Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wisconsin Survey

This email recently came from John Pederson on the wetech listserv (Wisconsin technology coordinators). Think about the data he presents and what it means for schools.

"Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, recently presented the keynote at our WiscNet Future Technologies Conference. In short, these folks do a ton of data collection about educational technology use in schools.

Julie presented two bits in particular that caught my eye.

1. When Wisconsin students were asked to describe their own level of proficiency with technology, only 21% self identified as being "advanced" in their technology use. I think we as adults often over estimate the abilities and attitudes regarding students and technology.

2. 28% of students Grades 3-5, 45% of students Grades 6-8, and 58% of students Grades 9-12 have their own laptop computers in Wisconsin. Chew on that a bit and consider what it tells you about how you should be thinking about your infrastructure over the next 5-10 years. Will you allow them? Should you provide them? Will this number increase as the costs drop or decrease as the number of mobile devices increases? What does this mean for your network? What are their parents expectations? Is it fair? Does being fair matter?"

John Pederson
Educational Technology Liasion - WiscNet

Monday, May 3, 2010

Twitter to Keep Parents Updated

I found this example last year of Twitter used in an elementary classroom. The kids share with their parents.

Engaging People via Twitter

Do you want more followers on Twitter? Do you want to engage in real conversations? Read Cindy King's 12 Tips to Engage People on Twitter.

Social Communication

Now that you have experienced Twitter, you may find it interesting to read Aliza Sherman's post, How Social Media is Affecting the Way We Speak and Write. Are we more concise? Do you use different spellings? Are we more revealing?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Digital Pencil

Here's an elementary school application called Digital Pencil that is being used in Grandview Elementary School "to support the writing process -- draft, revised draft, edited draft to a published piece -- allowing students and teachers to work on and review student writing from any computer which has access to the internet." We often talk about things that are used in the secondary schools, but this looks like something that could be used at the elementary level. Class subscriptions are available. Also look at some of the links along the side for other tools recommended.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Encouraging people to comment on your blog

You may have noticed that some people are getting more comments on their blogs than others. One reason may be that they post earlier in the week, so there is something to read and comment on, but it may also be that they offer a new way of looking at things, a practical example that others can relate to, or additional information about the topic. Think about how you can make your blog both a reflection of what you are thinking and something interesting for others to read and comment on.

Teachers and Students Using Social Networking

Doug Johnson did part of a webinar on Constructing New Learning Landscapes and talked about essential conditions. One thing he promoted was the need for networking guidelines for teachers, especially as many of us did not grow up in a networked environment. Take a look at Mankato School District's proposed guidelines for teachers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Changes to GoogleDocs

If you liked GoogleDocs when you created your project last week, check out the improvements they are making in a post from TechSpots.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Google for Teachers

Joyce Valenza, in her blog NeverEnding Search, shared links to a free document called Google for Teachers. It doesn't focus on common uses of GoogleDocs, but instead looks at some of the less well-known tools and different ways to use the common ones.

Webinars this week

As you build your personal learning network, you'll find that webinars are a good way to get ideas on who to use these technologies in teaching and learning. Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education provide a series of weekly webinars on a rage of topics conducted by people from all over the world. Sometimes it is a famous author like Daniel Pink or Ken Robinson talking about their work. Other times it is practitioners sharing their experiences. Sometimes you learn as much from the chat backchannel going on during the presentation. The entire schedule can be found at

In light of our recent discussions, you might want to check out these:

Tuesday, April 13 3pm CDT (US) :
MSP2 SERIES: “Google Apps for Educators" with Rachel Lacy.

Wednesday, April 14 2pm CDT (US):
EDUCATION FOR A DIGITAL WORLD: “Adventures in Virtual Collaborative Authoring” with
Sandy Hirtz and Dr. Kevin Kelly.

Wednesday, April 14 2:30pm CDT (US):
EDUCATION FOR A DIGITAL WORLD: “Immersive Gameworlds for World-Wide Change” with
Natasha Boskic. Video and computer games in the context of contemporary educational practice.

All you do is go to the link a few minutes early, download the software and listen in. For most of them, you can ask questions either through the chat or with a mic at the end.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moving forward from where we are

There has been lots of discussion this week about what we'd like to do if we could access some of these tools in our schools. David Warlick in a post on his 2 Cents Worth Blog called It Was Good Enough for Me poses a series of questions to consider and actions to take, focusing on what we want children to learn and the relevant and compelling learning experiences we want to create for them not the technology for technology's sake. What do you want our dream classroom to look like and why?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Digital Media and Schooling

In an interview with Henry Jenkins, Rich Halverson from UW-Madison talk about his new book, Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America where he examines the incompatibilities between schooling and technology. In the interview Halverson said, "Digital media provides a path to personalizing and customizing learning that is often at odds with the batch processing model of, especially, K-12 schooling. This has meant that digitally literate young people have come to understand that there are at least two living channels for learning - 1) an institutional channel, and 2) a peer-driven, interest-driven, and unregulated digital media channel." Think about what this might mean for how students choose to learn.

Check out the first part and part two of the interview or look for the book.

Value of a Personal Learning Network

David Warlick in his 2 cents Worth Blog recently talked about The Teaching Profession. Think about the conditions he suggests help define what a teacher is and does in this technology-rich, information-driven, and rapidly changing world as you are developing your personal learning network and thinking about the types of learning that can take place using the tools we are testing out in this class.

Issues of Internet Safety

The Wisconsin DPI recently announced a series of meetings around the state called Wisconsin Project Safe Childhood: Training for Educators and School Liaison Offices on April 21, 26 and May 12. It is sponsored by the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Dept. of Justice and DPI. I believe they have done a similar session in the past.

In response to the announcement, Keith Schroeder (no relation), a school librarian from Howard Suamico and a former WEMTA Board member, issues this response. He raises a number of important issues to consider if you choose to go to the session. I'd also highly recommend looking at the work of Nancy Willard and Justin Patchin. Dr. Patchin spoke at the recent DPI meetings for librarians and tech coordinators and offered a well-documented, thoughtful view of cyberbullying. Keith has given me permission to share this posting with you.

From Keith (March 31, 2010):

While I think the combined DPI and AG presentations have been a step in the right direction (see email below), I think it’s good to understand that much of the information and statistics out there are based on misinformation (or disinformation as Nancy puts it) that has been circulating for years. Based on solid research and statistics, Nancy Willard (nationally from the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use ) and Justin W. Patchin (locally being Co-Director, Cyberbullying Research Center Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Department of Political Science University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire ) and others have been saying that a fear based approach to internet safety education does not work. Based on information on the Wisconsin AG website I am concerned that much of this presentation will be fear based and want to make sure you access some of these other sources of accurate information, if you haven’t already.

Here’s a bit of background taken from various sources relying heavily on information from Nancy Willard from CSRIU:

For the last decade, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the state Attorneys General have been providing disinformation (Nancy’s word) or "half-truths" about the risk associated with online predators. Nancy believes that NCMEC is the source of the disinformation. As the leading research center in this area, the Crimes Against Children Research Center, has stated: "The publicity about online “predators” who prey on naive children using trickery and violence is largely inaccurate."

The inaccuracies include the statement, which is in the Wisconsin AG's public service announcement, that "one in seven children will be solicited by a sexual predator." The actual study, by CACRC, asked teens whether they had received unwanted communications of a sexual nature - something that happens with frequency in high schools. Only 8% of these communications came from older adults. The remainder was received from teens and young adults. The teens who received these communications responded effectively. The vast majority reported no distress.

Other frequent disinformation presented is that this is a major area of risk, that predators frequently engage in deception - pretending to be other teens - and that they are tracking teens down based on personal contact information they have posted online and abducting them. The actual research demonstrates that arrests for online predation accounted for just 1% of all arrests for the sexual abuse of minors, just over 600 arrests in 2006 - a concern, yes, but compare this concern to the estimated 100,000 teens who become involved in sexual trafficking every year. The teens, who present many other risk factors, meet with these abusers knowing they are adults and intending to engage in sex - statutory rape. Additionally, risk prevention professionals know that the "scare tactics" approach to risk prevention is entirely ineffective.

A recent study by the FCC found that 24% of people with and 46% of people without broadband access "strongly agree" the Internet is too dangerous for children. This high degree of fear, which many of the nation's top researchers and risk prevention professionals believe is grounded in the disinformation about online predators, is a major factor that is preventing schools from shifting to the 21st century educational environment enriched with interactive technologies. “Trying to prepare students for their future without these technologies in school is like trying to teach a child to swim without a swimming pool” quoting Nancy Willard from a recent presentation for a grad class and also from her website. The Project Tomorrow Speak Up research has found that students report that after their schools receive "Internet safety instruction" most of which is being provided by organizations that are presenting this kind of disinformation, the teachers restrict their Internet access. Project Tomorrow believes that unwarranted fear about the Internet is a major barrier to the use of the Internet in schools.

Thus, based on an assessment of the language included in the announcement (see below) of these summits and the information on the Wisconsin State Attorney General's site, I believe there is a possibility that this presentation will include this same kind of approach leading to the same results in our schools. As I said Justin Patchin and Nancy Willard are highly credible in the area of cyberbullying. Some great current statistics and resources are available from Justin Patchin’s website and Nancy Willard has a great handout on “technopanic” that can be found here: The report outlines the commonly found disinformation - or "half truths."

I am not an expert, but have merely given you some information on the disinformation (as Nancy calls it) out there to help you to better understand the issue. I know the goal of the AG is to keep kids safe, just like it is our goal. I don’t feel, though, we should rely on bending the facts to accomplish that goal nor do I feel that we should rely on a fear based curriculum to accomplish that goal. Internet safety education, including a social media and bullying curriculum is vital to keeping our kids safe online! I am very glad that our DPI sees the importance of this and is offering this forum. I encourage you to attend but to also take the time to check out some of the resources that I’ve addressed before you attend. Take a look at your curriculum. Is it strictly fear based? The more we know, the better off and safer our students will be. Thank you, DPI and AG for helping to inform educators.


Keith Schroeder

Library Media Specialist

Bay Port High School

Howard-Suamico School District

2710 Lineville Road

Green Bay, WI 54313

Phone: 920-662-7157

eFax: 720-247-3332

Google Voice: 715-330-4618

Skype: keith.schroeder

Google Wave:


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Use of NetVibes by Students

Buffy Hamilton, a high school librarian in Georgia, has been co-teaching a class about using web2.0 tools with high school students. They have been working on a research project on veterans issues. You can follow her progress in the Media21 class through her blog (theunquietlibrarian) and on a recent post at ALA Learning. One of the things she has students doing is creating their own personal NetVibes pages as personal learning environments. A recent post on her blog provides examples of how students are using NetVibes through videos they have created.


The Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association recently held their annual conference in the Wisconsin Dells. There were a range of presentations dealing with libraries and technologies in K-12 education. The conference wiki now includes handouts from a number of the presentations.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Benefits of Blogs in Education

While blogging is a relatively new technology, there is already research that looks at benefits of using the tool in education. Here's just one example of some potential benefits. Check in ERIC or Academic Search in Badgerlink for many more.

Duffy, Peter and Bruns, Axel (2006) The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, pages pp. 31-38

More Education Blogs

Although this list is over a year and a half old at this point, it may still have some blogs of interest to you as a teacher.

Adding Widgets to Your Blog

Once you get comfortable creating regular blog posts, you may want to add some widgets to your blog just the way you could add a search box along the side using the settings. Top 10 Widgets for Your Class Blog suggested widgets such as a calendar, a polling tool, a Voki, and ways to track traffic on your blog.

Real Uses of Real Web2.0 Tools

CESA 5 has had EETT grants for the past several years. Over the past two years they have run professional development opportunities on Digital Tools and have shared many of the teachers' lesson plans on their website as well as a range of resources used in their project in year 2 and year 3.

Web 2.0 Technologies that Facilitate Collaboration

Bud Talbot, a science teacher, talks about ways he uses web 2.0 technologies to extend the collaboration going on in his science classroom, e.g., group problem solving, group lab activities, pair-share, peer tutoring, jigsaw, and student teams/games. He uses a variety of technologies for:
  • extension of in-class group time
  • online group workspaces
  • sharing updates
  • sharing work with an outside audience
  • documentation

Teachers as Learners

Will Richardson, in his blog webblog-ed, recently posted about new roles for teachers. He said, "We still need to be teachers, but kids need to see us learning at every turn, using traditional methods of experimentation as well as social technologies that more and more are going to be their personal classrooms." I think this provides a basis for what we are doing in this class - learning to create our own learning networks in a networked world. This can help us understand how our roles as teachers are moving toward facilitating conversations among our students and with people and resources outside the classroom. It is worth reading the entire post and the related links at Teachers as Master Learners.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Networked Learning Manifesto

John Pederson, Educational Technology Liaison for WiscNet presented his ideas on how our learners and learning are changing, focusing on the idea that networks enable new learning, new conversations, and new relationships. His Networked Learning Manifesto offers ideas on why it is important for schools to facilitate communication among learners. Many of the web 2.0 tools we'll look at in this class can facilitate this conversation. The readings listed at the bottom of the page provide others who are discussing these ideas.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Curricular Uses of Web 2.0 Tools

Here's an example of something that came across a blog I read regularly. You can download Terry Freedman's The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book for free. As you think about the technologies we discuss each week, this can provide some good examples of how they are currently being used by real teachers.


Does technology challenge what it means to be educated and how we educate our youth?

There has been discussion about how web 2.0 tools can support education as well as how our students' changing relationship with technology impact how they learn best. Check out Crossroads in Education: Issues for Web 2.0, Social Software, and Digital Tools by Patricia Deubel (2008) for a discussion about how creativity and collaboration, personalization, and collective knowledge building will impact what we do in schools.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Customizing your blog

Once you have the concept of adding a post to your blog, you may want to customize your blog. You do this by selecting Customize in the upper right menu and adding Gadgets (small pieces of code that add features to your blog). The Blog Archive is generally there by default, but you might want to add things like
  • Useful Links (add your own links you go to often),
  • My Blog List (add other blogs you want to regularly go to),
  • Search This Blog (adds a search engine for your blog), and
  • Followers (allows others to follow your blog).
Blogs have become such powerful tools that there are libraries and teachers that are creating their entire websites just using a blogging tool like WordPress. In unit 2, we'll look at how you can turn your blog into a RSS Feed that allows you to put it on any webpage or in a RSS feed reader so that you don't have to come back to the blog to read the posts, but can have them come to you.

Putting links into blogs

If you ever want to create an actual hyperlink in your blog, simply type the word or URL you want linked, highlight the words and then click on the little link symbol in the menu bar (It is right next to the T with the color blocks). Type the link in the box that comes up and you're good to go.

It will look something like this:

David Warlick's 2 Cents Worth Blog
Will Richardson's weblogg-ed Blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Uncertainty and Problem Solving

If you are reading this you managed to find your way to my blog for the class. In the first few weeks (and maybe even longer for some people), you'll find that you will often be uncertain and uncomfortable because many of you are working with new technologies and skills that you have not used before. We've mastered word processing, creating presentations, and searching in Google, but this class will ask you to use some of the web 2.0 tools for collaboration and sharing knowledge creation. There may be some of you who call yourselves digital natives but most of us will be digital immigrants for whom these are new.

One of the skills you'll learn in this class is problem solving and learning when and who to ask for help. I'd like you to try it out on your own first, but please feel free to ask you classmates, your students in school, your teenage children, others out there on the Internet and me for help. Look at this as an adventure where you won't always feel in control.