Podcast Reflection #8

Tech Chick Tips: TVEA 2011 part 1
This podcast talked about a ton of useful resources the Tech Chicks learned about at a conference they attended. They were all really interesting, but not many of them were for Secondary kids or about English. However, I know many people will find them useful. They talked about several Google tools. I thought both were perfect for classrooms. The first is Google Art. It lets you tour many museums across the world. This would be great for schools that have cut their field trip money. It allows you to pretend like you are walking around the museum, instead of simply looking at different pieces of art. The program will then show you related pieces.
I called my sister the moment I heard about Google Body. She is in currently in anatomy and I knew how help this way to view muscular and skeletal systems would be to her, especially because she is considering going into medical fields. Some students are lucky enough to go on a Cadaver Field trip, but even at my very affluent high school, spaces were limited. So if a school can’t send all of their students to study cadavers, this would be perfect. (It’s also great for slightly squeamish students, like me. I can handle digital information, not real bodies!)
I am also very interested in the concept of video conferencing. But I have no idea how to set it up (or how I will use it yet—but that will come when I have a classroom and unit plans) Whirlidurb seems like a great place to start for Middle Level students. This program sets up a videoconference exactly for the students needs in the classroom. This is an excellent resource for experiential learning. Students will engage with the people they conference with and can learn from some one besides the teacher, which is refreshing to both students and teachers. They also help classes find all the resources necessary to do video conferencing. Sometimes, figuring out what you need is the hardest part. The company will schedule your conference and make sure you have everything necessary for the conference to move smoothly.
The most interesting thing they mentioned was Toontastic. It is an iPad application that allows students to make a video that tells a story. It sound so interesting because the emphasis is setting up a story with all the right elements, exposition, climax etc… Students can use their creativity to draw characters and settings (or pick them if they aren’t artistically inclined) and animate them by dragging them across the screen. The app has the student record the story while they are moving the character. This can be a great way to teach students how to build a story and could be used as a way to test if students read a novel—can they summarize the plot in the video? If my school has access to iPads, I would love to use this.

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