Friday, July 20, 2012

Cell Phones in Class?? Duh!

I thought this article, “5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class” on was awesome.  I literally wanted to quote every single point Michael Soskil made because I thought they were so great!  Since I’ll be teaching 2nd grade in the fall, this type of article isn’t as relevant to me as middle and high school teachers, but it definitely gives you something to think about.  As Michael points out, if we’re preparing students for life after school then shouldn’t we allow them to use the tools they’ll be using when they get there?  A lot of people I know use their fancy smart phones for calls, texts, emails and apps like Pinterest and Facebook; imagine if we all knew how to REALLY use these phones!  Another great point Michael made, and I’ve heard others make a similar comment; school budgets are tight, why not utilize the technology available? (aka the students’ phones!) 

I thought it was pretty funny when he started ragging on teachers saying that students can use them to cheat on tests; well if your test is straight recall and it’s that easy to cheat on, you should probably write a better test!  They’re not cheating, they’re collaborating!  I also liked the comment about using this as an opportunity to teach students responsible ways to use their technology, they’re going to use it regardless, and you might as well teach them how. The only thing I didn’t really agree with was the “no double standards” comment; I see what he’s saying, but I don’t think it is important enough to include in this post, and doesn’t really add to the “argument”.  I think some double standards are part of childhood and growing up, I don’t think a kid should get everything an adult has, they need to wait their turn and earn it!  Overall though, I think this is a great article and I think full cell phone use in schools is right around the corner...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Screen Out the Mean!

From what I’ve had a chance to look at so far, I think is an awesome website!  I searched for some 2nd grade lessons, and it came up with a lot more than I was expecting – eight! Maybe I’m still stuck in the 90s, but for someone who didn’t get their first screen name until Middle School; this kind of blew my mind.  Cyber bulling is a topic that interests/terrifies me, so I took a few minutes to read through the lesson “Screen Out the Mean”, which is part of the “Connected Culture Unit”.  I thought the lesson was easy to relate to and straight forward, and even includes a free “STOP Cyber Bullying Student Handbook”, as well as extension suggestions.  Depending on how much time you had, the lesson could easily be shortened or expanded on and still be relevant to the students.  I am definitely going to be bookmarking this page, and hope to use a couple lessons with my 2nd graders this year! 

PowerPoint is Evil! Muhahahaha!

Although somewhat melodramatic, Edward Tufte makes some pretty solid points regarding the overuse, and probably misuse, of PowerPoint in corporations and schools.  I had never thought of it like this, but Mr. Tufte points out that through the use of fragmented slides in PowerPoint, we are teaching the Youth of America how to “formulate client pitches and infomercials”.  Although this may actually be useful to help them make some money, it’s probably not effective in teaching them how to write a report or story, or even string together coherent thoughts.  The most important point Mr. Tufte makes though is that “rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute”, which I think is extremely accurate.  I don’t think PowerPoint is a bad thing, it can be really useful and effective, but it needs to supplement what is being said, not actually “be” what is being said.  I’m just as guilty of this as the next person, but as they say, “The acknowledgement of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss." (Thomas Kempis)

Monday, July 16, 2012 so we meet again!

Since it’s been a few months since my last visit, I decided to check out again!   With the upcoming Olympics in mind, one of the most recent posts entailed a five minute video about the differences between England, Great Britain, and the UK.  Underneath the embedded video, the blog author has a short review on the video as well as suggestions for future use; for example the narrator speaks very quickly so you might want to pause/replay sections.  This blog post also included supporting links to access pictures, as well as applications for education.

I also found a post from earlier this week entitled “10 Ways to Create Videos” which discusses 10 online sites to create videos; definitely will be keeping this one in mind!  I’ll highlight a few of the sites, but the full list is below if you want to check them out.  WeVideo is a collaborative online creation tool, which allows you to invite others to create and edit with you; National Archives Digital Vault allows you to drag and drop digital artifacts into a poster or video; and Muvee Cloud basically provides one an opportunity to create collaborative (private) photo albums, and then you can select your favorite images to create a video for the group.

Zimmer Twins – elementary intro for animated stories

Let me know what you think!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Who Cares about Ancient Egypt, anyways??

Ancient Egypt isn’t just a thing of the past!  My digital story is about the major contributions of Ancient Egypt, targeted towards my future 2nd grade audience! Enjoy!

To create my digital story, I used “PhotoStory”, which is a free Windows software.  The biggest challenge I ran into was recording and coordinating the sound with the pictures.  I was recording my entire script while clicking through the pictures, which was somewhat distracting, and if I made a mistake then I would have to re-record the entire story. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tweet All About It!

Aleia and I created our podcast on how to use Twitter to examine and share knowledge on the 2012 Presidential candidates!

Check it out and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012