Web 2.0 and 21st Century Learning

Walt Disney's School Desk

Walt Disney's School Desk

Photo by caniswolfe


Thing #3–21st Learning 2.0

Welcome!  Your first blog comment will be posted on my blog here, so that we can collectively discuss the concerns and challenges that the video clips bring to the forefront of our ed tech minds.

Background Information:

In Shift Happens“, Karl Fisch enlightens us with startling facts and statistics about our everchanging global community.  In A Vision of Students Today“, Michael Wesch and his students at Kansas State University highlight how students spend their time and question the relevance of today’s education into the future. Finally, David Warlick comments on Literacy and 21st Century Learning.  He deftly points out that three converging conditions demand a new definition of literacy.  These (3) conditions include: 1.  We are preparing students for a future that is unpredictable; 2.  We are preparing info-savvy students–students who have a richer, deeper, and more personal way of tapping into information; and 3.  We are living in a time with a new information landscape–the WWW is now a participatory interface where we dialogue and contribute to the content in a social manner.

Topics for Discussion:

You are invited to dialouge about the (3) video clips and share your ideas on this blog space.  Use these three guiding questions as you compose your comments:

  1. Why do you think Web 2.0 is important for 21st Century Learning?
  2. When comparing the information in the videos and your own school experiences as an educator, what rings true?  What does not?  What surprises you?  Worries you?
  3. If we are living in a world of Web 2.0, global learning communities, and online social interaction, what do you think “School 2.0” should look like? 

TechBabble is Back & Multimedia Can Dance!

Back to Blogging!

Photo by Mosier J

Photo by Mosier J

Back to Blogging! This is my first blog post for 2009!  I’m glad to be back in the ethersphere, continuing with reviews of savvy Web 2.0 tools.  In addition, I will throw in some brags about teachers’ exemplary uses of technology integration.  If you find an uber tool or know of someone smartly using technology, send me a buzz!

Multimedia Can Dance at The Crefeld School:

Project: Dance & Multimedia

Grade Level: High School

Technology Tools: digital video, imovie (mac movie editing software), and Garageband (podcasting/sound recording mac software)

Sara Narva, dance teacher extraordinaire at The Crefeld School, started with a vision.  She set out to involve her students in a dialogue about race through honest journaling and observations, as well as student collaboration.  From this visionary idea, a dance about race was born, where students collaborated with teacher in choreographing a thought-provoking, stimulating, and sometimes painfully honest look at how a group of teens feel about race.

Not ony did Sara take on a controversial  topic for dance expression, she also challenged herself with utilizing multimedia to help educate and tell the story of the teens’ perspectives.  A mix of music, video, and sound bytes echoed throughout the dance performance, brilliantly challenging the audience’s preconceived notions about race, the world in which we live, the beauty of diversity and its challenges, as well as the social injustices.

After watching this dynamic performance, you walk away questioning your own ways of thinking and you have a renewed perspective on diversity.

You can listen to some clips of the student interviews, which were utilized throughout the dance.

Through Our Eyes: A Dance About Race, The Crefeld School

To read Sara Narva’s reflections on her experiences with this project, you can access the Horace journal article, a journal published by the Coalition for Essential Schools.

Image created in Wordle, a creative word cloud editing tool, created by IBM Visual Research Communication Lab.




Director & Producer: Sara Narva (4:00)

Powered by Podbean.com

Students and teacher granted permission for the publishing of this sound file.  It may not be reproduced or distributed without the permission of Sara Narva and her dancers.

Thing #23: Web 2.0 Course Reflections

K12Learning2.0 :  Embarking Upon a Quest…

Photo by Prescott

I just completed a fascinating, envigorating, and enlightening online course, where I had the opportunity to experiment, collaborate, and explore Web 2.0 tools.  k12Learning2.0 afforded me an opportunity to expand my skill-set, round out my knowledge, all within a safe playground.

Most Valuable Knowledge Gained:

I learned that the more I know, the more I don’t know.  With every new web tool, I am led to another path for exploration.  I look forward to continuing this quest on my own.  To really learn each new tool, you have to try it in an authentic way and take some risks.

RSS Rocks!  My discovery of how RSS works for me has been an incredible timesaver, and it has also been a way to think more creatively about podcasting, gathering news, and broadcasting classroom projects.  Now, I just need to take more time to keep up with all the wonderful feeds out there!

Everything is one degree Google:  How did I not know the power of Google before?  Before this course, I mostly used google for searches, scholarly information, and Google Earth.  Now I am gathering RSS feeds, sharing documents, broadcasting pages, and even creating my own personalized news feeds.  This is a tool that I plan on mining more in the future. 

The Road Ahead…

As a life-long learner, I am jazzed by this new learning experience.  I am dedicated to forging ahead, making more connections, collaborating more with my colleagues, and returning to my original goal of “play”–this is key.  I plan on continuing this blog on my own, outside the Web 2.0 course, plunging into my journey of getting connected, sharing, creating, communicating, collaborating, and constructing knowledge.  This is authentic learning, baby!

Ps.  A loud SHOUT OUT goes to Shelley Paul, tech wizard and course instructor extraordinaire.  Without Shelley’s true passion for life-long learning and harnessing the magic of technology integration, all of this new learning would have never been possible.

Thing #22: Get Connected With Social Networking

Collaborate, Share, Create–Partner With the World…

Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks


Thougths on Ning & Social Networking 

I enjoyed exploring Ning, as it opened up a whole new way of thinking about social networking for me as an educator. 

Currently, I am a member of Facebook, which I use to keep up with high school, college, and friends from other cities, as well as overseas.  I am a fairly new member, within the last 6 months, and it is amazing to me how people find me, either through an online “friend” or just from random facebook searches.  For instance, I got an invitation just a few weeks ago to be a “friend” with a woman from France, with whom I was friends with in high school, and I haven’t spoken to her since my senior year. I assume she found me through another online “friend” in the same network. Pretty cool!

Ning is new to me, and from visiting the Classroom 2.0 community, I have a whole new set of ideas for using social networking in the education arena.  I was surprised to see how many discussions take place on a myriad of topics.  In addition, I was delighted with the groups and additional online communities available in Ning that relate to my professional interests, including the Teachers As Writers community and the Second Life group within Classroom 2.0’s social network.  In fact, Kathy Schrock is creator of the Second Life group, which surprised me and made me see how the Classroom 2.0 community is valid.  For some reason, by her membership, and the membership of Tom March and Bernie Dodge, the site has more validity, as these are names that have been around in my introduction to the instructional technology world.  For a digital immigrant like myself, knowing that “real” and “authentic” professionals participate in the community, makes me more motivated in being a part of it as well, as shallow as that may seem.

Finally, I did a little fun search on Ning and discovered a slew of online communities dedicated to doll collecting, a childhood pasttime of mine . Who knew there were so many Madame Alexander fanatics!

Classroom Connection:

  • I see social networking as a powerful learning tool for sharing, collaborating, and creating content. 
  • Students need training in how to participate safely in social networking–what better way than to provide an authentic learning experience in the classroom!
  • As a language arts teacher, I envision participating in a writing network, collaborating with classrooms around the world.  (Move over classroom wiki, we can broadcast, collaborate, and share even more than ever!)
  • As an interdisciplinary experience, authentic research would be a richer experience by collaborating with other learners around the globe, constructing knowledge with people from other cultures, hemispheres, continents, and more–think of the possibilities!

Thing #21: Get Flakey!

corn flakes 

Picture by vinduhl 

Overview:  Pageflakes is a wonderful way to create your own content, all in one place.  Accessing widgets and “flakes” is intuitive and user-friendly.  I love being able to apply my knowledge of the different tools, and then filter them through one space for optimal use by me and my students. 

Pagecast:  The Giver

Students in my English 7 class are starting the novel unit The Giver.  Instead of posting links on my homework page, I created a one-stop-shop of tools, bookmarks, calendars and more.  The coolest part is that the students can keep up with Lois Lowry’s personal author blog, and they can learn about her travels, frustrations, and script writing for her upcoming movie of the novel.  Go RSS!

Classroom Themes: 

  • Current events could pull different news feeds on various countries in Africa, if a World Cultures class was following African news.  Related bookmarks and videos could round out the content on the page.
  • A language arts classroom could create a themed page for a particular author, genre, or novel.
  • Math classes could post a challenge problem on a sticky note, a sketchcast or how to solve a similar problem, as well as links to real world applications of the math.

Thing #20-One Degree Google

Only weeks ago, I felt all things led to Google.  Now I know this to be utterly true.  Google has always been one of my favorite search tools on the Internet, and with the discovery of gmail, Google Docs, Google Reader, Google News, easy to subscribe to RSS news feeds, surveys, and more, I am forever in love!

My students recently signed up for Google Docs to have reliable and easy access to their school documents, without having to send email from and to school.  Of course, the students picked up on the user-friendly interface, discovering the history feature within minutes of opening up an account.  They love it that they can pull up previous versions of their work.  For editing, they can easily share their document with me and their classmates, and the uploading of previously made outlines and drafts was a cinch. I was amazed that most of the formatting stayed in tact.  I did find that students had more control over printing and formatting on pages if they download the document. 

(3) Ideas for Classroom & Professional Use:

Idea One:  Use google docs as an online storage solution, so that you and students have access to your work anytime, anywhere. 

Idea Two:  Use google docs to survey others in a research project.  So many times students in their science fair projects walk around school with a notepad and a list of questions.  They can now automate these questions and have the answers dumped into a spreadsheet, all from google docs!

Idea Three:  Use google docs to collaborate on student writing.  Students can share their documents within assigned writing groups.  Students can offer edits and comments in different colors, right on the google document.  This will remove the need for emailing the work, and it will cut down on the difficulty in reading student hand writing!  In addition, the teacher can also have shared access to student work, offering edits and feedback electronically, instead of marking up hardcopies.

Bonus Ideas: 

  • Use Google Docs to collaborate on a professional document, like a parent newsletter, acceptable use policy, or the revision of some curriculum. 
  • Use Google Docs to create a “quick and dirty” web page, complete with a table of contents.  You can take any google doc and make it a live web page with the click of the button.  I did this with a poem I recently wrote as a model of “ode writing” with my students.  Check out “Ode to Sparkle Jeans“!

The possibilities are endless.  If you can imagine it, it can be utilized in Google Docs!

Thing #19-Tube Power

vintage movie camera

 Photo by lyrabellacqua

Exploring YouTube: 

I thorougly enjoyed exploring youtube and teachertube for “Thing #19”.  Of course, I know how addicted my own students are to youtube, and I can see why.  I am quite impressed by how youtube originated.  It’s amazing how a few young guys’ ideas turned into an empire of sorts.

YouTube in My Classroom 

I have a novel unit starting in May for Lois Lowry’s The Giver for 7th grade Language Arts.  I usually start the unit with a youtube retro video of John Lennon’s “Imagine“.  The students are so drawn to The Beatles and anything retro, and I always try to hook them on pop culture and visual tools to spark their interest.  This youtube video is always a hit. We use the video and lyrics to spark a discussion about “utopia” and I introduce the term “dystopia” at the same time.  This ignites a discussion in small groups about what they would do to make the world a “utopia” or perfect place. 

This year, I plan on expanding the use of youtube with a student-produced video representing the theme of the novel  The Giver.  Students can choose still images or live footage.  I think because of the shortage of time, they may opt for the still images, which we can compile from flickr and original shots.  We also may even use windows photo story for the creation of the movie.  The creation of the video is an alternative to my previous idea of creating slideshows using Rock You, Animoto, or another slideshow production tool available for free online.  I think I’ll give the options to the students.  Either way, they will be required to embed the videos or slideshows on our class wiki, WritePostRead

Students will be able to sample a few student videos for the novel The Giver by viewing clips on youtube and teachertube.  Here is a  trailer of the novel, created by some students:

Video by clarkviola 

Students will be able to use this sample to inspire their creativity.  In addition, we can use this sample clip as a springboard for critique, effects, and style. 

I did notice that teachertube offers less videos on topical searches, but each item I found was better prepared.  It is evident that many of the projects were teacher-coached and results of well-designed rubrics and scaffolded instruction.  This will be a timesaver for me in the future, as many of the trailers I found on youtube were lacking in quality.

YouTube for Fun:  I had a blast endulging in my love or the ’80s, surfing many video collections and sound bytes of the one-hit wonder bands of the ’80s and mixes of the ’80s’ sounds.  It made me smile and remember my own big hair days in high school:)  I also found a cool video on embroidery.  I found myself forced into the art of the needle for my daughter’s recent rite of passage at school.  I did find videos on different web sites when I needed it, but I think youtube would have been a much easier search for me.

Thing #18-My Very Own Podcast With Evoca!

Techbabble’s (3) Ideas for Podcasting With Teachers and Students:

Evoca was quite user friendly and easy to record a short sound clip.  It did take some time for the sound to get converted into an MP3.  It’s a “quick and dirty” way to throw up a sound file with very little effort.  It would be nice to be able to splice off the end or the beginning to remove the dead sound, due to my slow clicking of “stop and start”.  Having instruction on how to embed in my blog was really helpful, as I am sure it would have been a few hours of tinkering and emailing helpdesk in order to get it working on my own.

Thing #17-Podcasting

Photo by Jschneid

Vintage Microphone

I enjoyed surfing all the different listings of podcasts available.  I explored a podcast that teaches you Spanish,Mugglecast for Harry Potter fans, “Cranbrook Composers’ Podcast“, where students chat about songs they created and then the audience samples the song, and an instructional/professional development podcast called “Kidcast:  Learning and Teaching with Podcasting“.  I found a wide variety of styles and sound mixing on each of these podcast series.  I giggled at the Spanish, as the epidode I listened to talked about the term “hot”.  They taught sweating, armit, and other funny words.  I can see sharing this podcast listing with the Spanish teacher in my school, as she currently has her own Spanish podcast series that I helped her create.  I think she could borrow some formatting ideas from this show.  The Cranbrook composers is a lot of fun, as students MC the podcast and show off music they create.  Kidcast was a bit of a snoozer, and maybe because it is done in such an elementary style with very few bells and whistles.  I can see this series as a good learning tool for teachers new to podcasting.  Finally, the Mugglecast, which is a 2006 People’s Choice award winner, is a lot of fun if you have some extra time to listen to people chat about the latest Harry Potter news, films, books, and rumors.  (I personally love it!) 

I found podcast alley, the education podcast network, and learn out loud very user friendly and informative in finding wonderful sound feeds.  I was not aware of these sites, so I am thrilled to add them to my arsenal of resources for teaching, students, and professional development.  I was blown away by the 100 Free Podcasts From the Best Colleges in the World.  I sampled a bit of the Modern Poetry seminar from Yale University.  What a phenomenal resource and an opportunity to continue with life-long learnig.  Heck, I want to share this listing with my dad, as he is always looking to learn something new!

I enjoyed catching podcasts in my reader, as I really do not want all those editions loaded on my hard drive.  This was new information for me, and I am thrilled to find that I can check out podcasts in this way.  I already subscribe to Grammar Girl through my itunes.

I am a listener of Grammar Girl and I introduced her episodes on run-ons, fragments, and comma splices to my students this year as we were studying compound sentence construction.  The students enjoyed the different learning format, and we later used her podcast as an example for format, including the opening sound reel and the closing bumper.  I did have to screen which episodes to use, as some of her chatting about language structure is way too advanced for my 7th graders. 

I used a podcast from NPR’s “All Things Considered” for a thank you note writing activity, related to a short story the students read.  We listened to Peggy Post, the granddaughter of Miss Manners herself, Elizabeth Post.  We learned about thank you note etiquette in a wired world.  Listen to “In a Wired World, Handwritten ‘Thank You’ Still Tops“.  Listening to this podcast in class was certainly more engaging than asking students to take notes from an article or listen to my thoughts as the teacher.  Not only that, because an expert on manners explained the proper etiquette, the information was more authentic and valuable to the students.  From listening to this podcast, students also learned about the format of a professional podcast for their own future production.

My students created their own podcasts for a book project.  Students read the same book selections in pairs or small groups, all the while keeping an electronic interactive notebook.  The writings in the notebooks later served as the basis for the scripts they composed, after listening to several student-created and professionally-created podcasts to get ideas for format, structure, editing, and sound effects.  After the scripts were reviewed by me and other students, the revised scripts were taken into the “studio” for production.  I introduced the program Garageband to my students, which is a MAC application.  Many of the students already were familiar with the program, so I put them in charge of helping the newbies.  Students used sound effects, a show opening, a “style” for their show, and a closing bumper.  Some students were even so creative as to put in their own commercials.  One group even did this in Hebrew, as their book was a story taking place in Israel.  Check out their podcasts on the Jewish Book Podcast site. (Oh, and from this week’s learning, I realized that these sound clips really aren’t podcasts, as they are not available through RSS! 🙂 )  Just beware of the students’ affinity for sound effect overload, which we discussed at length.  They tend to want to put in too many sound effects and go a bit crazy with the voice pitch alteration.  We discussed that the sound effects should enhance and not take away from the podcast.  Even after this elaborate discussion, a few groups used voiceover effects that were difficult to hear.  This “no no” in production reminds me of the students overuse of effects in Powerpoint.  For evaluation purposes, I used a simple podcast rubric, which was an adaptation from several online tools that I gathered, as well as a basic speech and oral communication scoring tool that I have used with my students in the past.  There are oodles of rubrics on the web, so it is easy to find one to adapt.

Podcasting is a great tool for kids showing what they have learned, collaborating, and even learning enrichment information.  I hope to use more podcasting in the future.  If you can imagine it or dream it up, there is a meaningful way to apply it!

Thing #16-43 Things & New Year’s Resolutions


 Photo by quinn.anya

The site 43 Things reminds me of all the New Year’s resolutions I have made and never kept.  While I see the need to set goals, reflect upon them, and return to them often, I also consider this sort of thing very personal.  I can’t imagine ever personally posting something like this online as a professional or for my personal life.  I think this sort of thing can be imitated in a private wiki space, where it is a safer environment and more protected.  I’m just not comfortable posting this kind of information in a public forum.  Maybe it’s old-fashioned of me, but this is the first web 2.o tool that I’m not excited about for my own personal and professional use.