Archive for the ‘General Web 2.0’ Category
Google has created lots of shortcuts to help us search more effectively. It has also included a research tool within Google Docs that has me giddy with glee. It can autocite resources using MLA, Chicago, and APA. Although it is not entirely accurate it is a good first step in trying to help students remember to source. All of the information needed to source the information appears within the document once a cite button is pressed within the Research Window.
Above you will see the PDF I created on some of the shortcuts and helpful hits that I have come across in the past few months. I thought I would share it with everyone.
- Do Search by Reading Level
- Do clarify your image search by color, size, type, etc.
- Do Autocite citations and information using the Research Bar in Docs
- Do search by a Translated Language this will give students the opportunity to see other perspectives on a topic
- Do search for an image using an already saved image! (No more forgetting to cite images!)
- Do search Full-text of Books and utilize portions of books you have not purchased
- ~ = Related Search Terms
- cache:website address
Students are always asking me how to code HTML and CSS. In the past there are very few places to send them to go step by step in understanding how it all works. Thankfully this has changed with the recent update to CodeAcademy. CodeAcademy is an interactive site designed to help people understand and create HTML, CSS, and much much more (including Coding Java).
I am so excited to share this site with my students. Thanks Technology for Teachers for pointing out the update in the site. I can see myself using this site to brush up on some basics and beyond. The lessons in basic HTML really break down the component parts of creation. It is a language unto itself and this allows students to learn by doing. Reading a website giving me HTML tags does not really prompt higher level thinking and experience. I would just have to keep going back to that site rather than retaining the understanding and information internally.
I am so excited to share that the popular flash-based website creator will be going to HTML 5. Why is this so important? Flash does not work with iDevices and this has limited the reach of products that utilize flash. Yes there are work arounds on the iPad but many are clunky and buggy, not to mention were created for the purpose of gaming.
I have used Wix.com with my students because it is a point and click method of creation. You can get to the nuts and bolts of creating a website or just play around with videos and media. I think they would work well for portfolios for students to bring to college. The site does have quite a few ads but it is free so that is to be expected. Relatively new is the mobile site creator. My students are quite excited and come in during their own time to talk about and create sites that are relevant to them.
In true Miss Frizzle fashion they are taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy. A fabulous mantra for life! Check out Wix.com
Quite awhile ago I talked about how I found the livebinders site a bit clunky. Well I must revise my statement because the site has worked very well for several research projects I have been doing. It is so nice to be able to embed websites within one website. This is extremely helpful with databases because no one can ever find the sheet with the passwords. We want students, staff, and parents to access and utilize the resources we sink tons of money into. They are fabulous resources and anything I can do to increase use and accessibility is key.
In terms of how I have been using the product. I have embedded those databases relevant to the research as well as websites I have come across that are relevant to the project. I even embed EasyBib so they can begin thinking about the Bibliography at the beginning of the project. It does not matter what the end product consists of
because citing sources is pivotal in my mind and that of the common core.
In the following example, the students were researching for a Roaring Twenties Glog. I love Glogster Edu for poster projects because you are not limited by paper. Adding videos and audio are a welcome perk. Not to mention adding document, drawing, and much much more. However, back to Livebinder. I was able to embed my video/audio converter, video resources, audio resources, databases, and well researched websites. The goal of this project was to have students be successful locating information within a bunch of good resources. This is challenging for students.
If you want to create a project based resource for your students, LiveBinders is a great choice. It is flexible for and above all extremely easy to use and create on the fly.
There are a lot of issues involved with having email with students in schools. How much monitoring is necessary and even are schools liable for what is said on the email server. In order to address those and many other challenges, I decided to look at ePals.
ePals is an ideal solution for monitored email. There is even a community of educators and students. I recently connected with another classroom in Sweden. The students have been so excited and it has given me the opportunity to teach them about email etiquette in a safe and comfortable environment. I can also be comfortable as an educator. There are many ways to monitor. You can monitor every message or only monitor those in which unacceptable words are used.
The website also has an extensive message board in order to find pen pals and allows students to interact as well. So many items on this site are free – a free monitored email system and ePals community. The only paid portion is an online management system which is not required to utilize the site.
Students are forever using their cellphones for everything from as a calculator, listening to music, and communicating with each other. A lot of teachers are utilizing cellphones in the classroom as instant assessment via polls and other web 2.0 technologies. Another way we can engage and inform students is the utilization of texting. There are two sources that I have found to text students. Both of them do not require that the teacher know the identity of the students numbers.
“Direct phone-to-phone text messaging presents legal risks for schools. Educators and students exchanging personal contact information creates unavoidable liabilities that could potentially cause serious problems in an academic setting. Aside from being unsafe, traditional text messaging becomes cumbersome for educators because it is not intended for mass communication (link).”
ClassParrot — free version for 500 messages a month. This is perfect for the educator who will be texting their students 1-2 times a month. For 90 dollars a year, you can get an unlimited account. How does it work? You give students the number and information to text and they sign up. The educator then types the message to text and it is sent to all subscribers from the number online. The end user cannot see the educators cellphone number and the educator cannot see the end users numbers.
Textmarks Lite — Textmarks can be used much like ClassParrot however for add-supported it allows unlimited messages to be sent. A nice difference is the management piece of textmarks. You can see all messages sent and the number of subscribers. Again you do not know who the numbers belong to, but it is nice to have a quick idea of use and subscribers. From a fellow educator, “Every classroom should use this service – it has helped increase the percentage of homework turned in each day, as well as reminding students of school events, library day & to bring in that field trip money!” Due to the fact that this version gives the user unlimited messages and users for free (standard texting messaging fees apply for the end user).
- Send homework via SMS
- Organize athletic practice times
- Notify Parents of important information
- School closures, snow days, etc.
- Library events
Flashcard Creators & Student Technology Skills
So many students come in the library asking for index cards. Well today I had run out for the millionth time and decided to open my students minds a little bit. I said, why don’t we try to do it online? The two students were agreeable. So I found flashcardmachine.com in a quick Google search. We quickly signed them up for accounts and they were typing.
What is great about this site in particular is that you can use the site to review the flashcards, send to your iDevice, and even print them. These students were still stuck in the paper mode and immediately wanted to print them out which I helped them with. There appears to be an assumption that students automatically think digital when working on projects. They do not, in my experience, for two reasons. 1. Their teachers do not tell them it is an option 2. So much of what we do in education is paper-based, so it is not modeled
Students know how to play games and they play a lot of them. But for most students, they know very little about what many adults would consider basic desktop publishing skills. I told one student (7th grade) to change the margins and they looked at me like I had 3 heads. It is so easy to include the basics in a way that is relevant to students. They have to make the connection between what they do in school and in the rest of their life.