Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wondering who to follow on Twitter

The DPI has gotten into the Twitter arena:

You can also follow DPI on Facebook.

Mobile Learning

We won't be discussing this in this class, but this article from eSchool, Mobile Learning: Not Just Laptops Anymore, looks at the growth in student owned mobile devices. Near the end of the article the author discusses two different ways of controlling access through these devices that has some bearing on our discussion of Internet Safety.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Second Life and education

Immersive environments and simulations (SIMS 2) are gaining popularity in education. ISTE has provided a list of some educational examples of SL uses.

Also check out the Serious Virtual Worlds Report for as description of "real capability to offer very practical engagement and social interactions with realistic contexts, to offer conceptual experimentation and to create role plays that facilitate for example different interpretations of historical events and more textured use of information (eg overlay of data and images) to scaffold learning."

Social Media and Wisconsin Politics

As we talk about the use of social media in class, there are real world examples of its use in Wisconsin politics today. The Daily PAge (from the Isthmus weekly paper) offers a guide to social media campaigns against the governor's current agenda (http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=32233). This is just one side of the issue. I'm sure there are resources presenting the opposing viewpoint, too. Channel 3000 also provides an overview of social media on the protests.  Think about how resources like this could be used to analyze the current situation and different viewpoints with students. As an example of the traffic, check out the Social Meteor tracking of tweets for the first week.

You may also find the PBS lesson plan on Social Media and Non-Violent Protest useful this week.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Use of Images on the Web

In some of the discussions about unit plans, the question came up about using images on the web and copyright. If you get an image off a webpage, from Google Images or from Flickr, there is a good chance it is copyrighted. Anytime you see the copyright symbol or a note that all rights are reserved, you can't just take that image and put it on your webpage, even if you site it. The best way to be safe is to use images that are either clipart and you have rights to use them or ones that have an appropriate Creative Commons license. This is a new conception of copyright where the creator keeps certain rights and allows users specified uses of their intellectual property. You can look for images (and videos and other resources) with this license by going to http://search.creativecommons.org. For more information on how this works, see Get Creative.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Website Evaluation

Alan November's reading sparked a discussion on web evaluation. While it is a vital skill to teach, many teaches don't feel they have the skills themselves in web evaluation. The school librarian can be a valuable research in teaching these skills. There are also a wide range of resources available. Here are a few resources you might want to check out.

Curiosity and Questioning

Much of what November and Warlick talk about relate to both what and how we teach our students. As several people have noted in their posts, student questioning and ownership of their own learning are vital to creating learners who are curious and use their skills outside the classroom. The real question is how to we motivate students to want to question and develop / maintain a sense of curiosity. Young students have this naturally, and it doesn't disappear as they grow older but instead often goes underground during school hours because it isn't what is expected in school. When teachers feel pushed to teach for test performance, the questioning student can be more of a distraction than a welcome addition to the class. How can we meet the requirements put on us and still develop these all important 21st century skills, building on students' natural curiosity?

Several people provided examples of simulations that they are using in their classrooms that allow students to develop questions, test out hypotheses, fail, and learn new concepts. These are definitely a step in the right direction. Others mentioned projects where students were allowed to follow personal interests. How do we build time in the curriculum to allow students to fumble around as they search for questions of interest to them? How do we help them explore and then focus their research? Consider that the school librarian is someone who can help as you do this with your students.

Finally, look at the work done with immersive environments, simulations and gaming in education. The Games, Learning and Society program at UW-Madison is a leader in this area and has been doing some exciting work. Eica and Rick Halverson, Constance Steinkuehler, Kurt Squire, Elisabeth Hayes (Arizona) and James Gee (Arizona) are faculty members associated with this program. Check for the GLS Conference, generally in June at UW-Madison.