The progress in meeting the goals of my GAME plan is going very well. I have done research on both my goals, and have actually been able to implement one of them already. I have found a wealth of information online, as well as from the course text. At this point I would say that I am making sufficient progress towards my goals, and that I am more than half way there. The strategies that I selected for myself are working, however, I am finding that it is taking a good amount of time to do the research and legwork to put my goals into action. I have listed my goals below along with answers to some self-monitoring questions.
Goal 1: Learn more about Voicethread, a Web 2.0 application that can be used as a collaborative and reflection tool by students, to document and reflect upon what they have learned
In my quest to master this application, I scoured the website www.voicthread.com and found excellent tutorials that walked me through how to create and set up Voicethreads. I did have to sign up for an educator account, as the free version only allowed a maximum of three Voicethreads. I also printed the step by step instructions that this website offered that showed me exactly what to do to set up a secure classroom group. This is pretty much all I needed, in order to get my class started in making Voicethreads, besides entering student names and creating passwords.
I do not need to modify my action plan in regard to goal 1, because I have already completed an activity which required my students to create a power point and then upload it to Voicethread. The assignment was a success because in the end, all students had a tread uploaded to the site ready to be shared. I was not sure how far I would get with this activity, being the first time I was using the application with my students, and how well the students would perform. The threads were great, but they definately need more practive leaving audio commenting.
What I have learned so far is that it takes a lot of time to introduce any new technology into the classroom. I have also learned that this particular technology is not as user friendly as it is portrayed to be, but it is an additional tool that can be used to foster "active authentic learning" (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p31) in the classroom
One new question in regards to this goal would be whether or not there are any other applications similar to Voicethread out there that would allow editing after upload, and that might be better than Voicethread. Is there anyone out there that has used Voicethread and know of other application that are similar, that can be used in the classroom?
Goal 2: Research how wiki’s are being used as a learning and collaborative tool in the classroom
I am still working on this goal, but I do have some experience in creating and using a wiki from prior classes in this degree program. What I need is to determine which wiki hosting site is best to use for a classroom and is also free to use. I know about wikispaces which I have already used, but there are others such as Zoho wiki and Google wiki that I would like to check out. If anyone reading this blog has used Zoho or Google wiki before, please leave me a comment sharing your experience.
I do not feel as though I need to modify my GAME plan for this goal at this time, but I do need to schedule some time on my calendar, so that I can focus on doing more research for this goal, and to look for another teacher who would be interested in using a wiki to collaborate between our classes. I have made contact with a teacher from another district, but have not heard back from her as of yet. I will keep trying.
What I have learned so far is that a wiki is very similar to a website and makes a great collaboration tool. It also provides students with real time access to classroom information, as well as "allowing them to coordinate group work much easier than on paper, or email." (Cennamo, et. al., 2009, p58) I have also learned that not one of my colleagues has a wiki, or even knows how to create one. Looks like I may have to set the bar and show them the way.
Questions that arise for me about this goal, is whether or not students will find using a wiki a useful tool, and if it will be engaging enough for them. Another concern for me is that according to Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer, when using a wiki, it is often times very hard to figure out which student posted what to the wiki, this could be a big issue for me. I would have to create some sort of guideline for students to follow, such as assigning each student a letter or number, or avatar, and making sure they include this information on every post, in order to grade accurately and know who is responsible for posting what. If anyone can help with suggestions on how to keep track of student postings to wikis, or if you have a great idea in using a wiki itself in a classroom setting, please leave a comment below, as I am open to any advice.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.