Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blog 1 – Photo Sharing Sites (continued)

I agree with Mary Burns (2006) in her article: A Thousand Words: Promoting Teachers' Visual Literacy Skills that teachers need to have a “greater general awareness of how visual literacy complements phonemic literacy; and a recognition that being able to create and interpret visual information is not confined to art or computer science classes but is necessary across all subject areas.”

Flickr has considerable potential to transform my teaching across the curriculum. I often use images to get students brainstorming on topics for writing. Accessing images has never been so easy and projecting them onto a screen makes them easy for everyone to see. I would love to explore what could be done by using Flickr with a Smart Board. I am imagining projecting images, writing on them, storing the information and then accessing it later to continue or share. Flickr would also be a great tool to use in teaching Science. In a grade one unit on “Animals in their Environment” for example, the labelling feature would be great for identifying parts of an animal and the selection of photos would be ideal for discussing camouflage, variations and adaptations, habitat and classification. With so many photos, the ways to use them are endless. Imagine the possibilities using Flickr to teach social studies when you combine it with Mappr.

Teacher librarians could easily use Flickr to include photos of library events on their blogs. I was fascinated by the recent story of The Library of Congress launching a new pilot project with Flickr, in hopes of providing better access to their collection and to gain information about photographs in their collection. The 60th anniversary of our school is approaching. Perhaps we could archive our school photos and allow comments to gain information about the photos to share at the celebration. I noticed that Flickr will scan negatives and photos as well as receive them digitally. I know we have many old photos where people aren’t identified. It would be an interesting way to bring the community into this celebration.

Two things I would like to look at more carefully (when I have a little more time) are photo editing with Picnik on Flickr, and a book on libraries and technology called Information Tomorrow.

Hornby Island

Hornby Island
Originally uploaded by lizzie jean
Hornby Island Mosaic

Blog1-Photo Sharing Sites (continued)

What sets Flickr apart from other photo sharing sites is that it has opened its application programming interface (API), and numerous web resources haven used this to take advantage of “mashing up” images in creative ways. Mash-ups are combined web applications that take features from an application like Flickr and mash it up with another application like a map, to create something like Mappr. Using mash-ups like fd's Flickr toys you can create posters, magazine covers, book covers, and trading cards for your classes, and post them online or print them. I created this Hornby Island mosaic using a Flickr mash-up site. There really are no limits to what you can do with Flickr and Flickr toys!

Blog 1 - Photo Sharing Sites

I have heard of photo-sharing sites before, but I have never been that interested in uploading my photos for the world to see. My photos are mostly of my family and we live close enough to share photos in person. What I have learned in this past week exploring photo-sharing sites like Flickr is that they offer so much more than organizing and sharing of one’s photos. With Flickr, I can do all kinds of creative things to enhance instruction using photos taken by others, for no charge!

I prefer Flickr to Picasa, because Flickr offers a seemingly endless archive of photos, whereas Picasa is photo editing software that allows me to edit, organize and send my photos to others. Flickr had me fascinated for several hours as I clicked through the various images, clusters and "most interesting" shots in numerous searches and tags. The only frustrating thing about Flickr so far is that to sign up, I had to create a Yahoo! email address and yet another user ID. Keeping all my online identities straight is becoming a challenge.

Some of the things I love about Flickr:
· the endless volume of images I can use (I almost fell over when I saw that 2,950 photos were downloaded in the last minute)
· for twenty-five dollars per year, Pro members get up to two gigabytes of picture storage
· tagging and organizing favourites is easy
· it easily places images in blogs
· it allows me to set privacy levels and access
· I can choose other Flickr users as contacts and subscribe to feeds of their images
· I can configure Flickr to accept uploads from my computer or cell phone email
· I can copyright my photos or use a Creative Commons license
· Notes can be added to sections of images by my contacts

Thursday, January 24, 2008

big tribune

big tribune
Originally uploaded by daisy sharrock
This is my first try at importing a photo directly to my blog from Flicker. This photo is taken by daisy sharrock and is of Big Tribune Bay on Hornby Island.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Intro Blog: Starting my Own Blog

Before I started my own blog, I watched this set of three short videos on teacher tube.
I was surprised at how easy it was to set up a blog. I took Richardson’s advice and chose Blogger, which is owned by Google, to host my weblog. I like that Blogger is free, easy to use and has some level of privacy so I can eventually use it as a class blog. I also like that I can host as many blogs as I like from the same “dashboard” (after logging in) by just choosing Create a Blog. Given all the different new Web 2.0 technologies I am learning about, keeping them organized is a priority.
It took me about twenty minutes to set up the initial blog which involved going to Blogger, registering and selecting a name. When I was ready to start my first posting, I was able to figure out the process in a few minutes. It took me a little longer to figure out how to edit my posts, (under the posting tab), but now it is easy. My next step will be to add a picture but that may need to wait until next week!

Intro Blog: Blogging in the Early Primary Years?

Blogs can be used as a place for collaborative learning on projects. Not only can each student in the group contribute to the blog, experts from the global community can also contribute, deeply enhancing the curriculum. The Secret Life of Bees is a great example of highschool students using a blog to study a novel and contacting the author for her answer to their questions.
At first, I thought this collaborative use of blogs for learning would be beyond early primary students because their typing, reading and writing skills are still limited. I wonder though, could Kindergarten and grade one teachers begin this type of blogging using one blog for the class, with the teacher making entries as they would typically do on chart paper?
I think that with the teacher using a projector and screen, the students could follow the writing, while the teacher types the students' questions, thoughts and responses. Students could ask their teacher to post links they have explored as a class and could comment on those links. They could be guided to give reflective responses to be posted. They could summarize what they have learned in a unit of study. Perhaps the intended audience could go beyond other students in the class to include parents, authors, science experts, other classes in the school (perhaps their buddy class), the community or classrooms in other parts of the world. It would be exciting to receive comments and continue the conversation.
It would be important to begin by explaining the process to parents and obtaining permission for students to participate. Protecting students' identity would be necessary. See some samples of information letters and permission forms at Blogging Parent letters - Bud the Teacher's Wiki

Intro Blog: The Class Newsletter

As a grade one classroom teacher, I would like to begin using a blog instead of writing a monthly newletter to parents. I like the fact that I can post pictures, update the information and respond to parent questions all in one place. I think parents would appreciate an archive of the newletters. I am wondering about concerns parents might have about their child's photos on the internet. (No names, of course!) Comments?
Some software like allows you create a personal listserv that will send email notices of new additions to the to parents/students who join.
Of course the first step would need to be determining the access to the internet of individual families. Teaching most parents how to find and use the blog would be necessary. Perhaps a parent night introducing the blog and how to use it would be helpful. Any comments or suggestions on using blogs for class newletters?

Intro Blog: Blogs in Schools

In schools, I see blogs serving two purposes; to enhance student writing and to organize and communicate information. As outlined on blogs would enhance student writing by helping students find a voice, creating enthusiam for writing, engaging students in conversation, providing opportunities to learn about responsible journalism and empowering students. To organize and communicate information, blogs could be used for class newsletters or information pages, a school website, minutes or comments about committee meetings, storing student work, eportfolios, and collaborative student learning projects.

Intro Blog: What's a blog?

Reading Will Richardson’s book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (2006) transformed my understanding of blogs. Richardson defines blogs (weblogs) as “easily updatable Websites that allow an author (or authors) to publish instantly to the Internet from any internet connection” (p.8). He explains that the earliest blogs were web logs, lists of weblinks the author visited, which have evolved into today’s blogs where people can add comments about the author’s thoughts on a website. To see Richardson’s blog and read about his book go to .

Initially, I though blogs were just online personal journals for others to comment on. Richardson states that personal journaling, posting assignments and posting links is not real blogging. (p.32). He defines simple blogging as “links with analysis that gets into the meaning of the content being linked” and real blogging as “links with analysis and synthesis that articulate a deeper understanding or relationship to the content being linked and written with a potential audience response in mind” and complex blogging as “extended analysis and synthesis over a longer period of time that builds on previous posts, links and comments.” I wonder if we will reach a level of complex blogging in this assignment?