Wednesday, June 23, 2010

11 Tools Reflection

1. Favorite tools... (a) maybe Diigo. I need to work with that more this summer. I discovered Delicious last summer doing 23 Things and I love Delicious. I am interested in the annotation feature of Diigo. I sometimes put articles on Delicious. Adding annotations for the students to have, showing why I included that article would be good. I would also like students to annotate what they add to the site
(b) image generators. If a student can represent visually what they are learning, is gives another layer of understanding for them. It is interesting to see how students perceive what they are learning through creating a visual.
(c) digital citizenship... evaluating sources. In my 12th grade class, students have to learn to evaluate print sources for a Document Based Question. We use four points for each document... origin of the document, author's purpose in writing or creating the document, value to the reader, limitations. I want to use those four points and have students evaluate Internet sources. I want students to learn that they should evaluate what they read on the web, the same as they would do with any print materials.

2. Between 23 Things and the 11 Tools, I have come to recognize there are many different ways students can show what they are learning. It is no longer necessary that students produce a product using simply pen and paper. There is a wide range of digital methods that can be used.

3. I don't know that I have any unexpected outcomes from the 11 Tools. Even though I have learned a lot, I can see there is so much on the web, I still feel somewhat intimidated. However, I know that my students can do so many things and that I just need to relax, give them the choices and options and let them carry their learning in ways that make sense for them.

Tool #11 Practicing Good Digital Citizenship

Of all the tools, I believe this one is the most important. Our goal as teachers and parents is to ensure that students have the skills necessary to operate in a civil society, whether it is digital or not. Students have to be taught proper behavior in a variety of settings. Proper behavior in the digital realm is just as important to teach.

Three things I believe students need to understand about their digital world are:
1. Students should be able to evaluate sources critically. This was discussed on Cool Cat Blog and in other places. Students need to realize not all sites are equal. Students need to be taught how to evaluate sources, what to look for. It was mentioned in several sites that one practice is to compare what is said on various sites... do they agree? That is one technique, but sometimes in history, you may find a source that disagrees with other historians. On what do they base their views? They should have equally good sources. Maybe there are newly released sources giving a new point of view.

Besides looking at sources, students need to be taught to look for who maintains the site. Learn about the organization or the person. Are they an expert in their field? How much effort did the person/group put into the website? Effort is partly shown in their spelling and grammar.

2. Manners are always important, digital or not. Students need to be taught netiquette, just like we teach them classroom behavior. One way to do this is to be very specific in an assignment... what we will accept and what we will not accept. Providing examples also helps. I used a blog in my history classes this year. I had specific procedures for students to follow when commenting on each other's writings. Students could disagree with each other, but had to do so politely and students needed to give at least one piece of historical information supporting their reason for disagreeing.

3. Fair use is very important. We want students not to plagerize. We need to teach students what constitutes plagerism and how to avoid it. One site talked about writing using hyperlinks. Besides giving credit where information is found, whether by inserting hyperlinks or by referencing, students need to be taught about writing in their own words... just like when I was in school, but instead of using library books and encyclopedias, students now use internet sites. The idea is still the same.

Teaching about fair use can be accomplished through several activities... small group and class discussion about what is fair use v. plagerism. Students and the teacher can present a variety of examples of writing... come "cut & paste" plagerism and others using references with information learned written in one's own words. The class can compare them and discuss how to avoid plagerism.

Tool #10 Exploring Mobile Technology & Apps

I don't own an iTouch or iPhone, but I know many people do. There are some really neat apps that my students could use in World Area Studies or in Model United Nations. There were several apps for newspapers in other countries. Two examples are Populii, which is a Malaysian news site. In fact, I saw two different apps for Malaysia. I thought that was pretty interesting, since Malaysia does not seem to be a major country. Another news app was the Irish Times. If our group was representing a country that has a news app, the students could keep up with what is happening in that country. Having accurate, up to date information, about countries and issues is very important for both the class and the MUN activity.

There was also Global News app and EcoTropical app. Both of those would be useful for issues students need to learn about.

I did not see any history apps, other than one on the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I teach European and 20th Century History.

Tool #9 Sharing Information Through Jing & Skype

Wow... I have had students in the past suggest I record my history lessons and just let them listen to the lesson. That would have required video equipment. Now you can do the same thing using your computer. It's really great all the things you can do. I have some students who would like to present information this way instead of a traditional project presentation. The biggest benefit I see is that the more options there are for students, it is possible to find a method of study or presentation for everyone.

I have heard of Skype, but have not used it. I can see a lot of uses for Skype in the classroom. One of the suggestions on the Skype site... helping to study a foreign language... seems really exciting. When I was growing up in St. Louis, taking Spanish in high school, there were two Mexican restaurants. No Spanish TV or radio. There was really no way to practice Spanish. Now, using Skype would be a really cool tool.

In a history class, it might be possible to arrange a talk with a historian or with a curator of a museum, such as the Imperial War Museum in Great Britain, or the Smithsonian Museum. The students would most likely find that exciting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tool #8 Video Resources Part II

For some reason, the links to the two videos is not attaching to my blog. I clicked on the "insert link" icon and pasted the link in to the window, then clicked okay, but nothing happened.

Beckham link:

Battle of the Somme link:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tool #8 Video Resources

I started using videos from You Tube this year in my World Area Studies class. It helped to add interest and variety to the class. Many of my students like to play soccer and when I found a video showing David Beckham traveling as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and showed it in class, students liked that and it added to the interest in discussing humanitarian work of the UN.

Finding the video also gave me an idea for a class project. Students could create a "persona" for themselves... they could be a famous photographer, sports personality, movie star, author... Students then chose a different specialized agency and became a goodwill ambassador for that agency, just like David Beckham.

World War I is a major topic in my 12th grade IB class. There are many videos on You Tube about both world wars. Right now I cannot find the video I used this past year. The British created a propaganda film from the Battle of the Somme. Part of the film was actual footage of the first days of the battle, part was staged. The following is a link with part of the film footage.

The students were very interested in videos and DVDs of actual footage. It makes the events we talk about more real, rather than academic.

Tool #7 Digital Storytelling

I tried to create a PhotoStory about the Truman Doctrine. Putting in narration is the tricky part. I can't seem to get that to work on the school computer and I do not have a microphone on my home computer. I did click on the red dot, recorded a little narration. The space of time was present, but no talking.

Students could use digital storytelling rather than getting up and doing an oral report in class. Since students want to read their report many times, creating a digital story, showing it to the class, then commenting on points they believe to be most important could make a student's report more interesting.