Explore RSA 21st Century and RSA Animate

We're enjoying the RSA 21st Century Enlightenment site.  It highlights contemporary issues and promotes social engagement through collaboration.  Plus, it has top notch webcasts.  You can subscribe to their audio and video webcasts or you can listen live.  The upcoming talk is entitled "The Haves and Have-Nots" with Branko Milanovic on Feb 1, 2011.  If you miss it, wait a few days and it will be available with many others on this link. Of course, there's an app for that too.

A fresh aspect of the site is the RSA animate videos.  We first introduced them with the Sir Ken Robinson animate. They prompt interesting discussion. After viewing, you can join the online discussion.  Here's another animate with Daniel Pink entitled "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us."

Meets Ed... Professional Development
Here are a few questions Pink's talk prompted: Do we agree or disagree? What motivates us as teachers to stay in the profession beyond the big, fat pay check at the end of the month?  Do his ideas apply to our purpose within When Tech Met Ed?   How might his ideas apply to educating our students?  Although intrinsic motivation is not new, Pink explores some ideas worth considering as we look for the motivation within and seek to draw it out in our students.

Integration of Visual with Audio
The visual dimension is another advantage of using RSA with advanced ELLs since it integrates the text with visuals and audio!  It can be stopped at anytime to discuss, summarize, paraphrase, work on vocabulary, etc.  Share any good fits you find in your teaching.

Happy Exploring!
Co-post by CA and KK


Reflections from Class: Engaging Students with Storyline Online

I introduced my students to Storyline Online which is a site where famous people read books sponsored by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation. There are about 18 books available with additional activity guides that include information about the authors and links to other websites.

My students were immediately engaged by the multi-media “show."  The books are filmed and the presentation flashes back and forth from the illustrations to the celebrity reader. There is an option for “captions” on or off, so you can see the text that is being read. I showed my students how they could turn down the sound while the captions are on and read the book themselves. They must read with fluency because the page turns “on time.”  It's no problem if you can’t keep up, you can pause it or go back and pick up where you got off track. They loved this and we practiced reading as a class using the “choral reading technique” which we have been practicing as a group since September.  Reading Rockets has a great explanation and some sample texts to get you started with this technique. 

After winter break, one of my students informed me that she had “become bored” and logged onto Storyline Online with her mom’s Smart phone. A second student chimed in and said that she too logged on with her mom’s Smart phone. I’m not sure why, but I had not thought about the possibility of using a Smart phone. I envisioned students going online with the standard PC.  Just goes to show that I am NOT a “digital native”!


Two Ways of Organizing: Evernote and Dropbox

Get your brain clear in order to get to the creative stuff is what I took away from David Allen's, Getting Things Done. As I try to become more seamless with my organizing, I've read his next book Making it all Work and have been listening to podcasts from David's new GTD site (downloaded through iTunes podcasts). I'm constantly looking for ways to make life "clear."  In a previous post I talked about using DropBox, and I've been using Evernote as a way to help me keep track of web sites (web clipping) for years. It was a kind of bookmarking strategy after becoming frustrated with bookmarks that were unsearchable. With Evernote I can recall websites, documents and pictures in a visual manner. This post about Teachers Using Evernote explains some additional uses!   Uses for Students is also helpful.  With information overload and having to manage in one day what people used to manage in a year, these are a couple of ways to help "link your life" so you can access them anywhere. Paperless? Some day maybe!

Happy Organizing!


Posterous: A Simple, Effective, On-The-Go Blogging Platform

Tech: As I drove to the airport on my departure for the US, I uploaded two apps to my iphone that served their purpose during my travels in South America.  These two beautiful apps go by the names of Posterous and Photo Shop Express.  This link is to an example posterous site I created, BoliviaExample.posterous.com.  It gives an example of how I combined them when I was in Bolivia.

Posterous is a useful site on its own.  I took advantage of the on-the-go feature to make all of my posts entirely from my iphone.  This feature requires wifi access to publish, which created some fun wifi quests for me in the locations I found myself.  I typed and saved drafts of my posts on buses, taxis, hotels, airports, a dessert, mountains, and various cities.  Then, I published them when I located a precious wifi connection.
Although I opted to post from my iphone, it is also easy to post from a computer.  The autopost option allows users to post to many different platforms, including Blogger, Vimeo, and You Tube.  Settings can be made private or public.  A site can be configured for individuals or for group contributions.  Pictures, videos, audio files, and documents can all be posted.  Here's a link to FAQs about Posterous.
The P.S. Express app helped spruce up the pictures I snapped on my iphone.  I only used the edit feature, but this app has more to offer as well.
Met Ed (Applications):  The simplicity of Posterous has a lot to offer education as does the option to use it with a smart phone,  ipad, etc.  I am looking for ways of making smart phones my friend and not my enemy in my adult ESOL classes. (See Kacey’s post on their future projected growth.)  Here are a few of many possible uses in the hands of the students:
  • Science:  Documenting the steps in an experiment.
  • ESOL:  Taking and describing pictures of new vocabulary words.
  • Writing: Using a series of pictures to write a story or as an alternative to a book report.
  • Collaboration with other classes:  Teachers and students pose questions and classes in other locations respond.
Happy blogging!


Collaborative Reflection from Across the World

(photo taken at Sal de Uyuni, Bolivia)
This post has taken some twists and turns from the first draft.  At first, the purpose of it was to highlight our top useful web 2.0 tools of 2010, thinking of the new and eye catching.  After a few exchanges of emails half way across the world from each other (Kacey was on winter break in Oregon and Cheridy was vacationing in Bolivia), we agreed that some of the most useful tech tools are ones that we´ve tried and found to be true over time.  Some initially seemed too simple to put in a post, but in part due to Cherídy´s recent travels to some remote places, we realize they really should be cherished for the multiple purposes they serve.

Email:  You are communication. We both remember a time before you existed.  With syncing capacities to  smart phones, etc. you make communication possible on-the-go in multiple locations. 

Blogging: You speak for yourself in your capacity to offer a place for reflective thinking, a platform to share ideas, etc.  When put into the hands of students, you spark creativity and possibilities. We will be highlighting various blog platforms in upcoming posts.

Jing:  We are so very fond of you!  We will continue to look at other screensharing tools, but for now you are the one for us.  Thanks for helping Cheridy provide feedback to her online students.
RSS Feed:  Thank you for aggregating all of our favorites into one place.  We feel like we get a daily dose of professional development while reading posts from our favorite educational blogs in one place.  You simplify life.  We highly recommend you to others.

Skype:  We hear some of the young ones saying you are old school, but we read many new, promising ways of using you in education, particularly with the beta Skype in the Classroom.    Rod Luicer talks about Skype in the Classroom on his Clever Sheep blog.  The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators, a free download accessible here, contains a chapter about you written by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.

Dropbox:  We have mentioned you before.  You have saved the day and made access to important documents available in multiple locations.

Diigo:  You make marking and sharing favorite sites so very simple.

Smart Phones: We love your versatility and potential uses in education.  You create a mobile classroom for Kacey as she listens to educational podcasts during her daily commute to work.  Student access to you is growing, so we are looking for ways of incorporating you into the class.  Kacey had a positive experience with your use reported by one of her students using you to read.  Cheridy´s kiddo enjoys using Story Robe and Story Kit free apps on her smart phone. Cheridy used Posterous on her travels. We will be highlighting more of your uses! 

iPad:  Kacey enjoys having her own baby, and Cheridy is admittedly a tad envious.  Cheridy has noticed a marked increase in your appearance in her adult ESOL classes.  You hold promise.

Google Voice:  Kacey currently uses you and is exploring your educational possibilities.

Twitter: We see potential in you and hope to step up our experience and knowledge about your uses in education.

This list of tools reinforces the purpose of this blog-- exploring technology as a tool for educational and professional development.  The first draft was hand written because Cheridy didn´t have access to tech.  The pencil and paper tools served her purposes at that moment.  As teachers, we have many tools at our disposal, sometimes high tech and others times not so much.  A variety of these tools will meet the needs of our students as well as our own.  With that in mind, we hope to add to our repertoire of tech tools to choose from in 2011!

Happy exploration!