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!



Brooke said...

As I listened to the podcast on one of the first slides this week ( I couldn't get the video to load) I was intrigued when he mentioned an article entitled "Why Technology Assesments Suck". I searched it and found the author's answer to technology assesments. It is a kind of paradigm shift to think about technology as process as opposed to a list of detailed skills. It made me think a bit about the benchmark skills we developed for our library at Wheeler. Some of it focuses on process ie whether a student can develop a search plan, but much of it focuses on the details of whether a student can use an index or boolean searching. Here is the link in case you are interested:

Jeannine said...

After going through session 7's research, I decided to go back to a few recommended blogs that I don't think I fully absorbed in the beginning of this course. The Tempered Radical was one I skimmed previously but today found it extremely thought provoking. The post was written yesterday and is titled, The Kids I've Failed.


Just thought some of you might be interested in reading it as well.

jack'sblog said...

Before I start on the podcasts, videocasts, and the self-serving "Televsion Goes to School" article, I have to comment on Dave's introductory remarks to Session 7, most notably: "We have to teach (students) how to evaluate content for style as well as truth," and "In this post-typographic society, we continue to favor print."
As for evaluating content, we should keep in mind that the traditional sources of "truth," as our generation grew up knowing them, may be the worst sources to rely on. For instance, anybody who expects to find the truth from the White House or the Pentagon, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or many other media outlets, including periodicals with both liberal and conservative bents, will surely be disappointed. I think finding "truth" in this society is akin to listening to two children tell their versions of why they got into a fight and then trying to piece together some semblance of reality. As for continuing to favor print, please back off all of you contemporary Guy Montags of the world, print media may still be the best and most reliable format. Anybody who gets frustrated with downloading (or is it uploading?) text on Adobe Acrobat Reader, and then scrolling up and down, backways and sideways, just to get to entire copy on the screen will probably agree. Give me hard copy anytime. Now, on to the pod and vodcasts.
Maybe the so-called educational cognoscenti, those who brought us the whole-language approach, open classrooms, "the new math," heterogenuous classroom grouping," advisory periods, and a host of other worst practices may have unwittingly stumbled upon something of genius with these pod and videocasts. If it were up to the advocates of these practices, students will spend all day in front of either a computer or televison screen, and maybe they're onto something.
While whitewashing a fence, Tom Sawyer figures out that work is what a body is "obliged to do," and manipulates his buddies into doing the loathsome work for him. On that premise, if we require students to spend up to six hours a day looking at either a computer or televsion screen, then just maybe when they get home from school they will be tired of the activity and want to either get exercise, read print media,or both. In a 2007 survey, the National Endowment of the Arts concluded that teenagers are reading less and for shorter periods of time than at any other time in history, and one of the factors is either the time spent on computers or in front of televisions. The National Wildlife Federation found that teenagers now spend an average of 44 hours a week staring at electronic screens. Naturally, the best solution to these disturbing trends is to force-feed them television in the classroom. According to the Television Goes to School article, "Watching television may seem a very simple act, but it actually involves a rather complicated thinking process," and "because brains are programmed to remember experiences that have an emotional component, television has a powerful ability to relay experience through the emotions evoked by images." I'm not even going to argue these two points; they may be perfectly valid. But the assumption that reading and writing do not involve a much more complicated thinking process than watching the t.v., and that books do not evoke powerful emotional experiences has to be patently wrong. The percentage of students who could read proficiently in the school district where I teach is only between 62 and 66 percent. By all means, bring on the videocasts and the televsion shows. What's reading got to do with literacy?
Speaking of which, I have to wonder about all this emphasis on the "21st Century Literacies" when, according to an article in American Educator magazine entitled "Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does - and Does Not - Say" 1 in 9 students in today's public schools either does not speak English at all or with enough limitations that he or she cannot fully participate in mainstream English instruction. Demographers also predict that the number of English Language Learners in public classrooms will increase to 1 in 4 in the next 20 years. It sounds to me like before we dive headlong into 21st Century literacies, we should first try to master those that characterized the 16th Century.
Count me in with the blogs and the wikkis. If they promote and foster reading and writing, despite the logistical and technical difficulties (120 students, one classroom computer, 2overbooked computer labs), I'm all for them, and I intend to utilize them as much as feasibly possible. Regarding the Boob Tube, you're going to have to go further to convince me. In the meantime, I'm hoping that obliging students to watch television and stare into computer screens at school will motivate them to turn those same devices off when they go home. Somehow, I'm not convinced it will happen, though.

CHSEinfo said...

Ami Sinclair
9th-12th Grade

Session 7

The Classroom 2.0 podcast brought up many important issues in education. There does need to be a new way to teach students who are struggling with just being taught by having to memorize facts. Many of the students that I have in resource get very bored with listening to a teacher standing in the front of the classroom teaching facts. If the students were able to listen or watch and be part of the learning experience they might be able to learn more and pay more attention in class. I agree that students need to be able to think and explore. Being able to collaborate with people from all over and listen to podcasts students can explore what is around them.

I could see how television could be successful in the classroom. Being able to see and listen could help some students learn. Students might be more motivate to pay attention. I do think that some teachers rely too much on showing videos. There are some students who say that their teachers never teach, all they do is show movies. I think that showing an educational show could be helpful but only if there is a discussion that follows it so that the students see the relevance of it.

Mrs. Matarese said...

Session 7 Comments

The articles in this session, though all one-sided, were interesting to read. I was especially interested in “Early Childhood Computer Experiences and Cognitive and Motor Development” more for personal reasons than professional ones because I have a toddler at home. The findings suggest that “early computer exposure before or during the pre-school years is associated with development of pre-school concepts and cognition among young children.” I must say that I was surprised.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television during the first two years of life. I assumed that their stand on computers would be the same. However, further research revealed to me that while the AAP doesn’t mention any ages, they point out the importance for “youngsters to become skilled at using computers” and stress that a parent’s constant supervision of a child’s computer activities is essential.
As for television and “Television Goes to School,” I still have some reservations, in spite of knowing that we remember about twice as much when we see and hear something than when we only see or hear it. I rarely watch television and have never used it in my classroom in instances when I have had the final say. However, after reading the article, perhaps I will entertain (no pun intended) the idea of using it sparingly in my classroom. I appreciated that the article included tips for teachers to enhance television’s learning value. The pre, during and post activities listed in the article are similar to those used in reading comprehension lessons.
I wonder if anyone has made a case against using television and edublogs in the classroom. If so, I would be interested in hearing their arguments. It is prudent to collect as much data and information as possible before diving into anything headfirst.

Joanne D. said...

I was a bit suspicious about the article written for the corporation for public broadcasting. I do think that some TV is appropriate for planned use in the classroom, but only if the information is best delivered in that format. That being said, entertaining our students using TV programming that is loosely bound to a lesson is a bore for the students and a waste of creativity for the educator.

Like Ami, I really enjoyed the Classroom 2.0 video. I think that the educator--I embarrassed to admit I forgot his name--brought up many great points about collaboration and reaching new information using web 2.0 technology in the classroom from day 1. His early introduction to his students is a key concept to establishing attitude and enthusiasm toward learning and using new technology.

I have to say, though, that this session seemed to have a lot of articles with cumbersome formatting. I was a bit tired of articles with too many columns that required moving up and down the page. Did that annoy anyone else or am I just too critical?

csimmons said...

Although going through all of the material for this session was lengthy, I am glad that it was all included. It is a good collection to be able to reference. Enjoyed the classroom 2.0 podcast, but was most interested in the Early Childhood Computer article, actually surprised to see that it was from the American Academy of Pediatrics and shocked that it was published almost 4 years ago. I am interested now to see if there is a study looking more closely at motor skill development of preschoolers who use technology and to those students who use it only on a limited basis.

Erin Wright said...

Erin Wright
Reading Specialist
Currently Unemployed (looking!)

Week 7 Comments:

Jack said:
“Count me in with the blogs and the wikkis. If they promote and foster reading and writing, despite the logistical and technical difficulties (120 students, one classroom computer, 2overbooked computer labs), I'm all for them, and I intend to utilize them as much as feasibly possible. Regarding the Boob Tube, you're going to have to go further to convince me.”

I’m with you there, Jack! (You crack me up, by the way…  ) Excellent post…very thought provoking. Thank you for taking the time to put your opinions into words. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also agree with Ami. I have heard kids say that some teachers show videos all the time and they would rather have human interaction from their teacher.

All that being said, I do think there is a place for technology in the classroom. But like everything else, moderation is key.

On another subject, I have had so much fun playing with the world of widgets this week. I’m actually a little bit concerned I am going overboard! It’s addictive. I visited many classmates’ blogs and shamelessly stole some of your stuff! I started out with the bookshelf from Shelfari (thank you Kim!). Next I added an Aesop’s fables illustrated widget I found…somewhere. Then I got caught up in making my own Voki (Thanks, Mike…so much fun!). Not to mention I have installed that AIM widget (Still not working, though, unfortunately.) I am afraid my blog is getting a bit too “gadgetty” but these things are so much fun!


Mrs. Kiernan said...

I do use video at times to support what I am teaching. I mentioned before that we had access to video streaming this year, (www.streaming.discoveryeducation.com)
We are also fortunate to have a projector in every classroom, grades 3-5 so it was very easy to use. I have also used some of the School House Rock series too. The video media really helped my special needs students this year. I had a class of 23 students, 8 with IEPs who received services in my classroom. I needed another way to reach those students as well as my students with out IEPs. Using video streaming, and other educational videos was beneficial to all my students.

It does bother/scare me when some teachers say "Oh this is great, I can put on a video and everything I need to teach is right there." I do believe the educational videos are a supplement what you are teaching, not replace you as a teacher.

Does anyone else have difficulty listening to podcasts that sound like they are broadcasting from outer space? Is it something that I am doing?

Lynne Deakers said...

I am catching up to the class this weekend. As for blogs and literacy I am still on the fence and grateful for all this material so I can continue to look at what others are doing and learn from their success and failures. I enjoyed the podcast on Classroom 2.0 (could not access the video) and definitely see why we need to change the way we teach. Giving students the tools they need to become "prosumers" not just consumers of knowledge is a clever way to look at the direction we should be heading.Konrad Glogowski's paper on Initiating and Sustaining Conversations: Assessment and Evaluation in the age of networked learning (http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=166) was outstanding and so practical in terms of helping students improve their thinking and writing skills.

Ms. DiTusa said...

My comments are based on some of the information from “Early Childhood Computer Experience and Cognitive and Motor Development” by Xiaoming Li, PhD* and Melissa S. Atkins, PhD: “Studies have found that computer use enhances children’s fine motor skills,16 alphabet recognition,17 concept learning,18 numerical recognition,19 counting skills and premathematical knowledge,20,21 cognitive development,14,22–24 and self-esteem or self-concept.23,25.” Even before reading the article, I was aware that early computer use certainly has its benefits; however, my reaction was this: What happens to imagination and creativity if the computer enters a child’s life very early? It is so important for children to explore their own thoughts and develop their own mental images, stories, situations, even sounds, especially since their level of imagination decreases drastically once they enter school, so if they are exposed to the technology too early, will it stunt their ability to create, to imagine, to invent? Will it be detrimental to their independent and original thought? Sure, they will be able to manipulate the computer mouse, but will they create and exist within a story about one and tell that elaborate, detailed, abstract tale (tail…) to their parents over dinner? I believe that in this day and age, we do owe it to the children to facilitate the use of technology becoming second-nature to them – they are at a disadvantage if we don’t - but I also do not want a child’s unique and joyous world of imagination to be sacrificed in the process.

Next, I am concerned that computer use limits social development at any stage. As children, many of us were told to go outside and play, to get fresh air, and to interact with the multi-dimensional people instead of the flat ones on the television screen. We (those of us who did not have video games at all or had only Pong, those of us who did not use a computer until they started college…or had children who forced them to buy one) played with the neighborhood children, learned how to share, told on our siblings, sometimes got left behind because we were too little, and were happy to talk to the creatures we believe lived in the bushes. No matter what happened, though, we were developing our social skills. However, children today are not playing with the neighborhood children as much or at all; they wonder how they are supposed to play anything outside without an extension cord! Are they showing improvement in their verbal and interpersonal skills because of computers, 1,000,000-channel televisions, iPods, and texting, or are they just becoming muted viewers? The same concern was raised in the article: “The arguments also include the notion that computers might replace some early childhood activities that are essential experiences to children’s physical, psychological, and social development (eg, playing with tangible toys and interacting with peers).10,12,13,32” Real-life interaction must be a priority during the various stages of social development, even though technology has its place as well.