April is National Poetry Month and our school is having several events to celebrate. Students are encouraged to submit their original poems to the “Poet Tree” in the Library all month. We plan on sharing poems for “Poem in your pocket” day on Thursday, the 26th. I am thinking of coordinating a semi-field trip to Verselandia – a poetry slam sponsored by Portland Public Schools on the 25th.
On Monday, April 30th we will host our all-day poetry celebration in the Library. The morning session will be for community members as the creative writing and guitar students share their original poems and poems put to music. Throughout the day various classes will visit the Library for an open mic poetry reading. Anyone is welcome to attend and share either an original poem or read a previously published poem. Selected classes from other schools will Skype into our reading and share their poems with us. If your class would like to Skype with us – contact me at colette (dot) cassinelli (at) gmail (dot) com.
Last week I joined the 3.1 class at Webcast Academy as an intern.
The Academy is a hands on, collaborative training center for people interested in learning how to produce and host live, interactive webcasts. It is part of the Worldbridges Webcasting Network and was founded to help train those who would like to webcast on Worldbridges, but all are welcome to make use of the open source learning resources and participate in collaborative training sessions.
I’ve embraced every new tool thrown my way and have lurked around EdTechTalk long enough to know that I want to learn how to webcast . I think it would cool to interview and discuss current trends with other technology-loving teachers or even provide a weekly show to follow up on ideas and lessons after I give a conference presentation.
A new project that I will start this fall is an after-school technology club just for girls. We call ourselves Digital Divas 2.0 and I think that webcasting would be a wonderful outlet for expression.
Besides reading through the introduction materials and learning how to set up Audacity and Skype, our first assignment was to record a one-minute audio introduction. The purpose of this assignment was not so much what we said, but to practice using the software, exporting it correctly, applying the ID3 tags and naming conventions. I am pretty familiar with audacity so I wanted to add an music intro (from ccmixer) but decided against it and will save it for another lesson.
The process went pretty well. I drafted my introduction first and recorded it a couple of times to get the timing down. I first found that I speak too fast and tend to slur my “s” (a habit I picked up from my big sister when i was little) so I purposely tried to slow down and make my voice lower. I don’t want it to sound too monotone but not too casual either. It was OK. I made one tiny mistake on my final recording – but its fine for now.
I love all the screencasts on the Webcast Academy. I like being able to pause the lesson, go to my software and make the required changes and then go back to the screencast. Great job guys.
So my first impression is great. I definitely need to purchase a better microphone and record in a quieter place (the phone rang once!). So far so good 🙂
Cross-posted at Webcast Academy.net
Thanks to a comment by Larry Ferlazzo I have been checking out the various lists of top ten favorite tools that are listed on Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day.
You can submit your top ten list of favorite tools (only 10???) and then Jane is compiling all the tools mentioned into one master list – the Top 100.
I especially enjoyed looking at the list by guest submitter Jay Cross. Hearing how and why different folks liked their chosen tools intrigued me enough to spend way too much time checking them all out.
Here are my favorite tools (in no particular order).
- Google Products:
- Gmail. I love this web based email system and the fact that I can access it from any computer. Not only do you get tons of storage but I like the way it keeps the threaded conversations together. Gmail chat is also nifty.
- Google Docs. Google docs are great for collaborating and sharing information with others. You must invite friends to participate in your documents but it’s so easy to edit ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!.
- iGoogle and Google reader. Ok, ok, so I love of all the of the Google products – but I do use them and find them easy to use. iGoogle is a personalized page (which I make as my own homepage) that you can customize with all kinds of widgets like: weather, calendar, CNN news, Google Reader (RSS), Gmail notifier, jokes, etc…
- Googlemaps, Google Earth, SketchUp …. I love ’em all!
- Del.icio.us. I can’t believe how much I depend on this social bookmarking tool to remember sites I have visited but also for sharing cool sites with my friends. Now I don’t need to be that annoying friend who always sends emails recommending websites (I can’t help myself) – if I find a site and know my friend’s del.icio.us name I can tag the site as: for:ccassinelli and then when that user goes to their del.icio.us account they can add my favorite to theirs. This is very helpful for group projects!
- Flickr. This web-based photo sharing site is awesome for uploading photos to share with friends. I like how you can create different albums and tag photos for easy sorting. I also love snooping through my friend’s albums too!
- My first RSS aggregator was Bloglines and I still use it today. I like how I can create folders for all of the ed tech blogs I read. Here are my folders: personal, ed tech bloggers, under consideration and last chance. When I stumble across a blog I might be interested in I add the feed in the under consideration folder. When I find that I enjoy the blog and read it often it moved up in rank to the ed tech bloggers folder while some of those are demoted to last chance before I decide to do away with the feed.
- Audacity. This easy to use FREE audio editing software is easy to use for podcasting and editing audio files. You will need the LAME Mp3 encoder if you want to export your audio files at MP3 instead of WAV – but it’s easy to download and install.
- Wikispaces. I’ve already mentioned my love of wikis earlier in my blog but for collaboration and easy editing – wikis are the way to go. I also love the fact that wikispaces gives FREE wikis to teachers. Thanks for the support!
- Skype. I use skype more for IM and group chatting than Internet phone calling but it’s easy to use and really catching on.
- Flock and Firefox. Both of these browsers are excellent and have cool extensions. Most browsers have built in RSS but you can also access your Flickr pics right from the Flock toolbar – kewl!
- Moodle. I started using Moodle this last year with a few of my computer classes but will use this open-source course management system with all my classes this year. It’s easy to use, has built in blogging and modules (quizzes, journals, docs) that make it easy to keep all class documents in one area.
- YouTube. YouTube is great when you need a few laughs or want to share short family video with loved ones across the country. I also love the idea of TeacherTube. Educators need a safe and secure place where our students can particpate in the social aspect of video sharing and engaging students with video responses.
So, there’s my list. I didn’t include software tools like MS Office, Dreamweaver, Inspiration, InDesign and all of those productivity tools that I use everyday.
What is your top 10?