Tuesday, June 24, 2008

921-Session 7-Research Supporting Edublog Usage

Past participants' comments and insights may be accessed here:


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Diane has tons of kids commenting.

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

  • Andrea's adding screencasts and picture slideshows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck and have fun!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

921--Session 6

One of the elements we'll be covering in this session will be videoblogging. This is the ability to post more than just text to your blog, but entire videos to help support your lessons. I've shown you a few examples on our class blog this semester.
One of the great things about this tool (there are many to choose from) is that every resource and skill I will be showing you can be done for free. You may read past participants' comments here: http://edc921.blogspot.com/2007/03/session-6-podcasting-and-videoblogs-in.html

Here is example of a college using a vodcast (a video podcast), to help them solicit prospective students. They've posted this to YouTube so whenever a potential student does a search for Franklin College they'll receive this video as part of their results:

This session you will have the ability to go into as much depth as your curiosity allows. There is basic, elemental information available, as well as advanced information, instruction tutorials, and text directions for you to recreate and duplicate what these models show you. Similar to the distinction I made with Podcasts about the ability to simply use this tool, as opposed to creating videos yourself, please remember that I try to give you more information than you can digest with the hope that you will revisit these sessions in the future when the need (or desire) arises.

Good luck, have fun, and keep an eye on the clock.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

921-Session 5

Due to the' time constraints' of our Summer session (10 weeks instead of the usual 13) we will be picking up the pace. I'll be posting both S5 and S6 this week. In order to avoid overwhelming you I'll post S5 now and S6 in a day or two. Check back here regularly.

If you'd like to read past participants' comments you may find them here:


Some people find that reading these ahead of the session gives them some well-needed perspective.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with Podcasting, so let me put it in simple terms. You have the choice of going the simple route or the more complex route. The simple route entails finding, listening, and integrating podcasts that have been created by others into your lessons. The complex route entails creating them yourself and/or with your students. Keep these distinctions in mind to avoid drowning yourself.

Someone mentioned that they wanted to know if it was possible to set up an "Instant Messaging" box on their blog. The answer is, "yes!" I haven't tried it myself, but I know that you can use any number of services, like: (http://www.plugoo.com/, or http://www.meebome.com/learnmore.html )

If someone has some success, then please let the rest of us hear about it.

This session brings us to a new category, "PODCASTING." I have found that teachers' experiences and exposure to podcasts vary widely, so I built in some 'Differentiated Instruction' into this session. For those of you new to the term you will be enlightened, and if you want more detail there will be hyperlinks from most slides that will give you that extra support you may need or want. Here is a video to give you a brief overview if you're a 'newbie.'

For those of you with more experience, I have integrated into the session the opportunity to bring yourself to the next stage in your 'podcasting evolution.' You will find video tutorials, and dozens of resources, that will help you rise to the next level of 'podcasting sophistication,' so you may create your own if you are so inclined. Here is a more 'research-based' video for those of you interested in that aspect. It's a little long, but the best parts are during the last 4-5 minutes:

For others, you may not have any desire to learn or use podcasts at this point in your career, so if that is the case you may skim through this section and focus upon your Deliverable #2. It is due by next Tuesday (June 24th), so please post it under Session 4's entry when you are completed.

Good luck and podcast away!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

921-Session 4 and Deliverable #2

Session 4 & Deliverable #2

To gear you up (and psyche you up) for this session I'd like you to watch this. You have to click on it twice. "Did You Know? 2.0" :

If you do not have a high speed Internet connection (definitely the minority of you) then the video (around 8 minutes in length) is available in other formats at: http://scottmcleod.typepad.com/dangerouslyirrelevant/2007/01/gone_fischin.html

As you begin to work on, and think about, your project for Deliverable #2, (details in the syllabus and please post in both the blog and the wiki) consider using these resources to guide your integration with the students:

Past semester participants' comments and Deliverble #2's:


Rubric for student comments:

And don't forget to visit your peers' blogs. Pamela's elementary school now has 11 bloggers, including the Principal!!! Wow! Her school only started on the blogging bandwagon last summer when one of her co-workers took my 920 class. Great job Narragansett Elementary School!

And also check out Jennifer Geller's posting. It traveled so far around the blogosphere that the author of our main text, Will Richardson, even responded by leaving a comment on her blog. These examples are just tip of the iceberg. Explore and check things out for yourself.

And if you haven't already, check out the Answers.com tool I've added to our blog. Just double click on any word and check it out. There's even an audio option.

You'll notice that Brooke mentioned some concerns with copyright issues last week. Copyright is a very complex issue, Brooke. I know some lawyers that specialize in copyright litigation and they still have to research different scenarios. But in simple terms I believe that using a picture one time, for educational purposes (with citation of source noted), very rarely is an issue.

One way to avoid copyright issues for online images, (or any other kind of file) is to do a search for files that are 'free to use and share'. For example, try a Google Advanced search, but choose the 'usage rights' option. Once there you can decide which kind of 'usage restriction' suits your needs. In this example, I did an GAdvanced search for butterfly, chose 'free to use and share', and then also restricted my search to Flickr.com (an online image site). It takes a few steps, but you can eliminate copyright issues entirely with this process. It also works for PowerPoints. In this example I did a GAdvanced search for caterpillar and restricted my file type to: PowerPoints that were 'free to use and share' and found these were my results. I chose the first link in my results list and ended up with 642 slides from the Encyclopedia Britannica (a pretty dull first choice), but if it was something that was useful then I could just choose the 'embed' option from this page and place it onto my blog w/o any copyright infringement. Like this:

Read this document on Scribd: Britannica Propaedia

and now you have a 642 page slideshow that is viewable in your blog posting. If this is a little over your head then don't kill yourself trying to recreate it, but if you are determined, and you get stuck, then you can always use the Blogger help section.

One of the education blogs that I subscribe to also recently wrote on this topic. Check it out: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1340000334/post/130020413.html

On another topic---Lynne and Joanne were discussing the editing ability of posts. Blogs are more static than wikis (which we'll be discussing later in the semester), so when you post a comment to someone else's blog and you want it changed, then your only option is to delete it and rewrite it. Lynne correctly mentioned that when you are in your own blog and you write a posting then you can always go back and edit it when you are in your 'Dashboard' screen, so these are some options.

Lastly, keep on checking each other's blogs and don't be afraid to post a comment or two. Those who have already begun using them in class would can use your comment as an example to the students that there are other people around the world reading their work. Just take a look at the # of comments to Erin's postings. Way to set the bar!!!

Happy blogging,

PS----One last reading for this session. It's worth the quick skim:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

921-Session 3

So there may still be some skepticism in some of you about the practicality and positive uses of this technology. After all, it does seem like every time we hear or read about blogs and children from the news media--- they have a negative connotation. Briefly skim this report published by Nielsen: http://www.nielsen-netratings.com/pr/pr_070117.pdf I am sure that you will be convinced that blogs are not a passing fad. You can't fake these numbers.

Some of you have begun creating your own blogs (linked in the left-hand margin). Jack is off to a running, (but cautious) start at: http://neverthetwainredux.blogspot.com/

And John has already begun practicing with creative headlines and sidebars, as well as with emailing his posts to his blog. Check it out:


I'm placing links to all the course participants' blogs as they come in on the left. Check them out and give them a comment or two. It'll be good practice.

And more importantly, Session 3 is now uploaded and accessible, but before you do that I want to introduce you to a simple tool to help you monitor both my blog postings and the comments from your fellow participants. Please visit: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/How+to+subscribe+to+blogs This link will visually walk you through the steps to set up a Bloglines account. Its primary purpose is to deliver to you every new blog posting by me and every new comment by your fellow participants. It has a lot of bells and whistles, but don't get distracted by them. Follow the basic instructions and it shouldn't take you too long. If you are interested in reading the comments and reflections from previous semesters then you may find them here:

Additionally, I'd like you to watch this tutorial. It is on 'Social Bookmarking.' We are all familiar with the ability to save favorite websites in our "Favorites" folder, but what if you had the ability to see other edc921 participants' favorites? What if you could benefit from the greatest sites found by other teachers? What if you could access their favorites, as well as your own, from any Internet connected computer? Check out this tutorial and sign up for an account, (optional) and help us by 'tagging' all the great sites you find with an 'edc921' label. If you are apprehensive, visit Del.icio.us and do a search for 'edc920' and you'll find all the websites used from that course. I haven't started tagging for this course, but maybe we could do it together.

Pace yourself this week. There is a lot to go over, so don't put it all off until the weekend, and don't forget to visit your fellow participants' new blogs. All addresses should be posted under S2. I'm also creating a links to each one in the left hand margin.