MID Reviews and Proposal Additions

The MID proposals I read were excellent.  The different uses of technology were well thought out and well executed.  I liked ALLISON‘S idea of verbal directions using an IPod for her Life Skills students.  This is a great way for students to follow directions.  Her use of various  educational theories shows that the lesson is solid and of educational value.   This is something that I will find a use for in my classroom.

DAN had a great idea of using technology to put the determination of the Civil War into the hands of his students.   He uses technology to document, to evaluate and determine.  Before this technology, we would have only been able to have our students ponder the thoughts and to document on paper, what they had seen.  Using Dan’s ideas, students can have information documented in real-time, they can refer to it later AND they can use the technology to predict and analyze outcomes of the war.

CARRIE had a great idea about using technology in writing.  She addresses the concerns teachers have about collaborative writing and while they are all valid concerns they can inhibit some great ways to teach writing.  She proposes using technology to collaboratively write something.  While it can be difficult to assess, it is such an impressive way to expand student knowledge about writing.  Not only do they have to assess and edit their own writing, but they have to evaluate their peers’ writing.  That gives students a  perspective of writing they have not had to experience yet.  This has endless possibilities in writing that I had not realized.

MY PROPOSAL ADDITIONS

If I were to add anything to my proposal, I would flesh out use of the application more.  At each stop that students would be required to visit, they would have to perform certain tasks.  For instance, at the bank, they would have to deposit a specific amount of money into a predetermined account.  They would have to use the MID’s calculator to calculate money left, etc.  At the technology school, they would have to choose a career of interest or major of interest and blog about it.  They would have to find out specific information and post that as well.  Students would be given choices of transportation and would have to track funds, etc.  At the restaurant, they would be required to take pictures of the sign, document something from the menu that they would like to eat and determine the item, a drink and the tip.  At the post office, students would be required to find out the cost of a regular stamp and sign up for selective service using the link available at the post office if they were male. 

These are all things that would help students find, utilize and analyze community resources.  Though most of my students can access some community resources, it is important for them to be able to know where they are, how to use them and when to utilize them.  There are endless resources out there but giving them the basics allows them to have a headstart on things.  Then they can focus on additional things that they need to have access to.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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MID Competition

Get students involved in their learning!  This proposal, for the Educational Droid Use competition that Google is hosting, will explain the details of the lesson students will be exploring.  The theory this lesson is based on is the constructivist school of thought.  This was chosen because it puts learning into the hands of the students.  One of the basic tenets of constructivism is that students “learn by doing not by observing” (Carvin, 1994).  This lesson will be highly active and will rely on the student’s exploration of the topic. 

Though the lesson is organized and planned, it is designed for students to take it in the direction they see appropriate.  In constructivism, the ideal situation is to let student inquiry drive lessons.  Students will have full autonomy to respond how they need and want to.  Students will be responsible for sharing the information they get with each other via person to person and on the web.  This is another tenet of constructivism.  Constructivism encourages dialogue between students and with the instructor. 

Students at the beginning will have to predict outcomes.  The reason for this is to produce contradiction.  By providing incongruous experiences, students will naturally find other methods of inquiry and other methods of completing the assignment.  Disagreements produce contrasts and provide information that would not have been obvious had they not predicted.  Constructivism encourages student involvement that can produce contradictions for this specific purpose. 

This lesson is steeped in constructivist theory in many other ways.  The Learning Outcomes section explains specifically what students are expected to take away from this experience.  It will also reveal some additional ways constructivist theory is evident. 


Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes will guide how the technology is used.  It is important that technology have a useful purpose in acquiring new information.  However, it is also important know how to use new technology as it comes out.  The purpose of this lesson is going to be threefold.  There will be three major objectives that will be accomplished by students.

One objective will be for students to analyze and utilize community resources.  This is essential for students to know simply because they will be out on their own and will need to know how to do this.  They have seen their parents access the grocery store, the bank, the post office, the police station, etc.  Seeing it done is different than doing it though.  Students will be given the opportunity to be out on their own making their own decisions, making their own mistakes and finding out how the real world works. 

Another objective will be to decide how they will save as much money as they can while accessing the resources they are required to access.  Students will be given a particular amount of money to use and will have to account for what they spent and saved. 

The third objective will be to learn how to use the technology they have been given.  They will be given a lesson on the basics of the MID.  For the most part, however, they will learn how to use the required technology such as a GPS through trial and error.  It is important today for students to know how to use new technology.  That is why we have classes today like wood technology, family and consumer science, information technology and others.  Preparing our students for life-long learning is imperative for global competition.  Why not give students the tools to be successful right out of school?  If we do this, they can be ready to prepare for the future themselves rather than play catch up. 


The Experiment (Modeling of Web Apps)

The modeling of web applications will be expanded upon but here is a brief description.  This lesson will require students to use this MID to complete the previously mentioned objectives.  Here is how they will do it.  Four teams will be deployed in Lancaster County at different points.  Each team will have the same GPS objectives and the same tasks to complete. 

The teams will be required to use the GPS to reach predetermined destinations:  A local bank, two local post offices, two grocery stores, two gas stations, one restaurant, the local mall and a local technology school.

In their travels, students will be required to post on the class wiki when they arrived at a particular destination and when they left.  They will also be required to make a post on their group blog about their experience at the particular location. 

Students will be allowed to choose their method(s) of transportation but will be responsible for reporting costs.  This will be explained further when modeling of web apps is expanded.  Students will have chaperones.  The chaperones will only be there to monitor but will not be involved in the learning/decision-making process unless intervention is needed for re-direction. 

Connection to Technology

The connection to technology will be in one of the objectives.  It will be difficult to complete this assignment not using technology so to replace that particular objective, an objective about using maps and calculators will be provided.

In the end, students will be asked to complete a survey asking questions about their experience in this lesson and whether or not it would have been easier or harder without the use of technology.  Some simple yes or no questions will be asked but some specific questions about how it would have been easier or harder will also be asked. 


Outcomes without Technology

If students do not have access to MID technology, there will be alternate ways to accomplish the tasks without it.  Receipts with timestamps will be required when arriving at a destination.  Maps will be used instead of GPSs and calculators will be provided for students. 

Which Method is Better?

Working with technology will provide a better experience for this lesson.  It gives students the ability to interact with each other face to face but also with others that are not in their presence.  Not all is lost without technology, but real-time co-learning is not available.  With technology, students will be able to see how others groups made decisions at particular destinations and learn from other group mistakes.  Technology provides being able to learn from each other’s mistakes, sharing in each experience when it is happening and having access to extra resources they may not have had without technology.  Technology also provides a management factor for the instructor too.  Without technology, the instructor would not have been able to communicate with all his groups simultaneously nor as quickly. 

Appropriate Choice of Web Apps

The wiki application is the best choice because it can be updated real time, time stamps can be utilized, everyone can see everyone else’s posts and immediately know how they fare in the exercise or competition.  Blogs are the best choice for explaining group experiences because they can very easily incorporate pictures, they are easy to read and access. 

Appropriate Use of Web Apps

Appropriate use of the web apps is important and is evident in its utilization.  For instance, online maps can be used to find a quicker way than a GPS may you.  The blog can be used to post pictures, to make comments about experience at particular junctures.  The wiki can be updated by all team members.  They can make comments to each other.  It gives the instructor, one place to check all timestamps and progress of the groups. 


Why Not This App?

There are other applications that can be used for this kind of activity.  Ning is one but I felt that it wasn’t as “quick-viewable” as a wiki for time stamping.  One advantage of Ning is that it doesn’t allow users to edit other’s posts but I thought that I could forego that feature because Wikis do have an edit history feature. 

Conclusion

To be able to get the most from this experience, technology must be used.  To have the most effective lesson, technology is critical in accomplishing goals from a constructivist perspective.  It is with great anticipation that we await approval for this proposal to be submitted to Google for the MID competition.  We have a firm belief that these learning objectives are relevant and that this technology would be enormously beneficial to our cache of instructional technology for providing 21st century skills and education. 

References

Carvin, A. (1994), EdWeb. http://www.edwebproject.org/constructivism.basics.html

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 1:41 am  Comments (1)  
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The Individualized Education Program (IEP) – Writing Software

Any special education teacher will tell you that one of the most challenging things is balancing the paperwork involved in the profession with the time spent educating students.  The endless amount of progress monitoring, IEP writing, lesson plan differentiation, curriculum modifying/accommodating, co-teaching, meetings, etc, etc can drive any sane person crazy.  So why not find a tool to simplify some of this?  There is no one magic tool or one application that will solve it all, but I use one to manage my IEPs, goal progress monitoring and file management.  It is called IEPOnline.  The link is dashboard.ieponline.net

This web-based software can be linked to a central database of students in another application or can manage its own database of students.  The real benefit of this program is that it simplifies the process of writing an IEP and makes progress monitoring much simpler.  Below is a screenshot of my caseload. 

All I have to do is click on a student’s name and it takes me to their IEP or a place where I can write a new one.  It makes all IEPs uniform.  It tracks and records all transition data which is very nice.  When the IEP is complete, the record is locked and cannot be edited unless a formal revision is requested.  This makes all records very safe.

We found this application through our Intermediate Unit.  It is a great tool not only for teacher management, but it allows you to progress monitor on-the-spot and gives a teacher access to goals and objectives without having to go to the guidance office or the cumulative folder to get the actual hardcopy of the IEP. 

There are some downsides to this application.  Before using IEPOnline, we created a Microsoft Word template and used that to guide the structure and required elements of the IEP.  I miss the ability to format and to improve readability.  Using different fonts, indenting information, bolding, italics, and other options for editing are just not available in the online version.  This cramps my style so to speak.  I can’t even change colors!  It often wastes paper because this program does not self-regulate paginating.  When the IEP is done, it creates a PDF file that is then not editable unless you have a PDF editor.  There is a host of other problems, but those will suffice for now. 

Despite these problems, IEPOnline is an easy program to use.  It only took about 1/2 hour to go through and train a group of teachers.  There are tabs for the major portions of each IEP section.  There are sub categories in each tab.  It looks like this:

 

The site is easy to access.  With hundreds of users it can be slow at times, but not unreasonably.  It must continue to update its interface to be competitive.  Its structure seems archaic but it is organized very logically.  It isn’t “pretty.”  There are some other IEP writers out there that seem more attractive.  One plus is that this company does tailor the application to our use.  Since this company is nationwide, it has to deal with some states that have their own special education requirements.  Pennsylvania has Chapter 14 in addition to the federal IDEA law.  Unlike PA, Florida defers all special education services to IDEA.   This would make it easier to manage for IEPOnline.

As far as reviews are concerned, I could not find any web sites that review IEP writing programs.  However, in my school there are varying opinions about its use.  Some are of the opinion that uniformity is important and that protection of the original document is imperative.  Having a record of everything that is done to that document and having an exact record of who accessed to online files is helpful.  Others are of the opinion that formatting is important and having a document that is easy to edit and work with is helpful.  All would agree that there is a usage curve.  The more you use it the quicker you get at using the program.  Overall, everyone agrees that we should continue to work with this company to streamline editing abilities and to smooth out some of accessibility problems. 

 

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Face to Facebook Classroom

I have decided that I would like to use Facebook in the classroom.  You might ask, “How do you use a social networking site like this in the classroom when you have students physically there that could talk face to face?”  I am glad you asked.  As teachers we always want to expand the horizons for our students.  We always want to give them a new perspective, to freshen things up a little bit – to give them something new and exciting to talk about.  But how do you talk about, for instance, new things in history?  After all, history is history.  It’s been done.  There is nothing new to the curriculum you have been teaching for ten years.  There isn’t possibly any way that it can be freshened up without spending thousands of man hours rewriting curriculum and infusing it with new ideas.  Or IS there? 

There is a free way and a way that uses less curriculum building hours to create the new perspective that you so desperately want to give your students.  The following is an example of how a social studies teacher could infuse Facebook into the curriculum and give students a new perspective on an old subject, an old war – World War II.  It could be done using any war or event in history though. 

The main point of using Facebook in this way is to show students that truth is not always from our own perspective.  One event can have multiple points of view and can be right at the same time.  It gives students the opportunity to respect opinions, respond appropriately, learn from others and to realize that there are other valid opinions. 

Here is why Facebook is such a great tool for this assignment.  Facebook is not only a United States fad.  It is a worldwide known social site.  Facebook has unique, easy-to-use features such as a profile page, a wall, a photos and video section.  There are many application such as the “courses” application that make is so easy for a teacher to create a great online classroom environment.  In the courses application, you don’t even have to “friend” students to interact with them on Facebook.  Abilene Christian University is doing a study on the Facebook’s effect upon students using their “schools” application.  Read about it HERE if you are interested.  Facebook has many security features as well which creates a great safe environment for students.  In this application of Facebook, we will be using a group set to private where only those invited can see it and participate.  This is being used to preserve the classroom environment and to put some parents at ease as some will be concerned about their children just having a Facebook account let alone talking to students from a foreign country. 

Other sites that were considered in hosting this were: Ning and MySpace.  Ning is not as widely known but is a fine social networking site.  It does have its benefits.  I did not see the ease of organization, however.  It seemed harder to navigate.  Perhaps if I spent more time with it, it would be easier.  MySpace is popular but does not lend itself as well to educating.  There are some privacy concerns as well.  Most students have Facebook accounts, it has a great “course” application that can be utilized to keep personal lives separate.  There are apps like quizzes and polls that can be used in Facebook too. 

The Lesson:

World War II

Discussion:

Ask your students:  What did Abraham Lincoln mean when he wrote to W.H. Herndon in 1856…“History is not history unless it is the truth.”  There will be varying answers but hopefully some students will mention the accuracy of writing history.  Discuss how an author’s perspective or a perspective of a nation or particular society may have a view of something that might be different from another nation or society.  Use a current example of how some might view how the current president is doing a good job while others think that he is not.  Two different perspectives.  Who is right?  Is there even a wrong? 

Assignment

Using Facebook, we will be collaborating with another classroom for the next two weeks.  This other classroom will be located in Europe and will be studying the same WWII subject we are studying. 

Directions:

If you do not have a Facebook account, you need to get one.  Before you get one, you need to have your parents permission.  Have the form I hand out signed by your parents and given back to me within three days.  Once you have your account, you should let me know your email address so I can invite you to the class group.   The group is private so you cannot search and find it.  You must be invited.  Once invited, you should accept so you can view the group.  You can find the group each time by going to the groups you belong to on your personal Facebook page.  Each day, there will be a new assignment that you will be required to respond to or complete.   

Previous to answering these questions, we will discuss them, learn about topics involving World War II and express our opinions and thoughts.  Then, you can be better prepared to answer the questions.

 Activities

Here are the first five days of activities so you can prepare.

Day 1 – Reasons for the war:  Answer the following questions by commenting on each one.  Your counterparts in Europe will be doing the same thing and asking you questions the next day. 

  1. For what reasons did your country enter WWII?
  2. What was primary cause of WWII?
  3. Was there anything from World War I that could have cause World War II?
 Day 2Questions about the Holocaust
Collaborating class will ask questions on this day

Day 3Weaponry and the Atomic Bomb:

  1. What weapons did your country use/invent during World War II?
  2. Do you think the atomic bomb was necessary in ending World War II with Japan?
  3. What was your country’s view of the atomic bomb?

Day 4Battles:

  1. Discuss what battles you consider key to winning WWII.
  2. Explain the importance D-Day has in your country?
  3.  COLLABORATING CLASS WILL ASK QUESTIONS HERE TOO

Day 5Answer the following questions:

  1. Evaluate your country’s perspective on U.S. involvement in WWII.  (Were they a welcomed addition? Nuisance?  non-event?, etc.)
  2. Appraise how Germany was dealt with at the conclusion of WWII. 
  3. TWO QUESTIONS from the collaborating class

Week 2:  Week 2 will involve taking pictures of local monuments, photos of WWII paraphernalia if you have any, MP3 recorded memories of any WWII veterans and your own project of what you have learned from the other class using PowerPoint, Prezi, video or another application online.  

 PROJECT:  Your project will involve two major elements.  They are:

  1. Comparing and contrasting the views of WWII expressed in the Facebook group
  2. Explaining how Lincoln’s quote “History is not history unless it is the truth” is relevant here.

Guidelines for
Expectations and Behavior

As with any online social interaction, there are consequences to things that you say and do.  There are consequences to things that you don’t say and don’t do as well. 

As a student, you are expected to act politely and in a socially appropriate manner while interacting online. 

Before you post your comments, pictures, projects, etc. ask yourself if there is anything in your post that is questionable.  Would this potentially get you into trouble or possibly hurt one of your peers?  If your answer is “yes” or “I’m not sure”, then don’t post it.  See your teacher about that particular post. 

If anything is posted that is inappropriate, it will be dealt with according to your student handbook.  Examples of inappropriate online behavior are in the handbook as well if you need to refer to them. 

Examples of inappropriate online classroom interaction: 

  • You:  Hey babe, waaaa sup?  Wanna get together tonight?
    Her/Him:  Nothin’s up… And no…Not with you!
     

This isn’t inappropriate because you got rejected – sad maybe.  It’s inappropriate because you are not talking about the subject you are supposed to be talking about.  If it were in the classroom, I take your note or ask you to stop talking.  Please don’t!  It won’t get you expelled but it will get  you ALL CAPS from me!

  • Don’t talk about what you did last weekend.  Not that it isn’t interesting that you got pulled over for speeding and your grandma was driving…but save it for lunch time. 
  • Refer to your handbook about drugs, alcohol, bullying, etc.   You know that won’t be tolerated.  
  • Since we are dealing with another classroom in a different country/culture, we will review some important factors about that society and what you can and can’t do. 
  • Being humorous is ok – done appropriately and at the right time.  
  • Being dramatic is ok – done appropriately and at the right time.
  • Be careful using emoticons.
  • Sarcasm should probably not be used in this setting
  • Most importantly, you need to enjoy this experience.  You will walk away from this with new knowledge and possibly new friends! 
Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 12:04 am  Comments (2)  

Twitter for the Classroom

I read an article about experiments in higher education classrooms using Twitter.  Here’s the link.  It seems that it has made some success but results are still mediocre.  I found it interesting that several mainstream universities (such as Penn State) have experimented with it.  As a result of last weekend’s game with Ohio State, maybe the football team should stop Twittering and start playing – ARRRRR!   Anyway, I found the use of Twitter in the classroom intriguing and thought I would critique it. 

Twitter in this experiment is used as a tool to ask questions and respond during class.  The professor projects the tweets on the board and responds to the questions and comments as they come in. 

ADVANTAGES

  • promotes questions and comments without having to take turns
  • Allows those who are reserved to ask questions and make comments
  • Students and teachers have tweets they can refer to when studying or responding
  • Allows students to ask questions at any time – even when not in class
  • Students can refer to these tweets  if they miss class
  • Teacher can give previews of class before actual class

DISADVANTAGES

  • Tweets are public
  • Not all students have ready access to twitter – most do, not all
  • While tweets can focus discussion, they do not lend themselves to extensive explanations (more than 144 characters)
  • Twitter was originally designed to be a program to post about the casual.  It can be difficult to find that tweet you made or someone else made 4 months ago.

Using twitter in this way really has some great advantages.  Using a more traditional route is routine – like raising your hand or just calling out.  If you want to, students could write questions on the board or on a sheet of paper and hand them in instead of doing this on Twitter.  The real advantage is that everyone can see the questions and hear the responses when done electronically.  I like this new method.

I will try this in my classroom.  With an activboard, I can put them up there on the board as they come in.  It generates discussion and organizes a direction without having to call someone out to respond or ask a question orally.  In time, I see a better program being developed or discovered to do this more effectively.  For now, it is a great way to involve students in learning in the classroom and out.

Published in: on November 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Web-Based Presentation Software/Tools and Review

Here is a link to the presentation that I put together with Prezi.  Granted, it isn’t “pristine.”  For a first-timer, it’s not too bad.  I can pick out all the problems as I know you can too.  Anyway, I am hoping that the next time goes easier.  This is a resource that I am going to use in the future for sure!

http://prezi.com/kihcmo3jukew

This was quite an undertaking.  I will have to say after reviewing the million or so web-based resources for web-based presentation tools, I found Prezi.com quite exhilerating.  I wanted something other than a slide show and Prezi seems to offer it.  I can’t quite explain it but Prezi makes order out of a bunch of confusing information.  Yet, you can go back to that presentation every time and get exactly what you need without having to go through slide after slide.  This is a time saver.  It is refreshing as well.

Ease of use and intuitiveness

This was very easy to use.  It takes all the fluff and gets rid of it.   There are things I was looking to do with fonts, etc but it wasn’t available on the free version.  Not sure if it is available on the paid or not.  Either way, it gets rid of a lot editing tools that you come to believe are really unnecessary. This is such an easy tool to use.  I had one problem and that was trying get everything fit into the screen.  I had issues with media inserts as well. However, that was in the creation of the media to the FLV format so Prezi would take it.  What I did was created the video and the audio in ScreenToaster.  Then I converted it to mov format.  Then I got a DVDVideoSoft MOV to FLV freeware converter, Converted the file and loaded it up to Prezi.  It took a little work around but worth it for the experience.  I couldn’t get the flash animation that I created to stop.  It kept looping.  Not sure if it was a Prezi issue or not.  In testing, it did not loop, but after I loaded it to Prezi, it wouldn’t stop.  Other than that, I love this software.  I can’t wait to use it in the classroom!

Features and other value-adding components, especially features not available in PowerPoint.

This too lets you see everything at a glance.  Even if it looks jumbled at first, once you have gone through the presentation, the whole thing is there for you to see at one time. 

The ability to export the presentation out of their website so it can be saved locally and used offline.

This presentation can be saved locally and used offline if desired.  I did not test this but there is a button to do so – even for the free version!

Accessibility, permanence and performance of the site

Once people find out about this little secret, it will be the rage. It will have to say that the platform will do itself a great deed if it can find another way to be used.  This style of presentation is great for those who are on-the-spot/spontanaeous presenters.  It is more informal right now, but I believe it will hit the boardroom someday if it hasn’t already. 

A quick and informal search for other people’s experiences using the tool.

http://www.rethinkpresentations.com/prezi-review-more-than-buzz/

http://www.appappeal.com/app/prezi/

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2009/02/prezi.html

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm  Comments (1)  

PodCast from WWI? What?

This is an assignment using new technology to describe history… when radio existed but wasn’t used for broadcasting.  It is an assignment for students to use podcasts to describe WWI.  They are correspondents/journalists.  The rubric is explained in the Podcast.  In the past, we have used assignments such as letter writing or report writing to get students to imagine being in the trenches of WWI.  This is a little different.  Enjoy!

Here is the link:  WWI Correspondent in MP3

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm  Comments (1)  

Podcast and Media Hosts

So how do you choose a Podcast or Media host?  These days its not just about space.  It’s not just about speed either, though that is important.  Looking through many sites, I decided to suggest www.libsynpro.com.  In searching for reviews of libsynPro I found that it allows for multiple podcasters.  That is a great thing for schools and for classrooms.  You can manage one account with multiple users and sub-users.  This is perfect for the techdepartment and for individual classrooms.  It tracks all statistics and can be found in one place.   By the looks of it though, I think it might be more business minded and less education oriented.  One really great feature is that it provides multiple formats so its media can be seen on most devices. 

Libsynpro is not going out of business any time soon.  They have a strong network of customers that range from the business world to education.  They have libsyn.com as well.  Pro is a competitive site that allows users to be podcast over a large range of media and geographic spectrums

As for ease of use, Libsynpro describes itself as a site for non-technical users.  While I could not get in to try it out, I would assume from its reviews that it is user friendly. 

In searching reviews:

http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-to-choose-podcast-host-compare.html

http://blogs.oreilly.com/digitalmedia/2006/09/libsyn-pro-podcasting-grows-up.html

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Podcasting Basics

Ever wanted to be a Podcaster?  Well, here is your chance!  At this website http://chatt.hdsb.ca/~elses/boylit/Podcasting%20in%20Education, you can learn the basics of podcasting and have the added bonus of learning the basics of using it in curriculum.  It is not a comprehensive site, but it gets you started.  It provides examples of student podcasts like this one:  http://www.adrianbruce.com/acekids/index.htm.

The podcast is strictly audio.  There are some podcasts out there these days that are video.  For those that are visual, this is important.  There is an advantage to audio for the podcaster in that it is easier to produce and post.   In this podcast site, the caster is interested in getting his information across verbally.  He uses other resouces like voicemail recordings and songs to enhance his recordings.  In his podcast called “Technical Stuff” he gives us practical information about how to go about recording podcasts.  He talks about even the basics of having a microphone.  There were tips on software (Audacity) and editing.  He added that the software was free – great bonus for me! 

In searching for Podcasts, I found that many of them date around 2005 and 2006.  Some of the sites even boast that it will be the new medium to broadcasting.  Since that time, it “looks” like podcasting has waned.  I could be wrong because I have not researched this extensively.  It is a slippery slope to suggest this by only havingGoogle to back me up.  But Google brought up the issue by providing me with links three years old.  So the question is, is podcasting waning or is it still growing?  I like the technology.  I think it is great tool for using and generating creativity.  It is certainly a great media resource for those who have linguistic tendencies toward learning.  Whether I choose to use it in the classrom does not necessarily hinge on its popularity, but it causes pause for thought. 

It was interesting site – a site that I will return to in order to get started podcasting.  Check it!

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Blog Activities for the Classroom – WWII Blog

The World War II Blog

 This assignment will be for 9th grade. The subject is American Cultures and will be on the topic of World War II (WWII).  In preparing this activity, I found that this site (WordPress) may not be real user-friendly for the student and may not be as flexible in posting videos or audio as some other blog providers would be.   I found that in posting a video, I could only make it work if I used youtube or google video.  In trying to use teachertube, it did not work.  I would like students to be able to use sites and not be limited to two previous mentioned options. 

Students will need to: Have access to the internet, have their own blogs, follow their 2 partners’ blogs who will be in a geographically different location (European country), Make substantive comments to those partners on each assignment.

Objectives for this unit are:

  • Explain what it was like to be in World War II by dramatizing and role-playing (Comprehension and Analsyis)
  • Discuss major reasons for the US entering WWII. (Comprehension)
  • Examine the consequences of WWII and its outcome. (Analysis)
  • Compose an argument for or against the US entering WWII. Justify your argument. (Synthesis and Evaluation)
  • Compare and contrast our world today with the WWII era. (Analysis)

WWII Blog Assignments

Assignment 1:
For the next five days this will be your WWII diary. You will make an entry about WWII each day as if you were a soldier, nurse, medic, aviator or journalist. Choose one of those roles to play. Explain what you experience, what you see, how you feel, your surroundings and your opinion on the war. If it helps, pretend you are writing to a family member or to someone who will read what you are writing.

You will be graded on the following for a maximum of 22 points:

  1. Content of post
  2. Quality and creativity – 5 points
  3. believability/accuracy of the time period (don’t talk about Vietnam or cannons here) – 10 Points
  4. Use of technology (video, links, audio, pictures) – 5 Points
  5. Were comments to your partners substantive and appropriate? -2 points for each comment.

Each blog entry is worth 22 points so make sure you get them in. This is a large assignment. Missing one puts you down to a B.

Assignment 2:
In this assignment, you will be using your blog to explain and defend your opinion on one of the following topics:

  • Why the U.S. entered the war. Give reasons, support them with evidence, explain the consequences of entering and not entering.
  • Discuss how WWI was a contributor or set the framework for WWII. Embed video from that era or other media. Provide links where needed for evidence. Support your suppositions with evidence.
  • Defend or criticize the US helping Japan rebuild after the war. Defend your position with evidence of examples we have discussed in class. If needed, use video footage you can find from that era discussing the matter.
  • How are US Japanese internment camps during WWII like or unlike German death/labor camps? In other words, compare and contrast the US treatment of Japanese to the German treatment of Jews during World War II.

You will be graded on the following for a maximum of 27 points:

  1. Content of each postDid you defend your position with at least 2 reasons/arguments? (10 points)
  2. Did you use technology in presenting your argument? (video, links, audio, pictures) – 5 points
    This is an example of a video you could use
  3. Was your thesis statement well-defined and did it get the reader’s interest? – 5 points
  4. Did your conclusion clinch the reader’s attention and give him/her something to think about? – 5 points.
  5. Were comments to your partners substantive and appropriate? -2 points for each comment.

Assignment 3:
Write a letter to a world leader from the WWII era telling them your opinion of WWII and persuade them to enter or not enter it. Remember, this is a persuasive letter. Use the resources from your first two assignments to help you with this. Though this blog technology did not exist in the 1940s, use this technology now to be as persuasive as you can. Use editing features (such as font), use imbedding, linking, etc to gain the reader’s attention.
You will be graded on the following for a maximum of 27 points:

  1. Content of post  -  Did you defend your position with at least 2 reasons/arguments? (10 points)
  2. Did you use technology in presenting your argument? (video, links, audio, pictures) – 5 points
  3. Was your thesis statement well   -  defined and did it get the reader’s interest? – 5 points
  4. Did your conclusion clinch the reader’s attention and give him/her something to think about? – 5 points.
  5. Were comments to your partners substantive and appropriate? -2 points for each comment.

At the end of these assignments, please fill out the poll below by choosing one answer.

Published in: on October 11, 2009 at 9:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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