Friday, July 30, 2010

Tool 4

I think the two google tools in this exercise have great value. Google doc can be used to follow how students progress on a project over the course of a semester or unit. It can also be used between collaborating teachers that are designing a project. They don't have to be sending email attachments back and forth to each other, they just work on the one document they have saved and can make changes to it while they improve the project. The only drawback might be that since its available to everyone, it can be messed with by unscrupulous miscreants (or even by computer illiterates that don't realize what they are doing), sort of like how wikipedia entries should always be taken with really large grain of salt since anyone can add/edit info and make false statements that others might take as true.

I think google reader can add to the benefit already received from posting comments in blogs. It provides a quick way to get information fast. You don't get all the extra stuff that comes with websites, such as ads, and pop ups and other junk. It's sort of like the quote from Sgt. Joe Friday in the old TV show Dragnet: "Just the facts, Ma'am". The reader condenses the info down to just want you want. My reader now includes the blogs I'm following, in addition to those I added last summer in the 23 Things to Do project.

Tool 3

One of the generators I used was Wordle. This is mainly like a free association word game, such as for brainstorming. It would be applicable particularly in language arts classes, but could also be useful in technology classes, such as a wrap-up activity to have kids write down all the terms they remember from a particular lesson.

You can see the wordle I created, which was a simple brainstorm of terms related to personal finance, over to the right, underneath the voki.

Another image generator I used was comic strip generator. I think it allows students to utilize their creativity. It would be a fun project kids could do to inject humor into a lesson. The URL where I created it, and got the picture from, is:

Tool 2

I think building an online education network, or joining one already in progress, can be a good thing to help provide growth for both students and educators. A PLN can be good because it is personalized and most relevant to those involved.

I think the most important advice about commenting is to write something meaningful. I like reading comments on various websites, yet sometimes people tend to stray from the topic, or they just type agreement statements, and it doesn't really add to or stimulate the conversation.

Blogs I have followed and commented on:
Planet Mongo (Kim Montgomery)
If Only Shakespeare had a Blog (Liz Edison)
11 Tools by Lindsey Braden
Mr. Maddocks Spanish Class (Andrew Maddocks)
Srta Kirklin's blog

Tool 1

It was rather simple creating a blog. After logging in (I already have a blog from the Library of 23 Things to Do project from last summer, so I already had a log-in; just needed to remember what the login info was!), I was able to create a new blog, which is the cool thing about blogger; you can have multiple blogs from just one login. This helps in case you want different topics.

Creating the Avatar was even more fun than when I did it for the 23 Things project, especially with being able to type in text and create a voice. I was angling towards Joey from Friends, and this was as close as I got. (they have a pretty good Simon from American Idol voice, but it just didn't fit the motif I was going for).

Blogs are a good way to get students to write about their experiences and use that to improve their writing skills, including but not limited to spelling, grammar, and learning how to express themselves. Seeing as how majority of students have a hard time writing without using shorthand lingo like they do in texting or instant messaging or facebook status-updating/wall postings, a blog can maybe help combat that. Or it could be an epic fail if they aren't held to higher standards.