Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tool # 11 - DONE!

Well, I blotched that final assessment but good - 77%,  My competitive soul is NOT HAPPY.  Oh well, such is life, shrug and move on.  Here's Stupefix Video Celebratory Video

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

  Some I already knew but I'm happy to have added Tikatok and MakeBeliefs Comix to my collection.  I'm glad I played around with Thinkfinity & Learning Games and will use some of the sites from the latter two with my PGP students this upcoming year.  I'll work with teachers helping them implement Tools with their classes so which tools we'll use will be somewhat up to them.  I do plan to model at least one of them per week in my library lesson so that the Tools will remain in my teacher's frontal lobes.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner? 

 Again, this doesn't really apply to library where all our technology is well marked with fingerprints and smudges.   This year we'll be in a transition school, so it will interesting how the teachers set up their classroom when we return to our newly constructed 21st century school.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? 
very proud of themselves. 

 I was surprised at how much of this I already knew (even though my assessment score does not reflect this!) and also by how many folks were proficient at e-mail and not much else.  I was utterly delighted that quite a few of the teachers  took this project and ran with it and created unbelievable blogs that went above and beyond the initial assignments. Some people  that weren't in the least bit teckie persevered and finished and are rightfully very proud of themselves. This year should be interesting!  I always enjoy any kind of on line learning and I'm glad I participated in the 11 Tools  I'm also very grateful that I've taught blogging to the students for the past 4 years.  That enabled me to come to the project with a through understanding of Blogger and how it works..  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tool #10 Digital Citizenship

I've taught Digital Citizenship for a couple of years now. Given what I've seen of some of the students Facebook posts I'd say I'm not always successful.  Even though 5th graders aren't supposed to have a Facebook Page, many of our students do.  10 year olds live in the moment and some of what they've posted is both poorly spelled and in very poor taste. 

1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being  good digital citizens.   I try to stress to the students that what they post on line isn't private in any sense of the word and I try to bring in real world examples.  Sadly, this isn't to difficult.  We try very hard to convince them them that "cutting and pasting" does not a paper make.  Lastly, we do our best to stamp out Cyber Bullying.    Given the recent posts about a Facebook page at one of our high schools I don't think we have a handle on this problem either. 
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.   I've used the iSafe program as a jumping off place for my lessons but it's a bit to negative, the internet is the Big Bad Wolf for my taste.  I took the information presented in the program and created Flipchart which I've used for the past couple of years. 

3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students The students and I both adore BrainPop and I've found their lessons to be both user friendly and through. BrainPop is incorporated in my FlipChart since the company is a partner with Promethean, who makes our ActivBoards. .

4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents. That's a tricky one, since many of our parents don't speak English and don't have easy access to a home computer.  They have cell phones with internet but that's not the same as a computer (or an iPad) with a keyboard.  It's a subject we really need to broach this upcoming school year, especially since Cyber Bullying is becoming all to common.  We no longer have a Family Technology Night, but we could address it during Science Night, which also includes a heath fair.  That's when we get out biggest turnout of parents.  Perhaps some of the 4th Graders could create Glogs to accompany the 5th grade Glogster projects. 

Tool # 9 - Incorporating the Teckie Toys

I like the term Teckie Toys better than ClassRoom Learning Devices.  The latter sounds so formal!

  • Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?  Simple, you need a destination before you begin - and that's your objective.  

  • Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?  The key to students with sticky fingers or students as vandals is "ownership".  Once the students come to think of the computers, iTouches, iPads et. al. as "theirs" as opposed to "the schools" they will take care of them and police each other.  At Housman the students have easy access to everything and we've (knock on wood) only had one problem with theft.  They students were so incensed when that occurred that they banded together and solved the crime for us.

  • Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?  Things are a bit different in the library where students (hopefully) come in with a project already assigned.  I did check out some of the links/  I've been meaning to play with Thinkfinity for ages.  Via it I found Comic Creator which is easy to use.  I was tres impressed till I finished and discovered that my only option was to either print my work or create another carton.  There doesn't appear to be any way to save it as a jpeg so that it can be posted to a blog.  Oh - just occurred to me that I can use the camera tool from the Activ Inspire software.  That's a bit clunky and the software isn't on the netbooks.  Given the cost of paper and toner we're trying to wean everyone away from printing everything.    I had fun with Fractured Fairy Tales, but once again the final results can only be printed.  This is a fun site to use with my PGP students!   Thinkfinity is an idea site to use with centers since many of the projects are short.   I also explored Learning Games and came across US State Learning Games.  It's a fabulous replacement for the Facts on File State pages.  Due to budget constraints we no longer have Facts on File and their state pages were something I always used to teach "mouse skills" and "point n' click" to our little ones. Unlike South of the Freeway schools our students are not placed in front of a keyboard at birth. Tomato Bounce is a kids version of Angry Birds and the Logic Games in Brain Games are another resource to use with my PGP kids.  Anything in Learning Games is a perfect match for an ActivBoard. 

  • List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like?   I used Google Earth on the iPads with my Book Club last year.  We read The Thief Lord, which is set in Venice and Google Earth helped us explore the canals. We've any number of games on the school iPads, some of which are not educational but are very popular during Family Library Night and Library Lunch Time.  Pimple Pop, which has no redeeming value at all is a favorite (it's so gross) as is Angry Birds lite. I must admit that I like Angry Birds too!

  • What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad?  Last year I loved using the iPads for research.  They are always logged in so the kids could zip right to the Library Resources Page and get started.  

  • Monday, July 11, 2011

    Tool #8 Using the Tools

    Since I was lucky enough to get my influx of technology (thank you SBISD voters)  in January of 2010 I already know how to manage and use my teckie gizmos.  I set up an iTunes account for the library which is NOT hooked to a credit card and we started downloading apps with a vengeance. Thanks to The Library Lunch Club students get to spend their lunch break in the library relaxing with the iPads.  Since that's not "prime learning time" I can be a bit more lenient about what they can and can't do than a classroom teacher. Oh heck, it's not a "bit more" - it's a LOT more lenient. Library lunch time is exploration time.''

    Given the amount of use the computers get I quickly let the student manage them.  They are responsible for both getting and putting away the laptops.  I do hand out the iPads and the iTouches (which we check out).  I've had trouble convincing some teachers that they do need to stand guard duty at the iBook cabinet.

    I have two rules
    1. Respect the Equipment, the library and each other.
    2. No inappropriate sites.  My definition of "inappropriate" is - if looking at the site over your shoulder embarrasses you, then it's "inappropriate".

    Other than the occasional wise guy who tries to go to " " the students are very good at adhering to the rules.  And best of all, they usually rat on the wise guy. Actually, the wise guys normally can't type or spell and their attempts to go to " are all for naught!

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Tool #7 Reaching Out To The World

    The first time I used / learned about Skype it reminded me of the EMG program that Spring Branch subscribed to back in the 1990s.  It really was early video conferencing - does anyone remember the "Bat Phones" we were supposed to use?  Someone it never quite came off as it was supposed to - mostly because we had to coordinate schedules.  That's hard to do in an elementary school where students tend to do unpredictable things like upchuck as they are headed out the door. 

    Lisa Branon, the Librarian at Frostwood experimented with Skype last year.  Her students reaped the benefits as they enjoyed some author Skyped visits.  I see from reading the blog entry that there's a web site of Skype friendly authors.

    Last year a couple of students talked me into doing a book club - we kept it small and meet every 6 days or so.  All of us really enjoyed it -and since the students will be in 5th grade next year I suspect we'll keep it up.  II'll start by letting them explore this site and select an author who is willing to Skype.  None of the names jumped out at me, but it will be fun to discover a "new to us" author.  

    It will keep my first school Skype experience small and I'll have the pleasure of working with students who are articulate and adore technology.   

    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    Tikatok & Bookr

    I like Tikatok, but I'd like it more if I could figure out how to enbed my book - My Summer With the 11 Tools rather than link it.

    Oh, I think I just figured it out!  Seems you have to pay a $1 so that Tikatok knows you are an adult.  Yeah me!

    Bookr is easier to us but Tikatok has way more options and is much more flexible. Bookr is a good jumping off site since it does have so many limitations. Students can't change the fonts or the text color so they focus on content rather than appearance.  I think I'd start students with Bookr because it's easier and then the students who finish the Bookr.  Instant differentiation!

    Sunday, July 03, 2011

    Tool # 6 Web 2.0 in the Classrooms

    I've been using Blogs for about 4 or 5 years now via Housman's After School Programs.  I thought students might be more interested in writing if they didn't have to struggle with pencil and paper.  Some of the students proved to be amazing writers and others were more interested in finding widgets rather than putting fingers to keyboard.  Originally I let them chose a topic of their choice but after the umpteenth post about Justin Bieber and WWF I was forced to impose a bit more structure.  I found I had to specify how many sentences qualified as a post.  Oddly I found myself doing the very same thing for teachers when they tackled the 11 Tools.  

    Here's a link to one of my favorite student blogs - the author is going into the 5th grade and he's been blogging for 2 years.  As you can tell he loves making Animotos.  I have 102 student blogs on my Housman Blogger account. 

    The library's also had a delicious account since I first did the 23 Things.  It's proved to be invaluable since elementary age children can't type long URLs.  Diigo wasn't around back then but it appears to be superior and I've migrated the Housman bookmarks to Diigo while we decide which one we want to keep updated. 

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Tool 5 - Web. 2.0 Products - ABCya! & Comic Strips

    I've used Wordle for a couple of years now - it produces delightful results with minimal efforts.
    This time I tried ABCya! which is even easier!   One of my favorite singers wrote this and I always find myself humming the chorus during boring meetings.

    I also played around with Comix Strip Maker - very easy and lots of fun!  Many, many uses - explaining math procedures, in lieu of the traditional book reports, discussing the scientific process or as a lesson to reinforce punctuation.   I used the camera tool on my ActivBoard to "photograph" my strip, then I copied it, open PowerPoint and pasted it into a slide.  That converted the strip to a png. and I was able to save it to my desktop and upload it to my blog.

    MixBook too - MixBook creates digital scrapbooks.  It's very involved and gives almost to many choices.  Great fun for adults, but sometimes to many choices overwhelms kids.  They spend so many time looking at all their options that they forgo content for the sake of appearance.  Glogster has an overload of choices too. We've somewhat been able to corral the creative child by specificing that their Glog must look historical or scienceticic.  Even a 10 year understands that Hello Kitty was not present at the Battle of the Alamo.

    Tool 3 - Embedding Videos

    Videos are easy to embed -or link.  Sometimes you opt for one, and sometimes the other. I perfer to embed since it's easier for your blog followers to view it.  It also adds visual interest to the blog.   If there are firewall and "Net Nanny "issues a link it best, otherwise there will be this big blank space in the middle of your blog.  Below are examples of Linking and Embedding.

    Much to my amazement I've become a Lady Gaga fan.  Granted, I am I old enough to be mother - she is younger than my daughters but I do enjoy her music.  It makes me get up and move.  Moving is good. 

    The woman excells at  using Social Media and I think her commerical for Google Chrome is a masterpiece.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Tool # 4 - Into the Cloud with Google Docs

    I've used Google Docs created by others but this is the first time I've created one myself.  It's so easy!  Now I'm kicking myself for dragging my feet!  Silly me!

    I'm doing a presentation at the back to school in- services so I've started a document to help me collect my thoughts.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    The 11 Tools - Huh????

    The instructions for some of the 11 Tools are well, well they are lacking.  One of the cardinal rules when writing instructions is that you always give them to someone clueless and make sure they can follow them and complete the task successfully.   It's becoming very apparent that it wasn't done.

    Along with some other librarians,  I attended an Atomic Learning training session and discovered there are some very very helpful videos available to those who are wandering in the wilderness of cyberspace.

    Karen Harrell, the librarian at Rummel Creek listed them on her blog

    Take a look - and you even get PDLC hours - well make that minutes for watching them

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Adding a Picture to Your Post

    Pictures make your blog more interesting and more appealing to the reader - here's a link that explains how to do it.

    It's really easy.  I always save the picture to my desktop so that I can find it easily!  Then you click on the picture icon (it's next to the word LINK)  on the toolbar that shows up when you posting and follow the instructions!

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Tool # 2 Commenting and On Line Learning Communties

    I discovered The Google Reader during the 23 Things and it created organization out of chaos. I have on set up for The 11 Tools so I can keep up with who has posted and who hasn't.  Makes it easy to leave comments.  

    My  stack of books to be read is always toppling off my night stand and my Google Reader is always about to burst with postings. Sometimes I get frustrated and mark them all as "read" so I can clean it out and start back at zero.  Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog and CoolCat Teacher are my go to blogs.  I visit the fomer to keep with my profession and the latter because she's always on top of what's happening in the world of Web 2.0.

    I've found some of my favorite blogs via other blogs.  It's a bit like books, if someone enjoys the same book you do, chances are you have some other books in common too.

    Delicious is another tool that entered my life during Library2Play.  I promptly set up an account for the library and it's been such a time saver.  Children can't type URLs correctly and bookmarks aren't practical since they are tied to a specific computer. 

    Diigo came along a bit later and I set up a Diggo account for the library too.  It has some extras -stickly notes for example that Delicious doesn't offer.  I think I'll start encouraging the kids to use Diigo instead of Delicious. I
     like the fact that it is cross platform now  that we have iTouches, iPads and computers.  Less letters in the word Diigo too- so less of a chance for typos.  Well, we can only hope. 

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Blogger Dashboard

    We were also told that Atomic Learning videos viewed at home count for PDLC hours.  Granted they are only 1-5 minutes long so you have to watch more than one to get your hours.  It's still better than having to attend a Fire Marshall presentation - yes you -Hanne!

    Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    The 11 Tools - Here We Go Again....

    I've done the 23 Things, the 11 & A Half Things and The 5 & 3/4 Things....and now here comes The 11 Tools.

    Some of which I'm familiar with and some of which I'm not. The Web comes and goes so quickly so some Tools have already vanished.  The Land of Oz and the Internet have a great deal in common.

    I love anything Web 2.0 and the kids do too.  Now that the library has the new Macbooks and the Minis we finally have some decent technology we can finally turn the students loose on the  world of the wild, wild, web.

    But, before we can turn the students loose; the teachers have to be taught.  Actually, the kids could teach the teachers but that's not the way it's done in Spring Branch.

    This summer, along with packing up, moving and not knowing where we're going to be holding classes come fall everyone must haul out their laptops and create a blog.  Not only that, but they must write 11 posts on their blog.  For some this is a piece of cake (I've had a blog since 2004) but for others it's an overwhelming task.

    To quote one of the greatest movie lines of all time "Buckle your seatbelts it's going to be a bumpy night".

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Sometimes the Contents are Not What's Expected....

    The estate sale ad intrigued me so I ventured  way out of my comfort zone and normal stomping grounds this morning. The Dear Departed once worked for Cactus Records, Houston’s legendary independent record store. 

    The neighborhood was very gloomy – a down at the heels subdivision  firmly on the downhill slide. 3 bedroom brick starter homes built in the mid 1970s. The neighborhood is now mostly  poor and  Hispanic, lots of rentals and foreclosures and gang signs spray painted on the fences. It was not the kind of house you’d associate with anyone who worked at Cactus Records. I saw some pictures of The Dear Departed  and she was about my age. I suspect she lived there with someone else- maybe an aged parent. When I think Cactus Records I conjure up an eclectic house in Houston’s eclectic neighborhood with artsy furnishings and funky art, not a soulless tract house in the wrong part of town.

    The estate dealer – I’ll call him Joe is not known for his pleasant demeanor and he was in rare form today.

    To start with he left the E for east that belonged on the address. Another would be attendee and I meet up at the wrong address. We called and got the correct address and somehow the other attendee managed to get us in the door early. He was from New Jersey and he was pissed and he let Joe know it. I got included because I was the one with the phone number & the GPS.  He was a record dealer and I'm not so I was no threat. 

    I think the Dear Departed had a home business making and selling bootleg DVDs. There were way more mailers in that house than the average person keeps. There were boxes of DVDs in those multi colored cases you can get at Office Max. All looked just a little “off” and it was very apparent they were copies. I left those but came away with an 5 foot high stack of original box sets – all new and sealed which the Dear Departed hadn’t gotten around to copying yet.

    There were indeed lots of books, most worthless –many books published Dover.. Shelves of books on ancient Egypt but all by popular presses. I am pretty sure 2 someones lived in the house since the book subjects were very diverse. Far left wing crystal reading and far right Obama is Satan books on the same shelf. One of the someones liked genealogy and I found some  local New England history books that I’ve sold before. I had first crack at the books for about half the shelves and then the guy who buys for Brazos Books  appeared. He turned his nose up at my scanner but decided maybe I did know something when I picked this from a shelf he’d already gone through:

    Iver Johnson's Arms and Firearms was such a good find that 3 people tried to buy it from me while I was standing in line to pay.

    Nothing was priced and nobody could price anything but Joe . Joe had 2 different check out stations – one manned by his mother (old and clueless) and another by an ageing queen (fussy and clueless) Everyone and everything had to wait for Joe and  everyone was grumpy, especially Joe. Joe was running around cursing everyone and being as rude as possible to the buyers and assorted Hispanic men he’d hired to do the hauling and the translating. 

     The buyers were pretty clueless too – they managed to block a number of driveways along the street and tow trucks were summoned. You can only imagine how blue the air turned once wreckers showed up.

    It took forever to pay – in fact I think I could of easily walked out with my haul, it was such a disorganized mess. I went into the “polite, sympathetic and understanding” mode I use with another dealer and it worked. He looked at my stack and said “$125”. The gun book will more than cover that so I paid and ran.

    There were several cases of jewelry on the lawn (the house was so tiny) and I couldn’t get near it. It also wasn’t priced and the folks around were in a feeding frenzy. No records at all, though the ad promised records. Joe locked them in his truck because he didn’t want anyone to look at them unless he stood over them to guard them. Which he couldn’t do because nothing was priced. The record buyer folks were angry – can’t say that I blame them. It was a long drive and they went away empty handed.

    My grand total ? $2,228.00. Not bad for 3 hours of work! 

     I’m very glad I got up early on a Saturday and that I took chance in an unfamiliar part of town.