Why have a Blog for your class?What have I discovered?

Three years ago I was introduced to Blogs in a 2 hour session.  My knowledge of ICT was limited and it seemed a very time consuming process to implement into the classroom.  I was left bewildered about the functions.  I took on this unit to extend my own capabilities in using ICT in the classroom.  I was living in my comfort zone with Movie Maker, word, publisher, Claymation and have over the weeks not only extended my knowledge about available programs and how they could be used in the classroom but the ‘power’ of Blogs in the classroom, introduced to a safe social learning platform like Edmodo, social bookmarking and terminology (Glossary to Demystify the Jargon of the online World) I had no idea what it meant.  At times I’ve had to sit for a few hours to gain a clear understanding by manoeuvring my way slowly through functions and programs but with each day I am becoming more confident and increasing my knowledge.  Yet, still have a lot to learn.

I now have started a Blog on the Ultranet and will also start a Wiki on the Ultranet.  I have introduced Edmodo to a 5/6 class and am presently introducing Edmodo to other classes at the school.  The ease with which they were able to use the site goes to show student’s capabilities and their engagement when given a new site to work with.  The students have completed a poll and communicated with myself and others.  They will be completing a short assignment related to their Community Links hour.

  Successfully gaining funds for the introduction of iPads into the school will give me the opportunity to monitor the use in classrooms,  gauging student engagement and enhancement in learning.   My knowledge of apps and even the ability to link the iPad to the IWB gives additional scope for teaching.

 

 Contemplating the uses of a Blog in the classroom

  •   Students publishing their work.
  •  Communication with parents on the areas being covered in subjects.
  •  Homework could be posted or links to sites for maths, spelling or Integrated Studies Units.
  •   Displaying work that the students have been involved in for the day to keep communication lines open with parents.
  •   Posting helpful hints for reading and maths.
  • Posing maths problems to solve.
  • Having a ‘word of the day’ which could be added by students from their reading.  This is a good way to increase student’s vocabulary and also create discussion at home.
  • Communicate coming events.
  • Student and parent discussion on activities completed in the class. 

A video on the use of the blog and wiki in the classroom I found to inform of additional uses for both.  Relevent to the next assessment task.

 

 

 

Programs to use in the Classroom

Spelling City is a free dowload Program to use for your spelling program in the classroom.

Spelling City Home Page

There are numerous features to enhance students spelling and provide an individualised spelling program for students.  

 
Google SketchUp is a free down load where students can create 3D drawings.
 
 
Cool Tools for Schools a great site to find audio,drawing, media programs and more.  Tools available on left hand side of page.
 

Picasa

Pinnacles Creating a Collage Using Picasa

After loading Picasa onto the computer it was then an easy process to import photos from the files on the computer into Picasa.

The first feature I went into was creating a collage with your pictures.  You can scramble the pictures or shuffle to organise them.  If you desire when creating a collage you can add effects, change tuning and add basic fixes. 

Picasa (home page) Library

The Library (home page) is where you can see the albums, projects and your picture files.

Another feature is creating a video with your pictures where you can add text and load music.  What a wonderful program to organise your pictures.

Castle Ruins

Capture of a video in Picasa

In the classroom students could capture photos or video from a webcam/ video device of an excursion or class project. 

Students could create a poster and use the basic fixes to add text or save to picnik to edit pictures and then save back into Picasa.  

 There are numerous options for use in the classroom. You need to set down why the students are using the program and what are the gains,  What are the students completing the task for?

Interactive Whiteboards

As I wander around the school I am taking photos of ICT being used in the classrooms.  I talk to the teacher about the purpose of the program they are using and why they use the IWB.

In this case the program being used on the IWB was from the FUSE site and it was to reinforce the concept for addition.  The teacher used the IWB in this case as there were a group of students who were targeted as requiring extra assitance with the concept.   

Children In Grade One using the Interactive Whiteboard

Grade 1 student using the IWB in the Maths Session

The Interactive Whiteboard can be used in numerous ways to engage, introduce a topic, class discussion, presentation of work and the list can go on. 

The thoughts of a teacher in Darwin about the use of the Interactive Whiteboard.

The class or a group of students could be introduced to a genre and this can be displayed on the IWB.  The site by Jenny Eather Writing Fun is a free site presently, which could be used.

Capture taken of a Procedure from the Jenny Eather site

 

Fuse

Fuse is a fantastic DEECD site with a wealth of features.  It is a must see.    DEECD/FUSE Click here to have a look at the features

This is a photo of a student using the Picture Book Maker site.  He is a reluctant writer and finds it difficult to generate his ideas.  This site was a way to assist him to gather his ideas and feel success in his writing.

Picture Book Maker    click here to have a look at the site

Writing a Story on Picture Book Maker

 

Poll for Fete using Edmodo

The students really enjoy Edmodo and from this Poll gained valuable information about the direction of what items they are going to include in their stall on Fete day.

They are now in the process of going to each class in pairs and assisting each grade to join the group PNPS and completing the Poll so as they have a diverse range of ages to ascertain what items are most likely to be bought at a Fete so this will assist them to include items that will sell.

 

 

Sonic Pics

What fun I had last week and on the weekend  having a play around with Sonic Pics.   Very easy to develop a video and I wish I would have known about it when we travelled last year.

 

A Capture of how easy Sonic Pics is to use

 
I like the fact that you can delete your recordings and have another go.  My boys had a great time taking photos on the iPhone and recording.
 
 

 

Edmodo

Have now set up another group named Don’t Call Me Ishmael where students are able to link into xtranormal.  The students are to comment on what they think of the site.

I am showing the site to other teachers in the school and they are very interested and have signed on due to their children in the class commenting on how good the site is.  I am planning to set up a group for the teachers and will introduce it at a PLT.

Diigo

 

After completing the readings and having a very long play  around the site I now am a little more confident about the functions. 

Reading:Social Bookmarking in Plain English   gives a simple explanation to get you started.

The powerful functions (Diigolet) are being able to highlight and put the sticky note or comment on a web page.  I wish I knew about this when travelling around Aus and completing assignments relying on websites.  I continually couldn’t remember where I had found the relevent quote or information. 

I like the fact that it is  social bookmarking where you can share material, networking by using tags.  It can sometimes be frustrating when you spend alot of time attempting to find sites related to topics but with social bookmarking you can share material.  What a smarter way to work.  I will be trying to set it up in our school.

The advancement of  technology  is fantastic with your bookmarks  nolonger tied to one computer but can be accessed anywhere because it uses a website.

 An example of my highlighting

 

Highlighting

Join a Group

 

Sticky Notes represented by the yellow box

 

 Bookmarking