Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where did summer go?

I go back to work next week. I'm going to try to keep up this blog so we'll see how well I do. I think I might enlist my friend and fellow paraprofessional in this little project so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thing # 23

Summary

I did it! I finished all 23 things and my first online learning experience.

Favorite Discoveries: I had the most fun with the mashups, online image generators and making a video with Photostory. I think they are great way to encourage students' creativity and they would have a fun time learning using these tools.

How has this affected lifelong learning: This is my first exposure to online classes. I couldn't imagine taking a class completely online, but it was a good experience. It forced me to try things that I have been hesitant to in the past. I now realize that so many things that I thought were only for computer tech people are actually very user friendly so many things. I am much more likely to explore new Web 2.0 tools on my own now than I was before this class.

Unexpected take away: I was surprised at how it easy it is to set up and keep a blog. I have followed blogs from friends and family and was always impressed by the way they added photos and video. Now I know it really isn't hard.

What could be done differently: I feel fairly comfortable trying new things on computers so for me the course was ideal. It was something to give me a nudge to explore more. For those that are not as comfortable exploring on their own might feel want or need a short intro type class to get them more comfortable exploring Web 2.0 tools before they start.

Would I Participate in something similar: Definitely. I am guilty of getting too comfortable with things sometimes and another opportunity like this would keep me on my toes and learning new things.

Summary in one sentence: 23 Things was a fun and challenging way to become familiar with Web 2.0 tools and how to apply them in the classroom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thing # 22

Nings

I like Facebook so the idea of setting up similar social networking place to focus on education is something I would try. I hope to find more social networking for paraprofessionals. I am sure they are out there I just need to spend more time looking. If not then maybe I'll consider starting one myself. The feature I like the best is the Lesson Plan feature on Ning for Teachers. The user can search by grade level and subject or search for a specific term. The TeacherLibrarian Ning also has some forum topics that seemed interesting and I plan to continue to browse through those.

Thing # 21

Podcasts and Videocast

Once again, there is a lot of potential for this in the education field. Students can put together presentations to be shared with other students, educators can put together pod or videocasts to share their experiences with others. Putting things together with Photostory was easier than I thought it would be so sharing ideas this way is not difficult. Its probably one of those things that gets easier the more you use it. The song in this video is Little Wonders by Rob Thomas.


video

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thing #20

YouTube, TeacherTube and Zamzar

This Thing reminded my about how we are always learning from kids. My oldest daughter was the one that introduced my YouTube and how it can be helpful. Since then we have used it to learn new soccer drills, to work on improving her softball pitching and my husband has used it for complicated car repairs that he never would have been able to do on his own. Ok... maybe the last one was a bad example as the work would have gone faster had it been done by a mechanic, BUT it did save us a ton of money. Considering all that I'm surprised I never thought about using for schools. Between YouTube and TeacherTube I found TeacherTube a bit easier to find what I was searching for since it is already focused on education. I like that it also also has docs, blogs and communities as well for sharing information. Here is the video that stood out for me on from TeacherTube.

http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=9338&title=When_I_become_a_teacher

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing #19

Web 2.0 Awards

So many thing to explore here and I definitely got side tracked several times. Some of the award winners were web sites that were already explored in previous discovery activities so for this post I will try to keep the focus on what caught my attention for educators that I have not explored before.
I like maps so maybe that is why I started with this category. I thought Frappr would be a neat way to share places students have been. Swivel was also interesting in the way it lets users upload, share and compare data as well as creating graphs. There is a ton of information to be read on .Docstoc. I particularly like the way you can narrow you search by most viewed, most downloaded,most reviewed, most recent etc, etc.Writeboard is similar to GoogleDocs and has a nice feature that lets the users compare changes that have been made by allowing them to view earlier versions of the same document. I didn't get to play with it because of a server error Comiqs looked like a great way to get students started and comfortable with using Web 2.0 tools because it looks like so much fun.
I am still looking through some of these award winners. There is SO much to go look at.

Thing # 18

Google Docs & Open Office

We actually already had Open Office on our computer. My husband downloaded it when we were having problems viewing an PowerPoint presentation sent in an email attachment. For some reason our computer shows its installed, but if we try to but if we try to fire it up it says its not installed. We haven't had luck uninstalling or deleting what is there either, so who knows. Any how, he came across Open Office and it has worked for us ever since. That would be a great example of how knowing that there are other products available for down loading can help out. I also like the way it gives different formats to save a document created. A disadvantage, and its not a major one, is that you need to be very careful in saving the document to make sure it is in the right format you want to save it as.
I had also played with Google Docs in Thing #7. I uploaded a document I already had then uploaded and added my daughter and husband as collaborators. It was neat to see how we could all three work on the same document.