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My journey through the Labyrinth

How to incorporate web 2.0 tools into my future classroom, and what precautions/questions should I consider.

Web 2.0 is basically any online tool that users can create or interact with content, not simply view it.  Most of these criteria seem intuitive, but having a defined guideline makes it less likely that one of them will be overlooked.  Several of these have been outlined in Activity 8.2.  I hope to teach high school so these criteria are more geared to higher level students, who would have more knowledge about how they learn best and how to make tools work for them.

1) Know the level that your students are at.  What may seem intuitive about a tool to an adult may not be to a student, or vice versa.  If this is the case I would see if the tool has any other versions that are set at different levels.  For example Wikipedia is offered in simple English.

2) Can this tool accommodate many learning styles, or is it too defined to be useful to all.  Some tools may be too linear or loopy for all students to use.  This can be the problem with tools such as Prezzi, which can make users motion-sick if it is not how they usually think.

3) Availability: can Mac and PC users access this tool.  Must students have newer technology, or does the tool only allow access through new technology.  Can the students access it at home, or would the school have to purchase a license for the tool?  Depending on the tool availability on phones/tablets/etc… should be available.

4) Does this tool help the students to develop skills overtime.  The tool should be easy to use to begin with, but also challenge the student to discover new applications and capabilities.  Does this challenge make the students want to continue with the tool outside of assignments.  I used GoAnimate for this class, but then also for my German class without it being assigned because it was fun.

5) Can anyone access personal accounts or must they be given a link.  Privacy policies are gaining more attention and especially when dealing with students creations and information.  Protecting the students is part of the teachers job, so choosing a tool that maintains that social contract is very important.

There are many great web 2.0 tools out there that I hope to be able to use in my future classrooms.

For helpful tools that give you options, instead of just dropping you.

For helpful tools that give you options, instead of just dropping you.

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The use of mLearning during a course on Greek mythology helps allow students to relate their own knowledge and ideas to the ancient stories that they may believe have no significance on their lives.  Step 5: Predictions, could be aided by having students construct a google doc with names categorized by similarities.  Many Greek names are similar and the creation of lists would help the students to organize the plethora of similar names.

Students could then add what they know about a character and see if there is a reason the names are similar.  As google docs can be edited it could be changed throughout the course to narrow down each set and character.  This would help student engagement because they would not be overwhelmed with a large list of names, but be able to see the posts that others make.  I would also send them the link to Hercules (Disney) where Phil lists the heroes that end in -eus to help them think about potential similarities.

To make this activity palatable to the students I would have to:

1: make sure that the school supports google docs, or find another program that is comparable.  Students would also have to have a device available to them, if not they could discuss in groups and edit collaboratively.

2: ensure that each students is using a different colour of font, so that when they are marked I can distinguish how many contributions people are trying to make.  This way students would know that they have to try in order to receive a mark, so that the assignment was not simply forgotten.  Without setting a reward (ex: a mark) many students lack the incentive to complete assignments.

3: decide on what is appropriate content for the discussion and disclose it with the class.  I would monitor the students interactions to make sure that no one is cyberbullying others for “stupid” ideas.  I would maintain control of who could access the site and if any inappropriate behaviour occurred the student would be removed and not be allowed to complete the assignment with the group.  The student would then have to complete the entire assignment without the helpful comments on the document.

Speaking of godly figures and rewards at the end:  The tale of Demophoon where Demeter tries to steal the child’s loyalty while his parents stop her actions.

Confronting a godly challenge to receive the reward of your little brother, while under a time constraint, and receiving help from others. Sounds like it belongs with this topic.

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The ATLE conference was very informational , especially the keynote speaker Drew Dudley.  Much of his speech was about the devaluation of ourselves and others unintentionally.  For some unknown reason that is not humility people, in general, on a regular basis can not receive a compliment.  We frequently use the word “just” and we have to stop because it takes away our earned self pride.  People need to learn to celebrate the small things, or at least acknowledge their impact, because the big events do not happen all the time.  This is very important for educators because we are supposed to celebrate the achievements of others, and ourselves.  We need to congratulate and thank people everyday for all the small and large things that they do, and tell them that they are important to us and make a difference.  As a future teacher we have been taught to tell students when they do well at something, this should stay true in the world outside of school as well.

We have to take pride in our accomplishments, especially as future teachers, because we are role models and if we can not accept a compliment how are we supposed to teach others to.  We build trust with people in our lives by being kind and gracious and taking the time to appreciate others in kind.  Small reassurances and recognitions can have the largest impact on all facets of a persons life and we must try to make people know that they matter on a daily basis.

I visited many vendor booths at the conference, even though my conversations were not as in-depth as they might have been if it had not been so late.  What shocked me most was that some of the vendors were quite rude once they found out that I am a student, this did not engender me to their products.  Previously I would have thought that they would want to build contacts with future teachers, considering that there were no other viewers around at the time.  There were many interesting and helpful booths as well which helped me to think about how the world has changed since I went to elementary school.

InviteRight has a great concept to eliminate inefficient paper usage for forms in schools.  Dave and Ryan (I forgot to write down their last names) were eager to talk about their product and had plenty of information right there as examples.  The company helps with organizing consent forms, school lunch orders, ticket purchases, and even school course registration.  They also keep track of the accounting associated with many of these forms to make it easier for secretaries and the like to use their simple program instead of a pile of envelopes with money and forms.  I would definitely use them in the future as I remember how difficult it was to schedule courses on paper for high school and wait for hours to fix it.

Frontrow is a company that works to engineer the best sound in classrooms to make them more accessible for all students.  Karen showed me their newest model that will work well for all grade levels.  Not only does it project the teachers regular voice around the classroom but it also obeys voice commands and can record other media that were used at the same time for review at a later time.  This would be extremely useful when teachers click very fast through powerpoints and speak so students can have that in classroom feel at home and see what they missed.  Previously I had seen this technology used in an elementary school but this application would be useful to all grades, I would choose to use this technology given the opportunity.

Drew Dudley reminds us to thank people for the differences they make in our lives. Luckily we don’t get bogged for saying thank you in real life.

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This week we are using the website as a guide to how to use an LMS.  We were instructed to create a course and to try the different tools offered through this site.  Personally I found the site confusing, with too many links in the side bar.  As I tried to edit my content I would forget which tab I was even in.  After using Moodle for eClass at university this site is definitely more difficult to use, to begin with.  It is as if I stepped through the french doors and was suddenly in the Labyrinth.  There are alot of tools available and it is overwhelming to decide which ones would be the best to use for this fictional course.  There is a steep learning curve to learning to teach.

The communication tool that I would use would probably be the announcements, as it sends an email to all students for each new announcement.  For me (the teacher) it would be helpful instead of having to use my own email and having to create a contact list, which coursites generates on its own.  I believe that students would be able to email back with questions, though I have no students with which to try this.

I would use the test, surveys, and polls tool for assessment.  It allows me to create many different kinds of questions, and adapt a rubric to each one.  I, the teacher, can also allow the students to see the rubric to better understand their grade.  As of yet I am not competent in the tool, but I believe that with practice it will become easier.  I still have to figure out how to save a test to be completed later.

For content organization I would use the Course Calendar tool.  This tool allows me to post a description of class activities, and to include links to the material.  Students can view past dates and find the materials that they might have missed in class.  If I forget to post something this tool allows me to create an event in a time slot that has already happened.

The content tool that I would choose would be Case Studies.  The course that I created is case study based, which allows the creation of folders to contain links and other information related to the topic.  Students could find any materials they missed and extra links if they wanted them.  As a teacher I could arrange the material within the folders in order of use or by type of link, students could use the links that they learn best from.  If students need visuals they may use more Youtube videos instead of blogs or wikipedia.

I have tried to find a way for you, dear reader, to view the course without logging in.  This has not ended well as each url that I attempt shows none of the announcements that I have made, so instead here is a screen shot.  I also leave you with the fangirl knowledge testing question that I designed for my course.

Why is the course number 24601? If you understand it maybe you should find a course such as the one I designed

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Here is my GoAnimate video to show why Facebook could be an appropriate tool to use in a high school classroom.  Personally I would prefer to use GoAnimate  than Facebook, as it is more interactive and a stream of videos would be more interesting than a comment thread.  GoAnimate is a useful tool to show your dreams (just like a magic floating crystal).

For those who need technological tools to show others our dreams. I need to use GoAnimate.

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There are a lot of questions that educators have to ask themselves about their job.   Just as in the Labyrinth there are countless turns and questions to ask oneself before making a decision.  In this swiftly progressing digital age new tools are being created all the time, and teachers have to decide if these tools are useful to their students and their achievement goals.  However there are many hazards surrounding online tools and how appropriate they are in a classroom setting and beyond.   This is my new Thoughtbox list of questions that I believe every educator should ask themselves before pursuing the use of a new online tool in the classroom. There are a lot of questions here contained, but I thought it to be beneficial to be thorough. I am posting the screen shot below because I can not find any way to make the list public.  If only it was as simple as “Up or down?”(Labyrinth).  Well here is a helping hand for you dear reader.  If I have missed any important questions please feel free to comment.


So many questions for a single online tool.

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This week we discussed copyright and the need to cite, in class.  To prove we understand we had to complete these glogs, which is not as easy as the instructions believe.  It takes a lot of time to make a glog, even without images and citations.  How do you make a poster of definitions not text heavy?  The best fix that I could find was to use a bright and bold wallpaper.  I wonder if the graphics etc… on Glogster are used under a blanket license or public domain.  Just a note of warning, the second glog of citation examples is Labyrinth centric.  Please comment about whether these are actually useful or not.

Copyright Definitions

APA Citations Labyrinth Style