By now you’ve probably seen an infographic or two – they are popping up everywhere. Infographics are an interesting way to display statistics for the media center, whether to administrators or to teachers and students. I also think this has tremendous potential in the classroom as a meaningful way for students to represent information. However, they are not easy to create for those of us who are not graphic designers. That’s where Piktochartcomes in handy!
I’ve played around with and it’s easy enough to use that I’ve recommended it to one of my teachers that is willing to try new web tools with her students. After creating an account, Piktochart provides 5 templates to choose from. (Think making a brochure with Publisher.) Our plan is to have kids use piktochart to represent each time period in American Lit. Last year she said her students had trouble connecting one time period to the next, so we’ll be sure to include that as a requirement in the infographic (i.e. What were the people in this time period reacting to from the previous time period?) We’ll print them and use them in the classroom as a refresher before tests.
I’ll try to remember to update this post after we complete the project. In the meantime, I wish everyone the best for a happy and productive school year!
~Holly Frilot, CHHS Media Center
Over the past two years I have worked with the Senior Language Arts teacher to change the “Senior Memory Book Project” into a digital “Senior Portfolio.” Different teachers have varations of the requirements, but basically it includes selections from personal writings they have completed over the year, thoughtful answers to cumulative questions, and illustrations of some kind (pictures, videos, etc.).
Talking about presentations tools with students is one of my favorite things to do. We’ve been working with Prezi, Popplet, SlideRocket, and Mixbook. All of these tools offer something a little different, but they also allow a student to share a link with a teacher. This is important for us, since many teachers want to have something they can refer back to when grading without having to deal with knowing student log-ins and passwords. However, I do warn students to be careful with the personal information they post, as most of the “free” tools are public.
If you know of any other free, student-friendly presentation tools, please comment!
Gail Giles, a YA author that has appeal to guys, girls, high and low level readers, Skyped into Collins Hill HS a few weeks ago. I was a nervous wreck, anticipating the many things that could go wrong when you combine teenagers, technology, and the first attempt at something new. However, it was a resounding success! Gail Giles was witty and fun, and our students did a wonderful job asking questions and keeping the conversation going. If you want to see the highlights, see our short video here. If you want more details, keep reading…
Amy Golemme, my co-media specialist, and I brainstormed authors that would have mass appeal. Gail Giles was our first thought, so I took a shot in the dark and emailed her. She emailed back quickly and we got the details planned out – one test session a few days before, then 2 sessions during our 2nd and 3rd periods. We decided to use the media center to keep it cozy and inviting, rather than a larger space like the commons area or theater. I made signs for the hallways and classrooms and the media center. I went into all the 9th and 10th grade LA classes to promote it. Students that wanted to participate had to read at least one of her books, answer a few questions, and write a few questions they’d like to ask her. For those students, I gave them a pass out of class during 2nd or 3rd period and they were our VIPs. I also invited two language arts classes per session and any media specialists from the around the county that could come.
In Gwinnett, we aren’t allowed to use Skype, but we do have an alternative – Polycom and the Blue Jeans network. We use those tools and the author uses Skype. Kevin Tomlinson from the county was excellent technical support for us and helped put my technology fears to rest. On the day of the event, we set up about 80 chairs in the media center, created VIP seats, put out a breakfast spread, set up the technology, and hoped for the best! Gail came on, introduced herself, and then we had the students come up to the computer to ask questions. We had a webcam and external mic hooked up to my laptop. The students asked good questions, and Gail was entertaining, funny, and informative. When I polled the students after the event, they all said they had a positive experience and many expressed interest in doing it again. One student even turned in a top ten list of authors she’d like to Skype with!
If you have any questions or want templates for signs, the handout students filled out, or any other details, don’t hestitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 770.682.4126. It was a lot of work, but a great experience for us and for the students.
Holly Frilot, Collins Hill High School
Hello everyone, my name is Greg Odell. This is my initial post on the GLMA Blog. I am honored to be asked to contribute here. I work as an e-Learning Specialist with Hall County Schools, and I am in my 15th year as a teacher including 7 years as an elementary media specialist. I look forward to the conversation.
If you were asked what the ideal 21st century classroom should include, would you include an interactive white board (IWB)? Do they really change instruction in today’s classrooms, or do they encourage teachers to hold on to traditional practices? I’m still trying to make up my mind on this issue. I welcome your comments. Thank you.
Hall County Schools
I know I waste a lot of paper when I try to print out a web page and some of the words are cut off or when the part of the page I want to print isn’t what actually comes out of the printer. Here are three nifty little tools that help with that problem. Each includes a bookmarklet you can add to your toolbar for quick use, which could be very handy on media center computers.
I don’t think you actually need all three and it might just confuse students to see three choices. Readability and Joliprint are the easiest. I’d give my vote to Joliprint, which turns the blog/wiki/web site’s content into a very nice looking pdf.
Georgia Southern University