Friday, August 10, 2012

Tool #9

1. I think these tools are fantastic - I've learned a lot during this training. However, I think it's important to keep in mind that technology is not used just for technology's sake. The use needs to fit the curriculum and the objective. The project/outcome/time spent needs to benefit the child in terms of their understanding of the teaching. Curriculum is enhanced by technology, not technology replacing the curriculum.

2. Accountability is a necessary evil - kids have to be kept focused. Some tend to get on a computer and lose themselves in the "fun" and lose focus on their objective. I had one student last year who was so obsessed with the bells and whistles on his program, he forgot what he was doing. Even after several meetings and "check ups", he didn't finish the assignment on time and didn't follow all the directions correctly. His failing grade was hard for him and his parents; he learned a valuable lesson. I think one way to keep them focused is to hand out the rubric with the assignment. Expectations are taught with the lesson. I like the idea of making screen shots of some of their activities and emailing those to me.

3. I really like Thinkfinity. It has a section for the American Civil War that contained great resources for doing research and connected directly to our History Alive program. In also included interactive maps and creative assignments with additional links to assist the learner - how to create presentations, digital brochures, etc. I also spent some time browsing Learning Games for Kids.It's a fun site with games that develop vocabulary - one of our key objectives in 5th grade. It included analogies, word meaning, context clues, and synonyms and antonyms. It also have fun state quizzes. It would be a great link to add to my blog so kids could play with it at home.

4. Ibrainstorm has a lot of potential. Kids can share sticky note thinking in a book club or when preparing for a writing assignment or research assignment. Futaba looks like fun - kids can work in groups of 4 and use dropbox to transfer words between each other. This would be especially good with ESL kids to build vocabulary skills. Mindmesh was another interesting app. It would be a good app for all kids, but especially for those GT outside of the box thinkers. They can create a presentation using photos, text, and drawing.
Students are held accountable by saving projects or taking screen shots and emailing them to their teacher.

5. Other uses - students work in teams to create multi-media projects. I've heard of an app called ITalk - haven't researched it yet, but kids can add their voices. Running records could be recorded. Books can also be downloaded for book clubs - which extends the selections I have available in my classroom. IBooks can be tagged and marked with sticky notes as well.

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