Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Access YouTube

If you are a regular user of YouTube, you will already have come to the realization that it can be overwhelming to try and find videos for instructional purposes.  Unless you have a specific video in mind, it can be a challenging task to try and find what you are looking for, due in part to the layout of the website.  I recently read a blog post that had information on an accessible YouTube searching tool.  Check out http://accessyoutube.org.uk for an easy-to-navigate web tool.  The search bar is enlarged in size, search results are displayed in an organized array, and all of the same YouTube content is brought forth once the search terms have been entered.  Accessible buttons appear once you have selected a video, allowing users with low-vision or those requiring a more organized display to easily search and view videos.

access youtube

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Curriculum Focus Presentation

On Friday February 7, I was fortunate enough to present to a small, but enthusiastic group of colleagues on technology that could be used with senior years students.  Here is the presentation that I created for the session, which pulls pedagogical ideas about technology together with practical tech tools to transform teaching and learning.  I very much appreciated having the opportunity to sit down with other tech enthusiasts to hear about the tech tools that they use and love in their daily instructional practices.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Digital Notetaking

Notetaking is one of the most dreadful tasks that high school students can conjure up in their minds.  Never having learned or been taught how to take proper notes, it was a bit of a guessing game when I first starting having to record what my teachers presented in class, commencing around grade 7.  It was one of those things that you were expected to learn through osmosis, similar to how I recall learning how to read. There wasn't an explicit way I was taught- I seemed to pull those skills out of thin air.
Jennifer Hart and Allison Papke, doctoral candidates at the University of South Florida, presented some practical strategies that students can use to take a proper set of notes on the second day of the Florida Educational Technology Conference.  One of the first strategies presented in their Get Caught Passing Notes presentation, was using the Cornell Note-taking system, which has students structure their notes using a graphic organizer.  Check out this helpful video here, which clearly outlines the process.  As participants, we were given an article and asked to go through the process of summarizing the article using this outline.  I found it incredibly useful and wished I had heard of this technique years ago.  Jennifer and Alison suggested that this technique be presented to all students, taking the time to go through and model each step of the process.  You can copy and use the template that was shared with participants here.
What I enjoyed most about the session other than the above mentioned tool, was the fact that the presenters discussed tech tools I had never heard about.  One of them was Canva, which allows users to create a infographic using pictures and text.  It was pretty user-friendly and new to me.  An easy way to cite references is to use citelighter, which, if you are a regular user of Google Chrome, can also be added as an app to your browser.  Simply highlight text from an online article and the app will cite a reference in APA, MLA, or Chicago format.  Jennifer and Alison presented  few other amazing tech tools, including my favourite, Evernote. This comes in both a web based and app form.  If you haven't heard of any of these technology tools, then I would highly suggest checking out these great apps that can be used to assist students at the middle and senior years level.