I have been writing and participating in a social networking site called Classroom 2.0 that has teachers from around the world exploring the issues of the new wave of technology and its intersection with technology. It has been very interesting and many good conversations are emerging from the site (which has a few hundred members right now).
Head on over and check out Classroom 2.0 and join the conversation while learning just what a social networking site is all about.
Here is a blurb:
Welcome to www.Classsroom20.com, the social networking site devoted to those interested in the practical application of Web 2.0 in the classroom and in their own professional development. Especially we hope that those who feel they are “beginners” will find this a comfortable place to start being a part of the community dialog and to learn more.
Peace (with community),
As part of a book project that I am helping to edit around how composition is changing in the classroom, a colleague passed along a new resource book called Teachingmedialiteracy.com by Richard Beach. I haven’t yet had a chance to really check it out but, being digital, I did check out his website, weblog and wiki.
I like the Wiki best of all. Beach has his students 9college, I think) contributing to the collective knowledge in such areas as:
The sites within the Wiki are well thought out, instructive and reflective, and provide a myriad of resources. This Wiki is a great site for anyone venturing into the thicket of what media literacy is all about these days and the voices of students come through with the power of the collective Wiki.
Peace (with no deceptive advertising),
A friend asked me to share the Weblog site where I launch many of my workshops on Weblogs for teachers in the Western Massachusetts Writing Project with very little, if any, knowledge of Weblogs, Wikis, podcasting, etc. At this point, the site is only the main interface and not an actual blog, although I have used it for that during various workshops (it all depends on audience and purpose).
Feel free to use the workshop site as you like.
Peace (with sharing),
This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post, in a way. One of my projects this year is to work with our Massachusetts Writing Project (newly reconstituted with Susan at the helm) with newsletter weblogs for all of sites, and then collect all news via RSS feeds to a single blog site.
This would give us a collective voice for sharing information and by using RSS feeds, I am hoping that it will be less work for everyone involved (except for me, in setting the darn thing up).
Our writing project site also envisions a time when all of our assorted projects (Project Outreach, English Language Learners Network, Reading Initiative, etc) will have their own blog space for sharing with others, and we want to be able to collect their news at one site, too.
So I started toying around with PageFlakes and Mike, over at his Edublogs tutorial site, showed the world how to collect feeds from PageFlake and then move that code over to an Edublog site — just what I may need. (Thanks again, Mike!)
Check out my public PageFlake site and give me any feedback. I have collected all the feeds from folks in the Western Mass Writing Project who have completed the three-hour Weblog/Podcast workshops with me.
Peace (with Pageflakes),
Jeff Grinvalds, of the Nebraska Writing Project, just published an informative article for the NWP on reducing technology glitches in the classroom (what? I never have glitches, do you? Hmmm) that gives some practical advice for teachers considering technology.
He begins with a personal story of working to create a movie project with his students, only to realize that, “After the show was over and we went to watch the tape of the acts, and I realized to my chagrin that I had not run an audio cable from the video camera to the VCR, so we had this wonderful footage with no audio.”
Check out Jeff’s article: Technology in the Classroom — How to Reduce the Glitches.
Peace (with the writing project),
I just came across an article by Jakob Nielson that discusses the skills that young people should be learning. The one-sentence summary of the article is instructive: “Schools should teach deep, strategic computer insights that can’t be learned from reading a manual.” What he means is that schools should not teach to a certain platform or software program, but they should instruct along the lines of critical thinking and problem-solving that will come in handy no matter how technology changes (and it will change — we all know that).
Here is a list of the skills that Jakob says are vital:
- Search Strategies
- Information Credibility
- Battling Information Overload
- Presentation Skills
- Basic Debugging Techniques
- Understanding Usability Guidelines
You can read more at his site but I think this is a nice basic list to think about.
Peace (with the basics),
This is an intriguing video that examines the New Literacy movement from the perspective of humans having (some) control over information, or at least, examining the phenomenon of how technology may be shaping our thinking (so is it really the machines having control over us?). It was created by a professor in digital anthropology (!) at Kansas State University.
Check it out:
Interestingly, if yuo go to a site called Mojiti, you can see how people are leaving their own comments embedded right inside the video: http://mojiti.com/kan/2024/3313
Peace (in the flow of info),
My National Writing Project colleague, Eric, has been thinking and reflecting upon when and how to protect students when they are writing on-line, which is something I do all the time, particularly with the launch of our big (six schools, 15 teachers, more than 200 students, and four Weblogs) project called Making Connections.
I liked what Eric wrote and so I don’t think he will mind if I share it here:
High Level of Safety
- Completely “walled garden” where all student interaction is monitored, occurs on a school-affiliated website, and is not open to the public.
- Any podcasts, videos, or images are also hosted only on this site and require approval before uploading.
- A single class blog, forum, and wiki, all linked to a student account and inaccessible by any public visitors.
- Students are not encouraged to read blogs, keep an aggregator, or access/use sites like Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, Google Docs, and the like.
Medium Level of Safety
- All interaction is monitored, occurs on a school-affiliated website or service designed for educational purposes (elggspaces, learnerblogs, ClassBlogmeiter, etc.), and some sections are open to public viewing, but not interaction (no way for visitors to leave comments, etc.)
- Students create and upload podcasts, videos, and images to the school site, but prior approval is not required and can be viewed by the public.
- Class blog and individual student blogs, forums, and wikis are all linked to a student account and are accessible by public visitors, but no interaction is permitted.
- Students read blogs selected by the teacher and learn to find and cite resources through Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, and the like.
Low Level of Safety
- All interaction is monitored, but may occur mainly or exclusively on open-source services (though likely those designed for educational purposes). All sections are public and open to interaction.
- Students create and upload podcasts, videos, and images to open-source services and link or embed them in their own blogs, wiki, or forum.
- Class blog and individual student blogs, forums, and wikis that students modify and determine access levels on a post-by-post/page-by-page basis.
- Students read blogs selected by the teacher, as well as those related to their interests and research. Students also access and use services such as Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, Google Docs, and the like.
I find it helpful to first consider what are the aims of the project and then what level of security do you need. Our Making Connections project is completely sealed off from the public, primarily because of the large number of students but also because teachers felt they had a better chance of getting administrative support that way.
Still, part of what we are doing with our project is teaching Internet safety and even with the “virtual garden” walled off, we stress that students should not give out personal information and remind them that these protocols are something they should also be following in their lives outside of school (You should have seen the faces on some of my students when I talked about tracing IM messages, email and how every computer has a distinct IP address).
Peace (with information),
I got home from school yesterday and found a new book waiting for me — it’s called 35 Tech Tips for Teachers and it is written by an old friend (we met through GlobalSchoolNet last year) Jennifer Wagner of Technospud. Jennnifer does some wonderful collaboration projects for teachers across the disciplines and is always sharing what she has learned with a larger audience (like me).
The booklet, which is published by Lulu, is a nice guide to using technology for learning in the classroom, ranging from introducing spreadsheet to using Powerpoint to creating vector letters in Paint Shop to beginning HTML coding. The lessons are simple to understand and are all connected to the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. She also offers to email out additional templates for some of the lessons.
Somewhere, I think I read that the proceeds from the book will help offset some of the costs of running her collaborative projects.
Peace (with teaching tips),
I took part in another Skypecast conversation lastweek with other teachers who are using blogs, wikis, podcasting and other technology through Teachers Teaching Teachers site (which is wonderful — check it out!). The conversation is now being podcast through the site, too.
Take a listen.
The conversation was a bit crowded for a deep and rich conversation but it is still very empowering to be part of a larger community and I appreciate the efforts of Paul and Susan to keep this forum alive and thriving. Their topic was reflecting on how the school year has been going and what is ahead for us.
One interesting aspect was a visitor to the conversation from China, who is not a teacher but still had some things to say about education in China in comparison to education as we were discussing on the skypecast.
Peace (with multiple voices),