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Take Your End-of-the-Year Slideshow Up A Notch April 15, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Web 2.0.
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It’s the time of year when teachers, coaches, and administrators are throwing together slide shows for graduation, awards assemblies, volunteer banquets, etc.

Why not take your slideshow up to the next level?

If you haven’t checked out Animoto yet, you need to.

Animoto is a free online tool that allows you to easily create “MTV-like” videos.

Simply upload your pictures, select music from Animoto’s royalty-free collection or from your own library, and then press a button.  Bam!  You’re done and the product looks like you hired a professional to put the presentation together.

If you’d rather have narration than music, that’s possible too.

Animoto offers two account types- paid “All-Access,” and free accounts which are limited to 30 second “shorts.”

However, educators (and students) get an “All-Access” pass for FREE!

Sign up here.

What are you waiting for?

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Top 10 Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom April 6, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Technology Integration, Web 2.0.
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After reviewing all the resources that I linked to during the week of August 24-30, 2008, I decided to highlight a video found on the Box of Tricks website for our blast-from-the-past this week.  This video outlines J. Picardo’s Top 10 Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom and provides a brief description of each tool that he references.

His list is…

1. Use streaming video– Picardo eludes to YouTube because of the wealth of educational material that can be found there.  However, access to YouTube is blocked in many schools.  So, work around the system by learning to download YouTube videos from home and save them for playback in your classroom.  Or, have one computer in the media center that is allowed to access YouTube so that the Media Specialist can arrange to download the video(s) that you want without worrying about students accessing the site.

Here are all of my YouTube links and links about downloading YouTube.

Also, remember that there are other sites out there that probably aren’t blocked by your school like TeacherTube and SchoolTube.

Here are all of my Video links.

2. Use music more often- iTunes is referenced in the video but also check out this page of music links and the related tags that span from A to Z.

3. Use teleconferencing tools- The primary resource that comes to mind for teleconferencing is Skype. If Skype is blocked at your school, see if you can get it unblocked and/or check out these videoconferencing links.

4. Create your own interactive activities- HotPotatoes, GameMakers, & ContentGenerator were all referenced in the video.

5. Use your interactive/Smartboard more effectively- Seek out professional development opportunities that will enable you to become a proficient user of the interactive board in your room.  Locate templates and files that have already been created for you.

SmartBoard tutorials can be found at Atomic Learning.  I have also linked to several others on my delicious page.

Other SmartBoard resources.

Notebook resources, templates, etc.

6. Create your own podcasts- The audio tools that Picardo mentions are Audacity and Garage Band.

Other podcasting resources.

7. Start a blog or wiki- There are several tools available for teachers to easily create and manage blogs and wikis.  This blog is managed through WordPress.

Blogging resources

Examples of classroom/teacher blogs

Wiki resources

Examples of classroom/teacher wikis

8. Use social networks- Good luck getting Facebook or MySpace unbloced at your school!  Why not learn to use some other sites that allow teachers to create private social networks?

Two examples are Ning & Edmodo.

Resources to learn about social networks in schools.

9. Use internet tools- There is a wealth of internet/Web 2.0 tools that can transform your classroom and are free to use.

Web 2.0- What it is and useful tools for teachers

Cool Tools 4 Schools Wiki

Web 2.0 Links

10. Make the most of your pupils’ gadgets- Most students own an iPod or other MP3 player and/or a cell phone with internet capabilities, a camera, etc.  Whether of not they are allowed to bring them into the classroom is another question.

Resources on how teachers are using cell phones, iPods, the iPod Touch, and other handheld devices.

Conclusion

If all of this seems a little overwhelming and you think that there is NO WAY that you could learn to do all of these things, start small.  The key is to do SOMETHING that will engage your students and bring your classroom into the 21st century.

Then, do something else.

Never stop growing professionally.  Model the life-long learning skills that you want your students to have and that they will need to be successful.

That’s my sermon for the day!

Using Diigo & Delicious Simultaneously March 31, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Technology Integration, Web 2.0.
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If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’ve mentioned and linked to my delicious page several times.  That’s where I have been storing all of the technology resources that I find.

Several months ago I set up a Diigo account and was intrigued by the additional options that the social bookmarking tool has to offer- the ability to highlight and/or leave comments on certain portions of a web page, post directly to Twitter, etc.

It is my opinion that Diigo could be a much more powerful tool for teachers than Delicious.

However, I hesitated to jump right in with Diigo because I have conducted training with our teachers on using Delicious and have spent several hours promoting the site, encouraging people to subscribe, etc.

Today I read an entry on the Diigo blog about using the two tools simultaneously then set-up my Diigo account to automatically post to the old Delicious site.  After a couple of tests, I think that I’m ready to fully convert to Diigo.

This move will NOT effect your use of my delicious page.  It will remain as it always has and will continue to be regularly updated whenever I bookmark additional sites on my new Diigo page.

So, if you prefer Diigo, check out my new page. If you’re satisfied with Delicious, carry on.

If you’d like to learn to use both simultaneously, check out this Diigo blog post.

To learn more about how social bookmarking is being used in education, search either site for the “socialbookmarking” tag.

It’s All About Web 2.0 March 18, 2009

Posted by timsparacino in Technology Integration, Web 2.0.
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For our blast-from-the-past this week, we go back to August 10-16, 2008.

A lot of resources that I highlighted that week on my delicious page were Web 2.0 tools.

What is Web 2.0?  Web 2.0 refers to the concept of websites that provide tools (usually free) that enable collaboration to create and share information on the web.

Web 2.0 tools pertain to blogs, wikis, document sharing, social bookmarking, social networks, image editing and sharing, etc.

Click here for an extensive review of Web 2.0 tools and links.

The tools that I’ve chosen to spotlight from the week of August 10-16, 2008 are:

Twitter is an online application that is part blog, part social networking site, and part cell phone/IM tool. It is designed to let users describe what they are doing or thinking at a given moment in 140 characters or less.

How does that pertain to education?  Click here for 20 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.

Other Twitter resources:

7 Things You Should Know About Twitter

Twitter Links

Another useful way to use Twitter is to incorporate it into your personal learning network.  Find and follow other educators and/or associations that “tweet” to stay current on issues related to your profession.

Using the Power of Twitter: Building Online Learning

Twitter4Teachers – An extensive list of educators on Twitter  – categorized by subject area / grade level
Who Should I Follow? – Find new Twitter Friends
Mr.Tweet – Discover great people relevant to your current needs

The list of Twitter related tools is growing every day.  Stay tuned by subscribing to all the updates on my delicious page or directly to the new Twitter resources in your RSS reader.

  • VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a powerful way to talk about and share your images, documents, and video. VoiceThreads might best be described as interactive media albums. They are essentially online slide shows of images, documents, or videos that enable viewers to comment on any slide (or at any point in the video) by typing, recording an audio or video comment, or drawing on the image itself.

Teachers have been early adopters of the easy-to-learn technology, which has led to the launch of Ed.VoiceThread.com, a secure site just for educators and their students.

VoiceThread- One Page Guide

VoiceThread Links

Integrating Web 2.0 tools into your instruction can enhance the engagement level of your students and lead to increased achievement.