Friday, March 25, 2016

Audio or Video - Maybe a Screencast or two - TEC-950

With my new position this year as a half-time band director (cue laughter) and half-time TOSA for technology (double cue laughter), I get asked all the time how do I do ________? You fill in the blank with technology. But with only being scheduled half-time in the technology position I don't always have time to get to a teacher's classroom to show them how to do what they have asked for help. Either my schedule does not work or when I have time does not work with their teaching schedule so I have found for some topics short screencasts have been useful for teachers and students alike. A YouTube channel was created in our GAFE domain that I add videos to as needed for teachers to access whenever they need.

Future plans as my position expand full-time next year will be to show students how to create these as well for both fellow students, teachers and parents. 

When students create media it so powerful. While I'm not currently working with students on creating audio or video projects here is an example of a project that students create last year using iMove.

Students creating a podcast or a video will show their true understanding of the material. Working together on these builds their cooperative skills. The students that created the video above were so proud of what they had accomplished when they finished and showed that they do have pride in their school.

The above video was completed using iMovie by a group of students to show they understanding of how to use a microscope. The project was completed in my class and then shared with their science teacher who gave the students credit as well and asked to use the video to show future classes. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Photo Sharing - TEC-950

Photo Sharing

Morro Bay at Sunset
Morro Bay at Sunset

There are multiple photos sharing sites available for use today. Flickr is one that has been around for a number of years. To use Flickr you need to have a Yahoo account. Until just recently I had never used Flickr to house any of my personal photos but have used the site to search for photos that users had marked as shareable for projects.

The site I used for a long time was Photobucket. Until Google drive came along and Google Photo along with it Photobucket was my personal go-to place to store photos online and to share with friends. The picture below of the Taj Mahal I found stored in my Photobucket from a trip to India.

In 2013 I went to my first CUE Rockstar on the US Hornet at this event I participated in more than one photo walk. To share the photos taken during these walks we used Google Drive and shared folders. 

What does a photo really say? By the way, a photo is framed and shot can help to tell a story. Images can be used to teach students about point of view and storytelling. A picture can be used as the inspiration for a story. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Social Bookmarking TEC-950

While I had heard of Delicious before taking the TEC-950 Web 2.0 course I had never signed up for an account. I don't care for the look of Delicious or the ads on the website. It is blocked at school so using it to save sites for use booth at home and school is not possible.

As a visual learner, I prefer for myself Symbaloo. A number of the elementary teachers in my district like to use Pinterest. While I do have a Pinterest account I don't do a lot with it as it is blocked off and on in the district. An option for schools and students that have a very similar feel to Pinterest for those that like that look is Educlipper.

Social bookmarking can be used by students to locate and organize information and research.

Symbaloo - Visual Social Bookmarking - Personal Favorite

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Feed Me Seymour Feed Me, RSS...

I've been blogging off and on for almost five years now and this week is the first time I have added an RSS feed to any of my blogs. Can't give you a good reason for mot doing this before as I have used readers off and on in the past to read other blogs. I just have never set up a feed for my own before.

I opted to try two different RSS feeders Feed Burner and Feedspot. At this point, I'm not sure which I prefer and want to try them both for a while until I decide which I like best. Who knows I could end up dumping them both and going with a third choice, only time will tell.

As I was using Symbaloo to bookmark some web resources to I discovered that you can use Symbaloo for RSS feeds. I don't know if this is new or if you have always been able to do this and I just noticed it today because I have been reading and working with RSS feeds recently. It is not a reader but it is a way to collect the feeds and me kind of like it. Personally, I don't like have to look at a reader with new posts on it. I prefer the layout of Symbaloo and seeing at a glance which blogs have updates and then I can choose to click through to the blog or not.

So far Feedspot is an okay reader. It is easy to use and I was able to get a premium account for a year so I will continue to give it a go for at least a couple months.

For both students and teachers, RSS feeds and readers are a way to help organize resources. In a class that blogs, a teacher can follow student blogs via their RSS feeds which help the teacher stay on top of updates. By using RSS feeds students can keep track of updates on sites used in class as well without having to click on multiple sites to check for updates.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

To Wiki or Not to Wiki

I remember the days when you would have to tell students to be careful about what they read on Wikipedia because there was some very inaccurate inform on the site. But today with the thousands of entries and editors Wikipedia is more up to date and accurate than any printed encyclopedia could ever hope to be.

I've used wiki's off and on over the years and yes edited a few entries on Wikipedia over the years. However, I must admit until working on the unit I had moved away from wiki's and not given them much thought in a few years. It is time to give them a look again as I had forgotten how easy they can be to edit. Setting up a wiki would be a great way to get to students working collaboratively. Which by the is one of the ISTE stands and falls under too many different common core standards to even site all of them.

It was interesting adding to the class wiki. I did want to go and change some of the font sizes and colors that others had chosen. But that is the way it is with many collaborative works not everyone has the same likes. I do find it hard to read when font sizes and colors change.

I found PBWorks to be a very easy wiki platform to set up. While I have not used it with students yet, I do believe my middle school students would be able to navigate the platform comfortably.

For a demo wiki I set up a site listing possible concert pieces for my Middle School Bands Spring Concert along with Program Notes. From year to year, it becomes a challenge to remember what was played the year before and when was a favorite piece last played. A wiki would be a great place to keep a running list with program notes of works and years played.

Wiki Sample View

Above is a sample view of the Wilson Warrior Band Spring Concert Music Wiki. To see the entire page click on link.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Student Blogging Guidelines

Think carefully about what you write in blogs, in comments and always follow these rules.

Be Safe:

  • Don't use your last name
  • Never give anyone your address, email address or phone number
  • Do not post photos of others without their permission.
Be Respectful:
  • Don't say anything that might be offensive to someone else.
  • Be considerate of others. When commenting, show others that you have read what they have written rather than just saying "great job".
  • Be open to other people's opinions, but be prepared to discuss your own position if you don't agree.
Be Literate:
  • You know about good grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use it!
  • Save abbreviations and shortcuts for texting!
Be aware of Copyright:
Quality Comments:
  • Writing the comment like a letter (greeting, body, closing, signature)
  • Using correct spelling, punctuation and spacing
  • Reading over the comment and editing before submitting
  • Complementing the writer in a specific way, asking a question, and/or adding new information to the post
  • Writing a relevant comment that is related to the post
  • No revealing personal information in your comment