Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tool 6

Wallwisher is an application that is new to me and having played with it, I especially like it as an online tool for communicating. We are all familiar with using bulletin boards (in our classrooms, libraries, kitchens, etc.) and the electronic version allows us to share with a larger community. A teacher can use the electronic bulletin board to keep students notified of last minute changes, updates, etc. Students can easily post questions or thoughts. Teams of students can be assigned the responsibility of creating the bulletin board for the month, week, etc. Although we all have websites, the bulletin board is an easy to read, creative, fun way to keep students, parents, any other stakeholders informed and involved in the process. Of course there is a blog available on suggested ways to use Wallwisher in the classroom: http://blog.simplek12.com/education/5-fantastic-ways-to-use-wallwisher-in-the-classroom/.

I also tested Poll Everywhere. I can see this application as useful for the community of individuals who like to Twitter or communicate using Facebook on their cellphones. Creating a poll is very easy and the application offers suggestions that are simple to adapt.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tool 5

We have created a blog and in our previous Tools used animoto, word cloud generators such as Wordle and Wordsift, and played with Glogster.   This time I decided to experiment with Prezi and Mixbook.
Prezi is an awesome alternative to PowerPoint.  I created an no frills presentation for the purpose of experimenting with the application and available tools, called This is a Test.  My favorite feature is the option to share the presentation from a remote location.

Mixbook is terrific fun.   Because this project is an experiment, I chose a Christmas Around the World theme and saved some images from the internet.  The process is an uncomplicated drag and drop with options to embellish.   If in my future I decide to use this tool, I need to learn how to remove pages.
Either of these applications can be used by students to create inventive, research intensive projects while merging art and technology.

Tool 4

I love Google Docs and use the function at work whenever I see an opportunity.  Weekly I use Google Docs to share our enrollment count by having dropped a spreadsheet into the doc that I keep current.   I was once involved in writing a very detailed report as part of a team, pre Google Doc.  The process was tedious with saving, editing, saving again, and posting only to discover that one or more team members were busy posting new material, so needing to go back to the drawing board.  Google Docs would have been perfect for the job.

I had never used Google Docs to create a form.   I created a short survey with a couple of Yes / No answer choices and a scale question and emailed it to the other individuals on my campus who are working through 11 Tools.  I gave them access to edit the doc.  Now that I have had this experience with, I will use it every chance I get.   How simple and convenient!  Point, choose, and click!

I can see using the form application as an end of class, lesson, unit, etc. informal assessment tool for the purpose of student feedback and the doc tool for team assignments.

Ready for 2012

Hope everyone had Happy Holidays and will have all good in the New Year!



Monday, December 26, 2011

Tool 3

I have always enjoyed the benefits of You Tube and Teacher Tube.   I frequently use YouTube videos when I need a “how to.”  I have encouraged my own children and students to use You Tube when they do not understand classroom instruction.  Users can choose the delivery that works best for them while having the ability to stop, replay, take notes, etc.  Earlier this year we had a group of students who needed to access Kahn Academy to supplement their online Physics course.  It was disappointing that they were not able to use the site while on the District server.   Recently I had a contractor in my house who somehow cut through my phone lines disconnecting my phone and internet.  He did not speak English, but I was able to access a YouTube video on my Android showing him how to rewire the phone connection, before he sealed up the wall.  We were both so excited when he was able to follow the video and fix the problem. 
I have never heard of the copyright law regarding educators and experimented with the tool, Exceptions for Educators.   This is a simple to use tool and I can see would be very helpful to a classroom teacher.  New learning for me is the information regarding publishing content to a secure location such as an educational website vs. the general public. 
I have created the Dropbox account and placed a document in it.  The process was nice and simple.  A co-worker and I plan to use the Dropbox this week, so I will shortly have some hands on learning.

Tool 2

I have visited five fellow bloggers who are now working through 11 Tools and commented on their Tool 1 or Tool 2 comments.  I have created a Diigo account and familiarized myself with Google Reader. 

I can see a benefit to using Google Reader especially when working on team assignments or research papers.

I feel fairly comfortable with creating public posts; however, I keep my comments simple.  For years I have belonged to a couple of Yahoo Groups, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and periodically have followed some blogs.  I am much more of a sponge than someone who comments.  I have friends and family members who have created blogs for the purpose of sharing personal information that they do not share on social networks.  And, there are those friends and family members who will comment on just about anything.  My comments are very limited. 

I look forward to the day that I have the time to create and monitor a blog on a topic that I am passionate about.  Whatever the topic, the goal will be for serving a benefit, so creating a PLN will be valuable. Variety of opinions and input will be important.

Do my fellow 11 Tool Bloggers find that when they have signed up to follow a blog or group they end up with an email box full of notices they don’t read?  I have thought about creating an email address for the specific purpose of collecting those notices/updates, but probably would not maintain it. 

Tonight I will visit my Facebook.  I enjoy reading the latest with my nieces and their children.  My family is spread across the country from coast to coast and Facebook is one simple piece of computer technology that helps to keep us connected in nearly real time.