Learning Managemet Software

After looking into three different types of learning management software I have found some pretty interesting tools for collaboration with peers and student involvement. The three sites I looked into were:
http://www.coursesites.com, http://www.edmodo.com, and http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com.
These sites had many different tools to offer and, I feel, have a place in the classroom, for the educator, and for the students. Let’s start with Coursesites.
Coursesites is Blackboard like we use at Fontbonne University. It hold class information, grades, schedules, email, and discussions. I think that this site would prove very helpful to a middle school or high school classroom, but being in elementary school I’m not sure that I would see a true benefit for using it. I do think that the discussion forum and the ability to put assignments out there is a plus. The site is easy to use and it is pretty straightforward. A student would only need minimal lessons on how to use the site, so that would be a great help to a classroom teacher. That all being said I think that the site is great for classroom collaboration, but lacks the ability to connect an educator or student to people outside of the class. I feel that this could be one downside to the site. The other sites that I visited allowed for more collaboration with people from around the United States and other places. Like I said, if I were a middle/high school teacher I would seriously consider this site for classroom interaction and collaboration.
The next site I visited was Edmodo. I had heard about this site from other educators but hadn’t visited it myself until recently. I must say I really enjoyed the site. From what I observed this site seems to have all the things an educator might want. The first thing I said about this site is that it reminded me of an educators’ Twitter or Facebook. You have the ability to read posts that other educators have written and offer or get advice from other educators that teach similar subjects to you. They offer ideas that have worked for them and help with issues that might be plaguing a teacher. So the collaboration between educators is AMAZING!!! I found it to be very easy to read the posts, manage the subject areas, and could see how this could be so helpful when I get my own classroom. I look forward to using it when I have my own class. Besides the peer collaboration, the site opens itself up to students as well. It becomes like a Blackboard type of site. You can post assignments, do quizzes, poll students, and write alerts or things that are important for the students to know. The teacher can set up a group with his/her classroom. I have only just begun to use the site but I’m truly impressed with the amount of things that a teacher, as well as students, can do with it.
Finally, I looked into Collabrize Classroom. This site was quite different and I found it somewhat difficult to navigate. I felt that it was more for educators’ collaboration and interaction, but not some much about student involvement. I know that there is a way to bring the students in, but it didn’t feel as “friendly” as Edmodo. I could be wrong because, again, I had just begun to scratch the surface. I found it harder to navigate than the other two site, but also saw how it could benefit a teacher with the amount of information on the site. I did enjoy the discussion groups that were on the site and the articles that helped me get started. I will continue to navigate the site and learn more about it. I feel that this would probably be the site that I would be least likely to use in my classroom. Again, I think it has to do with working with the elementary crowd that affects my opinion.
After navigating, learn, and reviewing these three site I can saw that I would personally be more apt the use Edmodo in my classroom. The look and feel of the site seems to compliment my style and the age of students that I teach. I feel that It would need the fewest amount of lessons and would be the one the students would have an easier time navigating. It also allows me as a teacher to talk with other professionals in a more relaxed setting. I do enjoy the posting idea of the site, instead of the articles. I can definitely see the positive affect all these site could/would have on my classroom, my students, and myself. I could see myself integrating all of them into my teaching, but do think that Edmodo would be my go to site. I have learned a lot through these sites and look forward to continuing to “play” with all the sites and become more comfortable. Who knows maybe I will change my mind on with one is my “favorite”.


Building an Online Presence

I found this assignment to be very helpful!! I looked into many different sites that could help me begin to help me build my online presence. I found a few of them to be a little confusing or less user friendly than others, so I decided to go with Google to help me. The Google site had great pre-made websites that helped me start the process. I used one of the web pages that was set up, but then changed lots of things so that it was personalized for me.
I think that by making this webpage I have learned how important it is to have an online presence. I made my page as if I were a classroom teacher and provided information that I think that parents and students would find helpful when visiting a teacher’s website. Since I have made this page, I feel that once I have my own classroom I can just modify it slightly to make it relevant to the classroom I will have.

Here is my website:

Alternatives to PowerPoint

I chose to use Prezi for my PowerPoint alternative.  I did some research and visited many different sites, but I found this one to be the most user friendly for the needs of this assignment.  I also signed up for powtoon.com as well because it had more of an elementary school vibe.  As an elementary school teacher, I think that the site might be better and more user friendly for my students.  I truly enjoyed using Prezi and I will use this more often then PowerPoint. The graphics and images seemed to be more engaging for students.

As for my students, I believe that the students can express themselves differently through these non-PowerPoint sites.  Allowing students to use these sites will allow them to show understanding of the subject as well as share with other classmates and keep their attention.

I do believe that I will use non-PowerPoint sites as often, if not more so, as I do PowerPoint.

Here is a link to a non-PowerPoint presentation I did about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I encourage you to take a look!!


Personal Learning Network

I believe that PLNs are great and the collaboration you get from people all over the world is priceless.  Through these different learning communities I can expand my knowledge and stay on the cutting edge of educations.

Since there are many different ways to build one’s PLNs, I am going to focus on three applications that are helpful to me.

  1. Social Bookmarking: This allows me to have one specific site to go to so that I can retrieve bookmarked sites.  Now, I don’t have to remember sites I like or keep a running list of educational websites with my personal sites.  Here is the link to my social bookmarking page: https://delicious.com/#eklink910
  2. Blogs: Through blogs I can read what other educators and other professionals have to say about specific topics.  There often have helpful advice and they provide information based on experience.
  3. Ning: Ning (as well as Wikis) allow you to become part of an online community specific to your profession.  I found that Ning allows me to interact with other education professional in a control website.  From what I’ve seen the people are helpful and can offer advice and knowledge.  I have joined classroom20.com as a Ning.  I joined the other day and am waiting to be accepted into the site.