Thursday, July 8, 2010


I tried making my own diagram on the five senses. Below is a simple example of what I did.

It was easy to use this tool, however, there were a couple of instances that I grew frustrated with it. For one thing, you can't move around the bubbles. Secondly, I wanted to have 5 bubbles that were under the main bubble, however, that was difficult to do. I was only able to have a sub heading underneath or to the right of the main bubble, which was not helpful to me. Here is a link to the main page. This would be difficult to use with my first graders because of the navigational and technical skills required to use this tool. But, I could create one with the students. However, like I have mentioned before, this could be used by middle to high school students. You can hit Start Brainstorming to play around with the tools. I think middle and high school students can use this as a closing activity for a lesson or unit. For example, they could draw similarities between two books read in class. Two bubbles can be created by the teacher and the students would have to draw the similarities. They can collaborate while sitting at a computer in one room, or they could do it in front of their own computers at home and contribute their ideas.

If you have a blog that serves as a class website, you can post an interactive version of your example, by copying and pasting your html code, which is something teachers can do. Here is a short explanation of how to use for teachers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 is a web 2.0 tool that allows users to create mind maps and diagrams. It allows users to brainstorm ideas collaboratively together. Group brainstorming helps to encourage team collaboration, rich discussion, and communication skills. This tool is great to use with middle and highschool students. is a great tool that can be used to help students to brainstorm their thoughts before completing a research project or writing a paper. This tool kind of reminds me of Kidspiration. However, with, you don't have to worry about licensing and copyright issues.

To begin, a topic or main idea is entered into the "parent bubble". Then, ideas and thoughts are typed into color bubbles that are linked to the "parent bubble". Users can continue to add text bubbles which are color coded based on sub headings. To invite a friend to collaborate with you and add their ideas, you can add them by entering their email address and selecting the title of the "sheet" you want them to partcipate in. You also have the option of allowing friends to view or add to the sheet, or do both. Also, maps from different users can be combined.

This tool is simple and easy to use. You don't have to have an account to use this tool. However, users are required to create an account to save their work. It is free to use this tool. However, the application is flash based, so you need to make sure that you have the lastest Flash application installed on your computer. The one safety concern that I had with this tool is that students are able to type their first and last name, along with other personal information, when posting their work. So, if this tool is used in the classroom, students use may need to be monitored. Additionally, some other downfalls are: not having the ability to add images and commenting being difficult to moderate if alot of users are contributing their ideas. Here are two great tutorials for teachers, so they can get started with using this tool. The second tutorial is a Youtube video that you can view.

1. A Web App for Teachers
2. Brainstorming and Mind-mapping Online

Once diagrams and mind maps are made, they can be embedded into a wiki or a webpage for others to view. This tool can be used in the classroom for brainstorming, coordinating responsiblities during the early stages of a project. It could also be used in the classroom to teach writing skills, organizing team projects, or preparing for a debate. Other possible telecollaborative projects for the classroom could be mind-mapping vocabulary and ideas from a chapter of book, mapping science processes such as the Water Cycle, or mapping problem solving strategies in math.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wallwisher Continued...

It was fairly easy to build my own wall in a minute of seconds. I didn't have to register by giving out a whole lot of personal information to create my own wall. I just had to type my name and email address. Then, I picked the background of my wall, added a title/question, and picked out my security settings. I wanted the option of seeing posts made by others, before they were added to my wall. Also, in a minute of seconds, a password was sent to my email so that I could manage my wall settings.

Here is a link to a sample wall that I have created. I posed a question and answered them on multiple sticky notes. You could click anywhere on the wall to make a sticky note. You can also move the sticky notes around. If I wanted to, I could also post images and videos on my wall. Below is a screenshot of my wall.

Before, I thought that this would be a difficult tool to use in my own classroom with my students, being as young as they are. However, the more I have used this tool, I have realized that it doesn't necessary have to be a tool that my students use directly. Rather it could be a tool that I could use to post and share the ideas and work of my students. I could even make it into a matching game to review concepts taught in math. Also, I could make word families. I could ask the students to think of a word with the -at pattern and make a word families wall.

Some ways that you could use Wallwisher as part of a telecollaborative project are: book discussions, publishing poetry, surveying students in different classrooms, creating a short story that students can build on, a group wall where students can share their ideas about a topic, a forum where students can pose their own questions. Students can also publish their work using pictures and videos and share with others. There are so many things you can do. Can you think of any other ways???

One negative thing that I found as I was playing around with Wallwisher is the uncensored nature of this tool. Pictures or videos are not approved or edited before being posted to the wall. Therefore, teachers would need to set strict guidelines if using this tool in their classroom, especially if they are allowing students to make their own posts.

Also, if you choose to have your wall open to the public, you have to be careful because anyone can post to your wall. They could even write something that is inappropriate. However, the user at anytime can remove a sticky note.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


This web 2.0 tool has an interesting name. It is an online application that is easy to use and set up. It is an online board that uses the "sticky note" format for posting messages. I know many times in the classroom, something as little as allowing students to use sticky notes motivates them. Here is a link to the Wallwisher site. You don't have to open an account to get started. However, having an account gives you advantages such as managing multiple walls. You can view a demo wall here. A question is posted and multiple users respond with their thoughts on sticky notes. If an account is set up by the teacher, privacy levels can be set for each wall and posts can be moderated. You can also set up preferences on who can view and write on the wall.

However, like Twitter, you are limited to how much you can write on the wall, which could be a downfall. You can only use 160 characters, but you can add images, video, music, and links to webpages. Therefore, this makes it practical to use with students in the classroom. Some of the ways that walls can be shared is by embedding them into a wiki, blog, or webpage. I would say this tool can be used by upper elementary, middle, and high school students. It might be too difficult to use with first grade students.

Here are some potential ways that Wallwisher can be used in the classroom:

1. collaborative brainstorming of a topic or an idea
2. creating a visual or video collaboratively about a topic
3. asking questions and having students or teachers respond with their opinions
using video, images, and messages
4. having debates

I found some great websites that you can view to learn more about Wallwisher. Here is a link to a teacher's resources page that was made using wikispaces. It has a great tutorial on how to start and create a wall. It has sample walls that were made by teachers on various topics related to grammar, science, and the internet. Additionally, here is another great resource that provides a very detailed tutorial on how to use Wallwisher and how to get started. Step by step directions are given with screenshots.

On my next post, I will provide a sample of a wall that I have created.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Twitter

I was thinking more about how I could use Twitter in my own classroom as a part of a telecollaborative project. If I were to use Twitter in my classroom, I think I would have to do it with my students, being how young they are. However, I think some of the possible projects that I came up with could be some possible things that I could propose to the intermediate teachers at my school.

Twitter could be used in the classroom to:

1. Collect Data- a class twitter account could be created to collect scientific data or historical data. This data can be shared with other classrooms and other classrooms can add data. Examples include: tweeting about weather conditions or facts about a president or a historical event.

2.Conduct Polls- -Students can develop a poll using Twitter Poll and collect data from students in other classrooms locally and globablly. They can collect votes on controversial topics or simple topics about favorite tv show, foods, or vacation places. Students can then take the data to create graphs or tables.

3. Have Online Debates- Debates can be conducted using a class twitter network in real-time on current events in the world.

4. Create a Creative Story- Select the type of story. Create a story opener which is tweeted around the class network of participating schools for contribution to the story line. (This idea is just like the one I blogged about in my previous blog. George Mayo did one of these with his students.)

I opened up a Twitter account today and kind of played around with some of the features like writing a quick "tweet" or message and looking at some popular tweets posted by others around the world. Here is a link to my twitter page. However, you may need to have an account with Twitter. A screen shot of my Twitter page is below:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Just as I joined Facebook, many of my friends became a part of the Twitter phenomenon. It is also popular among many celebrities, politicians, and other famous people. Ordinary people, like myself, can follow their "tweets" or messages in real time. Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that keeps people connected through the exchange of messages or what is referred to as "tweets." You can pretty much say what is on your mind. The messages that are posted on your twitter can be viewed by anyone that visits your page.

Twitter is a way to build up an extensive network of contacts who can be updated on your thoughts and activities. Twitter can also be seen as a mini blog where small posts can be made throughout the day. You are limited to 140 characters and spaces per post or "tweet". So, a whole lot of writing cannot be done.

Here are some other features of twitter:

1. You can send and recieve updates via text messages, the twitter website, or by email.
2. Restricted delivery just to your circle of friends can be done.
3. You can search for people by name or user name, get friends from other networks, or
invite friends by email

I wonder how Twitter can be used in the classroom? How can I, or any teacher, use Twitter with our students. I have actually never thought of Twitter as a tool that can be used for educational purposes until I read this article. It was interesting to be provided with a real-life application of how Twitter can be used in the classroom. I especially liked how a teacher, George Mayo, from Montgomery, MD, used Twitter to write a story collaboratively with his students and other students from around the world. The students would add a couple of sentences to an on-going story through tweets. In the end, a story was created collaboratively among students from all over the world.

Mayo does mention one negative aspect to Twitter. He says that he had to create one teacher account and password and then give this information to all the students. In another teacher example, Twitter was used a "cross-curricular" tool where students can respond to questions and prompts posed and provide feedback to other students' projects.

Here are additional Twitter resources for teachers. You will find articles on Twitter in Education, along with presentations on how teachers can start and use Twitter. Additionally, here are more useful resources for teachers, including a handbook and training resources.

Monday, June 28, 2010

More Glogster EDU

I created a very simple poster on Glogster EDU. It is on the lifecycle of a butterfly. Go here to view it. However, you may need to register and have a username and password to view it. I have also put a screenshot of it below. I have not finished it. But, I can always go back and edit and save it.

Glogster can be used as a tool in the classroom that allows users to create interactive posters to express information. Glogs can also be used as a part of a webquest activity. Teachers can link students to websites that contain valuable information. Videos and photos can be embedded into glogs. Students will have fun exploring the glog. In a more broad scope, Glogs can also be used in the classroom, telecollaboratively, as a part of a blog or wiki. Podcasts can even be embeded into glogs. Students can create their own glogs and import pictures and videos to create posters that expresses an event in history, a science concept, or math concepts that can be shared with others. Four classrooms around the world can use a glog that is embedded into a wiki or blog to communicate and express their ideas about a novel.

Here is a link to sample glog created by Ms. Hughes' fourth grade class. Her students created glogs to express poetry. Each student glog included a picture of the student, the poems they created, and a recording of the student reading the poem. The lesson plan can be found here. The class glog can be found here.

This example is great because it allowed the students to be creative and express themselves. The glogs also gave them a finished product that they could then share with other classes and their families. Having the students read their poems on the glogs also gave them a chance to practice their oral communication skills.

In another example, I found another great glog that was created by a student depiciting the Civil Rights Movement. It includes music, video, and photos. It is a wonderful example of what students can create and share with others in a social studies classroom. Here is the link. Below is a screenshot view of it.