Week 9 Reflection Blog Post: Mini Projects I

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.

 

References:

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/

2 Comments

  • I think that the Voki, Podcasts and a majority of the tools that we’re experimenting with right now, like you talked about are very useful in flipping our classrooms. The mini projects do seem like the can be time consuming, but on the bright side once they’re made we can use them as much as we need/want.

  • I really liked how you mentioned the idea of a flipped classroom! In order to do this though I feel like we would need the teacher voki since the avatars only allow for one minute worth of instruction. Because that time frame is so short, it really is a great tool to summarize the class, just like you had said. Maybe even having a project where students have to create their own Voki would allow them to summarize what they have learned into just a minute. It would be a challenge to them but it helps them think about what really is truly important and helps you assess if the students understand the big idea of the unit as well!

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