March 26, 2011

Twitter Survey for Educators ~ Could you follow just...3?

It's difficult to choose just three!

Inspired by @justintarte's recent post Why Educators should be using Twitter (with some great people to follow listed), and JD Thomas' post Who to Follow in Twitter  -- A Great Idea That Needs Greater Tech and following Gwyneth Jones' crowdsourcing TL Smackdown Feud lead, I've decided to create my own survey for and by Educators on Twitter.

I hope you'll participate!

S-o-o-o, if you're an educator on Twitter (if we're on Twitter, don't most of us consider ourselves educators? -- but that's another post...), would you kindly fill out the survey below? Keep in mind that your responses are public.

Check out the Spreadsheet of completed responses so far (just me, as of 3/26/11)



Spreadsheet of completed responses
(not editable)

If for any reason you'd like to delete your response, you can send me a message on Twitter. @mauilibrarian2

I hope you find this survey useful. I know I will! (Feel free to refer to it.)

Mahalo to everyone for participating!

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March 13, 2011

Mrs. Lac Experiments with the Flipped Classroom



Lectures in the classroom? No, lectures via video, for homework!

It's no secret that Mrs. Lac is a pioneer at our school. Her latest teaching leap, only several weeks old as of this post, is causing quite a stir.

This is it in a nutshell: class work and homework are reversed. Students watch and take notes on videos demonstrating chemistry principles and they come to class ready for discussion and questions.

What's so good about? It encourages collaboration, and it keeps the students engaged.

Here are some comments from Mrs. Lac's Honors Chem students about the new system:

Ruby: I like the flipped method because I am able to to take notes at my pace...not rushing with half the information. Being able to come in and ask questions on what we saw or read is helpful. The pros are that you can take better notes and you can review the material as many times as you need. The cons are that it would be more helpful if you have the teacher there to answer questions as you see the videos or read. Over all I think the flipped method works pretty well.

Michael: It makes you more focused - you have to do the homework. It's easier to take notes. Pausing and rewinding are really helpful.

Carissa: I like the new system because it allows us as students to go about learning and taking notes at our own pace without worrying about holding up the class or asking the teacher to wait while we write things down. It also gives us the resources to go back and look over what we learned while reviewing for tests and quizzes because we have all of the videos already downloaded on our computers. However, the set up does make it harder when you really don't understand a concept, because when you are given the homework in class you are unable to complete it. But Mrs. Lac is very good about offering extra help during and after class, so this is rarely a problem.

John: Mrs. Lac is giving the same tests as she did before, but the scores are higher.

Mrs. Lac calls her new program a blended/hybrid one. She still does her PowerPoint lectures and her demonstrations.

Mrs. Lac notes: "I feel more in tune with where each individual student is. I see the struggles right away and I can deal with them immediately."

Here's more information about the flipped classroom:

How the Flipped Classroom Is Radically Transforming Learning
Reverse Instruction: Dan Pink and Karl's "Fisch Flip"
Teachers "Doing the Flip" to Help Students Become Learners"

Last but not least, check out the @cybraryman1's Flipped Classroom page (just out today!) for many helpful links.
 
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Twitter hashtag: #flipclass

March 12, 2011

Using YouTube and Wikipedia to Explain Problem-Based Learning

Here's a clever video that explains problem-based learning very well!




and here's some excellent (and dare I say) scholarly information from Wikipedia about the concept.


Problem-based learning

Note the authoritative references and external links to explore.

Update 04/07/12: I see that Wikipedia has put up some warnings about the lack of citations in the article. 

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Research Path Notes:

1. Found the video via @snbeach Sheryl NussbaumBeach, founder of PLPnetwork.com (Powerful Learning Practice, professional development for 21st Century educators).

2. Wikipedia: The Daring Librarian would be proud of me! Wikipedia is NOT Wicked!

March 07, 2011

Playing with Tagxedo -- A Word Cloud Generator Extraordinaire

Just created a Tagxedo word cloud with my Twitter account!

(go ahead, move your cursor over the words)

You can turn speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, any text you provide -- into a totally customizable, interactive word cloud.

You can also create a word cloud from a URL, tweets (as I did), an RSS feed, news, or a search.

There are many shapes to choose from -- you can even use your own image. A spouting whale seemed perfect for me, since we're in the middle of whale season here on Maui.

You can also choose from a variety of colors, fonts, themes, orientations, and layouts.

The possibilities are endless.

Here's a quick tutorial:


I learned how to embed Tagxedo in my blog at All Things Tagxedo, which is Tagxedo's official blog. I chose the Microsoft Silverlight player option. Silverlight is a free download. There are lots of other saving options available.

Lifehacker describes Tagxedo as Wordle on steroids:

Tagxedo Generates Stunning Custom Word Clouds

I agree! AND Tagxedo is easy to use (check out the FAQ), which makes it a real winner.

I'd love to see what our creative students would do with this fun program! I think it would make a fantastic presentation tool, for instance.

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P. S. Hardy Leung is the mastermind behind Tagxedo. I think he's a genius!