Sunday, April 22, 2012

Using Wordle in the Classroom

created using
Every week with this class, I am amazed at how many Web 2.0 tools are out there that I did not even know existed a few short weeks ago.  The tool I decided to explore this week was Wordle.  This is a fun tool that can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways.  A simple Google search of "wordle in the classroom" brings up so many possibilities.  This wiki had some interesting ideas for use in elementary classrooms (as well as a great list of many Web 2.0 tools that link to more ideas for classroom use).  This edublog also had many great ideas that I would be able to use with elementary age students.  Out of the many examples I saw, some that I would use with students include:
  • When students type any piece of work, they can copy and paste their text into Wordle.  The end result gives students a visual of which words they might have used the most (or over-used) in their writing (I copied and pasted this blog post to create this Wordle).

  • Use the application to create word family Wordles.

  •  Welcome students to their new class.

  • Since Wordle makes words that are entered more often bigger, use the application to take a class poll.  Students can enter their choice into the text box, then create the Wordle as a visual representation.
The possibilities really are endless as to how you might use this Web 2.0 tool in your classroom!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Social Networking for the 21st Century Teacher

"While the old web was about websites, clicks, and "eyeballs", the new web is about communities, participation and peering."  Tapscott and Williams, 2006 (page 83, Web 2.0 for Educators, Solomon and Schrum, 2010)

That quote really sums up how I now view my Internet interactions-especially when I have my "teacher hat" on.  Our assignment for week 5 was to explore new social networking sites.  

I already use Facebook quite often, but mostly for my personal life.  I "liked" pages noted in our assignments folder, as well as some of the pages of other education blogs I read.  I like getting the updates to blog posts via Facebook.  It is quicker than me checking in to the blog itself or even my Google Reader, and I can get a little snippet of the post to know if I need to check it out further.  I like this new tool  :).

I also use Pinterest...a LOT.  **I just added a "Follow Me on Pinterest" button on my sidebar if you would like to see some of my boards.  I loo-O-oove Pinterest!  Several teachers at my school are also"Pin-a-holics" like me.  When we see each others bulletin board displays or other classroom ideas we joke about how we "found it on Pinterest".  Because we all follow each other, we also share lots of ideas without even having to think about it.  One great example is this behavior management system that almost every grade level and teacher began using this year simply because we pinned it off of each other over the summer then talked about it when we came back together in August.  Now that most of us are using the same system, we have a common language about behavior choices.  This will really help next year when our school moves to PBIS and we already have the groundwork ready.  Because Pinterest brought us together.

I signed up for the following Nings-TeacherLibrarian, Teacher Vodcasting and Flipped Classroom Network, and iPads in Education, as well as The Educator's PLN.  I especially like reading through the posts in the forums of these networks.  The discussions in the threads are really interesting to read.  I have even replied in a few of them.  It really makes you feel like you are part of an extended teaching-and learning-community.  

I know I have said this before, but to say that all of this new information flooding toward me from JUST this course is overwhelming is an understatement.  It's all for good, but I am very glad that summer break is just around the corner and I will have more time to really digest it all and wrap my brain around how I would like implement some of these ideas in my classroom for next year.  And beyond.

My first Twit Chat

I participated in my first Twitter chat this week!  I was in the #3rdchat that "meets" on Wednesday evenings.  I was excited to try out a chat in this format.  I've used chat rooms before, but this was a little different to get used to since I had to make sure I included the # with every tweet.  A few times I forgot and had to delete the tweet and RT with the #.  This usually happened when the conversation was going pretty fast and I was trying to keep up.  The main topic in this chat session was creating a flipped classroom.  Because of the chat, I now also follow #flipclass, along with @claymayer and @JaimeVanderG.  Then it got even more confusing when I wanted to include both #s in my tweets, as well as mention people.  I think I finally got the hang of it  :).  

I liked that I had the chance to quickly interact with colleagues and learn about something new from their perspective.  By the end of the chat, I had 11 tabs open in my browser to go back and sift through new information.  I discovered Clay's class website,  as well as several others about creating a flipped classroom including this one and her interesting post about critics of the flipped class model. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to participating in more chats.  One thing that I think would make the chats easier is if there was a type of "info" or "about" for the # groups.  The Cybraryman link was helpful to know when the #3rdchat would happen, but I don't know if or when some of the other #s I follow have a regular weekly chat.  I posted a few tweets to the #s, so maybe I can find out that way.

Happy Tweeting!