The students in my Grade Two class love origami. We have used videos and applications on our iPod Touch as well as a great website called Origami Club to learn how to make all sorts of origami creations. The Howcast website has some great step-by-step origami videos. Origami iPod applications can be found at the iTunes store.
Origami is a excellent way for students to learn about space, shape and problem solving while learning how to follow instructions. The Internet resources available provide a great opportunity for students to learn this craft independently and at their own pace.
This week Andrew Douch published a post about Wallwisher; a site for posting “sticky notes” online. Wallwisher is an online notice board maker that people can work on collaboratively.
Wallwisher is very easy to use. You just click and drag sticky notes and can easily link to websites, pictures or videos on the web. Repositioning notes on the wall allows you to categorise notes.
Andrew Douch used Wallwisher with his high school students as a tool for generating thoughts on a topic they were getting ready to study.
This week I decided to start a Wallwisher page with my Grade Two students as a way for them to reflect on what they had learnt about dinosaurs this term. We have been working together on our wall on the IWB. This is what we’ve come up with so far (click on the pic to go to the wall) ….
Stixy is a similar site to Wallwisher. I think these sorts of sites could have many uses in the classroom as a thinking tool. Students can generate ideas or questions, plan, catergorise thoughts, brainstorm and reflect on their learning. Let’s know if you have any other ideas for their use!
When you are looking for sites and resources to use in your classroom, you have a few options. You can try search engines such as Google however this can be like looking for a needle in a haystack at times! NB click here to view a one page “cheat sheet” of tips for making searching easier with Google.
I have found delicious a good way to find educational sites as people have tagged ones they like so, in a sense, they are “tried and tested”.
I find a large number of my classroom resources through reading educational blogs. I use the feed reader Google Reader to keep up to date with posts. To find out more about feed readers and RSS, click here.
Here are some of my favourite blogs to help find information and reviews on sites to use in the classroom. Leave a comment if you have any more favourites!
iLearn Technology – this is a fantastic blog by US teacher Kelly Tenkely. She has regular updates on her blogs and I have found many excellent sites through her posts!
Technology Tidbits – this is a great blog by David Kapuler in the United States. He regularly posts reviews of different sites. He also has some great blog companions to the world of Web 2.0 which I’ve written a post on previously.
Free Technology for Teachers – this is a site by Richard Byrne with the purpose of sharing information about free resources that teachers can use in their classroom. It’s regularly updated and each site has suggestions of applications in education.
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day - this popular site is updated daily. Larry Ferlazzo is an ESL teacher from the US. His blog reviews an extremely wide range of online resources most of which can be used with non ESL students. Larry Ferlazzo doesn’t miss much in the world of Education Technology so his blog is a great place to find resources!
Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your class blog that I have learnt through working with my class on the 2KM Blog. Leave a comment if there are any other good tips that I have forgotten!
- Encourage parents to be involved in the blog and leave comments. It may sound easier said than done but I have found that when students are involved in writing posts they are always keen to go home and show their work to their parents. I have also made this guide for parents so they know the basics of how to navigate the blog Your Guide to Getting the Most out of 2KM’s Blog
- Reply to comments. We usually try to write a reply when people leave a comment on our blog. Ensure you have the “subscribe to comments” plugin installed on your Edublog/Global Student blog so people can chose to be sent a notification email when new comments are posted on the entry.
- Use a variety of media on your blog. I started with just using text and photos but have extended on this to make the blog more interesting and rich with audio, videos and various web 2.0 tools (Voicethread, Wordle, Slideshare etc).
- Build a global audience. An important part of the blogging journey is learning is making connections and comment on others’ blogs as well as working on your own blog. Sue Water’s has a great list of class blogs from around the world on her Edubloggers Blog. This is an excellent place to find blogs that you can make connections with. My class has learnt a lot from the relationships they have formed with their global friends. My students also love checking out where their visitors are from on our Clustrmap. This is a great way to teach geography too!
- Keep updating your blog! While it does take a bit of work to keep your blog updated, it is well worth it! People will not keep looking at blogs that are seldom updated.
With the evolution of Web 2.0 technologies, traditional typing practice is something that has been left at the wayside a little. While most people now learn how to type but just “doing it” (typing for authentic purposes), there are some fun games on the net that you may like to use with your students to encourage them to practise their typing.
My Grade Two students enjoy this site by the BBC where you can make your way through all 12 stages to be the “top typist” while learning correct finger placements.
TYPE FOR GOLD
A simple “Olympic style” game where you need to type the letters correctly to win a running race. The faster you type the words, the faster your character runs. There is no instruction on finger placement.
Typeracer seems to be for the more advanced typist as it requires you to use punctuation and calculates your wpm. Sign in or continue as a guest and either practise your typing alone, race against friends or compete against other online users in a “car” typing race. The faster you type, the faster your car goes. The site provides no typing instructions for learners.
Thanks to Angela Hall who recently alerted me to the fact that Bubbleshare will no longer be available from November 15th. This is disappointing as many teachers use this site to put slideshows of photos on their blog.
I recently wrote a post on how to embed a Bubbleshare slideshow on your blog in a post or sidebar. Here are a few other alternatives for creating a photo slideshow… let me know if you know any more!
FlickrSlide: Upload your photos onto Flickr then use this tool to easily create a slideshow on your website or blog. Just enter the address of your Flickr photos and then you will get the HTML embed code to paste into your blog.
Photobucket: This is a photo storage site similar to Flickr or Bubbleshare. Upload your photos and then click on slideshow to create a self running slideshow with many style options. Here is one I made in just a few minutes.
Slide: Upload photos or chose them from your online albums (Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook etc). It is then very simple to create a slideshow with lots of different choices for themes and designs. Here is a slideshow I created in less than five minutes.
These are some options for embedding a basic slideshow on your blog. If you want to embed a video style photo slideshow with words and music check out my earlier post on Photo Story Alternatives.
Most teachers are probably familiar with the Bloom’s Taxonomy model which details the six levels of thinking from lower to higher level thinking (remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating, creating).
Mike Fisher, an American instructional coach and consultant has come up with an interesting revision of the Bloom’s Taxonomy model based on 21st century skills. The model incorporates online tools that can be used to encourage each of the levels of thinking. Mike has created a wiki called Visual Blooms to share ideas on where various online tools could fit into the Bloom’s hierachy (obviously many online tools could fit into different categories depending on how they are used). This is still a work in progress but definitely worth checking out.
Many teacher’s already use the Bloom’s model when planning in order to foster all levels of thinking. I think Mike’s Visual Blooms model could be an excellent resource to assist teachers to plan units that help to develop students’ thinking skills while making the most of a wide range of online tools.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, Andrew Churches has written a very in depth account of the digital taxonomy. Click here to check it out on Scribd.
Jing is a piece of free software for screencasting and screen capture. It can be downloaded for both Mac and PC from http://www.jingproject.com/.
Jing allows you to take a picture of anything on your screen. You can then annotate your still image and add objects like arrows.
Here is an example of what a Jing screen capture looks like.
You can also create a video of you doing something on your computer. The video captures the screen while you narrate what you are doing.
Here is an example of how Jing was used to create a video explaining how to insert clip art into a Word document.
Inserting Clip Art
When you have finished capturing either your still image or movie, you can choose to upload your image/movie to the Internet to share with others or simply save it to your computer as a SWF video (if you want to save files as MPEG4 format or upload to video sharing sites you need to pay a small yearly fee for Jing Pro)
Jing is a great way to make tutorials for your students, colleagues or friends! It is a much easier way to explain something than giving just verbal or written instructions and it is very easy to use!
David Kapuler, who writes the blog Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero has created this excellent “blog companion” which is an overview of educational Web 2.0 tools. It’s well worth a look for all teachers and educational bloggers.
Knowledge Bank Online Events is an online professional development program for Victorian teachers. It is organised around a free online meeting space in a program called Elluminate. Activities in Elluminate are live and interactive – you use your own computer to listen, speak to others and participate in activities.
Knowledge Bank offers a series of topical online seminars to encourage teachers and educators to share their innovative practice with their peers. The seminars are free but you need to register.
The image below shows what an Online Event looks like in an Elluminate “room”. You listen to the presenter speak and look at the images they display on the whiteboard. Events are interactive so you can speak with a microphone attached to your computer, share files, draw or write on the whiteboard and communicate by raising your hand to ask a question, laugh, applaud etc.
Check out the site to find out what Online Events are coming up and view previous events that have been recorded http://knowledgebank.global2.vic.edu.au/