Friday, February 1, 2013

Time to jump into the 21st century!

I will admit it.  It takes me a long time to jump onto the bandwagon.  I think the internet was made available to the public for a good year before I finally broke down and got involved with it.  To be honest, I even held onto cassette tapes for a long time when the CD first came out.  And, no, I still don't have any type of device for downloading music now.  I just keep playing my old CDs over and over ( I did get rid of those cassettes...well, most of them!)

So, finally, as a required assignment I am going to explore some of those sites I have heard so much about but have never taken the time to explore.  While on my educational sabbatical, one of my biggest goals was to learn more about twitter.  I truly don't know anything about it, so I am going to begin there.

  • Social = Twitter  (
    • Well, I've done it.  It took me over an hour, but I have posted my first tweet.  The site was easy to use, but I had a really hard time trying to find 10 different people to follow.  As I am the very busy Mom of three young children, I don't know very much about pop culture or current artists, but I was able to come up with 10 contacts.  I did find a connection to an organization I first learned about while in Honduras adopting our youngest daughter.  That was a great way to catch up on what they've been doing.  It seems the five stars I picked had some very random things to say that didn't mean very much to me.  I found five colleagues to friend, but once they were on my list and I explored their profiles, I realized that they hadn't written anything in quite a while.  The superintendent of our school district popped up as a suggested contact.  I viewed her site and realized that she had more tweets than some of the stars that I picked.  I eventually posted my first tweet asking that when someone reads it that they respond so that I can see how long it will take to get a response.  How do I let people know that I've joined Twitter?
    • To be honest, I'm really not sure how I would use this in the classroom.  Again, the colleagues that I located on twitter hadn't posted anything in quite some time.  As a Spanish teacher I spent a great deal of time searching tweets in Spanish that possibly my students could follow, but truly nothing was appropriate for me to share with them.  I am wondering if there is a site out there that has already identified appropriate tweets for the classroom.  I guess if I wanted to use this as a quick response tool, I could post a question on Twitter and then have my students respond to it on their phones or netbooks.  This could be something similar to the Todays Meet that I wrote about in my last post.  I will assume that if everyone joins my twitter, then everyone would be able to see everyone's responses.  I can see Twitter used as a great way to post each night's homework.  Maybe this sounds very old fashioned, but just as I don't friend current students on Facebook, I don't want to know about what students are doing in their private time.  It would seem to me that if I join all my students as contacts so that they could follow what I post, I would then see everything they post as well. 
    • While I was typing I had a thought..I went back and researched "Spanish Word of the Day" and found @SpanishWords4U  This is a daily tweet with a Spanish word or phrase, the pronunciation, and then the word used in a sentence.  I guess this takes the place of the daily calendar of Spanish words that I normally keep on my desk at school!
    • I then went back to Twitter and searched the term Spanish Teacher.  Oh my!  I guess I now understand how students are using this in the classroom.  It bothered me to read the things students were tweeting about their Spanish teachers.  For this reason alone I really can't see how this could be beneficial in the classroom.  The few Spanish teachers that I could actually find had very random things posted.  Maybe these were things that made sense to their students, but I couldn't follow it. 
  • Creative - Prezi  (
    • I just learned how to create a power point presentation about two years ago.  I am still trying to figure out how to add the affects.  Again, it's not that I am not smart enough to learn these things, it truly is a time issue for me.  There aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I must accomplish and then try to research and learn something new.
    • Prezi is an online presentation program.  The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that multiple people can access the same Prezi to edit it.  That has been a huge deterrent for me for Power point because students had to save it on a memory stick and then give it to the next student in order to work on it or save it on the district server, but then they couldn't access it outside of school. 
    • One of my colleagues uses Prezi a lot in her class so I asked her to share some of her thoughts on it with me.  She said that one of her favorite uses is to use it as a visual demonstration.  It is sometimes really difficult to visualize conjugating verbs in a foreign language, but a quick Prezi presentation that takes you through it visually step by step solidifies the process. 
    • Prezi also is wonderful for creating cultural reviews.  The ability to embed both pictures and video with great ease makes it possible to feel as if you are actually touring through a country.  The thought of never having to see another big poster with random pictures and facts really pleases me.  Again, as I played with my own Prezi presentation, I realized just how easy it is to embed elements. 
    • My colleague also shared that Prezi makes a more "interesting" way to present a content of study.  Whereas PowerPoint just moves from slide to slide, Prezi allows you to start with the big picture and then narrow down to the important details.  The movement itself is more eye catching.
    • I can easily see myself using this in my classroom to teach grammar.  It is really easy to make creative presentations around vocabulary, but grammar is so much harder.  I think the ability to zoom in and out will really help to highlight the key concepts. 
  • Curation = Pinterest  (
    • Although I was very excited to experience my first Tweet during this assignment, I never imagined how excited I would be to visit Pinterest for the first time.  I first learned of Pinterest when I took my 4th and 5th grade children to school at the end of summer to meet their teachers.  My 4th grade son had gotten my 5th grade daughter's former teacher.  When we walked into the room my daughter instantly stopped and asked her what had happened.  She responded with, "I found pinterest!"  I went on to ask her what that meant and she shared a little with me about it.  On pinterest she was able to find new display board designs, new seating arrangement ideas, and a whole lot of new ways to organize all of the stuff she would need in a classroom overflowing with children. 
    • Again, I typed in the word Spanish classroom to see what I would find.  I was both shocked and disappointed that the majority of what was posted were advertisements for the purchase of products to use in the Spanish classroom.  From what I had heard, I thought I would find neat decorations that I could make or neat ideas for how to make my classroom look more pleasing.
    • I continued to type in random terms relating to teaching Spanish and I really didn't find anything that I felt I could use in my classroom.  There were a few designs for decorating a Spanish classroom with bright colors and realia, but more than that I really couldn't find anything.
    • I first thought that possibly students could post things that they make at home for the class or even short dialogs that they create to share with the class, but that opens them all up to the world of being seen by people who need not to be looking.   I think this is one of my biggest fears with all of this.  The more we "put our students out there' the more exposed they become. 

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