Visual Learning Tools: Capzle and Google Lit Trip

Week Nine was tough for me.  I started the week feeling great about technology as last week’s mini-projects helped me gain confidence in my ability to use technology in the classroom.  Well, this week brought me back to the reality that I still have a lot to learn.  I chose to work on a Capzle timeline and a Google Lit Trip because I think these tools could be useful with early elementary students.  Both of these tools are great visual learning tools that will engage students and excite learners.

Originally I planned to make a Capzle timeline about the life of George Washington based on Standard 2.11.  After I had gathered my images and information, I found that Capzles can not be dated before 1753 (and Washington was born in 1732!).  I tried to work my way around this glitch by using the blog posting capability.  But I just was not happy with the result.  So, back to the drawing board.  For round two, I chose to create a timeline about Susan B. Anthony based on the same Standard.  In retrospect, it was probably a good thing that my George Washington timeline would not work.  Based on my experience as a parent, I think it is harder to get students excited about the women and minorities included in the Social Science Standards (Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson).  Many have never heard about these Americans and have no prior knowledge about them.  On the other hand, most have been hearing about George Washington since they were toddlers.  A visual representation of these Americans’ lives give students a better understanding of their lives and their important contributions.  Visual learning tools can also help the students to learn to think critically about content.  They can learn to decode “the effect the image was designed to produce, and they should analyze the extent and ways in which it successfully accomplishes the intended effect” (Solomon & Schrum, 2010).  I thought a lot about that statement as I found images from Anthony’s life.  I am happy with the end product and I think the images really add to the students’ understanding of Anthony’s life.  I think the students would enjoy viewing this program but I do not think young students could create their own timeline with this program.

For my second project this week I chose the Google Lit Trip.  There was sufficient warning about the complexity of this assignment, but I still underestimated the difficulty.  It took me several days to think of the story I wanted to use for a Lit Trip.  I finally decided upon The Race by Caroline Repchuk, a 2001 picture book based on the traditional Tortoise vs. Hare story.  The story begins in England.  While the tortoise hops on a cruise to New  York, the hare tries many forms of transportation which land him in various countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.  I found the Google Earth tutorials very helpful.  I would watch a minute or so, switch over to my project and complete that step, then switch back to the tutorial to watch the next step.  It was time-consuming but it was the best way for me to get the hang of Google Earth.  Although it was difficult to get the hang of, I like Google Earth and I think there are endless possibilities for this program in the classroom.  Although I plan to return to primary grades, I could not help but think of the many great journeys older students could explore with this tool.  It would be great for students to be able to see the route taken by explorers, literary characters, and historical figures.  Imagine students seeing the route taken my Harriet Tubman, Louis and Clark, Tom Sawyer.  Older students could also create simply Lit Trips on their own.

References

Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0 how-to for educators. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education.

3 Responses to “Visual Learning Tools: Capzle and Google Lit Trip”

  1. alongerb says:

    I like your honesty in the technology process. This week was challenging! I actually had a more challenging week last week, but I think it depends on which mini-project you decided to work on. Last week, it took me awhile to compose my digital story. It took a long time even to think of a topic! I am impressed that you went in for the challenge of the Google Lit Trip. I think that this technology tool would be interesting to have students use to describe the books that they have read in secondary education (even higher education).

  2. rcugarte says:

    Jill,

    Like you, I struggled greatly with the tools/websites we were to work with this week. As I stated in my blog, I have found this to be the toughest week yet. I ‘attempted’ to make a timeline that I could use in an ESOL classroom. However, looking at the image of yours, yours seems to have been a lot more successful than mine! It’s funny, as I was working on my timeline, my husband was ‘observing me’ and was pretty excited with this tool, and now plans to create a timeline of images of our three kids. Again, proving how one site could have many different uses!

  3. krazza says:

    I also chose to complete a timeline for one of my mini-projects. It is great to know that I am not able to choose anything before 1753. This definitively has me rethinking my topic ideas. I agree with you that using a timeline tool to present pictures of someone’s life is a great visual for students. I also think that having the pictures will help students get a better sense of the person or help students find a connection with the topic they are learning about. This tool would be great for older students and possibly upper elementary school students to use. Nevertheless, this tool would be useful for all grade levels when showing students an overview of a specific topic or person’s life. The Lit Trip sounds like it would be great for older students to do and learn from. I think that your ideas of topics to use this tool for are great!