Thursday, March 29, 2012

In Reflection

For almost 3 months I have been diving into the word of Web 2.0 and the different applications and tools up for offer. My plan was to research 6 different tools that I could use in lessons to enhance my students’ learning. I had 3 goals at the start of the term. I wanted to Increase my own comfort level with Web 2.0 tools (I started out as a self-proclaimed ‘intermediate’ tech user), by actually implementing these tools in the classroom making the most of my learning. I wanted to increase parent-teacher communication through online tools, and also increase student engagement in and out of the classroom.

Summary of Learning:
As mentioned above I thought of myself as an intermediate when it came to using technology both in and out of the classroom. I was comfortable learning new tools, but often chose to do things the way I had in the past simply because I didn’t make time to implement the new ideas. This course was good for me in this aspect. I had to push myself to research the tools, and implement in my classroom, and for the most part, the results have been positive. I wasn’t aware of just how many Web 2.0 tools there were out there, and for that reason I still think of myself as being at an intermediate level when it comes to using these technologies. No matter how much I learn there is still more out there: I don’t think anyone can describe themselves as an expert in this field. I have learned lots over the last weeks, but definitely not all.

What worked well? In terms of my learning, I found that it was best when I applied it in the classroom (or professional-development) straight away, and didn’t wait for a few days or weeks before trying it. In terms of programs, the only one I didn’t find particularly useful was Pinterest. The rest of the programs I concentrated on (Google Reader, Blogger, Moodle, Twitter & Hootsuite, Animoto, Glogster, and Poll Everywhere) I found helpful professionally, and useful in the classroom to create engaging lessons and assignments. If I had to pick a favourite program it would be Hootsuite, and Animoto. Hootsuite was most helpful with professional development, and keeping up with new trends in education; and Animoto was so easy to use, and the results were simply amazing!

When it comes to sharing my new learning, I have been blogging all my thoughts and findings on my Blogger site called Haley Lucas - Exploring Web 2.0. I also have noticed how useful Twitter is when it comes with sharing ideas to other like-minded people. As for integrating the tools in my classroom I am currently already using Glogster, and have planned upcoming lessons using Poll Everywhere (see blog for more details). For me, it helps if I use programs straight away. We had a speaker come to our last Pro-D called Terry Small (a master teacher, and learning skills specialist) and he told us that if you don’t use new skills or ideas within 48 hours you never would - and I see the truth in this. Throughout this project I found that I had to apply things in the classroom immediately or else I would simply move onto the next project or new idea before completely trying the first.

The Future:
Throughout this course and my research into new tools I have found some great new ideas to make my lessons more exciting, and engaging (Glogster, Animoto, Poll Everywhere), and also new tools to ensure I stay on top of new trends in the Web 2.0 world (Twitter, Hootsuite, Google Reader). I plan to continue using the lessons and projects I have already implemented in the classroom, as well as new ideas and projects using these tools. Using the Professional Development tools mentioned above I plan to keep abreast of new trends in the Web 2.0 world, and when I find something interesting I want to experiment with it in the classroom quickly so I can see if it is useful. The more tools I can use in the classroom the more diversity I can have in my lessons.

Final Reflection:
Looking back on my personal journey I think I have come out with more positives than negatives. I ended up looking at 9 different Web 2.0 tools: Google Reader, Blogger, Moodle, Twitter, Hootsuite, Pinterest, Animoto, Glogster, and Poll Everywhere. As mentioned in my introduction My only major negative experience was with Pinterest, and perhaps with more time I can find a use for an application such as this. I am proud of the way I pushed myself throughout this project to learn new tools, and develop new ways to implement these tools in my classroom. I always find setting goals such a difficult process, you need to pick something that you know you can complete, but also something that isn’t too easy to accomplish. The three goals I set for myself fall into these guidelines, and I am pleased with myself that I managed to get so far in these aspects. I did increase my comfort level with Web 2.0 tools, and implemented them in the classroom with assignments using Glogster, and lessons using online polls. I increased parent-teacher communication with my Moodle class website, and I also feel that I increased students’ ownership of their own learning: If students miss a class, they can take it upon themselves to catch up on missed notes online. I also improved my professional development, which wasn’t a goal, but a pleasant side-effect. I really got a lot out of Google Reader, and Twitter/Hootsuite and will use them in the future to keep on top of educational and technological trends. Completing this project has made me realize that learning and implementing these tools in the classroom isn’t as hard and time consuming as I once thought. I plan on continuing this journey, and blogging about new tools.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Poll Everywhere

I have used polling applications in class before, when I was teaching in the UK our Math department had a program called Quizdom with a set of little red devices that students could use in class to select answers. The program was set to show how students voted, and even flashed to a screen with racing cars between questions to show which student was ahead.

One of the first times I had heard of Web 2.0 tools such as online poling devices was at the Librarian Pro-D conference in October. I went to a talk by Crystal Stranaghan who is one half of the team at Live Your Dream Workshops. Crystal had some great ideas on how to get bring technology into the classroom using devices that students already have. The one that I most wanted to use was the polling website Poll Everywhere. Using an online tool such as this not only saves money (you don't have to purchase expensive hardware such as the Quizdom program) but also gets students using their devices in a positive manner in class. With the free account at Poll Everywhere you can poll a maximum of 40 people at one time, an adequate size for most classrooms. Poll Everywhere advises users that they are spam-free, phone numbers are kept private and that anyone participating in a poll will never receive unsolicited text messages.

As Neal Grandgenett discusses in his article Poll Everywhere from Mathematics and Computer Education (Vol. 46, Issue 1, Pg. 79) the results from quizzes can also be stored to review later. And there is also the option of using this application for "testing purposed by recording the correct and incorrect responses of each student using the unique number from their cellphone or other device to identify them. In addition, attendance could be taken by having students 'sign in' with a particular text message unique to that day or by responding at the beginning of class to a particular homework problem." Grandgenett also mentioned how Poll Everywhere had been used at his staff meeting, and how staff were engaged and the Dean was provided with useful feedback.

Poll Everywhere is also listed in Lisa Neilsen's 8 free and easy ways to begin educating innovatively in Technology and Learning (Vol. 30, Issue. 7, Pg. 16, February, 2010)

I have adapted one of my old PowerPoint presentations on plans and elevations to include Poll Everywhere. It was pretty easy to create. I simply created the multiple choice questions on Poll Everwhere and downloaded the PowerPoint file. I then copied and pasted the pictures from my original presentation.

I have tested it, and it works. (I only had access to two phones, so there are only two votes). The one downside to this program would be that it needs access to the internet to work. So if the internet is down or not working on a particular day, the poll will not work.

Then at the end of the lesson you can go to your questions on and clear results if you have another class you want to use the same presentation with.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Deeper Reading - Animoto

The more I hear about what people have to say regarding Animoto, the more positive I am that I made a good choice to look into this Web 2.0 Tool. It is a program that can be used by everyone from Grade school kids, to Seniors who are new to the whole technology vibe. I will be applying for the Education Licence, but from what I have read it can take a few weeks to become activated. Until then I will be playing around with the 30 second free videos.

Lisa Perez talked about the education account in her article Animate Your Students with Animoto! Published in The School Librarian's Workshop (Fall 2010, Vol. 31, Issue 2, p12) "Your account will be active for six months and you can request to renew it. The site will give you your own classroom code and a link to download a file that you can print for your students to guide them in setting up their accounts." Perez notes that describes some of the various safety features that are built into the Animoto Education account. Students under 13 years cannot create their own accounts; teachers can create "dummy" accounts for students, and teachers also "have control over communications. In addition, there is no way to contact students directly through these accounts." Which will help keep them safe from other people online. Perez also gives further advice to ensure students' safety; steps include not allowing students to include personal pictures of themselves or friends without signed photo releases, and also having students refrain from including their names in the project.

Keith McPherson also talks about the benefits of teacher-librarians using this program to develop students information literacies in his article Mashing Literacy published in Teacher Librarian (June 2008, Vol. 35, Issue 5., Pg. 73-75)he lists some advantages of using Animoto in the classroom.

One: it "enables visual, aural, and textual learners to quickly create and communicate complex new and powerful stories and messages of a multimodal nature".
Two: due to its ease and adaptability to a multitude of different projects, it will keep students engaged over long periods of time.
Three: Animoto can be used to develop the online social skills of students.

McPherson lists different ways that programs such as Animoto can be used in the classroom such as "developing students' online critical thinking and communication skills." Teacher-Librarians can lead lessons, and discussions involving topics such as copyright, plagiarism, and how to establish safe and effective presentation posting practices.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I was just falling asleep last night when I suddenly remembered a district Pro-D day I had been to last year. I went to a book talk by two middle school librarians (which was great by the way) but they examples of "book trailers" that students had created using Animoto (I had to get out of bed to dig trough all my papers before I found the program they had used). I am planning to look into this program for my inquiry project (replacing google education apps). After about 10 minutes I had already produced my first video. And about 9 minutes and 30 seconds of that was choosing a song, and which pictures I would include. Now it isn't a book trailer, but for 30 seconds effort and a new program I don't think it is a bad first attempt. I do need to look into the program a bit more. You only get to make 30 second videos in the free program. I wonder if they have educational licenses....

Make your own slideshow at Animoto.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Finds

Over the last week or two I have really been seeing what a great educational tool HootSuite is. I have found so many links, and other things posted in different hashtags. For example this List of Canada's influential Edu-Tweeters!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Surface Area & Glogster

I have created a Glogster on Surface Area. I am going to post it to my Moodle site as a revision tool. But I am also going to have my grade 10 classes create their own glogs to illustrate a Math topic. We are just getting into surface area now, so I won't be able to assign the project until after spring break. I hope I can get some examples up here before the 28th. But I am excited to see what the kids come up with, they always surprise me with their projects.

My Surface Area Glog

I really like Glogster, it is easy to use, and according to Berger and Trexler in Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World (2010) it "is fun, imaginative, creative, and it is a very motivating learning experience for students." They also point out that a Glog can be a great way to illustrate the "Express" phase in the Stripling Inquiry Model.

Glogster has made an impact all over the world. In an article from Austraila Jann Carroll discusses using Glogster to teach poetry to boys. The article, Boys, Ballads and Glogster: Techno-poetry in Year 7 published in Literacy Learning: The Middle Years (Vol. 20, Issue. 1, January 2012) highlights how Glogster was used in a year 7 English class full of adolescent boys to teach poetry. Glogster EDU (Educational Glogster) was used and Carroll discusses their findings. "We found the benefits to include security, easy teacher control over all the students’ online activities in Glogster, the creation of individual student portfolios, easy to mark assessments and provision of timely feedback. From the students’ point of view we discovered high engagement, interactive, imaginative and creative expression;positive peer relationships as boys helped and mentored each other and motivated learners who were able to express themselves and their choice of ballad in a multisensory way."

I look forward to using this in more lessons, and review sessions, and anticipate some amazing projects from my students. Has anyone else used this program in their class?


It has been a few months since the last time I was on Glogster, and I have already forgotten my password! I always thought I could rely on the "forgot your password" buttons, but it has been almost an hour since I requested a new password, and I still haven't gotten an email. It is annoying me. I want to get to work on a project for my surface area lesson!