connecting educators & enhancing learning
I haven't used Wikispaces in a little while, but my colleagues and I use a different wiki program and now I can't remember how we communicated and kept each other updated without it. It's turned me into a big Wiki believer -- I love that it can track who changed what and that I can subscribe to a page to get updated when changes are made.
Your Special Ed wiki sounds like a great idea - especially if you want multiple contributors.
CEP 812 Session 2 Tip.
We as educators are encouraged to collaborate with our peers. This is usually done within our own realm of curriculum such as the English Department or Music Department. While working on an assignment my eyes were opened while working with my group partner who is a P.E. teacher. I (a music teacher) knew we would be able to find a way to make our project work, but didn't expect it to come together so easily. Our leadership project is going to be us teaching others about DJ software, which was his idea. We both use, though differently, the concept already and I was able to gain even more knowledge of the software/program as well as new ideas for lessons and delivery of that lesson.
So with that long ramble, my tip to others is to reach out not only to those in your own curriculum, but those you would never think to approach as they maybe doing something that is both beneficial and interesting to you and your craft.
For folks who have been working with iPads, I'd like to recommend an app that allows you to interact with your PC (or Mac) from your iPad -- Doceri. Doceri is not inexpensive (as apps go -- it's $50 per iPad), but if you have a projector attached to your desktop computer, you can use this app to interact with the desktop and annotate material that is on the desktop while moving around your class.
I've seen this used very effectively in writing instruction, where a teacher brings up a sample of writing on his/her desktop (and projects it onto the screen), and then remote controls the desktop with Doceri on an iPad. The teacher can then hand the iPad to a student and ask the student to critique or improve the writing that is displayed.
There are other tools that do similar sort of annotation and remote control -- and some are far less expensive than Doceri (Splashtop is an example of a $10 app for both annotation and remote control -- only $5 for just remote control) -- but Doceri seems to be the most stable and functional app at this point.
I think Wikispaces is a very easy tool to use. I found this wiki that gives examples on how to use it in the classroom. For example, team collaboration, a collection of links, class webpage, or student webpage. Take a look at the wiki to find out more information:
I used one in one of my CEP classes for a group project and it worked out extremely well.
Would you say wikispaces was more effective for group collaboration than Google Docs (another go-to)?
I've learned of a great utility called Windows Cleanup! that can be downloaded to your PC for free. The utility will delete traces of Internet activity, removes Windows tracking of any files that have been used and secures file deletion. It's a one stop shop to increase the security of your PC and also protects your privacy, which is very important when using technology in the classroom.
Thanks for sharing! An excellent resource indeed.
I want to add some additional information about a topic that I wrote about on here about a month ago. I wrote about how I had learned about a very cool Web 2.0 site called XtraNormal.com. At the time that I wrote about it, I had only seen what the presenter had shown us at the PD and I had not actually used it myself. I decided to take it into the classroon this past week and I want share some of the results I got with you. First of all, I took it into my Freshman English class to have the students make videos of scenes from Romeo and Juliet. I believe this was good material to use with the site because the site has the students pick characters for a movie and has them add their dialogue lines and actions. The students were able to use the dialogue of the play quite effectively with this activity. However, the site only allowed students to use one or two characters in their scenes. This appears to be a limitation placed on free accounts. Further, the activity was very time consuming. I gave the students two 70 minute class periods and one 30 minute period and they were only able to make videos that were from about 2-4 minutes long. Only two of the groups (students worked in pairs) were able to put together what I would consider quality videos in that amount of time, and that was with 15 groups working. The other major drawback I found was that students were unable to download their videos or publish them, because they did not have enough points. Points cost money, or they are earned by spending time on various websites. Neither of these were desirable options. So, we were only able to watch the videos in preview mode, which is not as high of quality. The main plus of the assignment was that it really got the students working with the text. The one really awesome video that was created made me feel really good because the students showed excellent understanding of the text and when it was shown to the other students they were laughing in all the right places and it showed they really understood the story too. Overall, I do not want to give up on using this site, but I will have to spend more time learning about it. If anyone has used this site and has tips or tricks for me, please share them with me.
John thanks for sharing how the implementation went with your class. I remember the same frustrations in using this site myself -- with the free version you keep running into limitations -- especially the publishing. If you really see potential for this site (as evidenced by the 'best case' scenario from one of the groups - that really seemed to lead to increased student understanding of the material), maybe you could look into a small grant to get pay accounts for the site.
I just wanted to share a variety of math websites that I found useful for my fifth graders. These websites have a variety of math learning games for all age levels. If you have never used these websites, I suggest checking them out. They are great to use during math centers to reinforce concepts taught in class.
This is a great worksheet maker site I wanted to include as well.
I know this website is on this discussion, but if you have never used Spelling City it is a MUST for all grade levels!
I just recently have been working in a great project for Elementary Students and some of the groups used Voicethread to collaborate. It is called "A Week in the Life Project" from the Flat Classroom project people. In a nutshell we worked with other third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms from around the world comparing what we eat, how we live, what our country is like, ect. The students were put into small groups on Edmodo where they could exchange information about their specific piece of the project. Then they collaborated on a final project to summarize what they learned. The two groups I was in charge of used VoiceThread and it was a wonderful experience. You can see some of the Final Projects here at their website. Lots of the groups are still in the process of uploading hteir finalized projects so check back if you want to see some great examples of students from around the world working together.
Although I enjoyed the experience I was frustrated with Voicethreads in some ways. It was easy for the students to simply delete an entire Voicethread (which happened several times) and we lost everything. On the flip side, it is very easy to simply make a copy of a Voicethread so you can have a back up if you are dealing with Elementary students.
Catie -- great technical tip to make a backup copy -- that is very scary that elementary students have the ability to delete a VoiceThread - especially when it is a culmination of multiple people's efforts. What an amazing project - thank you for sharing - really amazing to see what the students created.