Friday, January 29, 2010

Implementation Plan

I must say I am at the baby step stage of using the Web 2.0 Tools and I haven't quite decided how to incorporate them into my library lessons. One thing I've realized over the years (25 years as a teacher) is that often we'll get in the middle of a project and it'll take a turn and the need to learn how to do something will get me to use new (to me) technology. Last year this happened with a project on the U.S. Presidents... the kids wrote a 1st person narrative as a President about their life and accomplishments then made a podcast. This was my first experience with podcasts and the students came up with the added step and then basically showed me how to make a podcast and save it. The step that didn't get completed was taking those podcasts and putting them on a website that parents/students could access. I would like to see if I can take final step and get the website done... I think the cooltoolsforschools website would probably have the key to doing that. I would like to have a hand holder helper to get me going in the right direction. I see the potential but I'm not much of an adventurer when it comes to trying things out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 9 Thing#23

Wonderful course full of many many web applications to explore. To quote Marvell, "Had we but world enough, and time..... perhaps I would become an expert at these tools. A good start to using Web 2.0 tools is to know about them and this course has done a great job of introducing and setting up activities to "dip our toe in". I like knowing that now I will have a reference spot, the Raven About 2.0 webpage to use as a resource and I have bookmarked other useful sites that'll help remind me of the possibilities. I appreciate the time and effort put in to putting this site together- there is a wealth of information that was easy to navigate and did enlighten me to the Web 2.0 world. Thank you for providing the opportunity.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 4- Thing 8

I learned about the RSS feeds and set up my own Bloglines newsreader account and added 5 feeds mostly centered around outside interests, nordic skiing, and my children's colleges.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week 6: Thing 13

I think I could spend hours looking at all the bookmarked sites via I looked at the cooltoolsforschools site which had so many great links to neat tools- I was interested in the writing tools and there were many that I would like to use with my elementary students for their projects. It is nice when people who have the time and inclination can do all the groundwork to put these sites in one easy to reach place for the rest of us to access. I'm much more likely to try some of these sites out when I don't have to dig around for them- they are already tried and true.

Web 2.0 Chapters 7 & 8

I found Chapter 7 on Online Safety and Security for the most part review. I didn't know about the Creative Commons License though. I'm guessing more people will make use of the Creative Commons License- it seems very user friendly and common sense like. I also appreciated getting the websites and these will be useful places to send parents who want more information on internet safety. After teaching I-Safe over the years I found the Cyber Awareness Survey to be a bit too simple. The administrative restrictions were a bit daunting but on closer scrutiny I decided that there really wasn't anything unreasonable asked of the teacher.

In Chapter 8 on Systemic Issues, most of the web 2.0 uses for Learning Disabled, English Second Language and other special needs students I found to be worthwhile and even exciting. I can see how having some of these tools can make a big difference in reaching these wide ranging needs. The point about equal access is very valid and I would add the argument that you are probably saving money by providing technological tools which could bring these learners up to a point where they can be in a regular classroom environment and hence save money on teacher assistants and specialists. I wasn't impressed with the assessment part of this chapter although that is probably because most assessment done at my school is project based so none of the ideas mentioned in this chapter seemed that progressive.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Web 2.0 Chapters 1 and 4

The main point I gleaned from the first chapter of web 2.0 New Tools, New Schools was that technology needs to be harnessed to help students learn thinking and analytical skills. One of the reservations I have had about technology is that it isn't accessible enough to elementary students and there always seems to be hardware/software glitches that interfere with the learning. If we are truly moving beyond the "bells and whistles" of cool tech. stuff into using the technology to collaborate and put together higher level projects rather than the cut/paste Wikopedia reports that is a good thing- I do think it is hard for teachers to embrace technology when there isn't enough time for them personally to explore these tech tools. Most of us have a hard time taking the leap of faith that's needed to embrace new technology.

In Chapter 4 (my chapter of choice) I looked at the types of things model school were doing with collaborative and project based learning. I was intrigued with the idea that blogs give the "quiet" students a better opportunity to contribute to class discussions. Most of these model schools have a professional development component which is critical to moving forward. I liked the concept discussed in this chapter that there needs to be a balance between technology and pedogogy. I think one of the most exciting applications of technology is the similations that are available to highschool science classes- my son who is in AP Physics is able to similate very complicated experiments online which his school would never have the resources to do otherwise. One thing we can't lose sight of is making sure that students have the foundation skills i.e. keyboarding and search strategies . Elementary school should provide this so that students can build on that background once they get to middle school.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Week #3 Thing 12 Voice Threads

At first glance I didn't think I would be very interested in this tool. After exploring a bit and trying both the micophone comments and the pen on picture I could see many ways to incorporate voice threads with library projects. I went on a very simple one with a map of the world that a sixth grader posted. She asked anyone to point out where they live and say something about their home- it's amazing how many people from all around the world joined in. I found this site pretty easy to navigate... probably because the introduction video was very easy to follow.