Kids Learn Out Loud (http://kids.learnoutloud.com/Home) is an excellent website to incorporate into the classroom. It has a wide selection of audio, video, and podcasts on different subjects. They have poems, short stories, audio books, autobiographies, and much more. I previewed a podcast on Aesop's Fables. This podcast had a different reader assiggned to each fable. After each fable the moral is stated as well. It was fun to listen to for me and I am sure my student's wouldn't mind having these fables read to them in this way. Even though they are fifth graders they too still enjoy being read to. Along with the reading I can oresent a pcture slide show of eac fable I used. Then I could assign each student a fable to work with and even re-record using their own voice as well as putting the moral into their own words.
ePals is a very user friendly, safe, and secure site. It is an awarding winning, up to date, safe technology program that links you and your classroom anywhere around the world! It is very specific as well. If you’re looking for a classroom working on a certain project, maybe on weather, government, elections, maps, habitats, it is available to you. They even have a tutoring program for 3rd-5th graders to help them enhance their writing skills with an authorized adult as a pen pal.
They offer Volunteerism within ePals around the world, they have video conferences, video exchanges, offer collaboration opportunities, and you can learn about culture in the midst of it all. ePals seems to good to be true. It even offers eMentoring which is open to U.S. classrooms free of charge, curriculum-aligned, and is focused on building reading comprehension, critical thinking and writing skills. How great to be able to refer your students to this over the summer! Another global cooperation site is Global Schoolhouse. Their mission is as stated, “Global School Net's mission is to support 21st century learning. We engage teachers and students in meaningful project learning exchanges with people around the world to develop literacy and communication skills, foster teamwork and collaboration, encourage workforce preparedness and create multi-cultural understanding. We prepare youth for full participation as productive and effective citizens in an increasing global economy.” They basically do many of the same things ePals does as well as producing interactive, collaborative content and tools that are web-based or on CD-ROM, consulting services to schools, universities, businesses and government organizations, provides professional development and training materials focused on successful implementation of collaborative learning, provides conference keynote presentations and workshops for public and private school districts in Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, South America, and throughout the United States that excite, inform and inspire! They have virtual tours that you can take your classroom on, scholarship competitions, cyber fairs and much more. I really like the fact that they professional development and training for inexperienced users.
I would use both of these in my classroom. I would use ePals for very specific projects where I can join another classroom elsewhere and work together with them. With ePals as I mentioned before you can find exactly what your looking for as well as a classroom that could cooperate with you on that exact topic. As far as Global Schoolhouse I would show faculty, staff, and parents some of the professional development and training materials focused on successful implementation of collaborative learning to get them on board as far as implementing new technology into the classroom. Once I showed them the wide base of knowledge and learning their students would be exposed to, safely, and securely, I doubt they would have one concern.
As far as a tool to use in conjunction with the sites, I would use Skype, a synchronous tool that allows you to connect live over a VOIP software that support audio and videoconferencing. I could call one of the classrooms I collaborated with through either ePals or Global Schoolhouse and allow my students to talk individually or in groups to work on projects, discuss certain aspects of their classrooms, and to just to get to know each other. Also with skype, we can share our finished projects with each other and have each class view what the other classrooms turned out like. It would be a great culminating experience for the students.
I used Google Video and a new video searching site, Teacher Tube to find a tutorial and a subject area lesson. I am a general studies teacher so I chose to find a video on a Math lesson and a tutorial on the infamous Smart Board. I would use the tutorial for a professional development day of some sort. What I was really excited about though, was the Teacher Tube Video on Equivalent Fractions. It is a video lesson going through the examples, definitions, and all applicable skills regarding equivalent fractions. I would love to show this in my classroom! First of all, it is a break from the monotonous text book and oral reading. The children will be engaged by the use of technology as well as the different presentation of the lesson. We so often here about how learning styles vary form visual, auditory, and tactile. I feel with the video you are reaching more of your students as opposed to the rote routine. Also, you could post the link to the lesson on your classroom blog! Students could revisit the lesson for studying for a test, review, and if they are absent, they can see what was discussed in class as if they were there!
Twitter is without a doubt everything everyone claims it to be. If you have easy access to your computer than you as well have easy access to everything and everyone else your interested in and knowing about. It is like a constant page from our "back in the day newest form of technology", the pager! Instead, though, it is quicker, faster, and way better! The immediacy and access you have to the unlimited amounts of information there is mind boggling, but it is there if you want it. Who wouldn't want it?!?! At first I didn't realize the difference between Twitter and AIM but now it is plain as day and Aim is kind of like those old pagers, don't you think?
I read the article "Can We Use Twitter for Educational Activities?" by: Gabriela Grosseck and Carmen Holotescu (http://www.scribd.com/doc/2286799/Can-we-use-Twitter-for-educational-activities). I liked this article because it provided in depth uses and explanations of Twitter as an educational tool. Not only will it engage students but it is an innovative an unique way to promote writing with activities such as collaborative writing. Not to mention that you can collaborate with classrooms across the world! It also requires the skill of writing concisely, where Tweets are usually no more than 140 characters. Students will learn to get to the point with a sufficient summary. It provides an opportunity to further the instruction outside of the classroom by sending "Tweets" to cell phones too. Students can work on projects on Twitter and receive updates as they go. This is beneficial for the instructor as well, not to mention if the classroom is set up through Twitter the teacher can send updates on homework and tests and such. It is a new and exciting way to to stay connected with your students and engage them in active learning. Knowing our students' love for technology, I think of the old saying, "If you can't beat'em, join'em." Well why not get on the same page with you students and try incorporating the use of Twitter in your classroom. One would be surprised to see what your students' know and how familiar they will be with this tool. This could enhance learning in so many ways!
Another article I found was a PowerPoint in google docs on 19 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom (http://docs.google.com/Present?) . They tell you how to use Twitter to "gather real-world data," use "twitterfall.com," use "historicaltweets.com," "twitterpolls," and "Word Morphs." As I said previously the possibilities are endless and it is so easy to do! You can go on a field trip through "twideo" or speak to the experts ("NASA , NASA Fellows (teachers who work on NASA projects.) They're Twitter-friendly")
What I want to know is, why not use Twitter in the Classroom?
First off, I would like to say that "The New Killer App for educators" is an understatement! This is like a lifeline for educators and really anyone who is up to speed with technology. I set up my bloglines account and although, it took some time, I realize now that it is done the time I will save. I am so thankful for that. As an educator/grad student on the go, all I have to do is "click" and I am instantly taken to my main sources of information on the web, fully updated, ready and waiting! While searching I found many great feeds, but the one that I really thought appropriate, especially for this class was Classroom 2.0 Blog . There I read about different teachers, technology, views on technology, and how to incorporate technology in the classroom. A specific blog I read, was that of a woman named Jacquie. Her blog is called "Jacquie's Great Digital Adventure," http://jacquiesgreatdigitaladventure.blogspot.com/2008/11/web-2.html. Here she talked about how educators cannot ignore social networking and technology in general. She gave an explanation of social networking and discussed her views as well. I cannot agree more with her!
It made me think of a quote I had found once. “Although the definition of literacy remains a hotly contested topic among educators and researchers, it is hard to deny that technology is driving the debate. While reading and writing will most likely remain at the heart of standard literacy education, educators should reconsider what it means to be literate in the technological age. The New London Group, a cohort of educators and researchers interested in examining the teaching of new literacies, explains literacy this way: "one could say that its’ fundamental purpose is to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, and economic life." (1996)
In another class I read an article called "Zero-Thumb Game: How to Tame Texting." It was about teachers who were up in arms against it, because they were starting to see the "text-lingo" in some of their students academic work. They wanted to go to extremes and one teacher, Cindi Rigsbee, decided to take the path not followed, and embraced the idea that as educators we should address the situation and use it as a teachable moment. So knowing what we know about the waves of change we need to embrace the inevitable and be the life-long learners we want to be!!!
This network is awesome! It is another social network for educators to discuss and swap ideas and share anything in regards to new tools that are out there from the basics of PowerPoint (no offense) to Web 2.0 (which I am just learning about). It is a really good fit for me because I have access to educators from everywhere and am learning what is "new" in other areas that I don't yet know of. I just got a really great quote from a blog discussion on "How are you using technology in your classroom?" One of the response included "Technology won't replace teachers. But, those teachers that use technology in their classrooms will replace those teachers that don't." I couldn't agree more and I feel that this network will keep me where I need to be as far up to date on technology as well as even helping me out with this class!
My name is Gabrielle and I am a 24 year old life long learner! That is the only way to be! I am currently in graduate school completing a literacy degree. I also teach 5th grade! I am excited because this is my first blog ever. Let me know what you think.