Tuesday, April 22, 2008

921-Session 12-Collective Intelligence & Deliverable 3

Today we will continue with Collective Intelligence and I will introduce you to my 'living textbook' concept. Also, in this session, some of you will also make your first entry into a wiki.

This will be our last lesson for the semester. Session 13 will be spent completing your Final Projects and commenting upon others. (Due by Midnight on May 2nd.)

Good luck and don't forget to post your Deliverable 3 under this entry as well as on our wiki:
http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Deliverable+3

48 comments:

ClareO said...

I would like to implement the use of a wiki in our school to help foster a conversation about, and the sharing of rubrics, strategies, and materials being used in the classrooms across grade levels. This wiki would help us communicate with each other even if we don’t see each other daily. It will give us a chance to share what we are doing and the tools we are using. It can be a place to share rubrics, write new ones, and rewrite others to make them more user friendly.

The word wiki is short for the Hawaiian word wiki-wiki, which means “quick”. A wiki is a website where anyone can share information they have in a very quick and easy way. You can add on to someone else’s information, add your own information, or even change information you know to be inaccurate. In short everyone is editor-in-chief of the wiki. It is a collaborative site for all to use and learn from.

The service I would like to use to create our school wiki is a site called PBwiki. After watching many video clips and visiting various sites, I have found this to be the most user friendly for those of us who are not as technologically savvy as others. Pbwiki will let us collaborate, with each of us having our own personal web page. It is a free service with 10mb of storage space, unlimited pages, and can have an unlimited number of visitors. All educational wikis from this site are ad-free as well. Anyone with the password can edit the wiki, we control who has access to it. It is named Pbwiki because they claim it is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. It takes about 5 minutes to have a page up and running. Any data we put onto the wiki is backed up hourly. We can monitor every change that is made to the wiki through our email, so we can keep up to date with what everyone is doing and saying.

Using this technology will be a great benefit to our staff. With our school improvement plan initiative to create more consistency across grade levels, this will help to facilitate a constant updating of what we are using and doing. Rather than waiting for professional development meetings to rewrite our rubrics so that they are consistent across the grades, we can continue our work through out the month. We can even post work that could become models for what a 5 would look like on the rubric. The wiki could become an online faculty meeting so to speak.

One example of teachers using wikis as a collaborative tool is from North Carolina. The Teacher’s Lounge, http://teacherslounge.editme.com/, is a site that allows teachers to post their lesson plans and resources and to work collaboratively to refine and perfect them.

A power point on wikis offered at http://www.opalonline.org/5weekswikis20070301.htm
talks about how wikis can be used to bring groups together in a virtual space. It can encourage campus collaboration and departmental communication.

At the website http://www.curriculum.edu.au/SCIS/connections/cnetw06/59wikis.htm they state that beyond student projects in schools wikis can support professional development. Faculty study groups can share collected knowledge. Teachers and administrators might use them as planning tools for drafting new policies or for planning upcoming meetings or in-services. Individuals could comment on and contribute to agenda items prior to an event and offer feedback on those items following the event.

St. Francois Xavier Community School in Manitoba http://sfxschooo.pbwiki.com uses their wiki to communicate with teachers, parents, and students. This site has many important documents, schedules, activities and other things. There are many links to other important pages for this school.

There can certainly be some roadblocks to wikis. Many members of our faculty do not feel comfortable using new technology. Some have just begun using email. We would need to make this as easy to use as possible with plenty of training and support. We could introduce the concept using the tutorial offered on www.teachersfirst.com/content/wiki/. This site offers a “Wiki Walk Through” that puts it all in very user-friendly terms. Pbwiki also offers a very basic step-by-step tutorial on how to use their site. If we use this free site the financial aspect will be a non-issue. Because we are not making this accessible to our students the security issue should not be a problem.

We can use some of our professional development time to do group training on how to use our wiki. If we can have one teacher from each grade level volunteer to be that grade’s trouble shooter this will give those reluctant teachers a liaison to turn to when they need help. Starting off small and helping each other will be the key to making this work in building.

I hope for this wiki to grow into a learning tool for all of our teachers. I envision it becoming not only an Ashaway Elementary School wiki, but also a Chariho wiki. I hope that someday all of the elementary teachers in our district will be using and collaborating on this wiki. We could develop consistency among the schools in our district so that when they merge into the regional middle and high school all of our elementary students will have had very similar educational experiences.

Donna McMullin said...

Project Background

There are many occasions when our district elementary teachers could be using web publishing as a communication tool to reach parents, and as a classroom tool to instruct and motivate students. However, because of server restrictions, only teachers with access to Frontpage can post on our district website. This excludes most teachers on the elementary level since they all use Macintosh computers.

Since I teach the web posting classes for our district, I am aware of the limitations of our current web posting procedures. I am also aware that many of our teachers could benefit from the use of blogging software in their classrooms.

Project Description

Ms. H., a second grade teacher, chronicles her annual classroom butterfly project through a series of emails that update students’ families, professional colleagues and friends about the progress of the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly in room 22. My proposal will be for Ms. H to use a blog to document the process of butterfly hatching, the subsequent name selection, and the concluding “butterfly parade” leading to the release of the butterflies.

Rather than sending periodic emails, which loses the flow of her wonderful prose, Ms. H. can add postings on the blog to document the progress. In addition, she can also post pictures and student reflections, as well as her own narrative. I would even like to hear podcasts of the butterfly poems she and her students create.


Technology Used

I would recommend that Ms. H. use Blogger to create a narrative blog to relate the day to day progress of her classroom butterfly project. To increase the security of this public software, I would remove the navbar and would establish it as a “read only” blog to allow teacher posting only.

I selected Blogger because it is free, and I am comfortable enough with the software to easily teach Ms. H how to use it. I also like the ability to remove the navbar and to limit participation to invited guests.

District Needs

Because of server restrictions, only teachers who use Microsoft Frontpage can publish on our district website. Because of this limitation, we need an alternate vehicle to allow our elementary teachers to have a web presence. A “read only” blog is an easy work-around.

In addition, our district also needs to see a “benign” application of blogging that will demonstrate how teachers can use a blog as a communication tool in their classroom. Once staff and administration get comfortable with a closed blog, it will be easier to add the interactive component in a “members only” blog so that students can comment on the posts and add their own insights about the butterfly project.


Success Stories

The report “Bloggers: A Portrait of the internet's New Storytellers” (Lenhart and Fox) notes the rising popularity of blogging in America. Most bloggers are under 30, and most bloggers do so for” creative expression”.

In The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to Promote literacy in the Classroom (Huffaker, 94 ) the author makes a strong point for using blogs in schools, integrating storytelling and technology to improve writing.

While there are many examples of educational blogs used in high school and college, noteworthy blogs on the elementary level were not so easy to find. Perhaps elementary teachers are opting out of search engine databases, or perhaps blogging is not a technology used in the lower grades. In any case, the blogs listed below demonstrate their successful use with younger students.

Duck Diaries
2006 Edublog Award Winner
http://duckdiaries.edublogs.org/

Barbara Cohen created this blog to relate the story of a mallard duck who makes her home at Marrin County Day School. Primarily teacher postings, the blog also includes student comments such as “Second Grade Duck Theories” and First Grade “I Wonder’s”

Carmack’s Critters
http://www.butlerville.net/1a/

This first grade teacher uses a blog primarily as a communication tool for parents, and a fun place for her students to check homework assignments and other things of interest. Her school, Butler Elementary, has created their entire school website using a commercial blogging software – resulting in a very long homepage. Each teacher in the school has created his/her own unique looking class page linked from the school’s page.


Mrs. Dudiak’s Awesome Readers and Writers
http://mrsd.tblog.com/

Mrs. Dudiak has been cited as an example on many lists of educational websites, but this blog has not been updated since June 2004.

Writer’s Rock
http://jeanie.tblog.com/

This tblog is active. It was created by third grade teachers at J.H. House Elementary School in Rockdale County to “to celebrate the Writing of Third Graders.”

Our district always has a Celebration of Learning in the spring. It would be fun to have an online version – someday.

Teacher Roadblocks

Ms. H. is apprehensive to abandon a technology she can use comfortably (email) but appreciates the format of the blog as more appropriate to the task. Ms. H could post this on district web but, since elementary schools use Macintosh, she does not have access to Frontpage. This web based application will be easy to use and allow Ms. H. to get the butterfly saga online.

Since no one is blogging yet in our district, I started with a “closed blog” without the interactive component since student safety is our biggest concern. I will also remove the navibar to keep us out of the blog ring. This will hopefully satisfy administrators and parents new to this technology. No formal training is provided by district yet but I promised to teach my friend how to maintain the blog and to provide her with “printed directions” in exchange for lunch! I’ve taught with Ms. H. for many years, and although we are no longer in the same building, I do provide email/phone support for my friends.

District Roadblocks

Results from a small, but ongoing web survey “Web 2.0 Barriers” (Shareski) notes that lack of understanding (54%) and lack of conviction ( 16% ) were the two biggest barriers to implementing Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. I agree that lack of understanding about blogging keeps many teachers and administrators from using this technology in our district.

The institutional culture set by our top level adminstration is somewhat fearful of social networking applications and very concerned with student safety and privacy. The concept of blogging to many teachers is a foreign one, and there is always apprehension about adding “one more thing” to an already too busy day. There has been no training on any Web 2.0 applications, but our tech supervisor has been previewing various wiki, blog and word processing options. There will always be the “early innovator” willing to try something new, and hopefully spread the word about its’ ease of use. Our tech supervisor wants to use a wiki/blog software package housed on our district network and initially used by staff in-house for professional development. No new technology is implemented without problems, and I’m sure we’ll have our snafus along the way.

The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) has made social networking a hot topic in our district, and as a result, no one has made consistent use of any of the Web 2.0 applications because of privacy and security issues. We are studying the use of wikis and online collaborative software such as Writely for collaborative projects but nothing has been used with students.

In Conclusion

The Butterfly Journal will probably be implemented since Ms. H., a published poet, recognizes the potential for blogging and has expressed a real interest in the project. It is a closed blog so parental permission is not required, and I believe we have complied with all the tech supervisor’s requirements for safe blogging on this project.

I do have concerns about actually implementing the blog for my final project since it involves over 125 students, and requires student posting and commenting. My supervisor was supportive of the idea – he would really like to see blogging software on our district server - but was supportive with reservations since the blog would be available on the open web.
>.

MDavis said...

I don't mean to offend, but I think you are supposed to post your proposal on Dave's wiki site, not here. Check out the link on slide 18 of this week's session.



I grew up in Pittsburgh and had the pleasure of learning for a semester at University of Pittsburgh. THhe Institute for Learning (the founders of disciplinary Literacy) were active
participants in the CIRCLE work and needless to say, it's going to be an extremely powerful resource for years to come. If you need further proof, consider that Google opened up a satellite
facility to it's major hub at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The possibilities of
constructivist learning is something I'm really focused on. Again, I hope you may have the
opportunity to review my website next week and see how students are using these resources at no cost to the district.

As for textbooks, I think we all have various opinions about how effective they are in our students' daily lives. The positive side for me is the opportunity to encourage teachers to differentiate content and look for less standard fare for teaching students. Using authentic
texts and assessments will help move teachers away from relying on these texts, but it can be a daunting task to align everything without a solid curriculum. Again, I point to my experience with Understanding By Design (see the notes on Slide 11, "backward design" or visit the ASCD.org
website and search for Wiggins and McTighe... thanks Dave for the quote on slide 19), which has
greatly helped us in mapping our curriculum aligning to standards, but really forcing us to think
about the goals and strategies we want to teach. Those strategies bring us right to the heart of
the Collective Intelligence research. We need collaboration and solid foundation to make our
ideas work, not just the resources (textbooks, search engines, etc).

Textbooks and similiar resources (wikipedia, for example) are solid ways to activate knowledge and generate background understanding, but they just don't replace the inquiry, investigation,
and collaboration that modern classrooms are providing. We still have a long way to go, but I
confident that many teachers are trying to incorporate these strategies into their classroom.

Like writing curriculum for a new course, the first go-round is the most time consuming and difficult. But the following year, you have established materials and resources that allow you to
refine your craft. You can enrich the material where it needs strengthening and cut back in areas that don't reach students. I don't think these are idealistic goals considering how essential it
is to keep students motivated and on-task. We know these things work so we ought to give it our best try and incorporate more opportunities when we can. Watch the Julie Lindsay video, not only
is she sweet lady with a great heart, but her ride through Dhaka (later documented on her podcast
in an amusing manner) was an enjoyable piece for PD. The cluster maps looked like a great too to integrate too!

Ms. Dawn Manchester said...

Technology Proposal

Proposal Goal:

To introduce the world of Web 2.0, in the form of Weblogs (Blogs), in the elementary school community. These tools will be used to enhance the overall level of literacy of students and bridge the gap between home and school.

Description of Technology:

Weblogs are interactive, communication tools that serve many purposes. Blogs can take the form of personal diaries, collaborative spaces, or internet reference sites. Blogs, as they are often referred to, bring the vast world into the classroom and connect students with the world outside the four walls of their classrooms. With the use of Blogs, students will have the ability to “write to the web” and create their own on-line community that can be shared with others all over the world.

There are free Weblog services available that can be adopted by any classroom teacher, whole school, or entire district. The two sites below are some that have proven successful and beneficial for some educators:
www.blogger.com
http://classblogmeister.com/

There are also weblog publishing software systems available for purchase. The list below just mentions a few:
Grey Matter:

http://noahgrey.com/greysoft/
Greymatter is the original opensource weblogging and journal software. With fully-integrated comments, searching, file uploading and image handling, completely customisable output through dozens of templates and variables, multiple author support, and many other features—while having perhaps the simplest installation process and easiest-to-use interface of any program offering this level of functionality—Greymatter permanently raised the bar for weblogging and journaling, and it remains the program of choice for tens of thousands of people around the world.

Movable Type: http://www.movabletype.org/

Manila:

http://manila.userland.com/
UserLand's Manila website and weblog publishing system makes it simple for anyone to create and use web content, collaborate on projects, manage online discussion groups, podcast and share documents. Offering amazing functionality at an even more amazing price, Manila 9.6 makes it easy to publish websites, weblogs, intranets and portals. Manila also comes with built-in tools that make it easy to syndicate your web content via RSS.


Potential Benefits of Weblogs:

Some of the biggest challenges faced by any school or school system are keeping open lines of communication with families and creating a sense of community throughout. Well, with the use of Weblogs these challenges can be alleviated. Encouraging teachers to begin their own classroom blogs, where daily or weekly updates are posted, that parents can access at their own convenience, allows parents to gain insight into what is occurring in their child’s classroom. Classroom blogs can also house classroom assignments, weekly spelling words, project reference links and requirements, links to skill practice websites, and student work, and much, much more. The possibilities are endless. Parents are also encouraged to interact with the blog by leaving comments and sharing other important information beneficial to the community. Here a forum is created that allows communication to grow and blossom.

Once blogging is modeled within a few classrooms and success stories are shared, the excitement will begin to bubble over. As this begins to happen the school can take this process one step further and develop building a school wide blog. Here all classroom blogs would be linked together creating that sense of community and continuity. With the use of these tools, schools will be creating a community of technologically literate persons. Here parents, children and teachers will be interacting and developing skills necessary for success in the world today.

In addition to opening the lines of communication with parents, weblogs can be utilized within classrooms to link students to the outside world. Weblogs develop many levels of literacy for so many students. Developing these programs will ensure computer access and educational opportunity to all learners, at all levels. Allowing blogs into classrooms, students have opportunities to interact with the internet in a safe, and controlled manner. In this safe environment students begin mastering skills that are so important in today’s world and begin deciphering web appropriateness. Students begin to become a part of something bigger then themselves; they take ownership of their own writing; they become an interactive and reactive participant of their own learning; they become empowered.

Teachers as well begin to develop as instructors and learners. They now have a place to communicate their expectations, class procedures and updates to parents in a manner in which they use often. This tool develops ideas of purposeful student writing where students must take ownership of their writing before publishing pieces to the blog. It opens up opportunity to edit and react to classmates work, as well as developing ways to handle constructive criticism. Teachers themselves begin thinking outside the 4 walls of their classroom and open up into the world. They can find support from colleagues or other bloggers across the country and world. Together teachers and students become globally literate.

Roadblocks:

Due to the current filtering system in place several configurations would have to be evaluated and access would have to be granted to manipulate and interact with the blog software chosen.

There are concerns about confidentiality and keeping student documents on the internal server and not being allowed to float out in cyberspace. This issue will have to be further evaluated and addressed.

Teacher training and maintaining of blog are other issues to contend with. That could be addressed trough Professional Development and having an on-site “expert” in each school maintaining blogs and keeping teachers up to date.

Internet Safety is always a concern as well as what students are exposed to. Training teachers about the How To’s of Internet Safety and how to create a code of conduct where blogging is concerned will be a needed area in Professional Development. Teaching students what is appropriate and how to handle it is much more beneficial then banning and blocking them from it. Blog security is also an area of concern that can be easily tackled. Each blog is managed by its author, which in this case would be the classroom teacher. When comments or posts are made they are first viewed by the author to insure appropriateness and a decision is made to publish or to delete the comments. The district could also monitor blogs through current security/filtering systems. Also, creating a code of conduct within the classroom/school will hold the students accountable for what they publish and use in their blog postings.

Future Potential:

It is the hope of this proposal to open this districts future technology plan. Starting with blogging is the first step in developing the districts technology plan. By introducing Wikis and podcasting, as next steps, could open the door in developing plans for the future. When all these tools are used in conjunction with one another they could help establish and manage online portfolios and senior graduation requirement projects mandated by the state. Wikis alone could help enhance the Process Writing Curriculum established in the elementary school classrooms.

References:

http://www.mamkschools.org/mas/class/grade4/brune/2005/mr.brune/commenting.mov
Here students explain why blogging is a useful and beneficial tool within a literacy based classroom. It is great to hear their opinion about posting and commenting on their own and other people’s work. They reflect on current work and return to work published in the beginning of the year to evaluate growth. They talk about becoming in touch with the world and getting their “message” out there.


http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/teaching_with_blogs/teaching_with_blogs.cfm#Blogging%20in%20Elementary%20School
A site that explains what teaching with blog is all about. It gives examples of blogs, blogging in both secondary and elementary schools, and other resources that can be used as references to start the blogging process.

Articles and Reference Sites:
http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0450.asp?bhcp=1
http://www.wtvi.com/teks/04_05_articles/educational_blogging.html
http://lttf.ieee.org/learn_tech/issues/october2006/index.html#_Toc148658493
http://awd.cl.uh.edu/blog/
http://www3.essdack.org/socialstudies/blogs.htm
http://www.ascd.org/affiliates/articles/eu200502_franklin_2.html
http://ascd.typepad.com/blog/

ClareO said...

Oops! I was so anxious to post my deliverable that I posted before I completed session 12. Of course, I did the session and realized my mistake. Sorry Dave! I did go back and post on the wiki.

As far as session 12 goes, I grew up in the textbook generation, using outdated texts in high school, some being 15 or more years old. In college spending hundreds of dollars each semester on books that would be outdated by the next semester. As I watch my own children navigate through the educational system I wonder why with all the other things that have changed, why we still use this archaic method of diseminating information. It seems to me that time, money, and TREES can be saved by using online texts that could be constantly updated and kept current. I would imagine this to be not only a finacially responsible thing to do, but also environmentally responsible. I often question the value of many of the texts that are purchased for my 4th grade students. I find myself rarely picking them up to teach with, and opting for more hands-on meaningful activities, or searching for online information that would better suit my needs. Districts tend to look at a series of books and make a blanket decision for all the grades involved, never really taking into consideration what the teachers may
deem as valuable. I have a stack of social studies books in my classroom that I rarely use, except for perhaps the atlas portion. Although it is a 4th grade text, the reading level is too high for most 4th graders. If I use it, I have to read it to them and really disect the chapters to pick and choose what I really want them to know. Imagine the money districts could save if they might just subscribe on line to a particular text that is kept current.

Anonymous said...

PROPOSAL FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Deliverable 3 and 4

John Lalli

Technology to be Implemented: A blog to be used a part of the North Kingstown High School (NKHS) Informational Network

Description: this blog will be linked to the NKHS web page and will be concerned with providing information about discipline, safety, and security concerning school matters. It will also serve as a conduit for communication amongst all constituencies of the high school.

Service: This blog will support a key component of our school improvement plan: to increase and improve meaningful communication between the community and the high school. I will be able to post matters of interest and concern to inform parents, especially about matters occurring at the school and in the community which affect the everyday well-being of their children. I also want to be out in front of occurrences and inform the parents before the events become distorted and magnified, as so often happens. I hope to prevent “firestorms’ and “mountains from molehills”.

Roadblocks: At the risk of sounding over-confident, I do not envision any significant obstacles to implementing this blog. The North Kingstown School District has a robust Information Technology capability. The school itself has computers in every classroom, several computer labs, a computer set-up in the media center, and several portable laptop labs. The most preferred and extensively used method of communication between teachers and parents is email. Using our school website is a common occurrence already. Teachers and parents prefer this method over the telephone or face-to-face meetings. While resources grow more constrained each year, I foresee no problem with adding my blog to the already robustly operating web site. Many (most?) members of the community are already using computers as a mode of communication, so this site should be embraced and hopefully used to enhance communication, safety, and security. I am aware that I will have to be diligent in monitoring the blog and updating it as necessary and appropriate. I am sure I will make it a habit to do so, especially as the blog grows in use and value, as I am confident it will. Parents are concerned about their children’s well-being in the high school and in the community social scene. North Kingstown is not a violent community, but we do have a significant concern with substance abuse and other destructive decisions by some of our students. The number is growing and I believe the blog will help inform the community members of trends and incidents and provide an open, public manner within which to discuss these concerns.

Software: I envision using “Blogger” to develop my blog, for several reasons. As stated during our course, it is free. This will be welcomed even in such a technologically rich district as North Kingstown. I have not had much luck with my “Edublog” blog during the course and most of my classmates have had success with “Blogger”. As I have stated in earlier comments, I am open to add additional elements to my blog in order to enhance its value and interest to the community. The tutorials included with “Blogger” should help to expand its use throughout the community, especially among those who are new to the possibilities of blogging, as I was (am still?) at the beginning of this course. Eventually, I would stream in videos which deal with and support various issues I am presenting.

I suspect that once I become comfortable with the blog, I would investigate the use of wikis in my site. I have much to learn before I might do this, but wikis come with such ringing endorsements from far and wide that I would be foolish not to investigate their use to improve the communication attendant to my blog.

Long-term Use: I have stated many times in my comments to various sessions that I will use my blog as a means to promote, improve, and expand communication amongst all of the constituencies of North Kingstown High School. It would deal primarily with issue of safety and discipline as they affect students primarily within the school and community at large. I would be the prime, if not sole, promoter of this blog. However, I have come to realize the potential and value of blogs/blogging in general. I would work with the three teachers in my school who are already involved in this course and EDC 920 to expand the use of blogs/blogging within our classrooms. I have already seen the value and acceptance of one such blog and I am confident that the teaching community, or at least a significant part of it, would embrace the use of blogs to enhance teaching and learning.

John Lalli

Ocean Tides said...

Web Blog Technology Implementation Lesson Plan

Objective:

To use a web blog and a wiki to educate students, as well as faculty, about the benefits of using technology in the classroom. This will be used to showcase the electronic portfolios. The portfolios will be constructed by all Ocean Tides students from grades 8 through 12.

Technology:

The programs used to display and create the porfolios will be:

Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003

blogspot.com

The website technology used to display and store PowerPoint Projects will be:

slideshare.net

The collaborative online "textbook" that all faculty and students will be able to post in and edit will be:

wikispaces.com

Descriptions of Technology:

Bogspot.com

Blogspot is a very easy to use blogging site. The Oceanides Blog is currently hosted there at oceantidesblog.blogspot.com. Prior to taking EDU921 I knew nothing about blogging and had seldom even read or seen one. After the second or third session I had constructed a Web Blog using blogspot and had very few issues with comprehending the options. One of the only things I had to review was the administrative controls on responding to posts. Blogspot is free and easy to use.

Slideshare.net

Slideshare is a free website that allows users to register and upload their PowerPoint’s. You can set the options to allow others to download your PowerPoint’s or deny downloading options. Slideshare is easy, free and fun to browse in. People from all over the world post there and Spanish speaking/reading students will find many projects to learn about.

wikispaces.com

Wikispaces is a website that allows educators to set up private or public wikis for free. Anyone that is granted the rights to post and/or edit previous posts will be able to contribute to the creation of an online "textbook" viewable to those invited to participate.

Benefits
Not all students and faculty are as computer savvy as others. The creation of a wiki and a
blog will allow those people who are less familiar with the technology to "brush up" on it
at their own pace. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by a lengthy one day presentation where
notetaking is neccessary and reams of information are presented in one sitting , the wiki
and blog will be able to be browsed at one's leisure. They can even be printed out (whole
or in part) and highlighted etc. The blog and wiki will also provide a host of web links
as examples and directives. As Rhode Island requires all students to have an electronic portfolio this project is just about mandatory for use.

Possible Roadblocks

As reading and navigating to wikis and blogs is quite easy the only real potential for
roadblocks are lack of a computer or internet connection.
If a staff member or student does not own a computer, time can be scheduled in the school computer lab during or after school.

Examples of similar technology:

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-i-use-wikis-what-do-you-do.html

This teacher is very tech savvy. She posts about how technology is used by her students in the classroom. This site is a great source of information for educators.

http://electronicportfolios.org/blog/
http://electronicportfolios.org/portfolios.html
http://electronicportfolios.org/web20portfolios.htmlA

These above websites are good resources for learning about e-portfolios. They are instructional and provide pointers on how to make use of web 2.0 and e-portfolios in general.

Amy Messerlian said...

As one of the class of 2008 advisors, I would like to implement a class of 2008 blog. Blogging can be defined as “a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. It's about connecting with and hearing from anyone who reads your work and cares to respond (www.blogger.com).”
I am personally interested in connecting more often with this large group of students (about 400 to me more precise), getting their input on what they would like to do during senior week, where they would like to have their senior prom, how to prepare for their senior project, and just have general conversation about things going on in their class. This would also be a great place to post pictures, such as those taken at their recent prom, during different assemblies, etc. On a weekly basis, my co-advisors and I meet with our 5 class officers to discuss certain issues, plan for future events, etc. Although anyone in the class of 2008 is invited to attend, only very few do. I would like to use this as an avenue to rope in other students and to encourage their involvement in their class to foster school spirit.

This plan will fill the need of building a closer community within our school, especially within the class of 2008. I think bringing everyone together and allowing every class of 2008 student to have access to free flowing conversation about things that involve and affect them will bring about a supportive community. I think students are interested in other student’s opinions and like to hear what others have to say but rarely play a role in what should be considered important to them. This resource would be bringing together a large group of people on a fairly regular basis to discuss things that are important to them. Not only would this be helping the student body, but it would also help me and my two fellow advisors to get to know more of the students we service and in addition be sure we are hearing what they have to say. It would also allow us to post important dates for them to be aware of, etc.

I believe this technology would be very useful in the NKHS setting. Students enjoy using the computer and sharing their opinions/ideas. We are well aware that they like to blog since most have a myspace. With this being said, students will be more apt to participate in class opinions and discussions if they can do it from the comfort of their own home or during free time during the school day through a venue they think is “fun”. In an article written by Stephen Downes about Educational Blogging (http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0450.asp), Downes discusses why more and more educators are using blogs and how successful they can be. One particular quote in the article really caught my attention because it relates exactly to why I think a class of 2008 blog would be beneficial. Downes quotes Mireille Guay, an instructor at St. Joseph: "The conversation possible on the weblog is also an amazing tool to develop our community of learners. The students get to know each other better by visiting and reading blogs from other students. They discover, in a non-threatening way, their similarities and differences. The student who usually talks very loud in the classroom and the student who is very timid have the same writing space to voice their opinion. It puts students in a situation of equity." At Albany High School in New York students write quite frequently on a blog (http://blogs.timesunion.com/albanyhigh/). After viewing the blog, I found the very thing I have been discussing in this paper. A post was made discussing a junior class event.

I personally think there would not be many, if any, roadblocks in the way of creating a class of 2008 blog. North Kingstown School District is rich in technology and the technology staff is always willing to help and get things up and running. They get excited to hear about new expansions in the area of technology and to them this would be a great use of technology. I would be the main person setting up the blog, along with my two fellow advisors, and through this course I have learned much about how to have a successful blog. I believe this blog would be a “safe place” for students to get involved with their class as a whole and I am sure this would be supported by administration. To get things up and running, there would need to be an introduction of the blog, its purpose, etc. A class of 2008 meeting would need to be held in the auditorium during an advisory period. This way we could reach all students at once and show them how to access the blog via a laptop and projection screen. This would give us the opportunity to show them how to navigate through the blog, etc. This would also allow us to get student input on other things they would like to see on the blog. Since we would chose to use a free blogging site there would be no monetary concerns.
I would suggest to my fellow class advisors that we use a service such as blogger.com. Blogger has very simple, explicit directions and provides a tutorial on how to get up and going. In addition to all of this, it is free. Another server we may consider using would be epals (www.epals.com). This site has been specifically designed for the educational community, with built-in safeguards and the ability to control permissions and settings according to who can post, participate and access the blogs. The reason I would choose to use an outside server rather than the one provided by my district (the one I have been using this semester) is because the outside servers would allow us to post pictures, videos, etc.
I would hope this class of 2008 blog would encourage more students to have an interest in taking part in their class. I would hope this would be an outlet for students to share their ideas for senior week, senior projects, fundraising for the class, community service projects, etc. Given that this class is graduating next June, I would hope this blog would continue to be a way for students to communicate once they leave the walls of NKHS and go their separate ways.

Dave Fontaine said...

Posted by DF on behalf of Diane Cunha

Proposal addressed to the Administrative Staff of Community Preparatory School,



The world is changing and what it means to be literate is also changing. The amount of information that is being produced and made available is increasing at an exponential rate. There has been a paradigm shift from the limited, static, approved information on a printed page to the unlimited, dynamic and interactive information from both accurate and questionable sources on the web. The problem is no longer gaining access to information, but to efficiently find, analyze, authenticate and share it. How are we going to teach our students to interact with this explosion of information, to be a part of this explosion?



I want to make a case for changing our view of literacy to include digital literacy, and to make digital literacy an integral part of our curriculum and teaching. The web is now an interactive read/write/speak/listen/video web, which includes vast amounts of information, but also has the tools to share information with others through blogs, podcasts, videocasts, and wikis. These tools make communication with people around the world possible. We need to teach our students how to use both the information, and these tools safely. I purpose modifying our curriculum maps to include digital literacy and decide on appropriate, progressive levels of web access from third through eighth grade.



The two biggest difficulties I see are 1. safety concerns for students accessing the web and 2. the faculty’s desire to become digitally literate themselves.



First, the safety issues. As a school we block questionable sites and our new school web site has levels of password protection, as can the tools mentioned above. These restrictions seem to be a reasonable beginning step to assure safety. In addition we must directly teach the students the necessary skills to use the web safely and monitor them because they are already doing it with minimal instruction from us. An example of the Australian government’s internet safety program http://www.netalert.net.au/ and a publication from the United States government highlights some of the safety issues. http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm An example of a school safely and successfully using the web is the Westwood School from Georgia whose students uses blogs and wikis. http://westwood.wikispaces.com/ .



Second, the faculty’s desire to learn and use the tools themselves. I really feel that if I can do it anybody can do it. Sources of help I will use, in addition to the URI on-line class Edc 921, are Mr. VanBelle who has been extremely helpful this year, and the Apple Store, which offers one-on-one tutorials. For $79/year, a teacher may go once a week to tutorials for an hour on various Macintosh programs. Scheduled demonstrations of these programs are free. Realistic, multi-year goals can be accomplished.



Using these web tools will benefit not only the students but also the staff and the school as a whole. Three examples of possible projects might be: 1.Teachers or administrators presenting at on-line conferences using wikis, podcasts and videocasts. http://k12onlineconference.org/ or using a blog to communicate with other educators. http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ Projects like these can help give Community Prep a larger audience. 2. Developing a community web site to help members share ideas, concerns and information. Our school will be building a larger campus in our neighborhood, and a strong positive connection to South Providence becomes even more important. Developing a community site can help us do this. Look at the community wiki for Davis, California. http://www.daviswiki.org/ 3. Inviting writing tutors to review student writing and to help them through the process with daily comments and questions. This would be extremely helpful to both the teacher and the
students. This project would also be a good format for volunteers who are not able to visit the school regularly. The last idea is something I’m trying right now, and I’ll report my results at the June meetings.



The world is changing and I want our students to be prepared. I want to be prepared. I want you to be prepared.



Sincerely,

Diane Cunha

Jennifer said...

Jennifer Geller
Deliverable #3

During the upcoming school year, I am planning to implement student use of wikis in my classroom. A wiki is a quick and easy way for students to write collaboratively with each other on the internet; in fact, the word wiki itself is the Hawaiian word for quick. If you were to come across a wiki when surfing the web, the page would look like any other web page except that you are essentially able to turn the page into a word processor and edit material on the page. Unlike a word processor, however, wikis also allow one to create links between various sub-pages of the wiki as well as links to the rest of the web. None of this requires knowledge of any code, and wikis can be set up to be viewed privately by only a select group, and/or can be password-protected so that only those with the password may edit. Furthermore, all versions of the wiki pages are saved and are date/time stamped and one can revert to old versions at any point so that a) no one can “mess the page up” permanently, and b) students are held accountable as to who is contributing what material.

The wiki will be an ideal way to document student progress toward the applied learning standards which we need to begin to assess this year with the juniors and seniors in school 2. More specifically, since wikis are primarily a collaborative tool, the wiki will be the ideal teaching tool for leading students through and documenting the process of creating their utopias, developing thesis questions based on their utopias, and finally completing the research for their theses. I envision each group of students having a sub page in the wiki which they continue to subdivide into the different aspects of their utopia, ie: political structures, economy, culture, etc. While each group member may be assigned to develop a specific aspect of the utopia, other group members would be able to see his/her work and add to it/modify it to fit better with their particular assignment. Students would be able to see all the utopias as “works in progress,” and would be able to enhance their own utopias as a result. As the utopias become more developed, students will also be able to ask important questions about each others utopias, questions which will ultimately become the basis for individual theses.

While the wiki will clearly aid students in the process of creating their utopias and their theses, the wiki will also assist me as the teacher as I attempt to assess both the process of creation as well as the products themselves. Students will be creating a specific product as called for in applied learning standard 1: problem solving, and the wiki will provide the documentation of criteria from the standard such as: “shows how the ideas for the design were developed,” and “reflects awareness of similar work done by others...”. I would also have specific documentation for standard 2: communication tools and techniques, as students develop formal presentations and their theses based on the work they did on the wiki. I would note that standard 3: information tools and techniques does not list use of wikis or other “web 2.0” tools in its criteria, but certainly ability to use the wiki itself will be assessed using this standard. Perhaps most importantly, I will finally have concrete evidence with which to assess standards 4 and 5: learning and self-management tools and techniques, and tools and techniques for working with others.

Use of a wiki closely aligns with our school’s philosophy and design. So much of what we have successfully accomplished in the last six years has been around empowering our students and teaching them to be proactive rather than passive. The wiki enhances this idea, as one user of wikis in the classroom put it: “I also wanted to shake the traditional concepts of students being consumers of writing held in books and web sites published by authorities. I wanted to empower students to become the authors in their own specialist areas...” (Freedman, p. 88, http://fullmeasure.co.uk/Coming_of_age_v1-2.pdf). One of the cofounders of Wikipedia echoes my beliefs that the wiki can be used as an accountability tool. Jimmy Wales writes: “The basic thing I think makes it work is turning from a model of permissions to a model of accountability” (Terdiman,http://news.com.com/Wikis+allow+news,+history+by+committee/2009-1025_3-5944453.html). Will Richardson, one of the earliest users of wikis in the classroom reports that students using wikis are learning all the things we hold valuable at our school from publishing to collaborative skills. Ultimately with a wiki, students begin to teach each other, which, in our mixed-age, mixed ability grouping, is an extremely important ingredient in a successful classroom (Richardson, p. 65). Finally and perhaps most importantly for our program and our emphasis on revision and reflection, “wikis promote the close reading, revision, and tracking of drafts; wikis discourage “product oriented writing” while facilitating “writing as process”; and wikis ease students into writing for public consumption (Lamb, p. 44 http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0452.asp?bhcp=1).

Unfortunately, despite such clear pedagogical benefits, some road blocks to implementing this plan exist, foremost being the fact that the district blocks all wiki services. To try to do an end run around this situation, I plan to purchase my own domain name and get a wikispaces account that uses that domain name. This will also cost a small amount per month which I will pay out of my own pocket but can write off on my taxes. Wikispaces is the service which will provide the wiki software. I can set up the wiki so that it is visible to “members only,” ie, my students and me, or I can set it up so that anyone can view the wiki, but only my students may edit it. I would like to attempt the latter as I feel it fits better with the true nature of a wiki, but also because I think having students become aware of the fact that their writing reaches beyond the four walls of our classroom is important and will hopefully encourage them to reach higher writing standards.

Perhaps in the future, when we have completed a successful piloting of wikis and can demonstrate their success, other teachers will become interested in the technology and we as a faculty can lean on the district to allow us greater access to web 2.0 technologies. Especially if the district were to relax its hold, we could integrate wikis into our electronic portfolio and assessment systems. They would just be one more tool we could use to help hold students more accountable.

Anonymous said...

from joe...
Security….or more to the point…how the kids comment and treat each other is a major concern regarding a blog or wiki. Any medium that kids use and have a free reign is a concern; yet at some point you have to let the kids explore and learn about new technology. Using this technology in education seems to be the best place for kids to experiment with it.

msaunders said...

The GHS Site-based Advisory Committee (SBAC) has identified increased parental involvement as one of the school improvement goals for this coming year. A parent handbook was suggested as a means of providing information for parents. We all agreed that informed and involved parents are essential to the success of GHS students. I propose that Gloucester High School use a free Internet service to create an online parent handbook in the form of a wiki, initially for the parents of entering freshmen and ultimately for all parents. Wikis are Web sites that can be modified by those with permission to do so. They are easier to set up and more flexible than Web pages. They have their own url which could be a link from the Gloucester Schools Web site. Using this wiki, a subcommittee of the SBAC can collaborate to produce such a handbook, easily present it to the SBAC for comments and revision, and then publish it through the school Web site as well as print copies as needed.
1. Farkas, Meredith. "Using Wikis to Create Online Communities." Social Software. 01 Sept 2005. Web Junction. 19 Jul 2007 http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=11264
Meredith Farkas is addressing the library community when she describes how wikis can be used as Websites to build community through the dissemination of information. The article begins with a brief history of wikis and a general description of their function plus links to examples of successful use.

2. Jakes, David. "Wild about wikis: tools for taking student and teacher collaboration to the next level (Product Guide)." Technology & Learning 27.1 (August 2006): 6(3). Educator's Reference Complete. Thomson Gale. Peabody Library (Georgetown). 19 July 2007
http://find.galegroup.com/ips/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&docId=A151275075&source=gale&srcprod=PROF&userGroupName=mlin_n_pealib&version=1.0

The collaborative functions of wikis in education are described as well as online tools and resources. The article provides links to more examples of successful uses of wikis in education.

3. Lawson, B. "Frontpage." Royal School Parent Handbook. 18 Jul 2007. Royal School, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 22 Jul 2007 http://royalparents.pbwiki.com/

This is an example of a parent handbook that uses wiki software to provide an online, constantly updated source of information for parents.

4. "Parent Handbook." Sidney Secondary College Band Program. 16 Jul 2007. Sidney Secondary College, Leichhardt, New South Wales. 22 Jul 2007 http://sscband.wikispaces.com/

Another example of a parent handbook, this uses the Wikispaces service that is free to educators. For some reason they have chosen to display ads on the right of the page; this is not required. This site is an example of the access structure available to us on Wikispaces. To make changes in the text of the handbook site, one must click on “join this space” which links to a form to fill out requesting permission. But, for a parent who wants to make a comment, the discussion tab at the top of each page links to a form in which to add comments to the discussion, thus giving the parents a voice without changing the original content of the handbook.

Some of our committee members may not be comfortable using the wiki technology, but I believe that once they try it, they will find it quite easy to use. If not, other members of the committee could enter the revisions suggested by those who are not ready to use a wiki. Once the parent handbook is published online, only designated committee members would be able to make changes. Someone would be needed to monitor the site, keep it current, and approve changes.
Of course, not all parents have access to the Internet so print copies would be necessary. Eventually, fewer print copies will be required as parents choose to use only the online version. The advantage to the online will be the instant publication of updates. Parents and other members of the Gloucester community would be able to add comments to the handbook through the discussion feature of the wiki. In this way our freshmen parents will benefit from the experience of other parents and create an online community of parents. Increasingly, our teachers are using online classroom management systems like Moodle and Nicenet. They can each provide links to the parent handbook on their sites.
I have begun an example prototype http://ghsparenthandbook.wikispaces.com/ of the proposed online parent handbook incorporating Dr. Sullivan’s initial message to parents of freshmen students for the Cape Ann Beacon. I am proposing the use of Wikispaces www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers because it is free and, when used for educational purposes, it does not include advertising.
As we teachers and administrators use and become comfortable with Web 2.0, we will find, as other educators have, that wikis and blog can be powerful tools for collaboration in the classroom as well.

Mary Saunders July 23, 2007

Scott Rollins said...

Scott Rollins
Deliverable #3

Proposal Goal

As the class advisor, I am proposing to create a Class of 2009 blog at South Kingstown High School. As the class moves into their junior year, the ability to disseminate important information is becoming more and more crucial. One of the biggest complaints heard from the student body the past two years (this applies to other areas of our school as well) is that they simply don’t know when certain events are taking place, or they aren’t aware of all the details of class happenings.

Description of Technology

A blog is basically a journal kept on the internet. This journal is often updated daily and contains all information that the person/group maintaining the BLOG (Blogger) wishes to share with the world.

How will a Class Blog fill our Need?

With events like SKPades, Junior Prom, Senior Trip, etc. just around the corner, it will be important to have a good flow of communication amongst the students, faculty, and administration and of course parents. I believe that creating a class blog will allow this communication to be a two way street, where as up until now it was class officers or myself telling the student body what was happening. Initially our class officers will create this blog and make it available to the student body as early as September. During the junior class assembly, the first week of classes, our officers can let the class members know the web addresses where the blog can be accessed. This blog will allow the entire class to feel like they have an input in class decisions. As you know, in early fall, the junior class is in charge of running the homecoming dance. We can kick off the blog interaction by letting the class to weigh in on dance details such as: theme, DJ used, food to be served, decorations, etc.

Evidence of Blog Success

There are many many examples of how blogs are currently being used successfully in different facets of education. The following are a few articles, success stories and examples of how blogs are being used in schools today.

1. http://blogs.timesunion.com/albanyhigh/ is a blog used by a high school in Albany, NY. On this blog you will find postings about everything from “Falcon Pride Day 2007” to “The Pro’s and Con’s of Albany High”. This blog is used in way similar to what would meet the needs of our class.

2. http://puxihsprincipal.saschinaonline.org/ is a blog created by HS Principal Alan Knobloch. Navigating through this site, you can see how interesting life is at Puxi HS. This blog allows the Alan to have an open line of communication with parents and students. You can find out what is going on in the school, his ideas for raising school spirit, and even how the sports teams did the previous day.

3. http://budtheteacher.typepad.com/bud_the_teacher/ is a blog created by Bud Hunt, a high school language arts and journalism at Olde Columbine High School in Longmont, Colorado. He is a teacher-consultant with the Colorado State University Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a group working to improve the teaching of writing in schools via regular and meaningful professional development.

4. http://www.techsource.ala.org/blog/2006/05/introducing-blogs-and-wikis-at-lakeview-high-school.html is an interesting interview with Margaret Lincoln, a media specialist at a HS in Lakeview, MI. This interview/article explains how blogs, Wikis and other technology have been introduced at her HS. I think it’s a good article to read when considering introducing these concepts in a HS.

Possible Roadblocks and Overcoming Them

Like any implementation of technology, I’m sure there are going to be some roadblocks. I think the first thing that would need to be addressed, would be to explain exactly what a blog is and how it actually will work. Since not everybody is tech savvy, this explanation is crucial. During our class assemblies, the first week of school, we could go over this with the student body. We’ll have to explain how to set up an account, and exactly how the blogging experience will work at
SKHS. This explanation and inner workings of blogging will also be important to explain to faculty and parents. I believe we can introduce this to the faculty at our conference day that takes place the day before school starts, and we can take place with parents on “Open House” night. I think as far as the parents and faculty are concerned, it will also be important to alert both to the fact that comments will be monitored before being uploaded to the blog. Being the class advisor, I would be willing to be the moderator of the comments. I think that parents who are unaware of blogging might be a bit apprehensive to what might be posted for the world to see. With all the bad press lately regarding sites like myspace.com and facebook.com to name a few, it will be important to alleviate these fears immediately. Like any roadblock in education, I believe the best way to overcome them is with communication and explanation. I will be more than happy to make myself available through email, to any parent or faculty member that would have a concern with the blog.

Use of Software

Although there are several FREE blog sites available for us to use, I would recommend going with blogger.com. I have used blogger myself to create a blog, and find it very user friendly. In addition, there are several online tutorials available to help even the novice blogger out. These tutorials make it very easy for someone to not only create a blogger account, but to also create their own blog is interested. I am listing some of the tutorial sites below:
1. http://esl.osu.edu/staff/bloch/bloggertutorial/pages/
2. http://www.blogger.com/tour_start.g
3. http://publisher-heaven.com/?cat=11
4. http://www.homestead.com/prosites-vstevens/files/efi/blogger_tutorial.htm
Plan and Hope for the Future

My hope for this blog, is that it will encourage more students to actively take part in class decisions, and eventually in all school decisions. With SK being a large HS, communication is always an issue. If this blog is successful, I believe overall communication throughout the school will be improved. We have all learned that the more input a student feels they have in school decisions, the more likely they are to treat the school with respect. We could use the Class of 09 blog as a model to create other school blogs. School decisions such as lunch menus, activity dates, grading policies, curriculum, etc. could all receive input from the entire South Kingstown community, thus creating a larger overall sense of ownership.

pwestkott said...

Dave, I still cannot access your wiki. I've tried repeatedly all day, have also tried going in through the PPT, copying and pasting address and even typing in the address. I'll place Deliverable #3 here, along with my comments for Session 12. I'll also email you with it as well.

Deliverable #3:

To: Susan Naysnerski
Principal, Narragansett Elementary School
Cc: K. Sipala, Superintendent, J. Paolucci, Assistant Superintendent and C. Batchelder, NES Technology Coordinator

Susan,
I am submitting this proposal for developing a Wiki about best practices in teaching Writing. My rationale for suggesting this is the following:
1. A Wiki fosters collaborative professional development, establishing a Professional Learning Community (PLC), through the use of this online tool.
2. This wiki would align with NES’s major goal for improving writing achievement as stated in our School Improvement Plan (SIP) for 2007-2008.
3. Using the wiki in this way would provide a tutorial about this online software. Hopefully that will encourage teachers to try developing wikis with their students and/or lead to further professional development sessions about Read/Write Web tools.

Your knowledge of such software and its applications make this a comfortable proposal for me. It has been your stewardship that has moved NES well along, implementing technology to better prepare our students for the 21st century. Your voice resonates in my head as I consider John Dewey’s quote: “If we teach as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of their future.” Your vision led us from crimping the wires onto the ends of those online cables so many years ago to the endless possibilities we have yet to realize.

For those who are not as familiar with wikis, this would be an opportunity to introduce the software to them. We could begin with “What is a Wiki?” sites that might be helpful:

Pbwiki is an easy program to use for creating a wiki and it’s free!
http://pbwiki.com/edu.html

Carol Batchelder and I could examine the wiki engines list for other possibilities to consider.
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiEngines

“Wiki Walk Through” was written to guide teachers through the steps of designing a wiki. I found it to be straightforward.

http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/wiki/wikiideas1.cfm


This slide show is a comprehensive tutorial about the online software, their uses and strengths. We could use it with staff or follow its model to create one of our own. It has numerous hyperlinks and multi-media included. I’d rate this a full five stars!!
http://www.slideshare.net/gofull/34309/1

For those frequently asked questions, we could consider using the following:

1. Why use Wikis in an elementary classroom?

From the O’Reilly Emerging Tech Conference in San Diego, March 14-17, 2006, I found this presentation. The authors are Tom Hoffman, manager of School Tool and Tim Lauer, principal of Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. Points they made were how security is simple, accessible only to the local school community. Classroom teachers’ expectations carry over to wiki writing, and how software permits students to “focus on the writing instead of navigating file servers”.
http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/et2005/view/e_sess/5958

Another school success story with wikis is from Buckman Elementary, also in Portland. They find their students are “negotiating meaning, have knowledge construction, and develop student-to-student interaction”. I love the focus questions used by students to evaluate their thinking: How does it feel to have someone edit your document? How can you see a document from someone else’s mind?
http://www.buckmanelementary.org/wiki.html

2. How does a Wiki impact learning?

All learning begins with us. Online tools may require a shift in our thinking. What we do know is how wikis foster community collaboration, demand respect for other writers/contributors, demonstrate for students how to work in the public domain and provide accountability since all authors are identified and comments are date/time stamped. Best of all, wikis require only simple word processing skills.
http://www.edustatblog.com/?p=36

3. Since our TIME is so limited, why should we take more time to develop Wiki work?

At this same site, the author Dana Huff expands on this point when she points out how wikis enable students to connect with the world through their work. Huff contends that when students work through the writing process, we only give “lip service” to the final stage. She believes that “publication should be real” as it is when students place their work on a wiki. I believe Huff overlooks how comments received are a form of online conferring. They may cause the writer to reread, reflect and revise the writing before publication.

One comment made to Huff comes from Luyen Chou: “Wikis tend to bring out the cooperative spirit…helping students examine complex situations and then define solvable problems within them.” Isn’t that the essence of thinking and learning?

Dewey’s Four Primary Interests of Learners expand on Chou’s idea: Inquiry (or Investigation), Communication (Social Interaction), Construction (delight in Creativity) and Expression (Reflection). Talk about differentiating instruction!
http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/JAAL/5-02_column/index.html

3. So what problems do Wikis present to educators?

John Pearce of Victoria, Australia has a year long journal about developing wikis with students on his site. In “Overcoming Obstacles”, Pearce acknowledges the difficulties he faced, but concludes that they tended to be the “problems of education in general”.
http://k12online.wm.edu/its_elementary/player.html

I also found a podcast discussion, “Weblogs, Wikis and Feeds, Oh My!” The contributors are from the National Writing Project. They begin with the dilemma of defining “new literacies”, but work through how social online tools are not about the technology. They demand of us to think and refine how we teach thinking skills.
http://www.gcast.com/u/paulallison/main?nr=1&1&s=230111201

Susan, what I’ve presented so far deals with wikis and students. I’m sending along two more links that look at using wikis for professional development:
http://www.wikieducator.org/Biology_in_elementary_schools#Tested_%20%20teaching_ideas

Check out “Tested Teaching Ideas” and “Island of Misfit Ideas”.

Another one is a presentation made to pre-service teachers.
http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/02/teaching-wikis-to-future-educators-my.html

Developing a wiki with my colleagues is an exciting prospect. The collective learning that can be shared through a wiki would become invaluable. Beginning with baby steps, thinking about teaching and learning of writing only, our staff has a wealth of successful ideas to share. My hope is that this becomes a rich learning experience for us, a collaboration that will lead to people raising questions about their own practice. I believe that is collective intelligence. “Best Writing Practices at NES…or we get by with a little help from our friends.”

I can see the potential for expanding this to other content areas, how student work can be showcased and the ability for parents (SIT team members and the school community) to become informed and engaged with this work.

I thought I would end with what Kathy Cassidy’s first graders think about wikis (found on the slideshow I listed above.). Their writing is built on the model using a text, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. 1949. New York: Harper Collins. (You may recall how I modeled this lesson for our staff.) Since learning begins with the learner, here are their words:

The important thing about a wiki is…that anyone can edit it. A wiki can be about almost anything and you can comment when you edit. It can have a 1,000 names. You can put pictures on it, or not. But, the most important thing about a wiki is that anyone can edit it.

I look forward to working with you on this project.
Pam Westkott

Comments for Session #12:

It felt good to go back for a review of Bierman's work and Wiggins & McTighe's thinking for Understanding by Design. As someone whose feet were rooted in the "you get only one chance" and by golly, "this textbook is gospel" era , I find thinking and learning about new literacies energizing. i like how it becomes inquiry based, learner driven and definitely a model of differentiating teaching/instruction.

Maybe the shift is how we address thinking skills through modeling and our think alouds, before we free students to construct their own understandings for the questions they pose. Build on to this with colalborative experiences among their peers or the online world. Can you imagine the discourse that may take place?

During my search for links and other sources, I especially noted those "digital conversations" people were having. Some were done through comments; some were shared through podcasts and other media. I found myself listening to the respect that was evident, thinking how the author might reconsider ideas presented and return to the article/writing and revise it for publishing again. Or maybe not, since the final decision rests with the author. But the reflective, evaluative piece is occuring. I think of it as "digital conferring". And, as the "listener", I actively drew my own connections and conclusions from the discussion.
What a priviledge!

I found that exploring the many resources Dave included in this week's PPT have been most helpful. I'm emailing colleagues with some discoveries I've made.

Collective Learning is vital and online tools make it alive. What an exciting idea to think that textbooks might become living documents, evolving as they are used.

I can personally connect to the initial description of the traditional textbook. I needed help improving my teaching of writing practice. From the time Kay and I conceived of our idea to write a professional book to meet my needs, to the time it was published, three years had passed. While it was a thrill to hold that book in my hands and to finally use it in my teaching practice, I recognized that much had changed in that time and revisions were needed.

But in the world of traditional pulishing, a period of time must pass before a new edition can even be considered. I'm not viewing it as time lost, but as an opportunity to further develop my thinking and learning while I'm waiting.

Meanwhile, an idea for a wiki textbook is beginning to grow in my mind. Something alive, written by my students. You can bet if we get the chance to revise Writing Like Writers, Kay and I will be including literacies using Web 2.0 tools.

Pam B said...

To: Director of Media and Technology Services, Northwest AEA

As you’re aware, the State Legislature reinstated teacher librarians in the 2006 legislative session. As a result of this legislation, each school district is now required to employ a certified teacher librarian and also have a library program in place. In response to the mandate, AEAs in Iowa are planning a series of professional development opportunities for teacher librarians. The professional development sessions will aid teacher librarians in incorporating the components of the new law. I propose creating a wiki as well, to assist teacher librarians in addressing the new requirements. Wikis are web pages that are designed to allow multiple users to add, remove, and edit content. This multiple author capability makes them an efficient tool for group collaborative sharing. The wiki I propose will be a vehicle that can be used to post information, provide links to helpful professional materials as well as a place where teacher librarians served by Northwest AEA can collaborate and share ideas and documents with their colleagues and peers. Because teacher librarians and programs have not been required for many years, schools and the personnel they hire will require some assistance implementing the new requirements. The wiki will serve as a useful site where teacher librarians can seek help.

Wikis are already being successfully used to help librarians in professional endeavors and collaborative efforts.

Joyce Valenza, a well-known personality in the school library community has created a wiki at http://teacherlibrarianwiki.pbwiki.com At this site, teacher librarians are encouraged to share lesson ideas, rubrics, and teacher tips. Valenza encourages teacher librarians to be technology leaders by demonstrating to others how the “new landscapes” can be used to create professional tools. This site offers a wealth of information for teacher librarians including information on Web 2.0, recommended books, information literacy and technology tools.

LM_Net, a discussion group of 16,000 school library media specialists from at least 65 countries, now has a wiki as well. Since attachments cannot be sent via the discussion group, a wiki was created to make sharing easier among the group. Newly created, the wiki has lesson plans, documents, PowerPoints, booklists, and information targeted for specific grade levels. The wiki address is: http://www.lmnet.wikispaces.com

Davinna Artibey from Denver Center for International Studies created a professional learning community made up of several librarians in her district to learn more about web 2.0 tools. Her wiki can be viewed at http://dps21.pbwiki.com/.

Shonda Brisco from Texas has created several wikis as well. Her first wiki is an online course she developed for teacher librarians working in collaboration with teachers. Librarians enrolled in the course contributed information, resources, and examples of teacher-librarian collaboration. The online course can be viewed at: http://www.librarycollaboration.pbwiki.com
Shonda’s other wiki is relatively new, but Shonda is hoping the scope of this wiki will be much broader because she wants it to serve as a place where Texas teacher librarians can collaborate with one another. At her wiki, Texas teacher librarians can find lesson ideas, latest resource lists, or just browse. Texas teacher librarians can use the wiki to locate information pages or they can add a new page with new resources for everyone to use! Shonda’s second page can be viewed at: http://txschoollibrarians.wikispaces.com

After successfully creating a wiki for ALA attendees, Meredith Farkas created a wiki called Library Success. Farkas describes the site as “A one stop-shop for great ideas for librarians.” A site intended for librarians of every background, the site provides an outlet for sharing advice and insights. Says Farkas, “No one should have to reinvent the wheel when another librarian has already done what they’re trying to accomplish.” The site is available at http://www.libsuccess.org.

The South Carolina Library Association has created a wiki at http://www.scla.org This site has information for South Carolina librarians of different backgrounds as well. At the site, librarians can easily connect with other librarians working in the same area as them. A resources page is also available.

The American Library Association has created a wiki as well. Located at http://wikis.ala.org/professionaltips/index.php/, the Professional Tips wiki as it is called, provides a pathfinder to using the resources of ALA's website, assembles the library's responses to questions received from librarians, and enables the library community to share new resources. Like the South Carolina site, the ALA site has specific information for librarians of different backgrounds including school librarians as well.

Even though wikis are being used effectively in the library community, the technology is relatively new. Because of this, a number of teacher librarians served by Northwest AEA, will not understand what a wiki is or what the potential of the technology is either. The term wiki may even have a negative connotation for some teacher librarians because of their disapproval of Wikipedia. A minority of the teacher librarians served by Northwest AEA may not have the technological skills needed to contribute to a wiki. A few still do not feel comfortable with new technologies so probably will not feel comfortable with contributing online to a web site. Another roadblock may also be make-up of the group itself. Because the Northwest AEA merger is fairly new, the teacher librarian group may not feel completely comfortable sharing with one another at this point. Another roadblock is not directly connected with the wiki, but rather the content of the wiki. A small number of teacher librarians do not see the need to make changes to their programs or curriculums and consequently will not be interested in using the wiki as a resource.

I believe most of these roadblocks can be overcome with staff development and training. At the first professional development day, a demonstration of the site along with illustrated instructions on how to use the site will break down many of the obstructions. Other teacher librarian wikis will also be shared. Links to online tutorials will be provided as well to help teacher librarians feel more comfortable with the process. Since the tutorials can be accessed at anytime they will provide a way for teacher librarians to learn about wikis on an as needed basis and provide what Jamie McKenzie refers to as just in time support. Publicizing the wiki using the Northwest AEA newsletter and the teacher librarian listserv will help to raise awareness and interest in the wiki. I hope as teacher librarians begin using the wiki, the positive comments and constructive information found there will serve as an incentive for other teacher librarians served by Northwest AEA to use the wiki as well. As more and more teacher librarians contribute to the site, hopefully it will also serve as a means of creating a community. Teacher librarians are often isolated in their schools because frequently they are the only teacher librarian serving a district. A wiki will be a way for them to network and will provide needed support for them. The wiki resource will also be shared with administrators since they also have a stake in successfully meeting the new teacher librarian requirements. Administrative support can also be a powerful motivation.

There are a number of software options that can be used to create the wiki. All of the suggested wiki software packages are free. My first preference would be to use MediaWiki (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki) since it is downloaded to the local server and therefore provides more local control. However, because Mediawiki needs to be installed on NWAEA’s server that would require local technical support which also may mean additional time and training for the technical support staff. Other wiki program options are PBWiki, (http://pbwiki.com/) and Wikispaces, (http://www.wikispaces.com/) Both of these options provide WYSIWYG editors, so adding content to the wiki is relatively easy for anyone that has word processing skills. Again both allow files, pictures and other media to be added to the site. Both also provide password protection so only invited participants can add to the web site. Again like other wiki software programs, PBWiki and Wikispaces allow the user to edit and add to the pages, add tags, RSS feeds and see the history of the created pages. Both software packages also provide a means of alerting the site creator when any changes are made to the pages. One distinct advantage of Wikispaces is the larger storage capacity. Wikispaces provides 2 GB of storage while PBWiki only provide 10MB in the free version.

In the first year of inception I propose the wiki would primarily be used to assist teacher librarians in meeting the new state guidelines and mandates and create a spirit of cooperation and community. Once the first year passes, I hope it would continue to be a place for collaboration and sharing of ideas, concerns and successes for teacher librarians in Northwest AEA. Since AEAs across the state of Iowa are planning similar days of professional development, the wiki could potentially be used as well by teacher librarians regionally or even by teacher librarians across the state of Iowa.

References:

ALA Library Introduces Web Tools. American Libraries, Feb2007, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p9-10, 2p;

Library Success A Best Practices Wiki. By: K. I.. School Library Journal, Oct2005, Vol. 51 Issue 10, p26-26, 1/3p, 1c;

Pam B said...

Session 12 - Comments
As I went through session 12, I couldn’t help but wonder about change and schools. I do believe that schools and education as a whole are slow to change. Students have certainly changed, but I don’t think classrooms and teachers have always kept up with those changes or changed teaching strategies. As I consider classrooms in my part of the world, many still look and “feel” like they did a number of years ago. When I think of the textbook I still see it as the focal point of the curriculum in many classrooms. Many teachers still feel it’s important to cover the material in the textbook. So I wonder, will teachers be willing to change?

Wikis certainly have the potential to compensate for the weaknesses inherent in the textbook. Textbooks are quickly outdated, and they certainly can’t be tailored to meet the distinct needs of individual classrooms and students. Yet, for wikis to have a chance to be a successor to the textbook, they do need to somehow have the authority that has made textbooks trusted as a reliable source of content in the classroom. That is much of the current dilemma Wikipedia is facing with many teachers. Since everyone can edit and change content where is the authority? If memory serves me correctly, one of the creators of Wikipedia broke away because of what he considered to be the lack of authority in the Wikipedia project.

Wikis certainly have the potential as well to change the classroom as many of us have shared in previous comments. Students can become involved in their own learning and the classroom can be one where students learn to ask those essential questions and find the answers to those questions to construct their own knowledge. In this age of information, everything changes so quickly. Students must have the ability to know how to ask the important questions and find the credible sources to answer those questions.

Finally, I enjoyed the discussion about PLE (Professional Learning Environment). This is a relatively new term for me, although I know a number of consultants in the agency where I work are looking at Professional Learning Communities as the focus of their professional development next year. I will be curious to see if any of them consider wikis as tool to help them collaborate and learn from one another. I bookmarked Julie Lindsay’s wiki and plan to spend more time exploring her space as well as some of the other suggested resources.

msaunders said...

Pam, I agree that there is great potential for professional collaboration on the Internet, much more than I had an idea about. I knew about many Websites of use to school librarians. Now I have bookmarked some great looking sites (or, in some cases, great ideas) for collaboration among librarians and, ideally, between librarians and classroom teachers. Now, with blogs and wikis, I must be prepared to contribute as well as just gather information.
Mary Saunders

Michael Skeldon said...

DELIVERABLE #3

Proposal: To mandate that every element of Beacon’s Capstone Project be online in the forms of blogs, wikis and video hosting.

Technology: Digication (www.digication.com) is essentially an electronic portfolio to store student work. It has capabilities far beyond that. The site can be customized to serve a number of different uses such as an interactive résumé, a journal of educational experiences, an archive of work produced through a course, a collaborative project, and a teacher’s compilation of learning materials. More importantly, it allows other students to see and comment upon the work of their peers as the projects are being developed.

Service: Most of the tasks involved in Beacon’s Capstone Project are written: a project proposal, a thesis statement, several drafts of a screenplay, a production breakdown report, as well as journal entries on each step of the process from scriptwriting through editing the final film. By putting all of this work online, we open up student work for peer review and comment as well as examination by Capstone judges. These volunteers are often busy educators, artists and business leaders. The ability to offer them an online option for much of the Capstone dossier review is a big leap forward.

Need: In addition to the material and labor costs associated with creating eight copies of the printed dossier for each student [(8 judges X 35 students X approximately 70 pages each X $.05 = $980.00 in materials) + approximately 10 hours at $25 per hour = $250 in personnel cost for a total well over $1000!!!] By having the site hosted externally, I can instruct students to use it as part of standard classroom instruction. Judges will receive training as they have before, except the training will now include Digication. Also, students will develop meaningful online skills that will aid them in many different future fields of study and/or careers. Students are allowed to keep their Digication portfolio account open indefinitely following graduation. Also, many faculty have expressed desire to see student films, but DVDs have not always been available. Now they will be able to review them at their leisure. This will help faculty buy-in to the Capstone project.

Evidence: Demand for digital portfolios continues to increase. Traditional high school students may benefit from this by having access to their work to show growth throughout four years. As an arts high school, Beacon has additional portfolio needs that can best be met digitally. The following sources demonstrate the need for digital portfolio sites like Digication:

http://www.collegerecruiter.com/career-counselors/archives/2007/06/rising_above_the_crowd_with_an.php

This article extols the benefits of blogs and online portfolios for meaningful professional growth opportunities by building on students’ familiarity with sites like myspace.com and facebook.com.

http://www.pbn.com/private/79eaddfac4.html

The Read/Write web finds a meaningful tool for educators and students in Digication. Jeffrey Yan, co-founder of Digication refers to the Web 2.0 as the “social network which lets users drive the application.” Can you say “student-centered learning?

http://www.thejournal.com/articles/19345_2

Here’s the kicker: Digication service is free for a school’s first 1000 students. Beacon’s anticipated student body for 2007-2008 is approximately 170. As cash strapped as we are as a new charter, this allows us access to an extremely powerful tool.

http://www.digication.com/images/press/connectionMag.pdf

Digication was designed by students and faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design to enhance RISD’s art education program. It has been easily adapted to our visual arts curriculum and will not be a culture shock as I introduce it as the vehicle for delivering Capstone assignments.

Roadblocks: Our primary roadblock may be access to technology for the first half of the year. Although our student to computer ratio is highly competitive with most public schools, our curriculum may hinder implementation for the first semester. We have a Microsoft Office course the first semester which ties up our computer lab for 2 of the 4 block classes each day. This will make the computer lab highly difficult to access for one of my two Capstone courses. However, I have 4 student computers in my room. With creative planning, I should be able to keep them on pace until the year’s midpoint. Culturally, I think our school is ready for this. As I am the only Capstone teacher, faculty training is a non-issue.

Software: The key here is for us to use as many web-based applications as possible to allow students to work in many different environments. The key software/sites to be used include:
-www.digication.com – to host all assignments, rubrics, student work and comments. Free, RI-based company with amazing personal support.
-www.celtx.com - freeware that allows students to create many of the written components of their project (i.e., script, production reports, etc.). Film production software tends to be pricey ($300+). This is FREE!
-www.schooltube.com – a site specifically created to host student academic videos.

Plan: This plan is ambitious but doable: Immediate implementation! The product I provide for this Friday will be ready to be used beginning in the fall complete with due dates and expectations. Existing school resources should be able to handle the project and students’ buy in will be easier if they immerse themselves from the beginning, rather than shifting gears somewhere in the middle. The amount of written work for the Capstone Project begins slowly then accelerates in the late winter/early spring. This should allow students to get acclimated to the environment prior to a heavy workload. Long-term plans would include connecting with similar courses across the world.

Robin Shtulman said...

Deliverable #3
Robin Shtulman

Proposal for School-Wide Vocabulary Wiki

Okay, so – I have been wildly distracted this week by the coming of HP & the Deathly Hallows and Wizardstock at Harvard Yard. I now have my book, though I cannot bring myself to read it; my children have grown up with Rowling’s characters. I could not bear it if awful things happened to Neville again, or if Hagrid is killed. In any case, it has ceased to become a work-stopping distraction.

Wikis!

Here is what a wiki is:

“The simplest online database that could possibly work.
Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.
Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself.
Like many simple concepts, "open editing" has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage. Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users.”
Source: http://www.wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki
From Ward Cunningham, originator of the wiki concept

I wrote in an earlier post about using wikis for group vocabulary building. This is an expansion of that idea.

A brilliant colleague of mine, Kathleen Bridgewater, is always looking for wonderful and inspiring ways to raise up student learning. Earlier this year, she taught some professional development sessions for our staff at Erving Elementary School and presented some exciting, fabulous, and very do-able ideas.

One of Kathleen’s main concepts is the idea that vocabulary, in order to be meaningful, must be taught in context. Lists of vocabulary words to look up (and write sentences with) are not so very useful if our goal is to expand our students’ actual use lexicons. Instead, we need to show kids how words are used, in phrases, idioms, the quirks of our language. Some tools she showed us are the Collins Cobuild Dictionary and the Collins Concordance Sample website: http://www.collins.co.uk/Corpus/CorpusSearch.aspx.

Another of Kathleen’s awesome ideas is that vocabulary instruction can happen across the grades. She envisioned bulletin boards throughout the school, like a ribbon at 3rd-grader eye level, on which words that children were learning and using in their curriculum could be posted. The words, their definitions, the specific phrases in which they were encountered, and some visual representation of the meaning. While lining up for recess or bathroom trips, kids would be surrounded by useful words in useful context! Kathleen also envisioned days when everyone in the school, staff and kids, would wear words around their necks, like field day for vocabulary: People would be invited to stop in the halls and challenge one another to define the words. They could swap words, share words, talk about words! Kids might even stump teachers!

Here’s where the wikis come in. Earlier, I had written about classroom vocabulary wikis, updated daily by a designated student. I think that this could go school-wide. Words could be added for each subject area as they come up. Students will each get a turn to be their classroom’s daily word wiki recorder, entering the word, where they saw it, during what lesson, in what phrase, and the meaning that makes sense in that context. As the year goes on, students in other classes could add entries for the same words as they see them, with new phrases and shades of meaning. Everyone, including parents, could read the entries. One hope is that kids would become inspired to add words that they learn via their free-choice reading, too. The librarian (me) could oversee the project, making sure entries stayed true to the spirit of the project and school-worthy.

I think I would start by sharing the practicality of wikis with my colleagues in a professional development session. I might show them the pb wiki video clips that Dave shared with our class. I might also show them the UW videos, though we wouldn’t watch them together, as they’re too long for an afternoon professional development session! Next, I would show them the prototype vocabulary wiki that I will have set up. We’ll use pbwiki or wikispaces because I have heard of them!

The biggest roadblock to vocabulary wiki success would probably be time. Teachers are so busy. They might like this idea or be inspired by this, but wonder where they are going to find the time to get comfortable with using the wiki so that they can turn around and show kids how to do it. I think the solution is for me, the librarian, to be the keeper of the wiki. I’ll set it up, I’ll maintain the content. I’ll train everyone during a professional development session so that they don’t have to carve out time to learn. All staff members will get printed directions, and we’ll make a link both to the wiki and to the use directions from the school web page. We’ll practice together for an afternoon. There might be some staff who will choose not to use this in their daily practice, and that’s okay. But I can already see in my mind’s eye who will get excited about this and begin using it right away. Once we have some substantial entries and begin sharing the link with parents, I think things will really take off.

There are so many benefits!
1—Vocabulary building. Students will get tuned into discovering new words during their lessons and reading. When they see new words, they will grab them instead of sliding over them and hoping they are not important.
2—Community building across grades. Students will have a chance to read one another’s entries. They will be encouraged to talk with one another about them, especially if kids find that they are reading and enjoying the same novels or have the same non fiction interest.
3—Friendly competition. How many common phrases can you find that use that word? How many distinct definitions?
4—Critical thinking. Students will be asked to use at least two different dictionaries when recording definitions for the words they post. Which dictionaries are easiest to use? Which have meanings for more of the words? Which are easiest to understand? Kids might even write dictionary reviews!
5—Community building across roles. Staff, students, and parents will all be invited to read and contribute. Parents will have a bigger window into how their children spend their days. Staff will learn more about their colleagues’ curricula. Staff will get a glimpse of the thinking and writing styles of the children that are coming their way in future years. Kids will get to contribute to something big and exciting.
6—Technology skills. Students will learn to use this technology.
7—Archive. The wiki can serve as an ongoing, always-accessible archive of vocabulary learning. Words can be revisited at any time, from any computer. This can be an incredible organizational tool for kids and staff alike.
8—Opportunities for kids with different learning styles. Kids can each work at their own speeds. The writing can be done at home or at school, during a designated class period or during any other time if kids need more time to reflect and choose their words. Kids will also have limitless opportunities to revisit and add to their entries. Such efforts can be tracked by the teacher via the page history archive and time stamp features. Kids can get credit for their enthusiasm, their effort, their time put in, as well as their final products.
9—Wiki software is free. We already have the computers, and our kids have the word processing practice already built into their school week.


Articles in support of wikis as collaborative learning tool:
Fernando, Angelo. "Working off the same page: based on the idea that more minds are better than one, wikis let you collaborate with colleagues and strangers alike.(tech talk)." Communication World 24.3 (May-June 2007): 11(3). InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. Jones Library, Inc.. 26 July 2007

Gordon, Rachel Singer, and Michael Stephens. "Putting Wikis into Play.(School libraries)." Computers in Libraries 27.2 (Feb 2007): 42(2). InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. Jones Library, Inc.. 26 July 2007

Lamb, Annette, and Larry Johnson. "An information skills workout: wikis and collaborative writing.(infotech)." Teacher Librarian 34.5 (June 2007): 57(3). InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. Jones Library, Inc.. 26 July 2007

McPherson, Keith. "Wikis and student writing.(literacy links)(Column)." Teacher Librarian 34.2 (Dec 2006): 70(3). InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. Jones Library, Inc.. 26 July 2007

Pam B said...

I left a few comments on Dave's wiki page. I really like the discussion feature of wikispaces!

Tom Carney said...

Tom Carney
7th Grade ELA

Proposal to integrate blogs into the existing school curriculums

Proposal:
After taking two online graduate courses on Internet use and the implementation of blogs and wikis in the classroom, I am inclined to propose the use of these technologies within the existing curriculum wherever possible. I feel that the first step that our district should take is the implementation of weblogs, also known as blogs, into our ELA curriculum at each grade level. From there I am sure that the use of blogs will spread to many other areas.

Description:
A blog is an online environment in which all students can read, discuss, and contribute to the extension of classroom material. It is a site to post thoughts, ideas, questions, and revelations which allows the teacher to gently direct the course of student discussion while still allowing the freedom of student and peer directed learning. The teacher can control what posts actually make the page, because approval must be given to each post before it is accessible, thus minimizing the possibility of misuse. As an example, I have created a blog and a unit plan for its implementation within my classroom. You may visit this blog at http://mrcarneysblogcorner@blogspot.com.

Service:
The service that I would like to use to create this environment is the same one I used to create the blog mentioned above. It is called Blogger and can be located at www.blogger.com. I have chosen this service because it is free, widely known, and easy to use.

School needs:
Recently, the SIT committee noted that a greater use of technology within each classroom was needed. This would be an efficient and effective way to include all students within each class in the use of technology, and allows for the expansion of curriculums and extension of class discussions. It also meets the needs of addressing the Applied Learning Standards in many disciplines. Finally, it allows for cross-grade connections in which the teachers can view and connect their classroom with what is going on in other grades.

Evidence:
There are countless examples of how this technology has been used successfully. The following are just a few of them:
• http://anneteachesme.com This site offers Edublog insights, uses of blogs within the classroom, and an explanation of how blogs work complete with video links. The resources on this site are helpful for the newcomer to blogs.
• www.teachandlearn.ca/blog This is an example of a teacher’s implementation of blogs within the classroom. It mentions a project known as 21classes.com and shows student interaction with the blog. In this case, students are creating and customizing their own individual blog.
• www.narragansett.k12.ri.us/nes/NES%20Blogs.html In this example, most of the school is involved in the blog space. The principal, library, PE/Health, and many classroom teachers all have blogs linked to the site.
• http://lmhartley.edublogs.org This site shows how a blog can be used to portray outstanding student work, ideas, and projects. It is a great way to push students to achieve their maximum potential and creativity.

Roadblocks:
As with any undertaking, there are potential roadblocks that may come up while integrating this technology. System availability, lab availability, students who lack computers/Internet access, and the need for staff training all provide difficulties with the use of this technology. To solve these issues, I suggest the following:
• The technology department should check the system and determine any potential problems/solutions prior to starting this program.
• Lab time should be planned out for each grade to implement the program and availability should be distributed evenly in advance.
• Students without Internet access at home should be given extra consideration on assignments, extensions as needed, and additional in-school time to work on a computer.
• A PD Day should be designed specifically around teacher training on the use of this program.

Software:
I recommend the use of at least two software programs to begin this program. The first, as mentioned above, is Blogger. The second is Microsoft Power Point, and any school computer that does not have this program would need to have this program installed.

Future Hopes:
Once this program is in place, my hope is that all teachers will see the enormous potential of using blogs in the classroom. I believe that the program will evolve on its own, with the outcome being an extraordinary use of technology within all classrooms in our school.

Dave Fontaine said...

THIS ENDS THE COMMENTS AND DELIVERABLES FOR EDC 921'S SUMMER '07 PARTICIPANTS.

Dave Fontaine said...

THIS ENDS THE COMMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS FROM EDC921 SUMMER -07 PARTICIPANTS.
GOOD LUCK.

Maria said...

Proposal: To implement the use of a Weblog (Blog) for Carl G. Lauro Elementary School as a mode of communication with administration, staff, students and parents.

Description of Technology: Blogs are easily updateable websites that allow an author to publish instantly to the Internet from any Internet connection (Richardson, 2006). Information in the form of video, audio, hyperlinks, text and/or images can be posted on a blog to inform, connect, teach and welcome conversation from all who view it. Blogs are organized in reverse chronology so that the most recent postings appear at the top. They can be used for a myriad of purposes, including communication tools, publishing spaces for student work and classroom projects, or portals to increase academic inquiry.

Benefits of using a Blog: As previously stated, blogs can be used for a myriad of purposes. The creation of a school blog at Carl G. Lauro Elementary will open up lines of communication among administration, staff, students, and parents by presenting current school information for all to view. A Carl G. Lauro blog can be used in several ways: 1) as an electronic bulletin board to post announcements to staff, parents and students from the administration, 2) an instructional resource to provide students and their parents information about assignments and projects from classroom teachers, including samples and hyperlinks to helpful websites, and, 3) as a collaborative tool for showcasing and sharing school-wide projects (Ray, 2006).

Currently, we do not have an active online environment for any of the above. School communications are done by phone, e-mail (staff only), printed notices, and as morning announcements over the intercom system. The school’s Website is not up to date; in fact, it has been at least four years since any of the information has been changed. Implementing a blog will create an instant means of communication for our school community. Daily updates of useful news, announcements, etc. can be posted with ease. Teachers can have their own classroom blogs linked to the school’s blog to share important news and activities. In addition, anyone in our school community can provide comments to any of the postings (where applicable) and engage in a dialogue with each other (a district goal to increase communication with parents and families). A great example of a school blog is that of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Oregon. The link is listed below.

A blog would eliminate some of the communication problems at the school. No more lost notes, children not telling their families important school news, teachers not being able to contact parents, or children unable to remember their homework assignments. Information posted daily on the school’s blog would lead to an increasingly more informed and more active school community.


Evidence to Support School Blogs: There is so much evidence of blogs being successfully used at the elementary level for a number of purposes, including those listed above. Here I have assembled a small sample of links that support my proposal of implementing a blog at Carl G. Lauro Elementary School.

1. Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, Portland OR. http://lewiselementary.org/ Principal Tim Lauer uses a weblog as his school’s website to increase communication with parents and staff, post pictures and student work, post the school’s yearly calendar, and create a school community. His work in ed-blogging has been featured in newspapers, books, and online journals, just to name a few.

2. Grandview Elementary School Library Blog http://www.grandviewlibrary.org Sarah Chauncey, LMS at Grandview Elementary School, Monsey, NY, is a technology pioneer in her elementary school. She was previously a business strategist, system’s analyst, computer consultant, and web developer implementing high-profile applications for major corporations before changing careers and becoming a Library Media Specialist. Her innovations have led the way to Grandview Elementary becoming a leader in the web 2.0 world. Visit her Library Blog and the link to Digital Pencil, an incredible site she has created to show how web 2.0 tools can be used successfully in education.

3. SupportBlogging! http://supportblogging.com/Educational+Blogging Launched in June (2006), by Steve Hargadon. This blog has been set up to provide an opportunity for students, teachers, administrators, parents, and others to help promote an understanding of the benefits of educational blogging.

4. Going Paperless: School Weblog fosters Communication with Parents. http://www97.intel.com/odyssey/Story.aspx?storyid=355 Story featured by Intel Education. Former Principal of Buckman Arts Magnet Elementary School in Portland, OR, leads the effort to make communication among her school’s community paperless.

5.Welcome to the Blogosphere: The Educational Use of Blogs (aka Edublogs) http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/28/f8/de.pdf Article by Jan Ray (Kappa Delta Pi Record, Summer 2006) introducing blogs and how they can be used in an educational setting. The upsides and downsides of blogging are discussed including safety concerns. References at the end of the article provide further reading and documentation.

Possible Roadblocks to Implementation:
1. Current school culture does not rely heavily on the use of technology as a means of communication.
2. Most blogs are currently blocked on the school’s server.
3. Staff may need training to learn how to build classroom blogs and learn about how they can be used to foster literacy in the classroom.
4. Blog would need daily updating by administrator or designee.
5. Acceptable Use Policy for school district may need to be altered to accommodate student blogging, addition of pictures of student work, actual samples of assignments, and inclusion of first names or aliases on the school site.
6. Parent workshops would need to be held to educate families on the new informational resource available at their child’s school.
7. Students would need to be taught acceptable use and online etiquette for using blogs in the classroom. Safety issues need to be addressed.
8. School site will need to be re-built. Current Website is not user-friendly, does not provide current information, is not inviting to a school community, and does not provide a forum for online teacher-student interaction.
9. Possible cost to utilize blogging software to build a school site.
10. Not all Lauro families have Internet Access at home.

Ways to Overcome the Above-Stated Issues:
Creating a “buzz” about using technology will be key to getting students and staff to buy into the idea of implementing a school blog. Featuring its arrival at school functions, professional development opportunities, visits to the library where technology already is being used daily will help inform staff, students and parents that this technology is alive and active in our building. Students will need training in creating blogs as well as in Internet Safety. These sessions can all be run in the library during the school day. Setting up workshops after school or in the evening for all interested parties (staff and parents) to learn how to access the school’s blog, view the pages within it and post comments will be very beneficial to getting our school community connected in an online environment. Providing lists of local libraries will help families who may not have Internet access find a place where they can also become connected. In addition, the district’s Technology Department will need to agree to allow access to this new site since most blog sites are currently restricted on our server. Techs may also have to become involved in building a template for the school’s site. The cost factor for the site (if applicable) can be accommodated by utilizing fund-raised money, grant money, or a portion of the school’s budget if necessary.

Software Suggestions for Implementation:
If we were to create a school site with blogging capability, software such as Movable Type would be a good choice. It provides a single platform for powering a Website, individual staff blogs, and provides information to the school community. Cost to implement would be approximately $700.00. http://www.movabletype.com

Manila claims to be an easy to use website and web publishing system. For a license fee of $499.00, Manila is a less-expensive alternative to Moveable Type and offers most of the same features. http://manila.userland.com/academic/

Lunarpages web hosting service provides free hosting to K-12 public schools in the US. Without having seen any sample sites or designs, I cannot definitively say this would be the best choice for our school. However, the reviews of this company are good and the cost is FREE which means we would not have to tap into any resources to pay for a school site. http://pluto3.lunarpages.com/education/

Plans and Hopes for the Future: Creating an informed educational community through our school’s blog would be an ideal goal for the future of Carl G. Lauro Elementary. Students would have a forum to express their ideas, connect with others who have the same interests, receive feedback from their teachers as well as others all around the world. Teachers could share their classroom activities with the school community as well as the online world, opening up the lines of communication and partnership with others around the world. They could also post examples of homework assignments, provide links to helpful websites, and invite feedback from students and their families. Parents would be up to date on all school news, classroom activities, and be able to communicate with all teachers and administrators in an instant. Administrators could inform their staff of important news, announcements, and professional development opportunities. Carl G. Lauro would be well on its way to being an active participant in the web 2.0 world. I would be happy to discuss this endeavor in more detail as well as provide support to any staff member, student or parent who may not be fully convinced that blogs are positive educational tools.

Additional References not listed above:

Richardson, Will. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, 2006.

Freedman, Terry. Coming of Age: an introduction to the new world wide web 2006 12/12/2006 http://fullmeasure.co.uk/Coming_of_age_v1-2.pdf.

Melissa Horton said...

Melissa Horton
N.A. Ferri Middle School


I am an 8th grade Civics teacher at Ferri Middle School in Johnston, Rhode Island. "Current Events" activities are used frequently in my classroom to provide real-life examples of the subjects we are examining. I have used local and national newspapers, online news postings and video searches via sites like CNN Student News.

My plan for the latest look at current events is for students to create a blog containing school, local, state, national, and international events throughout the year. A blog (short for web log) can be defined as “a specialized site that allows an individual or group of individuals to share a running log of events and personal insights with online audiences. Blogs with political or current-events themes have grown in popularity and become "soap boxes" for instant mass-audience commentary.”(www.pvt.com/oth/glossary.htm) Blogs are media rich, and can contain a combination of print, images and even video content. To see how blogs can be integrated into the classroom, visit http://weblogg-ed.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/WebLoggingSmall.mov. Here you will see Will Richardson, a nationally known speaker and presenter of blogs in the classroom.

I envision that students would rotate roles throughout the year. Some students would have to research a variety of events for that month. Other students would have to evaluate and choose the articles for that month. Another group would have to find photographs and videos to accompany the selected articles. Other students would have to write the script - fitting into a pre-determined time limit for each month. Finally, the last group would act as reporters/hosts for the month's video presentation for the blog.

This is could really be a great experience for my students. We would be meeting standards in Civics, plus hitting English Standards, and Applied Learning Standards. This would also be a technology rich project. Students would be learning skills they will need to create portfolios, which many high schools are requiring for graduation. Finally, one of the biggest benefits to this project will be learning to manage their time, and the importance of working on a deadline. I hope that with some additional funding and purchase of equipment/software I can see this project through.

My idea for the Currents Events Project would be extremely “hands on” for my students. I will provide the guidelines and technology, but they will have control of content and implementation of the project. They will be engaged fully in preparing the final project. I feel that students will learn many skills that they will need to be successful in High School, College and in the work place. Using the Internet for simple searches will be just the beginning for them. They will need to decide which sources are reliable and they will need to be able to substantiate the news they are going to present.

Clearly, not everything in print or on the Internet is truthful. Students will have to sort through and decide what articles they should present for that month. Some articles will not “make the cut” and those decisions may be difficult. This is another skill they will be in charge of – prioritizing and eliminating articles based on the project criteria. Meeting project requirements and deadlines will be challenging for middle school students, but the skill is extremely important.

Using blogging and video editing software will also be useful for my students. This is
something many students may not have had experience with before. Once a script has been written, students will have to present that information visually, and then edit the video.

I feel that this year long project will be very stimulating for my students. They will be producing a project that will remain on the Internet and will serve as a reminder of the hot events from that year. These students will feel a sense of ownership over this presentation. They will be in charge of production from start to finish, and will use a variety of skills, including writing, editing, speaking and time management.

Many journalism schools are taking blogs seriously. The University of California at Berkley has added blogging to its journalism curriculum.
(see http://www.rediff.com/netguide/2003/jun/12media.htm) There is still much debate on the idea of blogging as real news, but clearly many educators are beginning to see the possibility of using blogs as a form of “real news.” I hope to introduce this concept to my students.

Some of the roadblocks to integrating this Current Events Project would be upgrading my current classroom computers. Since I started teaching 16 years ago I have always attempted to integrate technology into my classroom. Many teachers, including myself, have given up weeks in the summer to participate in programs in order to use technology effectively. There is much desire to teach in a modern classroom. As you know, there is not always money to stay up-to-date, however.

For example, I participated in a program 7 years ago, called “Model Classroom.” The goal was to have one computer for every 3 students in my classroom. (I had approximately 19 to 22 students per class at the time.) I was cutting edge then, completing great projects for that time. As time passed, there is no money to update my computers, and my class size has steadily increased to 30. I am continually frustrated in my classroom, because I want to advance my student’s technology skills, but due to outdated equipment, and growing class size I am limited.

Finally, we live in a video rich environment. A simple search on the Internet turns up articles which remind us of this. (See http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-07-16-youtube-views_x.htm and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15196982/) The investment made in the equipment today, will payoff for our students in the future. Students are increasingly required to show proficiency in computer skills beyond the traditional pencil and paper. Without funding this is just not always possible. I implore you to consider funding this project.

Reading blog said...

Jessica Galla
Lincoln High School – Reading Specialist

Technology:
After taking an online course, I realized that using technology is a great asset to increase literacy. I am proposing that we increase the use of technology in the classroom. During our Self Study for our NEASC visit this year, our school determined that technology in the classroom was a weakness. With the increase of technology in the classroom, I believe that students’ reading and writing abilities will increase.
Description:
I am proposing that a classblog be initiated in the English/Reading 9 course. A classblog is a tool” that is interactive, allowing teachers and students to begin conversations or add information published there”. (Richardson, 8) A classblog would allow students to interact with other students about a similar text. The teacher could initiate a conversation by posting a comment or a question. The students would respond to the question and/or respond to other students comments. This allows students to write for a purpose. The students know that the teacher and other classmates will read their comments. The teacher is able to screen all comments and publish them before they are published to the classblog. This protects the classblog from inappropriate comments or responses.
Explanation of the service:
I will be creating a classblog using the service www.blogger.com. This service is very user friendly. A big advantage to this service is that it is free. I have a sample of a classblog on my site www.lincolnhighschoolreading.blogspot.com. I have used this site for a reading class at the Community College of Rhode Island. As you can see from the site, many students have responded to my questions and other students responses.
Explanation of how this plan will fill a need at my school:
By using this technology in the classroom it will incorporate the following GSEs:

R–10–4.3 Generating questions before, during, and after reading to enhance/expand understanding and/or gain new information
R–10–5.1 Explaining and supporting logical predictions or logical outcomes
R–10–5.3 Making inferences about cause/effect, internal or external conflicts (e.g., person versus self, person versus person, person versus nature/society/fate), or the relationship among elements within text (e.g., describing the interaction among plot/subplots)
R–10–16.1 Comparing stories or other texts to related personal experience, prior knowledge, or to other books
W–10–11.2 Sharing thoughts, observations, or impressions
W–10–3.1a Establishing an interpretive claim/assertion in the form of a thesis (purpose), when responding to a given prompt
W–10–3.3 Using specific details and references to text or relevant citations to support thesis, interpretations, or conclusions

This technology will benefit the students by allowing them to communicate in various ways. They can practice using the seven proficient reading habits. If the students have questions while reading at home they can post their questions to the classblog. The students can also make connections and add how they feel about the text on the classblog. Sometimes students don’t like to participate in class because it makes them feel uncomfortable to speak in front of the whole class. This would benefit teachers and parents because other classroom teachers and parents of the students in class could see what the class was learning about.

Evidence that this technology would be useful in this setting:

In the article titled Blogging: Shift of Control by Alan November he discusses how Chris Burnett was opposed to blogging in the classroom and now sees it as a valuable learning tool. The students had more motivation to produce quality schoolwork. www.visitmyclass.com/blogs/burnett

In this edublog, http://woon-elem-maclabforkids.blogspot.com/2007/03/happy-birthday-cat-in-hat.html, the students are asked to respond to their favorite Dr.Seuss books. This site proves that even the youngest of students can handle blogging. The students write what their favorite Dr.Seuss book is and why it is their favorite.

In http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/ this article discusses how we need to change with the times. Technology changes so frequently that it is difficult to keep up. We need to teach students how to use technology and use it ourselves. This site also discusses how we need to teach how to write for an audience.

In an article, www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_6/huffaker/ by David Huffaker, he discusses how blogs can be used in the classroom. He also discusses how blogs promote literacy and self expression. Students want to publish their thoughts on the blogs.

List of Roadblocks:
One possible roadblock would be getting the students access to this technology in the school. I would need to talk to the technology people in the school system. Another roadblock would be that some students do not have computers at home. Teachers would also need professional development on using the new technology. Class time would also need to be used to have access to the computer lab.
Overcome Roadblocks:
An after school professional development session could be offered to help the teachers with the new technology. The computer lab could stay open after school for students that do not have computer access at home. The technology people in the system would have to allow access on all the school computers.
Suggestions:
I would use Blogger.com for the software. It was the easiest for me to learn because it is very user friendly. It would be nice to also offer a professional development for parents about the service. They could then help promote the use of technology at home.
Goals:
I would hope that this technology would be used in all four sections of the English/Reading 9 classes for the texts they are reading in class. Hopefully, the students will also make comments about their independent reading books. They could recommend books to other students. The technology use would hopefully make its way to all the English classes then hopefully after teachers see how useful it is other classes would hopefully have a classblog.

famous said...

Esther
famous99 @ verizon.net
The idea of e-textbooks is something at least one teacher in my school has mentioned, and I think it's difficult to embrace with the digital divide being so large.
That said, while I have not done away with my reference section in the library, I have allowed it to shrink considerably in size since I began working at my current job.
1. There is a lot of information on the web
2. I can purchase online databases, encyclopedias, and e-books at a rate of less than $1/student, and many students can log an at once. If they have Internet access at home they can use it too, but books limit you the number of simultaneous users, students can't take it home and they cost more than $1/student since no more than 1 student can use the same volume at a time.
That said, I was at my OTs office this afternoon and the student was saying how he no patience for library and his mentor/OT said how lucky he was to have so much available online. He said, he still didn't have that much patience because sometimes things were hard to access. He admitted he needed the help of a librarian to help/teach him how to search. (He also said his college library had great librarians.) My point is: it's imperative that we give our students/youth the ability to evaluate what's out there. The skills to handle the large influx of info.

Dave Fontaine said...

THIS ENDS EDC921 FALL '07 PARTICIPANTS' COMMENTS.

Anne Howard said...

Proposal
One of the summer requirements for middle school students (grades 5-8) is they read a designated fiction book and then complete a packet of questions related to the book. Most of the language arts teachers feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the year when they have to quickly grade these packets. They are looking for alternatives to this. I believe creating grade level blogs would serve the curriculum goals better than the packets do.

Background
The word blog is a shortened form of the words ‘web log’. Blogs are created by the person who is responsible for maintaining the site. In addition to the many blogs created by individuals for personal use, many educators are using blogs to encourage students to improve their writing. Blogs enable teachers to pose questions to the students and the students provide answers which their peers can view and provide commentary. Many educators who have been making use of this new technology have seen major improvements in student writing. Students focus more on the quality of their writing since it is no longer just the teacher viewing their work, but their peers, parents, and anyone else in the world with internet access. This sense of ownership of the content appears to encourage students to think critically about their writing.
For more information about the educational justifications for blogging in an educational setting, go to http://www.ecolenet.nl/best/edublogs.htm.

Concerns
While many educators are justifiably worried about safe use of the internet by students, blogs provide a built-in safety measure. Teachers are able to set the blog so that anyone who writes to the blog will not see their posting until the blog teacher/administrator reviews and releases it. This enables the teacher/administrator to provide a high measure of scrutiny and security against any inappropriate content.

Service
While there are many different blogging services available for educational use, I would suggest use of Blogger. This blogging platform is easy to set up and navigate. For those teachers unfamiliar or uncomfortable with website creation, this is a real advantage. Frequently our teachers are hesitant to use many of the technological resources we have available because the technologies are complicated to learn and use for instruction. All our teachers are familiar with and use word processing programs. Teachers need to know no more than that to be able to create a blog. Additionally, Blogger is a free web utility. While there are adequate funds in my budget to purchase blogging software, this is unnecessary. Purchased software would be installed on our servers in-house which would prevent teachers and students from using it unless they were physically on campus. Since the purpose of using this technology is to enable students to engage in asynchronous learning during the summer, going through our servers would prevent this. Blogger is available through any computer with internet access located anywhere in the world.

Blogger would enable students to work at their own pace during the summer. While packets provide the same function, the teacher is unable to provide any meaningful feedback. Utilizing the blog would enable teachers to provide relevant and timely feedback to students. Instead of students forgetting about the book during the summer, it would remain fresh and relevant. Teachers wouldn’t need to spend weeks reviewing the summer reading but could jump right into a meaningful project utilizing the text sooner in the year than they are able to at this time. Utilizing a blog would also provide the teachers and students with additional time to delve deeper into another text already part of the curriculum or to read and explore a new text.

Teacher Commitment
While there are no additional needs in the area of technology, there does need to be commitment on the part of the teachers to utilize this technology. As this is to be used during the summer, the teachers need to stay involved with the content of the blog, if not weekly then bi-weekly. Provisions will need to be made for those students traveling as they may be unable to participate during that time. This will need to be addressed by the individual teachers.

Examples of Blogs and Research
Miss Kirchoff's Third Grade
In this blog from an elementary school in Texas Miss Kirchoff asks her third grade students about their reading. The answers are examples of authentic writing, complete with misspellings, and the students' enthusiasm is evident.



Echo Lake Elementary - Grade 6 Genre Blog
This blog is from a sixth grade media class. The students, after having studied and experienced different genre types, responded to the question of whether the exposure to the different genres had changed their reading choices. The students have answered honestly, some answering yes, some no. The blog provided the students with a ‘judgment free’ area where they were able to express their true feeling. This class used the platform I suggested, Blogger.

Anne Davis - Blogging: It's Elementary
This is the teacher page from a webquest created by Anne Davis, Georgia State University. On this page she explains the reasons teachers should engage their students in creating blogs. Ms. Davis not only provides the rationale for blogging, she also includes the national standards blogging addresses as well as processes and resources.

Blogging as Pedagogic Practice: Artefact and Ecology
This paper, by Marcus O’Donnell, outlines the research which has been conducted into the effectiveness of student blogging. O’Donnell not only presents the rationales and positive research result, he also includes comments by educators who have not experienced the expected results. O’Donnell argues that even though some educators have not seen the expected success, this should not deter other educators from incorporating blogging into their instruction.

Impediments to Adoption
When any new technology is introduced, there will be impediments to implementation. There are always those intrepid individuals who will be willing to experiment and embrace new ideas. There are those who, with some hand-holding, will tentatively attempt some small steps toward implementation. And finally, there will be those who adamantly refuse to relinquish their tried-and-true methods, no matter how easy to incorporate or how much support they are given. We have all these types of educators on our faculty. There is no need to convince the first type of educator; s/he will be more than happy and excited to incorporate new technologies into their instruction. The second group, while tentative, is still willing to experiment and try to incorporate this new way of teaching into what they already do. It is the final group who we need to focus upon. They are staunch in their refusal to do anything different. It is my recommendation these teachers be required to incorporate blogging into their curriculum. At Trinity we are required to write instructional goals for the coming school year, with the requirement that one of the goals is the incorporation of technology. This is a very simple technology to utilize and support. Even though many teachers feel they do not posses the requisite computer skills, they in fact do. If you can use a word processor, you can blog. Since all of our teachers make use of Microsoft Word, or some other word processing software, there is no reason for them not to make use of this technology.

The other roadblock to incorporation is the lack of staff familiarity with Blogger. In addition to providing in-person support, I am also able to provide teachers with computerized lessons. The lessons I have utilized for my web 2.0 technologies class is licensed through Creative Commons, I am able to make these available to other teachers. They would be able to quickly learn how to use Blogger and create class blogs prior to students leaving for the summer.

Software Needs
As I stated previously, the software needed to implement Blogger in all middle school language arts classes is available on-line for free. To enrich the blogging experience all the teacher computers would need to have Microsoft PowerPoint and Quick Time or Real Player loaded on to them. Our school has a site license for Microsoft Office products, so PowerPoint is available. Quick Time and Real Player are free downloads from the respective sites on the web.

Looking to the Future
Looking to the future I would like to not only expand the use of blogging to all middle school classes, but to all classes at Trinity. It is my hope that as teachers see the success of the middle school Language Arts classes, they will be anxious to provide their students with the same experiences and successes.

Anonymous said...

"Let them explore!" - I so agree with Bierman. I want my students to discover. I don't want to tell them the objectives beforehand. I want them to figure out what they have achgieved/learned through their own discovery.
And I couldn't agree more with the death of the textbook. In English and writing teaching, there are few of us who still use a textbook for anything but a resource. We have said for years that we wished that we could have texts created for each individual teacher's needs. Well, obviously it would be too costly. SOOOOO! Why not use online texts as resources? I do it all the time when I can't find a copy of what I need. I send my seniors home to read something so I don't have to make 60 copies of twenty pages.
So, taking it further and making these texts interactive is such a cool idea!!! I just don't want to be the one to have to do it. I want to learn about it and use it once it is done.
The wiki textbook is a hard concept for me to wrap my head around. To be honest, wikis are hard for me, structurally, to follow. I don't recognize their organization, can't connect it to anything else that I am familiar with and so I click around, not really understanding what I am doing. I want my text to be a familiar structure, and I am sure students do also, but their familiarity is web page, so they will do better with it, I think.

My deliverable #3 is a proposal to create a blog forum for teachers in my school to share. Here in my high school, we have found that there is less and less time to share, collaborate, or to just bond. Belive me, I never thought that I would be able to find technology a place to connect people in the true sense of connecting. I have always believed that technology is cold, insensitive, noncommunicative on a level that I need as a human being. I have watched students have arguments over text messages or IM's that were taken wrong - a sarcastic remark that is taken seriously for example. There is no voice, no tone, no intonation in the communication over the internet. This has always bothered me.
But, blogging has changed my opinion about this. I believe that communication can occur between blog members. And the perfect application is for an English teacher blog.This forum would be used to share best practices, as well as frustrations, advice and opinions.

Rationale: Due to federal, state and local mandates which have taxed the role of the teacher during the workday and beyond, our school environment has become quite impersonal and non-communicative. Instead of sitting at lunch and discussing our lesson ideas and how we might improve them, we now sit and ask each other questions about filling out this form or that, or how to upload a portfolio assignment, or check grades on new computer systems. At a time when the government is telling our school that we must implement more common planning, we are finding less time than ever to do so. Therefore, I suggest an English teacher blog that may in the future be expanded into a school-wide attempt, to find a way in the hectic day of a high-school teacher, to share ideas and find solutions to problems occurring in our classrooms and beyond.
Reasons for a blog:
1. A blog fosters collaborative professional development.
2. The blog would offer opportunity for more uniform curriculum implementation through the sharing of ideas and methods.
3. The blog could offer a way to common plan without having to use a regular preparation period to do so.
4. A blog could be used to mentor new teachers in our school, who have questions and are sorting out problems, but do not have the times to step out of the classroom and find his/her mentee to ask for help.
5. Using a blog would hopefully encourage the use of this technology in other English teachers' classrooms for the use of students and teachers to share and correspond on classroom topics.
6. Blogging fosters a sense of community. As we know, current studies have shown that a sense of community in the workplace has been known to increase productivity and accomplishment. See http://houston.jobing.com/blog for more information and possible associated risks of blogging.
7. Blogging might even offer the opportunity for a shared belly-laugh, a much needed side affect of communication. See http://www.seekwellness.com/wellness/reports/2007-12-20.htm.

Recently I was a part of a learning walk here at Cranston West. I was amazed to see that teachers in another department had not heard of some of the vocabulary techniques that have really helped those of us in English to make our classrooms more active learning environments. When asked why, the answer is that they did not have the exposure to these techniques, nor the time to search them out themselves. We could all benefit from collaboration. And we know what our own collaboration would mean to our students. Talking over lunch duties is not enough. Blogging and wikis are the future of teacher collaboration.


Diane Feole

A Pisani said...

Andrea Pisani/NKHS
Deliverable #3

In an effort to incorporate our school improvement goal of “Reading and Writing Across all Content Areas” into my math classroom, I am proposing the use of an internet tool called a Weblog.
A Weblog (also referred to as a blog) is a website that can serve as an online forum in which students and teachers (as well as parents, and administrators) can communicate and collaborate. This communication and collaboration can take the form of written comments, videos (video podcasts), or audio recordings (podcasts). An example of a blog used in an educational setting can be found at the following link: http://www.polar06.yesican-projects.ca/ (This science blog allows students to “travel” to Antarctica on a “Polar Science Expedition.”)
Free software for building weblogs is abundant, but I have found Blogger (www.blogger.com) to be extremely easy to use and reliable. In addition, as student safety is a great concern, Blogger provides “Access Controls.” These controls give me, as the classroom teacher, tools to serve as the moderator and administrator of the blog. This would allow me to regulate who is authorized to post comments, while also allowing me to view comments before they are posted to the web site for all to read.

Once the blog is established, I intend to post a variety of writing prompts with the hopes of helping students learn how to write about math. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) outlines the importance of communicating mathematics in their Communication Standard for Grades 9-12. It states that, “Instructional programs from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to:
• organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication;
• communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others;
• analyze and evaluate the mathematical thinking and strategies of others;
• use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely.”
• ( http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=12622 )
Providing a forum such as a blog will enable students to work on these skills. Most importantly, a blog will allow students to express themselves as well as give and receive feedback in a non-threatening environment.
Having a non-threatening environment in which to contribute is a great opportunity for the less gregarious student to voice his or her opinion. A secondary English teacher, Sharon Peters, has captured the comments of some of her students who have used blogs and other web-based technologies in her classroom. A video of these comments can be viewed at her website: https://k12onlinespeters.wikispaces.com/.

We are so very lucky, here at North Kingstown High School, to have a facility that is rich in technology. Even if a student does not have access to a computer at home, they do have access to computers in one of our many computer labs. As a result, we need not worry about the primary obstacle that most schools face when trying to incorporate such innovative technologies into their classrooms. The primary roadblocks we would face would revolve around letting the faculty, staff, administration, students, parents, and school community know about the benefits of blogging. Although I in no way would consider myself an expert, I would be willing to work with interested members of the school community during a scheduled Professional Development day to review the basics of this technology. In addition, we are lucky enough to have a variety of venues that reach all of these parties including: our morning announcements program that is broadcast into each classroom as well as on the local cable access channel in North Kingstown; our award winning school newspaper; our informative school web site; our listserv that is received by parents and community members. Each of these means of communication could be used to inform and educate the members of our school community about this important and exciting piece of technology.
Once the school community knows about blogging and can see it in action, there is no limit to its uses in the classroom. Collaboration among math classes, or even among classes in different content areas is only the beginning. Nicole Sledge provides some great examples for educators who wish to incorporate different types of technology into their classrooms: http://community.scholastic.com/blog?blog.id=highschoolblog
The fact that blogs are web based pieces of technology opens up our students to communication with each other, and the rest of the world. I look forward to discussing how we can offer these types of experiences to the students at North Kingstown High School. Thank you for your consideration.

Donna said...

Donna Esposito
Spring 2008
Deliverable #3 Proposal

To: HVCHS Administration
From: Donna Esposito, HVCHS Media Specialist

Proposal: To implement a wiki in the media center as a means of communicating and collaborating with teachers about research assignments .

Description: A wiki is a “quick” website where anyone can read, write or edit the content of the space. It is collaborative tool, so all members of the community (librarians, teachers, and students) can work together to create and update the space. It is easy to use and requires no programming skills or experience. This wiki will be an ongoing and continuously changing work space.

Services & Needs: The media center wiki would serve as a space to create research guides or pathfinders for student assignments. The purpose of using a wiki, instead of our current website design tool (FrontPage) is that a wiki is a quicker and easier way for teachers and the librarians to create web pages, add and/or change content, edit each others work and create links to other pages and resources. Each research guide or pathfinder would have its own wiki page. This wiki page would direct students to reliable book, database and web resources that would enable them to complete their research assignments easily and efficiently. Wikis can be easily updated from any computer, in any location. Wikis use a simple visual editor which allows anyone to become a web designer. In contrast, using a web design tool limits most users from creating web pages. Web design tools require thorough knowledge of the application. WebPages can only be updated on the computer where the software is installed. It is a time consuming process and updates require administrative privileges or an IT request to publish a page. WebPages are static, whereas wikis are dynamic. One of the strongest features of a wiki is the ability to make quick, up to the minute changes that can be saved and viewed immediately. Using a wiki will meet the publishing needs of the media specialist and teachers, as well as the information needs of our students. For the purpose of this wiki, only teachers and the media specialist will have editing capabilities. Future wikis can be created for student input as well.

Evidence: Wikis are being successfully used by the school librarian community to promote collaboration and communication. Here are a few examples.

1. http://nhshighschool.wikispaces.com/ - The New Hope Solebury High School Library is using a wiki for its entire library website. If you click on the pathfinders link on the sidebar, you will go to the pathfinder wiki page. This page will contain links to approximately 15 wiki pathfinder pages. I recently spoke to the librarian at this school and asked her why she decided to use a wiki for her entire library website. Her major reason was one that I previously stated. She did not have the permissions to publish her own WebPages. She had to contact her IT department every time she made an update to a webpage. Using a wiki gives her the freedom and flexibility make changes instantly.

2. http://www.sdst.org/shs/library/pathmenu.html - Joyce Valenza, Springfield Township High School’s librarian is also successfully using wikis to help students navigate through research assignments. A pathfinder link from her website will include links to over 20 different wikis. Ms. Valenza has applied a different approach to wiki pathfinders, each research guide has its own wiki. I am proposing creating one wiki for all research assignments which links to additional wiki pages for each research topic.

Example Pathfinder wikis at this site:
Doing the Decades, Literary Criticism Pathfinder, Primary Sources,
Endangered Species, College search

3. http://westwood.wikispaces.com/ - This is an example from my online course “Using Blogs and Wikis to Foster Literacy”. This wiki is demonstrates an online space where both the teachers and students have editing capabilities.

Roadblocks: Although wikis have been around for several years now, they are still a fairly new technology. One problem that I foresee are teachers who are not using any form of technology . They are not likely to embrace wikis or any other Web 2.0 tools. Another obstacle that I might encounter with implementing a wiki is the negative association from Wikipedia. For years teachers and librarians have be trying to lure students away from using Wikipedia as a source for research. Now I am proposing the use of wikis for both students and teachers. Lastly, their may be some concerns from our IT department about accessing wikis.

I believe I could overcome most of these roadblocks by providing training to staff in the use of wikis. If I could get one or two teachers to buy into using wikis as a collaboration tool, I believe that other teachers will follow once they see how useful wikis can be. As far as the negative
association from Wikipedia, I would explain that unlike Wikipedia, we know who the contributors and members of this wiki space are, so we will not have to worry about unreliable information.

Recommended tools: I would recommend using Wikispaces for our library wiki because it offers a free and secure wiki environment. Additionally, wikispaces offers a free upgrade to the “Plus” membership to educators, which is ad-free. Wikispaces also provides many tutorials, help pages and generous file storage space. After comparing the reviews of the three most common wiki tools in “Teachers First: Step by Step - Choose a tool”, I decided that wikispaces has the most practical features for my wiki application.

Future Plans: Once the pathfinder wikis are complete, my vision for the long term is to create a “Online Student Research Guide” which can be used by the entire district. This document would have to be a collaborative effort between school librarians and the Language Arts department. The most practical and logical tool for this type of project would be a wiki.

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
Library Media Specialist
Pennsylvania
Deliverable #3

To: Conewago Valley School District Administrative Office
From: Joanna Knott, Library Media Services Department Chair

Proposal: To have all students in the school voluntarily participating in a wiki supporting their favorite reads. I would like to begin a Media Center Wiki that students may use to post their favorite books, which will include both a summary and personal reaction.

Background Information: According to Wikipedia, the most widely recognized wiki, a wiki is “software that allows users to collaboratively create, edit, link, and organize the content of a website, usually for reference material. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.” The wiki that I propose will allow students to collaborate on a school-wide booklist, recommending their favorite library books to the rest of the school community.

Evidence & Examples:
Konieczny, Piotr. “Wikis and Wikipedia as A Teaching Tool.” International Journal of Technology & Distance Learning. January 2007.
http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_07/Jan_07.pdf#page=19
This article not only focuses on wikis in the schools, but also the dominance of Wikipedia as one of the most prominent wikis available. Illustrations include background knowledge on how to edit a wiki, particularly Wikipedia.

Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki.
http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
This wiki is a beautiful example of successful wiki collaboration. The community that supports this wiki is skilled, knowledgeable, and active.

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson. Ebook available at Google Books.
Will Richardson has written this, the Everyman’s guide to promoting Web 2.0 tools (including wikis) into educational settings.

St. Philips Wiki
http://stphilips.wikispaces.com/Book+Club%21
This is very close to what I imagine CVIS’s book club to be. Students are sharing ideas and reactions to the books they are currently reading. They post the title and image of the book and add their personal reactions and thoughts. What ownership!

PHMS Book Buzz Book Club
http://phmsbookbuzzbookclub.wikispaces.com/message/list/home
At this middle school wiki, students not only collaborate on choosing new books, but they also reply to other students’ ideas and suggestions.

STS Library Book Club
http://stslibrary.wikispaces.com/message/list/Book+Club
Another successful book club wiki on which students collaborate.

Rational: According to our most recent Pennsylvania Standardized State Assessment feedback, students in our building are struggling readers. Our scores have remained consistent over the past three years, even though the state’s expectations are increasing. There is no better way to improve reading scores than to have students reading more books, more often. Unfortunately, I believe that many students still do not know how to select a book they will enjoy. By creating a favorite books (or book club) wiki, students will not only be able to share the wonderful books they have read, but they will also be able to find their next read. Additionally, students who read a book that has been posted by another student can add their reaction and opinion to the wiki.

Moreover, Writing Across the Curriculum, our movement towards the writing process, states that all Type 3 Writing assignments must be published for an audience. I believe teachers will be more than welcome to ask students to post book reactions, responses, and opinions to the wiki rather than writing a book report. What better audience to publish for than the world?

Tools Recommended: I recommend using the free 2.0 tool Wikispaces. I have experience in this forum and feel that it is appropriate for our students. Registering, editing, previewing, and saving are as simple as using a word processing software. Wikispaces sends no spam to email addresses, either. Wikispaces also provides a number of tutorials and help tools to ease with student use.

Needs: A wiki can be edited by any student who has an email address and has registered (for free) with Wikispaces. Since I want to begin this wiki as a voluntary project, the library computers will suffice. Once students are comfortable with the wiki, they may edit from any computer they wish.

Roadblocks/Concerns:
Students are too young. Students in CVIS not only have the basic keyboarding skills, but they also have the internet navigation and word processing skills necessary to collaborate on a wiki. Since they have all of the physical capabilities, we will simply be moving towards a wiki rather than basic internet and word processing skills.

How will acceptable use policies be impacted? Whether we pursue a Book Club wiki or not, changing technology demands that we update our AUP’s. The technology department has recently attended a workshop to evaluate our AUP; they have concluded that is it current and covers the necessary concerns. A wiki falls within the realm of acceptable use.

Teachers don’t have enough time. As the school’s Media Specialist, I would be happy to train not only the teachers, but also the students in posting to wikis. Once the students understand how the technology works, they can post to the wikis at any time, not just in class. I would imagine that a wiki would take less class time than a typical book report, as the teacher does not have to schedule a computer lab to word process, edit, revise, and then grade the papers. With a wiki, a teacher can conduct live responses and reactions to student posts.

A View of the Future: I believe with the appropriate grooming, participation, and excitement, this Favorites Book wiki can grow into a living database. Students will have a wealth of books and reviews at their fingertips. These books can be organized into genres, grade levels, or even by homeroom. Students will no longer be asking, “What should I read now?”

JPolinick said...

Deliverable #3- Proposal for Staff Blog/Wiki
By John Polinick Grade 6 Teacher Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School, Providence, RI


Overview of Proposal:
This proposal is geared toward the use of a school-wide blog with a Wiki component for each grade level K-6 at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School. The school blog would allow participants to exchange ideas, thoughts, and other general information via a blog. (Also known as a web-log) Participants would also have access to a separate page called a Wiki. The wiki will allow collaboration based on individual grade level issues. Much of our teaching day consists of teaching in isolation. Both the Wiki and Blog will allow the staff to efficiently communicate with each other on both general and specific needs/ideas.

• What is a Blog?
. A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. (Wikipedia Definition)
• What is a Wiki?
A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language[1][2]. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. (Wikipedia Definition)
The use of web based technology is something that can be more useful, efficient, current, and community based than current forms of collaboration/communication. This proposal involves creating a school blog that will take the place of current school bulletins, e-mails, and other communications both in paper and electronic forms. This school blog will allow constant contact between the administration/teacher and also teacher/teacher. No longer will important information be spread throughout different media. Teachers will only have to refresh their homepage (Homepage will be set to school blog), and all correspondences will be right there. The first aspect of this proposal is the use of a school based blog. (2,3 http://principalnays.blogspot.com/; http://www.butlerville.net/) The previous examples shown give good insight into the usefulness and value of school and community blogs. The blog aspect of this proposal will be run by the school administrator and John Polinick.
The second aspect of this proposal consists of teacher collaboration via a grade based wiki. Since there are grades K-6 in the school, there will be 7 individual wiki pages created. The creation of these wikis will help organize information important to each grade level. One of the initial problems with web technology is that this type of communication is often bulky, general, or it doesn’t pertain to you. We all have had junk mail fill our inbox, and out of the 100 emails that day, only 10 are useful. Many grade 5 teachers will not be interested in testing conducted by kindergarten teachers, nor will grade 1 teachers need to know about NECAP prep. These personal questions and issues shouldn’t take up the time of everyone and should be posted on a grade level wiki rather than the school blog. The purpose of the wiki is to participate in discussions that pertain to you. Teachers will be more apt to use both the blog and wiki if they feel it is a useful tool.
Possible Roadblocks:
There are a substantial amount of roadblocks when trying to implement new technology and ideas into a school environment.
 First and foremost the technology has to be manageable, available, and supported.
 Perceived costs of proposal
 Willingness of teachers to learn new technology
 Acceptance of key ideas regarding the importance of technology especially blogs and wikis.
 Teacher technology phobia
 Training for administrator of blog
 Training of staff to utilize the tools appropriately and successfully
 In School time where teachers can discuss, interact, and train
Combined, some of these obstacles seem to make implementation of this proposal very difficult, but once these possible roadblocks are managed and isolated success isn’t far away.
In terms of technology, every classroom in the school is equipped with at least one working computer that is connected to the internet. Nearly all teachers also have internet access in their homes, and have been receiving school based e-mails since September 2007. Teachers have to log in to the school webmail, and they have to read, print, and sometimes respond to these e-mails.
The software that will be used for both the blog and the wiki are off site and controlled by a third parties. The use of their technology and data storage space will keep the cost of this proposal minimal. (Blogger/Wikispaces)
The training of the staff to use and implement this proposal can be done at various times throughout the year. Starting with the first day of teacher training in August (1.5 hours, blog and wiki introductions, uses, and how to demonstrations) the staff will begin their training. Once the initial training and introduction to the technology are completed, the staff can start using the blog site and small edits on the wiki. Both of which are limited in technicality and effort. Once the staff is trained initially, teachers will use common planning time during the school day( 1hr available weekly), and after school professional development( 39 hrs yearly) to build upon previous skills and experiences. Though all of these hours will not be necessary, they are an option to the administration to use when and if needed.
Probably the most difficult aspect of implementation will be convincing the staff that this is something needed, useful, and inevitable. There are many older teachers in the school who are not so pleased with change. The first orientation day will consist of the Power Point presentation:EDC921 session 2 and Session 8. Both will be trimmed down for quantity and need. Following the power point presentations, staff will observe the following sites that demonstrate the usefulness of blogs and wikis. After previewing a few sites using blogs and wikis, I will then present my classroom blog and wiki to the teachers. Teachers will then see the outline and format for the school blog/wiki. The following three sources will be used and other sites visited by clicking links contained there.
1. http://my-ecoach.com/online/webresourcelist.php?rlid=4992 This site is titled Classroom Blogs and Wikis, by Dave Caldwell. It offers sites to create, view, and explore blogs and other web based technology. In addition to these, the site contains a Tips for Teacher’s section that will be very useful for new and old bloggers alike. Topics covered, Educational Bloggers' Network Tips and resources for educational blogging, eThemes' Journals and Blogs Several resources for educators that want to create online journals or blogs, Blogger Tips and Tricks Directions for changing code and removing the “next blog” button for students, Educational Wikis-Eduwiki Examples and ideas for using wikis in schools., Educator Videos on Wikis Videos from educators that are using wikis. Contains advice. Classroom teacher blogs and wikis Mr. C’s Classroom blog is shown here, and is a great example of the great gadgets available to the classroom teacher. http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/ Also, there is a well written wiki example and how it can be used in the classroom on various topics. Mrs. L’s collaborative learning wiki located at http://collaborative-learning.wikispaces.com/
2. http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/
a. This site will be shown and copies of the information regarding rationale for blogging read and discussed.
3. http://rfkfamily.blogspot.com
a. This site is my classroom site. The RKF Family site contains blogs facilitated by the teacher along with student comments. Children have moved to the point where they post and then the class comments. It is primarily used for writing and student work on the blog is mandatory and part of the classroom work. The wiki is for their questions, answers, and any other writing they may want to add.

Hopefully, after becoming aware and accustomed to blogging and wikis, all of not most teachers will be willing to give this technology a try. While there are teachers who are stuck in the past, many teachers are willing to try something new. Especially if they see their peers being successful with it. Teachers will become more comfortable with time, and as long as the administration follows through and leads by example, the bumps will be few and far between. The technology is simple to use, but can get as advanced as the staff would like to be.
To accomplish the goals in this proposal, Two software applications are required. First, the school website will be created by Google’s Blogger. Blogger is free to use and has many useful tools available. In addition to the Power Point sources listed in Session 2 and Session 8, Blogger has many useful tutorials, discussion sites, and software programs that will prove beneficial for the school and also individual teachers willing to try blogging in their classroom. The second aspect of the proposal is the wiki. I have used wikispaces for both professional and personal uses. It is simple and effective. The wiki can be linked to the blog and used as an extension of the school community.
Finally, the initiation of this proposal will bring Robert F. Kennedy into the new technological era. This current proposal is just the tip of the iceberg. It is a beginning, a start. Hopefully, teachers will see the usefulness of blogging and wikis and add them to their classrooms. Teachers will facilitate while students interact through podcasts, video clips, photos, I.M., blogs, and wikis. It will provide services for both students and teachers that will inevitably be needed and utilized in the very near future. Children live in a time where it is more common to; use an ATM card than cash, to text a friend rather than call them, to talk with people they have never met than talk with their neighbor, to read media from non-printed sources rather than printed sources. In an ever-shrinking world, children and adults must look at new ways and technologies as a way of life. Web 2.0 isn’t going away and if we have to be a part of it, let’s make it the way we want. If not, we will be left behind trying to fill a generation gap that is greater than there has ever been before.

1. http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_SNS_Data_Memo_Jan_2007.pdf Uses of Blogs and Students #’s using internet.
2. http://principalnays.blogspot.com/ An example of a principal’s blog
3. http://www.butlerville.net/ This is an example of a school blog. In the blog, teachers have their own blog page along with all types of contact, e-mail, newsletters, and even the lunch menu.
4. http://tcea.blogspot.com/ - this site is a very useful tool in describing the use, history, tools, and resources for individuals interested in learning/utilizing blogs.
5. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/blogboard/ : Teacher Magazine's look at what's new and noteworthy in educator blogs. Is a great source for teacher related information from technology to sports and activities there are many posts that insight discussion and thought.

Anonymous said...

Susan Tennett Adams
Cranston/Grade 5
Proposal for Implementation/April 2008

I chose to write a proposal for computers because I need computers in my classroom. To write a proposal to implement one of the tools covered during this semester would not be practical because my school does not have the computers needed to productively implement any of them. I plan on posting my proposal on www.donorschoose.org.

I teach at a Title 1 school in a low-income part of the city, and my fifth-grade students are in desperate need of three desktop computers! I want to give my students the best education possible, which includes preparing them for the "Real World". In order to do this, they need to have access to the internet.

Many of my students do not have computers in their homes and most of those that do, do not have access to the internet. And the one computer I do have in my classroom is the one in which I do all my clerical work. The school has three working laptops, which are shared with 200 students. We are not fortunate enough to have a computer lab. Having three computers in my classroom would enable my students to become part of this technological age we live in!

My students need three desktop computers equipped with monitors and keyboards. With this equipment, my students will have access to the internet, which will allow them to do research, work collaboratively on assignments, access the class blog--the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Having these computers in my classroom will benefit my students greatly. The benefits are: increased motivation (www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/atrisk/at400.html) (www.ncrel.org/sdrs/engaged.htm) , connection to “real world” (www.kidsource.com/education/computers.children.html) (www.alliance.brown.edu/pubs/voices/4qrt1999/almost.shtml) and computers open up a vast amount of resources (www.ncrel.org).

Obstacles that need to be dealt with are: keeping teachers abreast of technology (www.nc.rtec~org/lit/casl/module3/3ttta.htm) (Ongoing PDI’s would be appropriate. Cranston school teachers need to take eight hours of Professional Development each year.) and Where will the money come from? Hopefully from www.donorschoose.org.

Purchase Information:
Product Name: iMac 17-inch, 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Options: 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
1 GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM-2x512
160GB Serial ATA drive
24x Combo Drive (DVD-ROM, CD-RW)
Keyboard & Mighty Mouse+Mac OS X-U.S. English
Accessory Kit
Unit Price: 944.00
Quantity: 3
Net Price: $2832.00
Subtotal: 2832.00
Tax: 198.00
Total: $3030.00

My students need to be on par with the students from the high-come part of the city. They deserve to have the same opportunities as other children do. With access to this technology, my students will be on their way to bright futures in a world where KNOWLEDGE = POWER.

Anonymous said...

Susan Tennett Adams

Concerning the last paragraph of my proposal: the word is high-income. I changed it on the wiki but forgot to fix the error on my original draft.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Berenberg
Reading Teacher
Grades 3-5
Technology Proposal
Brief Description

I proposed the use of a blog as a tool for my everyday instructional use. I tried to incorporate strengths and weaknesses from my school and how this tool would support them. I think it was important to place myself in the shoes of other staff members and administration when creating my proposal. In addition, I was thankful for the past articles that helped me develop possible roadblocks and ways to conquer them.

Informally I had presented a proposal for using a Blog in order to progress monitor PLP students as well as individualize instruction. I have received approval however, I still need to run a few things by the District Technology Coordinator to go over security and privacy guidelines. My proposal will be well suited for this meeting.

Overall, I feel that continuously proposing ideas for the use of new tools will keep schools updated with the new trends of today's society. Hopefully after the utilization of a blog, I can move onto wikis and when I am done with that who knows what will be next...

FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty
Deliverable 3
EDC921

Social Networking Sites

Description of technology – Social networking sites are online communities that allow friends to keep in touch and meet new people as well. Once you register, you can customize your profile by adding information about yourself, listing your interests, hobbies, and educational background, and uploading photos of yourself and your friends. You can add friends by searching other’s profile page. If the person approves your friend request, he or she will be added to your list of friends. Some users have only a few friends, while others have several thousand. You can send a private message to users by or post a comment on his or her page. The "friends" concept is the heart and soul of social networking sites. By building a list of friends, you have your own network of people readily accessible from your profile page. When you click on a friend's image, you can view their profile and all their friends. This makes is easy to meet friends of friends, and their friends, and so on. The number of people you can meet on social networking sites is practically endless.

Explanation of service –A school library social network site would be a quick way to connect to teen and others in the community. The space would include quick and easy access to the library catalog and other research tools. It would also include information on programs and services we are hosting in the library which the students and community can take part in. Teens could add comments about materials, programs and so on. Teens who are not traditional library users learn about and use the library through these social networking sites because they are familiar and comfortable with the technology. Teens would make the library one of their “friends” and then are reminded of the library whenever they log onto their space.

Evidence why this technology would be useful and success examples: Social networking tools give teen’s meaningful ways to use and improve reading and writing skills. All social networking software requires teens to read and write. When a teen creates a profile on a social networking site; posts or comments on a blog; adds or edits content on a wiki; searches for social content; consults with peers online as a part of research, reading and writing are required.
These sites also play a key role in teen culture because they give teens a space to hang out amongst friends and peers, share cultural artifacts (like links to funny websites, comments about TV shows) and work out an image of how they see themselves.
Libraries Using My Space:
Bethpage Public Library – www.myspace.com/bethpagepubliclibrary
Hennepin County Library – www.myspace.com/hennepinpubliclibrary
Lansing Library- www.myspace.com/lansingpubliclibrary
Library Loft-www.myspace.com/libraryloft
Authors Using My Space:
Ned Vizzini - www.myspace.com/nedvizzini
Sara Dessen – www.myspace.com/sarahdessen
John Green – www.myspace.com/greatperhaps
Melissa de la Cruz – www.myspace.com/melissadelacruz

This article shows how a Massachusetts Regional Library System created its own social networking site in the hopes of attracting more teens. MyOwnCafe.org
http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6462493.html

This article from YALSA has resources for librarians about online social networking.
http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/profdev/socialnetworking.cfm



Possible roadblocks:
1. Internet safety issues
2. Lack of knowledge on what social networking sites are and their use in the classroom
3. Posting of inappropriate comments and/or material

Ways to overcome roadblocks:
1. Create and distribute brochures and post information online about what the district is already doing to ensure that teens are safe online. Include information such as Internet filters and Acceptable Use Policies
2. Invite parents and educators to a workshop where they can learn about social networking tools. Show how classrooms and libraries are using social networking sites as tools in education.
4. Have law officials come in to talk about how to help teens stay safe while participating in social networking online.
5. Have students with well-developed My Space or Face Book spaces demonstrate the positive ways they use social networking tools.
6. Host Do-It-Yourself Days for adults to learn how to use Social Networking sites and tools successfully. After an introduction about what social networking is, and why it’s an important part of a teen’s life, teens could work with adults on using the tools in a way that enhances their own lives. Teens might show adults how to set up a My Space to keep in touch with friends, a Flickr account so they can share family photos, an IM account to conduct live chats with family members overseas, etc.

Specific technology used:
My Space and Face Book are two of the most popular social networking sites used by teens. By using one of these teens would easily understand how to navigate the information provided.

Long term use: A tool that will allow students, school and community members to interact, participate and connect in a way that has never been done before.

Leilani Coelho said...

Session 12 was interesting but a bit scary. As I watched the presentation I couldn’t help wondering if there will ever be a day when teachers will no longer be needed. I also wondered if there will ever be a day when school is all online and educators just facilitate student learning from outside the classroom. As a student I think this would be great because I really enjoy online courses and hope to see more courses become available via the internet. On the other hand as an educator I fear the possibilities of where online learning is heading.

Deliverable #3
Over the past few months I have been taking in a course titled Using Blogs and Wikis to Foster Literacy. Before taking this course I had no idea what a blog was or why educators would even want to use one? Just a few sessions into the course I saw classrooms using blogs and began to see how beneficial blogging could be to student learning.

Wikipedia defines a blog as a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular, entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. It is a place where you can post text, images, video, sound and anything else that can be linked via the internet. There are many types of blogs and we will be focusing on edublogs. Edublogs are blogs usually created by or for an educator and focuses on some aspect of education. If used appropriately it can increase student learning and improve parent-teacher communication.

Since I have integrated blogging into my classroom I have received a lot of positive feed back from parents. So much goes on through out the day that parents don’t get to see and blogging allows me to share all of the wonderful experiences with them. Blogging allows parents to interact with the experience and increase their involvement in the classroom and results in increase parent communication. I upload funny images, student work, newsletters, and important information that parents and students are open to comment on. Parents really enjoy being able to see what is actually going on in the classroom and enjoy posting comments about their child’s work. Blogging has made it much easier for me to communicate with parents and students because it can be done at anytime of the day, it’s all online, and there is no wasted paper. Blogging allows communication to happen that may have otherwise not existed.

I have also seen an increase in my students’ social and academic skills as well. Many of my shy and quiet students’ feel more comfortable expressing themselves which will ultimately build their self-esteem. All of my students’ technology skills have improved and knowledge of technology is important to have in order to be successful in any future job. Video and media has supported student learning as well. Whenever I teach new content I try to post a visual to our blog that reinforces what they are learning about and this has helped all of my students learn and progress. For example when we were working on addition and subtraction skills, I posted a 5-10 minute video clip to help students practice these skills in/out of the classroom. My lower students who were struggling with the skill went home and practiced by using the video and came in the following day and demonstrated that they have mastered the skill. Overall I have noticed a big improvement in student learning since I have integrated blogs into my classroom.

There are many other educators and administrators that have been using blogs and have had success with it. One of the principals in our district has been using his blog to provide information to parents and staff. He states that blogging has helped keep his staff and parents up to date with current information. Linda Hartley a primary school teacher has successfully helped other teachers create better classroom bulliten boards. Viewers and other educators are free to post their ideas and bulletin board images to the site to add to this visual library.

Educating the staff about blogging is one challenge. As previously stated prior to taking this class I had no concept of a blog. I took a survey at our school and asked educators to rate their knowledge of blogging. I found out that only a few teachers in the whole school knew about blogging and knew about it from their children at home. I think we can solve this problem by providing a professional development opportunity to educate others about using blogs in the classroom. I think we need to get the school on board with this and get blogging in all classrooms so that we can better help our students learn.

Blogging is a multilevel tool that will benefit all students in our school. While some students will be learning about letters and letter sounds others will be learning about words and sentences. Every student will definitely build technology skills and parent communication will increase. Most importantly students love blogging and already do it outside of school. 93% of school age children use the internet and 55% have a blog or online journal. I think educators need to stay up to date with their students and incorporate blogging into the classroom. Schools should not be foreign to them and we need to include their interests into their learning. If we do this it will help with learning enjoyment.

I am hoping that all teachers in our school will get on board and start blogging in their classroom. Ultimately I hope that the entire district will do so as well. It is very easy to set up a blog and there are many free sites for us to use. When I originally set up my blog I used blogger.com because it was easy to set up, it included a tutorial and allowed me to post images and videos for free. There are many ways to get started with blogging. I think the best way for us is to create a small school based learning community that will explore and experiment with blogging and then just go from there. So when should we get started?

Mrs. Z. said...

Stephanie M. Zannella

This plan is for the implementation of blogs. I have just included the second page of the plan as the first contains introductory material. For full text, please see the wiki.

Unblock the Blogs – An Implementation Plan
for Archie R. Cole Middle School

The use of blogs in the classroom would help to meet the objective of our School Improvement Plan which aims to have an additional 3 percent of students meet or exceed the standard on the ELA portion of the NECAP.

School Improvement Objective #1: All Cole Middle School students will know and be able to utilize the I’M A Reader strategies.

One of the ways to meet this objective would be to create a “Literature Circle” blog where students reading the same books could share their ideas and reactions to a piece of literature. Each week students would be assigned to post and respond to prompts that would target a particular I’m A Reader strategy. For example, students could Ask Questions that other students would answer. Another week, our focus could be Inferencing. Students could post to the blog, and other students could further the discussion. The blog would also provide an opportunity for all students to join in and practice, even those who may be shy in a face-to-face conversation and are dominated by more vocal ones. Also, strong students provide model responses for those who may struggle helping them to “see how it’s done,” and providing them with the incentive to formulate more developed responses because they are published. Collaboration with other schools is easily done as well. Lastly, parents could even read some of the books and join in the conversation from anywhere they have internet access. What a wonderful school-home connection!
Visit http://www.zannellablueteamblog.blogspot.com
and http://www.wikispaces311.blogspot.com to see some examples.

School Improvement Objective #3: All Cole students will know and be able to utilize the Six Traits of Writing.

Before the internet, digital portfolios, and Web 2.0 tools, students were limited to writing an essay, peer editing with one or two other students, handing in the finished product, and receiving feedback from the teacher—a pretty closed or two-way interaction. Student blogs open up new avenues for students to publish and receive feedback on their work. Each student could have a blog that would act as an on-line portfolio. They would post their work, and many students, teachers, even parents could comment on their writing. Student comments could target a specific trait in the writing. For example, if we were working on the trait of “voice” in class, students would comment on each other’s writing with that trait in mind. Using traits language via feedback would also help students to internalize it. The teacher could also post exemplars in Voice or Word Choice to aid other learners. Administrators could even jump in and offer comments from time to time. Authorship is prized here. Students feel validated when others comment on their work, and, again, students are given an array of examples and models from which to learn. Visit this award-winning blog project to see the potential. Anne Davis has used blogging as a way to promote writing in the classroom and beyond: http://itc.blogs.com/thewriteweblog

Additionally…
School Improvement Objective #4: Blogs and wikis, by their very nature, support differentiated instruction. Visual learners are able to “see how it’s done,” struggling students can learn from more capable ones, and gifted students can take their writing and ideas to a new audience that could challenge them and comment on their ideas. In addition, those students who may struggle with traditional pen and paper writing can use this technology to aid in the writing process. I have already seen this help students who work with our OT.

Lastly, classroom/teacher blogs are an easy way to post all pertinent information about your classroom. Not only can you post assignments and general information, but documents such as rubrics, student work, links to other spaces or on-line tutorials, etc. can be easily posted. A video, screencast, or summary of a lesson can be posted for absent students or those who need review.

The list goes on and on. Imagine a Spanish teacher setting up a blog to interact with students from Spain or a social studies classroom communicating with students in the country they are studying. The uses for classroom blogs in every content area are only limited by our ideas and imagination.

Potential Roadblocks/Objections:
Blogs are considered “social networking” sites. The “social networking” category includes sites such as MySpace and FaceBook and have been blocked from access. Security is the biggest concern. While this is certainly valid, services such as Blogger and Wikispaces have created ways to keep our students safe. Blogger can be open to only invited users/authors, and Wikispaces creates completely private spaces for free for educators. Private means that no one can view or post a comment who is not invited. What about inappropriate comments? Both Blogger and Wikispaces have a “moderate comments” feature which allows the teacher to view all comments before they are posted to the blog.

Another issue to consider is funding. With services such as Blogger and Wikispaces, this is a non-issue—both are free!

What about staff training? I would propose using some of our Superintendent’s meetings to introduce/train staff.

Services
I would recommend Blogger.com because it is FREE to all and is extremely easy to use. Blogger also has many tutorials to help with set-up and management.

Wikispaces.com is also provided FREE to educators, so there is no cost to the school at all (This was addressed in Connie Zack’s presentation on wikis.)

In Conclusion
I see enormous potential in blogging for all types of learners, including faculty and staff. I envision the long-term use of blogging increasing student interest, collaboration between students, faculty, administrators, and parents; and, most importantly, student learning.

Additional Resources / Works Cited:

Ray, Jan. “Welcome to the Blogosphere: The Educational Use of Blogs (aka Edublogs)” (EJ738088)
http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ738088&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&accno=EJ738088

This article explains what a blog is and contains ideas on ways blogs can be implemented in the classroom and provides specific examples.

Poling, Catherine. “Blog On: Building Communication and Collaboration Among Staff and Students” (EJ697316)
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ697316&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&accno=EJ697316

Mrs. Z. said...

Hello All,

Comments for Session 12...Dave, I loved the 1970 vs. 2006 slides. While I wasn't in college in 1970, I did go to Katharine Gibbs School in the early 80s and learned to type on a typewriter while making copies with carbon paper. Now I sit at my laptop connected wirelessly while my son text messages his friend on a phone that can download videos, music, and who knows what else. Where will we be 20 years from now?!

I think I use my class text for one month out of the year for a short story unit. It weighs a ton and contains lots of uninteresting information. An on-line text would be awesome! My Dept. Chair has actually mentioned trying to purchase new books with some sort of on-line component.

We have used the Backward Design Process for devising Interdisciplinary Units, and it makes so much sense. Rather than teaching skills and lessons that relate to what you're doing, but don't all really work toward an end, Backward Design really helps to focus on where you want to be with your students and how you will get there. I love the idea of creating a text driven by students' own questions. Perhaps we will actually get them interested...

Several years ago, I visited a Waldorf school where students created their own textbooks. While I thought it was interesting, I didn't think they could possibly be covering what they should without the standard,
3" thick, 20lb, scholarly text. I guess they were ahead of their time.

I recently asked my students to comment on a blog post regarding collaborative work. The vast majority said that they like working in groups because you can learn "stuff" from other kids, and we like to share ideas. The standard "not everybody did what they were supposed to" complaints were there, but they still said they would prefer to work in groups. That being said, I think a living, breathing text that students could contribute is something they would embrace.

Good Luck, Dave. Keep us posted.

Steph Z.

Jennifer Long said...

Deliverable #3 details:
-Proposal to principal of my school for a book club blog
-Participants: Teachers in our building, and global colleagues interested in our selections
-Proposed tool: wikispaces
-Challenges: staff professional development, time needed to write posts, vandalism
-Overcoming challenges: Brief PD session during staff meeting (wikis are simple); time writing outweighed by benefit to group, and long-term reference about texts; "revert" function to thwart vandals.
-Future vision: discussions about many texts linked on site, lesson plans and resources inspired by the titles

Jennifer Long said...

Previous post:
-Proposal is for book club wiki, not blog. Cheers!

bream said...

Proposal: I am proposing that our school district implement the use of weblogs as an educational technology tool.

Description: A blog is a website, which is usually maintained by one person. This person makes regular entries, has descriptions of events, graphics, videos, etc. They can invite others to add information to their blog.

The ways that I would like to implement this technology into my curriculum:
1. Use as a method of communicating with parents and students that were absent as to what we did in class each day. This would allow students to keep up with us and not fall behind.
2. Use it to have students communicate with each other and myself about things we learned in class,
3. I would add various prompts that students would be responsible for responding to.
4. Students would respond to each others postings creating a deeper understanding of the topic.

Research shows that if blogs are used effectively they could offer a way to enhance students’ learning experiences and deepen the level of the learners engagement. Through blogs, students become more engaged in their own learning. They take more ownership in it knowing that it is out there for the world to see.

Blogs are being used in all grade levels and across the curriculum. Here are a few examples of how blogs are being used successfully to enhance learning:
• http://ervingfirst.blogspot.com/ - This is an example of a first grade classroom’s blog. The teacher uses the blog to inform parents of things that happened in the classroom and also as a writing forum. The children post their writing and their family may respond.
• http://hetherington0607.learnerblogs.org/ - This is an example of a middle school team blog. The students post various things on the blog, such as what they are learning in a subject area. Some of their blogs included links to materials. The teachers post information on the blog such as suggestions for reading and music listening, as well as notes from class.
• http://blogs.timesunion.com/albanyhigh/ - Students in Albany New York write about the happenings in their school. They post upcoming events as well as write about past events. They also share information about themselves in poems and various types of writing genres.
• http://usefulwiki.com/displays/ - This is an example of what used to be a blog and has now become a wiki. This is a great site for teachers to collaborate. The originator of the wiki also posts pictures of displays that she has had in her classroom. She uses flickr to store and share the photos. Teachers can view these photos for free.

There will be roadblocks along the way. These roadblocks include:
• staff knowledge – educating the staff as to what blogs are and how to effectively incorporate them into the curriculum is one thing that will need to be addressed. Educating the staff could be done during in-service days or in our required technology hours during the summer.
• Vandalism – can be a roadblock, however most software provides a restoration function so that the blog can be reset to its original format.

I would suggest using one of the following blog software programs:
• Blogger.com
• Easyjournal
• Tribe.net
They may include advertisements on them, but all three of them are free and easy to use..

My long term vision of this technology tool is that all teachers will be incorporating this into their curriculum to enhance students learning. Since students will be writing more often and posting their writings, their writing should greatly improve. I would like to see the district use blogging as a filing system for each student to document their progress from kindergarten through graduation. It would serve as a electronic portfolio, therefore allowing the district to go paperless with students work.

JPolinick said...

I think that session 12 basically reviews what we have been clearly shown during this class. The way we teach and learn has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. We only have to check our bank statements to realize that technology is already a major part of our lives. Cable bill (Most likely with internet), cell phone, On-Star, and many other expenses that I am sure my mother never had to pay. As the times change, we change as teachers. I chose this class to become a better more informed teacher in an area that is and will be the core of successful instruction now and in the future. I feel that I have only uncovered the tip on the iceburg, but at least I have started this journey.
I wonder how much money school districts spend on text books yearly? Would it be cost effective to move to an all digital format? I think that it makes sense. Laptops for $100. It is already in progress. I bet we will see some form of this idea in the next ten years.

Deliverable #3- Proposal for Staff Blog/Wiki
By John Polinick Grade 6 Teacher Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School, Providence, RI


Overview of Proposal:
This proposal is geared toward the use of a school-wide blog with a Wiki component for each grade level K-6 at Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School. The school blog would allow participants to exchange ideas, thoughts, and other general information via a blog. (Also known as a web-log) Participants would also have access to a separate page called a Wiki. The wiki will allow collaboration based on individual grade level issues. Much of our teaching day consists of teaching in isolation. Both the Wiki and Blog will allow the staff to efficiently communicate with each other on both general and specific needs/ideas.

• What is a Blog?
. A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. (Wikipedia Definition)
• What is a Wiki?
A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language[1][2]. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. (Wikipedia Definition)
The use of web based technology is something that can be more useful, efficient, current, and community based than current forms of collaboration/communication. This proposal involves creating a school blog that will take the place of current school bulletins, e-mails, and other communications both in paper and electronic forms. This school blog will allow constant contact between the administration/teacher and also teacher/teacher. No longer will important information be spread throughout different media. Teachers will only have to refresh their homepage (Homepage will be set to school blog), and all correspondences will be right there. The first aspect of this proposal is the use of a school based blog. (2,3 http://principalnays.blogspot.com/; http://www.butlerville.net/) The previous examples shown give good insight into the usefulness and value of school and community blogs. The blog aspect of this proposal will be run by the school administrator and John Polinick.
The second aspect of this proposal consists of teacher collaboration via a grade based wiki. Since there are grades K-6 in the school, there will be 7 individual wiki pages created. The creation of these wikis will help organize information important to each grade level. One of the initial problems with web technology is that this type of communication is often bulky, general, or it doesn’t pertain to you. We all have had junk mail fill our inbox, and out of the 100 emails that day, only 10 are useful. Many grade 5 teachers will not be interested in testing conducted by kindergarten teachers, nor will grade 1 teachers need to know about NECAP prep. These personal questions and issues shouldn’t take up the time of everyone and should be posted on a grade level wiki rather than the school blog. The purpose of the wiki is to participate in discussions that pertain to you. Teachers will be more apt to use both the blog and wiki if they feel it is a useful tool.
Possible Roadblocks:
There are a substantial amount of roadblocks when trying to implement new technology and ideas into a school environment.
 First and foremost the technology has to be manageable, available, and supported.
 Perceived costs of proposal
 Willingness of teachers to learn new technology
 Acceptance of key ideas regarding the importance of technology especially blogs and wikis.
 Teacher technology phobia
 Training for administrator of blog
 Training of staff to utilize the tools appropriately and successfully
 In School time where teachers can discuss, interact, and train
Combined, some of these obstacles seem to make implementation of this proposal very difficult, but once these possible roadblocks are managed and isolated success isn’t far away.
In terms of technology, every classroom in the school is equipped with at least one working computer that is connected to the internet. Nearly all teachers also have internet access in their homes, and have been receiving school based e-mails since September 2007. Teachers have to log in to the school webmail, and they have to read, print, and sometimes respond to these e-mails.
The software that will be used for both the blog and the wiki are off site and controlled by a third parties. The use of their technology and data storage space will keep the cost of this proposal minimal. (Blogger/Wikispaces)
The training of the staff to use and implement this proposal can be done at various times throughout the year. Starting with the first day of teacher training in August (1.5 hours, blog and wiki introductions, uses, and how to demonstrations) the staff will begin their training. Once the initial training and introduction to the technology are completed, the staff can start using the blog site and small edits on the wiki. Both of which are limited in technicality and effort. Once the staff is trained initially, teachers will use common planning time during the school day( 1hr available weekly), and after school professional development( 39 hrs yearly) to build upon previous skills and experiences. Though all of these hours will not be necessary, they are an option to the administration to use when and if needed.
Probably the most difficult aspect of implementation will be convincing the staff that this is something needed, useful, and inevitable. There are many older teachers in the school who are not so pleased with change. The first orientation day will consist of the Power Point presentation:EDC921 session 2 and Session 8. Both will be trimmed down for quantity and need. Following the power point presentations, staff will observe the following sites that demonstrate the usefulness of blogs and wikis. After previewing a few sites using blogs and wikis, I will then present my classroom blog and wiki to the teachers. Teachers will then see the outline and format for the school blog/wiki. The following three sources will be used and other sites visited by clicking links contained there.
1. http://my-ecoach.com/online/webresourcelist.php?rlid=4992 This site is titled Classroom Blogs and Wikis, by Dave Caldwell. It offers sites to create, view, and explore blogs and other web based technology. In addition to these, the site contains a Tips for Teacher’s section that will be very useful for new and old bloggers alike. Topics covered, Educational Bloggers' Network Tips and resources for educational blogging, eThemes' Journals and Blogs Several resources for educators that want to create online journals or blogs, Blogger Tips and Tricks Directions for changing code and removing the “next blog” button for students, Educational Wikis-Eduwiki Examples and ideas for using wikis in schools., Educator Videos on Wikis Videos from educators that are using wikis. Contains advice. Classroom teacher blogs and wikis Mr. C’s Classroom blog is shown here, and is a great example of the great gadgets available to the classroom teacher. http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/ Also, there is a well written wiki example and how it can be used in the classroom on various topics. Mrs. L’s collaborative learning wiki located at http://collaborative-learning.wikispaces.com/
2. http://anne.teachesme.com/2007/01/17/rationale-for-educational-blogging/
a. This site will be shown and copies of the information regarding rationale for blogging read and discussed.
3. http://rfkfamily.blogspot.com
a. This site is my classroom site. The RKF Family site contains blogs facilitated by the teacher along with student comments. Children have moved to the point where they post and then the class comments. It is primarily used for writing and student work on the blog is mandatory and part of the classroom work. The wiki is for their questions, answers, and any other writing they may want to add.

Hopefully, after becoming aware and accustomed to blogging and wikis, all of not most teachers will be willing to give this technology a try. While there are teachers who are stuck in the past, many teachers are willing to try something new. Especially if they see their peers being successful with it. Teachers will become more comfortable with time, and as long as the administration follows through and leads by example, the bumps will be few and far between. The technology is simple to use, but can get as advanced as the staff would like to be.
To accomplish the goals in this proposal, Two software applications are required. First, the school website will be created by Google’s Blogger. Blogger is free to use and has many useful tools available. In addition to the Power Point sources listed in Session 2 and Session 8, Blogger has many useful tutorials, discussion sites, and software programs that will prove beneficial for the school and also individual teachers willing to try blogging in their classroom. The second aspect of the proposal is the wiki. I have used wikispaces for both professional and personal uses. It is simple and effective. The wiki can be linked to the blog and used as an extension of the school community.
Finally, the initiation of this proposal will bring Robert F. Kennedy into the new technological era. This current proposal is just the tip of the iceberg. It is a beginning, a start. Hopefully, teachers will see the usefulness of blogging and wikis and add them to their classrooms. Teachers will facilitate while students interact through podcasts, video clips, photos, I.M., blogs, and wikis. It will provide services for both students and teachers that will inevitably be needed and utilized in the very near future. Children live in a time where it is more common to; use an ATM card than cash, to text a friend rather than call them, to talk with people they have never met than talk with their neighbor, to read media from non-printed sources rather than printed sources. In an ever-shrinking world, children and adults must look at new ways and technologies as a way of life. Web 2.0 isn’t going away and if we have to be a part of it, let’s make it the way we want. If not, we will be left behind trying to fill a generation gap that is greater than there has ever been before.

1. http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_SNS_Data_Memo_Jan_2007.pdf Uses of Blogs and Students #’s using internet.
2. http://principalnays.blogspot.com/ An example of a principal’s blog
3. http://www.butlerville.net/ This is an example of a school blog. In the blog, teachers have their own blog page along with all types of contact, e-mail, newsletters, and even the lunch menu.
4. http://tcea.blogspot.com/ - this site is a very useful tool in describing the use, history, tools, and resources for individuals interested in learning/utilizing blogs.
5. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/blogboard/ : Teacher Magazine's look at what's new and noteworthy in educator blogs. Is a great source for teacher related information from technology to sports and activities there are many posts that insight discussion and thought.

Rosemary Driscoll said...

I'm intrigued by the notion of reconsidering textbooks. I think the cost benefits for school districts is substantial and I like the idea of preparing a "guidebook" students use to explore content. My biggest concern is with validity of information. That was my concern about wikis before this class began and it remains a concern, albeit a slightly smaller one. Wikis, in my opinion can offer the perfect opportunity to teach students information literacy skills. In order to use a wiki, a student must be more critical and discerning. I agree we need an alternative to textbooks for obvious reasons, cost and currency specifically, so I'm open to this exploration. But, I wonder about storage of information. I just don't want libraries to become obsolete as physical institutions.

Deliverable #3

A Presentation to the Administration and PTO,
Edward R. Martin Middle School

Joan O’Halloran, 8th Grade Science Teacher, ER Martin Middle School, East Providence
Rosemary Driscoll, Library Media Specialist, ER Martin Middle School, East Providence

We would like to introduce to you Web 2.0 technology, a group of tools that can benefit the Martin Middle School community of students, teachers, and parents. Specifically, we ask you to consider allowing the implementation of two tools – web logs (blogs) and wikis.

A blog is an online journal where users can comment on the postings of the administrator of the blog, as well as the comments of blog participants and only the administrator can edit. In an educational setting, blogs provide students with a space for sharing, discussing, and collaborating on classroom work. Wiki software allows users to create and edit web page content. Blogs and wikis allow users to hyperlink additional information to their posts. Administrators of blogs and wikis have the ability to preview and approve all postings and edits prior to publishing. Blogs and wikis may be public – viewed by everyone, or private – accessed by authorized users, at the discretion of the administrator.

Software: We would suggest using www.blogger.com and www.wikispaces.com software. Both offer easy to follow tutorials for set-up and customizing of pages and both are free.

Wikis facilitate learning in several ways. Students can work on group projects at school or at home. Their research and work is saved on the wiki and accessible from any computer. Assignments, course materials, study guides, etc. can be posted on the class wiki. Useful articles, websites, videos, tutorials and other resources can be placed on a wiki and accessed from any computer with internet access. The following is an example of a biology teacher’s wiki: www.youngbiology.wikidot.com. Wikis give students as well as teachers the ability to develop their own page on an approved topic. Visit www.123biology.wetpaint.com for an example of a student-created biology page, complete with animations and educational games.

The capacity to use blogs opens up the possibility for students to communicate with scientists who are actively involved in collecting and analyzing data. The Polar Science Project, http://www.polar06.yesican-projects.ca/Blog/, is an outstanding example of scientists and students using a blog to communicate and collaborate. The blog is hosted by McMaster University. It connects students and teachers with 2 teams of scientists studying Weddell seals in the Antarctic. Students correspond with as well as follow scientists engaged in real-time research.

After taking a graduate course on “Using Blogs and Wikis to Foster Literacy,” it is clear to us that this technology is not only here to stay but can be harnessed by educators in an exciting and beneficial way. Additionally, this technology is currently being used on a daily basis by our students through sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Wikipedia with the benefit of guidance. Our students need tools with which to sift through, evaluate, and organize vast amounts of information. Starting this process at the middle school level makes sense.

Reading, viewing and listening to examples of students using these technologies convinced us that those students are more engaged in content, have more meaningful practice writing and thinking critically, and appear more motivated to learn. For examples of teachers currently using these technologies in their classrooms, please visit the following sites:

www.teacherlibrarianwiki.pbwiki.com
This is a site for teacher librarians to share information and best practices in information literacy. It also provides a wealth of information and links to research and literature sources.

http://calaisbluedevils.pbwiki.com/
An example of how a middle school in Maine is using a wiki across the curriculum

www.westwood.wikispaces.com/
This is an example of a wiki being used by a school district in Georgia.
It is maintained by a computer science teacher with information for her classes but
Has district wide news and information as well.

http://primaryextension.wikispaces.com/
This is classroom wiki that is devoted to global warming and climate change issues.

http://stanleyyelnats.wikispaces.com/
A very cool wiki based entirely on the classic book Holes by Louis Sachar,
a great example of using a wiki to examine a work of fiction in the classroom.

Mrs. O’Halloran and I would like to set up wikis and blogging for an end of the year project for House B 8th grade students. Student permission slips will be sent home for parents to sign as well as an explanation of this technology. The Decades Project is a multidisciplinary project that requires students, in small groups, to research significant events in a chosen decade relating to math, science, social studies, and English. The research will be conducted in the library media center with Mrs. Driscoll instructing and helping students create their wikis and blogs. Upon completion of this project, we hope to expand these wikis to include relevant organizers, tutorials, assignments/rubrics, and showcase student work with student-generated descriptions of current topics in class.




Recent SALT visit findings revealed that parents feel that communication with teachers concerning their children needs improvement. It is our hope that using wikis and blogs will provide a venue for improving parent involvement and communication between parents and teachers. Classroom wikis and blogs can be accessed from home where parents can see student work and progress. We believe that using this technology will improve writing and research skills. Recent NECAP scores support the need for innovative practices to improve our students’ reading and writing skills. We believe that writing and publishing on wikis and blogs leads to improved motivation, reading comprehension, and writing skills.

Potential roadblocks to using this technology in the district include:

• Blogging is currently blocked in the district
• Access to working computers in teachers’ classrooms is limited
• Faculty will need to be introduced to and trained in using this technology
• Parents need to be informed and need to support this initiative
• Issues of online safety need to be addressed and assuaged
• Issues of educational relevance

Potential solutions to these roadblocks include:

• Student safety will be addressed with a user policy signed by parents and students (see Woodward Academy : Students » Policies » Acceptable Use Agreement for an example Acceptable Use Policy that could be modified to suit EP Schools needs). Bad behavior online will result in consequences. Permissions for use of blogs and wikis will be in place when students create them. Outside users will not be permitted. When necessary, students can use pseudonyms.
• With the help of the Martin administration, an appeal to the director of technology for the City of East Providence will be made regarding allowing access to blogs and wikis.
• Mrs. O’Halloran and Mrs. Driscoll will offer professional development after school for faculty interested in learning more about wikis and blogs and how to use them effectively in the classroom
• Working computers in all of the classrooms remains an issue. Mrs. Driscoll had received computers over the years with grant money. If this continues, older computers from the library can be passed along to teachers in need.
• A bibliography of relevant articles is attached to this proposal concerning educational relevance of using blogs and wikis in the classroom.

mrsohalloran said...

Joan O’Halloran

This session tied everything together for me. I agree with Bierman – students need teachers to give them the skills to evaluate, organize, and apply information. Textbooks have strengths, and I’m not ready to give up the tactile experience of sitting down with a good book. However, creating a living textbook increases students’ opportunities to participate rather than just observe in the learning process. Blending web 2.0 technology with print resources lets us take advantage of textbook strengths and the flexibility, timeliness, and inquiry aspect of the web.

I agree with Diane Feole, voice is a problem with on-line communication. Our students need to be clear, concise, and thorough in their writing, as well as making sure that their communications have their voice. They won’t have the benefit of visual cues in conversation.

I like the Professional Learning Environment slides. There was a great link to a site that used Polya’s 4 step Problem Solving Method to discuss information literacy.

My proposal is posted with Rosemary Driscoll’s post.

miggity said...

As posted on the wiki, I chose to propose purchasing a private label for $1,000 from wikispaces.com. The small amount of money (in the big picture) is not prohibitive and it shows a different commitment to the idea of a wiki community than something free.

www.woonsocketnovans.com

This wiki label is a communication between all parties involved in the education of Woonsocket High School students, including administration, parents, teachers, students and community members.

The potential for curriculum integration is exciting. The Culinary Arts class can post reviews of local restaurants. There is an opportunity for students who are studying public transportation (most likely students with special needs) can map out directions from bus routes to the local restaurant being reviewed.

Also, the Travel and Tourism Program at the Woonsocket Area Career and Technical Center can create wiki pages with a real audience of potential visitors/ new citizens of the city. The History of Woonsocket class can also create wiki pages telling of the rich history of Woonsocket along the Blackstone River.

Timely announcements and updates of athletic/ music/ theater arts/ JROTC and other activities at the high school fosters participation and pride in the Novan Family. Family members, players, coaches, advisors, etc. can post results, advertisements, pictures and videos of their events- even as the event is in progress!

There are roadblocks, funding and internet security/ acceptance use being a couple. With the popularity of Facebook and MySpace, however, I don’t think that students need a high school wiki to be inappropriate. The fact that they have those avenues of inappropriateness makes the likelihood of it occurring on the school community wiki less likely.

Teachers can easily post the course syllabus, grading/ attendance policies and class assignments/ projects along with showcasing best work. This communication tool can assist support staff (resource teachers/ counselors) and parents to know and assist their students in coursework, as needed.

WOW! The potential is enormous and the upstart is minimal.

CAUTION! One of the wikis I was researching had advertisements in the side bar promoting a transgender online shop where you could buy breast inserts, panties to hide ‘extra’ parts you don’t want to show if you were trying to disguise yourself as a woman, etc. No good, especially during these times. Takes one bad apple to spoil the wiki bushel.