Thursday, September 30, 2010

Exploring New Technology

1. Please list the strengths and drawbacks of the Google Application you explored this week. (I've emailed you 3 attachments that will support your exploration and use of these Google Applications.)

2. Please list the strengths and drawbacks of the Alternative to Youtube Application you explored this week. (I've sent you a separate email list of 47 Alternatives to using Youtube in a classroom).

Please remember to bring your laptop to class on Tuesday so we can continue our inquiry into educational technology support!


  1. 1. The application that I chose to explore was Google bookmarks. I am abashed to admit that although I had heard of it and knew I should be using it, I had thrown into the “too hard to learn today, I’ll figure it out tomorrow basket” (it’s a big basket). Surprise, surprise, I loved it! And of course, it was amazingly easy to use. Strengths of this application in the classroom is that you can bookmark cool/helpful stuff when lesson planning from anywhere and no more cutting and pasting urls when you get to your school computer. Drawbacks…let’s call it “bookmark hoarding”. I can see myself getting bookmark happy and then end up with as many bookmarks to search through as there are hits on a google search for “great lesson plan”. I can’t wait to spend more time checking out the rest of them! Thanks!

    2. Having experienced the frustrations from being blocked from YouTube when teaching (until sending around a petition with a declaration to "free YouTube, which worked!;), this was a particularly exciting email for me. As for strengths, I see many! I especially loved the “Week in Rap” from the Flocabulary guys, they’re amazing. One (inevitable) drawback is the dependency on an internet connection. Perhaps some of these videos could be downloaded to a USB so you could get around that, but I haven’t had time to explore that option just yet…I will though!

  2. 1. Google Maps has a new feature that enables you to see street views of locations in several other continents. This is great because teachers can use this to bring students on a virtual field trip if they don't have the money or resources to take students on field trips to these locations. The drawback is the dependence on internet and computers.
    2. ArtBabble is a website where art museums and artists can post free videos about their art. This is a great way to engage students and enrich art lessons for students. The one drawback is that watching videos is not the equivalent of actually going to a museum or art exhibit. My one concern is that some teachers might rely too heavily on technology because of convenience instead of necessity.

  3. #1 The Google application that I explored this week was Google group. This application offers many benefits for teachers and students to use in class or outside the classroom. The teacher can post any information or other extra learning materials for his/her students to enhance their knowledge after school. In addition, this space provides students and the teacher an opportunity to communicate with each other online and post their thoughts and ideas as well. This application should be great because, sometimes, it offers the chances for those students who are not uncomfortable to speak in class. However, it also has drawbacks as well. For example, students might influenced by their peers' thoughts. In addition, it also makes students rely on commenting the blog instead of participating in class.

    #2 KidsTube offers the space for elementary school students to upload videos and create the groups. They can have many opportunities to watch videos they are interested in and communicate with those teenagers who have the same interest. One of the concern is that it is easy for teenagers to create groups, join groups, and make new friends. However, students do not know who they are talking to and how old are those group members. It might have the security problems for parents to worry about.

  4. 1. I chose Google Maps. I enjoy working with maps and hopefully my students do as well. Google Maps allows the designer to upload video to all or some of the "placemarks" pinned on the map. Allowing students to view the map designed by the teacher at their own convenience can be relaxing and fulfilling. Students designing their own maps for assessment purposes can allow for great depths of creativity. Maps can do that for people. It does for me. Integrating YouTube and Google Maps can be educational and fun.
    2. I chose Snag Learning. Videos are tailored for each grade level and subject. I viewed an athletes' humanitarian voyage into Chad, Africa. I love sports and current affairs. Snag combined the two (sports & current affairs) and made my learning experience neat. The videos could exceed your allotted class period, so it may be necessary to view the videos in portions. Snag also provides assessment pieces in the form of questions related to the videos. Students can work at their own pace in comfort. Educational Technology is fun! Thank you.

  5. I chose to explore Google Sites. This allows you to create your own website that you can either share with a selected group or with anyone. The great part about it is that it is free and allows you to be creative in creating a site specific to your needs. This would be great to create a classroom website that would help communicate between school and home. I also think that it is easy enough to use that kids could create their own websites around a certain topic being learned in class. I could see using this to create webquests as well. A downfall I found was that it was somewhat limited in creative abilities, as there were only certain templates to choose from.

    I really enjoyed the "This Week in Rap" website. Having worked in an urban setting, I found my students' love of hip-hop and rap music to be a huge asset in the classroom. We were always coming up with raps for multiplication and division. I even set up Ms. D's recording studio in the classroom for kids to record their raps. This site compiles major events weekly into a video rap. I think this would really get my kids interested in current events, and would motivate them to research into the topics further.

  6. The Google application that I explored was google sites. I had no idea that this was available. I actually started to create one just to see how easy it was. There are many different things you can make a site for. Family, sports team, personal, professional and most importantly a classroom site :-). The best part about this site is that it is free and easy. I think it is a wonderful idea for teachers to create a classroom website that way parents can easily find out new updates & stay involved in their child's learning. I don't really see any downfalls- maybe it would be a little difficult for younger children to create their own page, but with assistance I think they would be just fine. is a website full of free educational videos for children. For example, I clicked on the "absolute value" video and there is a animated girl explaining what absolute value is. They give visuals of a number line and break it down in a simplistic way-making it easy for students to get the bigger picture. At first I thought this site was limited to certain concepts, however, I found out that they update it every month adding new videos to the site. The site is also very colorful and has educational games for kids so I think it would be very appealing to children! Awesome site!

  7. 1# The Google applications I explored this week is Google-earth. It is a great tool for Geography. Through a 3D map of the earth, I have an on-site feeling of what the different parts of this world looks like. I could find the hotels, schools, hospitals and my house, too. I can even have a near look at the moon. The drawbacks of goole-earth are the unfinished 3D map and some unclear pictures. However, I think those problems will be solved in the near future. I like Google-earth very much!

    2# I explored 22Frame as an alternative YouTube resource. It has lots of captioned videos about news, films, education, animal, Tech and so on, which are good for English learners and users who have learning impairments. The biggest pity for this site is the list of idioms, slang words, and commonly mispronounced words in each video as mentioned in the introduction part couldn't be found. The other drawback is the slow speed of this website.

  8. 1. The Google application I chose to learn more about was Google Sites. I chose this application mainly because I had no idea it existed and also because I have always thought of creating a website as something that would be beyond me. Google sites gives step-by-step instructions as to how to create a website, which makes it much less daunting for someone like me who has never created a website before. I also like that they are able to give the user quite a few options (such as what template to use or what goal/audience they are trying to reach) without seeming overwhelming. If I ever need or want to create a website for my classroom, I think this would be a great site to use, also because they allow you to control who sees the website. This leads me to believe that it could also be a safe source for students to create websites with (since there are the controls and more privacy).

    2. The alternative to youtube that I explored was PBS Video. There have been times where I watch a program on PBS that I think could be used in the class, as well as times where I hear other teachers talking about something they watched on PBS that is pertinent, but did not know that this source was available. Being familiar with this site, I think I could integrate quite a few videos into content lessons fairly easily. The programs are organized very clearly and you can also look up videos by topic. For example, they have videos under broad topics such as “science” or “history”. PBS Video also organizes videos into topics such as “Native Americans” or “Presidents”, etc. This organization really appeals to me because it is easy to find clips that would add to a lesson and help students learn through a different medium. If I were to name a drawback of this site, it is that possibly you could be looking for a video on a topic they do not cover.

  9. #1) The alternative to Google I explored was This is marketed as a site that parents can run and kids as young as 3 can search for information. The limitations are tha you have to download it onto your computer, which can take up room and may not be allowed on school computers. The site is fine after and is nice because its easy for parents to get other websites too. The down size is that there's still reading involved and I don't see how kids could do it on their own without reading knowledge. But it was a great intro to HOW to search for kids. The Quintura was interesting too- but less useful.

    #2) The alternative to YouTube I explored, was the ESL Basics site. I liked the explanation stating that it showed videos describing vocabulary words. I felt this was useful for my kinders- who aren't ESl, but can always use vocab explanantion. What I didn't like was that there really weren't that many vocab words to choose from. I think you'd have to plan a lesson on some of those words, rather than the other way around. The obvious positive is that you can have a helper in explaining vocab and they show examples which you may not have- such as snow, if you live in Arizona. Another positive is that as I explored, I found a cool section that linked me to many articles posted by teachers. I found some neat websites like Kindersay which is for ESL in kindergarten.

  10. 1. The Google application I explored was Google Maps. You type in a destination and/or address and a map comes up with street names. The map also shows bodies of water such as oceans and lakes and parks. A strength of this in the classroom is it allows students to visually see a destination. For example, if you were learning about your neighborhood you could plug in your address and see where it is. When I zoomed in it names where schools are located. A drawback to this is you have to zoom in really close to the school and street names so it is hard to see where in relation to places farther away you are.

    2. The alternative to YouTube I explored was CNN Student News. CNN Student News is a ten-minute, commercial-free, daily news program for middle and high school students produced by the journalists and educators at CNN. A strength of CNN Student News is it is short so students will pay attention. A lot of students don’t keep up to date with the news so this offers them the chance to learn about what is going on in the world. I also like how CNN provides free teacher materials to go with the news such as Daily Discussion where students have to answer questions. This makes them pay attention while watching the news. A drawback is if students don’t have cable or the internet they wouldn’t be able to watch CNN on their own time if they wanted to. I think it’s a great idea and hopefully students will continue to watch the news when they get older.

  11. 1.) I truly did not realize how many beneficial applications Google offered until taking this course. The Google Application that I explored this time is Google Groups. Google Groups is something that I had always seen when I would go to search on, but never looked into until now. I think that it is great that you can start your own Google Group on anything that you would like. It allows you to create a group, describe your group, and make it public or private, then invite people that would like to be part of your group. One of my professors uses Google Groups for a course that I am taking and it is an extremely easy way to check the syllabus each week, post discussions or articles, and to stay in touch with my classmates throughout the week. Google Groups can also be a great tool to use in the classroom when I am teaching as well. I could create a group and invite my students to join where they could view assignments, articles that I wanted them to read, or even give them an opportunity to post questions that I can easily answer from home. I think Google Groups is fantastic, and can be used by all teachers at many different age levels.

    2.) When I was student teaching I found it extremely frustrating that I could not use when teaching my class. One lesson inparticular that I can recall is one that I did on Oobleck. Oobleck is a sticky substance made out of corn starch and water. The students had to decide if this substance was a solid, a liquid, or both based on the scientific properties of both. While creating my lesson, came across a video of a man walking across a large bin of Oobleck, which I thought the students would really enjoy, but I was unable to show them because of school restrictions against Youtube. One of the alternatives to Youtube that I wish I would have known about last spring is I have actually never heard of this website. When I went to teachertube and typed in Oobleck, I was able to get the exact video that I would have shown my class when I implemented this lesson. Teachertube seems very similar to Youtube, and very teacher friendly. I look forward to using this fantastic sight in the future. :)

  12. I'm afraid I did not receive any attachments regarding google applications, so I just assumed that "google scholar" was one of the ones we could explore. I think this application has several strengths: it is free, has a simple layout, is easy to navigate and is altogether a nice option for introducing young students to online searches that are more scholarly than regular google and, perhaps, more accessible than the average public library's online database. The simple search tools include options to narrow results by year as well as by type (e.g., articles and patents or legal opinions and journals). You can also browse "related articles" by clicking on a tab underneath the article clipping as well as gauge some sense of credibility by attending to the "cited by __" feature that's there, too. I experienced three main drawbacks of this application. First, there is no option for limiting searches to peer-reviewed texts. Second, sometimes file links are broken or inaccessible because you're directed to sites that charge a fee. Third, despite the various search features, there remains the common problem of being inundated with too many resources to sort through.

    FedFlix is a mixed bag. I like that it provides access to a variety of films (e.g., buddhism, energy-the american experience, man and safety), and the fact that some of the films date back to the 1950s! You can search within the FedFlix collection as well as browse by subject/keyword, title, or creator (e.g., U.S. Peace Corps). Most videos are good quality and can be embedded or downloaded easily. Many of the films also include brief summaries, which are helpful. I especially liked the function that allows you to view a large collection of thumbnails for each movie and, when you click on one thumbnail, it brings you to that part of the movie. The major drawback I experienced had to do with the fact that FedFlix is not an entity in itself but one collection of many on the Internet Archive's website. This website features "moving images" (among other things) from a host of sources. When I first came to the website, I accidentally left FedFlix and entered an enormous ocean of video data that was difficult for me to navigate.

  13. I worked with Google maps to try and map a route from one of my work sites to another. It was easy because google maps had a video explaining what I could do with the application. One drawback was that I had to switch off from drawing a line to be able to move the map around and be able to see other streets. Once I did click off drawing a line it made me put a sort of place mark where I had no plan to put one. Other then that it was fairly easy and I loved the idea of being able to put in pictures and videos.

    I was able to explore Reuters Video Index, it seemed interesting to me because the article said it provided more of a global perspective. I logged onto the site and was quite disappointed to find that the videos were very short, it was not easy to search for videos, the topics were not the most interesting and the video website itself seemed very primitive. The videos did seem to provide a global view and upon further inspection I saw that Reuters has several different websites aimed at different countries and in different languages, which I thought were very good. I would use the Reuters website for their news, but not for the video portion.

  14. First and Foremost, I had NO IDEA Google had so many applications! The possibilities of these applications are endless and they are great tools for the classroom. The application I found most useful was Google Bookmarks. The advantages of Google Bookmarks are numerous. You can create private lists; therefore, no one can tamper with your list and it keeps your students safe. You can add comments to each link; as a teacher this is useful because you can tell your students what to look for on each page, pose questions, and explain things for them to consider while searching the site. Google Bookmarks promotes 21st century skills because it allows students to collaborate! Students can work on a research project together while each one of them adds sites, looks at what the others found, and organizes their findings. I was particularly excited about this application because I have often used Web Quests in the classroom (where students travel to various sites to find information/answer questions/etc.), and Google Bookmarks would make the idea of Web Quests so much easier to perform. The drawback I can see is that students may begin bookmarking too many sites and not being able to sift through what is relevant and what is not. On the other hand, that would be a good teaching moment because then you could create a mini-lesson about effective research and finding information that is relevant.

    As an alternative to YouTube, I chose PopTech. PopTech is very similar to TED Talks we have been watching in class. I have really been enjoying the TED Talks and finding the information I get from them useful, so I was automatically drawn to PopTech. PopTech exposes students to various experts and leaders in numerous fields, and gives them an opportunity to hear their point of view, ideas, and discussions about issues in today’s world. The website is VERY user friendly, and it breaks the videos up into categories so they are easy to navigate. While watching a video on 21st century Sex Ed, I couldn’t help but think how engaging it would be for students to create their own PopTech videos for the class. Students can do research to become an “expert” on a topic; then present their findings in the discourse and style of the PopTech videos. The only downside I could find was that some of the videos are rather lengthy, and in a 7-12 classroom setting they would eat up a large portion of the class and leave little room for discussion. This is by no means a reason not to use them, but it is something to consider when planning the class discussions. PopTech is also having their annual conference at the end of October; I am very upset that it is in Maine because I think it would be an incredible conference to be a part of.

    I also LOVED The Week in Rap; I thought it was a great way to make current events and politics relevant and interesting to our students. Students are familiar with music and the characteristics of rap and would really enjoy creating their own songs and videos.

  15. 1. Google App

    I explored Its a Kid friendly search engine. You can look up many things that a child might be interested in learning about for personal or academic purposes.

    Strength: it is censored. meaning that certain subjects cannot be look up on the site. Parents can be comfortable that their child will not accidentally find an inappropriate sites like porn or other things along those lines.

    Drawbacks: could be limited in its information that it gives. Seem to just give the gist of subjects searched rather than details. However, my exploration of this site may not have gone deep enough.
    (this drawback could not exist if I explore deeper)

    2. Alternatives to Youtube App

    I explored a site similar to Youtube where you can upload your own personal videos.

    Strengths of this applications 1. you can integrate you own personal website logo to you video. This means that someone can go straight to your site without having to go to viddler. 2. it ensures that your video works on many places like desktops computers, laptops, phones etc. and also works in HD. 3. you can personalize your viddler site. making it interactive with other people or keep it to just your own use 3. and you can generate revenue using by incorporating advertisements, selling access to your videos or viddler subscriptions to other.

    Drawbacks: 1. It costs. Business pages start at $100 a month and the more GB space you use the more cost you generate. However personal pages seem to be free. 2. Advertisements could become tedious but they help the cost.

  16. 1. I first tried to use the Google application Sketch Up and the major drawback was...that it would not work on my computer. I'm sure I could get around this if I did the necessary updates to my mac. The application looked very cool, and like (expensive) modeling and design software I have seen before. I instead played around with Sites. I could not believe how easy it was to make a basic webpage. At first I did not realize the top buttons and then saw they were used for adding pages, which had a lot of different options. Having no "html" background, I very quickly and easily put together a fake website that had several links in the "tree." Teachers at my school have been discussing making classroom websites and now I feel it is my job to inform them of this service.

    2. I looked at two different youTube alternatives. The first one was ArtBabble, which excited me because I am always looking for art and art history resources to show my classes. I was somewhat disappointed in the selection available. Even some topics that seemed to have several possibilities did not exactly pan out as something I would use. I think youTube still has more to offer than this source.
    I did really like the link to This Week in Rap. The site put current events into a short rap which I thought would totally engage middle school students in weekly happenings. The site also provided the text of the rap below the video, so that if something peaked your interest you could look to see what the rappers had actually said and then look further into that topic. The site had other resources, like a kit to get kids writing their own raps. The major drawback was that most of these resources cost money. I think they would definitely be worth it if they were used correctly, and the site even boasted that state tests scores had gone up as a result of using their program.