Tech Tools

07/16/2012

 
I'm designing two online classes for the fall: the first is an Arts History class, an English elective, and the second is an American Government class that earns students a credit in English and a half-credit in Civics.  I wanted to try my hand at designing online classes because I haven't been thrilled with what I've seen of online English classes.  They provide great grammar lessons, but I don't find them super engaging and I feel that reading and writing aren't being paid enough attention.  And so, I signed myself up for designing a couple this summer.

One of my goals has been to investigate all sorts of tech tools to enhance the learning experience for students and to give them opportunities to experiment with the different resources out there.  As I've been chugging along, I've come across a few stellar sites and programs for both delivering content to students and for students to use to demonstrate learning:
TimeToast: 
This is timeline development site.  You can entitle your timeline, chart events along the spectrum, and attach images and captions alongside each event.  One of my units is on the history of American Government, and I plan on asking my students to use TimeToast to help them organize their research.  





Educreations: 
My fave app for creating "video" lectures.  Unlike Screenchomp, you can add more and more pages to your lecture, so the images and next change throughout your presentation, kind of like you were flipping through a PowerPoint.  You can record your voice as you type things on the page or insert new images.  The app does a nice job of allowing you to share content orally and visually.  The one pain in the butt about it is that if you stumble in your speech while it's recording, you've either got to keep going or start entirely from scratch.  You can pause the recording and just record in small chunks, which is helpful, but I still wish there was a way to undo the last recording session without having to erase the entire presentation.  You can undo text and image placement though, like if you spelled something wrong or had a typo.  It's also a nice program because you can annotate on the page while you're speaking.  And unlike Screenchomp which just allows you to annotate with a stylus, you can insert text boxes and type into it in Educreations.
 





MoodBoard Lite: 
Another great app.  It's like an interactive poster making tool.  You can insert text boxes and images, and you can go straight to the web from the program and insert images with the url attached.  I'm making a MoodBoard to introduce each of my units.  It has the unit title posted, essential questions listed, a few applicable images to the unit, etc.  Students are also supposed to reflect on the MoodBoard infographic in a class discussion to introduce the unit where they have to respond to the essential questions to show their prior knowledge and also reflect on what the images represent.  It's really easy and fast to use.  I've also saved the MoodBoards as images and then uploaded them into Educreations presentations.





Wordle:
Wordle is one of the tech tools I keep going back to and finding new ways to use.  This time around, I created a Wordle to introduce my Arts History class.  I inserted the Wordle as an image into an Educreations presentation where I give a mini-lecture on what the class will be about.  You could also insert a Wordle like this into a class syllabus or enlarge it and hang it as a poster in a classroom.

More later!    
 


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    About Me

    A lover of literature and the arts and an advocate for global awareness and active citizenship, I spend my days with high school English and Social Studies students exploring why it all matters and how they can have a voice in the world.  This is my space to document and reflect on my practice, note happenings in education, and share my appreciation for the arts.

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