Web 2.0 profile

Steve H., whose creation of Classroom 2.0 got me interested in Ning social networking platforms, just published an article about Web 2.0 in education and in an accompanying wiki companion to his article, he features folks who are using different tools in the classroom.

I had responded to Steve’s initial request for folks using tech in the classroom, andI wrote a bit about using a Wiki to create a collaborative dictionary with my sixth graders. So I find myself in good company on Steve’s list of teachers. You can view all of the teacher profiles and projects that Steve is featuring at his own wiki site. There are some great ideas there and inspiring teachers for all of us to follow.

And here is his master list:
BLOGGING:

WIKIS

PODCASTING

SOCIAL NETWORKING

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING

RSS / READERS / AGGREGATORS

ADMINISTRATORS

Peace (with profiles),
Kevin

One Laptop Per Child/XO

David Pogue of the New York Times has posted a very positive review (and nice video, too) of the new XO computer that is part of the One Laptop Per Child effort to create an inexpensive, portable, destruction-resistant computer for children of the developing world. The machines are open-source, so no Windows, which may shock some folks but keeps the price reasonable.

Pogue notes that the programming can become visible to students, too, as ” … one keystroke reveals the underlying code of almost any XO program or any Web page. Students can not only study how their favorite programs have been written, but even experiment by making changes. (If they make a mess of things, they can restore the original.)” I love that idea of showing them code, and allowing them to tinker (but also to return to zero if everything falls apart)

And they are also going to be offering up a buy-one-yourself/give-one-away-to-a-kid sale next month, and when I told my wife that I was toying with the idea, I think her reaction was a mix of “We need more technology in our lives?” and “Sounds like a good way to help children in the world” so we’ll see what happens.

Peace (in the giving),
Kevin

Google Docs (and now presentations)

I use Google Docs all the time for collaboration for workshops and meetings, and for my own writing — I can move from one location to another without having to hang a flashdrive around my neck. In fact, yesterday, in class, as my students were doing some freewriting, I was writing a poem that I put on my Google Docs and then revised it back home.

Now, Google has added a presentation (powerpoint) format to its Google Docs platform and it seems to be pretty cool. A bunch of folks are already trying it out and seeing what is possible and what is not (you can upload PP shows but not Keynote, apparently), but the idea of collaborating on a presentation seems pretty nifty to me. Cool Cat Teacher created this slideshow collaboratively to show some of the ins and outs of the tool.

Meanwhile, I found this video from CommonCraft (those guys again!) on how to use Google Docs. It’s a bit old but still useful.

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Peace (in collaboration),
Kevin

RSS and Wikis made simple (sort of)

These two videos are more great intros into two Web 2.0 tools: RSS feeds and Wikis. They are engaging and informative and, well, fun to watch (who can ask for more). They are done by Commoncraft. This post has been sitting in my blog files for months and kept getting bumped for other things so I decided it was time to get it off the floor.

Check the videos out:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0klgLsSxGsU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-dnL00TdmLY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (from my feeds),
Kevin

Classroom 2.0 Grows and Grows

I was reminded of how fast the Classroom 2.0 social networking site has grown since I climbed aboard the Ning train a few months ago (there were just a few hundred folks then in the network created by Steve H.) when the site was featured on the main Ning Blog Page as an example of an active community.

It said that the Classroom 2.0 site now has more than 2,500 members! Wow! That’s is a lot of exploration and discussion and sharing of resources going on among educators, and there is a wealth of knowledge and experience there. So go ahead, check it out and join the network (if nothing else, you can see what social networking is all about)

Classroom%2020.jpg

Gina Bianchini (one of the Ning developers) had this to say:

I’ve got to believe the classroom is a more fun and productive place when you have teachers who are creatively and passionately bringing social software into the mix. The teachers in Classroom 2.0 are leading by example.

Peace (in networks),
Kevin

Social Bookmarking — A Video View

The folks over at CommonCraft have done it again — a great little video on the power of social bookmarking (such as delicious) and how the collective force of information gathering can be used to widen the web of resources at your fingertips (on the keyboard):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/x66lV7GOcNU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (with links),
Kevin

Social Networking and Student Activity

Look at this graph:

I love that the highest category is related to writing, although I wish it were even larger. But this chart — from a report entitled Creating and Connecting, etc and shared by my friend, Gail, and generated by the National School Board — shows the growing impact of social networking on young people.

Gail cites the report with this quote:

In light of the study findings, school districts may want to consider reexamining their policies and practices and explore ways in which they could use social networking for educational purposes.

Peace (with connections),
Kevin

Need ideas? Hit the Generator

This is another interesting site that gives you some ideas when your brain is fried and dried and it sure comes up some strange ones. It’s called the Director’s Bureau Special Projects Idea Generator (like a spy movie or something). Just click and spin the wheel.

levitating animal

In three turns of the wheel, I got:

  • Do-it-yourself levitating animal
  • Exclusive foam garden
  • Nutritious holograph club
  • Comedic Inflatable Event

There’s got to be something I can do with these.

Peace (in abundance),
Kevin

PS — I was taking my cat for a virtual walk when the strangest thing happened. She doesn’t like to stroll too far in the holographic room but every once in a while, a robotic mouse jumps out of the low corner of the walls and she is off like a shot. The mouse always gets away by scaling the walls and disappearing into the upper corner of the holographic room. On this day, my thoughts were clouded by the upcoming meeting of the Inflatable Foam Garden club and our concern that every time it rains, our gardens wash away. I had suggested tying bowling balls to the flowers but the others just pooh-poohed that idea. Still, no one had come up with a better suggestion and I could just see our gardens graced by colorful balls, anchored nicely during storms. It was while I was in these deep pockets of thoughts that my cat brought back some kind of paper bag, and it in were wires and nodes and other items. I was curious — as my cat was — and so I followed the set of instructions and began connecting the pieces together. When it was done, it resembled something like closed box, with a large wire coming out of the top and big blue button on the side. I clicked the button and something jumped from the box to my cat. My cat looked at me, and I just shrugged. This kind of thing happens all the time to us. Then, to my surprise, my cat started to lift up off the ground. She was flying! No, not quite flying. More like levitating. I grabbed the paper bag and tried to find some kind of label. On the bottom, worn out, were the words: Do-it-yourself Animal Levitation Kit. I waved to my cat and she kind of waved back. Waving isn’t easy for cats. Suddenly, a robotic mouse scurried out of the wall and my cat was zooming after it. No more escape through the top of the room for this prey but when my cat swiped at the mouse, there was a loud “pop” and the mouse disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and the room was gone. We were standing — well, I was standing and my cat was floating — back in our house and my cat had the funniest expression on its face. Like something had gotten her tongue this time. I reached down to see what happened and found a rip in our Comedic Inflatable Event. I folded it up, put it back in the bag and silently told myself that I needed to bring the room back for repairs before the next meeting of the Nutritious Holographic Club. The room would not be too tasty as it was.

Public Wants Tech in Schools

An article in e-School News Online reports on a survey of several thousand people which concluded:

The majority of respondents said technology is an important factor in connecting schools to their communities, as well as in leveling the playing field among more and less affluent schools by providing equal access to educational content.”

In addition:

According to the survey, 59 percent of Americans agree that “information technology is a vital tool that can help educate our students by providing access to video and other dynamic content” and that more should be done to incorporate technology into the learning process.

Americans also recognize that understanding science and technology is important to success in the 21st-century workforce, the poll suggests: 69 percent of Americans believe that science and math courses should be made mandatory for grades 7 through 12.

The flip side is that respondents were not in any agreement on how this kind of technology education should be delivered, nor did people see teaching technology at odds with the push for more standardized testing.

Some links from the article:

Video of panel discussion
http://www.463.com/Clients/Cisco/

Cisco Education
http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/education/index.html

Consortium for School Networking
http://www.cosn.org

International Society for Technology in Education
http://www.iste.org

Peace (with tech),
Kevin