Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing #23

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I guess my favorite part of this learning journey was to see how easy it is to set up a blog and to subscribe to other blogs. I'm inspired to get my students involved in blogs or wikis this fall. I will have to keep a blog for the Power to Learn grant, as well, so this was great practice.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? This program has reminded me that we never stop learning and that I have a long way to go to understand all the technological developments and opportunities that are out there for me and my students.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program's format or concept?
I don't think there is much of anything to improve the format and concept. I think it was about as well-organized and user-friendly as you could make it.

Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I wasn't really surprised by the outcomes. This program has actually had the desired outcome. I was exposed to quite a bit of what is out there in the world of educational technology and it has made me want to learn more and try more.

If we offered another program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Yes

How would you describe your learning experience in one word or in one sentence? Every teacher who wants to learn more about technology but has been afraid to try it alone should sign-up for 23 Things.

Thing #22

I read the article and looked at all the Nings that were listed. When I read the article about Nings, it said that the educational benefit would be that students could have a MySpace or Facebook type experience, but without feeling like teachers are infringing on their territory. I was hesitant, at first, to find out more about Nings because I thought they would be just like blogs, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this might work better than a traditional blog. I started an Ning for my class, and it seems like it will work really well. I have more thinking to do about it, and I'm going to talk to a colleague about it, as well, but this could turn into something very exciting for next year!

Thing #21

I've just finished my Photostory! Thank goodness! It's 7:40 p.m. on the night of the final deadline. I really know how to push my time limits, huh? I did a book review of The City of Ember for my Photostory. I chose to do a book review because this is something I could ask my students to do. I chose The City of Ember because I just finished reading it (I can't believe I'm just now reading it!), and it was fresh on my mind. I think this would be a pretty easy project for my students. I had to get creative to compensate for a few of the options it doesn't have, but for students, too many options might make it too complicated. This is perfect for them. I even think they could handle the music or podcast part of it without too much trouble. I'm excited about trying it next year!

Thing #20

I love using YouTube. Because it was blocked last year, I had to get the videos from home and download them. Then I would bring my home laptop to school and play them from there. It is helpful to find some other ideas on how to do that. I've heard rumors that we may be able to access YouTube from school this year? Has anyone heard about that? Well, if not, I can just keep bringing my computer to school. TeacherTube is a great option, as well. I'd like to have my students make videos this year. The video I posted in this entry is from YouTube. It's not a fancy one, but the message is very good. I think it's the kind of quick reminder I need to inspire me as I'm pushing myself into unknown technology territories. My favorite image on the video was of a cassette lying on a pile of the tape that had come out. That's a symbol of technology from my childhood. The thought of my teaching being antiquated like that stupid cassette tape is enough to motivate me. Are there any other 80's kids out there who remember spending an hour trying to roll a mile of tape back into the cassette or using sticky tack to reattach the little pads that would fall off? If my students ever viewed my teaching the way I now view that cassette tape, then I think I would die of embarrassment. I don't want to be a dinosaur, and most importantly, I want my students to have the skills they need to compete in the 21st century work force.

Thing #19

I looked over the list and checked out several sites. I subscribed to Twitter (finally), but I'm not sure if I want to go down that path. I know it's THE big thing right now, but I'm just not feeling it. If anyone had suggestions on educational applications for it, I'd love to hear them. I checked out Last.Fm. It has music and videos available to listen to/view online. I could see that connecting to certain lessons/activities in my classroom. I also saw several fun non-educational resources.

While skimming the list I saw several award winners that I'm already familiar with such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and PBwiki as well as ones we've been working on during 23 Things such as, Rollyo, and Technorati.

Thing #18

OpenOffice has advantages such as the fact that it can be downloaded for free and it can be used by as many people as you want. It's easy to learn to use for people used to other office software. I guess I'm just wondering why anyone would ever need to use it. Doesn't everyone already have office software? I guess if you were trying to do a project on different computers (maybe some people do not have compatible software) and you wanted to quickly merge the different parts, then this would be a helpful option. I'm just not seeing why I would need to use this option right now. I guess it's good to know it's there.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing #17

Rollyo is a great idea and easy to use. First, I watched Bruce's video about Rollyo. He did a great job of explaining the benefits of Rollyo and how to set up an account. Then I started the process by signing up for my own account. Easy, right? It was easy. The time-consuming part came after that as I decided what I wanted to include on my searchroll. As usual, as soon as I start surfing on the web I go down one path into another and then another. I start reading articles, watching videos, clicking on podcasts, clicking on links that take me to other links, etc. I found some really good stuff, but I really didn't want to spend two hours on this one thing considering that I have to be finished with this entire staff development by Monday. I'm not sure, but I think Delicious might be a better option for my students rather than Rollyo. With Rollyo, there is still so much searching they have to do. Yes, the searching will result in quality sites, but many of my students still have trouble finding the right one. It might still give them to many distractions. With Delicious I can actually provide all the possible websites. I guess it depends on the project and the students I am working with. The good thing is that now I have options and can make informed decisions when the time comes.