Posts Tagged ‘3 Stars’

Review of TeacherTube

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Websites
Tags: , , ,

The technology: TeacherTube

My impression: TeacherTube is the teacher’s version of YouTube. It has many advantages, namely the fact that it isn’t blocked by some schools or districts (like YouTube unfortunately is), and that the content is safe for viewing in schools.

All that being said, I find the majority of the videos on TeacherTube to be fairly contrived. Yes, they are educational, and you can find a video for most subjects and concepts, but they lack a certain authenticity that I think is very valuable on YouTube. I personally prefer YouTube videos for this reason, but that’s not to say that TeacherTube isn’t a valuable resource for the classroom.

Possible uses in the classroom/ Lesson ideas:

TeacherTube has a variety of videos, documents, audio, and photos that are valuable for teachers of all subject areas. The possibilities are endless and extend much further than just showing videos to your students. One of my favourite assignments to students is to have them create a video for TeacherTube on a certain topic. Students can also search the site for information rather than relying on text-only documents.

Pictures:

Where can I learn more?

www.teachertube.com

Rating: 3 stars

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Scribblar has been getting quite a bit of attention from bloggers and twitter users lately. This is all for a good reason, it’s a great program! I started using Scribblar at the beginning of this school year, and I don’t think I’ve even tapped the surface of the possibilities in the classroom.

The technology: Scribblar

My impression:

Scribblar is a great program because it’s relatively easy to use if you’re familiar with programs like paint (and really, who isn’t familiar with paint these days?). It has a lot of uses, especially to teachers and students.  It didn’t take me very long to learn how to use the program, and my students picked it up easily.The students enjoyed being able to collaborate online, and thought it was really neat that they could use chat or speak to other participants directly. Students can easily save their whiteboard sessions, as well as a transcript of their chat sessions, which is very helpful when grading. As an added bonus, students don’t have to register an account to use the program (but you have to register to be the administrator of one).

That being said the program is lacking several features that would be very helpful. The biggest issue that I have is that the program doesn’t have an eraser feature (though it does have an undo button and you can delete entire shapes as well). It would also be helpful if there was some kind of user guide or video tutorial available on the site. It would also be really nice if you were able to record the entire session and play it back (so I could see what the students were up to and their process). Finally, it would be awesome to be able to import word documents to edit them collaboratively, rather than only be able to import pictures. This ability is available through other sites such as titanpad, however it would be beneficial to have it built into this program as well.

Possible uses in the classroom/ Lesson ideas:

This website is fantastic for e-learning and for having your students collaborating in groups.

It would also be very effective for homework help, tutoring, or having a student help with a group project while they are absent from school.

My most successful moment with this website has been a group project that my students participated in with students from 3 other schools in different cities. The students were able to brainstorm topic ideas, determine which members of the group participated had what responsibilities, and how they would complete their task. The students had a meeting with their group on Scribblar once a week, and I was able to grade their participation easily by reading their chat transcript and viewing their snapshots. The students loved using the site and it made a mundane project very exciting for them.

Pictures:

An empty whiteboard room

An example of a collaboration

Where can I learn more?

www.scribblar.com

This blog post from Instructional Design Fusions

The education technology blog

Educational technology guy’s blog

Rating: 3 stars

As I mentioned earlier, in January my resolution is to use one new form of technology in my classroom a week. Until then I will be reviewing programs and websites that I already use. My scope of technology is currently quite limited, but I’ve got a couple of websites up my sleeve.

Today’s website is one that I’ve used quite a bit for my math lessons over the years. Innovations in math teaching have lead most math teachers to use manipulatives to demonstrate why a particular math concept works, or to help students find solutions to problems. The National Library of Virtual manipulates offers many of these manipulatives online.

The technology: The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

My impression:

When you enter the website you’ll find a grid where you can select which grades/ areas of mathematics you’re looking for. I haven’t used the Pre-K-2, or 3-5 levels much… but I did take a look at them. I have, however, used the 6-8 and 9-12 areas extensively. My students always enjoy lessons using this website. Even if it was a manipulative that they had used physically before, somehow having an electronic version made it so much more exciting. As an adult I don’t fully understand the logic behind that- but I’ll be honest… and I don’t often understand the logic of what my students are doing. If they’re happy doing math, I’m happy.

This website is pretty user friendly and my students are usually able to figure out how to use it on their own. It offers a variety of manipulatives that would be impossible to create outside a virtual environment, and I find that using these tools really help student understanding. In addition to the virtual manipulatives there are a lot of neat logic puzzles from the various disciplines in math that students can use to help further their understanding.

I have had problems with the Java on this site over the years, so make sure that it works on your school’s computers before you use it with your students. I have yet to use it and have every student in my class have it work, which usually leads to running around trying to find a computer that will run the website properly.

Possible uses in the classroom/ Lesson ideas:

This website is great for all parts of a math lesson, but I wouldn’t rely too heavily on it. I’ve successfully used it to introduce concepts, for inquiry based learning (on the Algebra Balance Scales: “What happens if you put the -1 here?”), and for practice of concepts we’ve already learned. With the classes I’ve taught I’ve had the most success using it to re-enforce concepts, but I’ll let you be the judge. What have you used this website for?

Pictures:

There’s way too many different manipulatives for me to show you here, but here’s some pictures of some of your different options. Check it out and see for yourself!


Where can I learn more? http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html

Rating: 3 stars