Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Joey(Sugar Glider)

Baby Joey(Sugar Glider)
Originally uploaded by Viper76

I'm playing aroud with Flickr to see how it could be used for language teaching. I found this picture when I searched for baby animals. Above the picture it said Blog this. I like that the attribution shows up directly below the picture.

Cute, aren't they!

Uh oh. While the attribution shows up fine when I am writing the post, it seems to get too tiny to view when I publish the post. I'll have to see if there is some way to fix that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Notes Feature of Flickr

Jane Goodall's Camp
Originally uploaded by lewiselementary
I'm trying out a feature of Flickr that I just learned about in the Images4Education course of EVO. I had never noticed before that above many photos is a feature called Add Note. After you click on it, you can click on whatever item in the picture you want and add a note (a label, description, etc.).
This could be an excellent feature to use for second language teaching. I've posted an example here called Jane Goodall's Camp. The notes will not show up here in my blog, but if you click on the picture, you will see the photo with all its notes.
It seems to me that only the owner of the image can add notes, but I'm not sure about that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snowball Effect

Anyone who has ever made a snowman knows that you start with a small snowball. As you keep rolling it in the snow, it gets bigger and bigger until you have a "snowball" big enough to use for one of the parts of your snowman. This gradual growth of the tiny snowball into a much grander one is the "snowball effect." That is what I am experiencing this semester with my students.

This semester I started teaching a face to face class through McDaniel College for teachers in Prince George's County, Maryland. This is a face-to face class. We meet at Green Belt Middle School. I had never taught a class before where everyone had their own laptop and we had quite a time getting everyone on the Internet, especially those with Apple computers. (It's so much easier to work in a computer lab!) However, with the help of the IT person, Ms. Mitchell; the library media specialist, Ms. Butler; and Ms. Hammond, the Social Studies teacher at the school, we are slowly but surely getting everyone online through their own laptop computers.

The teachers in the class have all started their own blogs and I can feel the snowball effect as more and more of them are beginning to see the possibilities for using web 2.0 tools in their own classroom.

In order to provide a permanent record of the Internet assignments that we are doing, I've decided to create Googledocs and link to them in the sidebar under lesson plans. That way the students can have an easy way to refer back to what we did in class and to continue learning on their own.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I'm working on modifying a mod on microblogging for a course I teach through U.B. Last semester was the first time I had included microblogging in the course. I found that the students used microblogging like a form of short emails. I hadn't shown them how Twitter can be used not only as a social networking site but also as an educational networking site. Part of the problem may have been that I had them watch Lee LeFever's video which explains microblogging in social terms.

So this semester I'm going to have them read articles on educational microblogging, search for an educational term such as connectivism, check out the sites of others who posted on that subject and follow some of these people for a week.

In planning this mod, I reread all the sites that I tagged as Twitter in my delicious account and retagged them as TwitterTutorials, TwitterTeachers and/or TwitterArticles. This sorting helped a lot.

I also listened again to this great viral video by UK musician, Ben Harper. Check it out! :-)

Friday, January 02, 2009


In a comment on one of my previous posts, Carmen Holotescu provided a link to an article called Can We Use Twitter for Educational Activities? that she co-authored with Gabriela Grosseck. The article is a good overview of microblogging in education. It also details some of the features that are lacking in Twitter but which would make the site more user-friendly.

For example, it would be helpful to be able to use tags. As interesting as it might be to learn about daily activities of some Twitterers, I would prefer to only read their tweets on professional issues. I just don't have time for more than that.

Another feature missing on Twitter is the ability to create user groups with notes visible only for members. I believe that some of these features may be available in Edmodo, but I'll have to check. Carmen is advocating the use of a new Romanian microblogging site called cirip that incluldes some of these features along with some others.

I'm going to look more at Edmodo today, but it seems to be much more than just a microblogging site. So if schools don't block it , the site may have lots of potential for classroom use.