Visual Search Engine: instaGrok

Over the course of the the last few days my students have begun to use instaGrok as a search engine in class. This site conducts searches in a very visual way that invokes students to explore and learn. Often times I see them digging deeper into a search due to the visual nature of the the search engine. The visual nature also seems to spark  the curiosity in students to explore and look deeper into a topic. Another great thing about this search engine is the layout which provides students immediately with key facts, videos, images and other resources. Saving students time in looking for these resources next which they often need to do for many assignments. I was very happy with how engaged my students were and how they seemed to really like to use this search engine.

Check it out for yourself at: http://www.instagrok.com/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Automatically Grade Your Google Documents

I ran across Flubaroo about two moths ago. Since then I have been meaning to give it a try and finally did. This is a great little tool for grading tests or assignments in Google docs. It is very simple to use and does an excellent job in providing feedback on your assignment or test results. The fact that it is a free application makes it even better. Watch the short video below on this application and check it out at Flubaroo  http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Vision of the Future and the Importance of Education

I was reading Charlie Barrow’s Blog the on Sunday and came across a great video that I have not seen before.  It was created and produced by Microsoft and displays possible future technologies and communication tools. Check out the embedded video below.

This really captivated my students attention and got them thinking about other technologies that we might see in the future.  As they pondered the possibilities I asked them if they would like to be part of creating these type of new technologies.  The overwhelming answer was yes. As an educator I saw my opportunity to discuss the importance of a college education and took it.  The great thing was they were more responsive and seemed to make the connection that if you really want to create these types of technologies and enter this field you must go on to college.  Either way this video opened up some great discussion. Try it out with your classes and let me know what they thought.

Enhanced by Zemanta

14 Student Favorite Project Websites

Over the past two years my students have been allowed to create their projects in any format or medium in which they choose.  This had led to some amazing and creative projects that have not only inspired me but opened my eyes to what my students are truly capable of creating. I have noticed however that there seems to be certain sites and programs that they gravitate to every year.  So the following list, are sites that my students seem to use at some point every year and really seem to enjoy.

  1. Glogster: is always a fan favorite since they can add music video and images all in one project.  This virtual poster site is always one that I see multiple times a year.
  2. Photo Story 3: has become a big hit over the past year and a half.  This is a simple video creator that allows students to take a series of images place them in any order and then narrate each image and/or add text to each image. It then generates a movie adding in transitions and panning automatically to the video.  It is simple and creates great short informational videos. They do also have a mac version.
  3. Museum Box: This is a great site for history classes.  Students place items in a box that would help describe a person or event. They can add video, audio, images and text.  This site has led to some great projects.
  4. Goanimate: takes a bit of learning but is a animated video creator that students love to create their projects with.  It generates great animated cartoons that my students have used to explain many different historical events.
  5. Google Search Stories: is a great video creator for quick informational video clips.  It uses the Google search engine and results to tell a story or explain and event.
  6. Picture A Story: allows students to tell stories about history, explain topics or concepts using preloaded images characters and objects.
  7. Flixtime: Is another video creator that allows students to take a series of images ad create great videos to explain concepts or historical events.
  8. Poster 4 Teachers: Is a free program that allows students to create online projects and reports in a poster format.  It also allows them to create simple websites to explain or discuss topics presented in class.
  9. Slideroll: This site allows kids to create simple slide shows to tell a digital story.
  10. Animoto: This site allows students o create professional looking videos projects.  This site is easy and fun for students to use.
  11. Alice.Org:  A animated story creator. That also teaches programming. I have had a few students really get into programming after using this application.
  12. Digital Story Teller: This is similar to Photo Story 3 students can add text and audio to their digital stories.
  13. Kerpoof: Always a favorite site for students to create movies and other digital media.
  14. Fotobabble: This is really a card creator but students have used it in a variety of ways to narrate  a digital story and have used it a segment in other digital projects.

 

Teach Students to Search the Web: School Resources Part Seven

Image representing Google Search as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

I am often amazed how many teachers assume that students can conduct a basic web search in a search engine.  This is a  skill often over looked in schools and is the cause of frustration for many students.  So many times teachers tell their students to go to the web and research information on a particular subject.  Students then go to Google type in a word or two and get frustrated when they can only find a minimal amount of information.  This frustration often leads to decreased motivation for the project or assignment.  A simple fix to this problem is to teach students how to conduct a proper web search.  Here are 11 great search engines that are great at assisting you in teaching students how to conduct a web search.

Askkids FactMonster KartOO KidsClick Middlespot Quintura Kids Safesearch Sleedo Sortfix Wolfram Alpha Yolink

Related articles by Zemanta

Enhanced by Zemanta

School Year Resources Part Three: Digital Storytelling

The Boyhood of Raleigh, 1871
Image via Wikipedia

Digital storytelling has become a very popular method in conveying information in my classroom.  Students can collect images on a topic and use them to tell stories to show their mastery of the content discuss and studied in class.  Often times they are having so much fun that they do not even realize how much they have learned or that they are learning through this process. I have been utterly amazed at the conversations that I have had with students as they work on their projects.  The depth of learning can be quite amazing.  The following sites have been used by some of my students.  Again like the previous posts if you know of any others or have had any issues with any of these resources please let me know.

Virtual Posters

  1. Glogster

Digital Story telling

  1. Google SearchStories’s creator
  2. Scooch
  3. Welcome to Fotobabble – Talking Photos
  4. Animalia Digital story teller
  5. StoryBird
  6. Picture Book Maker
  7. Story Jumper
  8. Storytron
  9. My Story Maker
  10. Kerpoof
  11. Digital Story Teller
  12. TikTok
  13. Little Bird Tales
  14. Myths and Legends
  15. Webook
  16. Storytelling Alice
  17. YouTellYou
  18. AudioBoo
  19. Kizoa
  20. Flip Book
  21. Capzles
  22. Slide
  23. One True Media
  24. VoiceThread
  25. Book Builder
Enhanced by Zemanta

Teaching Online vs. A Traditional Classroom: Are they really that different?

Teaching in an online environment contains many of the same issues found in the traditional classroom. Teachers must know their content area and be able to adjust curriculum to best meet the needs of their students. Over the past decade technology has grown tremendously and created new delivery methods that can greatly enhance learning for students. This growth in technology has created many new issues that teachers must consider before teaching in an online environment.

Teachers in must have a good working knowledge of their field of study. While this is a basic requirement of teaching any course, the online environment requires that teachers spend time developing good resources that can be accessed online. With the growth of electronic media the ease of putting information on the web has created many resources that must be screened before allowing students to use them. This requires the teacher to do more than a Google search and bookmark a couple of quick resources. They must investigate and research these sources of information to ensure that they are in fact worthwhile and credible. Along with researching and developing a good set of resources, teachers must be technically proficient in using technology to best meet the needs of their students.

As technology continues to grow, teachers must spend time researching new technologies that may enhance student learning. It is important for them to spend time learning about the various mediums such as: SCORMs, WIKI’s, Blogs, Forums, Chat, and Webquests to be able to use them effectively. Like traditional methodologies, online methodologies require time by teachers to study up on the new and latest developments in electronic media going beyond a word processor and PowerPoint to communicate with students.

The two most important issues to consider in teaching in an online environment are communication and organization. Just like traditional classrooms, lesson plans are critical. Getting the message across to students is the ultimate goal. With the limitations of communication with students, how you communicate in an online environment is critical. This requires teachers to be able to communicate effectively using technology and written word. What you say is as important as how it is organized and presented. Chunking information in small pieces and organization are key components of a good online course. Once a student is lost or confused, learning stops and may not start again for some time.

Online education requires teachers to go beyond just the traditional knowledge of their subjects, but to develop good resources, use the latest technologies, communicate and organize information to best meet the needs to their students and promote learning.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]