Friday, October 5, 2012

Tool # 4: Google Apps

I can use Google Apps with my team and department to create a variety of forms that we can all collectively edit and tweak to our liking. What I like about creating a document on a server is that there is no worry that there will be extra forms "floating around," which could accidentally be mistaken for the most recent revised document. For example, teachers can collaborate to create an exam and know that there will only be one exam being updated.

I can incorporate Google docs into my classroom in a variety of ways: students can collaborate to peer edit each other's writing assignments, create and edit spreadsheets with data, complete homework assignments, create presentations, brainstorm, debate over pertinent issues related to curriculum being taught, complete surveys created, take quizzes or tests, etc...

I'm excited about the fact that students can now have the ability to share ideas and interact with one another. Google Docs encourages students to be more interactive with regard to their own learning.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tool # 3 Noteworthy Online Video Resources

1.) Some online video resources that I found to be most useful for my content area:
  • Discovery Education: This well-known website has resources for not only teachers, but for parents and students as well. It has lesson plans for teachers in all subject areas, and also has educational videos that teachers can embed in their Activboard flipchart lessons. Long videos are broken up into parts so that teachers can use only the specific segment that they may need.
  • SchoolTube: This is great because it is videos made by students and teachers and, unlike YouTube, it can be accessed at schools because the content has been reviewed and determined to be appropriate. 
  • YouTube: You can pretty much find a video for anything on here. It is a great resource for any content area, especially math. I typed "two step equation" into the search engine and I ended up with 4,070 results. Typing in "box and whisker plot," generated 499 results. Let's face it, you can pretty much type in anything into YouTube and you will find a tutorial for it.
  • Tube Chop: After saving a saving a video to you computer, you can then use this site to cut down the video to the portion you feel is most important for students to learn. Allows teachers to maximize their instructional time!
  • ViewPure : This is one resource which is definitely a must, because it can be used with YouTube videos to remove anything that might be inappropriate for students to see. Students will just see the video on a black or white background without all of the comments, ads, and videos that can be seen ordinarily. Love this resource!!!

2.) Embedded Videos:
     a.) I found this student created video on School Tube. I liked it because creating songs, as a 
          means to memorize key concepts. is a good instructional strategy. 

b. ) This particular YouTube video is about scatter plots and shows students how to determine the line of best fit. I liked that it simplified made what could be a confusing topic for some students. 

3.)  With regard to copyright laws and fair use, I realized how little I actually knew. What I found out  was that they can be very tricky and open to interpretation. Consequently, I decided to surf for more information on copyright laws and what defines fair use. My conclusion after researching, was that it is probably best to contact the copywriter and request permission to use their material.

4.) Just finished downloading Dropbox. What I like about this resource is that I can access saved files from any computer and from my smart phone. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tool # 2: Investigating Personal Learning Networks for Educators

1.) I selected the second choice for question number one:
  • Visit three blogs and expand your PLN by signing up for a Diigo account or a Google Reader account.
  • Follow the bookmarks/websites of 2 other Diigo members or websites.
My curiosity got the better of me, so I ended up signing up for both. I couldn't log into my Diigo account, so I am currently using Google reader to explore education sites. Below are two blogs that I have subscribed to on Google Reader:
2.) At first, my thoughts about building and participating in an online community were a bit mixed. I love the idea of having public forums for educators to exchange ideas about pedagogy and how they have incorporated technology into the classroom, but I guess my one concern was being comfortable enough to share my ideas and thoughts publicly. However, the more educational blogs I read, the more comfortable I am with the idea of having a blog of my own. I realize that I just need to do the research in order to make sure the sites that I follow are reputable and professional. 

I  worked up the courage to comment on a blog by Thomas Whitby's article, "What's the big deal about blogging?"  The article is about how he was once a "reluctant blogger," but now sees the benefits of blogging for students and educators. I felt even more comfortable about blogging after I read this article. A definite must read for any educator who is dragging his/her feet over becoming a blogger. :) 

3.) After I have explored the PLN's that I have joined, I am planning on visiting educator Vicki Davis' Cool Cat Teacher Blog. In her "About Me" section, she states that she started her blog site as a means "to inspire, encourage, and inform teachers, parents, and professionals." Wonderful...I'm thinking...but how reputable is she as an educator? When I continued to read further down, It became clear to me that she truly is the real deal. She has an extensive educational background and has received numerous awards, but more importantly, I really got the sense that her students thought she was the "real deal" as well!

This site has an abundance of valuable information and insight from an experienced educator who has spoken to educators worldwide. I liked this particular site for the variety of topics that were offered in education. The couple of articles I plan on reading (I've already saved them to my bookmarks) are "Ten Ways to be a Terrible Educator" and "QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide." With regard to the former, the title caught my eye and of course I would, as an educator, want to know that I am committing any of those ten heinous teaching taboos. As far as the latter, I want to learn more about how to incorporate QR codes into the classroom. Well time to sleep...I'm going to try for five hours tonight. :/ 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tool #1: A Reformed Blogaphobe

Wow! Is creating a blog really this easy? It isn't much different than having an online journal or writing posts on a social networking site but, nonetheless, I found myself tiptoeing cautiously around the idea of creating one. But here I am...finally sitting down...writing and wondering why I was fretting over the whole thing.
Educational blogs can offer so much to students. Their reality can now extend beyond the parameters of their own lives. How amazing is it that a student, from one area in the world, can gain insight from a student from another area of the world?!? Well anyway, I am exhausted...but I am excited to see how my blog evolves over time.