Happy 19th Birthday Audrey!

I decided to make my slide show for my younger sister’s Birthday which is today!

I used Animoto to create it. It went through all the photos super quick, so I paid for the $5 monthly access so that it could play at a reasonable speed, rather than being crammed into 30 seconds. I know 30 seconds seems like a long time, but it’s not when a little animation plays at the start, and Animoto adds their advertising at the end! However the free 30 second clip may be good when the teacher has to sit through 24 slideshows made by students 😛

I think that Animoto could be used in a classroom for a range of purposes. It was so easy to follow the instructions that students could make a slideshow of photos from an excursion, or even make one at home with their personal photos, and then send the link to their teacher to present at school.

So without any further ado… Happy Birthday Audrey, and I hope we have many more adventures together in the future! …hopefully with better outfits 😀

Microsoft OneNote

The PD I attended called Microsoft OneNote the ‘school book of the future’ as it can replace all of a students workbooks and be used instead of Microsoft Word.

It is used like a book, and a student can have dividers with different pages. The students can also have multiple books; one for each different subject.

Using the Microsoft Essentials program in conjunction with this enables students to load templates and guides for writing things such as fictional narratives. It also opens a checklist on the side of the page that contains helpful hints about exactly what needs to be included in that specific piece of writing.

I was concerned that if the computer crashes, and students forget to save their work, they will have lost everything! However they then explained that the books can be shared across networks, meaning that teachers can correct them, and students can access them off different computers in the school.

The teacher can also create worksheets and then share the worksheet with students through the network, and the students can insert these into their virtual notebooks, saving time by not having to glue them into notebooks.

I think that this program is great for students who already have all of their school textbooks on their laptop. It saves them from carrying around all of their books, and they will never have the excuse of losing their book, as it is all stored on the network.

Also, it helps stop plagiarism as when students copy and paste things from the internet, the program automatically inserts the URL of the website and the date into the document underneath whatever’s been copy/pasted!

Editing Photos with Sumo Paint

I decided to edit my photo so that only the toucan is in colour, and its background is in black and white.

 

1. Go to the Sumo Paint website and upload the photo you wish to edit

 

2. Click the ‘Lasso Tool’ on the left hand side

3. Using this tool, click and drag to select areas that you want to change to black and white.

4. Once you have an area selected, click on ‘Adjustments’ up the top, and then select ‘Hue/Saturation’

5. Change the Saturation to zero by using the slider

6. Keep selecting areas at a time and changing their saturation, until all the areas are finished. You will need to zoom in to select tricky areas such as around the toucans tail.

 

7. Save your finished picture!

This was a really easy program to use… sort of like paint on your computer, but with a lot more features. I really like the effect of having a black and white background, as it makes the picture stand out.

I think in a classroom this would be fun for students to use, and easy for them to understand as Sumo Paint has lots of tutorials to help them apply a whole range of effects. It would also help their hand-eye coordination, as it is tricky to select certain areas with the tool!

Handheld ActivExpression Devices in the Classroom

I’m not too sure what the proper name for these are, however at the PD I attended, we were able to play around with these ActivExpression hand held devices, and use them as if we were students in a classroom.

Its sort of like a mobile phone, where every student has their own device, and the devices can have their own individual names, to allow the teacher to identify which answer came from which student.

The presenter at the PD put a blank screen on the smart board, and wrote the word “mother-in-law” in the centre. Each person in the audience could then type their own word relating to this on their device, and “send” it to the smart board. The words would then automatically pop up on the smart board, around the centre word, and a brainstorm was created.

Our devices were set to anonymous mode, which means that the students don’t know who has contributed which word, as on the smart board there are no clues as to who has sent each word. I was worried that this meant students could write inappropriate things, however the presenter then assured us that the teacher could check, as he demonstrated by clicking on an individual word on the board, which then opened a little box that said which number device had sent it… and was able to see which teacher had described their mother in law as a bitch 😛

I loved this activity, as it was so engaging and exciting, and you wanted to contribute, because you wanted to see your word fly onto the screen. I think it would be great in a classroom, because everyone is able to contribute, even the shy kids who are reluctant to answer questions. I also love how it has the anonymous setting, so that kids aren’t scared to contribute even if they are unsure of their answer.

You can also use the devices to answer multiple-choice questions, where the answers come up on the device’s screen, and the student presses the button of the answer they think is correct. This can also be done with true/false questions, and surveys, and the answers can be automatically made into a graph on the board.

I also think it is great how schools whose budgets don’t allow for the devices can still access the activity, as they mentioned that there is a website available where the students can do the same things, but just from their laptop or iPad.

You can visit Promethean’s website to find out more about the ActivExpression handheld devices, or to play around with an interactive demonstration of an Active Classroom.

‘New Technology In Schools’ PD Session

Last Thursday I attended an after school PD session about New Technologies in Schools. I was dreading the idea of sitting around after school; however once I found out what it was about I was very excited! What a perfect coincidence, as I was very busy with teaching rounds and struggling to think of new things to blog about!

The PD session took place in the auditorium, and about 40 teachers from across the 4 school campuses voluntarily attended. It was run by EduSTAR and they demonstrated the latest technologies that are being used in schools, and showcased some new technologies that are just about to be rolled out throughout the remainder of term 3.

The main things that they showcased are as follows;

  • Microsoft Touch Pack- including Surface Collage and Surface Globe
  • The latest version of Inspiration
  • Handheld electronic devices
  • Inspire Data
  • The latest Microsoft programs- including Microsoft Learning Essentials, Microsoft OneNote, and the newest version of PowerPoint

I will be blogging about these individual things in more detail soon, as they were so inspiring and exciting that I really want to explain the benefits and let everyone know where to get them from (as most of the programs are free!).

In the meantime, eduSTAR have a range of extensive ‘eLearning ICT Showcases’ on their website which contain PDF’s for everything from ‘iPad’s for Learning’ to information for a million different programs. I recommend everyone checks it out!!

Technology in a Rural School

I’ve been very busy on teaching rounds, however I just wanted to write a quick post about the technology that is used at the school I’m at. I’m currently in a grade 5/6 class at Seymour Primary.

The campus is only for grade 5’s and 6’s, as they have merged 4 schools together, and then separated them up into 4 different campuses. This means that there are only about 110 students at this whole campus, so the classrooms are all double rooms and there are lots of spare rooms for things such as a Media Room.

When the students had sport, they first went into the Media Room (which is dark with lots of comfy chairs) to watch a video about how to do discus and shot put on the giant projector screen. They then went outside and put it into practice.

I thought this was a great way to incorporate technology into something as “un-technological” as sport!!

They also have 8 classroom computers in each room, and a big trolley of laptops, which the teachers book for ICT classes. Each classroom has its own TV and video camera, and a smart board. The hallway is even lined with at least 6 plasma screens, which broadcast notices to the students.

I was so shocked with all these great resources, as I guess I was thinking of a stereotypical country school that has nothing at all!

How are everyone else’s rounds going? Have there been any surprises in regard to a lack/abundance of technology?

Audacity

This week we have been exploring Audacity, which is a program that allows you to record, edit, and save audio files, so you can upload it to your blog if you wish.

I’ve actually heard about Audacity before, as we used it a little bit throughout high school, for editing music to insert into moviemaker movies or record our voice to use in projects.

I think Audacity is a helpful tool for teachers to understand and use in their classrooms, for example they could upload spoken instructions to a blog about a certain project or assignment.

Blogs are very visual, as they are all about reading posts and looking at pictures, so I feel that having the audio available would definitely help the auditory learners in the class.

Perhaps in a classroom a requirement of a task could be that the students have to record their findings and upload the file to the blog, so that they can share it with their classmates. This then incorporates technology into their research.

I don’t like to hear myself in a recording, and therefore I am reluctant to upload a sound clip. This may also be a problem in a classroom, as some students may be too shy, however by using Audacity to edit their voice to a lower or higher pitch, they may be able to create a “character” voice that doesn’t sound like them at all!

Stay tuned for an audio post 🙂

Google Reader

A few weeks ago I signed up for a Google Reader account. I haven’t really written anything about it until now, as I am only just beginning to fully understand it, and appreciate it.

It was easy enough to sign up for an account, and then subscribe to people’s blogs. However, then I wasn’t too sure about what to do next. I thought it was another one of those websites that simply lists all you favourite website links on it. After playing around with it I realised that it actually sort of lets you have all your favourite websites on the one page!

When I log on and click “all items” it shows me a giant list of new posts from everyone’s blogs that I’ve subscribed to. Or by choosing a certain blog listed on the side of my page, I can limit the blogs so I only see what’s new from that site.

I’m really getting the hang of it now, as its so easy to see everything in one place, and I also like how after you’ve read a new item, it still keeps the item in your list, but just shades it so that you know it’s been read. I like this as sometimes I want to refer back to a blog that I’ve read a few days earlier, so I’m glad its still in the list!

I think that this could be useful in a classroom if each student had their own Google Reader account, because then they could always see the new posts from the teacher’s blog, for example information about assignments. They could also subscribe to their classmate’s blogs, so that they have an easy way to see ‘what’s new’ rather than searching for each blog individually.

Meta Widget

The other day I commented on someone’s blog, and then a few minutes later realised that I would have no idea if anyone replied to me, as there is no way to get notifications through my own blog.

I was then searching through my Google Reader account and noticed that Felicity had had the same problem, and had figured out how to subscribe to comments on people’s blogs.

I then added the ‘Meta’ widget to my own blog, as I would like people to have the option of subscribing to my comments.

I think that it is important for us all to be notified of comments that are in reply to one of our previous comments, as I view comments as a discussion about the post, and at the moment it can be a very one sided discussion!

After reading some articles about how to write worthwhile comments, I think we’ve all been creating supportive, interesting comments, and generating a good discussion and debate. I feel that this is essential for teachers, as it’s always good to hear other people’s opinions and benefit from their ideas, and also share our own on their blogs.

How to Upload YouTube Clips

Open the youtube clip you want to add into your post

 

Click “share” just underneath the video

 

Click “embed”

 

Copy the text in the box, and paste it into your post, in the exact spot you want it (eg. Between paragraphs or at the start/end).

 

When you “preview” your blog, the video should be uploaded and working

 

Sorry, I was unable to upload any pictures, as edublogs has somehow recognised that they were screen grabs of youtube and won’t upload them as you can’t just use any image you like in a blog post 

If anyone has any hints about adding screen grabs please let me know 🙂