KSTL is a competition for Kansas students, grades 6-12, who are interested in technology, digital content, and social media. Students are invited to compete with other students across the state in the following categories:
This week my Interactive Media class has moved on to using Illustrator - we start with learning about the tools that are different than Photoshop, and then we quickly move onto 3D text and text modification. The first big project the students do is the following tutorial - they learn how to add gradients for extra shadowing, create scatter brushes, and utilize the pen tool to create "vines."
My students, along with myself, use this website very frequently. It is amazing how many people are willing to share their talented computer skills by developing tutorials with the world. My advanced courses that learn Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc. no longer need a text book to learn in-depth techniques!
Can we as teachers allow students to use websites such as Facebook & Twitter in our classrooms? Can we afford not too? Students in this generation are using social networking websites to communication, share ideas, and meet new people. As educators, we must start incorporating these types of resources if we want to connect with our students.
I just recently made a video for a masters class I am taking; it depicts the positives of social networking in the classroom.
With summer comes long days outside and away from the computer. I have completely lost track of updating my blog. Today is the day that changes! I want to continue sharing sites that I feel are useful in the educational world.
Today I want to share Aviary.com - it is a suite of online tools that include photo editing, music creation, and screen capturing. All of the tools are free to use and can be accessed with a Google, Facebook, Twitter, or Yahoo account.
Recently Aviary added an education section that allows for private student accounts and an assignment manager.
One of the best features Aviary offers is the tutorial section. Easy, intermediate, and advanced step by step tutorials are available for students to learn with. I even allowed my students to use their own pictures while following along with the tutorials. This allows the students to be creative while learning new techniques!
Sometimes in the middle of a unit with my elementary students, I find a website so cool that I have to take a class period to show them. Today, I gave my 5th graders a break from learning about Excel functions and had them do a worksheet over fractions. Now, fractions are exactly the most fun math concept, but the middle school math teacher said that they need some extra practice adding fractions with uncommon denominators. As I said before, I feel that my job as a vocational teacher is not only to teach student about different technology, but also how to incorporate technology into their educational lives. So - I grab any opportunity that I have to help my core classroom teachers.
So today, I did a google search for fraction worksheets and found several from HelpingWithMath.com and printed two that included mixed numbers and uncommon denominators.
Then, I had my students log onto Conceptua Math (I had already posted the link on their Edmodo site for easy access). They choose the free tool Adding with Uncommon Denominators.
This free tool was exactly what they needed to help them finish their worksheet. They could manipulate each fraction to find the common denominator. Pictures were located next to each fraction to help them visualize the difficult whole/part issue with fractions. The best part was that the could check their answer before they wrote it down on their worksheet - this means that every student's work was perfect before they turned it in!
Not only did my students work hard on their assignments, they also help each other! Once someone figured out how to manipulate their denominator they were excited to help their neighbors!
Only problem I had was they students all used my username that I created. I wish this website would allow for a teacher/student account options under the free version. The premium version offers much more, but our school cannot afford it.
I love Facebook. I will admit it...I log on several times a day to check up on old friends, classmates, and colleagues. Without Facebook, I would not have kept in touch with many of the people I grew up with, and I would not be able to share my life with so many people.
But...does Facebook have a place in the classroom? Personally, I believe that Facebook has too many distractions (pictures, games, applications, etc.) to be useful in a structured classroom environment. However, I do believe that social networking can be a wonderful addition to classrooms using technology. My view of social networking is any website or application that allows for communication and collaboration.
Edmodo seems to mirrored after Facebook in look and design. I have used it with two different classes this year, 5th & 9th grade. I upload assignments, files, events, links, and even reminder notes. Students can download files that I have posted and then when they are finished with their assignment they 'turn-in' or upload their finished work. I like this much better than getting assignments e-mailed. They are more organized and are ready to be graded right on one page. Students like this website because they are able to post their picture and communicate with their friends (all publicly on the home wall). My 9th graders were great at sharing helpful website links and resources with their class.
Additional social networking website that I think could be useful in the classroom would include: Ning, Zonkk, Moodle, & Twitter. I also believe that Google Apps could be used resourcefully in a classroom.