I’ve got spurs that “JING”le jangle “JING”le…

Another tool for the tool box, and fortunately one I have used before – the power of Jing. Jing can spur you into embracing the power of Web 2.0 to aid instruction. With a simple download of the Jing application from Techsmart, you can capture screen images that can be embedded in online chats and emails. It also allows you to make videos – a great way to demonstrate “how to” for distance learning situations or help tutorials. Although definitely a novice with this program, I look forward to experimenting with it and trying to use my webcam to personalize tutorials… now to think of a topic…

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Voyaging through Voicethread Presentations!

Yeah, an application I have used – Voicethread! After a crazy week of sanctions and preparation for more sanctions which forced me to wade into stormy waters (oh the drama of year end concerts, provincial track meets and graduation ceremonies- not that I didn’t know, but gee we teachers sure do a lot of extras…), it was nice to work with a familiar application.
I have used Voicethread to post web-based presentations in the past. It is extremely easy to upload a prepared Powerpoint presentation and then add comments. It also allows your viewers to weigh in on the topic – either as discussion or as a means of posing questions. I had not, however, utilized the doodle tool, type comments or uploaded word documents, jpegs, or video. Working with my group – Pamliskel (we 3 girls! – a little wierd and wacky)- we put together a small presentation which allowed me to experiment with all the features of Voicethread. It was a wonderful experience and reaffirmed my preexisting belief – Voicethread is a great tool that can post key presentations for students and solicit their response. The potential as both an instructional medium and assessment tool are really unlimited.
To find out more about the potential uses of Voicethread as a medium for blended instruction, visit my Voicethread page!

Prezi Power!

Well I have enjoyed playing with Prezi this week. I had attempted it a few times (you know the night before a presentation when you’re scrambling for a visual to go with the presentation!), but had abandoned due to time, reverting back to the tried, true, and boring Powerpoint Presentation! I’ve always liked the modern, funky feel of the Prezi which appeals artistically to my senses, but was unsure of its user friendliness. I found the tutorials on the website very straight forward and useful, but as with most technology, I really needed to sit down and play with it in order to develop a comfort level.  I love the zoom in and out capability it gives the presenter and feel that it will soon be the presentation medium of choice making Powerpoints rather obsolete.
Check out my Prezi and learn more about the use of Prezi on my Prezi Presentations Page!

Some Additional Thoughts on the use of Videos…

After working with two outstanding partners and collaborating on our Xtranormal video, it occured to me that using video as a response forum for students, especially if they collaborate, leads to deeper analysis and understanding of the concepts. In my case, it was really looking at the possibilities Web 2.0 could offer a teacher in his/her instructional practice! Of course the catch is always finding the time to explore and coping with the frustrations that occur when trying to manipulate technology such as the two hour effort I spent on Sunday attempting to embed video on this blog (turns out help menus are extremely useful as is a Youtube account!).
Anyway, I added two Xtranormal videos to my page on Videos and Education. The first video is the quick first crack I did while exploring Xtranormal. The second video, is the group effort of Pam, Lisa and myself – the three Weird Sisters (thanks ladies for all the work on this!). Check it out!

Xtranormal and Story Telling

As an English teacher I’m all about the use of metaphor and story telling to enhance and actualize the concept. My question is how do you empower the non-writer or non-verbal  creator to share his or her story? In the past I have suggested that students use collages, posters, three dimensional models, charts, photographs, skits, and concept webs to serve as aids to their learning or their sharing of what they learned. Enter Web 2.0 capabilities and Xtranormal. Suddenly, comic books and animation are cool again and students have a whole new way of expressing themselves. I found the program easy to use, albeit limited in its applications, but certainly full of potential as yet another differentiated way of instructing or allowing students to represent what they know.
For more about Xtranormal, and my experimentation with this Web 2.o to create video,  check out my page on the use of video and story telling in education!

Wandering around the World of Quick Wikis

As an English teacher I was skeptical when Wikipedia arrived on the web as the choice of quick research for my students. This open source of information seemed to be an invitation to students to “shortcut” research with questionable accuracy, enticing them towards  the copy and paste pit of plagiarism.  However, as an educator, I seized the teachable moment using it as opportunity to demonstrate to students consideration of accuracy in research and as time progressed and Wikipedia improved, found myself suggesting it as a preliminary research tool prior to exploring data bases with more scholarly content. The new evolution of open source research appears to be Qwiki which adds the element of multi-media – visual, audio and text sources.  To find out more about Qwiki please check out my Qwiki page!

Image Hosting

Okay, so sure, I knew Flickr; my sister-in-law is positively annoying, littering my inbox with alerts to view yet more precious pics of my beloved nephews! Yet, somehow the photo galleries, although entertaining, just didn’t excite me. So, I thought I would actually play around a bit and dared to knock off one of my bucket list items by actually uploading my own pictures to an image hosting site. What better place to experiment, than PhotoBucket! Very cool, if I do say so myself. Check out my Image Hosting Page and the links to my “The Art of Hockey” slideshow.