Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Master Class Project 3 (Animoto)

Here is the link to an overview of an Animoto project I completed with my Creative Writing students:

Master Class Thing 3: Diigo

Here are my two links to my Diigo websites/articles: and

Like Alicia, I have mixed feelings about this tool. I feel that it is useful for people who already understand the research process and simply need an internet tool to take notes or highlight key information. Personally, though, I still prefer to print out my articles and highlight on the actual paper. Reading on the computer is difficult for me, and it is much harder for me to concentrate. Also, I found the annotating process to be quite cumbersome. I felt like I could write my notes by hand faster than I could click and type.

One feature I really liked was the ability to send highlights and annotations to others. As a teacher, I think this would make the grading process much easier during major research projects. It would save paper and time (students would not have to transfer their work on the internet to a piece that could be physically turned in). I also think that using a site like this might make the research process more interesting for students ... at least until the novelty of Diigo wore off.

I don't think Diigo is the way to go for students just learning the research process. However, I do believe that the tool might be useful for our seniors. In most college English classes today, few professors require students to turn in all of their research and the steps they took to create the actual research paper (working bib cards, note cards, etc.). Instead, professors just want to see the final product. Teaching our seniors this tool could help them learn how to do research for a college-level course and help them internalize the research process. By this, I mean seniors could start to realize that writing a research paper can be done in multiple ways. For example, most of us teachers have written so many papers by this point that we are able to just look up information on our topic, read the research, and then write the paper.

I might possibly use this tool with my Debate classes when they have mini-debates. The purpose of these debates is to provide students with a brief amount of time (usually less than 25 minutes) to read assigned articles about a certain topic and then present a case about that topic. I could see myself taking students into the lab, allowing them to read and highlight for half the period, and then taking them back into the classroom to begin the debates.

All in all, a very intriguing tool. I'm interested to see what others have to say about it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Master Class Project 2 (Blogspot)

My Creative Writing students all created blogs to share their poetry with others. Here is the link to the description of my project:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Master Class Thing 2: Prezi

Here is the link to a presentation I created in Prezi: The Prezi is about how to correctly format/outline a speech.

I've never used this program before and found it to be an interesting addition to the presentation software that I currently use. As the kind of person who prefers to just jump right in and get hands-on with a program, I didn't watch any of the basic lesson videos. However, I did follow the step-by-step written instructions to create my Prezi.

I found the program fairly easy to use. One issue I had, however, was figuring out how to change the size of the font. The dial tool - even after working with the program and completing the presentation - seemed difficult.

I could see myself using this with a class; I think the students would have fun with it. However (and this could be because I haven't fully explored the site or looked at other presentations), I feel that most of the presentations I or my students create are better suited to a PowerPoint. Even the Prezi I created was still organized in a linear fashion. So, all in all, I'll probably stick with PowerPoint.

Note: As of this point, I can't find any other Prezi projects from 17 Things participants, but I'll keep checking throughout the year.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Master Class Project 1 (Weebly)

For this project, all of my Creative Writing students created Weebly websites. Here is the link to the unit plan (which also includes links to some of the students' sites).

Master Class: Thing 1 (Email publishing)

First, here is the link to my Tumblr account:

When I first began working with this site, I didn't quite grasp the concept. I was just using the computer to post text, links, and photos. The experience left me underwhelmed. After exploring a bit more, however, I realized that I could email my post and even call in and record my post. The site suddenly became much more interesting and useful; in particular, I am amazed at how quickly the website updates posts.

I love traditional blogging and find it easy to do, so I'll probably stick with using blogspot when I want to write entries. However, if someone has a smart phone and/or doesn't have immediate access to a computer, this is an alternate option for posting. Personally, I could see myself frequently using the telephone feature for posting. Not many blogging sites have this ability, so this is a unique feature.

I could see myself using email blogging for speech assignments. I particularly like the idea of having students call in and leave their speeches on a blog. This would give them some practice, and it would record the speech if I wanted to go back and hear a version when grading.

I also like the idea of keeping this blog for classroom assignments. I could use the voice feature to explain difficult parts of an assignment in more detail, and I also could call in and provide some type of homework hotline.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Final Post

This experience has been one of the most positive things that has happened this year. I was introduced to multiple tools that I had never heard of, as well as ones that I had always wanted to explore.

These tools have affected my personal and professional life. For example, I use Google Reader every morning, I check Twitter every afternoon, and instead of writing down lists of websites that I want to check "someday," I've saved the URLs in my Delicious account. I also used Weebly to complete my Alternate Evaluation Project: I designed a website about how/where students can publish their creative writing.

The tools also have changed my teaching. In my Creative Writing classes, students used Weebly to design personal websites for their writing, and they then shared these with the class. This was a quick and easy way to make their writing feel more authentic and be more accessible. In my Journalism class, the students created their own Google Reader accounts. These accounts enable them to remain updated on current news events. I also plan to use Animoto in my classes, where students will create videos that reflect the content we have studied.

After completing the 17 Things program, I am inspired to find new ways to reach out to my students, and I am also interested in exploring some of the tools in the future (for example, I'd like to use Flickr to publish personalized photo albums, and I'd like to upload family interviews to Animoto). I feel more confident in using new technology, and I feel like I have a better grasp on what is available in such a vast pool of information.

I have recommended this program to all of my colleagues, and I would love to complete this program again, with new tools or the same ones (I feel like there is still much to explore). I appreciate all of the hard work that Alicia and my colleagues did as we completed this project. I learned so much. Thank you for the experience!

Finally, here are some of my words to describe this program: Cutting-edge; Stimulating; Inspiring; and Innovative.

Thing 17

I explored four different web 2.0 tools:

1. Evernote: This application allows you to take notes and download them to multiple browsers, platforms, etc. for universal access.

2. This is a micro-blog (similar to Twitter) that has been designed for businesses. It has more advanced features, such as the ability to attach files.

3. Pidgin: This feature allows you to communicate with anyone through IM, regardless of which service provider someone has.

And finally, I looked at Farecast in more depth. This is a travel website that predicts the best time to buy airline tickets. I chose this tool because I enjoy traveling and feel that I would go on even more adventures if I could find the perfect ticket price.

The site is set up through Bing, and it can be found at The interface is easy to use, as it is set up like most airfare websites (such as Travelocity and Orbitz). No log-in is required; I simply put in my departure/arrival dates and cities.

The results are easy to read. The site has simple graphics (arrows and colors) that indicate if a fare might go up or go down. The site also includes a confidence level about those predictions.

Other positive aspects about this site include the ability to simultaneously search multiple travel sites. For example, which I searched through Bing, another window popped up that searched the same airfares through Hotwire. The tool is also useful because it includes hotel and car prices (although these do not include the price prediction tool).

My one critique of the site is that it has multiple cities for which it can not/will not predict fares. While these are easily marked (the cities available for fare prediction are in bold), many international cities are excluded. Because these are often the most expensive tickets, I feel that this is a major issue for the application.

In the end, however, I have found another useful web 2.0 tool, especially for domestic flights.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thing 15

Voicethread is an amazing tool. I continue to be inspired by the technology that is available. While I had a lot of fun working with the program, I don't think I will use it too often in my classroom (yet). Because I see my students every day, I feel like we can have these discussions in the classroom. I would be interested, though, in partnering with some other school(s) to do a project using Voicethread. I could see this being a fun way for my Debate students to argue with a wide variety of other students about important topics.

As a side note, I have taken numerous online courses. This tool would be so beneficial, especially with the annotation and hypertext features.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thing 14

Here is what I posted on the Wiki:

I have never used Wikis before in a classroom, but I used them quite frequently as a grad student. I think they would be useful for students working in long-term groups, where multiple students need to collaborate on a final product (like a paper).

I also think these could work well as pages that students could use for general resources. For example, I would like to create a Wiki with my Creative Writing students that includes ideas for writing prompts, getting published, and student writing contests.

However, I feel that students would need some time to learn how to properly use these. While students can always go back to see their original pages, I think students would need some lessons in etiquette about altering content.

Thing 13

This website/program is amazing. I see myself using this for personal and professional use.

With my students, I would love to use it in a Creative Writing class. Students could tell brief stories with the videos, or I could give them some type of theme, and they would have to produce a video with that theme. I also think this would work in my Journalism classes. Students could depict current news stories through these videos.

I found the site to be extremely easy to use. I was worried because I don't have a lot of photos or music online. The site provided me with all of the tools that I needed, and I just used its photos and music. Once I started creating the video, it only took about two minutes.

Here's the link:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thing 12

I think Creative Commons is a useful tool for students. Often, they add videos, photos, and music to their projects, and this site provides them with many choices. Additionally, I feel that using these works gives their project more authenticity (as opposed to using generic clip art or pieces that do not have authors).

However, I think the most important aspect related to copyright law is teaching students how/why to cite their sources. With fair use, many works (under certain circumstances) actually can be used in educational assignments. Most students, then, simply need to understand that they can not steal other people's work and that they must give credit where it is due.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thing 11

I have used GoodReads and LibraryThing before, so I focused this blog on GoodReads. FYI: My user name is Bridget_Wilmot.

As a book lover, I have hundreds of books that I want to read 'someday.' I use GoodReads to keep track of all of the books that I've read before and that I want to read in the future. I appreciate the features that allow me to find places to buy the cheapest version of a book, and the ability to read other people's reviews of the books.

I think this could definitely be used in the classroom. In many English classes, students do an independent reading project, and this website could help them a) choose a book and b) practice writing a book review (instead of the typical book report).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thing 10

Last year, I did my alternate evaluation project on Ning. I used it with my Debate students as a way for them to discuss/debate issues outside of class. I really liked it because I had complete control over the site. I could preview students' comments and invite people to join. I was amazed at the enthusiasm of the students. The quiet students really seemed to find their voice in the online forums.

Thing 9

I have customized my blog. I added the slideshow from Flickr (although it seems to take a long time to load), as well as a personalized welcome. The third gadget is the list of my followers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thing 8

Flickr account is created. This is a tool I would really like to explore more, especially since I have hundreds of pictures just sitting on my camera, waiting to be shared.

I would like to work with some of the apps; the FlickrPoet sounds like the perfect activity to try with my Creative Writing students.

My Flickr account name is Bridget Wilmot, and I posted three pictures with the tag "17 Things": one of Dwight (from The Office) with the Gossip Girl series, a photo of Howard's End (the first book I pulled off my shelf), and Homer Simpson hanging with some random books.