Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The tool that I chose to review was Voki.  Take a peek at it on the right and click the play button.  I think that this could be a great tool to use with students.  You could use this as your morning routine and have the avatar tell students what they need to be doing while you are doing other things like lunch count or taking attendance.  This could definitely be used with a variety of diverse learners.  It could be used as a great tool to help kids with sounding things out and how to pronounce things properly.

 One of the main reasons why I signed up for Voki is because they have a section dedicated to lesson plans.  You can do a lesson plan search by grade or skill and there will be premade lessons that you can use.  Not only do you have the option of getting premade lesson you can also upload your own lessons to the website.  Here is a link to their lesson plan page so anyone can check out all of the different lesson plans.
One thing that I saw that I really liked was that some people used their Voki's when working with poetry.  They did this with one of my favorite Dr. Suess books, Oh the Places You'll Go.  If you like that story too check out Voki's blog where you can see a bear reading the poem.  I think Voki is a great tool that students will love.  I think students would love using Voki when they have to give reports or oral presentations.  They had a whole section of famous people that you could chose as your Voki.  I think a great assignment would be to assign students some of the famous people that they use on Voki and them have them give a report using that Voki.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Twitter Chat
This week I participated in the #teachchat.  I really liked the overall set up of this chat.  The moderator would ask questions and give us time to respond and then we would talk a little about the responses.  Everyone was very friendly and welcoming which made it even better.  I found this chat by looking on the website  I clicked on Wednesday on the website after realizing I missed one that I was going to do tonight by an hour.  I felt like everyone gave great feedback to the questions asked and gave me great ideas and feedback to use with my students.  I did not follow anyone from the twitter chat but now I am currently following some of the people I met in the chat.  I think the biggest thing that I found challenging was to remember to type in the hashtag.  I set up a specific column in tweetdeck with the #teachchat hashtag.  After doing this I didn't realize you still had to type in the hashtag everytime.  Even after I got situated I always felt like I forgot to type in the hashtag when I was finished with my tweet.  I think the only thing that could have been done would be on tweetdecks end.  I think there should be a way you so you don't have to type in the hashtag everytime.  Also I can't ever paste anything that I've copied into my tweets when using tweetdeck.  When I use twitter to paste a link or something I have no problems.  Overall I felt that this was a great experience and plan on doing this again especially with the #teachchat.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Social Networking
After reading the chapter in our web 2.0 book I liked reading about some of the different ways to use social networking in the classroom.  My favorite part was the section where the talked a student that wrote an essay on a Jane Austen book.  After the student located a fan fiction resource she posted her essay and within 24 hours had 5 people peer review her article.  That right there shows me how useful a social network could be.  I signed up for pinterest a little while ago after my wife showed me all of the educational resources that you could use on it.  They have so many different things that you can use.  One of the first websites I found on pinterest was about the top 200 apps for special education. (  I always love using apps with my students when I get  a chance.  Unfortunately our schools don't have Ipads so most of the time I have to let my students use my iPhone.  Pinterest had links to apps on social skills that you can use with your students have trouble in that area.  This would be something great to have when your working in a larger group and some of your students lack social skills.  There are just so many resources available to use.  My favorite thing is that if you come up with something that works you can share it with everyone else.
I already have a facebook account.  I found this website that had lots of resources for special education.  Within this facebook page was another website that has a list of resources for a wide range of ages and abilities of students with special needs.  All of the resources they have on the page could be used when working with students with special needs.  Again another benefit of the facebook page is being able to bounce different ideas with other teachers who work with students with special needs.  By joining this social network it gives me the opportunity to talk with other teachers who will understand what I am going through and what I deal with on a typical day.
I have also signed up the elementary tech teachers ning but I am awaiting approval to the site.  I look forward to using this one as it will help give me ideas on how to integrate all kinds of different technology with my students.  I now see the great benefits of using social networking.  I used to think they were just used to keep up with friends that live far away.  But now I see that it can be used to get perspectives of a large number of colleagues that go through the same things you do on a daily basis.  You can get great ideas from these people and bounce ideas off of them.  Using as many resources as possible and getting input from others in your area is what makes an exceptional teacher in my opinion.