Ali Dixon
August 3, 2011
Cool Tools Review and Application Plan

I. Going Multimodal with Xtranormal and Voki
Hiller Spires

Before the Xtranormal and Voki session I did not have any background knowledge of the tools. The presentation inspired me to use Voki as the foundation of the inquiry question for the conference. The session was straight forward and engaging. Several examples from a fellow teacher were beneficial to reveal special features. These features included recording a voice via cell phone and using a classroom photo for background. Hiller left ample time for joining the sites and questions. Xtranormal was usable for all age groups and the practical advice of time limits and structured instructions was helpful.

I visualize putting Xtranormal and Voki into action as an instructor for projects and classroom introductions. The personal and famous figure avatar capabilities in Voki allow for a broad use by teachers and students. The specific application plan would be for students to select a famous figure from history. Then they will be able to write a script for the character and present it to the class. Also, I could use Voki or Xtranormal to present an idea to the class.

II. Seeking Socrates with Duffel
Jonathan List

Duffel is a fantastic tool for use in and outside of the classroom. Jonathan did a great presentation that was engaging and practical. His creative idea would be realistic for multiple classroom settings. I liked the way we had time to enroll in the site and then create our own page. The idea to think laterally about online tools was a perspective I held out for the remainder of the new literacies conference.

I see Duffel as tool to be used by students for field trips, classroom projects or personal travels. As a future teacher, I would like to take students on trips across town and the world. Duffel is a way to engage students prior to take off and allow for individual input from everyone. The ability to link to Google map locations and videos is practical and exciting. Specifically, social studies content for middle school could focus on virtually visiting a particular North Carolina city or region.

III. Collaborative Literacy: Using Free Google Tools to Turn Your Classroom into a Thriving Learning Community
(Jill Castek, facilitated by John Lee)

It would only be fitting for a new literacies conference to have a virtual session live via Skype video phone. The focus of the session revolved around creating a special search through Google. This application seems practical but there was not an opportunity to create one because of time constraints. In the future, the session would be more effective if it is longer and more interactive. The room was very crowded and no collaboration occurred with other teachers in the session. Great idea but teaching execution needs tweaking.

Creating a specific search in Google for students is helpful for the subject of social studies. An application could be for a unit researching world leaders and limiting the search to sites that are reliable and safe for students to visit. Sites can continue to be added and eliminated as used to easily adapt and improve results. The search can be placed on a personal Web site to concentrate the results. Today, teachers have to be cautious of harmful sites and Google search narrows out this possibility for all ages.

IV. VoiceThread: Creating Digital Stories in Voice Thread
Bethany Smith

The VoiceThread Cool Tools session was one of my favorites because of Bethany’s energy and excitement throughout the meeting. She used a student to model signing up for the service and helped everyone enroll. The time was nicely balanced between instruction and practical application. After this session, I was eager to learn more about VoiceThread and how to utilize it in the classroom.

Bethany’s extensive list of applications gave me several ideas for future use. Specifically, for middle grades social studies VoiceThread would be applied to an image about an historical event. The students would be able to record their commentary on the photograph. The commentary would include why the image was chosen and the significance of it. This would provide an opportunity for students to strengthen their verbal skill set.

V. GlogsterEdu: Hook, Line & Sinker
Andrea Gambino
Andrea was a perfect model for GlogsterEdu as a seventh grade social studies teacher with a master in new literacies. She gave a clear presentation with details on how to implement the online poster tool in the classroom. I did not know about the Web site before hand and left feeling equipped to use it. The presentation included helpful visuals and examples.

Specifically, I will use Glogster as an option for class projects and review materials. Students can use it to create a study chart for a topic or present for an individual or group assignment. In the subject of social studies the topic could be a unit on North Carolina governors. Students can watch the tutorial video and view each others projects at school or at home.

VI. Prezi
Manning Pruden

Prezi is another top new literacies tool I plan to implement in the classroom. Manning gave a clear presentation that was engaging and realistic. She gave us enough time to join the site and walked us step-by-step through the creation process. Even though I have had prior experience with Prezi, I learned additional ways to use it. The feature of zooming in and out and creating a visual of importance with weight on size was especially helpful.

In the classroom, I will use Prezi as an alternative to PowerPoint. Students can do Prezi presentations for the class on a unit. The feature of size and media components will increase the creative aspect of digital media. I envision students catching the view of Prezi and desiring it over traditional PowerPoint and outline note taking. Students could implement Prezi for a project on historical figures or geographic location and include new literacies such as YouTube, text, PDF files, VoiceThread, Voki and Wordles.