The work in this class keeps on building, and surprisingly, I keep learning some great ideas for my classroom. It is sad to say that this is the last week of school for my students, and tonight at our 5th grade promotion, I know I will cry my eyes out. Though I have only been at JRES for 4 months, it feels like my home, and these students, my children. I just hope that they leave here taking some valuable pieces of education with them. One of a teachers only goals in life is to positively influence and change a child's life for the better, and I hope that I learn to accomplish that. I think that this class is definitely pushing me towards that goal. I have found some great sites through the past couple of weeks, my bookmark bar is getting completely full. 

Some of the great things that I have stumbled across would have to be the TED website. I was overwhelmed with all of the great videos that were there. Even id there were not any that i could immediately use in my Spanish class, there were a lot of inspirational videos that I could use for my personal use as a teachers. I think we all have those hard times that come along throughout the school year where we just want to pull our hair out. The inspirational video gave me more clarity on why I chose this field in the first place. It put things back in to perspective for me, and is something that I can keep looking back to if I need it. Another great site was the Comiclife site. Any way to get a child's attention in a school setting, can be a blessing. I know a lot of children that would immediately connect with this website, and probably choose to use it for every project that they ever had. The other sites that we looked up were not as interesting to me. When a site is very plain, and does not have pictures and colors, moving words, anything visually effective, then I cannot make myself really dig in to it. It is much easier to look at a site that is visually appealing. I think we should take this in to mind when making power point presentations for our students as well. If we have a hard time with sites like that, we can only imagine how hard it would be for students to pay attention. I read and reviewed a classmates blog, and she advised any web architect to make the websites easy enough for a small child to use, and then go back and make it easier than that. She was totally correct in this advisement. The easier something is to access and use, the more people that are going to want to use it. Not many people these days want to spend hours on one site just to figure out a simple problem, or make a simple project. We can notice this in all aspects of our culture. No matter the price; fast food, fad diets, surgeries, etc.. the faster something can be done, the better. 

Storybird was another site that was absolutely amazing. What was even better, was that there were ways to use this site for Spanish learning. I can use this site for all kinds of new lesson plans for the children. My main goal is to make them more involved in the teaching process. There is always a small group of children that continuously get "left behind" in some subjects. I think that once a great number of students (vast majority) understands the material, the end of the lesson should entail them trying to teach it to their peers. Experience is the best way to learn anything, and with sites such as Storybird, they can do just that. A more positive aspect of Storybird, in comparison to Comiclife, was that it was free. I know that other people do not mind spending money on things that make their life more simple, and daily activities go by quicker, but this is an area that I personally disagree with. I think that these resources should be available to us, as teachers, freely, or more cheaply than others. Schools spend so much money on textbooks and resources, that the extra money for great websites is just not there. If we could make everything electronic, which is what most schools and even companies protest, we would have that extra money not only for some great programs, but other things that truly matter to the students and their education as well. 

A more positive aspect of Storybird, in comparison to Comiclife, was that it was free. I know that other people do not mind spending money on things that make their life more simple, and daily activities go by quicker, but this is an area that I personally disagree with. I think that these resources should be available to us, as teachers, freely, or more cheaply than others. Schools spend so much money on textbooks and resources, that the extra money for great websites is just not there. If we could make everything electronic, which is what most schools and even companies protest, we would have that extra money not only for some great programs, but other things that truly matter to the students and their education as well.

 Because I have not yet made a power point presentation for my students, nor are we having Spanish class this week because of all of the fun activities and "brain break" opportunities we have been giving the students, I decided to do a power point presentation for my end review with my principal. I wanted to focus on things that I have already done with my short time at JRES, and then move on to important things that I wanted to accomplish next year. As of yet, I have already started developing my stock pile of games and activities. I used pictures of props that I had made for the classroom, and some pictures of myself teaching the students throughout the year. I have not yet downloaded a power point presentation that would work on my Mac computer, so I used the regular program that is available on the school computers. The slides were done in the school colors, and I used visual effects with my pictures and moving words. I tried to only put key elements from the speech I had prepared on the actual slides, so that I would not read directly from the slides as I was presenting. In the future, I would like to change such a power point and use some of the sites that we have worked on and researched in this class. I was most proud of my pictures that were used in the slides, but I know that there would be a stronger effect if I were able to show short clips. That is something that I will try harder to work on in other presentations. The power point presentation went over well with my Principal. She loved it, and was very enthusiastic and supportive of all my future plans. My review was ranked the highest possible, and I feel certain that I can only continue to improve :)

Tech Exploration: 5-22-13

11. ComicLife - http://comiclife.com/ 

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.- After exploring this resource, I found a lot of great information. The website had many testemonials and a lot of information about the site and all of its uses. The general idea of the stie is great. Comic bokos are something that still interest children to this day. I continue to see students carrying them around and using them for reading material, therefore this site is a great way to incorporate something that they love and enjoy, in to something that may be a bit harder for them to do, such as writing. 

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

- You could use this resource in many different classes. You can tell a story using almost any type of subject as the basis. They use stories in math for word problems. stories about history and science, etc. This would allow students to become more creative in their story telling ability, and bring the problems that they face to life. 

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not? - Though I truly enjoy the idea of this resource, I am not sure that I would recommend it to other teachers. I think that the cost is too much, especially for each individual teacher. Even for the upgrade, you have to pay more money. Upgrades these days are never ending, there is a new one each week. Because of this, and knowing a teachers salaray, I think the site asks for too much money, when I am sure there are other similar sites out there that are free, or cost much less. 

 iSpeech http://www.ispeech.org

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

- This site was interesting, yet very similar to the several other speech sites taht we have research about in the past couple of weeks. It is nice to see sites like this, that are well layed out and easy to manuever. I like the idea of bringing the eLearning courses to life with Text-to-speech, because as I have taken these classes, sometimes they can be quite boring. The main thing that is important with programs such as this, is its help for those with speech disabilites.

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

-The classroom setting could benefit from this resource in terms of the students with speech disabilities. It gives them a way to have a voice, something that is like gold to them. Another great way to help would be with those students in ESL programs, who have a language barrier to over come. 

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not? -Out of all of the other sites that I have seen, similar to this one, I think I like the setup of this site the best. This resource does a great job of explaining its uses. Even better, is the fact that it's uses go on outside of the classroom, and can help those with needs in the home setting as well. I would definately recommend this site to other educators. 

12. VoiceThread -/ http://voicethread4education.wikispaces.com/

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response. -This site did not give a good description of its uses. I did not like looking at it, nor did it interest me. It was very plain and hard to naivgate. I could not find things that were helpful, and there seemed to be more sponsored listings than things that actually pertained to the site and its uses.

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

I do not htink that this site could be used in a school setting, unless it was used by educators. The link takes you to a page that has many different links to online programs and continuing educational programs. This could be helpful for teachers continuing their education.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

- I would not recommend this site to other educators. I think that there are plenty of other ways to find other sources with information about continuing your education. The site was plain, lacked information and direction. 

 http://voicethread.com

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

- This thread was very confusing. At first, it looked like I had been brought to the wrong site. There was no color, small font, and I could hardly tell what it's actual purpose was. After clicking on a few buttons, I could barely get the gist of what was going on. It seems that this site is used to help schools create a place for online classes, groups for students to communicate in, and etc. 

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

- Students could use this site to have their own account, in which they could save any infomration they might need for school, email teachers if they had questions or concerns about other things, and be responsible for their interent activity. 

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

- I would not recommend this site to other educators. Every other school that I have been to has their own program that offers students their own login and pasword, email account and other fundamental things that they should have when accessing the interenet at school. The site was ugly, hard to understand, and plain. It did not have the necessary information to let viewers know how great their product may be. 

13. Storybird - http://storybird.com/ 

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response. -Now this is a great site! I could immediately see the potenial that this site had, as soon as it loaded. I love that the children can use it on any device, it is free, and there are not onl way to make your own story OR poetry, but you can read others as well. 

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings. - You could use this in any classroom. The students could tell stories that they have made up after learning a new set of vocabulary words. The visual effects would be great, they could also tell about something new that they have learned in class, by telling a story to go along with it. The possibilities are endless. I have fallen in love with this site. 

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?- I would definately recommend this site to other teachers. Students could also use this at home, because it is free! What a great word, free. haha AND it can be used on any device, so you do not have to be in the computer lab to let students word on this projet, they can show it to the other students on the smart board, and make it as interactive and technology advanced as humanly possible. 

http://www.scribblar.com

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response. - This site was great for a number of things, but I was not overly impressed with it. It's positive attributes included training and tutoring tutorials that would be great for after school programs, or staff meetings. The option to revise artowrk and images was fascinating. It is always fun for the students wehn they can take an image and make it in to there own. The stie had many uses that would be great for a school setting. 

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings. 

- Some of these things included performing interviews and tests. I think it would be a great idea to change what we call a stardard test, and make it easier and less intimidating for students. They go through so much testing, especially at the end of the year, that if they were more comfortable with the process, they might be able to perfom better.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not? -I liked this site. It was easy to navigate. It was not very pretty though, and I think that it would have been better if it had more pictures or examples of all of the great ways it can be used in and out of the classroom. Another thing that I did not like was that the free demo was very short, it was not enough time to really get in to the program and see if I liked it or not. I still am a firm believer that if you have to pay for any program on the internet, you are not looking hard enough for a better one out there that is free. 

  14. Xtranormal - http://www.xtranormal.com/ 

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response. -Now this is a cool site! I love when one of the first things Isee on a site is the option to use it in a Spanish class. It just proves to me that are country is continuing to grow in the right direction. The history class examples were pretty cool as well. This site takes words and makes them in to fun movies for the children to watch and be more engaged in the material being presented to them. 

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings. - Teachers could use this in all types of different settings. Spanish, history, English, you name it. The kids really connect with movies and videos, and even though the more technology we have in terms of power point presentations, the better; we are still more intriuged by the idea of movies. I think this is a great site!

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

- I would definitely recommend this site to any teacher. The only downfall is how much money you have to spend on the program, and it is a monthly payment. It would be nice if it was a one time payment, or a school discount was offered, and all students and teachers had the ability to access it. If you can afford it, it would be a great resource to use in the clsasroom.

VirtualManipulatives: http://nlvm.usu.edu

1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response. -This site would be graet for any math classroom. It had different tabs for different grades, and math subjects. I really enjoyed looking at all of the vitural manipulatives. These look like games that even adults might enjoy playing. Whenever a site mixes gaming with education, the student always excels. 

2. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

You could use this resource for all grades, in math subjects. There are plenty of games and activities that are used to keep the student thinking, and using math in real world instances. The virtual manipulatives are great for money, time, data analysis, and the list goes on.

3. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would recommend this site to any math educator in the school system. The games are interesting, and give the students a more "Real" way of working with math. The more concrete of a concept that children can get of math, the better. I think this site would be a great resource for that. 

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