Exploring Web 2.0 For The Classroom

Posts Tagged ‘flipped classroom

When I first signed up for this class I expected just to learn a bunch of tools such as Twitter, TimeToast, Google Docs, etc. I was pretty excited about finding more to use for secondary social studies but I was also hoping we got into some deeper technology. I ended up learning a lot! I love technology classes because it is SO important to use technology in the classroom now. Kids are attached to technology like its a life source, so what better way to keep them engaged in school? I can’t think of any. I would have loved to use technology when I was in high school…it just makes learning more fun and interesting. For social studies, many students find it boring, which makes me sad. But who can blame them when some teachers will just lecture to them and make them memorize facts and dates? By integrating technology into my classroom I hope to make learning actually fun for my students.

My favorite aspect of this class was learning how to make podcasts and enhanced podcasts. I love the idea of using this in the classroom. There is so much information about social studies and when we are in the classroom we are crunched for time so we can’t cover everything. This is a great tool to extend the learning at home. Also, it’s great for a little extra help! My favorite idea for these is using them in a flipped classroom. I think the idea of flipping the classroom is very interesting and seems to work. Rather than just reading at home, students can watch an enhanced podcast or listen to a podcast to learn the information. A lot of students have trouble reading textbooks. 

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I also really like QR codes, it was a quick lesson but that was all that was needed. I never had any idea what these codes exactly were and what the point of them was. So I was amazed at how awesome they are! I think they are great for providing online worksheets and activities. You can put almost everything into a code. I plan on using them to provide extra help if students need it by placing one on the bottom of printed notes or assignments. These codes can take them to videos, help pages, definitions, and so much more.

I really enjoyed this class but there were some aspects that I didn’t like. One thing I didn’t like was learning about Twitter. I’m pretty sure everyone knows Twitter very well. I did enjoy the video that was shown and I think just showing that video would all that was necessary. Another aspect of the class that made it difficult was obviously that it was crunched into a month’s time. It was very hard to understand what exactly we were supposed to do and when it would be due. I got confused often. The rubrics were nice and helpful, but I think adding clear directions and especially a due date would help. I also felt the class could have been a little more time efficient. A lot of time was spend heavily explaining a project or topic when it really wasn’t necessary. I think it would be better to explain the basics and if some students need more help they could get it. But thats just my opinion…I’m a pretty fast worker with technology and honestly I’m glued to technology almost all day so much of it was easy to figure out myself.

I felt as though our teacher was very knowledgable about the subject and had a bunch of great ideas of how to use everything in the classroom. It was so helpful that for everything we did in the class she would think of ways you could use it in every subject. Some times it is very hard to recognize the potential of a tool on your own. Overall, I really enjoyed this class and I plan on continuing to learn more about technology that is useful in the classroom! I will definitely by using my Google Reader!

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An enhanced podcast adds images to your audio. You can also make a vodcast, which adds video to you audio. Before we did this project, I had used iMovie to make a movie and I had used Audacity to make a podcast, but I never thought of putting the two together. I hadn’t heard of a enhanced podcast before, even though I had seen them on iTunes. I guess I just didn’t even know what I was looking at. But, I’m glad I have learned about them now. I like them a lot more than a basic podcast. It adds so much more to your production to have images and/or videos included. I find it hard to stay engaged with a podcast, but I am more engaged with an enhanced podcast.

I loved making an enhanced podcast, but it definitely wasn’t the easiest thing to do! I do believe with more practice it would become a lot easier. First, I chose my topic…I decided to do my enhanced podcast about East Tennessee during the Civil War. I chose this topic because I find it very interesting due to much of it being unknown by many people and I believe it is important to make lessons authentic for the students. The Civil War can be boring, so if I’m teaching in Tennessee this topic could be interesting to my students and allow them to find a connection with it. Second, I found my images for it. I used Wikimedia via Wikipedia. Obviously, Wikipedia contains a massive amount of information about history. When I was looking up some information, I realized that it also had great historical pictures, which are located on Wikimedia and are mostly in the public domain. Perfect! The only downside to Wikimedia is that it is hard to search for images. Nothing came up even when I searched “Civil War”! So I would find a page on Wikipedia and see if there was any pictures I wanted to use. But, it ended up working well. I also found a video I wanted to use; it was a reenactment of the Battle of Fort Sanders. I was only able to use about 10 seconds of this video due to copyright but it was just the right amount! Next, I storyboarded my enhanced podcast. This was a very good idea, but it only helped me a little bit. I think it would have helped much more if I had recorded my audio before I did it. I had to change around the order of my picture so many times and had to find more pictures. Recording my audio in Audacity and placing the pictures in iMovie was the easy part. But I did have many issues. The major issue was aligning my pictures, voice track, and audio track how I wanted it. The audio track wouldn’t upload in full to iMovie unless the timing was long enough…so I had to do this about ten times to get the audio perfect. It was very difficult to get the pictures with the audio, but as stated before, I think it would be easier if I recorded my voice and got my music first. I also had a difficult time finding the music I wanted! I may just be picky but it was difficult to find Civil War style music that didn’t have voice along with it. I kept finding instrumental tracks but they were intense battle tracks that you would hear behind a huge battle on TV. But, I finally found a good one and I used a vocal track, actually from the Civil War era, to play with my credits. I really liked this. I also had the same problem that I had last time with Audacity; it took me multiple times to get the music to export with the voice track. It drove me crazy! I spent a very long time on this project but I really liked the end result.

I would definitely use enhanced podcast in the classroom. I think it is more interesting than a podcast for students. I could use it for my flipped classroom idea or as a helpful reminder for students studying at home. I also think it would be good to use to accompany a lecture. Lectures obviously can get very boring and I think an enhanced podcast would help make it more interesting. Also, it might be possible to have students do an enhanced podcast. They would need a lot of guidance and I wouldn’t be able to hold the video/audio quality to very high standards, but I think students would have fun making it and being able to present information in this way. The only problem I see with using it in the classroom is that it is time consuming and can be difficult to use. But, overall I think its a great resource to use.

Below is my enhanced podcast, uploaded to YouTube. Enjoy!

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I have officially completed my fist podcast…yay! We uploaded our podcasts to iTunesU and created them with Audacity. We were able to save them as MP3s through Audacity by using LAME. The only one of these programs that I have had any experience with before is iTunesU. I had a teacher last summer in my Geography 101 class that uploaded his lectures to iTunesU as podcasts. This was great to have for studying and catching up if someone missed a class. He used some kind of recorder device. It actually worked very well because it even slightly picked up on questions that other students would ask. I have also downloaded some podcasts on my iPhone that are open to the public, such as TED Talks.

I think podcasts could be very useful in the classroom and for personal use. I downloaded Audacity on my MacBook and was able to record my audio just by speaking into my computer, no headset needed! It was very easy to record this way and I though Audacity was very useful for this aspect. Below is a screenshot of my podcast on audacity.

One idea I recently thought of for podcasts in the classroom is to use them to “flip the classroom.” The idea of flipping the classroom is that students will learn/read/listen to the lecture part of the course at home for homework and while they are in the classroom students will work on projects or worksheets, etc. This is proven to help many students because it allows the teacher to differentiate instruction more efficiently and spend more time helping students in the classroom instead of lecturing.

Links for Flipped Classroom sites:

Huffington Post: Flipped Classroom

Educational Vodcasting