Plans afoot with diigo and skype

Over the next few weeks in school I’m beginning to push out in some new areas with regards to using technology in the classroom. I’m beginning to feel relatively comfortable and proficient with podcasting, through the use of audacity. I hope in the future to start the process of getting other teachers in my school involved in doing this – currently I seem to be the only one.

This is only one of the elements I want to focus on playing with in my school. I remain incredibly excited about the possibilities of using SKYPE in the classroom, video-conferencing with other students around the world. I’ve noticed that a lot of the schools taking part seem to be American or Australian. Can anyone help me locate some UK schools that are doing this? It would be useful because I’m already worried about the opposition my school might have about using a webcam in school. That’s not intended as a criticism of my school either, I just feel that in British education there’s such a mistrust of these kinds of technologies. Nevertheless, I shall begin the process of delicately asking people there thoughts on whether I could be allowed to do it in my school!

Onto something I will definitely be using with one of my classes next week, Diigo. I have waxed lyrical about this website on here before; I think its wonderful and solves a lot of the problems that we associate with students researching things on the internet. So next week I’m going to get students logged on with their usernames and accounts. My page for my Year 12 English Literature Group currently looks something like this:

y12

 The group page on Diigo for my Year 12 group.

The idea is that tomorrow I will give them two challenges (once we’ve got past the logging in and installing the diigolet feature). Firstly they are all going to have to look at one specific page I have bookmarked for them on W.H. Auden. I will have already highlighted key points on the webpage using Diigolet. They must also leave annotations, using the ‘post-it note’ feature, which we then review later. Hopefully this will introduce them to the annotating features on diigo and encourage to use them on other websites they find. They then need to find a few other websites on Auden and bookmark those too, which the rest of the group will then be able to see.

I shall report back on how it goes; am really excited about it!

 

 Other things I’ve been using this week and discovering that I like them:

  • TinyUrl – ok, so I’m like *well* behind here (and slipping into the voice of one of my students), but I’ve discovered that this is a great time saver. Remember when you write a link on the whiteboard and it can take ages? Especially if you have a HTML extension on it, or lots of dots and slashes. Well TinyURL solves this problem very easily, by condensing the link into something much smaller and much easier to share with your kids. Good stuff!
  • Twitter. Having signed up and been fiddling a few weeks (ahem), jury’s still out on this one for me. Can it genuinley be used for educational innovation? This article would seem to suggest so. I can’t help but get the feeling of it being a little bit ‘cool toy’, but not much else at the moment. That said, a lot of teachers seem to be doing interesting things with it, particularly the really enthusiastic article I just pointed you in the direction of. My username on twitter is ‘andywhiteway’ if you want to add me.