Tuesday, October 28, 2008

921-Session 9

You may access past participants' comments here and this Summer's participants' comments here.

This session will find us broadening the scope of our view of wikis. We will begin by taking a look at the benefits of wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools, for students, teachers, and the entire educational community. We'll view some screencasts and videos that give us students' perspectives, as well as hear from teachers from across the K-12 spectrum. Each and every one will be focused upon how Web 2.0 tools have changed the way they teach and learn.

And lastly, we'll end by discussing the fluid definition of the word, "literacy" and try to pin it down in a 21st century classroom---a classroom where the walls have come down and the world is flat. After reading your comments, it has become clear that there are lots of different interpretations out there.
Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments, insights, and reflections.

Back-up copy:

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by davefontaine1


KAS Librarian said...

After watching the evolution of literacy film, I am again overwhelmed by that word used over and over again--"need." We need to teach and students need to learn. Need, need, need. It is all true but rather than getting excited about the possibilities, all I heard was "you need to do this." It sounded more like a lecture on "why aren't you doing this?" but I suppose that is my own guilty conscious worried that I will never do enough. Consequently, my students will never learn enough and we will all end up on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Then I realize, I am spending all my time teaching topics like this and leaving out books and love of reading something in depth, instead of skimming across the top.

I wonder about balance.

My wikidave contribution is a rather thin addition on plagiarism under high school English. I might tweak it some more and eventually add it to my library page.

dgcap said...

I agree with Kas, that need is so important. Not only is it important for our students to learn how to use these up and coming medium, but it is also important for parents to be come literate in this new technology. I remember talking about literacy in one of my graduate classes (reading) and how literacy is developing into more then just being able to read the written word, that it also encompasses technology. At the elementary level, we can teach the students how to access and use the various media, but unfortunately, no one his helping their parents learn about these tools. The older generations are having a hard time getting a handle on this technology. I do think that web 2.0 is making it a lot easier than it was years ago. Especially with tools like wiki's and blogs, much of the hard "coding" work is taken out of the design.

I wonder what is going to happen in terms of the literacy gap across the globe. Thinking of the conventional term "literacy," parts of the world still have a low literacy rate. Part of that is due to low economic status. What will happen to the people, children, of those countries when books are no longer the means to learn new information?

My wikidave piece can be found here: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/The+Massachusetts+Bay+Colony. It is a short blip on Roger Williams. I unfortunately could not contribute much, since all we discuss in fourth grade is the history of Rhode Island.

T Weinberg said...

Session #9 comments

As I was listening to the video about literacy, I thought it was an accurate summation of my job description. When collaborating with teachers I try to incorporate the new concepts of information literacy into our projects, but the first battle is often convincing teachers that these skills are needed and should be integrated into the content learning. So many teachers want to repeat what they have done in the past because they are comfortable with it, but it doesn’t represent new learning of literacy skills. Unfortunately, sometimes incorporating new forms of representing knowledge can be somewhat messy- we may need to tweak the instructions and the rubrics as we proceed with the project. Many teachers are willing to try something new, but they often get anxious when they realize all the work that is involved as we develop the project. Although I assure teachers that the projects will become easier once the skills are learned, they occasionally are unwilling to try it again and will revert to their old standbys. This can be a frustrating aspect of being the library media specialist!

Since I spent some time today exploring resources for a 7th grade project on the 5 themes of geography, I added a very brief description of this topic to the middle school social studies page of wikidave.

J Wilson said...

Session 9 Comments
Literacy is a term that has evolved lately. In our district, we are rewriting our technology-library curriculum. Its name is changing from Linking Learning to Technology and Information Literacy. When were talking about it at a faculty meeting there were teachers who asked what information literacy was. I agree with dgcap that literacy is much broader term than it used to be and it is hard to grasp its ever-changing depth.
More and more teachers are talking about blogs, and an occasional wiki comment. They feel that collaborative web-based learning and writing is the way of the future. I am excited that we are having conversations about it at school. Questions about how to implement it and student benefits are being discussed. At first the management piece seems like more work, so some want to start with one small class to see how it works. Several have made it a personal goal for this year, but just don’t know where to begin. One social studies teacher has had some discouraging papers turned in this year, the students are not putting enough effort into their writing and not taking the opportunity to revise and resubmit them. He wants to try something new to get the kids more involved with their writing and understanding of the material. After some discussions, I think we are going to use a wiki. Students will contribute to create one class “paper” on the class wiki. They will input and edit the material. We will use the history option to see who is participating.
In the future, I think we will be issuing web ids for the students so that teachers will use them to invite students to join a class blog or wiki while they are at our school. That way each teacher won’t have to create usernames each time they want students to participate.

I added some links to interactive websites in the Middle School section for World languages on Dave’s wiki at:

yipf said...

Frank Yip
Lincoln High School

I had a lot of fun playing on Dave’s wiki. In ten minutes I added a paragraph to the Pre-Columbian America section on the Puebloan people of the American Southwest. It was so easy to add text, edit the article, and create hyperlinks. I can see the cooperative learning opportunities with this technology.

In the past 7-8 years we have been emphasizing reading and interpreting historical text at the expense of research. This is time consuming and we have had to cut out certain projects and historical research has been the victim. There are few opportunities for the kids to develop these important skills. Therefore, I envision using this technology to begin putting research back into my social studies curriculum. Since time is of the essence in the classroom, the kids can do scholarly research on selected topics and create their wiki page with links to external sources (similar to Ms. Wilson idea).

I would like to comment on the idea of global literacy. This is certainly topical for me since I was recently told I am “old-fashioned.” I was complaining that kids are less able to write in an easily comprehensible way because of recent technology. Is there a new form of “literacy” that is passing me by or should kids be forced to write in a manner that is clear to their audience? If the kids are texting to each other, I suppose that is fine if all can understand what they writing. However, is it asking too much that they write using proper punctuation and completely spelling out the words. Ok, enough of my rant.

I agree that literacy is constantly evolving. As educators, we need to be aware of the changing dynamics so we can respond in a meaningful way to the kids. However we also need to be aware that not all changes are necessarily for the better. Instant communications and the technological knowledge needed to access them can help but can also create as many problems as they solve. The Blackberry (Boo! Hiss!) has made my wife accessible to her colleagues and clients 24/7. I am not sure that is an improvement in her quality of life. However, I see the value of using blogs and wikis in the classroom for greater understanding and analysis of issues.

pstevens said...

Session 9 Comments

Pamela Stevens

Clarence Fisher’s video about literacy is an excellent way to further support why classroom instruction must change. The Classrooms for the Future grant that supports our high school reform in Pennsylvania is pushing teachers and administrators to change our curriculum, our pedagogy, and our own literacy skills. Just five years ago, I attended several local conferences on improving literacy in our schools. None of them really addressed the changing forms of text; the strategies we were using were knee-jerk responses to our state standardized tests scores and offered teachers ways to improving the understanding of print word text. There was little mention of other forms of text.
I wonder if much of the resistance to technology that I have encountered as a coach is a lack of understanding of the wide range of texts and the literacy skills needed to understand those texts. If the teacher has little experience with these changing texts, he or she probably does not recognize the needs of the students and continues to teach literacy skills from the mid-twentieth century.
The links to the teacher wikis, especially Sharon Peters’, provides a lot of incentive to incorporate not only projects that challenge our students to use and understand web 2.0 tools, but also to have our students achieve a level of metacognition to really consider their thought processes. I rarely felt I had time to reflect on my teaching, my writing, or my thinking; I am doing my students a disservice by not including reflection every project my students do.
My addition to the wikidave wikitext was in the high school English section. I added a section about John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. And Dave, I did spend way too much time exploring the materials. I was able to find online video resources that I have used for several years but did not exist on the web. I did really enjoy working on that project! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Session 9 Response
Pam Hurt

As I worked through this session, I was intrigued by the many opportunities we have to see web 2.0 tools in use as well as to listen to developers’ commentary regarding the challenges and successes of infusing this 21st century technology into today’s classrooms. Seeing the teachers’ enhanced blogs and wikis, as well as hearing their students’ response and reaction to such opportunities clearly reinforces contemporary teachers’ goals and expectations.

While we had heard about and used some of the technology mentioned, teachers’ and students’ comments in session 9 validated the theories we’ve explored. I found reviewing Sharon Peters’ commentary and site very helpful as we share the same discipline. Furthermore, her mention and illustration of Moodle as well as authentic examples of upgrading, integrating projects, and setting standards / guidelines made her site an organized and forward thinking example of technology…reiterating the absolute needs and rewards of such learning experiences.

Turning to the slides showing Kathy Cassidy’s classroom, I became envious of the blog she’d created and used with her young students! Although I have yet to try Flickr or Bubbleshare, it is obvious that such technology enhances instruction. As I work on developing and advancing my own blog, I’m going to incorporate these possibilities,with, I hope, less timidity because I’ve seen what Kathy’s young people can accomplish!

Next, I worked on posting at Dave’s wiki: http://wikidave. wikispaces. com/. While I’m beginning to become just a bit more comfortable with visiting, editing, and even creating a wiki, my first attempts at this rather simple task were awkward and time-consuming. While I already have my own wiki, I had only performed minimal editing, so, as I worked on my editing text assignment, I was very hesitant and clumsy at first. With each task I’ve performed, however, I can see how I’ve “grown”; working with new technologies has definitely “expanded my horizons” and, I see how such response will be a positive learning experience for my students and me (with us each functioning either as creators or respondents). With practice, my students and I will improve our ability to incorporate personal text and various media into wikis, I can really see how useful and meaningful such interaction can be. I posted information on the high school English portion of Dave’s wiki, contributing to Joanne Didriksen’s commentary on the American Dream. My additions include details on Gaines’ novels in paragraph 3 and details on OF MICE AND MEN and Langston Hughes in paragraph 4.

As I reflect on the use of this technology, I definitely see the value / necessity for engaging students, enhancing the learning process, and preparing our young people for the 21st century . I've been hesitant about using wikis, concened about students' unfair editing of peers' commentary, but experiencing how I can trace the history of posts reduces my fears. Like kas librarian, however, I too wonder about balance. I hope I can incorporate such technology into my curriculum in a meaningful way so that responding in such a public, collaborative, and authentic manner will encourage students to delve more fully into content and demonstrate more accurate and expanded understanding and expression.

Also, at first, the time factor may be a concern for me, of course (!), and even for some of my students. Finally, I wonder how often educators and administrations may encounter questions about such infusion of technology into students' curricula. How often do / will educators encounter detractors in our communities who challenge the need for such expanded literacy by citing cost, time, and past practices as deterrents?

PDLibrarian said...

A late entry here- sorry!! Thought the video on literacy was excellent. It really drove home the idea that these information technolgy skills are so important, but even more so, the idea of "information literacy" - being able to use and evaluate information. I have been thinking about this on and off since watching the video. It seems the world is asking kids to be much more sophisticated today- especially when the video talked about how kids used to just accept the information presented to them by the teacher (trusted source) and the text (trusted ? source). While I think some of that still operates, they must be so much more skeptical, and think about their sources. But what a great time this is in terms of being able to show and discuss multiple perspectives on issues.

I agree with KAS librarian- wondering about balance- trying to fit in so many important things at this elementary level. I think the only way to do it is for me to incorporate more online work with the sort of more "basic" instruction that is happening. More laptops in the library would be helpful! (we have a computer lab in the school, but the logistics of suing it are tricky...particularly with a 30-40 minutes library period once a week that includes books circulation. But, I could find other ways to get around it (like doing book circualtion at a different time to allow for a special lesson).

I made a very humble contribution to the elementary social studies section of Dave's wiki. I read a great book (kids books, of course) abot wampum last summer, and have been interested since.. here's the link: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Elem-SOCIAL+STUDIES

KAS Librarian said...

Since adding my part to the wiki, I have been watching as another section in the English page is edited. It is Pam's addition to the American Dream. Since I set the wiki to alert me to page changes, every time a change is saved I get an e-mail. It is great for the instructor because it is a good way to keep track of students' work, but that must add up to a lot of e-mails. Do you follow changes this way, Dave?

Anonymous said...

Matt Records
Session 9

Wiki’s is much easier to use than I thought. I edited the Heart Anatomy section of Wiki Dave’s page and found it very simple to add my information. I added a picture of a heart as well. http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/MIDDLE-SCIENCE

I feel schools will be moving towards eliminating texts in the future. I feel it will be an efficient way to save money and have less of an impact on the environment. Publishers update editions every other year to keep the newest information up to date. Using on line texts or Wiki’s, information can and will be changed daily. Plus students will be much more organized when the day comes that they walk around school with a PC that has their notes, texts, and assignments in it.

I am excited about implementing Wiki’s into my class room. This is exactly what I need to eliminate dreadful and time consuming note taking. I feel delivering information to students in an alternate way will make students more interested in learning the information I am trying to deliver.