Saturday, November 28, 2009

Link of the Week #4 - Khan Academy

This week's link is Khan Academy, a one man video tutorial powerhouse.

According the website, "We have 1000+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan."

Khan has created so many video tutorials I can't even show the entire catalog in one screenshot.


The only problem may be that these videos are all hosted on YouTube which is blocked in many schools.  That being said there are some fairly simple tools like which will convert and download the file.  FYI, I've recently read that this may violate YouTube's EULA , and therefore recommend that districts consider offering at least teacher access to YouTube to help teachers access the wealth of educational content available on this and other video websites.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If you build it, they will come - facilitating a blended classroom environment with Moodle chats

Kudo's to Mrs. Manley and her 9th Grade ELA students!  You see, the 9 different school districts that send students to the ATA don't share the same school calendar.  Some of our schools began Thanksgiving vacation last Friday while others won't begin until Tuesday.

How then do you keep the learning momentum of the class when half the class is on vacation?  Homework? Free day?  How about opening a Moodle chat room and allowing students in school and on vacation to participate in a synchronous collaborative lesson?  Check!  Ok, so there was an optional homework assignment for those who could not or chose not to participate, but roughly 11 students did participate in the chat.

In one case, the mother of a student called the ATA just prior to the scheduled chat and explained that their internet was down.  After some discussion of options the student decided to walk to a friends house to get online and participate.   This is big - these students came to class (virtually) on Vacation!  

BTW.  Students in Mrs. Manley's class regularly use Moodle chats in class to facilitate "silent" class discussions after completing assigned work.  And the rules of the chat are always reiterated.  Moodle chat rooms are only accessible to enrolled students with the option of being "turned off" when the teacher is unable to moderate.  A log of the chat, along with each student entry and a tally of total entries is also available.  This makes assessing participation possible and accountability easier to enforce.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Link of the Week #3 - Vocaroo

Looking for a quick, no frills, web based audio recording tool.  Look no further than Vocaroo.  No account sign up, no software to down load.  Just click record, agree to let Vocaroo access your microphone, and click stop recording when you are finished.  You are given a weblink, embed code, and a download file link. Pretty much all you would ever need.

Just remember that the weblink is really your only way back to the recording since there is no account to save it to.  And every recording is more or less public once you share the link or embed the Vocaroo player.  Just for fun you can try it out below.

Powered by Vocaroo

Update: The Vocaroo Server seems to be down at the moment, but hopefully not for long.  In the meantime, I recommend AudioPal.  Recordings are limited to 60 seconds, but the are a few extra features like text-to-speech and phone call recording.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Video Tutorial - Create a collaborative bookmarking and research resource using Google Docs Forms

Social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo are great, but setting up student accounts and teaching students how to use these sites can be time consuming.

Here is a video tutorial on using Google Docs Forms to build a quick collaborative bookmarking and research resource for your class.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Link of the Week #2 - BrainyFlix

Dictionary's are sooo yesterday!  Welcome BrainyFlix and its quieter side BrainPics which promises to build your vocab repertoire by presenting you with a short video or wittily captioned image to help you build a deeper understanding of the word.  These multimedia flashcards would be a great resource for students encountering new vocabulary, but creating your own is where the fun really starts.

Users can submit their BrainyPic or Flix after a simple sign up or by using Facebook Connect.  Sign-up also gives users access to voting and comments.

BrainyPics asks users choose a word from a drop down menu "word bank",  upload a picture, give credit to the photos source :), and then write a caption using the word correctly.  Flix uses a similar word bank, but videos must be uploaded to a video host like YouTube and then embedded.  Submissions receive votes for being either a "great sentence" or "questionable usage", or users can add comments.

"Don't say anything you wouldn't say to your mom" - may not stop comment abuse but it's a good reminder.

This is a great example of students creating their own learning resources and combines basic social networking features that make the site engaging and collaborative. I only wish I could add the word "repertoire".

Friday, November 6, 2009

Link of the Week #1 -

Welcome to the inaugural "Link of the Week" post at the Ed Tech Kit blog!

This week I am featuring a website that describes itself as  "Simple real-time sharing, collaboration, and presentation".  Here's how they put it:

About postcard
This morning I tried it out with a handful of students.  I asked them to answer the question "What is your least favorite school rule? How would you change that rule and why?" Some students used our new netbooks to make a short video in movie maker using the built in webcam and then uploaded it to the "drop".  Others used their cell phones to call in and record their response.  And one student took photographs with her cell phone of the other students using and emailed them to the site from her phone.  

I created the drop, asked the question and KA-POW! the drop was suddenly filled with multiple means of expression (a UDL concept) to the same question.  I could have just as easily asked for a written response uploaded from a doc, e-mailed from a phone, or written as a "note".   Or we could have used the chat or set up a conference call.  And now has integration with facebook and twitter as well.  

Best of all there are numerous ways to handle permissions, editing, and privacy.  

The potential for classroom use is enormous. Students could submit assignments, do collaborative bookmarking, contribute class notes, add photo submissions with commenting, make video responses, or create a podcast.  Student's don't have to be given permission to view the drop by using the e-mail and phone options, so teachers can screen submissions and then use "hidden" links and embedding on a class website or moodle page for sharing.

I hope to share more links like each week and look forward to hearing your comments or examples of using in your school.