Archive for October, 2012

Mini-Projects: Part Deux


28 Oct

For my mini-projects this time I chose to look at Google Lit Trips and TimeToast, one of the timeline sites. All three timeline sites were listed in our book, and Solomon and Schrum described Timetoast as, “an online interactive timeline creation tool with which you can design your own or search for others’ timelines on many topics. You can also publish these timelines on Twitter or other social networking sites” (Solomon & Schrum, 2013, p. 261). I liked Timetoast because it was very user-friendly- it was very easy to add and edit text along with pictures. While I think a timeline could be more useful for a history class, sometimes it is helpful for students in an English class to place events in a novel on a timeline, especially if the novel includes flashbacks. I was frustrated by the fact that the timeline required the time to be recorded in days, not hours or minutes. For example. I was using the events from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” but these events take place over one day. In order to put these events in chronological order, I had to list them as happening on different days. It’s a small issue, but it would have been helpful to have more choices about the time for the timeline.

Google Lit Trips was a bit more work than the other mini-projects I’ve done, but it also seemed to be a rewarding project. Solomon & Schrum say, with regards to Google Earth, that it may be “…limited in scope, yet [it] provide[s] capabilities that really make a difference in classrooms” (Solomon & Schrum, 2013, p. 13). There is a specific purpose for using Google Lit Trips, but I really think it would be useful, especially in a high school setting.

I used Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love because I knew the plot featured many different places around the world, which students may not be familiar with. These places in Indonesia, India and Rome are integral to the plot but also not popular destinations for today’s high schoolers. I liked that Google Lit Trips allow the teacher to add relevant websites, questions, information, etc. I think I would definitely use this in my classroom, especially for novels that take place in foreign countries. This is a great way connect the students to the novels they are reading.

 

Resources:

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2013).Web 2.0: how-to for educators. (1st ed.). Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education.

Mini-Projects: Comic Life and Wordle


21 Oct

My first mini-project was with Comic Life. I created a comic about two students talking about the meaning of setting, conflict and resolution in novels. I liked this way of presenting the material to the students, because it’s informative but interesting at the same time. I could see teachers using this tool in the classroom to relate their topics to the students, but I can also see the students using this program to create their own projects. I think this would also be a great for the students to use to teach other students about topics being taught in class. I could see myself splitting students up into groups and having them create an informative comic aimed at a certain demographic or age group (maybe their peers, maybe younger students).

Wordle was incredibly simple to use; really it’s just a plug-and-chug kind of website. Despite this, or maybe because of it, I thought this site was interesting and would be really helpful for students who are visual learners. I think this would definitely be a great starter activity for a larger unit, but I see myself having trouble stretching it out into a longer activity. I do like the fact that students can submit their own words and see the words that come from their classmates; I think this is a great way to spread a feeling of classroom community and to allow students to check in with their peers.

Wallwisher


14 Oct

http://wallwisher.com/wall/wahoorach

I liked this tool- I am a sticky-note person and I use them to remember small bits and pieces of information I know I will need later on. I like that other people can add to the wall, creating a community of post-it notes. I think students would respond positively to this- the design is easy to use and it’s a good outlet for their ideas.

I think this would work especially well in an English classroom, where students need to learn how to share opinions orally and through the written word. I was a little irritated with the character limit, but just like with Twitter, this forces students to be concise and to only say what they mean. Solomon and Schrum address this issue with Twitter by saying, “People have generated shortcuts to communicate well beyond text messaging codes…” (Solomon & Schrum, 2013, p. 34). Today’s students are used to using Twitter and other sites that force them to become creative in their communication strategies. It is just as important to be able to express oneself in a direct way in the real world as it is in the academic world, and I think Wallwisher is a great way to help students practice this skill.

Resources:

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2013).Web 2.0: how-to for educators. (1st ed.). Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education

 

 

Flipping the Classroom


07 Oct

I have mixed feelings about the Flipped classroom. I know that for me, as a student, I really respond to human interaction when trying to learn new concepts. I like the freedom that the Flipped classroom offers, in terms of being able to do activities in class, but my worry is that valuable teacher-student conversations would suffer. The Flipped Student Infographic did say, “After students watch lessons, they write down any questions they have. Teachers review those questions with students individually” (“The flipped classroom,” 2012). This only works if the students actually write down the questions. There is also the distraction variable: will students be committed to watching (and paying attention) to the lecture while at home? The lecture video will be competing with even more distractions at home than in the classroom.

The examples of flipped classrooms mostly had to do with math/science classrooms, so I am unsure as to how this would work in an English classroom. On the one hand, having classtime to read novels might actually ensure that students do the reading, whereas they might blow it off at home. On the other hand, there’s really no reason for the teacher to be present while students are reading (unless they are ELL students, or students who need extra help with reading). Would this be a waste of class time? Discussions are so important to an English classroom, and while some of this can be done in online forums, there is no substitute for the ability to express oneself in a face-to-face situation.

Despite my reservations, the statistics do not lie. The Flipped Classroom Infographic states that before the flip 50% of freshmen students failed English, and after the flip only 19% of freshmen failed English (“The flipped classroom”, 2012). This means something about this method must be working, right? I think I might use aspects of the Flipped classroom, maybe for certain lessons, but I’m still skeptical about fully converting my classroom into a flipped one.

 

Works Cited:

The flipped classroom infographic. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/

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