Kate's Blog

My first ever blog!!

Overall Experience

August29

So I thought I would put up a quick summary of the different tools I have looked at over the past 7 weeks.

Edmodo: (http://www.edmodo.com/) A social networking site for teachers, students and parents. I like the idea of this website, I think that it could be very useful as a communication tool for assignments and excursion reminders and the like. I just wonder what kind of expectations parents and students would have in regards to teachers accessing the site outside of school hours.

Diigo: (http://www.diigo.com) I found Diigo to be a fantastic bookmarking tool. I am still using it, now to bookmark pages that I like the look of for future lessons as well as assignments.

Google Reader: (https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=reader&passive=1209600&continue=http://www.google.com/reader&followup=http://www.google.com/reader) I can see how this website will be useful if your classroom was one which had a blog for each student. However, I didn’t find myself using this account as much as I thought I initially would.

Audacity: (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) I LOVED using this program! It was so easy to use and I can see so much potential for it in the classroom, especially in Literacy for creating recounts and for publishing the student’s original work.

IrfanView: (http://www.irfanview.com/) I didn’t really enjoy this program, I have used Picasa in the past to do photo editing and I prefer that over IrfanView. I didn’t see any advantages of IrfanView compared to other easier to use (and visually more appealing) programs. Photo editing software will be useful in schools to help them to create collages, re-size images and add some pretty cool effects, I just don’t think this is one I would use again.

Animoto (http://animoto.com/) & Live Movie Maker (http://explore.live.com/windows-live-movie-maker): Overall I thoroughly enjoyed using both of these programs, they were both very user friendly and I could see how these programs would excite and engage students to present their work in a creative way using ICT.

Edublogs: Blogging over the past 7 weeks has been a brand new experience for me. Prior to this unit I had read a few blogs but didn’t really see how they could be put to use. Now it seems like everywhere I turn there is a blog! And I love it! I have had a lot of fun trying out the above mentioned programs and especially enjoy getting peer feedback and comments. It has been a great collaborative learning experience, seeing what others had discovered and trying them out for myself. I intend to continue blogging about my various encounters with technology in the classroom, and also hope that I can introduce blogging to my students when I am all grown up and fully qualified.

Kate ūüôā

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A short video on free teaching tools to engage students

August28

Here is a short video which looks at a few different FREE tools that can be used to engage students in the classroom. Enjoy

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Image editing using IrfanView

August28

This is a photograph I took in Central Park, New York. I decided to edit this image using IrfanView (http://www.irfanview.com/). At first I was going to use a similar picture with me in it but when I changed the image to look like a negative, I looked very scary but the background looked quite cool. This is the original photo:

IrfanView was not very different to many other programs available, however I didn’t find it very user friendly. The first few images I tried to manipulate did not change when I added effects to them such as blurring and raindrop layers. I may not have been doing it correctly, but I couldn’t see any other way to use these editing functions. Overall, I don’t see any bonuses to this program that programs like Picasa or Office Picture Manager don’t do better. However, it does have a batch edit option which could be useful for renaming multiple files (ie: changing the name from IMG000 to “prep excursion to scienceworks”) or changing the file type to a more usable format. It also allows you to batch resize files.

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Animoto and Live Movie Maker

August28

Hi there,
Over the last few days I have had a lot of time to try out two different video making programs. The first was Windows Live Movie Maker, which can be downloaded for free from here: http://download.cnet.com/Windows-Live-Movie-Maker/3000-13631_4-10965753.html

I used this program to create a short video encapsulating a timeline of historically significant women for another uni subject. I found the movie maker program fairly straight forward, it uses similar menus to other windows programs such like Word and Powerpoint. It took about an hour to put together the clip. I have since been on teaching rounds and was very excited to discover that the students in the grade 5/6 learning centre were also using Live Movie Maker. The students have been working on a unit based around human rights and the idea that one person can make a difference. For their assessment task, the students are required to create a 3-4 minute presentation exploring an organisation that helps (UNICEF, World Vision etc). The students had previously used Windows Live as a whole class but this was their first opportunity to be completely in charge of their own presentation. While I was there the students were in the planning process and not actually using Windows Live, but I will be going back to visit in a few weeks to attend their “screening day”, which parents are also invited to. I was very glad to see that the students were being encouraged to explore ICT to present, rather than just creating a poster or giving a talk. The students were also very engaged and excited about the task.

The second program I explored this week was Animoto (www.animoto.com). This program was amazingly simple, quick and easy to use. I could definitely see this being a useful tool for students to use in the classroom to share videos and photos. Here is a short clip of photos I took whilst in Central Park, NY a few years ago:

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

I think that it would also be a nice way for students to put together their own short digital portfolio of work to share with their parents at the end of a term or even year (although the 30 seconds that you get for free could be quite restrictive in montaging an entire year of activities).

Out of the two programs I have used, I think that Windows Live would be more useful for several reasons:
– It is an offline program (so does not require an internet connection to use)
– You can make your videos much longer, compared to the 30 seconds that are free when using Animoto
– There is much more opportunity to edit and change the look and timing of the presentation

I have had a lot of fun playing with these two programs and look forward to using them both in my classroom.

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Office 2010

August21

Last week at school I felt like a big dummy. Students were working in Microsoft Word (A program I have been using since Primary School!). However, the students were working with Office 2010, which is a big change from the 2007 version I am familiar with. Throughout the session students asked me for help printing, formatting and various other seemingly simple things. I am fairly savvy with the 2007 version, however I was completely unfamiliar with the new version and was unable to help the students with very simple issues. So I have decided to get up to date with this new generation of Office users and get Microsoft Office 2010.

Long story short, I am a poor uni student and cannot afford to spend huge amounts on new software (especially because I want Microsoft Publisher too which is only available on the more expensive packs of Office). So my very sensible husband suggested I check to see if Deakin had any student offers to get Office 2010 at a cheaper price. Low and behold they do! If you follow this link http://www.deakin.edu.au/its/it-offers/office.php you can buy Office Academic (including publisher!) for $99! It’s normally around $600, Bargain! So as we speak I am downloading and installing it now, 21st century here I come!

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How to get around the Youtube ban at most schools

August20

Hi everyone,

Sorry about the post drought, I’ve been on practicum all week and also am involved in a¬†theater production that takes up every evening (great timing right?). However, whilst on practicum I have found some really great tools that have been used in the grade 5-6 Learning Center I am at. One of these is a really good website called Zamzar (http://www.zamzar.com/) which allows you to convert online videos (like the ones on youtube) into a file format that you can save onto your computer and then play at school. I have already used this 4 times just this week to supplement my lessons with videos as I take lessons on the topic of Child Rights. At first I tried to find content on teachertube, but there was limited material. The wide variety of content on youtube offered a lot of useful videos however it was not possible to open these at school due to network restrictions on the school computers.

Here is a video which quickly explains how to use Zamzar:

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Using Audacity as a Literacy Tool

August12

I’ve just been using Audacity for the first time since year 10, and decided to use some sound effects to create a reading of the story book “Sactchelmouse and the Doll’s House” using free sound effects from¬†http://www.soundjay.com¬†. It was a lot of fun, and I can¬†definitely¬†see how I could use this in my classroom. I think it would be a great tool for students to use to record their own stories and add effects/music and sounds to engage their audience as well as portray their feelings with more than words. It¬†didn’t¬†take long at all to create the audio file and I had a lot of fun doing it. I think that the students will find Audacity very simple to use and will hopefully be excited to present their work in this way, a nice change from just¬†writing¬†stories down in their “Creative¬†Writing” book.

Click on this title¬†Satcehelmouse and the Doll’s House¬†to hear what I came up with in around 20 minutes.

Kate ūüôā

 

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Smartboard Video…testing out how to add videos to my blog

August5

This is a really neat video I found highlighting some features of SmartBoard notebook software. It’s also a good opportunity to see if I am clever enough to embed a video ūüôā

Enjoy!

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Diigo

August4

This week we have been encouraged to look at Diigo, a very neat bookmarking tool. When I first heard of it (approximately half an hour ago!), my first thought was, “but i can already bookmark pages, whats the difference?”. As a little experiment, I decided this week to take a backwards approach to the topic. I decided to skip all of the reading and instructional videos that were available on Diigo (I promise I went back and read them afterwards), and instead decided to see just how user friendly Diigo was without any preconcieved notions or information.

So I went to the Diigo website and clicked on the “get started” button. After signing up and applying the Diigo icon to my Chrome tool bar, I had a little play. I decided I would start with my Edmodo page. Following the prompt that popped up on my screen, I clicked on the Diigo icon and bookmarked my first ever page! I then went back to my Diigo library to see what had changed there and viola! A link to my Edmodo page had appeared! I then got a bit more adventurous and decided to use the “highlight” option to highlight key points on a page about¬†cerebral¬†palsy. Zipping back to my Diigo page, I was so excited to see that the key points were listed underneath the link to the the page I had just been highlighting.

I can definitely see my self using the Diigo bookmaker and in particular the highlighting feature on a regular basis. I have a shocking habit of finding great pages and information, but then forgetting where I got them from or why I thought they were important in the first place! I have spent many hours scouring my search history just trying to re-find a page! Diigo makes it so quick and easy to highlight the main points and have a link the the pages that I have found useful. I particularly like that you can tag key words so that you can build up categorised resources for various subjects.

From a student’s perspective, I think that Diigo will be able to help them in the same way that I anticipate it will help me when I am assignment¬†writing. It will also cut down on time wasting. For example if students were doing a poster on¬†Indigenous¬†Food and had a limited amount of time to gather information from the internet, they will be able to quickly bookmark pages of¬†interest.¬†¬†They can then return to them days later, without having to re-find the pages or double up on searches.

Overall, I am very impressed with Diigo. It is very simple and quick to use, and I can definitely see myself and my future students using it.

Ciao for now,

Kate

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If social media were highschool…

July30

Here is an interesting take on how a highschool year book would be compiled if the students were social networking sites:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tech-fun/social-media-high-school-yearbook/

What do you think? Who would you be?

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