Saturday, October 18, 2008

Zuiprezi -- Breaking the linear fetters of traditional presentation

Zuiprezi seems like a boon to the mind which wearies of endless powerpoint-type presentations, or (heaven forbid I say it!), linear text-heavy mediums of any kind!

I'm aching to try out Zuiprezi myself. I have a feeling that it will immediately speak to many students, and gradually gain everyone else as converts. It is tremendously intuitive: Zuiprezi has the research-backed logic of a mindmapping tool, and brings Web2.0's multitude of possibilities for media, design, and openness to bear on previously wordy-heavy cognitive maps.

What I am really enthused about is how this tool could make the content of any presentation accessible to a far greater number of people. When I say accessible, I mean the following: a person can trace connections and meaning at his own speed through (most) of the sample presentations, and also follow the predestined path of the presentation's creator.

I like to put myself back in the shoes of that younger me, that somewhat introverted bookwork whose cognitive centers were on overload (and consequently, the fritz) during many a science class. I wager that my capitulation to the "not-a-science-guy" identity was less a nod to fate than to the realization that those who "got it" were making connections in their heads that weren't easily teachable. At least not via the routes of being a decent student, doing your work, studying, and getting extra help.

Might Zuiprezi (or any non-linear presentational medium) have helped? Have given me insight to those nuances I was missing, the connections I was not making, as well as let me then grow closer to the learning objectives of the unit?

Well, here's hoping I get a chance to try out Zuiprezi soon, and see if it opens up some of those dark, liminal learning boundaries for my language learners.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vuvox and Marlene Dietrich

Unfortunately, some of the features (adding text) were not accessible on Vuvox, so this is not much of a learning object, but fun nonetheless--

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Redewendung: "Ich bin ganz aus dem Häuschen!"

\Happy -- Froh\

I wonder if there is a way to sneak an actual umlaut, ä vs ae?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Classroom Management

During my daily feed-reading session, I came across Dan Meyer's cool vlogs. The one below on classroom management hit home. My reflex is, fortunately, decidedly *not* to lay down the law, (which carries its own problems). But the analogy to the first-year cop is spot-on. I was lucky to be in a teacher prep program, and to have a cooperating teacher, who taught me that an ethic of care goes hand-in-hand with classroom management. Nonetheless, it often seems, at the beginning, that you are teetering on the Tipping Point into Chaos and the state of You'll-Never-Get-The-Class-Back-Now! Thankfully, I've never had a "bad kid", and of course: there's no such student. (Knock on wood.)

On a tangential issue: I am a little miffed at Mr. Meyer, seeing as that I do like cop shows a lot and would likely enjoy The Wired. Will likely enjoy it, since I added it to an already prallgefüllt Netflix queue. And I don't have the time!

dy/av : 006 : carver's classroom management from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


As a student teacher this spring, I used Quizlet twice, and would have done so regularly if I had come across it sooner. There are countless "quiz" applications out there; I happen to find this one simple yet effective. If you acknowledge that it is not possible to learn all vocabulary in an organic, holistic fashion (at least in regards to set curricula and tests in school), then this flashcard/quiz application is an excellent tool to maximize and personalize study time. I'd like to have a set horizon of expectation when I say to students, "There will be a vocabulary test. Make sure you study!"

The Scatter-Game version is embeddable:

Die Werbung (from Komm Mit 3, Kapitel 7-1) by me

Die Presse by ali125

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dipity Timeline Example

Viygo: Another Interesting Timeline Web Application

Timelines in the Language Classroom

In the entries below, I have embedded timelines of the lives of Einstein and Frederick the Great that were created by individuals on Timeline web applications such as this another obvious choice to augment the learning experience during language class blogging.

In the target language, students can create all sorts of products. Most interesting, I think, would be timelines which supplement a written piece by the student. And of course they do not need to be chronologies of "Famous Germans", but can be about the student's own life, family and friends.
Zemanta Pixie

Timeline of Frederich dem Grossen

Albert Einstein Timeline

Sketchbook Berlin: Using Graphic Novels in the Language Classroom

As a placeholder for a future, proper reflection on the subject, I would like to mention the graphic novel Sketchbook Berlin, written and drawn by two German artists, as well as the modest wiki at pbwiki which students of mine worked on 2 years ago.

Comiqs as a Blogging Assignment II

Imagine the simple web-based picture-comic (in the entry of mine below) as a prompt for a blog entry assignment in a foreign language class. While not terribly innovative, this comic-as-prompt has the virtue of setting up the assignment visually as well as linguistically. But what intrigues me more about comic webtools such as Comiq (in respect to blogging in the language classroom) is that "blog entries" could easily be a comic. With such tools, there is no need for writing assignments to be limited to purely linguistic assessments of performance....
A tool such as Comiqs allows for the meaningful, contextualized assessment of telling a story. Comiqs is user-friendly, so such an assignment could be an assignment with some frequency throughout the year. And it is easy to embed in a blog....
And frankly, the "fun" format does not mean that the requirements need to "fudge" on the writing aspect. There could/should be as much length in words to a mini-comic as to a mini blog-entry (or journal or essay question) on the topic of "How early should the school day begin?" The difference is that the grading rubric would ask students to use images which reinforce the ideas they wish to bring across, and to translate the "blog entry" into an entertaining story which the rest of the class could read and discuss.
Why not have students create different learning objects in the target language and post them on their blogs?
(Do pardon the broad-sweeping statements. Of course, the devil and the success is in the planning and preparation.) However, since it is so easy to embed media and other applications in blogs, why not use this to one's advantage as a language teacher? Creating comics, timelines, mashups: these are all authentic tasks which can be carried out in the target language.

Zemanta Pixie

Comiqs as a Blogging Assignment

Comics as Prompts, Assessments, or Entries for a World Language Blog from herrgraff on Comiqs