Thing 11: Choose Your Own Adventure

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Skitch
skitch
Whether by itself or paired with Evernote, Skitch is a pretty nifty tool for annotating and sharing pictures, maps, websites, and even making your own diagrams. Below are some tips on how I use some Skitch functions.


1. Diagramming an idea
a. Choose blank when you open SkitchScreenshot_2015-04-26-21-48-21

b. Note the 2 buttons you can click upon opening a workspace: one gives the option to change the color and size of your pen, font, or drawing tool…
April 26, 2015 101148 PM GMT+0800

and the other shows the tools you can use such as quick stamps (√ or X), shapes, text, arrows, pens, and highlighters

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c. Once you’re comfortable with the tools available – where to find them and how to modify their size, color, you can quickly start diagramming some ideas
Diagram comparing  solutes with different surface areas

Diagram comparing solutes with different surface areas

d.  When you are finished, click Done at the top left of your screen. You can also share it via bluetooth, G+, and other integrated apps or save it to  your gallery by clicking the options on the top right.
 done


2. Annotating webpages
a. Choose web from the menu, and type in the webpage you want to annotate and share
Screenshot_2015-04-26-21-47-06

b. use the tools to highlight, stamp, or draw attention to specific portions of the website.
Screenshot_2015-04-24-13-03-33c. When you are finished, click Done at the top left of your screen. You can also share it via bluetooth, G+, and other integrated apps or save it to  your gallery by clicking the options on the top right.


I chose this app because it is intuitive to use – it took minutes to figure out key functions, modify tools, import files, and so on. If you can figure out Paint, Skitch would be no problem.
I like that I can use it to emphasize key features and information in websites, text, or pictures which is very useful for ESL students. It’s great that I can search maps or websites or pictures directly from Skitch, and there’s no need to take screenshots from Google Maps or a web browser. Also, it’s very easy to share your work online or via bluetooth once you’re finished.
I’d recommend it to teachers who need to illustrate repeated or multi-step processes in computer programs, especially those with complicated and numerous tools/menus in the sciences. Since it can also be used to search for and annotate maps , it can also be used as a tool in Geography.
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Teach It!: Infographics

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I taught a former co-teacher and one of my ESL teammates how to use Canva and infogr.am for infographics. I didn’t do much “teaching”, except point out how to use some functions and look at some tutorials and examples.

I forgot about it until I saw a banner my teammate made and some infographics for an online course she was taking. The styles, fonts, and filters were familiar – those were definitely done on Canva!

An Infographic on Second Language Immersion (courtesy of Jacky Mateo)

An Infographic on Second Language Immersion (courtesy of Jacky Mateo)

As for my former co-teacher, apparently she impressed everyone in her graduate class with her professional-looking graphic on World Englishes which she did on infogr.am.

Now I know how it feels to convert someone 😀

So far, they’re using it for their personal and professional infographic needs, but I think we can definitely integrate it in our classes, particularly for English for Academic Purposes, and even share it with our ESL students. A new way of presenting information is always a welcome respite from the much abused Powerpoint presentations.

Thing 10: Google +

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I have used Google+ previously, and while it looks promising for professional use, the most important thing is getting people on it in the first place. As some people put it, Google+ feels like a ghost town sometimes, compared to Facebook.

I see how some teachers have adopted it in their classrooms at the beginning of the year, but using it consistently is another thing, especially when there are other options to upload content in like blogs, or shared folders. So what can be done in Google+ better than with other sites or tools?

googleplus

Sample Google+ group for Biology classes

I think Google+ can be potentially used in facilitating online discussions and sharing content related to topics discussed in class. I can see how students would be encouraged to participate by uploading interesting links or commenting on an article or a question posted by the teacher.

It is also easy to group posts or links together through tags. Since it can also be integrated with Google calendar, announcements, reminders, and homework can be posted, all in the same page. It would be interesting to see how the High School will push towards using G+ with students.

Thing 9: Twitter

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Twitter is the last thing I would associate with education or professional development, never having used it before. But this Thing changed my mind. After setting up my account and following some people, my skepticism changed when I saw this on my homepage:

twitterhome

Some of the wonderful Twitter profiles I’m following

I don’t know if I could have come across this information on my own on any search engine. With wonderful people (Twitterers? Tweeters?) sharing ideas, materials, and inspiration, I realized Google need not be my only go-to for resources. I appreciated the resources on which hashtags to check out. Two of my favorites are #flipclass and #mlearning. I’ll definitely be using Twitter professionally – I still need to get the hang of Tweetdeck though.

Thing 8: Digital Storytelling

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I may have enjoyed this assignment too much. There are so many stories to tell, whether your own or other people’s, but special times call for special stories. As I was doing this assignment, I heard the happy news of my close friend’s engagement, and the story just picked itself.

This is the love story of Angela Manalang-Gloria, a writer I admire. Or rather, this is her love story, told in her own words, crafted into a poem.

The challenging part for me was finding the best (free-to-use) pictures to capture the imagery of the poem. However, for other storytelling projects, finding good images might be easier.

I once used digital storytelling for a “Ten-Shot Tale”- The goal was to help my students create a story in ten pictures or less. Only after taking pictures and sequencing them were they allowed to write anything down for their story. I felt it helped them write better, seeing the imagery they had to describe.

 

 

 

Thing 7: Infographics

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I’m a huge fan of infographics, especially the ones I see on informationisbeautiful.net. For teachers, it is especially important, because a well-done infographic can explain more things than an entire wall of text can. And for new-to-English students suddenly immersed in content subjects like science and geography, this could be a lifesaver.

I had fun creating infographics with Canva. I love how easy it is to drag, drop, and resize text and images here. Also, Canva emails mini-tutorials on how to make better graphics and posters. However, when it comes to graphs, charts, and videos, I believe Infogram is the better choice. Canva has graphs and charts, but you can’t input your own data – the percentages and proportions seem to be just for show. Infogram, however, has a variety of ways to present and organize information, which can be edited to reflect the users’ data.

I would recommend Canva for presenting ideas that don’t have too many numbers – maybe to summarize key points in a story or article we are reading in class. I would definitely use Infogram for facts, figures and other data that would be better presented in graphs, maps and charts.

An Infographic made with Canva

An Infographic made with Canva

Thing 6: Organizing and Saving Content Online

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For link hoarders like me, Thing 6 is exactly what I need to get my references and webpages organized: finally, I can unclutter the overused bookmarks bar in my poor browser.

I used Evernote for classes, and by itself it’s an okay program for lecture notes. As long as you’re not doing any heavy formatting or editing, it has enough features for a student’s needs. But it really becomes more useful when you include add-ons like the Web-clipper (to save/edit content from the web) and Skitch (for pictures and drawings). One feature I like is how you can organize individual notes or saved pages into notebooks and share them with people. I would use Evernote for things that need to be organized for future reference, like journals, articles or pages for graduate school and for work.

evernote

Pocket is really nice although it doesn’t offer editing. Still, I like how it automatically downloads articles I’ve saved online so I can read them even when I’m offline. I would love for it to be able to group links, whether into folders or notebooks, like Evernote does. I think I would use it more for articles or pages that are light reading or random, interesting things occasionally encountered on the web.

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