Learning Reflection #1

June 1, 2010

For our face to face meeting we used several digital tools:

Digital Tool #1 Photoshop:

I have previously used Photoshop for minimal photo editing.  I enjoyed using the effects.  The program has so many different layers that becoming expert at it requires much time and devotion.  One component I like about Photoshop is how it displays all the different changes one makes to the photo through the layers tool.  Middle school students may be overwhelmed by how much you could do with the program and would benefit from the more simplistic Fireworks vs Photoshop.

Digital Tool #2 Audacity:

I have used audacity before on a very limited basis.  I had designed previous podcasts and used the tool for that purpose.  I also have some previous audio editing and recording experience with a program called Magic that I used in my younger years when some friends and I rented studio space to play and record music.  I like how Audacity is easy for any user.  The "Stereo Mix" feature is especially useful for recording music from the Internet.  During the past week, I have had my students creating public service announcements using FLIP cameras.  I have installed and taught them how to use Audacity to record both music and voice.  They have learned the basic features quite easily.  It is a tool I will continue to use either for video projects, digital storytelling, or podcasting.

Digital Tool #3: GIF Animation

I personally do not like drawing in Paint; it's not one of my skill sets.  Creating the animation was useful though.  It was very easy to use and could see a few social studies classroom uses.  First, students could present a change in an area over a period of time using photos.  They could also present timelines using the animation.

Digital Tool #4: Podcasting

This is particularly effective for both in and outside the classroom.  From a personal perspective I find podcasting useful for listening to information and creating/maintaining an easy to use website.  My previous attempts at classroom podcasting had been in vain because all the sites I have tried to access were blocked by the district's filtering system, though Podbean is not filtered.  I look forward to having groups of students maintain their own bi-weekly podcast next year reviewing what they had learned and presenting any projects they had worked on.  It would be a great review tool that would allow learners to engage in metacognition because they are thinking about their learning.

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