Category Archives: technology

Educational Technology…

          Over the past nine months I had the opportunity to explore the use of Educational Technology. I have rediscovered the importance of its use in today’s society. We live in a technological age where children are using technology day and night. As educators we must match what they are doing or lose them in the classroom. There are a huge variety of tools out there. My one regret is that most of them are geared for upper elementary or older. Some of them are able to be used by students in the lower grades, but from practical experience it is difficult.

           I have decided to incorporate many of the tools into my teaching, including blogging, Glogster and Prezi.. Also, I am beginning to bring tools that I taught in certain grades down a grade. For example, Google Docs used to be taught in 6th grade, I now plan on teaching it in 5th. Many students are already using it. I also plan on having the children create their own Vokis, because they already create their own avatars on the Wii and Play Stations. For these reasons we need to be ahead of the technology lest we fall behind.

           However, all this being said, I still believe there are times that going “low tech” is better. Every teacher needs to remember that the technology should support the curriculum not the other way around.

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Google Forms

I just learned about Google Forms. You can create your own forms or surveys and have all the information immediately downloaded into a spreadsheet in Google Docs. I have had some experience with Survey Monkey. I like this even better. For one thing, it’s free. Second it is simple and easily editable. Once you create a survey you can email it out anyone you wish.

The possibilities are endless in your classroom. You can have each student show what they learned about a topic by creating a survey for the class. You can also have them create a survey to gather information from the class. Create a survey that will allow the students to vote for which party in the Knesset they would like to win the election.

A years ago I created a survey with InspireData that allowed the students to choose the president. We had our election via the SMART Board.  I think if I create a survey with Google Forms it would be nicer and easier to work with.

To get to Google Forms, open up Google Docs and click on “Create New” then click “Form”.  Follow directions and enjoy. Here is a sample that I created, hope you enjoy it.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&formkey=dFk2WGZIdXppdU5LdWpuU0xBZVBFaGc6MQ#gid=0

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60 Tools in 60 Minutes

As part of  a class I am taking on Educational Technology, I watched a session from ISTE 2011. I decided to watch a session a session called “60 in 60”. The presenter, Brandon Lutz, shared 60 web tools in 60 minutes. I want to share a few of them with you.

http://www.freerice.com/

A simple question and answer site with various categories. For every question you get correct 10 grains of rice is donated to the hungry. A few minutes of learning  can make a meal.

http://www.aviaryeducation.com/

 

A site that allows you to create and edit, music, audio, pictures etc. I find it to be a fun site to play with. I spent most of my time trying out the music and audio sections of the site. I am going to hold my judgement of the educational benefits because I am not musically inclined.

http://www.glogster.com/

 

I have  tried this site with my classes and experienced mixed results. Most of my students do not have email accounts, so it can be difficult to save them. I think that this is a wonderful tool for older students. I might try it again with my 5th grade and see what happens.

http://www.qwiki.com/

After looking at this site, I find it an OK site that will reference many different topics. I need to research it more to see exactly how reliable the information is, but it is a start.

 

There are a lot more sources that you can use, try them at https://60in60.wikispaces.com/ISTE2011.  Some maybe good for you, some may not. That one is one thing that i like about this. Nothing is perfect for everyone, it just has a lot of stuff so somethings should be good for you.

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Check out my Wiki!

Check out my new wiki.  It is intended for everyone to use to share different topics and resources in Educational Technology.

http://morehmichaelsedtech.wikispaces.com/

Please join and share your own resources.  This is a Work in Progress – so please be kind.

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Wiki’s as a Primary Source

Every year in the fifth grade at my school they do a research paper on a particular state.  It is called the State Report. Part of my responsibilities in this assignment is teaching the students how to do better research . Inevitably someone brings up Wikipedia and such begins my explanation of wiki’s – the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

Wiki’s allow students (or other users) to collaborate on a website or project. A group of students can work on a Hagaddah.  The teacher will be able to see who gave their input (based on their screen names) and who did not.  It therefore fosters individual  accountability on a group project.  Students can also edit each other’s parts to ensure a better outcome.

The Bad

Wikis are editable. Unfortunately, there are people who will wrongly edit a wiki, either by accident or on purpose and some people may not even know. In the past few years, Wikipedia has gotten better at reviewing changes and making sure that they are correct. But not all wikis are that aware of changes. I tell my students that Wikipedia is a good secondary source. They cannot use it alone, they need to corroborate the info with another source.

The Ugly

Not so much ugly. Wiki’s are a good and useful tool that many teacher’s currently use and more should use.

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Is Second Life As Good As Your First Life?

My grandmother’s favorite expression was, “Every pot has a cover.” She was usually referring to people and to the people they marry. I feel it is appropriate now as well. It means that everyone has different views and opinions and needs that fit them and not others. Well, I am not a big fan of Second Life. I appreciate it more than I do Twtter, because I can see a useful purpose for it.

With Second Life it allows you to navigate through another world, as yourself or someone else, and see things in a way that you may not be able to before in this life. The possibilities are endless when it come to education. You can create a world such as the wilderness B’nai Yisrael went through 3000 years ago and have them explore all that is there. Let them see the Mishkan. You can have them go into the Beis Hamikdash and see what it is like. Although that would require someone to actually spend all that time and probably money to create those worlds.

You could navigate through different areas such as the inside of a computer and see what parts are inside. You could also go under the sea and swim in awe of all the fish and marine life there.

My problem with Second life was that it was not easy to navigate through. I kept going to far to the right and kept walking into walls (or through them) and into places I did not want to be in. It very well could be that since I am not a regular video game player I am not very good at it and I need more practice. Children today are more familiar and play more of these virtual games.

So I feel the same way about Second Life that I do about Barney – I am not crazy about him, but i see the educational value in the purple dinosaur.

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Jing

Ever try to explain how to do something on the computer? Did you every have to explain it over and over and over again. The answer to that is to use Jing. Jing is a screen capture tool that will record your moves on the computer while you voice over directions.

The applications for this is endless. There are many times that I have had to explain things and my students need to use a specific skill while at home. Some specific skills that can be taught are inserting pictures into a Word document, animating objects in PowerPoint or creating a formula in Excel.

I plan on creating a series of tutorials using Jing (if my mic works properly) on how to use specific skills with the SMART Board. If you have any thoughts on tutorials you would like me to do let me know.

http://www.techsmith.com/jing/

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