Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Looooving AudioBoo!!!

I have used numerous audio recorders throughout the years and I have to say AudioBoo is by far the best app and site I have tried. One stop shopping at it's best!

Today I was working with a class of second graders and we were going to record student stories using a site I have used in the past, well that site was not working. None of the apps or sites I have used in the past were going to work for what we needed without having a gazillion steps. The second grade students wrote stories and drew a picture of the character in their story. The classroom teacher, Julie Lariviere, wanted to have her students record themselves reading their story and then create a QR code to add to the poster so that whoever scanned the QR code would be able to hear a student reading their story. So, it was on to plan B. I downloaded AudioBoo after reading that the recordings would be saved to an account. It would be easy enough to generate QR Codes with web addresses for each of the audio files. I was pleasantly surprised that AudioBoo has it's own QR Generator built into the site and can be used on any device. The audio file must be created using the app, but then what you do with the file can be done by logging into your account on a tablet or a computer.

The link to each audio file will look similar to the photo on the left.

Highlights of the site, in yellow:

1. Easy playback.

2. Embed Code for placing the audio directly on a site. (See below for an embedded audio file.)

3. Save directly to iTunes as a Podcast.

4. Generate QR codes.

There are so many great ways to use AudioBoo in the classroom. Here are a few suggestions.

1. fluency
2. verbal directions
3. question of the day
4. audio books
5. message home to parents
6. students answering a question
7. correct answer check - QR code leads students to correct answers.
8. poetry reading
9. scavenger hunts
10. ...and much much more.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Teaching Internet Safety

With the increase in student access to internet ready devices, safety while on the internet and digital citizenship should be addressed throughout the school year. Fortunately in my school district we have a plan for grades 2-5 with set lessons that students will receive each school year. My other half and I teach a specific lesson for each grade level. Classroom teachers address internet safety throughout the school year as well.

In case you are looking for ideas for your classroom or school, here is what we teach consistently for each grade level.

Grade 2

Michelle Ledue, a second grade teacher, and I recorded students talking about what her students learned about internet safety after watching a BrainPopJr video three years ago. Michelle then went on to have students create some cute intros and she put a video together. Since then I have been sharing Michelle's class video with all my second grade students plus show them the BrainPopJr video. After watching BrainPop we have a discussion about internet safety and take the on-line quiz. When taking the quiz as a class, I have students vote on the answers by displaying the number of fingers in the air to have an a=1, b=2, c=3, and d=4. Once we have finished the quiz students create an internet safety digital book or digital drawing. For this project I have used a variety of software, apps, and sites. Some of my favorites: Tar Heel Reader, Book Creator, StoryKit, and KidPix installed on Macs.


Grade 3

Third graders are not usually very shy in front of the camera so it is a great grade level to take advantage of their eagerness to be a star. In third grade we have students watch a couple videos of other students performing skits, talk about internet safety, discuss what they could do to teach others about internet safety, break up into small groups to write and practice skits, then record their skits. I post their work on my website or internet safety wiki and send the videos to our district's television station. Students are so excited to know that they are going to be famous on BETV. The two example skits I have been showing students this year are a skit I found on TeacherTube and one that a group of my third graders made last year, video embedded below.

Grade 4

In fourth grade we have students watch a video showcasing students singing about internet safety as a refresher of what they have learned in previous years and then we focus on social network safety. This is about the age that many students are starting to use social networks in their private lives. They may have been exposed to some during school, like Twitter or Edmodo. Often, in the classroom, the account is managed by the classroom teacher which is a great way to model appropriate use of social networks. However, students are also starting to use similar accounts on their own and it is important that we have conversations with students about being safe. I found a wonderful video that showcases students talking about being safe on social networks. I show this video to students, we talk about being safe, what social networks are, then students pick a social network that they use, and answer some questions in their Google Drive account. This year I had students who were not camera shy let me record them talking about the sites they chose so that I would have another video to share with fourth grade students, embedded below.

Grade 5

The fifth grade lesson focuses on Think Before You Post. Just like the fourth grade lesson, we review previous internet safety tips by watching a different video than the fourth grade lesson showcasing students singing internet safety tips. We discuss the tips mentioned in the song and then we watch the Think Before You Post video. This video is a very strong visual demonstration of how once something is posted on-line anyone can see it and it can never truly be deleted. The video usually generates a good discussion on what should not be posted on-line. Then I have the students write fake Facebook posts either on a Google Doc, Edmodo, or their blog. Next I have students share their posts with classmates. Lastly classmates evaluate each other's posts on whether the fake post would or would not be safe to post on-line.