Saturday, November 28, 2009


My favorite discovery this time was with Second Life. They have really come along with explaining how to participate in that world. The site owners offered really nothing in terms of access a few years back. Now, I felt comfortable going in because I understood what to do before hand. I printed the pdf and went into the help world before actually visiting the different lands. They have really improved that site! I plan to use it more.

Library "Play 1", in my opinion was geared more for the elementary level learners. "Play 2" was for the middle to high school students. As an adult, "Play 2" appealed to me not just professionally but personally. I could use Skype, Twitter, YouTube in my daily life. So I appreciated the personal/professional learning that I received. This encouraged me to search out for other web 2.0 + tools to use in both areas. Back with "Play 1", I found a website I now use quite a bit, Doing these exercises have made me seek out sites for myself, family and school evironment.

What was unexpected but a good thing is that I felt "less" spoonfed with "Play 2". With "Play 1", it not necessarily being a bad thing because anytime something is new we want to make sure others are successful, everything was spelled out. With "Play 2" you had to read and figure things out yourself. What was great was that just enough information was provided for you to do so. The creators I realized knew what they were doing and actually took to heart the suggestions made with Play 1. I thought about this while completing the exercises.

What I would do the next time is allow participants to select one or two of the tools and make tutorials using Camstudio, etc. In doing this we can have something to give to the teachers, develop a library and share them with others via TeacherTube. Maybe we could work in groups so that we are not so redundant. We truly would have something to take away! Also, we would meet the StarChart requirement that requires us to provide this type of learning.

Digital Citizens

In reading the various articles provided this is what I would want my elementary students, staff and teachers to understand about being a digital citizen and as a result do:

  1. Use Technology - We must learn about and use technology to communicate with others in the digital society.
  2. Respect Technology - We must use technology based on its purpose if we want to continue to use it freely.
  3. Practice Self-Protection - We must protect ourselves, computers and information from forces that can cause harm such as identity seekers/thieves, viruses, cookie attachments, etc.
  4. Understand Our Civil Responsibility - We must understand that we are breaking the law if we steal or damage another person's work, identity or online property.
  5. Be Able to Identify Free and Protected Works - We must learn about the different copyright symbols.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Virtual Worlds

Second Life is a virtual community that imitates a real life one. Many of the things done in your community, such as go to restuarants, coffee houses, libraries, resorts, special events, meetings, can be done in Second Life. As Moll Monaron, I visited the American Library Association, Winter Wonderland, Pooley Stage, Out of Control, and various coffee houses.

I enjoyed visiting. The creativity and the knowledge base needed to build the various "lands" is admirable! The detail used in building some places is unbelievable! The churches and cathedrals are worth the visit.

Converting real cash to Linden dollars and buying and selling wares is how you build the financial base to buy land, shop etc. On your land you can build a home, business, organization, etc., and as an avatar visit them by teleporting. Some places are private and/or require a fee or "special welcome pass" to visit, while most are open to the general public.

It will appeal to middle and high school kids because of its "gamelike" appearance and avatars. From the classroom perspective, students could have building projects that are curriculum based. The point being that they demonstrate knowledge on a synthesis level and beyond that of traditional tests.

Since these kids are still "becoming" or developing physically and mentally, school pychologists, parents, etc. need to play in part in developing curriculum to ensure the best interest of students is not jeopardized as I can see where an imbalance between worlds can occur.


Although I liked Slideshare, I could not see the immediate benefits for elementary age children. The site is really for adults, but you can download slides for students to use. There is a great slideshow called "Native Americans of Texas". Fourth graders would enjoy it.

Presentations I think 5th graders and up will enjoy are "50 Useless Yet Interesting Facts" and "Mr. X Saves the Earth". They are great! "Mr. X" is about a stick figures journey to find answers about the world's problems, overpopulation, pollutions, etc.

Since reading slides are like reading books, I wish there was a Slideshare for kids or education. I would like to see students share slides in a medium specifically designed for them. They would benefit from learning what and how much information to share. If it's created like the adult version, students would have immediate access to similiar presentations and be able to comment on their experience.

Another interesting thing about Slideshare is that you can download movies. I almost downloaded "Planet of the Apes".


It took me a while to realize that in order to record with Screencastle you need to have the page on your toolbar. You can't open up a "new" browser window.

Jing was more user-friendly. Attached is my screen capture. I definitely intend to use this tool.

Camstudio was not as user-friendly because you have to download Camstudio and the Codec. Once downloaded you would need to unzip these. Too many steps for me. But in watching the tutorial I realized you can make some great tutorials! The system has great voice clarity and I like movement of the mouse. Also, there were not a lot of ads which means student friendly as well.

I see screencasts as offering students alternatives to taking traditional tests. They can demonstrate understanding by showing you how they solved a particular problem.

Video Resources

I agree with not having specific percentages when it comes to fair use but individuals having guidelines or best practices that allow them to use just enough of an authors information to make a point.

I like Hulu. There a several tv programs that support the curriculum. Cosmos, Cosmic Journey, Space Rip and Cosmic Voyage (teaches about the solar system). Fifth graders have to pass this area of the science TAKS to be promoted. Animal Exploration uses an animal expert to teach children about the world of animals. Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia teaches about the history, evolution and extinction of dinosaurs. This program supports the Kindergarten and 3rd grade curriculum. Harold and the Purple Crayon (uses drawing/art to express thoughts), Electric Company (music to teach phonics and grammar) and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (language play) can be used to support reading and writing. Atmospheric pressure would be great for 2nd graders who have to learn about the weather. Young Hercules can be used as an extension to teach 5th graders Greek mythology.

Blinkx seems to contain many YouTube videos. But you can do searches and find great videos such as Bill Nye, Magic School Bus and Texas Native Americans. I found that when you add "kids" or "children" to your search terms you are more apt to get a relevant hit. would be great to use in animotos. It was designed to assist those who want to create their own videos.

It was good see that the recommended video search engines were Alexa ranked. Many of them could be eliminated as immediately viable.