Monday, October 28, 2013

Digital Photography and Digital Video in the Classroom

The use of Digital Photography and Digital Video in the classroom can be an asset if used appropriately. Can be an exciting, captivating video or a boring  forgetful or even be distracting from the lesson rather than enhance it.

Photo credit

Photo credit

In my own classroom I can see myself using digital pictures and digital video a lot in the classroom. I want to use taken photos and premade videos to enhance my lessons and use Bloom's taxonomy of learning domains "create" to let the children take their own digital pictures and make their own digital videos.  

Digital photography provides an opportunity for students to develop creativity, acquire higher order thinking skills, and improve basic skills in the content ares of the curriculum. The role that digital pictures can play is to show examples of part of the lesson and to enhance the memory of learning the lesson. Picture can jog a student's memory especially if the picture was taken by the student themselves or of a local or well- know place taken by the teacher. 

Digital video in the classroom, "in addition to being fun and motivating, video projects teach students to plan, organize, write, communicate, collaborate, and analyze. A successful video project has undergone a process of researching, scripting, organizing, filming, editing, and publishing. Students also have the opportunity to apply artistic and dramatic skills to their academic work." The role of digital video can be used in many different ways. In all its forms it yields itself to aid visual learners and has the ability to be replayed. 

I like the idea that teachers can introduce a subject or new topic with a video or show a summary video to finish up a lesson. I support the idea that if another teacher can explain something better than I can, I have no shame in admitting that fact and letting my student get the best lesson or explanation that is available to them and show them the video. Most teachers have a preferred subject area that they are very good at teaching and explaining, let that teacher who can explain the concept well tell my class through a digital video. Teaching is about borrowing ideas that work for other classes and I think that borrowing explanations through videos are even better to share with each other. 

With a digital video, students who miss class or need review can watch the video at home anytime and unlimited times. If posting videos online for students to watch for the lesson or review what they learned in class, I like the idea that the same subject can be taught in different ways with different learning styles in different videos. This helps for a better understanding of the topic or subject in the lesson to hear the same topic in different forms and explained differently without exhausting a single teacher during class.  

For example this teacher show how to find the least common denominator or least common multiple by finding multiples of both denominators or numbers to multiply to find the answer. 

Video credit Evanjk117

In contrast to this example, this teacher show how to use a division latter to find the least common multiple. 

Video credit eHowEducation

By watching both of these videos, the students will have a better understanding of the concepts and have different strategies to use that work best for each individual student. 

Another pro for digital video is not just with a lesson, it can be used to show real world applications of something in an inviting way. Digital videos can be a way for "memorable learning" to take place. I thing that memorable lessons are the topics that students remember and tend to stay with them. Digital videos are in that type of learning. 

For example of digital picture, find shapes and geometry in the world we live in. 

Photo credit

Photo credit

Or a video assignment. In this video is was a group class project on photosynthesis. The group created a catchy rap to remember the details throughout the photosynthesis process.  

Video creidt JPinnix18

Another great idea for both digital pictures and digital video is having the class make their own. I plan on using these ideas in my own classroom. Once a topic has been taught, a fun interactive way to see if the students understood the topic is to do a photography or video assignment. 

As for teachers creating videos that I could see myself using could be Khan Academy and That Tutor Guy are great places to start for math and science concepts. 

For models of student created digital video project, I could use the photosynthesis video above. I like that they used creativity with song choice, re-wrote lyrics and "rapped" the song while explaining photosynthesis and displaying that they understand the topic. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Web 2.0 tools for the Classroom

Web 2.0 "is about revolutionary new ways of creating, collaborating, editing and sharing user-generated content online. It's also about ease of use. There's no need to download, and teachers and students can master many of these tools in minutes. Technology has never been easier or more accessible to all." This all is important to teachers because it changes the face and boundaries of where a classroom can explore. 

Photo credit Didier Vidal
With the new technology in the web 2.0 world lots of people are able to get involved. Not just programmers, people from all over the world of different ages are using the internet and adding to the ever growing information of wealth. This means that there is a lot more information and way more venues of displaying that information, for instance social media, blogging and micro-blogging. Web 2.0 looks like all the people that contribute to the internet.  

Photo credit Brian Solis
Whats interesting for teacher is how to take web 2.0 tool and use it for purely educational purposes. Some example of web 2.0 tools that educators can use is Thinglink, which is a picture that can be created and interactive. StoryJumper is a place for students to create and discover stories for kids with the ability to get a book "published" or get a copy of the finished story. Storybird is another place to create, read and share visual stories that are short, art- inspired stories for students. Tiki-Toki is web-based software for creating beautiful interactive timelines that you can share on the internet, this is a more advanced tool that looks professional. Timetoast is another tool to create timelines, this is simpler to use. Using myHistro, you can combine maps and timelines seamlessly into one great presentation. Popplet is a tool to take notes and display ideas into a bubble map, appropriate for younger students. SpicyNodes is an interactive site map which organizes information in a logical way, letting visitors quickly drill down to the information they seek while seeing how the ideas relate in a bubble map concept, more suitable for older students. PowToon can create animated video and presentations.  Goamimate is an easy way to make professional animated videos. Pixton is "the worlds best way to make comics" that can be used in the classroom for summaries or introductions for topics. And the last but is my favorite is Meograph which is a way for four dimensional storytelling in the classroom. 

For my personal favorite web 2.0 tool, I really like the Meograph

Photo credit

I think it is a cool tool that is versatile in the classroom. Meograph is a four dimensional storytelling site meaning Meograph "is the easiest way to create multimedia stories. With no training you can quickly create stories about the news, history, travels, life events, and more by combining video, audio, pictures, text, links, maps, and timelines. Then share by embedding anywhere on the web, or through your favorite social network." Meograph: The Future of Storytelling is 4D, is the truth for educational purposes and as well as others. 

A how-to video on how to use this tool.

Video credit Andrew Fenstermaker

With this web 2.0 tool, how cool would a Meograph video be as a way to:
  1. introduce a topic to a class, 
  2. used as a tool for a flipped classroom model or 
  3. as an advanced assignment for a group project. 
I can see this tool being used lots of different ways in the classroom that the teachers can create and share their videos on the site. Meograoh could be used in the classroom with topics such as alphabet memorization, storybook summary, science lessons, history lessons and much more. This is another way that "memorable learning" can take place. This 4-D interactive model of web 2.0 tools in the classroom, will stay with students longer helping them remember topics longer. 

An example of an educational Meograph on Photosynthesis courtesy of kdburton, Photosynthesis. For examples of lots of different ways that Meograph could be used: education, journalism, public radio, and non-profits. This shows the versatility of the Meograph tool. 

Example of how teachers use and plan to use Meograph in their classroom is Ms. Claeys music classroom and Ms. Maria in secondary education classroom

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wikipedia Reflection

The past two weeks in ECI 296, we had an assignment to help us learn about Wikipedia and in a broad sense about common mutual knowledge. This reflection is related to how that style of learning can impact the classroom.

Phtot credit

I edited my high school's page on Wikipedia. I went to Lake Norman High School and I added to the page a section on the arts at the school. The link for Lake Norman High School's Wikipedia page. 

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My user name on Wikipedia is Lmstoltz. I added a short bio about myself on Wikipedia about that I am an alumni to Lake Norman High School and I am a current undergraduate at NC State and in the Elementary Education program. 
Over all the experience with Wikipedia was surprisingly easy. The only issue I ran into was involving the technical things like how to do a header or bullet points, that is only the code stuff. Other than that it was pretty strait forward. I added what I wanted to the page with the special codes, previewed it, asked to be updated if changes where made, and published it. The main reaction I had to this experience is that anyone can look up Lake Norman High School and see what I added, which I think is super exciting. Wikipedia is a site that I have practically grow up with as a reference and was always warned away from the information on it, even though I used it for quick references. I was excited that lots of people can see what I added but it also shows how anyone can add anything to a Wikipedia site. 
I used my power of adding to my high school's site with responsibility and added very positive things but I am sure there are people that would potentially add something horribly, or an angry review to a Wiki site. Now I realize that other people could fix the negative additions to a site, but the reverse could happen too. Being the general public's knowledge, a bias could be built into a particular generation which is a flaw in my eyes about Wikipedia as a whole.
Once I added my contributions to Lake Norman High School's page, nothing happened to it. No editing nor any talking on the talk page. I am assuming that no one from the school checks the Wikipedia page consistently to see if the added material is true and accurate. So there was not an opportunity for me to respond or say anything to the talk page. 
It may seem silly but I will absolutely keep checking on my Wikipedia addition even past this class. I think it is so cool that I added some information about my high school for anyone to see. I have pride about what I added, the school is strong in not only sports but in the arts as well and I was able to fill the gap on the Wiki page. 
As for editing Wikipedia pages in the future, I am not sure yet. Unless I feel strongly that something need to be added or changed in an area that I am confident that I have knowledge about the topic, am well educated on the different positions and can make a non biased addition, I will. With that said, if I feel that someone else will have better input, I will leave it to the professional to add it. Just for the sake of them being correct and noteworthy. 
Using Wikipedia in my future classrooms, I predict under certain circumstances only. If the students are able to see what they learned and follow a relevant link away from Wikipedia and the student cite the original source of information and not Wikipedia, I think that is good use. That use of Wikipedia gets to the original source and hopefully any biases will be ironed out, shows digital aptness in using available resources and can lead to many new sources of information provided on the Wikipedia site. 
Also in class, we discussed using Wikipedia as a learning tool as we did in ECI 296. Doing a similar activity will show my students everything that I have learned and show caution to blindly accepting truth and being about to check the reference and look at the talk and history page to see if it was a topic of debate. By doing an activity similar to what I did in class would help explain WHY. That question is often better accepted when the lesson is learned first hand by the students. By showing students how easy it is to add information to a Wikipedia site it and how some sites are heavily monitored and additions can be deleted, the students can learn the pros and cons to community knowledge.
Overall I really enjoyed this assignment. I learned a lot about a site that I never understood but will grow as a digital citizen for now knowing it. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Personal Learning Networks and Twitter

A personal learning network is for anyone and is defined by the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online. I think of it as something that teachers engage in for their own personal benefit and interests to better their classroom, either traditionally such as coworkers or modern technology with Facebook, twitter, wiki's and more. PLN can also reach to the students and anyone who wants to make meaningful connections and learn about a topic.

Here is a video named "Networked Student" about how students engage in their own personal learning networks and shows how learning with "connectivism" is 21st century learning tool that will enhance the learning experience and memory of the topic. 

Video Credit Wendy Drexler

Teachers use PLN for some of the same reasons that students do. Teachers have the same or similar curriculum and all need help to get the objectives into lessons with interaction and is memorable for the class. In my personal experience, most teachers have natural niches for some subjects even in elementary schools. So why not have the teachers who are exceptionally good a one subject help the other teachers with their lessons? PLN response is teachers should share and help each other out, but why stop at the confounds of the school walls, or school system for that matter? PLN says go global, find anyone who can help you. That could mean meeting a 2nd grade teacher in South Africa, or a science teacher in grade 8 in Canada or a professional reading teacher in California. It could be global, continental, country wide or local. It could be all the same grade level teachers or just educated people on the topic. The exciting thing about PLN is the flexibility of the group that you are  learning with. 

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Not only is PLN flexible with the group you are sharing with, it is also flexible in how you interact with the group. There is no right or wrong way to get in touch with a personal learning network team in the 21st century. Some use social media (facebook or myspace), micro-blogging (twitter), blogging (blogger, wordpress,etc.), wiki (wikispaces, wetpaint, ect.), and many others options for PLN exploration.

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A new exciting PLN outlet is twitter. How to get more out of your PLN using Twitter is by learning to use hashtags correctly, joining some chats and make lists on twitter to help your filter whats on your live feed. This could help some intimidated teachers with twitter as their PLN. 

Twitter can also be a tool that educators can use in the classroom not just for their PLN. Here are some tips with 60 Ways to Use Twitter in the classroom by category such as communication with parents and secondary students, organization, resources and writing skills. Twitter is interactive with students and can help an ordinary lesson become memorable. Some unexpected pros to using twitter in the classroom is with shy students, twitter can help shy students feel apart of the lesson even if they do not feel comfortable raising their hand or talking in a discussion. 

The challenge is with the range of students and availability of technology for each student in the classroom. The latter is for a different discussion but the first can be broken down into grade level groupings. The older grades can have their own personal twitter accounts, the teacher can give quizzes  reminders and assignments out on twitter.

Video credit CNN

The younger grades, the students are too young to have a personal account. An idea is for the teacher to have one mass twitter account, no names of the students would be out, and each day have a rotating child do a daily tweet on the summary of the day, to work on spelling, and read other classes tweets, to work on reading. With a class twitter, parents could stay updated and have better communication with the class.  

Video credit Kathy Cassidy

Using Twitter in the classroom seem like a good idea to me. At first I think it will be challenging with parental consent and creating a safe environment for the students all the while I am trying to figure it all out too. But after hearing many success stories, I am sure that the early work will be worth it. I think it is a good idea for students to get early interaction with technology and be interactive with their learning experience. 

Using Twitter as a PLN for me as the teacher and for the students, I am all about. So often we discuss and strive for specialized learning for each student for their own goals, twitter can create that field  Depending on who the follow will drastically change their new feed, what chats they attend will help each of them think independently to reply to a tweet question. As for the teacher, I think it is great for all the same reasons. 

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