Presentation Programs

This weeks lesson was about presentations. I think many people misunderstand the purpose of a digital presentation. It is not meant as a set of on screen notes to be read or copied down. It is meant as a visual tool to help pull your audience into your presentation and to enhance the information. Too often I have sat through presentations where the presenter has read slides to us. This does nearly nothing to enhance the presentation or engage the audience.

I have personally created and used many digital presentations to classes. Even with my experience and knowledge, I find myself falling into this trap. After completing a presentation, It’s good to go back through it with a critical eye and ask yourself what is it adding.

I find myself doing this after nearly every presentation, just like I do after nearly every lesson. Do a quick ‘post mortem’. Ask what went well, what could have gone better, how can I improve. Figure out what students reacted well to and what seemed to leave them cold. You could even conduct a quick survey. I’m always looking for continuous improvement.

We also spent time this week looking at the TED website. I am a fan of TED and have been for quite awhile. There are LOTS of topics and information on this site that I love to contemplate. I think it can be excellent jumping off points for student lessons and projects.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 11

ComicLife

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This is a really interesting way to engage students. This site allows you to take pictures and a story to create a comic book/graphic novel for telling your story.  Seems to be really flexible and usable. Allows author to create their script and then helps walk them through creating the pages to go with the script.
2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I think it would be great for students to use something like this to present their findings from a lesson. Love the creativity aspect of something much more engaging than just writing a report.
3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
Seems to be relatively easy to use. It does cost $29.95 and requires Windows 7 or Windows 8. It seems like a really good tool to me and I would recommend it.

 

iSpeech

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This is another text to speech utility. This one seems to do a better job of sounding more natural. You can translate small text quickly or entire documents to speech. These speech files can also be connected with animated avatars. This increases the interest level for students.
2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I think this could be used by both educators and students. Educators could use this for enhancing their own presentations and in creating differentiated instruction for students with special needs.
3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
This seems like a really interesting tool. There is a free version that provides some basic functionality and is pretty easy to use. There are paid versions that provide more features. I was not able to find pricing for these additional features and functionality.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 12

VoiceThread

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 13

Storybird

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

Scribblar


1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 14

Kidblog.org

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

Word Processing and Desktop Publishing

This week’s readings were focused on Word Processing and Desktop Publishing software and use in class.  I use MS Word on a daily basis for everything from quick notes to formal reports. When I was a teacher, I would use it to create formal letters to send home to parents for communication. Much of the letter writing use has now switched to email, but there are still occasions where the printed letter is needed.  Most businesses these days use some type of word processing software in the day-to-day work of the office.  It is critical that students understand how to use the software and to format things properly. I know many students come into class having played with word processing, but don’t understand how to really make the program work for them and how to format items properly.

Desktop publishing is great for creating visual impact elements like fliers and posters and brochures.  Again, there are basic concepts to creating items like this that include font size, type, white space, graphics etc. Many students have played with this, but don’t understand the basics of layout and such. Using classroom content assignments combined with these concepts is a great way to help them get prepared.

The most interesting thing I got out of this week’s assignments were some of the assistive technologies and resources.  Of particular interest were http://www.4teachers.org/tools and http://readthewords.com. 4 Teachers contains some EXCELLENT resources that are quick and easy to incorporate to the classroom. I used Rubistar when I was teaching and loved it for creating all my rubrics.  I really liked Read The Words for a text to speech program. It’s ability to submit entire word documents to be converted is great for those who have large libraries of information in .doc or .pdf format.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 7

Assistive Technologies

 Georgia Project for Assistive Technology

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This resource provides a lot of background making the case for assistive technologies and what the legal support is for them in the classroom. Once you get past the definitions and legal info, there is some really useful examples of securing and implementing assistive technologies. There are some really outstanding presentations as well as a great list of resources.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
This would be a great website to help an educator looking to effectively implement AT into their district and/or classroom. There is material on securing funding, assessing, implementing and tracking AT.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I think this is an outstanding resource that is rich with information. It takes a bit to wade through the legal background bits, but this may be necessary in some situations to make a case for AT. It is FREE, which is always a bonus.

 

Zoho

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
I’m a bit confused as to why this is in the AT section. Zoho has collaboration applications, business applications and productivity applications. It appears that some of the apps are free for basic use. Finding pricing is NOT easy.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
Using the collaboration tools with classes and on projects would help those who might not be able to make it to class all the time. The productivity tools might be a good alternative if the school system didn’t already have productivity tools.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I don’t know if I’d really recommend this site. Pricing is really hard to find so it is hard to know if it’s affordable on a larger scale or not. Because of the integration with Google Apps, this might be more appropriate for a school that already uses Google Apps to consider.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 8

Online Tools for Teachers

4Teachers – Rubistar

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
Rubistar is a great website for creating grading rubrics for many types of assignments. They have a number of examples and rubric templates. Rubics are critical for quality assessment of students.  It clearly defines what is to be graded and how it is to be graded.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I have used this resource before to create rubrics for class projects. One project in particular was a web search project where the students researched information on tsunami and then used that information into a Word document.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I highly recommend this resource. It makes rubric creation very easy. It is FREE! Teachers can also save their rubrics for future use.

 

4Teachers – PBL Checklist

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This site contains customizable checklists targeted at project based learning. Often, one of them most difficult things for students working on projects is getting organized and staying on track. The use of a checklist is a great visual tool for helping students in this very thing. The checklists are divided by grade levels as well as subject areas.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this for class projects over the course of the year. I would start off with a high level of detail helping the students organize and stay on task, then start moving to lower levels of detail to allow the students greater freedom to use their own knowledge. (Scaffolding)
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
This is another great site. I wish I had known about this site when I was teaching. The site is free and has a great breakdown of lists for different grade levels as well as different content areas. They are also available in both English and Spanish. I highly recommend this site.

 

4Teachers – Equity Index

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
Equity Index provides a website that leads to resources focused on diversity, differentiation and inclusion. It is divided by type of inclusion and then by the resources available. They target RubiStar, TrackStar and Web links. These targets are specific to that area of inclusion. This includes Special Needs, Multicultural, Disabilities, Assistive Technology and others.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this for differentiation in the classroom assignments as well as for specific lessons on multicultural topics. For example, The links lead to a RubiStar rubric that involves creating a Database-supported lesson on famous Hispanics.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
This is another highly recommended site for me. The site is FREE! It is very intuitive to use and provides a wealth of resources quite quickly.

 

4Teachers – Dimio

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
Dimio is a group of utilities that include basic file handling up to a speech recognition/generation software. It can read written text with a customizable voice that can be manipulated to represent a dialog between multiple people.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I think this could be highly useful when studying a play script or in language classes. I could also see this as an assistive technology for those who need written and audio support for comprehension.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
I think this sounds like a very interesting tool, but it is somewhat complex to use and takes a fair investment of time. It is something I would suggest getting used to over the summer for use in class rather than some of the other resources here that can be utilized within minutes. It is FREE!

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 9

FullMeasure

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
FullMeasure is an open source program project targeted at accessibility programs. There are three programs they offer currently. PowerTalk which reads PowerPoint presentations automatically. TouchCD which allows someone to use a single button to control CD playback. Finally, ClipTalk which converts text to speech as it is copied to the clipboard. The playback quality is ok, but pronunciation is rough. I found some sounds were dropped and words with different pronunciations (record) were only  pronounced one way.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I think this could be useful with students who have dyslexia or other disability where audio is needed for support. I could see typing up the class notes in PowerPoint and providing this to the student.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
It is FREE! That’s always good. I think it is OK, but the vocal quality is rough. It is pretty easy to use, so that makes a positive. I think it’s a decent starting place and would give a qualified recommendation. If you need this occasionally, then great. If text to speech is a regular need for you and your classes/students, then I would look into something more sophisticated.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 10

WebQuest/ReadtheWords

 

WebQuest

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
WebQuests are discovery learning activities where the students are given a question, premise or topic and then assigned a task to accomplish. The task requires researching internet resources and processing that information to provide some type of result (report, video, website, etc.) based on that information. There are MANY WebQuests out there that have been shared.  The site also provides a structure for creating new WebQuests.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this much like a rubric for providing the guidelines for a project and identifying what is being graded, but the structure is more supportive and detailed than a simple rubric. Could use this to assign each person of a group project on program development to a different position and then direct them to research what that position does and how it works together with the other members of the development team.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
It is FREE! I would recommend this source. It is fairly intuitive and it is easy to find a WebQuest related to your content area and grade level quickly.

 

Read the Words

Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.
This is a text to speech online utility. It has the ability to choose multiple voices. You can type in text or convert entire documents and emails to speech. Not only can your convert the text, you can also save it as MP3 file. Along with that you can create a video or an avatar.
How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.
I would use this for those who need audio support for understanding and learning. I think I would use it where I have long documents already created or wanted to create a multivoice dialogue as in a play or language lesson.
Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?
There is a basic trial that is free, but to really get use of the utility requires a subscription that ranges from $40/year to $100/year. I would recommend this for converting large numbers of existing documents to text. But I think recording of the teachers actual voice is more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

Database, spreadsheets, instructional strategies, and resources for such

Spreadsheets and Databases

http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/databases/

I can’t really say that there was anything that surprised me about databases and spreadsheets from my reading. I am an IT consultant and I’ve been using spreadsheets since Lotus 123 in 1987. I did like the example in this article for integrating a database into a unit on the World War. I think the concepts that it promotes are important database concepts that students should understand.

I have not had students create databases in the past as part of a separate unit. I did formerly teach MS Office classes to high school students and we did do a unit on MS Access where the students created some basic databases. I personally used a database with my students for a bell ringer activity where they would respond to a quote of the day. I would then show the students how I created and ran reports to it and how it simplified what would normally be a very difficult task for grading.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 4

Concept Mapping

WiseMapping

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

I have to start off by saying I really don’t like mind maps. They don’t work for me and I find them VERY difficult to read and understand. This also makes it very difficult for me to assess. I looked at http://www.wisemapping.com which seemed to be pretty easy to get started with and looked user friendly. There was a tutorial where the guy maps about fruit. They provide the ability to embed their mind maps in blogs as well as share with others since it is web based.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

Have students use this utility to take notes during a presentation and then work in groups to combine them into a document that represents what they gathered from the lesson.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

It is FREE! It requires no software installation. Both of these make it a recommend for me.

FreeMind

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

FreeMind is open source software that is downloaded and installed on your local PC. It provides the ability to export maps to files.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

Have students use this utility to take notes during a presentation and then work in groups to combine them into a document that represents what they gathered from the lesson.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

It is FREE! This requires software download and installation. It is a Java app. I find Java to be VERY unreliable. I would NOT recommend this.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 5

Animoto

Animoto.com

 

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

Provides a place in the cloud to create and store ‘videos’ which are more like PowerPoint presentations set to music. They have pre-licensed music that can be used with the videos. They also provide some different styles and effects that can be added to the pictures that you use to make the video. I think calling these videos is somewhat misleading.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

I could see using this in class to make presentations a bit more interesting for the students

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

I wouldn’t really recommend this. It can be done with PowerPoint easily. It is expensive for real functionality.  The free version limits you to 30 seconds.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 6

Google Docs

Photopeach.com

 

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

Photopeach is similar to Animoto. It is an online slideshow creator that allows you to create online slideshows with music and transition effects. You can then share them for viewing by others.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

Great idea for a student to use on a research topic. Perhaps a lesson about the Vietnam war and then create a slideshow with visuals and music to enhance the presentation.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

They have a VERY affordable educator version. It also allows you to manage your students’ accounts and keeps them from being made public. I would recommend this tool.

 

Overview, standards, and value of integrated technology

First blog from my Technology Education Class

  • What did you learn this week that you will use immediately in your classroom?

 

I am not currently in a classroom. However, I do plan to start using Audioboo to start some audio podcasts on technology and integrating it into tech. I do currently participate periodically in my company’s video podcast ’60 Seconds of Tech’.

  • What steps will you take to implement this in your classroom?

 

I will create and Audioboo account. I will then spend some time finding podcasts that I think are good and identify what it is I like about them. After that, I will work to implement some of those ideas into my own podcasts.

  • What challenge(s) will you face when using this in your classroom?

 

Obviously my first challenge is not having a classroom. Beyond that, I think we have to keep in mind that there are some students that don’t have regular access to a computer or the internet. How do you make these types of things accessible to those students as well?

  • What will you do to overcome the challenge(s)?

 

This is an excellent question. I’m not sure I have a great answer here. One thought is to get some type of player that could have the podcasts loaded onto them and then students could check them out to access them. I would love to hear some other ideas here.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 1

Wiki

 http://pbworks.com/wikis.html

http://pbworks.com/education.html

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

Wikis are a powerful collaboration platform that allows groups to contribute to a single repository of information. Multiple people can provide information and edit that information. The specific resource we looked at (PB Works) has a free version for business, private and educational entities as well as a paid version. The website provides some compelling case studies that demonstrate how their service is being used in a variety of settings.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

This is an ideal tool for group projects and culminating activities. I really liked the example in the case study for Baltimore County Public Schools. In this example, they had a team of 4 that acted as a UN Human Rights Commission and each one was assigned a specific mission. They used the wiki to gather document their individual findings and then as a group, write their report and make a recommendation. Using something like the PB Works wiki allows the students to stay in touch on their project at any time and at any location. They don’t have to physically get together to share their information and they can work on it as information or inspiration happens. This is much the same thing we are currently seeing happen in the work force, so it is excellent preparation for later in life as well.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would definitely recommend this resource for educators. I think it is critical that schools are teaching the skills and tools that students will need in the work force rather than relying on some of the more archaic methods of collaboration that still seem to be pervasive in the education system. There is a free version that provides a good starting point for teachers. The educational paid version is reasonably priced.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 2

e-books

 www.tumblebooks.com

 

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

I was not aware of Tumblebook before this assignment. I was aware of the more traditional digital books for e-readers like Kindle. This is a really interesting resource. I love the way it provides support for readers as well as the interaction of multimedia. There are books available from early reader all the way through High School. I think it’s also great that you can search by reading level as well as by accelerated reader and other slices.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

This would be great for general use as well as to assist struggling readers. I like that it has the ability to be adjusted for both within the same program. From a High School perspective, I think the main use is the ability to reduce the amount of books that the student has to carry.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would definitely recommend this resource to educators. I think the ability to adjust for a variety of reading levels so easily is a huge advantage. It does seem a bit pricy at around $500 per school per year for the HS version and $600/school/year for the early reader version. It is definitely out of the reach for individual parents to purchase and I didn’t see a price model for individuals.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 3

Podcasts

Audioboo.com

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

Both audio and video podcasts are being used in education. Teachers are using it for class notes for those who are unable to attend class or who need to review what was covered in class. Audioboo is a great site for audio podcasts. Teachers are using it to allow students to respond to their learning and expand their level of involvement. One that I really liked was an elementary school teacher who had students read books that they had written and then interviewed them like a reporter. I’m sure it is an experience that really left an impression on those students.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

I like the idea of providing the resource to students who need access to the information any time or repeatedly. I also think allowing students to use podcasts as a means of presenting what they’ve learned is quite powerful. It also exposes them to a wider audience. I think it would be great to work with another school in another country and use the podcast as a means of providing further perspective on the students’ own thoughts.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would HIGHLY recommend podcasts for other educators. It is a great way to reach out beyond the classroom and involve multiple senses in student learning. They are free services for up to 10 minute podcasts, so cost is not a blocker. The Audioboo is VERY easy to use and even has a phone app that makes recording a posting the podcast quite simple.

 

Educational Technology

It has been quite a bit since I’ve posted to my IT Buki blog. Life has been pretty hectic and lots of changes have happened in my life over the past year. One of those changes is that I have started working on my Ed. D. through the University of the Cumberlands.  The class I am taking this summer is all about Educational Technology. Each week, I will be sharing my thoughts and reactions to the class through my blog here. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Let me know what you think.

Roberto