Tech Task # 7 – Mobile Learning

I really enjoyed Liz Kolb’s presentation on Mobile learning. She introduced us to a whole new range of fabulous resources that can be used to make learning fun for students, using their mobile devices. I had never even thought before that mobile could also be used in classroom to enhance learning, but after listening to Liz my outlook has drastically changed.

There is whole list of resources and ideas, introduced to us by Liz, but today I will particularly discuss two that stood out for me: Remind101 and QR Codes

Remind101 is not something new to me. I have been a part of this service as our professor for ECMP355 class uses this service to communicate with us. I  find this service really easy to use, and with lots of potential for a teacher. By asking students to sign in it becomes really easy on the part of teachers to remind students about their homework, assignments or other important events on their cell phones. Teachers can even ask parents to sign in so that teachers can maintain a direct contact with them updating them about the child’s whereabouts regularly. This way you don’t have to depend on students to serve as a communication bridge.

Another idea that really fascinated me is the use of QR Codes in the classroom. Being a science teacher, I can see the potential of using them in my subject area. By using QR codes we give student fast access to target activities, which saves a lot of time as students don’t wander around web to search for resources.

Some ways to engage students in science using QR codes are as follows:

Teachers can create Scavenger Hunt Game, which would  involve students to run around a school garden (or any place) in search of the pre-designed QR codes (based on plants or animals) hidden by the teacher. When students find a QR code, they would scan it with a mobile device to reveal a question which they will have to answer and discuss with other students and the teacher. It can be a used by teachers to review or gauge what students have learned in the class and to introduce something new in a fun way. I feel it will help the students to come out of their dull and boring class lecture into the lap of nature to learn in a fun way. This gamification of the lesson will not only engage them, but also motivate them to share their knowledge.

Carolyn Durley, a biology teacher, shared a link with me the other day. It is a post written by a teacher  explaining how she has  incorporated QR code in science lessons in order to review what the students have learned.

Here is the QR Code for the post
qrcode

Teachers can turn the entire periodic table in QR code format, where each QR Code links to a video of that particular element. When students scan a code it will directly lead them to the video of that element, enabling them to learn all about it.

Here is a link to the The Periodic Table of Video (available of Flicker)

Qr codes can also be used to help students learn the scientific and common name for plants and trees in the school garden. Teacher can make codes with the scientific name and common name of different plants and attach them to  stakes near the plants. This will ignite the curiosity among the students to scan and know all about the particular plant.

Teachers can also create a website that contains detail information about the plants and link it with the QR Codes so that students can learn more about the particular plant, apart from their names.

Here is a Dropbox File that was shared with me by Stacey Wallwin, on using QR codes in classroom. Make sure to check it out –
qrcode

There can be so many ways to use QR code, not only in science, but in any subject area making learning fun and engaging. I am still working on my creativity to work on ideas of incorporating them in different areas. May be I would write a new post discussing them all in detail.

So far I have had a chance to look into these two tools in particular. Looking forward to explore all the resources discussed by Liz and use them in my classroom successfully.

Tech Task # 6 Storytelling

The second Ds106 assignment I choose is :

ACROSTIC PICTURE

“Make an acrostic poem collage. Use each letter from your name and go onto flickr and search for a picture that represents you. Then you any photoediting to make it a collage.”
Untitled-1I used Adobe Photoshop to create this collage. This assignment was really fun! Choosing pictures defining me is the most amazing part of this assignment.

Here is what each letter of my name stands for :

S for Spiritual – Spirituality, for me, does not mean going to church, temple or praying all the time. But for me it stands for my beliefs and values which define my real character.

W for Wild – Wild, for me, means living life to the fullest without any fear. I enjoy each and every moment fully and give my best shot into everything I do.

A for Agreeable – I am a warm, sympathetic, cooperative and considerate person. For me relationships have a special place in my life and am always willing to help others in any circumstances.

T for Thoughtful – I am a kind of person who gives a thought on all the aspect of my actions. I believe everyone should think about every consequence of their actions before doing something.

I for Introvert – I am a person who does not open up easily. I am basically a quite person which sometime people mistake for shyness.

Tech Task # 6 Storytelling/Storymaking Part 2

For second part of this week’s Tech Task, I decided to try two assignments on DS106 Assignment Bank. The first assignment I choose is from a visual category Sandy Brown Jensen’s Illustrate your Original Poem

This assignment required me to use at least three images from my original art or photography to illustrate a poem written by me.

So here is what I came up with :

monster

poemInstead of just using my personal photographs in a simple way, I tried to play around with them a little bit to make them blend well with the poem (may be they didn’t blend in too well!). I used Adobe Photoshop, which I had never used before, to challenge the creative nerd inside me.

I created a collage in Photoshop and played around with layers, adding masks and using overlay to merge it with a monster pic, to give it a dreamy effect. I was not too happy with the result, so I also transformed my poem using gradient tool and then tried the overlay option to add the pic of a monster.

I found this activity quite creative! It is an interesting activity that can be used to work on the creative and critical thinking skills of the students. Teachers can use this to help students express their thoughts in the form of poem, which can work wonders for introvert students.Teachers can ask students to demonstrate what they have learned in the form this activity making their learning personal. There can be endless ways to use the activity to achieve the outcome we expect in various subjects. The best part is that its fun to do it!! I am sure it will work well in the direction of engaging the students and make learning effective.

The post for the next activity I chose will be coming up soon. So stay tuned!

Tech Task # 6 Storytelling/Storymaking Part 1

The ECMP355 Session with Alan Levine on Digital Storytelling was awesome! I had never imagined telling a story could be so enjoyable. He discussed about the different tools that can be used to create stories in so many different ways. I am looking forward to use the resources he shared in my classroom, in the future.

Storytelling is a very powerful tool that can be use to help students to –

  • Explore their unique ability to express their thoughts and emotions in words.
  • Work on their communication and critical thinking skills.
  • Develop a sense of understanding of others culture.

I used Five Card Flickr for the part 1 of my Tech Task # 6 and I was amazed by the concept of this unique storytelling site where you have to deal with 5 random pictures to create a story. The best part is that its is really easy to use and it does not involve use of any high tech skills which makes it pretty easy for even a kindergarten student to use it.

Students can also read stories created by others which can help them to guide them in the  journey of creating a story themselves. The tool can be use by teachers to help students to express themselves, their thoughts in the form of stories, especially for introvert students. It can also be used to enhance students creative as well as critical thinking skills. The teacher can also ask students to share their creation with others in the classroom which can motivate others students, who may seem uninterested, to get engaged too.

Altogether, I would say Five Card Flickr is a great tool that can be used to engage students and enhance learning in the classroom.


Five Card Story: That one day

a Five Card Flickr story created by swati2326


flickr photo by cogdogblog


flickr photo by bgblogging


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by bionicteaching

That one day when I was sitting alone enjoying the sun I receive a text message from God. The message was an order from him directing me to do rescue an old woman who lived in a mud house. She was in great danger as the house was old and could collapse any moment. I followed his command and rescued the woman. On the way back home I saw a flower and wanted to pluck it but got stung by a bee. Few kids saw this and came running to help me. I was in pain but the pain faded away on realization that I had accomplished something important in my life today.



Five Card Story: The couple

a Five Card Flickr story created by swati2326


flickr photo by Choconancy1


flickr photo by keepps


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by cogdogblog


flickr photo by Intrepidteacher

They were the best couple in the world. I first met them in the park where I use to take my son to play, and after that day I saw them everyday in the park sitting on the swing holding hands. They had been married for 40 years but still their eyes were filled with love and affection for each other.

We use to meet daily and talk for hours.Once they told me about their country side house which had been forcefully taken away by their sons. They had always wanted to live there for rest of their lives as they had so many memories attached to it.

It was one day that I didn’t see them in the park. The swing was empty. I was really worried and so I went to their house to find they had passed away the other night in each others arms.


Tech Task # 5 Are you well Googled?

Part 2 – Google yourself

When I Google myself using my First and Last name this is what shows up

FireShot Screen Capture #006 - 'Google' - www_google_ca_#gs_rn=15&gs_ri=psy-ab&suggest=p&cp=9&gs_id=1v&xhr=t&q=Swati+Dixit&es_nrs=true&pf=p&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&oq=Swati+Dix&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on_2,or_r_qf_&bvm=bThere is no sign of me anywhere except for one link that connects me to my twitter account. Apart from that none of the links are connected to me in anyways. They are all related to a Telagu (Indian) actress of inappropriate movie. I am really upset with the results but cannot blame anyone as it is all because of my narrow perspective about internet and my privacy setting on my social networking site.  This is a reason that I don’t have any online identity so far.

Next I try to Google myself using “Swati Dixit, Regina”  to see if the results differ this time and this is what shows up

FireShot Screen Capture #002 - 'Google' - www_google_ca_#sclient=psy-ab&q=Swati+Dixit%2C+Regina&oq=Swati+Dixit%2C+Regina&gs_l=hp_3___1737_11490_0_14503_23_19_2_2_3_0_202_3160_0j18j1_19_0___0_0___1c_1_15_psy-ab_A9fjN1dThe results were totally different this time. My twitter account comes to be on the top and I am happy with this because this is sort of my professional account and reflect me in every way. The next link is my “Bloggy Mom” account which is a Social networking site for mothers. I am pretty surprised to see this because I had closed this account long back.

There is no sign of my Blog, Pinterest or Google+ which I am frequently using these days. I want these sites to show up in future as they define the real me.

I am really enjoying Googling myself so I decide to give it one more try, but this time I Googled using “swati2326” (my username for almost all the sites). I am amazed to see the result this time

FireShot Screen Capture #004 - 'Google' - www_google_ca_#gs_rn=15&gs_ri=psy-ab&suggest=p&pq=swati%20dixit%2C%20regina&cp=9&gs_id=5d&xhr=t&q=swati2326&es_nrs=true&pf=p&biw=1366&bih=617&sclient=psy-ab&oq=swati2326&gs_l=There I go!! I can see almost everything there except my facebook and Google+ (which may be because of privacy settings).

My twitter account showed up 🙂

twitterNext is the Pinterest followed by ECMP355 site and my Blog (All 3 of which define me as an Educator)

1913db8ef9c9d3457de7fd11c6352fd2I am pretty happy with the results this time. One can really judge me as a person by looking at the search results.

In future I would like to see me connected to more educational sites that would  define me as an Educator, reflecting my online identity.  I would also like to see the link to my classroom blog which I plan to start when I start teaching and educational articles that I may end up writing (No one knows I may do that!!)

Part 3 – This is me!

I created “About me” page on about.me and Vizify. Make sure to check them out and pour in your suggestions and feedback!

Tech Task # 5 All about identity (Part 1)

I watched the ECMP355 session with George Couros about Online Identity this morning. It made me realize the importance of online identity and was taken aback by my ignorance on the topic. I realized until now I had narrow perspective about the internet and social networking sites which is the reason behind my invisibility online that  hindered my chance of creating identity online so far.

What I took from the session or the points that resonates with me are :

  • Creating online identity is really important in today’s world where Technology plays a major role in our lives.
  • Our online identity is indirectly the reflection of our thoughts and ideas spread online.
  • Creating a strong online identity can be really helpful for ones career as getting a job in today’s society depends not only on your grades, but also on how well connected you are and how strong your online identity is. Your online identity gives employer an idea about your character and potential.

The session was an awakening point in my life and has contributed to add one more goal in my life I e. to create my online identity. It has also contributed to me as a teacher making me aware of the impact online identity can have on a student’s life.

Here are the links to few sites about “Online Identity” that might interest you all :

10 Reasons Why You Need To Establish Your Online Identity

10 Ways to Build Your Online Identity

How to Help Students Create a Positive Digital Footprint

My tweet to George Couros

9d8a5054f4aa01a8c9d6e6a3c5d35570

Teck Task # 4 Becoming a better blogger

The ECMP 355 session “Becoming a better Blogger” with Sue Waters, this week was something I had been waiting for so long, as ever since I started blogging I had been looking forward to get some valuable tips and suggestion on various aspects of the blogging world from someone expert in the field.

I was really amazed by the minute details she covered during the session. She mentioned about the common mistakes that new bloggers normally tend to make (I was definitely making some too!) and also gave many tips on how to set foot in the world of blogging. Her presentation made me fully aware of the mistakes I was committing and helped me to mend them but before we get to that I would like to share some of her valuable tips for those who are not a part of ECMP 355 session and are newbie to blogging.

1) Never forget to link – Failing to link is one of the most common mistakes committed by newbies. When you link your post it facilitate readers to read your post easily by understanding even those parts which are way out of their comfort zone. Sue stated that “linking is the building blocks of the web”.

The 3 important reasons to link, as mentioned by Sue are:

By linking your posts –

  • You indirectly give credit to those who inspired your post.
  • You make it easy for readers to check out resources
  • You create a sense of community, give chance to continue the conversation and reciprocate the thoughts.

2 ) Blogging is all about social learning – Always remember blogging is not about publishing, but it’s about social learning and forming connection. Blogging is a platform to reflect and so we should make sure that it is easy for readable. Care should be taken not to choose template that is to goody and bright for eyes. Staying simple yet elegant is the key to attracting readers!

3) Use Creative common images in your blogCreative commons are the images that one can freely use in your post. Care needs to be taken not to use Copyright images on your blog post.

Here is a link to a site  that describes The dos and don’ts of using images in blog in detail

4) Don’t focus on number of readers – Instead of focusing on the number of readers we need to focus on making your blog reader friendly. Just give your best short and rest will automatically fall into place!!

5) Never forget to read other people blog and post comments – Just reflecting on your thoughts or views and publishing  is not a part of blogging. The other important aspect of blogging is reading other people’s post and commenting on them. It is all a part of learning process as a blogger and help us to build connections.

Some Commenting etiquette mentioned by Sue are:

  • Stay on topic.
  • Contribute new ideas
  • Be polite in your way of expression
  • Respond back to comments on your own posts which is a way to acknowledge readers

Here is a list of some more Blogging Rules and Etiquette that we need to keep in mind while working on blogs.

What I took from Sue’s session –  Linking the post is something I was already doing, but I was not taking it seriously. After hearing  Sue’s session I realized the important part linking plays in the blogging world, making your posts more reader friendly. It not only helps readers to get into the depth of the topic but also help them to develop interest. I totally took this tip and have started working on incorporating more links in my blog post.

I have made an effort to add more links to my post “Tech Task # 3 Why Schools?” and have also tried to organize the post  in small paragraphs which would make it more pleasing to the eyes of reader.

As far as my blog goes, I had been working on it to make it more presentable.  I used a image from my community work, which  I did last year, as my header which will help the readers to get an idea about my blog and give them sense of me. I have also added widget to allow people to follow my blog via mail . This will help my followers to receive email notifications about my new posts making it easier for them to read the posts.

This is not the end as my effort to make the blog more reader friendly is still in progress and will keep you all updated. So stay tuned and enjoy!!