Monday, November 24, 2014

Blogging for Learning

Some of our teachers at St. Francis have begun to use Blogs to enrich learning.  Their students are creating blogs as if they were a character from the book, The Outsiders, that they have been reading. The first thing I noticed as I was helping out with the set up of the blogs, was how engaged the students were with the technology and even more so with the content of the book.  They(most of them) were immediately taken into the mindset of the character that they were writing as, whether that be by beginning to write posts, looking for pictures to accompany their posts, or choosing layout and themes for their site that best create the mood of their character.

I hope that the students continue to demonstrate the benefits of blogging to their learning throughout this unit.

This is from a blog that I subscribe to called Langwitches, written by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.  The diagram she has created does a nice job of showing what keys to learning are happening and when within the cycle of blog writing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Poppy's Timeline 

If you are looking for an alternative for the static, hand-drawn, poster-board timelines of yesteryear here is an excellent option for your students.  TimeGlider

I found that some of the other online timeline creators were not that user-friendly, crashed, or lacked in their capabilities.  The free version of TimeGlider is sleek, user-friendly, and has a lot of capabilities.  The paid version has even more, but is unnecessary for most purposes.

One of the biggest issues I was having with other web-based timeline software was that they would only allow you to upload photos that were being web-hosted by another program(Flickr, PhotoBucket...) and not from your files on your computer.  Since I don't have a web-hosting photo program it made creating a timeline quite difficult.  TimeGlider allows you to upload from either a web-host or from your own computer.

The other big benefit is the ease of linking youtube or vimeo videos to your  timeline.  However it only displays as a link.  It would much cooler if you could imbed the video into the timeline.

Another nice feature of TimeGlider is that once you have created the timeline you can share it publicly either in a link, as in the one at the top called Poppy's Timeline, or imbed the timeline into your website or blog as seen at the top.  The only real issue I'm having with this is to see the pictures in the embedded timeline the reader has to drag the bottom line, that says "this is the image lane" up

 Happy Timelining!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Article Response "Start a Reading Revolution: Flip Your Class With Blogs"

Start a Reading Revolution: Flip Your Class With Blogs

I was just reading this article and felt a strong connection to the kids comments about having books chosen for us and having to come up with these "feelings" that the text was supposed to draw out of us.  I never read the books that were assigned, or at least not in their entirety.  I was a slow reader and thought that books were not for me.  Then a friend lent me The Celestine Prophecy when I was in high school and it changed my viewpoint about reading.  It was my choice and that made all the difference.  I had the opportunity to connect to the text.  

I think the author hits the nail on the head about the power of blogs to transform learning in these two ways:

"The blogs add a maker mentality, stirring the imagination to create, design, and tinker." 

This makes the student the owner of their learning.  They are not just responding to someone else's work, they are creating their own and this is something that they can feel a sense of pride from.

"Once students publish a post, their writing passes the four walls of the classroom and exists to the world. This puts their work "out there," and that changes how they approach their writing." 

When we know other people are going to see or there is a possibility of a whole lot of people seeing our work, an internal drive turns on and says "I better make this good".  Not only does this promote better writing but it helps students find and develop their own voice.

Let's start a conversation in our school about students being able to publish their work.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

You Can Book Me

I've just created an account enabling anyone to book an appointment with me.  For teachers this may be for 1 on 1 help with any software, hardware, or curricular help you may want to  discuss involving technology, meetings with year groups for planning, or any other groups requesting a meeting or tutorial on any technology integration subject.

One of my goals as an ed. tech integration specialist, was to be a bookable resource and this app has made it so easy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wow Google is Cool!

Before coming to Brasil I had never used the Google Apps to any extent other than doing Google Searches ("Just Google it" is the now definitive ending to any disagreement).  It seems that a lot of people are in the same boat as me.  I have been spending some time going through the brilliant and easily accessible tutorials of the Google suite through Google for Education.  There is so much more that can be done than finding out what the one armed drummer of Def Leppard's name is.
I'm not sure which came first Google Apps or Google for Education, but Google Apps are suited perfectly for use in schools.  The abilities to collaborate, communicate, organize and inspire are all tied seamlessly together.

The Core Apps of Google are built on the need for collaboration and they are a good place to get started using Google.  They are:
Google Drive
Google Docs
Google Calendar
Google Sites
and Google Search

In subsequent posts we'll look at the ways to use these different apps to enrich learning, engage students, and organize everything.