Thing 23: Looking behind, & where do I go from here…

I had been working with Web tools and Web 2.0 tools for quite some time now. I took this course to see if I had been missing any vital pieces of the Web 2.0 toolkit. This course has helped me understand the tools that teachers need to use and teach their students too. I am in a support role at my school, to help teachers and students with these tools.

I am keen to see where technology goes from here. What would Web 3.0 look and feel like. Is it what qwiki.com or augmented reality has to deliver? Can everyone try to predict what Web 3.0 has in store for educators?

Thing 22: Classroom 2.0 and Twitter

Classroom 2.0 is created on a Social Networking platform called Ning.

ningOur school has been using Ning for more than 2 years now. We started using Ning networks as we found this a very easy and user friendly Social Networking platform where teachers and students can connect on a common topic of interest, in this case a class/course.

The Ning platform was free earlier, but advertisements on the right. We paid $24.95 per month to get rid of these advertisements. Later Ning decided to stop all free Ning networks, and started charging $199.95 per year. We upgraded 22 Ning Networks at our school.

We use Ning networks for Language Arts, Modern Languages, PE, and other CSR activities at our school.

Ning networks provide a place for blogging, discussion forums, videos, text, calendar events, and much more.

This is a great tool for schools.

twitterOn the other hand Twitter, is a wonderful tool for micro-blogging. This has become a medium of communicating one’s thoughts today, just after blogging.

Teachers and students can follow Tweeters they like, to stay connected to the topic and the ideas.

I never used twitter till now. Thanks to the K12-Learning course I was nudged towards twitter and now I like it. Wow!

Thing 7c: Homework is scary

I really liked this post “Homework: From Chills to Thrills”.

Photograph taken from Flickr Creative Commons licensed images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2194119780/
Photograph taken by Cayusa

2194119780_8053e0e748_m

I believe that the concept of compulsory “Homework” or “Work at Home” puts students through a lot of pressure and stress. Learning shouldn’t be a stressful activity; it should make a student to want to know more, rather than to hate the actual process of learning.

Shelly Blake-Plock mentions in her blog post that “Homework” increases the students stress and decreases their sleep.

The whole concept should be turned around, where students should do something necessary to prepare themselves for the next class. It could be reading, viewing a video or listening to a podcast, etc. Even research is an excellent tool to prepare for a lesson or class.

Thing 20: Collaborating using Google Docs

Google Docs is a great tool for collaborating and working over the internet.

At our school students use Google Docs in the classroom, from home and when they are on field trips.

Google Docs suite has a bundle of very commonly used software like documents, presentations, drawings, spreadsheets and forms.

  • Documents can be used for student Essays and the teacher can put in his/her comments.
  • Spreadsheets can be used for event sign-ups.
  • Forms can be used for gathering survey responses for feedback, etc.

Google Docs can be used with very little or no training.

Documents, Presentations and Spreadsheets can be shared for viewing or collaborating as the need may be.

Thing 19: YouTube and TeacherTube – Take your pick

I have been a Youtube user for many user now. As Youtube is a popular site for videos it also has a lot of inappropriate videos that you would not like your students and children to view. Then TeacherTube is a perfect alternative for educational videos.

Within out school we have a web-filter set on our proxy server that filters all content that is requested for. So we don’t block YouTube but any video that is inappropriate is blocked.

At our school we have a YouTube Channel where we post our school videos.

YouTube gives us the facility to post videos:

  • Up to 2 GB in size
  • Up to 15 minutes in length

I love the Common Craft videos. There are videos from Common Craft for any tech topic, which are very easy to understand.

I have embedded one from YouTube below:

And a video from TeacherTube below:

Thing 18: Podcasting Experience

It feels very nice to record your own audio and video, then make these clips available as podcast/vodcast feeds that can be subscribed to.

I see great use of podcast in Language-Arts and Modern-Languages where students can learn pronunciation from audio clips, which can be played over and over again. Video clips can help is teaching Experiments in Science and PE Activities.

Audio Example:

At the American School of Bombay (ASB), we used podcast/vodcast at deliver distance learning during the time of the Swine-Flu scare in Mumbai-India, and it was received very well by the entire ASB Community – Students, Parents and Teachers.

Thing 17: From PODcasting to VODcasting

Few years back I was scared when I heard the term PODCAST. I thought of it as a very complex subject that I would never understand.

We at the American School of Bombay (ASB) had purchased a tool called “Feed For All“. This tool was used to create podcast feeds. It had a series of steps to follow before achieving the end result. This was very unpopular among the teachers and students.

Later I was searching for a much easier tool on the internet to replace “Feed For All“, and I found “Easy Podcast“. This was much easier as compared to “Feed For All“, but it still had one major limitation, it could only create audio podcasts.

Then I looked around for easy video podcasting (VODcast) tools. There were many out there, but none had the capability to publish audio and video using the same tool. So I studied the xml code generated by both the podcast and vodcast tools, as I am a software developer. I finally decided that I would create one tool for audio and video podcasting.

It was really easy when I understood what the code contained. This was not some rocket science as I assumed it when I first heard of podcasts. I created a tool that can help users publish audio and video in three easy steps.

threebuttons

Now the tool I created is being used at ASB from Grade-3 through Grade-12. Every student and teacher has a login and a folder. They can create sub-folders within their own folder, so that gives them the ability to have multiple feeds containing multiple episodes, which could be audio and video clips.

Later I received suggestions from teachers to generate embed code for the audio and video clips which could be embedded into the class pages directly. I jumped on to that task and offered that functionality as well.

I have displayed few screen-shots of the software I developed for ASB.

FileUpload

RSSCreator

EmbedCode

I see great use of this tool in Language-Arts and Modern-Languages where students can learn pronunciation from audio clips, which can be played over and over again. Video clips can help is teaching Experiments in Science and PE Activities.

We used this tool at deliver distance learning during the time of the Swine-Flu scare in Mumbai-India, and it was received very well by the entire ASB Community – Students, Parents and Teachers.

I also showcased this tool at the Lausanne Laptop Institute 2010.

Thing 15: delicious is the way to go

It was always a challenge how to create a list of your favorite websites. At first we tried to list all our favorite sites in our browsers favorites. But this approach had a big disadvantage as it was tied down to one computer and one browser.

deliciousNow with the advent of social bookmarking and tagging sites like delicious, diigo, and others, we can access our bookmarks from any computer and any browser.

Please list other social bookmarking and tagging sites in the comments to this post.

This can be a very efficient method to share website links with students that they need to access to learn and use in projects.

Visit my delicious link: http://del.icio.us/dolphusp

I found this list of 125 Social Bookmarking Sites.