I’m getting into the swing of the classroom thing after a year’s hiatus, and would like to share a few of my favourite things with you.
Jing Project: Visual conversation starts here. Mac or Windows.
Jing is a screen capture software which allows you to capture video or image files. You can save, embed or share the files you create. Very handy for use with kids when your only other options are either print or sign up. As always, academic honesty is encouraged, and students are expected to acknowledge the source of their screen captures. My grade 2-4 students are managing to use it very successfully for things like making screencasts of the places they have lived via Google Earth, capturing avatars, or saving their wordles.
Which brings me to… WORDLE!
Wordle – Beautiful Word Clouds
I know it really is a tool that makes things look funkier than I would be capable of myself, but I think it has potential for deeper use than solely decoration. We used it in the obvious way in the classroom – each student made a wordle of their interests, beliefs and values, which linked to a unit on ‘Who we Are‘. I have also considered its use as a statistical tool – if you had a list of options for a survey question, it would be a neat way of presenting the responses. I believe people have used it to analyse polital speeches for word frequency, famous sayings and the like as well.
My delicious account is one of my most treasured sites. Being able to go through all my bookmarks, explore my network’s bookmarks and search for various tags has been invaluable. This is one of the first places I suggest teachers new to web 2.0 start, as everyone has favourite bookmarks and being able to piggy-back off other people’s helps create a fantastic collection of resources.
kwout | A brilliant way to quote
I feel that Kwout really does live up to it’s tagline – it IS a brilliant way to quote! Especially for people using blogs, as the ability to take a screen capture, embed it AND provide a link saves a great deal of time. The students are especially receptive to the visual aspect of it, and it certainly pretties up a blog which would ordinarily be filled with stock-standard links.
Edublogs – education blogs
I can’t think what I would have done if it weren’t for edublogs. Ok, I probably would be happy enough using blogger, but the fact that edublogs is specifically designed for education makes it so much more easy to use. I have set up kids’ blogs, and we are about to embark on that particular avenue soon. The kids are over the moon, and so am I, what with administrative rights and comment moderation!
Google reader is my daily professional development. Best of all, it’s free! I love learning from the wonderful and inspiring edubloggers out there such as Jeff Utecht, Kim Cofino, Vicki Davis, Dean Shareski, Suzie Vesper, Ewan McIntosh, David Warlick, to name a few. I have learned so much from these people, none of whom I have ever met. They challenge my beliefs and ideas, and push me towards new learning. I love it!
Anyway, my list of favourites is hardly exhaustive, but damnit, it’s a pretty good start.