Monday, July 20, 2009

Thing #23 The End!!

1. Favorite discoveries/exercises. I have several favorites. First, is Delicious. I've been putting websites on there and using tags to label which class and topic the sites are for. I have to figure out how to organize the sites so students don't have to scroll through a ton of sites looking for what they need.

I also like Google Advanced Search. I've used it to look up information on one topic. I expect to use it a lot.

LibraryThing is neat. I have a rather large class library now... I've been working on it for a couple of years and add to it each year. I'm going to put all the books on it. I can keep track of what I have. Students can access it to see what is available in my room and find out about the book before deciding what they want to read.

2. Life long learning goals. This program has been a really sharp learning curve. I know very little about what is available to use and had never heard of Web 2.0. My use of technology is very basic. I've learned A LOT and have found really useful information for my history classes, such as http://sovietposter. Now I need to keep working with what I learned, so that it becomes easier and I can create a variety of learning opportunities for students.

3. Take-aways/unexpected outcomes. Nothing struck me as unexpected. I knew there was a lot out there that I had never explored, so that is why I signed up for this program. Because of being assigned to look for blogs, I found the John Wayne site. I had not thought before of looking for a fan website. Turns out it is a blog and it is fun. I told a friend, who is also a big John Wayne fan, about it today. I'm also glad to find the NCSS Ning. I'm going to tell teachers in my department about it.

Actually, there is an unexpected outcome. I was asked to write curriculum this summer for a new district Economics program. It is an independent study program for students who are taking Economics at HCC. The students need activities and lessons on Fridays at their home campus. It needs to be very easy for teachers to monitor. Besides looking at Plato and other sources, I've gotten ideas from doing this program, including using the structure of the program for the Economics lessons for the students, if that is okay.

4. What to do differently. I don't know. I really like this format. I like being able to work on the lessons at home when my daughter is in bed. When I go to workshops, I have to send her to my parents' house. She has fun, but prefers being at home. The instructions were good and understandable. It was possible to just click on links provided or to explore even further from that. I like the independent study aspect of the program.

5. Another program. Yes, I would definitely participate, especially if it were in the summer. I need more practice with what I learned. There is so much that needs to be done all of the time. One goal I had this summer was to exercise, but that didn't happen. I did paint, unpack boxes, hang pictures... lots of things connected with moving. Having the structure of this class got me on the Internet and exploring information that will be helpful for my classes. The structure gets me doing it and since I didn't even know what to look for, the information in the program guided me as to what to do.

6. One word or sentence. Enlightening. Useful. Very interesting (sorry... two words). This program guided me to expand my knowledge by exploring the technology world where I had never gone before (apologies to Star Trek).

Thank you!

Thing #22 Nings... (Thing, Wing, Zing)

I couldn't resist the rhyming words.

I think using a Ning for class sounds like a good idea. There are other areas where we try to teach students that work and play are separate areas. There are the registers of language. Facebook is for play, Nings are for work/school.

Nings could be used for discussion groups. There could be a Ning for each period, or put them all together. I have students do an outside reading assignment each grading people. As part of the assignment, students would need to get on the Ning, put a post tell about their book and make comments about a couple of other books.

A Ning would be easier than everyone having their own blog and having to get on each other's blogs. They could just go to one place.

Another teacher at school had a Facebook assignment for her class that the students enjoyed very much. If we did the assignment on a Ning, instead, students wouldn't be tempted to get on their own Facebook account while working... it wouldn't be quite as easy.

I did a search for history nings. Many are from various classes... AP US History, World History... for class projects or assignments.

I found the national Council for Social Studies Community Network Ning. I looked at it, read some of the posts. I found an IB teacher who teaches in Thailand! One of the groups on the Ning is for European History, so I joined the NCSS Ning and the European History group.

So Nings can be used in the classroom for class projects and as a listserve to connect with other teachers, ask questions and learn the latest information in my field.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thing #21 Creating a Photo Story story

I read the comments about creating the PhotoStory assignment. I clicked on Audacity and looked around the program. I read the Help section. But I could not figure out how to record my own narrative. All I saw was information about downloading something else, I guess from a website. How do you create your own narrative on Audacity? I was planning to create a PhotoStory about a book I have been reading this summer called "Forge of Empires: 1861-1871". I did download some pictures to my Photostory, put titles on each picture and chose transitions between the pictures. Since I didn't have any narrative on Audacity, I did not try to load PhotoStory to my blog yet. I guess I cannot finish this lesson until I learn how to use Audacity. I don't think I will use PhotoStory to create a presentation for my students, but if a student wanted to use PhotoStory as a way to present a project, that would be great. On some projects, I give students choices for how they create their assignment. I have not included PhotoStory as a choice before, as it becomes more popular and more people are using it, I'm sure some students will want to use it. I think that would be pretty neat. I got my pictures from Wikipedia, so hopefully there are no copywrite issues.

I'm still having trouble with adding narration. When I clicked on "record", the program did some adjustment to the recording program on the laptop... that is what the message said. But, when I recorded, then played back, there was nothing.

Also... the first slide is visible for 38 seconds, then the rest go by more quickly. I tried to change the number of seconds for the first slide, but when I save the change, it reverts back to the original amount.

I did add music, which does play. So, there is some progress!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thing #20 Web 2.0 Visual Tools

The first URL is for "The First World War: War Without End Part I" covers information in the summer of 1918.

The second URL is for "Germany after WW II" which covers the start of the Cold War up to the Berlin Blockade/Airlift. It was put on teachertube by the American Institute for History.

Question: I copied the URL and clicked on "edit html" when I put it in my blog, but I can tell that a person will not be able to click on the URL and see the video. How do I get the URL to link?

I was surprised to find history videos on You Tube. There were several on World War I and World War II that were quite good! It would be nice to know who the group is for each. There is their name, but nothing about them. I need to put in more history topics and see what there is. I did try some 19th century topics, but nothing came up. They seem to have only 20th century.

The advantage of You Tube over the Streaming Video we have at school is that I can look at You Tube at home. I'm assuming (not a good idea.. I'll try it out at school) that if I can access You Tube on my school laptop, I can access it at school to use in class.

I also looked at Teacher Tube. I was not as impressed with that. At my level of classes, I prefer professional videos, rather than videos produced by someone's class. However, I did find some videos produced by the American Institute for History. There is a really good one for introducing the Cold War.

Basically, both are additional tools that I can use in my classroom. Having good videos is very valuable. Students remember them and it enhances learning.

Thing #19 Web 2.0 Award List

There is a lot of variety of Web Tools. I looked at several.
1. At the IB workshop I'm at, there is a book one of the teachers has recommended about the Interwar Period 1919-1939. However, all of a sudden it has become very popular, due to the curriculum change IB has made and the book has become very difficult to find. I tried, but its results were no different from and Barnes & However, I can see this as a useful site to search for books on a particular subject or maybe a subject where it is hard to find books. The site doesn't seem to be much different from the other two sites, but it is another place to look.

I will include it on a list of sites for my IB students to use when looking for sources for their Internal Assessment research paper.

2. MyHeritage... I would love to use that site. Before I became a teacher I worked on my family's geneology and got quite far with it. It would be neat to put it on the web and connect with other family members. Our immediate family is quite small and it would be interesting to see if distant relatives would be interested. However, I've got a couple of other projects that need to be completed first, before I start doing that.

This is not something I would use in my classroom.

3. the site begins saying a person could learn a foreign language for free at their site. That doesn't really seem possible ("there is no such thing as a free lunch"). It took a while, but they finally got to the payment part. The site is not what it appears to be at the beginning and is not something I would use in my class, anyway.

4. Googlemaps... I played with that a little. This is not something I would use with my class.

I did learn about another map site today that I will use with Model United Nations... it is It has over 300 maps showing visually what parts of the world have or don't have some characteristic. It's really neat.

Thing #18 Productivity Tools

When my computer at home crashed a couple of years ago, everything was restored except for Microsoft Office. That is when I learned about Open Office. It was a little odd to use at first, because it does look a teeny bit different than what I was used to with the Word document, but it worked the same, so things were fine.

EXCEPT... I had to remember when I saved a document to manually save it so that it was compatible with Word. If I wasn't thinking and automatically hit save, then friends would have trouble opening the document.

Other than that, Open Office worked great and the best thing is that it is FREE! That beat paying $150 to buy Microsoft Office.

So I have spent time exploring Google Docs. Two of my students last year did an assignment on Google Docs. I like the fact it can be accessed from anywhere. In fact, when I got on Google Docs for this assignment, their project is still there.

Some of my students had trouble last year e-mailing information to each other to complete a group project. If they had done it on Google Docs, that could have solved that problem. I didn't think to tell students they could use Google Docs.

It seems that Google Docs is similar to creating a Wiki. Both allow a group to work together on a project at one site and everyone can contribute and edit the assignment to get the project in its final form.

What are the differences between Google Docs and a wiki? Are there situations when it would be easier or more efficient to use one over the other? Are there features that are unique to one, but not the other?

Maybe Google Docs would be a site that an individual student could use to put Interactive Notebook assignments on. Some students who prefer working on their computer instead of pen and paper might want that option. Would Google Docs be appropriate for an assignment that would be added to every other day, such as a notebook?

I'm definitely interested in becoming proficient at Google Docs. A big advantage for me is that I could access student assignments at home after my daughter has gone to bed, instead of having to stay later at school looking at assignments in their school folder.

Thing #17 Rollyo

Well, I have created a searchroll on Rollyo. It seems in some ways Rollyo and are very similar. Both of them allow me to create a list of websites.

One difference is that on, when I click on the site I have saved, I can go to it. I tried doing that on Rollyo, but couldn't do it. I noticed that the URL I typed in for some of the sites did not save the entire URL. I know for one of the sites, if someone types in what shows on Rollyo, they will not get to the site I intended. I called my Searchroll "Things Historical".

At the moment, I prefer to use