Thursday, 10 December 2009
The more I use Diigo the more I love it!
Now if I could only find enough time to dig through the other Diigo groups I belong to.
Monday, 30 November 2009
TweetCloud is a useful little Twitter tool that allows you to create word clouds from your tweets, very much in the same way that Wordle creates tag clouds from text. I had a play with it and the results are below.
It would appear that my tweets for a month are a bit video-centric, not exactly what I had expected. The one below is from a year of tweets...Useful Tools and Ideas are the trend, must be all the SimplyBox-ing.
I am now working out ways I can use this tool with my students when they use Twitter for collaborative research. They each have individual accounts through which they could generate their own clouds and display the main topics they are researching. If you have a class Twitter account it would be an interesting way of visualising the content of your Twitter stream with the students who have contributed to its growth. If you can think of any other ways to make this a part of teaching and learning, do let me know.
For now, have a play with TweetCloud. All you need is an active Twitter account.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
It was great to see everyone again, and they were certainly revved to get back into their wikis. After a brief refresher it became all about the widgets and code. The looks of surprise and then joy on people's faces when they saw not only the variety of useful widgets and ways to embed codes from various online services, took me back about 6 months, when I too caught the widget bug. Of course fantastic websites are not just about the code, but what a hook! Code in the form of widgets is like opening a little door or window to another source or collection of ideas, in an highly engaging manner.
The sheer enormity of of widgets/gadgets/flakes and embedding code out there, for free I might add, is enough to give anyone widget fever.
Today we looked at embedding slideshows, glogs, Librarything and Shelfari book shelves, blogs and rss feeds using widgetbox, youtube videos and Twitter feeds. In the end we could have used at least one more exploratory session, but hopefully participants will maintain their momentum over the next few months.
But there is more!
During the last part of the session our Library Assistant fed back from her Guatemalan Digital Literacy conference experience using Prezi. It was her first time presenting and her first time using Prezi.
If you haven't tried Prezi yet...you are missing out on a great interactive presentation tool. Yes it's a web app and yes you can also download your work! Try teaching it to kids, what a fantastic way to get away from the ppt and enforce presentation reform guidelines!
Back to the Conference
Our conference wasjoined by others who had attended in Guatemala. Some joined us in person and others did so virutally using Elluminate. It was the first time I was able to use my Learn Central V-Room with anything larger than a group of friends. It was fantastic and the participants in El Salvador got to listen to and learn from speakers in other areas of the continent as well as those physically present. This was the first such experience for most of the participants and they were thrilled by it.
I am going to break out the V-Room again this school year with our Spanish classes, enabling students and teachers to link up and participate to student presentations in real time.
Is anyone else out there using Elluminate with their kids?
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Photo Courtesy of the Scratch Algebra Learning Network
The 7th and 8th grade are working with Scratch Programing language this school year.
Scratch, was developed by the MIT Media Lab to enable kids 8 years of age and older to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, presentations and art while learning "important mathematical and computational ideas."
When working on Scratch projects, students must use reasoning and problem solving skills while thinking creatively.
The projects can then be uploaded to the Scratch Website to be shared and remixed by others.
The students have taken to it completely. They were taught two new skills at the beginning of each lesson, after first being introduced to the basic needed to get started. At the same time we gave them the freedom to begin developing a project of their choice, and pursue their own interests. At some point in the 2nd lesson they had made their decisions. They began diverging from the basic skills work, choosing their own directions and constructing programs using the blocks in Scratch that they found most interesting. Some of the students are currently creating interactive games while others are working on various types of presentations. The 7th grade will be finished in another week and we look forward to sharing some of this work on the ABCICT Website.
The great thing about Scratch is that it enables kids to learn by trial and error, and analyse their work while studying problems from different angles. It requires them to break down problems by breaking down the program blocks, and enables them to utilse the work of others as models in trying to solve their own programming problems. The Scratch website is full of videos, tutorials, activity cards and projects to use as teaching resources.
My students and I are very pleased to be working with Scratch in ICT. Hats off to the great team at the MIT Media Lab!
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
If you have younger kids or teach primary aged students, this may prove to be a powerful storytelling tool. An account is required however.
I am including an example below which my son did the other night.
Learn how to draw cartoons, comics, and anime at Sketchfu!
Friday, 6 November 2009
Resolution: I will not allow just any application to use my Twitter password, only the tried and trusted from now on.
My deepest apologies to anyone who was affected by this.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
In the end I opted for having the 8th grade create a story map of sorts, an outline for their upcoming work with Prezi. They actually cheered when I told them the internet was down-go figure. Anyway we pulled some books off the shelves, handed out the paper and they got to it. It was worth it. Each group engaged in a lot of discussion and planning and now has a plan for organising their presentation.
It is not the end of the world when the internet goes down, there are other ways to cope, and other activities which can be done, but my Twitter lesson will still have to take place, even if its a week later, causing a domino effect for all the followup activities-again not the end of the world.
That doesn' t mean I didn't cheer out loud and practically jump out of my chair when Tweetdeck all of a sudden pushed an update through onto my screen. (You know what? I wasn't the only one!)
For the LRC that meant aiding kids with their Millennium Goal videos and setting up a great display of articles from around the world.
As component of their Life Skills work, students across the grades were asked to produce a group video based on one of the UN Millennium goals,. They needed to research the goal, and find a way to get the message out to others, utilising a range of media which may have included:video clips, music, narration and photos.
Some groups opted to do interviews, others found powerful photographs for slide shows, while certain groups chose to record themselves acting out given roles and other decided a screen cast was the way to proceed. Many students chose to search Creative Commons sites for images, others used Google Advanced Search to access information and images. They brought in music to mix into their projects, on their iphones and ipods, brought in videos and photos they prepared at home and made good use of the LRC flip cameras,tripods iMacs when filming live footage and remixing their work.
It was fascinating to observe the students as they chose the digital tools that best suited their vision for the project, incorporating the web fluency and media skills they had learned over the last year or so, while researching and resourcing their initiatives. These students each have a well developed digital toolkit to draw on, one which will increase as the school year progresses.
This year we have taken advantage of the wide range of Web 2.0 tools available to support and enhance research work with students. Students are learning more about how to search the web efficiently and effectively, while at the same time evaluating the sources they encounter. Web searching and evaluation are now taught utilising the 21st Century web fluency tutorials and hands on challenges, in combination with the pertinent videos from Brainpop.
One of the most exciting developments in research this year is the introduction of Diigo, a powerful social bookmarking application. Diigo enables students to form learning groups and networks, bookmark, tag and annotate web pages online, share their findings and annotations with their research groups, as well as search the bookmarks and annotations of others interested in the same topics.
In the 8th grade Twitter is being used along with the hashtag #abcict to record nuggets of information in 140 characters or less, forcing students to be succinct in their note taking. They are also using Twipic to upload photographs to their Twitter stream. The entire grade can then access the research as part of the #abcict stream. 7th grade used Google Chat to accomplish a similar feat in small groups, and later on this year, some classes will be using Today’s Meet to do the same.
An updated version of Noodlebib is being used to create notecard from these collaborative streams of information, as well as create outlines and citations. The 8th grade presentations based on all this research, will then be constructed and delivered using Prezi, a very exciting web application for delivering dynamic presentations both on and offline.
It’s a fact that the number of powerful web applications that can be harnessed for educational purposes is rising quickly. Educators from around the world are quick to identify those which are relevant to their work and together with students incorporate them as a part of authentic 21st century learning experiences, which are dynamic, meaningful, and often collaborative.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
There is more to it however than just creating comics. Tonight I came across a fabulous collection of resources and suggestions on how to use comics in the classroom which I am trying to share as many ways as possible with my PLN and anyone else who is interested. I have included the presentation created by S. Hendy, for you to peruse.
I went through the presentation and added a lot of resources from it to my SimplyBox collection of online comic generators and curriculum based comics. It is a fairly complete collection which I hope will be of use to anyone interested in using comics in the classroom. Please feel free to go through it and use whatever interests you as well as add any comments that would help others to better use the resources.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
I found myself thinking, "This is how learning should be, student directed with a high level of engagement."
Today in the LRC, some of the kids were prepping their video in iMovie. some were opening Jing in preparation for a screencast, some were collecting flip cameras and tripods in order to film each other and perform interviews, while others were doing advanced searches in Google for information. The work was collaborative and focussed, yet the approaches all varied.
If you've ever wondered if it will all pay off, if the kids can bring together all that learning and apply it in a meaningful manner, the answer is most definitely yes.
I look forward to sharing some of these mini-projects once they are done.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
I have done a lot of reading on this today, and I still haven't found a concrete solution to my problem. I tried to sign up with Tweetbackup but had log in issues and later came across the interesting TweetKarma in my travels through the Tweetiverse. I did however place an RSS feed on a query for our hashtag, in my PageFlakes account in the hopes that it will all accumulate there. Naive? Maybe, time will certainly tell. Being the untrusting sort, I am also going to back it up the old fashioned way, copying it all into shared Google doc. That way if in a week's time, when our class meets up again to use the collaborative research we compiled, the older tweets cannot be accessed, I will have a full copy to provide them with.
If anyone out there has a proven solution for this I would be very interested in hearing from you.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
This afternoon I came across a tweet by @aFaizaK of Word Ahead, which lead me to a great post by Mrs Smoke containing a listing of 45 websites for students to use in creating original art online. Some of these apps, I've come across before and use a great deal, most I haven't. I can't wait to try some of these out with the kids! A big thanks to Mrs. Smoke for taking the time to compile the list and sharing it with the world!
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Now you can make your webpage/blog more interactive for readers. Just place the finder fox widget on your web page and any reader who highlights a word or string of words will be given the choice to tweet them, look them up in Wikipedia, or search them out on Google and Twitter. What a great idea! You can trial it right now as I have added it to this blog.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Our school is definitely a Google school. We have switched over to Apps and love teaching and learning using all the Google Web Apps that come with our school accounts, as well as with a regular GMail account. Although we have a preference for and utilise everything Google,(within reason) as it applies to educational practice, we recently made the decision to switch from teaching iGoogle this year to PageFlakes . Several things were considered when making the decision, but three areas in particular really swayed the balance:
- The Anything Flake allows you to put just about anything on your page, including important links, pictures, text and gadgets and widgets from other sites.
- PageFlakes provides a greater level of freedom in designing pages, not only can students choose from different predetermined themes and page designs, and alter colour schemes, they can also easily create their own themes and page designs by using their own imagery.
- RSS Feeds can be added to any page, so they can be organised by topics, or placed on a page of their own.
We have taught the kids how to search out feeds and place them on their pages. They are able to add flakes as well as widgets and gadets from other sites, using the Anything Flake, and have created pages for their main subject areas as well as hobbies and interests. They love being able to customise their pages-this is a real hook! The next step will be teaching them how to share their pages and create page casts. The real power here is in the creating of a set of pages from which they can readily access all their accounts, links, and tools.
Our next big PageFlakes project will be to use pages as pathfinders for projects that not only include links and feeds, but also photo galleries, text, audio and more.
Wouldn't it be great to also have the kids collaborate on group pages on given subjects, compiling banks of related resources that they have come come across or created in the course of their work?
It's the mark of a great application, when not only is it extremely useful, but also very difficult t0 get the kids away from it at the end of a lesson!
Friday, 4 September 2009
One very exciting feature of Live Binders is that they can be embedded on websites etc. Nowyou can have binders of info tucked away as cute little icons on your site. Plenty of potential here.
digital story telling tools binder
In this post Jeff describes how easy it is to connect up educators and students from all over by simply using teacher social network connections. The experience he describes is very powerful. Most of us are connected to other educators, via Twitter, blogs, FaceBook, Nings, and more, its just finding ways to make them work for us.
2. What happens when our teachers become networked and can bring that network to their students.
3. That through connections educational possibilities are endless.
On a different note, most of us are pretty fond of our ClusterMaps. It's nice to know whose reading and amazing to see where in the world the readers are located. Well after reading Jeff's post I glanced over at the sidebar and found a whos. amung.us map. It's great! Not only does it show the locations of visitors to the blog, but also displays in real time the locations from where it is being read.
While I was reading the post described above, the El Salvador dot was flashing as wall as another in the states. Two of us in different parts of the world were reading the post at the same time. Upon clicking on the map, more details were available such as how many people were viewing which posts at the time as well as a graph of the last 24 hours of traffic the blog received. Definitely worth following up on!
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Are you on the lookout for a presentation application that is just a bit different? If so you may want to check out Prezi.
Prezi allows users to create interactive presentations which can include media and links(although you can't place links on media yet), as well as share/collaborate on the presentations with others. A really great feature is the download option, which allows you to run presentations from the computer and avoid any potenial internet glitches, links not withstanding. Media, text, basically anything in the presentation can be designated as a stop on a predetermined path, and each stopping point zooms in as one arrives at it. This is a great little app. especially for those of use who prefer not to think in a linear fashion straight off, allowing one to plunk down ideas, links and media, later grouping them appropriately, as the ideas develop. Consider the possibilities for brainstorming presentations in small groups! I am definitely going to trial this in one of my teaching groups this year, who have got to be in PowerPoint overload by now!
Note: Three main areas that the Prezi people could develop further are the ability to embed and/or upload presentations, as well as allowing users to link off of objects rather than pasting urls into presentations.
Here is a link to the my first Prezi, which I created as a follow-up for to BLC.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Pulled this off of Twitter this morning-Have you ever wondered how you are seen by the internet. Well now you can find out.
'Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you." Source: http://personas.media.mit.edu/
I gave this a shot and watched as Persona dealt with the online data, much of what I know had little to do with me personally, except for my name, the last of which wasn't even mine until I married. Added to the fact that most of my online presence comes under mrsjgarcia, I doubted the information obtained would be very accurate. In other words, I was a bit skeptical. However, the data portrait it generated is actually quite close to what I would have created if I had been asked to do it on my own, knowing what I do about myself. Interesting!persona2
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Basically the site allows you to copy your class lists into the system, which creates seating charts that can be rearranged by dragging on screen or randomized for mixing them up and printed out each time. A link is sent to you that you can use each time to modify your class. It can also generate groups of various sizes randomly so that you are saved that task, the other thing the system does is pick names from a virtual hat, which is a great way to vary the students to whom you ask questions in each class. There are plenty more goodies on the site to investigate, but I thought that these tools in particular might be very useful to some of you since it is the beginning of the year. By the way it is free and no registration is required.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Here is an example
Get a Voki now!
Just this evening when finishing our latest Voki for the LRC site(which I must say bears a strong resemblance to our Librarian), I clicked the play button and came across Trek Yourself and Svedka Bot Builder..Great fun. I have included some examples below. These two are very easy to use and no account is needed. They can be embedded, sent by email, downloaded, uploaded to facebook etc..Bot Builder doesn't appear to talk, but provides for movement, while Trek Yourself allows you to upload, or text in your message.
My Trek Self
Get a Voki now!
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Collecta is great for current events including rapidly developing issues. It provides plenty of returns, many of the hits being Tweets, blog posts and news updates.
Yet another tool for the digital toolbox!
Monday, 17 August 2009
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
I am now using both Hoote Suite and Tweet Deck to manage my Twitter accounts. Hoote Suite is a great way to manage all accounts in one place, it was recently updated and is very user friendly. Tweet Deck is great on many levels as well. In addition to ease of tweet and tiny url's, its column layout allows for at a glance access to followers, hashtags, tweets, direct messages, scoops, groups and more. It even has Facebook integration. It has taken me a long time to recognise the power of Twitter and become a regular user. I am now completely sold and my Twitter experience at BLC '09 has only helped to solidify my belief that this little tool can go along way in education. I am now using it as one of the most active areas of my PLN, checking it more often than I do my reader. I use it for broadcasting on webpages and will begin using it as a back channel with some of my classes.
ps: Today’s Meet is a great little back channel app. It works free of charge and is as easy as naming a room and sending out the invites on Twitter or via email. You also have the option to save the room for different time periods ranging from 2 hours to 1 year.
Friday, 31 July 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
krstrallnachthUS Holocaust Museum
Land of Lincoln NOAA Weather
Museum of Philosophy
Smithsonian Latino Museum
The Globe Theatre
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Monday, 27 July 2009
This is what I've come up with so far. I was trying to make an interactive map for students looking at the local community, thinking that older kids could then create their own interactive game to support their work with virtual tours of El Salvador.
Learn more about this project
A fantastic second session. While collaborating on games my partner and I chose to each make our own version our chosen concept, by following the same basic structure. This is powerful. Students can create video casts, animations, games and more using critical thinking skills to present their understanding of concepts across the subjects. There's a lot of potential for integrating scratch instead of just teaching it in ICT lessons.
My First Game
Friday, 24 July 2009
We use ToonDoo heavily at our school for storyboarding and cartoon strip creation. As I've said in previous posts it is one of the best I've come across and has been embraced whole heartedly by both staff and students across the grades and subjects. This evening I was reading through the various posts on Classroom 2.0 and came across Pixton in one of the forums. This is a free service and an account is required. It looks very promising and I hope to introduce it to staff and students this coming school year.
A big thanks to Julie Baird for posting it.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Alright, here we go again with Twitter. I just found out how to create Poll Daddy surveys on Twitter. No account is needed and you can create the polls in a variety of languages, with both multiple choice or user defined answers. These same polls, or mini surveys are easily embedded in wikis, blogs etc. I am brewing up ideas for a Twitter training session which I now believe needs to happen early on in the school year, along with a session on Elluminate and Learn Central, which are also definate musts!
Friday, 10 July 2009
So I've done it, I now have 3 different Twitter accounts for 3 different reasons. The first one is now very much of my personal learning network, so much in fact that I now look to Twitter a lot more than I do my Google Reader. The second twitter account is for the LRC, which at present is being used simply for broadcast updates about the library, however as of August I hope to take it further. The third account is for the ABCICT wiki, and is meant for updates and interactions with the students in 6th through 8th grade. This last account will hopefully become a big part of our ICT lessons during sy2009/10.
Now, while all of this is great, it has been posing a big problem recently, as I have been forced to log in and out of the different accounts depending on what I am doing- slow going. Not anymore! I have just come across Hoot Suite, which allows you to update multiple Twitter accounts by simply clicking the profile images from dashboard. Tweeting has just become a lot simpler.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
This is certainly something you'll want to add to your digital toolbox.
Yolink allows you to use keywords to search through numerous links on web pages, as well as specify which links you want it to search through by entering your keywords into the search bar (an add on) and highlighting. Searching through pages of online books is also possible using Yolink which facilitates easy saving and sharing of search results. This last option does require a user and password.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Monday, 15 June 2009
Mind42 is a powerful mind mapping application which allows you to add hyperlinks and attachments to your maps. These can then be exported, and shared with others. Collaboration is central to this app, which makes it a great choice for group work. You can invite collaborators to work with you on your maps, which if used carefully will also aid in building a resource bank directly on the map. As a bit of a bonus, Google chat and Google talk can also be enabled, so that group members can discuss their work in real time.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
I am definately going to use Simplybox more than ever now, to box and share my online finds. I no longer have to box and bookmark on Delicious separately. I can now Simplybox items and the bookmark is saved on my Delicious account and get this-it is also automatically posted on Twitter too, (Keeping up with tweets is one of my goals this year). Great stuff!
Saturday, 13 June 2009
Create movie posters, magazine covers, maps, jigsaws and more using Big Huge Labs (the home of Flickr toys) . Just sign up for free and begin creating. You can save your masterpieces to the computer or order prints online. I had a play with this and created a poster and a magazine cover. I didn't like my poster much, but kept the mag cover as it turned out alright. What a great way to generate display material and highlight you pictures. You can even save your work to flickr
Here's my first attempt.
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Second Life Education Wiki
Second Life Education Ning
Thursday, 28 May 2009
An email came through earlier which I didn't pay much attnetion to until the same topic came up again in a Twitter post. Mogulus is now LiveStream and it is fantastic. I tried it a while ago when it was still Mogulus and left it on the back burner, as UStream gave me more of what I wanted, but not any more. I am seriously thinking of switching LOL over from Ustream to Livestream for a test drive. The channel is ready to go and I hope to try it out June 5th for the final LOL of the school year.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
A colleague of mine put me on to this a few weeks back. SimplyBox is an application that allows you to organise snapshots from websites into boxes and containers by simply selecting an area of a website and dragging it to the appropriate box in your toolbar. This is called boxing and saving. You can then share your box with others and all boxed items link back to the original website. Clever!
There is potential here for student tool kits. Certainly a group of kids working on a collaborative project could easily create, share and collaborate on their collection of resources in a simple, visual yet powerful manner.
Here is the Sharing Video
I am making it my job to also investigate Cohere " a visual tool to create, connect and share Ideas." This app. would appear to go a bit further by allowing people to create collections of ideas linked to websites, connect these to other ideas and collaborate on these collections with others.
Here is the Introductory Video
Finally I came across Zotero today, another powerful bookmarking, organisational tool with an iTunes like interface, which grabs full text when you bookmark an item. These can all be annotated and all notes become part of the searchable database. Drag and drop features make organisation easy, and plugins exist to create citations and bibliographies from all citations within a project. The library can be accessed on different machines through synching.
Here's the Introductory Video
Monday, 18 May 2009
Every wondered what day of the week you were born on, what time the sun rises in different parts of the world, what the possible closed forms of PI are, or any other piece of info related to something else?
Try a Wolframalpha search.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
SnapTwitter allows you to easily share Flickr pictures on Twitter.
TwitPic lets you share pictures on Twitter using your Twitter credentials.
I am beginning to think I need a whole Twitter page.
I'd be interested in hearing about the different ways Twitter is used with students.
Monday, 4 May 2009
I have been forcing myself to be more consistent with Twitter lately. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been a most unwilling participant up until now. I just didn't understand the WOW of it. That is slowly changing. I have now committed myself to opening it each day and refreshing the page occassionally, which has lead me to stumble across some really great stuff. Tiny url's, little blog snippets, these are two of the most valuable facets of Twitter I have found so far. Yes it is nice to keep in touch and post personal updates on what we are doing, so our friends to read about it, but to be able to share interesting ideas and links with our social networks, without writing or having to read blog posts to get to the meat of things...well, is there a need to elaborate further?
Friday, 24 April 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
I have included a couple of examples below.
Xtranormal Link (having trouble with the embedding code)
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Below I have embedded one my son did(The instructions on screen and robot start position to the left). It is a bit of a game really. I have also embedded my first try-very basic. Click play and use the a and v and arrow keys to see what it does. I still need to work on it as one of the components tends to tip over when in operation!
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Recently in my wanderings, I came across a podcast on k12onlineo8 that mentioned Twitscoop which is a part of Twitter. Now you can use twitscoop to monitor an ever chaning tag cloud of the hottest topics of the moment. This cloud is continually morphing and if you click on a tag it shows you who tweeted it with the tag in context, as it takes you to those tweets.
Just come across Doug Belshaws TwitterFlock which he generated on TwitterSheep, did my own, of course nothing in comparison-really a sad little flock! I keep telling myself I need to get into Twitter more! Anyway I have also just discovered Twitterfall, which allows you to use a tagged search to generate a cascade of tweets which are constantly updated! Neat!
Has it convinced me to use Twitter more often? Hmmm, not yet. While I see the value of it as a discussion tool during conferences etc...I lack the actual network that would make this really valuable. Who's fault is that? Why mine of course, I need to get it together and begin building!
Thursday, 26 March 2009
The code outlines 5 principles, representing the media literacy community's views on fair use and copyright best practice in K-12 education as well as higher eduction and non profit enterprises.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Easter and arranging for the necessary books in multiple copies to get it going.
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Virtual Worlds are becoming very popular in education. The offer a means of providing opportunities for students and teachers to move outside the of the classroom and pursue learning experiences that would be difficult or even impossible to manage in the traditional classroom. Virtual worlds allow students to take virtual field trips, meet up with students from other schools from around the world, and participate in virtual classrooms. Whyville is a virtual world, which is based on educational ideas, and is safe for our younger students to get around in.
The activities in Whyville are again educationally founded and include such things as recycling, sorting, construction and design. In order to chat with others in Whyville, students must first take an internet safety test. Students can earn clams(Whyville currency) by working or participating in games and activities and teachers are able to work with their classes in the virtual world.
The potential for Nings in education is enormous as teachers and students are able to bring files, multimedia, groups and discussions together in one place. At present our students are learning how to use them in ICT lessons as part of a unit on Social Networks. Both the reflective and collaborative aspects of the Ning have been a focus in ICT as well as other subjects.
Just imagine the potential! A group of students must produce a project. They are not allowed to get together outside of school in order to work on it, but can get together virtually, writing to the same document at each student's convenience, not only when it is convenient for the group. They can also chat about their work in real time with either text, audio or video chat and practice presentations in front of their groups as they run them in Google Docs and view the presenters through video chat. This is one powerful learning tool!
PS... (This is a bit Big Brotherish which is why teachers will love it) It is really easy to check and see who has done what on a project...just click on the page history and it is all there!
Friday, 6 February 2009
The following presentation is a fantastic vehicle through which to grab student attention and simultanesouly model good practice in presentation construction.
Finally, what better way to have the kids collaborate on the projects from home than to upload them to their Google Docs accounts and share the presentations with those in their groups. Using GMail's video chat option they were able to practice presenting in front of one another and collaborate on building that aspect of the presentation.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
A friend of mine introduced me to a great little mind mapping web app. earlier today and I am not one to turn down cool tools, especially when they are so easy to use and yes...free to boot!
Check out mindmeister.com