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.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tool #6 Wikis

My biggest question about wikis is, what is the difference between a wiki and a Google Doc? Both allow everyone on the account to add/edit information and everyone on the account can see the changes.

I would like to have things organized in one place and not scattered all over. For example, I have put a lot of websites and resources on Delicious. I'm going to try to get more familiar with Diigo this summer. If Diigo seems to do more and be better for researching, I may switch and not use Delicious next year. I don't want to make things complicated for students and have them going to lots of different sites.

So that brings me to Google Docs and wikis. I can see uses for both, and they seem to be similar, so which is better?

In looking at some wikis and information about wikis, I got a few ideas. "Cool Cat's" students idea of creating a "study hall" wiki was a neat idea. Students had a calendar with all of their classes and due dates of assignment. I have a calendar on my website, but not all students use it. If they were to create their own, maybe in a study group, they could help each other keep on top of assignments.

There were some examples of wiki assignments that are things I could use in class. One was a resume. This was for an English class, but I could use it in my history classes. Students could create resumes for historical figures we study.

Another idea would be to give groups a theme, locate primary source documents on that them. Students would discuss origin, purpose, value and limitations of the documents. Then students could look at other groups' wikis and agree/disagree and tell why or give an additional value or limitation for the documents.

It seems like these assignments could be done equally well on a Google Doc or a wiki. So that makes we wonder what are the essential differences between the two? Why would a person or group choose to use one over the other?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tool #5 Tagging & Social Bookmarking

Last summer when I did 23 Things, I learned about Delicious and I used it a lot this school year. I love Delicious because I can put any website there that I find that I think will be useful for any topic, tag it, and the site is ready for whenever the students need the information. Sometimes I come across a site while looking up something else. Instead of having to write it down somewhere and remember to use the site later, I can just put it on Delicious and it's there. I actually have two Delicious accounts... one for my history classes and a second one for Model UN and World Area Studies.

So for this tool I started to explore Diigo. Using Diigo, I found 101 sites It is pretty heavy on US history and government, but since there are 101 great sites, there are some that I can use in European and 20th Century history. For example, there are a couple of sites that access historical newspapers and a few other sites for locating e-books. Locating e-books could be useful for my 11th grade history students, because they have to write a 2,000 word research paper on a specific topic of their choice. They need a minimum of 7 or 8 sources. Besides the library, they could use e-books. Historical newspapers are useful for locating primary documents on topics we study.

Also, using Diigo, I found history History Exchange and joined it. It is a site where teachers share web sites they find particularly helpful. There were several about creating timelines on line. Others are about specific history topics, such as the Missile Silos of the 1960s (Cold War).

I found those sites using "explore Diigo groups". I put in "history" and clicked "search for a group."

I want to spend more time becoming more familiar with Diigo. I want to see how the annotating works. That seems to be the biggest difference between Delicious and Diigo. For example, I put an article on Delicious last spring for my students. It is about the Balkans, written at the end of the 19th century. It's a very interesting article. I'm going to put it on Diigo and try using the annotation feature.

Tool #4 Cool Google Tools

Patty Joyce & I are on the Celebration & Support committee at school. We were a rather busy committee during the second semester and had a lot of e-mails going between all of the committee members. I have been typing the minutes of our meetings and e-mailing them to everyone else. I have created a Google Doc with the form for our minutes. This way anyone in the committee can add to the document and everyone see what is in the minutes. We can also use the Google Doc to communicate between one another when we are planning various events. I think this will make communication a lot easier between all of us.

I already had an account on Google Reader that I set up when doing the 23 Things last summer. When I got on the Reader yesterday, it added three of the 11 Tool blogs I am following automatically, but left off one. I don't know why.

I also have several other blogs and sites on there to follow. The Rick Steves blog is personal interest, because I love to travel. The UN and news sites are for the Model UN group and my World Area Studies class. Having everything at one place is really convenient. Instead of making a long list of sites for students to visit, I can show them one site... the Google Reader... that has a lot of information in one place. That is the benefit of Google Reader... I can put various news sites all in one place instead of having to go to lots of different sites.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tool #3 Using image generators and mashups

Walk of Fame Animated custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more -

I created this on Image Chef. There are a couple of ways I could use this. Anya gave me one idea on her blog. I could put the name of a person we are studying in the "walk of fame" as a warm up and have the students write in their journals, giving me some reasons whether the person should be in the "walk of fame". Students could suggest names to put in the "walk of fame".

I also went to iMapFlickr. The idea of having a map and putting pictures with it sounded really neat. I use historical maps a lot to help the students follow what is happening to boundaries of countries as we move from one period of history to another. The instructions seemed rather straight forward. Step one... create a photoset on Flickr. I created one called Balkans and started looking for pictures and putting them in. However, when I went back and tried to access the photoset, I couldn't find it. Maybe the photoset is only for photos a person actually took, rather than being a collection of photos from the web. When I found a photo on Flickr that I wanted to use, I clicked on Gallery, per instructions. I guess "gallery" and "photoset" are not the same things.

I think it would be easier to save some photos from Flickr into a folder on my computer and use a map I save on my sandisk and add the photos to that.

In 23 Things I had already looked at or done something with Wordle, Glogster, Animoto and Comic Strip Generator. Of those, I liked Comic Strip Generator the best. I also had looked at BigHugeLabs. For 23 Things I used mosaic maker (I liked that a lot) and Badge Maker. I think Mosaic Maker would be neat to use with my Model UN students and in World Area Studies. Both groups have to research a country and they could also find pictures, create a mosaic and share with the group. I have to confess I forgot about Mosaic Maker once school started and did not use it this past year. I'm going to make better notes for myself so that I use it this next year.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reply to Tool #1 Global Issues Conference

I found out about the Global Issues Conference from Amy Thibaut, District Social Studies Coordinator. There was another Spring Branch school there, but I don't remember which school. I kept the program but it is packed in a box right now. I took 13 students. Many of them want to participate again next year and are willing to do research on their own, since they already had the class this year. I'm going to let my Model UN students know about it. Those who are not seniors doing AP or IB exams could participate. It would be a great way to end the year for them. Since it was the first week of May, it would be difficult for seniors to attend.

The conference issues were similar to what students study in Model UN. Students needed to look at the issues from a local, national and international perspective. They also needed to think about ways the issue could be addressed and perhaps come up with a solution.

My students did well with the information, but we were behind other groups in the sophistication of the technology used to present the information. We will definitely do better next year.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tool #2 Building Community & Comments

I think one of the most important reasons for me to participate in 11 Tools and the Library to Play is so that I learn how to use the new technology. I can't teach students how to use a blog as part of my class activities if I don't know how to do it. One of the goals I have for my history students in using a class blog is to generate conversation among each other about what they are learning in class. I want students to bring out what each sees as important. Different students pick up on different pieces of information. Students develop their own individual outlook.

I guess what I'm trying to set up with my students is a Personal Learning Network... the blog would be part of that? If I understand the idea from what I read, a Personal Learning Network is a collection of sources I use to learn about topics and is a way I connect with other people who have information to share on the topic about which I want to learn. When students share what they have learned and sources where they have found information, then they are creating their own Personal Learning Network?

I think a couple of important things to consider when blogging is to reply back when people comment. If blogs are to be a network, then it seems one needs to communicate with others to establish and keep the network going.

Another important consideration is setting boundaries and establishing expectations of what is permissible, just like we do in the classroom.

I did a search for history blogs. I had the idea that blogs were set up to facilitate conversation or to be for fun, rather than being an academic source for research. I found some history blogs, though, that give another side of history students won't find in textbooks. For example, I have a Victorian Webquest assignment. I found a blog that contains information on Victorian foods and dress. I found another blog containing diary entries of a British soldier from the First World War that has been put on the web by his grandson.

I plan to follow the blogs of some of the teachers from my school, such as Amy's House & Being Patty Joyce. Not many of us have gotten started yet. I saw Mrs. Peterson's comment about looking for a blog in her subject area (elem. music) and following it in addition.

Would it be okay to follow one history blog that covers something I teach and comment to that blog?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tool #1 Continued

Success!!! When doing the 23 Things, we used a different site to create an avatar. I really liked my avatar, but it never showed up on my computer on my blog. I just finished creating my avatar on Voki and it actually works on my blog! That's pretty exciting. Maybe I'll have success getting some of the other technology to work this summer. I had other things I tried last year not work, besides the avatar.