Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Welcome to EDC921


This is our class blog. It will serve as our discussion forum, connection to each other, and the main webpage you will be accessing. Early this semester I will give you a detailed lesson on blogs and their use in the classroom, but for now you only need to know a few things.

This forum can be viewed by anyone, but will only allow the participants of edc921 to interact with it.

When you would like to respond to someone or comment upon a session, just click on the 'comment' link below each of my postings and choose the 'anonymous' button under 'choose an identity'; and

In the left-hand margin you will see links to individual lessons (accessible every Tuesday).

If you need to contact me then please email me at DaveFontaine1@gmail.com.

This blog, in addition to its use as an interactive communication tool, will also be where you can access and download your weekly sessions. The presentation links to the left will be accessible on a week-to-week basis (Tuesdays). When attempting to download always choose 'save' rather than 'open.' You may also download the syllabus here.

One more aspect that will be unique about this course is that I support a completely collaborative teaching philosophy. Following that mindset, I will keep your assignments, comments, and reflections viewable and accessible to future participants of this course. The 'goal' is for future participants to gain from the collective knowledge of your experiences, use what you have done, and incorporate new ideas into their classroom.

Of course, this information will also always be accessible to you, so in the future, many semesters from now, you may revisit this site and benefit from the ideas of all participants. In this way---you will gain from all the 'learning speedbumps' of those that have come before you--even though they are not currently enrolled in this course.

Before we go any further I would like each of you to practice using this forum and introduce yourself. We will be spending the semester together, so it is important to learn as much about each other as possible. Click on the 'comment' link below this posting (then you may click the "anonymous" button) and write a few paragraphs about yourself.

Please include:
-your name
-email address (so that you may contact each other directly if needed),
-your educational background,
-teaching history,
-current teaching position with location, and lastly
-what you hope to come away with when this semester is over, along with any additional information about you that you wish to share.

After you have finished posting your profile, come back to this page and click on the 'Session 1' link (in the left-hand margin), download it, and view it. When you are finished with the session please click on the 'comment' link again and add any comments, insights, or reflections you have for Session 1.

Sometimes it takes a little while to get the hang of using this forum. I have taken this into consideration by reducing the workload of the first session. Its primary goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page and skill level before we sink our teeth into the meat of this course.

Everything here is protected by Creative Commons. This means that you have complete authority to download, save, manipulate, share, and use all of the lessons in your classroom, but are prohibited from any commercial uses. You will notice that each slide of the PowerPoint presentation has the narration transcribed in the 'notes section.' This is to help you better understand my "Ro-diland" accent, but more importantly, it allows you to take these slides and use them in your own classroom.

Good luck this semester! I look forward to working and collaborating with you.

Dave Fontaine


Anonymous said...

Chris Lemoi

clemoi@oceantides.org (work email)

URI - BA English

In my 10th year Teaching at Ocean Tides School in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

I am Sr Staff and Grade 9 & 12 Language Arts Teacher.
I also just started to teach Basic Computer Lit. this year.
My Computer Lit. class focuses mostly on keyboarding and basic windows/microsoft word/powerpoint navigation.

I have never used a blog or even heard of a wiki. I do not own an IPOD. I am familiar with the internet though - I am not completely ignorant with computers.

I hope to learn more about interactive technology that I can utilize in the classroom.
I work with a student body that has experienced mostly failure, boredom, truancy and a high likely hood of dropping out in school prior to their placement here at Ocean Tides, however they almost all seem to love the computers and the internet.
Therefore if I can link literacy, technology and student interest it will benefit both my class and I.
I am looking forward to starting!

Anonymous said...

Diane Cunha
BA biology
15 years (I think) teaching middle school at Community Preparatory School in Providence

I've taught sixth grade for maybe 10 years now and still love it most days. As a homeroom teacher I teach language arts and math plus science to my class and my co-teacher's class. She teaches social studies to both classes.

My professional goal is in technology and I get excited about the small things...like text messaging on my phone. Well, I've been plugging along with incorporating computers into my classes. I have a projector, the students have started writing, conferencing and commenting on each others' writing and submitting their finals on the computer. It keeps most of them in their seats. The school has a computer lab and a class set of laptops and we have a very helpful "computer teacher" who doesn't laugh at me. I'm willing to try new things and the kids are good about trying them out with me.

I want to do the best I can for our students and technology will help me do that.

Other information? They used slide rulers when I went to college, I was in the Peace Corps and would consider going back when I retire and I ski on Wednesday nights. That enough?

I look forward to learning a lot. I hope I can keep up. DC

Anonymous said...

Donna McMullin

djm_1@yahoo.com (home)
dmcmulli@frsd.k12.nj.us (school)

BS, State College of New Jersey (Elementary Education)
MLS, Rutgers School of Communications, Information and Library Studies

I was an elementary school media specialist for 18 years; spent three years teaching Digital Literacy to 7th graders as a related arts class, and I am now the media specialist at J.P. Case Middle School in the Flemington-Raritan School District Flemington, NJ.

I would like to get a better understanding of the general concept of blogging, learn how to post/maintain my own blog, learn how to integrate blogging into some of the collaborate projects I currently do with teachers ... and figure out the difference between a wiki and a blog :-)

Anonymous said...

Trish Degnan

URI- BA Elem Edc
RIC/PC- various courses for re-cert.

I have taught technology to elementary students for 11 years now. I began with grades 3-5 (mostly writing) but now teach 1-5 at three different schools in Woonsocket. We work mostly with Word (just pried myself away from AppleWorks which I adore); Excel; PowerPoint; KidPix and broswers. I try to integrate the lessons into classroom activities whenever possible and I think of my role as USING technology to teach literacy, math, etc instead of TEACHING technology.

We use Macs, which I love, but PCs have their pros, too. Wow- can't believe I wrote that! I am webmaster for one of my school's pages:

I'm in the process of re-doing one for my other school. Trying to learn how to make navbars in Dreamweaver! Help??

I'd like to see a blog used in a helpful situation- maybe as a place for teachers to voice ideas, opinions but also as a way to familiarize themselves with internet tools. Never heard of WIKIs until this class so I'm excited for that....

Love my iPod but the Shuffle is awesome too!

.... pitchers and catchers report in 11 days!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,
My name is Mary O'Neill (mdon428@yahoo.com) I am currently a Children's Librarian at a Public Library in Ridgefield CT, but hope to find a job as a LMS in a school by Fall. I worked as a School Librarian for 5 years a number of years ago and I'm looking forward to working in a school again (love the summers off!)In addition, I taught profoundly deaf students until 1995.

My goal is to become more comfortable working with blogs, wikis, podcasts.

Anonymous said...

Dawn Manchester

5th Grade Teacher
Warwick Schools

RIC - BS Elementary Ed/Special Ed
PC - Masters in Elem Admin (2 courses to complete)

I am currently teaching 5th grade in the Warwick School Dept. Prior to 5th grade I taught 6th grade for 9 years and special ed for 1 year.

I try integrating technology into my instruction and the students learning experience at much as I can. I have 3 computers in my classroom and 20 students. We do not have a lab so frequency of use can become an issue.

I am familiar with blogging and look forward to learning how to bring it into the classroom. I also think it is very important to help students decipher information on the web instead of blocking it from them.

Technology is a way of life and is forever changing. I feel a responsibility to expose my students to the positive aspects of technology!

On the side note - I do have an iPOD (2 actually) and enjoy using it as frequently as I can - working out or driving in the car.

Enjoy your night! I look forward to learning along side all of you.

Anonymous said...

Mark Davis

Hello everyone, I'm Mark Davis and I'm a reading specialist at Barrington High School. I attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio and completed undergraduate degrees in Middle School Education focusing on English and Social Studies and a Masters in Reading. I have been teaching in Rhode Island for only three years, so I apologize if I'm not aware of your location or district.

Thanks to the support of my loving wife, we moved here to pursue new opportunities in my field and to continue our education. We live in Bristol, where my wife commutes to work in Fall River and school at Boston University.

I am really hoping to use this course as an opportunity to build on my research in grad school where I explored asynchronous communication as a means of supporting reading comprehension. I've been using an online classroom for several years and would like to explore ways to delve into a stronger constructivist environment that really supports the needs of all of my students, not just the tech lovers!

I enjoy learning more about the experiences of fellow content teachers and have many resources that I would love to share with you if I can be of assistance. Thank you and let's look forward to that early Spring we were promised!

Anonymous said...

Amy Messerlian


B.S. in Elementary Education/Special Ed. K-12

I have been teaching for three years. I taught resource for one year in a middle school and am currently in my second year teaching in a high school self-contained behavioral room at North Kingstown High School.

I want to learn more about this new form of technology and try to incorporate it into my classroom. I am looking forward to learning new and exciting ways to communicate and be tech savvy!

Anonymous said...

Clare Ornburn
UCONN BS Human Resource Management

I am in my 15th year of teaching, 9 of those in the Chariho School district.

I teach 4th grade, all subjects. I have never used a Blog and have never heard of a wiki. I am fairly computer literate, and enjoy learning new things about technology.

My students are a mixed bunch of very high achieving to very low level students. They are a very well behaved class and love to use computers. I would like to be able to teach them more effective ways to use technology in school. They do not have any computer classes at the elementary level, so whatever they get tech wise is up to me.

Anonymous said...

Of course I forgot to put my email, clare.ornburn@chariho.k12.ri.us

Anonymous said...

My name is John Lalli and I am an asssistant principal at North Kingstown HS. I have managed to accrue three masters degrees in my 59 years. I am taking this course as part of my recertification as a school administrator and hope to advance the level of literacy in my school by implementing blogs and wikis.

My email address is John_Lalli@nksd.net

Dave Fontaine said...


Anonymous said...

Pam Westkott


BS - Elementary Education

This is my 20th year of teaching third grade at Narragansett Elementary School. Previous experiences were teaching first and second grade in Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Kinstown.

We are extremely fortunate in Narragansett to have a wealth of technology available to us and we utilize it daily. Colleagues at NES have created BLOGS for their classrooms. They are most enthusiastic with this interactive technology, so I'm eager to learn more while developing my own blog.

I have two other purposes for taking this course. One is to continue finding more opportunities for meeting the needs of my diverse learners through technology. Second, in all candor, I've realized that this current cohort of third graders have moved into another dimension. They readily email, google and move quickly through planned Power Point presentations. Webcasting and blogging seem like next steps for my own learning if I hope to stay at least a half step ahead of these eight and nine year olds!

Anonymous said...

Scott Rollins

BS URI, M.Ed. Dowling College

Spent 5 years teaching business at Farmingdale High School in NY, and currently in my 3rd year teaching business/computers at South Kingstown High School.

My hopes for this class definitely center around learning some new and creative strategies for using technology in my classroom. I do spend a portion of my day in computer labs with students, and on a daily basis i'm amazed by what the students can do. The down side of that is that is seems a struggle at times to remain ahead of the 15-17 year olds in my classes! I don't know too much about Blogs and Wikis but I'm hoping to learn their potential benefits to my future classes.


Anonymous said...

Pam Buysman
Elementary Education/Library -BA
Educational Technology - MA

Most of my educational career (20+years) has been in the library/media center. I've spent the last five years working as an Educational Media Consultant in one of Area Education Agencies in Iowa (Northwest AEA). I live in extreme northwest Iowa not far from the Minnesota and South Dakota border. I'm not sure what Rhode Island has that is similar to Iowa's AEA system, but an AEA would be comparable to an ESU (Educational Service Unit). In my job, I'm responsible for ordering materials for our lending library which includes student books, nonprint materials, and professional materials for teachers. We deliver materials to schools twice a week. I also support teacher librarians in the schools we serve and also provide support for the eight online resources provided by the Iowa AEAs to every school/student in the state. http://www.iowaaeaonline.org

I'm finding more and more of our materials are available digitally, so the face of Media in the AEAs is changing.

Part of my job is helping teachers use technology in their classroom. I feel like I've fallen a little behind, however, because I'm not familiar with many of new technologies such as blogs and podcasting. I have "dabbled" in wikis. I really want to know more about educational uses for these technologies and help teachers utilize these technologies in their classrooms.

Anonymous said...

Mary Saunders


BS University of Dayton (Ohio) biology

I am in my 17th year as a high school librarian. For the past 5 years I have enjoyed teaching here at Gloucester High School in Gloucester, MA. Much of my time is spent teaching and assisting students with information access and evaluation. Our library includes a lab of 24 PC computers and will probably add an additional lab next year.
I welcome the opportunity to learn more about blogs, wikis, Web 2.0 so as to incorporate their use in my instruction and to collaborate with collegues using some of these tools.

Anonymous said...

Robin Shtulman
BA in anthropology & women's studies (Hampshire College)
MEd in Library Media (Cambridge College)

I've been an elementary school librarian for ten years. All of those years have been here, at Erving Elementary School, in western MA.

When I started this job, the library had one computer which I shared with the art teacher and another program. Needless to say, we weren't automated & didn't have a web page! Thanks to a very supportive technology coordinator & principal, we've made leaps and bounds. The catalog is web-based, I have kids' work on the library web site, and we started blogging this year.

I hope to learn how to fully involve kids in using new technologies to advance their learning. So far, we've mostly used it as a way to communicate kids' successes with their families & the wider world. I'd like to learn more about how it can truly help them.

I also hope to begin to feel less overwhelmed! To be honest, I find that blogs & websites have too many clickable choices. It's very easily to wander off . . .

Thanks for offering this very pertinent & timely course!

Anonymous said...

Name: Tom Carney
Current potision: 7th grade ELA teacher in Jamestown, RI
email: ride8398@ride.ri.net
Education: Graduated from URI with a BA in Secondary Education/English with a middle level endorsement
Teaching History: I taught 8th grade half-time in Portsmouth for one year, and have taught for the last two years in Jamestown.
I would like to integrate the use of technology and the internet more frequently in my classes. Currently we use the internet primarily for research, but I would like to tap all of the resources that are out there to enhance the use of technology in my classroom. Our school has an excelent computer lab and I want to make the most of it.

Anonymous said...

My name is Karen Panzarella


My undergrad degree is in Elementary (K-6) and special education. From Roger Williams University. I went on to take 36 credit hours to keep my certification current then decide to go on for a Masters Degree in Computer Education from Johnson & Wales University. I was in the first RITTE class then became a RITTE trainer for the next four years.

This is my 30th year teaching special education in East Providence. My class at East Providence High Schools is for students with developmental disabilities. My students remain with me from age 14 – 17 then go on to the 18-21 year old class.

I signed up for this course to learn about blogs, wiki and how to use them in my class to communicate with parents and the community. Everything about blogs is new to me. I look forward to learning about this technology.

To keep current I teach an Introduction to Excel class every fall and Inter. Excell class every spring for Vocational Training for Adults at the EPCTC. I also teach computers two afternoons a week for the East Providence Senior Center.

Anonymous said...

Amy Potter


UMass Amherst- BA in English
U New Haven- MA in Education
URI- Professional Degree (in progress)

This is my second year teaching in Windham, CT. I teach 5th and 6th grade on a looping team. This year I am teaching 5th. I teach everything but Science.

I have some experience with Blogs, but have never heard of a WIKI. I am excited and interested in learning all I can to expose my students to it as well.

Anonymous said...


I am Jennifer Geller; my email address is jennifer.geller@gmail.com. I'm currently on maternity leave from Feinstein High School in Providence, where I have taught for the past six years. Prior to that, I was shuffled around in Providence's marvelously efficient seniority system. My first teaching experiences were actually suburban, first in Pennsylvania, where I attended the University of Pittsburgh for my MAT, and then in Connecticut.

This year, before I had my baby, I began teaching seniors for the first time at FHS. Our program for seniors is quite a bit more flexible than our program for the first three years, and I found I missed the organizing structure I had become acccustomed to using with my younger students.

(I attended Carnegie Mellon University as an undergraduate and as such learned very early to talk "geek talk," but never truly learned to walk the walk. Ok, so I had to learn LISP, but I haven't used that too awfully much in teaching!)

Anyway, the point is, I'd like to learn to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and to use blogs and wikis as a way of structuring and organizing learning in my classroom next year. A lot of the emphasis in senior year is on the research process, and I always try to empahsize the collaborative nature of research, since I feel research as it is known in secondary education is too isolated and isolating. I believe that blogs and wikis will be a way of facilitating making research more active and more collaborative in my classroom.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to do this without sounding like I'm name dropping, so I'm just going to go ahead and name drop. Really, I just find it interesting that the online educational technology community is so small, even though the medium is so mind-bogglingly enormous. So, my husband (who is in edtech) knows Will Richardson well enough to harrass him via his blog. I met him (Will, not my husband) before he became such a rock star (I met my husband when he was a rock star). Miles Berry and his wife, Claire, served us a very nice duck when we were in England visiting Miles' school.

Ok, that is out of the way.

I'm a little curious about the use of the powerpoint presentations. They seem a little clunky, technologically. Couldn't the presentations be all on-line as part of the blog, as well? For one thing, I'm allergic to Microsoft products. And it just seems like it would be easier to see the links by actually being able to just click on the link to go to the example blogs, etc.

Some comments on the readings--I felt somewhat like Will implies that use of the read/write web is driving education reform. He says "And from an educational standpoint, this new Read/Write web promises to transform much of how we teach and learn as well" (Richardson, p. 2). The question is: does education reform lead to better use of technology in teaching and learning, or does improved use of technology in teaching and learning lead to ed reform? Will seems to think it is the latter, whereas I believe it is the former. Vygotsky and the social constructivists have been around a lot longer than Web 2.0! And I don't think new technology is making schools any more out of touch with the way students learn than schools have ever been! Is there any actual documentation supporting the idea that students now learn differently than, say, I did in 1980? Sure, they have different tools, but is something different actually going on cognitively?

Two points I find useful when thinking about my own classroom--In Will's video, he talks about his students feeling empowered because they realize that they are part of the content that is "out there." I think that is really important for students to realized, conceptually. They forget, or don't realize, or can't conceive of the fact that the content of the web is put there by people. However, if they themselves put content on the web, it will help them grasp the concept that the web is a human tool, and consequently, maybe they won't view the web as "magic" anymore. They'll realize it is a tool they have to learn to use just as they have learned to read and write.

I would like to learn more about social bookmarking. I think that could be really useful for students when collaborating on their research.

Anonymous said...

Web 2.0, blogging, and wikis center so much around collaboration and communication. Instead of just consuming information, the Web now has powerful tools that allow everyone to create and collaborate with others. Most of our students feel comfortable communicating this way. Many of the "digital natives" have already established their own personal connections and networks on the Web via MySpace or Facebook. For those of us who are digital immigrants it requires more effort to feel comfortable communicating this way. Yet I think the effort is necessary. Now more than ever, the four wall of the classroom are dissolved and the students have an opportunity to collaborate with a global audience. Students have an audience to share their ideas and thoughts with. As educators we must ask ourselves how our curriculums can fit with these new possibilities.

Pam B.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot I was "anonymous" when posting the first time. Mine is the post beginning with name dropping.


Anonymous said...

I was struck by what was written in Alan November's piece: That students began taking their work more seriously when the world (via the blog) and not just the teacher was their audience.

Students often ask 'why do we have to know this?' or, 'why do we have to do this?' They want their work to matter, to have a purpose. I think that's one of the most exciting aspects of web 2.0 -- Kids' work is real work! They can actively and publicly contribute to public discourse.

In my own work with elementary students, I have found that kids feel very proud when their work is hung up in the library, printed in the school newsletter, ot posted on the school web site. We did a little blogging this year -- reviewing books. The kids were highly motivated to post, as we did receive some interesting comments from the outside world. The most exciting was when librarians from the 4 schools joined forces on a blog & the kids from all the schools wrote & read & commented on one another's work. Kids felt very special when someone took the time to comment on their pieces.

Anonymous said...

Grr. Argh. I forgot to sign that previous post.
--Robin Shtulman

Anonymous said...

Michael Skeldon


RIC - BA Secondary Education/ Social Science

California State University, Northridge, CA - MA Mass Communication/Screenwriting

I'm in my third year at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket, RI.

In addition to teaching History classes, I am also the Capstone Project Advisor. I would love to be able to take all work for the course online, saving a small forest in the process!

Anonymous said...

I found myself immersed in all that Session One offered as I worked from one link to another. Noticing the common elements I found in blogs, I began considering what my initial blog might look like.

But other questions overtook my imagining, the more practical and philosophical ones about management and the learning implications.

Dan Gillmor stated "the people who'll understand this best are probably just being born". I believe they are already in my classroom. Agreeing with William Winn, I notice how they have "hypertext minds " able to jump around. Their learning occurs through relevant connections, at least that is what brain research is telling us.

That helps drive my teaching practice along with self-awareness through reflection. Since I'm always sharing strategies of how to develop metacognition with students, blogging looks like a viable,exciting way to provide a way to look into my students' heads. It demands ownership and certainly demonstrates "voice" in postings I've read. To blog the author must move through all the steps of the writing process while valuing the traits of writing.

I like how student work, even if it has proceeded through all the steps of this process, is clearly posted in draft form since there is the opportunity for reaction and continual revision.

I believe that blogging it isn't only about reading and writng in any curriculum area. It's about thinking and learning.

Blogging looks as if it has the potential to extend thinking. Learning can be asynchronous interactions. I love how that challenges traditional
thinking and practice.

Stephen Downes" "Educational Blogging" includes
this Will Richardson quote: "Blogs are used to archive and publish student work, to learn from far flung collaborators and to manage their knowledge." That's pretty exciting thinking and learning.

First graders are blogging and Al Gore
(this is not intended to be a political statement) writes in his latest book how blogging and other online social tools can revitalize citizens' role in our constitutional framework. Can you imagine such a discourse?

I'm excited for what we'll uncover during Session 2!

Dave Fontaine said...


Anonymous said...

Jessica Galla
RIC-BS(elem.ed, and special ed)
Masters in Reading

I have been teaching for 9 years. I currently am a high school reading specialist in Lincoln. I taught first grade for 5 years previously.
I have never used a blog or wiki. I'm taking this course because I would like to intergrate more technology in my classroom. In order to do that I need to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Horton

Teaching for 18 years at Ferri Middle School in Johnston

8th Grade Civics Teacher

I was a RITTI participant and trainer for years. I was also lucky enough to be in the first group of Model Classroom participants, so I have always been very interested in using technology in my classroom.

I am always looking for ways to keep up with the current trends in technology. I have had my students create Portfolios using PowerPoint in the past, but I have done some research on using Wikis instead.

I hope to learn some new ways to present student work.

Anonymous said...

Hello Colleagues,
My name is Lisa Casey and my email is rid24646@ride.ri.net

I am the school librarian preK-8th grade at the Jamestown Public Schools. I am just starting my 8th year of teaching (when did that happen?!!)

I learned about blogging from taking 920 and then created a blog for my students for the Rooster Games, which connects students from my school with another so that the students can communicate with each other before they teamed up. They loved it; viewed it as a sort of IM page and used it after to communicate with me if they had questions long after the original use (as I saw it) had ended. I can see that it can have a tremendous impact on student. I want to learn more about how to really use the blog as I feel it was pretty raw and superficial; how to archive, how to structure, add pictures, etc. and use it to the fullest.

Now, wikis I know nothing about and hear all sorts of horror stories as they can contain misinformation as well as meticulously researched, footnoted, authentic data. I want to know the real deal, so I can help my students evaluate the wiki sites.

I look forward to the exchange of ideas and us all working together.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone!
My name is Maria Morin

My e-mail address is:

Skidmore College - BS Education

I'm in my 14th year teaching in the Providence School District. Presently, I am the Library Media Specialist at Carl G. Lauro Elementary School (PK-6) on Kenyon Street in Providence. I have been in this postion for the past 10 years.

I am hoping to take what we will all be learning and sharing in this class and use it in my own library media program at my school. I always look for ways to integrate technology into my teaching and my students' learning. I am familiar with blogs, not too familiar with wikis, and have used podcasts in my own teaching.

I look forward to learning more about these technologies and sharing ideas with all of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Esther Lewenstein. I’m a librarian at I.S. 278 Marine Park in NYC. My e-mail is famous99 @ verizon.net. (No spaces, I do that for spam purposes…)
I have a BA in creative writing and an MLS in Library and Information Science.
I worked as a public librarian for four years before switching to the DOE in 2002. I’ve never been in the classroom. My experience is solely in libraries.
I’ve been keeping my own personal blog for over 2 years now. A few months ago I started a bookblog at LJ (http://booksblogger.livejournal.com/). I also have a wiki for work (http://is278library.wikispaces.com) But I’ve been unsuccessful in integrating it into my program. Mostly I fear the safety issues that come up with these open sites. I feel I have a responsibility to protect the kids – and want to be sure I can safely get them to use these networking tools. I’m hoping this course will give me the tools I need to get going with wikis and blogs and start some sort of “read it forward” program in our school.

Anonymous said...

Terri Spisso
BA-Anthropolgy University of RI
MLIS University of RI

I am currently entering my second year as the library media specialist at Ponaganset High School in the Foster-Glocester school district (where we had only ONE snow day last year!) Prior to using my librarian powers in the k-12 realm, I was associate director of development research at Boston University for 8 years.

In 1991, as an undergrad at URI, I first used the internet to FTP information for a research paper. It was then that I realized what power this new technology held. I hope to learn how I can convince reluctant teachers that blogging and wikis can add value to teaching and learning without too much “extra” work. Ponaganset is a state leader in the use of e-portfolios-though implementation has been a somewhat bumpy road. I also have issues with providing access for all students. Approximately 40% of my population live in a town with no cable/high speed access (Foster,RI).

Anonymous said...

I had read the Pew report when it was published last winter- though for as many times as I say “GET OFF MYSPACE” in our library, I probably could’ve done the survey myself! Many of my students, regardless of gender use MYSPACE and/or FACEBOOK, VAMPIREFREAKS etc. daily. It has been the bane of my existence some days. I’m not sure how easy it will be convincing students that blogging can be used as an educational tool. The format is definitely rooted in social networking in student minds.

While I was reading/viewing I thought a lot about how students (specifically teenagers) process information. An English teacher was horrified when a student showed her the book she check out of our library for an independent reading assignment- written in IM (instant message) speak. She was surprised I would recommend such a book. Is it possible for us as “digital immigrants” to effectively teach kids who have grown up with digital devices we could only peer at through the glass at EPCOT center??! I don’t think I can ever really multitask as well as a teenager. It is very difficult to get a student to focus on one resource/assignment/webpage etc. I think it will be very challenging for teachers (who are willing to try) to think and adapt to students of this new information age.

I also think a lot about what Esther mentioned- the digital divide. As I mentioned, my school district has sunk a lot of time and money into e-portfolio. The process of uploading, correcting, teaching e-portfolio has resulted in less traditional instructional time in the classroom- to many teacher’s chagrin. Teachers have had to spend many class periods in the library or computer labs giving students an equal opportunity to upload assignments. Many students in our district do not have access to high speed internet at home because the town is so rural. E-portfolio has become a graduation requirement for our school. Requiring students to blog/wiki may cost traditional class time. I’m thinking about whether or nor teachers would consider using this format as anything more that just an extra credit, optional assignment. I’ll find out!

Dave Fontaine said...

In her post to our class blog yesterday, Esther brings up some valid points---some of which we do touch later in the semester. One aspect that I think is changing in regards to the "Digital Divide" is how we access the Internet.

With the advent of the iPhone and other copycats, there is becoming less need for a 'computer' to access the Internet. As a matter of fact, Google is currently working on 'not so secret' project to offer free phones and service to the public that will have online access.

The options for Internet access are increasing and the cost is coming down. Who knows what the future holds....

I had the fortune of being chosen as the Keynote Speaker for graduation last June '07 and I addressed some of these issues in my speech. There are many colleges now that are integrating Smartphone usage into their classrooms. The computer is becoming secondary for online access and Smartphones are gaining a foothold. If you are interested you may read the text here:


Anonymous said...

After I finished the reading for the week and the powerpoint, I thought wow do I have a lot to learn. I know that my students know more about computers and technology than I do. I use that to my advantage sometimes by asking them to help me. I noticed that someone else mentioned myspace. My students talk about it all the time. It can be dangerous but it can also be a way for students to communicate with one another. I am surprised at how many people my age have myspace accounts.
I think I am alittle overwhelmed with all that I need to know and how I can use this technology in my classroom. But, then again that is why I am taking this class.
I was also thinking about how someone else mentioned that some students don't have computers or internet access at home. Are the blogs that we will be created accessible in the school library computers?

Anonymous said...

In my five years at Marine Park, I've definitely noticed the Digital Divide has shrunk, but it still exists. I think the greater divide is in students skills. If you have a school with more seasoned and experienced teachers, often the technology is new to them and therefore they struggle to use it themselves, let alone teach their students. (As my colleague keeps reminding me, they didn’t have Internet when they went to college! I did, but barely. I was learning the technology at that point.) And in a school of 1,100 are all the students being taught equitably? (We only have 2 computer labs….)
My students know how to get onto Myspace (which is not evil – though the kids think I think it’s evil), video games, etc., but they don’t know how to find information beyond google or ask jeeves or how to evaluate information, etc. Neither do my teachers.
So in my eyes, the digital divide goes beyond access, thought that’s a great part of it.
Esther Lewenstein
famous99 @ verizon.net

Anonymous said...

After browsing and playing around on the sites from the ppt,I have been struck by how differently blogs can be structured Some are so basic and elementary, some are quite academic and come from the instructor as in http://borderland.northernattitude.org/ (you guys gotta check out the piece taken from Neil Postman and what he says about reading scores - my principal would flip although I think Postman has something here...) but for my purposes I like what Gordon did and I might use that for a start. I want my 6th grade to blog but of course the problem is content! Do we tackle an issue a week, from something in the news to something happening on our island? Have a blogroll? Take turns choosing issues? I think I want to pick out four or five good possibilities for a blog and show them to the kids and come to a consensus, a purpose, for the blog. It would be great to alert other librarians and have their kids respond to the blog.

As the deliverable I have created a blog at blogspot, very raw, called 6mix (for the sixth grade) but the name might be changed by the students. It will be the work of the 3 6th grade classes. I didn't get the sense that students really structured the blogs, it felt like it came from the instructors and I really want them to own this. Lots of thoughts churning, now.

By the way, Esther, are you Marine Park in Bklyn? You said NYC but I am a former Flatbush girl myself so just wondering...
Lisa Casey

Dave Fontaine said...


Anonymous said...

Rosemary Driscoll
BA - Political Science UMass

I began working as a school librarian 11 years ago in Providence at Geroge J. West Elementary and the Alternate Learning Project High School.
I am now the media specialist at ER Martin Middle School in East Providence where I've been for the last 9 years.
As a librarian, I've been apprehensive about using Wikis as legitimate sources of information.
I find that I "preach" to the students about the legitimacy of sites like Wikipedia. However, they continue to rely on it. So, now I realize that they aren't going away and perhaps they do in fact have some legitimacy. I stumbled upon another "wiki" recently, Wikihow. So, I'm hoping this class will enlighten me as far as Wikis are concerned.

Karen said...

Hi Everyone!

My name is Karen Kment and I'm currently in my 10th year of teaching! What a milestone!

I'm a New Jersey native and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, in elementary education, from York College of Pennsylvania.

I then had the priviledge to teach second grade for two years in Jersey City, NJ and worked with very needy children. I moved on to another district (Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ and yes that is a name of a town) where I taught second grade as well.

After meeting my husband, I moved to Rhode Island and became a teacher in the North Smithfield School District. I taught 6 grade,Language arts, for 6 years. After taking a year off for a maternity leave, I returned and now currently teach 4th grade at North Smithfield Elementary School.

I have very little experience using blogs or wikis. I hope to gain knowledge and skills that will help me use this current technology within my classroom.

Additional information: I'm a busy mom of two toddlers, ages 4 and 2!

Anonymous said...

Donna Esposito


BA - Computer Science
Masters in Education - Library Media Specialist

I had several career changes, so I am fairly new to teaching. I have been a Media Specialist for 2 years. I worked in a middle school library for 1.5 years.

I am currently a library media specialist in a high school in NJ.

I have always tried to keep up with technology but right now I feel like I am falling behind because I really don't know much about blogs and wikis and rss feeds.

I also want to learn ways that I will be able to use blogs and/of wikis in my library.

Anonymous said...

Leilani Coelho

BS- Early Childhood Education

I am a second year Kindergarten teacher at Horgan Elementary School in West Warwick, RI. I am taking this course to obtain professional development hours for my I-Plan as well as for my district.

I hope to learn about blogs, wikis and podcasts.

Why am I taking this course? Well…I was watching Regis and Kelly over Christmas Vacation and they had a guest speaker who became a millionaire by creating a blog. So, I am basically taking this course to find out what a blog is and how to create one!

StephZ said...

Hello All,

Stephanie Zannella

URI - BA English & Secondary Ed

I'm in my fourth year at Cole Middle School in East Greenwich, where I teach 8th grade English.

This is a second career for me. I worked in the private sector (the "real world" as they say)for almost 20 years, had my kids, and decided that teaching was what I should be doing. Let me say, the "real world" is a lot easier!

I've never used a blog; I do know a bit about wikis thanks to our awesome librarian, Connie Zack. I feel pretty confident with all the basic "stuff," and whatever I don't know I ask my 14-year old. I am the only one in my house who can program the DVD player, so I'm pretty proud about that.

I hope to acquire some new and innovative ways to use technology to keep my students interested and excited about English class.

I have a very, very busy life (as I'm sure you all do), so I hope to keep up with everything. I can access the internet at a couple of hockey rinks in the state, so there's some hope. The baseball field presents a problem though.

Looking forward to getting to know everyone.

Anonymous said...

Anne Howard
MA in Curriculum Development from UMBC
MS in School Library Media from McDaniel College
Currently teaching library and information skills to students k - 4 in a private Catholic school in MD. I teach computer skills to students 5 - 7 and a film study class to students in 8th grade.
Previously taught 4th grade in a public school in MD.
Both schools are 5 minutes from my home - not much of a commute but great on those bad weather/early dismissal days.
As far as this class goes I know what blogging is (I was required to engage in online discussions for most of my library classes) but the only wiki I'm familiar with is Wikipedia. I'm hoping to learn how I can improve my teaching and make my lessons more meaningful and engaging to students.

Kelly said...

Kelly Remick

-BA History @ URI
-Minor Human Development/Family

-Secondary/Middle Level
Certification @ RIC

I'm a second year teacher of a 7th grade Social Studies class. I have taken it upon myself to incorporate technology into my classroom, but as your all know, you can't squeeze water from a rock. Therefore, funding for our tech dept. is struggling at the moment. But once you hit rock bottom you can only go up.

I have never heard of a "wiki" until I thought about Wikipedia and what a public canvas it really is. I realize I have a lot to learn. Here we go...

Anonymous said...

Barb Ream

Hello Everyone,

I have my B.S. in Elementary Ed. I obtained my Masters Degree from Mansfield University (online masters program) in library science and I hold a certification in Family and Consumer Science.

I taught seven years in third grade for the Central York School District. At the end of last year, I decided I needed a change, so this year I made a huge jump and I am now at the high school in the FACS dept. I absolutely love it!

At the end of this semester I hope to completely understand how blogs and wikis work and how to integrate them into my classes.

My non-professional life consists of being a wife and a mother to two wonderful children. My daughter just turned eleven and my son will soon turn ten. They are very involved in sports, so we are always on the go.

Anonymous said...

Michael Sexton


RIC- Bachelors in Special Ed/ El Ed.

I am currently teaching at Woonsocket High School for my 11th year. I am a Resource teacher and do the Ed Evals for updates and new referrals.

After school I am a teacher in an after school alternative to suspension.

During Summer 07 I was an E2T2 trainer (aka RITTI) and I consider my experience broad and in some areas deep.

I hope to learn more about wikis and blogs not only to use in the classroom but also to share with some teachers that have the access to the technology. Using cutting edge technology can help to motivate some students that may otherwise not be interested.

Good Luck everyone.

Anonymous said...

Stacy Raymer


1985 Graduate of Western Kentucky University with Math Major, English Minor; Masters degree in School Counseling; working on Rank I in School Counseling

Taught Math and English 5 years at Edmonson County High School, Brownsville, KY

Currently in my 18th year as Guidance Counselor at Edmonson County High School, Brownsville, KY

Before the semester is over, I would like to learn about Blogs and Wikis and ways of using the internet for interaction between my students and my colleagues. I find that my students (and even my children) are far more advanced than I am in the tools the internet has to offer and that inspires me to learn more about what is out there.

I stay very busy watching my kids play ball and also with my varying hobbies. I do machine embroidery, make glass beads, and enjoy doing a lot of "crafty" things like crocheting and making jewelry.

Anonymous said...

Name: Kim Crotty
Teaching position/location: High School Librarian Gr. 9-12 in Fairview, Pennsylvania.
Email address: kim965@gmail.com
Teaching history: I was a special education teacher for 19 years. I went to the University of Pittsburgh to get my masters in Library Science. I have been a high school librarian for 1 year.
Goal from course: I am looking forward to learning the basics of blogs and wikis...what they are, how to create them and how they can be used in the library and classrooms as ways to encourage literacy.

Toby said...

Toby Kimball

Social Studies, South Kingstown High School

URI, MA, BS in Education: Social Studies

19 years at SKHH and also teach URI Summer course ("Teaching a Living History: Pennsic War" which is a 1 week medieval/renaissance immersion)

I am actually signed up for 2 courses on "internet usage" in the classroom and hope to take this information back to my classroom and peers.

joannak said...

My name is Joanna Knott, and I am currently a Library Media Specialist for a 4-6 public school in New Oxford, PA.

My email address is knottj@conewago.k12.pa.us

I graduated from Shippensburg University with a BA in English with a secondary certification. After teaching eighth grade LA for four years, I transitioned into the library. I received my Master's degree in SLM from McDaniel University and am currently in my third year at the library.

I hope to take away a better understanding of many web 2.0 tools. I am a technology instructor for my peers, and I am doing my best to encourage them to create blogs and wikis. Unfortunately, change is slow and difficult; I'm hoping this course (and 920) will give me the knowledge and skill to encourage fellow teachers to look towards the future of education!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Long


MLIS, Univ. of Rhode Island, 1998
(Master's Degree in Library/Media)

B.A., Univ. of Northern Colorado, 1994 (Major: Journalism, Minor: Speech Communications)

I'm in my 9th year as a library media specialist. I have worked in two elementary schools in Newport, R.I. for the last 7 years. I worked in middle schools for my first two years.

A colleague of mine set up a wiki for the elem. library media specialists in our district to share ideas, lesson plans, and curriculum. Great tool! I've only begun to explore it (I logged in once).

I have limited experience with blogs, but have taken a few mini-sessions about the topic and want to learn more.

I would like to use wikis & blogs for collaborative projects with classroom teachers (& students).

I'm also the webmaster for our state's library media organization (RIEMA) so I figure I'd better learn a few more things about technology!

joannak said...

"Session 1 Powerpoint"

Whew! That's a lot of information to take in at one time...rather than feeling panicky, though, I think I'm just going to go out there and search around to see what everyone else is doing and how they're using their blogs to improve students' education experiences.

Onward and Upward!

Anonymous said...

Diane Feole
I have a BA from URI in journalism and an MEd from RIC in Education
I have been employed by the Cranston Public Schools for the past 13 years and I work as an adjunct progessor of writing for URI. I am currently an English teacher at Cranston West. What I really hope is that I can develop a program in which my students will use a blog to increase their writing and give meaning to it. If they love their texting so much, why not blogging? It seems like an obvious progression to me and I intend to develop a way to incorporate it into not only my URI writing classes, but also in my remedial writng classes at West. I am excited about this technology's possibilities despite the fact that I have never used a blog and have no idea what a wiki is.

Anonymous said...

B.A. University of Rhode Island
Double Major: Elementary Ed. and English

M.A. Montclair State University

This is my fourth year in education. For my first three years of teaching, I worked as a First Grade teacher in an elementary school in New Jersey. I am currently employed as a Reading Teacher for the South Kingstown School District.

I hope to gain information on how to effectively implement new forms of technology throughout my instruction.

Anonymous said...

Donna Esposito

Session 1 Powerpoint:

I agree with you JoannaK, it is a lot of info. I feels a little overwhelming. I felt the same way when I was learning to navigate the internet. Every link that I clicked on would take me farther from where I started.

I think it is just going to take some time to get used to.

Anonymous said...

Leilani Coelho

I agree with Joanna and Donna. There was a lot of information but it the readings were very helpful. The readings opened my eyes to the many benefits web 2.0 and provided me with a solid introduction to the class.

I have a ½ day kindergarten and after reading Effective Learning Through Collaboration I began to wonder how I can use e-learning as an effective replacement to their missed class time. I think Steve and Miles do a great job touching on all the benefits of e-learning because it instantly forced me to brainstorm ways I can incorporate it into my class. One of the many benefits I agree with is that e-learning allows teachers to give students effective activities that reinforce what it is they are learning in class.

I agree that this is just the beginning of web learning and the best thing I can do is get a good grip on it now before it gets more complicated.

Anonymous said...

Andrea Pisani

Hello! My name is Andrea Pisani and I am a math teacher, currently in my 5th year at North Kingstown High School in North Kingstown, RI.
I have a BS in Environmental Science from SUNY @ Purchase, and a MA in Secondary Math Education from URI.
I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to liven up my lessons (this is always a challenge). Our students are so immersed in technology it only makes sense to see how technology can be used to reach them in a way that they seem to understand best.

Anonymous said...


Having previously taken a class with Dave that focused a great deal on blogs, I can relate to the comments being made about how overwhelming the information in the first session is! There is so much to discover! I suppose the best approach is to slowly explore what is out there...don't try and absorb it all in one sitting! As Donna stated, it IS very much like navigating the internet for the first time. (And I think most of us can agree that we still haven't even scratched the surface with that!)
As a high school teacher, most of my students have used MySpace or FaceBook, so I know they are comfortable communicating with others in a weblog venue. Why not extend this to the classroom and work on forums to discuss homework problems, or current events topics?
On another note, I do really like the idea that blogs open up the possibility to communicate with the world. That really stands out to me as a truly valuable tool for the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Mary Sizeland


I am a business teacher at Middletown High School and have been teaching grades 9-12 for 13 years.

I lookforward to learing about Blogs and Wikis.

Anonymous said...

Susan Tennett Adams
Middle School Endorsed/Eng.,Math,S.S.
Presently/5th Grade-Cranston
I took Dave's class (EDC92)this past fall and learned A LOT! The work load is tough (and sometimes quite stressful), especially when juggling family and work, but at the end of the day, it's worth it.

StephZ said...

Hi All,

I agree with the comments so far. Lots and lots of info, but I feel like I've learned so much about what all of these terms (blogs, etc.) mean. The wheels in my head are already turning, and I can see many ways I could incorporate blogs and wikis into my classroom units. I am concerned, however, because I think all blog sites are blocked from school. Our librarian did mention a wiki site we can get to, but I don't know about the rest. If not, most of our students are connected at home. I'll have to work something out for those who aren't. Here's where I agree with the readings...we should be able to have a dialogue with students through our experiences to teach them "right" from "wrong," so to speak.

The idea of the RSS feeds intrigues me. I read a book last summer called "FEED" (can't remember the author). Interesting take on feeds that are implanted into humans...but that's another conversation.

Enjoy the Superbowl.

Stephanie Z.

Anonymous said...

While reading and reviewing the links in this week's session, my mind has been humming as I thought about how I can use blogs in my setting. As a high school guidance counselor of around 300 students, I very often feel bogged down by 10% of my students while feeling inadequate for the other 90%. If I could use blogs to better communicate with some of the students I'm not currently able to reach, it would be a wonderful tool for me. I would also love to teach a group of teachers to use these same untapped tools for our trade.

I was able to follow all the links but certainly do share the intrigue this new concept has given me. I particularly enjoyed following some of the links on the powerpoint to classroom teacher blogs. I'm excited about the possibility of a place of my own to share information with my students, particularly my seniors.

Stacy Raymer

Anonymous said...

In response to the comments about the overwhelming amount of information in session 1. Andrea gave some good advice: go slowly and don't expect to take it all in. Also, take notes as you're watching the presentation,(but don't copy it word for word) and SAVE each session. I have gone back to sessions from the 920 course many times for information and site location. And most importantly, don't expect to memorize all the information in these sessions; you'll drive yourself crazy!

Anonymous said...

Joan O'Halloran


RIC - Bachelor of Science, Eled with a Middle School Endorsement - Science

I have taught science at the middle school level in East Providence for the past 4 years. This is a second career for me - I am also a registered nurse.

I have never visited a blog and the only thing I know about wikis is that I strongly discourage my students from using them as resources when they research.

I believe that the Internet is a valuable educational tool and hope to learn how to use wikis and blogs to improve my teaching and my students' learning.

Anonymous said...

Session 1 contains a huge amount of information - especially for someone not familiar with the topic. I was particularly impressed with the school blogs that look like web pages. What a wonderful way for faculty, parents, and students to keep each other informed.

I am also intrigued with the idea of creating a community of learners from various places - sharing information and comments.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Everybody is pretty excited about the possibilities but can we explore some of the possible 'side effects'?

I am encouraged by everyone's description of blogs with 'peer editing' and communication. Does anyone have a concern that blogging doesn't only give a voice to everyone but gives immediate gratification to publishing? Does this hinder our diligence in pre-writes, drafts, second drafts, etc? Does publishing my 'poetry' on a blog really make me a poet?

Also, a self-report of myspace.com admitted that over 15,000 REGISTERED sex offenders have accounts. These are the ones that they know about!

That's it for now...

Michael Sexton

Anonymous said...

Good Morning,

"Today's students, of almost any age, are far ahead of their teachers in computer literacy." Nat'l Tech Plan, Jan '05

Too many accept this with complacency and excuses for the 'tech illiterate' of the profession. Here's a parallel to the medical field... Imagine...

--Nat'l Medical Plan, Jan '05... Although most doctors see the benefits of penicillin, the use of x-rays to assist in diagnosis and treating the 'whole' person not just symptoms, there are some doctors who prefer to use leeches to suck out evil spirits that inhabit the blood of the sick, provide little pieces of paper with prayers on them to be eaten when feeling a sickness coming on and, if surgery is necessary, just using a stick in the mouth instead of that anesthesia stuff other doctors are using.

How long would this doctor be in business?

Anonymous said...

From: Kelly Remick
Email: Remco007@aol.com
Grade: 7th gr. Social Studies

Hi Class,

I might be the last one to respond to Session 1. I'm trying to bring wrap my mind around the amount of clickable icons I have encountered throughout these sessions, readings, and tutorials.

A few reflections:

1. I understand how blogs will be academically exciting and useful for the majority of my current and future students. While I am learning about this myriad of technology, I am trying to keep my special needs students in mind. Presently, I am absorbing and practicing differentiated instruction techniques in my classroom. I wonder how I can tier the levels of blogging while assessing my high students as well as my students with lower readiness levels/special issues. For example, does anyone have any experience with ADD/ADHD students and their use with this forum? I would be eager to hear about the positive experiences.

2. In reference to the article by Rohini Kapur, “Can Blogs Help Students?,” I was thrilled as a social studies teacher to see the website called cyberjournalist.net. This type of access to journalists has the potential to be extremely useful in a more paperless world. I can envision how students will no longer moan and groan when we use newspaper and magazine articles. Instead, I can see students wanting to read an article by a journalist they have formed a connection with. I have big dreams, but I can get overwhelmed with this technology, so I will take baby steps.

3. Onward!!

Karen said...

I've been thinking of my fourth graders and how to best utilize my blog. I wonder in these times when parents have to sign forms allowing their children to be photographed...how can we share work, pictures, etc.

I wonder how my blog can be used as a management tool for my students.

I was also curious to see that most people chose blogger.com rather than edublogs. I wonder which is more user friendly and what people think of their choices for blogging.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of the new blogs that were created.

Have a great week everyone!