Thursday, April 24, 2008

Reflection on Wendy Wolfe's Presentation: If All My Classes Did This

When I was young, if someone asked for a tool. They were thinking about an implement such as those pictured to the right. It was a device that could help do some manual tasks. When I speak about tools to my colleagues and students I'm usually referring to some of the new tools of Web 2.0 as pictured below (left). Both sets of tools make it easier to accomplish a task. It's time to re-tool our classrooms to be using the tools of Web 2.0 in ways that increase student engagement and provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning.

In Wendy Wolfe's K12 Online Conference presentation, "If All My Classes did This", she demonstrated some of the tools of Web 2.0 and how she uses them in her classroom. She specifically demonstrates:

I find that many students today connect with tools like ToonDoo and enjoy being provided new ways to demonstrate their learning. We are fortunate enough to have Comic Life on our laptops at my school. It functions similarly to ToonDoo but also connects with the student's iPhoto library to allow them to import photos into their comics easily. The students really enjoy making comics that convey their knowledge on a topic. I use ReadWriteThink.org in my course for Elementary Education majors at Saint Joseph's College. I like the flexibility (and safety) that the use of the tools at this site provide. I'll have to add ToonDo to my course as a more powerful tool than ReadWriteThink's Comic Creator.

I'm not as thrilled with having students create PowerPoint-like slides in tools like Zoho (or GoogleDocs) that just cram a ton of text onto a slide. I want to push as many teachers who continue to use PowerPoint as their gateway drug into technology integration to see Dean Shareski's K12 Online Conference session, "Design Matters". We must teach students how to create a quality presentation and how to deliver it. These online MS Office-like suites are becoming more and more powerful. I've become a huge fan of GoogleDocs. I actually find Zoho more robust than GoogleDocs and Spreadsheets. However, I like to teach students about many of the other tools that Google offers so I tend to go in the Google direction because I'm such a fan of iGoogle, GoogleReader, GoogleMaps and more. Google Docs and Spreadsheets offers enough of the power I want to push my students in that direction. This limits their need for mulitple sites to log into. Google holds onto their login on each student's laptop which makes it easy for each student to bounce from one Google tool to the next.

I'm really interested in GCast. I just set up an account and posted my first podcast with it using my mobile phone. I interviewed my two daughters on why they love going to Webkinz World. What a great and easy to use tool!



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Image Attributions:
Image: 'Beautiful Tools'
www.flickr.com/photos/49503154413@N01/100043823

Image: 'LOGO2.0 part I'
www.flickr.com/photos/16851909@N00/93136022

3 comments:

Skip said...

Mike-
I guess this qualifies as fan mail!

I ran across your name and vocation in Twitter the end of last week and started following you. as a part of that, I subscribed to your blog.

You have done yeoamn's work this week with the online conference and I wanted to extend my hearty thanks.
-Skip Zalneraitis

Mike Arsenault said...

Thanks Skip. I've been on school vacation this week and trying to get caught up with my K12 Online Conference work. The presentations are incredible. If you get a chance check out some of them.

even more different said...

Have you tried out toonlet? We’re a comic-creation site that puts the emphasis on character development. It's easy and fun and kids have seemd to enjoy it thus far. You can take the toonlet tour at http://www.toonlet.com/tour. Thanks!

best wishes,
Ian (from toonlet)