Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Authentic Audience

We have first hand experience with the many faces of authentic audience. Fourth grade research projects have brought about audiences in our classroom, down the hallway, up the highways, and across the oceans. Student classwork is seen by many more eyes than just their teacher (with a red pen). Their research,writing and voices are being shared with partners, other classes, on the web, and through video conferences.
Let me explain. Students are researching and using web 2.0 tools (which are different from web 1.0 by creating for the web with more collaboration and interactivity).

If you have used a webcam then you know what it is like to have a video conference. We have had varying degrees of success with live conferencing. This week one of my 4th grade groups had a video conference with a partner class in New York (with Karen Kliegman, Noel Forte, and Adam Dugger)while using Skype. Although we have had “video guest speakers” this was our first time with two classes together. After a few technical snags, we got the hang of it and had fun with Q and A's.

Today we experimented with a newer video conference service between two classrooms in our own building. This service was suggested by Karen Kleigman (Trail of the First People Project). ooVoo looks very modern and we can see both cameras on our screen while we talk together. Fourth grade students were searching for pictures to use from to go with their Native American project. Video conference participants traded tips and information about their research. They gave good tips on pictures that they found for the regions they were studying. Research groups from different classrooms teamed with each other. From their conversations I can say that our students were great examples for authentic audience and collaboration.

For the next phase, student groups will choose how they want to combine their previous research and the pictures for the Native American project. Choices are PowerPoint, Photostory3, or learn how to create projects in Voicethread. All of these can be put into wiki pages that some of the students are sharing with our partners in Australia and in New York. I am looking forward to the products of our journey with Web 2.o tools.

GHESchool Tour Video

Digital storytelling comes in many forms. In our technology lab we focus on how technology helps us learn and digital stories fit the bill. Technology students have been roaming the hallways with a digital camera and inquiring minds. Students took photos inside and out, and then narrated each one. If their picture was a person, they asked about their job. We discussed choices that did not include a person, such as the purpose of the teacher's workroom. We found people and places that we had never seen before -our school is huge!

Back in the technology lab, students practiced their lines with expression and enthusiasm. The challenge was to construct sentences that began with words other than, "Here is...." or "This is..." We combined narrations with the photos and chose music to fit the mood. Some students even directed the video transitions, effects and text. These steps can take 2-4 class periods depending on the teacher's purpose and preferences of integration.

Each class now has a video of different sections of the school. By combining parts of each video, we also have a video overview of our school.

This project included second and third graders. I have found that older elementary students enjoy the video creating process and are quite creative on their own when given ample time. We have more video projects in the works. One of our next projects will include posting videos on and translating subtitles. Students are creating vodcasts on several topics, so stay tuned for more (or subscribe to this feed).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Let Us Put YOU on the Map!

We have become fascinated by the growing number of red dots on our ClusterMap.

ClustrMaps is the widget you can always find on the right side of this webpage. Go ahead and look for it- double click it and see the details too. It shows locations in the world where someone is checking out this blog. I know who and where a few of the dots are because we are collaborating on projects - more news on those projects as they progress.

By our calculations, we are averaging 4-5 new locations in the world each week!

We need more projects to help our students learn more about their geographic world (and not just to prepare them for any eventual question on a game show – or a pageant….). This is where you come in to the picture – literally.

If you are reading this outside of Fort Mill or Tega Cay, SC, please drop us a line - we would love to hear from you. We want to put YOU on the map! Our classroom has a world map on the wall, and it will grow as our ClusterMap grows. If you are inside Fort Mill/Tega Cay - drop on into our technology lab. We would love to hear from you too.

-JoNelle Gardner, Technology Teacher/Specialist

Monday, October 15, 2007

Inservice Day - My "Day Off" with "No Students"

Parents: While your child stayed home and played like they were supposed to, teachers had an Inservice Day. What is that exactly? Usually meetings. Today was different. Thanks to our pricipal we had a choice of where we wanted to visit. Below is a blog post from another education blog that I maintain. If I have any techie-type parents, you may want to help out in the technology lab this year. It's not what it used to be! Please read on...

We had an inservice day today - teachers actually visited schools of their choice. This was not your typical day of meetings that may-or-may-not be geared toward your needs of professional development. I jumped at the chance to find a school/teacher experienced in integrating web 2.0 tools in their curriculum. Although a tad over my elementary level, I found an excellent resource not too far away from home in Mr. Chris Craft. Many of us who have researched international collaboration projects have seen much of his work and read his blog

Chris Craft (love the name) came highly recommended and it was all true and then some. I got to see him in his element and I must say - his students adore and respect him. All of his sixth graders came in calmly with smiles and stayed that way the entire time. What wonderful classroom spirit. He loves them and they know it. He respects their identities and their uniqueness and they know that too. After all of the techno-talk I absorbed, I was struck most by his manner about his students and one quote in particular. "I teach children how they want to be taught," he told me. Think about that some more.

What about the techie talk? I learned more about Moodle, PBwiki, Gcast, WordPress, and Google Earth. New for me are great video resources from Dan Meyer at, for self-paced Spanish lessons, , WiziQ for a virtual classroom, and bluehost. So many tools...and it is not summer break.

We talked about EdTech 2007 - SC's technology conference October 24-26. We are both presenting. My presentation is "We Vote for Movie Making! Motivate your students using cameras and Classroom Performance System (CPS). " I submitted this before I jumped on the Web 2.0 trail, so now I'll tweak it more to include some.

One of Chistopher Craft's (this how his name is listed on the site) presentation is about presentation design - how cool is that? Another is about Google Earth - yeah! The third is presenting his research "Games and Simulations, is there a place in k12 education? " What a fountain of information he so generously shares.

What a jam-packed Professional Development day for me! What did you do on your last inservice day?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Programming in Elementary with Scratch!

Scratch is programming for students! Who wants to learn programming with fun animations and sounds? Elementary students can do it with Scratch- and it's free from M.I.T. We will introduce programming in Scratch with 5th graders.

How will learning programming help our children? Students learn valuable problem solving and logic skills; communicating understandings and ideas helps students builds writing and speaking skills;and teaming with others builds collaboration and cooperation life skills and much more.

You can learn about Scratch Scratch and let us know what you think! email JoNelle Gardner, Technology Specialist
see examples in this video

Friday, September 28, 2007

We Have Made it to Wikispaces!

Students in fourth and fifth grade Technology classes now have their own secure wiki webpage. Wikispaces is a special website where students have a secure place to learn and share. Members only in this cyberspace - only our teachers, students and their parents may enter. Teachers monitor the site daily. We are incorporating safety and etiquette rules that we have learned to create the first pages. Soon each student will have a mystery partner in our school to build our first Technology/Social Studies project on Native Americans. We are working together to prepare for a project with 4th grade students in other states. This collaborative project will also help our students build character education and communication skills in Language Arts in our new world of ever changing technology.

What is a wiki? Watch this brief video on Wikis in Plain English

Friday, September 21, 2007


Ask a group of students, "Who has a favorite Dr Seuss book?" and hear, "MEEEEEE!" Many of my 2nd and 3rd grade Technology classes have joined Technospud's nation-wide web project- Salute to Dr Seuss. Classes are choosing a variety of ways to share they favorite Dr Seuss books with others. Students are taking turns reading pages for a video. Some students prefer to let Queenie, a stuffed animal giraffe, be their on camera stand-in while they provide the narration.
Macinzi, a second grader says that her favorite part of the project is to be on the video! She even helped me write this:)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Be a Friend - Be Nice & Be Safe

Another way to view friends? Much has been said of the way we view the word "friends" now. Our students have "real-life friends" and some now have "internet friends". Some of these friends are both. Can we always tell the difference? Learn all that you can to help guide children in their sometimes murky internet decisions. We want our children to be respectful, mind their manners, have fun and be safe.

Fun ways to learn internet etiquette and safety are here. We want our students to learn good manners and stay safe with their "real-life friends" as well as their "internet friends". For years, our students have loved learning with Disney's SurfSwell Island - and you should see it on the! There is also a special section for PARENTS.

Older students enjoy earning their license to navigate the internet at PBS kids Get Your Web Licence . Our fourth graders learn more about privacy issues, policies, and passwords. 5th graders renew their license here. All students print out their OFFICIAL PBS KIDS WEB LICENCE to keep. Please ask about these at home and visit the site together to reinforce etiquette and safety.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Internet Safety

In technology classes we are learning how to keep safe on the internet. This is important even if you do not have or use the internet at home. Our district filters help and so does educating us all about keeping CyberSmart. Parents, your students may sometimes come home with a paper from Technology Class. Please go over the information with your family. Learn ways to keep your computer and your family safer.
More information: StaySafeOnline GetNetWise

Saturday, September 1, 2007

VoiceThread - a Web 2.0 Tool for projects

VoiceThread is a tool for enhancing pictures by adding audio recordings. We are getting to know more about each other and learn some geography too by using this tool in Technology class. Keeping saftey in mind - our participants have an icon and username. Viewing is public, but you must be member of the class to make comments. Classes will be working on this project soon, so watch it grow. If you would like an invitation to join us, contact JoNelle Gardner at subject: VoiceThread

Friday, August 31, 2007

Calls From the Classroom

We had just flown through the plans for the semester- I had so many web 2.0 tools to tell my students about. Blogging, podcasting, wikis (showed them the great video below) and Skyping with the webcam. My students were lining up to leave the technology lab on their first technology class since returning to school. We heard the now familiar noise over my sound system - my students pointed to the invitaion displayed on the SMARTBoard: ACCEPT or DECLINE the call. I hesitated- I had never seen this before. They yelled ACCEPT IT-ACCEPT IT!! Then I saw it was a friend in my educator's network - from Australia. We are in South Carolina - a 14 hour time difference. Simon talked to the students and they were thrilled. After they left, Simon told me that my video was not working - the students did not even know (and still don't-shhh) that he did not see all of their excited waving and smiling.

I worked on the mystery of no video on my end- no luck. The next day a different class had just finished a video email on our Logitech webcam that we sent to their homeroom teacher when Skype notified me that I had a caller on the web. I switched over to Skype and once again Simon from Australia talked to a group of excited elementary students. Still no video on my end. How was it working when we just made a video email and not now??

Techies probably know the ending.....Later that day, I was on to something entirely different when I stumbled on a valuable bit of info: Make sure you have only one application for your camera running at a time. Yes - I can now Skype successfully. A note has been going home this week to 2nd-3rd grade parents..."Send an email to me to be on my list" and you too can receive Calls from the Classroom! Students can't wait - me too!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Learn Keyboarding at Home

At GHES we use Type to Learn and Type to Learn,Jr keyboarding programs. You can have fun keyboarding at home and learn proper finger positions. Go to Dance Mat Typing. Begin at Level 1 and build your skills through Level 4. In technology class we are learning how to use the site - remember- no peeking at your keyboard:)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Podcasts and KidPix

What do podcasts and Kidpix 4 Deluxe have in common? They are two technologies that help our students learn in all subjects while having fun. There are two ways you can help!

Podcasts are great ways to boost reading and writing skills. Students will create podcasts or webcasts - audio and video "shows" that will be posted on the internet. Parents will even be able to subscribe to their shows. These shows can be heard/seen on your computer, an MP3 player, an ipod, or even burned to a CD. We have what it takes to make basic webcasts in our room - and we want to do even MORE! With help from donations to this project, we will create our podcasts outside of our lab - we can create anywhere.
DonorsChoose is a special not-for-profit web site where "teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund." On behalf of GHES technology lab, I have submitted two proposals for your consideration. One for creating podcasts/webcasts, and the other is for KidPix 4.

KidPix 4 is a versatile software that is great for all subjects. Read more about what we can do with this excellent program in our technology lab! Ask your student about KidPix projects!

Please help get the word out about DonorsChoose - a great way to know exactly where your donations go and how they help your child learn.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Welcome to GHES Blogger

We have exciting goals in Technology for 2007-08!
Blogging, podcasting, and wikis are new additions to Technology this year. Not sure
what these mean? We will explain these here in our blogs and in our podcasts. For now just double-click on a word to find an answer!
Stay tuned and learn along with GHES. Communicating and learning with our terrific GHES families are important to us. The next few entries will explain how this will work for students, parents, and teachers this year.

While you are us name our Blog and our Podcast. So far we have

GHES StUdents Ready For the Future
We also need a logo and a mascot!
Sounds like we need some input from YOU!