Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post of This Year

I am soooo done with my Web2.0 class. It was very informative and I learned a lot, but it really sucked the life out of me. I'm not complaining, since I learned a lot of FREE applications that can be used personally. Also, many of the applications would be wonderful to use in the classroom. What my district does in the future will decide what can be accomplished for work. Some of the applications would be pure fluff, but others could really be used in a way to enhance student learning and achievement. As with any new information, it will take time for me to sort through what will be the most efficient use of time, both in planning/preparation, as well as with classroom time.

Overall, this was a GREAT experience. I have a file to go through to refer back to the applications, web addresses, login information, and well as this blog to refer back to my initial thoughts for each application. I'm sure my thoughts will change as I actually start using what I learned from this class.

From my time zone, it's a little less than 8 hours until....



Instead of creating an “About Me” podcast (boring!), I chose to podcast a short message to one of my sisters.

I’ve never been a fan of recording things, so there was that uneasiness. It might have been better if I had been home alone. Both Podomatic and Gcast were easy to use. Gcast may have been a bit simpler, but Podomatic made it easy for me to insert a photo. Since I suffered through recording my own voice, I did not find it necessary to also include a picture of myself…my dog’s much cuter!

My file uploaded immediately with Gcast, but with Podomatic I did something wrong and flipped through various screens to be able to find out how to fix my errors. All in all, that didn’t really take too long, though. Podomatic did make it easy to send the podcast url via email. I’ll decide which site I like better after I upload more.

Podcasting would be a great tool to use frequently in the classroom. I’d love to make podcasts of all of the spelling lists, then just play them weekly for at least Friday’s retest. Also, if students are absent, it would be easy for them to take the test simply by going to that week’s episode. Lessons could be recorded and used later for review/remediation as needed. Again, the information would then be available for any students who are absent.

There’s a lot that the students could do with podcasting. They could record stories, which would give them more fluency practice. They LOVE listening to the main story selection on CD each week, so podcasts would also be a way to easily include other short stories for them to listen to. It would be fun to have “guest” podcasters, such as parents, the principal, and special area teachers. Podcasting also would be a fun way for them to practice retelling stories. Then when they went back and listened, they could evaluate how well they did and what could be improved on. They could podcast information about topics they are learning about in science and social studies, which would be a good review of concepts.

I’d really like to set up a podcast of the weekly newsletters (Thank you, Joy!), with the kids reading the information. That might be a good incentive for some of them to complete work during the week so that they can have a turn at podcasting the newsletter. The parents would love it.

That said, I’m almost finished with this class!



I asked my sister for some suggestions of what to listen to, knowing that she listens to several. Then I also checked out iTunes under hobbies and was amazed that there were so many knitting podcasts. I listened to…

The Knitmore Girls This is a mother and daughter production. The topic is evident by the title. They discuss what they are working on and knitting in general. It made me feel better about having so many unfinished projects! Yes, I’ll listen to more of these podcasts.

Let’s Knit 2gether This one was a video podcast. The one that watched demonstrated several techniques, reviewed a book, then talked about various upcoming events. I’ll also check out more episodes of this, because the one I watched really was a great tutorial.

Socks in the City I checked this one out because the title cracks me up! She begins talking about various KAL’s (Knit-ALongs), then just babbled about socks. At the end of the episode she shared a vintage pattern.

Here is my first attempt at toe-up, magic loop socks. Maybe if I did listen to more of the above podcasts, it would keep me motivated to finish these in a reasonable amount of time.

Podcast subscriptions in the classroom: I think this would be worth some time spent searching for something relevant to share with students, now that I have a much better idea of where to go looking. But, that will have to wait until I finish this class. And write up my lesson plans for next week. I cannot believe how quickly this winter break is flying by.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This would be a good way to put together photos to share with family and friends. I'm not sure about classroom use at this time, especially with the age and technical skills of my kiddos. I'm sure older students would really have fun with this.

I had to come back in and edit this today, because yesterday I did something wrong and the video that came up was an ad for Animoto. Maybe I did it right now. I also noticed when I was fixing this that I had uploaded the required number of photos, but only 9 of them showed up in this.

Online Productivity Tools

In order of preference:

ZohoWriter…I liked that a tutorial popped up, so help was easy. Uploading was fast and simple. The formatting was pretty good with the word processing.
GoogleDocs…Tedious to upload one document at a time, but the word processing was fairly simple.
ThinkFree…I think not. Again, computer issues with internet access when trying this site, several times, while all the other sites were fine.

Maybe it’s simply familiarity, but I would not be willing to give up Office for any of these. I really like Word and Excel, which are what I use the most. OK, you’re scaring me now! And making me wonder what will be in store for the district in the (near?) future. It would make sense for businesses to consider these options to save money with all of the licensing fees involved. If it comes to that, I’ll still be using my Word and Excel at home. For now.

Online Storage Sites

These sites were easy to use for saving files. Right now, I won’t be using any of them, but would if I had to. It would be easy, but tedious, to transfer over all of my Word documents. I’ll keep my thumb drives for now, thank you very much! In the future it might be a way for schools to deal with the storage issues. Again there’s the concern of student safety with these sites, so consideration would be needed of the best way to implement something like this. My main concern would be with the sites that allow document sharing.

Discussion Forums

One can find a forum for just about any topic. I’ve been on Yahoo for several years (but note problems from previous post!). I think all of the groups that I belong to are for members only. One is for a small group of friends who live in various parts of the country and the rest are for information/help on personal interests.

Discussions forums could be a concern, but if one was set up for members only, that would keep it safe for class discussions. Yes, I do think that there could be positive aspects to using these in the classroom if set up wisely.

Digg and Yahoo Buzz

I really liked Digg better. It was easy to browse different categories by interest. Yahoo Buzz kept freezing up my computer! Yes, I know we need a new desktop, but it makes me wonder why it only happens with certain sites. I have no clue. No, I won’t continue to use Digg, although it was fun searching for items of interest. Like other assignments in this class, using that whittles away a LOT of time!

This might be good for older students. Some of the comments were interesting to read, which could lead to good discussions. Social implications? Maybe just seeing what is of interest to others.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Sheesh! A while ago I set up a Twitter account, and the only way to "find" people was to invite them by email, or to search for people through email accounts of which I do not have. I invited some of my family. Thank you Jo and Kay for responding!

Earlier today I tried it again, and I was easily able to find people, so I added on from my instructor's site that he gave us. I'm not going to play around any more. I simply do not see a purpose for this in an educational setting.

Also, I heard from one of my sisters that our nephew was on Twitter. I found him today, but would not add it to my following list. Yes, he's certainly more than legal age, but his comments posted were not something that I would add for this class. That also makes me wonder about what students would be finding on this site. Yes, I have a problem with this site now for educational purposes.

I did explain this site to family members, when the finding function was wacky. They signed up and wrote initial posts. I'm sure that none of us will keep going here...we'll email our thoughts instead.


My test call from the Skype's website did not work, so I ended up calling DH on our landline to see if it worked. Yep. It was sort of fun hearing his voice on our computer speakers.

I can see use for this in my personal life. All of my family lives in the midwest, so we do rely on phone communication. All of my siblings are older, and I know that they really aren't concerned about their cell phone minutes when we talk. But, this might be a way to have some of those marathon conversations. I'm curious of how this works with an incoming call. I'll have to have my sisters set up a Skype account to test it out.

I honestly can't see a use for this in the classroom...therefore...I don't have any concerns.

Stat Counter

I registered with and placed the counter at the bottom of my blog. The site's instructions were very clear and it was easy to do. Or was it easy because of all of the other things I've done for this class?!

Time to quote my instructor for this class: "Personally, I see no value in these stats to education other than showing or proving there are readers all over the world." This time I totally disagree! With my 3rd grade kiddos, I actually have a very good use that would be fun for them and reinforcing math vocabulary and skills at the same time. If I had a classroom computer to devote to a website, each kid could each take a couple of minutes every day to go and check the counter on the site and determine HOW MANY MORE visitors were on here today than yesterday. That would be a fun motivational way for them to be practicing subtraction facts daily. With the information they gathered, we could also do graphing, such as which day of the week has the most visitors to the site.

That also takes me back now to the cluster map and what the kids could do with that data. They would be interested since it would be theirs, and we could do more graphing of visitors from different locales. The kids could determine the categories, which would be a great source of authentic data for them.

Cluster Map

Locations of visitors to this page

This was fairly easy to do, once I understood the end results from the various programs that I tried. I agree that the use of these maps is only to show where visitors come from. But, especially for younger students, it could spark interest in learning about the places where visitors are coming from.


Ugh. I really do not like Slideshare. First, my browser kept freezing up on me and that's the only site it has done it with today. (That tells me that I've been on the computer too much today, but I really need to finish this class.) I also did not like the vague instructions of posting/embedding the PowerPoint on Blogger. But, I do like the idea of sharing PowerPoints, since they can be great educational tools to use in the classroom...find an appropriate PowerPoint to integrate into lessons. This just makes me think of the other PowerPoints I have spent the time creating and don't use, because I don't have easy access in my classroom.

I think this would be better with audio. After a while searching and not finding any way to do that, I gave up.

I don't really see using this with my 3rd graders. LOL Some still struggle with logging in the sites that they need to now in a timely manner. My concern with this site is about the same as other sites. The students need to be able to evaluate the validity of information that they are accessing.

Coronado Island
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.


I made a quick little slide show. This was fun! Oh yeah, and I think students would really have fun using it. I'd need to play with it more to see what other capabilities it has for application in the classroom. Because I've used Flickr more and need it for one of my own personal applications, I'd have to pick that as my favorite due to familiarity. Same goes for image storage.

Hey Kay! Are you reading this?!

YouTube, GoogleVideo, and TeacherTube

I had never really played around much with YouTube, except for links from others that I had received in emails. I ended up searching YouTube and came across some excellent short clips to demonstrate how to do/make things. One was for making a simple Origami “box” that kids could keep in their desks. There were also some other good instructional ones make by kids. Also, there are some great ones to show various knitting techniques, so I used those as needed for a couple of projects I’m currently working on…problems solved without trying to figure it out on my own through trial and error.

I’d seen one of the Did You Know videos before, from a link from a friend’s email. I like the remixing and the improvements with more visuals. I guess I do see value in remixing/remaking to make content more personal.

Of course there are concerns with sites like YouTube in an educational setting. At school as well as home, content for children needs to be monitored. It’s our job as educators to monitor that at school and I’d tell parents that there can be value from their children using YouTube with supervision.

I loved TeacherTube! I found some great videos. One showed how to make a poster using Excel, so I tried that out and made a new poster for my classroom. Another used time elapsed photography to show plant growth, which would be great for my science unit on plants. There were also some very funny ones, one of which I embedded in a previous post. At this point, I don’t think I would actually post on TeacherTube, but rather use some of the great videos that are already there. The same concern holds true with Teacher Tube as YouTube, but parents probably would be more open minded about their children using that site.

My best find on TeacherTube was “Free Tech Tool for Struggling Readers.”
I went to the Word Talk site and downloaded/installed the application. It was very easy to use and would be WONDERFUL to have that installed in our computer labs. Since it’s used with Word documents, it would be great to have that capability for struggling readers and English language users to assist them on various assignments.

Hmmm…I wonder if there is anyone reading this who could authorize getting that into our computer labs?!?!

Voice Thread

This was fun and I think students would enjoy using it to present information that they are learning about. It would be easy to have them create a summary of any concept with appropriate images, where others could go in and add additional information. Once they were finished with that, it would make a great review for a test, or simply a fun final project. I really don’t see any concerns at this time, especially with the way the free accounts are set up that limits use…with the age group that I teach, it would be something that I would need to monitor with my account.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Social Bookmarks

I registered for Delicious. I've used it for the sites I added on, but really still like my Favorites, where I have files organized by topics. If there were a way to organize like that on Delicious, I'd use it more often, or almost exclusively, since I like the toolbar that was added on to "Links." (Or, I just don't know how to do that on Delicious?!?) I'd recommend this to friends who I know use a variety of computers in their daily lives...they could then find their favorite places where ever they are. Nothing really "shocked, elated, or amazed" me. I could see this used with students as they research topics and share their findings.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Teacher Tube

I just started searching on Teacher Tube and thought I'd share this gem! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bubble Guru

So, I really really like the idea of Bubble Guru, especially for the lower grades. I think that something like this would be worth having on my website, but not for the price, as well as the investment of the web cam. If there was a less expensive way to do this…YES! (But then I’d want to hire someone else to video and NOT myself!) I believe that the video would have more impact for younger students, so that’s something to think about.

Bubble Share

BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing

This was easy and fun. I do admit that I didn't use the images from my Flickr account, though, since they are really rather boring for most people. I think that the kids would really have fun with this. It might be something to do with preselected photos and have them document as they go on a unit, which could be easy for 3rd graders.

Flickr Tools

I could easily have wasted away the entire day playing around with all of the Flickr toys (tools), which were new to me. In order to waste time at a later date(s), I’m including the links for these three sites. After seeing some of these tools, I really am thinking to upload more (a lot!) photos in Flickr. The ones that I tried were all very easy.

Tools for Flickr Cool! Fun! I tried the captioner, colorpickr, and flickrsudoku.

fd’s Flickr Toys I played around with Jigsaw, Flickr Uploader, Trading Cards, and Mat.

The Great Flickr Tools Collection A couple of the first links that I tried were bad. Then, I REALLY wanted to see how Gickr worked, which said that it created animated Gif’s from your Flickr photos…a page opened saying it was “forbidden.” There was a really fun one for preschoolers and kindergarteners called AlphaLearnr, which let you choose from different photos for each letter of the alphabet.

With these being so easy to use, it would fun to quickly put together some simple things with student and classroom photos to use in newsletters and other parent communication. I’m sure this will turn into a list of classroom uses that are more beneficial to student achievement once I play more.

Last summer my sister Kay introduced me to Ravelry, a knitting community online where both she and her daughter were registered. I played around on it some, mostly using it to find patterns and get ideas. After a few months, I decided that it would be good to use some of the functions available, especially as I modified patterns that I was working on and needed to make the matching item. I liked that I could add the notes to my project to add in my changes…no more lost sticky notes! I think it was in October when I finally decided to join the crafting community and set up a Flickr account so that I could add pictures to my projects. I found Flickr relatively straight forward to use, although it did take me a few minutes to go back in and find out exactly where I needed to be to add my tags. I had left those blank when I originally uploaded the photos. I will continue to use Flickr in my personal life, but I’m not sure that I will take the time to upload all of my photos. That will probably be done on as as-needed basis.

Flickr would be a great way to set up files for various writing prompts.
  • Select photos to write about cause and effect. That’s difficult for my 3rd graders, so related sets could be added with increasing degrees of difficulty.
  • Series of photos to aid in logical sequencing. This could be used for a variety of writing…narrative, informative, directions, etc.
  • Fun, offbeat photos for students to write a narrative.
  • Select photos to use when teaching the 6 traits.
I really don’t see a problem with using Flickr as mentioned above, but there would have to be limits set if it were to be used in different ways, which could include the students setting up their own accounts.

Wiki Webpages

Wow. I can think of many uses for Wiki in the classroom: simple editing practice, data collection, end of unit review, story writing, etc. The only real concern that I can see is that the teacher would need to monitor the content, but as long as the students know that is happening, I really don’t see much of a problem with that. The History page could also be a great learning tool as well, by showing the students what has been added/edited. The Weblogged Wiki Links was a great resource!

Keeping Blogger

I chose to keep Blogger for the ease of use. Since it’s easier for me, I’m also assuming that it would be easier for the kiddos, so yes, I would use it with my students.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


As I’m spending my Saturday working on this class, I find myself thinking about all the other things that need to get done, like…


which was mentioned in the reading on tagging…”For years, we have been matching and or categorizing items within our lives. Think about some of the items we match in our lives.
Doing your laundry: match your socks” Thanks for the reminder, Shawn.

Christmas gifts to finish making

Why, oh why, didn’t I do more last summer?!?! Oh yeah, I was taking classes.

other interests

like sitting on my butt on the couch watching mindless TV knitting the afternoon away, or figuring out how to create something new. Those photos are both from Flickr. The first one is mine, of a baby gift that I made last summer for a friend’s baby. The second one is of just the cutest pair of baby booties that I’ve ever seen! My attempts at creating anything remotely similar, to date, have been feeble, at best.

Technorati also brought me back to personal interests as I typed in “flat classroom,” as opposed to “flatclassroom.” Here was the FIRST blog that popped up. Sheesh! More time was spent looking at that site and others from the blogroll. (I’m using my newly acquired vocabulary from this class!) Of course, I did go back and search “flatclassroom,” but by that time I had already brought out the yarn that I bought in Oregon a couple of weekends ago while visiting friends…

And then I had to give Tonia a call to see how HER knitting was going, since I taught her to knit while we were there.

And then I had to look at the pictures taken on vacation.

One of the covered bridges from the self-guided tour Tonia and Michael took us on.
We didn't actually drive across these, but drove over the "top-less" bridges.

A view from one of the bridges.

Saturday Market in downtown Eugene.

Go Ducks!
Since this is turning into a personal blog,
come back later to read about the story behind these ducks!

In the mean time, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about how I would be able to add tags to my posts, how long that would take me, and if I will be able to figure that out…as well as dreaming of the next assignment of deleting two of the blogs, so that in the future I would only need to post ONCE!

Plus, I already had forgotten about what I first thought of as a novice, so I had to go back and play some more. Believe it or not, my mind actually went back to the classroom and what I could do to use these new resources for my students. At this point, I have NO clue as to what I searched for, but I did come across this site with plenty of potential. Here is an example of a student project that was highlighted on the site. Imagine how much fun the kids could have putting together reports in this way!
By this point in typing this up, my grocery list is complete so that I can make some yummy turkey/noodle/vegetable soup from the stock that I made and froze after Thanksgiving. Soup will be good today…it’s only 63 degrees.

Blog Searching

Blog Search Engines, in order of preference:
IceRocket I liked this search engine for educational topics searched. It was easy to see which blogs I wanted to read, and which ones probably wouldn’t be as relevant.
BlogSearch I liked this one the best for personal topics that I searched. With some of the key words that I used, some of the blogs that I do follow showed up. I needed to leave, because that could have wasted my entire evening last night!
BlogScope Not bad for both professional and personal searching.
Technorati Not thrilled at all.
Bloglines Very commercial.
Sphere (Website) Yuk
For students, I would have them use IceRocket. They would have to first learn that the key words searched need to be as specific as they can make them for the best results. As they search various topics of interest, it would be a good lesson about overall validity of information found on the Web and how to critically evaluate information from factual, to opinions. I could see doing compare and contrast activities with my 3rd graders…research a topic of interest and find factual information in legitimate sources, as well as information presented in blogs.

Edited 12-7: Got a comment on one of the blogs that I will be deleting.
"Thanks for using!! and thanks for the awesome post about us!
Blake Rhodes CEO"
Guess he was searching his search engine to see what showed up.


Oh, my! I tried setting up a blogrolls about a month, and nothing went right on Blogger. I spent a lot of time for nothing, then decided tonight that I needed to try and get things done…OR send an email plea to my instructor for this class begging for help. AND…needed to get things rolling on this class. Well, last night it took me less than 2 minutes to set up the blogroll on Blogger. Word Press and 21Classes were also easy. Word Press was the most tedious, because I could only add one at a time and then had to go back to the add link page.

Since I’ve looked ahead, I already know that I will end up deleting two of the blogs. I’ve already decided that I like Blogger the best, so even though 21Classes was probably the easiest of the three, I wouldn’t factor in my original difficulty with setting up a Blogger blogroll in my choice.

Blogrolls could be very useful on a classroom blog. The students would have easy access to sites they needed. Also, links to students’ blogs could be added. Although I haven’t set up different categories on a blog yet, that would make for a nicely organized classroom blog page.