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.