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 3: Presentation Tools

When you’re looking for a great way to integrate web 2.0 technology into the learning experiences of teachers and students, these tools provide versatile, creative options to enhance presentations and to collaborate with a wide audience. This week, you can try out two excellent tools, VoiceThread and Jing. Choose 1 or try them both!

• VoiceThread


VoiceThread is a tool that allows people anywhere to join in an asynchronous, online multimedia conversation. It is an easy and fun way for teachers and students to create, collaborate, share, debate, and reflect on their learning.

The Basics:

Click on the picture below to see a quick overview of what a VoiceThread is and how it works and some examples of that people are doing with this great tool! 

 Click here for some great examples of using VoiceThread with students of all ages.

Your turn!  Get started on your tasks:

1. Sign up for a VoiceThread account
Once you register, you’ll be directed to the page shown below, where you will find simple steps for creating your first VoiceThread. Watch some of the videos or head straight to the Create tab to dive right in!

 

2. Create your first VoiceThread
3. Comment on it.
4. Share it with someone!
5. Blog about your experience

How are educators using VoiceThread?

Voicethread 4 Education is an extensive and informative source for examples of how teachers are using Voicethread.

Check out the Voicethread 4 Education’s Best Practices page for an excellent and thorough overview.

Teachers, particularly teachers of younger students, will appreciate this quick tutorial on how to make multiple identities, so that you can use one VoiceThread account for multiple users.  One class, one account.  Easy peasy.

Great tutorials:

Teacher training videos (another tutorial from Russell Stannard)

Extensive collection of video tutorials from beginner to advanced from tech integrationist and blogger, Jennifer Dorman.

Great tips and information from New Zealand educator Suzie Vesper

Even more information:

While VoiceThread is free tool, the people at VoiceThread also offer Ed.VoiceThread, a subscription based version designed specifically for K-12 educators.

Scholarly articles on the use of Voicethread in education

And now for…

Jing 

What is it?
Jing is a free online screensharing tool; it allows you to record a video of up to 5-minutes of anything you want to share that is on your computer screen. You can also use Jing to take still images of your desktop and to highlight, add text and annotate those images.

The Basics:

Jing is super easy to use!  Here’s the 1 minute quick tour.

Jing in the classroom:

Educators are discovering fun and effective ways to use Jing in the classroom. Find out more here:

Slideshow

• Check out this video.  Educator Russell Stannard loves Jing for language learners.

Your turn!  Get started on your tasks:

1. Explore the interactive tutorial from Techsmith, the creators of Jing.
(You will need to have Adobe Flash Player downloaded on your computer to be able to use the interactive tutorials.

Interactive tutorials:
Mac
Windows

If you don’t have Adobe Flash Player, try the tutorials below:

  • TechSmith provides over 20 training videos for beginning and advanced users of Jing!

2. Download the free version of Jing http://www.techsmith.com/download/jing/default.asp
3. Capture a screen image. Annotate it. Save it. OR create a Jing video.
4. Share your annotated image or video on your blog by sharing the link or embedding it.

Have fun!

Week 2: Bookmarking Tools

Introduction

Welcome to Social Bookmarking Tools!  Hope everyone had a great blogging week.  For this unit we are going to explore three popular online bookmarking tools:  Evernote, Pinterst, and LiveBinders.

So what are social bookmarking tools?  Social Bookmarking tools allow users to organize, manage, store, search and retrieve their saved bookmarks from any computer as long as it can get to the web.  On an Internet with an estimated 15 billion web pages, bookmarking tools allow us a very easy way to “bookmark” web pages and images that we are visiting in a real time moment, to be able to search our bookmarks and go back later – even a year or more later, assuming the site is still active – and find our bookmarked site or images when we need them.  What’s more, we can share our bookmarks with others, either those we choose, those in our personal networks, or with the entire online community!

Check out this short video from Common Craft (3:25) for a concise introduction to social bookmarking, focusing on one of the most popular bookmarking tools, Delicious, as an social bookmarking tool example.

Okay, so in addition to being able to organize, manage, store, search and retrieve our saved bookmarks from any web enabled computer, we can also share and access each other’s bookmarks – What’s so beneficial about the “sharing” part of social bookmaking tools?

As the Common Craft video noted, the “social” part of these bookmarking tools allows us to learn, share and use each others’ saved public bookmarks — it contributes to a positive information and knowledge community on the web, and we inspire each other with our bookmarked resources that we make available!  With 15 billion pages, we’ll never have time to visit them all — but we can benefit from the social efforts of others, who have taken the time to compile and tag their bookmarked links for learning community benefit.

And so here’s where the other important concept comes in – organizing and tagging.  It’s the categorizing and labeling/”tagging” of our bookmarks that allows us to later efficiently search through our saved bookmarks, as well as facilitating others to do so as well.  As this Wikipedia article on Social Bookmarking notes: “Tagging is a significant feature of social bookmarking systems, enabling users to organize their bookmarks in flexible ways and develop shared vocabularies known as folksonomies.”

It is your tags that will help you – and others – makes sense of and search your saved bookmarks for retrieval and inspiration.  While you often have the option to sometimes label your bookmarks with free-text comments or descriptions, more focused uses of tags will make them useful to others in the Internet community for browsing and access.  As the Common Craft video noted: “Your bookmarks can benefit other people!”

So let’s dive in!

TIP: YOU CAN PICK ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TOOLS TO EXPLORE & THEN SHARE A REFLECTIVE BLOG POST ABOUT. (feel free to pick more than one if feeling inspired!)

Tool:

EVERNOTE

A very easy way to store “anything” – with Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images, audio clips, are made available on every device and computer you use.  When you create an account, Evernote gives you a clipping widget tool for clipping things from the web.

Because your saved things are stored in the cloud, you have access from any web enabled device or computer, and you can share it, too.

Here is an excellent video by jhedin31 (9:33) that gives a concise Evernote Tutorial, taking us from the account creation process, to creating new notes, to tagging, an overview of note features, saving, organization tips, uploading files, and ways of sharing our bookmarks and notes.

Also, check out this inspiring video highlighting the educational potential of Evernote at a K-12 school in Montclair, New Jersey: “Evernote at The Montclair Kimberley Academy” (1:33)

Activity:

  • Create an account;
  • Click here to check out some things you can do in Evernote;
  • Do something in Evernote, have fun;
  • Share–Post the URL linking to what you did in Evernote on your blog–Tell us about it:  How was your experience?  Was it fun, inspiring, any issues?  Any thoughts as to how you might use Evernote in the future?;
  • Use the social features in Evernote–comment on each other’s Evernote projects.

Additional Resources

Tool:

PINTEREST

One of the fastest growing social media tools available at the moment, Pinterest is basically an online pinboard.  More than a conventional bookmarking tool like Delicious, Pinterest is a destination of inspiration and rich visual resources.  But “be careful” – many have reported becoming mesmerized during visits to Pinterest and losing track of a couple of hours or more!

Similar to Evernote’s clipping widget, Pinterest gives users a “Pin It” bookmarklet, that can be easily dragged to your web browser’s bookmarks bar; then when you find an image or page that you like, with a single click you can “pin it” to one of your “boards” on Pinterest, add a description, and it is instantly viewable by the Pinterest community.  Members can “like” other members’ pins, as well as comment, and “repin” to their own boards.

Pinterest offers a range of diverse categories in which you can browse or be active in yourself with your pinning.  Great for creating your own project boards, Pinterest is a wonderful source of amazing images from the web, a fund of user recommended websites, of inspirational browsing and surfacing treasures.  And like Flickr, Pinterest offers a rich trove of searchable images to discover and use for presentations and projects (with proper attribution, of course!).

Check out this video from fairhair33 (4:41) featuring a basic Pinterest Tutorial.  One interesting search featured is the ability to retrieve images of a certain color scheme.  Also covered is a method of using Pinterest to display all images available on a particular website.

Please note some current controversy around copyright infringement stemming from pinning others’ entire images, as this article by Alyson Shontell profiles; the issue will likely continue, with outcome uncertain, but something to be aware of.  It also is further reminder to properly cite all of our sources when sharing others’ content.

Activity:

Note: Anyone can freely browse Pinterest, but to join, currently you need to have a Facebook or Twitter account to establish a Pinterest user account.  This could change in the future; we’ll have to see how Pinterest develops with all the intense activity and interest around this tool.

  • Visit the Pinterest homepage;
  • At the top click the Request an Invite box;
  • This takes you to where you enter your email address, and then click Request Invitation;
  • This triggers the message: “Thanks! We’ll send you an invite as soon as we can.”–Pinterest makes you wait a bit…
  • Before long you should have an email invitation to establish your Pinterest account (again, you need to have a Facebook or Twitter account to join Pinterest, and will use one of these to provide your user information);
  • Create your account; pick some interests from the Pinterest categories, Pinterest initially matches you with other users to follow based on your interests;
  • Go ahead and drag the Pinterest “Pin It” bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar–and get pinning!
  • Share–Post the URL of your Pinterest page to your blog–Tell us about it in a reflective blog post:  How was your experience?  Was it fun, inspiring, any issues?  Any thoughts as to how you might use Pinterest in the future?

Additional Resources

Tool:

LIVEBINDERS

“A better way to organize and share the information that you find on the web.”

You create an organized, fully loaded online “binder” of text, links, images and videos, and other resources, complete with page tabs and sub-tabs–and you can share your completed binder as a simple URL to send to others or make available for the community to access your binder–it couldn’t be easier!  For educational uses LiveBinders makes a wonderful pathfinder tool.

Check out this video (1:33) from LiveBinders that introduces this tool and demonstrates how-to.  (May take a moment to start.)

Activity:

  • Visit the LiveBinders site and click ‘Sign Up’ to complete the simple sign up process;
  • After logging in you can visit your LiveBinder area–browse around, or jump right into creating a new binder!
  • Create a new binder:  this can be as basic or rich as you like, the main thing is to gain some experience creating a binder to see how easy it can be;
  • Share–Post the URL of your binder to your blog and tell us about it:  How was your experience?  Was it fun, inspiring, any issues?  Any thoughts as to how you might use LiveBinders in the future?  Any resources or tips you found to share?

Additional Resources

  • Visit the LiveBinders Learn More page for additional information, links to Video Tutorials, archived Webinars, as well as potential Educational uses: School Computer Labs, Class Presentations, Class Assignments, Learning at Home, School Team Sports, Class Projects and Research.
  • View some of the binder examples on LiveBinders for information, ideas and inspiration!
  • Check out the the LiveBinders Gallery at TeacherCast.net
  • Scan the LiveBinders Blog for news, information, tips and inspiration.

We definitely want to hear about your experiences with any or all of these tools!  Your reflective blog posts will inspire and enhance community, and we want to share and learn from each other, participate, and though it all: Play!  Learn & Have Fun! 😀

And if interested, read on:  here are a few more tools to consider for your toolkit.  As always, if you know of any interesting or helpful tools we have not mentioned, please share with the community and mention on your blog – thanks!

More Tools FYI…

Diigo

“Web Highlighter and Sticky Notes, Online Bookmarking and Annotation, Personal Learning Network.” A cloud-based personal information management system; allows highlighting chosen parts of webpages you find, adding digital sticky notes, and much more. Great for saving and sharing screen shots – a whole webpage screen, or just a selected area of it.  Enables knowledge-sharing and group-based collaborative research.  Check out this excellent video introduction to Diigo. (3:35)

Xmarks

[aka formerly known as Foxmarks] A browser plug-in that when installed on each computer you use seamlessly integrates with the web browser and keeps bookmarks safely backed-up and synced.  Available for multiple browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari.  You can watch this video “How I use Xmarks.com to sync and backup my bookmarks” by casttv. (5:46)

Google Bookmarks

A bookmarking tool from Google.  Use when logged in to gmail.  Here’s an interesting video about Using Google Bookmarks with Lists: (2:50)  You can save bookmarks a number of ways, including through the Google Bookmarks gadget on iGoogle; or clicking on the star button on your Google Toolbar.

Instapaper

Using the “Read Later” bookmark you can mark something you want to read for returning to this page and reading later.  As with other tools you can drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar.  Here’s a video “How to User Instatpaper” from hardy1nc. (4:18)  Have a Kindle? Check out this video tutorial from mlgsca on “Setting up Instapaper for your Kindle” (2:23)

Zootool

 Visual bookmarking tool with some social features.  Zootool supports bookmarking, organizing, sharing images, videos, documents and links from the web.  Here’s a list of features.  For a more comprehensive look, you can view this longer video “Intro to Zootool – Part 1” from evolutionarydesigns. (11:26)

Mister Wong

Developed in Germany, cited as Europe’s largest bookmarking service. Each bookmark is represented by a thumbnail of the website.  You can watch a video introduction by BeeRobi (2:41) [n.b: no sound]  Mister Wong is available for English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, German.

Historio.us

Historious is a bookmarking tool that allows the creating of a search engine – but note that the free account only allows bookmarking 300 sites – after that a fee is involved.  Here is a video introduction. (1:36)


Week 5: Communication Tools

Introduction

As adults we communicate in a variety of ways.  With the development of written language, human beings went from grunting and making hand gestures, the elaborate pictograms, writing, and a plethora of languages around the globe. Scribes wrote down the thoughts of kings and emperors, Alexander Graham Bell created the first working telephone, and now we participate in conference calls, email, voice chat, video chat, group chat.  And we still gesture and grunt.

Communication is key to our relationships with our co-workers, and also our students.  The better the communication, the better the experience, and the more effective we are as a teacher and colleague.

This week we will be exploring two tools.  Google Hangouts and Edmodo.  So get ready to explore, think, and blog your experiences.

Note: it is best to have a webcam and microphone for this week available.

Google+ Hangouts

Google Plus Hangouts logo

What is Google Hangouts?

According to WikiHow  “Google+ is the latest social media platform which has caught the imagination of professionals in all walks of life. And fortunately for educators, features like Circles, Sparks, and Hangouts are of immense value – for an educator teaching at institutions located in different places, a lot of time is lost in travelling from one location to other, not to mention the strain involved in alternatively travelling and teaching.” Read the full article here.

Google Hangouts is one aspect of the Google+ social media platform.  It enables 10 people to “hangout” or voice and video chat at the same time.  Watch this video by Google about it. Educators are utilizing this tool in a variety of different ways. Explore these ideas:

Get Started with Google+ Hangout

Tips and Resources
There is a lot of stuff to play with in Google+ and different settings.  G+ Insider’s Guide is the one stop “how to” for Google+.  Google+: The Complete Guide from Mashable.com is also a great resource. Have fun!

Edmodo

Edmodo logo

What is Edmodo?

Simply, Edmodo is a specialized social learning network for teachers, students, and parents.  Edmodo is geared specially for the classroom.  According to Teacher Challenge:

“Edmodo is a Web 2.0 tool that allows teachers to safely share ideas, files, assignments, videos, projects, etc.with students and with other teachers in real time. It is a safe and secure social learning site for classrooms. Edmodo does not require student email addresses and only the people who have the group code can see the students.

The teacher must first register (for free). Then they can create a group or groups for their class. Students will then register and use the teacher’s code to join that class.”   On the homepage for Edmodo there is a link at the bottom that says, “Learn More about Edmodo.” Click on it and watch the video (1.5 min).

To explore further read what the Wikipedia entry for Edmodo has to say about it.

Ways Teachers are Using Edmodo (from Teacher Challenge)

  • Pen Pals (go to the Community site to connect with other teachers)
  • Make up work for when students are absent
  • Video commentary – can post a video on line and have students write comments about the video
  • Peer editing
  • Book clubs
  • Daily feedback
  • Students can turn in assignments via Edmodo (documents, glogs, etc.)
  • Enter comments on assignments, give positive feedback to students, give grades to students
  • Writing vocabulary sentences and having conversations about them

Browse through the Edmodo in Action videos provided by Edmodo.  There are quite a few so choose a couple to explore that are particularly interesting to you.  Note the topical tabs, and the list of topics down the right hand side of the page.

Checkout these cool resources for Edmodo. Some are projects, some are blogs, some are stories.

Get Started with Edmodo
  • Register for (free) teacher user account at Edmodo
  • Create or join a group
  • Invite other colleagues to join your group and play with it

Tips and Resources (from Teacher Challenge)

The Edmodo blog posts up-to-date information. The blog includes quick tips, managing your account, how to embed glogs, videos, etc.  They also have different webinars every month. If you run into problems, check out the Edmodo Help Center. The support you receive from Edmodo is simply amazing! Edmodo Communities allows teachers to connect with other teachers and see how they are using Edmodo in the classroom.

Blog Assignment Week 5

Reflect about your experiences with Google Hangouts and Edmodo.  Blog about your thoughts.  If you need a jumping point, here are a few things to mull over:

What are some difference between the two?  Which would you use in the classroom or for collaboration with your co-workers?  How do you see yourself utilizing these tools in the classroom? Was there some aspect about either Google Hangouts or Edmodo that you found challenging?


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