Monday, July 21, 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. I had the fortune of being hired to write an article on the topic. It was just published in May. Check it out.

Also, in this session, you will make your second addition to 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 Friday, August 1st.) 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
You may also read past participants' D3's there or here.
Good luck and have fun!
DF

25 comments:

jack'sblog said...

EDC 921 Deliverable #3
Jack Caswell
7/21/08



To: XXXXX, Superintendent of WWW Schools
Cc: XXXXX, Director of Curriculum
XXXXX, Assistant Director of Curriculum
XXXXX, Supervisor, English Language Arts
XXXXX, TGHS Principal
XXXXX, TGHS English Department Chairperson
Re: Integration of Web 2.0 technologies, and specifically wikis, into the English Language Arts curriculum
From: Jack Caswell, English teacher, TGHS

7/22/08

Distinguished Administrators and Colleagues:
Evidence everywhere suggests that we are losing the battle to foster literacy not only in this school district, but in schools across the nation. According to a November 2007 National Endowment for the Arts survey, teenagers are now reading less and for shorter periods of time than at any previous time. According to a 2004 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, fewer than half of American adults now read literature, and that number continues to decline. The increase in the number of literacy classes at TGHS and in the district, as well as the recent hiring at TGHS of a reading specialist in lieu of an English teacher is further evidence that literacy is in decline locally as well as nationally.
The prevalence of teenage computer use is often cited as a factor in this erosion of literacy. Indeed, the popularity of social networking websites, instant messaging, computer games, and e-mail has rendered traditional forms of communication, including print media, nearly obsolete. It has been estimated that today’s average 21-year old has logged a total of 250,000 hours instant messaging, as well as another 10,000 hours playing video games. However, the negative affects of computer use may be overblown. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 64% of adolescents aged 12-17 have created some type of online content. An April 2008 survey by Pew indicated that: 93% of teenagers write for their own pleasure; 85% of students aged 12-17 engage in some form of electronic communication; 86% of teenagers believe good writing skills are important for success in life; 82% of teens believe in-class writing time would improve their abilities to write, and 78% of them want their teachers to use computer-based tools to teach writing. A March, 2005 Netday News survey indicated that 97% of students believe that technology use is important in education. Additionally, a 2003 Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) study indicated that, “Students participating in the technology related school reform effort demonstrated average increases of 94 points in combined S.A.T. 1 performances over students who participated in the traditional independent school experience.”
Given the overwhelming evidence that today’s youth are immersed in and are creating content with digital technology, it is only logical that public schools should foster digital literacy – the ability to discern content accuracy, objectivity, and truth, among other skills -- in their students, and the ideal method to accomplish this is through Web 2.0, or Read/Write web technologies, such as Weblogs (blogs), wikis, podcasts, and videocasts. These technologies, if properly employed to promote student reading for the purpose of writing, foster literacy by enabling students to communicate, interact, and collaborate with broad audiences that extend far beyond the classroom. The open content should compel students to take more pride and care in their writing skills and final products.
I propose using the free, easily accessed and managed pbwiki software (details later in letter) to pilot a class and/or staff wiki for school, administrative, and public perusal and evaluation. A “wiki” (Hawaiian word for “quick”) is a collaborative Webspace where users can create content for instant publication or add, edit, and embellish content that has already been published. The potential for both instructive and creative uses of wikis in the classroom, school-wide or even within individual departments is vast. For example, let’s say I want to teach Things Fall Apart, but I want my students to familiarize themselves with the Ibo history, culture, and religious beliefs before they begin reading. I could distribute a list of questions to be answered and/or guidelines for information to be researched, written about and posted on the class wiki. Setting up links under different categories such as: culture, religion, history, and posting student created content under those headings would compel students to read critically for accurate and objective information, negotiate the content to be posted, collaborate on the research and the writing, and write grammatically sound, coherent, and cohesive copy for peer and/or public perusal.
Additionally, instead of giving students a list of vocabulary words from the text, I could require them to create their own word bank of unfamiliar words, complete with part-of-speech designation, definition, synonym(s) if applicable, and a sentence inclusive of the word, and I can give periodic quizzes on vocabulary from the word bank. Each student could be responsible for a minimum number of entries. Wikis have the added advantage of being multi-dimensional, so images and links can be added, and features such as vocabulary definitions can be embedded in the text. In this regard, wikis help to differentiate instruction and teach to multiple intelligences. Because most of the work is student generated and monitored, wikis are an excellent way for schools and districts to showcase student work. Furthermore, giving students control of the editorial content on a wiki affords them a sense of responsibility and ownership while cultivating social skills such as negotiating and collaborating. To get a better example of how wikis work well and how tech-savvy teachers and students can create a media rich, differentiated classroom, you can access the following websites: Sharon Peters’ wiki that includes projects, assignments, management tips, etc. at https://k12onlinespeters.wikispaces.com, or East Side Community School in Manhattan at http://schools,wikicities.com/wiki/Main_Page
There are countless other assignments for which wikis would be the ideal medium of communication. For instance, I could assign a project for my students to research local businesses and establishments and post information on where in the city they can get: (a) the best workout for the least cost (b) the best haircut or makeover, (c) the best fast food, (d) the best automobile service, etc. Or maybe they can post a “Welcome to TGHS” page for incoming freshmen that offers tips on how to make the four years of high school both successful and enjoyable. Students could write book, music, and movie reviews. All of these activities promote research and reading for the purpose of writing for publication for as wide an audience as the students, their parents, the administration, and the school board feel comfortable with. A good example of a wiki that is used for these purposes is the Stanford University campus wiki at http://stanford.wikia.com/wiki.
Individual departments could create wikis on which teachers post examples of best practices in the classroom, helpful hints on classroom management, suggestions for professional development, book reviews, etc. The possibilities, again, are endless, but good examples to see include but are not limited to: Rob Lucas’ (North Carolina) Teacher’s Lounge wiki at http://teacherslounge.editme.com, or the teacher resource site Curriki.org (http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/main/webhome). To see further evidence of how Web 2.0 technologies enhance pedagogy and promote student writing proficiency, you can reference Bette Manchester’s article for e-School News called “Maine writes a new ed-tech success story.” Manchester extols the virtues of technological tools such as wikis, explains how they are and can be used, and cites schools in Maine that have employed these technologies successfully. Her article can be accessed at http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/news-by-subject/technologies/?i=54003.
Parents, school board members, administrators and some students will have justifiable objections to implementing this technology. Foremost would be safeguarding students’ privacy. The pb (short for peanut butter because it’s as easy as making peanut butter sandwiches) wiki program offers options for restricted or open access. It is password protected and, although students need some type of identifier (nickname, school code number) to keep track of who’s adding or changing content and when, their real names would not be used. If parents, administrators, the school committee or even students do not want “outsiders” accessing the site, changing content or vandalizing the wiki, it can be password protected. Contrarily, if all those with a vested interest would like students to share their knowledge and their work, collaborate with others beyond the district or community who share interest in particular topics, and enhance their understanding of any given topic, then the wiki can be made more open and accessible with a simple click of the mouse.
Appropriate content and accuracy of the content posted on the wiki would also be a major concern. Although anybody with a password can change the content of a wiki, and the vandalism of wikis has been known to occur, each wiki should have a site manager (I volunteer for my class and/or department) whose job it is to maintain the appropriateness and accuracy of the content. Also, I would review and reinforce with my students the appropriate and inappropriate uses of the wiki before allowing any of them to access it. Students who violate the protocol will be temporarily banned from accessing and adding content to the wiki until they show they can follow rules, and I would make the creation of content on the wiki a part of each quarterly grade, so those who get temporarily banned would see their grades suffer. Furthermore, I would send letters home to my students’ parents explaining exactly what a wiki is, how their students would be using it in the classroom and at home, and the appropriate wiki protocol and penalties for violating it. The letter would also request parental and/ or guardian permission in the form of a signature. Any student who does not return a signed permission form will not be allowed to access a wiki. I will create traditional methods for the creation, evaluation and assessment of student work in those cases.
The administrative burdens (maintaining content propriety and accuracy, managing access, etc.) are time consuming, but I volunteer to take on that responsibility. The most attractive aspects of tools such as pbwiki is that the software is free and so easy to both use and manage, so training students and/or staff would take minimal time and effort. If pbwiki is not to administrative and/or school board liking, google documents, SeedWiki.com and Wikicities.com offer free wiki sites with a variety of security, privacy, and access levels.
The information age is upon us, and ours is a quickly changing world. Today’s learners should not be expected to learn skills that enable them to specialize in only one career. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today’s students will have an average of 10-14 jobs by the time they turn 38 years old. Therefore, it is paramount that we provide our students with all the tools, training, and resources that are necessary for them to be successful in the 21st Century. Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis, offer superb forums for students to develop, enhance, and showcase growing literacy and social skills.
I urge you to permit me to pilot a wiki site for one or more of my classrooms and/or the English department. It is my belief that you will soon see the benefits for all those involved, and in the near future every classroom and/or department will be using not only wikis, but also Weblogs (blogs), podcasts and videocasts to differentiate and enhance instruction and foster literacy.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any further questions.
Sincerely,



John T. Caswell
English teacher, TGHS

Erin Wright said...

Session 12 Comments:

This week I was struck by the importance of information literacy with this quote from the slides:
“Students don’t need us, the teachers, to give them the information, anyone now can type in a search on their smart phones, send it to Yahoo or Ask.com, and get an immediate answer sent back to them.
But they need the teachers to give them the skills to evaluate, organize, and apply that information.
That’s Information Literacy!!!” This is the definition of what teaching is at its core. We need to give the kids the tools to become information literate and show them how to use them. This is no different with from teaching them to read, comprehend and process what they take in.

With this in mind, I printed out a copy of “Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning”. I think these tenets should be as important to us as educators than any other.

I also enjoyed Julie Lindsay’s movie. Her method seems to be a bit like the idea of total immersion. She puts it all out there for her students; blogs, wikis, link after link, etc. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the mix, but as this course proves, that kind of immersion can be a great way to find the direction that you’d be suited to. There are so many choices to suit every kind of learning modality, and that’s a good thing. But to some who find comfort in a clear directive, this kind of immersion can be overwhelming at times, with all the choices and possibilities.

Erin
ps. Deliverable 3 to come later

Erin Wright said...

Erin Wright
Reading Specialist
Washington Oak Elementary
July 24, 2008

Deliverable #3

Proposal:
Implementation of a PLP Building/Parent Resource Wiki, intended for use with all students of Washington Oak Elementary School with PLPs, which will be called the “Personal Literacy Under Maintenance Workshop” or “PLUM-Shop”.

Description of Technology:
A “wiki” (Hawaiian for quick) is a web 2.0 tool that can serve as an online organizer, bulletin board, information storage place, and collaboration workshop. Basically, it’s a web page that can fulfill multiple needs because it can link to countless other places and features several different types of media and applications. It includes the added bonus of access and edit capability for any number of users.

Ward Cunningham created Wikipedia, the most famous Wiki to date. He developed the first wiki software. He called wikis “the simplest online database that could possibly work(2002)".

Service Goal of Proposal:
Using a free wiki building service, I propose the implementation of an online space where each student’s individual learning styles, literacy strengths, and weaknesses can be recorded, updated, and utilized by all teachers, especially the reading specialist for several purposes:
• Collaborative Teacher Resource-Classroom teachers and Reading Specialists from year to year will have a place to collaborate/discuss/record information related to each PLP student. The Sevier, TN County Special Education Department, in a compelling essay, reports that “Collaboration is an exciting vehicle through which teachers can plan and carry out an array of services for students with disabilities as well as for other students. Establishing a strong collaborative ethic in a school has the additional benefit of enhancing teacher morale and providing teachers with a support network(8-9)”.
• PLP Completion and Supplementation-Personal Literacy Plans, which require annual update, can be revised easily with the latest information on each student, as recorded and discussed amongst teachers, reading specialists and parents as a TEAM of interested parties.
• Parent Resource- “PLUM-Shop” will be a great place for parents to access up-to-the-minute analysis of their child’s reading needs. It will also provide a comfortable environment for collaboration between parents and teachers about needs and goals. The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory reports: “…the earlier in a child's educational process parent involvement begins, the more powerful the effects will be. Educators frequently point out the critical role of the home and family environment in determining children's school success, and it appears that the earlier this influence is ‘harnessed,’ the greater the likelihood of higher student achievement. Early childhood education programs with strong parent involvement components have amply demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach(3)”.
• Administration Resource-With “PLUM-Shop”, administrators could easily stay informed about student progress. “PLUM-Shop” will provide a place for data analysis of assessments, as well, which administrators can use to help improve programs and overall learning. Administrators would likely also welcome the opportunity to increase communication between teachers and parents.

Discussion:
Personal Literacy Plans are required by the RIDE for students not reading at grade level. Typically, the reading specialist assesses and records all aspects of a student’s reading abilities for the PLP, which is intended as a resource for all teachers. It provides direction for instruction geared towards that individual and his or her particular reading needs.

There are problems with the current model, however. First, the current model doesn’t provide for classroom teacher/reading specialist collaboration within its framework. No doubt, some teachers and reading specialists communicate before the completion of the PLP, and classroom teacher input is then considered/noted by the reading specialist, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a forum for open collaboration when/if it’s convenient?

Second, parents are not always kept up-to-date on the progress of student learning throughout the year. By current methods, parents are given the PLP to review and sign once it’s completed, once a year. It would be much more beneficial to allow parents to closely monitor their child’s reading progress throughout the year when it’s convenient. They also might have valuable input and questions that could be better addressed with the convenience of an open PLP wiki such as “PLUM-Shop”.

Examples of Wikis as Useful Tools in the Elementary Setting:

• http://jabernethy.wikispaces.com/
Mrs. Abernethy uses this wiki for her fifth grade class as a place to connect her class webpage, class wikispace, students’ wikispaces (which host their individual spaces with work projects), podcasts, cool widgets, and much more. This wiki shows some of the many possibilities for branching out.
• http://ktoponce.wikispaces.com/
Mrs. Toponce's second grade class wiki is, like Mrs. Abernethy’s above, a great place to connect the class wikispace, blog, and webpage. But it adds another dimension with the language, directly addressing parents to keep them actively involved in their kids’ education. This is a feel we might like to aim for with “PLUM-Shop”.
• http://iisorkr.wetpaint.com/?t=anon
This wiki is designed as a forum for parents, teachers and students to collaborate. This could be the next step!

Possible Roadblocks and Suggestions:

• Internet Access: Some parents might not have a computer or internet access. This can be addressed by alerting parents to the existence of the wiki, and then suggesting they utilize the Coventry Public Library, which is conveniently located near the school, to access the wiki. Of course, telephone discussion is always another option, but it’s still important that the parents know the wiki exists. They might be able to access it at friends or relatives’ homes as well.
• Faculty Reluctance: Some teachers might not feel comfortable using such a resource if they are not computer/internet savvy. It would be appropriate to have an optional Professional Development presentation for those teachers who realize the potential for “PLUM-Shop” but want more instruction on how to access it. This workshop would be run by myself, or the reading specialist team.
• Ease of Use: I would recommend wikispaces as a tool for this project because it is so easy to use and might be easiest for reluctant teachers to learn.
• Support of the Technology: There would need to be, of course, a kind of moderator, administrator of the wikispace. This should be done by the Reading Specialist (myself), because it is an extension/supplementation, primarily, of the PLP.

Long-Range View:
In the future, it would be great if PLPs and all related PLP folder materials could be located online, in a wiki. The PLP folder is often an unruly mess of assessments and scores which sometimes don’t explain themselves very well. There may be random student work samples, IEP summary sheets, and other various relevant materials, bound by paper clips or rubber bands, and all too frequently (especially in the latter grades) dog-eared and out of chronological order. If this material was all organized on a wiki, for each PLP student, it could include:
• The PLP plan
• Samples of student writing, electronically presented
• Teacher/reading specialist discussion
• Links to IEPs
• Reading Assessments and interpreted results
• Reading Log
What an improved model of the PLP folder that would be. But this “PLUM-Shop” wiki might be a great step in that direction.


References:

Class Wiki. (2008). Wikispcaes.com. Retrieved July 23, 2008,
from http://jabernethy.wikispaces.com/
Cotton, K., and Wikelund, K. (2001, August 31) Parent
Involvement in Education. NWREL-School Improvement Research Series. Retrieved July 23, 2008, from http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/3/cu6.html
Mrs. Abernethy's Cyber Chickens. (2008).Wikispaces.com.
Retrieved July 23, 2008 from http://www.ahca.org/news/index.html
What is a Wiki? Cunningham, Ward(2002). Wikipedia. Retrieved
July 23, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
What is Teacher Collaboration, and How Does it Relate to Other
Current School Practices? Sevier County Special Education
320 Cedar Street, Sevierville, Tennessee, USA. Retrieved July 23, 2008, from http://www.slc.sevier.org/tcollab.htm
Indianhead International School Wiki. (2007).Wetpaint.com.
Retrieved July 23, 2008, from http://iisorkr.wetpaint.com/?t=anon

Lynne Deakers said...

EDC 921 Deliverable #3
Lynne Deakers
I am proposing to implement a “wiki” (derived from the Hawaiian word for "quick") to facilitate the further development of our school Technology Site Plan here at Sts. Simon & Jude School. A wiki is a website that allows participants, in this case faculty, to create, view, discuss, and edit documents online. Each participant needs a computer with Internet access. I would mount the document in its present form to the web site ssjtechplan.wikispaces.com. I chose this wiki software because it is easy to use and I am familiar with the format since my recent class on Blogs and Wikis for education used this format. I would create separate pages for each section of the document. These sections will be designated in the left side bar. By clicking on the section name you will open that page. Each page is updated separately. There is a discussion tab on each page for conversation about the page. There is a history tab for each page which documents the changes, who made them and when they were made. We can always revert back to an earlier version if the changes made are not acceptable. Only invited members can edit these pages. Anyone can view our work in progress. The use of this web space is free.
Use of this Web 2.0 technology will facilitate our working on this plan which is due to be submitted to the Diocese in December 2008. If this works for us it could be a model for the WASC accreditation work we will be taking on in the next school year. This is just one type of wiki. Once the faculty see how easy it is to use wikis they will most likely come up with other ways to use wikis in their classrooms with students. Wikis could be developed by each classroom teacher for their classroom web page to keep parents and students informed about classroom learning, homework, show off student work, etc. Research has shown that a wiki is a cost-effective, collaborative, easily adopted knowledge management too. (3) People with very limited technology skills can be taught to use a wiki in less than one hour.
Once our teachers have practiced with this wiki as a tool for collaboration and learning, I am hoping they will want to try it out in their classroom. There is a growing body of evidence that Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and blogs can facilitate learning. http://pedagogytools.pbwiki.com/Blogs-and-Pedagogy. Students who use wikis and blogs at school are engaged in authentic learning. They are taught how to collaborate in meaningful ways. They write to a global audience and hopefully get feedback. Here is a link to a video presentation from a recent K-12Online conference that explains what wikis are and how they can be used effectively in with students. http://k12online.wm.edu/k12wikipresentation_highres.wmv. Here is an example of a classroom blog http://roomtwelve.com/?afec7ed0 where the teacher communicates with the students and they can comment and he links to each of their own blogs where they do their creative writing during the year. Their blogs are created within his blog space, viewed by him with comments sent back to students before the post. The administrator can totally control whether these blogs and wikis are private or public and who can edit them.
One concern about wikis in general is most are open for public comment and editing. Initially, there were concerns that wikis, like Wikipedia, could be easily vandalized since anyone can edit a page but research has shown that the community behind a wikis develops a strong sense of purpose and they create their own “watch dog” system to keep the wiki accurate. If someone were to make a change that is blatant, someone else is right there to change it back. Research has found this strongly discourages website “vandals” (http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=11264). Because the purpose of this wiki space is to formulate a school document we will only allow invited member to edit pages. Because the group working on this is the technology committee I think they will be less fearful of a new medium and eager to try it out. There is no cost to use this wiki and I hope the learning experience will be translate into a new tool we can use with students and teachers alike..
References:

* Davis, Victoria A.” Wiki Collaboration across the curriculum.” October 2006 K-12 Online Conference presentationhttp:k12online.wm.edu/k12wikipresentation_highres.wmv
* Farkas, Meredith. “Using Wikis to Create Online Communities.” WebJunction. September 1, 2005 http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=11264
* Lamb, Brian“Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not.” EDUCAUSE Review,// vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 36-48.

http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/WideOpenSpacesWikisReadyo/40498

* http://pedagogytools.pbwiki.com/Blogs-and-Pedagogy

Jeannine said...

Deliverable #3
Proposal addressed to the Superintendant of the Newport Public Schools and the Principal of Cranston Calvert School

Today technology is a part of everyday life for students. They have grown up surrounded by cell phones, iPods and the internet while most of the teaching staff is less knowledgeable in computer literacy. Web 2.0 or the read/write web is deepening this gap between students and teachers. Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report in 2002 called The Digital Disconnect: The widening gap between Internet-savvy students and their schools . They have found that many schools and teachers have not yet recognized—much less responded to—the new ways students communicate and access information over the Internet. I propose to close this gap by introducing teachers in the district to the read/write web and implementing a school based blog at Cranston Calvert School.

Description
Blogs or Web logs are web pages containing items of information which are chronologically arranged. They can take the form of a public journal, summary of links, series of book reviews, a showcase of student work or a collection of lessons. It is a collaborative space where readers can post comments and get feedback which may offer support, suggestions or contributions of ideas.

Service
The Cranston Calvert School blog will not only introduce teachers to the read/write web but will also be used as a resource tool. Teachers will be able to find links to our reading curriculum (Making Meaning) and phonics program (SIPPS). They can share lessons or discuss grade level topics or themes.

Filling a Need
While the city council has continued to cut the school budget and the professional development of teachers is one item on the chopping block I feel that blogs may be our answer. Blogs are a way for the Newport School department to use one of its best assets - the teachers who are some of the most outstanding, knowledgeable and dedicated professionals I know. Cranston Calvert teachers can post successful lessons, share helpful links and discuss best teaching practices using the school based blog. This is also an opportunity for all the lead teachers in the district to use their skills and share their knowledge with not only our district but the worldwide community of teachers and learners. In her article, Blog on: Building Communication & Collaboration Among Staff and Students, Catherine Poling reports that blogging provides a means of ongoing communication with other group members that would not otherwise be available for an entire month until the next face-to-face meeting. The blog setting provides a forum for rich dialogue sorted by multiple topics, as well as an online sources of related materials.


Evidence of Success
A Few exceptional blogs and some award winners that I would model the Cranston Calvert school blog after can be found at:
http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ an award winning teacher blog

http://lewiselementary.org/ great all round blog that includes just about everything

http://www.mpsomaha.org/willow/radio/index.html Radio WillowWeb is a podcast for kids
and by kids from the students at Willowdale Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska.
Each new show is called a Willowcast. Each Willowcast can be heard on WillowWeb
as an mp3 digital audio file.

http://fwe2.motime.com/ is a blog from English Language learners in Portugal

http://duckdiaries.edublogs.org/ is a blog that second graders created about a duck that built a nest on their playground.


Potential Roadblocks
Three roadblocks that I foresee in implementing a school based blog are monetary concerns, safety issues, and teacher buy-in. I will briefly discuss each potential stumbling block and explain how I believe we can overcome these issues. Money is not a issue. The specific software that I would suggest using is either blogger.com or edublogs.org. Both sites are free and very easy to use. The matter of safety is one that I find the most important. Our students are using the internet regularly and stumbling upon inappropriate material, sites and links on a daily basis. I feel it is our job as teachers to educate them on how to navigate their way through the on-line information. Safekids.com has a student friendly list of rules for online safety that can be shared with parents, students and teachers. Initially our blog would be private where only staff can access the information. However, once the teachers felt comfortable using this technology we would open the blog up so everyone worldwide would have access to our ideas. Lastly, teacher buy-in will be the most challenging hurtle to overcome. The majority of teachers today, myself included, were not raised with technology everywhere you turn. It is changing so rapidly that it is scary and sometimes hard to keep up with the latest and greatest new gadget or tool. My hope is that by starting the blog slowly, with a school wide book club where teachers can post their thoughts, they will begin to feel comfortable using the blog and be willing to add their expertise and post regularly to the site.

A Hope for the Future
My hope is that teachers will see the benefit of using blogs and will be open to trying them in their own classroom with the students. We can then begin to build a collaborative school blog that is used as a model for the rest of the district. If all goes well I would like to move forward with other Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and RSS feeds.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your ideas on this proposal in the coming weeks.


References
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson

Blogging and RSS — The “What’s It?” and “How To” of Powerful New Web Tools for Educators
by Will Richardson

Educational Blogging by Stephen Downes http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dgpppkm4_409hmx72ffn
Blog On: Building Communication & Collaboration Among Staff & Students by Catherine Poling
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/2a/19/40.pdf

Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report in 2002 called The Digital Disconnect: The widening gap between Internet-savvy students and their schools http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/67/report_display.asp .

Joanne D. said...

Deliverable 3

I would like to inform you of my plan to integrate a classroom weblog into my instruction and ask for your support in this endeavor. With your approval I would like to set up a class weblog, also known as a blog, to serve as a communication tool with parents and students.

A weblog is an interactive website where an author can share information that is accessible for anyone with an internet connection. Posting to the site can be done from any computer and does not require specialized knowledge of computer codes. This format also has a comment component which allows visitors to interact with the author and with other visitors at the discretion of the author.

I believe that this service will fill a need at our school because as of now there is no interactive service that allows the classroom community—teacher, students, and parents—to communicate openly and share information conveniently. In the past I have used email and a static web site to communicate with my students and parents. I was only able to provide feedback to each parent and student once grades were assigned. With a weblog I could provide a site for parents and students to find information, ask questions, and receive feedback before grades are assigned, thus allowing more of an opportunity for improvement and self advocacy.

The following resources will provide you with examples of successful blogs, as well as professional articles that explain the possibilities of blogs in an educational setting.

•Bud Hunt is at the forefront of using web 2.0 technology and has a vast amount of material on the web to demonstrate how the read/write web can be used in education. The following link is particularly related to my plan because it addresses the possibilities that can happen when one builds community using the web.

Build Community: http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2008/07/01/goal-1-build-community/

•The Following link is a conversation happening between teachers that reflects on how important it is for teachers to stay connected to students and families beyond our time in class with students. This conversation debates how much is expected from teachers--more proof that the ease of communication is very important to busy teachers and families.

Who Is Responsible: http://inpractice.edublogs.org/2008/06/25/who-is-responsible/

•Alisa Miller has compiled an inclusive list of resources to demonstrate the uses of blogs, articles supporting their use, and tools that can assist anyone interested in putting blogs to use in the classroom. On this page Alisa includes hosting sites, tools to expand blogging possibilities and practical articles that reflect on the benefits and challenges of using blogs in schools.

Blogging Tools: http://www.teachingtips.com/blog/

•Mr. Miller’s blog encompasses many of the aspects I would like to incorporate in my class blog. Here he has an assignment calendar, links to his syllabus, instructions about blogging assignments, and a vast amount of blog topics with comments from his students. His contributions are broad and his interactions with students and parents are clearly beneficial.

Mr. Miller's Blog:http://millersenglish10.blogspot.com/search/label/homewor

There are possible roadblocks to consider before blindly implementing this technology; however, because my proposal is limited to my classroom, I believe that there are fewer challenges to consider. One challenge that is first foremost on most educators’ minds is security. I have already designed my blog to minimize the security risks by having all post sent to my email before they appear on the blog. I will provide my students with a clear and concise set of rules for blogging before they are introduced to classroom blog. A contract has been drawn up and will be sent home with students for parents to review and approve. As with all technology, the students and parents will be reminded often that any use of technology for educational purposes must fit within the Acceptable Use Policy administered by the school district. Another possible roadblock may be lack of participation. I realize that this is a new concept for students and parents and it may take awhile before the benefits are truly realized. Therefore, I will not require the use of the blog right away, but will continue to encourage parents and students throughout the first quarter to visit the blog. I may even put in an incentive program for those who leave comments. The issue of time to manage the blog may also be seen by some as a roadblock. However, I believe that once the parents and students are comfortable with visiting the blog I will be spending less time sending individual emails, filling out progress reports, and making/receiving phone calls. Once in place, updating the blog can be accomplished with the first half of my prep period or before school begins each day.

I will be using software provided by Blogger because it is provided for free, is user friendly, and includes several tutorials that explain how to use it most effectively. Because the software is free and easy to use many other teachers may be interested in setting up their own blogs. Once I have implemented this in my classroom I would like to work with other teachers who are interested and help them set up their own classroom blog. This could easily meet my contractual obligation for a professional service commitment. Teachers may benefit from the successes and challenges that I will have experiences.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to visiting with you further about my proposal to implement a classroom weblog.

Comments on session 12 to come

Joanne D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne D. said...

I was, once again, overwhelmed by the amount of resources included in session 12. I bookmarked a few sites on my del.icio.us account including Teaching Hacks which Del.icio.us notes is also marked by 361 other subscribers. I actually thought it would be more!

The most shocking idea to grapple with from this session is the future of textbooks. I agree that textbooks are losing some ground given the technology and access to information we have today. But I can't help to wonder what it would really be like if our students had textbooks or etextbooks that catered to their specific region. I know that rural Montana, where I live, provides a very different background than the urban areas of America. But don't our students need many of the same skills to become successful?

As an English teacher I have several misgivings in regard to limiting the time our students spend reading from text, but for some disciplines hands on methods of learning are more effective.

The district that I work for promotes the concept of backward design and provides useful workshops related to this method. I do think it is more logical to organize teaching units/lessons by first considering the intended outcome then implementing activities and applying information that will move students toward this outcome.

Well, my hodge-podge of comments can attest to the fact that I will continue to think about the issues raised in session 12 and how they apply to my particular teaching assignment and method.

Brooke said...

I have posted my Deliverable #3 to the wiki. In it, I propose to my principal to create a blog for our annual Rooster Games. In order to participate 5th graders at my school and the Lincoln School have to read 10 books from the Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominees list. What I propose is that we create a blog that houses information about the event and allows for students to interact with one another before the event. Currently, my 5th grade teachers require the students to write a persuasive essay explaining which book they believe should win the award and why. I thought the blog would provide a fun way to showcase their work and then we could have the students comment on their peers’ essays.

The other aspect you should know about the games which is not clear in my proposal, because my principal is already aware of this, is that the students are placed on mixed teams. Currently the Lincoln School Librarian and I email pictures of the teams to one another ahead of time for the kids to see who will be on their team. The blog would allow the kids to communicate before the event more easily. They could even develop strategies for each of the different activities before they got there. All kinds of possibilities.

Let me know if you have any questions about my proposal. Thanks.

Brooke said...

Deliverable #3
EDC 921
July 27, 2008

Dear Dana,
During the upcoming school year I would like to implement a blog to use with the fifth graders participating in the Rooster Games. A blog, incase you are unfamiliar with the technology, is an interactive website where an author posts his or her opinions and other people can comment on his or her ideas. These posts are archived in chronological order. One of the main advantages of this technology is its ease of use. It does not require any knowledge of programming languages to write comments or link additional resources and a person add a post from any internet connection.

A Rooster Games blog would meet the needs of Wheeler students, parents and faculty in two main ways. First, it would provide a permanent resource for the details of the Rooster Games. Members of the Wheeler and Lincoln School Communities could easily access it for questions they might have concerning the event. Secondly, it would provide a place where students could communicate their excitement about the books they have read, help them to rally their classmates’ support of the book they believe should win the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award and allow them to get to know the students who will be on their team during the event but who do not go to their school.

I think the new format will generate excitement among the students and they will feel motivated to share their ideas with their peers outside of their classrooms. Imagine the learning community that could develop when they read, reflect, and comment on their classmates’ work. In his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms , author Will Richardson sums up the ways in which blogs impact student learning perfectly, “In general, students at all levels show more interest in their work, and their ability to locate and reflect upon their work is greatly enhanced, as are the opportunities for collaborative learning.” In addition to he also notes that blogs improve the way in which we educate our students in that they allow teachers to archive student learning for future reflection and to support the different learning styles of individual students.

Please take a look at this article by Jan Ray “Welcome to the Blogoshere: The Educational Use of Blogs (aka Edublogs)” included in the 2006 summer addition of KAPPA DELTA PI RECORD. Ms. Ray further defines and describes the educational uses of blogs. Specifically, she discusses how teachers can use blogs as instructional resources, collaborative tools, and as a showcase for students’ work. She concludes with a description of some of the short comings of blogs, giving suggestions on how to keep students safe online and allow all students access to the technology http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ738088&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&accno=EJ738088


To give you an idea of the different ways in which educators currently use blogs in education I have included links to a couple of sites.

1. http://www.uni.uiuc.edu/library/blog/
Librarian Frances Jacobsen Harris from the University High School Library in Urbana, IL uses her blog to keep teachers, administrators, parents and students up to date as to the happenings in the library. Posts include faculty suggestions for summer reading and information about a library in Cedar Rapids, IA where a former student works which sustained heavy damage due to the floods this summer.

2. http://ldelia.edublogs.org/
Laura D’Elia, a Lower School Librarian at the Fay School in Southborough, MA, created this outstanding library blog to generate excitement about the new books purchased for the library. Her love of children’s literature is evident in her engaging and creative multimedia and written book reviews. Her students visit her blog to select a good book, give their opinions of the books she has reviewed, vote for their favorites.

My idea would be to create a blog that combines both formats. I would include a page explaining the history of the Rooster Games, information about the event, number of books the kids need to read, etc. The other pages would be interactive. Students will each review one of the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Nominees and explain why they feel it deserves the award. They will then add their personal comments to their peers’ reviews. As we get closer to the event I will create a page for each team color where the students can discuss their strategies for the day of the event.

Whenever children showcase their work to a wider audience online concerns arise. Here are some potential shortcomings of the technology and ideas that I have to overcome these obstacles.

1. Safety:

There are several ways to ensure that our students remain safe online. The first is to set up the blog so that only our students can comment on it. I would suggest that we use the free Edublogs software since it is specifically developed for educational use and therefore includes additional security features specific to schools. One of these features allows the administrator of the site (me) to review posts before they go live. If necessary, I can also set up the blog so that only registered participants can view the blog.

Next, we must teach students what is expected of them online. Together the classroom teachers and I will model how to write for an online audience and how to comment on classmates work in a fair and polite fashion. We will establish a protocol for what to do if someone posts a rude comment. We will also specifically discuss why it is important that they do not give out personal information about themselves. The students will brainstorm additional criteria to include in an acceptable use policy for blogs. Ultimately, we will create a contract which students and parents will sign to demonstrate their commitment to following the community established rules when participating in this library blog.

2. Teacher time, comfort, and involvement.
I would like to try this with Mr. Furey’s class first. He has expressed an interest in using this technology with his students. I think that Mr. Furey and I can pilot the blog, fix any glitches that arise and then present our experience to the other teachers. We will use library, computer, and Language Arts times to complete this project. The classroom teachers historically have required students to write a persuasive essay detailing why the book of their choice should win the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award as part of their lead up to the Rooster Games. The blog will provide a different format for presenting their final pieces. As a result, the blog should not create any additional work for the classroom teachers as I will take responsibility for posting the students’ work.

3. Access:
Not all of students have access to the internet at home. We will use both library and computer times for the students to post their comments during school hours. Children will be able to post comments to the blog from home with their parents’ permission, but accessing the blog from home will not be a requirement.

Goals
It is my hope that:
1. Students will have fun with this activity
2. The children from the two schools will connect over a shared interest in a good book.
3. After considering the ideas of their classmates and their peers at Lincoln they will come to new conclusions about the books they have read.
4. Reading their classmates’ reflections on different books will inspire them to read a book they might not have picked up before.
5. Communicating before the Rooster Games will generate even more enthusiasm for the event.
6. Knowing that their work will be published for others to see will inspire them to take even more care and pride in their writing.
7. The students from the two schools will get to know each other some before the event in February.


I sincerely appreciate your consideration of my proposal. My hope is that this is just the beginning of incorporating new interactive read/write web technologies (Web 2.0) into our curriculum. I believe that taking this first step of creating a blog will inspire us to try other technologies in creative ways to foster the love of learning in our students. The possibilities are endless. I would like to set a time to meet with you to further discuss this proposal. Please contact me at your convenience to set up a time to meet. Thank you again for your time.

Sincerely,

Brooke Strachan

Mrs. Kiernan said...

Proposal for integration of an Edublog
Lisa Kiernan
Grade 4

The technology I would like to implement in my classroom is a classroom blog. A blog, or Weblog, is a tool, very similar to an online journal, in which an online community read an entry, and posts comments to that entry online. The definition of a blog can be found here courtesy of Wikipedia.com. In the classroom, a Weblog is called an Edublog, a blog used specifically for education. An excellent service that supports this technology is bloger.com. Blogger is a free site that allows for the owner of the site to moderate comments. It is very easy to use, just type and publish.
My Edublog will start as a communication tool for parents which will turn into a class newspaper for my students. In place of a classroom newsletter, we will be posting information, creating a classroom newspaper, on www.mrskiernan.bloger.com. Through the use of a blog, parents will be able to communicate with the teacher as well as other parents. It will be useful to have all important dates as well as homework assignments in one space on the internet. By parents subscribing to the blog via the RSS feed, they are instantly updated to any changes made on the blog.
Edublogs are becoming more and more useful in today’s classrooms. A blog can be used as a publishing tool for student writing, a discussion tool for book talks, or as an information/communication tool for parents and teachers. The article entitled “Welcome to the blogosphere” gives wonderful examples of blogs used in education and describes the uses for an Edublog. Mr. C’s Class Blog is a great example of how to use a blog in the classroom. There is a lot of information in this 5th grade blog, such as a science investigation on “goopy stuff”. If you read through the student comments you can see just how enthusiastic the students get and how much further they are taking their learning on their own. Many of them came up with “what if” questions to further investigate.
My blog will keep parents informed as to what is going on in our classroom. A blog is very easy to update and respond to. Students and teachers who have already incorporated blogs into their classrooms find that students have a sense of pride in what they are writing partly because it gets instantly published to the web, and partly because the ability to comment on the post. In the article Blogs for Kids, Sharon Housley gives several reasons why blogging in the classroom is a positive experience for students as well as some links to more information on blogs and safety on the internet.
Many newspapers and news outlets like www.cnn.com, www.usatoday.com, and www.msnbc.com , utilize blogs where their readers can comment on stories they’ve read. Regional news sites like www.projo.com, allow you to read a local news story and post a comment. Our classroom blog will be similar in the way that after a student written story, people will be able to comment. For example, a post on a recent field trip may comment on by students stating their favorite part or by parents who attended the field trip.
One possible roadblock to implementing this technology is getting buy-in from parents. It is a scary world out there and students have access to technology at home, school, and even wireless access through video games. Students, parents and teachers need to all review internet safety rules as often as possible. This article from cbsnews.com explains how to help students blog safely not only in school, but on social web sites like myspace.com and facebook.com, which is popular among middle and high school students. By being diligent and keeping communication open between parents, teachers, and students, I think we will be able to educate our students to be smart internet users.
Students will need access to email if they would like to create their own blogs, like the students in Mr. C’s 5th grade. A site that offers pen pals through email, online projects, and monitored student email is www.epals.com. Through epals I can obtain a monitored, secured email address for each student in the class, free of charge. Epals provides a parent consent form for students under the age of 13. Each student needs to have a consent form before the teacher can set up an email address.

Creating and implementing a blog in the classroom is a new experience for many, me included, however when searching the web there are so many resources out there full of ideas and examples of edublogs. Classroom Blogs and Wikis by Doug Caldwell gives many excellent examples of blogs, wikis, and resources for teachers. In the future I would like to integrate www.mrskiernan.blogspot.com into a virtual book talk for my students.

Lynne Deakers said...

Lisa:
I really enjoyed reading your proposal. I would like to share it with a couple of my teachers to give them an idea of how you can set up a blog in a classroom. Another blog I found yesterday with lots of great links is
http://msjurczaktech.blogspot.com/
Check out the Rachel Boyd links and her wiki on how to set up a classroom blog. Also http://supportblogging.com/Links+to+School+Bloggers which is a wiki with links to successful school bloggers.
Lynne D.

Mrs. Kiernan said...

Lynn:

Thanks for the blog info! Feel free to use the proposal, I think the links work on the wiki, if not I can email you the file.

Lisa

CHSEinfo said...

Ami Sinclair
Deliverable #3
Grades 9-12

Proposal for Using a Classroom Blog:

To implement a classroom blog to be used with all resource classrooms at the high school level at Cranston High School East. A blog, from the term web log, is usually maintained by an individual with ongoing entries. Blogs can include text, audio, video, and hyperlinks. It is a place for students to express their creativity, communicate with others, and to advance their literacy skills (Wikipedia). I have started a classroom blog to be used as a reference for the other resource teachers. There will also be a section that will list all the people who are part of the blog. All of the students will their own blogs that will be listed on the classroom blog. http://www.chseinfo.blogspot.com/ The majority of students have cell phones, Ipods and love using the computer. There are also many students who become bored with the way they are being taught in the classroom. Having a blog for students to put their ideas is a great way for students to become part of the learning process and make it their own. Parents at the high school level complain all the time that they never know what is going on in the school. This blog will also be used as a place to go to find out important events that are going on in the school.

Evidence:
1. http://www.butlerville.net/
This is an example of a principal stated a school blog. It is a place to list all the important events that are going on in the school. There is also a section to go to visit teachers from the schools blogs.

2. http://fwe2.motime.com/
This is a great example to show that once the students start with a blog they will come back year after year. Learning is always ongoing. This example shows how teachers can show parents or whoever else visits the blog what is going on in the classroom. There are also examples to show that the students can use the blog to help them master certain skills that the teacher notices are lacking.

3. http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/163/report_display.asp
This is an example of how many students are using the Internet. This example shows that the students enjoy using the Internet to help them with school and they know that that they are not to use it to cheat.

4. http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=1337
This is another example to show how a teacher is using a blog to show what is happening in her classroom. There are links to each of the students own blogs. This shows that the students are involved in their education and are enjoying using this technology.

Roadblocks:
1. In the resource classrooms there are only a few computers so the students would have limited time to use them when they are in resource.
2. There are a number of students who do not have a computer or the Internet at home so they would only be able to access at school.
3. The students might not use the site as educational and can become inappropriate.
4. Teachers might not want tot take the time to learn something new with something that that they have no experience with.
5. With all of the budget cuts the school no longer is offering in school professional development so when will the teachers be trained?

Overcoming Roadblocks:
One way to overcome getting staff to find time to learn about blogs and feel comfortable using them in the classroom is to have a fellow teacher show how they are currently using a blog and how it is successful in their classroom. Students will have to be given alternatives to where they can access the Internet. They might have to talk to friends and make plans to go over to their house or get them comfortable going to their public library. A usage policy will have to be signed by all students and their parents to know what the consequences are for not complying to the rules.


Blogger Software:
https://www.blogger.com/start

The reason that I chose to use Blogger was because it is free and very easy to follow. It is also user friendly for staff, students and parents. The students can tailor their blogs to their own likings. They can make them as simple as they want or as fancy as they want.

Here is a site to visit to watch videos on how to use Blogger and all the benefits.
http://movielibrary.lynda.com/html/modPage.asp?ID=113

Hopes for the Future:
I would love for this to work with all the resource teachers so that all the other departments can see all the benefits to using a classroom blog. Hopefully the students will enjoy using the blog and will become more excited about learning. Teachers always need to keep up with the latest technology and using a classroom blog will help the students who are having difficulty become successful in school.

CHSEinfo said...

Session 12 Comments

This session was great how it showed that even though there is all this new technology being used in school there needs to be someone around to teach the students how to use it. The students go on the computer all the time to get information for projects and reports but once they have the information they do not know what to do with it. This is when they just copy and paste. I also thought the part on textbooks was interesting because many teachers where I teach do not even let the students take the textbooks home. Many of the textbooks that are in the classrooms are so outdated that the teachers do not use them. They find alternate ways to get the information across to the students. There does need to be a better way then the current way textbooks are being used.

Brooke said...

While going through session 12 I went to the TeachingHacks'wiki and found a section on geocaching. I read an article about this a few months ago and it sounds incredible. Has anyone tried it? I'd love to hear anyone's ideas for how they have used it or if they have ideas for how to incorporate it in their curriculum. Here's the link:
http://www.teachinghacks.com/wiki/index.php?title=Geocaching_for_Educators


Also, after reading your post Erin I thought you might be interested in these recently updated Information Literacy Standards. The pdf format makes it even more user-friendly.
http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

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

I have tried a couple of times to put the URL for the Information Literacy Standards but for some reason when it posts it cuts the address off. I'll try it once again:
http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf
Hopefully this works

Mrs. Matarese said...

Session 12 Comments

I found this session, especially the segments about reconsidering the textbook, to be very interesting. As I went through the slides and articles, I was imagining certain teachers I know and how they would react to the idea of doing away with some texts and employing wikitexts. I am quite sure that this would be a controversial topic among many of the teachers I know.

While the downfalls of textbooks are serious, they have a strength that wikitexts do not: they are peer reviewed before being published. There is credibility in that. So, for some subjects, like language arts, I think books are crucial. For others, however, such as science and social studies, wikitexts would be effective. It will be exciting for me as an educator, parent and life-long learner to see how the textbook evolves over time. I got such a kick out of reading about the student in the 70s vs. the modern day student. (In the early 90s, I thought I was so special with my Brother word processor!)

For Deliverable #3, I am proposing that blogs be used in the classroom. My proposal for implementation is posted on the wiki, as assigned in the syllabus.

Mr. Dudley... said...

EDC 921 Deliverable #3
John Dudley

Proposal: To develop and maintain a blog dedicated to my sixth grade self-contained special education classroom for the purpose of facilitating communication among students, parents, colleagues, and administrators.

Description: A blog is a location on the internet that is somewhat akin to an online journal that can be frequently updated by the author (or “blogger”) and commented on by its subscribers. In this case, it will provide information about events that are occurring in school, such as introductions and updates on units of study. The blog can be a place for students to share their thinking, such as by posting responses to readings and even commenting on each other’s responses. It is an interactive webpage that easily displays not only text but also images, slideshows, links to websites, audio and or video clips.

The service I have chosen to use for my classroom’s blog is called Blogger (www.blogger.com). This is a free service that has allowed me to create a blog for my program. The process of creating my blog was easy and quick and, unlike using our district’s teacher webpages, did not require a training session from any technology specialists. It is equally simple to use the blog’s “dashboard” to update, monitor, maintain, and expand the blog.

Because blogging may be a new idea for some, I tried to find some thinking that would help to introduce the possible educational benefits of a blog. I read an article from the St. Petersburg Times that elaborates on a fifth grade class’s use of a blog. I am proposing a similar blog usage for my classroom. It might also be of interest to note that the article is dated 2005 – a sign I take as indication that the use of blogs in education is not a passing fad.
http://www.sptimes.com/2005/08/09/Tampabay/Blogging_classroom_co.shtml

A further discussion of the benefits and uses of a classroom blog can be found in this article by Jan Ray, written for the Kappa Delta Pi Record:
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ738088&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ738088

Curious as to what a classroom blog would actually look like? Please take a look at Mr. Ahlness’ “Mighty Writers” blog.
http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=41233

Were I an administrator reviewing this proposal, I might have a couple of concerns. First, there is an understandably negative view of popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace as playgrounds for online predators. Will the classroom blog be lumped in with Myspace in the minds of parents and thus be viewed negatively? Second, aren’t there confidentiality issues inherent in creating an online community for students in a special education program?

Regarding the first issue, rest assured that Blogger gives me the ability to control the content of my class’s blog. Nothing can be posted to the blog by anyone except for myself. I can set the blog so that nobody can add a comment to any of the blog’s postings except for those who I have allowed to become subscribers. And finally, no comments can be published to the blog (even by subscribers) until I have personally reviewed and approved them.

Regarding the second issue, an answer again presents itself in Blogger’s versatile setting options. I can set the blog so that it can only be viewed by its own subscribers. I am envisioning the subscribers to be my students, their parents, myself and team teachers, and building administrators. Should we wish to make the blog viewable by anyone on the internet, I could request that subscribing students and parents use Blogger IDs that don’t feature their real names.

In conclusion, integrating a blog into my classroom will help create a community communication nexus for students, parents, and team teachers. Imagine the satisfaction that students and parents will have with there being one easy online destination to check the school calendar, or review when long-term assignments are due, or download a field trip permission slip, or peruse my classroom expectations, or view pictures of student presentations, or watch a video tutorial on that night’s math homework.

silverteam said...

I am with Mrs. Matarese on this one. The evolution of the textbook is a very interesting one and it remains to be seen what form if any will be available in the future.

When I was growing up in the 60's it was "Textbook or highway" in my schools. It was a splendid day when one of the teachers would do an activity. Although I went into teaching late the way I was "taught" played a large role in my motivation to teach.

Fortunately I landed in Chariho Middle where staff does not rely much on texts. Sure, they get used but we have a lot of hands on activities many of which are staff developed. The Science teachers here are very good at sharing plans that worked.

But a wikitext sounds daunting at first. Especially if I consider letting students contribute to its creation/downfall. But when I think that there are five teachers at the 7/8 grade level it seems more possible.

If Rhode Island had a statewide curriculum then just think how many people could contribute to the "collective intelligence".

From this session I also noted that the PLE is a perfect tie in for I-Plan participants. My next recertification will be in that format.

James McMonigle

Ms. DiTusa said...

I am including only a portion of my Deliverable # 3 here - my complete (and...sorry...lengthy) proposal is on the wiki. Why my name appears twice, I'm not sure, but the proposal appears on both.

I will have the opportunity to use blogs during various blocks in the school day (Type II Enrichment, Intervention, Advisory, Flex time), yet I plan to begin in the regular classroom setting. In our middle school, students in grades seven and eight no longer have a reading class, so the use of a blog in the following ways can revitalize and invigorate our reading program. At the same time, the use of a blog will increase the frequency of response-to-text writing, which will ideally lead to improvement in NECAP scores. The goals for this pilot are as follows:
• Students will respond to prompts about their self-selected reading – this will provide accountability necessary for our reading program and will replace the cumbersome reading journals. Many students will be able to blog from home, and the teacher can evaluate and respond to the posts from home as well.
• Students will respond to prompts about assigned reading, fiction and non-fiction – this will serve as a formative assessment, which will help the teacher tailor further instruction.
• Students will respond to their peers’ postings – this will challenge them to read critically, reflect on other perspectives, and respond in a thoughtful and appropriate manner.
• Students will write creatively as they do in their Writers’ Notebooks, applying techniques they learn in class – this will allow them the flexibility of working at home without time constraints and/or pressure and will enable all students to examine a variety of writing styles without students having to read in front of others in class.
• Students will build a literature center, which will include author studies, recommended books with synopses, podcasts of students reading favorite parts of books, podcasts of book discussions, and podcasts of teacher read-alouds – this will provide a resource for students who are wondering what to read and will motivate students to read more so that they can contribute to the literature center.
Once these ideas are successfully put into practice, then others will be added, both in the classroom setting and during other blocks within the school day.

Ms. DiTusa said...

For the record, from now, Jack Caswell will be doing all of my writing for me, whether it's my shopping list, my annual letter to Santa, or a note on a car I've backed into! Very impressive, Mr. Caswell.

Cheryl Simmons said...

EDC 921 Deliverable # 3
Summary
Cheryl Simmons

Again, I have a little different request due to the nature of my position. I have 2 part-time jobs as an occupational therapist. One job, I work directly for the district, the second job I work for an agency contracted to the regional special education program that services 4 different districts. In this job, I function mostly as a consultant to other therapist. Many of my students that I service in this job are medically fragile or away from school from some reason. In my department we have therapists working in 6 different districts, so communication can be a challenge. I decided to ask my direct supervisors of this part-time job for support for the use of several web 2.0 tools. First, I wanted to try the airset.com services. This was more for my professional tool kit and mayb those of other staff members. Anyone had any experience with it? It seems to have the best accessible calendars, which was my goal. I also wanted a service where I could place documents, templates and easy access to the wikis and other online tools that we create. I'm planning to setup a wiki for 2 projects and teams that I am working on this year using wikispaces.com as the participants will be from different districts and disciplines. Lastly, and most challenging will be the request for my adminstration to support me in approaching a district in opening up a blog service. I will need to get permission to use all of the tools, but so I included the blog request in with the other tools already accessible. I chose David Warlick's service as I thought the district might be more open to an educational blog service. I have a specific group of students, specific classroom and very targeted activity. Thought I would start small to test the waters. The complete proposal is posted to the wiki. Enjoyed reading other ideas. thanks.

Mr. Dudley... said...

I continue to nurture a hatred for the large textbook companies that dates back to my college days. So, it is with a vengeful glee that I watch for any developments that may negatively impact their profit margin! Go wikitexts!