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.