Archive | May 2011

Unit 4: Wallwisher, Visual Thinking Tools, Google

Wallwisher:

http://www.wallwisher.com/

I have used wallwisher before with year 3/4 and 1/2 students. I have used it as a brainstorming tool in a whole class session where students posted comments about what they already know about an inquiry topic. I have also used it for a homework task where students had to comment on the site for homework. It is a great program for visualising thinking as you can record comments from the whole class about a particular topic almost instantly. Much better than just writing a list on the board!

Visual Thinking Tools:

Gliffy

http://www.gliffy.com/

Gliffy looks like a great tool for mind mapping. It is very easy to use and offers a lot of options. It would be a great tool for any age group. I really like how it has lots of graphic organisers such as Venn Diagrams, Swimlanes and Flow Charts. It is not just a mindmapping tool, it offers so much more.

Bubbl.us

https://bubbl.us/

I have used Bubbl.us before. It is a very simple mindmapping tool that works well as it is easy to use. From what I have seen so far Bubbl.us doesn’t seem to offer as many options as Gliffy. This can be a benefit if you don’t want the students to get distracted from basic mindmapping but also limits its uses.

Essay Map

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/essaymap/

I love Essay Map. I think this would be a fantastic tool to use with students in Year 3 and up. At the moment I work with Year 1/2’s and feel essays might be a little to tricky for them especially because it has so many steps involved. I will definitely be keeping Essay Map bookmarked for when I move up to a higher year level!

My favourite visual thinking tool would be Gliffy as this is a tool I have never used before and I think it has the most potential. I really like how it has so many options and it seems as though I will be able to publish projects onto my class blog. I also like how you can collaborate with other people on a project. I think this tool would be useful when planning an inquiry unit with my level. We could all share our ideas for understandings/questions to cover and keep adding to it after the meeting is finished. It would also be a good tool to use in staff meetings when you wanted to get staff collaborating on a particular topic. There would be no need to collate all the responses from different groups if we all add to the same project.

Google for Educators:

Google for Educators looks promising. I like how everything is very easy to understand and it gives information on how the tools can be used in education. I will need more time to play around with some of the tools but I can already see that it will be useful. From what I have used so far of the Google suit I think that Google Docs is probably the most useful tool for me in my classroom and in level planning. It is a great tool for collaboration and I have seen it used to gather information from all around the world using a public document and Twitter. Google Reader is a very useful tool for professional learing. It allows me to keep track of all the blogs I follow as well as any website that regularly posts interesting information.

1/2GB’s Experience of Blogging

Yesterday was an exciting day in my 1/2 class. We changed our class blog over from blogger to global 2 and became reinvigorated. We put two posts up yesterday about our inquiry topic, sound. One was just a list of all the facts that we had learned so far and the other was some photos of us making string phones! About 1/2 an hour after posting the first post we had already received a comment. This made the students even more excited to be using our blog again. I also learned how to record sound and post it on our blog using Audioboo http://audioboo.fm/ I record the sound on my iphone and then it gets uploaded to my Audioboo account. Through this account I can access html code for each sound file that can then be added to our blog. We have started recording secret sounds that are going to be posted on our blog next week. The students were over the moon that they could put their voices on our blog and I have some students who are now very excited for school on Monday.

Yesterdays experience reminded me that it is so important to regularly update a blog. I had got so caught up with everything else that I had let a lot of time pass in between class blog posts. The excitement and enthusiasm that something as simple as a list of facts could bring to my class has made me decide to make a much bigger effort to update our blog. I am hoping to go from posting every now and then to weekly. Fingers crossed I can keep up with my goal!

Unit 3: Diigo and Wiki’s

Diigo:

I have been using Diigo for a while now, ever since the rumours of the Delicious takeover became more serious. I transferred all of my bookmarks from Delicious over to Diigo and haven’t looked back. I find Diigo is extremely useful for storing and sorting bookmarks. I use it to store professional bookmarks for education and also social bookmarks. I hadn’t really started following anyone or any groups. I like this feature and have started adding to ‘my groups’ now. I really need to take advantage of the social aspect of the bookmarking site. I have really only used it to store my own bookmarks. I used to follow a few people in Delicious and found it very useful.

Wiki’s:

I have heard about Wiki’s in the past but never found them that useful, although I am sure I haven’t fully understood their potential. I think having Myclasses (a SINA based site to store websites for the students) and blogs the need for a wiki wasn’t really there. I think Wiki’s would be a useful place to store information for students to use. They could easily access all the information they need for a particular area – EG) a literacy or numeracy page. However I think at this stage Myclasses does a very similar job and doesn’t have all the hassle involved in setting up a wiki. I do like how Wiki’s can be more collaborative than Myclasses. The idea of storing documents that can be worked on and saved is appealing. I also like the idea of giving each student their own page. This would be good for encouraging students to use sites and tools that are suitable for their particular needs.

In summary, I love Diigo and will have to look further into the idea of having a wiki for my class!

The Instant Nature of Twitter

I just thought I would share with you an experience I had this evening with Twitter.

I was exploring Global 2 and thinking about changing my current class blog over from Blogger to Global 2 (which I have now started doing) to allow me to focus on one blogging provider. I realised that I wanted to add a widget that I had previously used on Blogger, but I didn’t know how to do it on Global 2. I thought that I would try asking my friends on Twitter and #VicPLN. Within three minutes I had a response telling me what to do! Another seven minutes later and I had another response! I couldn’t believe how fast I had the answers right there in front of me. All up it took me around about ten minutes to pose the question and add the widget! I even received an @ mention remarking that I had worked out the problem very quickly, to which I responded – “twitter helped me quickly”.

This is just one of the benefits of Twitter that I am discovering each day!

Happy Tweeting!!

Unit 2: Twitter, Facebook and Skype

I have already been using twitter, facebook and skype.

Twitter:

I have been using twitter for almost a year. It took me a while to see the value of it but I am now 100% behind it. I have been developing my PLN and now follow a range of educators and people supporting education. I find I am spending lots of time reading blogs and learning new things everyday that I can try with my class or use in my ICT leader role. I also have people who follow me that are supporting me in getting my own class blog up and running by commenting on my blog or simple retweeting me initial tweet.

Facebook:

I have used facebook on a social level and have ‘liked’ a few education pages. I like the idea of creating a professional account so that it can be completely separate from my social page and I can also keep track of educational pages.

Skype:

I have used skype for years as a tool to connect with friends. I use it mainly to speak with friends overseas as it is a free way to catch up. I would love to use skype in my teaching and make connections with other classes from around Australia or the world. This is one of my goals for this year!

Unit 1: Setting up a blog

Hi everyone,

My name is Aimee and I am currently a year 1/2 teacher and the ICT/Contemporary Learning leader at my school. This is my sixth year teaching in primary education. I am very interested in learning more about Web 2.0 tools, especially blogging. I have a class blog that I have just started called Kids Speak http://kids-speak.blogspot.com/ and I would love to find out ways I can make it more engaging. I have started to create my own PLN and find I am learning new things everyday. I use twitter as a way to connect with other educators and I follow lots of blogs created by teachers and classes. These connections have also supported me in leaving comments on my class blog and offering a range of ideas that I can use.

My main reason for joining this program is to find out as much as I can about blogging and any other Web 2.0 tools that I have not yet learnt about. I hope that I will be able to use my class blog more effectively and also broaden my PLN.