Blogs: Connecting and communicating with students and parents on a day to day basis.
Blogs are a great resource to communicate with students and parents about what is going on in the classroom. Blogs are a great way to stay connected and post any class updates or events. Blogs are also a great place to post additional information about a project or important upcoming assignments and events in the classroom and at the school. The blog can include information that will help parents support their children through new academic content. Blogs can also be used to support parents. I would use a classroom blog to post common issues and solutions that affect children on a day to day basis, so that parents are not alone and neither are their students. The resources provided would provide support as well as provide parents with an additional resource from someone who sees their children just as much as they do! Blogs also provide a place for teachers to put themselves out there in a professional manner; parents are able to understand that teachers are people too. This allows parents and teachers to create a closer and trusting relationship. Blogs can be used to post an interesting topic of the day. This topic of the day can be used for classroom discussion with students to provoke critical thinking as well as allow for personal opinions on the topic at hand.
Good- The setup of the program is simple. You pick a style, song, and customize your production with photos, videos, and text. Additional factors of Animoto that are good include the ability to download the program on to Ipad’s IOS, and Android devices. Educators can apply for a FREE Animoto Plus account for classroom use! This program is also good because you can share your products via email, blog, website, export to YouTube, or download to your computer for presentations.
Bad- You have to apply for the plus account if you are an educator, this is only bad if you need the program immediately. After the being accepted to the educator program you are sent a classroom code for students. Another risky part of the program is that you have to be sure that students do not provide any personal details about themselves while they are creating their accounts and their products.
Classroom usage: I think Animoto would be a great program for students to use throughout the year. As a class we can take pictures of big projects and units that we work on and each student can keep up with their own work. Throughout the year we could work a little at a time to build individual videos of student growth from the beginning of the year until the end. This would promote creativity and time management as well as motivate students to do well on their assignments so that they can include them in their Animoto.
Good: GoAnimate has several security measures in place to keep student work private and safe. Additionally, all student work has to be approved by the teacher which prevents any negative videos from being published.
Bad: GoAnimate is so protected that videos cannot be accessed by the public, therefore parents would have to know their child’s login in order to look at their work. GoAnimate also cannot be used with any other social media, which could prevent students from uploading their work to a blog or class Facebook.
Classroom Use: This program can be used for group work in the classroom on projects or day to day classwork when students need to present their understanding of a topic. For instance, students could create a video on landforms or the five themes of geography. The options for videos are endless. Since the program does not allow students who are not in the group to see the work of other groups, cheating is less of an option for students.
Good: Voki is engaging because of all of the options and figures that the program provides. Voki provides an option for teachers to manage students, classes and lessons, and review student’s Voki. Another great feature of Voki is that it automatically generates its own webpage to showcase student’s work. This webpage allows for privacy settings as well.
Bad: The bad thing about Voki is that with a classroom subscription, the presenter account is not included. If a classroom teacher wants the presenter account, they must buy the bundle package. This program also has a fee for classroom usage.
Classroom Use: The opportunities are endless with Voki. Voki can be used to put on a play with different Voki characters that you can customize to look like historical figures. This program can also be used to create presentations where you customize a character to look like you and record your voice to match the Voki. Using Voki for a presentation could relieve stress that a student may have about public speaking.
Instagram and Twitter in the classroom:
After reading How Twitter Can Be Used as Powerful Educational Tool and David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts, I believe that Twitter can be a powerful source of technology for students to use. Twitter can be used to reach classrooms around the country. One classroom wanted to collect local water data each month and they wanted other classrooms to collect the same data. This is a great way to use Twitter as a means of finding other classrooms as well as getting data that is not specified to what you see every day. Global classroom data allows for more opportunities to compare and contrast typical weather in areas. It is important for teachers to find educational hashtags in order to be successful on twitter for educational purposes. Twitter also serves as a place to post educational resources that you may find to helpful for you as well as other educators and students.
After reading Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram and Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy, I believe a class Instagram can be a useful educational tool if teachers have the ability to connect with other class’s Instagram. Instagram can be used to share creative project ideas and activities that other students are creating on the same topic that your students are learning about. Student work can be displayed on the class Instagram with approval from parents. Instagram can connect classrooms to other classrooms across the country. Parents can get a sense of involvement by looking through the class Instagram of different projects or units that their children are working on in class. Students can compete in photo essay contest through any subject. Additionally, using Instagram in class provides a digital learning aspect to classroom activities using 21st century skills. It can be used as a way of review for students by posting responses to a picture that the teacher posted. For students who do not have Instagram, the same information can be provided on a blog or website. The class Instagram is basically a scrapbook of everything important that happens throughout the school year. When used properly, it could be a great learning tool for students.
Personally, I believe that Twitter, Instagram, teaching, and learning are all interconnected when used appropriately. There is a time and place for all technology and if teachers use these online social media resources it could really benefit the classroom. The use of Instagram and Twitter in class helps students to use a tool that they may or may not use daily, as an educational tool rather than just a social tool. Twitter and Instagram give teachers the opportunity to use tools that students are already using, just for different purposes. Using Instagram to post pictures and have students post responses allows them to use their accounts for a productive and educational purpose rather than posting selfies of themselves. It also requires students to keep a professional online presence because their classmates and teacher will be able to see their individual profile. Additionally, Twitter is also a great resource for reaching out to other schools and classrooms across the world to share resources and creative ideas for presenting content to students.
I read Kelsey Lockner’s blog 3. We have similar ideas and feelings towards using Twitter and Instagram in the classroom. One idea that she pointed out is that parents can be involved in the social media learning tools as well. The teacher can save the pictures that students take of their classwork and projects to send to the parents, so that the parents know what their children are doing in class on a week by week basis. Instagram and Twitter can be used for class announcements. After reading Kelsey’s response to Twitter and Instagram, my perspective towards Instagram and Twitter is still positive, if the tools are used correctly and for the right reasons, students could really benefit.