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.

Twitter

"Twitter is a social network where you post short bursts of thoughts and information"


Definition: Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.

Twitter is fundamentally a communication tool between people all around the world. The aim of twitter is to show and share everything you are doing by publishing a quick and short post on your twitter's profile, and keep updating it so people can follow you and all the things you are doing; follow your life basically. People can also comment on each other posts; and Twitter website can be accessed from any computers but also from some specific mobile phones.

Personally I don't like the idea of Twitter, I think that with all these new sort of technologies in which people exhibit there life to everyone there is no more privacy in people's life.

I can't really figure out how to incorporate Twitter in the classroom, I think it is a bit dangerous for students to use it as they can read and access inappropriate stuff/posts. The teacher could maybe do a private Twitter access between her/him and the students only, to send some messages to remind students of doing a work or bringing something to the classroom for instance (instead of writing it in their diary). I don't know a lot about Twitter, but if it is possible to do private posts, it can have some usefulness; to communicate with the parents as well. But I definitely think that it is not a useful and essential innovation at all, there are so many technologies much more better to use...

Jing !



Bonjour !!!

I learnt about a new and useful innovation which is called "Jing".
Jing is a free program that allows you to:

- Snap a picture of your screen (use Jing to grab a screen shot when you see something cool you want to save or share and gussy it up and edit/emphasize images with caption, highlight or arrow.)

- Record video of onscreen action (Jing records any onscreen action as a 5 minutes (or less) movie that can be shared instantly.)

- Share instantly over the web (Jing uploads your image or video, you can put Screencast.com embed code on your clipboard instead of a link, and share it easily with others over the web via facebook, email, blogs etc...)

Jing can be use in a classroom by the teacher to edit children's work, and for instance to correct students' writing using the special features of Jing.

However, there are some limitations using Jing, for instance; it takes a lot of time to upload a video and to save and generate an embed code, (I never succeed to upload mine.) You can just create short video of 5 minutes maximum.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blog



This is a wordle I created to describe blogs.


Before taking this technology unit I never had a blog and wasn't sure of the purpose and utility of a blog

Now I created my own blog as part of my assignment for the technology unit; and I think that it is very interesting and effective to use.
It can be good to use to do personal reflection of your life, put some pictures to show family and friends.
However, you can lose your privacy if you're using blogs to much (by putting to much think on your life) and if you haven't restrain the access to your blog.

Bitstrips

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ME:

Once more, I wasn't in class when the two class members did their presentation on Bitstrips, and apparently I missed a big thing!!! So, to learn about it, I went on the Bitstrips website and I read the Wiki page that the two class members did.

By looking at both of them, I learned that Bitstrips is an useful technology on which you can create comics, characters, friends and scene for free. It is an addictive and fun website to play on. I even had a try and created my profile picture (see above).

These are two examples that teachers may do with Bitstrips in their classroom:
1) The teacher may create a small comic scene with pictures only, and ask the students to write the dialogues.
2) The teacher may let students have a play on Bitstrips website during free time on computer; she may ask them to create their profile or to do a small comic, for instance.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Google Docs

I wasn't in class when Miriam and Simon did their presentation about Google Docs; but I have briefly been taught about this innovation in my Technology and Enterprise class.

I learned that it is a free web-based word processor, spread sheet and and presentation. It can be used to create and edit documents online while sharing/collaborating with other users.

It is an effective tool to use when doing group assignment for example; each member of the group can write their part on Google Docs, then share it with the other team members, so they can have a look and do the necessary corrections. No need to arrange time to meet up at Uni, can just stay at home and work through Google Docs.

It is a great innovation for sharing docs and has useful features!