Archive for » March, 2013 «

Friday, March 29th, 2013 | Author:

I loved the websites and!  It is nice to see that there are free resources on the web for extended learning tools that anyone can access.  Not all families can afford different learning software’s and game systems, such as LeapFrog and VTech, and I feel as though this is an excellent substitution.  When I first accessed these two websites my immediate thought was how juvenile they both looked.  However, after setting up a profile and getting started I found it hard to stop playing the games on each site.

I’m sure students will catch on that the games are actual learning tools but it gives them a goal to work towards something, whether it be accumulating money in minyanland or points and badges in brainnook.  It is nice that both tools allow students to take their earnings and “spend them” on different features embedded within the virtual society.  I also like the option to play against other people who are online gaming at the same time.

At this point I’m not sure how I would incorporate brainnook or minyanland into my lesson-plans, for high school students, but I can see how these would be fun websites to visit if students have extra time at the end of class or if there is time to fill before a long break, such as spring break, to keep student’s brains working.   These two websites are also great tools for students to access over spring, winter, and summer break to keep their minds engaged in academics while still having a bit of fun.

The application/tool Edusim (found at is an amazing creation!  I thought this would be a wonderful tool to use with high school students, where the possibilities are endless and there is so much fun to be had!  This would be something to get students up and out of their seats to explore the world around them and receive information on different objects without even asking questions.  I think it would be fun to use this tool to work on research papers, not only to find materials such as books but also to pull information from tangible objects.  Students in the D.C. Metro area could take this tool into the city and pull all kinds of great information on the different monuments to use in a paper.  In a way this type of tool could make students more willing to explore physical locations with this tool to gather information.

What I found most interesting in the presentation of this tool was the “joke” the woman (Pattie Maes) threw out at the end saying they could eventually work toward a brain implant of this technology.  I laughed a little to myself because for years I have joked with some of my friends that if they could implant their phones into their heads they would, this tool brings us closer to that reality and probably will evolve into some sort of brain implant.  Very cool idea overall though!

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Friday, March 22nd, 2013 | Author:

I struggled this week trying to choose which two mini-projects I was going to complete.  I felt as though this selection of tools would all work wonderfully for history and social studies classes because of the very specific nature of some of the websites that involved timelines.

At first I thought I would try working a timeline for Jack London’s “To Build A Fire,” but then I realized there were not any specific dates tied to the story, so my “timeline’s” dates would have been inaccurate.  I would have been grateful for an “estimate date” option or a “year only” option for my timeline.  It also would have been nice to see options such as “Day 1”, “Day 2”, “Day 3”, to show the progression of a short story that has no specific dates.  This frustrated me a bit so I decided to move on with my project and create a simple timeline of William Shakespeare.  While he was an actual person, there were still issues with the program requiring specific dates.  A good portion of the information regarding Shakespeare contains estimated timeframes, but I gave it my best effort and made sure to include in the details when my dates were not exact.  Overall, I enjoyed timetoast but I will definately look for a tool that allows students to chronologgially order short stories or larger works of literature without the need for specific dates.

Check out my timetoast:–96

The next mini-project I tackled was the google my maps.  I actually had a lot of fun with this tool, but it can become a bit time consuming.  I recommend having a definite plan before starting this type of project because it is easy to “pin” every little detail.  The features I really enjoyed were the ease of incorporating images and text, the extremely user-friendly interface, and the ability to relate different events to different places on the world map.  This will be an incredible tool for visual students who need to see where each location is that is being discussed along with relevant images to the text and content being discussed.   I also feel as though students in the middle to high school level would enjoy putting together mini-projects such as this.  It probably would not be too much of a stretch for them since students today are so wrapped-up in technology anyway.

Check out my google my maps here,-122.305298&spn=0.281803,0.593948

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Friday, March 15th, 2013 | Author:

Overall I enjoyed exploring all of the different technology tools presented in this week’s class.  I decided to further explore the use of the comic book format and talking avatar mostly because they are both something I have never used.   I am so glad I decided to try something new this week because I loved using both of these tools!

Picture 4

Comic life was so much fun that my 4 year old got in on the action when I decided to use her dolls to depict my story.  I will admit that the process is not short and quite labor intensive, but I believe the final product was worth every second, and I’m proud of the comic I put together.  It took so much time because first I logged into the site and immediately saw that I needed to have a game plan.

So, I started to brainstorm:

-What was my story was going to be about?

-How many characters did I need?

-Who are the characters going to be?

-How was I going to put the story together?

-Was I going to use my own images or pull them off the internet?

-Do I need to resize the images?

-Do I have enough content to meet the assignments requirements?

This was great because I now know exactly what my students need to do before they start working with this tool.  I feel it is a great way to get students to use technology and also learn about their content area at the same time.  Being able to tell a story with what has been learned is a great way to reinforce information in hopes that it can work it’s way into the long-term memory.

Picture 5Picture 3

The Voki website was also a wonderful experience.  I had so much fun creating my avatar; my husband was cracking up behind me as I talked my way through all of the options.  I guess I made it sound so interesting that he had to come over to the computer and check out what exactly it was I was doing.  He even thought it was a pretty cool little tool.  I will admit that I am having trouble getting my Voki to embed into a website but hopefully I can get the code to work on my portfolio instead of just using the link and a screen shot.  I believe that students will LOVE this tool.  What is more fun than making a female avatar with a male voice that has an Australian accent?  With Voki this is possible and because of all the diverse features it offers the opportunities are limitless for a classroom full of students.

Check out my vokis:

Dog – Idiom Voki

Girl – INDT501 Webportfolio Introduction Voki


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Friday, March 01st, 2013 | Author:

I’m not sold on this shared sticky note idea.  I don’t like that sticky notes can become hidden behind other sticky notes when there are multiple post-its on the wall.  I had no trouble moving around post-its on my own wall but when I was on other walls I did not have the ability to move around post-its that were not my own.  This was frustrating because I could see that some were hidden but I could not access them.  If I was using this with a class would I then have to contact the students who’s post-its were “in the way” and have them move them?  This seems like a whole lot of extra work that could be avoided by starting a discussion board through a class website or even a class facebook page.  It just seems as though it would be easy to miss information that is posted on a wall because there is no organization.  This may just be a flaw of my own because I am somewhat obsessive about having everything organized and being visually pleasing.  As a teacher I feel I would constantly be updating and arranging the wall, so something that should have been a “fun” activity would end up consuming a large amount of my time.  This is why I feel this is not something for me, but I would encourage my students to try it out for themselves, because obviously there will be students who will enjoy this format of expression and collaboration.

As for use in the classroom, it may be fun to use this to create a wall of posts for pieces of literature that have been read in class.  The teacher could take the first 10-15 minutes of class-time to lead a class discussion about the previous nights reading assignment.  The teacher or student volunteers can then record the class discussion on the post-it wall.  Post-its can be broken down by main ideas, the message the author is sending, students favorite moments in the story, possible essay topics students would like to explore, etc.  A link can then be placed on the class website so students can reference the wall from home, the library, their phones, etc, when it comes time to review for a test, write an essay, or complete a project.  I believe that all students could benefit from this but it will really help out the students who don’t take great notes or don’t take any notes at all.  The class discussions will also allow students to build or improve their literacy skills by teaching them what to look for and think about when reading.

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