Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Latest Projects and Technologies of the Week

Since our last update via blogging as a class, we have accomplished a lot. Our two most recent projects were a WebQuest and a Google Earth activity. I really enjoyed the WebQuest because I was assigned data analysis. However, I'm horrible at math so I had to come up with something creative and fun-- for my sake. So I started thinking about current events that had to do with data. Then it hit me, the 2010 Census! So I began to work and came up with a pretty creative project that is suited for middle elementary students. I had them explore the U.S. Census' website for kids. Next, they had to gather information about the state of Illinois and a state of their choice. They first had to answer general questions about them then I had them look at numbers for amounts of toy stores, ice cream shops, theme parks, etc. Finally they graphed their findings in a bar graph. I also provided a website link that showed them step-by-step instructions of how to make a bar graph.

Our latest project, Google Earth was also interesting. I chose to have my students take a tour and gather information about the "Seven Wonders of the World". I liked this topic because each wonder is located in such a different place than the next. The tour I created went all over the world to show them how vast and different each place was. In the activity itself, I had YouTube videos linked to each question so they could actually see the wonder itself. I also linked Wikipedia pages to them as well so they could get a little bit of background information on each place. I had them conclude with an essay question that follows, "If you could nominate an eight wonder of the world, where would it be and why?" That way, students could pick a place they may have been or wished to go. It was a great social studies activity for the students.

Lastly, we have touched on a few technologies of the week. I really enjoyed iClicker and Jing. Each of those could definitely be used to make learning in the classroom more fun. I liked Jing because you could take really clear screen shots of anything you were doing. A student could use that technology for any sort of class or group project. I also liked the use of iClicker. It seems like a great way to get instant feedback on questions. I also like that it keeps information neatly stored for you (grading). I would love to have an iClicker station in my classroom one day. Overall I have really enjoyed all of the projects and technologies we have been working with lately, they have all proved themselves very useful and creative.

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