Scratch is an animation creation site which also users to create simple animations from pre-loaded characters, backgrounds, movements, and sounds. The site also allows for some contents, such as sounds, and pictures to be uploaded for more customization.
Scratch has the potential to help students meet ISTE standards of: 1. Creativity and Innovation, and standard 6. Technology Operations and Concepts. Scratch does require some prior knowledge with basic computer skills, but other than that the site is relatively user friendly. The site does a great job explaining how to use the basic features of the website thought a step by step tutorial. The limitations of this site are potentially young students will still not grasp how to use the features from only the tutorial. The tutorial doesn’t have any sound nor does it show you exactly where to click with arrows, etc. The biggest limitation would just be the amount of time it would take to have students practice on the site before becoming proficient enough to produce a product. Due to the somewhat involved nature of this program I would think that Scratch would be best used in grades around 3-5.
Kidblog is a kid friendly blogging site focused on using blogs in the classroom. Kidblog is a great tool to have students collaborating and working together. The best feature of Kidblog is that the teacher is still in control; depending on what settings the teacher chooses determines what can be seen, commented on, or published. Kidblog could be an asset when working towards ISTE standards of: 1. Creativity and Innovation, 2.Communication and Collaboration, 5. Digital Citizenship, and standard 6. Technology Operations and Concepts. Another strength of Kidblog is that it only costs around 36 dollars per teacher per year which is a great price for all of the features Kidblog has. Kidblog is also add free, and does not require a student email to set up. The only limitation to Kidblog would be the need for technology. To use a blog effectively you would want students posting all the time. If technology is lacking in your school it may be hard to integrate blogs into the classroom. Kidblog could really be used in any elementary, or middle grades; the ways in which teachers have students using the blogs would be what changes across the grade levels.
Skype is a video conferencing application that allows free video calling. Skype can be used on many different platforms such as smartphones, tablets, smart T.Vs, computers, and even some gaming systems. Using Skype in the classroom would definitely be a teacher led activity, but has such endless potential when it comes to where Skype can take your class. Using Skype in the classroom could meet ISTE standards of: 6. Digital Citizenship, and potentially standard 2. Communication and Collaboration. Students are most likely not going to be using Skype on their own, especially elementary or middle school students, which leaves the teacher up to learning how to use the site. Skype is very easy to use and walks you through the process of downloading and installing the program for the first use. After you have installed Skype, you are ready to ‘call’ your intended party. Skype does require the teacher to contact the person, or people who they want their class to speak with, but with planning Skype allows classroom to ‘meet’ people who they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Skype can be used in the classroom with all ages with teacher facilitation; however, informing parents of young children about your plans for using Skype in the classroom is important.