Friday, December 18, 2009

Prezi - A New Kind of Presentaton Web 2.0 Tool


All I can say is Wow!!  This tool is amazing!  It is like having a gigantic white board to write on in any direction to make your presentation.  You can put text, pictures, videos and sound into your presentation.  You can zoom in and out on specific pictures or words to help you emphasize points.  Seeing is believing so watch the video because this is like nothing you have ever seen! On the www.prezi.com site, here is an introductory video that explains Prezi very well.  Take a minute and watch it.

OK.  What did you think?  Pretty amazing right?  Can you imagine the creativity that your students can put into these types of presentations?  There are several tutorials to help you along the way.  Imagine presenting a new concept to your students in this way?  It will be a great attention grabber!

Here are some examples of Prezi presentations to give an even better idea of what you can be doing to liven up presentations forever!

http://prezi.com/wesbmcijhqvx/
http://prezi.com/5bgt4pwnau7s/
Definitely check this one out!  http://prezi.com/kh8oftmvbuxk/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tweets - Not Just for the Birds!


I'm sure that everyone by now has heard of Twitter and some of you are using it to stay in touch with family and friends.  However, how many of you are using it for developing your own personal learning network or for communicating with your students?  I want to share with you some of the ways that I'm am using Twitter in education.

First, I built my own personal learning network.  Trying to keep up with what is new in educational technology is almost a full-time job in and of itself.  I knew of a couple folks that I wanted to "follow" because I knew that they shared a lot with their followers.  Then, I went onto a search site which helps you find people that are interested in the same things that you are so that you can "follow" them.  In turn, many of them will read your profile and follow you.  In this way, you start creating a professional learning network where you can share information, glean information, ask and answer questions from others.  It really works well.  I have learned much already from the folks that I follow.  Here is the link to the site where you can search for others with your similar interests and educational subject matter:  http://wefollow.com/  All you need to do is to click into the "enter a tag" box the subject or interest that you wish to find and when they come up click on someone that looks interesting.  I suggest always reading their profile to make sure that it is really an educator that can offer you good information.  I also think that you need to add yourself to the database in order to "follow" others.

I also use Twitter as a way to communicate with my students.  You can get your students to "follow" you and you them in order to answer questions, send out homework assignments or other information to all your students at once.  You can come up with all kinds of creative exercises for your students like scavenger hunts, having them translate your Tweet for a foreign language class, have them record observations from a field trip and the list goes on and on.  It is only limited by our collective imagination.  There are many applications for Twitter as well that let students take pictures of experiments or record field trips notes or pictures and send them to Twitter in order to retrieve them later and put into a report or presentation all using their own cell phone!  I like to use TwitPic for this.  It is an application that works with Twitter to let students send pictures to their account to use later.

You and your students can also use Twitter to research a subject for a project.  People often share tidbits of information and a url to an article about that Tweet.  This is searchable and you can find real time information!  You and your students can also follow newspapers, etc. to stay up with the latest world events!

If you have never used Twitter, here are some links to videos to help you get started! 

Twitter in Plain English
Twitter Search in Plain English

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wordle


This is a word cloud of this blog created with Wordle! Words are very powerful and Wordle provides a means of changing the words from a book, article, poem, short story or any kind of writing into a powerful, creative visual representation. In an instant, anyone can see what the piece of writing is about by the size of the words. The bigger the word, the more that particular word shows up in the piece of writing. Imagine being able to create a Wordle visual representation of a reading that your students are doing as a way of previewing or reflecting especially for those who are visual learners.
How does it work, you ask? You simply go to www.Wordle.net and click on the link to create a word cloud. You can key or paste in the text. You can also give the link to a blog, etc. and Wordle will go and get the text. It is so easy! Try it; you'll like it!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vermont-NEA's Annual Convention - All About Technology!


Hey all you teachers out there! This is exciting news! This year's VT-NEA Annual Convention is all about technology in your classroom. It is being held on October 21st and 22nd and has quite a line up of sessions designed to get you in the know on the latest technologies for your classroom. I am very excited to say that I will be presenting three sessions on Using Twitter and Wikis to Enhance
Student Learning, Alternate Assessments: BlipTV and YouTube, and one on my Google Tool Favorites. This is an excellent opportunity for you to experience the power of educational technology and how it can enrich the learning environment in your classroom! There are so many interesting and enlightening sessions to choose from that I hope to see you there soaking up the information! For those of you who are tech phobics out there - not to worry - this is not a high stress atmosphere! Start small and before you know it, you will be using technologies proficiently! This could be your first step to something really exciting!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Technology Coaching: A More Personal Approach

I have been doing a great deal of reading on professional development techniques to assist schools in creating digital classrooms that will enhance student learning while giving students 21st Century Skills. Lets face it, all teachers know that the spray and pray method of professional development doesn't work. After such PD, teachers are expected to implement what they have learned without continued support. This technique doesn't work well especially when it comes to training faculty to use technology.

Technology Coaching is a new term that describes a more personal approach to training teachers. It means that the providers of educational technology professional development will not only work with groups of faculty, but also individuals on an on-going basis. No more spray and pray! Using this model of PD really lets the tech. coaches get to know the faculty that they are serving on a more informal and friendly basis thus helping faculty use the technology resources that best fit their students' needs. Teachers need differentiated instruction just as our students do and tech. coaching seems to me a wonderful way to help teachers facilitate learning for kids in a way that works for everyone involved!!

Does your district use Technology Coaches? If so, please tell us about it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Google Notebook

I love Google Notebook! I don't know what I ever did without it. I use it to store all of the information that I find that will help educators to integrate technology into their classrooms and facilitate their student's 21st Century Skills. It is categorized by topic and content area which helps me keep it all straight and easy to find. What is especially great about this application is that it can be used to gather research information like the old fashioned index cards except better! Google notebook allows the researcher to "clip" the url and any notes they wish to take with the click of a button. You will need a gmail account before you can access it. Once you sign in with your gmail account, you click on the "more" menu and then choose "even more". This will take you to a list of Google tools where you will find notebook. You can keep your notebooks private or you can share them with the world. I decided to share my notebooks that are about technology integration. Here is a link to my website that leads to accessing my Google Notebook resources by topic. http://tinyurl.com/dbl78p I hope you find them useful!

Friday, April 3, 2009

VoiceThread Gives Youngsters A Voice

Recently, I discovered a free web 2.0 tool that can be used for so many different venues including education. You can find it at www.voicethread.com. Voicethread is a new spin on a blog of sorts. It seems to me like a cross between a blog, a PowerPoint presentation and a podcast. This technology is free to a point, then there is a minimal fee for educators. Educators can also pay a small fee to license the application so that all their students can have an account!

What this tool does is allow us to upload pictures that we want to present and either talk, key text, or phone in our voice to go with each picture. It is like a blog because it allows others to comment on what the original presenter has created through voice or keyed text. There are safety features so that educators can create their own privacy settings to have the voicethread public or private. You really need to see it to appreciate the possibilities for education. I urge you to visit the site and check it out! With a little imagination, there is no telling how you can use this web 2.0 application to enhance learning and assessment in a positive and creating way while enhancing your students' 21st Century Skills!

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about this technology. If you come up with some great lesson ideas, please share them on my wiki, Educational Technology Today at http://educationaltechnologytoday.wikispaces.com/. Just look on the menu to the left to find a page that describes your curriculum area and leave your lesson ideas on that page. If you need me to create a new page for your content area, please comment to this post and I'll get right on it! Thank you!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Collaborative Educational Technologies

As many of us know, there are a world of Web 2.0 educational Internet sites out there at our disposal. Sifting through them to find what is useful for a particular lesson or unit is sometimes difficult. So, anyone out there that is using a great Web 2.0 educational tool, please feel free to comment on this blog and let everyone know about it. On lulu.com, which is a great self-publishing tool, there is a free downloadable book that attempts to highlight some useful Open Source Software tools for education. It is also listed on a blog called Ask BJ. You can go to this url: http://www.askbj.net/cms/node/6 and scroll down to the end of the page where you will see a link that says "Free Software for Schools." Click on it and choose to download or open it. It is a good resource; you should check it out.

Some of my favorite Web 2.0 educational tools are:

www.edu20.org (educational social networking and on-line course software)
www.blogger.com (blogging site)
Google Docs (create collaborative documents, presentations and spreadsheets)
Google Tools (especially notebook)
www.wikispaces.com (create wikis)
www.twitter.com (it is just cool)
www.flickr.com (on-line picture organizer that lets you search for pictures)
www.voicethread.com (really cool - lets you comment on something with text, voice or video)

What are some of your favorites?