The minute I think I have an "original" idea, I go online and do a little research only to find out that there are 4,000 other people that had the same idea. I began doing a little bit of research on using Skype in the classroom and came across Skype's actual website dedicated to connecting classrooms all over the world. If you already have a Skype account, you can use that to set up your classroom account. There are almost 4000 teachers already plugged in to using Skype in their class. I was able to list different categories that I would like to connect with other teachers about. These categories are somewhat general (Reading and Writing, Social Studies, Math, Science, Technology, Classroom Exchange, Guest Speaker, Hints and Tips, Lesson Examples, Project Ideas, and more), but they are able to help teachers narrow their search of other teachers who share similar teaching interests. If you are looking for me on Skype in the Classroom, look for "ideasforteachers". Let me know if you set up an account!
Is there a piece of technology that you feel every classroom should have? Do you have a unique piece of technology that you use with students that you feel others should know about? If money were no object, what technology would you have in your classroom? Can you have too much technology? Lots of questions that will hopefully spark some discussion. These are questions that I don't have answers to. I am looking for new ways to engage my students with current technology. I once heard that just because you have a dinosaur bone in your room doesn't mean you have a dinosaur in your room. It needs to be active and alive. The technology that is sitting in our classrooms was great five, six, seven, ten years ago. My students currently have Windows 7 or at least Windows Vista at home. That means our school's operating systems are two versions behind. It becomes difficult for students to write a paper at home and bring it in to edit when our computers at school can not convert the material. How do we fix the problem? Students used to go to school to have access to newer technology than what was available at their home. Schools had tech labs before the average home had a desktop. Now, our schools still have tech labs but the software is not updated, and the processors can't keep up with the internet speeds or project requirements that we have for current projects. I hear on a regular basis, "I am waiting for it to load." When did students start to take steps backwards in the area of technology when they came to school?
This has to be one of the coolest things I have see in the past couple of days. Your students will be able to build stories in comic book form with Lego characters. Check it out and see how you could use it in your class. You can click on the link or the picture to be taken to the Lego Comic Builder site http://city.lego.com/en-us/comicbuilder/intro.aspx.
As many of you know, I would like to set up some Skype sessions with my class and yours. I am a middle school teacher. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies and 8th grade language arts. If you have a Skype account and you would like to connect, my Skype name is discoveryschoolsocialstudies. If you are interested in setting u a FREE Skype account for your class, just go to Skype.com and sign up. I put in my school as my first name and my content area as my last name. When I created my user name I combined the two, hence discoveryschoolsocialstudies. If you teach something differnt, please list what content you teach and your Skype name here. By listing it here, other teachers will see it and it will be easier for them to connect with you.
I couldn't agree more with this video. It is a little over 9 minutes in length, but well worth the watch. It is a Youtube video, so if you can't view it from school, make sure to check it out from home.
How do you feel about movies being used in the classroom? I am of the opinion that they CAN be used as enrichment pieces but not as teaching substitutes. There are so many great movies that have been made that are accurate and enriching. It seems silly not to give the students the visual that is needed to concrete the information being studied. There are three movies that I use in my Social Studies classroom: John Adams (I do edit the portions of the movie that I feel are not appropriate for students), Into the West, and Glory. These movie give such a great perspective to the content that we study and the movies are so well done. I also feel that students tend to grasp the reality of a concept much more deeply and passionately if they are able to watch a movie about the topic. Please note, though, that movies need to be an enrichment piece to your curriculum and not the curriculum itself, unless you are teaching a film study course. Teach the content, and then give your students the visual to go along with the content. Let me know if you agree or disagree. What movies do you use to enhance or enrich your curriculum? Do you use movie clips or whole films? Let me know.
The link below will take you to a video that encourages application of knowledge and not just the teaching of concepts. So often we "Teach to the State Test", and we throw out every piece of enrichment that we had in our repituar. We became of the mind set that it is more important that "I" get through all of these different concepts, than it being more important that "Students" understand the concepts we are teaching them. When we look back at our own education, we remember the things we did (projects). We don't recall sitting in class, taking notes, studying, and then taking a test. Let's give students an education that they remember!!!!!!!
"Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips, and music."
This has to be one of the coolest site for students to use to create classroom video projects. Most of the videos are less than one minute long unless you buy a membership. If you go with the "lite" version, your membership is FREE. They also have "Plus version for $30 a year or $5.00 per month. If you would like to upgrade to the "Pro" version, the cost goes up to $249.00 per year or $39.00 per month. It is definitely worth checking out!
Yoostar is one of the coolest tools I have ever used in my classroom. It is a green screen that allows the students to go on location without ever leaving your classroom. Students can do their report from the moon, The Great Pyramid, The Great Wall of China, in the middle of an on-coming thunderstorm, and even from the beach on some tropical island. The backgrounds move just as though the student were actually there. I have provided a link with this article that will allow you to view a students presentation from the Colosseum (link). Because it is a recording, the students are able to redo the presentation until they feel they have a "Good One". This allows you to grade the best presentation and not the nervousness of the student. The best part about Yoostar is that it is only $100.00. This is not something that costs thousands of dollars. It will truly enhance your lessons, and the other nice thing is that you are able to save the presentations for years to come.