Monday, January 10, 2011

Posted Comments

Here you will find links to all* of the Blogs on which I have commented:

1.  Katie's Blog: Wiki Post (12/2/10)
2.  Aime's Blog: Visuwords (12/2/10)
3.  Jackie's Blog: Prezi (12/4/10)
4.  Sarah's Blog: What Poster? (12/5/10)
5.  Sherri's Blog: Prezi for showing connections between body systems (12/6/10)
6.  Jackie's Blog: Tikatok (12/7/10)
7.  Sarah's Blog: Glogging (12/13/10)
8.  Aime's Blog: Figment: A Writer's Community (12/13/10)
9.  Katie's Blog: VoIP - Skype (12/13/10)
10. Sherri's Blog: Facebook in 6th Grade (12/14/10)
11. Janet's Blog: Podcasting Tutorials (12/14/10)
12. Katie's Blog: Wikis (12/15/10)
13. Janet's Blog: Google Docs (12/16/10)
14. Sherri's Blog: Prezi Info Sheet (12/16/10)
15. Cara's Blog: Wikis (12/27/10)
16. Sherri's Blog: WordPress Blogs as Websites (12/27/10)
17. Sarah's Blog: Weekly Planning (12/27/10)
18. Patrick's Blog: Note Flight 2 (12/29/10)
19. Patrick's Blog: Prezi II (12/29/10)
20. Cara's Blog: Exploratree (12/29/10)
21. Eileen's Blog: Jing (12/29/10)
22. Jackie's Blog: Storybird (12/29/10)
23. Patrick's Blog: Loop Labs (12/30/10)
24. Janet's Blog: Google Docs Flash Cards (12/31/10)
25. Patrick's Blog: Tonometrics (12/31/10)
26. Kirsten's Blog: Collaboration on the Web (12/31/10)
27. Joe's Blog: What is a "wiki"? (12/31/10)
28. Megan's Blog: Glogster (12/31/10)
29. Steve's Blog: Too Many Tweets (12/31/10)
30. Megan's Blog: Diigo (1/2/11)
31. Iffeisha's Blog: Social Networking (1/2/11)
32. Charlene's Blog: Video Maker (1/2/11)
33. Charlene's Blog: Personal Home Pages (1/2/11)
34. Steve's Blog: Would Shakespeare Tweet? Twitter in the Classroom (1/2/11)
35. Sarah's Blog: Cyber Safety with Google (1/2/11)
36. Sarah's Blog: An After Thought--Book-a-Minute (1/2/11)
37. Sherri's Blog: Facebook in the Classroom (1/2/11)
38. Steve's Blog: Moodle Resources (1/2/11)
39. Steve's Blog: Middle School Moodle Mayham (1/2/11)
40. Monica's Blog: Carrot Sticks (1/2/11)
41. Eileen's Blog: Jing in the Classroom (1/2/11)
42. Keith's Blog: Using Jing for Instructional Screencasts (1/4/11)
43. Janet's Blog: Google Docs Word Study Tool (1/4/11)
44. Aime's Blog: Class Blog (1/4/11)
45. Joe's Blog: Podcasting (1/6/11)
46. Kristen's Blog: (1/8/11)
47. Megan's Blog: Kerpoof (1/8/11)
48. Charlene's Blog: Protopage vs. PageFlakes (1/9/11)
49. Megan's Blog: Glogster Revisited (1/9/11)
50. Kristen's Blog: Discover Education for Students (1/10/11)
51. Aime's Blog: Screencast (1/10/11)
52. Joe's Blog: New Mac Apps Store (1/10/11)

*Please note that this does not include responses to comments on my own blog.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dropbox with Students

In my last post on Dropbox I described most of the technical features of this fantastic application (can you tell I really like this one?). Check out this article for some teacher tips! I enjoy finding technology that is practical, does not take a lot of time, and can save you time.

Dropbox has myriads of uses in the general classroom and especially in a telecollborative project or classroom. Uses include:
  • general file sharing with other teachers and students (each will receive a URL if he/she does not have a Dropbox account)
  • document collaboration all saved in one place
  • sharing pictures, documents, and any other file type in one location in order to use for a larger document or project
  • similar to hand in/hand out folders but online so that anything students handed in could be viewed by the teacher at home too, not simply at school
  • folders/documents of extra resources that students/parents can access at home
  • nationwide/worldwide sharing of folders/documents for telecollaborative projects
As with any public/shared technology teachers need to instruct students on how to use it, describe what is appropriate, and continually monitor what is shared or edited. The only drawback that I have found to using it is when you have updated or created something on one computer and you want to open it on another computer but the Internet is down. You still have access to all of your files, but you cannot access whatever was just updated or created.

Do not forget to back up your files before the computer switch begins at your school! Enjoy Dropbox!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The World of Dropbox

I know that I emailed the cohort about Dropbox, but I had to add it to the blog so that you would have some more information about it. IT IS AMAZING!

I found that I was constantly emailing documents back and forth to myself, adding or deleting from my very small flash drive, or looking for my external hard drive! I don't have to do that anymore. Once I created my FREE account with Dropbox, I was able to download a folder to the desktop of each computer that I have. Every time I open Dropbox my files are there; it does not matter on which computer I created or edited the file!
Check out this article to see some of the numerous other features of Dropbox. Dropbox also has its own blog to help feature new options and provide some support.

What happens if your computer crashes? We all wonder about backing up our information so that we don't lose it! The most wonderful feature is that if your computer crashes or if you simply want to transfer documents once you have a new computer (think the new laptop switch!), all of your documents are backed up on your online account!
Another nice feature is the sharing of documents and folders. For instance, I can share all of my Spanish 2 files with all of the other Spanish 2 teachers at my school or even in the county. Collaboration is now SO easy! The recipients do not even have to have Dropbox in order to share the files because you receive a URL for each file. Think of the possibilities with your students...more to come on that in a later post! 

Dropbox also just came out of the beta version into version 1.0! Check out this review that compares Dropbox, FolderShare, SugarSync, and Snycplicity. The chart should be updated though because Dropbox now has mobile access, backs up everything online, and has a higher storage capacity (up to 8GB). You can try Dropbox to access your files on Blackberry, Android, iPhone, and iPad. I have not yet tried it on my Blackberry because I do not really feel the need to access files on my phone, but I can imagine this would be a great asset in the business world.

I really cannot say enough good things about Dropbox! If you want more space, you can pay for it, but I have found that the starting 2GB is sufficient for my school files. I would definitely consider paying for space in order to have room for my music and photo files.

If still aren't convinced, check out the video below!
Sign up for Dropbox today! More to come on uses in the classroom! 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Dangers of Social Networking

In my previous post on Facebook I discussed many of the benefits and some of the educational uses. Here you can see an example of how my school uses Facebook for the Spanish National Honor Society. I blocked out the names and pictures of students to protect their privacy.
The students post who is tutoring each week, what service opportunities are available, and any other updates for the honor society. It's also a great place for some of the kids (who actually want to) to practice their Spanish! The group is only editable by members who have been invited, and there are two other teachers plus myself who are administrators of the group. This is one of the more positive uses of the site!

Unfortunately, their are many dangers with the social networking site as well. School-age students do not seem as worried about posting pictures, personal information, and even contact information. Families who do not understand the technology are usually not monitoring it, so children are free to roam cyberspace meeting people who may or may not have their best interest in mind! To check out some of the dangers, check out this article from CBS.

Facebook has so many security settings now, but you have to continually update them to be stricter. In the past when there was a privacy update, your settings would revert to the default and everyone could see your information! That has now been changed, thankfully!
Monitoring students is probably one of the biggest issues with using Facebook, especially as students get older. I truly believe that the technology should be utilized if we teach our students how to properly use it and the etiquette that goes along with its use. See the video below that is a good reminder for students (cheesy, but good)!
Check out a site called Failbook (caution: some material is inappropriate, but gives a good glimpse into what is posted regularly on the site) that pokes fun at some of the images and posts that have been put on Facebook. While many people may find it funny, I find it sad that users do not think about what they are posting publicly until it is too late. Students need to remember that what they post could have lasting consequences. 

I think that some of the most important things that we can teach our students prior to using Facebook in the classroom are:
  • setting privacy settings appropriately
  • checking out a profile before you "accept" a friend online
  • thinking about pictures/video/texts posts prior to submitting (i.e. would you show your parent/grandparent/future employer whatever you are posting!)
  • how to post in an educational manner (and respectful!)
This article provides some other security measures to take for students to protect themselves (and for teachers too). Hopefully, we will have access to Facebook at our schools in the future so that we can better utilize this web 2.0 tool and teach our students how to properly use it. 

Happy New Year Blogger World!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Facebook, Friends, and Formalities

Facebook is currently the most popular social network around the globe. It began as a college network that brought together friends, acquaintances, and strangers from colleges around the United States. Now, you no longer have to be a part of a college network! Anyone can join Facebook and connect finding childhood, grade school, college, and work friends. You can even "friend" your family if you so dare! You can share your status, pictures, events, groups, common interests, and life in general. Friends can like what you've shared or are doing and comment on everything!

On a side note, if you have not see the movie The Social Network, you should check it out; it is a great description of how Facebook came about and the changes it made along the way.

If you have no idea what Facebook is you should check out the video below for some of its benefits and how to use it! 


We all know that Facebook is pretty much blocked in our county, but it doesn't hurt to think of some of the potential uses (see article from 3rd class) in case we can ever use it in the classroom (you could probably use it at home but there would be some boundaries because it would be "outside of the classroom").

At my school we do use Facebook to create groups for clubs and sports. The kids can get on and check updates, announcements, and pictures from various events. It is nice to be able to send a message to an entire group of students in Spanish club or Spanish National Honor Society because sometimes the kids do not check their email, but they do check Facebook! I know the yearbook teacher also uses it as an easy way to collect pictures throughout the year. Many of our staff members are on Facebook as well; I know some people would not want to "friend" their co-workers, but I know that I have nothing to hide and that I do not post anything inappropriate online. I also love my co-workers! We have created a great community where we all share each others' lives and are there for support! 

Some other uses of Facebook in schools could include:
  • updates for parents on a regular basis (with or without pictures...definitely some privacy issues there though!)
  • a community for the PTSA/PTA to promote events, fundraisers, and announcements
  • story-telling through pictures where students could write in captions or paragraphs under the comments section
  • teaching online etiquette and how to talk to and respond to each other
  • corresponding with other classes around the globe since time differences can make programs like Skype impractical
  • collaborating on school projects by sharing pictures, videos, ideas, and other information
If Facebook is not for you, check out some of the other social networks that include Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, and to name just a few of the hundreds that are out there.

Check back later for some of the potential dangers with Facebook and other social networking sites.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flickr in the Classroom

After my last post on photo sharing, I had to do some more research! Since Flickr since is relatively new to me, I did not know all of the ins and outs. I discovered that you can also upload videos as well! Here's a video, not educational in the least bit, but I wanted to try it out. The uploading process was simple, but even a 30 second video took a few minutes. YouTube is definitely faster with their downloads!

I also discovered that while Flickr claims to be unlimited, that free account users are in fact limited to 300 MB of images and 2 videos each month. If you are going to sign up for Flickr you also want to make sure that you are going to use the account because after 90 days of inactivity, your account will be deleted! Pro account users obviously have more unlimited options because they are paying for the service.

While Flickr is definitely a photo sharing site, it is also billed as a social network. Their are communities on Flickr where users can connect with each other to share photos, make comments, and meet new people. There is also the ability to add Flickr pages to your RSS feed! 

Flickr could have some classroom and telecollborative uses, but I think that posts by other teachers and students would have to be monitored carefully. Students can not only take and upload pictures, but also edit pictures through the Picnik photo editing application within Flickr. Some classroom and telecollaborative ideas for Flickr include:
  • students taking pictures to add into an online storybook, such as Storybird
  • students taking and sharing pictures around the world based on themes such as family, community, holidays, health & nutrition, etc...
  • students/teachers taking pictures to share with students so that they can write about them using a Blog or a Wiki
  • students taking an object/pet home to take pictures and describe their experience...i.e. Flat Stanley project
  • uploading video from a Flip camera or other device to edit and begin putting together a movie
While monitoring what is uploaded could take a great deal of time, Flickr provides both students and teachers with an easy way to upload, edit, organize, and share their photos and videos. I am not sure Flickr is the best idea that's out in cyberspace, it's a great start and it's fairly user-friendly!

On a side note, combining web 2.0 applications, you can even find Flickr on Twitter! Don't forget that if Flickr is not for you that you can try Snapfish, photobucket, Picassa, SmugMug or Shutterfly.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I have been using the photo-sharing website Flickr for quite some time now; I just never thought that I should join! I have been borrowing photos for years (under Creative Commons more recently now that I know all of the rules!), but I never thought to post my own pictures. I have always used Facebook for that, and I use Kodak Gallery or Snapfish to print my pictures (you can also upload and share your photos through those sites). I have enjoyed using Flickr in the past because you can search for photos and browse photos without having an account.

Upon creating an account with Flickr, you have many possibilities at your fingertips. As with, you can sign in instantly if you have a Yahoo account (I hate mine), but I saw too late that you can also sign in if you have a Google account. I would have much preferred that, but I can always go back! I am not a huge fan of setting up your photos because I think it takes too much time. The uploading process was simple if you have a fast Internet connection. You open the folder(s) from which you want to upload and you can use CTRL click to choose all of the photos that you want to upload all at once! Flickr walks you through the entire process, so I can't say that it's not user-friendly. There's just something that I do not like but I cannot pinpoint it! Flickr does have a neat blog where users can submit photos for different categories and have their work displayed. There are some beautiful photos on the blog! There's one plus!

After creating your account and uploading your pictures, you can tag and organize photos. Tagging photos and writing titles/descriptions can take a long time no matter what application you are using, but it seemed to take even longer on Flickr because you can only work on 10-15 pictures at a time. I suppose that is a beneficial feature because you save your work after each batch of 10-15 pictures. That way, if your computer is having issues, you do not lose all of your work. You can create sets of pictures and galleries, but I am not yet sure what the differences are...I'm working on exploring some more! You can get help in their help menu, but it did not answer all of my questions. I also found this great site on how to use Flickr. The site explains many of the site's features in terms that non-tech users can understand.

Check out my first set of photos on Flickr from our most recent trip to Disney World. I have not yet written descriptions or tagged anyone, but I am slowly learning little tricks with the Flickr Web 2.0 application. To be honest, I am not sure that I will use Flickr in the future. After playing with the site a bit more, I discovered that if you want prints of your photos you can print them with Snapfish! Why wouldn't I continue using Snapfish to do almost everything that Flickr can do AND print my pictures like I normally do?

Check back soon for uses in the classroom! I hope you are all enjoying winter break!