I completed making my first VoiceThread video today.  VoiceThread is a website where you can put pictures and then add sound to each picture.  It was really neat and I think my students would find it fun to listen to a video with my voice.  The first video I made was about how to tie your shoes.  My students tell me each day they want to learn how so I thought this would be fun.  I borrowed the pictures from wikiHow but I put my own narrations in to hopefully make them kindergarten friendly.  Hope you enjoy!

How to Tie Your Shoe!

Social Bookmarking

I just started using Diigo this week and I am amazed how interesting I am finding it.  I am still trying to get use to the idea of using Twitter in the classroom and I am not sure that I will, but I really see how Diigo could be helpful.  Diigo is so easy to use and I can go back and find information in a fast manner.  

I still don’t think I can have my class on the website themselves, but I can use it to benefit my students.  I can use social bookmarking to see what other websites teachers find useful and to keep the websites I like organized.  The more I think about it social bookmarking is just another form of Twitter.  The reason though, I think I am more comfortable with it is because I associate Twitter with high school and college students and I see social bookmarking as a great resource for any professional.

Social bookmarking could also be a professional way to keep parents updated with what resources I am using in the classroom.  I think highlighting would be an easy way to show the parents what parts of the website I am using and I can use sticky notes telling them why.  

While doing research I found some useful websites about different types of social bookmarking websites.  One called LiveBinders talks about a bookmarking website for teachers called Common Craft, which seemed very interesting.  Another website I found was EDUCAUSEREVIEW and it gives more information on Diigo and explains traditional and social bookmarking.  The last resource I am going to mention is a blog by Edugeek.  This blog gives suggestions on how teachers can use social bookmarking and suggestions on how to have your students use it, I think this would be particular useful for the older grades.  

I am very excited to keep learning about social bookmarking and all that it has to offer.  I think it is going to be a great resource that I keep using.  

Personal Learning Network

For one of my graduate courses I did some research into what a PLN is, also known as a Personal Learning Network.  One definition I found on Wikipedia says that a Personal Learning Network is: an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment.  In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection.

Right now though I am still trying to learn what a PLN is to me.  I am still getting use to twitter and blogging and how to use the online world to benefit me in my teaching career.  Personally the place I go to get many of my teaching ideas online, and I believe I learn a lot from, is Pinterest.  Even though I do not interact with these people through chatting I still am learning from them and I follow certain people, who I believe post great ideas for the classroom.  Coincidentally enough, while doing research on PLN’s one of the first things that popped up was a link to Pinterest.  This page on Pinterest shows many different PLN’s that anyone could use, from Twitter to Skype to a site called Edutopia. 

I do think as an educator it is important to always be expanding your knowledge of the teaching world and the resources that are available.  With having a good PLN you will never run out of ideas for improving your classroom and for bettering your teaching.  Which, in the long run will benefit your students’ everyday.  Another resource I found while doing this research was a blog called online learning insights.  This blog gave suggestions on how to better improve your own personal PLN and make it meaningful to you.  One last useful resource I found was the website The Educator’s PLN.  This website gave many recourses for teachers to use from blogs to videos and edchats. 

Having a Personal Learning Network can benefit you no matter what grade you teach.  Like I said, I believe Pinterest is part of my PLN because I get many of my ideas off of there for my classroom.  As an educator it is up to you how you use your own PLN in your classroom, but there is no reason not to have one.  

Crowd Learning

I have just learned of “crowd learning” and I have to say it is a very interesting topic to discuss in education today.  For those who do not know, crowd learning, is a type of learning that occurs through technology.  This type of learning is not just for students and it is not just for adults, it is for anyone who wants to learn about any topic out there.

At first I was thinking I could not use a form of “crowd learning” in my kindergarten classroom, but the more I think about it the more I think it is possible.  First, I could use it in a small crowd form just using my students.  For example, my students are going to start learning about apples and Johnny Appleseed next week and to introduce the topic I could ask each student to draw a picture to share with the class or discuss with the class anything they know about apples.  Another way to use “crowd learning” in my classroom is by using the internet.  If my students had a topic they were not grasping we could “google” it as a class and see what we find.  I think “crowd learning” is a great way to get my students involved, in away that is not normally done in early childhood classrooms.

While researching more about the topic I found some very interesting resources that teachers could use or anyone who wants to learn about many different topics.  I first found that “crowd learning” is also known as “crowd-sourced learning” and there is a website Learning and Talent Management  which gives a little more information of this type of learning and how it first started in the UK.  Another awesome website I found was mylearningworx .  This website has a large variety of courses you could sign up to take on many different topics.  Some of the courses are free and some cost money.  Also, if you had a subject you would like to teach you could create a course, which I find awesome.  Finally, I found a small resource on TED (which I’m sure we have all heard about or seen/used before) that talks about “crowd-sourced learning” and how it is collaborative learning.

In this day of age I think any form of technology that can be used appropriately in the classroom benefits the students.  Unlike when I was growing up these students have been raised on technology (some of my kindergartners probably can use it better then me) and it is something that can keep their interest.  I am not saying technology should replace all forms of teaching but I believe teachers can and should start using it more in their everyday teaching, no matter the age that they teach.  “Crowd learning” just shows all the resources the internet has to learn and I have been using a form of this learning for many years without knowing.  Now that I know exactly what “crowd learning” is and better resources out there, I can not wait to learn more.