Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Class Summary 6/27/12

Stacey and I used Xtranormal to record our class summary.  Enjoy!

Robotz Movie
by: manatee633

 In case you didn't catch it, our question to you is: Which attributes of CSS do you think you will use the most and least in an educational setting?  Please type your answer in a comment below.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Xtranormal Sample

I tried to make a video using Xtranormal.  I was using the free basic plan.  My video turned out alright, but the character is standing backwards for part of the video.  You have a lot of control when creating your videos, but it is important to preview the video before publishing.  I previewed my video once, and was surprised to see the character was turned backwards for the whole video.  I added a camera direction at the start of my dialogue, and assumed that would solve the problem.  The character turns around halfway through the published video.  I did not think I would have to add multiple camera directions throughout my dialogue. 

Here is my video:

Pawz Movie
by: manatee633

Educationally, this tool could be used for many lessons, but I'm not convinced it is worth the monthly fee.  Here are some resources for educational uses of Xtranormal: TeachWeb2.0, BoxofTricks, and TeachingSocialSkills.

ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Xtranormal, they will be meeting the standards 1(creativity and innovation) and 6 (technology operations and concepts).  They will be using prior knowledge to create innovative products, as well as, using and understanding the technological applications.
One of the best features, in my opinion, is the ability to choose a voice from a very multicultural list.  The list of languages is extensive including Spanish, French, Indian, Swedish, German, etc.  This would be valuable for a foreign language class. 

So, I will not be using Xtranormal with my students, but it was interesting to explore. 



I found a web 2.0 tool called Xtranormal that allows you to turn your text into a 3D animated video.  Like most tools, there are different plans and fees.  The basic free plan only allows you to create two videos.  The educator plan is $10 for the teacher and additional 50 cents per student EVERY MONTH, but it allows unlimited use.  The educator plan also allows teachers to create student accounts.  One negative I found with the web site is some of the sample videos include profanity, and are inappropriate for children.  One of the features listed under the educator account is a kid-friendly environment, so you have to pay to block the inappropriate content. 

If you would like to find out more about the educator account, watch the following video.


Aminah's World in the Classroom

All of the web sites I found that linked to Aminah's World were related to art education.  But I would use this web 2.0 tool in my special education classroom.  I teach a primary Multiple Intensive Needs Class (MINC) with students who have severe cognitive disabilities.  I modify the kindergarten curriculum for my students.  Within the kindergarten curriculum, there are a lot of art references.  One of the language arts units is Art All Around.  The students discuss different places they can see art during their day-to-day routine.  They learn about mixing colors, patterns, and how to apply these skills when painting.   

ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Aminah's World, they will meet standard 1 (creativity and innovation) by expressing their creativity through online artwork.

Overall, Aminah's World will help reinforce the art skills learned, and allow my students to explore art in a new way. 

Please comment to share your ideas for Aminah's World, or other art integration web sites and tools.


My Aminah's World Creations

It was very soothing and fun to create my own artwork on the Aminah's World web site.  I made two different creations. 

The first time, I tried to make a scene with the various objects.  I call this Sunset:

The second time, I chose to make something that was more abstract. 

Education connection: I teach students with severe cognitive disabilities, and I know they would enjoy choosing the objects to use to make their own artwork.  The majority of my class is non-verbal, so this would be a great tool for them to use to express themselves.  The web site is easy to use by touching the objects, and moving them around on the "canvas".  My students would be able to create their own artwork on the Smart Board in our classroom.  It is difficult to find web 2.0 tools that my special friends can manipulate independently.  I am excited to try Aminah's World with my class in the fall!  


Aminah's World

I found a web 2.0 tool called Aminah's World.  It is based on the work of the artist, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, who created art from various fabrics, buttons, shells, feathers, strings, scraps of paper, etc.  The artist's web site features a place for students to create art using objects like Aminah. 

The "Create Your Own Artwork" tool lets the student choose a background and the objects to use.  It has buttons to make the objects larger and smaller, and buttons to rotate the objects.  The students can be as creative as they want with these features. 

The web site also has a teacher section where teachers have shared lesson plans that use Aminah's World to help the students learn various concepts.

I will be back soon with my creations.


Scribble Maps Resources

I found a couple of helpful resources to use when you explore Scribble Maps.
ISTE Technology Standards: When students use Scribble Maps, they will meet standards 1 (creativity and innovation), 2 (communication and collaboration), and 3 (research and information fluency).  Students will use maps in a new way, learn about other cultures through sharing maps with international peers, and could use the maps to collect and analyze data.

Please leave a comment if you have experienced using Scribble Maps with your students.


My Scribble Maps Sample

After playing with all of the cool features on Scribble Maps, I have to say it is a really fun tool to use.  I was able to easily create a sample map after getting to know each feature a little better.  I was able to place a marker on my location, add a picture from Flickr to the place marker, draw a shape over my state, and write text to explain my drawing.  I made a simple map for a sample, but I can see the possibilities are endless, and there are many educational uses for Scribble Maps.

Here is my map. Be sure to double-click on the star to see the picture I added. 



Scribble Maps

Do you use Google Maps or Google Earth with your students?  If you said yes, then Scribble Maps is a great web 2.0 tool for you! 

Scribble Maps lets you or your students scribble, draw, and type on Google maps.  This web 2.0 tool can enhance your social studies lessons.  Students can circle places on a map, and type facts about those cities, states, or countries.  After returning from summer break, they could mark all the places they visited, and then write about their vacations.  Students could choose two locations, research them, and compare/contrast the locations. 

This would be a great site to use in conjunction with a telecollaborative project.  Your students could circle where they live on a map, and type some interesting facts they would like to share.  Then they can email the map to a student in another state or country, and they could share information about where they live.  This would be a fun way for the students to learn about other cultures.

I am going to attempt to make a scribble map...wish me luck!


Monday, June 25, 2012

My Sample Letterpop

I was not able to save the sample Letterpop I made, so I captured a screenshot of my attempt (cropped it and added it to Google Docs).  This is from my third attempt, so there is no picture.  The web site allowed me to upload a picture during my first attempt, but was forcing me to pay to add my picture during my second and third attempts.  The sample version I was using only had six free pictures, but they were irrelevant to my sample.

I created this sample with telecollaboration in mind.  If the web site was free and/or more cooperative, I would have students create a question, answer the question, and then email their Letterpop to another student (preferably in another country) and have them answer the same question.  This would give students a global perspective on various topics.  It would be a more visual way to interact with the other class, instead of sending email messages back and forth.

ISTE Technology Standards: If students use Letterpop, they will meet standards 1 (creativity and innovation) and 2 (communication and collaboration).  Students will apply prior knowledge of describing pictures and answering questions in an innovative way.  Also, they will be able to communicate with students internationally to learn about different cultures.
I was able to find a blog post from Baltimore County Public Schools that puts in a good word for Letterpop, and explains how they have used it with students.  The post is from 2008, so it is not as current as I would like.  Letterpop may have been a free site at that time.