Yes!!! I found my Dashboard again!! I was also missing Thing 5 so I had to go back and figure out how to make this post. Even though I was very frustrated having to go back when I REALLY wanted to be working on WIKIS, it has been good for me to review – obviously I needed it. Now on to THING 5:
I really enjoyed reading the blog – Taking it Home with Self-Directed Learning by Bob Sprankle. It not only showed the value of the information in the blog itself but proved that Google Reader has value. This article can be found in the Tech & Learning Magazine which I subscribe to and receive monthly. I completely missed the article in my magazine but because of the feed in Google Reader, I discover it. I not only got ian idea for blogging but also 3 great teaching ideas and discovered 2 new websites to use in the lab: FontCapture.com and Pixir.com!
I evaluated these Wikis:
1. Go West – I thought this Wiki was well organized and the content was amazing. I could tell the students must have learned a lot from each contribution. Some of the links were not working. I like the graphic organizer on the Home Page but thought that it should include links to information which was included on other web pages. Also the same verbiage should be used throughout the wiki for less confusion. An example of this is: on the home page it says, “It has Landmarks” but on the link from the left hand side of the page, it says “Jumping Off Places” for the same information. I like the computer drawn pictures that the students used to depict conditions and possible feelings of the people as they traveled west. I also thought including “real” pictures of the places they talked about was a valuable input to make the reader see as well as read information. I was disappointed that the slideshows of the math games the students created were not working as well as some of the links to the puzzles. I especially liked the teacher reflections. It sounds like the students really learned how to research and how to document copyrighted material. Also, the tips from the teachers on how to maximize participation in the lab were helpful.
- Primary Math – Although this Wiki was very simple, I loved the links to the students’ pictures showing math concepts. I think students would love to see themselves online and to share the concepts they learned with their families and friends. (I did wonder about the safety factor in using student pictures though.) I was disappointed because I couldn’t get some of the movies to work.
- Turn Homeward, Hannalee – I thought the wiki was very well organized and the students’ content was very well developed. They covered areas such as idioms and figures of speech of the time although I couldn’t get these to work. I liked the idea of using a podcast to create a Reader’s Theater. I also thought interviewing the author was a great idea. I think the use of more graphics would make it more interesting.
I really like Tammy Worcester as a resource and wanted to add her blog to my Reader. She has presented at GAETC many times and always has great lessons and ideas to share. I own all of her books and adapt many of her lessons to teach my students.
I got a little sidetracked but I ended up following her link to creating my avatar in My Avatar Editor. I think the students would love to make a quick avatar of themselves and insert it into their blogs.
I collaborate a lot with the art teacher doing graphic arts projects, clay animation, etc. and I thought of her immediately. I don’t think she would like this program to create an avatar because the art concepts are limited but I thought we might use a program we have at school, Image Blender, for the students to create their own original avatars.
I learned several important things from being required to respond to the blogs. One, it made me go back to the article and reread to clarify my response. This caused me to better retain and understand the information. Knowing that others would see my response, made me want to try to communicate my response better. In other words, I took ownership of my writing and took pride in it.
I found the article, PowerPoint Reform: a first chapter, by Joyce Valenza to be very interesting. I have been considering ideas to help students’ presentations be, not only more interesting, but proof of the content knowledge they have learned. The ideas shared to keep the presentor from just reading bulleted points from his/her presentations will be very useful. I have already forwarded the article to several of my peers to see what they think. I especially liked the student quote in the article: –“the slides are for the audience; they are not for me.”
Habit 7 1/2, PLAY, will be a “triple” edged sword for me – most challenging, easiest, and most important. There are two reasons why it will be most challenging. One is because I will be learning new skills and trying to figure out how to do unfamiliar tasks. The other is simply finding the time to play! There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day for everything that needs to be accomplished. I am going to try to make this a priority though because I really want to learn to use the Web 2.0 tools. I think, PLAY, will also be the easiest and most important for me because that is how I learn best! I also am looking forward to accomplishing Habit 5 by creating a learning toolbox so that I am prepared for Habit 7, my ultimate goal, teaching teachers and students how to learn to use the Web 2.0 tools to support and enhance curriculum!
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