Friday, August 10, 2012

Final Assignment

For this final assignment, I wanted to choose 3 pieces of technology I have not yet tried whether on my own or for the course. There were so many different ones to pick from that it took awhile before I decided.

Finally after much thought and deliberation, I chose Diigo, Wallwisher and Mixbook. I think these three would be very powerful tools in the classroom. We talked a lot about ways to empower the students and engage them using technology. I believe that teaching them how to use an online bookmarker properly will open their eyes to a world that was just slightly out of reach.

A lot of my students know about the Internet but few know how to use it effectively. Most are reluctant to change and try new things unless they see us use it. I remember the moment of interest from the students after they saw my simple Prezi. I tried to incorporate all the different things they could do with the program. Once they saw my Prezi, a few were curious with what they could do and they used it! Success is when they want to use it and learn how to master it.

Here are the three tools:


One of the technologies I learned in class that I really wanted to use with my students is online bookmarking. I chose Diigo as it seems fairly user-friendly and simple. I created a bookmark list for la francophonie and added some websites I found via Diigo that could be interesting for this unit.

There are two reasons for creating this resource list. For one, I will have a set of links that they can use to research a francophone country for their project. Secondly, this is how I can model to them on how to use an online bookmark so that the seed is planted that they can create one for themselves in the future for their research. I will continuously create new bookmarks as evidence that it is useful!


I created a Wallwisher for introducing La Francophonie. It would be an interesting board to start the brainstorming of what the unit is about. However, it can be used throughout the unit as the students learn and discover more about the topic. They can access the board anytime they wanted to from my website/blog and they can add things throughout the unit and at the end, we revisit the wall and see how much more it has grown and what they have discovered as a class.


For my final activity, I decided that this would be the most engaging and fun activity to do as a final project in la francophonie. It could be a project where each group made a scrap book of the francophone country of their choice. Mixbook is very flexible in what can be done. They can start with a template and just change it as they like. All the objects, text and photos can be edited! It would be a comprehensive scrap book with little sentences here and there showing the food, culture, clothes and whatnot into the project. They could even add a page from Polyvore or create a passport from BigHugeLabs. The sample I embedded is a three page spread of France. It is incomplete but it demonstrates what I want to do with this tool.

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Article 10: BYOD Teachers Talk Classroom Use

BYOD Teachers Talk Classroom Use

 by Susan Bearden

BYOD is the new talk of the town and it does look promising however our infrastructure isn't! There is still issues with bandwidth and connecting onto the wifi that discourages the BYOD and other awesome technology. Teachers find it frustrating to try new things and find that it fails them because the school can't keep up with the times. Even a school like mine that's 15 years old can't get wifi consistently in the library. It's so spotty that students have to stand at certain hotspots to get it working properly. That's the sad reality.

However, on the bright side, I agree that BYOD is the way to go! The schools may not be able to purchase the latest and the greatest but a lot of students have smart phones that can do so much and we should tap into this resource. The polleverywhere is a great way to see how kids are doing without them fearing they're wrong. I think the forms option in Google is also a great way to get immediate feedback as has a polling option via the spreadsheet results.

Students can also use apps like audioboo, evernote, dropbox, voicethread and many, many more to enhance their learning. There are also apps for molecules, mitosis and start gazing that are subject specific and helpful!

I say yes to BYOD but there must be support to improve the network and to help teachers find ways to use these devices effectively.


Empressr is a neat alternative to PowerPoint that can be embedded and used online! It's got some neat tools and fairly simple to use. I would use it as a model for students to create presentations to share with the class. The best part is that the partners or group members can work on it at home and not have to email each other back and forth that one copy of PowerPoint.

The example I made below are just photos I took while in Paris and I labelled them for the students. This way we can look at the popular places in Paris!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Article 9: Powerpointlessness


By Ben Brown

Interesting article on PowerPoints. I still remember back when power points were the best tool created for teachers to make their notes pop from the overhead projector...Anything on a PowerPoint was awesome! To imagine now that just a PowerPoint is no longer good enough.

I do agree though that there is some art and work to creating a good slideshow presentation and it is our role to model and teach them how to make a good presentation. I also feel that a PowerPoint should have few words and more visual impact. Repeating what is written on the slide is not helping me learn. I can read. It is better to have examples and drawings where the presenter can explain its use and purpose. Once again...Model what you want and practice lots.


The slideshow can be great for students to recap what happened in the class if it was used in class. They can easily access this via the website/blog at home and watch the slideshow as often as they like.
In the case of the mini slideshow below, I just took some photos of food from Flickr and labelled the food in French!
I also put in a quick Youtube video of some student's project - which can be used as a model for their own project in the Entrepreneurs en Herbe unit.

Le Passé Composé - Révision

With the ability to be open for anyone to edit, this can be a great tool to have the students contribute to a single activity. For example, I made a passé composé revision sheet. In this document, I give the instructions that I would like them to create sentences using the verbs I give them. I also model by creating the first sentence. Each student is expected to contribute one sentence and this can be monitored using the revision history option (to ensure things go smoothly). The goal is then to open this document the following day and go over the sentences checking if everyone understood the concept. The incorrect sentences can be corrected together.
In addition to that, the students get exposure to using Google docs in small doses and eventually learn to use them collaboratively when working on projects and other exercises. The ultimate goal is to familiarize them with this tool so that eventually it becomes the norm to work in this kind of environment.

Pensée du Jour

The form option is fantastic! It has so many uses:

  •  exit slip 
  • personal profile at the beginning of the course
  • polling answers
  • requests for books (as a T-L) 
  • feedback on the lesson 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Article 8: Collaborative Projects: What Does It Mean to 'Co-construct'?

I can see where he is going with this but I don't see how to go about doing this in an effective way. Sure enough, it would be successful if students would/could go ahead and take charge of their own learning and work with other individuals to build on what they know. This happens in real life all the time for them. They discover something interesting or funny and they share it with others. They go on to research on a certain topic because it interests them. The deal now is how to channel that energy to something content related where they do want to move beyond and work together to learn new things. Isn't that ultimately what we want for them as educators? Easier said than done...It happens but I guess that's what we are learning about now. What tools can we use to grab their attention to motivate them to learn. What topics will scream at them.

This whole summer has been spent creating blogs and gathering thoughts on all sorts of topics. I could say that I am over-blogged but I am actually more enthused to use it in the classroom. I am in the library so it saddens me a little that I cannot experiment on my own, however, I am full of fire to pass on the great things I've learned. The best part of blogging for me is the contribution part. It really appeals to me how something so simple as commenting can really get the kids thinking a lot more and helping each other on a whole different level. Skillen sees it as a way to "bootstrap ALL classroom members to a higher level of understanding both the content and processes of learning." This goes for all the different social media out there. It just needs a little help to guide them to that higher level of thinking. The future is all about collaboration and working together. They need to learn how to do that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Article 7: Understanding Content Curation

Understanding Content Curation
by Nancy White 

I had to look up what curating means as this is a new term for me in the educational realm...The article did not explicitly explain it although I see where she was getting at from it. To clarify for myself, it means to basically gather or collect information that I would find most useful and share it. Essentially it is what we were talking about today regarding crowdsourcing pro-D and building a Personal Learning Network through tools like Listservs,, Twitter, etc. I think it goes a little beyond that as I would be in charge of organizing all this information and filtering what is good and what is not although with the overwhelming amount of information flowing through the Web, it would just not work very well to go and organize everything that comes into our inboxes, twitter accounts etc and find which materials are most useful. Instead, the and Flip options are good enough as they summarize all these findings in a easy format to access. Just as a side note, Nancy White uses More importantly, White goes into the point of curating for the 21st Century Students. Though great for teachers, it would be even better for students! To be able to teach them to start curating for their own PLN would be incredible. They would be learning and preparing themselves for the world we now live in. They can access information but they don't quite know what to do with the information or how to improve themselves using the resources at the tips of their hands. This may be the future... subscription to Surrey Learns

Here is a paper I would like to subscribe to:

Here is my first podcast sample!