EDIT 2000 :: Maymester

3 weeks spent flexing my technological and creative muscles in order to become a better (future) educator

I just love this course May 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandyleeb @ 8:55 pm

With about a week left of class, I’m suddenly realizing how much I’ve learned! More than ever I am so ready to teach!

I was showing one of my friends my blog and website and all the things I’d been working on the other night and she was like “how in the world do you know about all these cool things online?!” and I simply replied that I learned it in class. Thats right, I learned practical information from a college course. Not that I don’t learn applicable stuff in other classes, but this was a non-education major I was talking to. I’m not only learning nerdy agriculture stuff in this class, but information thats relevant to alot of people. It makes me want to tell all of my friends to take this course!

I don’t say all of this to suck up to my awesome teacher (heyyy Gretchen 🙂 ), I’m just feeling really reflective and grateful for what I’ve learned so far. Its funny because my expectations of this course were totally different. I thought I would be learning how to use a smartboard and make pretty powerpoints and stuff like that, not ways to be a more creative and interesting teacher. If I’ve become so intrigued by these teaching tools I can’t wait to see how much more my future students will love them!

 

Tagxedo

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandyleeb @ 12:59 am

Tagxedo

This is my Tagxedo about snakes that are native to Georgia. So simple to create but looks so much more interesting than just a bullet list of snakes!

With Tagxedo you just insert your text, choose what shape you want, and choose your color scheme. It’s really really simple. I could use something like this to introduce chapters and information (such as snakes that are native to Georgia) or even just having them as a visual aid in my teaching slides. Tagxedo is *FREE* and you can create as many as you like and save them to a public gallery and it gives you a direct link to your image as well.

The one thing I wish was different about Tagxedo is that it would have more shapes to choose from. You’re pretty limited with the options, so I could use this for some (but not much) animal identification but I’m afraid it would limit my students’ creativity. I liked that they had a pretty big range of themes to choose from, but I couldn’t figure out the “add more themes” option so I just had to choose one of the pre-made ones.

The ability to choose how many different fonts were used was really cool. I liked that you could have a variety of fonts used in a single project, or you could use the same font for all the words.

I found a teacher’s blog about technology in the classroom and she used Tagxedo for a poetry assignment. Apparently I was wrong about not being able to choose your image. This teacher says that the generator recognizes frequently used words and then generates a shape for you. How would this work with scientific names of trees I wonder?…

 

Citation:

Crawford, C. (2011, March 31). [Web log message]. Retrieved from   http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top_teaching/2011/03/digital-poetry-make-words-zoom-and-fly-across-the-room

 

Making Progress!

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandyleeb @ 12:59 am

Since my last post I’ve already finished my Tagxedo about snakes that are native to Georgia and a Wordle about FFA. That should tell you how easy these 2 graphics are to make!

Wordles are very similar to Tagxedos, except you can’t choose a specific shape for your words and it doesn’t automatically repeat your text (that is, it only uses each word one time unless you enter the word multiple times, then it makes that word bigger). With Wordle you insert your text, choose your color scheme, and choose whether you want your words to be displayed horizontally, vertically, or half-and-half.

I wanted to find a way to make the theme word bigger than the others, because I’d seen a few in the gallery that had done that, but I never could figure that out. Ideally I wanted “FFA” to be the biggest word because all the other words described or dealt with FFA. Some other examples had things like “Mrs. Finks Class” in bigger letters and the smaller words described her class. But I was really disappointed that I couldn’t figure out how to do that.

I liked that there was a variety of fonts and color choices and you could create your own theme if you didn’t really like the pre-made ones. I loved how easy this tool is, the majority of my time was spent on choosing what text I wanted to use rather than figuring out how to make it look cool, that part was easy.

I think this would be something cool to have in the classroom as a visual aid, in a presentation, or a project for students to do with assigned words. For example, I could assign them a region in Georgia and they would have to insert text that described the soil, animals that lived there, climate, etc.

This generator was the easiest tool I’ve used so far, and the most fun. I think this can be used in creative ways to introduce and aid students in learning new material or for use with more creative project ideas.

There’s a blog for new teachers and one of the first tutorial post they did was on Wordle. The author of the blog post explains step-by-step how to use Wordle and gives examples of projects that can be done with Wordle. One of the project ideas she shared was something called Guess the Wordle. The students were shown a word cloud (created on Wordle) that was made up of words that described a particular animal and they had to guess the animal. The author suggested that this could be used as an opening activity- and notice that the teacher devoted an entire blog to these Guess The Wordles. I love it!

 

Citation:

Dabbs, L. (2011, July 5). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/new-teacher-boot-camp-wordle-lisa-dabbs

Wagner, J. (2012, May 29). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://projectsbyjen.com/GTW/

 

 

Yay! May 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandyleeb @ 11:13 pm

It took a little time and great frustration but I finally figured out Prezi!! I worked long and hard on this presentation so be nice with the criticism! 🙂

It wasn’t that difficult once I played around with it for awhile. I didn’t like any of the themes or designs they had pre-made (there was only like 5 or 6 to choose from) so I tackled the task of making my own. Making my own theme was a little more time consuming but it left me with much more relevant product. I copied a picture of a forest, added my title, and set the frame to be the opening slide.  Doesn’t sound too bad right? All it took was a little creativity and alot of undos and deletes. I didn’t insert any videos and only a few images, although I could see how those would be really helpful! I just wanted to spend more time playing around with the different graphics and paths rather than content. There are different frames for pictures and information, shapes, lines, arrows, and organizing charts available under the “insert” section that I found really helpful. There’s also a tool to draw and highlight!

One thing I particularly like about Prezi is the Theme Wizard where it guides you step-by-step to allow you to choose your background and font colors and preview what it will look like as you go. It was really simple and easily change-able.

The only thing I didn’t like was how time consuming it was until I got everything figured out. I could see this taking a lot of time to explain how to use it to my students. I could also see students getting frustrated if they can’t figure it out and then just doing half-effort work.With the time constraints that most classes face, I’m not sure it’d be worth spending 2 class periods helping them figure out the program rather than focusing on the material.

Searching for articles about Prezi was easy, it’s a pretty popular program right now. This article focuses on the benefits of Prezi compared to a typical powerpoint. Everyone seems to be big fans of the single-canvas feature with Prezi. Instead of displaying ideas on multiple slides, the great thing about Prezi is the ability to display it on one big story board with the option to zoom in and focus on different parts while also maintaing the big pictures.

Not that the information in my Prezi was particularly exciting but I guarantee that if I copy and pasted the text into a regular powerpoint presentation it would be 92% less interesting. Prezi just makes things a little more interesting and engaging 🙂 Please check out Prezi, it’s free and fun once you get it figured out!

Citation:

Bissram, V. (2012, May 18). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/05/18/prezi/

 

Work in Progress May 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandyleeb @ 10:21 pm

So I’m working on my Creative Contract project, and right now I’m just playing around with the tools I had planned to use, and let me tell you- it’s harder than I thought! For the programs that are easy, I have trouble being creative enough. For the programs that don’t require much creativity, I can’t figure out how to use them! However I DID I have a little success with Glogster.

If you don’t know what Glogster is, it’s this awesome website where you can create interactive/virtual posters about anything! You can attach pictures, videos, sound, drawings (if you have a premium account, aka not free!), graphics, and just about anything else you can think of. It really is alot of fun. I started playing around with one that I could use as a first-day type thing, you can check it out and tell me what you think. But keep it mind that it’s a work in progress- no judging!

I also tried to tackle a Prezi project the other day…but no luck. Maybe later this weekend I can take it on again, but yesterday was a complete failure! For those of you who don’t know what Prezi is, it’s a program where you can create what I like to call an upgraded version of a powerpoint. They’re really cool and I could definitely see myself using them to teach material in my class, but until you get the hang of it it can be slightly confusing. But more on that later!

I plan to continue working on my Glogster (I’m a perfectionist so it might take awhile…) and keep you updated! Also, stay tuned for info about my Wordle that I’m working on!

ps- check out my Social Media accounts (see previous blog for more info), I updated/pinned/tweeted alot of new stuff today!

 

Doing to Learn May 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandyleeb @ 3:49 pm

Hello world! My name is Sandy and I’m a 2nd (going on my 3rd) year student at the University of Georgia studying Agriculture Education. This summer I’m taking a course (EDIT 2000) on technology in education. So far, so good I would say. Technology is not a strong candidate on my list of skills, but I feel like I’m learning a lot. I’ve been so inspired by the activities we’ve done and I have a lot of ideas about how I can apply them to my future class!

A brief rundown of what we’ve done so far:

  • virtually designed my ideal future classroom
  • used a program called Jing to create an infomercial about a form of technology of our choosing. This is mine 🙂
  • created my own website using Google Sites to display and write about all our work (it was surprisingly really simple!)
  • created a professional social media identity for ourselves using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube.
  • made a slowmation video using iMovie about Bullying (we got to choose our own topics)

What we’re working on now is something called a Creativity Contract. Basically we’re exploring different facets of creativity in technology like blogging (heh), podcasts, image editing, Prezi, puzzles/gaming, brainstorming, etc. So while I had already wanted to explore the blogging world, I can’t say I have totally objective reasoning.

What I hope to do with this whole blogging experience is to build a strong profile of what I’m learning so that I can go back and remember everything I was so inspired by in this class. Also, to give everyone a big picture of what this class has to offer because it has been the best class I’ve taken at UGA thus far.

So I promise to post all my thoughts and projects if you promise to comment with any suggestions on how I can build on my ideas, or anything to help make the material more relevant to a CTE class (Career and Technical Education).

Lets do this.