Poem Flow

I just discovered a new app for the iPhone and the iPod Touch called Poem Flow. This free app presents a poem a phrase at a time. In essence, readers have the poem read to them in a whole new way. One could also visit www.poemflow.com and experience the poem on the computer. I will project the site onto a screen and share poems with my students.

Catching up

For the last two days I have been perusing the musings of students in Pat Sine’s summer course K12 Technology Integration. Most of the students were talking about podcasts. I got to thinking that podcasts are cool. I purchased an iPod Classic in April and really enjoy my new tech-toy (I mean tool). Aside from listening to music, my favorite activity involves listening to podcasts. Most of the podcasts I listen to are radio programs from news and sports networks. I am in that demographic.

Now, I’m thinking about ways to use this technology in my 10th and 11th grade English classes. My question is “how do I get my students to enjoy listening to podcasts?” Afterall, isn’t a podcast more of the same blah, blah, blah they hear from me? The answer is to let them create their own podcasts. Time to get planning.

Virtual Mentoring

Feel like mentoring young, pre-service teachers? 

I’ve discovered blogs by Monique and Carla, students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. They are part of a group of students who are keeping journals of their experiences this school year. These women are pursuing M.S.Ed. degrees in Reading/Writing and Literacy. While they are not talking about using technology in the classroom,  I am sure they are aware of the power inherent in using Web 2.0 tools. I figured we could serve as an inspiration to them about the possibilities of technology’s effect on literacy by pointing them to our blogs.  

Let’s show them how adding Web 2.0 elements can enhance student literacy.

I’m back

Much has happened during the last five months. I had major surgery in October. I am doing just fine, now, and I returned to work late last month.

Because some of us are facing challenges in our lives, we must work harder at acknowledging things for which we are thankful. Before I close, I would like to share my gratitude list with you:

  • I am grateful for my life. I did not have to be here. God still has a work for me to perform. I may not know what it is, but I do know there is something left for me to accomplish before I leave this life.
  • My thanks to the Pastor, First Lady and all the saints at Words to Life Ministries in Owings Mills for their prayers for my healing. “By His stripes we are healed.”
  • I am so grateful to all the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who cared for me during this time of my life. Their expertise and support helped me survive and achieve a speedy recovery.
  • I am grateful for my family. You have sacrificed and loved me with all your heart.
  • I am grateful for my friends. We can’t choose our family, but we do choose our friends. I have chosen wisely. You are awesome and dynamic examples of humanity.
  • I am grateful for my brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. “First of all, servants of all, we shall transcend all.”
  • I am grateful for my UPenn family. Your love and care have had a profound impact on my recovery.
  • I am grateful for all the calls to check on my progress, the email messages to encourage me, the gifts sent to buoy my spirit, the visits to make sure I was doing well, and the helping hands to aid in my care.
  • When roll call was taken, each of you stepped up and said, “We’re here for you, Tony.” For this fact, I am humbled and eternally grateful.
  • I am grateful to the students and staff at St. Georges for their cards and good wishes for my health. It is great to be flying with the HAWKS once again!
  • Finally, I am thankful that my appetite has returned.

I’ll get back to sharing about using technology in the classroom in future posts.

I’ve been silent too long

I have been silent for a long time.

Shortly after my last post, I learned I was experiencing a serious health issue. While I am confident that the issue will be resolved, my attention has been on these matters. Be assured that as I move toward healing, I will, once again, continue championing the use of Read/Write web tools in the English Language Arts classroom.

This school year, our class blog has expanded to include the other ninth grade English class. It has been great to hear the many voices of our students as they express their opinions. Take a look at their responses to a poem we read last week.

Animoto – a new way to create slideshows

Grab your latest pictures everybody and have fun with Animoto. This slidesharing site, created by film and music people, allows users to upload or link to photos and produce a free, 30 second video from these images. You provide the photos; the site stitches them together using quick cuts and fades; you can upload a soundtrack or select music from a limited library (I like contemporary jazz, but that genre was not an option). The result is a pulsing video trailer of images. Now, you can choose to remix your finished product or allow the site to do a remix.

I wanted to experiment with this new site by plucking 15 random images from my summer. My video does not seem to make sense (at least to me), but I must say the process took only minutes to produce this visual piece.

Since Edublogs does not allow scripts to run on its site, I am providing a link to my creation.

This link is to the site-inspired remix.

My thanks to Rachel, Ewan, and Paul for going first and sharing their creation.

Note: After this initial post, I learned about a method to embed this video. My thanks to Lynne Crowe for helping me figure out a way.
The Original

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The ReMix

[kml_flashembed movie="http://widgets.clearspring.com/o/46928cc51133af17/46ca2ccad81b790d/46928cc51133af17/e8d2ebf9/autostart/false/file/1c62ac7bc89ba6e7bd987ea39ba7e8bf" width="432" height="250" wmode="transparent" /]

Team blogging

While surfing the web, scouring del.icio.us links, and drilling through wikis and blogs, I came across ICT in English NZ, team blog of teachers in New Zealand. I liked this blog immediately because it was focused on a team approach to blogging. I thought it great that teachers were sharing their insights and experiences with using Read/Write tools in the classroom. Also, I liked its focus on English. I have searched diligently for blogs related to my subject. So what it was based in New Zealand? After all, the world is flat. Seeing names of bloggers I recognized (Rachel Boyd and Fiona Grant), made me feel “at home.” Finally, a link on the sidebar inviting contributors to join the blog cinched it for me. I signed up. Here is the warm welcome I received from Fiona:

Welcome to our ICTinEnglish Team Blog in New Zealand.

It’s teachers like you and Rachel who make this such a worthwhile experience for us all. I value the sharing and collaboration between teachers and believe it is definitely adding to my own learning.

I share Fiona’s enthusiasm. My mind filled with ideas involving my students visiting NZ student blogs and commenting on their writing. New Zealand students would comment on our class blog. My students will be starting the new term working on poetry. There is a possibility of students collaborating on a research project. Of course, I am jumping ahead. Right now, just becoming a part of this team is a thrill.

I will read the team blog for a little while, but look for me to make a contribution to the conversation via a post.

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Infusing math with technology

Normally, my focus with using these tools involves working with the English Language Arts curriculum. This post however, gives a nod to my colleagues in the math department. Patty “O’Flynn over at Patty Papers offers a number of posts devoted to examining the new and the exciting related to integrating technology with math applications. Concurrently, this blogger shares her ideas about using these tools in the classroom. In a recent post, Patty notes the secret to integrating technology into any curriculum is by using sound teaching practices:

The key to effective integration of technology is to focus on best practices and effective teaching strategies rather than on using “cool tools” for their own sake. The use of nonlinguistic representations is proven to increase student achievement, and my interactive whiteboard helps me use this strategy in my classroom. Effective formative assessment has been shown to increase student achievement, and my student response system helps me integrate this into every lesson. I use these technologies because they support good teaching, not just because they look cool (although they do).

Patty’s blog is a wonderful resource and a delightful read.