Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thing #23 - The End

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I really enjoyed learning some new things - like Nings and the image generator. I also enjoyed having an excuse to spend some time searching on tools I already use regularly. I found some cool things on TeacherTube, have been much better about posting on, am tagging more, and am just spending more time envisioning how to incorporate technology into my daily classroom activities.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
This program has encouraged me to use some of my 'home' tools in my 'school' life. It has also shown me that there is more of an interest in and network around technology in school than I knew before now.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I learned that I still don't get Technorati and I don't understand Rollyo. I don't think I'm in a technology rut but I found I was more resistant to searching out new tools than I thought I would be. I tend to work with what I've got, I guess. My husband usually prompts me to try something new.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
I can't think of a thing to improve at the moment. I liked the timing, the freedom with guidance and suggestions, and the encouragement. It was very nice to see so many SBISD folks participating. That makes me very hopeful for the future of our students (my kids included).

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?
One sentence: 23Things is a great introduction to the 2.0 Web! One Word: Fun!!

One of the things I most enjoyed about this activity was talking about it with my colleagues at school. Quite a few of us are participating and helping each other through the activities. It is one more connection we have and gives us a chance to talk about technology (which I love to talk about).

I would like to spend a lot more time looking at the tools and links and communities I've learned about during this activity. Maybe this summer I'll be able to spend some time doing that. Too much to do in the spring. I hope the website stays up so the links are still active.

Thing #22 - Nings

Wow. What another great resource. I've already posted a few links to and will spend a lot more time exploring some of the nings out there. I saw some great teacher communities. I think this could be a great tool within districts for teachers working from the same curriculum who never get to see each other face to face. I also love the idea of exposing the students to as many people outside our 'neighborhood' as possible. Helping them understand the idea of community as virtual as well as local is huge. I also found a syllabus for a course on 21st Century Skills by Randy Rivers at Northeast Junior High School. What a great idea!! He's incorporated lots of really good concepts into one course - technology, personal responsibility for learning, soft skills, etc. I plan to keep up with his reflections on this pilot course.

Things #21 - Podcasts / Vidcasts

Podcasts are a crucial part of how I manage my information gathering and listening. I'd never get to listen to many shows that I like if it wasn't for podcases. A few of my regular podcasts: The Emergent Podcast (if you listen to this one you will hear my darling husband. He is the producer of this podcast), Wait Wait Don't Tell Me from NPR, and the EdTechLive podcast.

I'm also going to add NPR's Fresh Air to my list b/c I am frequently being told to go there and listen to something.

I think podcasts and vidcasts could be great tools for our students. I am currently teaching an elective on PhotoStory 3.0 and am going to add podcasting the stories as an option for the students. Some of the stories are going to be submitted to the documentary contest we are having this spring. I am pondering how to use podcasts in science class. I think that some students would love to learn via podcasts and some would love to create podcasts / vidcasts about things they know or would like to know more about. This could be a really interesting way to extend learning. Exciting!!

Here is my vidcast. It's from my PhotoStory 3 class.

Darn. It didn't load. I'll try again later.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thing #20 - Videos

I couldn't get the videos to work on my work PC but they are working just fine on my home PC. We've got to figure out a way that district PCs can keep up with the latest updates to software. Hmmmmmm. . .

Let's try to embed a TeacherTube video here. This is a very interesting video.

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I love this video about the students of today and how we tend to teach. The big disconnect between the two is shown in this video.

Thing #19 - Web 2.0

I liked the awards list. I coud spend a lot of time playing on there. The Onesentence stories were very creative. I would like to find a way to use them in class. I already use some tools from 37 signals but looked at Backpack again today. This could potentially be a good tool for planning for teachers and/or administrators. I can see how this could really be useful across campuses. I posted to to remember it. I might use that for a classroom blog. I'm trying to include a very cool SpringWidgets tool here but am having trouble getting it to load. I think the code is broken but it was a cool idea - the lunar phase calendar on your blog. I'm going to explore that site some more later.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thing #18 - Online productivity tools

Our family website is full of online tools. We use Google calendar to coordinate family calendars, we use ta-da lists for groceries, Target items, etc. and we share documents on Google docs. We've also gotten the high school youth ministry at church to use Google docs to manage our Sunday morning schedules so we don't have to play the 'which version is the latest' game on email. I haven't played with OpenOffice yet but feel like this is certainly the future. Proprietary software is losing it allure for me as I am able to do as much or more with open software than I can with the proprietary software and I can access and share it instantly. That much flexibility will be huge in the future. Come to think of it, it would have been useful to have everything on my computer saved on the web before my hard drive crashed in the fall. Note to self: begin transferring docs to Google docs ASAP.

Thing #17 - More wikis

I think that I will start by helping my students learn the value of Wikipedia not just the dangers. Group learning can be very productive if it is monitored and guided. Facilitator of the discussion is a valuable role I can play as a teacher.

I am also thinking of other ways to use wikis in the classroom. I'm going to read some of the other 23 things blogs to get some more ideas.