What a Journey!!

Who would have thought 7 short weeks ago I had no idea what Edmodo was or the thought of writing a blog seemed so far out of character for me! I am so proud of what I have already accomplished in this unit and am so greatful for all the wonderful tools I now have under my belt such as  Edmodo, Edublogs, Audacity, Diigo, Animoto and Google Reader. Widget has an all new meaning to me and not just that little purple alien I used to watch on T.v. One of the most effective things I found with this assignment was reading and learning from other peoples blogs! I learnt from my peers how to embed a video, add screenshots to my blogs and also gained some amazing resources I will be able to use in my own classroom. I know I still have a lot to learn but once the crazy assignment time is over and I am on holidays I cant wait to explore and add more to my blog and my knowledge!

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and ideas with me

Until next time Goodbye and Goodluck!!

Uploading a video!

I couldn’t feel satisfied with my blog until I had had a go at embedding a video into it! I was a little bit unsure of how to, but once again in this collaborative learning style that is EST340, I was able to find quick and easy instructions from one of my peers blogs! So thank you Felicity for your fantastic post http://missames.edublogs.org/2011/08/14/uploading-a-youtube-clip-to-your-edublog/ on how to upload a You Tube clip, I now feel satisfied 🙂

I hope you enjoy this video, I found it interesting. It just looks at the differences between 21st Century education vs 20th Century education!

 

Technology: Good, Bad or Too much??

I read this interesting blog http://nyteachers.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/technology-in-the-classroom-too-much-of-a-good-thing-by-bonnie-thone-boylan/ written by a New York teacher in 2009. Even though it was written 2 years ago (this in today’s times is equivalent to 10 years) and by a New York teacher, it brings up some interesting issues associated with the use of technology at school we can all relate to and will all defiantly face as teachers.

We all know the endless benefits there are with technology like Interactive Whiteboards and Smartboards, giving students a virtual interactive lesson that is fun and engaging (and educational!). Students are now being encouraged to incorporate computer use throughout the curriculum, with things like researching, blogging, and the Ultranet. But there are those kids that waste computer time browsing You Tube and Facebook playing games or whatever else has nothing to do with the task at hand! As a teacher what are some strategies you can use to ensure students are using the computers correctly and are protected from online predators?

Another issue that I personally faced on rounds was that the school I was at was a small school that unfortunately were not lucky enough to have all the latest technology like iPads, in fact they actually didn’t even have enough computers for all the students. Between a prep class and two grade 1 /2 classes there were 9 computers, with two of them experiencing technical difficulties and not in use! As a teacher how would you combat this and ensure your students were not missing out on all the latest technology due to funding?

But while all this technology use is being encouraged at school and at home, are children missing out on other important developmental areas like play??  A teacher voiced this concern saying that kids just don’t know how to share and communicate properly anymore because all they do is sit isolated on their computers at home on Facebook  or You Tube instead of actually getting out and  playing together. What do you think??

I personally believe balance is the most effective approach, while it is absolutely essential these days for kids to have technology skills, other skills are just as important for them to develop, such as social skills- which unfortunately they’re not going to get from Facebook!

Would love to hear your thoughts?!

Picasa

I can’t believe how many programs there are that I never new about, that I love!! Not to mention that are so much fun and so useful!! Yet again I have been introduced to an awesome program called Picasa that helps you organise and edit your photos. Below are some of the features it includes:

All you need to do is download the program onto your computer and best of all its FREE! Once the program is uploaded it uploads all the photos that are already on your computer into picaso, and your ready to go. You can add basic efects to your photos such as crop, red eye, contrast, add text OR you can choose to edit in PICNIK which is another photo editer, which has a few more fancier editing tools but some do come with a cost.

I had some fun editing some photos of my husband on his motorbike up at “The Block” which is his grandparents house in St Arnard. I enhanced the colours and added text, I also went into Picnik and changed it into a polaroid photo! Below are some before and after shots:

         Once again I think this is a great tool for the classroom, it’s super easy for the students to use and they will love all the fun features you can add to the photos. Another great thing that you can do with picaso is order and catagorize your photos by people in them which is a very useful tool for teachers to organize photos of there students so its easy for them to find photos of themselves which they could use in their blogs or for ultranet?!

                                                                       

Animoto-Video slideshow maker with music!

Day at the park

OMG I love this program! Its amazing and so so EASY to use! To start all you have to do is sign up with the usual email, password and name details. There are different plans to choose from some do have costs but the one I used was free, Its called Animoto lite and you can make unlimited 30 second videos! It didn’t have an option to add text to the photos though- I think you have to pay for that!

To make my video I followed these steps (which you are guided through anyway)

1. Pick a video style: this will determine the look and feel of your slideshow,

2. Upload your photos

3. Upload the music you want in the background

4. Finalize: which pretty much means click the “continue” button and they do all the work for you!

When its finished which takes about 3 mins they send an email to let you know its complete!

I decided just to do a personal slideshow of a day at the park with my kids, but in a classroom you could easily put photos from camps, excursions, incursions or even get the students to make up one of there family to add to their blogs or share with the class. The themes and music make it fun and interesting to watch and although I didn’t get to try it out, I think adding text to it gives students the opportunity to make a story out of the photos or personalise it even more.

Love love love it…Get on it guys!

Audacity

Humpty Dumpty

Well after I was informed by Stacey Mitchell that I don’t need to buy a microphone as I probably have one already inbuilt in my laptop :p I started exploring audacity!

The video by Tony Vincent explaining how to use Audacity is very helpful, if you can get past his voice which I found a little annoying! After downloading the two suggested programs it was so simple to use! I had alot of fun playing around with my voice changing the pitch and tone. I did struggle trying to find free loops to add music to my recording so I just ended up using music that was already on my computer. I caught the interest of my 4 year old daughter during my exploration and she was so excited to join in and record herself, so I decided to use her reading Humpty Dumpty as my recording! She loved hearing herself!!

I think this would be such a great tool for the classroom and one that the students would really enjoy using, It has endless uses such as recording students reading stories or even them singing.  It leaves room for so much creativity and its a real novelty for the students to hear their own voice.

My Poll

Well as most of us are on Practicum at the moment, I thought it would be a great opportunity to poll on Edmodo wether or not the tools we are exploring in this unit are actually being used in the classroom currently. I know the school I am teaching at is very small and doesn’t have alot of money, so they have very limited computer access.  Also nearly all of the teachers have been teaching since the 70’s so are still  using old teaching approaches! Most of them had not even heard of Edmodo, Edublogs or Diigo. If you get a chance please vote on my poll, I’m interested to see just how many schools are incorporating these tools into their classrooms.

I did a screen shot!!

Thanks again to all the helpful posts on “how to add a screen shot” but I must give a shout out to Kristy’s blog Uploading a picture/screen shot in 3 easy steps http://kristytan.edublogs.org/2011/07/27/uploading-a-picture-screenshot-onto-edublogs/

as it was so clear and easy to follow. The tip about pressing “Fn” and “PrntScr” then using paint, was all i needed.

So here it is random picture of my blog but hey it’s a screen shot!!

 

I have Diigo!!

Well FINALLY, I worked it out, actually it was a pretty stupid error which involved me not wanting to install the toolbar because i thought it would ruin my original toolbar so I was trying to find another way to drag that little Diigo logo up to my favourites bar, but I gave up and just did it and Walla *is that the correct spelling?* I have Diigo!!!!

And what a wonderful world Diigo world is.. All of my “favourites” as well as any other website I find useful can and have been bookmarked under “custom” tags which I can annotate, highlight and add sticky notes too! Best of all I can share all of these and see my friend’s bookmarks aswell- Resource Heaven!!! The time saving benefits are awesome!

What a tool it will be in the classroom! With Diigo Educator accounts, students can create their own accounts with private settings as options. Upon reading everyones blogs the ideas that have come up are endless including “When set up properly a class could use Diigo to research for class assignments, and share these ideas with other students”- thanks Jack. Other people mentioned sharing resources with other teachers when lesson planning, and also sharing resources with students! “Teachers can bookmark appropriate web resources for students to use for projects, homework, etc.”- thanks Stacey!

Well I’m off to get addicted to Diigo and give sticky noting and highlighting a go!

P.s Thanks for all the great posts on how to add screen shots, I did try to add one to this post, a Diigo logo but it wouldn’t because of security reasons?? And ideas on how to combat that??

 

Technology brain OVERLOAD!

While having two young children does limit my time I have to explore all the amazing things technology has to offer, I feel like I’m falling behind the other technology pro’s in this group. Things like a pod cast, voice tread, xtranormal activity all seem way out of my reach!! I can’t even work out how to make the screen shots on my page that everyone has 🙁 I think my struggles with Diigo has killed my confidence a bit, but I will not give up and tackle it again tonight as I am reading amazing things about it and can’t wait to explore it’s uses. 

On a positive note it is fantastic reading everyone else’s bloggs I am learning alot and even though I might not have alot of time to explore what I’m reading, the great thing is I can always go back to these blogs when I’m on holidays and try it all out then 🙂

Ok Diigo be kind- off to attempt it (Again!)