Sunday, April 26, 2009

Podcasting…and other revelations!

Podcasting…I am surprised to learn that I had the completely wrong definition and understanding of what a podcast was. Similar to many things in this new age, you hear a name of an application so much that you think you know what it is. What I have learned is that you really have to experiment with any application to truly understand what it is and what it does. I learned that podcasts can be audi or digital in form and are a type of internet broadcast. I had no idea that they were serial shows or recurring in nature. The podcast I chose among the many I examined, to use in my classroom is the “Just Vocabulary” Podcast that can be found in the ITunes store under the Education link. This podcast brings you two new vocabulary words per day. I can see this being used in both a high school or college course. In the high school students are preparing for their SAT and Regents exam. Vocabulary is one of the areas many students struggle with especially the non-readers. Students that read are more frequents exposed to vocabulary. This podcast is approximately 2 minutes in length and gives students exposure every day. In the same way this could be used in an undergraduate class to prepare students for their teaching exams. Although college students read very often, much of the assigned reading may not include advanced vocabulary. This preliminary exploration has opened my eyes to a whole new world of learning. These podcasts can even be downloaded and synched to your ipod daily. This would be a great bell-ringer exercise for any classroom any age.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sure...why not?

Here we go! A demo. I will be teaching a course on WizIQ tomorrow April 22 at 4:45...not sure how this works but I am teaching a social skills class at Buffalo State and I would like to try out this application as I will be asking students to use this application to create a parent tutorial. I will require them to post the links to their parent education classes on their blogs which can be found on my second blogroll on the left...I will let you know how it goes. But if you are interested, I think you can is the link Parental Involvement and Social Skills Come and check it out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Internet for Your Classroom

I just got a great e-mail that has a link to a cool site that was created to help teachers discover new ways to use the internet in the classroom and thought I would share it. It is called Internet 4 Classrooms. They have a link to follow them on Twitter and when I followed the link it led me to their post for the day which was 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Education. I wanted to share this also as I found it very interesting. Check it out!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Global Cooperation
The emphasis we are seeing developing our curriculum to incorporate technology is ringing in the ears of all educators. Although what we feel when “in the trenches” is that are technology offered by our schools is not adequate. I am beginning to think we are just unfamiliar with the explosion of tools that is available with the simple availability of the Internet. Global cooperation sites are fascinating tools that teachers of all disciplines can use to create memorable experiences for their students. The days of bringing your students next store to work with another grade or teacher is over as the availability of global cooperation is just a click away.
The two tools I explored are The Global Schoolhouse and Epals. These two sites have many similarities but they both offer distinct opportunities as well. The Global schoolhouse is a very innovative site which offers the user a platform to collaborate with teachers the world over on educational projects in a myriad of different topics. These projects are teacher created and led, and they can dictate participants’ criteria topic areas and curriculum. The site also offers many useful applications in a number of curriculum areas. For example there are travel wequests, “Letters to Santa” a writing application and even educational competitions. One of the most reknown competitions is called the “CyberFair”. The web site explains that CyberFair, “is an award-winning authentic learning program used by schools and youth organizations around the world. Youth conduct research and publish their findings on the Web. Recognition is given to the best projects in each of eight categories.” What an amazing opportunity specifically for schools with a small population in which competition is non-existent.
The second tool Epals is a site where students can share their learning with other children across the coutry. Students can ask homework questions specific to a culture or regio, or simply get an opinion from another student. The site offers safe and secure tools such as e-mail and blogging. Teachers can also collaborate on a number of pre-determined topics. Lessons and projects are posted to the site and teachers can create a collaborative group and seek out a teacher to work on the projects. These two sites are similar in that they promote collaboration and provide teachers with a platform to do so. They are different in the structure and content. While Global Schoolhouse seems to provide many more resources such as games and competitions, Epals provides the user with the ability to have students make personal connections through e-mail and blogging.
If I were to develop a project I think it would be interesting to create a classroom bookshelf with another classroom on Shelfari. Students from both classrooms could add books to the shelf, write reviews and join discussion boards talking about the books. As a child I loved to read and would have loved to have the opportunity to share in an online book discussion with children in another country.
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