Monday, July 26, 2010

Troovi - Photo Sharing







Troovi is a site that provides a URL for sharing photos.  Working on a project with students and want a collection of Photos?  Troovi can do that.  Teach a Journalism class and want a student to save the photos that night for you to see without having to download them?  Troovi can do that.  Teach Yearbook?  Yeah, that too.  What a great idea.  A place to share and upload photos to one URL.

A collection is deleted if it is not accessed for more than 30 days.  90 days with a premium account.  The basic version allows for 500 photos per collection for completely free.  You can sign up for an account, free or premium, and then log in when you visit the site.

I really think this could be a useful way for students to share photos they find for a project, collage, discussion, etc.  My school did block my ability to upload photos though, so that could be an issue, but if done from home, still a way for students to share pictures. 

When they allow the opportunity to create your own URL, that will make the site even better.

HowjSay









howjsay is a great resource for any teachers out there working with ESL students, or even students at a young age who struggle with pronunciation of English words.  You type in the word that a student is struggling to pronounce and the web based software will read the word to you with a very clear and concise voice.  You scroll over the word with your mouse and it will pronounce the word every time your mouse passes over the word you highlight.  You can list up to 6 entries for it to find.

Do you have some other students struggling with a foreign language?  Well, type in that word in English, and then use the Google Translator and it will translate it into the language for you.  howjsay will not pronounce though.  At least not yet, maybe in the future.

Want students to know the definition?  That is an option as well.  Students can also click on a "define" link and it will define it using Google Dictionary.

Have an iPhone?  You can also find the HowjSay iPhone App as well.

Write.fm

Write.fm is a site for creating and sharing documents.  You can even upload a file to the document, so another way to share and discuss a picture, article, cartoon, etc.  The site also allows you to EASILY create your own URL.  This would be a great way as an educator to go paperless if your school has not provided a way for you to do so.  Like most of these sites, I am sure that whatever you create becomes their property.

Kizoa - Digital Story Telling






Kizoa is another website for creating Digital stories out of photos.  The main difference so far is that it also offers the ability to edit those photos as well with more features than I have seen from the other web-based applications.  You can add transitions, flash animations, text, effects, and frames to the pictures when adding them to the slide-show making them more appealing to the viewer.

You can sort your photos into albums and give photos tags helping you keep them organized.  You can share it with others and create private groups that people can join.  Kizoa is completely free. Uploading 100 photos was rather simple.  I was blocked by the firewall at my school, but doing it from home was easy.  The user interface was also very easy to use as well.  With the free account you get 1024 MB of storage, so if you plan on using high quality images, you probably want to pay for an account.

When finished you can burn the slide-show to a DVD, convert slide-show into video, and download and play the slide-show offline. Impressive software.  Feels like they took the best of some of the others and combined them into one.

You Convert It








YouConvertIt is another option for converting your files.  But that is not all it does.  It can also Download Videos from the web and then convert them using the website.  It also provides an option for sending files (up to 300 MB if you sign up for Free Account, 120 MB without signing up.) via email from them web.  By signing up for the free account you get 1 GB of space and 6 GB of monthly bandwidth size, as well as a personal in-box.  There are more options if you decide to have a pay account.  There are several files that you can convert files from.  They are broken down by image, video, audio, document, and archive.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Einstein at a Chalkboard

So an interesting way to introduce topics and information to students to start class.  Most of us have seen the image of Albert Einstein at the Chalkboard and turning around facing the camera teaching a lesson.  Well, now Einstein can introduce your lesson to your students.  It does take some playing around with to get the words and sentences organized in the picture, but still an interesting find.

There are also several other options
Dictionary Entry - Cool way to tell personality traits of students

I would only suggest you use this as a teacher.  Don't let students use it for an assignment or project though.

Diigo Education Account

Just discovered that Diigo offers premium education accounts to educators to use with students.  I did not know that these existed, but seems like a great way for students to share and organize resources that they find for work in your class.  Really good if students are conducting research for a project.  You provide a school email and the site says they will get back with you within 48 hours.

I could really see this as a helpful tool for students to learn how to annotate web resources and save the information they are reviewing.  The Post-it capabilities also offer ways for students to communicate as well as discuss what they are reading.  You can create a class group as well as group classes together.  Be a great way for students to collaborate from other schools, states, and countries.  Below as some of the features:

You can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)
Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
Privacy settings of student accounts are pre-set so that only teachers and classmates can communicate with them.
Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.

You can learn more about Diigo Education HERE

Insects...An Informational Website

Been a while since I posted to my blog.  I really try to step away from work in the summer and enjoy time with family, friends, and on the golf course.  To my readers, sorry I have not posted much lately, but I will be back in the swing of things soon.  But in my return, I bring a great resource to share with students, especially boys.










Personally, I am not a fan of bugs.  I know that most people are not.  Most kids, especially boys are fascinated with bugs.  Insects.org is a site that offers pictures and information about ALL TYPES of insects.  What is also great about this site is that it explains the role that insects have in human culture.  As the site says, they "aim to help you really see insects for the miniature marvels they represent and to understand how intertwined our cultures have become with these alien creatures."  If your students are going to be studying insects this might be a good starting point for them to start some research.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

MeeGenius - Great Tool for Elementary Teachers







I came across MeeGenius while surfing (is that still a proper term?) the Internet.  It is a collection of books meant for younger students, many of the books with titles we are all familiar with.  First thing I noticed is that you can personalize the books, meaning you can input other names for the main characters.  So like in the book "Jack and the Beanstalk" I was able to put my son's name in place of Jack and other members of my family in the place of other characters.

Right now there are 27 books available for your reading pleasure.  If you don't make any personalizations, the software will highlight each word and read the book aloud to the students in your classroom.  Could be a great way for reading comprehension.  I found the digital voice to be very easy to listen to...not the usual digitized computer voice we are used to hearing.

MeeGenius is also available as an iPhone and iPad app.  I could see me using this in the future with my children.  My son will probably have a laptop by the time he is 5 anyway!

Give MeeGenius a look.  I could see it being used in several Kindergarten and 1st Grade classrooms.  You could use it as a reward to have a certain students' names personalized in the books.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

8 Common Misconceptions Recap

Whew; what a week. I worked a camp for Migrant students and went on a golf trip with some friends. Hard to believe that we are already in the month of July. Where did my summer go?  Summer is a great time to look back at how you teach as well as look forward to how you CAN teach.

When I started thinking about the 8 Common Misconceptions of Technology Integration in Education, I used my own experiences as a teacher and things I once used to say as a means for their development.  I am not abstained from once having the same misconceptions, but my new job and new use of Social Media have changed many views I once had.

Now that the series is finished, I encourage you to take the posts and use them as a form of a quiz for teachers in your building.  Create a True-False Quiz.  Discuss responses by teachers.  Most teachers will probably say true.  Some will say false.  Those that say false will PROBABLY be more likely to integrate technology, in my opinion.

Here is a recap of the 8 Common Misconceptions of Integrating Technology in Education with a short response to those teachers that answer "True" to the Misconception statement.

     - It is not the technology that will improve the test scores, it is the teacher who is integrating the technology, how it is integrated, and the effectiveness and efficiency of the technology integration.  Technology can help make good teaching great teaching.

     - Very few new teachers, if any, have had a class on educational technology.  Some might know how to use a cell phone, connect DVD's, use a digital camera, etc.  They most likely did not use a Document Camera, Smart Board, Airliner, etc.  They also have little exposure to Web 2.0.  Hopefully this will change in 5-10 years.

3.) Experienced Teachers have little/no desire to integrate technology in the classroom
     - Experienced teachers like technology, they like new toys like anyone does.  What they want though, is to be taught one tool they can use and provide an opportunity to see how it can be a success in their classroom.  Information overload can cause a lack of interest in educational technology

4.) Integrating Technology in my Classroom is too expensive for me/my school to afford
     - A few years ago this was a valid argument, but the creation of Web 2.0 resources has created ample opportunities for free integration of technology in the classroom.  There are also tons of grants available for receiving technology equipment for the classroom.

5.) I don't have time to integrate technology in my classroom
     - Everyone has time.  It is not about having time, it is about making time.  In the long term, teachers will have more time once technology is integrated in the classroom.  Grading assignments and projects becomes less time consuming.  Not having time is just a cover up for other fears that teachers have.

6.) There can't possibly be any technology to integrate in the subject matter I teach
     - Once again, this used to be the case a few years ago.  Many of the resources available can be used across the curriculum.  There are also several subject based resources available.  Just join Twitter and Diigo to see all the subject based resources.

7.) I have to know everything about the technology in order to integrate it in the classroom
     - No one ever knows everything.  If you wait to have complete understanding you will never get to a point to integrate it in the classroom.  Most of the time you won't learn everything until you start to use it.  You will learn more by using technology with students.  The best way to learn about a technology resource is to jump in and start using it.

8.) My students know more about technology than I do
     - Yes, students know more about the Web, cell phones, video games, etc.  Students don't know how to use technology appropriately with the content that you are teaching.  They might have a better understanding of how to use it, which is a good thing, because then you have an aide in the classroom to help other students and you.

Take these Common Misconceptions and create a True-False Quiz for your staff to take at the beginning of the school year.  Help remove the technology fears and misconceptions that keep so many teachers from integrating technology.  Help them see their personal issues with technology integration.
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