Sunday, November 19

Technology Tools Part - #4: Communication and Pedagogy


On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for Writely was 4.67.

" Writely is a website for both teaches and students. The site allows users to edit, publish and blog documents online. A user can share documents with others if they add them to their list of collaborators or others who can access the document. It is good for teachers and students to use because teachers can view their student’s work online and offer suggestions for revision. Also users are able to organize their documents on the site. This site can be very useful in English or Language arts courses".

This technology tool has been purchased by Google. Use of the Writely tool is obtained through a GMAIL account.


On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for Imagine Learning was 3.89.

“This program is great for our student’s to use in the classroom and at home. It falls in line with the class that we are currently taking (ESL), thus, it has some activities for children to perform that correlates to the methodologies in which will assist in their developmental skills”.

“I think that this is an excellent student and teacher centered technology tool for Tutorial Learning, especially for the ESL students. It is able to individualize instruction for each student and it allows them to monitor their progress on lesson activities. I think it is also a good technology tool for Exploratory Learning because it allows learners to be self-directed and it allows them to manipulate their virtual environment. I think that it can be used as some sort of Application technology tool to complete assignments, but I am not sure if it can be used as a technology tool for Communications”.


On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for Blogger was 3.67.

This blogger website encourages communication with others to allow for dialogue and feedback on whatever the topic is. One could easily publish on the web a thought, comment or opinion that allows for feedback and dialogue, or post photos. It makes communication very convenient in that it allows you to be mobile and upload photos or text through your cell phone for later access. It is very student friendly and easy to use and navigate. Layout is simple to read and understand and great for ESL users”.


On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for LearnOutLoud was 3.33.

“Learn out loud is a website where users are provided with both an audio and visual learning environment. Some of the features include educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts, and DVD videos. Users can learn a foreign language, or even listen to classical music. The website has a directory of many different topics such as education, history, languages, travel, etc. For example, if a user wanted to learn more about Benjamin Franklin, he/she could easily download the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I enjoyed this website because it had a variety of many topics to choose from, and their resources were helpful and easily accessible”.

This software is like most search engines, it gives too many results and you have to be very specific about what you are looking for. This is supposed to be a tutorial software and that is exactly what it is and no more”.


On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for Hot Potatoes was 1.25.

“The concept for Hot Potatoes is a very good one as it allows one to create learning exercises or quizzes to reinforce and check student learning, but it is very difficult to complete the exercise. There are tutorials and very detailed explanations about the design concepts with instructions, which I was initially excited about, but when I tried to navigate my way around to create a sample exercise, I kept getting stuck and couldn’t understand what I needed to do next after I completed the tutorial on a sample question using JMix. I think that the program design needs to be upgraded so that it is user friendly, efficient and easy to use. Also, it would be very useful for it to be flexible in hiding the correct answer or feedback section of the same exercise for the student’s edition and incorporating it for a teacher’s edition”.

Hot Potatoes appears to be intended for teacher construction of tests and other forms of assessment. However, the program may be difficult for people at first glance. Hot Potatoes really does not allow for web exploration. It is designed for document creation. Hot Potatoes assists teachers and students in developing several kinds of assessments. It may not be characterized as incorporating the best use of multimedia. It really does not allow for communication between students or teachers. It is really not designed for online direct communication”.

FREE Technology Tool - Stickam


This might be a FREE technology tool worth testing for classroom use. The Stickam website offers the following introductory information:

"Stickam™ allows you to easily place streaming video, slide show, music, and live video chat on your blog and/or web site. With Stickam™, you can instantly play your videos online using just your web browser. There is no software to download, you just copy and paste the Stickam™ Code into your web site or blog where you want it. Your video can be viewed by virtually anyone with no software to install and will play on any operating system including Linux, Windows and Mac".

Sunday, August 6

Technology Tools - Part #3: Online Utilities


“ [] allows you to upload, and keep, your bookmarks on the web for free. You can access them at any time, from any computer… anywhere!”

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for iKEEPBOOKMARKS was 3.45.

“iKeepBookmarks is a very helpful site for both teachers and students. Users can keep useful bookmarks of websites that they find very useful on this website so that they do not have to keep searching for it again on a search engine. Users can manipulate their environment on the site by describing the types of websites they decide to bookmark. Users can also put their bookmarks into folders. This website is very helpful for many different types of interests from education, gaming or shopping”.

“Although ikeepBookmarks does not do much to help students with work, it does help students remember all of their favorite sites, their user names, and passwords for each site, alongside websites recommended by the teachers”.

Yahoo! Briefcase [] is a tool that allows you to store files online and then access them from anywhere. “You can easily access, edit, share and modify your files anywhere you can access the Internet just by uploading and downloading files through virtually any web browser on any web connection.”

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for YAHOO BRIEFCASE was 3.46.

“Yahoo Briefcase is very easy to navigate and use. It is very self-explanatory (so) that no manual is required. I believe that ESL students could easily use the program without difficulty, provided they are self-directed computer users. Yahoo Briefcase is an extremely practical tool for students to consolidate all the work on the web, allowing them to retrieve and/or edit files anywhere they have access to the computer and the internet. However, it only simply allows one to input, retrieve and edit files and nothing else, like enable it to be multimedia.


Tripod [] on Lycos, established in 1994, is one of the leading personal publishing communities on the Web. Tripod makes it easy for members to create their own web site. With 20MB of web space for your web site, you can have a BLOG and a photo album along with your web site. Tripod also has clip art you can use on your web pages.

No rating available.

Technology Tools - Part #2

Firefox [] was the web browser of choice for the computer lab using Windows XP operating systems because the technicians and original grant writers felt Firefox provided a safer environment and reduced the number of transmitted computer viruses. Originally, only 2 students claimed to have used a browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer to access the World-wide Web.

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for Firefox was 4.41.

“As a browser that enables one to access the internet, f(F)irefox is quite efficient. Processing times are relatively fast and it is easy to navigate. There is also a guide to assist in using the application. There is also a “live bookmarks” feature that allows one to bookmark favorite websites and it updates it automatically for news and events. Because firefox is an efficient browser to access various internet sites, I see it as a technology that supports communication and connection with a variety of people or sources to enhance personal experience and learning as well.“

“It is also an excellent exploratory tool that offers minimal virus and pop up problems.”

This specific content management system, MoodleRooms [], was designed for teaching, learning and communication events. “Moodle is web-based software that helps instructors create online activities for their students with the aim of fostering rich collaborations between participants.”

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for MOODLE was 4.00.

“The MOODLE contains no manual or guide for how to use the site and all its available features. Student has to be directed by teacher for its use. It is easy to navigate and easy to read. Calendar, news and events are all on one page so there is no flipping between pages and layout is very organized. The MOODLE conveniently and efficiently allows students a centralized area for teacher and student communication on assignments, submitting assignments and monitoring feedback and progress on lesson activities. It allows teacher to use links for assignments for efficiency in student obtaining information. The MOODLE is also great as a communication tool, as it allows for chats and discussion forums among all classmates and teacher. However, student is not able to manipulate calendar of events to tailor it for their personal use as well.”

“Moodle … allows students to view, at anytime all the assignments and activities that will be covered in class. Students are also able to monitor their progress by checking their grades on the site. Students and teachers are also able to communicate through forums. This is a very helpful tool for any level of education from intermediate, secondary to the college level.”

“I enjoyed utilizing this on-line assignment organizer. The only disadvantage though is that there were some incidents where I had trouble accessing it from time to time. However, I liked the fact that our professor provided the requirements of each assignment on the page where we upload our files”.

“Students are able to access the website to check their grades, assignments they need to turn in, and participate in forum discussions. We are able to monitor our progress in terms of grades and assignments that we have submitted, as well as upcoming assignments/activities that we will need to start working on. It allows us to be independent and in control of our virtual environment, as well as communicate with our peers and professors.”

“As a technology tool for Exploratory Learning and aside from the links, I do not feel that it (MOODLE) is able to allow learners to be self-directed and to discover facts and at least for me, it is not able to allow learners to manipulate their virtual environment. As a technology tool for Applications, I feel that it was more an informant of assignments and I do not feel that it is able to assist students to incorporate multimedia into their projects. The one thing I do believe that it was really good for is a technology tool for Communications. I think that it is able to support an educational philosophy that values connection, communication, and personal experience as a means of learning.”

Technology Tools - Introduction

For this assignment, students were required to write one short paragraph each for 8 technology tools and assess them for educational purposes. In previous assignments, students practiced in class and then wrote a final draft of their evaluations for educational games and a critical analysis of selected web sites. They were given a rubric of 4 questions to think about when assessing the 5 required technology tools and the 3 tools of their choice from a given resource list. They were prepared, therefore, to write an assessment of specified technology tools. Additional, the instructor requested that they give a rating for each tool of 0 to 5, from poor to excellent. All students were required to write their assessments on the same 5 technology tools that were used for final projects and homework. These tools were as follows: Firefox (the browser of choice), MOODLE (content management system), iKeepbookmarks (bookmark management), Yahoo Briefcase (online file storage), and Tripod (our web server of choice). Students were given a list (with URLs) of approximately 45 other sources from which to choose 1 from each of 3 categories - Communication, Pedagogy, and Miscellaneous. As an entire group, the students completed writing an assessment in class of MOODLE.

Here is a little information on the courses using these technology tools. The undergraduate courses were: ED 451 - Audio Visual Education is the required class for all education majors. ED 481 - Second Language Teaching Methods is a methods class for teachers of second-language learners. The graduate courses were: ED 664 - Bilingual Education: Theory and Practice, and ED 647 - Special Topics in Literacy Education. All courses were taught in computer labs using either the Windows XP operating system or the Macintosh (OS 9.2) operating system.

In this multi-part BLOG, I will share the comments, recommendations and assessments submitted by my students. This first installment will relay the information about 2 of the 5 required tools for assessment: MOODLE and Foxfire. The second installment will relay the information from 3 of the 5 required tools for assessment: Yahoo Briefcase, Tripod and iKeepbookmarks. The third part of this installment will present comments about other tools, such as Writely, Learn Out Loud, and Hot Potatoes.

It is possible that you might be introduced to a new tool or a new way of using a familiar technology tool. There were surprises for me, and I plan to adjust my resource list for next semester accordingly.

Share with me, if you wish, your comments and reactions to my students� assessments of their experiences using technology tools for the Spring 2006 education courses that integrated instructional technology elements. This un-scientific sampling is from 2 sections of ED 451 and one section each of the other 3 courses. For these technology ratings, the n = 20.

Sunday, May 7

Introducing Technology Tools for Pre-Service Teachers

Pre-service teachers in the School of Education at the University of Guam are required to enroll and complete a one-semester course for learning how to integrate technology into their content areas. During the course of the Fall 2005 semester, my first semester as Assistant Professor, the students were introduced to MOODLE. I used the MOODLE software, hosted on a server on Hawaii, to manage the class and provide a small modicum of interaction. The MOODLE of choice for the Spring 2006 semester was hosted in Nebraska, I think.

Creating 2 new classes for the first time, called ‘new preps’ and moving 7,000 miles, required me to wear several different hats, besides just teacher and course administrator. So, I didn’t introduce the students to very many new options for viewing and assessing new technology tools.

However, during the Spring 2006 semester, both my secondary elementary and TESOL students were introduced to several technology tools to use and to review and assess for education purposes within their content areas. In addition to giving my .02 cents worth, I will also give my students’ assssments and feedback about the technology tools that they used for class assignments and those they viewed for possible adoption for themselves.

This BLOG will serve to communicate my ideas and those of my students about easily accessible tools, and especially those that are FREE or of low cost to educators.