How to make timeline fun for students to do?

Well, make them use Timetoast.

Timetoast is a free website that allows you to create timeline as much as you want. As a future teacher, I think that using this website can make it more interesting for the students to create timeline. So, first of all, you have to go to the website to create your account. It is really easy to do. Here is a tutorial that you can watch if you have difficulties to register or understand how it works. Once it is done, you can begin using it.

Timetoast can be used to do many things. One thing that you can do as a teacher is to create a timeline where you will put all the homework assignments that your students have to do for the next class. Also, you can put all the upcoming exams they will have in the next month for example. I think this a good way of using it because often students will not write their homework in their agenda and they will forget to do one worksheet that you gave them. Moreover, they will arrive the day of the exam and they will tell you that they did not know there was an exam today because they did not write it in their agenda. Doing a timeline will solve all those problems.

A way to make your students use it is to do a project on their favorite author, singer or actor. First, they choose the person they want to do their research on. Then they find information on internet and after that they make a timeline of the person’s life.  Example: when the person is born, when did he/she become a celebrity or a famous author, etc. After, you can take the celebrity of every student and make a big timeline of when everyone was born or entered the world of famous people to see who became popular first.

An interesting fact about Timetoast is that you can add pictures about your event that you are adding to your timeline. It makes it more interactive for the students and more interesting to present to the rest of the class after. You can also add links to your event. If you talk about something in class and you ask your students to go deeper in the subject, you can put links on your timeline to guide their research.

However, when you register for free you cannot share your timeline with people. A solution to this problem is that the account you create can be only for your class. This way you can give them the username and the password so they could have access to the timeline you publish. An advantage of having only one account for the whole class can be that if students work in team, each team can create a new timeline for their project and all the students can have access to the work of their classmates. However, you have to explain to your students that they work on their own timeline and if they go see their classmates’ work they have no right to modify it. Also, if you have a blog that you can share with your students you can embed the timeline on it. It is another way of making it accessible to everyone. Finally, when students do project, they can print their timeline and hand it in to you in class.





What is an easy way to make students share their thoughts with other students?

The answer: WordPress.

 WordPress is a website that allows you to create your own blog. It is available since May 27, 2003. Since that day it has been the most popular website used for blogging. However, what is blogging? It is to share posts on a regular basis. Sometimes people post articles about their life, about what is happening on the web or on topics they like. So, it is a way to share your ideas with the whole world, to make new friends, to visit other blogs that share the same interests, etc. Moreover, people can visit your blog, leave comments under your posts, or leave you a private message. Blogging can be compared to social networking service because it is a form of it.

Why should we use it in our classroom?

Because it is free.

However, it is not the only reason why we should incorporate WordPress in our classroom. The fact that it is free makes it available for everyone. One of the reasons why this is a great tool is that it will allow you, the teacher, to share many things with your students and not only with them, with their parents also. But first of all, before doing that you have to create your account and your students and their parents have to do the same thing.  This video is a short tutorial that will explain you how to create your account. If you have more than one class, it is possible to create a blog for each class if you want to on the same account. The only thing that will change is the address of your blog. Once it is done, you can begin to do some posts. You can make some posts about the upcoming exams. You can also post the homework assignments, this way the students will have no reason for having not done their homework because what they have do will be posted on your blog. You just have to make sure that every student is following your blog.

Rebeccah Haines proposed that teachers share their blog with to parents of their students. Parents will love that because they want to know what their children have to do for homework or when are their exams. They want to be implicated in their children’s education. Also, she said that she uses WordPress with her classroom because she feels it is a secure website. A reason why is that your have the option to block to access of your blog so it cannot be found through a Google search. I agree with her and I think there is another reason why teachers should share their blog with parents. It is because if parents have questions they can ask them to you on your blog. Sometimes other parents have the same interrogations, but they are too shy to ask their questions. By answering to their questions, you will probably answer to a lot of parents without knowing it. Also, their children could share their blog with them. So, their parents will be able to see what they are doing.

Furthermore, Deb Kim mentioned that WordPress is a good way of creating an online learning community because everyone will have access to your blog and can have access to other students’ blogs. Students like to have the impression that they belong to a community because it makes them create relationships with the other students in their class.

Another utility of this website was suggested by Michelle Langston. It is to use it to create portfolios. I think that it would be fun for the students to create their portfolios online because it would allow them to learn more about technologies. Also, they could carry it out everywhere they go because it is at the tips of their fingers wherever they can find a computer or a smartphone.

I think that the three ladies suggested great way to use WordPress that I would not have found by myself like using it to create a portfolio. However, I found another utility to this website. If you make your students read a book, they could use WordPress to do a book report. It would be easier than giving them a booklet to fill while they are reading because often they would lose it. If they use their blog, they would have no chance to lose their work because it would be on Internet. Also, for the teacher, it is an easy way of being informed of the work done by their students. They just have to take a look at their blogs and he/she can see where they are in there reading.

Now, the ball is in your hand. It is your turn to add technologies to your teaching to make it more interactive.




Prezi, a new version of Powerpoint?

It is really hard for a teacher to adapt his teaching to every student. Some are visual, others are auditory and some of them need to manipulate things to learn. Every student is different and learns differently. However, for teachers it is quite easy to adapt their presentation to students who are visual and auditory because it is possible to do both at the same time. A couple of years ago, before technology evolve, the teachers were using acetates as a visual support to explain their subject. Today, most of them use PowerPoint as a tool for visual support while they are teaching. Nevertheless, PowerPoint is not the more attractive visual support, there is a new one that just came out called Prezi.

As a future teacher, I would use Prezi and suggest it to my future students for many reasons. This online presentation tool offers three possibilities of registration and one of them is free.  This free option makes the tool available for everyone. One of the advantages of Prezi is that instead of making your presentation on many slides, you create a big map with all your information. When you want to do a Prezi you can use the background canvas the tool proposes or invent your own. Then, you can create bubbles where you can write, you can also import pictures, PDF or any files you have on your computer. After, you are done creating your map, you decide what you want to present first and what will follow. This way, you will be able to move around your map easily.

Another advantage is that you can zoom in and out. This allows you to focus on the most important information. For example, it this Prezi, there is a “slide” that has the word coccinelle in it and if you focus on the point of the letter “I”, you can see the picture of a ladybug. That way, the student will be able to know what the word represents. Also, another way to use the zoom would be: you build your presentation and, in it, you put some examples and you can even put further explanations. However, when you do your presentation to your students, you do not zoom on the examples and explanations because you are giving them aloud. But after the class, you can post your presentation on the portal of the school where every student can go and when they will review for an exam they will be able to go see those examples and explanations if they do not remember what you said. (http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/11/using-prezi-in-the-classroom/)

Also, students are often asked to do mind map on texts they read. There is already many websites that exist for this purporse like Popplet, but Prezi is also an interesting tool because it allows you to move easily around your map. (http://ctl.uregina.wikispaces.net/Prezi)

It is now your turn to try to use Prezi and make energetic presentations for you student!

Why using Dropbox

I discovered Dropbox when I was in Cegep. I used it with the members of my team. It allowed us to share everything we were doing like articles and also the websites we were consulting. It is really simple to use. You just have to download Dropbox on your computer (https://www.dropbox.com/install this link is for PC, but it is easy to find the link for MacBook). You have to create an account, and then you can create a folder that you will share with the people in your team or with who you want to share your stuffs. After, you just put your word documents in it for example and everyone can see it. An advantage is that the people can look at your document, change thing if it is necessary, save it on Dropbox and you will be able to see the modifications. This is only one utility, but there are way more than that.

As a future teacher, I think that it can be very interesting to use this tool with students because it is really easy to use and free. If the students are doing a big research project in teams of four for example, they can create a Dropbox file that all the team members will share together. Also, they will be able to share the folder with the teacher. This fact will make it really easy for the teacher to keep track of how the project is going on, how they work together, etc.

Another way of using it is to create a folder for each of your classes. In those folders, you can put material seen in class, exercises, and important dates. Every student will have access to this folder and will be able to see what you post. Moreover, you can add a place where the students could ask their questions and everyone could benefit of the teacher’s answers or their peers’ answers. Often, teachers pass a lot of documents in class and there is always one student that loses his/her document. Next class, they arrive and say that he/she didn’t do his/her homework because they had lost their document. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it is just a reason for not having done their homework. So, if after each class you put the documents distributed in class on Dropbox, students will have no reason to have not done their homework (http://www.billselak.com/2012/dropbox).

Furthermore, the teacher can create a folder for each student of his/her class. In this folder, the student will hand in assignments or projects. Only the teacher will be able to see it. Then he/she corrects the homework, marks it and after the student can see his/her grade and the mistakes he/she had made or each student can do a portfolio that he/she will share with his/her (http://www.kentonlarsen.com/2013/09/using-dropbox-in-education-50-million.html).

It is also possible to use it for our own personal stuffs because you can have access to all the things you put on Dropbox from any computers, smartphones and iPad.  Example, if you begin to prepare an exam at school and you don’t have time to finish it before leaving for home, you save it on Dropbox. When you will be at home, you will be able to open the file on your own computer and finish what you had begun (http://plpnetwork.com/2012/08/10/dropbox-a-superb-classroom-tool/).

So, Dropbox is a wonderful tool to use in class because it’s easy to access and use.