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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Master's Class Final Post

Yay! I have completed round two of 17 things!

This has impacted my life long learning goals by keeping me abreast of new things. I want to keep up with current things in my classroom, and I'm always looking for new ideas to try to make learning fun and interesting for my students. I had a student show me Prezi last year, so I explored it on my own first, then I was excited when it became a "thing." Also, after learning about animoto for 17 things, I got a call from my mom (a retired teacher) who said she'd made an animoto video. I figured, if my mom could do it, I could easily teach my 9th and 10th graders to do it. It's about time I start using these things in my teaching.

I really liked how my students were excited and willing to try the new things. Most of the time I was learning right along with them, and they could show me things about the programs like prezi, weebly and animoto. They liked that they were able to teach me things, or become a class experts. It was especially nice when the student who isn't really a super star in bio became a prezi expert and had all their peers asking them how to do things. They were really able to valuable contributions and feel successful in class.

I think all teachers should make an effort to integrate technology into their curriculum. Most of the tools are great ways to enhance the curriculum, which enhances student learning. I found that my students were excited and willing to create prezis, weeblys and animotos, and became more engaged in the biology because I added a cool, new tech element. I'm looking forward to finding more ways to integrate this into my curriculum next year. It also gives me a fresh way to present things. Student know I haven't been teaching the same old thing for my whole career. I think (hope) they appreciate that.

My learning experience can be described as:
17 Things to chew on makes me feel capable of "keeping up" with my tech native students.

Student Project #3

Check out this link to my latest student project. I had them make animoto videos to present about the six kindgoms (Animal, Plant, Fungi...). This was an exciting way to learn about classification (way more exciting than having to listen to me lecture about it, or reading about it in our textbook!!!) Students researched different kingdoms and created videos, then presented and took notes from each others presentations.

***An additional reflection about the project: Students loved watching each others presentations (they liked seeing what music their friends picked, and enjoyed the different pictures and styles). I really liked that I had about 3-4 students make a video on the same topic, then I asked my students to take notes while watching. Since they go fast, it's impossible to take all the notes from one video, so they really needed to watch all 3 videos to get everything.
One thing I'll remind my students about is spelling. Animoto doesn't have a spell check, and incorrectly spelled words stick out on their video. I think some of my students tend to be careless about spelling on the computer because they think spell check will catch it, but not the case with animoto.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thing 5

My newest thing is Evernote. Basically it's an online way to store lots of information, like to do lists, websites, pictures, etc. And it organizes everything for you. I don't know that I would find it useful in my classroom, but I would find it useful personally. I put it on my phone, and I'd probably use it when I'm at a store to take a picture of something I want to buy in the future (I do this all the time at the book store, then go home and buy it off of amazon used for really cheap, or put it on my kindle). Maybe I could use it to list ingredients, then check off the items when I'm at the grocery store. I don't see myself using it all the time, but I can see some useful times.

I couldn't really figure out how to right click on some text and add it to my notes. I got a message saying one note added, but it never appeared. Maybe it takes a while to process.

It also took me forever to figure out how to tag something. Even the help directions were for the old version, and I was using the new version. When I finally figured it out, I realized it was really easy all along.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thing #4

I am now phlogging on ipadio.

You can follow my phlogs by following the link above. If you think I'm really awesome to listen to, you could always make a link to the rss feed too.

I'm not too sure I like the sound of my recorded voice.

I think the biggest benefit for this would be students are able to hear my pronunciation of complex biology vocabulary. It could also be a lot quicker to speak the directions than to type them out. However, on thing is that I feel on the spot when I call in. If I'm typing out directions, I can always go back and change the wording. I expect that I'd want to perfect the wording in my phlogs before I post them, so it may take a little scripting. This could be a cool thing for my students to use to comment on class, labs or projects. Especially since most of them have cell phones anyway. I'll have to explore more to see if there would be a way to set up a class phlog so everyone could call in and listen to each others comments.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thing 3

My latest thing = diigo. I think it's more useful for a teacher than for a student. I may recommend students use it if they have to research something from multiple sites, but I don't know that it is worth the trouble it would be to have them download the tool bar and teach them. I suppose it would cut down on wasted printing, where students print out loads of information to then highlight three things. If they could just annotate it on the computer and save that, maybe they wouldn't print it. I like it to remind myself why I though the article or site was cool. It's cool that you can share it too. I may use it to share a book list or review with my book club, or to send an article to a friend or colleague. I'm hesitant to try it with students though. Maybe I would put links of my annotations up for students to see?

Here is a link to one of the pages I annotated:

Student Project

Another project I had my students make was a weebly website. This was a "thing" from last year. Here is a link to the project and some of the best examples.

Master Thing 2

Prezi is great. I learned about it last year. I took an online course at DePaul for my masters and had to present a project, so I made a prezi. I got great feedback, and everyone wanted to know about the program I used. It makes presenting way more exciting! I posted my prezi at the top of my blog. I definitely think this is the way to go for presentations. It was somewhat slow trying to teach students how to use it, I'm afraid they'll be overwhelmed or frustrated (because that's how I felt making mine) but I think they'll really like the final project. Here is a link to a project I had my students make: