Category: Web 2.0 tools

Week 2: Goal Setting

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Goal setting is an important way to focus time and energy on improvement and a lifelong skill that can assist students to achieve their ambitions. Make sure you introduce the handy acronym ‘SMART’ goals and discuss examples (and non-examples).

  •  S – specific
  • M – measurable
  • A – achievable (or attainable)
  • R – realistic (or relevant)
  • T – timely

This Kids Health site has five great tips for goal setting.  I like to provide some guidelines to students and suggest 3 academic goals, 2 skills and a personal goal for improvement. We also created a rubric based on the “You Can Do It!” framework – Confidence, Organisation, Persistence, Resilience and Getting Along. Students rate themselves from 1 to 5 for each of these attributes and then choose a couple to work on. Again, it is useful to give examples, such as 1 = I talk to a special friend about my ideas, 3 = I can speak to small groups of about 10 people about my ideas,  up to 5 = I can confidently speak to a room full of over 50 people about my ideas.

 1. Use Padlet or Linoit for students to create a wall of goals

Each student posts their goals on a ‘sticky note’ on the wall. You can save this wall embedded in a blog or wiki to return to at the end of the term, semester or year. 

2. Create a form in Google Drive

Again, this way you can save and store all your student’s goals for review in Semester 2 or at the end of the year. Students also need a copy to refer to, so make sure they have saved them.

 3. Create a poster or infographic with your goals.

4. Create a video about your goals.

Repeating goals out loud and recording them are powerful ways for students to remember and solidify their goals. Investing time and energy into creating a video about their goals assists students to make them authentic, relevant and purposeful. As simple as recording a student reciting their goals or as imaginative as creating an animation, this task is open enough to allow students of all ages and abilities to get engaged.

 5. There’s an app for that!

Of course there are hundreds of apps that can be used to support goal setting – whether your goals are to break a bad habit, get fitter, lose weight, read more or whatever. This is a comprehensive post for free and paid apps that can assist. The top free apps for goal setting are “Way of Life – the ultimate habit maker and breaker” and “Everest – live your dreams and achieve personal goals”.

What are your tools, strategies and ideas for student goal-setting?

Week 1: Icebreakers!

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My aim for 2014 is to write a blog post each week that includes a range of teaching strategies that can be used to engage students in their learning. The focus will be on the learning goal, using a variety of hands-on strategies, web tools and mobile apps. For week one I am suggesting a range of strategies to be used as ‘Icebreakers’.

Since Christmas Day, 52 passengers and 22 crew members have been stranded in pack ice near Antarctica – three icebreakers have failed to reach them and finally a helicopter is being sent to rescue them. Classrooms can be a bit like ships sometimes – students with different interests and abilities are grouped together with a common destination. The goal is reached more effectively when everyone gets along and demonstrates good organisational skills, persistence, resilience and teamwork. Setting high expectations in the beginning and clearly communicating those expectations is important in an open and trusting environment.

At the beginning of each year, teachers will benefit from getting to know the students in their new classes – their interests, strengths, experiences and skills. To build trust and respect in your classroom, students need to get to know each other too. The following activities can be used to help participants feel comfortable in the classroom and assist in creating and maintaining a successful learning environment.

1. Create an avatar

Avatars are small images that can be used to identify users online. There are a huge variety of online sites to create your own avatar, including

2. If I was an animal, I would be a…..

Students find a picture of an animal that represents their character. ARKive  and Flickr are two great sources of animal images. Students then describe the characteristics of the animal that they have. This is a question sometimes used in job interviews, so it is worth thinking about. A monkey might be considered agile, intelligent and curious; an ant is hard-working and part of a team; a tortoise might be slow-moving, but thoughtful and persistent and an elephant is strong, loyal and has a great memory.

3. Self Portrait

Students draw/sketch/paint/collage themselves and display their image. Digital tools that can be used include:

4. Use word clouds to create an image

Wordle and Tagxedo are two web2.0 tools that students can use to create an image using words they choose to describe themselves. WordFoto is a mobile app that can be used in a similar way. Lois Smethurst explains the process of using Tagxedo and WordFoto on her blog, “My ICT Journey”. Ask students to choose at least ten words that they think describe themselves. An alternative might be “Ten things you didn’t know about me”.

5. My five best qualities

Students trace around their hand and for each finger nominate a characteristic that they are proud of – some students might need prompts, so perhaps you could brainstorm a list as a class to start with. You can also use Padlet or Linoit to complete this activity (each student posts their five characteristics on a sticky note on the digital ‘wall’ or ‘pinboard’). Here is a list of 555 personal qualities that students may find helpful.

Some more ideas for Icebreakers can be found at Educational Technology and Mobile Learning – Ten Techy Icebreakers for the 21st Century Teacher.

Blogging with Apollo Bay P12 College students

Step 1: Go to the Global2 website by clicking on this link: Global2 Home Page

Step 2: Click on the link on the right hand side of the page, on the world logo, under where it says “Create your First Blog”.

Step 3: Add your site domain name – I suggest your student code (eg. gow005) or nickname. Choose carefully, this becomes part of your web address and cannot be changed.

Step 4: Give your blog a title, which can be changed at any time.

Step 5: Choose your privacy settings. I recommend that you choose “Visitors must have a login”, so only students and teachers who have registered with global2 can comment on your blog. Create your new blog by clicking on the “create site” button at the bottom of the page.

 

 

Step 6: Login to your email account, click on the link sent from global2 and activate your blog.

Step 7: Login to your blog’s dashboard and change your password (Go to “Home” and “My Account”) ensuring you remember your blog address and password.

Step 8: Log in and go to the “Appearance” button to choose a theme for your new blog.

Step 9: Go to “Add Post” and write your first post by adding a title and text. You may also like to add an image – remember it should be an image you have  created yourself or a creative commons image and not one copied from the internet.

Step 10: Fill in the following form with your details.

Blogging Challenge #7: Searching for widgets

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Image created using Comic Life

Activity #7 in the Teacher’s Blogging Challenge has been very timely for those of us with Globalteacher and Globalstudent blog accounts. When I logged into my blog this morning I found that my URL had changed from “brittgow.globalteacher” to “brittgow.global2.vic.edu.au”, but not only that, my header image had disappeared and so had most of my widgets! This is the part of the change required to consolidate globalteacher and globalstudent campuses, still under the umbrella of edublogs, but facilitated by the DEECD.

  1. So, my first step was to reinstate my header image. This image was created using “Irfanview”, free software that I use everyday to resize, crop, rotate and add effects to images. To create a panorama, like the one I have used, you download “Irfanview” then simply select “Create Panorama image” under “Image” and add the selected images from your pictures folder.
  2. Next I wanted to add a Clustermap – because the URL has changed, I need to start from scratch with a new clustermap. I added the HTML code for the new map and the code for the archived image to a “Text Box”. Why do I like my clustermaps so much? Well, they show me where my visitors come from and even though most people who visit don’t leave a comment, the clustermap shows me that lots of people drop by!
  3. The next widget is “Show Yourself” which provides links to lots of other places where my viewers can find me: Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, Delicious and Gmail. I noticed lots of people have this information in their “About Me” page, but here it is compact and easy to find.
  4. To add the “Twitter” and “Flickr” widgets I had to activate the Edublogs “Widget pack Plugin” – go to “Plugins” and check “Activate”, and the options should appear in your widgets. (Wow – it sounds like I have learnt to speak Geek!) Now you need to add your Twitter username and select how many tweets you would like to appear.
  5. To add “Flickr” photos is a little more tricky. You need to find the RSS feed, which loooks like the picture below, at the bottom of your Flickr page.RSS feed If you click on the icon, it will give you an API adress that you can copy and paste into the Flickr widget. Then select how many photos you would like to display.
  6. The last step was to add my nomination badge for the Edublogs awards – something I am particularly proud of. Sue Waters has a special trick for adding images to the sidebar in your blog. I have copied her method below:

“The easiest method is just open up a new post (Post > Add New). Grab the image URL and insert the image into the post using the Add An Image Icon. For the box that says Link image to you just add the URL of the page you want to link to. Once you’ve added all those details just click Insert into Post – to add the image to your post. Presto! Your visual Editor has just written the HTML code for you. Now just click on HTML tab and copy all of the HMTL code then paste into a text widget.”

I’m loving Anne’s metaphors for different parts of the blog and widgets really do give your blog legs – they link your blog with other blogs in your blogroll and with your visitors in Clustermaps and Revolver maps.  Some people don’t like the distractions of flashing, glittering and revolving widgets in the side bar, but students enjoy personalising their blogs in this way. So whether you choose a minimalist approach to accessories or go the full bling, widgets are a useful tool for linking your site with others and showing a little more about yourself.

What are your favourite widgets? Which do you think are most popular with students?

Blogging Challenge #6: Embedding a “Nervous System”

 

View more presentations from Britt Gow.

This post is in response to the Teacher’s Blogging Challenge Activity #6 Embedding Media. Back in December last year, Sue Waters asked “What tools do you like to use your students that can be embedded into blogs and other websites like wikis?”. She asked teachers to complete a Google form, itself embedded into the post, listing the top three favourite tools that we like to use with students. This got me thinking – “How can I narrow it down to three?” – and in response I wrote a post titled “My Top Ten Online Tools to Embed in Blogs and Wikis in 2010”. 

So how do we narrow down the choice of tools? Firstly, we need to be looking at the learning outcomes we wish to achieve. Nobody who ever bought a drill actually wanted a drill did they? They wanted a hole! (Did I read that on Twitter recently?). So instead of recycling the previous post, “My Top Ten Tools for Embedding”, I will focus on the learning outcomes that can be achieved with each type of tool, when students use those tools to demonstrate their understanding and skills.

wallwisher

1. Text tools to Embed – Wallwisher, Wordle and Tagxedo

Wallwisher can be used to gain and store feedback from students about a range of questions. It can used like an exit slip – “What are three things you learnt today?” or to plan for future classes – “What didn’t you understand about today’s lesson?”. Wordle and Tagxedo can be used to find out what students already know about a topic and the relative importance of different terminology in their mind. Find out more about how these tools can be used with students in the slideshow presentation embedded above.

 Simple-Machines-Rachel

2. Concept maps – Bubbl.us and Freemind

I am a great fan of mind-maps and have been using them since before my interest in web2.0 tools. Tony Buzan has been advocating the use of mind-maps for many years. His site lists the many benefits of mindmaps, which include reducing work load, increasing confidence, improving memorising and organisation and working more quickly and efficiently. So to find free, easy-to-use, colourful and accessible mind-mapping software on line has been fantastic. I use mind-maps to introduce a topic, giving students an indication of the scope of the unit of work and/or to summarize and revise a unit. Asking students to create their own mind-map helps them to make connections between concepts and organise their thoughts. By analysing the words students use and the connections between them, a teacher can determine how thoroughly a student grasps the concept. The image above is a screen shot of Rachel’s (Year 8, aged 13) mind map about Simple Machines. It clearly shows that Rachel has a good understanding of the different types of simple machines and gives examples of each type. She knows that there are three different categories of levers and that ramps and wedges are different types of inclined plane. I would be asking her where a ‘screw’ fits in and for a verbal explanation of how each machine reduces the force required to do work.

3. Audio Tools – Audacity, Podcasting, Voicethread

Recording audio allows students to practise reading, speaking and listening skills. In most cases, students should write a script prior to recording their voice, to ensure they can speak clearly, without hesitating and cover all the important information. If they are recording an interview, they should have thoughtful and informed questions to ask of their participant.  An exception might be if students are asked to briefly record their observations of a science experiment or quick “vox-pop” type recordings, for example. Audio files are usually uploaded and shared as links, rather than embedded in edublogs and globalteacher blogs. Although, I am rather envious of my friend Jess’s blog, Technolote, with her ability to embed Soundcloud files. Audio files can be used as an alternative to text with students who have reading/writing difficulties and are great for younger students and language learners.

 4. Digital Storytelling and Video tools – MS Photostory, Windows MovieMaker, YouTube, TeacherTube, Kahootz, Pivot

As with audio, students should write a script and carefully plan a storyboard prior to beginning recording. It helps if students are provided with a rubric and perhaps a past student example of the work required. If you can discuss your expectations with students prior to them starting work, you are less likely to have students waste time down the wrong track. Whether students use photographs, video footage or animations, they should keep the message concise, make sure the sound recording is clear (don’t try to record outside on a very windy day!) and be aware of copyright issues. The 60-Second Science Video competition was a great opportunity for students to produce a short video about a science concept of their choice. Creating a video requires students to think carefully about how they wish to present their information in a way that engages their audience.

5. Surveys, Quizzes and Polls – Google Forms, My Studiyo, Polldaddy

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 If students can create a quiz, they can be developing a much deeper understanding of the topic than by completing a test on the same subject. They have to identify the important information and write the questions as well as knowing the correct answers. “MyStudiyo” is a fun tool for students to use to create their own online, interactive quizzes, using images and text, very quickly and easily.

Polls and surveys allow teachers to find out about their students and allow students to gather data about their peers. You can see an example of a survey I created using Google Forms on the “Survey” page of this blog. Creating a survey like this is quick, easy and very useful to get information from students at the beginning of a new year.

 First sign up with your gmail address (I recommend all teachers and students have a gmail account) and select “Google Documents”.  Then click on “Create New” >> and select “Form” in the drop-down box. You will then be able to type in the question and choose whether how you would like the questions formatted – multiple choice, checkboxes, short text response or paragraph text response, choose from a list, scale or grid.You can add as many questions as you need (unlike SurveyMonkey, which has a limit of ten quesitons with the free version) and edit as required. When you have completed the form, you are given the google_docs_form2option to send as an email or embed into web page. The embed option gives you a code, which you can copy and paste into the “HTML” window of your blog. Sometimes the size of the form may not align with your blog size, but the width and length can usually be adjusted in the code. Once students have entered the information, the data can easily be retrieved by going to the spreadsheet in your Google Documents.

I have found Google forms to be a very useful tool for collecting data for maths investigations (surveys for graphing and probability for example); self-assessment;  for end-of-semester and year surveys of my teaching practise; for award nominations and for gathering preferences for activities for school camps and excursions.

How do you think you can use embedded mindmaps, audio, video, quizzes or surveys in your class? How do you think your students can benefit from using embedded media in their blogs? Sue Waters surveyed  8 and 9 year old students and found out about the media they like most to embed on their blogs, which she wrote about in this post, “BeFunky, PhotoPeach and SketchFu – It’s what Student’s want to do!”.

“Worth a thousand words”

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Image created in PhotoFunia

“Different people get different things out of the images. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, all that matters is how it makes you feel.” ~ Adam Jones
 

Kick Start Activity 5” in the Teachers Blogging Challenge One is all about images – “The Eyes of the Blog”.  This post is in three parts – (1) Creating Images (2) Finding Images and (3) Using Images. One of the biggest advantages of digital technology is the ease with which we can capture, store and transfer images.  “Facebook”, “Twitter” and many other social networking sites are introducing new ways to share images, and the ease with which this can be done can have unpleasant consequences. However, it also provides great opportunities for learning and makes the internet an ideal medium for me and other very visual learners.  Many of our students will have their learning enhanced by the effective use of images. One of my most favorite things to do is search and find a pertinent image to match a blog post or illustrate a presentation. 

(1) Creating Images

I like to use my own photographs when I can, and I am building a resource of these images by participating in the photo-a-day 365project and posting iPhone photos directly to my Posterous site. If you haven’t used Posterous before, it is a really simple blogging platform that allows you to post text and images by email. There is also a posterous app that allows you to quickly and easily post directly from your iPhone. There are several picture editing apps for the iPhone/iPod/iPad as well, that allow you to crop, rotate, resize and add effects. Chris Betcher has written an excellent review of twelve apps available from the iTunes store at “Snap Happy”. 

Here are a few more apps for photos and images that I have used:

sscropsueyCropsuey allows you to crop, rotate, flip and save images to your album.

 

sscomic_touchComic Touch (from the same company as Comic Life) allows you to create cartoons from your images by adding speech and thought bubbles with your text inserted.

 

ssinstagram Instagram allows you to create vintage effects (like an old polaroid) from your own photos, link to all your different social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous etc) and share your images. With one touch, you can post your image to all these sites simultaneously.

ssFlickr Flickr allows you to search, view, post and organise your Flickr photos.

 

ssphotocard

Photocard has a range of spectacular photos from Bill Atkinson that you can send as a digital postcard. You can also use your own images.

 

ssdoodle_buddyDoodle Buddy  and

 

ssdraw_freeDraw Free allow you to create, send and save digital images you have drawn with virtual pencils, paint and crayons.

 

 

(2) Finding Images

creative commons brieflyWhen I can’t use my own images, I usually use “Creative Commons Search” or Flickr . But it is still important to check that the owner of the image you are using has licensed it for your use.

The image at left shows four different categories of Creative Commons licensing that an owner of an image may choose.  If you are using images from Flickr, it is good etiquette to leave a comment under the image, linking to the post where you have used their photograph or digital image.

Finding images on the internet for classroom use is problematic for many educators, for reasons such as copyright privileges, inappropriateness and wasted time searching. David Kapuler has written a guest post at the TechLearning TL Advisor blog listing the “Top Ten Sites for Images and Clipart” , which links to free options for image searches, suitable for student use. Note that the comments also have a number of free sites available, including Stock.xchng and Wikimedia Commons.

Photos8 is another excellent site for free photos and wallpapers, with over 12,000 images in 24 different categories. Sam Mugraby, a photographer and creator, has made these photos available for both commercial and non-comercial use, as long as you agree to his terms and conditions.

(3) Using Images in Science: Student Actvities

Images are very useful for teaching and learning about classification. Ask students to find images of:

  •  Each of the five Kingdoms of living organisms (Protists, Bacteria, Fungi, Animals and Plants);
  •  Five classes of vertebrates (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians);
  •  Monocotyledons versus Dicotyledons;
  •  Five food groups (Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals) 
  •  Different types of Simple Machines 

 and construct a Table or a Venn Diagram.

Students can also use Bubbl.us mind-maps or a Glogster poster to display the images they have collected. Images can also be used to create Digital Stories – but that’s a whole new Blog post!

How Many Different Ways to Create an Avatar?

avatar_collage

Collage created with Photovisi

An avatar is a very important component of your on-line presence, used to identify you in social networking sites such as blogs, Voicethread, Facebook and Twitter. As an adult, I prefer to use a photograph of myself so people can recognise me, but our students should be using images that represent them, but they cannot be identified from. At the beginning of the school year, it is a fun activity to ask students to create their own avatar and save it, so it can be used throughout the year on different sites. Here are some different ways to create an avatar, which usually need to be resized to about 100 x 100 pixels (you can use the free software “Irfanview” to do this):

Using your own Image:

  1. Draw a picture of yourself in “MS Paint”, or another simple drawing program such as “Doodle”, and take a screenshot. This one is especially good for primary students.
  2. Draw, paint or sketch a picture of yourself on paper (or ask a friend to!) and take a photo.
  3. Use a photo of yourself taken from an unusual angle – your foot, hands or back of your head for example.
  4. “Be Funky” at  can be used to alter a head shot. You can change the contrast, make an etching, convert to black and white, crop and rotate the photo to render the image unidentifiable. “Be Funky” has a huge number of free options, as well as the premium offerings. (Bottom middle)
  5. “PhotoFunia” is another great site with lots of options to alter your own image. You can become a criminal on a “Wanted” poster, a billboard star or an artist’s model.

Cartoon Avatar Creator Sites:

  1. “Build Your Wild Self” (bottom right) is a really fun one for young students and animal lovers – you can create avatars with animal parts, like elephant ears, giraffe legs and crocodile tails. I think this is my favourite one to use, but it is Flash-based, so it can’t be used on Touch devices (ipods, iphones and ipads.)
  2. “WeeMee” for cute cartoons (middle image), but you do need to register with an email address.
  3. “Doppel Me” for comic representations (top right), again you need to register with an email address.
  4. Make a Lego avatar (top left) is a good safe and simple to use site for younger students.
  5. Portrait Illustration Maker is another good, safe site for school students. (bottom right)
  6. Portrait Icon Maker  – Very similar to the above – safe, free and suitable for students.
  7. Simpson’s Character Creator – Fun, but students need to sign up and agree to advertising.
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid avatar creator –  For fans of the book – Go Wimp Yourself!
  9. Picassohead – Very artisitic, easy to use and safe for students.
  10. Create your own Superhero – safe and good for middle to senior school students (need to register and sign in).
  11. The Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge has a more comprehensive list (including some of the above sites).

To make this a more meaningful activity for students, ask them to create two or more avatars, using different methods and then review the products and processes. Which avatar do they like best and why? Which site or process did they enjoy using the most and why? Which do they think would be the best for junior primary/middle years/senior school students and why?

21+ More digital tools for the 21st Century Learner

View more presentations from Britt Gow.

This past week I have been applying for various grants and awards to fund my attendance at several conferences in 2011. On March 17th at the Melbourne Museum is the “Toolbox for Environmental Change Forum 2011 – Using Technology for Sustainability“. On April 18th and 19th, on the Gold Coast, is the Slide2Learn Education Event for iPad, iPod and iPhones in education, with Tony Vincent as keynote speaker. Last year’s event in Shepparton was a unique mobile learning event that kickstarted my interest in all things ‘i’. Then from the 19th to 23rd July, in Brisbane, is the 6th World Environmental Education Congress. I was lucky enough to attend the 4th WEEC in Durban, South Africa, as a representative of the Australian Education Union. It was an exciting and inspiring event, with environmental educators from around the globe presenting research and workshops on education for sustainability.

One of the awards criteria was to “provide evidence of exemplary and innovative teaching practice with reference to the e5 instructional model”, which led to the above presentation.

Five new web2.0 tools to try in 2011!

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I’ve just opened the second-to-last flap on the wonderful, web2.0 advent calendar, by @ktenkely at iLearn Technology. Just so I don’t forget to try some of these great new web2.0 tools when I go back to school, I thought I’d better write this post to remind myself! The advent calendar was created using Wix, which is another tool that I need to use more in the classroom in 2011. I have also just discovered Lulu Publishing, thanks to Mr. Robbo, the P.E. Geek, who has recently published his book “100+ Ways to Use Technology in Physical Education”.

1. Answergarden is an online tool for brainstorming that can be embedded in blogs and wikis. Get instant feedback, with the answers appearing in a word cloud (most frequent in largest font). Ask students a question, and all their answers (up to 25) appear on the whiteboard.

2. Crocodoc  allows users to mark up and review documents online. You can collaboratively highlight and comment on PDFs, Word documents, images and more. Upload your own task sheets or ask your students to upload their work to Crocodoc and you can review, comment on and edit their work online.

 3. Dushare is a real-time, person to person, file sharing application. Quickly and easily send files without uploading to a server.

4. Juxio allows users to create streams of multimedia displays to “create new meaning”. Add images and text, share or print. Can be used instead of Powerpoint, making a poster, video or cartoon.

5. Nota Mash your ideas and media together with friends in a dynamic whiteboard wiki. Using photos, videos, and other web content you can instantly create brainstorms, presentations, scrapbooks, and enjoy an interactive chat with more than 50 friends

The 2010 Edublogs Awards

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I am thrilled to announce that this blog has been nominated in the 2010 Edublogs awards! Congratulations to all my students in Year 6/7 and 8 Science, who have participated and hopefully you will vote for Technoscience as the Best Class Edublog. Mrs Mirtschin has also been nominated for the Best Teacher Blog for “On a Journey with Generation Y” and Best Webinar Series, “Tech Talk Tuesday”. One of our students, Dhugan in Year 11, has been nominated for the Best Student Blog, for his blog “Dhugsy”. It is fantastic that the online work of students and teachers at Hawkesdale P12 College has been recognised in this way and it just shows that the ICT work we are doing here is world class!