Saturday, March 31, 2007

Social Networking

If there is one thing that I get from the Web 2.0 tools is the network. Teachers are no longer an island. We can share ideas, ask questions, and experiment with fellow educators and other profressionals from around the world. The really great thing is it can all be done in real time.

There are tools everywhere. Most are free. I just joined my first social network. Stop You can join and have access to resources and people who share your interests. I joined, posted a comment, viewed some excellent resources, and in a matter of hours received a response.

It is extremely gratifying to know that people do share. I'm not sure where all of this is going to end up. David Warlick has some apprehensions about social networks. I'm not sure hwere I stand on all of this. I haven't been involved long enough. You can be sure though that my opinions will be shaped by my experiences in the near future.

My suggestion to you is this. Get involved. Join the network! Don't be an island!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Podcasting Wikis and Blogs Oh My!

I have become the biggest fan of wikis. They can do so much and be integrated with just about every curriculum. I have created several wikis in the past 2 months. I have tried several wikis. The one I like best is WikiSpaces. They are giving away 100,000 free wikis to educators. They are at approximately 24, 000 today. Once you sign up you can create several different wikis.

I like WikiSpaces because it is easy to use. Teachers today will not use something they have to struggle with. You have to give them reasons as to why they should give up their time to learn something new. Let's face it successful classroom teachers are busy and an added activity better be good. A wiki is such an activity.

The important reason to use a wiki is that the students love them. My first wiki was created for my students in my senior media class. The students' first activity was to search for and critique a podcast that they liked. They used the wiki to display their critique. One of the students critiqued a podcast called Wicked Good Podcast. One day after the review was posted on the wiki, the podcasters from Wicked Good Podcast found it and responded to their review. My students were shocked, the lights went on all about the classroom, and they realized the power of this form of media. I don't think I've experienced an educational moment like that one in a very long time. It was great!

I have created a wiki for our teachers. We have a program called MIT, Monday Instructional Technology. Our teachers can sign up for different classes relating to instructional technology. I use the wiki to deliver the instruction. It will also be used to share our collective discoveries. This is also a tool that will be used as follow up to the training. Something that has been missing in most teacher development courses.

Other wikis I have created are for special programs or activities. I believe wikis can be used for just about any activity. Use them for a simple presentation or as an ongoing classroom web page. The ease of use and the options that you have make it a great tool for your classroom.

My other wikis are sidneyisafe, techpodzone, and psucast. Please join and share the wealth.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Internet Safety

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We have created a class for 6 to 12 11th grade students who we think would benefit from an iMentor program through iSafe Inc. iSafe is a non profit organization that helps to deliver Internet safety programs to schools and communities.

The iMentor program trains students to present safety materials to students at all levels, parents, and the community. We currently have 5 students taking the class. They have become certified iMentors and have presented to our entire 3rd grade class.

The work they do involves creating lessons, organizing events such as assemblies, and delivering Internet safety materials to our parents and community. To help them complete these activities iSafe has wonderful materials available for free. They provide lesson plans, videos, handouts, posters, and digital materials including documents and songs.

The Sidney iSafe iMentors and developed an iSafe blog and an iSafe Wiki. Check them out and let us know what you think. We would love to have other schools teaching Internet safety either through iSafe or in other ways to collaborate and develop both of these resources.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Students with Blog Overload!

Once in a while you have to get back to reality! Won't it be nice when web 2.0 is mainstream? I have been preparing a lesson for teachers about blogging. What a wonderful time to share. I have so much to share with my colleagues and so little time.

I am going to use Google Notes as my lesson plan. I have a notebook full of web 2.0 tips and tools. I have been using a Google Notebook to record every new useful tool or website I have come across over the last 2 months or so. What a list! If anyone would like to see my notebook email me through my profile link below. Leave your gmail account.

I have a big concern though, about using some of these tools! What heppens to the teacher who has 5 preps a day? I have 1 and spent about an hour a day on my class blog. A bigger concern would be for the student who has a blog to participate in for every class?

Has anyone experienced this? I would like to hear from you.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Too Much Fun!

Today was a particularly fun day! Imagine all of this in your office at school all at once. Sitting at your desk participating in a Webx session and conference call. Discussing your student management system with about 8 different people and locations. Testing your Distance learning equipment via an ip video connection with 2 other schools. The neat part was that another district was doing the same thing and the video and WebX conference overlapped. Wow! I was watching people computing and talking on 2 different systems.

Oh, I was also conducting a class full of seniors in my media class. How did it come to this?

The schedule was not followed. I thought I had everything under control until one of the events was changed. The whole house of cards came tumbling down.

I have to learn to say no. With all of this communications at my fingertips I don't even know if anyone is reading this blog.

But, it was indeed so much fun!