Sunday, February 3, 2013

January Trainer Reflections

Trainers in SBISD have been asked to reflect on technology tools that have stood the test of time, and those that have been underused or discarded.

This year I have not used Animoto, BrainNook, or MangaHigh.  BrainNook and Animoto have increased usage fees.  MangaHigh was less effective for my 2nd graders--they enjoyed the games but couldn't understand or practice the strategies needed.  While I set-up KidBlog, and last year used it quite a bit, this year it seemed too much of a struggle.  I tried implementing a Book Buddies KidBlog with 2nd and 5th graders.  Because we rarely meet, it didn't work.  I also realized that this year's 5th graders were the last 2nd grade class to have just stationery PCs in the classroom.  Their experience in 2nd grade was less about websites and more about Power Point presentations and using Word.  They were not able to assist the 2nd graders in using the KidBlog.  I also have not used Diigo, except for the daily ideas they send by email.

What have been effective are Edmodo, Odyssey, Stupeflix, and Glogster.  Edmodo is simple for 2nd graders to locate and log in to.  They are excited to see activity by friends and teachers.  Edmodo apps such as Go!Animate videos have been a huge hit, although they can't be edited.  Edmodo is given new motivation for using grammar in online communications.  Odyssey has spiffed up a bit in the reports generated, and it has the same developmentally appropriate, TEKS based activities.  Stupeflix produces impressive videos and can be edited and remixed time and again.  Getting to Stupeflix has several steps, but that is workable.  Glogster continues to help students shine.

Dropbox has been very helpful in sharing documents, etc., with teammates.  I am starting to use Evernote.

I am grateful for the new library resources and the continued availability of AR at Westwood.  I am experimenting with and istation.  I wish this had all been available to me as a child.


  1. Interesting to me about Mangahigh as you are the second teacher to have negative comments about it. I would love to visit with you to better understand the issues! Ditto on the comment about GoAnimate not being editable! So, maybe we can connect before the next meeting!

    It appears that you have taken the time to learn a few tools that you have now discards. Question, was the time learning them a waste or did you learn skills that you were able to apply elsewhere? Just wondering because I know that some are concerned about the time it takes to learn.

    There are many time I wish I weren't such an old dog and had learned with many of these tools back when I could remember things!

  2. I love how you are trying things and making decisions about tools that fit your goals and what you want your students to be able to do using technology. And even though you may discard a tool, your students have been exposed and they now have that tool as part of their repository of tech tools--so good job. I have both Dropbox and Evernote--I would like to know which one you prefer and why. There are two schools of thought on AR--why do you like it? If you do use iStation, I would like to know how it compares to Odyssey. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sheri, I love AR because it motivates young readers to evaluate whether their reading skills are adequate or not. Sometimes an object, like a computer, can provide feedback to a reluctant reader that makes a difference. AR calls for quick recall of high frequency words and story elements. I understand it doesn't work for all campuses, but it is crucial on ours.