Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tikatok update

I have spoken with the technology teacher at my school and she is really excited to use this Web 2.0 tool next year. We were talking about possible ways that it could be used at our school. Some examples that we came up with were:

  • Students can use this to create a story about their summer. We would do this in a cross-curricular process including media, art, and technology (in that order). Here are the different elements each subject would create:
    • Media would be in charge of developing their story about their summer.
    • Art would be in charge of the illustrations that went along with the story.
    • Technology would be in charge of the actual creation of the book.
  • In Guidance, our guidance counselor could use this to create social stories.
  • In the classroom, students could use this to develop their writing skills.
  • Teachers could use this to create a memory book for the end of the year.

Tikatok has a Facebook Page, a blog, and a Twitter account that you can visit for more information and updates.

Google Docs


This video and link is a great resource for educators. There were many great ideas I was able to pull from this link. I also realized how beneficial this is in the classroom. Here are some of the main points I took away from this video and website:

  • Students can work from school and home; no more, "I forgot my work" excuses.
  • The revisions are saved and documented so you can see who edited the page and when.
  • Students love to collaborate and edit. You can see who is also editing the page at the same time.
  • Teachers (after receiving an invite) can comment on students' work at any time and track progress.
  • You can organize work into folders.
  • Publishing the work to a website or blog gives the students a purpose to write, rather than just for a grade.
  • You can easily create a poll or survey with the spreadsheet function.
  • You can import an existing PowerPoint presentation and even publish the presentation to the web.

Here are some assignment examples that this website provided:
  1. Documents
    • Journaling
    • Essays (individual or co-edited)
    • Collaborative research papers (history, geography, science)
    • Collaborative book reports
    • Creative writing (script writing and poetry)
    • Writing portfolios
  2. Spreadsheets
    • Stock portfolio (live data)
    • Graphs, charts, and data presentation techniques
  3. Presentations
    • Presenting group research
    • Active student participation during a presentation

I hope that now you have a better understanding of the many benefits of using Google Docs in the classroom!

Tikatok - Imagine a Story

This is the Web 2.0 tool that I spoke about in class a couple of weeks ago. Tikatok is an online platform where parents and their children can write, illustrate, and publish their original stories into professional, quality hardcover and paperback books or eBooks. Tikatok is free to join, you only need to pay if you are ordering books.

I think that Tikatok is awesome because you can set up a teacher account with student logins very easily. That page looks like this:On your teacher page, you can view student's books, reset their password, delete students, or add more students. You can have different sections if you teach multiple classes. I am going to walk you through what happens when the student logs in. When the student logs in, they will see the following page:It has their saved books, their uploaded images, and the option to create a new book or continue with the book they were working on. When they start a book from scratch, this is what the page looks like:

The first option is to add the students name and a few pictures to an already created book. This would be great for really young students or students with IEPs. The second option is to create a book with some writing prompts, and the third option is to start a book from scratch. Even when you start the book from scratch, there are still hints below every page. This is what it looks like when you create a book from scratch. Look at the hints that they provide.
Tikatok is a great tool for students to get excited about writing. I think that it would be a great addition to any classroom! What do you think?

Ning Update

There are many ways that a Ning could be used in the classroom. I guess the main way that a Ning can be used is purely for communication purposes, which is fabulous! As far as educational uses of a Ning, I could see students using a Ning as a collaboration tool for group projects. Also, the teacher could set up a Ning network with students from another country and they could communicate. I feel like students would buy into a Ning because it seems like so many other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

I could see it as a really awesome tool in a language class. For example, if you were a Spanish teacher, you could set up a Ning network with a Spanish-speaking country. The Spanish-speaking students could work on their English and the English-speaking students could work on their Spanish.

You can set up multiple Ning networks and students can also set them up. You have to have an email address, so that may be a downfall to using it in an elementary classroom.

Does anyone else have any ideas as to how you could use a Ning in the classroom?

Elluminate Update

So I have been thinking more about how to use Elluminate in the classroom and I hope that you have been too! Elluminate has a wonderful whiteboard tool that we used in the past to create a Notes Page on the branches of the government. What about if you had an Elluminate session with another school that was located in another county, state, or even country? I just think that would be a wonderful learning experience to do a comparison between the schools. You could have the students compare and contrast with a Venn Diagram. I plan on trying this with my technology teacher and her classes next year.

Are there any other ideas that you have about using Elluminate in the classroom? Have any of you thought about using this for professional development with your staff?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free collaborative word processor, form, presentation, and spreadsheet. Google Docs has been a terrific way to collaborate for group projects in graduate school, and I am sure that there are many useful ways to use it in the classroom. Google Docs is like having an online Microsoft Office that you can share with others. Here is what the home page looks like:On your home page you can create a new document, spreadsheet, form, or presentation through a drop down menu. The left pane has your different folders and then in the center it has your open folder. When you click on the document, spreadsheet, form, or presentation it takes you to this window:
You notice that this looks just like a Microsoft Word document. You have most of the features that Word has; however, it is online.

The way that you share the document is by emailing it. On the top right of the page, it says, "Share." Your sharing options are to make it totally public, meaning that anyone can access it. The second option is to make it so that anyone who has the link can access it without a sign-in sheet. And the the third option is to have it so that viewers have to be invited and they also have to sign in. Two other options are to publish it to the web and to your blog.

Google Docs can be a great tool in the classroom. The ways that I see it being utilized is for a group project. Students would be able to collaborate from any location that has internet. Google Docs also allows students to access a document or presentation easily from home, school, or even the library. Instead of having to save on a jump drive, their work is instantly saved online. When they are ready to turn it in or save it on a computer, it is very easy to do. From the "File" menu, you select "Download" and it will download as .doc or .ppt or whatever file type you need.

Are there any ways that you have used Google Docs in your classroom or for personal use? If so, have you found it useful?

Never tried Google Docs before? Click on the link below and try it out! I have started a presentation. Feel free to add to it, and change anything you want!

Google Docs Sample Presentation

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Ning is the leading online platform to create your own social network. With a Ning you can connect with people who have similar interests, you have total visual power to make it your own, you can connect to social networking sites like twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, and you can also run your own adds and have 100% of the profits.

When we talked about Nings in class, I thought that it was really neat that you could create your own social network. Right after we talked about it, I decided I had to set one up and get started. So, I have set up a Ning for my school's Instrumental Music program. I have been thinking about different ways that I can use this to facilitate communication with the parents and students at my school.

Typically, at the beginning of the year, I send home an information sheet with all of my students. I collect parents' email addresses and remain in contact with them throughout the year. I create different mailing lists for my different ensembles, and it seems to work out pretty well. When I heard about Ning, I thought that this would be even better! With the Ning there are all sorts of features that you can add and remove to create exactly what you want. Here is a picture of my Ning-
You may notice that it has a similar layout to a Facebook/MySpace page. There is a section on my Ning for posting photos and videos which would come in handy for the concert. There is also a section to post a blog or comments. You can add many features; for example, a calendar! This would really help my program's organization. Students could check their Ning before bedtime or in the morning before they left for school to see if they had practice.

What I really like is the communication and how you can get information out quickly. Another wonderful feature is the ease in which I can control this. The down side is the advertisements but they go away if you are willing to pay instead of using the free site

Does anyone have a Ning? Any other ways to use it in the classroom that are not just for correspondence?