Collaboration & Sharing – Thing 12

school_it_trioI was excited to start this topic.  With all of the shifts towards project based learning, inquiry projects, and collaboration between students this topic is great.  I did run into a problem because my school does not use Google Docs and my students do not have email.  It has been limiting my options and continued to do so as I checked out the ideas on the topic.  I did find a few things I am excited to use.

I loved TitanPad!  I can’t wait to use it with my students this week.  I think they will love it.  I like that they do not have to have an email to log on to it.  I think it would work great for responding to a reading when doing differentiated levels in class.  Each group could have a different pad to be sharing responses.  I think students that don’t participate as much will be lured in by the multi-colored response pad.  Technology always seems to excite even the most reluctant learner.

I found Popplet to be very engaging for elementary students.  I plan to use it on the SmartBoard to collaborate together to make popplets.  They can be used for a reading response, to categorize information and to reflect after a lesson.  I am hoping to get accounts for my students next year so they can make their own popplets.

I was intrigued by Stormboard.  I thought it would be great for students to respond to a topic or reading, especially if they needed to categorize their answers or thoughts.  After investigating and playing with it I established an educator account.  I then discovered that for my students to participate in my storm they had to establish an account using – you guessed it – an email address! How frustrating! Oh well.

Mapping Tools – Thing 21

landforms_2When going through the Google Maps links I had that aha moment when I went “duh… I can’t believe I never thought of that.”  I could use street view as a virtual field trip in my classroom!  We used street view the next day in my 5th grade social studies class to explore Chichen Itza as we wrapped up our Mayan unit.  The students loved exploring on their own and were excitedly showing each other things they saw and relating it to what we had learned.  As we do other units I plan to have the students explore historical sites with street view.  They can also see how things have changed over time by looking at street views of modern cities where ancient cultures were located.

I loved the site Infinity of Nations.  I want my students to explore as we end our Aztec unit.  It will be a great review of that Native American cultures we’ve studies as well as an intro to the Incas.  I loved the map component that was part of the site.

I love the MyHistro.com site.  I plan to use some of the timelines that have already been created to share information in a different way with my students.  The combination of narratives, timelines and maps is wonderful.  Eventually I would like to use it for students to do digital storytelling about a culture.  Since the students need to be 13 and have an email to have an account I can’t use it directly.  My students would have to use the Edmodo plugin.  I do not currently use Edmodo with my classes so we will have to learn that platform first.   I am excited to get started.  Collaborating with my librarian for this type of project would work really well.  I think the students might also benefit from working with partners or in groups to begin with.  The possibilities are exciting.

 

I Love My Feed Reader! – Thing 13

I was excited to investigate this topic because I had tried using an RSS feed on my class website but had been unsuccessful because I didn’t really understand how it worked.  After reading through Thing 13 and its links I set up a Feedly account and began looking for sites to follow.  I started perusing the Edublog Award winners blogs and found some that I loved and definitely wanted to follow.  I also searched by categories in Feedly and found a few more.  I did all this about two weeks ago and meant to write my blog about my experience right away.  The problem was each time I started I kept getting sidetracked by articles on the sites I am following. An hour or two later I would realize I still hadn’t put together my blog, but I had new things I wanted to try in my classroom instead!

Microsoft_clip_art-3As a professional development tool I love the feed reader.  I could not seem to create a tool that would work for my students, though.  In 5th grade social studies we have been studying Native American tribes as well as the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.   I was hoping to create a feed reader that would funnel current articles on these topics such as new discoveries or blogs on current digs but I could not find what I was looking for.  I also tried the same type of thing for my 6th grade students.  Hopefully I will eventually find what I am looking for.