Monday, December 12, 2011

Livescribe Smartpens

Differentiating with livescribe smartpens from December 10, 2011

Speaker: Peggy George

Special Guest: Aviva Dunsiger and Sue Glascoe

The topic covered in this Webinar was the Livescribe Smartpens. These pens are used in the classroom as a tool to help students in all subject areas but mostly Language Arts. The pens look and act like other smartboard pens. They differ in the fact that you can write on “paper” and then the pen will read back what was written. This is the pens audio option; this is an excellent part of the pens but it also seen as a fear by many people. The pen is also different because it is a portable computer. The pen has the software of that of a Smartphone or computer. The user can download apps for the pen. In the Webinar she talks about how she downloaded a Spanish dictionary app. This app models how to say the written English word in Spanish by saying it. It also will look up and give the definition of the word in Spanish. They also talk about the mathematics apps that are available for the pens.

These pens will impact teaching by allowing students to use the pens when they are stuck on how to say a word. Say the teacher wrote down the directions for that student and they can’t read them, the pen will read the directions for the student allowing for the student to figure out what to do on their own. The pen can also be used for telling stories that students have written down, keeping students work anonymous to the other students in the class. The pen can also be used in a literacy center, this will allow for the teacher to plan two centers that allow for more comprehensive task, that a teacher might have to explain. The applications allow for endless possibilities on when and where the pen can be used. You can download an app to help students in science making the boring subject more fun and hands on. Another aspect of the pen is the ability to connect it to your computer and download things for safe keeping. One thing I liked was pencast, this is where the recording of directions or stories are uploaded onto the class website and made available for students who were sick that day or they can be used for their homework.

I can use this tool in my future because I want to be a teacher. This pen would be a great asset to any classroom. The use of this tool are endless, it is hard to think of just a few examples of how I would use it in my classroom, because there are so many ideas going through my head. I would use it for capturing the directions or stories and posting them on the website for students who were sick or who are struggling. I would also use it for more hands on opportunities for the “boring” subjects such as mathematics and social studies. I like the idea of having the pen read some of the students work out loud, this would be good for the students who want to share but are too afraid to, after a while they can see that their peers enjoy their work and then they might be a little more comfortable to read it out loud in front of them.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tours in Second Life

Thinking that Second Life is just for fun and games. I am here to tell you that it can be used for much more. Second Life can also be very educational, there are tours that one can take to landmarks, countries, and cities with a search and a click. While in Second Life I took a tour called Real World Locations. It was based on national landmarks from around the world! I went to the Great Wall and the Gateway Arch all in one day. It was interesting to get to go to these places, when in reality I have never been to any of them. You can move about the landmarks and see them from all angles.

Do to these travelings that I had the pleasure in taking, I think that it would be fun for students to be able to do this. Say they are researching the Great Wall or Africa's Wilderness and the pictures they find on the internet or in books are only from one side or the same pictures over and over again. The students can get on Second Life and go to these places, walk around and experience them for themselves. This kind of usage will open many doors to students who may never get the chance to go see these landmarks.

I made my own tour on Second Life. At first I thought it was going to be rather hard and very time consuming, but it was the complete opposite. It was rather easy to find places and then bookmark them. Then you just had to go back through and give each location a description. The hardest part was thinking of a topic to do my tour on, I thought of other lessons I have taught and a Social Studies lesson dealing with memorable sights in the United States came to mind. I created my tour based on landmarks that we have here in the United States. My students would be able to travel to the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and even The Golden Gate Bridge. It was rather fun to think about using this tour in a classroom some day.

The first stop for my tour is The Statue of Liberty, the link to it in Second Life is The second stop in the tour is just a hop, skip, and jump away, it is the memorial for the World Trade Centers. The link for it in Second life is The third stop for the tour is The Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The link for it is The next stop on our tour is Mt. Rushmore. You may find it in Second Life by going to this address, We will now be going to the Golden Gate Bridge, you may go to it by this link, The last stop on our tour is the Grand Canyon. The link in Second Life is Have a fun time exploring these wonderful US landmarks!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flat Classroom Project

When we were told that we would be doing The Flat Classroom Project in this class, I was a little reserved because of the experience I had in my class last semester. I came with an open mind though because it seemed like it was much more put together and we would be able to do more things throughout the project.

We signed up as Expert Advisors. I chose to be an expert advisor to group 7 Google Takes Over the World. I made a message introducing myself to the students and other expert advisors in my group. There was a lot of responses and introductions given, which got me rather excited to do this project. The topic was rather interesting because of everything Google has faced in the past few years.

As time went on it was rather hard to help the students with their project. There was five expert advisors in my group, including me, so it was hard with my class and work schedule to sign on and the mistakes not have been corrected already. This was very frustrating because I was really excited to participate and help the students make the best project they could. The advice given by the other advisors was very helpful and hit the problems right on. Also a problem I encountered was that the students made very little mistakes and when they did their cooperating teacher fixed it or another expert advisor did. Towards the end of the project students started to wither away and not add much to their projects.

When the projects were finished and videos created, we were to sign up for judging. This part of Flat Classroom, I really enjoyed. It was cool to see the students' work in the finished product. The videos I watched ranged from very well done to students just doing it because they had to. I was rather surprised to see the skill that some students had when they created their videos. The group I judged was Web 2.0. The videos for this group were very interesting and they were so well done, I had trouble picking my top four videos because of the quality these students used in their videos. After I finished watching the videos in my group that I was to judge, I went through and watch other videos. It was amazing to see the time and thought that all the students put into their videos.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Second Life

You are probably thinking to yourself what the heck is second life. Well it is an interactive game where you decide your own destiny. You can create your own avatar, clothes, house, etc... It is like the Sims but you don't have to babysit your avatar 24/7. It is a great way to meet and interact with people online. It is very handy because you don't even have to leave your chair. Because of this I think that it will be very useful to use in the classroom as a tool to collaborate with one another. It is something new for students to use, it is a great and safe outlet for them to be sociable and themselves.

Moving around second life is a breeze. You can use the keyboard to do everything! Use the arrow keys to move around, use E to jump, C to crouch, or E and the up arrow at the same time to fly! Yes I said fly, it is the quickest way to get from point a to point b. In second life you also have the option to run, you have to go into your options to chose to run.

You can also take snapshots at the press of three keys. Shift, Ctrl, and s.
Then you have the option to save to your computer, inventory, or email. It is a fun and easy way to share what you are doing with your family and friends! The picture is of the fountain from my avatar's point of view. The one above is of me flying around!

NewBees, there is a whole island, Orientation Island Lionheart, dedicated to helping you understand the world of second life. There are many interactive instructions for you to do to further your knowledge of second life. I found them very useful in helping me understand everything that I can do in second life. It was very informative to go through the process of reading and doing everything.

Changing your appearance is as easy as snapping your fingers in the real world. You just have to go to your inventory and click on clothing, and then you can modify what you are currently wearing or you can completely change your clothes. You can also change anything else about your avatar. You can change hair style or even your hair color, the shape of your face, how tall you are, the size of your body, or you can even change your avatar to be a robot. In Second Life everything is left up to you. You can be as true to yourself or you can be as far from yourself as you want. The choices are unlimited. I chose a avatar and a preset clothing choice and changed it to what I wanted my avatar to look like. Here is the before shot, I have short blonde hair, a pink polka dotted dress on, tall, and rather skinny.

I made changes to my avatar to make it look more unrealistic to how I am in the real world. I chose an avatar already made. Her outfit looks like she is from the 17th century. I love this time period so this had a great impact on the why I chose this avatar. I made a few changes to this avatar though, I changed the eye color to blue, made the nose a little smaller, and also made the avatar shorter. These characteristics go along with what I look like in the real world. Other than that me and my avatar look very different!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gaming in Education

This was assignment was rather difficult for me. How could it possibly be hard to find a game to play for a hour. Well at first I couldn't even think of a game to use for this assignment it was rather difficult since I usually don't play video games or computer based games. I have a tendency to get addicted to a game and then I procrastinate on my homework so I decided to give up gaming all together. The second problem was when would I find the time to play a game for a hour when I have homework for my other classes. This was rather easy when I found the right game to play.

I chose to play The Sims Social on Facebook. I have played the Sims games once or twice in my teenage years, so it was rather new to me. The tutorial at the beginning was useful because it showed what you were suppose to do and how to move your Sim around. At first it took a little while to get into the game because you couldn't really do much because your Sim has very little money. This became less of a factor when I begin to get more into the game and the hour flew by.

Throughout the game you are trying to help your Sim build a their life. You can choose which way of life you want your Sim to have. Once you have gotten the hang of things you have to choose what your Sim does and how it does it. If you want your Sim to play a computer game you have to click the computer and then chose play game. There are many life lessons throughout this game,you have to practice to get good at something, you must take care of your things, spend your money wisely, and many more.

This game is just one example of the many that games can be educational and not just a way to past time. Using games in the classroom will bring a new perspective for students to use to learn the concept in which the teacher is trying to get a crossed. Though I hate to admit it there is even some thing that they can get from the war games. Their hand eye coordination will improve. There are many things that we can use games for, whether it be to past the time, improve hand eye coordination, learn times tables, or valuable life lessons, using games in the classroom will show students that the skills that they are learning today they can apply in their lives tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Twitter in the classroom useful or a distraction? I think that Twitter can be very useful for students if the teacher uses it correctly. Students can communicate with one another about the homework or about information they have found just by using the hashtag. They can join all sorts of social communities by following certain people or groups. This is beneficial for both teachers and students, they can get a wide variety of resources from Twitter regarding the topic they are researching.

Teachers can also use Twitter to stay in touch with the students and their parents. They can remind students of their homework. They can stay in touch with parents by tweeting about important dates, tests dates, and social activities. Teachers can also use Twitter to have students write a writing prompt. They have 140 characteristics to get to the point about a subject and give their point of view about the topic at hand.

Twitter can be more than just another social media network. It can enrich the lives of the students everyday. Whether it be with resources, new writing skills, or just connecting with someone outside their normal circle of friends. Twitter can open many doors and make a difference in the way we communicate in the classroom.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blogs in the Classroom

Having students blog about their ideas?!? Having the teacher have a classroom blog to stay in touch with parents and students outside the classroom?!? These ideas seem crazy but they are becoming more and more popular in the classrooms of today. Blogs are becoming a way of communication between the teacher and the parents of the students. It is a great way to make sure that the information gets home instead of lost between school or home. It is also a great way for parents to get involved in their students school work and stay involved instead of just going to parent-teacher conferences once a semester.

For the students it is a way for them to look to see what the homework for the night is and what is coming up in a certain subject. Blogs can also be used for students to express their ideas and also talk about what they have learned that day or week in school. Blogs are a great and inexpensive way for students to really share their feelings about the things they are learning about and also to get help or a simple reminder of what is expected of them.