Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 7 Tech Explorations



Week 7
Questions to answer
1.  Pick one piece of software or Web 2.0 tool to use in the classroom.  Identify the software or tool and the instructional objectives and goals you will meet.

I will definitely use Prezi.com to present my own lessons.  I will also take time to show Prezi to my students.  They will be able to do assignments with it.  I already featured this application in my webquest from last week.

2.  After using the software or tool with your students, discuss what went well and what challenges you faced.  What would you do differently if you were to use the software again?   

I currently do not teach.

Websites I visited:
Keeping Track of your "stuff" 
          This website allows you to “pin” or save bookmarks of websites in a personal profile.  The profile is more or less just a blank page for the bookmarks.  You can post a small bio and picture of yourself to personalize it.  After you post a bookmark, you can add a comment and/or tags at any time. 
The site offers a bookmark toolbar button so you can add a webpage to your Delicious profile at any time.  I tried to use the button but I couldn’t get it to work.  You can open a Delicious account with your Twitter or Facebook log in or a regular email account.  When you use the FB or Twitter option, you need to decide if you want your Delicious links to appear on your newsfeed.  Delicious says that you can import links that you have previously posted to your FB or Twitter and any you post in the future.  I did the Facebook log in option.  I regularly post links on my FB profile.  None of my links were imported to Delicious.  I’m working on remedying that.  I follow news trends and I hate searching FB activity logs to find articles that I posted weeks or months ago.  Delicious also says that you can import your browser’s bookmarks to your profile as well.  I didn’t do it because (I gathered that) you have to do it one link at a time.
I can see a few uses for my students and myself.  First, I see a place to keep your new trends organized.  Who doesn’t like to stay organized?  Now, we have a good starting place for a blog or a webquest or a wiki.
I recommend this website.  I think that Delicious.com is a better place to organize your posted webpages than FB.  It’s free and personal.  Now you have a reference point the next time you want to do a web-based activity.

http://www.historypin.com/ (starting up slowly)


Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history.
Everyone has history to share: whether it’s sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories.
Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world.
Currently, Historypin is made up of photographic images, videos, audio clips and descriptive and narrative text.  Photographic images can be pinned directly to the Historypin map by users. These images can be of any location - outdoors or indoors - at any time in the past.  Some of these images, if they are taken outdoors, at street level and at certain angles, will be able to be layered onto Street View (this is a bonus, not a requirement).  Audio and video content can be pinned to the map by users. These should be pinned to the location and date where they were recorded.  Any kind of descriptive or narrative text can be added to images, audio or video.
I could incorporate this site into my class with some serious thought.  If we are learning about any technological innovations, this site would be a great addition.  There are so many interesting things on this site.  I could use it as a conversation starter at the beginning of class just to get people thinking.  I would collaborate with other teachers to find a common thread.
Do I recommend it?  Yes.  This site is very cool.  History comes to life and is more personal.  I have some photos that I need to add to the Olympics photos project.  I have pictures of the Olympic torch passing from one runner to another in Canton, Missouri.

          This website calls itself “a transition from Delicious.”  Diigo is an online cloud program.  You can access your content from anywhere and on any device with an internet connection.  You can still perform the same features as Delicious, such as tagging, private/public bookmarks, follow bookmarks from a network of people, see popular bookmarks by tags, import and export bookmarks, and automatically post your bookmarks to your blog daily or weekly.  Diigo takes it one step further.
Bookmarking
- save bookmarks as private by default (optional)
    - organize your bookmarks as a list and shown as a slide
    - set up groups to pool resources and curate content
    - automatically bookmark your twitter favorites
    - keep a full-text copy of your bookmarks (Premium features)
    - full-text search of your bookmarks (Premium features)
    - save notes and images, in addition to bookmarks
Annotation
    - use highlights and sticky notes as you read - do not just bookmark
    - capture a portion of the screen and annotate on the screenshot (this preserves your site and makes note taking more meaningful)
Diigo does not support tag bundles.  (Delicious does.)  You can import bookmarks from one site to the other.  When using the mobile app for Android or iPhone, you have a “photographic memory available at all times.”  You can also download entire webpages to read offline at your convenience.
I can see a few uses for my students and myself.  First, I see a place to keep your news trends organized.  Who doesn’t like to stay organized when following a good story?  Now, we have a starting place for a blog or a webquest or a wiki.  Second, I see note taking and sharing taken to the next level.  Now you can annotate and literally connect your points.  My blog could get really sophisticated.  My students would definitely find this helpful.  They can take their readings with them.
This sites helps students and teachers grasp the NETS Standards of Model Digital Age Work and Learning and Design and Develop Digital Age Experiences and Assessments.  Designing a profile of bookmarks is causing students to re-think note taking and make real world connections.  Whether you are a student or a teacher, this site creates a relevant learning experience that incorporates digital tools and resources to promote learning and creativity.  When your bookmarks are public, you can see who else is following the same line of thought.  Now, you are collaborating with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
I recommend this website.  I think that Diigo.com is a better place to organize your bookmarks than Delicious.  It’s free and personal.  Now you have a reference point the next time you want to do a web-based activity.  It claims to be designed for the person that digests a lot of webpages.  That claims proves to be true.

Calculator  http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/games/calculator/
          This site has a virtual standard calculator.  If you click on a button, the website reads your selection out loud.  There are links to children’s shows and math games on the page as well. 
I did not like this site and I don’t recommend it.  Looking at the bottom of the page, I found no contact information for site maintenance.  This site is suffering some technical issues.  The calculator loaded fine.  I did one simple calculation and got the right answer.  When I attempted to click another button, I noticed something was wrong.  The graphic display of the buttons was not lining up with the virtual buttons.  For example, I kept trying to click the “5.”  My mouse was centered on the “5.”  I kept hearing and seeing the number “2.”  I moved my mouse up and hovered over the “8.”  Then I clicked my mouse and got a “5.”  After reloading the webpage, I got the same issue. 

          This site gives you a virtual standard calculator that you can download for free.  The creator is cited directly on the page.  He has a comment section where you can rate his calculator application.  If you need assistance, you can contact the creator via his link “Tell Us about an Update.”  Here is the description of the app straight from the site.
When you get your answer, it is spoken verbosely: i.e. 1,234 = "one thousand, two hundred and thirty-four" and not "one-two-three-four."  You may turn the voice on or off.  You may select what color you would like for the display window.  All options you select are saved to disk, so they are not lost when you exit the program.  This includes the number you store in memory.  Separators are provided, and they are optional, (example: 1,000 or 1000).  The voice feature is provided only in English, but you can have all of the screen text appear in any of the following additional languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Afrikaans, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Welsh and Zulu. The help files are available in all of the above languages except Afrikaans, Icelandic, Welsh and Zulu.)  Commas and periods are interchanged as separators and decimal points, depending on the language selected.
          I am not sure if I recommend this site.  The app has had almost 8,000 downloads.  The average rating is 3 out of 5 stars.  The site says it has 11 user reviews, which must have consisted of only rating the app.  The one review that someone wrote explained that the app wasn’t compatible with his version of Vista.  There was no response from the creator.  The site still claims that the app is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, and Macs.  I read that you can only use it in full screen mode.  I’m definitely not a fan of that.
          There was no tutorial video or even a graphic of the calculator.  I don’t think that I would find a use for this in my classroom.  I did not download it.

Math wiki example: http://2write4math.pbwiki.com/
          This wiki highlights various ways to introduce writing in mathematics.  Math does have its own style of writing.  Keeping a log of results and writing out math problems step-by-step were mentioned.  We see these two forms most often in math class.  The wiki also introduces us to the idea of writing math poems and bio-graphing life events.  There are lesson plans to view for inspiration.  The wiki is read-only to non-members.  If you sign up for an account, you can add content to the wiki as well.
          Keeping a journal or log is applicable in high school biology.  I really liked the idea of rating life events and graphing them.  I could use this tool as an ice breaker/first homework assignment.  They would have an easy, yet creative assignment.  I would learn about my students as individuals.  I could focus the assignment on what they have learned in prior science classes.  I could ask them to rate and graph science concepts that they learned based on how well they feel they learned the concept.  For example, I could make a graph of myself.  I could say at seven, I learned physics.  I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, give it a rating of 10.  I learned balance, left and right brain coordination, and Newton’s Second Law of physics (an object in motion stays in motion unless a net force acts on it.)  When I was seven, I also learned about gravity.  I give this experience a five out of ten.  After crashing my bike, I learned that objects fall at a terminal velocity of 9.8m/s².  The asphalt of the road was my inertia.  It absorbed my kinetic energy and transformed it into potential energy.  Thus, Newton’s First Law of Physics was also learned that day.  (Energy is neither created nor destroyed.  It just changes form.)
          I do recommend this site.  Some of the ideas would be great just to change things up a bit in math class.  The ideas are also helpful when you need to incorporate math into a different subject area.  Introducing math as something else, e.g. a journal, poem, or graph, encourages students to use it without feeling like they are back in math class.  As educators, we are engaging students in higher order thinking.  Now students are pulling skills from math, English, and science to complete their assignment.  We are teaching them to write in new ways and fostering creativity.

          PicLits is a site that allows you to caption photos.  The photos are pre-selected.  You are given two options to caption a photo.  You can choose words from a list or simply “freestyle” and type what you want.
          The creator of the website, Terry Friedlander, monitors the site closely.  There are ads because that is the site’s only form of revenue.  He filters the ads and also asks that users report inappropriate ads if they do pop up.  He describes his site as “edutainment” for all ages.  He makes sure that all the images are appropriate as well.  Although his site has advertising, he promises not to sell your email address.
Currently, the site is very basic.  Mr. Friedlander wants to upgrade this site to include features such as Search, Tagging, Spanish Keywords, and more, along with a Premium version that will provide teacher accounts, private groups, photo uploading, editing tools, multiple languages, and other great tools.  All you need is a working email address for a free account.  I believe the work that you create is public.
You can always find use for this in a class, any class.  I created a serious picture.  You can also be funny.
Even though it is basic, I still recommend this site.  It is free, safe, and has adequate support.
Here is my picture.  When looking at my PicLit, you will notice that the two clocks have the same time on them.  Dogs have shorter life spans than humans.  Humans are always busy and never seem to have enough time.  Regardless of those facts, both the human and dog in the picture have the same amount of time left on earth- today.  We are not promised tomorrow.  The time to love your dog is now.  Carpe diem.  While you have your friends, hobbies, and work, your dog just has you.  Your dog will make the choice to be with you each and every day.  What is your choice? 

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