EDU 305 Blog 3

Part 1

Blogs are a great way to communicate with students and parents. Teachers can use blogs to publish assignments, resources and to keep students and parents up to date on classroom information. Students can use blogs to practice their writing skills and publish their thoughts or ideas on the internet (How To Use Blogs In the Classroom). I would use a blog in my classroom to communicate with students and parents. I would make weekly newsletters and post them on my blog for students and parents to read. In the newsletters, I would include what we did in class that week, what went well and what did not go so well and a short snapshot of what units we will cover the following week. I would also use the newsletters to talk about any special events going on in the school, such as pajama day or a can drive. In addition to giving them out in class, I would use my blog to post homework assignments. Posting homework assignments on my blog would help families who live in separate households. It would give them a place to go if students left a homework assignment at one parents house. It would also be a resource for parents to keep up with their children’s learning. In addition to posting homework assignments, I would post extra resources for students and parents to use. I would post good websites for practice quizzes and upload worksheets students can use if they need or want any extra practice on a topic. In the blog post “EDU 305 Blog 2,” I talked about an assignment I would give to a diverse classroom using my blog. I would use my blog in other assignments, such as that one, that create unity among my students and allow them to practice their writing skills. Having students comment on my blog would allow me to get to know them better, their thoughts and opinions and their styles of writing. These are just a few ways I would use a blog to communicate with students and parents.

Source: “How To Use Blogs In the Classroom – ELearning Industry.” ELearning Industry RSS. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Part 2

For part 2 of my blog I viewed the programs, Animoto, GoAnimate, and Voki. I will discuss the “good,” the “bad,” and how I would use these programs in a classroom.

Animoto

Description: Animoto is a website that allows users to create videos. Once a user signs up for a free account, they can make videos by choosing templates or starting from scratch. A user can upload his or her own video footage or pictures to use in the video. After the video is created a user has the option to save or publish his or her video.

The good: Animoto was easy to sign up and easy to use. The website provides a variety of free templates, such as templates for holidays, family, education and business videos. The website made it very easy to upload personal videos or photographs. The website was free and easy to use.

The bad: The website did not allow quite as much freedom as iMovie or other movie making software programs. It does not have the option to record a voice to include in the video. Other than the video templates, the website did not have any animated pictures or characters to include in the video.

Application to the classroom: I would use Animoto in a unit teaching social studies standard 5.C.1.4 which says, “Understand how cultural narratives (legends, songs, ballads, games, folktales and art forms) reflect the lifestyles, beliefs and struggles of diverse ethnic groups.”  I would use Animoto to create a video of me explaining how legends, songs, ballads, games, folktales and art forms reflect the lifestyles, beliefs and struggles of a specific ethnic group. After I taught a lesson on this topic, I would show the video I made to my class. I would have each student choose a different ethnic group and create a video that explains the same things about their chosen ethnic group. I would then have a presentation day in class where we watch everyone’s video about cultural narratives in different ethnic groups. I would create a rubric as a guide for students to follow while creating their video. My goal for this assignment would be for the students to understand what a cultural narrative is and why they are important in understanding ethnic groups as a whole.

GoAnimate

Description: GoAnimate is another website where a user can create a video. The difference between Animoto and GoAnimate is GoAnimate only produces animated videos. The website has lots of characters and background choices. A user can add sound, text bubbles and props to their video and publish the video when it is finished.

The good: This website is easy to use and has a tutorial to watch before making a video. There are a lot of characters and props to choose from. A user can make a character’s mouth move to make it look like it is talking. The website looks very professional and is set up in a user-friendly manner. Users can save or publish their videos.

The bad: The downside to this website is that you only have a free trial once you sign up. After a certain amount of days, you have to pay to make a video on the website. There is a fourteen-day free trial for one teacher and forty-nine students to use. The other downside to this website is that the videos can only be animated and a user does not have the option to upload personal videos or photos. A user is limited to what the website provides.

Application to the classroom: I would use GoAnimate to show proficiency in common core standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.4 which says, “Report on a topic or text or presents an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.” I would have my students read an article or watch a video about the historical development of local governments (which covers standard 3.C&G.1.1 Summarize the historical development of local governments) and then have them create a video on GoAnimate that reports their findings on the historical development of local governments. To cover  common core standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.4 and NC essential standard 3.C&G.1.1, I would expect their videos to summarize the historical development of local governments while supporting the main ideas or themes and speaking clearly and at an understandable pace. I could sign up for a free 14-day trial to allow my students to create their video without any additional cost to the school. My goal for this video would be for my students to show proficiency and understanding in both standards and provide students with a fun assignment they could publish to the internet if they wanted to.

Voki

Description: Voki is a website where a user can make a speaking character for education. Users have a variety of options when making a character, they can choose from different hair colors, skin tones and lip shapes. The voki character will move its mouth while the sound is playing to make it look like the character is talking. A voki can be saved and added to a slideshow presentation.

The good: A voki can be created in twenty-five different languages. The website was simple and easy to use. A teacher could create a voki and add it to presentations. A teacher could then post the presentation to their blog or website. If a student missed class they could watch the presentation on the teacher’s blog or website to get caught up.

The bad: Voki is not a free program to use in a classroom. Ir requires a yearly membership fee. Voki also does not run well on Mac computers.

Application to the classroom: I probably would not use Voki in a classroom because of the yearly subscription costs, however, I do like the idea of adding vocals to presentations. I might take the idea and record myself teaching a lesson and post the lesson to my blog for students and parents to view. I could also record myself talking and add it to a powerpoint presentation. I like the voki website, but I think there are other ways to use sounds in presentations that are free for teachers to use.

Part 3

I Read these articles on using Twitter and Instagram in the classroom:

How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool

Everything YOU need to know about Teaching with Instagram

Using Instagram as a Classroom Tool

Twitter EDU

Ideas that I concluded from these articles pieces: All of these articles were very interesting. My personal favorite was “How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Education Tool.” I am not a savy twitter user but I like that twitter can be used to to connect to students and expand on their learning. I believe that using social media effectively in the classroom teaches students digital citizenship and how to have a positive online presence. I liked that a teacher found a way to incorporate instagram in her classroom (Dallas). After reading these articles, I dediced that I would like to use Twitter and Instagram in my classroom one day. I would like to create a project where students use hashtags on twitter to learn about current events and gather local opinions about those events (November & Mull). I would like to use instagram to share comical meems with students and start good conversations (Dallas). I could use Instagram in a homework assignment by posting something and having my students comment on the post. If some students do not have access to instagram I could use my blog for this homework assignment as well (Dallas). November and Mull, authors of “How Twitter can be used as a Powerful Education Tool” said that “Teachers should be able to use social media to connect their students to real-world problems.” I agree with this statement. Teachers should be able to integrate social media into thier units to make the information relatable for students. As Dallas says in her blog, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

Sources:

Dallas. “Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy!” : Using Instagram as a Classroom Tool. 25 June 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

November, Alan, and Brian Mull. “Twitter as a Powerful Educational Tool | Using Twitter Hashtags.” November Learning. 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Reflection on any understandings about the relationship between Twitter and Instagram and teaching and learning: Twitter and Instagram have a powerful relationship with teaching and learning. Using Twitter and Instagram in the classroom will make students more excited about and engaged in learning. Teachers who use social media will be more relatable and understandable to their students. Students will see that their teacher is making an effort to present information in a comprehensible and fun way. Twitter and Instagram are valuable resources that can be used to cover a variety of standards in all subjects. Teachers can get ideas from Twitter and Instagram to use in their classroom and share ideas they have with other teachers. I hope to be as innovative as the people who wrote the articles above in my classroom one day. I also hope that I will find ways to use technology, social media and the internet to enhance the learning environment of my classroom. Maybe I can check out Twitter for ways to be innovative as a twenty-first-century teacher.

Reaction to classmates response: I visited Victoria Cooper’s blog. I found out that she and I have very similar ideas for incorporating social media in the classroom. We both think social media is a great way to communicate with students and provide an engaging learning environment. Victoria pointed out that in the article “Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram” the author talks about how you can use a social media post as an exit slip from a lesson. This is a great way for students to summarize what they learned that day. I agree that adding social media to a lesson can take a unit a step further. I like what Victoria had to say about the articles. It was good to read that other perspective educators have similar ideas on how to incorporate social media in the classroom.

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