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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thing #16 Wikis

Wikis are a cool idea. I liked the idea I read about doing collaborative note taking on a wiki. Students would need to contribute information, make comments, ask questions, give their opinion, make connections... That could be a simple participation grade.

With Model United Nations, students are grouped by the country they represent and by the issue they are researching. They could establish a country wiki which would allow them to share their research more easily and an issue wiki to share information about their issue.

With the information learned about their country, each group could create a trading card with a picture and information about their country to share with the rest of the MUN members at meetings.

I have some projects that students work on as a group, such as a WW II magazine. Each group could establish a wiki as a central place to put information, create and edit their assignment.

In the past, groups have had trouble with students e-mailing information to each other.

It seems like there are similarities between wikis and Google Docs. I'm not sure about that.

Thing #12 Community Revisited

Thanks to reading Elmore's Glue, I tried his idea of creating a student badge for a field trip. I missed the badge project when I worked on my mosaic. I take my 11th graders to Rice University Library each fall to begin their research project; my badge is for that trip.

There are a number of positive reasons to have students create a badge. I'm going to have them do that this year.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thing #15 What will a library look like five years from now?

I use the library a lot between my history classes and Model United Nations activities, so the library is very important to me.

I have observed that many students want to find all of their information on Internet, rather than reading print material. The challenge is in finding internet sources that contain credible research. Another challenge (not limited to information found on the computer) is getting students to interact with sources, rather than simply "cutting and pasting."

The theme of the articles on Library 2.0 seem to emphasize a synthesis of the older look of a print library with the technology offered students today.

One goal of the IB History class is to get students to take on the role of an historian. Part of that involves looking at a variety of sides or interpretations of events. One way to do that is to read books written during the 20th century. As archives are opened or additional research is conducted, new interpretations and descriptions of events are written.

Sometimes the older books give information that newer authors don't include, because of their access to newer information. (But that doesn't mean libraries should be full of "old" books only!)

For history, I think students need both a facility for using the newest technology... which many already have and they need an appreciation for books. I think there is a place for both in the Library of the future.

For me, Library 2.0 means I need to be more skilled at using Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 technology... which is why I'm taking this class! There is certainly a lot to learn.

School libraries are still needed for research and to support classroom learning. The difference between the past and now and the future is the form that the learning takes or will take.

Thing #14 Technorati & Tags

As I understand Technorati so far, is a site for searching for blogs. The tags would help a person find a blog that matches one's interests.

At first I thought that Technorati would not be very useful in a history class. Blogs seem to be about today, current events, right now. I need information about the past.

I did a search of School Library Learning 2.0 at Technorati. Using the blog directory, 248 results came up. When I filtered "tags only", there were no results. I think there were no results because there were too many words. I also filtered using "search blogs" and got 71 results. This gave me a list of people's blogs who were doing school library learning classes.

Using the blog directory gave me too many choices. I liked "search blogs" better. It was much quicker to scan 71 descriptions.

Then I used "search blogs" and put in history+Russia. A lot of the results were about Russia today, but I found a couple of blogs about Russian history! I'm really excited about one of the blogs I found. The writer/author gave his e-mail address so I have written him and asked if I could use his blog in my class and I sent him a link to my school website, so he could see what I teach.

One of his blogs is called "A Soviet Poster A Day" so I hope to get a positive response.

I want to go back to the Technorati site and do more searches for other countries that I spend a lot of time on. It's a good thing it's summer... it takes time going through all of these sites and doing all of these searches but some interesting things are coming up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thing #13 Delicious

Delicious is an interesting site. I have always kept my use of computers very simple. I don't bookmark, I don't use an address list on my personal computer. I don't want to take the chance of passing on a virus or other bad problems to friends I e-mail.

I like the idea of keeping sites I would like to bookmark on a website. It is neat that I can click on sites I listed and go to that site. That's really helpful. I have my students do some sort of research assignment for many of the units we study. I give them a list of websites to use to help them with their research. Sometimes students tell me about a site they have found and I try to remember to go back and add it to my handout I give them.

If I set up a Delicious account for each of my subjects, I can put on websites. Students can access them and add good ones they find.

I wish there were a way to create folders on Delicious, so I could group the sites around different periods of history. It seems that after a while, the list may get to long and unwieldy.

I think that would be a problem for librarians using Delicious. The list of websites could grow quite substantial and the only way to search through it would be by the use of tags. If you don't use the correct word, you could miss a great site.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thing #12 How should one comment on a blog--revisited

I was able to comment on a number of blogs today. Another teacher had commented on one of my postings. I had not replied back, but have now done so. I can see if a person had a blog with many people posting to the blog that it would be really difficult to reply individually to each one, but it also does seem rather rude, if someone "talks" to you, to not talk back.

I also now am a member of the John Wayne forum. It is a blog. I made my first posting on that site today. That was interesting... we'll see what happens. They had a thread about a John Wayne movie I used to show my 7th grade Texas History students, so I wrote about that and why I used the movie in my class.

Thing #11 Library Thing Revisited

When reading another blog, I found out how to add some of my books on Library Thing to my blog, so I'm going to try it.

Thing #12 How should one comment on a blog?

I learned a lot about different kinds of blogs reading the Wikipedia article. There is a whole different vocabulary to learn.

The articles about commenting on blogs seemed common-sense, but I'm sure they are necessary. It seems that the point to a blog is to foster communication and exploration on a particular topic. Just like classroom discussion needs ground rules so that all students can participate in civil discourse, the same needs to happen on a blog. It seems that two important points to keep in mind are (a) the comments need to be meaningful and (b) make it easy to comment.

Knowing why something is good, or what specifically can be improved is better than just "that's great." The more information provided can lead to new ideas. Some of the ideas, like posing questions at the beginning and using open ended statements were good things to think about to encourage comments and discussion on a blog.

One discussion centered on whether a person should reply to every comment on his/her blog.

It was not surprising to read about "Darth Commentor". Not only are there people out there that have their own agenda and do not believe it important to have discourse in a civil manner, but some people seem to want to destroy what other people have. One thing that worries me about blogging and social websites is the possibility of viruses or other problems being spread as many people get onto a blog.

Ease of commenting is also importnat. I, for one, have trouble with technology. The easier, the better!

I looked through the blogs and wrote a comment on one. At the end was "comment as: select profile". I didn't know which one to choose, so I couldn't post my comment.

On my Google Reader, I have Rick Steve's blog... Blog Gone Europe. I love to travel and enjoy his show on PBS so I have started reading his blog. My favorite actor is John Wayne. I found the official website and they have a discussion forum. I have registered for that. Their registration is rather elaborate. They want to keep off spammers. If you don't make any comments within 60 days, your account becomes deactivated. I don't know if that qualifies as a blog, exactly, but it seemed close, since the point is to foster discussion among John Wayne fans.