Using Aviary for Podcasting w/ Your Students!

Aviary is a fantastic site that allows you to create just about anything! I love the podcasting feature which is what I’m going to show in this screencast!

Here are some examples of what my 2nd graders were able to do on their own! (Seriously, I didn’t help them at all).

Students reading Skating on Thin Ice

Student reading Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom

Check out my other post on how to use Podcasts in your classroom!

Speeding Train-21st Century Skills

“Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world and those who are not”. –Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The world is like a speeding train and education is like a bicycle trying to race it. It seems like we will never catch up. We are just going to keep peddling until we get too exhausted to go on. When that exhaustion hits, we go back to the old ways of doing things and say it is too hard to go on. As for myself, I am going to keep peddling. I am peddling for my past students, my current students and my future students.

We need to become energized again. Teachers need to get excited about what they are teaching.

We need to wake up!

Teaching used to be linear. (I say “used to be” loosely because some teachers are stuck with that mindset).You teach math, close your math books, get out your reading books, close your reading books, go to recess, etc. But there are teachers out there who are turning their classrooms into exhilarating, challenging and non-threatening environments where their students are growing. Their students are being shaped to become respectful, contributing members of today’s world. A framework called the 21st Century Skills has been out since 2004, but I believe it has become more prevalent with the way the world is rapidly changing around us.

Teachers can no longer talk at their students and blame the students on the outcome of their grades or test scores. We need to partner with our students to give them the skills they need to join this society. The 21st Century skills give an outline, an explanation and resources to change the face of education. It may sound crazy, but I agree with everything that P21 says.

P21 gives an outline of what students are going to need when they get out into the real world. (They work alongside the Core Standards provided by each state).

Learning and Innovation Skills

Information, Media and Technology Skills

Life and Career Skills

We need to be teaching these “lifeskills” through our academic lessons. We can no longer hope that our students are getting the skills they need from basic linear lessons. With everything technology has to offer us, we have the opportunity to enhance our lessons so they incorporate what the 21st century skills suggest.

Check out this video I found on 21st Century Skills made by high schoolers in a Social Studies class. This pretty much sums it up.

To get a better understanding of what this framework is all about, check out Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic!

Prezi-PowerPoint on Steroids

I teach second grade and I expect my students to be able to do a simple Google search for an image, save it to a folder, then upload it to various places. By the end of the year, I can take my students to the computer lab and watch them create projects that seem like middle school students would be creating. They are up and helping each other search for images and upload those images to various places.

In showing them different sites, my students fell in love with Prezi.comThis is a tool that allows you to take a once linear approach to a presentation and make it three dimensional and engaging. It uses a canvas-like approach as opposed to slides. It is a free site that I guarantee, once you use it, you will wonder why you haven’t before. I personally use it for many lessons that I teach my students, but my main focus this past school year was to get my students creating their own Prezi’s. They can be very basic to very complicated, but even the most basic Prezi is very engaging and interactive.

It can make a boring book report turn into an interactive journey!

There are many ways to use Prezi within your lessons. Some examples are: studying vocab words or spelling words, sequencing a story, learning grammar (nouns, verbs, etc.), or simply giving a presentation on a topic.  Here is a link to one of my student’s prezi’s!

I created an All About Me Prezi to share with my students. I then had my students create one for themselves to share with their classmates. This would be a great project for the first few months of school!

The possibilities that Prezi.com offers are endless! They have recently added a feature where you can download the Prezi Desktop allowing you work on Prezi’s offline.

Here are some other helpful tips when starting at Prezi.com!

1. Sign up for an Educator’s License (It’s free!)-If you teach lower grades, use one email address and one password and have your students use the same account. That way you can monitor their Prezi’s easier. Upper-elem, middle school, and high school students can use their own email address.

2. Watch the tutorial video prior to making your Prezi.

3. Practice, practice, practice before showing your students how to make one.

4. Remind your students to make their path. (My students often forgot this. Without a path, your presentation is incomplete).

5.You can now upload youtube videos! (As well as pictures) This makes your Prezi that much more interactive!

Prezi.com is constantly adding new features to their site that make using Prezi in your classroom more user friendly. Within the past few months, they have added a feature called the theme wizard where you have more choices for color and fonts. They have also added a feature where you can upload your PowerPoint slides to your Prezi!

As I said before the possibilities are endless! Give it a try!