Tag Archives: identifying

thing 2 – face of my classroom

How I use my classroom website

thing 2 - class 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!

thing 19 – digital storytelling

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. ūüėČ

thing 16 – research + reference tools

Part 1: MeL Database Compare/Contrast

InfoTrac Junior Editionthing 16 - infotrac jr  InfoTrac Student Editionthing 16 - infotrac student
¬†I did a simple search for frogs in both databases. Then I did a search on texting. Below I will examine the appropriateness, useablity, content, and credibility for each database’s articles.
¬†Appropriateness Frogs: Age appropriate magazine articles from magazines like Highlights for Children and Scholastic News. I still had to sift through the articles, though, as some were stories and editor’s notes and not actual information about frogs.Texting: Lots and lots of information and relevant articles from sources that are geared for younger students. Frogs: This search led to a mix of children’s book reviews along with articles about frogs. This might be off putting to some high school students as they would have to do a bit more sifting. This just might not be the right database tool for the job, but I’m certain there are others that would work and be much better than searching Google.Texting: Just like the Junior Edition, this edition had tons of information that was directed at a slightly older audience.
 Useability For both searches, this was pretty user friendly, but I noticed that some of the images were omitted, which might deter some students. The articles were a good length for elementary students, though. The articles, especially for texting, were very user-friendly and easy to use for a research project.
¬†Content I love that there are magazine articles, news article, audio and video clips, and books and images. Students would have to sift through some of the information to make sure they were getting facts if they were doing a research report, but they would have to do this on Google too. There seems to be more content on texting than there is on frogs…probably because this database is geared toward current event and pop culture information. ¬†Same as the Junior Edition…
¬†Credibility Every resource has a citation! And because these are databases, students and teachers can feel comfortable knowing that the information they find is reliable and has been published elsewhere before being housed in the database. If there were factual errors, they would be discovered and edited immediately. There is no chance of a hoax article here. ¬†Same as Junior Edition…
In conclusion, I think these databases are great for pop culture and current events type research. If students are looking for topics that are more general science topics or social studies topics, they would probably want to use a different database. But overall, these were much better resources to use than a Google search, as all the information is reliable and accurate (and the citations are provided too!).

Part 2: Advanced Student MeL Database

I did a search for greenhouse gasses and global warming on Academic OneFile.

thing 16 - academic one file

Appropriateness: All of the articles are actually about greenhouse gas emissions…if I had done a Google search, I would have gotten some articles and websites about greenhouse gas emissions, and a whole lot of biased information or commercial advertising for products having to do with greenhouse gas emissions. Some of these resources in the database may be a bit advanced for struggling readers, but I could find another database for those students or I could pair them with a more advanced student.

Usability: Again, all the information is about greenhouse gas emissions. Depending on what type of information students need, there are news articles, videos, magazine articles, and academic journals about the topic. They could use the journals for background information and the news articles to examine what is happening around the world in relation to their search. The news articles seem much more helpful to me than a Google search would be; the academic journals may be a bit much for high school students, but I think some of the other resources, like the videos, would be very helpful.

Content: The content has been researched and proven reliable. It is professionally written and its purpose is to educate the readers/viewers of it. Compared to a Google search, this material is much more meaty and the search has more relevant results.

Credibility: Every resource is from a reliable news organization, magazine, academic journal, etc. Students and teachers can rest assured that the information they find is accurate; when compared to a Google search, every article (even if not exactly pertinent to what students are looking for) can be vetted, whereas a Google search may yield some questionable results.

Part 3: Bogus/Hoax Websites and CARRDSS

Dog Island: This site seems like it could be real since it gives statistics, and if you don’t look carefully, you might be taken by it. But, when you look closely at it, you can tell it’s not real. To begin, the Credibility¬†is questionable. There are adds all over and if you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a disclaimer next to the copyright. When you click on the disclaimer, it tells you up front that the site is created in jest and is not real.

thing 16 - dog island disclaimer

As for¬†Accuracy, well, the disclaimer tells you the site isn’t real, so the information is clearly not accurate. ¬†But if you miss the disclaimer and peruse the site, you’ll see that there really isn’t any information. It talks about legislation but gives no details. It tells about the number of large, medium, and small dogs, but gives no details as to what defines each category. There are just too many missing details for the information to be accurate and¬†Reliable.¬†Also, if you click on the links for the Press information about Dog Island, none of the links go to articles about Dog Island. And this link goes to a site that is in Japanese, but is supposedly a link to a radio station in Escanaba, Michigan. Clearly not a reliable¬†Source¬†Behind the Text¬†that supports the page. In fact, none of the links that navigate outside the page are useful sources of information for Dog Island or for dogs in general.

thing 16 - dog island reliability

This would definitely not be a¬†Relevant site if I was doing a search for dogs; maybe if I was searching for dog friendly vacation places, but even then, I would quickly find upon reading that humans are not allowed on Dog Island, which would put up red flags in my mind about the site being real. It also uses the word, “Dogologists,” which is not a real word. A quick Google search will bring up sites that are for dog training businesses, as well as the Urban Dictionary’s definition of the word. Definitely not reliable or relevant.

The¬†Date on the site is today’s date and the copyright date is 2013, so that would not be an easy indicator that the information is real…you definitely have to read the information to figure that out. Finally, there seems to be no Purpose to the site (unless you read the disclaimer, which states the site is to make people happy) and there is no real Scope. The information is not very detailed, the links lack any information to support the site, and if you try to get more information there really isn’t any to be found.

The Republic of Molossia: Being a social studies teacher, I know Molossia is not a real country. And to verify, I would use a site like the CIA World Factbook to verify. But students might not want to go this far…

To start with¬†Credibility,¬†the URL is not even an official sounding country URL. It is a .org and ends with /countryeng.html. From that alone, I would question whether or not the site was credible. (http://www.molossia.org/countryeng.html) Additionally, the “Ministry of Propaganda” is the one who created the site. When you click on the link for it, it is a mailto: link that opens up your email to compose a message. Plus, the word propaganda should be a big red flag since the purpose of propaganda is to get people to believe in a cause or in something that may or may not be real.

The site claims the country is “still at war” with “East Germany.” East Germany no longer exists, thereby calling the Accuracy¬†and¬†Reliability¬†of information into question.

thing 16 - molossia accurate

If you click on the links on the menu to find information out about the country, they provide information, but it’s clearly very silly. For example, the page about the Molossian Navy says,

We tried having an Army, but the US Olympic Committee used it against us. We tried having an Air Force, but the plane never flew, and anyway it was too small to fit anyone inside. So, here in the depths of the desert, we have created the Molossian Navy. Yes, the Navy. And we even have three boats.

Our goal with the Molossian Navy is to explore those watery places that dot the western landscape like gems in the sand. There are actually quite a few lakes and reservoirs through the western desert, and we have set our sights to explore as many as possible. In addition, our Navy stands ready to defend Molossia whenever necessary, through the means of our valiant Naval Infantry.

Clearly this information doesn’t make any sense and is made up for fun; it is definitely not reliable or accurate.

As for Relevance, if you were searching for information about a made up country, then this would be perfect! But if you happened to mistype the name of a country like Malaysia or Mongolia, you might stumble across this site. Or if students are non-native speakers or have difficulty with reading and/or spelling, they may run across this site and they would have to use the other elements of the CARRDSS systems to verify that this site is what they want. Additionally, if you were searching for the ancient Greek state of Molossia, then this site would not be relevant to what you needed, and it even makes a disclaimer at the bottom of the homepage stating such.

The Date on the site seems to be current, so this would not be an immediate red flag about the content of the site, but the¬†Sources that the site links to that are supposed to provide media information about the country don’t link to actual pages. And there don’t seem to be any links that provide information about who made the content other than the one for the Ministry of Propaganda that I mentioned above.

thing 16 - molossia sources

Finally, the Scope and Purpose of the site seem to be to provide made up information and stories about a made up country. Reading some of the links on the homepage, as well as information on the homepage itself seem to suggest that someone just made everything up since all the information is a bit preposterous.

Overall, I think the CARRDSS system is a great way to review a website and it’s also pretty quick. I will definitely plan on using this system with my students in the future and will probably create a page on my class website about how to quickly evaluate web information.

Part 4: Citation Tools

thing 16 - citation

 

Katz, Lawrence F., and Kevin M. Murphy. “Changes in relative wages, 1963‚Äď1987: supply and demand factors.”¬†The quarterly journal of economics¬†107.1 (1992): 35-78.