Tuesday, March 11, 2008

921-Session 7-Research Supporting Edublog Usage

This session is research-based, and a little heavy on the statistics, so take what you can from the information, save the citations, and use them in the future if you need to substantiate and legitimize edublogging in the classroom. Along those lines keep an eye on the syllabus and the next Deliverable. The due date (4/15) will be here before you know it.

But before we do that you may be interested in checking out this screencast on how to turn your blog postings into audio for differentiated instruction. (Click on it twice):

This session will be spent on gaining background knowledge on the research out there suppporting edublogs in the classroom. It is ready to be downloaded. While you are waiting, check out just a few of your peers' blogs.

  • Jennifer created a team blog where she and a few other school librarians will co-author the postings. This is a great example of how to foster collaboration with your peers, and an additional bonus is that it reduces the workload.

  • Kim added some great 'suggested readings' in the margin, as well as a cool widget and survey feature.

  • Donna has added some video and a 'visitor counter.'

  • Diane has tons of kids commenting.

  • Joanna is using her blog to spread the word and teach other teachers.

  • Andrea's adding screencasts and picture slideshows.

  • Leilani is having fun with her Kindergarten class and has added a weather pixie.

  • And last, but not least, Stephanie is experimenting with giving her entire class the option to be authors, so that they can write their own posts.

Also, check out, some of these links to past participants' postings and blogs.

Wow! Great job, Trish.
http://woon-elem-maclabforkids.blogspot.com/2007/03/happy-birthday-cat-in-hat.html She liked this course so much that she is registered for edc 920 for the summer session.

And check out Dawn's great sidebar. She has already started compiling useful sites for parents and members of the community.

Additionally, one recent posting that I really like is from: http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/
this is from just one of the blogs that I subscribe to. It addresses the "Rationalization for Educational Blogging." It is very well written and a great place to start when trying to substantiate edublog usage in the classroom.

Also check out Christian's blog. I suggested he take a look at Slideshare.net and he took the ball and ran with it. (His March '07 postings) What great examples of presenting student work for an external audience. Fantastic!

And lastly, you'll find a number of links in the left hand margin that will bring you to screencasts for a few of Blogger's tools and resources. Check them out.

Good luck and have fun!



Donna McMullin said...

In this month’s Technology and Learning magazine, the feature article, “Tech Literacy and the MySpace Generation”, concurs with the theme of the readings in Session 7’s presentation – student learning is positively impacted by technology.

It’s a very interesting article, but, if you scroll to the end, you’ll find the Characteristics of a Digital Native most enlightening. These are the young people who are in our classrooms.

I think using a blog as a "classroom newsletter" is a great use for a blog. I really like Dawn's "E-8 is Great" blog!

ClareO said...

I enjoy visiting the other blogs and it inspires me to keep on with my own blog in my classroom. I have started to move away from poetry and to blog about our recent book that we our reading. I do find that my students were very eager in the beginning, but it seems to have wained a bit. I am hoping that changing the subject will peak their interest again. I have had a lot of good feedback from parents who have remarked on their child's interest and how they check the blog every night. I am still trying to find my path with this technology.

Amy Messerlian said...

The research presented through session 7 helped me wrap my head around how and why incorporating visual media in the classroom is important. I found it interesting, although not surprising, that students remember 50% of what they see and hear (visual media) compared to only 10% if they only read it or 20% if they only hear it. This number alone shows the importance of using visual media to introduce or reinforce concepts being taught in a classroom setting.

I like the concept of being able to have my students experience things I would not normally be able to give them if it was not for videos. Whether it be giving them the experience of traveling to another place in the world (think the top of Mount Everest or the Egyptian pyramids for example) or an event that took place fifty years ago (thanks to documentaries). I have subscribed to some free resources for teachers and have found some of them to be extremely useful in my classroom. Teaching Tolerance (http://www.tolerance.org/teach/index.jsp) has provided me with some fantastic kits that include a video on particular topics, teacher resources including multiple lesson plans, supplementary activities, etc. The videos prove useful and insightful and have gained my students attention on diverse topics, including global issues, the Holocaust, etc.

I liked the link to the article “TV Goes to School”. I thought it provided many useful strategies on how to successfully tie in video/TV with certain curriculum. It presented a host of great ideas, which I will most likely refer back to in the future. I was unable to connect to the links provided in slide 9 and 10. Anyone else have this problem?

Through reading “Using Wikis to Create On-line Communities” I learned that wikipedia.org is in fact a wiki (duh, I should have figured that out a long time ago based on the name but then again I didn’t know what a wiki was until I signed up for this class). I often use wikipedia to get a quick explanation of certain topics. Until now I was unaware of the fact that anyone can add to or edit any entry. In a way that boggles my mind.

I enjoyed checking out everyone’s blogs. It is nice to see the diversity among us! Many of the blogs look great and seem to be going well, not to mention used quite frequently!

carol fishbein said...

Like Amy, I also had trouble with slides 9 and 10, but just figured it was something I was doing. I was disappointed, because both sites seemed like they would have some significant research attached.I also had problems accessing the slide about newspaper blogging. On a more positive note, I was fascinated by the teacher (Nicole Pratt) who based her students' grades solely on their contributions to wikis at UEA. Ironically, my son is currently studying at that university in England, and he finds their system of testing and grading quite different from traditional U.S. schools. I also liked the article about "Dixie Clicks" (from the Eric site), telling about a teacher whose students became so inspired by a civil war text, that they used blogging to communicate with the author and other readers to share impressions and 'provacative questions'. I was especially surprised by how many librarians support blogging, claiming it to be a superior way to interact with their 'clients', and that reminded me of the article from an earlier session in which there was a special blog site at a library for only local teenagers . I think when libraries start embracing blogging, then it gives the 'craft' more intelligibility and grounding. I used to think that your role, Dave, as a librarian and author of this course was more a coincidence of personal interests, than a major trend in library science, but now I see that it may be more than that.
I must say, however, that I find my co-students' blogs the most enlightening in terms of the real uses and benefits of blogging in the classroom. I have recently been in touch with Amy in regards to her methods of having her students blog their predictions of the plot in the story they are reading, and, of course the poetry blog interactions are amazing, to name just two. I am so envious of those who are allowed to use blogging in their classrooms--- I am almost tempted to invite students to my home to let them blog on my site--but then I wake up! I await learning more about wikis in our next lesson.

Anonymous said...

Session 7 Comments: Using Blogs to Foster Literacy

The research presented at various points during the class gave me further encouragement in that yet another source of visual and auditory instruction is available to improve our students’ learning possibilities. We have read for a long time that students retain what they see and hear much more than what they just see. Hence, blogs should improve learning if used properly as a part of a teaching program.

The presentation “Did You See That on Line” was very interesting to me in that it stated that blogs can stream in information that can “jump start” a lesson. I find that interesting in that I firmly believe that students will become and remain involved in topics that interest them. The visual and audio streaming from a blog site should do the trick in many instances, especially since this generation of students relies heavily on such feedback to gain their knowledge and to communicate with each other.

The part about a new superintendent using his blog to shape the discussion of events and to beat the ‘news cycle” rather than just reacting to events in his district was of interest to me. As I have said before, I want my blog to contain items of interest and concern to parents, students, and other community members about the area of discipline and safety in school. Our admin team has already planned several actions in response to the horrific incident at Virginia Tech. This would be a perfect topic for my blog: post what steps we are taking to ensure the safety of all in the building and invite comment/recommendations from interested folks.

NOTE: I lost David’s voice during several slides, but still was able to gain a lot from the overall presentation.

John Lalli

MDavis said...

Dawn, Trisha, and Christian, those were amazing examples! I was very impressed with the range of students from elementary to high school and the efforts of your students. I am particularly
excited by seeing the student work shared in multimedia (especially Dave's suggestion for SlideShare, which I really want to use in the near future). I hope that the work I have recently completed with my students will turn out as impressive and I appreciate your sharing your classes with me.

In regards to the Edublog research, I spent a lot of time looking at several articles prior to this when I starting on my Deliverable 3/4 proposal. I chose several ease to read sites which are easier on teachers. That is to say, I don't think many of my colleagues want to read through a proper journal article to build interest. If you are interested, I hope you will review those when I post them in Session 11. I also am very pleased with the integration of blogs in many of classrooms, because that really adds weight to the argument that they are effective resources in schools. I am very fond of the writing aspect, since it is a major part of my focus on remediation and preparation of students with disabilities. This may be an informal writing resource, but it has the potential to be used formally. Students do enjoy engaging one another, and I believe that they can present a valid argument and resource when they feel that their audience will provide feedback (hopefully positive or constructive criticism). I have seen students floor me with their academically argumentative skills in a Socratic seminar, who rarely rise the occasion of answering a question in class. I wonder if a similiar setting in a blog environment would accomplish the same task?

Robin Shtulman said...

Thank you for the link to Talkr! So important for schools, as we have parents with visual impairments. They can click and hear their kids' posts, or the teacher's prompts! I also LOVE that the voice is, essentially, the same talking moose that used to be on my old mac color classic (back in the late 1980s).

Anonymous said...

joe szymkowicz....
No doubt that any resource used to help kids learn is a good one. Using technology is going to be the key to education in the future. However, blogs or any new “technology” should not be used without careful consideration. The first is the time and effort to set one up properly, and then maintain it. I have used message boards, and seen “diary.com” and my space accounts become places for kids to “attack” each other. Yes, blogs can be edited…by you…you are now responsible for a whole new outlet for the kids…and that should not be taken lightly.

Difficult to believe I just did my masters in “integrating technology in the classroom”. Yet after using many of the same things researched, my real experiences have taught me not to rush into anything just for the sake of using computers.

After viewing some of the blogs offered, I wonder where some of the teachers find the time to do such a great job. I never understood how Kathy Schrock spent so much time on her webpage. Truly, my kids seem to enjoy anything and everything to do with computers. Pod cast, Quia, online portfolios using pupil pages; all were a hit with the kids this year. But teachers need to be aware that they can get bogged down, spending to much time on “worthless” technology. Pick and choose what works best, using technology is supposed to make things helpful and easier…..

Anonymous said...

as Robin stated....
talkr...a great web site, one of the nice things about technology courses are the little web site gems that can help us along the way...
thanks dave..

Pam B said...

I loved the quote by David Warlick mentioned by Clarence Fisher in his QuickTime video, Global Literacy. “Don’t be excited by the light of technology. Instead be excited by what we can shine light ON with and because of technology.” When I was finishing my master’s degree, I was introduced to Larry Cuban in one of the texts I was required to read. Basically he said technology has long been heralded as the ingredient that will transform schools. However, technology has really not done that. One of the reasons that may be true is because like Warlick said, we are often too excited about technology without considering content. Without that necessary integration, technology will not be the transformer we’re looking for. So what about technology?

Research seems to indicate that teaching learning with technology does have a small, positive, significant effect on student outcomes. Some studies even indicate that technology changes the way teachers deliver instruction and learning becomes more student centered. Technology helps students stay focused and more on task. We don’t even have to look at recent technologies either. Television has certainly had a positive effect on learning. Images and sound make learning more meaningful for students than just sound. The same can be said for video. When that video is tied to the curriculum and what’s being taught in the classroom, it becomes even more powerful. When teachers are able to communicate the purpose for the technology it becomes an important teacher tool.

As we look at new technologies, including blogs and wikis, what is needed in today’s classrooms? Fisher looked at literacy as having several components. Comprehension, production (producing a message) and interaction (communicating a message) are necessary for literacy. Literacy has changed through history, and the same is true today. Students must have the ability to read more complex texts, which include, print, photos, videos, podcasts, blogs and wikis. How do we teach students to handle texts that are connected to each other? With all the information available today, before students can even be expected to be able to comprehend text, they must be taught the skill of finding the appropriate texts for the information need or problem. Evaluation of text is also an important skill. Producing a message has changed as well. No longer is print the dominant way to communicate. Today students need to consider the content and audience. That is where technology becomes important because students must be able to select the appropriate tool to produce the message.

Finally, since this course is focused on blog and wikis, how do they fit into the idea of literacy? Blogs certainly serve as a communication tool. They can be used as an electronic bulletin board, a vehicle to share instructional resources, a collaborative tool for both teachers and students and a showcase for student projects. In many classrooms, students become excited about reading and writing for a global audience. Like any other technology, we much ask how they support the curriculum and content we’re teaching. What is it that we want to illuminate?

Amy said...

I have been able to form a very high opinion thus far about blogging and edublogs. I have come to find many ways to tie in important bits of information into many of my lessons, and the nice thing for me is I teach 4 subjects, which means I can integrate blogging in more times. I think Joe said something very important though, he remarked that kids can get blogged out, and I strongly agree. Everything is a fade, and it comes and goes. I have a fourteen year old sister that loves myspace, and while having a conversation with her the other day, she told me, that she has “moved on” from myspace and now she has another site that she uses. She told me, this one was more private. I laughed a little, because in this day and age, there is always a way to access information if someone really, truly wants it. So as much as I would hate to see blogging “die out” it could be a possibility. All things change over time, right?

As for the “TV goes to School” in the Classroom, I love this! I have my computer hooked up to my television, and I do a lot of activities with both the computer and the television. I have numerous films and news clips that I have burned to cds and have used in lessons throughout the year in my classroom. It is funny, but I also have started to do some pod casts in school. I have found some clips that I have put onto my ipod and downloaded to my computer at school. My kids love it, they think it is cool that their teacher has an ipod and actually uses it. I continue to tell them that I am not old and I still have style, but they don’t buy it.

I also checked out, “Using Wikis to Create On-line Communities”
and I have used wikipedia once or twice to find help in clarifying of certain topics, but as some others had mentioned, I did not know that anyone can add to or edit any entry. This is a great feature. You have the ability to modify and/or improve, I indeed believe this is a positive attribute.

The many different ways to include blogs and edublogs into learning are interesting and make learning fun. It also brings a cultural change to the classroom. I still have some concerns about the hype of blogs and will they last, yet on the other hand I am hooked and want to explore them.

pwestkott said...

Wow! There was so much to reflect about this week's session that I've waited until most of the boxes have been packed at school until sending along my comments about everything we've read, listened to or saw. (Actually this is my second attempt; my first try disappeared with "an error" warning after I attempted to publish my comments. Well, I think I'll write in Word and copy and paste in my work from now on!! Let's see how good my short term memory is!)

From Anne's blog I took how well she summarized that if we are to help students "become efficient navigators" of this evolving literacy, we need to guide them to "critically engage in media".

Nicole Pratt had her post grad students assess Wikipedia. Her podcast showed how she effectively utilized talkr.com. Maybe it is just me, but as I explored her blog and its various links, I couldn't find the tool she used for assessing her students' work. I was hoping to see how she did.

Based on her premise that we need to be critical thinkers of the information we access, segugued into Clarence Fisher's work. I found his videocast fascinating. He spelled out his thinking after an introductory historical timeline of literacy - largely based upon an individual's ineraction (or is that intra-action?) with text. I agree with Fisher that there is no single skill set that we teachers/students can use if we are expected to access, comprehend and respond to to what we read, see or hear so we can construct our own meaning.

Pam B., I loved David Warlick's quote, too. I was also struck by "it's not about the search, but about the find" and its implications for my own teaching and learning. How I must carefully scaffold the way students not only access information, but how to cull through it, try to verify its author, the research/authority behind it and then evaluate its relevance against our purpose.

In my classroom we begin with questions, finally narrowing them to key questions that drive what our purpose for the work is. This takes time and practice with third graders, but well worth the effort. It requires culling, deleting or discarding information not needed to answer these questions, synthesizing how our thinking changes over time. All this is based upon how do we "read" a website -all of it- text, graphics, hyperlinks, data, etc.

I'm going to follow Vicki Davis' example and include a "How to Comment" post on my own blog. I think this will guide not only students, but adults who are commenting, as well as define my own expectations.

I have to take exception to Fisher's assumption, "In the past, we could trust the source teacher's used." Hmmm... I never questioned U.S. History I read in my texts or that my teacher shared. I should have challenged how it was written from the perspective of white males. Maybe I wasn't taught to think that way. I hope I do a better job provoking students' thinking so they can determine the reliability of information they've found.The stakes are even higher for these students since so much is available to them.

I guess what I should really challenge is how we consider what literacy is. I wonder if our definition is too limiting, more a traditional one of reading/writing. I believe it should mean how we develop our understandings - how we think. Maybe, I over-simplify things too much since I'm a primary teacher. I think it is more that we generalists tend to view things holistically.

I need to think hard and plan well as to how I want to introduce this online social literacy to my students in September. With lots of modeling and think alouds as I do the writing before my class, I'm confident we can do this....until it morphs into something new and even better.

I have a professional dilemma. I have a rudimentary evaluation tool that needs revising as we use it. If anyone has any guidance as to what they use and how they have students do this, I welcome your help, please?

Thanks for listening!
Pam W.

Jennifer Geller said...

Echo...echo...echo...I did the readings, etc. for session 7 and had some notes about what I wanted to comment on, then read everyone else's comments and found many of the same things written as were already in my notes. Many of the same things are standing out to us, and I'm even going to echo myself from earlier comments. First is the question of whether or not technology can transform schools. I commented previously that Richardson thinks blogging can create ed reform, whereas I think ed reform allows schools to think that blogging might be important. As Pam notes, "technology" has been around a long time. If technology is really so transformative, why do the vast majority of schools still function the same way they did fifty years ago?

What else...Fisher's assumption about trusting the sources teachers used in the past...yeah right. Apparently he's never read Lies My Teacher Told Me. I'm trying to figure out if there is a "new" literacy, or if we are just teaching kids things now that they should have been taught even before the big bad internet came along.

One other thing is getting on my nerves. I'm as eager as the next person to broaden my use of technology in my classroom and make it more integrated in my curriculum, but if I read one more article that justifies the use of blogging because it "excites" students, I'm going to throw up. My students would be "excited" if I let them talk about sneakers all day, but would that make it pedagogically sound?

Even when I looked at a more data driven study such as the summary of the J. Kulik article, and followed some of Caret's links, I had to laugh. Here's a quote: "technology improves performance when the application directly supports the curriculum..." they also mention things like aligning technology use with standards. These things are just basic, sound educational practice. Of course performance is going to improve is you align it to specific goals. How can you prove technology is doing the improving, or if teachers are just teaching better?

This is not to say that I don't think technology is important or beneficial for our students. I just haven't seen a study that doesn't conflate improved technology with improved educational practice.

Robin Shtulman said...

I'm really enjoying everyone's posts this session --

Here's where I think technology is great for kids: As we move more and more towards the constrictive high-stakes testing across our country, kids are being given a lot more broad, shallow instruction. They're being forced to memorize and recall little facts. The one place our administrators seem glad, even eager, to allow us to teach students to create, to analyze, to shape a personal meaning, is when they're using newer technolgies. Tools like blogs, wikis, and websites worked on by kids give teachers a bit more freedom to engage kids in project-based learning.

Michael Skeldon said...

Depth vs. Breadth. That is the philsophy we have embraced at Beacon.

As a digital immigrant, I have begun to discover how important it is to reach digital natives where they are most comfortable. Although my college experience quite often resulted in large, bound typed documents, this is an alien concept to today's high school student. I think they can still produce top-notch work, but if it's in the form of a blog or other online interaction, they may find it just a bit less intimidating and more "doable."

On another note, does anyone have familiarity with the site www.digication.com. I find it very user friendly and have actually begun to construct my online environment for the Capstone course there. It's more user friendly than blogger.com.

It's a work in progress, but I would appreciate feedback...


Anonymous said...

Tom Carney
7th Grade ELA

The information from this session really opened up some ideas for how I can use my blog page for the next school year. I am really excited to start implementing some of this, but I am admittedly overwhelmed and wonder if I will find enough time to make the most of all of this information for my students! I know that in time it will make the classroom experience even easier and more effective, but right now I can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”

For my lesson plan, I intend on using my existing literary circles unit and make the online blog a part of the required discussion assignments. This is actually going to fit in quite well with next year’s upcoming schedule changes. We are going to a six-day schedule, so my classes will be meeting for ninety minutes every other day. With the use of my blog I will be able to “keep in touch” with the students on the days that we don’t meet, and have them post comments as well as ask and answer questions.

I am trying a “practice run” this summer by having my former 7th grade students post comments and questions about their summer reading. I was a little concerned because there haven’t been any comments to date, but I just recently realized that my settings might have been preventing the students from posting comments. I have adjusted the settings and I am eagerly awaiting their comments. Live and learn!

Dave Fontaine said...


famous said...

I didn't delve heavily into the research presented for this session, because in my eyes it's almost intuitive that we have to migrate to this new technology.
Last week, I was horrified that more than half of the 4 6th grade grade classes I met with did not know what an encyclopedia was and how to use it... upon reflecting further and discussing it with various colleagues I realized this:
1 - Their teacher was telling them to just go onto wikipedia to find the information
2 - Do they need to be able to access the Print Encyclopedia or is the online version the library/school subscribes to enough?
3 - Perhaps I'm better off combining the lesson on Encyclopedias to incorporate the online and print version. (How, I have to still figure out.)

The truth is, I've been reading a lot about this:
Alan November's article in Teachlearning: Banning Student 'Containers' http://www.techlearning.com/showArticle.php?articleID=196604487.
Braun, Linda W. "Reading It's Not Just About Books." YALS Summer 2007. P. 38
The latter article had me thinking about the NYS Standard to read 25 books... should we be measuring it by books? Should it be like in California (I believe) which measure by words... which allows us to include online material, magazines, etc.

Anonymous said...

Research does seem to suggest a positive impact on learning when using web based technologies. If nothing else, at least the students seem interested in learning with technologies. I’ve been doing some informal surveying of my students to find out that they would like to do certain aspects of their classroom activities using web 2.0 technologies instead of (or in addition to) traditional methods. It beats the “chalk and talk” method for the time being. These research studies come in handy for writing proposals to administrators and potential funding sources who can be skeptical.

“Famous” raises an interesting question. Do we need to teach kids how to use print encyclopedias? I’ve stopped buying print copies in my library. We simply can not afford them and students in the “post-typographic” age no longer search for information the way they did 15 years ago. At a recent meeting of our area school & public librarians we discussed how there has been a huge decrease in the use of print reference materials. Honestly, I spend a lot of time convincing teachers to allow a reference articles from our online database to be a substitute for a “print source.” Print reference sources are so expensive and almost never get used (even when I turn to the exact page and shove the book under the kid’s nose). I kills me to put out $450 on a specialized reference set that I know will get very little use. Do students need to know how to use an index in a book?? What is the future of research? On the same note, what about writing correct citations? My (smart) students are finally realizing that if they use a database (ours is a Gale product), the MLA formatted citation appears at the end of the article for them to neatly cut and paste into their bibliography. Our English teachers spend a lot of time teaching citation formatting. It’s necessary to know the required pieces of a citation, but it’s no longer as big an issue to know where every period and quotation belongs.


Maria said...

All the evidence that Web 2.0 technologies have a positive effect on learning give me hope that schools will adapt to the changing face of education. I really like Clarence Fisher's video about how classroom experiences are no longer limited by its four walls. "Geography is irrelevant but knowledge isn't" he states. Collaborative tools that allow children and educators alike to exchange ideas and information give us many opportunities to build a community of learners outside the walls of the classroom.

In my school, we just gained access to PBS video streaming. One of my fourth grade classes viewed several segments of a video about rocks and minerals. This is part of their science unit. Their teacher and I have collaborated on quite a few projects and she is very open to using technology in the classroom. Before showing the video, the class had a few lessons and discussions about the topic using the FOSS science kit, Earth Materials, to build some background on the subject.

After the video, the discussion among the children was incredible. Seeing and hearing certainly had a great effect on their learning and comprehension of the topic. Just as research from the article on the Impact of Video on Student Learning suggests, the purposeful nature of their viewing led to a deeper and more sophisticated learning. They easily made connections to the video and the text they had previously read, they used vocabulary from the video to describe in detail what they learned about rocks, and the actual images they saw helped them understand the previous text they had read with their teacher. They became a community of learners who all helped each other understand the topic at hand. It was a great learning experience to be a part of.

I also enjoyed the article entitled Blog On - Building Communication and Collaboration Among Staff and Students. I see blogging as a great tool to use in an educational setting for many purposes. Being a digital native, I concur with most of the research out there (that I've had a chance to read) about the changing face of education. I'm presently trying to influence the thoughts of other more veteran teachers in my building who may be more like digital immigrants. Some have been receptive while others seem to be most comfortable with their way of doing things, the “chalk and talk” way that Terri suggests in her comment. I am hoping that there are more opportunities for my colleagues to see the benefits of using not only edublogs but also using video and podcasting in their classrooms. The research supporting such technologies is certainly out there. It'll just be the method of delivery and the persistence to get the message across. Why is it that there have been more efforts in certain districts, states and countries to require, expect and utilize technology in the curriculum while other places have not even scratched the surface? I just find the gap incredible looking at many of the blogs, websites, podcasts and projects out there on the Web.

With the inner city population that I teach, I am finding that the use of Web 2.0 technologies in my library instruction has increased the students' desire to learn, has engaged them more than a traditional lesson would, and has helped provide some background knowledge by way of video, images and sound to the topics they are learning about in the classroom. I understand that many of the children do not have access to the Internet or even have a computer at home. At the least I can expose them to these resources and learning tools during the school day.

I’ve also read some other articles on Podcasting in a school library because I am very interested in working with this technology. I really think it will help my ESL and Bilingual children in many ways. Podcasting certainly supports efforts to differentiate instruction in the library in accordance with No Child Left Behind requirements. In the article entitled “Podcasting 101 for K-12 Librarians” by Esther Kreider Fash (Computers in Libraries, April 2006), she states that the podcast is a viable alternative for delivering research, content, or lessons to students needing extended support. While auditory learners particularly benefit when podcasts are incorporated into the teaching model, librarians can help all students and staff find ways to creatively use podcasting. Sometimes new formats are the key to igniting interest. While creating podcasts, students learn to research, write, develop vocabulary, speak effectively, manage time, solve problems, and grab attention. I'm thinking of using podcasts to advertise good reads in my library. I've got my second and third graders working on projects about promoting reading to others through book reviews. What fun it would be for them to give podcasting a try! (of course there'd be lots of planning, trials,and missteps along the way, but it'd be worth the effort in the end)

Reading blog said...

I was unable to use the talkr site. It sounded like it would be worthwhile. It's would be a great help for some students special needs and just kids of all abilites.
i am amazed at what kind of technology is out there. Then I look at what we currently use in our school. We were very excited to get a few smart boards last year. And this year I was excited that we were able to connect our computer to the tv. That way everyone could see the powerpoint presentation. I guess I knew we were behind I just didn't realize how far behind we are.

Just a comment on someones post. We still use the 25 book standard also.

Melissa Horton said...

I guess this week I must be tired, because I feel very overwhelmed by the blog, vlog, podcast information this week.

I feel that as I am exposed to all these tools, the ideas start flowing. I can totally justify using these new Web 2.0.tools, but bottom line is, when would I have time to do all this? I already maintain my classroom website, send e-mails to my parents letting them know when assignments are due, and complete several web-based projects with my students each year.

I think I personally need to be careful not to overwhelm myself, to the point that I cannot do anythng well. I get so enthralled by the new technology, that I could easily spend too much time getting ready, only to find out that I have technical limitations at school.

Again, maybe I am tired, but sometimes simple may be better.

Dave Fontaine said...


Anonymous said...

I just finished session 7. Once again there is a lot of information. I did not read all of the detailed articles but I did save them for future reference. I am looking forward to the next session on wikis.

I am wondering if my blog will ever gain any interest.

I did get an email from the chair of our English dept asking what teachers are reading so she could put together a list for the students. I immediately emailed her back with a link to my blog and suggested that we create a blog for her reading list. She is going to meet with me next week to find out how we can do this. I hope this will spark some interest in blogging in my school and in the district.

Anonymous said...

Susan Tennett Adams

I just returned to school (Thursday) after being out with a long-term illness, and one of the first things I did was introduce my fifth-graders to our classroom blog. They were very excited and couldn't wait to post a comment. I posted a social studies question and had 16 comments by Friday morning. The kids are very excited about this new technology, and I was surprised by the fact that only a few of my students new what a blog was.
Quite a few of my students do not have internet access at home , so we decided that those students would use the classroom computer (we only have one) to post before they left for the day.
My principal loves the classroom blog and a few teachers have expressed interest in using blogging in their classrooms.

Anne Howard said...

I have to go along with Donna and wonder where blogging will go with my students. I gave it a try with my 8th grade and it was a total disaster. I read Susan's post about the students in her class and am thrilled for her. It makes me wonder if my students' lack of interest has to do with them having access to so much that they view using technology as a chore and not something new and exciting - so of a familiarity breeds contempt attitude.

It's been over 30 years since I took a Statistics class and I didn't understand much if it then. How much does something have to be to show statistical significance? In reading the one meta-analysis I wasn't clear on how statistically significant the results were. Is a change of +.215 significant? Does that translate to a 21.5% improvement? I feel I should understand the studies if I am going to use them as support for increasing our technology budget.

I have been talking with the 5th grade teacher and we are going to collaborate on creating a wiki for her 5th grade social studies classes. I'm really excited to get started. I can see so many possibilities with it.

As I was writing the above paragraph, I was struck by the thought that one of the reasons I have had difficulty getting students to use the class blog is that the class only meets once a week. The students may feel that they don't have to post comments/thoughts with any immediacy because they have a whole week to complete the assignment. Since they won't be accountable for a week, they delay doing any work. Since almost everyone of them waited until the night before the assignment was due, no one could complete the second part of the assignment, which was to respond to what someone else had written. Something to think about as I decide how to integrate blogging into my middle school classes next year.

A Pisani said...

I found Donna and Anne's comments particularly interesting as I, too, have been wondering where my Algebra 2 blog will wind up.
Class participation in terms of the blog hasn't been so stellar, which has been extremely surprising to me. I have comments dribbling in here and there, but between my two classes only about half of my students have been posting. When Anne said that her class meets only once per week, it made me think of an issue that I face with just about every assignment I give my students. I see my classes every other day, and inevitably, my students do their homework the night before we meet again. (I even set up a poll on the blog page to see when my students do their homework, and "The night before" received the most votes.) This has a direct impact on the overall benefit of using the blog as a communication tool, because the communication is happening too late. As Anne stated, with comments coming in at the last minute, the students are unable to comment on what others have said. I've spoken with my class and I let them know that timing was important when doing their blogging assignments, but they don't seem to be taking it as seriously as their other work for me. If I start the school year off introducing my students to the blog and we get into a routine early on, perhaps I will have better results? I honestly don't know, but I have been thinking a great deal about this because I don't think the full benefits of this blog are being realized.
I have to also keep in mind that it is a learning experience for me, too. With each year I will hopefully make improvements!

Rosemary Driscoll said...

Anne Howard's comments resonated with me. The statistcal evidence for using technology to improve student outcomes is too academic.
I spent the last several hours reading these articles and was happy when the meta-analysis portion segued into the more accessible articles about like "Welcome to the Blogosphere...", 'blog It" and "Rationale for Educational..."
These are articles school committee members, principles, and superintendents can read and digest. I copied them so I can distribute to other faculty members and administrators.
While I definitely think we need research based evidence to support a seemingly seismic shift in educational culture, these papers don't help me in my district. I can only hope that through this class, I can take what I've learned and take baby steps towards convincing others that new literacies require sutdents to "learn how to learn new technologies."

JPolinick said...

One of the links that most interested me was the "Edublog insights". I know that many school districts block blogs and many other key words. This post really explains many positive aspects of student involvement with blogging. I have noticed many of the same student outcomes. Blogs also create a portfolio of student work. Work is easily viewed anywhere, anytime. Peer pressure( The good kind) seems to motivate usually lax children into completing assignments. Student accountability increases because their audience is no longer just the teacher. Student work is compared, shared, and assessed by the classroom community.
Finally, in a non-classroom setting, I used a Wiki to help collaborate with another coach. We needed to come up with an informational list/letter to all other coaches. She is the coordinator of one division and I coordinate the other. Since the information was the same, we dicided to work on it together. I created a wiki page so that we both could add material and send it out. Before this class it would have been e-mail to e-mail.

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
4-6 Librarian
New Oxford, PA

Well, after reading the comments, I can see that many of us are in the same boat as we wonder where our blogs will take us. Some people in this course are disappointed in the lack of blog comments posted by students, and I can completely sympathize; when I created a blog for the teachers in my Web 2.0 class, I was disappointed at the lack of thought, effort, and enthusiasm they put forward.

So, it’s not just young students; it seems to be students of all ages.

I encouraged the teachers in my class to post two comments; one as a response to the “Blog Topic of the Week” and one responding to someone else’s comments. Either I cannot develop an engaging topic, or they were uninterested in responding. Most people just wrote “I agree with…” and left it at that. This leads me to believe…

When we teach lessons, we have to look for the “hook” or the part of the lesson that will get kids excited and motivated to learn. In terms of blogging, the fact that students are posting to a blog, using the technology, sitting in a computer lab, or publishing to the internet are not adequate “hooks.” Am I right to conclude that the technology isn’t as engaging as we would like to think?

I’m also snickering at myself…how many times has Dave asked us to not only respond, but read previous comments, and respond to them as well? He is also working to get us to do exactly what we struggle to do with our students….

joannak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joannak said...


As a librarian and soon-to-be Department Chair, I love the idea of blogging with my fellow media specialists. My question for you: who are the authors and viewers? Did you allow anyone to view/author or just your coworkers?

Thanks for the inspiration! I think I'll do this, too!

Joanna Knott
4-6 Librarian
New Oxford, PA

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
4-6 Librarian
New Oxford, PA

I watched the Classroom 2.0 video and thought there were a few excellent insights...

I like that he (no, I can't remember "his" name) explains the "old way" v. the "new way." Much like Lee LeFever (The Commoncraft site), this vodcast explains how the old way of teaching was to prepare students to be successful members of a town. Teachers prepared them for life in the community. The new way is to prepare the students to be successful citizens of the world, to connect and integrate ideas across the globe.

I also like how he explained that we need to shift our pedagogy by looking at teaching and learning as a collaboration. His example is to have students be legitimate creators of information. I think this is interesting. Students now turn in answers and responses to teachers, but are they legitimately creating information or are they just submitting a reiteration? Working within a worldwide, collaborative community and publishing to the web, students and teachers legitimize students' work.

Just some thoughts I'd vent before my brain explodes with information and ideas...

Anonymous said...

Melissa Berenberg
Reading Teacher
Grades 3-5
South Kingstown Schools
Session #7

As a reading teacher it is important to foster literacy with print material as well as technology. Online communities and new technology tools are supported through research and have a positive relationship with student learning. After reading the online studies conducted by the EDC’s Center for Children and Technology, it is obvious that visual media contributes to the advancement in literacy skills and cognitive development. It is nice to be able to access all of these research based studies in order to support the integration of these new advancements into today’s instruction. In will be easier to integrate technology into an existing curriculum, if the proposal for the new tool or forum is based on research and has a positive effect.

It is not only important for a student to be exposed to new concepts but the information needs to be retained. With a spiraling curriculum throughout the grade levels, students will be able to retain knowledge as well as build on existing concepts. According to these studies, visual media helps students retain information. The integration of sound and imagery also appeals to different learning styles and interests students. I have witnessed a lot of teachers using videos or television to support a lesson. However, it is important to have activities that go along with the visual media. Students should be active in the learning process and reflect on the visual, as well as complete before and after activities. The visual should be used to bring children to a higher level of understanding and not as a leisure activity. I liked the idea of linking broadcasters with educators and curriculum directors. If broadcasters can help create media that correlates with our GLE’s, curriculum and thematic units, we can bring our students to a whole new level. As a reading teacher, I would like to have a multitude of visual media available for teachers in order to support them in their lessons.

Blogosphere: The educational use of blogs was another journal article I had enjoyed. I liked the advantages and disadvantages of the integration of this tool. It is important to think about the students who do not have computers and/or internet access after they leave the school. As educators, we need to finds ways and programs that support students in need and who do not have access from home. This article also offered many different instructional resources for an edublog. It would be nice to have an edublog on the school website to display newsletters and announcements. Another great idea I read about is to have samples, tips, and explanations to support parents when helping their children with homework. Hyperlinks could be created for cross-curricular activities as well as support Web Sites. The group edublog is also another way for students to work cooperatively on a topic and express their findings through sound and imagery. It seems to me that there are many ups and downs when it comes to wikis, forums, and blogs. As with any other educational tool, you need to select the appropriate tool for the right purpose. As a teacher I could see myself integrating these new technologies in many different ways, for a variety of purposes, and across different content areas.

I wonder if there are any after school programs or library programs that support these new forums and blogs in the state?

Leilani Coelho said...

My blog was originally a way for me to communicate to parents about weekly happenings. Well, that all changed when I introduced it to my students. They are so excited about it and even want equal share in creating and developing it. I asked the class what they wanted our blog to be and what they wanted to use it for. Well considering they are only 5, they all said, "GAMES!". So I found and uploaded a math video that is fun, interactive and reinforces what I am currently teaching. I also uploaded some student work, pictures, monthly newsetter, and a voice recording made by one of my students. I got the idea of the voice recording after seeing it on Michael Sexton's blog. Hope you don't mind that I stole your idea because my kids absolutly love the Voki! I even have parents calling the school to find out how to get to our blog.

After completing the readings and viewing other classmates comments I started to wonder if the enthusiasm I am experiencing in my classroom will continue or end soon. I don't have the same problems that others are experiencing but I fear I will once I start asking students to put entries and responses on the blog. My students do a great job writing and typing up their work however it takes take them a long time and requires a lot of one-on-one. I wonder if I can have my students respond to work by voice recordings vs. typing or does that defeat the purpose of the blog?.?.

Literacy is a big part of our classroom and blogging fits in perfictly. I have noticed students especially my lowest students are building letter identification and letter sound skills. We have been watching more online educational videos and I am amazed at how much my students are learning and remembering. Don't get me wrong I dont think it should replace direct teacher instruction however I do think there needs to be a balance. Too much of one thing is no good! Unfortunately, most of my students leave school and spend the rest of their day in front of a tv playing DS or on Webkinz. That is why it's even more critical for me to integrate videoblogging not only to help students connect but, to give them an more opportunities to learn outside of the classroom.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Joanna K about us not always responding to our fellow classmates comments. I do read everyone's comment but I don't always respond. I don't think it is for the same reason as our students or colleagues - lack the enthusiasm. For me it is just the opposite. After I read the comments, I either get ideas for my blog or I look up another blog that one of you has mentioned. I spend so much time searching and reading that I forget to go back and comment on everyone else’s ideas.
I decided to try a new approach. Originally, I only told the staff about my blog. I just updated my library website and will be publishing it this week. I put a link on the website to my blog. My next post will be about a research lesson that I taught to 9th grade history students. I am going to ask them to comment on the lesson and also vote on several of the databases that they used.

I wonder if not allowing anonymous comments is part of the problem? That’s one more step for staff to do in order to comment. How do you all have your blog comments set up?

I am meeting with the English dept chair this week about a reading blog. Have any of you come across good examples of reading/bookclub blogs. I know I’ve seen many, but of course I can’t remember all of them.

In fact, I have a suggestion for this course. Dave, maybe you could set up a del.icio.us account for this course so we and your future students could keep track of all the great blogs, podcasts, wikis…. that we come across. I started to do that after the 3rd or 4th session and even went back to previous sessions, but I know I missed a lot of good blogs and info. In fact, my del.icio.us account is del.icio.us/djebook and I have a tag EDC921. If anyone else has done this let me know, we could add each of us to our networks and share what we find. I just noticed when I went to my school library delicious account del.icio.us/hvcentral that I have 2 new fans – students. Yeah, someone was listening to me during my lesson on databases and Web 2.0 tools. I discussed social book marking and urged students to create their own accounts and some actually did it. I am so excited and ready to open up my blog.

Mrs. Z. said...

Hi Everyone,

In reading and going through this week's session, I have to agree with Anne Howard regarding the most accessible and user-friendly articles/readings. I thought the "Welcome to the Blogosphere" and "Blog On" articles to contain relevant information that my colleagues and adminstrators wouldn't mind reading. I plan on using/citing these for my implementation plan. (Statistics class was one of the reasons I stopped being a business major, and I thank God for my B+ in Tests and Measurements.)

Each week after reading everyone's postings, I am inspired to use my blog in new ways. I originally set it up as a private space (only invited authors can post) to protect students and make parents feel more comfortable with their students being on-line; however, I'd really like to open it up to more students on my team for comment. My current class has been posting and sharing ideas, (yes!), but I'd also like to invite more students in other classes to comment and also use the blog as an informational tool for parents. With this in mind, I may open the commenting up to anyone with a google account. I also want to add more student work to the blog as well.

I'm currently doing literature circles with my students, and we have set up a wiki space in order to have on-line discussion once a week. We still meet face-to-face twice a week. I post headings for them such as Interpretive Questions, Reflection/Connections/Predictions,Literary Devices/Figurative Language, etc., and they post and respond to each other under the appropriate headings. The wiki has provided me with a way to really see where their conversation goes and what issues or non-issues they really focus on. It also allows me to give them quick feedback via the mail option in wikispaces. When I sit in on group discussion, I don't always hear what every group is talking about, so I really like being able to read their posts. I find it also keeps them on track. They aren't posting about what they did over the weekend on the wiki. I also plan on videotaping their final projects and hopefully uploading them on the main page.

One of my students is currently in Garda, Italy for a sailing regatta. He made the U.S. National Team--very exciting. He posted a link on the wiki for us so that we can check on how he is doing. The site has a webcam and photos, etc., along with race results. And, the great thing about the blog and wiki is that he can keep up with our lit circle lessons while in Italy. Isn't technology and and the web great?!!

It's been a crazy week. Hopefully I'll have some time to add some new and improved "stuff" to my blog over the next week or so. Although third quarter is coming to a close--grades will be due!

Lastly, in one of the readings for this week (I think the heavy stats one), standardized testing performance was mentioned. Also, the video of the teacher in the mining town (what a great teacher!)mentioned curriculum demands. I wonder how or if our standardized testing formats, curriculum and GLEs/GSEs will change because of technology and web 2.0 tools. And, as the GLEs change, how will we change our teaching? "Teacher-directed" rather than "teacher-centered" was mentioned. I truly believe that with student choice and interest comes student investment and achievement. Hopefully, we will become more "teacher-directed."
--Steph Z.

Jennifer Long said...

Re: session 7
After perusing all the articles, wrapping my brain around statistics, and taking notes for future reference, the most poignant piece of session 7, for me, was the Classroom 2.0 video by Clarence Fisher. While the author’s delivery did not elicit comparisons to Brokaw, Fisher was certainly articulate in his vision of a global classroom, and used creative means to make his points. I found his studio concept especially interesting. He believes we need to redefine what we think should happen in classrooms-- not kids in rows doing worksheets, but classrooms as studios. Not everybody doing the same thing, but noisier, vibrant spaces with energy, and a master artist in charge of the space. Fisher’s citing of a comment from Will Richardson’s blog, that teaching is a collective effort, not an individual accomplishment, reminds me that student input is imperative if we are to prepare young minds for the creative thinking their futures will certainly require.

I find it both notable and amusing that as a library media specialist, fond of the written word, the video was the most memorable part of the session. Perhaps there was something to that 24-page propaganda/research put out by CPB about television and learning.

Jennifer Long said...


The authors of our blog, “Newport’s School Library Media Centers”, are currently other library media specialists in the district. We have a small district, with 7 schools and 5 LMS. I did invite our supervisor, the Executive Director of Teaching, Learning and Professional Development, to join us as an author (awaiting reply), and have “announced” the blog to our superintendent and principals. I am the blog administrator.

I invite anyone in cyberland to view and comment. I set the comment feature on blogger to have administrator view non-author comments before posting, but I plan to post anything that’s professional in nature.

Thanks for your feedback!

MrsO'Halloran said...

Joan O'Halloran

The opening screencast impressed me. The idea of becoming globally literate is not on the minds of most educators and I especially liked the quote about "teaching today is a collective effort and not an individual accomplishment."

The meta-analysis had some interesting conclusions but the information is very technical. Blog On and Welcome to the Blogosphere are much more user-friendly and informative. I also took a look at an article recommended by a student from a previous class that contained an interesting list of characteristics of the digital native. These articles will be useful in developing my proposal.

I visited lots of my classmates' blogs and quite frankly, I'm jealous. This is all so new - after I read about and see so many great things, I don't seem to have the time to practice doing anything. However, I am on a mission to create a sidebar on my blog this week - I have several websites and tutorials that I want to add.

After reading everyone else's comments, I am beginning to develop a plan on introducing blogs into my classroom (pending permission to blog). I struggle everyday to get my students to transfer knowledge and skills from mathematics and English to science class. Students who blog in a social context may not be interested in transferring that skill to an educational setting. Blogging needs to be treated like any other skill. It will have to be modeled frequently and structured in the beginning. Also, I think that I will have to focus on creating a sense of community among my students as well as teaching how to make productive comments.

I saw a wonderful wiki that might serve as a model for me. I am looking forward to exploring wikis next.

FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty
Library Grades 9-12

I have been out of town so I am a bit behind on my "I wonder questions..." but when I came back I went into school to work on catching up on my classwork. When I logged onto my computer, and went to access this class, I got the dreaded "SITE BLOCKED!" I didn't understand how this could happen since I have been accessing it since class started with no problem. Likely, one person from our technology department was in the building. I asked him if he would know why I was suddenly blocked from this class and he informed me that over the Spring Break a new "filtering and monitoring" system was put in and that many of the blogs would be blocked! UGH! Especially since I was able to tap into a teacher who is "anti" technology to try using a blog. Her first attempt would probably be blocked and this would definitely turn her off! I understand that unexpected technology glitches will occur but if too many do than people get turned off to technology. This has made me come to the realization that at least in my area, I still think a lot of education needs to occur with all stakeholders when it comes to the 21st century technologies. Right now I think we are all at different levels of understanding in our district with the Web 2.0 tools. I wonder if it would be better for us to gather as a group; stop and think; discuss, share concerns and come up with a shared vision of where we are, where we want to go and how we want to get there. If we come up with some shared vision, I think we would all be on the same path as these new tools unfold in the educational setting.