Tuesday, May 25, 2010

iPods as a language tool

One of the blogs I like to read is "TechToolsForSchools". A recent post talks about how you might take advantage of the powerful technology that walks into your classroom everyday: the iTouch! Using an inexpensive external mic (the contact info is all available in the post), you can have your students record their voice and work on their accent. The post also mentions a promising app, Audioboo, and a related site, audioboo.fm.

(The mic is listed for $3.50 on the Suntekstore site, but for even less on Amazon.com)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Poetry Springboard: PicLits

Teaching "poetry" poses many difficulties for the teacher introducing the genre, and for students trying to get their heads around a challenging format. PicLits offers a number of options for teacher and student alike.  
How it works: The site serves up a number of striking images. Visitors are encouraged to place items from a word bank onto the image in order to create an inspirational message, a poem or short saying. This site could be used as a springboard to a poetry lesson, or as a way to consolidate techniques learned. Finished products can be saved to the site (after creating an account), emailed to a friend, embedded in a blog or downloaded as a screenshot. Use it with a Smartboard too!

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Using the "Back-Channel" - TodaysMeet

When you read about conference presentations and college classrooms, you might also hear mention made of the "back-channel".   Wikipedia defines this activity as "the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks."  The advantage of this kind of contribution is that it allows those present to comment on the session, ask questions, request clarification or add missing details; all in real time. Some conferences even allow the back channel to be projected up alongside the PowerPoint!  While some are using Twitter to create this, the site "TodaysMeet" lets teachers and conference presenters easily set up a space for participants/students to respond. "Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs." Its easy interface and simple design makes this a very easy web-app to use. Give it a try!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A wealth of Digital Story telling tools

There are so many tools out there, it can seem overwhelming! Then, along comes a someone (Alan Levine) who imposes a little order on the chaos! I stumbled across this great site, CogDogRoo, that reviews 50+ digital story tools (listing the plusses and minuses) and even gives an example of how each can be used to tell the same story! You'll find some favourites in here, as well as some surprising gems. While the odd site has since expired, there's still lots to look at.