This is a reflection on my technology usage this year.
Woo-hoo, started the year on a high--we are now one-to-one!
Decided to use Ning for levels 2, 3, and 4. Got them on there with little trouble. Had a chat, took it out. Made groups for each class. Started putting the work of the day on the group pages. Had students update their status every day. Was not consistent with the technology because it seemed "extra" to the kids. Want to have more paper and pencil activities so that I can edit their work better. Now that Ning will cost, it's out. Quite frankly I hated the ads--double quite frankly the kids did not buy into the social network part. However for my DR2010 trip, Ning was perfect.
Used Skype in the class a few more times. Diversity Day was a highlight. Used it to communicate with my Dominican contacts and Skyped Luis into two meetings with the parents and students before my trip.
Via Skype, conferenced with a teacher in Arkansas. Exchanged written letters in the mail, 35 of my kids, 26 of hers. The kids loved having real pen pals. We did not do Facebook or anything at all online and we explicitly taught not to make online connections with people we barely know. Real old-fashioned letter writing was a great exercise and Skype helped the Arkansas teacher and I communicate about the project.
Used Wordles--they still rock. Will use it to reflect on level 2 vocabulary by having each student make a Wordle of their final essay and then making one big mother of a Wordle to see frequency of vocabulary.
Participated in a national internet message board for language teachers....which led me to discover Actualidades and Zachary Jones. Started using it as the first activity of the day in my level 3 and 4 class. Communication improved dramatically around listening to music and discussing.
Used online flashcards. Do these work? It seems like a painful way to learn vocabulary. I know, I am spoiled by having learned language in context, via immersion.
Used Quia to make online quizzes and tests. I love it, it is not free, therefore...yeah I will probably pay for it :) I was able to record for assessments (I recorded saying the date and time and students listened and wrote what they heard). This was such a timesaver for me! Especially if a student was absent the day of the assessment. Just need headphones.
Used Google forms all year long, and LOVE them. The survey dumps data into a spreadsheet. Made this type of assessment a breeze to grade!
Used two wikis for source information in classes. I created them with content from summer curriculum work with Madame K, the kids and parents used them.
Got pro accounts on Vimeo and had one already on Flickr. Also, Picnik--but that is mostly for personal use. Vimeo was perfect for student video projects. Made grading them "Do-able", one-stop shopping for 70 videos!!
Got a pro account on Wix but had to cancel since my school BLOCKED them. I must have spent a hundred bucks before we resolved that they would not unblock Wix. Frustration led to contemplation which led to...Magcloud. And people, our photojournalism final project is not a mere website but a real magazine--paper, ink, lovely!! (soon for sale, too.)
Tried unsuccessfully to get internet Radio unblocked. This after surveying students to see learning styles. Aural was #2. It is my weak link a teacher--literally, I scored less than 5% aural learner--which made me think, I NEED MORE MUSIC AND IT HAS TO BE FREE (hence internet Radio). Thank God for Zachary Jones!!!
Used SAM which is an on-line video series from Discovery Education, the one I use is hosted here. Also available for French classes but I have no free link to SAM in French.
Professionally I presented to the staff in the first semester a few times, about wikis and Google. Second semester I was hired by the Maine DOE to lead World Language teachers in research of Open Educational Resources. The official site for that is here. We are currently on Goal 2.
Heard about Google sites from two sources--they are my next Thing. If you know about them, do tell in the comments.
Leave me a comment on tools you've used, or what you may have learned, and/or goals for next year...
and have a great summer!