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Well, you're in luck! Since I'm taking a class in Designing an On-line class this semester, I'm supposed to be spending time seeking out websites for my project, so I painstakingly spent a little while skimming over all of them and seeing what they are all about. I was getting bored, angry, and frustrated, until #18.
The article describes SymbalooEdu as "a great way for teachers to share sites and resources with students". But it's actually more than that. It's a actually a Personal Learning Environment Tool. What's a Personal Learning Environment? Well, if you don't know, it's making a comeback. And I highly recommend that you read about SOCRAIT over at Teaching College Math.
For a short introduction to SymbalooEdu, either watch the video below, or head right on over there and get started like I did: bit.ly/jonsdash (A place in which I am going to start organizing the growing list of links for the tasks that I must complete daily)!
This comment is more here for myself than for anyone else, as I keep on forgetting about them just because I don’t have them documented anywhere:
1. bit.ly – You would not believe (or maybe you would) how much this URL shortener has come in handy lately to quickly and easily customize URLs to give to my students. At one point I customized something with the student’s name because the student was afraid that he would forget by the time he got home. You can’t forget your name, now can you?
2. zamzar.com – Free online file conversion. I have found this especially useful to turn YouTube videos and the like into mp3 files and to simply download videos that would not normally be downloadable. I know there are other websites out there that do this, but Zamzar keeps a record for you rather than just a one time conversion. Nice.
3. I think that the video below is awesome, so awesome that I figured even if you didn’t appreciate my two comments above, you would appreciate the video.
I'm really excited about my new Bamboo Pen and Touch. I can tell you one thing: My students were definitely jealous when I walked into the classroom yesterday and started setting up. They saw how great it was and they all wanted to try it out and get it themselves — Especially when they realized how reasonable the prices are. Already I can tell that this will be a great tool to assist in engaging students in the classroom. I also think that it could be useful in the future for students to submit a question on-line without having to scan a page or learn a special program. So, look for more to come from my new piece of technology after the new semester starts.
Today has been a terrific day for the most part. It was final exam day, but instead of grading exams as the students turned them in (which I probably should have so that they would be done), I spent the day surfing the Internet for new ideas to use for next semester. And here are few that I have uncovered:
1. Edmodo – Edmodo is a a Social Learning Environment. It is something that I have been looking for, but not been able to find until now. It brings what seems to be the best of features of BlackBoard together into what looks something like Facebook. And best of all, it’s free. So far, just through the few minutes I’ve put into exploring the website, I have found it extremely easy to set-up new classes, which they call “groups”, and create alerts, notes, assignments, and polls. (Major hint: I tried to use twitter with my students one semester, and it was a major fail.)
2. Einstruction Mobi – Had I not already bought a portable document camera earlier in the week, I would have probably bought this on the spot, because it was only little bit more than I paid for the document camera, and I think it would be more useful in the long run. Essentially eMobi is an interactive whiteboard for those who can’t afford the “real deal,” such as a SmartBoard. A suggestion made to me by a colleague today is that I should buy a Bamboo Pen Tablet, as it is a very cheap alternative. For ideas of how to use these in the class, see the Teaching Math with Technology blog and the Teaching College Math blog.
3. Glogster – I heard about this website for creating web-based posters a few months ago, but became quickly discouraged when I found out that the Education Accounts were free, but with limited access. And even the “premium” full-access account “without limits” has a very unnecessary limit of 200 students, as I may have more than that many students in a single semester. So, for those of you who are willing to fork out the $99 a year to provide a special learning opportunity for your students, I salute you, and hope that you send me links to some of their work.