Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's another day!

I tried to post my Shelfari books on this site but didn't have the time before so said I'd try another day. Well...that other day has come, my friends!
I'm very excited that I actually know, somewhat, what I'm doing!

17 Things Reflection

I have enjoyed this experience and can say that I've definitely walked away with a lot of useful information and tools that can be used for both personal use and in the classroom. I have recently felt a bit out of the loop as far as incorporation of technology in my classroom; this 100% met my needs and will help me become more technologically up to date in my classes.

To improve the format, I would tell people ahead of time that they were going to register for multiple sites and tools. I would have liked to have kept a brief pen and paper log of all the sites, a brief explanation, and their login and password for each. I thought I'd exercise my internet safety knowledge and not use the same login and password for each one, but then when I had to go back to a past site for another "Thing," or when I tried to go back to put some things together for a class or personal use, I found myself trying to recall all the different logins I used.

If another of these were offered next year, I would definitely tell colleagues to join. I would have liked to have our spring break to finish some things up and take a bit more time with each one, but there's no way I'd let that stop me from suggesting other colleagues go through it.

17 Things is pumped full of new ideas for both personal and professional use!

Thing 17

The newest obsession I've found is
I'm in charge of our family's finances and I can get a bit obsessive about it. I haven't figured out everything that has to offer, but what I have found I love. You enter in all your information and it logs you in to all the different financial institutions with which you have loans, savings/checking accounts, IRA accounts, 403b, etc. They gather all your information and log your spending. They also give you updates on your spending habits and if you put a budget together, they tell you how close you are to going over those specified amounts each month. It can be programmed to send alerts when your accounts go over or under a certain amount and you can track EVERYTHING! I've used other online systems like this one, and is by far the most comprehensive.

I also looked at (Remember the Milk)
I also enjoyed this one because of my obsessive compulsiveness. And the fact that my husband is a man, which means he doesn't remember anything I ask of him...sorry Kevin.
This allows you to make lists online then be able to access it from your Blackberry, iPhone, Google calendar, or I think you can even make a gadget on a blog that would remind you of the things you have to do. I made my list available on my phone, but I just signed up for it yesterday so my list now is very large. We'll see how long I keep going with updating it!

The last site I looked at was It's an online store of sorts that is stricly hand-made/artist/made items for you to purchase. You can search by product type, by artist, etc. There are a lot of cool and unique gift ideas and although some are prices as you would think when it's a handmade item, there's still a lot that's reasonable. Each artist gives a little bio and stipulates their own rules for purchase, shipping and returns. It seems like a great place to find gifts for yourself or others while you're supporting individuals instead of Walmart! And now I'm spending way too much time searching for goodies for myself!

Thing 16: Screen Toaster

I can see the use of this in class because although I have a projector and can do it live for my students, it would be nice to post online for parents or students who are absent. OR...for students who don't pay attention the first time. Or maybe that's just a problem I'm having.
I did a demo of how to transfer files from folder to folder because my students ask about that often.

Thing 15: Voicethread

I really thought voicethread was cool! I would definitely use this in my classroom. It would be a great tool to use with getting some prereading ideas in these kids' heads. I could see using images of a place, character, or time period to get kids to make connections and make comments. I have microphones on my computers because of the Read 180 program so wouldn't have to worry about kids using their phones in school. I really like this!

Thing 14: Wiki

I currently use a Google wiki:

I tried to use WetPaint and other wiki sources but found that a lot of the RB email recipients weren't getting the invitation. I didn't want the site to be public because I used it for my National Board Certification group and they post their portfolio drafts on there. If a public person were to have access they could very easily steal their ideas. Google seemed to go through the best, and they had no ads which made formatting easier. On one of the earlier sites I tried I couldn't do a calendar on my page because Friday and Saturday were cut off by ads. :(
I didn't do a new wiki; Alicia said I could just post my current one.
I use it A TON! My National Board group post things regularly and I'm starting one for next year's classes. At first I thought it wasn't necessary this year because we had the new addition of Skyward, but now that I see what Skyward is really like, I'd prefer the wiki option.

Thing 13: Animoto

I just finished my video. I'm having computer issues at home and so had to use the stock pictures and music that was online. I really had not theme that I could think of using what they had to offer so I just made one on the upcoming spring break. I think I would have enjoyed it more with more personal items, but my computer doesn't like me right now. Even though it's not as cool as I wanted, it still looks very nice. I thought that once I put these stock photos in it would just look so rinky-dinky, but they do a very good job!
I think this is something I could use for my class. I was thinking that it could be a final project to capture the mood of a piece, or analyze a character and maybe what kind of video he/she would have. It might be a bit abstract for some of my students, but it was so easy to use and clear that I could definitely get my kids to produce SOMETHING!

Create your own video slideshow at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thing 12: CC

I have actually never looked at Creative Commons through career as a teacher. I often talk about using others' work whether it's words, art, or music, but have never explored this before. Going through the research process right now with my freshman has been another eye-opening experience. Alicia mentioned the difference between the way my students look for and find information as compared to how we did in high school (which wasn't THAT long ago). They have so much information at their fingertips and more than half of comes from unknown sources. Not only do they not give credit where credit is due, the majority of them don't know they're even supposed to.
I'm trying to get it across to my students that credit needs to be given, and this would be a useful tool to help me in the goal. This site gives them a lot of choices for a variety of media and it's better than just posting some random piece of clip art from Word or even some picture they've found on Google Images.
I can't only point my finger at my students. When I do PowerPoints or even add pictures to handouts, I rarely bother to give credit for the source.
I can see how this can be used with student projects. This might hit home the fact that anyone searching online can find things that they might not want public. I have a wiki that I was torn about making public. I opened the discussion up to my students and they didn't want other people to see their work, but when they search for work, giving credit isn't an issue. ???

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Didn't work

I thought I could add Shelfari as a gadget but I now see I have to embed it. Maybe another day.
And I made a mistake, looking through my account settings, I see that it's under, not kirstinbacon like I originally posted.

Thing 11

I used Shelfari to keep track of books that my daughter loves through the months. She gets really addicted to a certain book and we HAVE to read it every night. But then something happens and she moves on to another. I thought it would be interesting to catalogue her progress through her love of books and keep track of some of her all-time favorites. I love how easy everything was and how you had the choices to put all the information (ratings, review, whether you owned it, etc.) right after you entered the book. I was a bit worried that it would be geared more towards mature titles, but they had every book I was looking for. I need to add more, but I will definitely keep adding to the list and try to keep track of Sophia's interests and progress!
My username is kirstinbacon.
I'm going to try and post a gadget on my blog. If you don't see it, it didn't work as planned.

Thing 6

I never posted my Weebly site for Thing 6. I have changed a few pictures, but decided to make it personal because I have a professional Wiki that I'd like to stick to.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thing 8...Returned

I skipped Thing 8 because I was moving and didn't have access to my computer with which I can upload photos. I also didn't know what my "17 Things" pic would be of. So...I finally made a Flickr account and my account name is kirstinbacon.
The "17 Things" pic that I posted is of my daughter and husband reading. This might seem random, but I've decided to make GoodReads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing site with my daughter's favorite books as she gets older. She tends to love 1-2 books every two weeks or so, then gets a new favorite. So to keep track, I thought I'd log her growth as the time passes.
I love Flickr. I like the ease of use and have too many different sites with which I store my pictures. I'd like to compile them all on to one site, but have never found one site that I liked enough to put in the work. I like that Flickr is almost a social site in itself and I can make pictures public or private. I will definitely use this!