After 11 Tools: Reflections

Wikis, digital storytelling, video resources, mashups and Jing /Skype will be tools I incorporate in my bag of tricks.

The use of digital storytelling will allow me to introduce writing skills through a medium that is visual and hands on for my less than proficient writers. Instead of having them dive directly into the writing process, I'll let them verbally tell their stories using the digital storytelling tool. Once they have completed their stories, I can go back an have them write the story in words. Hopefully this will show them the ease of writing and eliminate their doubt of being great storytellers.

My journey through the 11 tools has transformed my ideas for the use technology in the classroom. I now understand that we must embrace the Internet and technology in our instruction or risk becoming extinct as educators. If we resist the use of technology, we are not preparing our students for the future.

There were no unexpected outcomes. I fully embrace technology as a way of life. Don't be left behind believing it has no benefits in your classroom.

Tool 11 Digital Citizenship

Just as in any other community (physical or virtual), being an active member is expected and having standards is typical. It is the same online. Digital citizenship is just like the norms, values and rules we have in our own communities.

The three most important things on being a good digital citizen are safety on the Internet, respect for others, and active participation.
Safety is of great importance due to the high accessibility on the Internet. Students must know what NOT to share.

Students must respect the work of others in an effort to not diminish the originators credit for things they created and shared. The web is there for the sharing, but one must give create for all borrowed works. And always respect the free speech of all contributors.

Lastly, participate in online communities so your voice is heard and your ideas help shape the information shared with the world. Using the Internet without ever communicating, sharing, or collaborating is like living in this country and never voting but expecting change.

Teaching the ideas of digital citizenship should come first before allowing our students to participate on the Internet. How to teach these very necessary skills is the question. I would teach them in mini lessons well in advance of assigning a task requiring Internet assistance. This would provide time to demonstrate the pros and cons of a good digital citizen.

Tool 10 Exploring Mobile Technology And Apps

Love the Apple iPod line of products. The phone and music capability is great. The apps make them twice as attractive as other smartphones. I have personally downloaded several apps for my own children for long driving trips and flights.

There's the FREE Spanish Essentials by AccelaStudy® – Renkara Media Group, Inc. and the SAT Math Prep 800 – Allen Resources, Inc. that my children frequently use.
Apps are added daily so the list is continally growing. The Top 50 FREE Educational Apps just scratches the surface.

Math Drills Lite – Instant Interactive and Basic Math – Explorer Technologies are great sites for students to practice their math facts, number sense, and strategies.

A good time to employ the iTouch in the classroom can be for early finishers and or in a workstation.

Tool 9 Sharing Information Through Jing & Skype

My family has used Skype for years now. We have several relatives abroad and Skype makes easy to see and talk to them often. You must read 50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in School. It is priceless. The use of Skype would extend a teachers hours of availability, but it can be a great tool for allowing communication beyond classroom time, either with students, colleagues, or parents.
Jing and Screencast seem to be similar to Skype, except they provide greater opportunities to network, share and collaborate. You can share data and manipulate it while connected. I can see how all the above screen captures are beneficial in the classroom. But, Jing is ideal for recording lessons and making them accessible to students for later review. They can even be used to re-teach, extend lessons, go over homework, provide step by step instructions. The list cam go on and on.
I am anxious to see who uses these tools in their classrooms.

Tool 8 Video Resources

OMG!!! I love the SchoolTube. Talking about moving forward into the digital world. This is a great way to display school activities inside and out of the classroom. After school activities can be featured as well as in school activities that parents may not be able to attend. Teachers can video lessons they'd like to share. SchoolTube can be an awesome way to bring the world into the classroom with real videos of places, people, cultures, etc. Below are two examples of ways that video resources are being used on SchoolTube. - Hope for Technology: A conversation with Digital Natives - In this video students are pleading their own case for technology. No need for buy in. They are already ahead of us. - I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King Day - This video is just one representation of how presentations need to include all the resources available to us like Flip videos, etc.
Can't wait to see some our own Westwood stars on SchoolTube.

Tool 7 Digital Storytelling

This the second time I've used Photostory (see my post labeled Things 21). Actually, I had help from my son. He's featured in the Photostory. And it is super easy to use to create slide shows with music and/or voice. Students can use voice, words, and/or music instead of the traditional written presentations. This is where technology meets instruction with a creative and visual aspect.

Tools #6 Wikis

Yet another great collaboration tool for the classroom and teachers. The possibilities are endless when using Wikis. You can start a classroom writing project and allow student to contribute individually, as a group or as a whole class lesson. The best part is the flexibility to add, change, and share using one document instead of several.
Classes can create websites or build their own web quest by seeking and sharing ideas and suggestions. Teachers can interactively create test and lesson plans. Students can do peer editing without being in the same classroom. Again, the possibilities are endless. This is a great tool for collaboration of ideas among a group of people. The final products will be better because of the shared ideas and responsibilities.