Five Tools You Can Use


This course is designed to help you learn to use five tools that will help you with integrating technology into your lessons. The assignments are created to help you learn by tinkering. Taking the time to experiment with a new resource and discover its various capabilities is a great way to learn to use technology so you will remember what you've learned. As you use each of these tools, be fearless as you play around with them. Often times, our students are more successful with technology than we are, and one of the reasons is that they aren't afraid of making mistakes when trying something new. Try to have that same attitude as you work through learning to use each of these tools.

1. Diigo

Diigo is a social bookmarking site that allows you to save, organize, and share web pages. Diigo is a great way to organize resources that you want your students or colleagues to access. This video explains the features of Diigo and how they're used by educators:

Assignment 1: Create a Diigo account. Create a Diigo list of resources on a topic that would be helpful for your students to access. Use either the Highlight or Floating Sticky Note tool on each resource you add to the list.

2. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a tool that generates word clouds. You can insert any text, website, speech, etc. and an image will be created using those words. Words that appear most frequently will appear larger. There are so many possibilities with using word clouds. For example, Tagxedo could be used by students to evaluate their writing for overused words. You can also create a word cloud on any topic using a document, website, article, or speech and use it as an introduction on the topic. Here's a video explaining how Tagxedo can be used:

Assignment 2: Visit www.tagxedo.com and create a Tagxedo cloud for a topic that you will use in a class to introduce a new topic.

3. Glogster

Glogster allows you to create online posters. Creating glogs is a great fun way to share information. Here's a sample glog that I've created:


Watch this video on Glogster that explains features of glogster.com/edu and how to use them.



Assignment 3: Create an account at www.glogster.com/edu View and explore some of the sample glogs on the website. Create a glog that you can use to share information or resources with your students.

4. Prezi

Prezi is a presentation tool that is a great alternative to PowerPoint. It's interactive, eye-catching, and can be better at holding the attention of the audience. This video briefly explains Prezi:


Watch this video to learn how to use Prezi and its features:

Assignment 4: Create an account at www.prezi.com Make a Prezi to replace a PowerPoint that you would use with your students.


5. PLN

The best way to learn more about the ever-growning wealth of resources the internet houses is to build a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Connecting with educators who have similar interests allows you to learn, collaborate, and share. Although we are going to consider your PLN to be a "tool you can use", there are several resources that you need in order to build a PLN. Blogs, Twitter, and Nings are great networking tools that allow you to learn from and share with educators from all over the world.

Watch this video to get a better idea of what a PLN is and how it can help you.

Here are some tools that will help you start to build your own PLN:

Blogs and RSS Feeds:
Watch this video to learn about blogs and how they work.

Reading blogs lets you learn from people who are passionate about what they do. You don't want to visit every blog you like every day to see if a new post has been made -- that would take forever! The best way to get information from blogs is by using a RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed, such as Google Reader. It collects new posts from your favorite blogs and puts them all in one place. Here's a video that explains a little about Google Reader:

Assignment 5: Go to http://www.google.com/reader and create an account. Once you're logged in, add these subscriptions to your feed:
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/
http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
http://blog.kathyschrock.net/
http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/
http://weblogg-ed.com/
http://edtechsandyk.blogspot.com/
http://bethstill.edublogs.org/
These will be enough to get you started. As you come across blogs that you're interested in, subscribe to them.

Twitter:
Twitter is a microblog (you can only post 140 characters or less) that allows you to communicate instantly with a network of people. It's a great tool for getting and sharing information, links, and ideas. It's also a great way to get quick feedback from your PLN. This video is a little silly, but it does a good job of explaining Twitter and how it can be used:

This is a detailed video that will walk you through getting your Twitter account set up:

Assignment 6: Go to http://twitter.com and create an account. Here are a few people to follow to get you started:
@web20classroom
@plnaugle
@rmbyrne
@Borders
@centralspeaks

Ning
Ning is a social network service. It allows you to create a network based on a specific topic. It's a little similar to Facebook in it's look and functions. The best way to learn about Ning is to dive in and explore. There are a number of Nings available for you to join based on your area of interest.

Assignment 7: Join this Ning http://www.classroom20.com/ . Take some time and explore. Post at least one reply to a discussion in the forums section. Find one resource or idea that you would like to use in your classroom.

Evaluation:
As you complete each of the seven assignments, post a reflection under the Discussion tab. The reflection should include a link to the activity you completed, your thoughts on the tool, and ideas on how you can use this tool in your classroom.

Created by Tiffany Whitehead