Reviewing Socially Networked Classroom with Glogster

Thanks to my friend, Gail D., I ventured into Glogster (the edu version) this week and decided to use it to post a book review of William Kist’s The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age, which is put out by Corwin Press.

Glogster is  a poster-like application, where you use “stickers” and other tools to post text, add video and audio and images, and do things around design. I’m not completely happy with mine, as I think it is too busy. But I wanted to dive in and see the possibilities for the classroom.

Glogster seems school-friendly, allowing teachers to set up accounts for students under one login (haven’t tried it yet but seems decent). I can imagine my kids working on a book report with this site, but it will require lessons on focus and design, for sure.

Here is my book review on Glogster:

Peace (on the glog),

Tapping into a network for ideas: digital story tutorials

I am part of a listserve of some very smart people — the technology liaisons of the National Writing Project. Time and time again, when someone has a question or a problem, these teachers and technology coordinators eagerly come up with solutions and resources. I say this because this week, someone asked about resources for teaching digital storytelling. Within a few hours, there were multiple responses with links for resources. I love that.

Here are some of the resources shared:

It’s always amazing to realize the networks we are building and how much people are willing to go out of their way to help others in the process of learning and integrating technology. It’s just knowing how to enter a network, I guess.

Peace (in the sharing),

Ray Harryhausen: Master of Stopmotion


Youtube again. This time, it is a six-part documentary about Ray Harryhausen, whose work with stopmotion animation and puppets thrilled me as a kid. You probably know the work if you stumbled into dark cinemas on rainy Saturdays for a buck and caught the matinees (Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad the Sailor movies, etc). Obviously, some of the effects and motion seems ancient, but that is only because technology has caught up with Ray Harryhausen’s imagination.

The rest of the documentary is found here:
Part 1 Here
Part 2 Here
Part 3 Here
Part 4 Here
Part 5 Here
Part 6 Here

I can definitely see using this documentary when we get into Stopmotion movies later this year (as part of the Longfellow Ten site).

Peace (in the motion),

Storming the Castle with a five year old

Last night, after getting tired of listening to “What can we do now” from my five year old, I pulled up Storybird and together, my son and I created this ebook story. He told me the story, I asked a few questions, and he created the pages. He loved it and you can see elements of his fascination with Star Wars in it (or, at least, I can).
The Castle Rescue by dogtrax on Storybird
I had somewhat forgotten about Storybird (which I tried a few months ago in a story about reading called The Book and the Frown) but it is easy to use and could find a nice place in some lower elementary classrooms. There are image groups to choose from and the interface is simple to use.

Peace (in the story),

Vote for the Edublog Awards 2009

The list of bloggers and blog sites for this year’s Edublog Awards are up and open for voting. Even if you don’t have time to vote, you owe it to yourself to scan through the lists and gather up some resources. One of the projects that I helped with — The Longfellow Ten — is in the running under the use of video in education. How about a vote for stopmotion movies by our students? Go here to vote for LF10.

The Edublog Award Categories….

  1. Best individual blog
  2. Best individual tweeter
  3. Best group blog
  4. Best new blog
  5. Best class blog
  6. Best student blog
  7. Best resource sharing blog
  8. Most influential blog post
  9. Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion
  10. Best teacher blog
  11. Best librarian / library blog
  12. Best educational tech support blog
  13. Best elearning / corporate education blog
  14. Best educational use of audio
  15. Best educational use of video / visual
  16. Best educational wiki
  17. Best educational use of a social networking service
  18. Best educational use of a virtual world
  19. Lifetime achievement

Peace (in the list),

Wordling our NWP Connections

This is a follow-up to my last post. This week’s writing prompt for our iAnthology network was to write about how people came to be connected to the National Writing Project. There were some great stories. I took all of the text and popped them into Wordle:

Peace (in the words),

Building a teacher/writer network

Bonnie and I (and a few others) are about three months into a project funded by the National Writing Project to create an online writing community for NWP teachers called the iAnthology. It’s been pretty exciting. We are using a Ning and we have created it to resemble another online network that all NWP folks use during their Summer Institute (a four week professional development that will change the way you teach and connect with others … guaranteed).

Although we began with folks in New England and New York (our home turf, so to speak), we have slowly opened up the doors to teachers from other parts of the country. It’s a closed site with a public face, but we want to reserve the space for teachers who are connected with NWP.

We were looking at some raw numbers the other and I was amazed at the amount of activity it shows.

We now have 165 members

15 Writing groups

Total amount of posts: 173
Total amount of comments: 1,510

Combined total (amount of writing on site): 1,683

(Note: in late September, we had 443 pieces of writing on the site)

Some things I’ve noticed:

  • Our site follows the mathematical power law data tail that Clay Shirkey talks about in his book — Here Comes Everybody — in that we do have a large pool of teachers, but most are either lurkers or joiners, with a select group doing most of the writing and connecting. This a common trend for social networks. What we want to do is entice those in the middle of the data tail to remain engaged and join us from time to time.
  • We’ve set up the iAnthology site to resemble the site most of our folks used during their own Summer Institute (called the eAnthology — get the connection?), so that the interface will seem familiar to folks. Of course, there is not a direct correlation, as they are different platforms. But we used a lot of the same language for peer feedback and created groups with similar names to the other network. We want the hurdles low. We don’t expect the teachers in our network to be tech specialists.
  • We have places (groups) for people to develop longer pieces of writing (creative writing and professional writing) but Bonnie made the smart move early on to set up a weekly writing prompt. We have found that this simple activity brings a lot of folks to the site for some writing, and then connecting. Again, a low hurdle is key.
  • Our site has been used by folks writing for publication, for sharing ideas for the National Novel Writing Month and more. It’s a sounding board for review and revision of pieces of writing, and a supportive place to hang out, too.
  • We are all part of a common experience — the National Writing Project — and that common identity binds us together in really cool ways, so that geography is not so important, even though we bring our localized experiences to the online environment. I see this sense of identity as crucial for the life of any online social network.
  • It’s vital that a small group of people be the face of the site, welcoming new folks in and providing frequent feedback to any writing. The last thing we want is for someone to be excited about our site, post some writing and then receive nothing but a gaping maw of silence. So, we have a team of moderators who go in periodically to comment and respond, and to model commenting and responding for others. It did not take long, though, for members to take over themselves, which is what we want.
  • When Bonnie and I started, we did not know if anyone would come or want such a space. They do. And we know teachers are busy people — there is no right time to launch such a site — September is busy, then you are into the holidays, etc. — so we did it and then have been nurturing periods of growth.

We’re excited about what we set in motion and wonder where it will be heading. If you are part of the National Writing Project and want to join us,  leave a note in the comment box here, and we’ll send you an invite.

Peace (in the connections),

Wallwisher and the UN Declaration of HUman Rights

I am experimenting here with a site called Wallwisher, which I learned about from the Little Kids, Big Possibilities presentation by Kelly Hines at the K12 Online Conference, which launched this week. Wallwisher is a sort of brainstorming wall and I want to see if I can use it today with my students as we talk about Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the focus on educating young people. We are reading Three Cups of Tea and Greg Mortenson references the UN document in his opening.
I want to use Wallwisher to have each class brainstorm what young people have a right to in this world, including education.

SO, let’s see if Wallwisher will embed in Edublogs:

Peace (on the wall),


Using Vocaroo for Voice

I created this quick tutorial for our online writing community (iAnthology) for a possible online poetry slam for January. I suggested that we use Vocaroo for voice and posted this step-by-step tutorial. Vocaroo is easy to use and easy to embed, although the quality is not so hot. But it works.

First: go to Vocaroo
Then: click on ‘Click to Record”
It will ask you to allow you to use your microphone.
Click “allow”
At that point, you are recording, so you can do a test.
When you are done, click “Stop Recording.”
Then, click on “post to the Internet”
Copy the embed code and then paste it into a post here at the iAnthology.

Here is a visual tutorial:

Peace (in the voice),