Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Virtual Field Trips online

With today's economy, there are lots of cuts in school budgets.  Sometimes, this means no field trips for classes. Today's post is focusing on virtual field trips.  I recommend you consider virtual field trips for several reasons.  First, many virtual field trips are FREE.  Of course, we all love free! Second, there are many places to "take" your students when you consider virtual field trips...the possibilities are endless! If you limit your class to somewhere you can travel to on a bus, they are missing out!

Recently, I ran across this website with a great list of virtual field trips. Virtual field trips can be used with your class to learn more about places without leaving your school.  It is great to use virtual field trips because many are free and you can access locations anywhere in the world right from the computer in your classroom! Bring it to you if you can't take your students there!

Here are some other pages that list virtual field trips. 
Greene Bytes
Simple K12 Virtual Field Trips
Blackwell's Best Virtual Field Trips
The Apple's List of Top 5 Virtual Field Trips
Utah Education Network's Virtual Field Trips
Internet4Classrooms Virtual Field Trips Help
Tech Trekers Virtual Field Trips
Virtual Field Trips List
OOPS! Virtual Field Trips

Ask your parents if they have any place they could share about and then find a virtual field trip about that place.  This would be a great way to get parents involved with your class!

A virtual field trip is the next best thing to being there! Open up the window to the world right from your classroom and introduce your students to endless possibilities!
Take some time and check out the links in this article...your students will LOVE you for it!!!

If you have used virtual field trips with your class, please share the location and link of the site you have visited in the comments section on this post. If you have other sites you use, please share those as well so we can learn from each other.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

iPods in the Classroom

Our school has a new iPod Touch cart for classes to use this year.  After setting the iPods up and putting apps in folders to help make it easier for students (PK-6th) to use, I rolled them out and used them with a 3rd grade class last week. It was a very exciting day...not only for our students, but for me. I really had a geek moment when they were ready for use!
Many of our teachers have attended Project Zero at Harvard. One technique they learned there is for students to create a "Headline" about various topics they are studying in class.  So, with that in mind, I came up with the first lesson. We are an all boys' school, so this lesson went right along with boys! The boys used the Create a Martian app to design the martians that were taking over the earth. They had 3 minutes to make their martian perfect! Once everyone had a martian, we took a snapshot of it by holding down the power button and the home button of the iPod, which basically takes a screen shot of the iPod screen. Then, the boys went to the Photos app and found their picture. They emailed it to their teacher (I have all teachers set up in the contacts app). The teacher printed it from her laptop to a color printer and the boys then created a headline about martians taking over the earth.
Not a bad lesson for their first introduction to the iPods. They boys worked great and really loved the chance to be creative with the martian and headline.
One thing I thought was really interesting is that with the first 7 classes I have used the iPods with, only one or two from each class had NEVER used an iPod or iPhone.  WOW!  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Twitter and @cybraryman1

Hopefully if you are an educator, you are using Twitter to connect with other people as part of your PLN (Personal Learning Network or some may call it Professional Learning Network.) It took me about six months to really “get” Twitter. If you asked me to tell you one thing I couldn’t do without as a Technology Coach, I believe the first thing out of my mouth would be Twitter.  Take some time to follow people and watch your learning grow! I few things I use Twitter for at my job are to help me solve problems with applications, get suggestions on tools to use with students, and find websites to give to teachers to use with their lessons. It really is invaluable once you begin to use it more and more.
Throughout the week, there are various educational chats happening using twitter. These can be very beneficial for educators to participate in to help hear others’ points of view and give you a chance to voice your opinion on various topics.
@cybraryman1 on twitter has created a list of all the current educational chats and when they take place on his site. I encourage you to look through the list and see what topics relate to you (for example, kinderchat for kindergarten teachers, scichat for science teachers, etc.) Find the day of the week and time that these chats are taking place and try to participate in at least one to see what it is like to learn and hear from others at a very fast pace. Many of the chats are also available for you to view at a later time in case you miss them or can’t make it. You can read through the tweets that are sent out during that chat. This is a huge benefit of Twitter-connecing people from all over the world to share thoughts, lessons, ideas, and more to help better educate our students.
While you are at @cybraryman1’s site, check it out! Block off a planning time or evening to see what he has available for educators.  I am VERY impressed with his site and think you will be also.  On the Educator’s link, he has links for teacher tools, classroom organization, and subject areas.  Each page has a TON of links to help you enhance your teaching. Just a warning, once you visit his site, you may not want to stop looking at all the great resources there!