Welcome to my Tech Tool Box

As an educator I have discovered the wonderful potential Web 2.0 Tools have to empower student learning. This blog is a place to discuss and share strategies and discoveries that assist educators in their goal of educating each learner to their fullest potential while creating a curriculum which is rich, diverse, and engaging for students. Join me in my quest to get and keep students excited about a lifetime of learning.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Promoting Literacy in a 21st Century World

Promoting literacy in the 21st Century world through technology allows educators to teach good literacy skills that enable the students to decipher and evaluate, written works but also visual images, graphics, and video. Literacy is no longer confined to written words only.

Educators will face the challenge of creating lessons which develop inquiry based learning, critical thinking and good analysis and comprehension of information obtained while integrating technology into their curriculum. Teachers will need to engage in their own inquiry based learning to learn and use the vast array of tools available on the Internet while taking risk with, what for some educators will be unfamiliar domain.

Educators will have to re-think how they teach literacy for it now encompasses digital media as well.  They must encourage collaboration in learning by engaging their students in the read, write and collaborative aspects of the web.  Students will develop a curiosity about all that is available on the web and become risk takers as they come to be empowered by the knowledge that they have obtained.

Producing learners who are proficient in 21st Century skills requires a change in the way in which students learn. Educators must engage learners in higher order thinking skills and inventive thinking. Creative people developed the tools available on the web and these great tools encourage creativity, communication, and collaboration by all who use them.

Educators must re-think how they teach as they embrace the social aspects of web 2.0 and it myriad of applications. The way people learn is changing dramatically we as educators must embrace this change and teach our students how to navigate through these new waters and realize that learning is and always has been a social thing. If you think back to early learning it was knowledge told by storytellers and elders of a tribe or community, it wasn’t as isolated as it has become.  Think of the web, as a social network of caring teachers who want to pass on what they have learned to the world, be not afraid of it, and embrace it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Web 2.0 Tools

Wow, there are so many great Web 2.0 Tools out there, Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Google Docs, Zoho, to name a few and some new ones. Check out some of these fun sites.

Wordle, great sight to create catchy Word Clouds, the word that is used most frequently is the largest. I use this to introduce new lessons, artists and ideas about art.
Top  10 Wordle Uses Site

Voice Thread has great possibilities for discussions and oral histories of images, video, etc. It is another great collaboration tool. I must say students really like collaborating, so I am excited about so many great new Web 2.0 Tools which encourage collaboration.

Toondoo a great site for students to create cartoons, be they humorous, political, or about events in history, current events or bullying prevention.

Podcasting is something that has been around, however, it has never been this easy for students to use. Now that we have Macs with Garageband it is very easy for students to use it. Podcasting stands out to me because I can see it a great way for students to collaborate and engage in Art History, which sometimes can be a bit unappealing to them. I plan to assign student groups to research an artist and an artwork of the artists and create a slideshow with a Podcast describing the life of the artist and a few of his/her most famous works. I plan to showcase the Podcasts at our annual art show. I also plan to have students create Podcasts describing the exhibits in our galleries which the students created, in this way it will be much like a recorded docent tour at an art museum.

Podbean is a great place to host your podcast.

This lesson incorporates the following NETS Standards for Students:

            Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. 
a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression. 

Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students: 
a.interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
 b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

Taken from the NETS Standards