Friday, August 3, 2012

Tool #11

I would want to make sure my students understood the following three things about being good digital citizens:

1) We're not just keeping them safe from bad stuff online, but safety to empower them to do good.  In other words, it's safety for a purpose.

2) It's important to be introspective as digital citizens.  Ask yourself questions about the purpose and tone of your communication-- will this offend others online? Check your tone, grammar, and spelling to make sure you really mean what you've written.

3) The Internet is forever!  Oftentimes, it is very difficult to remove digital information you've posted.  So if the things you're posting are things you wouldn't want your own parents, someone else's parents, the police, or a college admissions director to see, you probably shouldn't be posting it.

I plan to use the Brain Pop video from the Ed Tech website.  It's short, to-the-point, and can stimulate some great discussion.  Also, the tone of it is less threatening than some videos/presentations, and would make students feel more empowered to protect themselves rather than tempted to break a set of rules.  I would use the resources from the EdTech website to help teach the idea of digital citizenship to my students, and I would also maybe show them some examples of bad digital citizens.  Parents can take an active role in digital citizenship when I invite them to see presentations or projects their students have created online, and to respond to posts on my class blog or class Twitter.

I am SO excited about all the Web 2.0 tools I have in my personal technology toolbox like Glogster, Prezi, Wordle, Storybird, Animoto, and more!  I will definitely have my students use Animoto to create and present short stories when we learn about the structure of narrative. First, I will show them an Animoto I have created to spark their interest and to demonstrate the end goal of their project.  Next, I will walk them through a Prezi presentation of the various story elements.  After that, they will create their own short story using Google Docs and will edit them by rotating in stations.  Finally, they will use Animoto to bring their stories to life.  I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Because I'm basically a 90 year-old living in a 24 year-old's body, I have the tendency to love the "old-fashioned": the smell of a book in your hand, getting handwritten letters in the mail, etc.  And while I think "old fashioned" reading and writing do have a place in the classroom, I have definitely transformed my thinking about teaching to include much more technology than I'm accustomed to.  My vision from the classroom has changed from simply wanting to students to leave my classroom as better and more knowledgeable world citizens to also leaving as better and more knowledgeable DIGITAL citizens, as well.  I will definitely need to make change changes to accommodate the 21st century learner-- creating more project-based assignments, registering for more Web 2.0 tools, and familiarizing myself with Twitter so my students can have access to our classroom even when they're not in it.

I was surprised at how behind I am!  I really need to step up my game if my students are going to be effective digital citizens.  Reading about the Flat Classroom Project and Skyping across the world made me realize that I need to stretching and challenging myself as an educator as well as a technology-user.  It's going to be a lot of hard work, but I'm ready for it!

I'm really glad I have been exposed to the 11 Tools training.  I would call this The End, but really, it's just the beginning.

Tool #10

I would want to make sure my students understood the following three things about being good digital citizens:

1) We're not just keeping them safe from bad stuff online, but safety to empower them to do good.  In other words, it's safety for a purpose.

2) It's important to be introspective as digital citizens.  Ask yourself questions about the purpose and tone of your communication-- will this offend others online? Check your tone, grammar, and spelling to make sure you really mean what you've written.

3) The Internet is forever!  Oftentimes, it is very difficult to remove digital information you've posted.  So if the things you're posting are things you wouldn't want your own parents, someone else's parents, the police, or a college admissions director to see, you probably shouldn't be posting it.

I plan to use the Brain Pop video from the Ed Tech website.  It's short, to-the-point, and can stimulate some great discussion.  Also, the tone of it is less threatening than some videos/presentations, and would make students feel more empowered to protect themselves rather than tempted to break a set of rules.  I would use the resources from the EdTech website to help teach the idea of digital citizenship to my students, and I would also maybe show them some examples of bad digital citizens.  Parents can take an active role in digital citizenship when I invite them to see presentations or projects their students have created online, and to respond to posts on my class blog or class Twitter.

Tool #9

It's important to tie the technology to the objective, because that will help students' relationship to technology outside your classroom.  They need to understand WHY that particular technology is being used for that objective so that they can make that same connection independently one day.

We should hold students accountable for the stations/centers because otherwise, we have a teacher-centered classroom.  Giving students the responsibility for their own work ensures that classrooms are student-centered, and that critical thinking is going on.

Studyladder and Thinkfinity would be the best sites for my content and grade level.  I could use them as stations by putting desks in groups and having various games or activities being set up at each station.  For example, there is a Venn Diagram interactive activity at ThinkFinity.  Students in a group of 3 could be each be responsible for an individual segment of a Venn Diagram, then collaborate on the 4th. I could hold students accountable for their time in these stations by having them print out a screen shot of what they've accomplished, by creating a rubric ahead of time so students know what's expected of them, and by actively monitoring with a participation log.

The camera feature on the iPad is a great way for me to see what my students have learned.  As a closing station, students could share what they've learned in video form, or pose questions to be answered by other students.

Tool #8

First of all, I didn't know the kind of technology that would await me in Spring Branch!  I'm so excited to have access to all of these this year. Because I'm pretty familiar with the iPad, I chose to focus on the video of how to create videos and vodcasts on the notebooks.  (I actually had no idea what a vodcast was before this tool!)  I also learned how to save videos and pictures.  This will be very helpful when I create assignments that require student responses to texts, student interviews, and other projects.

I also learned how to connect my Spring Branch account to iTunes.  At first, I wasn't sure about the connection between iTunes and English class, but then I learned that I could download podcasts and audiobooks to the account for students to listen to in groups.  And using the notebooks, students can create and upload their own podcasts.  How cool is that? I'm really excited about all the stuff I've been learning.

I will have to have classroom management on-point to be able to have all this expensive technology floating around at any given time.  Starting the first week (maybe even the first day) of school, I will need students to understand the proper ways of handling the technology, and my classroom routines for using and returning the devices.  They will also need to understand that consequences for abusing it extend beyond my classroom-- breaking a computer is more than just a detention!  I will consult veteran teachers at my school for tips on managing technology in a classroom setting.

Tool #7

I love the idea of working with other classrooms on projects, especially ones involving literature created around a culture.  We can talk all day about what the 20 of us think about the book, but we're just one group of people living in one place with one set of experiences. When we open our classroom to others, we're exposed to perspectives we may not have ever encountered otherwise.

a. Reading "The Good Earth" with students in a classroom in China and creating a multimedia response project.

b. Toward the end of the second semester after testing is complete.

c.  Skype, Google Docs, Prezi

d. Students will be in partner pairs with students in China, and will spend 2-3 classroom sessions Skyping responses to questions they created prior to the Skype session using Google Docs.  The Skype sessions will be recorded.  Students will then clip segments of the "interviews" and format them using Prezi into a video that highlights the most meaningful parts of their discussions.

e.  A friend of mine will be teaching abroad in China starting in September, and I'm crossing my fingers that he has the technology in his classroom to make this a reality!

Tool #6

I decided to use Twitter because, chances are, most of my students have already been exposed to it.  There have been countless times I've come across articles or websites that I would love to share with my students, but just don't have room for it in the lesson plan.  This is the perfect solution!  I can tweet out the hyperlink, pose a question, and have them send in responses.  I can also tweet out reminders about upcoming assignments or projects.

The second tool I chose was Today's Meet.  Class discussions are an important part of reading and understanding literature, and this is a great way to bring technology into it.  Using Today's Meet, the discussion is "on paper"-- it makes it easy for me to grade participation, and it benefits the student because 1) they can also see how their participation was graded, and 2) participating in a class discussion online may be less intimidating for my more introverted students. Because Today's Meet can be accessed at home, parents can see exactly what happened in today's class.

I can't wait to use these in my teaching!

Tool #5

I already bookmarked this page of the 11 Tools assignment-- I can't wait to try out all of them!  I'm pretty familiar with Prezi, Glogster, and Animoto, so I chose to use a word cloud generator (Wordle) and Storybird.  I could use both in my classroom for different purposes.

First, word cloud generators are used to show words that appear more frequently in a piece of text.  I chose Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."  Because the word "woods" appears most in the poem, it is shown largest.  This tool could be used alongside a poetry lesson on repetition and the effect it has on a poem.  Students also have the option of choosing fonts and colors that reflect the poem's tone and mood. Unfortunately, the HTML to embed Wordle is not functioning correctly at this time, but this is the link to the image:

http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/5540487/Stopping_By_Woods_on_a_Snowy_Evening

Next, I created a (very) short story using Storybird.  This tool could be useful in teaching writing when students create their own short stories.  It was actually pretty challenging because hardly any of the pictures matched each other, so it would require a great deal of critical thinking to create a plot around a series of non-matching illustrations. I think this would be a good extension or extra credit activity.

http://storybird.com/books/the-flood-42/

Tool #4

I'm so excited about using Google docs at Spring Oaks!  The Google Docs video ends with, "And Linda was excited about being an editor instead of a document master." That's how I feel about teaching writing!  I love doing it, but at my past school, I had to spend so much time and effort sorting through various documents and then grading (by hand). Not anymore! I think that using Google Docs will eliminate much of the stress that comes from teaching writing, and now I can focus more on the fun (and important) stuff.

I can definitely use Google Apps with my team and within my classroom.  I'm sure my team and I will use Docs to create and manage tests and other worksheets, and that we can collaborate using Forms to make online tests and quizzes. I can use Blogger in the classroom as students respond to questions from a class novel or reflect on a lengthy writing assignment.  The Scholar app that searches scholarly papers and articles will be helpful for my students working on research papers, and the Books app can search the full text of books-- perfect for finding particular quotes from literature we've read.  The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tool #3

YouTube and NPR were the hosting/streaming sites I found most useful for my content.  NPR is very user-friendly (and has content most closely related to literature/English), and YouTube is so familiar to both teachers and students that it's kind of second nature to navigate.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/waAqJ6727Hk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

This video was created by high school students in the Greater Houston area to discourage students from bullying.  My students last year loved watching it, and it helped perpetuate a classroom atmosphere of respect and tolerance.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RiajdDYYMaA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

This video is a rap based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  We read a few chapters from the novel last year, and my students loved this well-written song based on the novel.  I take any opportunity I can to get my kids interested, laughing, or excited about content.

I learned a lot about copyright and fair use.  I learned that so much of copyright/fair use laws depend on the context in which the material is used.  If the material is repurposed or value is added, it's fair game.  Also, permission or paying a license fee is required to be able to use copyrighted material.  I will be careful when I create and distribute materials and other resources!

I could use the Dropbox tool for a variety of purposes in my classroom.  I could upload classroom worksheets and extra practice materials to Dropbox for student/parent access, which could help greatly with absent and make-up work.  I could also use Dropbox to collaborate with teammates and administrators and share files without clogging our email boxes.  It's a great resource!

Tool #2

I think it's so important to be building and participating in an online community as a teacher.  If we are teaching our students to be participatnts in a world that is increasingly technology-driven, we, as teachers, should be active participants in online communities as well.  The commenting advice was interesting to me, particularly with the various culture wars and online commenting madness that is rampant right now.  What stood out to me from the advice was the importance of being introspective while commenting: checking others' comments to see if your opinion has already been stated, ask yourself what you hope to get out of your comment, etc.  I was able to apply the advice in my comments when I came across a blog post that I didn't completely agree with, but saw that another person had already said my point almost exactly.  It would have been frustrating for the blogger (and unnecessary) to respond to two identical posts. I think it's pretty easy to share thoughts publicly, but then again, that depends what kind of thought it is!  It's different from sharing thoughts with someone in person, since feedback is so immediate and personal when face-to-face.

I plan to visit Fischbowl in the future. http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/  It's an education blog that goes beyond the classroom to focus on education as a whole.  The articles and videos are very thought-provoking, and the blog offers different perspectives on the challenging and rewarding job that we share with so many.

Tool #1: Creating a Blog

Today was pretty easy!  Creating a blog through Blogspot was a piece of cake, and Voki is very user-friendly.  The only challenge I faced was in creating an avatar that wasn't either horrifying or some kind of non-human.  I'm excited to complete the rest of the 11 Tools training!