Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interactive Whiteboards

We got to experiment with interactive whiteboards this week. After going to Lincoln Elementary School, we were able to play around with a whiteboard at UNI and see what features it had. We explored Promethean Planet to find out how to make flip charts for interactive whiteboards and how to use ActivInspire.

Emily and I decided to do our flip chart on Nutrition and make activities to go along with nutrition. We had some troubles at first when we made a PowerPoint first with our information before copying it onto ActivInspire. Some of the information got lost and some of it was incorrect. We were able to refer back to some of the help videos to help us figure out our problem and continue working.

One thing I had a huge problem with was trying to get the magnifying glass to work. It took me an hour or two to figure it out. I had to ask people from the class, watch videos, and took in the help manual for ActivInspire before finally asking Google. I should have started with Google. It gave me the answer right away. Note to self: Google knows everything. :)

After figuring out the problems we were able to make a great flip chart and have great activities for elementary students to do to help them learn about Nutrition. I hope I get an interactive whiteboard in my classroom. They are amazing!!! :)

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Lincoln Elementary School

This week we went to Lincoln Elementary School in Cedar Falls, Iowa where we talked to the school librarian, Colleen Nelson. Ms Nelson talked to us about the Promethean boards in the library and how teachers have them in their classrooms at this school. The white boards were able to connect to the internet just by touching on the screen, without a computer! It was amazing to see how it worked and learn about all the great features on it.

We then went into the computer lab where students were working on Google Sketch-Up to create their own convenience stores and buildings. These students were in elementary school and making buildings in a digital designer! I was amazed at how creativity and innovative the students were. They told us that they were teaching the teacher new things everyday. He admitted to not knowing everything about Google Sketch-Up and how we loved when the students taught him new things. I think it is great when a teacher can admit to not knowing something when they are asked. I hope one day my students will be teaching me about the new technologies that are coming out and keep me up to date on them.

After watching the students with Google Sketch-Up, we went into a kindergarten classroom where the students were using the interactive whiteboards. Kindergartners!!! I was amazed at how well the students could maneuver the whiteboard and pen to show us all the activities they do in class. It was truly amazing!

I hope one day to be able to have an interactive whiteboard in my classroom. I think they are really handy for teachers and the students love them. The students feel like they are having fun, which they are, but they are also learning. I hope I can achieve that in my classroom one day. :)

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Collaborative Tools

I definitely enjoyed this past project using Collaborative tools. I have not used Google Docs so much in my life than I have these semester. I really enjoy working on groups projects on Google Docs because it's really hard for everyone in the group to meet at a certain time and place. I was able to work from the comfort of my home while still in the group setting online.

My group, Freudian Slip, decided to do our collaborative project on favorite places to eat on the Hill. We started by organizing our group on a Google Doc called Research Project where we were able to assign roles and talk to each other, even though we were sitting right next to each other. We spent most of class talking to each other on the Google Doc instead of face to face.

We then decided to make a survey on Google Form for the rest of our class to fill out. We posted to link to the form on Twitter with the class hashtag. We were able to have the results sent right to a spreadsheet where we could review the answers. We then complied the answers and made a presentation for the class to show them what the final tallies were on what the favorite place to eat on the hill was amongst the class.

I really enjoyed using the new collaborative tools on Google Docs because I had never really used them until now. I definitely will be using these for group projects in the future so I can stay in the comfort of my dorm, in my sweats, with a cup of coffee. :)

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