A. Blogs would be great way to communicate with parents! I know some current art teachers who give updates on their schedule to parents. They let them know what their students are working on this week and what’s on the schedule for next week. You could also use it to post resources to those who are struggling in your class. For example, if they have a homework assignment on a specific technique, you could do a blog post about it that reviews what they learned in class and give them links to websites that will help them understand it better. This could be to youtube tutorials on the subject, images of the final product, or even historical pieces that use the technique. I think I will definitely use a blog when I am a full time teacher.
B. Animoto is a great tool to create engaging and exciting videos for the classroom. It allows you to incorporate your own text and images and gives you choices for music (which prevents you from using any music that you do not have permission to use). I especially like the music choices because it make it easy to incorporate music without you having to go download and find something that is non-copyrighted. The website is attractive and the videos are very professional. The major downfall of this program is the limited length you get with the free option. Your videos can only be 30 seconds long but you can make as many as you would like. The pricing is not outrageous either if you do want to make longer ones. It is only $4.99/month which equates to $59.88 per year. I would probably use this to show parents what we are doing in class. In a short but exciting clip, I could show some recent student projects. I do not think its necessarily worth it to upgrade to the other option considering I have iMovie on my computer, which does essentially the same thing.
GoAnimate is another great tool for the classroom. It allows you to create your own animation with many choices in characters, their emotions and actions, and background. You can either use their text-to-talk feature or record your own voice for the characters. I watched the tutorial and started to make one and it was unbelievably easy. Just like Animoto, there are limitations in the free feature. You can only create 30 second videos. If you have the budget to upgrade, GoAnimate for schools seems to be a great service. It is $59/year for the teacher and additional fees if you want to get the students involved in making videos. This plan makes student videos private (unless the teacher allows you to publish them). It also allows the teacher to moderate the videos before students show them to the class to prevent inappropriate material. They can also moderate student comments on each others’ videos. After playing around with the software, I would definitely use this in the classroom. I’ve actually been looking for a good animation software that I could use to make cartoons to introduce famous artists to elementary students! This would be worth the $59/year because I have nothing else like it on my computer and it is very easy to use.
Voki is a tool to make animated avatars. Like GoAnimate, it appears easy to use with lots of options for characters. Unlike GoAnimate, it is only an avatar- therefore it is not walking around or doing anything, just speaking. The free version has a limited length of 60 seconds. The classroom version is $29.95 a year (which is the cheapest of these 3 programs). Like GoAnimate, you can either record your own voice or have it speak for you. I think this is a good program overall, but because it is just an avatar it is a little limited to what you can do with it. I would personally only use it for short introductions to assignments or to pose a question to the class. Anything much longer might get a little boring and at that point, something like GoAnimate would be more beneficial to use.
C. Last week, I learned how to use the Smart Notebook to create a lesson. I personally did not know how to do anything with Smart Notebook so this was a good assignment for me to use to explore the options. I learned a lot about creating an assignment, how to lock things in place, how to incorporate texts and images, and how to create shapes. I could definitely use this in the classroom. The assignment I did was about the color wheel but I would like to make more about the Elements and Principles of Design.