Sun 2010 Oct 17
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Let’s say you brought your students to the computer laboratory, or used one of the roving Mac labs for a research activity in class. You also know that for some students, searching the net is distracting and because of this, you want to guide them in their research activity. When preparing for this particular session, you have visited and listed down or bookmarked the URLs of relevant websites. In class, you flash the different web addresses of the sites you want your students to visit on the board. And the students start working.
Great! The students are engaged and you go around the room supervising. But wait a minute, how did your students manage to visit your suggested sites? Did they have to type a long string every time they need to go to the next web address on your list? Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that, there could be better and faster ways to do it. Yes you guessed it right, by using a URL shortener. So instead of typing, say: http://www.universetoday.com/75663/how-nasa-helped-rescue-the-chilean-miners/ you could just type: http://fur.ly/2j3e and arrive at the same site. Students will just need to type 18 characters instead of 76 for this particular site. Cool, huh? What’s more, there are plenty of URL shortening sites to choose from. Here’s an exhaustive list: http://fur.ly/2j3o
But here’s something cooler. Just one short URL for multiple sites. Yes just one. You as the teacher just need to type all the URLs in one page then generate one short web address. The students just visit this one web address that you supplied and they can browse all the sites you want them to look at. Here’s an example I made. This is about the stirring rescue of the Chilean miners last week. Just click on the shortened web address and you’ll be led to the five sites I listed: http://krunchd.com/c0a869 (you will find left and right arrows on the upper right hand corner of the page to navigate).
Go get your short URL for multiple websites at http://krunchd.com. The site actually has more features like editing your list or allowing others to edit your list for collaborative work. The generated short URL could be emailed or shared through networking sites.
This is not to say that teachers should be using this all the time. As we also want our students to find resources on their own by doing a proper search.
Sat 2010 Oct 09
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The Operation NExT Team has been encouraging Xavier School teachers to blog about their professional life, their experiences in and out of the classroom, the technologies and strategies that they use, their insights and successes as teachers and formators. Also WordPress is being introduced to students from Grade 5 to High 4 for them to build and maintain their individual Personal Learning Websites(PLWS).
It’s a great leap for Xavier School as teachers and staff and students are starting to blog. You should visit their sites and take a look at what they have to say and learn what they are learning.
WordPress is the preferred platform due to its robust elements, which includes wide layout flexibility and its more open commenting feature. It can be pretty demanding to the uninitiated, first time user. But it gets easy as you use it. So yes, we feel that WordPress is appropriate to our 5th graders. However, we can go even younger. As early as when we start computer classes in 3rd grade.
And yes, we have an age-appropriate WordPress version for them. Welcome KIDBLOG! A simple and secure site teachers can use to create space for students to blog. Here’s how it works:
- teacher creates an account using his/her email address
- teacher enters user names and assigns passwords for each student in class
- teacher tells students to go to the class site
- students see a drop down list of user names and log in
- voila… they can start blogging
- teacher may want everything to run by him/her for approval before publishing
KidBlog is secure because kids do not have to have their own email addresses. The teacher can have control over all posts, reviewing them before it gets published. The teacher has control over who can view and make comments on the blog; either named users(class members) only, or all visitors. This is also a good way to let parents know what their children are doing and learning in class(if you choose that path).
KidBlog is easy to use. User can upload pictures, link sites and videos and comment on each others works. Even if it is simple and does not have all of its features, it has the look and feel of WordPress. I create a class site for Operation NExT Team members and I made viewing public so anyone can visit kidblog.org/larrydlpsnextclass.
A great and fun way to learn!
Thu 2010 Sep 23
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An online community for teachers. A forum for innovation and collaboration. A rich and powerful resource, WeAreTeachers combines the expertise of its member community, the knowledge base of its partners and the momentum of social media in providing and contributing ideas for teaching and learning. Listing resources on an myriad of subjects and grade levels, signing up and joining WeAreTeachers is easy and free.
Teaching and learning ideas are not limited to the use of technology. There are individual, group, short or long-term projects and activities. An intuitive search feature returns results that are quite specific to what you are looking for. There are plenty of links to other resources.
If you are a teacher with a blog, you can submit your link here and WeAreTeachers can help you get exposure. You can also sign up to participate in teacher panels as well as submit your teaching and learning ideas.
Thu 2010 Sep 23
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I like searching for ideas, resources, free tools teachers can use. Not only on infusing technology into their teaching, but also other ways of spurring students into learning. Activities that engage students, widen or deepen understanding. It can be in any subject area.
I will be combing the net for teacher blogs, organization websites, tech magazines and I will share what I find here.