Thursday, March 17, 2011

Module 2 Favorites

I really enjoyed exploring all these tech tools, some of them for the first time and some with more depth than I’d done before.  It was hard to pick 5 favorites, so I fudged things a bit to include one or two extras. 

Blogs and Wikis
Blogs and wikis seem like the most important tools to me.  Students, teachers, and others can use blogs and wikis to post or store information, and then those students, teachers, and others can comment and interact.  Wikis, of course, allow for more interaction but blogs are also great as a place where folks can gather to discuss topics.  In the classroom, use of blogs and wikis would encourage student writing, discussion, and thinking.  They also offer a potential opportunity to get quieter students to participate more fully.

Social Bookmarking
Why wasn’t I using Diigo and Delicious before!?  They’re amazing tools for keeping track of all the great resources I come across every day.  I don’t know if teachers at my school are aware of these sites, but I think everyone would find them extremely useful for organizing the barrage of information that they want to hang onto, but don’t manage to.

Flickr and Flickr Commons
For student multimedia projects, Flickr seems like an essential resource.  Not only can you organize your own photos, but you can also see other people’s images.  If you search through the Creative Commons, you can find photos that are available for use in educational or personal projects.  And Flickr Commons offers access to images and primary documents from dozens of museums, libraries, and historical societies.  I loved making a personal scrapbook of favorite photos I found at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, and others. I loved this photo from NYPL.

Digital ID: 1260071. Mrs. Gus Wright, Farm Security Administration client with her canned goods, Oakland community, Greene County, Georgia, November 1941.. Delano, Jack -- Photographer. November 1941

Animoto was just a blast.  It was so easy to make a high quality video.  I know students would LOVE using this tool and would feel very proud of their products.  The directions were very simple—another plus for a tool that children will be using.  People in class mentioned using Animoto for book reports, and I saw that someone else had recapped a classroom biography project in her Animoto—both great ideas.  I keep saying this, but I plan to pay for the expanded service, so I can make longer videos for my personal use.

BigHugeLabs was another site that children would be crazy about.  There are many possible educational uses, most with the end result of helping students present their work in a polished and professional format.  Maybe BigHugeLabs is more fluff than substance, but anything that gets students to be more excited and proud of their work seems like a valuable addition to an educator’s toolkit.

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