I have been working dilligently at finding the best way to create my course. I have set up a website/blog @ //grou.ps/daf4tee/ and started a Google Wave. I also discovered a great tool for monitoring student's blogs and set up another classroom blog at this address: //kidblog.org/Web202. This tool I'm going to use while teaching my class: //www.kohive.com/hives#2179. It's a conference workspace that has a multitude of functions. :
So... it seems that I have spent the last week waist deep in Web 2.0 research and barely skimmed the surface. I have viewed at least 100 resources and a plethra of blogs, podcasts, and articles. I spent some time updating my Google Chrome browser with some fantastic extensions like "Diigo Bookmarker" and "Session Manager." Diigo has led to my inablity to run my browser without 30 tabs open. Diigo bookmarks different blogs as well as being a platform for creating your own. With the bookmarker you can highlight and save anything from the web to your page. Diigo has fantastic resources for researching Classroom 2.0 tools. "Session Manager" has saved me much trouble by recording all my open tabs into a saved session that I can reopen the next time I access my browser.
For my Web 2.0 PD that I will be teaching on July 6, 7, 8, I've found edmodo which is a "social learning site where people can share ideas, files, and assignments" on one platform. Think blackboard meets facebook. There's live message, preparing assignments, posting comments and pictures, etc. I'll be using it to coordinate all the tools with the 20 teachers I'll be working with. It's gonna be interesting but check it out it's a fantastic resource. The other fun resource I found was from Voki. You can create your own avatar that has 60 seconds worth of audio that you can record. It was fun putting mine together. I think I may start out the school year with the students creating their own and embedding it into their own wiki or blog as an intro to Web 2.0 in the class.
This week saw the first of summer vacation. I enlisted in two PD's that addressed some of my other teacher interests beside technology. implementing and revising our current PBIS model. Last year I was thrown into the role of PBIS Lead and embraced the idea, but now I want to really make a difference in our entire school community through a collaborative effort. The first training was RTI (response to intervention) with a guest speaker who utilized a PowerPoint to engage us with information (how original). While we were sitting in the auditorium, I showed my principal the beauty of collaborating with Google Docs. It was quite wseful in the meeting to be able to take notes, comment, and collab while being in the meeting.
I have also been contemplating the options for our final project. I will be teaching a Web 2.0 PD on July 6, 7, and 8. I'm not just going to hand a syllabus and go over some websites. I plan on utilizing all the tools prior to holding class. I wonder if this would qualify as a final project. I will be using digital media, part of the component relies on creating wikis, podcasts, and I will be using various tools to increase interactivity. I just found a great resource tonight, museumbox. Basically you create a project using various medium that's placed into varying "boxes." You open the boxes and get to the content, interactive and engaging.
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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