Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tool#11: Reflections

This process was painless and informative. I had completed the 23 Tools and 11.5 Tools in the past, so this was pretty much the same. I did explore other sites I had not seen before, such as, Manga High, Storybird, and Wallwisher. I plan to incorporate those into my lessons. I delighted that we now have more technology to use with our students and I'm eager to design centers utilizing the devices. I'm looking forward to see what new technology will be available in the future.
Tool#10 Digital Citizenship

I discovered this year that many of my students put their real addresses and contact information on Facebook, so I immediately did a lesson on the dangers of placing personal information on the Internet for all to see. 
I often see inappropriate pictures and language on Facebook from my former students and teenage relatives. 
Three things I want my students to understand:
1. The Internet is a wonderful research tool, but you must double or triple check the information and use multiple sources.
2. Any information that is put on the Internet can come back to "haunt" you in various ways, personally and professionally.
3. There are many different types of cyber-bullying, and it is not appropriate in any form.

I found iSafe to be a good site along with BrainPop. There is a good movie that aired on  acb family, called" Cyberbully". It can also be found on youTube. Media Awareness Network has good lesson plans for all grades. There is a component even for parents. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tool#9 Incorporating Classroom Based Devices.

1. Technology is a valuable instructional tool.  Most of our students interact daily with some form of technology, but I don't think they fully understand what technology can do for them, outside of gaming or chatting with their friends on Facebook.  It makes me so happy to see my students post pictures and projects that they did in class for all their friends to see. 

Technology must be tied to the curriculum or we are cheating our students. Through technology they can connect with the world and explore places outside of their community. It is a way to introduce, practice, and reteach difficult concepts in the curriculum, but it is a only tool, not the answer to everything. 

2. When students work with the classroom devices, there should be specific objectives incorporated and/or products created to show learning has taken place. Just like with any other assignment, students should be held accountable. This can be done several ways, from posting a simple reflection of the activity on line through a blog or Edmodo (my favorite) to an actual product. A database of activities could be posted on Google Docs and students check off as they are completed. Student projects could be placed in a designated teacher folder, assignment folder on Edmodo or use Dropbox. 

3. There are many different sites available for students. Below are a few that I have used or want to use this coming school year. Math Math Math ESL ESL  Science All contents
The sites need to be previewed and determine if they are best viewed by a netbook or iPad. Nothing is more frustrating than having the students go to a site and the activities can't be completed due to flash (ipad), so check first.
When a site used in a center, a specific learning goal must be established and the end result or product published either by posting reflections, completion approved by teacher, printing out results, etc.

4. Apps. by the hundreds are there, some good, some bad and more are added daily. It takes time to download and preview the apps. Below are just a few my students have used in class. While the students are using the apps. I try to sit down with each student as they are using them for a couple of minutes and chat about what is going on. Even though it is noisy, I don't allow headphones to be used, so I can monitor what they are doing. My classes are small so I can do this.
Khan academy and brainscape for test prep
iTunesU - teacher/student made books used with iBook and a macbook.
Magic Words
Stack the states lite
Stack the countries lite

5. Google Earth is a great app to use for geography and weather.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tool#8 Look At the Tools

My students and I  have been using successfully the iPad 1's for close to 2 years. They use them to take class notes with an app called inClass and used Google Translate constantly along with the online dictionaries. We also use a calculator app called calculator pro. Instead of using the small whiteboards, we use an app called ShowMe.
A wonderful app that I have just started using is called Spashtop. This app works with and controls the Activboard, but unfortunately it isn't free. The cost is $19.99. It did allow me to roam around the room instead of being tied to the Activboard. The only downside I have found, so far, is the jittery cursor and the pen works "goofy" on the board.

I really didn't have any issues with students using the iPads, except that they always changed the backgrounds and save Justin Bieber, hearts, and cars in the photo album. My classes are small, so each student had an iPad, but since we have only 4 iPad2's I plan on using those in stations. It is important to have them numbered and assigned to a student though. With the Netbooks I plan on doing the same thing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tool #7 Outside the Classroom

This past school year I wanted to use Skype as a tool to connect my students to other students learning English around the world. I ran into some problems. First, finding the appropriate classroom was an issue. I signed up on an ESL forum and ended up with many unwanted and inappropriate emails. I request my name to be removed from their list, but quiet often, I still get emails. Next, I registered with ePals and only received one request, but due to the time difference between the US and Asia that didn't work. Now I think I will keep it more within the US. I would like to start out with using Skype to connect my students with other New Comers around the district. Since more schools now have computers, finding another classroom to Skype with will be easier. So here's the plan:
Content Objective
Students will collaborate with other ESL/language classrooms within/outside the district using Skype, Edmodo, and Google Docs through discussions, presentations, and project discussions on current event, strengthening all areas of language development (ELPS).
Tools: Edmodo, Google Docs, Skype
Time frame: Ongoing from the beginning of school

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tool#6 Web Tools for Discussion

I use Edmodo frequently with my students. They submit some of their assignments/projects to me through Edmodo.

A couple of years back I was asked to try out Voice Thread with my students for a short period of time and I posted pictures and comments for my class to discuss. It was a very good way for them to practice  written and oral communication in English. They were shy at first with the video option. I was disappointed when funding wasn't there to continue, but it looks now that like the district has subscribed. Thanks!
Tool# 5 Web 2.0 Tools

I have used most of the tools on the list with my students. They really enjoy creating Animoto videos on given topics and since I have the educator's subscription, it is much easier for them to create their videos. I just wish more characters were allow in the text, but this does make the students choose their words wisely to get their point across. Big Huge Labs is great for creating trading cards, posters, magazine covers on historical figures or characters in a story. Xtranormal is fun for the students to use, but I like using it as an intro to a particular unit or concept. It grabs their attention.

For comic strips I use and allows students to create a 22 page comic book to print.

Two new sites on the list that I want to explore are Storybird and Storyjumper. 

Here is an Animoto video I created on nouns for my beginning ESL students. This will be used as an introduction to nouns. 
Below is a mosaic of school supplies created in BigHuge Labs.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tool#4  The Cloud

Google Doc is a good way to create, share, and collaborate with others. I have used it to write curriculum and share flipcharts with other teachers in the district. Students can use it to work together on projects in and out of the classroom setting.This tool would be great if all students had access to computers and Internet at home.The major thing to remember is the information can be changed or lost by accident by others. 
Tool#3  Online Videos and Images

I use Youtube an Teachertube frequently, along with Discovery Education. Almost all of my Flipcharts have embedded video from these sites and they are great teaching tools, if used properly. I really prefer downloading the videos rather than just creating a link to the site. The main thing to remember when embedding any video into a flipchart, is to store the fine within the flipchart and not externally.

I have always used Zamzar to convert the videos, but did try
I am also interested in snipsnipit. I will give that a try when I have more time.
Here are my two videos:

Tool#2 PLN

The hardest thing about this tool was trying to decipher the Captcha each time I posted a comment.
I did discover this site just for educators around the world. It looks interesting, so I think I will go back and explore it some more.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Hi there! Welcome to this blog written specifically for 11 Tools for the 21st Century Learner. I use technology daily, but I'm not much for blogging. I am an observer or "lurker", but here goes.... let the posts begin!