Way for Recall Enhancement

Today I learned how to use a couple of the cartooning apps that were suggested. The Content Enhancement Routines have a routine called the Recall Routines. Within that are various different devices and several of them are examples of cartooning. We called them the boxing device, the storybook device, or even the imagining device. When I first taught these I would have my students create cartoons or drawings of concepts and link them. What I will do tomorrow in my Emerging Diseases class is to have the students create a cartoon using one of the two that I have signed up for  which are visual.ly and toondoo, to review for their test on the immune system and to help them review for their exam with regard to mitosis, the parts of the cell. With regard to the cell, students could create a story where the background is the cell, and then people or things can be the part of the cell. Kind of like the "City Cell" or "Cell Cake" to help them review the parts of the cell.  First, it will be used as a reviewing tool, then next year, I would like to use it as a Grabber activity.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Prezi for Prezenting

Prezi was first suggested by Sara K-M two years ago when she had learned about from her Father.  So, I decided to explore it because I was starting a new class called Design Technology and I thought it would be cool to have the Design Cycle Model in a Zooming presentation. I wanted to spin around the circle and zoom in on each label with the detailed definition of what that part meant. I still have that original Prezi, but I did not find it as intuitive as the video made it seem. It is difficulty to learn from a video when the creator has a very heavy accent so it was hard to learn how to do it. I went back to Sara and said, "Um, so what do you think of it?" She stated that she too found it difficult but more importantly it made her sea sick and dizzy. I found the same thing, but decided I would not be foiled. After all, other faculty had begun learning it and enjoyed it just fine. Darn, what was wrong with me? I then left that presentation and went onto Emerging Deseases this year and decided to try it again by doing a timeline. This time, I got a lot farther and actually got the time line started and got a few items linked on it. What was frustrated to me was the amount of time it was taking to put up what I thought would be a simple presentation. Last summer, my time was short because I was in all kinds of professional development workshops, working as a consultant for a camp writing curriculum etc. Then school began and well keynote was easier and faster. I left Prezi again and have not been back. It does give me a headache to use it; however, I will not be defeated. I am determine to finish my Design Tech presentation and my Emerging Disease presentation. I have the month of June so I will use the cheat sheet and finish off those presentations. I will just have to do them on short segments so I don't get nauseous.  I have learned a lot of other ways to make presentations fun and interesting with more simplicity but it would be nice to teach my students how to use Prezi as an option.

Voice Thread

Today I learned how to use Voice Thread. It was great. Next year, in my Emerging Diseases class or even in Conceptual Physics class, I would like to be able to have the students click on a picture that has been posted and comment on it using voice thread. Many of my students have disabilities with their written expression. By allowing them to comment on a pictures using various means will help them to produce more information than if they were required to only write a comment. It will even the playing field in terms of their ability to be more successful with regard to learning. In conceptual physics, a picture of some physical concept could be posted and students could video comment or audio comment or write.  It will be a fun option for all.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Creative Commons, the way to be creative safely.

Pictures and cartoons can be a creative way to keep presentations interesting and entertaining.  Now with ThingLink using pictures is even more enticing.  But, with the change of copy right laws knowing which pictures can be used safely has always been a challenge. Just to be safe I usually have my students cite everything in a works cited page especially when they are giving a presentation and using pictures. Now with Creative Commons, FlickrCC, and Photo Pin,  guiding my students to use these website for their pictures will be part of my curriculum. My plan will be to have students set up their own Diigo, then place their websites like the aforementioned in their account and use it on a more regular basis. My students are always asking me about the things I am learning. Creative Commons will be a must from this point on. I have already placed it in my Diigo account and I am always checking out Sara's. She has great stuff on her account. When and doubt I check out her list because I always know her sites are validated and copyright safe.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Glogster

I have been using Glogster for about two years now, but have yet to teach it to my students. The first time I learned about Glogster was through my son Cameron, who used it for a presentation project in 6th Grade. He did a science presentation on the Ocean using Glogster. I sat there and watched him put together his page, then he had me proof it for him and add more items. It looked so easy and fun that I just had to try it myself. I set up my own account and started playing around with it. I have not dedicated a ton of time to creating presentations with it, but hope to put together an entire presentation for my students soon. I tried to get my Emerging Disease students to use it for their presentations on the Flu, but they did not "jump" in with me on that. I started a presentation on Ebola, started one on Food Tech, but have never had time to finish them. In order to get myself to finish a Glogster, I think I will finish the one on Ebola and then I will do one on how to use Google Docs. It is really fun, very easy and allows for a lot of creativity. Try it, you like it!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ThingLink Think-Link!

My experience with ThingLink was so simple and so cool. First, after playing around with the ones that were made by Sara KM, I immediately wanted to learn how. The video that was posted was fantastic. Richard Byme did a great job of showing how simple it is to use. My picture was easy to find because the next video that will be shown in Design Tech (after Farming Tech) will be Food Inc, so I wanted to play around with the image to see how I can put it into my Keynote presentation. It was so easy and it was terrific. Unfortunately, in order to embed the image I have to have a membership for a small fee, which I may go ahead and do it. Anyway, I highly recommend that everyone try it and learn it. It will definitely be on my list of "cool" tech stuff to teach especially for next year!!!! LOVED IT!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My experience with screenr

When doing this presentation I had to decide what I would publish. Then I remembered when Sara had told me about Screenr.com back in November after I had done my presentation at the faculty meeting on Assignment Drop Box with Peter Newmark. What a perfect time to do that presentation. I had several problems. First I had to update all of my software on my computer. That took 2 hours. Then I had to make sure that my popup block was off for Google Chrome to allow Java. Then I had to download the updated version of Java. When I finally got the chance to begin presenting, I ended up doing it about 5 times because I kept messing up. When I finally had my shot to do "The One" my brother started the leaf blower and was cleaning out the leaves right next to where I was doing my presentation, so you can hear that in the back ground. Every time I paused and waited for him to end, I would click start and shortly after he would start the leaf blower again. I finally just kept going to finish it off. Then I forget how to embed the video. I learned two things, first to export the video into my movies, and how to embed the link. I also learned again how to upload the movie (which I had forgotten how to do). Overall, it was a fantastic learning experience and I will definitely do it again.

Tech Help: Assignment Drop Box

video

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Goggle the Search Engine

I have been using Google for a very long time and understood a little bit of how it gathers information. I already knew how it worked how it gathered its information. I also use many of its features, like Picasa, Google Docs, Gmail, Video Chat, and will be trying Multichat. What I always found overwhelming about Goggle was the scope of the information and how long it took me to find validated sources. Then I found it difficult to teach my students or have them switch to other search engines. In the end I still found it to still the easiest and most efficient. What I learned, the power of the semicolon, the dash, and the quotations when doing searches. Makes a lot of sense to add those in if I want to narrow down items, leave out words, or keep it to specific organization. I feel like I need to print out or share with my students to Google Crib Sheet. What I would like to do since "Research" is the first step in the Design Cycle Model is to take time with my students to teach them Google Search fully. Next  year I will create a better lesson plan on research and have the students practice using various Google Techniques to narrow their search. This year got bogged down before teaching researching, but next year I will make improvements. I will begin this year when students return on how to Google Search properly.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Practice, practice, practice

If you don't keep practicing all what you learn then you will forget how to do simple things.

Evernote

I have been playing around with Evernote since I was introduced to it first last June and again in September during faculty training days. I have used it to make grocery lists, to take notes in meetings on students, for advisory notes, and so on; however, when I was traveling I have found that unless I have wifi somewhere, I cannot bring it up. But, now that I have taken the time to syn all of my electronic devices that shouldn't be an issue. I cannot get used to the fact that I am all mac'd out now with an iPhone, Macbook and iPad. At time I forget that I can sync one to the other, especially through Evernote. What is nice is that I don't have to have pages or word on my phone in order to see my notes or review my notes from other sources. Extremely nice feature. I have explored some of the other offerings on Evernote Trunk and I like the SnapCal. I think I will down load that and give it a try. I am finding that my calendars on all of my devices are not sync smoothly with iCloud. I believe it is because I keep moving between several different wifi servers. I will try that and then explore other options. I am also considering that 10th grades should then move into Evernote. I cannot see my current 9th graders using it. They struggle with DropBox.com and they struggle with other apps. We shall see.

Wiki's

We used Wiki's as our first digital homework posting pages, created by Sara K-M. I really enjoyed making the page my own and had a great time adding animations and various other cartoons. I also add wonderful pictures and opportunities for students to earn extra credit. I made my page interesting so students would be more motivated to keep going there in order to get homework as well as extra credit. I keep forgetting about using wiki's. Perhaps that is what I will use for teachers to check out MacBooks from the cart. I will have to give it a try.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Diigo

When I first started using Diigo, I had a tiny bit of trouble but once I add it to my Google Chrome the little symbol showed up and it was easy. I see a site that I like, I click the symbol, bookmark it and add tags. I do like the tag part. It keeps all of my sources organized which is very important when teaching several science classes. I am now using it more than bookmarks. So I ask, is there an app for diigo also so I can add to my list from my iPad?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reflection on RSS

I finally got around to catching up on my 14 things. The RSS is great. I have quite a few professional subscriptions to various websites and this will make it easier to keep everything in one place. I frequently get updates via e-mail which tends to bog down my mailboxes or since I don't have time at that moment to read them I often delete them which defeats the purpose. Now I can put them in m reader and get back to them when ever I want. Life is good!