Monday, November 19, 2012

What's Your Purpose?

First Things First – What’s Your Purpose?
Before you start registering domain names or searching the web for graphics, take some time to think about the purpose of your blog.  Is it going to be a blog where you share your daily adventures?  Is it going to be a showcase for your classroom projects? There is no “wrong” purpose, but each purpose can influence how you go about setting up your blog.  By knowing your starting point of your blog to accomplish in the beginning, you can then determine how and where you will begin.  It is okay to change direction once your blog gets going.

Options for Blogging:
Easy to set-up and use, Blogger, Google’s version of a blogging platform, is also a popular education blog site.  Users pick from a variety of templates or upload their own and can begin blogging in a relatively short amount of time.  Just as each teacher is unique, so too will each teaching blog be different.  Look at your favorite teaching blogs and see where and how they are hosted.  Peek at the bottom of the page to see who designed the template and then check out their site.  Find one blog that you admire and start planning out a wireframe of what your blog will look like.  Take it one step at a time.  Even if it means that the only thing you do today is think of a name for your blog.  It is a step in the right direction.
  • RWLD: Readings, Watchings, Listenings, Doings. When using a blog as your communication form this is multimedia  design and you want to grab your readers attention and engage them into what they are reading.  This might be from adding YouTube Videos, current News from Cresco Times, and etc.  Engage your students with what's happening in your class but have them always thirsting for more information. 
  • Using Photos:  It is so important to remember that even if parents sign a waiver saying they are okay with their child’s image being on the class blog, they may not quite understand what that means.  Not only does it mean that they can see pictures of little Billy, but so too can everyone from the Jones’ family, the Smith family, etc.  If you really feel the need to include children’s pictures, try to get shots that do not show their faces directly.  Safety has to be your number one priority.

Check out some example of Blogs to get some ides for your direction:

Kidblog is a wonderful resource for student blogging. According to Kidblog's website, "is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each student with their own, unique blog. Kidblog's simple, yet powerful tools allow students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs."  Kidblog has several advantages over other blogging sites:

  • Teachers can create a class blog, and add student accounts without needing student email accounts.
  • Students have their own unique blogging space. They can create posts and comment on other students' posts.
  • Teachers have control over approving students' posts and comments before they are published to the blog.
  • The site is secure. Students must login to read posts and write comments.
  • There are no ads on this site.
  • There's an KidBlog App
Check out additional video resources for setting up your KidBlog account:

Adding Students to your Class:

Privacy Settings:

Student View: Write a blog entry

Teacher View: Approving Student Posts

Students View: Writing Comments

Teacher View: Approving Student Posts and Posting a Private Comment on a Student Blog

How to Bulk Upload Users to Your Blog

How to Embed Widgets into Your Blog Posts

Another great tool if you are using blogs in your classroom is: Assessment the Web 2.0 Way! Check out this wonderful resource filled with checklist, rubrics, response scoring sheets.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prezi U

Based on your comments Prezi's Team has been working to create a community site where teachers and students can talk, share and learn how to use Prezi in education, from the smallest grade school classroom to the biggest Harvard and Stanford auditoriums. They have introduced Prezi U, a dedicated community site for all things Prezi in education.
Visit Prezi U for access to diverse content on using Prezi in education for all levels-- from Kindergarten to University and beyond.
Prezi U is a hub for your prezis, ideas and experiences. A channel to submit your own content and receive feedback, engagement and new skills from other Prezi U members.

On Prezi U you can:
1. Submit your own educational prezis to the dynamically growing edu library, which covers diverse topics and subject areas categorized by schools and curriculum.
2. Engage with others in the forums, or search for answers to your questions about Prezi in education.
3. Submit articles about your experiences using Prezi in education.

Visit Prezi U today.  

Another announcement Prezi iPad App let's you create, edit, present, and share your prezi's anywhere with a simple, multi touch gestures. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spread the Word: Edcamp HowardWinn

SPREAD THE WORD!! Edcamp Howardwinn

Changing visions of education and the power of professional learning networks.

Edcamp HowardWinn is a free “un-conference” committed to reaching educators in public, private, and higher ed environments to share innovative instructional strategies and transform education for all students.

Date: March 16, 2013

Time: 8:30 am - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Crestwood Elementary/JH, Cresco, IA 52136

Sign-up for this amazing event at: Edcamp HowardWinn


If you would like to support this event with your sponsorship please fill out this form

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So you wanna use Voicethread

Here is an opportunity to work together in a meaningful way and students can reflect on their work and the work of their peers is key to being a 21st Century Learner.

How is powerpoint different from Voicethread?

Voicethread is a multimedia slideshow that allows users anywhere to collaborate.

There are 3 basic steps:

1. Create a free account
2. Upload images, documents, and videos to the presentation
3. Share

Yep. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Once the Voicethread is created watch the magic happen. Comments can be left around each part of the slideshow either by voice, text or video. Everything can be embed on a webpage or in a blog for even easier sharing.

Just a couple of ideas:
  • Instead of having students create a Power Point, create a Voicethread that they get to narrate and share with the class. Other students can leave comments on the different parts of the presentation.
  • Book Reviews
Here resources for learning about and using Voicethread in the classroom:
Another great feature? They have an iOS app. So you can create Voicethreads with your iPad or iPod touch. Awesome!