I’m recycling a couple of videos that I have posted in the past, mostly because I believe that they’re worth watching again. These videos – the original higher ed version of “A Vision of Students Today” by Mike Wesch, the spin-off , called “A Vision of K-12 Students Today”, and “The Networked Student”, created by Wendy Drexler‘s high school students – bring to mind many thoughts that I find both challenging and encouraging. Hopefully you will, too.
Students are moving forward, in terms of technology, and they are finding limitless opportunities to explore and create on-line. Are we making sure that we teach them how to do this wisely? Are we building on these innate interests and talents? Are we harnessing the power of technology to optimize their educational experience?
A Vision of Students Today (higher-ed)
A Vision of K-12 Students Today
Networked Student (by students)
Here’s a follow-up to an earlier Weebly post:
There have been increasing numbers of educators who find that a classroom website is a good way to stay organized. Here are some basic, very useful functions:
- Class Calendar
- Homework Assignments
- Supply Lists
- Post Student Work
- Parent Involvement/Volunteer Opportunities
- Classroom Rules and Policies
- Your Bio and Contact Info
A website is more informative, while a blog, ning or wiki is more interactive because they allow students to contribute. I actually suggest having both. But because blogs, nings and wikis require constant maintenance, it’s nice to have a website that is super-easy to build and edit.
I suggest using Weebly for this. It’s free and extremely user-friendly.
Here are some classroom websites built on Weebly:
If you have a Weebly website, or plan to get one, please share your URL in the comments!
Who knew that RSS feeds could do so much?!?
- Books. Read books with DailyLit. They will send sections to you each day via RSS feed.
- Word of the Day. Get a new vocabulary word sent to you every day with Dictionary.com.
- World News. One of the top news agencies offering world news brings it to you via RSS feed at Reuters.
Check out this list of 100 cool things you can do with them written by Alisa Miller.
If you’re not quite sure what an RSS feed is, watch this:
I’m coining a new phrase: “spelinking”, def: the act of exploring links.
I came across this video by looking at Bill Graziadei’s glog, which I heard about from Elizabeth Koh who bookmarked it to the Classroom 2.0 group on Diigo.
This is oddly similar to Mike Wesch‘s ‘A Vision of Students Today’, the focus of which was college students. Regardless, it is interesting and relevant.
As a former teacher, I know how hesitant we can all be when trying new things in the classroom. There’s always someone telling you why (shiny new object) is going to “improve” things even when, 9 times out of 10, those new things ended up creating more problems than they solved.
Not in the case of Web 2.0.
The power that certain tools like wikis, social networking sites, and group presentation software can give to teachers and their students is still unknown. Up until now, applications have already been created for ease-of-use, so some of them might *actually* make your life easier.
Here are some ideas for integrating some specific tools to promote collaboration, and some links to others who have good ideas or have even tried this integration already:
- Using a wiki: this can serve as a good ‘homepage’ for a course, but it can do so much more, too! I suggest creating assignments that will require students to add and review others’ work. The highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is evaluation, and this is a very easy way to hit that mark and get students to think more deeply and broadly about what they’re learning.
- Using YouTube: have students post videos – skits, conversations, creative representaions of the material that they’re synthesizing, as well as post response videos and comments.
- Using Facebook: go beyond just creating a group for your class if it’s available; use a community-building application such as Courses or Schools.
- Yammer is a great tool for keeping members of a smaller group up-to-date on the progress of projects. Students can use this to delegate roles and ask each other question as they go.
- There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free tools out there – find what YOU feel comfortable using.
Here are some links to….um….links:
- – Larry Ferlazzo’s “101 Free Learning Tools”
- – Vicky Davis is finding new, cool things almost daily.
- – Rober Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog
And here are some teachers who are reporting on their results:
– check out Fred Stutzman’s manuscript on how the ‘integration’ went in his class
– Dean Groom offers some tips for teachers who are ready to ‘jump in’ and reports on how integrating on-line tools helped the collaborative efforts for a group project.
Here are a few fundamental findings that I’ve either gathered from the collective knowledge of educators making noise on the web or that I have observed firsthand in my own classroom:
1) Web 2.0 is emerging as an incredible tool for learning and collaboration.
2) The more access a student has to information, the more opportunity he/she has to learn, apply what is learned, and come up with new ideas and innovations.
3) With more collaboration, comes more access to more information – discussion and reflection can uncover many more connections and, thus, different ideas and approaches.
4) Integrating Web 2.0 into instruction will provide more opportunity for student collaboration and, therefore, access to information and, ultimately, will lead to a richer learning experience resulting in new ideas and innovations.
The challenge that educators face is finding ways to integrate technology so that its use encourages participation, engagement, collaboration, and innovation. Can we do this?