Saturday, June 13, 2009

Library2Play2 - Thing 2 - Image Generators

I discovered Bookr last fall and introduced it to the first and the 4th grade. The kids adored it - in fact 4th graders were begging for the opportunity to write another Bookr book. Bookr has some weakness, which are in a way also the site's strength. There isn't any choice of fonts - you use what they give you - not as much fun but then the kids don't do all their work in unreadable Gothic either. The pictures most come from Flickr and the choices are limited. Again, that's both a plus and minus - the kids don't waste hours of time looking at every possible picture but sometimes it is difficult to find "the perfect one" within the offered choices. The main weakness of the site is that there is no "edit' option. Once you publish, you publish. On the positive side, it is free and no e-mail address is required. We found it best to publish the Bookr Books to an already existing blog.






Wordle is another site I discovered last fall. Several of the teachers used it as the "carrot" to get the kids through a keyboarding exercise. Once they finished typing they could "wordle" the results. It's also an fun way to reinforce spelling or vocabulary words.

I'd not played with WordShift. Wordle, which allows you change fonts and colors wins in the playing prize, Wordsiftf, which can pull up links wins the "more information " one.
I put The Gettysburg Address through both of them.
Below is the Wordle's Version



This is Wordsift's version.


My bloggers adored Glogster. It didn't do much for me - I thought the results were very busy and cluttered but I suspect I'm showing my age. I would think any parent would embrace Glogster since it frees them from those 10pm runs the 24 hour Walmart because someone just realized they need poster board RIGHT NOW. The kids and I did have problems saving our Glogs. I noticed that many of the glogs on the site are edgy to the extreme. I see they now have an education area, which will help with that problem. The help files and Glogster Buzz sections are full of good ideas on applying Glogster in the classroom. This site is "green" to the extreme and must use for any school using digital portfolios.

Voicethread - this one is new to me. Whoo-hoo - a new new tool to introduce to the bloggers come fall! This one beats the others hands down when it comes to tutorials and help files. I can see many group collboration opporunties for VoiceThread. It would also be interesting to post a final produce and use VoiceTread to comment and critique it. What a wonderful way for ESL students to practice their English.

Animoto was another hands down favorite with the bloggers. They tended to make Animotos of kittens and puppies but one could certainly make an Animoto of Texas Hero's or mammals or just about anything. I applied and was given an educators account which meant I could create e-mail addresses so that the students could make their own Animotos. We learned that if 2 students used the same e-mail address they would overwrite each other's Animotos so it is impartive that each student have their own individual address. The students liked their Animotos to be very long, but I think the 30 second ones are more effective. They are perfect for introducting a topic. Everytime I put one every child in the library gravitated toward the screen. The combination of music and flashing pictures is a child magnet.


The bloggers and I played with Vokis too. Two of the more creative kids proceeded to have their Vokis talk to each other. They were trash talking but a teacher could use it for a 21st century version of Reader's Theater. A student could create a historical Voki and have it talk in character.

All the Image Generators I discovered in Library2Play and these were wildly popular with my students. I found them all easy to use and the results were most professional. The students adored learning and using them and most went on to further explore the sites on their own. SBISD is pushing electronic portfolios and all these sites dovetail nicely with that mandate.

7 comments:

Chauncey Gardiner said...

Guusje

I've been enjoying reading your blog and all the educational tech available to teach with. I feel like I'm in the dark ages here - I have no access to anything like this, but I am really interested in knowing if any of it would aid me in my classes.

This summer I'm teaching (July) an intensive (2 week/4 hr days M-F) academic writing class. I will have a minimum of 24 university students, 99% of them with English as a second language. I have to teach them summary, expository writing, compare/contrast, synthesis, etc. AND somehow check all these papers.

What I have been doing is using the computer lab. I teach the unit, assign a video, join them in the computer lab and they watch and write in the style/form assigned. I give them quick writes - sometimes as little as a concise paragraph so I can check them all before the end of class.

This is less than ideal as some are done much faster than others and I can't release them to wander the U halls, socialize (we don't have a sep. student lounge yet) and disturb the other classes, so they wind up with something else I've cooked up that's related, and generally causes me oodles more work checking.

Is there one or more of these applications I could introduce them to that I can learn quickly that would be useful?

I don't mind if they work together (collaborate), but they've got to eventually produce their own work.

The other class I teach, Business Writing, is comprised of separate units where they works as groups to generate the final product. I'd like some program where I'd be able to see who edited what - or who did what on the assignment.

If you have any help for me (a teacher's conference? a something useful?? a program?) it would be greatly appreciated.

So far I have kept pace (and proud to say, a step ahead) with the changing environment in business schools and focus on environmental and social concerns in business, but I am lagging in the tech department and could really use some learnin'.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Haha, I could fly up and take one of your classes (bloggers?) along with your fourth graders, after school, haha!

Can you steer me in a useful direction?

Muchas gracias! It's fun to be back in touch, and I hope this might lead to something good for both of us!

Susan (Coburn Weinberg!) :-)

jchoy said...

Thanks for sharing your reflections & suggestions on using Bookr and Animoto with your students! I think my students will enjoy using Bookr this year. I have used Animoto with my students, but my students have never created their own. I have wanted to, but I didn't know how to get around the email address... I will look into getting an educator account.

Robin said...

Thanks for more great ideas! Several of the WITS writers used animoto this school year. Appreciate your recommendations!

UTLibGal said...

I am glad that you have the same reaction to Bookr that I did. It is great for a simple project that doesn't require a lot of time however, some students may become frustrated since they can not edit the layout or upload pictures. I am going to try to use this with my summer school class to see their reactions.

Gladiator said...

I love the idea of using bookr to illustrate the Gettysburg Address! It could be used to illustrate a poem, other speeches. (I Will Fight No More Forever, comes to mind.) Thanks for the idea.

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