Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tool # 11 - Reflections

Several new tools (new to me that is) are currently my favorites--Diigo and my RSS feed.  I am able to find and organize so much more relevant (to drama) information now.  I will be able to pull up articles and point students to helpful sites.

For example, I didn't realize that another Roald Dahl book has been made into a musical.  On my RSS feed there is an article about the Royal Shakespeare's production of Matilda.  Since we are doing Willy Wonka (also by Roald Dahl), Matilda will be an interesting production to follow (coming to New York in March of 2013). The web has an overwhelming amount of information--much of it irrelevant or untrustworthy.  Having tools to sift through and sort the helpful information will be a useful time saver and an effective research tool.

I can't say my thinking about the 21st learner was transformed, but ramped up for sure.  My subject, theater, is aesthetic and hands on.  Technology will not change the basic way we work as performers and crew, but it will enhance our endeavors.  The digital devices will give us access to new information and new experts.  I hope they will also inspire the students to work harder and be more creative.

I was surprised by how easy and fun a blog can be.  I'm sure I would enjoy it even more if there were comments and conversations as well.  I wonder if a blog for each Cornerstone Players show would help the collaborative process that is so important in theater.  Or would a wiki be better?  Obviously I have more to learn about 21st century technology and web tools (I'm hoping to learn more on Atomic Learning), but I can imagine the ideas the students have could be enhanced by other student contributions.  We have so little time in class to discuss and collaborate.  An online tool could give us a platform for virtual design and choreography discussions.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tool # 10 - Digital Citizenship

With the use of computers and digital devices comes new responsibilities and digital citizenship.  Students need to learn how to operate safely, friendly, and ethically in the digital world, just as we teach them to do so on terra firma.  Students need to respect copyright and intellectual property and use the appropriate documentation of sources.  They need to learn to identify predators and to recognize cyber bullying as well as refrain from participating in either.  I'm glad I work for a school and a district that takes these issues seriously.

I like the online resources from Texas State University:  It includes lessons for students and parents. It even includes a link to the Texas Attorney General's safety tips:
The sidebar on this pdf would be great to post and go over with students and email to parents.


Tool # 9 - Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices

When I use technology in the classroom, it needs to be linked to an objective--a purpose and a focus.  Otherwise the students could be overwhelmed with too much information, chase a rabbit trail, or get distracted by non-educational games and materials.  I need to check that the objective has been reached through some kind of accountability--test, project, recorded assignment, performance, etc.

Once again I was unable to find an interactive website from the list that applies to my field--drama. :-(
But I did find an online radio project that would be challenging to put together in groups.  The iPad and the Macbook could facilitate this project.

I also found an interactive website for Greek Theater from the British Museum that looks cool and informative.  I would love to spend some time learning about Greek Theater then doing a performance project in Grob Stadium since the stadium mimics the Ancient Greek auditorium.

I am planning to download two apps and will continue to look for more.  MTIshows is an app from the publisher of the musicals we perform.  We can look up materials from their shows, hear audio samples, and see where productions of the shows are currently being performed.  I will also download so we can look up correct pronunciations of words--a common concern for actors.

I am also looking forward to see what uses the students will suggest for the devices.  Many have much more experience with technology than I do!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tool # 8 - Look at the Tools

I am very excited to have computers available to my students.  In the past they have borrowed my laptop to do research, type documents, create props, etc.  The mobility of the devices will be ideal for my situation--moving from the classroom to the auditorium.

I have downloaded Dragon Dictation to my iTunes. But since I don't have the iPad yet, I can't sync and try out the app.  I'm very familiar with iPhone Apps, but I'm sure there will be much more to explore on the iPad.  I am looking forward to Garage Band as well as others.

I also am excited to have the camera on the iPad in my theatre classes.  We can document the progress of building the sets, and we can film actors and dancers so they can improve their performances.

Because I will have only a limited number of devices--not enough for every student--students will have limited access.  Since the auditorium is spread out, one of my guidelines will be to have the students using devices remain in a public, visible place.  Also, if they work in groups, I will assign a group leader who is responsible to protect, monitor, and put away the device.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tool # 7 - Part 2

Some possible contacts to Skype:

1. Sarah in London teaches workshops.
2. Adam in Australia teaches drama and wants to collaborate.
3. Esther in The Netherlands wants to collaborate.

I am curious to know if all of the contacts in Skype for Schools are up to date.  I did see a project that is a year old.

Tool # 7 - Reaching Outside the Classroom

I didn't find any online collaborative projects that applied to drama--not surprising.  I'm sure there are projects out there.  I will keep digging.

Education World has some Readers Theater scripts (like Cinderella), but they are geared for a younger age.   It would be fun to use these scripts for a young audience either live or online.  Bear Boulevard loves to come to our fall musicals, so I'm sure we would have a willing audience.

And as soon as I have the right computer, I would like to use Skype.  I would love to contact performers that could tell students about their journey to the stage.

Tool # 6

I set up a Diigo account.  I am excited to have a tool that will help me keep online information organized.  Theatre research includes history, literature, monologues, costumes, sets, makeup, etc. I chose the Diigolet button instead of the toolbar, but I may regret that decision.  I have to click to show the tools on each new webpage.  I was unable to set up an Edmodo account until I have a code.  I am curious how it is different than Blogger. I noticed that some of the tools, like Twitter, have a minimum age of 13, so I would not be able to use these tools for my middle school students.