Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thing 18.1 ...More on Wikis

I tried to start a Wiki today to post meeting minutes for a non-profit I volunteer for. However, I was disappointed that in order to have a private Wiki on Wikispaces you have to pay for it. I don't like the idea of the meeting minutes being public, but I love the idea of keeping them on a Wiki. So I am off to search for a private wiki I can set up for free. Does such a thing exist?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thing 23

I think my concept of Web 2.0 has changed. In the beginning, I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into. Now, I find myself clicking on any link related to Web 2.0 throughout the Web. This project has definitely made me expand my Web related horizons and convinced me to keep expanding them by discovering new things all the time.

I think my favorite Things were Thing 6: Nings and Thing 12: Your Choice of Web 2.0 Tools. I have already created a Ning for a group of moms in the area, and I have been using Wordle and BeFunky to jazz up the various blogs and sites I post to.

I really liked the format. I liked being able to work on it in my own time because my actual time at ASH is limited. And my availability for the normal technology trainings is even more limited with ASLC being at the same time as many of them and a lack of 7am babysitters.

I would definitely participate in the future. In fact, I hope there are another 23 things. I have recommended the 23 Things Blog to my friends and my dad. I have been very impressed with the range of Web 2.0 tools covered and that they are not all just things for the classroom only. Everything seemed to have so many uses! Thanks for creating this opportunity!

Thing 22.1

I also found StoryJumper. Wow, what a great site! It's for creating children's books. You can create and post a book for free. If you want to have it printed it costs. Starting at $24.95 a book. The free aspects of the site are great. There is also a link for teachers to create accounts for student use. The students can access it at school, or you can click to let them have home access, too. I can definitely see using this site both at home with my kids and in the ASLC with the kids there. I am really glad I took the time to explore Go2Web20!

Thing 22

I taught my friend and fellow teacher how to use Screencast-o-matic. She teaches first grade and was complaining about having a better way to set up directions for her kids to follow independently on the computer. Screencast-o-matic was perfect for her! She could create a step by step narration of what she wanted the kids to do. She even was able to do separate steps separately, so their computer work was able to step up a notch. With the ability to record her voice as she clicked on different items, it was easy for her first graders to follow along and complete projects. Also, she said an added bonus was that when children were absent, she was able to let them complete the project from home by simply viewing the same Screencast-o-matic film.

Thing 21

I have been following some friends, family and John Quincy Adams from 1809-1810 so far. I am still not sure how I like it. I've never posted before, just followed a few others. Mostly, I don't check twitter. I am more likely to check my Facebook page than my twitter account. I know more people on Facebook and besides John Q's line a day diary, I haven't found anyone that I want to keep up on through Twitter. I guess maybe I need to look a little harder?

Thing 20.1

Bonus Material...

I checked into Scribd and found some really great documents. I love new recipes, so I was quick to click on this recipe book. Who doesn't like Mac and Cheese?
25 Mac & Cheese Recipes by Gooseberry Patch I am creating a family recipe book. I think this is a great way to share it when I am finished.

Thing 20

Slide Share is an amazing site. I wish I would have known about it a year ago when I was using more presentations in the classroom. This year I haven't been using as many since the age of kids in the ASLC is younger. I was also excited to see that OpenOffice presentations were able to be uploaded. We use NeoOffice at home and it was difficult to create a presentation at home and bring it to ASH to use with my kids. I browsed through a number of presentations and really thought that this one was well made and interesting:

I created a project last year for the ASLC where we learned about and then created mosaics. At the time, I used a PowerPoint presentation to teach what a mosaic is. I found the following presentation on SlideShare that would have really been nice last year. It has great picture examples of various mosaics.

Thing 19

I explored a few of the podcast directories, but found it just made more sense to use iTunes. Since I have a Mac and an iPod, it was easier to download and sync my iTunes with my iPod. I have listened to podcasts before about various topics. During my searching this time, I found Grading Michigan Schools, an interesting collection of podcasts documenting all kinds of learning and education around Michigan. I found a few other interesting podcasts and subscribed to a few, so yes, I think I'll be listening to more of them soon. Thanks!

Thing 18

I chose option 1 because although I had signed up for PBWorks, back when it was PBWiki, I have never actually used it. I added my favorite restaurants and animals to the site. It was very easy to use and I was really impressed with it. I can imagine all kinds of uses for a wiki. And with the ease of use it's not something that others have to really 'learn' to use. It's pretty simple. I would love to do a project with the kids in the ASLC where we use a wiki to collaborate on something. We are currently learning about science with James from the Cranbrook Science Center. It would be great to do a project with the kids to bring together some key points from our science days with Mr. James. Now to put something together!

Thing 17

I heard of and played around a little with wiki's a few years ago. I haven't really had the opportunity to use them in the classroom. My husband loves Wikipedia, which I also think is a great tool, but you have to be careful how much credit you give an article in it. I mean it's written by everyday people. The information may or may not be accurate at the time you read it. I think that is a really important point about Wiki's when teaching them to children. A friend of mine is a college professor and he can't stand it when his students use Wikipedia as a source. It isn't a credible source of information when it comes down to it.

On the other hand, Wiki's are great ways to collaborate on creating a project, like with the Kindergarten Counting Book. It's not only cute; it's an incredibly useful and an amazing project. I can also see Wiki's really useful for organizations. Back in my days volunteering with Amnesty International, I think a Wiki would really have come in handy in posting a document and having people be able to change it, add to it, etc.

I think in general, the education Wiki's seem to be for small groups to have privileges versus the other Wiki's, like Wikipedia, where almost anyone can post. Also, I've seen blogs related to events, like conferences, etc., I think posting a Wiki and letting everyone comment would be a lot more useful.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thing 16.1

I wanted to take this opportunity to jazz up my blog. As a reminder, here is what my blog used to look like.

And you can see what it looks like now. I went to Shabby Blogs and added some decor. Enjoy!

Thing 16

Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com
Make your Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com

I found it pretty easy to create and post my widget. Some widgets are definitely useful. I remember visiting one site that used to have a digital clock widget. I hated it. I always felt like I was being rushed to read the site, or I was being reminded of the time I was wasting. It really distracted from the site.

Along with my family above, I also added a search bar for searching for things in my blog specifically. I really like this on other sites, so I thought it could be useful on mine, too.

Thing 15

Wow! Using Screen-o-matic was incredibly simple! It was such an easy process, I'd say any students could use it, even young ones. Here's mine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thing 14

I am amazed by VoiceThread. I love it! I wish I would have had this tool back in college for all the group work we had to do. I can really see using this tool for so many things. I really like the idea of posting pictures and thoughts for students to comment on, but even more than that, I love the idea of kids commenting on other kids work. Very cool!

This teaches so many things, including constructive criticism. And why not comment on random people's work? Especially kids' work!

Thing 13

I checked out YouTube. I've watched countless videos on there in the past. It's an amazing tool for sharing... everything. There are definitely some unbelievable videos on there. My most recent uses of YouTube include playing this video for my son when he wanted me to read him another book when I had lost my voice.

And this is probably one of my favorite videos right now. It's hillarious! Especially when you are a babywearing mommy, like I am.

Thing 12.1

I also wanted to share my Wordle of my favorite poem, because I thought it turned out really great.

Wordle: Jabberwocky

Thing 12

I looked through a number of the Tools on the list. I regularly use Weebly for both personal and professional reasons and I love it! It's so easy. I've created Web sites before from scratch, programming html, and I just don't have the time for things like that anymore. Using Weebly has it's limitations, but for basic sites, it's a wonderful time saver.

I think my favorite from the list is the first one, BeFunky. Because who doesn't enjoy doing this to their photos...
The original.

The cartoon.

And the horror flick.

Thing 11

I checked out Delicious. I guess out of everything so far, I see the least potential for me in social bookmarking. I have an account and I just don't find it that useful. In theroy, it sounds great, but I seem to spend more time searching for things with Delicious than I would without. It is interesting seeing what other people are tagging; and yes, I do occasionally find something that was worth it. I just don't see me using it.