Inspired by the topic debated at yesterday’s regional debate tournamet…
Resolution: BITR personal electronic devices should be banned from schools…
I went back to the October K-12 Online Conference to watch the Liz Kolb presentation, “Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools”. I was immediately taken with the first part of her talk when she introduced and demonstrated how easy it is to create a podcast using an online tool called GabCast.
Wow! So easy. Simply create an account – free!. Once you have confirmed the account set up a channel, give it a password and set it to post right to your blog if you wish. Then you simply call in to Gabcast number, speak and record, save or publish. Very simple… no need to worry about equipment or where on the web to store the podcast.
The only drawback is that Canadian users must call a regular long distance number in Calgary or Toronto while users in the US can call a toll free number
Find out for yourself – watch the first 1o minutes of Liz’ presentation!
Here is my first tiny podcast via GabCast: Learning #1
Unfortunately in Word Press I can only provide the link but it is very easy to paste the code into blogger and Wikispaces.
One of my favourite tasks as a Learning Resources Consultant is finding new resources that I hope will meet the learning and teaching needs of our students. This week I came across three sites that I also thought would be entertaining as well as useful and/or educational for teachers and students.
Build Your Wild Self
What would you look like with the legs of an elephant and the arms of a tiger? This engaging site lets you see how you look if you suddenly took on the characteristics of an animal or insect. Build your new body and then learn about the usefulness of each part. Somewhat educational – but definitely a whole lot of fun!
Dance Mat Typing
I came across this site via NCS-TECH and it offers a great deal of fun while teaching beginning keyboarders the basics.
“While the pronunciations and spelling are distinctly British, the gameplay is universal, and this is one of the better programs out there because it actually provides instruction. Definitely let your kids know up front to expect some unusual accents and words but trust me, they’ll adapt pretty quickly.”
A great online classroom timer to use with a projector set the time and the music — however, students may end up watching what is happening on the screen – waiting for the bubble to burst. It is best to play a few times until the novelty has worn off!
For something a little more sedate try the Online Stopwatch.
At the Living Sky School Division’s middle years Inquiry Workshop on Thursday I learned about a really cool teaching assignment and a cool tool.
Jim Ellis from Connaught Community School and Kimberly Brown from Haultain Community School in Regina are team-teaching creative writing with their grade 7′s. YES! -team teaching in two different cities. They are sharing the design of the assignment, the assessment, and the marking as well as responding to the students who are using blogs to post their writing.
This is a comment that one student left on Jim’s blog.
I also learned about the cool tool from Jim. I had heard about JumpCut before but had never seen it used. JumpCut is an online video editing tool which lets you capture video and edit it online. Both Jim and Kim used JumpCut to introduce their writing assignment for the week. Kimberly asked students to introduce themselves and Jim used his web cam and JumpCut video effects to explain the week’s assignment.
Jim’s grade 7 students are also participating with five other classes from around the world in a collaborative project about the Idtarod. They plan to have this project underway in early February. Kudos to Jim, Kim and the other teachers for breaking out of the classroom walls and facilitating learning through global conversations, collaboration and creation.
The cameras we requested as part of the peripheral package for our teacher committees are here and should soon be distributed. And… just in time is this wonderful video on photosharing from Common Craft.
Jeff Utecht posts a number of questions to ask potential teachers with regards to technology. I like the fact that his questions really focus on the teacher and their capacity and willingness to use the technology for their own personal learning.
You will notice that my list says absolutely nothing about integrating technology or how the teacher uses technology in his/her classroom. No, this list focuses directly on the skill set and the tools these teachers use for their own learning. I want to know what personal technology skills these teachers bring to my school. I want to know how much PD time it is going to take to get them from where they are, to where I believe they need to be in order for the learning environment to change.
In his post Jeff describes the answers he would expect from prospective teachers on each of the following questions:
- Being able to look up information and resources on the web is an important skill. Explain how you go about looking up information on the web.
- How do you verify that the information you found is trustworthy and of use to you?
- What is your philosophy regarding the filtering of internet sites?
- Do you read any blogs? If so, which ones?
- Do you have an RSS reader? If so, what do you subscribe to?
- Do you belong to any online communities?
- Tell me a story of something you learned from your network?
- Tell me how you think the future you are preparing children for will be different?
- What is your favorite gadget and why?
- How often do others come to you for guidance in using technology?
- Describe the last new technology that you used and how you used it — and how you learned it?
- Describe the last thing you learned related to your work, that you didn’t learn in a classroom or from a book, and describe how you learned it.
Jeff bases his questions on posts from Doug Johnson and from David Warlick who says,
If a prospective teacher can demonstrate to me that he or she is a continual learner, and that he is using technology to learn, then I’m interested. Otherwise, I see a relic of times that are long past and a danger to the students in my school.
Priscilla, a new blogger, echoes his thoughts in her post when she asks, Are we holding ourselves back from inevitable change?
How will we know if we are giving our students our best, and allowing them to experience the best opportunities possible if we are holding ourselves back from the change around us?
Are you a teacher 2.0? How would you respond to the questions Jeff poses?
Blooms Revised Taxonomy lists remembering as one of the lower order thinking skills. Lower order does not mean unimportant – remembering includes…
- Recognising, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding
…the basics upon which other skills and activities can be built.
The following are two sites that can be used to develop student capacities in this Bloom’s category.
Multiplication - games, activities and resources to teach the multiplication tables
Spelling City – makes practicing for spelling tests fun.
Via Doug Johnson I came across this article about Minneapolis students facing disciplinary actions after their Facebook photos are sent to school officials.
Students disciplined for the Facebook pictures were suspended from sports or activities.
This article could be used to generate discussion about what is shared on FaceBook and the action taken by school officials.
As Doug Johnson points out in his article Rules for the Social Web, we need to consider how we not only protect children from predators and each other (cyberbullying) but from themselves.
Clarence Fisher dispels the belief that only when each kid in a classroom is using the same Dell or MacBook laptop that we can really teach with technology. In his post, Who Cares About the Box, he talks about the mishmash of computers that his students use including their own and the ipod touch.
The point is just that the kids and I are both realizing more each day that the technology is just a channel, a pipe, a point of access to what is really important; the connection, the information, the people out there.