Talking about Student Collaboration on TTT

The second webcast of Teachers Teaching Teachers that focused on chapter authors from my book, Teaching the New Writing, has been posted by Paul Allison (Thanks, Paul!). This episode had us discussing the concept of collaboration in a writing classroom that integrates technology.

You can also view the very active chat room that was underway during the webcast over at Edtechtalk.

Listen to the podcast or download it:

The third webcast was all about audience and I will share that when Paul posts it.
Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Persepolis 2.0, the unofficial remix

This will probably run right into the Copyright wall, but while it lasts, check out this remix version of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis graphic novels about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. This remix takes her art and puts the story context into today’s Iran, with its simmering election turmoil. It’s fascinating and you have to wonder if Satrapi will approve or not.

For now, though, take a look and experience another way into modern day Iran at the Persepolis 2.0 website where you can read the remix or download it as a PDF (you may want to do that).


Peace (please),
Kevin

Join me for Round Three of TTT

Tonight (9 p.m. eastern time), I help wrap up the third episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers that center on the book I helped edit (and contributed a chapter to) called Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change and Assessment in the 21st Century Classroom.

Two weeks ago, TTT hosts Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim interviewed us editors about the project, which looks at changes in the writing classroom through the lens of technology and assessment. (listen to the podcast of that show over at TTT) Last week, Paul turned the host reins over to me as I chatted with some of the chapter writers about the concept of collaboration in the technology-infused classroom.

Tonight, as Paul once again allows me to host the show, we’ll be looking at the concept of audience and technology is opening up new doors for publication and expanding audiences and what that does to writing in the classroom.

Chapter authors Dawn Reed, high school teacher and teacher-consultant with the Red Cedar Writing Project; Troy Hicks, associate Professor and director of the Chippewa Writing Project; and Bryan Crandall, high school teacher and a teacher-consultant with the Louisville Writing Project, will share examples of their classroom practices to prompt a discussion about audience in writing using digital technology. The topics they discuss will include high school students using multimodal ways of writing in a speech class and an example of what happens when you take the senior project “digital.”  In addition, Marva Solomon will be joining us to talk about her work with a small group of struggling elementary school writers. The title of her chapter is “True adventures of Students “Writing Online: Mummies, Vampires and schnauzers, Oh My!”

Come join us in the chat room and listen to the livestream tonight at http://EdTechTalk.com/live at 9:00pm Eastern / 6:00pm Pacific USA Wednesdays / 01:00 UTC Thursdays World Times.

Peace (in the conversations),
Kevin

The first TTT podcast on Teaching the New Writing

Thanks to Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim for allowing me and my co-editors to take over Teachers Teaching Teachers for a few weeks. Paul just put up the first of three shows, in which my co-editors (Anne Herrington and Charlie Moran) discuss Teaching the New Writing. The second show focused on collaboration and this coming week, we’ll be discussing the use of audience when it comes to writing and technology. (I’ll post about that another day)

Go to Teachers Teaching Teachers
See the chat room transcript
Listen to the podcast

Peace (on the air),
Kevin

Praising The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

http://www.bookswim.com/images_books/large/The_Absolutely_True_Diary_of_a_PartTime_Indian-119186354480338.jpg

Wow.

I just finished up Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and it just blew me away with its voice, power and creativity. No wonder it won the National Book Award a few years back. It was one of those books that stays on the peripheral vision and then, finally, you get to it and you now know why it was always out there, waiting for you to read.

The book follows the life of high student student named Junior, who is a Spokane indian who lives on a reservation and realizes he has to get off the reservation or else he will die — either tragically and quickly (through some alcohol-related incident, he is certain) or slowly (through the loss of his dreams). So, he decides to attend school at the white high school just outside the skirts of the reservation and doors both open and close for Junior as a result. He never quite fits in with his new school (he’s the line Indian) and his friends back home (including his best friend, Rowdy, a warrior of the modern day reservation) think him a traitor for leaving their school.

The book is illustrated with comics, although it is not a graphic novel. But Junior makes comics to understand his life and the world around him, and the book uses this form in imaginative ways (thanks to illustrator Ellen Forney, who is featured in a Q&A at the end of the book that is quite interesting to read).

I don’t usually dog-ear books but I did to this line by Junior:

“I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.”

Isn’t that a great line? I love that line.

Then, later, as Junior is talking with his new white friend, Gordy, they realize that the comics are actually a serious interpretation of the world. Junior tells Gordy:

“I take them seriously. I use them to understand the world. I use them to make fun of the world. To make fun of people. And sometimes I draw people because they’re my friends and family. And I want to honor them.”

One of the issues he struggles with is poverty. See this sample illustration at a moment when his “white” friends suddenly realize how poor he really is (he can’t pay for food at Denny’s):

areyoupoor.jpg

Pick up this book if you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Peace (on the pages),
Kevin

Collaboration with Writing/Technology: Teachers Teaching Teachers

Teaching the New Writing

Teaching the New Writing

On Wednesday night (9 p.m. eastern time), I will be guest-hosting this week’s edition of Teachers Teaching Teachers as we continue to explore the book I co-edited — Teaching the New Writing. This week, we’re going to focus in on the theme of collaboration with some of the chapter writers. It should be an interesting talk about how technology and writing can foster good collaboration among students.

Here is the notice from the National Writing Project site:

You are invited to join teachers across the globe for a special interactive Teachers Teaching Teachers (TTT) webcast, titled “Teaching the New Writing: Exploring the Collaborative Nature of Writing and Technology in the Classroom,” sponsored by the NWP Technology Initiative.

Balancing Acts

As educators move forward into the terrain of digital literacy and learning with their students, part of the challenge is balancing the innovation of new technology with the accountability of assessment.

The recently published book Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st-Century Classroom explores these balancing acts through case studies of elementary through university-level classrooms where teachers are integrating technology with writing and where the assessment of the digital work and student learning is being explored.

Chapter authors Paul Allison, a high school teacher, technology liaison at the New York City Writing Project, and facilitator of TTT; Glen Bledsoe, an elementary teacher and teacher consultant at the Oregon Writing Project at the University of Oregon; and Jeff Schwartz, high school teacher and member of the Bread Loaf Teachers Network, will share examples of their classroom practices to prompt a discussion about the collaborative nature of writing when using technology in the classroom.

Their work includes the collaborative creation of a classroom digital production, students bloggers forming connections within an online social network, and writers using audio and video to share their work.

How to Participate

The event takes place on the Teachers Teaching Teachers webpage on Wednesday, June 17, 9–10 p.m. EST / 6–7 p.m. PST.

Teachers Teaching Teachers webcasts are live each Wednesday night, 9–10 p.m. EST / 6–7 p.m. PST.

Download instructions for listening and chatting during a live show (PDF).

I hope you can join us in the chat room and listen in to the conversations.

Peace (in sharing),
Kevin

Tonight on Teachers Teaching Teachers

(This is an announcement about tonight’s webcast about the book I co-edited)

On June 10th join editors of Teaching the New Writing, a new book from The National Writing Project, a MacArthur grantee. They will discuss new directions in student composing as the boundaries between written, spoken, and visual blur and audiences expand.

Editors Anne Herrington, Kevin Hodgson, and Charles Moran from the Western Massachusetts Writing Project will address these and other questions in this interactive webcast on June 10th, drawing from insights and discoveries they made while writing their new book, Teaching the New Writing. The book pulls together teachers’ stories, practices, and examples of students’ creative and expository writing from online and multimedia projects such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and electronic poetry.

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, codirector of the National Writing Project will be with us as well.

This is the first of three Teachers Teaching Teachers shows this month that will focus on this book. Next week and the week after, we will have various authors from the different chapters Teaching the New Writing on the show.

Please join us at http://EdTechTalk.com/live at 9:00pm Eastern / 6:00pm Pacific USA Wednesdays / 01:00 UTC Thursdays World Times

Talking up the book on Teachers Teaching Teachers

Teaching the New Writing

Teaching the New Writing

This coming Wednesday (June 10), I will be joining my colleagues Anne Herrington and Charlie Moran and others to discuss the book collection that we recently published called Teaching the New Writing (put out by Teachers College Press). In the book, we feature teachers who are using technology with writing in this age of assessment and standardized testing and examining how they are balancing those ideas. We think it is an important book (of course) and the three of us will be talking with Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim on Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast (and later, podcast) about the book project.

I invite you to join us, if you can. You can listen to the webcast and ask questions in the chat room.

Then, on the following two Wednesdays (June 17 and June 24), we will be bringing in some of the chapter writers to talk about their various projects — such as podcasting in the speech classroom, collaborative digital storytelling in the elementary classroom, a poetry fusion project, and more.

You can find Teachers Teaching Teachers on EdTech Talk.

Here is the announcment from the National Writing Project site:

You are invited to listen and interact with teachers across the globe during a special Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast, titled “Teaching the New Writing,” sponsored by the NWP Technology Initiative.

As educators move forward into the terrain of digital literacy and learning with their students, part of the challenge is balancing the innovation of new technology and accountability of assessment.

According to the editors of a new book, Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st-Century Classroom, one way to study these balancing acts is through case studies of elementary through university level classrooms where teachers are integrating technology with writing and where the assessment of the digital work and student learning is explored.

Chapter topics range from creating digital picture books with middle school students to podcasting in a high school speech class to blogging in social networks to multimedia composition with preservice teachers.

Join editors Charlie Moran, Anne Herrington, and Kevin Hodgson, all from the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, for the June 10, 2009, edition of the Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast as they discuss the book and talk about some of the discoveries and insights they made as they worked with the chapter writers.

How to Participate

The event takes place on the Teachers Teaching Teachers webpage on Wednesday, June 10, 9–10 p.m. EST / 6–7 p.m. PST.

Teachers Teaching Teachers webcasts are live each Wednesday night, 9–10 p.m. EST / 6–7 p.m. PST.

Download instructions for listening and chatting during a live show (PDF).

Peace (in the sharing),
Kevin

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

I realized the other day that I have a pile of books that I have read and, honestly, I have no intention of re-reading. So, inspired by my friend “Alex“, who gave away some books to blog readers (including me: I got an Artemis Fowl book), I have decided to give these books away to readers of this blog. Let me just say, these are fantastic books and if you have not yet seen any of the Best American Non-required Reading Series (edited by Dave Eggers and a group of high school students), then you are missing out on some wonderful reading across the genres: fiction, non-fiction, comics, poetry, and assorted compositional ballet form the crux of many of these books.

So, if you would like one of these books, just let me know in the comment section of this blog post, and I will do some random choosing, get in touch and pay for the shipping of the books. As Alex did with me, I ask that you consider doing the same at your blog or online home, spreading the wealth of words through the networks.

Here is what I have:

  • Best American Non-Required Reading 2002
  • Best American Non-Required Reading 2003
  • Best American Non-Required Reading 2004
  • Best American Non-Required Reading 2005
  • Best American Non-Required Reading 2006
  • Best American Non-Required Reading 2008

(Where the heck is 2007? I am not sure)

If you want a specific edition, just let me know in your reply.

Peace (in sharing),
Kevin

Now I know who to blame …

Appetite for Self-Destruction

For years, my pet peeve was that darned packaging around CDs. First of all, it would tear at my fingers trying to get it open. Second, I was left with more plastic and cardboard than CD case, and so every purchase of music felt as if I were germinating the local landfill.

This week, I finally found the name of the guy credited with this entire packaging idea. It is Jerry Shulman, who was director of marketing at CBS at the time. In the book Appetite for Self-Destruction by Steve Knopper (an excellent look at how the music industry has again and again shot itself in the foot as the digital revolution took hold …. Napster, anyone? Or now bit torrent?), Shuman admits to the idea. “It was me,” Shulman is quoted saying by Knopper. “It cut everyone’s fingers to shreds when you cut it open.”

Yep. That’s probably why they were known as blister boxes in the industry.

Now, Shulman did not invent this contraption just to cause pain to music customers (although Knopper does an excellent job of showing how us music lovers are often farthest from the minds of the record company executives at so many turns in the road over the last 30 years). The tomb-like plastic and cardboard casing was invented so that record store owners would not have to build new shelves for CDs; they could just use the old LP shelves and fit two CDs in the spot where one LP used to go.

Now, who is the hero of this story of the old CD cases? Raffi. That’s right. Raffi — the children’s singer who has always earned my respect for refusing to license any of his recordings for marketing that might influence a child to buy a product. He just wants kids to love music.

According to Knopper, Raffi refused to put out CDs in the so-called longbox. Good for you, Raffi.

Meanwhile, the industry realized they could save a bundle of money by eliminating all of that packaging, and appease other artists like U2, Peter Gabriel and others who were worried about the environmental impact of the packaging. It is nice to see that CDs (if you still buy them) are mostly without the plastic sleeves.

Of course, the digital versions require no packaging at all.

Peace (in laying the blame),
Kevin