Thursday, July 11, 2013

Synthesize This.

I admit that synthesizing is not a task that comes easily for me. I am an information hoarder. I usually find so much great information that I can’t use it all. To synthesize is to gather content from appropriate sources and perspectives integrating it into a coherent whole. Synthesizing should be taught at a young age, a skill that would keep developing to become a lifelong discipline. My task this week was to review a digital resource and how it can be used for synthesized understanding of my students.

The first website I tried was On the site, you can create avatars to deliver your content or to use the avatars on your own website. I thought for an art teacher this would be outstanding. I did make an avatar and completed a script for my back to school welcome. It was underwhelming. Unless you sign up for a classroom account, your free choices are limited in avatars and clothing. It was hard to find an appropriate avatar and attire. The avatar choices were odd and the clothing choices seemed risqué for young children viewing. Another user commented about this and they remarked that they had to use what animation was available. It made me think that they did not create their own content. They plug it as a classroom site so appropriateness should be a priority. The voice and the avatar did not feel like they matched up well in my opinion. This sight lacked choices and integration qualities that I was looking for. Perhaps I just did not locate them but I did a lot of work for little result.

This week, I used the site, to create an interactive slideshow presentation on Empathy and Leadership. I like that you record your script as comments and others can add comments as well. I was only required use one picture with the presentation but I used more. I limited my presentation to under 3 minutes in length so it would hold the viewers’ interest but still include valuable content. You can add, link, or embed images, audio, video clips and edit content. You can upload your headshot so people will know who you are when they click on your comment. Once you share, others can make comments, and you can click on their head shots to listen. I like what was available for free from this site. You are limited on what is free but I would check into upgrading because I liked it and the students could use it. Storytelling is a way for students to create their narrative about what we have learned. It involves application for multiple learning styles.

There were many other resources I tried this week and need to investigate further. I will have access to my classroom in a couple weeks so I am anxious to try them out. Meanwhile, I need to synthesize my resources.

Gardner, H. (2007). Five Minds for the Future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

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