Edublogs.

It has been over a month now since I started up my blog, and I have to say I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would. At first I thought it would just be another thing I had to keep updating, but it has been nice to share my thoughts and hear what others have to say as well.

 The program I have used for my blog is Edublogs. At first I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, or what I was meant to write, but I feel like I have gotten the hang of it and I hope people have enjoyed reading it. First I had to change the blog to suit me. I changed the theme, changed the colour scheme, added a few widgets (a month ago I didn’t even know what a widget was!) and changed my header. Then it was time to start posting my entries. I tried to keep up with reflecting on the weekly program we were looking at in EST340, but I also included a few videos and articles regarding issues I thought were important or interesting.

 Overall throughout my time as a blogger, I have found the task to be quite interesting. Here are my views on Edublogs:

Pros:

• Fairly easy to use.

• You can really customise the blog to suit your personality (or the personality of your class).

 • You can add pictures and videos.

 • You can add heaps of widgets.

 • It would be really user friendly for students to use.

 Cons:

 • When I changed the theme of my blog, it made all of my past post go crazy, so I had to go into each one and edit them.

• As a class blog, I’m not sure how safe it is in terms of strangers seeing what the students have been doing, and even viewing their photos.

Keeping a blog is something I would definitely try as a teacher. I think it is a great way to communicate with students and their families and share what has been going on in the classroom. Some things you could include in your class blog would be:

• Newsletters.

• Home work reminders

 • Excursion reminders

• Notes to parents.

• Students work.

• Students of the week.

 • Class discussion topics

 And I am sure there is so much more!

 It is definitely something that would take a lot of dedication from both the teacher and the students, but if the effort was put in I am sure it would be very beneficial for everyone. Well that’s my thoughts on Edublogs, I would love to hear of what others think.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

Privacy???

I just read this really interesting article called ‘Schools use the net to eavesdrop on students’ regarding schools that are monitoring its student’s internet use for activities such as facebook and twitter ect, not only at school but also at home! Their reasoning is that they are worried about cyber bullying, but I don’t know about this. Do you all think that schools should be allowed to monitor what students are using the internet for at home?

See the article here.

Photo editing

This week it was time to start editing photos, which turned out to be really fun (I think I have got an addiction to it and now edited almost every photo on my computer).  The two programs I choose to try out were Picnik and Colorsplash.

Picnik is an online program that allows you to upload your photos and make various changes to them. You can crop or resize the image, brighten the colours, add borders or pictures and also do ‘touch ups’ such as teeth whitening, remove blemishes (and more if you pay to subscribe). This program is very easy to use and a lot of fun! For a free program I could not find anything wrong with Picnik, it was great. Below I have added a couple of photos which I edited using Picnik.

 

 

The other program I played around with was Colorsplash. Colorsplash is an app that you can download on you Iphone. When using this app, you can turn your images black and white, and then choose to add a splash of colour to them which really stands out. Again the app was very easy to use and quite enjoyable. I have also uploaded a photo I played around with on Colorsplash.

 

Overall both of these programs were really fun and easy to use. Students would love to play around with them during their free time. However, I don’t think these programs would be very useful in the classroom. Although they could be used to edit photos for class blogs or newsletters, I am unable to think of a way that they could be used to help the students educationally. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

I would highly recommend giving both of these programs a go if you haven’t used them before.

Until next time…

Photostory.

This week I have been playing around with Photostory. Photostory is a program that allows you to create slideshows. While playing around I found that you can edit your photos (eg: remove red eye, change to black and white ect), change the way photos transition to the next photo, add music to your presentation and so much more!

This program was really easy to use and could definitely be used by students. Using Photostory would be a great way to create a presentation of students work, presenting photos of a class excursion or many other ways. If your class had a class blog, you could use this program to showcase photos of what the students have been doing in the class during the week for parents to see.

The good things about this program is that it’s very easy to use, it’s a fun way to present videos, it would appeal to students and it’s free! The only negative I can find with it, was that it was a bit slow sometimes, and would often freeze up (however this may have been my laptop having a bad day).

Below I have added a slideshow of photos from a recent family holiday to Lake Entrance (these are the only photos I have on my laptop at the moment). You can include music in your presentation, however I have not as I don’t really know the rules with copyright ect, and I didn’t want to get myself in trouble.  It’s just  a rough job, but it was fun to make.

Click here to see my Photostory Presentation .

Until next time…

Video: Child using an Ipad.

I was recently at an early years conference where they showed a video of a two year old boy using an Ipad. It was amazing! When I came home I had to look up the video again, so that I could post it on my blog to show all of you.


 

 In the description of the video, the boy’s father writes:

“His speech, understanding, word recognition, and even hand eye coordination have improved within just a short while!! I am so amazed and thankful for this amazing learning tool that my son has! I wanna say thanks to Apple and all those that have given my child such a head start in life with this amazing instrument! My son can read tons of words now, he knows every animal and dinosaur and he just turned 2 years old!!!! If you have a child around 2, don’t rob him/her of knowledge, go buy him/her an iPad!”

This really demonstrates what a valuable tool the Ipad really is in helping young students to learn.

Until next time…

Widgetbox: Poll Creator.

I had recently been playing around with a couple of different widgets, when I came across Widgetbox. This website allows you to create your own widgets. As you can see from my page I have created a poll of “if you were a teacher, would you have a class blog?’.

 

You can create any question and answers you like! It would be a great tool to use on a class blog as you could have a weekly question for students to answer as well as offering students a choice about class decisions being made. If you’re interested in creating your own, follow the link here.

 

 

 Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Class blog

Recently I came across this video of a teacher talking about her class blog. She has some great ideas, and is really dedicated to making sure the blog is updated regularly and enjoyed by all her students. She makes her posts interactive and creates activities that get all the students involved. You can watch the video below, and she also provides a link to her class blog in the video description. To go to her blog and have a look at some of her great ideas, follow the link here.

Audacity

A couple of weeks ago now, I spent some time playing around with the various features of the program Audacity. Audacity is a program that lets you record and edit sound files.

 While playing around with the features I found that you can do many things such as: change the speed of the recording, change the pitch from really high to really low, cut bits of the audio out that didn’t work or didn’t sound quite right and so much more! The thing I like about this program is that it is very simple to use. In thinking about using it from a teachers perspective, you could quickly go into the program, make a recording, fix up any errors and post it ready for students to listen to. Fast and easy!

For the basic things I was recording and editing with the program, I was unable to find anything wrong with the program. Perhaps if it was getting used for more high tech recordings it would have its faults, but from a teacher/student perspective it’s great!

 

Once I had figured out how it all works, I got to thinking about how it could be used in a classroom. A couple of ideas I came up with were:

  • Using it to record homework tasks on a class blog: recently during my teaching rounds with grade 1/2’s a lot of students had trouble with their homework, as they were unable to read the tasks. By creating a recording students could have their task explained to them in a format that is easy for them to understand. The only negative that I can see with this idea, is that it relies on students having access to the internet at home, which many families may not be able to.
  • Another idea is that students who don’t like doing activities which involve speaking in front of the class such as oral presentations, role plays ect could record their speech and then play it back to the class or the teacher. This way, students still get to practice their speaking skills, but don’t have to worry about the nerves that go with being in front of the class (which for some students can be terrifying!)

I’m sure there are plenty of different ways that Audacity could be used in the classroom which I am missing, and I would love to hear of any other ideas that you guys may have.

Until next time…

 

Teaching Rounds…

I am currently on my teaching rounds and having an amazing time (which explains the lack of blog updates)! I thought I would take some time to fill you all in on a couple of ways I have seen technology being used in the classroom.  

The main things majority of the students have been using a computer for is Mathletics. They love it! Whenever they get the chance they are nagging the teacher to play it. Some students love it so much that they even spend their lunch and recess time in the computer lab playing. Apart from games, the class is also creating a project on an animal of their choice. They were given time in the computer lab to do some research, however this school has chosen to block students from using the internet. Instead students are only allowed to use the websites which have been linked to the school intranet. Although I understand the school would have their reasons for opting to do this, I feel as though the students are missing out on learning to use an amazing resource. I would love to hear what other people think about schools which choose to block the internet from students.

Moving on, unfortunately the teacher I am with makes very little use of her interactive whiteboard, so I haven’t observed a whole lot of different activities which that can be used for. I decided to try using it with the class during one of my chances to take a lesson to see how the students responded to it. I chose to create a game on the board which the whole class could play and couldn’t believe how successful it was! The students really loved it and were so involved in the activity. Getting such a great response from the activity really motivated me to find other ways to use the board and I hope to include it in many more of my lessons to come.

My Lesson

To finish off the post I wanted to share with you a website I saw being used in the classroom. The website is called ‘Storyline online’. This websites contains videos of celebrities reading books. It includes popular books such as ‘The Rainbow Fish’ and ‘Harry the Dirty dog’. The moving pictures and the enthusiasm the readers put into the story’s makes the book seem so much more exciting for the students (and what makes it exciting for the teachers is it gives you some free time while they watch, and it includes some ideas of related activities you could do with the class).  If you’re interested in having a look at the website follow the link here. It’s definitely worth looking at!

 

 

 

I would love to hear of some interesting uses of technology that others have seen while out on their rounds.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diigo

It took me a little while to make a start with using Diigo, but now that I have its something I’m glad I have been shown!

Diigo is a social bookmarking website that allows you to highlight any important information, save bookmarks for all your favourite websites and add sticky notes to pages (what a great idea!). As soon as I began to figure out how to use the website I immediately knew it was something that would be very helpful for me as a teacher and a student.

During my time at uni I am constantly looking up different articles and websites to help me with my assignments. Often I will find some useful information, but then forget where I saw it, or I will save a website but then forget why I saved it. Well now thanks to the help of Diigo, I shouldn’t have those problems anymore. Now I can save the websites to my Diigo account and highlight any important information and even leave myself a little sticky note to remind me what I was going to use the information for. The factor that makes this website even better is that when I save these websites at home, I can still open them up on a different computer, meaning I can access the websites where ever I am.

From a teacher’s perspective this website is just as useful. A website like this one is something that could be very helpful in the classroom. Not only is it great for saving the thousands of websites that teachers gather (as well as  being able to tag or leave a sticky note as to why you saved them) but it would also allow teachers working together to share their resources. It would also be a fantastic way for students to save the websites they use for projects so that they can find them again when they use another computer.

So far I have not found any negatives with the website, how can I complain about something that is so helpful! I’m not sure about how well a website like this would work with younger students, but it is definitely something I would use in a class with older students, and something I know I will be using as a teacher.

Until next time…