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.

Thing 16

I really wanted to find some type of moving widget, like the fish (but something different), but I found more game type widgets. I liked this game, so I decided to put it on my blog. It is kind of addictive, so maybe it is not good thing to have easy access to! I also added a weather widget, since we check our weather daily in second grade. :-) I am thinking there must be a way to move these around on my blogger site, but I can't figure out how to do!!!

Thing 15

I decided to make a screencast on changing the background on my computer. I chose to do this because my 13 year old changes my background regularly and I had no idea (until now) how she was doing this! I figured this way I could learn how to do it and also have a record of it in case I forgot! :-) Making the screencast was really easy to do. However, adding it to my blog was an entirely different story!!! video

Thing 14

This thing is the most complicated so far for me. I can see how it can be useful. In fact, I think it would be interesting to use it instead of the Wiki we are currently using to have the kids make comments on a story we are using for a read aloud. The time consuming factor is setting each of the kids up with a user name and non-descript picture identity, but once that is done, I think the actual process of comment via a voice thread would be quicker (and maybe more interesting) than having them type their comments. I also like the idea about putting a picture to start a story and having the kids add a sentence to continue it. That would be a creative project they could do. The reason I think it is complicated is that I am not quite seeing how you make the connection with people from all around the globe for this application. The site wasn't as easy to navigate and I didn't think the different threads available to view were organized in a helpful way. Maybe I am missing something???
I did sign up for the threads and say hello from Michigan, although it was in text, since I don't have a microphone! :-)

Thing 13

Thing 13

I am always amazed at what you can find on YouTube! My children are constantly sharing different wacky things that they have found and I don't even know how you would even think to search for some of these things! I was surprised at the number of educational type videos you can find. I recently used a YouTube site when I was trying to help one of my kids with their math homework and we were disagreeing on how to apply a formula. We found a demonstration of the formula on YouTube that solved our dilemma. In my own classroom, I use YouTube every year to show part of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.
There are some very cute videos that I can watch over and over. A lot of people know about Charlie bit my finger and I like that one. I had never seen the Evolution of Dance until 23 Things and that was pretty funny! I also enjoy the wedding dance down the aisle (JK Wedding Entrance Dance). My favorite YouTube video has to be 99 Goalie Diving Save...with my son as the goalie. Brendan has wanted to post a video forever and he finally got his chance when he made an incredible save in overtime during the International Silversticks Tournament in Sarnia in January. The video quality isn't superb, but I am grateful that someone actually captured that save on tape! You'll see he makes the first stop and then dives across the net for the second stop. Their team ended up winning the game and the biggest tournament in North America! Not many moment like these, so we are pretty proud of him and his entire team :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thing 12

The Ta-da List immediately caught my attention because I am a big fan of making lists. I signed up for the site and made my first list. I don't think I would find much use in making these lists least not that I can think of right now. I really just like the ease of use this site to make quick lists and to check them off as I complete the tasks. The downfall seems to be having to keep the website up all of the time in order to stay on task. I tried to have the list e-mailed to my account, but for some reason, it did not work.
I also visited Quizlet. This is a neat site not only to make your own flash cards, but to search for and use ones that are already made. I found these pre-made cards had both fun (I can now say that I definitely know the names and mascots of all 30 NHL teams!)and educational uses. I can picture the Lower School students using these as another way to practice their math facts. The cards are easy to click through and even a second grader could use this site to quiz him/herself. :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thing 11

I think I saw a presenter use a social bookmarking site at a workshop last year, but I didn't understand what she was using until now. I have signed up for delicious and started building my language arts sites. I have three that I found so far, two of which that are games that will be good practice for the second graders. I haven't even begun to search for math yet...I am excited to see what is out there!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing 10

I thought the Flickr mashups, such as Spell with Flickr and the Color with Flickr were fun to play with. I am not sure when I would use them, but they I could see their use in creative situations. I was amazed at the other types of mashups. The crime and health sites are interesting and good information, but also a little frightening! I actually found out that my next door neighbor's house is for sale on the housing mashup, even though they don't have a sign out front! It must be a secret! SHHH!!! :-)

Thing 9

2nd Grade - Spring 2010
Originally uploaded by gailgmi
Well after signing up for what seems like a ton of different accounts lately (Google, Yahoo, Flickr, etc.), I am not sure what is connected to what anymore! I sure hope this blog connects to my picture and ends up on my 23 Things site!!! I am interested in flickr for the organizational value. We take so many digital pictures in our family and I think this would be a neat way to "file" them and retrieve them quickly later. I really don't think I like having personal pictures available for public viewing and commenting, however....some of the comments I was reading on others' pictures were a little creepy! :