Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EasyBib Classroom 2.0

I HATE doing bibliographies, I find them time consuming and an all together pain--what type does the professor want, how many sources are required, etc. I have used KnightCite for years to do my bibliographies, but yet I wonder why I don't understand the process. EasyBib is a step in the right direction for helping to stop this problem. The program does most of the work for you, but the creators intended for it to be: accurate, quick, and to learn the process of making a bibliography.

Throughout the discussion the creators described the features, and they go beyond making a bibliography. The program has many useful writing tools that would have been a lot more helpful a week before I graduated from high school rather than a week before I graduated from college!!! There are outline tips, note taking tips, brainstorming ideas, the list goes on and on.

This is going to really impact the way we look at bibliographies. Does anyone really need an APA guidebook like I have in my bookshelf? Probably not, (small disclaimer: the free aspect of EasyBib includes MLA) things like EasyBib and KnightCite are going to basically eliminate the need for those guidebooks. The benefit is that we are not eliminating the GUIDE out of guidebooks, just books. The sites are still teaching the importance of citing materials and finding credible sources, but there will be no 300 page book to thumb through to find an answer.

Bibliographies are important in every class in secondary education, but are primarily taught in English classes. It is my job as a social studies teacher to carry what the English teacher is instructing over to my classroom. I will incorporate this into my own classroom because I am so clueless about bibliographies that I need the guidance that EasyBib offers. I also hope to use the resources provided regarding research as a guide for my students. What a great and FREE tool to use to prepare my students for their future!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Around the World Tour and Final Reflections

This quest was kind of challenging to me. I struggled to find 10 locations. Many places I assumed would have Second Life destinations did not, like the White House! I was surprised. Overall, after reflecting on my experience I am happy to say I am done. I am glad I experienced Second Life, but really it just overwhelmed me. I need more practice before I even think about incorporating it in my classroom. I hope that I can practice a little this summer, and maybe look into how other history teachers use it in their classroom.

Here is my Around the World Tour:

The Grand Canyon is a rock formation in Western United States. Explore the area and enjoy your time out in the good ol' West.

Dubai is a up and coming city in the United Arab Emirates. The culture is rich in this city, check out the gorgeous area.

Right in my backyard, and yet I've never been. Good thing we have Second Life, I was able to check out the famous President's faces on the rock.

The Taj Mahal is an iconic location that has many interesting discoveries along the way.

Walk the long stretch of the bridge, or you can conveniently teleport to different spots on the huge landmark.

A whole continent for this landmark? It's that good, explore the many aspects of Australia in one easy to navigate location.

Head on up to see Lady Liberty up close and personal. You'll never get a view of her like this.

Not exactly a landmark, but it is such an important aspect of our nation's history. Check out the culturally rich museum.

We'll always have Paris....and with Second Life you can visit Paris from the comfort of your own home (or in my case since my home internet cannot handle Second Life the comfort of the labs at school).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Touring Historical Landmarks

I just wrapped up another quest in the GameLab. I spent a lot of time on this quest because I thought it this Quest was probably the most beneficial when thinking about education and Second Life. I chose the historical note card because it interested me the most. I was excited to check out all of the locations and wanted to spend some quality time in each one to see it from my student's prospective.

The first location was the WWI recreation site. There was a literacy twist to this place, a lot of transcripts, poems, etc. There was also a recreation of the trenches, which I got to experience first hand from my avatar's perspective. Of course, we will never be able to really experience what it was like in the trenches this was fairly accurate. There were planes flying over, and the noises made it really life-like. The literacy twist made this really applicable for today's education standards. NCLB focuses so much on literacy and math, I think it is really important to incorporate reading and literacy into my social studies class. This location gave me a few ideas on how to do so.

The Utah location reminded me so much of Oregon Trail!!! It's this generations Oregon Trail:) I didn't get too much into this location because there were a lot of rules and I wasn't sure if I was breaking one and didn't want to get kicked out!! I think if I had a little more background and/or could contact the creator this would be something I would use in my classroom. The students would have to get dressed in the clothes, get ready to live in a simulated world.

Obviously the US Holocaust Memorial Museum was really my favorite aspect of this trip. WWII and the Holocaust are two of my favorite topics in history--it really is a shame we don't get to devote an entire class to that time period in most high schools. That time period really shaped the rest of our history and the Holocaust has shown us what a genocide is, and we can relate it to many of the current genocides that have occurred in our recent history. Literacy was prevalent here too! After wandering around the museum and looking at the exhibits the goal is to be able to report what happened on Kristallnacht and how the Jewish people were feeling during that time. The note cards were really informative without being too wordy, most were a paragraph.

There were a few links that did not work or that I wasn't too excited about. Cherokee Island wasn't available, and I was bummed I thought this one would be really exciting. The Parthenon loaded, but I was on an island. I realize Greece is an island--but I've been to the Parthenon in person and it was marble and rock not grass:) The Great Wall of China was a little disappointing too, I don't know if I just wasn't into it at the time. I thought there were too much going on around me and SL was running very very slow.