Learning Lino-It

Travellers!

I apologise for my absence of late. I’ve found, like I’m sure you all have at one point, that all assignments and dramas happen at the same time! However, that hasn’t stopped me from my explorations!

Today’s post is about:

If you’re like me, post-it notes or sticky’s are your lifeline to organisation. One thing I’ve discovered with the inbuilt windows sticky note however, is that you’re desktop becomes dramatically covered very quickly. Lino it is your solution! You can have multiple canvas’s that give you the flexibility to have you post-it’s organised in subject as well as placed accordingly on your screen. It is as easy and point, click and move to arrange your stickies in any order that you like!

Lino It can be used on your iPhone and iPad as well as the online option. And not just that! You can add pictures, videos and links to your stickies so you don’t forget where you saw the link that you needed for that lesson tomorrow…

Or you consider the possibility as having your own classroom pinboard that can be shared and added to by a URL rather than a student login. Sharing ideas and collaborating in a visual, colourful and creative way. Share ideas or files from anywhere! You can set due dates on your stickies, and when you’ve finished, just ‘peel’ them off. Best of all? It’s free!

Take a look at the video below to see what Linoit looks like:

 

Linoit is a great tool for both personal and professional use. It is a fantastic on-line tool for organisation and collaboration. Simply fantastic!

Linoit – Online Sticky Notes for Groups

50 Ways to Use Linoit

Well I’m off to start a new canvas called ‘Homework’ – hopefully it will help me to actually do the homework as well…

Logging off,

Miss K.

Classroom Practicality

Hello fellow travellers!

I write to you from amidst my university rounds. I’ve been placed in a local public school in Melbourne were I am learning about teaching Grade 3.

1st fail: Now as I am a passionate ICT (student) teacher, I was bursting at the seams to try one of the many tools I’d discovered with the Grade 3’s. Much to my dismay, when it came to a perfect opportunity to try Popplet, I was failed by technology. Not by the tool itself, mind you, but by the fact that the Adobe Flash Reader that is required to run Popplet wasn’t updated to the most recent version and therefore, Popplet wouldn’t work.

2nd fail: After attending a staff meeting, I discovered that while the technology in the school wasn’t the most reliable (when is it ever?), many teachers avoided the topic of ICT like the plague. Just to clear the air, the school has a lot of younger teachers working there, so ICT is not a new concept to them. They just don’t like it. This upset me tremendously!

What I am curious to know from all my readers, is do we place enough importance on the role technology plays in our learning?

I know from a class last semester that one of my fellow co-students was insulted by her year 10 students during her rounds because she didn’t know how to use PowerPoint. I want to know, how did she manage to get to 4th year university and never learn how to use PowerPoint?

Do you think this is something that should be happening to our students?

After being half way through this journey, do you think that technology is given enough ‘play’ time in schools?

Logging off,

Miss K

Practical Popplet

Hello adventurers!

How goes the big adventure out into the world wide web? Discovering fantastic new things I hope!

Today I wanted to bring your attention to a groovy visual app still in its ‘beta’ stages called:

Popplet is a website and iPad app for visualisation. In particular, I fancy it for mind-maps. It has an easy to use interface that I believe students at all ages would be able to use. You can include images from Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and your computer.  As José Picardo from Box of Tricks writes “Popplet is a fun and intuitive web application that allows you and your students to create galleries, mind maps and diagrams quickly an incredibly easily. I mean it. Ridiculously easily.”

You can then share your Popplet via social websites such as Twitter and Facebook, via email, or embed it like I have done below:

If you want a friend to edit your Popplet, this is a simple task of adding a collaborator to you Popplet page, represented by a little icon of two people! As it has a clear interface, it can be used on the interactive whiteboard easily and can be used for presentation as well as collaboration.

In the past I have used other programs to create mind-maps with my students and have found that they are too complicated and end up with a mess of objects all over the page and no real link. With Popplet, the symbol is the same, and can be enlarged if required while linking them is a matter of dragging the circle on the according side to the corresponding box!

Finding a way to display vocabulary or similar terms has never been easier! Stop listing them on the board as dot points! Be creative and have a visual representation that your students can use any time.

More of Popplet | Jennifer Barnett

HP Teacher Experience Exchange | Popplet

Logging off,

Miss K.

Kooky Kerpoof

Welcome Explorers!

Have you got creative students in your class? Students who at any chance would rather be drawing or jumping on the computer to create a picture or mini movie? If that’s the case, today’s tool of the trade is:

Kerpoof is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company and is designed to encourage creativity and fun – yes, FUN! The website has a  number of different features including:

  • movie maker;
  • make a card;
  • spell a picture;
  • tell a story;
  • make a drawing; and
  • make a picture.

For your visual learners or your creative thinkers, Kerpoof is the outlet for expressing their skills. Kerpoof has so many different options available for your students, that even those that prefer to write a story can do just that! And for you’re budding movie directors in the making, their imagination can run wild with the possibilities!

In the past I have tried using other movie making software and websites such as Xtranormal and Scratch but personally I have found them a little too messy or complicated for use in the primary school setting. Kerpoof allows students from all school ages and opportunity to branch out and create something and enjoy it!

Instead of having students whinging about art class or having to physically draw when they believe they don’t have skill,

creating a card or picture becomes simple and easy for them! Confidence is just around the corner!

There are teacher services as well including lesson plans for all different levels and an informative teacher guide (links to those at the bottom of the post). Having an account also allows for saving your scenes, sharing your projects with others and sending them to family and friends.

To fully understand the creative and lively features of Kerpoof watch the video below!

Take in mind that Kerpoof needs the current version of flash in your browser to run. So if you haven’t got this yet, make sure you arrange with your IT department to have it organised before you run your class!

For those of you who struggle to get students to think beyond the box, or have students who aren’t given enough time to release their creativity – try Kerpoof. I bet you’ll get addicted too!

Other blogs about Kerpoof:

The Innovative Educator writes “With Kerpoof students become creators!

common sense media says – “Where kids can safely dabble in techno-creativity

Teacher Challenge | Tutorial

CrunchBase | Kerpoof Presentation Video

 

 

Logging off,

Miss K.

Keeping Kidblog

Hello Travelers!

Welcome back! Today I’d like to bring to your attention:

For the readers out there that are tech savvy and understand the world of blogs (I’m very proud of you), you’ll probably be able to explain and teach the finer workings of a blog to your students as you have the confidence in using a blog yourself. There are readers out there that I know are not so confident when it comes to blogging. Especially with blog hosts such as Edublogs, WordPress or even Blogger. If these don’t ring any bells don’t stress! This is where Kidblog steps in. Kidblog is created by teachers, for teachers. It is a safe environment for your students, that doesn’t involve email addresses.

Kidblog also makes blogging user-friendly. While a lot of the big name blogging websites are great because of all the packed features (especially Edublogs being an education based blog), they often are a little overwhelming because of just that. Kidblog is made for teachers and students. It is kept simple, easy to navigate and gets students back to focusing on what’s important… not what theme they could have, what widget they could add…

Kidblog Dashboard   

As you can see by the screenshots above, Kidblog has a similar layout to WordPress or Edublogs, but without all the jazz. It has all the important things (like writing a post and leaving a comment), while keeping it basic for your students to navigate and not get confused!

Kidblog provides:

  • a way for students to share information in a safe environment;
  • teaches digital citizenship;
  • encourages student voice for feedback and discussions;
  • gives the students an authentic audience and a purpose to write;
  • creates an open communicate source between students and teachers;
  • encourages literacy in the digital form; and
  • creates a community between the school and families.

Best of all – Kidblog.org is free! No ads, no extra’s to buy, no taxing bandwidth issues, no additional software required or random outages occurring.

Sheri Grech wrote in her blog about using Kidblog. She writes:

“I would use Kidblog.org with my 5th grade students while reading the novel Bridge to Terabithia. After the students read each chapter there will be a question(s) for the students to answer and have discussions. The students will also have to imagine that they are one of the characters from the novel and write journal entries weekly. The journal entries need to be about the chapter, the students will have to be in character and explain his/her thoughts.

After the class finishes the Bridge to Terabithia, they will have to write and post a book review on Kidblog.org. Each student will have to comment on at least three other book reviews. The students will then have to rewrite and post a new ending for the novel in their own words.

… By implementing Kidblog.org into my classroom will allow the students some freedom on the internet and provide them with a chance to blog their thoughts and ideas.”

I also stumbled across this video which had a student talking about how she uses the blog in class!

Kidblog fills the void between no blogging and hardcore blogging. It offers a safe, friendly, education environment for primary students to express and evolve their digital word.

Until next time!

Logging off,

Miss K.

Glitzy Glogster

Dear Travelers,

Now I know one of my fellow student teachers has recently brought your attention to this website but just in case there are a few of you who missed Amy’s post (can view it here), today is about:

Glogster.com picture - posterize yourself

To me, glogs from Glogster are a virtual pinboard or post-it board. A great way to collate ideas and present them in a creative and easy to read display. Take a quick peak at my test glog as a very basic idea of what Glogster can offer.

I’m sure some of you prefer the old pen-to-paper assignment, but have you ever thought about what it would be like to be able to read your students assignments, without having to decipher their handwriting? Or primary students who are still learning handwriting that find it hard to get what they want to say written down in the allotted time frame?

In this day and age, students have numerous resources available to them for research purposes, but often are limited to what they can use in the final presentation. Often, as teachers, we ask for paper and pen, or rather – a typed essay. Occasionally, for secondary students, they are allowed to use PowerPoint. Allow me to include sarcasm when I say ‘woop-di-do’. We ask students to use whatever sources they can, but then are only allowed to use text as a presentation – little boring, don’ t you think? Don’t you get tired reading all the time?

Glogster allows the students to include video, images and text. They can use first hand sources by including interview videos, or images that the students have taken themselves. They can express their personality and their knowledge through the tools of Glogster, while allowing you as a teacher to be entertained and still have a form of evidence for assessment time.

José Picardo from BoxofTricks.net writes a fun little article on Glogster that is worth a read and it includes great tips on embedding glogs onto your class blogs or wikis without throwing out your margins (as I discovered in my draft of this post!).

Offering an alternative for poster presentation, Glogster offers so much for students (and teachers) to play with!  Here are 10 number of great reasons that Glogster believes (and I support) the use of Glogster in the classroom:

  1. A fun learning experience
  2. A new way to express creativity
  3. Private, secure, safe virtual classroom monitored by teachers
  4. Drives new interest levels around subjects that may have been seen as “boring” before
  5. Adds audiovisual aspects to traditionally text-oriented subjects
  6. Fosters teamwork and collaboration with classmates
  7. Increases drive to be independently creative
  8. Unlimited shelf life
  9. Improves student-teacher relationships by allowing both to explore Web 2.0 & learning concepts together
  10. Keeps teachers and students up-to-date with modern technology

Let us not as teachers, get in the habit of expecting our students to get stuck in the same learning process that we ourselves never enjoyed. Pen and paper is appropriate at times, but sometimes a little creativity can go a long way…
Glogster.com picture Glogster EDU Educator Resource Library (PDF)

Logging off,

Miss K

Picking PhotoPeach

Travelers!

The one thing to remember about technology is that it isn’t always reliable. Always, always have a backup plan. I’ve managed to have my PC, my laptop and my iPhone all die within an hour of each other. *Sigh* However, we are back up and running… for the moment anyway!

Today I powered on (including a few restarts) to learn a new web 2.0 tool for the classroom. The website of interest today is:


Now for the purpose of discovering PhotoPeach for myself, I made the following slideshow. Please bare in mind, my curious adventurers, as I am working from my laptop I had limited photos with which to use. I ended up using photos from my Picasa Web album to make this slide show. Luckily, one of the features of PhotoPeach is the function to add photos from Picasa or Facebook. So in other words, this is a short personal slide show. Quick background information may be required for the purposes of you viewing this.

  1. Every year since I was 4 I have attended the Port Fairy Folk Festival with my mum (and in recent years my best friend as well)
  2. Don’t forget to laugh at us, because it is all in the name of fun and discovery.

Folkie 2011 on PhotoPeach

Now that you have been subjected to way too much of Miss K – I think we’ll move on to how this can be used in the classroom. While that was an example of PhotoPeach’s slideshow, it’s not a great example of classroom use. During my self-tutorial of the PhotoPeach site, I came across a slideshow made by the class of 2CB. This is a fantastic example of how PhotoPeach could be used in the classroom! Take a look below:

 Our First Week in 2CB! on PhotoPeach

Slideshows are a quick and very easy way to present photos for use in the classroom. Not only do the visual learners have something to look at, but it is a way for your students to visually remember something in regards to the topic, rather than just facts. Show you epals across the other side of the world photos of what you are doing at school or share knowledge on local events to overseas classes. With PhotoPeach it’s a matter of Choose your photos, Pick your music, Play your video. Too easy!

As a teacher, our aim is to encourage students to be better thinkers, better learners. Using slideshows in your classroom will give your students the chance to visually experience, express and evolve their own learning. Not only that, as you can embed it on your class wiki or blog, parents can see how the classroom works for themselves. Use slide shows for group work, collaboration, exploration, to consolidate and to discover ways to visually represent information.

PhotoPeach Tutorials:

Seeing is believing.

Logging off,

Miss K.

Snazzy Storybird

Dear fellow explorers,

It’s story time. Now I know some of you forgot to bring your story books with you today, so instead I thought I’d read you mine.

What I could be on Storybird

I might not be an award winning author… but one of your students might be! In one of my placements, during assembly, awards were handed out to a number of students who had earlier in the year written stories for a competition. A number of these students did remarkably well, and therefore, had their stories PUBLISHED! A copy of each students’ book would be placed into the library, as well as a copy sent home (for those particular students). Very, very cool. I wish that my stories had been published when I was in primary school! (They were a lot better then, I promise you!)

That now brings me to:

For this post I wanted to do a video where I walked you through the making of my story. I’ve tried this numerous times with a program called ‘CamStudio’ however, it just never seemed to work out properly! I’ll save the video for the next post perhaps when I’ve tinkered some more.

Back to story time.

Storybird is an online collaborative story telling website. Storybird describe their presence online as – ‘short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print’.

Paul Hami writes in his blog about Storybird describing it as ‘straightforward and easy to navigate.  Storybird also makes it easy to share finished work in multiple ways, and the engagement factor is multiplied exponentially whenever work can be shared easily with friends or with a global audience’. I couldn’t agree more. Storybird doesn’t exactly lend you much in the options department but this keeps the user interface simple and smooth. It is easy for students, teachers and the public to use, while allowing for a small dash of creativity on the side.

Lisa M. Dabbs from Edutopia included Storybird in the recent Teacher Boot Camp (Week #3). In her post, Dabbs writes of an interview she had with a middle school English teacher Steven Davis who includes Storybird in his classroom. Steven claims ‘a concrete visual representation of their [the students] abstract thoughts can now be transformed into wonderful writing’.

Think of what Storybird could do in your class:

  • For those students who struggle with creative writing, they can use the Storybird art to help them write stories to suit the pictures they have chosen;
  • Students who love to write have an option to further enhance their stories with images;
  • Students can have their own published stories that they can share with family and friends;
  • Save environment that allows the stories to be monitored in public or shared only with classmates or family;
  • Collaboration available! Have students work in pairs or small groups to create their own stories by working together; and
  • Library available to read other people’s stories to enhance reading and writing skills.

Take the tour of Storybird for yourself and next time, bring your Storybird with you. We’ll have another storytime session just for you.

Logging off,

Miss K

 

 

Podbean Podcast

Travelers!

I have created my very own, very basic, podcast! This podcast is an introduction to what this blog is all about.
Now in the ‘making of’ my podcast I had to overcome two obstacles:

  1. The software to record the podcast; and
  2. The website to host the podcast.

The first one had been provided to us via our tutor Mr John Pearce for the purposes of discovering pod-casting. Full steam ahead I went using a program called:

Audacity® is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. For those of you who haven’t stumbled across ‘open source software’ before, it means that if you a developer, you are allowed to use the source code and ‘play’ with it (taking into account the original developers rights if required).
 
Now Audacity wasn’t entirely easy to play with. The concept was simple enough, making the actual podcast – not so much. I didn’t have content, I had no idea what the point of the podcast was, and I had no motive for making one (other than for the class requirement). In light of all this, I decided to make an introduction podcast for my blog. What my aim was for the blog and who I am.
 
Travelers, I warn you in advance, it is my first ever podcast, and it’s not exactly ‘pretty’ or ‘perfect’ so bare with me!
 
The second hurdle, after the ‘making of’ my introduction podcast, became fairly easy. In my travels I discovered Podbean.

After playing around and loading my podcast to Podbean I hit a wall, not the real kind. I couldn’t see the potential of pod-casting in the classroom. That was a bit of a shock to the system. While I can understand the advantages as an educator, sharing ideas and concepts and resources, I couldn’t figure out what use this would be to my students, primary or secondary.
 
Usually I’m all for implementing technology into the classroom, but this has me stumped. Off I went on my adventure to see what the internet would help me discover and I came across an article written for exactly that Podcasting in the Classroom (PDF) by Marco Lazzari of the University of Bergamo. This gave me a little insight to what it may bring for secondary and high education, but what about primary education? My initial reaction was that the students are too young for a podcast to be of any value.
 
My travelers, I put it to you. Is there something I am missing? In what ways could a podcast be used in the elementary/primary classroom? What would our young learners get from a podcast?
 
Is it possible that the students could:

  • Creating their own podcasts with tips on internet safety;
  • Listen to a podcast to see how other people communicate information; or
  • Send a podcast to a buddy class about what they did in a lesson?

There are a few sites out there claiming that there are uses for a podcast in a classroom but I can’t find any instances or applications of it actually happening! My readers, can you help me out? Because I just can’t see this one.

 

Listen to my podcast here:

Skilful Skype

Hello travelers!

Today I want to bring your mind back to a subtle little program called Skype. You know it, right? Well today I want to introduce you to:

You read right! Now you can use Skype in your classroom. Brilliant! With Skype in the classroom you could…

  • collaborate on projects with classes across the globe;
  • have Q & A sessions with people of interest;
  • discover new cultures; or
  • meet new people!

Skype in the ClassroomIf you’re interested in the pro’s and con’s of Skype in the classroom – take a quick hop over to my website where I’ve previously listed the advantages and disadvantages.

I know the idea could possibly be a little overwhelming bare with me for a moment. I want you to think about all those ideas and excursions running around in your head that the budget or time won’t allow for… now I want you to think about the possibility of a Skype call instead… getting a little clearer?

What about all those second and third hand accounts via text books or information web pages that students skip over reading rather than try sort through all the tedious information amongst it? How about interviewing a first hand account? Now are you with me?

Skype in the classroom  breaks the barriers of what originally was an impossibility. Ask a buddy classroom what their usual day routine is or what their national holidays involve! Interview an scientist who is studying a volcano right now! Those four walls surrounding you are no longer solid. You can use your imagination, you can use Skype in the classroom!

Check out the video below for what Skype is really all about:

 

Below I’ve included a lesson plan which incorporates Google Earth and Skype in the Classroom. By all means, download a copy for future reference! It’s by no means perfect so feel free to ‘tweak’ it to suit your needs. It is just one of the many examples of how Skype can be used in the classroom.

If you have difficulties with Scribd, jump over to my website here where you can find the PDF and DOCX versions of the lesson plan to download as well.

Technology Lesson Plan