Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Web 2.0...organized!!!

Thank you for this assignment.  I signed up for the Wilkes EDIM program to gather more hands on tools that I could really use in my classroom.  These are exactly the type of things I had hoped to find!

URL shortening:

Wow!  This is amazing and really what I needed.  As always, it took me a little time to figure it all out, but after I got the hang of it, I started to create Bundles based on Wilkes' courses, ESL sites that I use often, and Spanish sites that I love.  This is such a great resource.  I did start to create a bundle for my personal sites like banking, email, credit cards so that I had them all right there for easy connection, but then I got concerned with exactly how others can view and access my sites.  I will need to do more research with the private/public options. 

Thanks to Bitly, I cleaned out my Favorites Bar and favorites tab and now just have Bitly there.  It's like my own Web 2.0 filing cabinet.  I can't believe how much easier it is now to find the sites I use most often.  It also made me realize just how many sites I really do use!  For my educational sites, I renamed each one beginning with Profe (that is what my students call me) and then what the site was for.  Example:  this blog is now listed on Bitly as profeblog.  That is much easier to share with someone.

I would love to use this in my Spanish classroom for when my students do their country research projects.  They must create a multimedia presentation in which they are a tour company and they are trying to sell us a vacation to their specific country.  I always ask them for a site list from where they gathered all of their information.  I then type in each URL to verify the information in their presentation.  Using Bitly, I can now have my students put all of their sites into a bundle and rename that bundle with their country name and site # (after they number all of the sites that they referenced.)  This will save me so much time!

QR Codes:

So when trying to think of what to use for my sample QR code, I figured I would treat anyone daring enough to actually try it on this blog, to one of the most ridiculous youtube videos I have ever seen.  Unfortunately, it does remind me of many of my students!  Enjoy!

Our district is putting forth such a technology initiative that they encourage teachers to have students use their phones in the classroom.  To this point I have only had my students load apps to vocabulary review games that I create and post for them.  But in the age of youtube, I can't think of  a better (and more entertaining) way to get my students involved in my class.  The idea of not knowing what they will find when they scan the barcode is the best as this will motivate them to want to do it.  As a high school teacher, the more "tricks" I can find to encourage my students to use their phones for educational reasons in my classroom, the better!

Here is another QR code to help with Spanish vocabulary.  As you can see, I've put the QR code on my couch as well as other furniture around my living room.  As I am not teaching this year, I thought this could be a cute game to play with my kids.  My children will walk around the living room with my phone and scan the link.  This QR code will take them to a website where they can click on the matching picture of the piece of furniture and it will say the name of that piece in Spanish. 
When teaching, I love to teach my students new vocabulary by using real artifacts instead of just a list of English to Spanish terms.  Just as we all learned our first languages, we learned through association with real objects and situations, not a predetermined vocabulary list.  This would be a great activity for students to walk around my room scanning QRs of various objects to learn how to say them in Spanish. 


The first bookmarklet I tried was Printliminator  This site allows you to go into a website and remove the unwanted adds, graphics, extra fluff found on the page so that you can print out a clean page from that website.  After viewing the video demonstration (very appreciated!) I went ahead and started using it on some of my favorite websites.  This was another amazing tool.  Personally, I know for a fact that I will use this when I print out my boarding passes for our family vacation next month.  This will cut down on all that wasted paper and wasted ink.  Although I always hit:  print without advertisements, there is always something more that prints other than just the boarding pass. 

In the past I always tried to just select the information I wanted, copied it, and then pasted it into a word document for printing.  Many times, though, the look of the page would become distorted or the formatting would change and result in me spending many hours trying to reformat the content to look presentable.  This is going to save me a lot of time both professionally and personally. 

For my classroom, I would love to see students use this when they are printing out information from any site.  The amount of paper wasted is unbelievable.  It doesn't even seem to bother them. 

The second bookmarklet I previewed was Quietube  Yet another extremely valuable tool!!!  Quietube takes all the "extra" out that appears around a youtube video.  No more inappropriate pictures of similar topics or vulgar comments others have posted.  I love this!  There are so many great resources on youtube, but I'm always afraid to put them on my screen in my classroom as the strangest things seem to pop up. 

As my family lives across the country, I'm learning how to upload videos of my kids' sports competitions on youtube to share with their grandparents.  Many times the files are too large to simply upload directly and send to them, but they can always access youtube.  I'm going to experiment with uploading a video, clicking on quietube and then sending that link to my parents so that they only have to see what I want them to see.  I know my Mom would appreciate it!!!

The same goes for when my students want to share a youtube video with the entire class on the big screen.  Using quietube will now be a mandatory step prior to anything being shown. 

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