Throwww

This is another reflection that I created using a different anonymous blogging platform: Throwww.  This website is so easy to use: type in your title, type the body of your post, and get a link to share it.  No logins necessary (unless you want to comment–then you need to link to your Twitter account).

Here is what the homepage looks like:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 4.33.36 PM

As you can see, simple and clean.

Here is a post that I wrote about using audio recorders, MP3 players, digital cameras, and video cameras in the classroom.  Since I didn’t use all of these types of tools in my classroom last year, I also wrote about how I would like to use some of these tools in my classroom this year.  The full text is below:

Peripheral Instructional Tools

These tools are very easy to implement in the classroom since most people have access to them on their phone or tablet.

Digital audio recorders
I have thought about using an audio recording feature to give feedback to my students. Last year, when my class was doing a novel study, the students wrote short reading responses on post-it notes. I collected the books each day to look at their responses, and then I wrote each student a note about what they did well on their responses and goals for the next day. While this was valuable, and very personalized, for my students, it took such a long time that I don’t think it is sustainable over the long term. I think that kind of personalized feedback would be a lot faster using an audio recorder. This summer I learned about Voxer. Voxer allows you to text and share voice messages with people without sharing your phone number (a definite perk for teachers). It would be so easy for me to give feedback to my students on Voxer and then they could ask me questions about it right through this app (it is also a website).

MP3 player
I think it would be really fun to have students try podcasting this year. I am a huge fan of podcasting, and I listen to a wide variety of podcasts for both personal (cooking, news, TV shows, sports) and professional (books, science instruction, pedagogy) purposes. While some podcasts are not appropriate for children, podcasts are quick and easy to listen to with a wide variety of devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones). I think it would be fun to have students create podcasts as short formative or as part of larger, more comprehensive summative assessments. We could also listen to them as a preview to a new topic (in class or as homework) or use them as a discussion starter.

Digital camera
I used my iPad (which acted as my digital camera for all intents and purposes) to document student learning all the time last year. I posted pictures on my class’s Facebook account so that parents could see what we were up to during the day. My parents really liked it! Since I will be teaching older students this year (5th grade vs. 2nd grade), I would love to have my students take over more the documenting and posting role in the classroom. It would be interesting to see what they think is important to document and share with their families. Plus, I think it would encourage them to do high-quality work because their classmates will be on the lookout for good work to post.

Video camera
I think video cameras would be a great self-monitoring tool. My students will be doing a large presentation at the end of the year, so we will be doing a lot of smaller presentations to prepare them for that one. It would be good for them to get to watch their own presentations and evaluate them. They could use these evaluations to look for presentation strengths and weaknesses and help them create goals for their next presentations. While I have never used this in the classroom in this way (I have recorded presentations for myself and to share with parents), I think it would give them some practice with self-regulation.

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I definitely plan on using a tool like Throwww in my classroom to introduce my elementary students to blogging.  I like that it is anonymous, easy to use, and has a clean interface.  I could see my students using this tool for reading reflections, sharing thoughts on a long-term project, science experiment write-ups, and any writing assignment.  Students could write a post at home or at school and share the link with me or their classmates.  A simple way to get students to write for an authentic audience.
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