Here is a quick way to teach about how to expand your thoughts and your writing.  TelescopicText by Joe Davis shows a simple sentence “I made tea.”  Click on any of the gray words or phrases and you can see how a simple idea can expand to something more…more creative, descriptive, illustrative, and extended.

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Fellow CRS espcrs twittered this site which includes 14 interesting uses for Wordle in the classroom: 

14 Interesting Ways to Use Wordle

wordle

Wordle is perfect for those visual learners who may find it easier to draw connections and semantically process information by viewing words in tag cloud form.  The slideshow created by Dai Barnes provides great examples of using Wordle to create quizzes, conduct author studies, improve essay writing, and facilitate student self-evaluation of performance or work.

Voicethread would be an amazing way for art students to share their critiques and break out of the conventional way of teaching the class.  Art teachers can scan student work to display for students to critique (amazingly the kids love seeing their work blown up when they can see all the nooks and crannies of their talents, but a voicethread could take it to the next level.    

Example of a voicethread for art history by Michelle Pacansky-Brock.  Her blog MPB Reflections-21st century teaching and learning is a great resource for instructional technology and art instruction.

arthistoryvoicethread1

 

Some other sites:

Art History Timelines

The art teacher’s guide to the internet blog (with many other great links): 

Smarthistory

Art History in Just a Minute (short instructional videos!)

Wikispaces now offers educator accounts which allow you to create student accounts with emails. You can set up the student accounts and customize the privacy settings. This can allow you to create a wikispace site with allowing a student to each have their own “page” on the site. They can edit their own page, but not each others. Here are the instructions.

What can wikis allow you to do? Here are some ideas I got from Gayle Hartigan, a fellow Computer Resource Specialist at Tallwood High School. She presented wikis at the recent VSTE Conference:

Classroom management

 Research

Creative writing

Collaborative project work within classes and outside of your school -think global

Foreign language practice

 Discussion boards

“fake wikipedia pages”

You can even set up wikispaces for your classes for digital portfolios of student work. What a 21st century method for kids to manage and display their work.

wikispaceseducator

This week I went to see Dr. Tony Wagner speak as part of a national speaker series sponsored by my school district.  Dr. Wagner is the author of The Global Achievement Gap.  I haven’t had a chance to read the book, but I’ve heard it takes a good critical look at how education needs to reform to improve student achievement.  There were microphones set up for attendees to ask questions and/or comment on the discussion.  The comment that had the most lasting impression on me was from non other than my own colleague, Joe Gentry.  He is a biology teacher at my school and commented on how he has taken that leap of faith and risk in reaching out to his students.  As a result of hearing so much talk from his students on social networking, texting, this and that…he now communicates with his students via facebook and texting.  He actually gave out his cell phone number to his students.  Consequently, he marvels at the fact that his students text him numerous times after school and he can provide immediate feedback.  Not many teachers try to extend their classroom beyond the 7.5 hours they are bound by contract during the day.  However, Joe is a pure example of how teachers can let go of the fear of the technology that their students use as an everyday tool.  

Wagner made many confirming comments on how we need to take a look at assessment.  He showed us a video of Quest High School in Texas which requires students to present an exhibition at the end of the senior year as a graduation assessment.  Very impressive.  However, I don’t know how exactly this an easily be implemented in a full high school where students don’t have to apply to get in.  However, it was very inspirational and a great reminder of what we are trying to achieve as teachers.  Collaboration.  Communication.  Authentic experience and assessment.  There is no doubt however that these essential components of an effective school are being cut by the major budget cuts experienced across the state and country.

Here is a video of a presentation by MIT grad student David Merrill at the recent TED Conference on Siftables which are “smart blocks”.  Based off of the idea that we can learn better if we have the opportunity to manipulate the information ourselves.   By having the choice to group information as we see fit, we will be able to readily see and manipulate the relationships between information.  I can see how this innovation can be a tremendous asset to the classroom, particularly for elementary education.  It would be interesting if this technology or conceptual idea can be applied to how we conduct research.  High school students would benefit from being able to take information from Opposing Viewpoints, databases, journals, etc. and see how it relates to one another or what additional information they can find out.  Having it in physical “smart block” form can help visual and kinestetic learners.

This came from my colleague Rick Swift.  Newseum is a great site that allows you to view the headlines and news from newspapers all over the country AND the world!:

 Just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up…  Double click and the page gets larger….

www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/flash/

 

newseum

 

 

 

DOT has been noticing that a worm (virus) is traveling around on people’s thumb-drives.  Our virus software, Symantec, is quarantining the virus once it is on the computer, but it is not scanning or cleaning your thumb drive.  To scan your thumb drive:

1.        Insert your thumb drive.

2.       Click Start->All Programs->Symantec Client Security->Symantec AntiVirus

a.       Click Scan on the left hand side of the Symantec Antivirus Window

b.      Click Custom Scan

c.       Click the box next to the thumb drive (it will place a checkmark)

d.      Click scan on the lower right hand corner.

The MIT Alumni Association is sponsoring a SAT Vocabulary video contest at BrainyFlix.  The contest runs from January 1st -March 16th.  Entrants can create videos (1 video for 1 word) that help teach the meaning of a vocabulary word.  The videos can be uploaded to YouTube or SchoolTube.  On the site you can see how many videos have been submitted for individual words.  Prizes include $600 for the school of the entrant.  Video makers will also receive 1 free iTunes download for every 5 video entries uploaded.  Voting on your favorite video submission starts March 23rd.  Here is a sample video for the word REPUDIATE:

Grade 6-12
Deadline: January 20, 2009
$50,000 in prizes
Create a short (5-8 minute) documentary on the issue of national significance you think most urgent for the new President.
For complete rules and details, go to www.studentcam.org 
 
DOT has created a temporary, video repository for some C-SPAN recommended videos which have been downloaded from Facebook.   \\adcfsms01\C-SPAN_contest contest  contains several of these editable C-SPAN video files for students to download for use in creating video entries to the C-SPAN contest.

ddigerati

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