Week 7 – DropBox and GoogleDocs

Hi gang!  It’s been a little quiet around EYT land this week, but we hope that you have, nonetheless, found the time to check out the great infographic tools that were introduced.   A few of you were able to dip into Dippity, and to put it to use with your students already! You had some useful feedback about it as well. Well done!

This week, we move onto a couple of mighty collaboration tools that will change your life – GoogleDocs and Dropbox. How did we ever live without them?!  It has been with great thanks to GoogleDocs that the Expand Your Toolkit team was able to put together this program for you, despite our being located in several states and three countries!  If you are not already making use of these tools, we think you will quickly find them to be of indispensable value to your professional life.  Enjoy!

Week 6 – Infographics

Hi everyone,

We are onto week 6 this week – three more weeks to go! I noticed that some of you haven’t been blogging this week. I know that the spring gets crazy in schools – term 2 projects, inventories, developing next year’s budget, spending this year’s budget, and so much more. I understand that we can’t always do everything and sometimes we have to choose between two good things.

May I encourage you to keep going on your own professional development? We aren’t going to be able to help our students tomorrow if we fall behind on the new tools today. If you have had to skip a week or two, no worries, just pick a week you are interested in and keep going. Alternately, tell us what you are working on in your blog. This will help you develop the supports you may need to work on that new skill tomorrow.

That’s your pep talk. Now onto Infographics. Infographics are simply the graphics we use to present information. You are already using them all the time – concept maps, Venn diagrams, timelines – all infographics. Just this week I used an infographic I found for a display I was creating on the Middle East. I didn’t create the infographic but I made use of it in my display (with permission). It was such a time saver to use something already developed. My display has been a big hit. The students have been stopping and reading all the statistics located on the poster – and it has started a conversation in their World History course. Infographics are powerful and they can be used with all ages and in all subjects.

So this week, if you work in an elementary school, you may want to try an interactive timeline with Dipity. If you work with middle years or high school students, consider reviewing the variety of ways to present data with Many Eyes. If you don’t have much time this week, spend some time looking at infographics already created. Please let us know what you find. Add them to your blog or link to them so we can share the good ones.

Week 5 – Communication tools

Congratulations! You have made it to the half way mark. So far you have started a blog, tried some social bookmarking – many of you have converted to Pinterest –and have learned about VoiceThread and Jing. Last week was a catch up and play week where we suggested even more cool tools you could try. Hopefully you bookmarked the ALA’s Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning.

As importantly, you are in the process of developing a great community to learn and share with into the future. We have enjoyed reading your blog posts and comments. You have reminded us that learning new things takes time and can be frustrating but your enthusiasm for the new tools and your successes have also been inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Now onto the new. This week we will be looking at ways of communicating with Google Hangouts and Edmodo. Please note that we suggest that you use a webcam and microphone for this week’s tools, but please don’t be intimidated if you don’t have these. Many computers have built-in microphones and some have webcams also.

Week 4 – Happy Spring Break

Week 4 is here! Happy Spring Break! We hope that spring is truly arriving in NY and that you will have some time for rejuvenation and relaxation.  We also hope that you’ll have a little time for your Web 2.0 journey with EYT.  This is your chance to catch up on the exploring you keep meaning to get to, but that gets lost in the midst of your busy days!   So, catch up or take a breather.  Look around at your colleagues blogs.  For those of you caught up and ready for even more goodies, try out Tagxedo, Photocollect, Zooburst, Knovio or Educaplay.

As always, we are here for you if you need us.  Cheers from the EYT team 🙂

Bookmarking this week

Teachers and librarians acquire a lot of stuff over the years. Teachers regularly file lesson plans and other resources they have found that work. Busy instructors know what a time saver reusing or tweaking an already completed plan can be. The probem is finding that resource a month or a year after originally using it.

Good file management skills are so important and yet so time consuming. This is why so many educators have jumped onto the bookmarking bandwagon. Bookmarking is a must in every educators toolkit. Not only can you “file” the great links and resources you find online, you can also network with others to see what their great sites are.

Some of you indicated you have used Delicious for bookmarking in the past. I started with this one too. Now there are so many other options – each with their own pros and cons. So this week, we want to encourage you to check out one or more of the following social bookmarking services; Evernote, Pinterest, and LiveBinder. Join a group or two, create your own bookmarks; see what the tools have to offer. Bookmarking Tools has all the information to get you started.

Which one works the best for you?

Please remember to blog about your experience and provide a link to your work.

Comments and community building

We have really enjoyed meeting each of you through your blogs with week. Each of your blogs is a little different – different widgets, themes, and backgrounds.  One of the great things about blogs is the ability to create community around a topic or interest. For example, The Geeky Librarian is adding author websites in a sidebar, Just another libeary girl is counting down to her first triathlon and The Musical Librarian likes Zumba.

So if you have time, consider visiting the blogs of the people participating in this process with you. Your peers can be a great resource when you have questions about this project but also with general questions about libraries in your area. So drop by and leave a comment to say “hi”. Leave us comments too – we love them!

While on the topic of comments, please remember to check for and approve comments that you receive on your blog. It’s a great way of developing a conversation. You can approve your comments through your dashboard; click on Comments. Under the comment, click “Approve”.

Happy blogging!

Week 4: Take a Break and Play!

We have covered a lot of ground over the last few weeks. This week is intended as a catch up week and to give you time to play with some of the tools you have been learning about.

By now you should be feeling comfortable with creating a post on your blog. Please take the time to look at some of your colleagues’ blogs and add comments. One of the best things about blogs is the ability to create community around topics and issues. Another fun thing to do is to create an online avatar which will be used on your blog and when you post on other’s blogs. You could also play with the look of your blog.

There are so many fun sites on the Web. Listed below are some fun things you can play with, if you have time.  The tools were selected, tested and compiled using two great sources of recommended Web 2.0 learning tools:

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day

The American Library Association’s Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning

More tools to play with!

Zooburst for digital storytelling. Students create interactive pop-up books.

 Tagxedo – similar to Wordle, but with additional styling options.  Click the thumbnail to see a sample made in seconds, using the URL of this blog.

 

Educaplay – allows teachers to create multimedia teaching activities.

Photocollect – multiple users upload photos to a shared photo album.  Seems like a great way to gather all those different photos people take at an event!

Knovio – add video or audio to PowerPoint presentations and then share.

Remember, play is learning. We need to give ourselves permission to explore and try things. This is just one way to model being a lifelong learner to our students.

Week 6: Infographic Tools

Introduction

Teachers have known for decades that students will retain information better if they see it, hear it, and do something with it. In our classrooms we use and teach Venn diagrams, concept maps, charts, timelines, and graphs to help students focus and learn concepts in all areas of the curriculum. Infographics involves all these tools. Simply, infographics involves putting data or any type of information in a visual format to make the data easier to understand (see Rick Mans’ infographic about infographics).

This week, we will explore some great sites to find completed infographics and look at a few tools you can use to create infographics with your students or to add to your own toolkit. Two of the tools we will be trying are Many Eyes and Dipity.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, an advocate of using infographics in education, explains in her post “Creating infographics with students” that there are several reasons to use infographics with students including the following :

  • help students make sense of vast amount of information
  • organize and group related information together
  • tell a story
  • connect information
  • make raw data more appealing to most learners who are visual
  • understand complex relationships between data over time
  • analyze and interpret information

The Basics

  • Please review the slideshare by Jessica Fries-Gaither and Terry Shiverdecker entitled Visual literacy  for an overview of using infographics in schools.

Examples of infographics

Infographics can be used in their simplest forms with elementary students or combined to create visual essays for secondary students. The following is a text cloud I use with my grade 9 students when introducing the information literacy program:

So, for week 5, please choose one of the following tools (Many Eyes and/or Dipity) and create an infographic. You may decide to simply create a graph or a chart or you may take some varied elements and create a larger infographic. Take time to explore the many sites of infographics; perhaps bookmark some of your favorites.  I used Many Eyes and Glogster for my example. Please remember to post a link to your infographic(s) and blog about the tool you tried and your experience with it.

Tool 1

 Dipity is a fun way of creating interactive timelines. Although it can be used in high school, it is a perfect fit for many elementary and junior high curriculums. Please be aware that there are advertisements in the free version. Dipity allows a user to add text, images, or video segments to the timeline.

  • Watch this video (2:19 mins.) for an overview of Dipity.
  • Watch this video (3:25 mins. )for a short tutorial of Dipity

Activity: Give it a try.

  1. You can search timelines without logging in. Take a look at some of the artifacts (pictures, videos) that have been included. We recently used one on All Quiet on the Western Front and another on the Great Depression.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Create a timeline. Please notice you can make it public or private. You may want to consider allowing anyone to contribute and invite someone else to collaborate with you.
  4. Blog about your experience. What topic did you choose? How can you see using this tool with students. Post a link to your timeline.

Tool 2

 Many Eyes is a site created as an experiment by IBM. Many Eyes allows the creation a variety of visualizations (infographics) based on data sets that are uploaded to the site. A user can choose to use data already uploaded onto the site to create visualizations or a user can upload new data to manipulate.

The thing I like about Many Eyes is that a student can experiment with different ways of visualizing the data with a click of the mouse; I can create bubble, bar, or pie charts with the same data. Students can also manipulate text data to word clouds (like Wordle) but also showing links and relationships between text.

It is probably too complicated for elementary students. It is, however, a very effective tool for middle and secondary students  who need work with primary documents such as statistics; particularly if they are creating a web-based project as many of the visualizations are interactive.

  • Watch a short video (1:13 mins) describing Many Eyes.
  • View this example of a visualization.

You will have to create an account if you decide to create a data set. You can create visualizations based on the data sets you find on the site without signing in.

Activity: Give it a try.

  1. Watch this video for a short tutorial for Many Eyes.
  2. View this page for an overview/tour of Many Eyes.
  3. Choose a data set and create a visualization.
  4. Create an account.
  5. Create your own data set and make some visualizations based on it. Optional: invite someone to collaborate with you.
  6. Blog about your experience. What data did you use? What visualization(s) did you create? How could you use this tool in your school? Post a link to your visualizations and data set.

Helpful hints when creating infographics:

  • locate and analyze relevant data – reference where the data come from
  • Consider the story you want to tell
  • Keep it simple – don’t try to do too much
  • Focus *** quickly convey the meaning
  • Reference your facts