Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Week 9, Thing #23

That was a creative video on Fair Use. Seems like there is also a hidden message for Disney. It would be nice to use it with students and staff, but is very choppy and I don't know if students could understand it the first time through. I'm glad to see that a company such as Creative Commons exist to help people out who are creating some pretty neat multimedia projects.
As for the class, it was amazing. I learned so many new "things" and feel ready to share it with our staff and students. I have a better understanding about Web 2.0 and the variety of tools available to reach our students. As mentioned by other bloggers, I was glad that I participated in the class this summer due to the weather. BUT it was hard to sit at the computer for hours and having my dogs sit with their faces wondering when we were going to go out and play. We made it through.
The blogging format made it easy for discussions and I enjoyed reading up on what my fellow colleagues are doing with technology. They helped me get a better understanding of certain concepts. One idea I'd suggest: when clicking on links from the RAW 2.0 site, it would be nice if the links could open in a new page. There was a lot of back and forth which made it difficult when trying to pinpoint the next step of "things" to work on.
Thank you Ann and Katie for making RAW 2.0 possible this summer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week 9, Thing #22 eBooks & Audio books

I am a huge fan of audio books. Don't get me wrong, I love to hold a book in my hand, smelling the aroma as I flip through the pages while sitting in a cozy spot with my blanket. BUT.... I have time issues, especially when the school year is in full swing. SO I really enjoy listening to books in audio format while driving or walking the dogs. Sometimes I'll pop an audiobook into my boombox at work and listen while I shelve books. I began utilizing audiobooks with the Battle of the Books program to help students who are struggling readers participate. Elaine Daw used this idea with her YRC program, so I thought I'd try it out with Battle of the Books. It is FABULOUS! I have various listening stations with the different books and the students choose which ones they'd like to listen, which just adds another fun way to read a book.
eBooks is an arena I haven't ventured too far into yet, because I figure if I'm going to sit and read, I still find comfort in holding the actual book in my hand. But I have played with the Kindle a bit and I like the idea of storing hundreds of books in one "book" and was surprised that the monitor/screen is not hard on the eyes like a computer screen.

Week 9, Thing #21: Podcasts

I've used podcasts for various classes I've taken and this year gathered up my courage and worked with podcasts with students. What a great learning tool! The students loved being able to create and share their research and I was able to share them with their families. I subscribe to a few podcasts on my iTunes account: National Geographic, Fairy Tales, Relaxation--just to name a few.
The NG site offers videos on many podcasts covering subjects from pyramids, lions, elephants, sharks, aviation, etc.
The possibilities are endless!

Chapter 10: Tutorials

I chose to read this chapter in hopes of getting a deeper level of understanding with ideas and uses for Web 2.0 tools. These are a few of what I looked into and think would be great for teachers in our school. I'd love to share these with our staff at the start of our school year.
Tux Paint is a program geared for children age three twelve yrs. old and is similar to Kid Pix. The layout and operation of the program is similar in nature and children will be able to figure it out and probably teach us a thing or two. I like that program is free, we don't have to purchase a site license. Just download it to the computer and you're set! The only challenge I see is possibly the download because our computers are linked to the server and are managed that an administrator password may be required.

Audacity is another free, downloadable program that allows you to record and edit audio clips. This is very handy for creating podcasts. The only way I have been able to create a podcast is by using the GarageBand program. This also has the capability to convert tapes and records into digital or CD recordings which is great for our Spanish teachers. GarageBand also can do this, but again you'd have to purchase the program, site license, etc.

Class Blogmeister is another online blogging tool meant to be used by educators in an educational setting. I have been considering ways to start an online bookclub and this might be a great tool to use.

Google Earth is so popular and widely used and is just plain fun! I use it so many times throughout the school year and the students love to come up and type a location and have the projected image show up on the screen. I love to use this at science fair time also, it really helps get those space books off the shelves and out the door!

Google Reader is a tool I discovered through this class. I really like how I am able to organize my "feeds" and I can see what's new at my convenience. I keep adding more sites and will be sharing with teachers and friends.

Chapter 9: New Schools

This chapter offers an exciting look into the future of schools and our education system. What a wonderful place to be and learn with all these Web 2.0 tools. But my skepticism remains simply due to the lack of funding schools are given to educate the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and now technology. Our students are digital natives, they grow up using Web tools in their day to day life and most schools limit these resources because we just don't get the funds to keep up to date with all this technology. In order for schools to succeed in educating students for the 21st Century, we need the hardware to access the tools. Educators need professional development and time to learn these skills so we feel comfortable teaching them to our students. Which will take more funding for schools. I've seen many charter schools come on board with this goal in mind, but then the rest of us are standing around trying to fill in the holes so our students aren't left behind. I have to agree with Elaine and I just love her analogy about buffets. Educators must focus on what is useful and relevant to the education of our students, which varies from school to school. We must use Web 2.0 as tools to lead our students into the 21st Century without bombarding them with too much "junk" and hopefully create mindful cyber citizens.

Week 9: Thing 20 Teacher Tube

Okay, I have to admit.....I am guilty of enjoying some comical videos on You Tube. My favorites are the ones that showcase pets and their amazing yet sometimes silly personalities. There are some educational benefits that teachers can use, I looked at some tutorials for creating "stuff". But the amount of time it takes to weed through what you don't need to find what you do is always of a concern. I do appreciate the safer approach to searching for videos on Teacher Tube vs You Tube, but as Leslie mentioned if ASD subscribes to United Streaming, that route could be more beneficial for educational purposes.
I tried uploading the video I found to my blog and have had great difficulties. I tried to copy and paste the Embeddable Player with no success. So I downloaded the video to my desktop to upload onto Blogger and it still isn't working.
Here is the link to the video clip, the title is my library.my life: http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=6fa2e54bb98577ffb4ff

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ch 7: Online Safety & Security

This chapter serves as a great reminder that schools have another responsibility when educating our students: to stay safe while creating and sharing online. The Anchorage School District has implemented the use of internet safety lessons (iSafe) which librarians are responsible for coordinating/collaborating within their schools. There are also family events to invite parents for information sharing and ideas to protect their children. I like the way this chapter breaks down concepts for copyright and intellectual property, such as found on p. 139 and the Cyber Awareness Survey found on p. 141. I think they are both great resources to use when introducing Internet safety lessons and create avenues for discussions with students.
Another tactic districts are using is to block the use of inappropriate content within schools. Although this is effective for the most part, it does block some sites that are valid for school use and can lead to frustration with users, especially teachers. Thus educators must look for other solutions to work with the policies of their district.
With so many resources for students to use at just a click of a button, we must ensure that our students and their parents understand acceptable use policies and ethical behavior. There is still a large amount of confusion that schools must establish clear and precise guidelines and policies so their students can be responsible users of technology. Teachers and staff must also be aware of any administrative restrictions they can enforce while using Web 2.0 tools in their teaching practices so as to provide a safe learning environment for their students; safety that goes beyond the walls of the classroom and school.