Well, more like what's been going on for the past few weeks...
I wanted a way to provide notes for students to review on the blog/wiki. Projecting from a paint program works well, but drawing/writing is imprecise with the mouse. I borrowed a writing tablet from Kevin McGroary's classroom and it works great! I'm going to also try using my improvised Smartboard setup, but I need a way to mount the Wiimote in such a way that I can take it home easily (my kids NEED that thing). I've been able to post classroom notes, mostly in math- where it is really needed. Here's an example.
Another thing I started doing that has a lot of potential, is filming student video lessons. Here's an example of that. As you can see, it is a fairly primitive setup. I'm using a digital video camera, but I'm sure it can be done with students' individual Eepc's cameras as well. A microphone would help the sound, but I've just done a couple so improvements are coming. Basically, I found a spot in the classroom with room for the camera, put tape down as markers for where the camera/table should be to encompass the field of view taped in on the whiteboard. The student, then, knows that only stuff in that rectangle will be filmed. I don't want to deal with privacy issues, so I just have the student's arm in the shot. They come to me with a short script for a concept that we're learning that they want to teach. It takes about ten minutes of time when they're used to the setup. Their learning is enriched, and the rest of the class benefits because it goes on the blog/wiki for people to use when they're studying. I can see assigning topics in the future as well. I can see a student who needs a bit of a prod to all of the sudden take interest in a concept that they might be having some trouble with if, all of the sudden, they're going to have to be an expert on it.
Some students have used Audacity to create a podcast (they're doing school events news casts at the moment). The mic on the Asus isn't that sensitive so they have to really up the input levels and they go just outside the classroom door so that they can be louder. I need to get a few microphones for this as well. What I'm really excited about doing, is expanding my reader's theater style podcasts. For students who need work with fluency, these are amazing. How else can you get someone to repeatedly read the same piece of text over and over?
Google Earth is being used in a project that my students are doing to follow the Santa Clara river to its mouth. They're trying to understand the effect on erosion that the reservoirs have for that river, and are attempting to answer the question of what is happening to my favorite beach. Lesson plan and materials are here.
Students have been creating a digital geometry guide that they'll be showing off in the blogs next week. I'm going to have them upload them to Slideshare to create the embed text necessary to stick them into a blog post. I'm going to explore having the students narrate their show as well.
Some students used Freemind this week, while others decided on textboxes in "documents" to create a set of 15 to 20 events linked in a chain of cause and effect for the story, "Aida," in our basal readers. They'll get to use their notes on the quiz, Friday, so they were quite motivated ;)
What else... a few kids started creating animations and games using Scratch. Those will be up on the blog soon. I have a few students who are also interested in Google Sketch Up and have created several drawings already.
Another thing that I've found useful, is having the students create projects with specific formatting concerns. For example, their "Aida" notes had to fit onto one page. They also had to create writing for science that went next to a model. To fit on the paper, their text had to be formatted no wider than 5 inches, so they had to adjust their margins in the program. These diabolical escapades have forced some tech concepts to be addressed as part of a larger curricular goal.
That's it for now. I really like that everyone is posting their ideas to this thread so that we can all be inspired!
Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC |