Monday, April 19, 2010

Thing 23

Yippee! I made it!!!

When I first heard about the 23 Things program, I was excited, because it allowed me to get some tech training, but I had the flexibility to do it when I could. What I didn't count on was getting caught up in the new applications and then on top of it, spending hours learning/reading about what others found!
I am overwhelmed with how much information we have learned! My head is spinning! I have heard many of the terms associated with Web 2.0 before, but really didn't know what any of them meant. I live with a computer "geek", so half of the time I block the terminology out. I have to say though, 23 Things even taught my husband about Wikis!

My favorite things were Flickr, Delicious, and YouTube. I am still learning about my Wiki, widgets, and adding to my start page. My least favorite things were Twitter (although this is very useful as a parent following a class!) and voice threads. I am a little bit concerned that we will not be able to use everything that we have learned, because we covered so many things. On the other hand, now we know where to go if need more information on how to do something differently.

I really liked the format of 23 Things. One of my big hang-ups with computer applications is not knowing where to start. You made this really easy, by putting all of the links together in one location. I would definitely participate in another 23 Things. I know there are things that I didn't get to, such as "Prezi", that I would still like to explore. I do wish there was a better way to keep up with each other. I often found myself wondering if others had done this Thing or that and what they had found. Unless you are following everyone, and you have time to read every blog, you really don't have access to this information. Maybe the next 23 Things can address this? At any rate, whether it is exploring more of the same 23 Things or it is a new 23 Things, count me in for next time!

Thing 22

When I saw Thing 22 and realized that I had to teach someone something that I heard learned through this process, I immediately knew that I was going to show my daughter Flickr. She is the photo queen at our house. Kelsey is constantly taking pictures, uploading them, downloading them, finding programs to change peoples' faces, and making collages. The problem is we have pictures saved all over the place! I showed Kelsey the video that we watched on storing digital pictures and then using a site like Flickr to help us organize everything we've captured. We picked a large group of pictures to upload and start categorizing. What we quickly discovered is there is a monthly limit to the number of photos you can upload! That is a bummer!
Now as many of you know, you can't do something with one child and not with the other! With that being said, I sat down with both kids and went over customizing start pages. Each of them took a turn customizing their own pages and figuring out what should and shouldn't be on them. I made my page with NetVibes, but tried PageFlakes with the kids. We had some technical problems while we were using PageFlakes (not sure if it was on their end or ours), but interestingly, I think overall it was an easier site to use and I think I liked it better.
I'm glad I had a chance to share what I have been working on with my family. I think the things I chose to share first with them are interesting tools for the kids and they are likely to use them in the future. I am sure I will share more with them as time allows.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thing 21

I originally signed up for a Twitter account as a parent last spring when the fourth graders went to Chicago. It was such a terrific idea! I had never twittered before, and I haven't done much since, but it was very useful for that specific event. The teachers were able to send tweets at key times such as arrivals, bedtimes, departures, and getting close to school so come meet the bus! They also through in a few extras when they had to time, just to update us about what was going on with the kids. It worked well because all of the parents were updated at the exact same time. I had a sixth grader in Toronto at the same time and they did not twitter, but I wish they would have! I read that they are considering trying to twitter this year and I would highly recommend it!
I found the TweetDeck application for Twitter and added it to my laptop. I like the organizational quality, although I am not quite sure of all it has to offer. I noticed that it had a facebook icon on it when I first signed up (although I can't find it again), which I am excited about. Maybe I can combine the two updates of both coming into one place??? That would be very cool. I am going to have to log into my facebook account and track down TweetDecks!

Thing 20

Slideshare definitely resembles powerpoint presentations. I can see how you can put together information on just about any topic and share it in this format. I thought this was a fun math trivia slideshare that could be used with most age groups. I found some other neat math trivia games that looked liked they would be useful for older students to help review for tests. I also found a slideshare that had several number/calculator tricks, but it had one page that had "adult only" content so it was out of the running to be in my blog! :-)

Thing 19

I spent quite a bit of time on podcastalley and learn out loud listening to different podcasts. I found a couple of family related podcasts on podcastalley that were geared towards parents. They are long podcasts and I could only listen to one episode each, so I am not sure if they are exactly what I am looking for, but I did subscribe to two different audio versions. I also found this quick educational podcast on learn out loud that I liked. It is quick weekly grammar tips and it includes some things that we use every day in writing that most of us use incorrectly or tend to forget about altogether. When I subscribed to it, I actually found other sites that with quick tips (coupon deals, manners, etc.) that were interesting, as well. Here is the link for Grammar Girl:

Thing 18

I did several things with the Wikis. First I went to the "sandbox" and added favorites to television shows, movies, and vacation spots. Next I went to the ASH site on Wikipedia, but I didn't feel comfortable changing anything. The one thing that caught my attention right away was the grade level listing. It should state that our school is in infancy through 12 for girls and infancy through 8 for boys. Right now it appears there is a high school for boys. Finally, I did some editing on the second grade Wiki. I have never added pages before, so this was new for me. We are reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory along with a school in Houston, so I created a page with the image of the book cover. We are going to collaborate on some lessons together, so I will add these as we go along. I also created a second page on our Wiki for Spring Haikus. We will be creating these and sharing them with our friends in Texas. I still have a quick defintion that I want to add, explaining what "Haiku" means, but it is in a book that I don't have access to at the moment.:-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thing 17

We have a Wiki this year in second grade! We started one last year, but didn't have as much interaction with the other schools and with our own students as we have had this year. This is my only experience with Wikis, however, so I was interested in looking at some of the others out there. To be honest, I thought Kubler's Reading Wiki had the most useful content...some of the others did not seem as strong. I liked that I could link to other Wikis. In fact a couple of other second grade classrooms came up and these may be worth contacting to expand our global connections for next year.
I didn't associate the name "Wikipedia" with being a "wiki", until now. I used to use Wikipedia often, but was dismayed to recently learn that anyone can edit the information. I now am leary of the accuracy of its content.