Thursday, November 5, 2009

Second Life


When you here about "Second Life", you must think about "Virtual World".
It is an online 3D virtual world imagined and designed by you and from the moment you enter Second Life, you'll discover a universe brimming with people and possibilities. The aim of this innovation is to make you create an avatar and then let you create and explore your dreamed and perfect future world, with what you want inside.

It is very complicated to use and that can take ages to finish your virtual world. The person who introduced me to Second Life is actually working on his virtual world since 3 years. Second Life is for people aged 18 and over, so can strictly not be used in primary classroom. In addition, Second Life is not secured, not free and does not provide any useful educational benefits.

My opinion about Second Life is that it is a really strange innovation which is too much focused on a "fiction future"; I'm enjoying the present and I don't really like to think about a proper future!! ;-)

Wiki !

The first innovation I learned about in my computer class was: Wiki.
I was not very sure about what was a Wiki before the teacher's presentation in class; I only knew "Wikipedia", and I couldn't really make the difference between wikis and blogs.

I learned that a wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of informations, resources, hyper links, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites in which anyone can contribute and add something. Whereas Blogs are personnel, people can only add comments on each other blogs. Wikis often provide great informations about anything you are looking for.

Wikis' characteristics:
- very simple and easy to edit your wiki
- anyone can edit and add stuff on a wiki
- wikis record document histories
- creating links is simple with wikis
- wikis keep track off all your stuff (as it stores everything, it knows about all your links and pages)

Using wiki in a classroom can be very useful; firstly, to stores everything important and useful documents the teacher has and want to keep; secondly, to share online information and resources with children, giving them the opportunity to add some more stuff about what they have learned.

We have been asked to create our own wiki page about the innovation we worked on with our group. Feel free to visit: (the wiki page I created with my group)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Edmodo

Hi there!

The new technology I learned this week is called: Edmodo!
Edmodo is a private micro-blogging platform built for use by teachers and students to communicate. It is quite the same as facebook, twitter or msn, but strictly educational.

It is a very useful and simple resource to use in an educational context.
The teacher just need to sign up through a very easy process which only required a name, surname, email address and password; then she needs to create a group which will include herself and her students, choosing a group name; and then she needs to provide the group code to her students so they are able to sign up at their turn using it.
Once the students signed up in the group, they can virtually start to communicate with their teacher individually or within the whole group, but can't communicate with other students individually, which I think is good, as Edmodo stays professional and not a place to chat and talk about non educational stuff.

Edmodo is an effective tool to use for teachers and students as they can share everything through it such as, ideas, files, documents, important events, assignments; overall any kind of messages and attachments. Everything shared and done on Edmodo is stored and saved. So students can use it to do their homeworks, so there will be no "excuse for students of forgetting or losing their work". Teachers can also use Edmodo to display students grades and it is private just for the students to see.

Some positives points about Edmodo:
- free and easy access,
- no need of email address for students,
- comments can be removed,
- it if safe, secure and private - pin code required.

Some negatives points about Edmodo:
- it can be time consuming,
- it might be disruptive for students,
- students may forget to always check their messages,
- there is no option for the parents to have their own account.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hot Potatoes!


Today, I also learned about another new educational technology: Hot Potatoes!
It is a useful tool to use within the classroom environment which is easy to use either for teachers and students. It provides interactive, effective and fun learning at the same time, which are engaging for students.
It enables teachers to create effective materials (worksheets, tests, exercises, assessments) such as:

- interactive multiple-choice,
- short-answer,
- jumbled-sentence,
- crossword,
- matching/ordering,
- gap-fill exercises

Hot Potatoes is a free software which is usable for any purpose or project within the classroom. It can easily be incorporated within the diverse Learning Area (e.g. Maths: you can create a times table's multiple choice, English: you can create a jumbled-sentence activity).
By using Hot Potatoes, teachers can easily organise their work/upload worksheets; they can communicate with their students; see their results, the time they took to complete an activity and their feelings about it. On the other side, students can check if their answers are correct and can have another try if they did some mistakes. They can also express their feelings about all the activities.

Some negative points about Hot Potatoes:
- You cannot download the new version yet; you can only download the demo version which is available just for 7 days;
- You cannot change your password;
- If you forget your password, it is gone forever.


Here is a useful link which contains diverse quizzes samples:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Game Maker


Salu!!

In my computer class today, I learned about a new technology which is called: Game Maker.
Game maker is a software that allows you to create interactive and exciting computer games, without the need to write a single line of code. Game maker provides a lot of fun but only when it is well understood. It is a very complex software and it is hard to get the way to use it. We had a try in class today and we all got some difficulties with it.
Yoyo game is the companion website of Game Maker which contains tutorials, wikis and different sorts of games.

Some positive points about Game Maker:
- it is fun and engaging;
- it is free to access;
- it is very challenging and encourages problem solving;
- you can create professional looking games within very little time;
- it develops logical thinking and creativity;
- you can do anything you want with the games you produce;
- it enhances students' learning in technologies and softwares.

Some negative points about Game Maker:
- there are no good tutorials about it;
- it is so complex that you can get very frustrating at times.

Use Game Maker within the classroom?
I think that this technology can be used within the classroom in a way that it can provides engagement and motivation to those who understand it; it reflect on learning; and it can develop logical thinking. But in another hand, as it is a complex software, it could be time consuming and ineffective with primary school students. It may be more useful and applicable in upper grades.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scratch


Scratch is a free website to download. It is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, music and art and share your creations on the web.

"Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively".

It seems to be a very good innovation with which you can have a lot of fun and let your imagination being creative. But it is really hard and complex to understand and use, especially for kids for who it has been designed. I had a try and was unable to understand properly how to use it.

In my opinion, Scratch is not an useful innovation to work on within a classroom as it is to complex and time consuming. It can be use for example in a computer free time lesson to let the students explore and familiarize with the website, to then spend more time on it at home if they find it interesting.