Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Summing up for Now

I tried a little movie expressing some of my feelings about this class. However I have not been able to upload it. I've even contacted Blogger help and they said they would try to fix the problem but nothing has happened so far. If it does upload at some point I will share it. I am very grateful to Donna and Carlene for offering this course and sharing their wealth of knowledge! I've learned so many new things and tried so many things I was afraid to try before. My biggest drawback has been finding time to play with all these new toys!!! I am looking forward to learning lots more in the future!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Incorporating Technology Into My Teaching

I too have been trying to think of ways of incorporating some of this technology into my practice. I have started a Best Books blog at one of my schools but so far have only shown it to one class. Tomorrow I'll introduce it to another grade 8 class. At my other school where far fewer students have access to computers I'm going to try a blog for staff members. I'll talk about new resources and books in the library and show them some of the tools I learned about in this course to see if there is more interest out there. Also at this school I am currently working on a Holocaust unit with the grade 7/8 teacher. I am working with three groups and the teacher is working with three groups. Two of my groups are doing lit circles, one with the novel Daniel's Story by Carol Matas and the other with the novel Clara's War by Kathy Kacer. The third group is doing a mini-research project on a Holocaust hero. One example is Oscar Schindler. They need to answer the question "Was my person a good citizen?" They have to base their answer on criteria they came up with as to what constitutes a 'good citizen'. Then using the knowledge from their research on their person they are going to conduct interviews of each other. They need to come up with some good interview questions, practise interviewing each other and then hopefully we will videotape them and put the videos on the blog I have set up for student work. (Taking a page from Jane's workwith the video camera!). I did show them how to cite their books using Ottobib. For the other two groups, I'm going to have them use two of the tools I learned about in week 3 and 4. The students doing Daniel's Story are going to use Slide Share (or an equivalent, we have it on our school's computers but I can't remember which it is and I'm at home right now) to create what the book said to them, meant to them, what they learned from it or something similar. They might choose one character and think back to their lit circles roles and come up with a slide for each role that pertains to their character. Or using some of the image sites that are copyright friendly they might synthesize their learning. They will be expected to cite their images. The possibilities are endless as to what they can do. I thought the Slideshare might be particularly good because Daniel's Story is all about the photos/memories Daniel kept from the Holocaust. For the group doing Clara's War I am going to have them use PhotoStory 3 to create what the book meant to them. (This is also on our computers at school). They too will have to cite where they found their images/music etc. So that's the plan! One group is almot finished reading Clara's War so I think they may get started this week on Photostory 3. The other two groups still have a ways to go before we're ready for the technology. I'm really looking forward to the students work and their reaction to the technology part! I hope they will post comments/critiques on the blog as well.