Glogster is an online program that allows your students to create a multimedia scrap book presentation. The students are able to import sound, video, backgrounds, and pictures. It looks neat, but it seems to take a while to load. Maybe it is just the internet speed at my school, but the videos took a very long time. The glogs look interesting and are definitely more interactive than just a written report on a topic. I do think that this is something to be added to your bag of tools for classroom use. Your students will enjoy making their glog, and believe it or not, they will be learning more than you can imagine. Not only are the students learning the concepts that they are investigating, they are USING 21ST CENTURY SKILLS! By having your students create this electronic presentation, they are not only working on research, writing and organization, they are also learning how to incorporate media into a presentation beyond adding an annoying noise to a PowerPoint every time a page turns. Try it with your students; if it doesn't work for your students, at least you gave it a try. Not everything will work for all teachers or all students, but the import thing about the education process is that you are trying new things to see what is the most effective tool for your students. Good Luck and make sure to leave some feedback if try it or are currently using it with your students.
We have all suffered death by PowerPoint, whether from professional development or from student presentations. Here is a great way to turn those mind numbing presentations into something interesting. Prezi presentations allows you so show your audience how your entire presentation fits together, and then you can zoom into the details. This will allow your audience to see the big picture while you focus on the details. I have seen this in webinars and never knew how the presenter was able to present their information in such an interesting manner. Now the secret is out! Prezi presentations will take schools by storm. They offer free accounts to teachers and students. With a teacher or student account, you will be able to create your presentation online, download your finished presentation so that you could present off line, make your presentation private, published, or shared with just a select group, and you can include your logo instead of the Prezi logo in your presentation. Click on the picture above to go to the Prezi teacher licensing website. They have plenty of examples and they even have step by step guides for making the presentations. Good luck and let me know what you think.
Professional development does not have to be a huge expense for a district. Most teachers dread professional development because it means they are sitting through a conference for hours on a topic that they really are not that interested in and it is being presented on a powerpoint that is being read off of. We have all been there and done that. It does not have to be this way. I am certain that professional development can be cost effective and meaningful for a staff. When speaking with someone that does professional development, I learned that districts are paying $1000.00's of dollars to have presenters come in and train their staff: $1000.00"s!!!!!!! Truly this can be done for a reasonable amount of money. It is no wonder districts cut professional development first when thinking about budget cuts. Being a professional development presenter is something that I enjoy doing. I recently presented at the Ohio Middle Level Association Conference. One thing that I do is show people student work. Teachers want to see what other students are actually doing. I use technology when I present. It is hard to talk about technology if teachers can't see how it is actually used. I would love to do professional development for your district. Please let me know how I can help you. As long as there is an internet connection, there is means for me to do professional development with your school.
When doing projects with students that require music to be added, please encourage them to use royalty free music. It may seem like a little thing, but truly there are copyright laws that prohibit students from using copyright music in their own production without the written consent of the musician. The student could always pay a licensing fee that would allow them to use the song, but the cost for something like that can be $50+. Royalty free music is music that is free to be used by anyone without restriction. http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/ is a great website for students to use when thinking about music for a project. They can sample the music and then download it. I like this website because it has a large variety of music to choose from and each musical piece has a description of the music. Check it out.
I realize that this is not visible from many classrooms, but make sure to check it out from home. It is well worth the view.
Weebly is a great tool for teachers to use with their students. You are able to bring your students into the 21st Century by allowing them to create multimedia websites. Weebly.com is by far the easiest, most student friendly, and professional looking website I have ever seen. They have "Weebly for Education" which allows teachers to create accounts for students. Students are able to embed video on their site. They can create slide shows. They can post reports, biographies, bibliographies, create hyperlinks, customize templates and more. Weebly is set up for the non-techy student to be able to build something they can be proud of. The students just drag and drop the different elements into their web page and start typing. Student websites can be password protected. As a teacher, you can create a website for your class. You can create a blog for novels, have students outline a chapter in a more engaging way, and post homework. There is so much that you can do with Weebly.com that the possibilities are endless. The amazing thing is that it is free. You can get a pro membership, which I recommend, that will allow your students to do so much more. If they create a movie in Windows Movie Maker, they would be able to upload it to the site directly, otherwise they will have to upload it to another source (such as YouTube, which is typically blocked at schools). The Pro service is only $40.00. It is truly a great tool to use with your students. Click on the Weebly Logo to be taken to their page.