Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thing 6: Curation Tools

There is so much information on the Internet that sometimes it becomes too much and I don't even know where to start. As a teacher I am constantly looking for new content and sources that my students can use and most of the time I spend endless hours trying to find and sift through all of the information. I never realized that I was actually doing "digital curation". I found this topic to be really interesting and there was only one tool, Pinterest, that I was familiar with. I use Pinterest not only in my personal life but for teaching as well. Sometimes I spend more time then I should clicking through and exploring, but I always seem to find the best stuff whether it be a new hair product, a paint color to use in my home, or a really cool lesson. While planning my wedding I used it all the time and it was great when I could send my boards to the florist and photographer to show them what I wanted instead of trying to explain it. I never thought of Pinterest as a curation tool but now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense! The article "16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest" shared some great ideas one of which I would try with my students which is creating resource boards and maybe even creating boards for books they want in the library.

Each year with my 5th graders I teach them how to search for information, and how to determine whether that information is good information or not. I enjoyed the handout "Building Link Collections" and the article "Teaching Kids to Curate Content Collections" was a great read. I explored Delicious and Diggo and in my opinion Diggo had more to offer.  I liked that it had a lot of features that could be utilized and it offers ways to share you information and also keep things private which is good for an elementary school teacher working with younger kids. The site was really user friendly and I liked that, and I also liked that there was a blog I could follow. It is definitely a website that if I used with my students I would have to walk them through how to use it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thing 5: Digital Storytelling & Presentation Tools

Love, love, love this topic! I have had some experience working with some of these tools in the past but it wasn't until this class that I actually spent some time exploring!

Prezi was something that I was already familiar with and have used in the past to create presentations for my students. I find that it is similar to powerpoint but a lot more eye catching. It is pretty easy to use and there is a lot you can do with it. Voki was pretty cool, and I can guarantee that is would be something my students would love to use. One of the things I really liked about it was that you could set up class account and manage student work. I find it difficult at times to keep track of student log in's and id's and to be able to have everything in one place would be great. I didn't sign up for anything but this is definitely something I will be looking into doing.  The video "It's Time for Phoenicia" was great- I always love to see videos that other teachers create and it always gives me some great ideas.

The tool that I decided to use this week was Animoto and I had so much fun using it. It was user friendly, and was extremely easy to use which is great because I know it will be something I can use with my younger students. The possibilities are endless when I think about what my students and I could do with this tool but right away I am thinking about using it to make book reviews for either the new books in the library, or ones that are not being circulate enough. I could also see myself using it with students when they have to do their book reports- they can use this instead and what a cool way it would be to present it.

For the video that I made I of course used my dog Riley as an inspiration. I chose pictures of her from the time she was a puppy to recent one's and uploaded them to Animoto. I then added captions, and chose music for the video. I absolutely loved Animoto and had so much fun making the video. I found it so easy to pop the pictures in and create the movie. The only thing I did not like was the free version has a watermark across the video and in order to remove that you need to pay a subscription fee.

Check out the finished product!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thing 3: Online Communities & Personal Learning Networks

Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr are just a few of the learning communities that you can be a part of. I personally love Facebook, but was just not interested enough in Twitter. I signed up for an account, created a name, and spent some time checking out my friends pages and various celebrities pages but that was as far as I got- and that was years ago! I never saw the benefit of trying to tweet something that could only be a certain amount of characters when I could do the same thing on Facebook but was able to have the freedom to have it be as many characters as I wanted. I felt the same way when Instagram first became popular and #hashtags were the new thing, but I now LOVE Instagram so I thought maybe I could love Twitter to and this would be the perfect way to try again.

After spending some time on Twitter I am sorry to say that I am still not a huge fan. Maybe it is because it is still so new to me, but I still am not 100% into it. I spent some time thinking about how I may use this in the library and while it would be cool to have students follow me on Twitter I don't see it being as effective as it could be if I was using it with middle or high school students.

While searching for the various #hashtags I saw some pretty cool people who are in the same learning communities as me, and I am sure I would be able to learn a thing or two from them. For me I would rather use Twitter to explore and follow who is in my learning community and obtain valuable resources and information, rather than be the one tweeting all the time!