For this lab, I visited Karl Gude's Wiki: http://freevisualtools.wikispaces.com/and spent some time interacting with different visualization tools. At first it was overwhelming with all the different categories to click on to visit. As I started thinking about some things I want to improve on in my classroom, it became easier to narrow down what I might actually use. One tool I already use and love is Diigo. After seeing it on the list I realized it would be equally beneficial for my students. We do a big research assignment in each grad level to work on incorporating research into their writing and having a Diigo would be a great way for students to keep track of their resources. They wouldn't have to copy them down or email them to themselves, they could bookmark it and log-in from anywhere to work on their project. I really think some of my students would love this tool.
I also checked out Bubbl which is allows students to make a bubble chart. I liked it for something like brainstorming, where students could take an idea and break it down into smaller parts. It would also work well for something like a character map where students could make a family tree or just explore characteristics of a character. I also checked out Animoto, which is a place where students can turn photos and music into videos. I often have students use MovieMaker tocreate videos based on their "Where I am From" poems. When they use MovieMaker they have to work from one computer or transfer their workaround. If they use Animoto, they can work from anywhere and access the project online. All of the tools I played around with would make a promising addition to my students. I finally decided on Glogster because I could make an interactive assignment for my students and also give them an example so they could later create their own Glogster. One of the units we do in Honors English 9. We discuss a lot about the impacts of technology on our society, schools, etc. and we also read and discuss a lot about advertising and product placement and its implications. There is a lot of reading of articles with annotation, note taking, reflection and responses, and it can get a bit tedious and redundant, so I decided for this exact reason a Glogster would be perfect. It was fairly easy to use and put together. It took me awhile to get a hang of the features, but once I did it was fun to put together. This represents visual representations of the articles they will read prior to looking at examples of product placement to help them more clearly understand what it is and what its implications are in terms of advertising and our society. Certain "ah-ha" moments came when I was searching more videos to place on the Glogster. There were so many excellent examples both satiric/overt and covert. They will have a lot of fun watching these and incorporating references into their response to the articles they've read. This will also contribute well to our follow-up discussion.