I have recently gone through the the Ning in Education website. I found the site fascinating, its basically Facebook for teachers! The personal aspects of Ning are nice, photos and the birthday section really makes the site more personable. I enjoyed reading the technology blogs on Ning, the users or should I say members really gave some great incite into different aspects of Technology. Specifically I read an article on how to use Adobe reader, which I found to be very helpful because I struggle with Adobe reader from time. I was a little disappointed that there was not a High School Group. I saw a Middle School group and a College Group, but not a High School one. Maybe I can start one! I think that Ning can be a great interface to help teachers create a supportive and information exchanging environment.
My favorite aspect of this course has been Google Reader! I absolutily love having all of my topics of interest in one location. Today I was reading an article on the Ivory Coast vs Portugal game that occured in the World Cup today. The game resulted in a tie but it was a actually kinda of win for Ivory Coast because Portugal was ranked 3rd in the world and Ivory Coast was ranked 30th so it was a good result for the Ivory Coast team.
I enjoyed setting up my Pageflake page, it reminded me a lot of my Google Home page. In that you can add weather, video clips, audio clips and a calender, which could really help students . Its also nice that you can customize your background and change your colors. One kinda personal aspect of Pageflakes while doing this activity I discovered that my Fiance has a Pageflake page and has been using it in her 1st grade class. She taught me how to link to my department website where they can check there assignments and projects. I believe can really help me diversify my homework, students can listen to history podcasts, and watch YouTube on my pageflakes. One of the most interesting potentials of pageflakes is that I can post various tiers of assignments to accommodate all my students. I could have assignments for my lower tier students and then some more challenging assignments on my Pageflakes page for my higher tier students. This way I can accommodate a diverse class with more effective content.
Probably the best aspect of Google Doc. is it is free. The functions and capabilities are actually very similar to Microsoft Works, but being on Google it is actually much easier to store and transfer the information to other users or teachers who might not have Microsoft Works. Sometimes it can be difficult to transfer work because someone has a different addition of Microsoft Works and the files do not transfer properly. I have had that issue with jump drives and student projects. I really like the Presentation aspect of Google Doc. I use presentations like this in every lecture, it is important for students to have a visual display of the topic. Also with Google presentation you can share your presentations easily with your colleagues. The Google Spreadsheet is what I found to be the most interesting. I can use the spreadsheet to keep track of stats for my soccer team: goals, assists, and shots. It will really be a helpful tool for me.
I spent some time on TeacherTube and YouTube especially. I have been using YouTube in my lessons for the last couple of years. YouTube is an absolute gem for a World History teacher. There are countless movie clips and history channel clips that I can use throughout the duration of my lecture. Not only do the little 5 to 10 min clips I load up break up the class time they also allow the student to immerse themselves visually into the topic. Most times I will have two to three YouTube clips loaded up on my computer and I will just bounce from one to another. YouTube and TeacherTube also provide animations and graphics that find helpful.
I once again tried to embed on this site my you tube video but it just will not do it. I am following that help video perfectly. I have no idea what’s going on with the embedding?
I have been downloading podcasts on my IPod for well over a year now. I listen to two of my favorite shows via Podcast, The Mark O’mera Show andEspn Fantasy Baseball Live so I have a decent idea on how Podcasts work. For this activity however, I decided to explore some more educational specific podcasts. The first site I went to was EPNWEB.ORG, where I investigated there Social Studies folder. In the folder they have speeches by prominent historical features like Lincoln and FDR. These speeches are great primary sources and could be easily utilized in my World History class. I also went to the NPR Podcast website, mainly because I am a huge NPR fan and listen to it almost every morning on my drive to work. The NPR website is very interactive and breaks up their shows into categories so that you can get right to what you want. I think NPR podcasts would be great for current events in my class.
Librarything is a really interesting site, and I have to say I have never heard of it before now. Liabrary Thing’s ability to track books you read and might want to readcan really help you connect with other readers who have similar interest to your own. This can help them learn of titles that you have read and vice versa. I am always looking for new cool books to read and Librarything allows you to learn of books that tailor to your tastes. I think Librarything could be a huge assist to English teachers, as far as monitoring students reading and I think that the 75 book challenge of 2010 could be a good activity for Advanced English students. They could start in the summer and continue throughout the school year. 75 books is steep though. No way I have ever read one third of those books in a year.
I have spent some time investigating the Delicious.comwebsite and have had some playing with their bookmark features. I have some experience in working with bookmarkks with Internet explorer. Delicious however is a whole different ball game. The one thing I really like about Delicious is the tagging and categorizing options. Another interesting function is that you can search your bookmarks based on Popularity and how recently you have gone to the sites. By far the coolest aspect of Delicious though is the fact that you can bookmark and search people, that is a feature that Internet explorer does not have. I am interested to see how delicious will work for me now that its on my bookmark.
The World Cup begins this Friday! Being a soccer dork I am very excited! I was just reading an article on my google reader from the BBC that South Africa is ready for the World Cupto begin. This will be the first time the World Cup has ever been held in Africa and needless to say the Continent is really excited to have the worlds greatest sporting event. The article talks about how South Africa has music like R.Kelley for the event and will host 64 games in total. The most important information in the article however is that Nelson Mandela will be making an appearance at the opening South Africa match.
The web tool that I choose to explore is called Jigzone. Jigzone is a website where you can create your own jigsaw puzzles. On
Jigsaw.com you can use their images or upload your own to create your own unique jigsaw puzzle. I think that Jigsaw.com could be used in Geography. For instance you could upload a map of Africa and Europe and have students work on putting together a jigsaw puzzle of the various countries on the specific continent. I think that Jigsaw.com can also have an impact socially in that it could be one heck of a gift idea. If you know someone who likes puzzles Jigsaw gives you the opportunity to design a puzzle just for them and you can make it as hard or easy as you would like.