Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Final Post

Well, that was a whirlwind, but one that was well worth it. Thank you Alicia for guiding us through this. If I had to describe this experience in one word, it would be eye-opening. I had no idea of the amount of Web tools out there (and I know there are many, many more) that are available to us (and for free no less!). I have looked into these now for both my experience in the classroom and in my personal life. (I am loving making movie on Animoto for family and friends to see.). I don't think that I would recommend any changes for this program; and yes, this program should ABSOLUTELY run again. If other tools were covered, I would love to participate again! I think that lengthening the timeline was perfect...I don't know how I would have finished otherwise. I look forward to improving upon my current curriculum and adding/changing my curriculum with the implementation of some of these tools.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's toasty alright!

For Screentoaster I toasted about the wiki that Alicia and I integrated into a research project that my honors freshman classes complete each year. This is the bare bones structure of it, as the students have not yet completed this project this year. But it gives you an idea of how to set up the pages and how the students added their work to it.

World Issues Wiki

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thing 17: My Choice!

Wow! It was not easy to choose which tools to explore. One because I had not even heard of many of these and two because there were just SO MANY!

I began with I had heard of this and seen people use it, but had never used it myself. This is a great tool that I will definitely use in the future. The purpose of this tool is to be able to find and make restaurant reservations via the Web. Which obviously streamlines things, cutting down on the annoying phone call to multiple restaurants. When entering the site, you can choose a location by city (Chicago), the area (i.e. Near West Suburbs) and then "smaller" towns (i.e. Oakbrook). For each restaurant, you will see the price point, type (i.e. Italian), and reviews. In this way, you can search for one particular restaurant. If you are not sure where you want to eat, you can look through a number of lists based on reader reviews. (i.e. best service, best overall, best food, more romantic).

I really like this site, but unfortunately would not use it in my classroom...unless, of course, we are going on a field trip :)

I also took a look at ETSY. Ironically, I am in the middle of using this tool for the first time. I just ordered birth announcements for Ellery, and I am also ordering invitations for her baptism soon. A friend told me about this tool over the holidays, and it has blown me away. My approach to this site was different than the norm. What this site is is a place to find just about anything that you want to purchase. You search for something, let's say birth announcements, and then a list of sellers who make birth announcements comes up and you can then search their creations, just like you would on Snapfish or a similar site. There are literally THOUSANDS of sellers on this site, and you can not imagine the extent of the what you can purchase via this tool. I did not complete a search like this and then purchase. I had a friend tell me about a seller on this site who made AWESOME holiday cards for her. What I did was search the seller because I knew I wanted to deal directly with her. I found her easily and I have to say the announcements were AWESOME! You could literally spend hours on this site searching for an item...the options are endless! is another tool that I explored. With everything that is going on, I often forget things like buying the milk. Basically this is an online to do list. You can make your list and include the days that you need to accomplish each task. You can receive alerts to your email or even directly to your phone (there is of course an IPhone application...isn't there one for everything).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Did you hear that?

I really liked voicethread...and since I have a headset for school it was really easy to leave comments. This could be a great application for the English classroom, especially when working on literature. I ask the students to annotate anything we are reading that they own or I can copy...I could do this digitally for the students, or I could ask them to set up accounts, and they could have a conversation going outside of class via the comments. I believe they could also tie these comments to their own annotations. This would be a great way for them to focus on a passage/poem in depth.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Okay, so what have I done without Animoto? What a GREAT application! I put together a video of Ellery in minutes and posted it here, to Ning, AND to my facebook page so friends and family can check it out. Take a look and enjoy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010!

I actually have used a wiki in my classes, and it was very effective. Alicia and I used a wiki in a Big 6 Research project so that students could share information that they found with students in their class and with students in the other sections of my class. This helped the students on their actual work (they could share information and help those with the same topic), and it also allowed students to find information on topics that they were not assigned. The topics were current and ones that the students were interested in outside of class in some cases, so some were motivated to look into other topics. This wiki was also used to share the information that the students posted with parents. Students presented their wiki to parents during a "premier" that we had for a movie that they had presented. They used this wiki as a platform to make parents aware of current humanitarian crises that were present in the world (which was their research topic). We did run into problems with the wiki if students were trying to simultaneously edit the same portion of the wiki, so we did have to dance around a bit to avoid this. All in all, it was effective! - Allison C.