I decided to create an infographic for my capstone. If you click on the image, you will be taken to the Piktochart site where you can view it with the embedded video too. And if you click on the presentation mode button it looks even better!
Infographics are really useful tools that I can see using frequently in my blended class. They are a great way to present information in an easy to follow, easy to understand format. I foresee using these alongside videos, and perhaps even replacing many of my slideshows with these. They are time consuming to create, but I think they are worth the extra effort. I can also see having my students create infographics for projects to assess their understanding and their ability to make connections between current units of study and previous concepts.
Edited Image Using Picasa
|| After (cropping, warmifying, cross processing, and adding text, all with a few mouse clicks!):
I have students use images when creating projects for the class, so I can have them find images on creative commons and edit them for their final products. I also use Picasa for creating end of the season cross country yearbooks. I get images from parents and then create collage pages for each of the meets with all of our athletes on them.
Slideshow using PhotoPeach
For some reason the embed code from PhotoPeach wouldn’t work on my blog, so here is a screenshot of what I made.
PhotoPeach is a neat tool that makes for a fun and more creative slide show. I think it would be a good tool to use to ask students to be a bit more creative. Instead of just writing and explaining their ideas in text, they have to use images to express their understanding. The music adds a nice touch too!
Shared Photo from Snapfish
Copyright and Creative Commons, Parts 1 & 2
I’m not sure I had too many misconceptions about copyright and fair use, but I was surprised to learn that it’s not fair use if I cite and author or an artist if I use their work for my students. However, I tend to only use other’s images or writing to enhance students’ understanding of a topic, not for entertainment purposes. That said, I now know that just giving credit to the owner of a work does not mean that it’s fair use.
I knew about Creative Commons before doing this module; I use it when looking for music when making videos for teaching and for finding images to put on my class website.
As for the quiz, I score 16/20. I got mixed up on a couple of questions regarding trademarks and patents vs. copyrights. There is so much law wrapped up around copyright that it’s kind of overwhelming. I’m sticking with the idea that I can use it if it’s for “transformative” purposes. I’m fairly certain that my students would not fair so well. In the age of Googling everything and having access to so much information, I think students figure that if they find something online (music, movies, games, images, etc.) it’s free to use however they want.
As for helping students learn about copyright, I will probably have my school librarian talk to my students for a few minutes before I have them work on their first project I assign, and then I will continue to refer to what she talked to them about throughout the semester. I will also point them to creative commons when searching for images to use in their projects and assignments.
Part 3, Attribute License
I put my attribute license here under the welcome post on my classroom website.
Part 4, Plagiarism Tracker
I checked out PaperRater and PlagTracker and I liked both of them. PaperRater is neat because you can see which words and phrases you overuse and any spelling and grammar mistakes you might have missed. I’d recommend students use this before turning in papers to me. PlagTracker is nice from a teaching perspective because I can copy students’ work and put it in and see easily if it is plagiarized. (I typically have students submit their work digitally.) And I can point students to the site to let them check their work and make sure they properly cite their information and so they know that I can easily tell if they just copy and paste information from another source.
I like both of these tools to make graphic organizers. Both are really easy to use, and bubbl.us makes a pretty straightforward concept map. I love Popplet, though, because you can add videos and images to explain concepts. I can see using this with students and having them create and share their own Popplets with one another as an early activity in a new unit or when learning a new concept. I can also see using this as a review activity for students before an assessment or as an assessment activity to see what kinds of connections students have made with the material. I checked out MindMeister too and I really like the collaborative feature. I can see using this when having students work together to analyze a text they read.
I made the above images using Tagxedo for my cross country runners before the state meet. I’ve never actually used it for teaching; I always saw it as more of an English Language Arts type tool. However, I can see using this (or Wordle) as students read a section or a chaper out of the textbook. I could have them use it to see the main themes of the section they read and then create a shape that represents the main ideas.
This contains the link to my classroom website. I will likely use QR codes for sharing links and other useful information with my students. I will also put a QR code on my syllabus for students to use so they can easily scan it to get to the class website.
Content: I focus my teaching on main concepts and have our learning objectives for each class period posted at the front of the room. Instead of small details and facts to memorize, students get a big picture idea of how everything works together; I intersperse examples that support the overarching concepts and themes we study. I use numerous materials like presentations, practice problems, small group and individual practice, and video to present ideas to students.
Process: I use many different types of grouping in my teaching, ranging from whole class discussions to small groups to pairs, to individual practice. Rarely do I have a class period where students work independently the entire time. Most of the activities I do involve group discussion and idea sharing.
Products: I assess students frequently throughout each unit using Moodle questions, small white boards and practice questions, open ended responses, class discussion, one on one discussion, and group presentations. Most of the projects I do give students several options to express their understanding; they may have different product options to choose from or different paths to take to create the same end product. The goal with my assessments is to use them as teaching tools so that students have to apply what we’ve been discussing in class to their process of creating their end product. Even my tests have retakes so that students can master the material and learn from their mistakes.
One thing that jumped out at me in the article is using our online textbook to help students who are struggling. They can install Diigo to highlight and annotate sections and make sticky notes to themselves; they can use VozMe to have the text converted to audio. Students could also use graphic organizers to create outlines of the material they read. This would be useful for ALL students, not just struggling learners, as it will help reinforce what they are reading and learning.
A couple of tools that would support UDL in my class that I could use even more are Google Docs and Prezi. They allow for real time collaboration with one another, and Google Docs allows for annotation and commenting. Students can comment on one another’s work and I can comment and offer suggestions too. Using these tools opens the classroom up to be anytime, anywhere. Students can do group work asynchronously and not have to worry about emailing a file back and forth. They can be creative with how they use the tools to express their understanding. And they can share their work together and learn from one another.
This could be useful for struggling readers, English Language Learners, and even students who are really busy and could download the textbook as an MP3 file to listen to while they walk or drive to and from school. For struggling readers and ELL’s, hearing the text as they read will help them learn the sounds of the new vocabulary and glean more meaning as they can connect it with surrounding text and concepts discussed in class. For busy students, audio text helps them multitask and learn as they move from one place to another.
Teacher’s Domain Resources
I really like this site and have used it pretty regularly. It has great resources for US History, Economics, and World History. I found this lesson that I plan on using to explain to students where their tax dollars go. In the lesson, students learn why our government levies taxes, where they money actually goes, and how different income brackets pay different taxes.
In the first part of the lesson, students analyze a sample paycheck stub and discern between gross and net income, as well as learn what the different deductions from their paycheck are for. We then discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each of these tax deductions and students compute what percentage of income is taken out for taxes for the given pay stub they analyze.
In the second part of the lesson students compare the different types of deductions and the impact of saving their money over time in a retirement account like a 401(k), and in the third part of the lesson they discuss where, exactly, they think their tax dollars should go and which programs they should support.
I found this resource that I could use to supplement my lesson on unemployment. While we normally go through the different types of unemployment and label them and discuss the causes of each, this gives students a practical look at how they can best prepare themselves to be employed in the future.
This page has a short explanation of how your level of education affects your employability. It links to an article that gives further explanation and examples of how gender and education are linked to employment rates too.
How I use my classroom website
I have had a classroom website for several years. It’s an invaluable tool for communicating with students and parents, posting assignments, posting due dates and information about upcoming assessments, and to have a class presence that students can access at any time and any place.
I have recently updated my class website; I originally had it hosted on my own domain, but since I didn’t teach this year and I may not go back next year, I decided not to continue paying for the domain name. So, I migrated everything into WordPress instead (which was easy since I had WordPress installed on my other domain!). When I migrated over, some of the links to the videos I use as well as the links to assignments that I share with students via my dropbox, were disabled. I re-enabled a few of the video links and the first assignment link on this page so you can get an idea of what I share with students.
When students go to my site, they will see the weekly assignments and due dates as well as the learning objectives for each day’s lesson. When they click on a unit page, they will find video resources and links to assignments. If they ever forget what they are supposed to do for the class, it’s all on the website! They can also find links to note-taking tools and reading guides. I rely so heavily on my class website that I can’t imagine teaching without it. It’s where I put ALL of my classroom materials and supporting tools so that students can access the class all of the time.
In addition to the class site, I use Moodle as a place for students to upload assignments and to complete formative and summative assessments. Using Moodle has enabled me to give students almost immediate feedback, and because of that, I have more time to give students to re-take assessments in order to master the material. If you’d like guest access to my Moodle class, let me know and I’d be happy to let you take a look around!
Part 1: Diigo
Link to my diigo page: https://www.diigo.com/user/teacherleenDiigo will help me be more productive because I can access my bookmarks anywhere, on any device. If I’m planning at home and need to find the link at school, it will be in diigo. So helpful! I used to use Delicious, but I hadn’t used it in years so I think my account was terminated. 😦 But as I lesson plan and find new tools, I will add them to diigo and I will use their “Lists” feature so that I can organize the sites I find even better. It definitely beats emailing myself links to sites to use in the future because every site I add is in one place, is organized into a list, and is tagged for easy searching.
Another diigo feature I discovered is that when I highlight text on a webpage, it gives me the option to annotate it and save my note for when I visit the page again. That is awesome! I can see having students use that feature to do research and using it myself to leave “sticky notes” on pages to remind me what I use/need on a particular page.
Part 2: Dropbox
I have used Dropbox for several years now and I don’t think I could go back to uploading documents to a flashdrive or my school’s teacher drive. It’s so convenient to be able to access my files anywhere at anytime, and to know that when I save something to Dropbox I have the most up-to-date version. I remember accidentally sending my flashdrive through the washing machine years ago and feeling panicked that I lost all of my work (even though it was on my computer, I wasn’t sure if all the changes I had made to files had been updated in both places.) Thankfully it still worked, but with Dropbox, I don’t need to carry that with me. I also don’t need to email myself documents to use at work or home since they’re all in one place. I love Dropbox and will probably never go back!
Here is a video I made on the Law of Demand.
Reflection: I think this video could use some soft background music to make it a little more interesting and to get rid of the hum in the background. It might also need some work on the graphics, but overall, I’m pretty pleased with my first video of this sort. I look forward to creating more in the future!
Below is my digital story:
And here is my storyboard: thing 19 – digital story storyboard
Ways Digital Storytelling Can be Used in My Classroom
One way I can use digital storytelling is to have students create short stories about concepts we have covered to make sure they can explain it in their own words, and that they can do so in a creative way, which really shows they have a solid working knowledge of the material. I can see doing this towards the end of a unit before I do a summative assessment (and let students watch each others’ work as a sort of review) or even after teaching a complex concept that I want to make sure everyone understands. Some ideas would include having students create stories to teach one another, stories that are more skit-like in nature, and stories that are like commercials and public service announcements that explain ideas.
Another way I can use digital stories is to have students do a one minute self reflection on their understanding of the material from class. I envision this being more of single words in their stories that are up for a couple seconds at a time and maybe some short video of them explaining their understanding. I would probably do this at the end of a unit, around parent teacher conference time to have students’ feedback to share with parents (and I could share the videos too!), and at the end of the semester.
Feedback and Suggestions for Improvement
I had my husband give me feedback and suggestions on my digital story and here is what he wrote:
Well I sure liked it! It’s pretty great that you captured “fire-mens”, guitar playing, and a day without pants. If you need actual critique, I guess I’d turn up the intro track a bit. I really liked all of the cuts.
He might be a little biased since the story is about our son, but I agree that the intro music could be a little louder. Other than that, I like my finished product! It was really fun to make, especially since I really like the subject. 😉