Posts Tagged ‘307ENG’

2

Welcome to a new world, one that is overflowing with opportunity. A world where learning is the number one priority for all! Learnist is organizing all of the wisdom of mankind in text, images, videos, and audio. Teachers, learners, parents, and many other contributors have collaborated to create an innovative site where users can organize their lesson plans and materials in one place. Learnist is a marvelous creation that encourages all users to gather what they need and create their own learnboard. With Learnist it is simple to organize a series of lesson plans, add commentary, share with colleagues, and incorporate new materials from anywhere on the internet. Learnist also uses a variety of formats that are designed to benefit students’ distinctive learning styles.1

After gathering materials and spicing up the newly designed learnboard feature, educators will have something tangible to refer to in class and students will have a great resource to work with at home, even long after the school day is over.

Learnist also makes sharing with others a simple task. Users can share what they know swiftly and comfortably by remixing anything on the web, like videos, e books, maps, blogs, podcasts, surveys, and more into a simple learning alternative that can then be shared out to others. Learnist represents a well-designed collaborative media tool that can be of assistance to both students and teachers.

4As you continue to explore the elaborate features that Learnist has to offer, you will discover how useful it really is! Users can create lessons on anything as they utilize the content from websites, blogs, YouTube, Vimeo, WordPress, UStream, Scribd, Soundcloud, Slideshare, Amazon, Google maps, Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, Slideshows, and more. As users browse through others learnboards, they will uncover a plethora of lesson plan ideas and receive advice from experts, professors, and fellow teachers who have also researched the topic at hand.

Learnist also makes it easy to stay up to date with current teaching strategies because it is constantly updated and every user will receive a notification when something is added to a learnboard that they follow. It also serves as a forum where discussion occurs, and as people come together to ask or answer questions, track progress, find information quickly, they can do so by searching for tags, titles, or keywords.

I highly suggest that all of you follow these steps in order to enter, “The Learnist Corner”:

  • Create an interdisciplinary unit with a colleague on a learnboard.
  • Find out what students are learning in other classes and encourage them to suggest related learning’s on your learnboards.
  • Imagine interdisciplinary lessons that connect all of students’ academic areas!
  • Create a learnboard connecting classroom materials with jobs and fields of study.
  • Encourage students to suggest learning’s that apply to career fields, college or advanced study, or life applications related to the materials you are currently studying.
  • Include multimedia materials such as songs, videos, and photos.
  • Encourage students to create their own boards.
  • Create boards with opposing or controversial opinions and engage students in debate.

With learnboards students can keep up to date and revisit their class board if they are absent3 or missing notes. The instructor may also email and tweet out the learnboard link, giving students a chance to stay on track even if they miss material that was already reviewed in class. Overall Learnist will motivate teachers to stay organized, use collaboration, make learning real, combat student boredom with technology, level the playing field, since it gives students in classes with less technology access to multimedia platforms outside the classroom, and keep students up to date.

Become a member of the winning corner by creating your own learnboard today!

Want to learn how to integrate technology into your teaching? If that question isn’t enough to hook you, then maybe4 gaining free resources, enhancing your professional development skills, sharing lesson plans, and improving your teaching techniques will be enough to reel you in! Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) consists of the people and information that have the ability to bring learning to life in schools. This includes the dedicated members and endless sources of information that together help learning goals develop. Building a successful PLN calls for members to not only search for learning opportunities, but to also utilize their available networks, and support others that are learning alongside of them. Regardless of content, or subject, a stylish PLN can serve as a powerful learning tool. A PLN is a network of educators around the world who serve as an inspiration to many, whether it be through their comments on Twitter, blog posts, or successful teaching strategies. Although you may never meet some members of your PLN you will still benefit from them, as you go over teaching philosophies and invent goals for students far and wide.

3Many of you may already be apart of this world: have a Twitter where you connect with others, or a blog where you post your innovative ideas, but this is not enough! It is great to choose the people you interact with and learn from, but you also must focus on your community: the place where you spend your day, the school where your students are learning, and the faculty room filled with the teachers you work with, because they are equally important as every member of your digital world. These are your colleagues, whether you like it or not, and I challenge you to make it your responsibility to collaborate with them, so the educational needs of your students are met. Developing a community may be harder than developing a network, but it will be worth it.

Teachers have a bushel of responsibility, but they don’t have to deal with it all on their own. Teachers should never feel isolated and a well-designed PLC will provide every lonely teacher with a little tender, love, and care. This Personal Learning Community (PLC) will come hand in hand with professional development, and often, it is the principal, consultant, coach, or whoever the “instructional leader” is in the building, that decides what everyone needs to learn about.

How and why does this happen?  5

These instructional leaders are not just being nitpicky. They are looking at student results, looking at the gaps, and2 then they are using professional resources to determine what strategies will close those gaps. Despite a teacher’s best effort, students will struggle, but when teachers are comfortable enough to announce this struggle, their PLC team can jump on board and strategize. This issue will then be deconstructed from multiple perspectives until it is solved. Since we cannot choose who is in our PLC it is important to keep the focus on school improvement and students achievement. I firmly believe that we need to consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to bring our digital lives into school buildings. This informal learning network will produce knowledge as members share their questions, successes, and failures.

As soon as you get a PLC up and running in your school I am sure you will notice the following:

  1. An increase in professional development.
  2. Teachers sharing useful resources.
  3. Teachers’ enhancing their original lesson plans.
  4. Teachers working together to find collaborative solutions that are geared towards struggling students and will get them back on track.

1Students will also learn to collaborate and connect with others through their in depth work with specific topics. Digital PLNs will foster creativity in the classroom, engaging students in the course material. This will also give students an authentic audience as they learn to master their communication skills and produce meaningful work.

Once again, I encourage all of you to take the next step, and not only get involved digitally but bring your knowledge into your school. Don’t simply read a blog post or listen to a podcast, but formulate questions that you will work to answer with your current colleagues. Reach out to them and prove that together you can do more for your students, and make teaching less stressful. Contribute to your school and share the benefits of working closely with others.

I am more than certain that everybody has done it: stayed up all night without batting his or her eyelashes once. Pulled an all-nighter while working hard, or hardly working, because they were simply tossing and turning in bed and then the sun was peering through their window. The past few weeks I have been lucky enough to collaborate with two of my current classmates, Ryan Dalpiaz and Cassie Teevan, and together we conquered our goal.  It was our job to produce a radio show for our “New Media Literacy and ELA” class, better known as ENG 307. Music Energy (+clipping path, XXL)At first glance I was mortified by the uniqueness and depth of this task, especially since it involved working with two of my classmates whom I knew little about. Before my eyes, in a matter of minutes, my attitude shifted. Working with my ‘co-hosts’ was not only a beneficial experience, but it was an all around good time. After our first meeting, where we got together to discuss the theme and structure of our show, and assigned a workflow for the upcoming meetings, I was eager to get started, since I had an alarmingly upbeat reaction to what the future held for the three of us.

Our first obstacle hit rather quickly, since none of us had previously worked on a podcast, or used the audio program, Garageband that we were expected to work so closely with. After watching a thirty minute tutorial that demonstrated the majestic features of Garageband, we directed our attention to our audience. We garageband_freebiesearched near and far to find a topic that would interest us, and be easy to relate to for all of you!  We brainstormed for about fifteen minutes, sharing ideas and bouncing potential topics off of each other.

Some time during this process, the light bulb turned on, and this one carried some intricate enlightenment. We highlighted our own lives, and realized that together we had more than enough experience to masterfully create a twenty minute radio show. We yearned to share some terrifying experiences with late night homework assignments, and took on the stereotypical role of a relaxed student, in comparison to a rather stressed out perfectionist. This topic waslightbulb sincere to us, and allowed each one of us to speak from our own experiences. Regardless of whether we spoke from first hand experience, where we faced up against the clock, and spent all night completing an assignment, heard a story about how a friend handled a situation similar to this, or just took part in a restless night, we knew this would transform into a comedic yet worthwhile show if we simply spoke to this. We decided to artistically craft some homemade radio personalities to fill these roles, and once we did this we wanted to ensure the flow was similar to a radio show. We turned these personalities into ‘callers’ who wanted to share their stories on the air, as they participated  in our rather unique “My Favorite Caller” challenge, that was taking place right on our show!

This competition allowed us to incorporate a plethora of voices, which kept things interesting, as well as a wide range of creative commercials depending on what each caller seemed to need. For example a stressed out caller, who was up all night doing homework encouraged us to include a commercial on “Rejuvenating Shampoo”. Our show was dedicated to those who were up all night, for any reason. We wanted to let viewers know they were not alone, and provide a safe haven for our fellow insomniacs. Our show turned out great, and we were able to mix and match our narration with some really attractive music. SomeRadioShow_N sections of this project were quite gruesome, especially becoming accustomed to the technological aspects, but once we managed to work out the kinks we thrived vastly. The skills learned in the process will remain with me, and I am sure that they will be incredibly useful. I had a tremendous amount of unanticipated fun, and collaborating with two remarkable people made the whole process rather exhilarating. I am proud of our final production, and encourage everyone to check out “What The FM I Still Doing Up Radio!?”

Breaking News in Cyberspace: Early on last week, Google announced that it is indeed shutting down its popular—well not popular enough—RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader, Google Reader. It appears that Google is taking a step away google-reader-closed-featured-570x270from RSS; they have also terminated the RSS extension for Chrome, claiming that a wretched ‘bug’ has nested in their admired Chrome browser, and shows no signs of relocating. They have labeled this error as a “No Fix” and plan to shut down this unprofitable service altogether on July 1st, 2013.

Is something peculiar going on here? Once further explored it seems like Google wants to not only strip away users access to Google Reader, which displays RSS feeds from websites in a simple list format, but they also want to massacre any rss-mansupport for RSS entirely. RSS also presents an easy way to keep track of news and permits users to receive alerts from their favorite sites, without having to visit dozens of different web pages every day. RSS may not be extremely popular for all computer users, but for some junkies it is a central part of the web, necessary for keeping them connected.

Google RSS extension for Chrome made it simple to discover and subscribe to RSS feeds, given that it linked up with any webpage. It was a trouble-free, one-click process, since the icon appeared in the URL bar of every page that offered a feed. Once clicked on, this icon gave users a plethora of ways to subscribe to the feed, the main one being Google rssReader. RSS delivered headlines straight from the source, and synced news feeds between multiple different apps. Overall it made life online simpler. So now that Google Reader is gone, where do we turn?

Luckily there are a few alternatives out there for those who rely heavily on Google Reader. Two of these options include Digg and Feedly. Digg is a new social site that plans to build off Google Reader and make things even simpler. Their main goal is to digg-google-readermake text “sexy” again, rather than having a text-heavy feed. The updated RSS system will have a feed, along with folders to keep things organized. Digg is willing to step up and alter their current RSS model, but for now when considering a new RSS client you must steer away from Google Reader. Feedly is more comparable to a magazine, it is the current frontrunner, already adding over 500,000 new users over the past two days. Feedlytimthumb.php can be a plug-in for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, but not for Internet Explorer. One setback is the scrolling option, especially when accessed on a mobile phone, or tablet. This app requires users to swipe in a number of ways—up, down, left, right, but does not allow for quick scrolling. It also only shows a select number of feeds on the front page, until you open the side bar, where the rest will be stored.

Feedly will sync with Google Reader and presents users with a similar experience. google_readerThe most difficult thing will be transferring your previous Google Reader feeds. This link will be tremendously helpful if you are having any difficulty with this process.

Apologies to those who get the majority of their updates and news via Google Reader, but newsflash: RSS IS NOT DEAD, and hopefully the two options discussed above (Digg & Feedly) will serve you well.

Happy International Women's Day!

Untangling the Web

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags:

Having trouble organizing technology? The large number of websites, applications, and overall media buzz that is knocking on classroom doors can be quite overwhelming. Educators all over the world are working to successfully apply technology to their lessons, and incorporate all of this into the curriculum. It seems that many teachers are scrambling through the clutter in order to discover what websites, or unique interactive applications will be most beneficial in their student’s lives, whether it be in the classroom or at home. At times, teachers Imagestruggle with this because the majority of suggested websites that are aimed at students are either non educational or have too many distractions such as pop-ups or advertisements. However, one website that a teacher can use to explore over seventy pages of useful information for every member of their class is GO2WEB20. This website provides distinctive ways for teachers to collaborate, and then share their ideas with their colleagues as they post web links or applications that their students will take pleasure in. Not only can teachers use this website to be of assistance to their students, but they can also use it to help themselves stay organized while they interact with the messy worldwide web. Image

 

GO2WEB20 includes over three thousand services, and more are uploaded everyday. Site administrators also monitor all entries to ensure they are working properly; those that are no longer working are disabled so site viewers have a useful and enjoyable experience. The site was recently redesigned to guarantee smooth navigation. This includes, a search engine that searches all content on the site, and each service offers its own app where valuable information is easy to sift through. Having an index with each application will assist teachers as they integrate technology into their classroom, and keep them up to date on the services they are interested in. Along with this, GO2WEB20 also has a valuable blog with a plethora of helpful information. People post reviews of applications here, or helpful tips on how to incorporate some beneficial games into the classroom.Image

One app available on GO2WEB 20 that I found particularly motivating is called, StoryJumper. StoryJumper allows students to create and publish their own stories. They can generate stories from scratch and improve their skills. In order to get started they will have the opportunity to brainstorm their ideas, and conduct research, two beneficial skills. After they have their story idea they have the option to upload their own pictures or use pictures that are already on the web. This app is important and a high-quality way to get adolescents innovated, and uses their own voice to assist learning and express their ideas. When each student finishes their story, they can save, and share it with anyone they want, such as their parents and teachers. Also they are able to publish the story by ordering a hard copy of their book. This option will be rewarding for students, seeing their stories, and having something concrete to hold onto will hopefully motivate students to produce more writing, and take pleasure in reading.  Image

This is a fantastic way for educators all around the world to put their heads together when it comes to technology; they can build off each other and share their successes/failures. Also, they can make learning fun again with the abundance of games, applications, and creative tools that are available to their students. 

Having trouble finding the right college for you? Knee deep in applications but still feeling uncertain? Not sure which one will suit you best? Well now there is a CS4solution, a website that will make this gruesome process a little easier.

Decisions are hard to make, especially when they involve commitment. The quest to discover the perfect college can be overwhelming to many people. There are so many colleges to choose from, and so many different things to consider. Do I have enough money for this University? Will I be eligible for financial aid? Do I want to live that far away from home for four years? Along with this, many students in high school have a guidance counselor to assist them with this process, but in most cases this is not enough. They still have many questions and have no idea where to look for answers. With the help of College Scorecard, all of these reoccurring questions can be addressed in one place.

President Obama fulfilled one of his promises that he made in his State of The Union address last week. He was true to his word as he released the administration’s new College ScorecardCS5

The interactive tool is made to answer the questions that parents and prospective students may have as they determine which college will match up best with their lifestyle. It shows consumers how a school stacks up in terms of cost, graduation rates, student loan default rates, and median borrowing.

College Scorecard is a website with one main purpose: allow the user to leave with a sense of relief, and make this stressful process easier. This site was designed to ease high school students, adults, or anyone who is looking to get their degree as they make their final decisions. It permits them to narrow their choices down based on their income and interests. This website was created by the College Affordability and Transparency Center to help students learn about the cost of different schools and how much they will need to pay back in loans when they graduate. CS 1

Many features encourage students to either search for a school or browse by major, school size, state, campus setting, etc. It is a beneficial instrument that allows each user to narrow their search when examining a specific school. After selecting a few options, the website will match students up with the criteria they provided. For example, after clicking on the major category on the home page, it brings the student to another page where they can click on any major that interests them. After this, all of their matches are listed on the left side of the screen, saved with everything that they are looking for in their future school. After filling out all of the search criteria the user can click “search school” on the left side of the screen and then it will pull up a list of each school that fits their needs. Then that specific school comes up and is available for easy viewing purposes. You can then sift through all of the financial facts about the school and other information as well. To test out College Scorecard click here and see what colleges will match up with you.CS3

President Obama is passionate about this tool, but the discussion on its credibility has already begun. Some say it is a good starting point but lacks specific context. To get involved in the conversation or see what others had to say about it, review this article where you can leave a comment of your own!

New School

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Schoology

Do you need a place to organize all of your lessons, assignments, quizzes, and grades?

There’s an app for that! I recently discovered the world of Schoology. This website/application allows educators to work together to manage lessons, engage students, share content, and easily connect with other educator’s all around the world, to distribute or review material. With Schoology educators can keep track of their schedules, and have all of their material in the same place. This also offers more than the basics; as it enables its users to conduct online courses, provide one-on-one remediation, or host complex class discussions.

School 1

Schoology also brings everyone together; its parent feature connects students, parents, and educators. This provides parents with the class material, and offers them a safe, secure online environment to contact their son/daughters teacher. This is a great innovative learning tool that will allow students to interact with each other through social networking, while also sharing important academic content.

Schoology is widely known for its extreme similarities to facebook, it is often referred to as, “the educational facebook”.  The website set up, as well as the application, mirror the layout of facebook, which allows students to navigate the website autonomously. As students cruise through their homework and activities with ease, educators will be able to choose from a variety of content types, and embed useful text and media.

schoology2

Schoology allows teachers and students to interact with one another in a variety of ways. For example, it allows teachers to post documents about the class, such as the class syllabus, and any notes that they think their students may need.  Once the teacher posts something new, a “notification” comes up on the right side of the screen showing the student that there is a new document that was uploaded.  Along with this, Schoology allows students to interact with each other, but also offers them the privacy of sharing assignments with only their teacher. It is simple to make homework private between only the teacher and student. This allows students to post and answer discussions, and also contribute to their classmate’s submissions.

Schoology_homepage_screenshot

Schoology also allows the students to send direct messages, and keeps track of friend’s profiles. Students can also enroll with their entire class to keep everything organized. Along with this, it also allows classmates to become friends with one another so they can always stay connected. Students can also customize their page with a picture to make a more authentic learning environment.

Since this website/application has so many commonalities with facebook, students understand how to use every aspect of the site quickly and efficiently.  Instead of having to spend several classes on having to explain the specific functions to the Schoologyclass, a teacher may only have to take a few minutes because the students will be able to understand it without delay. This website takes blackboard, or any other online forum used by schools to the next step, it enables students to stay connected 24/7 in a personal atmosphere.

Educators will find it so easy to create, organize, and find content. There is a widget that enables each user to connect their Google Docs, there is also a place to search, browse, and integrate public content. It is simple to create and manage tests and quizzes; there is a place to score quizzes/tests and enter grades automatically. Another portion is available to provide students with direct feedback. One more awesome feature is the educator’s option to see what students are spending the most time on, and the steps they are taking while completing assignments.

This is a fully functioning classroom management tool, but at the same time provides Schoology_logo_blacka great social networking platform for teachers and students. It is easy to use and all instructional components are free for teachers and students! A mobile app is offered for Andriod or iOs. This will serve as an outstanding collection of resources for every class that participates.

Do you think this tool will be beneficial in your classroom?

Unknown

To download Schoology or find out more information:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/schoology/id411766326?mt=8

http://allmyapps.com/apps/schoology-students-teachers

http://blog.schoology.com/2012/03/schoology-for-android/

After thoroughly engaging with The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, I was introduced to the double-edged sword of technology in the classroom. While the benefits of tablet computing and game based learning are evident, teachers are reluctant to give in. After hearing about schools that have began to relax their policies, and allow their students to be creative together through technology, a conversation is created.

Within this conversation many questions remain unanswered:tech

  1. Will using mobile phones, tablets, and participating in gaming truly allow students to collaborate and self-discover?
  2. Are the challenges educators face, regarding letting technology walk into their classroom valid?
  3. Do you think the benefits are enough for educators to break down the doors of their classroom, and allow technology to swoop in?

Get your voice out there on this debate: join the conversation and join the movement to incorporate technology into the classroom.