Monday, March 22, 2010

Delicious – share your favourite websites

image There are so many great educational technology tools, it is easy to forget some of the best.  Delicious is one of those amazing tools.  It is a social bookmarking site that saves a bookmark online.  My delicious account is: http://delicious.com/jmcconville 

Reasons to Delicious

If you haven’t been on your delicious account in a while here are a few amazing used of delicious for classroom teachers.

  1. You can access you bookmarks (favourites) from any number of computers at school and at home.  This also works as a backup in case of computer crash.
  2. You bookmarks can be embedded onto your classroom website.
  3. Each bookmark can have a comment attached.  This can help remind us and our students what activities they can do on the site.
  4. Bookmarks can be shared with fellow colleagues and with students.  The network feature is amazing.

How – to

The help on the delicious site has a great getting started guide.  Here are the basics.

  1. Create an account.  Delicious is owned by yahoo so you’ll need a yahoo account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Choose a delicious username.  This will be the link to your online bookmarks.  My username is jmcconville so my bookmarks are http://delicious.com/jmcconville
  3. Start bookmarking!  When you find a site you want to save there are a few options to save.  You can copy the URL, open delicious in another tab or window and click ‘save a new bookmark.  image
    The second option involves you having the delicious browser button installed, you can simply click on the ‘save a new bookmark’ link.  image
    Add a note to remind you what you liked about the site and a few tags to group your bookmarks together. image
  4. Expand your network to find great bookmarks imagefrom others.  Here are the educators that I follow:   Imagine all the amazing sites you would find if a group of teachers on a staff shared their bookmarks via delicious and connected in a network.
  5. Embed your bookmarks on your teacher website.  Here is a screencast for embedding into sharepoint.

New features!

Delicious just added a feature called ‘Browse these bookmarks (beta)’.  View the screencast below for a demo of ‘browse these bookmarks’.

Amazing new bookmarks!

At a elementary teacher sharing session last week.  Jane Chabot showed me these two amazing websites that are now on the top of my delicious picks.

Jacksonpollock.org allows you to paint like the great master himself.  Everytime you click you get a new colour, the faster you move the mouse the thinner the line. 

image

Please take a moment to add a comment below with a link to your delicious account and your job title.  We can then find others with similar interests to add to our network.

Oxfam – Mapping our World

Check out the screencast below for a demo of this site.

 

Share your Delicious account name

Please take a moment to add a comment below with a link to your delicious account and your job title.  We can then find others with similar interests to add to our network.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Class Website – Extend the Learning

A classroom website can be a hub for sharing and gathering information.  I really like the graphic from Free Technology for Teachers.  Look at the key words: give, collect, display, links…

Picture 4[1]
from
Free Technology for Teachers

Getting Started

Your website can be all these things, just remember to be successful you’ll need to start small.  In my experience, teachers like to start by giving and posting information on the site.  On a website this might look like a list of links to great websites, homework and planner notes for the day and paragraph about personal philosophy ‘about me’.

Future Steps

Once a teacher has more experience the site can be enhanced to make it more interactive by collecting and engaging students.  This might be a wiki, student blog and hand in box.

Managing your Time

One of the most common concerns from teachers is the amount of time to manage a website.  Here is what others have found as key strategies for making the website management more efficient.

  • Have the students do the posting – at the end of each day with the notes that go into the student planners also need to go onto the website.  Have a student complete this task each day.
  • Use the classroom laptop/projector to do double duty.  If you are one of the fortunate teaches to have projection technology in the classroom, rather than writing the end of day notes on the board, type them directly onto the site.

Sample template

Our district provides sharepoint as a platform for teacher websites.  Here is a screenshot of the template.

image

Would be interested in hearing from teachers about the key things they have on their teacher website. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Perfect Student Computer 2010

CUEBC netbook blog photo[1] The Computer Using Educators of BC are at it again.  We are looking for recommendations for the perfect student computer.  As you recall from our previous posts, here is our criteria.

  • inexpensive – does more need to be said?  Well we are looking for a device that any and all students could and would afford to bring the internet into the classroom.
  • portable – should be small, light, nothing much heavier than a math textbook yet far more useful.
  • multimedia – needs a webcam, speakers and lots of storage for music and video.  Most netbooks have this space but need to check before we buy.
  • battery life – really we want something that can go a whole day in a classroom without needing a charge.
  • strong performance – should have a modern operating system, decent boot time to get right into use in the classroom.

Last year we purchased Acer Netbooks from Bestbuy.  While they had a few warranty issues that were all resolved, they weren’t the ‘perfect’ computers. The same as last year, we hope to get the computers in the hands of as many teachers and students as possible to see how they like them.  I’ll post thoughts and comments on this blog an in the CUEBC newsletter.

If you have suggestions or want to share a link to a great new computer you just purchased then drop a comment off below :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Learning in a Digital Immersion Classroom

Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services LogoWhen I get asked about models for sustainable learning with computer technology, you don’t have to go any further than Riverside Secondary in our district.

While many would agree that technology infused learning can benefit students, funding computers is a challenge.  While most schools have computer labs, wireless computers in core subject areas is harder to achieve.  In Riverside’s Digital Immersion course, the students all have a wireless computer, many bring their own but some choose to use a school laptops.  The students work together as a cohort and get credit for English/Socials/Science and Digital Immersion. Throughout the course student have the double benefit of learning the required provincial learning outcomes while evaluating and selecting digital tools to best represent their learning.  The students also create digital backpacks or portfolios of their work.  Many of these are digital backpacks are shared on the school website.

It also seems that the media is picking up the story too.  Here is an article in the local Tri-City News (February 25, 2010), “Teenagers are already immersed in technology”.

Here is the video from CBC by Theresa Lalonde

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