Sunday, April 27, 2008
23 Things listed these reasons for using Wikis:
Wikis have great potential as an educational tool for both teachers and
students because they encourage collaborative learning and resource
sharing. Among the things they can be used for are:
- Collaborative writing
- Creation and organization of content and study guides
- Lesson summaries
- Group notetaking
- Dissemination of classroom information
- Literature circles
- Collaborative textbooks
- Resource collections
- Vocabulary study
- Spell with Flickr- this is a really cool tool. I can easily see this being used (and overused) by teachers and students. Essentially, it works by you typing in a word and then clicking "spell". The site returns each letter in your word in the form of a picture. The picture may be from a photograph of the letter, or some digital representation. You can click on individual letters to get another choice. Really cool.
- Flickr Color Pickr - you click on a color and it finds pictures that match that color. This one didn't do too much for me personally. Art teachers may really like it though.
- Retrievr - The idea here is that you upload a picture from your computer (or a link to a picture on the web) and it finds similar pictures. My mileage definitely varied on this one. I tried a couple of pictures (one of the clock and one of a school). The clock didn't return anything that I would've expected. The school did return some buildings, but it also returned some pictures of people. I couldn't figure out the exact logic behind some of the choices. I would consider this a fun tool. It was quick. However, if you're a linear thinking person, and expecting similar pictures to one that you have, don't have high expectations. If you're an abstract thinker looking for serendipity, this one's for you.
- Picture Sudoku - This is a fascinating idea. I could see lots of uses for this, except, you can't directly upload pictures to the puzzle. Since you can search by tags, or users, you could control the pictures that way. However, you'll need to plan ahead. Pictures that I uploaded weren't included. The may be related to a delay for my account showing up through Flickr (Flickr explains that there may be a 24-48 hour delay). Anyway, this could be a way for students to practice distinguishing between similar things. The could be useful in science or for ELL students.
- Flickr montager - This is a tool that uses a bunch of smaller pictures to recreate a larger picture. I guess I didn't see an educational use so quickly, but it is pretty cool.
- Flickr Memry - A simple to use and create "concentration" game. You can pick the number of "cards" that are in play (either 3x3 or 6x6). You click on each card to turn it over to reveal the image. Once you select the image and it's pair, those cards stay turned over. The cards are chosen by tags, so again, in order to control the pictures, you'll need original tags.
- Jigsaw - Turn your picture into a virtual jigsaw (you can also order one if you really like it and want one for real). Interesting images are created that could add to the visual appeal of things.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
At first, I wasn't sure how to use Flickr educationally. After just a little bit of thought, anything that could be communicated visually would be a fit for Flickr. This would include social studies (where maps could be uploaded, vintage pictures, etc), science (images of a variety of science topics), art, physical education (pictures of proper techniques, games, etc) and more.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Like a few other of my cohort, I jumped the gun for Part 5. I
subscribed to many sites in Part 4 when that is supposed to be part of
part 5. Anyway, I largely revisited some of my most heavily "traveled"
RSS sites from NetNewsWire. (If you're interested, check them out at: http://www.bloglines.com/public/MiddleSchoolMatters
) . RSS can allow you to gather a lot of information together. I think
that it needs to be targeted though. I sometimes return to visiting web
sites for a couple of reasons.
- Going to a web site gives me more context.
- Going to a web site "slows" me down. This allows me to process better.
- I can automatically "rank" the sites that I want to see. Yes, I
know that I can do something similar with the RSS reader, but somehow
it's still different.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The advantage to NetNewsWire is that it is laid out very nicely. It is also self-contained. One of the advantages of Bloglines is the public nature of the linking. You can easily share the links that you like.
I still can get overwhelmed by the number of sites that I "keep up" with. Here is an interesting blog post on that very subject. It didn't work for me, but your mileage may vary. RSS certainly can help you take control over the shear number of web information inputs that you want to follow.
Educationally, RSS would allow you to easily pull in the updates from students who were blogging (think of it as an easy way to "collect" papers).
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Obviously, I have very strict constraints on who can see the blogs.
Some of my teachers use blogs for the kids. The teachers tell me that its faster to input the homework in the blog than to check a bunch of planners. This also allows for parents to know exactly what the homework is.
Blogs can also be used for Professional Development.
Wayne RESA’s 23 Things is based on The Learning 2.0 program originally designed by Helene Blowers, Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, and has been modified for use by Wayne RESA. The original program is loosely based upon Stephen Abram’s article, 43 Things I (or You) might want to do this year (Information Outlook - Feb 2006) and the website 43Things.
This online program was built using freely available Web 2.0 technologies that include: Blogger, Flickr, YouTube, Wikispaces, del.icio.us and Bloglines.
So why am I participating in 23 Things? Easy, I want to understand how I can best help my students learn. I feel pretty comfortable with technology (I run a weekly podcast with an award winning RESA educator (Shawn McGirr) with an accompanying web site: http://middleschoolmatters.com). I think I posted my first web site in 1998. However, I still feel as though I have much to learn. I want to be part of the conversation. Part of Thing 1 was Pay Attention.
This is a presentation that has been somewhat controversial. Some educators have taken it as an assault on their teaching and what they are doing. I found that an unexpected reaction. I think the video is a great opportunity for discussion. Facts are great but they are only a beginning. Context is important. The question becomes, what is the context for lots of the facts brought forward?
How do we frame the conversation about how students are different (or not)? We also have to be careful of the "good ole days syndrome".