This week we focused on mini projects using technology tools. I really enjoyed playing around with the different options because they have so much to offer a classroom. Learning how to use the tools was relatively easy and there are so many benefits to incorporating projects in to the class. I spent most of my time working with the Comic Life activity, and the Voki Avatar tool. I really enjoyed making the comic about quadratic equations because it allowed me to take the process and apply it to a real world situation. I chose this after browsing through the sample page and seeing what others had done with this tool (“Comic life gallery” ). This is something I would easily use in my classroom as an option for a mini project. All students express their knowledge differently and this is a great way for students to use their creativity to portray what they know.
The other activity I chose to do was the talking avatar. I did not incorporate this into a lesson, rather I used it to enhance my professional web portfolio. After playing around on the voki website and browsing some blogs, I chose an avatar and gave it some dialogue. I think this could be a great tool for the classroom for many reasons. First of all, we just learned about the flipped classroom, and I think this would be a great resource to utilize for any teacher who wants to flip. It could also be used to introduce a new concept to the class, or even to clarify tough concepts. I could also use the avatar to remind students of good study or homework habits for when they are working individually at home or get stuck on a problem. One educator, Lisa Nielson, suggested that parents or even others in the schools could use avatars to leave comments for students (Nielson, 2011).
Even though I only did those two mini projects, I still would love to use some of the others in my class. For example, I really like the concept of using a Wordle and would love to offer that as another project option. Another way I could incorporate that into the classroom is by making a wordle for each topic we cover in the class. I could have students do a ticket out the door each day that describes in words what they learned, then compile all of them to create a visual representation of the information. There are several ways this tool could be helpful, and I hope to use it in my classroom.
While I think there are many great uses for these technology tools, I also realize that the process of doing them can be very time consuming. If I structured a mini project with these as the options for my students I would first have to ensure that all students had access to a computer and internet outside of class. However, if I cannot find a way to get the students using these tools I would certainly use them myself to demonstrate to the students the different ways information can be presented.
Comic life gallery. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://plasq.com/products/comiclife/gallery
Nielson, L. (2011, February 18). Interviews with educators. Retrieved from http://blog.voki.com/2011/02/18/interviews-with-educators-lisa-nielsen/