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Monday, 14 February 2011

Do you want to get their attention? SketchUp is one way.

Image representing Google SketchUp as depicted...Image via CrunchBaseThis is my first year teaching with Google SketchUp and I have to wonder why I haven't done this before.

It was the first 8th Grade lesson so  I played the introductory video for the kids. It is quite a long video, which can go either way really. In this case I stopped the video before the end as we were running short on time, despite the gasps and other exclamations from the kids. They wanted more. I put the movie back on and they continued to soak it all up. At that point we only had 10 more minutes in the lesson, for them to explore. They couldn't wait to get back onto the computers. The practically tore out of the room amongst various exclamations the loudest being, "I can't wait to try this out!"

Did I say there were only about 10 minutes left in the lesson? By the time those 10 minutes were up. Every student had created a building with windows, doors and in some cases special textures.  For the next lesson, they are bringing their English work on a Author's Mind as a Room. This is where it all comes together. They will be creating the room that they described in their English lessons, using SketchUp and uploading their work to that author's geographical location in Google Earth.

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Saturday, 5 February 2011

Digital Storytelling

We as teachers are storytellers. Our teacher stories may be about historical events or something fictitious, a retelling, an explanation. These are only a few examples, as a complete listing would be very extensive. Our students also tell stories in a similar fashion. We ask them to present, write essays, explain, create, retell, demonstrate, illustrate, etc.. on a daily basis. It makes sense that we model these skills and teach them how to use a broader range of storytelling tools.

Below you find a listing of just such tools. They are digital tools for telling stories. The are certainly not the only tools. There are far too many to try out in just one session, literally thousands exist. What you will find however, is that the tools below are educationally proven to work; they are free(with basic accounts), user friendly, versatile, fun and provide high impact results for teaching and learning.

It is our sincerest hope that amongst this small example of digital tools, you will find one that you are truly drawn to. One whose teaching and learning potential beckons you; a tool to make a part of your very own digital toolbox.

Podcasting Other Audio Programming
GarageBand 1
GarageBand 2

Create collaborative, interactive
slide shows.

Make your pictures speak.

Talking customizable avatars.
external image scratch1.jpg
Create interactive stories,
presentations and games


external image prezi.jpg
Create zooming presentations.
Videos Books Tours
Create orchestrated videos
with pictures, video and music.

external image xtranormal-movies-client-vs.-designer.jpg
Create video animations.

external image google-search-stories-creator-1.jpg
Create videos based on search

Stop Motion

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Other Video Lessons
Create 3D pop-up books.

Cartoon strip generator for
under 13.
Cartoon strip generator for 13
and older.
external image 833google-maps-a-real-life.jpg
Create collaborative online
maps and tours.

external image bouncing-google-earth.jpg
Create interactive 3D tours with
embedded content.

external image GoogleLitTrips.jpg

Interactive literature based tours.

*If you are interested in investigating additional digital storytelling tools, use these resources which were compiled by a panel of international educators.
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