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: