When I started the past week by assigning the kids to create a PowerPoint presentation on their current study of earthquakes, I thought, ‘what an old school, boring assignment’. However even having read many bloggers talk about the “old” PowerPoint project, I have been pleasantly surprised with the results of the kids’ work.

For one thing, I began the assignment by creating a real-world, useful setting. The “job-application” explained to the kids that elementary teachers around the globe were looking for presentations that would help teach their kids about earthquakes. So immediately my kids were excited that they would have a global audience (I told them we would post their projects on our wiki).

I also provided them with some required components; pictures on each slide (sited appropriately), one video clip, and at least one slide with their recorded voices. Ohhs and ahhs at that part! Although they say they hate it, and hide their heads, kids love to hear their own voices as part of a project – especially one that would be seen “globally”!

Checked out the old decrepit laptop cart (laptops need to remain plugged in ’cause the batteries have long since died, many are missing keys…) and the kids were 100% on task for two days straight! It all comes down to putting the tools in their hands, hence the DREAM! : ) Anyhow, will blog about the final products later this week and provide a link so our global audience can view them!

Now onto the real topic of this post! I am still amazed at the feeling you get when you read a blog or Tweet which points you to a new and promising tool on the web. Maybe it’s just that I am a super geek educator, but when I click on a link that sounds fun and might be productive for my kids, I get the same feeling I used to get when my parents FINALLY let us go into the living room on Christmas morning to see the beautifully wrapped treasures under the tree!

So, here are two cool new “gifts” I can’t wait to try out further. Thanks to a Tweet from Elizabeth Helfant, I have just downloaded KeeBook Creator Education which states on its education webpage:

A Virtual Authoring Tool for Teaching

  • Gather, store and organize all types of electronic documents
  • Create workbooks of your teaching majors
  • Speed-up your Web quests and enhance them with personal annotations
  • Publish your students’ books
   
 
 
It is a tool to gather, enhance and present all types of electronic contents. It gives the possibility:

for teachers to create their own teaching workbooks.
for students to manage and personalize easily their Web quests.
for teachers and students to better communicate with each others.

Sounds promising, and while there is a cost, it won’t hurt to try out the 15 day trial to see if it’s worth finding funding! I can see it now; my kids creating their own Science books that, according to the demo, can be emailed or posted on the Net!

The second gift of the week is from MissTizzy at Teaching ‘N Technology where she blogged about a cool new site called GoGoFrog. She writes:

It allows you to create your own 3-D space similar to what you might find in Second Life.

Using step by step instructions the user can set up a room, add features such as images, text, blogs, and forums. Once each wall is set up you modify its content. You can add or modify other features such as wall color and add furniture. Once all of your content has been added you activate the site and you’re ready to go.

This is a great tool for the classroom. Students can create a museum space to showcase a unit or a specific project. You can even add additional rooms to the site. Imagine having a virtual museum of all of the units you’ve covered this year!

How fun would that be for a 6th grader! I have yet to steal the time to try this one out, but it is certainly at the top of my list!

And finally, the gift with the gold bow this week was a very information-filled blog post by Wesley Fryer entitled, Advice for schools embarking on the 1:1 journey? In the post Wes provides links to many 1:1 ground breaking educators who share advice, tips, and tricks to having a successful program. Now all we need are the computers! : ) Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Christmas Tree with Presents

 

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About kcollazo

4th/5th grade teacher looping in 1:1 netbook initiative!

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