Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 10--Symbaloo











Do you like things organized in a visual manner? Do you like things color-coded? WOW! Do I have the tool for you! Introducing Symbaloo!


Symbaloo is a Greek verb that stands for "assembling." Using this Web 2.0 tool, you can bring together favorite websites, bookmarks, and commonly used applications. You can color code your tiles, arrange them any way you like, and link your Symbaloo page to other Symbaloo pages. If you are really feeling creative, you can even change the background image to match your theme or mood.


The box in the middle allows you to do a Google search, check Facebook news feed, the weather, and latest
videos on YouTube. Many other widgets are available in a tab at the top.


Once you register with Symbaloo, you have the ability to search other webmixes and link them directly to your page. Make sure you register with an EDU account to receive maximum educator links. With this account, you will be given a tab with EDU teacher links, Ed Tech links, & RSS feeds to common educator sites.

Each tile is a link that is a visual representation of the website/tool/application. For a visual learner like myself, I am in love with this type of visual organization. Symbaloo makes a great homepage with ease of navigating and organizing your favorite sites. This allows easy access to your favorites. You can group things together and decide where all the tiles will fit on your gride.

It would help students keep their bookmarks and projects all together --just a few clicks away.

There are mutterings that Symbaloo is going to integrate with Google Maps, a contact manager, a live TV guide, and a screen-sharing app.

Symbaloo is a free web-based application and is safe for students to use.

Resources:
An 11 year old's take on Symbaloo (VERY cute!)

Educator Testimonials:

Your assignment:
Take a tour! Click a few tabs! Try to move stuff around. Play with every button and tab you see. Now, what could you and your students do with this tool? How would it help your visual learners? How could it organize and simplify the web for some of your special education students? How could it make your life easier as a teacher to have all your links in one spot? Could you see this as a viable tool for students to use as an engaging place to keep their thoughts and search finds in one place? Comment below about how this tool might transform the internet homepage and your students' learning.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 9 - Audacity

For today's challenge we are going to explore a tool that is not a web-based tool. Audacity is a free, open source software program that turns your computer into a sound recorder. With Audacity you can easily record, import audio, edit, add effects, and create MP3 sound files. As a music teacher I benefited greatly from using this tool but the uses for Audacity outside of the music classroom are just as rich. Audacity can be used to create podcasts by students and teachers. Teachers in many different disciplines have found uses for this great tool (see the uses of Audacity below). Just think of the possibilities as a student creates an MP3 sound file which can be a great stand alone project or one that can be used with a movie or photostory project. This tool allows you to create professional quality audio projects quickly and without a lot of hassle.

Here is the basic layout of the Audacity User Interface:


Check out this tutorial with some basics to get you started creating your project:





Here is a tutorial explaining how to turn your Audacity project into an MP3 file:

Please note that you only have to do the LAME plug-in set up once!


Some Great Uses of Audacity in the Classroom:
  1. 10 Great Ways to Use Audacity with Your Students
  2. Audacity in the Classroom
  3. Audacity in the 1st Grade Classroom
  4. Tips for Using Audacity in the Classroom
  5. Search Results about Audacity from Classroom 2.0 Site

Click Here for a written tutorial of how to use Audacity

Having trouble finding LAME on student netbooks? Watch this video

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:
  1. Download Audacity and begin making some basic voice recordings to understand how it works.
  2. Try exporting to an MP3. See video above for exporting issues.
  3. Think of a project you could create using Audacity.
  4. If you have used Audacity in the past, share your experiences and ideas.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 8 - Jing

Welcome to Day 8 of the 30 - Day Challenge!


Today we will take a look at "Jing"!

Jing incorporates tools that enable content sharing and collaboration through screencasts and screenshots of all or part of your computer desktop. While using Jing you can easily annotate your screenshots and save them or upload them to flickr, twitter, or facebook with a simple click!



Screencasting is very simple with the on screen capture tools. Specifying exactly what you want to show (full screen or any part thereof) can be controlled easily. With a 5 minute limit on Jing screencasts, all the videos remain short and concise. Screencasts can also be saved to the computer or uploaded to screencast.com. Jing will also give you an embed code so that the video can be placed directly into other webpages or sites like this blog.

Take a look at this overview video and see for yourself how easy using Jing can be.

"Jing Pro" does offer a few more useful features, but lets take a look at the free version and get acquainted. The great part here of course is that Jing (free version) is already preloaded on all the student netbooks!

There are many quick tutorials on the Jing website that may be helpful to you as well!

Here is some more information on educator testimonials on the uses of Jing at their school.

Your Assignment:

Click on the following link: www.techsmith.com/jing/

1. Download the free version of Jing.
2. Create a screencast.com account, you will be prompted for this after you download Jing. (This is required so that you can store your screenshots/screencasts on the cloud and create links to them.)
3. Capture a screenshot and test out the annotation tools or try making a short screencast.
4. Copy the screenshot/screencast to your computer or upload to screencast.com.
5. Share how you feel Jing could best be used in the classroom and around school.

Optional... If you would like,...paste a link to your screenshot/screencast as a comment to this blog post

In addition to Jing, there are other great screencasting tools available such as screencastomatic.com and Camtasia for example. You may substitute a Jing screencast with that of another program if you wish, but please provide a link to your screencast as well as information about the program you used.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 7- Dropbox

Today's challenge is Dropbox. Dropbox is an organizational tool that allows you to store and access your files on multiple computers and Internet-ready devices. You can also share files with others using Dropbox.



If you want to set up a Dropbox account, use this link: http://db.tt/I3w5MJZo

WARNING: You can only have one Dropbox account per computer profile, but you can always access additional accounts via Dropbox.com, so if you share a computer with someone, make sure that you are using profiles, or only one of you will be able to use the desktop feature.

You can download Dropbox for your computer or as an app for your iDevice or Smartphone.

Here are some links to get you started using Dropbox in the classroom:

How to Set Up an Electronic Dropbox for Your Classroom
Dropbox LiveBinder
The Complete Dropbox for Educators
Top Tips for Dropbox in Education
Using Dropbox and DropItToMe
4 Uses of Dropbox for Teachers and Administrators
Send Email Attachments to Your Dropbox
Send YouTube Videos to Your Dropbox
Request and Collect Files Via Dropbox



Your Assignment: Explore the resources above and share your thoughts about how a tool like Dropbox could be beneficial to you as an educator. How might this be useful in the classroom, as a professional development tool, or as a communication/collaboration tool with other stakeholders? If you already use Dropbox in your professional practice, what tricks and or lessons have you learned that could help others?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 6 - 'Boo'gle Apps

Happy Halloween!

The theme for the week's Web 2.0 Challenges is Productivity Tools and today we're starting things off with Google Apps. (Sorry if the title for the post threw you off!)

Google Apps is a suite of communication and collaboration tools developed by Google that are accessible through any computer's web browser via the Internet.  Google Apps is a type of computing where everything done in the web browser lives and breathes in the cloud... and Google was doing this before the term Cloud Computing became popular.  There are tons of apps available in the suite including the one we're using right now (Blogger), but for this post we are going to focus on the five main apps in the suite which are Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs, Groups, and Sites.


GETTING STARTED
Here are some jumping off points to get you logged into the Google Apps suite.
  • Create an Account (for anyone that doesn't have an account)
  • EVSC Google Apps Login (All EVSC teachers and Grades 6-12 students have an evsck12.com account)
  • Gmail Login (if you are a Google Apps for Education user, you will need to use your full email address to login)
GOTTA LOVE THE GOOGLE APPS!
There are so many things that I could point to that Google Apps makes simple for people to do, but I will leave that for you all to discuss in the comments section below.  I am going to highlight one of the things that I love most about Google Apps and that is on how easy it is to share and collaborate with others in Google Docs.

How many times have you created a document on your computer and then needed someone to look it over and possibly add to the document?  Many times, right?  So, here's what you end up doing... you spend time working on the document and then email the document as an attachment to one of your colleagues.  Now the waiting game begins.  Now you spend time waiting for them to email it back to you.  And then when you get the email back with their edits and additions applied to the file, you save the new file to your computer, give it a different file name because you don't want to overwrite the first version of the file just in case you later decide to go with the first instead of the second version.  Are you lost yet?  Just imagine how crazy this would sound if you had done this with five people!  (which some of you have probably done at some point in your career)

Google Docs makes this process easy.
  • Share a Google Doc with up to 200 simultaneous viewers and editors, 50 of which can be editing the document at the same time.  200 people looking at the same document sounds extreme, but it's good to know the limitations.
  • Sharing is simple and you can do it while you're working on the document or from your Docs list. Simply push the Share button at the top of your screen and start typing in the names of people you want to share.  You can set their rights to Editor, Comments Only, or View Only. Google Docs will even send them an email letting them know the document is being shared to them.  It's that easy! 
  • Are you worried about people accidentally deleting information? Google Docs has Revision History so you can always restore the document to a previous date and time.
  • As you're editing a document, you are able to see a list of individuals who are viewing/editing the document at that moment. The user list also has a chat feature so you can communicate live while you work.
  • Did you create a document, spreadsheet, or presentation using another program? No problem. Upload it to Google Docs and then share it.
  • Do you want to share the information in a doc on a web page?  No problem. Google Docs can help you to share a web link with users and even allow you to embed the doc in another website so as the document changes, the website stays up to date.
RESOURCES
VIDEO TUTORIALS
YOUR CHALLENGE: 
Explore the possibilities of using Google Apps at your school. What impact might this tool make on your classroom? with the school as a whole?  with the school corporation? with the community?  Do you presently use Google Apps at school and if so, can you share your experience with us?

CHECK THIS OUT!!! 
30 Day Web 2.0 Challenge Tally Spreadsheet - this is a Google Doc spreadsheet we are using to track everyone's progress through the Challenge.