I teach 7th grade Integrated (General) Science and 9th Biology. I'm into long-term planning especially if it helps engage students! I'm in Utah (about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City.) I'm considered the King of "pilot projects" in my district. If you have something we can collaborate on, please let me know and I'll start working to help it happen on my end. If, however, you are involved in a different subject with your ideas - I've got friends who'd love to collaborate (if I help start the "pilot paperwork." Please send me a "private message if you want me to contact you directly for more information.
If you do not know how to send a "private message" do the following steps:
In the past several months I have found Dropbox to be a fantastic collaboration tool for teachers. After installing the software on your computer (which will work on Windows, Mac, Linux, and on an iPhone or iPod Touch), you can put anything in your dropbox and access it on another computer immediately (as long as you have the software installed on that other computer as well). For instance, YouTube is blocked in my district, so at home I can download a video and place it in my dropbox. When I go to school and log into my computer, the video is placed on that computer immediately without me having to do anything.
Several departments at my school have started using it to share files with each other. You can share a folder with other people. Then, when you place a new file or update one and save it the file is immediately sent to everyone who is sharing that folder. For instance, in my department we have come up with common standards for our keyboarding classes. We placed that file in our shared dropbox folder. Whenever someone goes into that file and updates any information (i.e. spelling errors, formatting, etc.), we all get the file immediately on our own computers. We are also starting to put together some common assessments using the same folder. It is really cool, because when we meet together and work on these files, one person makes the changes on their computer, and BAM, it is ready for each teacher the next morning when they go back to school. It isn't uncommon at my school to hear teachers say to each other: "Put that file in dropbox."
There's also a "Common Craft" video on the website that explains what else you can do with it. One other potential I can see with it is with the iPhone. You can take digital pictures, put it in your dropbox, and immediately family, friends, teachers, students can get the picture immediately. So, if you were touring Europe, your family and friends could see where you were and what you were doing. Lot's of fun (and a great excuse to purchase an iPhone).
A fellow Intel member showed me dropbox at the Intel Summit. I absolutely love it because it saves having to compose emails, attach files, worrying about file size, etc.
Since I am not in a classroom, I am able to find things that teachers may not get the time to find, and now I can share them easily with my Intel family...
I thought I was the only one who did not have an iphone, but I do have an ipad on the way.
Thanks for the reminder about how well done the Common Craft videos are! I've often used these "... In Plain English" videos to help peers understand a Web 2.0 tool. WHich of the Common Craft videos is your favorite to share with other teachers (or your students?)
I'm also glad you shared your use of DropBox with us. I use it so often I often forget to share how powerful it is with others.
I checked YouTube as well as the Common Craft site. I was unable to find a "DropBox in Plain English" video. Is this the Common Craft "DropBox" video you are talking about?
1. I'm drooling in wait to see how and why you like your iPad!
2. I agree that DropBox is powerful in sharing between people in different locations. I personally have shared folders with people in different states. It is so FUN to see a file appear that I did not know about. These files may be just for fun, or something that will benefit me and my students. So much easier than trying to figure out how to share a file that is too big for email.
Please let us know how successful you are with DropBox files on the iPad! I'm wondering if it is easier for sharing and use than the iPod Touch application is.
Yes, I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I recently saw something similar to this at a conference and stood and watched for a while. Was not sure how they did this but have now found an alternative.
Wiffiti http://wiffiti.com/--- Wiffiti publishes real time messages to screens in thousands of locations from jumbotrons to jukeboxes, bars to bowling alleys and cafes to colleges.
You can send messages that will flash across the screen that you are displaying. When I tested it, I chose a random room that was set up discussing, of all things, ipads. I did not register or create a username, but my feed was broadcasted on the screen with a made up username.
I can see this being used in classes by creating your own "room" and allowing students to send responses based on the topic of study. You can prodcast from your phone, so those who are anxious to bring cell phones into the classroom can add this to their toolbox.
Is anyone using something like this in the classroom already? Do you see other uses for it in the classroom? Please share any alternatives to this tool as well. This one was NOT blocked in my district, yet
Wiffiti looks like a very engaging web 2.0 tool. I'm going to have to check at school - I'm fairly sure it will be blocked . I notice that you do not have to sign in unless you want to publish your Wiffiti. It appears you could have a semi-privit Wiffiti that is receiving the information but is not shared publicly. I, however, cannot see the advantage of that.
I'm not sure I want to open up the no-cell phone issue at my school yet. There are some very strong opinions about cell phones by many faculty members.
I can see this as a fun collaboration tool between different classrooms. Using a twitter tag that is rather unique, the Wiffiti could display responses from two geographically separated classes. As quickly as Wiffiti displays results, I think it could make for a fun interactive collaboration tool. Now I've gotta find that other classroom and decide how we can use this tool to effectively teach students.
Like Jill, I'm interested in hearing if others have used Wiffiti in their classes yet. Have you seen any challenges? Are there points of frustration you can share with us? Inquiring minds want to know !
I hope to be working with collaborative classrooms in my district next year, so we have to hook up with some projects, The great thing about Intel is that I do not have to go far to find excited educators who are willing to jump on a project and run with it. I just know I will find classrooms in every state and in other countries.
As far as Wiffiti is concerned, I was surprised it was not blocked in our district, so the odds of it being blocked in your district are good...lol
Am I correct in the fact that you can create your own room say something like "animal cells" or some topic and then your students can post to that room with thoughts, questions, or ideas? Do you see that it can be private? I did see a way to imbed the code on webpages.
Like you, I'm always looking for opportunities to engage students and collaborate between classes in different states. Perhaps we need to take some time this summer to review what my core covers and see if you have a similar core in LA. I'd be happy to promote another "pilot project" to have my classes involved in collaboration next year. (I'm the king of "pilot projects" I think!)
I'm not sure Wiffiti will not be blocked in my district. We have a VERY strict IT policy regarding what is allowed. I'll be testing it next week to find out (I hope I'm wrong and it is NOT blocked.) If it is blocked, I will need to call in a favor with my District IT Director. I think he still owes me one .
I cannot tell for sure that a Wiffiti can be made private - I'm hoping it's possible . You are thinking the same as me in how Wiffiti might be used to engage students in a lesson. I was thinking of selecting a topic and then involving students in responding to it. This could be a problem if they have to "tweet" their answers ... gotta think some more on that one.
Has anyone used Wiffiti enough to know if you can have a "Private" Wiffiti