Hyped

I guess I’m admitting to being 7 different kinds of geek now, but I am really excited about some tools out there that enable kids to share their learning with an online audience in a range of forms. What’s absolutely awesome about these tools is they are free for educators.

GLOGSTER:

Glogster’s tagline is, ‘Poster yourself’, and while this is a noble enough start, the educational possibilities for such a tool are endless. I plan to use this with my Grade 4s as a means of communicating findings and ideas about their upcoming unit on Think Global, Act Local to a wider audience.

http://www.glogster.com/edu

Education | Glogster

Students can upload video and audio files as well as typing/pasting in their own text to share their ideas. What I think the kids are going to LOVE about it is that Glogster allows you to bling your work in a way that makes everything look pretty amazing. A perfect way of fine-tuning their skills of presentation.

ANIMOTO

I was so pleased that Animoto decided to let educators have free full-access accounts for themselves and their students, enabling them to produce full-length videos and download them. I used Animoto in a presentation to staff on professional development in technology, and had loads of comments about the quality of the teaser trailer I produced. Most refused to believe my assertions that it was a piece of cake and hardly took any time. I love it when that happens!

http://education.animoto.com/

– Animoto For Education –

I hope to use this with my kids to make a video about their year in review. I figure it will be a nice memento of their school year. My only concern this time is the time it takes to upload photos – albeit resized ones – en masse. I’ll be sure to post about how I get on.

GOOGLE EARTH PRO

Google Earth continues to be one of my favourite tools for use in the classroom. From Google Lit Trips to  Real World Maths and everything in between, Google Earth is one of the most versatile tools on offer today. It’s also fantastic for every age group. My 3 year old daughter likes visiting her Nana & Poppa’s house in NZ and seeing where we live in Singapore.

To get a free Google Earth Pro account: Check here for Kevin Jarrett’s blog post that contains all the details you’ll need. Google Earth Pro allows you to download movies of your Google Earth tours, which is great for sharing learning.

3 thoughts on “Hyped

  1. You are right; there are some excellent tools available out “there.” Google Earth has some incredible uses for student learning, as well as several other Google applications. I have also heard of many teachers who utilize Glogster with great success. Admittedly, I have never used it. I do have a question for you about Animoto: What do you believe students learn by feeding images to a program and letting it organize, edit, and create transitions among them? Wouldn’t kids be better off making those decisions on their own? I agree, Animoto creates some very dazzling, flashy spectacles, but aren’t we taking the creation out of kids’ hands? I would much rather use a program like Photostory 3 (or iMovie if you are a Mac) and let kids learn about organization, pacing, tone, transition,and timing. I guess if your purpose is to quickly put the images together in an eye-popping performance, go for it. But could we do more for, and expect more from kids?
    Forgive me if I am being harsh, but I am a devotee of Digital Storytelling, which focuses on “story” and creating a project as a means of self exploration and sharing. DST also subscribes to the theory of “less is more.” I emphasize that the “Digital” is subordinate to the “story.” To me, Animoto puts the technology first creating what Joe Lambert refers to as “Digital Spectacle.”
    From reading some of your other blog posts (and since you blog in the first place!) I know you are clearly concerned about kids and learning. I just wonder about the value of Animoto. Please email me if you wish, or dm me on twitter (jorech); I would love to continue this conversation with you.

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  2. Oooh, lovely! A juicy comment! Thanks Jon. I think it is so valuable to justify the tools I use with kids. I think I should make a point of doing so from now on.

    You make some excellent points, and I agree with your assertions for the most part. Yes, Animoto is flashy, yes, it could be seen as a glorified slideshow, and thinking about the learning potential of such a tool is indeed important. I think it depends how it is used.

    We have a unit coming up with Grade 3 about advertising – can’t remember the exact focus, but something like ‘understanding how advertising works helps us to make informed choices.’ One of the summative assessment tasks is to create an advertisement for something using the techniques advertisers use. I can see Animoto being an excellent option for this exercise (should the students choose it from a range of tools on offer!). It focuses them on the power of the visual, the selective use of text and appropriate use of audio to persuade.

    I think there is learning inherent in that task. And I also believe the technology takes second place to the learning. I think choosing the right tool for the right audience is important too.

    Admittedly, I did not include the above example in my post as an intended use (can I blame multitasking??), and the learning involved in creating a year review is more a case of creating a visual reflection of significant events and moments. I would like to (boldly) state that I believe there is as much learning potential in that exercise (if not more) as there is in a written reflection – something we ask our students to do on a regular basis.

    With all of the tools I use at school with the kids, it has to have a context or it’s meaningless. I don’t use Google Earth for example to show students how the tool works, but rather I use it because I believe it is the most appropriate tool to enhance and support the learning they are already doing in (and out) of the classroom.

    I am currently using animation with my Grade 4 students as a means of communicating their research into various systems of the body with younger students (see http://mrsbuwcgrade4.edublogs.org/ ). Animation itself is neat and the kids love it, but without a context it is just empty.

    It’s not the tool, but the way a teacher uses it that makes a difference to student learning. It is possible to use all of these tools in shallow ways, just as it is possible to use them in meaningful and powerful ways. I don’t think teachers will be replaced by technology for this very reason.

    I’d like to talk to you more about your work with digital storytelling, as it sounds like it would be right up my street.

    Thanks again for the comment, and for provoking some serious reflection in me. This is what learning’s all about, right?

    Keri-Lee

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  3. Hey, Keri!
    Thanks for your professionalism. Especially for younger kids, you do have a grasp on WHY you have kids completing a task. Unfortunately, not all in our field do that. I respect, admire, and agree with what you said about the outcome is what determines the tool…not the other way around. If this tool achieves your objective, that’s what counts.

    I am glad we have talked about this! Look forward to expanding our professional relationship!

    Jon

    PS, I would love to talk to you more about DST. People who know me know it’s my obsession! I do on-site workshops too! Hey, I would love to come to Singapore!

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