Blogs can be used to communicate with students and parents in varying ways. Some ways blogs can be used to communicate with students is for lesson reviews, assignments, discussions and more. For example, I can post homework assignments on the blog site for students to access and complete the assignments. I can also post a brief review of key concepts learn in the classroom lesson and ask the students to share any questions they may have about the lesson in a response to the blog. I can also create a blog for discussion that may instruct the students to create their own blogs sharing their thoughts and reflections about the classroom lesson. Some ways blogs can also be used to communicate with parents is to keep them informed about lessons taught each week, classroom/school news, larger assignments such as test, and projects, questions and more. For example, I can create a blog giving parents a preview on weekly lessons so they will know what I am teaching the students each week. I can also use blogs to inform parents of when students have tests or projects. The blogs can be used to inform parents of classroom/school news like when report cards and progress reports have been given to the students. I can ultimately use blogs for parents to access and respond to the blogs with questions they may have for me.
Voki is a technological program that can be used and integrated into classroom lessons. Some good things about voki is that it is easy to use, students can create their own voki character, teachers can create their own voki character, it is free for the basic voki, it can be used to present lessons or assignments, create presentations and it has a 15-day free trial for the more premium like features such as voki classroom, voki presenter, and voki classroom/presenter bundle. A bad thing is that is costs for upgraded voki types with a price range of $29.95-$89.95 for the premium like features. I can see myself using this program in the classroom to introduce lessons as well as teach lessons. I can use my voki to talk for me during class as a way for the students to get all of my instructions through a form of technology. It incorporates a more unique and fun way of teaching a lesson without the traditional way of standing in front of the class talking the whole time. I can use my voki to teach the students content. I can also use voki to introduce new content or lessons by giving an overview of what will be taught in the upcoming unit.
Animoto is another technological program that can be used and integrated into classroom lessons. Some good things about Animoto is that it’s fast and easy, it has a free trial, you can upload pictures, create your own videos, add music and text. A bad thing about this program is the cost ranges from $16-$64 a month that can also be paid annually. I wouldn’t use this program in my classroom mainly because I like programs that provide more animated features. This program is a bit more cut and dry than the ones I would like for my students to use. Although it does have great features, I don’t think it will allow students the opportunity to bring out more of their adventurous creativity.
GoAnimate is another technological program that can be used and integrated into classroom lessons. Some good things about GoAnimate is they provide a 14-day free trial, it’s easy to use, allows you to create your own animated characters, add music, sound, and effects, allows you to create infographic, whiteboard animated, and 2D animated videos. Some bad things about this program is that it costs $39 a month, $299 a year for the basic plan and it is not multi user friendly. I would use this program in the classroom to create videos that will review units for my students. Students can watch the videos I have created and take notes as well as pose questions on the things that were displayed in the video that relates or is an example of what was taught in the unit. This gives students a visual overview of content covered in the unit which can serve as a study guide before being tested or assessed.
After reading the articles How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool; Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram; Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy, and David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts, I have learned some new ways of incorporating technology into the classroom. I was shocked to see that Instagram and Twitter can be used to engage students in lessons, especially because it is considered social media that is commonly used for personal use. I like the idea of using Instagram to post photos relating to curriculum content with a caption asking a question for the students to answer. Students answer the question(s) by leaving a comment(s) which will be viewed by peers who follow the account. The students are helping each other learn by sharing knowledge while at home on their phones. The article Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy elaborated on this idea, and I am very fond of it. This article also would support my idea of using Instagram for test reviews. I could post pictures that relate to test material and ask the students questions, while also providing a visual. The students would answer by leaving a comment. Being that the students can all see each other’s comments it would be a great way for students to exchange knowledge and help each other study the material. It also allows the students to be interactive which as a result becomes an online study group session.
Twitter can also be used for ideas including providing information about a current real world event as it’s happening. This can be done by simple hashtags. The idea of communicating with people around the world easily and being able to relate it to classroom lessons so intriguing. The article How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool described how eager the students were to follow their teacher’s twitter page and were thrilled that she had created one. The article also described how a teacher was able to skype a resident of Egypt from his classroom during the time of protests against the Egyptian dictator. The students were able to ask the resident questions and get information about the topic directly from one of the sources. This article supports my idea of using twitter as a way to post assignments. I can tweet assignments for my students that will require them to gather information within Twitter to complete the assignments. I can also post review questions on twitter for students to respond to. This can help me determine who understood the lesson and if they grasped the content, as well as allow me to provide immediate feedback.
Classmate Blog Response: I recently reviewed my classmate Kayla Terry’s blog site post where she also elaborated on the topic of Twitter and Instagram in the classroom. I would say she and I are on the same track when it comes to ways of incorporating the two things in lessons. Our ideas are similar for the most part, even though they are not completely the same. We both agree that using Instagram and Twitter will get the students excited about learning especially since they can learn outside of the classroom through apps they may already be using every day.