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Month: February, 2014

Scrivener: a Scatterbrain’s Paradise

Scrivener is an application that is usually used by amateur and professional novelists and authors. Its main focus is helping writers structure their work. However, Scrivener can also be used for research papers and scholastic essays. The idea behind this program is to have a center where you have all you need for your work. It is essentially a management tool. (Scrivener)

You can have a virtual corkscrew notice-board to post your notes to in an organized fashion. You can store your research in a separate area than your actual work, all within the program. The left side of the window is composed of what is called the “binder”. Its function is to allow you to travel between the different sections of your work, your research and notes, amongst more.

You can break your work into different sections and work on them separately instead of trying to navigate through the full, sometimes overwhelming, bulk of your work. Once the parts are complete you can simply drag and drop them in their designated order. This facilitates browsing for correction and editing. You can also work on multiple sections simultaneously.

You can also do all of the usual; add tables and images, bullet points and footnotes, etc. (Scrivener Review)

Another interesting option offered by this application is the ability to add comments to your own text and easily recognize them as being separate.

Most work engines are designed for a continuous linear work flow, passing from page to page in their right and numbered order till the work is over with. Scrivener makes it easy to backtrack and find organization in the chaos of your own individualized writing process. You can also add a synopsis for each part of your work and each index card pined to the notice-board. Once this is done, you can organize the order of your different parts without having to opened and read them, based on your synopsis.

You can keep anything you want on Scrivener; PDF files, images, web pages, audio files and even movies for your research. Moreover, you can split your page to have both your research and information on one side and your actual work and writing on the other. You can also view multiple parts of your work at the same time to make connections.

Scrivener is the ultimate organisation tool for writer; ranging from stand-up comics and fiction writers to scholars and researchers.

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Skype: a Connection Tool

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Skype is yet another internet tool that is often neglected or totally ignored in the classroom. There are many advantages to maximize and reinvigorate classic pedagogical methods for today’s students. For instance, you can pair up with a classroom from another school and have students prepare oral presentations on a subject and share what they’ve worked on with a new public unfamiliar to the subject. (50 Powerful Ways To Use Skype In The Classroom)

The novelty of it will add excitement to the classroom. It is an opportunity to renew the all too common practice of oral communication in the classroom. kids already know most other students in their classroom and have nothing to ask them. This gives them the opportunity to revisit important basic questions such as asking someone their age, name, hobbies, passions, etc.

Furthermore, kids can learn about foreign cultures in a first-hand manner. They get to see the people and hear what they have to say about their own country instead of a teacher who’s never been there before.

Skype is also an interesting addition to the classroom because it omits the need of physical transportation. A teacher can set up online meetings with the students and their parents from home instead of driving to school. You can set up interviews or presentations with special guests from around the world with fair ease, without them having to physically travel.

(Cool Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom)

Skype actually has a section designed to help teachers use its interface. It includes demonstrative videos. (Skype in the classroom)

To ignore the ever growing opportunities for a pedagogical renewal (see revolution) offered by the online world is, for lack of a better word, blasphemous.

Twitter for Teachers

tweet

The simple nature of twitter (140 character posts) makes it a great platform for easy, small games for younger students. Having them breakout of the standard “question and answer on a sheet of paper” form will get the students excited about doing their homework. You can create small weekly exercises, or full term projects. For example, you can use twitter’s hash tags to have the students follow a certain topic. They will have to read up on it. (Twitter in the Classroom)

To make sure they are doing the work you can have them re-tweet about the subject. You can also create your own hash tag subject for the students to write short 140 character texts about. You could do this once or twice a week, for example. This will also have the students familiarize themselves with the keyboard layout on a computer, which most writing is done on nowadays.

There is also the option for teachers to answer questions and be accessible outside of school hours due to the interconnectability of the online world.

(Twitter in the Classroom)

You can even create full term activities or graded projects. For instance, you can have the students follow a certain twitter (NASA, for example) and pick out a subject they find alluring from their tweets. You can then have them write a project based on the followed twitter.

The novelty of platforms such as twitter in the classroom creates room for freedom and ingenuity. There are no set standards for how to use it, or standard activities that are expected to do with twitter. Granted, there is a responsibility on the teacher’s side, but also freedom to be creative and breathe some fresh air into their teaching method, breaking the habit and keeping the students attentive and interested.

Youtube, the Memory of Education

Most of the young internet users are on Youtube for leisurely purposes. Despite the wealth of knowledge present on the site, most of it gets lost amongst the plethora of cute cats and people falling off bikes. Most teachers tend to stay away from this site apart from the occasional class viewing of videos. However, The potential that youtube possesses as a pedagogical tool remains untapped for the most part.

Even Youtube itself is making efforts to become more teacher friendly and accessible for educational purposes. There exists a section of Youtube aimed at facilitating its use for the classroom. (Tips for Teachers Who Wish to Use YouTube in Classroom)

Furthermore, the site can be used as an archive system. You could record the classes with a camera placed in the back of the room and put the videos up on a Youtube account created for the class by the teacher. This way, students can go back and have a new platform to experience the knowledge, a different access. This could be good for people who are more likely to soak in knowledge through an auditory form of learning. The students could have audio support as well as a different kind of visual than their written down notes or school manual; they can see and hear the teacher as many times as they want. If the students didn’t hear something in class, or they missed the class completely, they can now find it on the teacher’s created Youtube channel. (The Teacher’s Guide To Using YouTube In The Classroom)

Given, problems could arise. For instance, some students might be tempted to skip out on class if they can just watch it from home later that evening. However, this can be countered with other simple methods such as giving bonus participation points for presence and attending the class.

Moreover, it may help in instances where the teacher might have made a mistake teaching the class and not have noticed, and later penalizes the students on the exam for giving the wrong answer which he accidentally taught them as being the right one in class. Everybody has already experienced or heard of this happening. By having the classes put up online you could double check and rectify the situation.

Ultimately, Youtube can serve as an efficient backlog for knowledge, and a great study guide. When midterms or finals come you get to relive your classes a second time if you wish to do so. The moments are encapsulated in video form, which is the essence of youtube.