Whenever I have given a workshop on Edublogs for teachers interested in blogging for themselves or their classrooms, I have always turned to the manual put together by my friend, Gail Desler, who is part of the Area 3 Writing Project and who is the “blogwalker” (I love that name). Her clear and concise steps and explanations, and her willingness to share, are greatly appreciated. So when Edublogs did a major make-over this past week (and it looks fantastic to me), Gail was just about to finish up a revision to her old manual. She quickly went back to work and came up with a revised, revised Edublogs Manual.
I just came across this very neat site in my RSS Feeder and it seems interesting. It’s called Tilt (or Teachers Improving Learning with Technology) and it features video tutorials on a wide range of tools. I went there and this one popped up first. It has to do with using Powerpoint for multimedia story creations, something I have been working on the last few years.
I am also about to have my students work on hyperlinked poem cycles and I had the morning epiphany that we could use Powerpoint as the platform — for ease of use, ease of sharing and familiarity for my students. (more on this kind of project is coming later in the week, including the huge hyperlinked poem project that I have composed)
(This has been in the back seat of my blog for a month or so)
Curt Bonk is part of a group doing a research project on YouTube and they are looking for folks to take a survey. You can find more information about their work at Curt’s site (one incentive for folks who take the survey is to get 90-day trial of a survey machine called SurveyShare, which I have not heard of).
They have different categories, but here are the educational videos they have provided as part of their research analysis of why people create, share and comment on the web-based video systems:
(But if you want to see a troublesome virtual conversation, follow the comment links to this video on YouTube — this is why schools ban YouTube — racist remarks, profanity and lack of respect for other people)
The Flat World is on my mind these days, as I just finished the book by Tom Friedman, and then I came across this trailer for a documentary about the emergence of math and science in China and India and, the concern about lack of these skills in the US, and the future for our children. Friedman makes the same point although he remains optimistic that our creativity and ingenuity will give us a competitive edge. He does warn that the increase in funds and government interest in technology-related fields in India and China, along with a lack of support here, could forebode some shifting of global power in the future.
Friedman calls on the next president to galvanize the country to invest in the future, through technology. We’ll see, won’t we?
Education Week also profiled the documentary, which you can order as a DVD from the creators of Two Million Minutes (I did, because this idea of the world getting smaller and more competitive as technology comes into play both excited and worries me as a teacher and a parent).
And then there was the Frontline special this week — Growing Up Online — which I missed but found online via another blogger, Kate — and I have only watched the segment on education and technology/social networking in school environment. It was interesting and seemed fairly balanced between teachers and the pros and cons of using technology as a means of engagement of students. It was kind of depressing that one teacher feels she that is “outmoded” because she does not embrace technology and is not ready to give up the traditional classroom — discussions, reflection, writing.
It is disheartening when one boy says he never reads books anymore and uses only online activity as his “reading,” zipping through sites with summaries (such as Sparknotes). Then, in a moment of reflection, he admits that he is cheating himself (and blames lack of time). Also, the aspect of”collecting friends” in places such as MySpace and Facebook bubbles up and shows it for what is: just another social status tool and not what it should be: creating a sense of interconnected communities.
Bain News Service, publisher.  [Germany Schaefer, Washington AL (baseball)]
The Library of Congress has now put thousands of photos from its archives up on Flickr for viewing and use by us, the people. This is a treasure trove of materials and I am already thinking of ways to use them in the classroom.
What is interesting is that the folks at the Library of Congress folks (see their blog) are opening up the door in Flickr for comments and tags by people. And they are using the “no known copyright” designation, too, which allows for more use by students, I think. Somebody in that federal office clearly gets it — the photos are going to be viewed and used.