Tuesday, April 14, 2009

921-Session 12-Research Supporting Edublog Usage

This session is research-based, and a little heavy on the statistics, so take what you can from the information, save the citations, and use them in the future if you need to substantiate and legitimize edublogging in the classroom.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Diane has tons of kids commenting.

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

  • Andrea's adding screencasts and picture slideshows.

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

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

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

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

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

And lastly, you'll find a number of links in the left hand margin that will bring you to screencasts for a few of Blogger's tools and resources. Check them out and don't forget to experiment with adding gadgets.

Good luck and have fun!


2008 Summer's participant comments may be found here, and older past participant comments and insights may be accessed here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

921-Session 11

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

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

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

Here are a few more tutorials showing you services that make podcasting seem simple:

And then this one from GCast:

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


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

921-Session 10

I thought I'd take a moment to go over the schedule for the rest of the semester.

  • 3/31---Session 10
  • 4/7----Session 11
  • 4/14---Session 12
  • Deliverable #3 should be completed and posted under S 9's comments before  (as well as placed on the wiki)
  • 4/21--Session 13----will be comprised of your finshed projects which are due by midnight, Friday, 5/1.

Please don't wait until the last minute to contact me if you have any questions, and as with all of these projects, "Practicality Shall Take Precedent over All." That means that if you have an idea to modify a Deliverable or Final Project so that it will be more useful to you in your setting then please feel free to pass your ideas by me. (I approve most of them.)


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

and those from the Summer of '08 are here

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

It is easy to get overwhelmed with Podcasting, so let me put it in simple terms. You have the choice of going the 'simplistic route' or the more 'complex route'. The simple route entails finding, listening, and integrating podcasts that have been created by others into your lessons. The complex route entails creating them yourself or with your students. Keep these distinctions in mind to avoid drowning yourself in S10 & S 11.

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

John D. (a past participant) mentions his success here.

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

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

For others, you may not have any desire to learn or use podcasts at this point in your career, so if that is the case you may skim through this section and focus upon your Final Project.  Next session will expand on Podcasting and address Videocasting.

Good luck and podcast away!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

921-Session 9-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 '09. Check it out.

Also, in this session, you will make your second addition to a wiki.

Good luck and don't forget to post your Deliverable 3 under this entry as well as on our wiki: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/EDC921

You may also read past participants' D3's there.

Good luck and have fun!


A backup of this week's session can be found on Authorstream.com Once there just search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

921-Session 8

This week we will be dissecting a wiki. If you would like to start by reading past participants' comments then you will find them here:

Also, someone from class asked for more information on how to get the 'double-click on any word and then get its definition' feature, so if you are interested you may visit here for more information.

I thought a lot about how to address this session and decided to stray from the usual presentation format and teach this session entirely from the blog. I believe that it is always easier to 'show' instead of 'tell,' so the bulk of this session will be spent watching videos that will help clarify the nuances and details that make a wiki such a powerful tool--as well as address the topics laid out in the syllabus: new literacies, wiki benefits, and wiki drawbacks.

Now, just be aware that there is some redundancy in these clips, so feel free to fast-forward through parts that you have already seen.

Let's start with a clip from one of the many companies that offer free wikis for you to use. This one is from PBwiki.com. They claim that making a wiki on their site is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. Please keep notes while watching these.

I hope you liked that one. This next video focuses upon how collaboration really works. It is a good transition from our last session on Collective Intelligence.

So naturally, these 'beg the question' about ease of use. Is it really as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich? Well let's take a look at an explanation.

And this one shows you how wikis can help educators educate.

And lastly, we'll address the underlying issue all educators have about using Web 2.0 tools in education----SECURITY for our students.

Now, in the 21st century, it doesn't take long before the major technology giants latch onto any and all good ideas from the small start-ups. So Google has jumped on the 'wiki bandwagon' and created their own variation. They call it 'Google Documents' and the details can be accessed from the link below. Please visit this site and take the online tour. While you are there jot down your ideas and thoughts to aid you in your post-session comments.

You'll immediately notice the similarities between wikis and this new Google tool. Those teachers from the Math and Science areas will find the spreadsheet component particularly interesting.

Google Documents & Spreadsheets

Now, before your head spins off from all the possibilities, I want you to take a break. When you come back we'll take a look at this 4-part online video course, created by the University of Wisconson-Milwaukee. It addresses some of the benefits and drawbacks of wikis. The great thing about it is that it is self-pacing and asynchronous just like this course. Again, I would like to remind you to take notes as you progress through these tutorials, so that you may post quality comments and insights when you have completed everything this week. If you feel part 1 is redundant then please skip forward to 2, 3, & 4.

University of Wisconson-Milwaukee

I hope you enjoyed the variety in this session's presentation and I would like to end this week's posting with a reminder that Deliverable 3 should be posted under Session 12's blog posting, as well as on the wiki.

Also, please keep in mind that the deadlines for D3 and the Final Project will be here before you know it, so please use the next week to get a headstart.

Thank you, and as always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

921-Session 7-Collective Intelligence

You may have noticed that I have added a cool feature to the blog. You can now double click on any word on the blog and you will be prompted with more details. The possibilities for a tool like this are astronomical when using edublogs in the classroom. Any word used by the 'blog author' or 'comment poster' can be defined w/o a student leaving the page. Give it a try.

Now, regarding future assignments---Please don't wait until the last minute to contact me if you have any questions, and as with all of these projects, "Practicality Shall Take Precedent over All." That means that if you have an idea to modify a Deliverable or Final Project so that it will be more useful to you in your setting then please feel free to pass your ideas by me. (I approve most of them.)


There is a renewed movement underway from schools, businesses, and universities. They are giving 'Collective Intelligence' a closer look. From MIT's new 'Center for Collective Intelligence,' to businesses using wikis within their internal networks, to schools using Collective Intelligence resources and tools in the K-12 setting---we will look at all of these examples, as well as discuss their long term implications during this session.

Keep in mind while you are viewing this session that your Deliverable 3 will be due, and posted, under the comment section of Session 12, as well as posted to the wiki. Additionally, keep in mind that the deadline for your Final Project is fast approaching.

As always, feel free to contact me if you ever have additional questions or comments.


P.S. Summer '08 participants' comments as well as participants' comments from previous semesters here.

P.P.S.  Backup copies of each week's session can be found on Authorstream.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

921--Session 6

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.

PS-As always, there is a back-up copy of this presentation on Authorstream.com  Just search for edc921.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

921-Session 5 "The World of Wikis!!!"

Welcome to Section 2 of our course

"The World of Wikis!"

This second part of the semester will take us down a new path!

A path that leads to more collaboration--

more cooperative learning---

and more opportunities to create differentiated instruction and visual learning---all with the goal of helping foster literacy, and learning, for our students.

Don't worry if you have barely heard of the word, 'Wiki'. Here is a taste of the excitement that awaits you when you download session 5.

Good luck and take plenty of notes because I don't want to miss any of your ideas, excitement, or insights when you post your comments!

If you're eager to get started, but still have some apprehension then maybe some tutorials might help. I've added some beneath the blog tutorials on the left.

You may also read past participants' comments:

Fall '08

Summer '08.

Have fun!


Backup copies of sessions can be found on Authorstream.com  Just do a search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

921-Session 4

Session 4 & Deliverable #2

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

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

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

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

Rubric for student comments:

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

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

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

Someone was looking for information on 'copyrights.' One way to avoid copyright issues for online images, (or any other kind of file) is to do a search for files that are 'free to use and share'. For example, try a Google Advanced search, but choose the 'usage rights' option. Once there you can decide which kind of 'usage restriction' suits your needs. In this example, I did an GAdvanced search for butterfly, chose 'free to use and share', and then also restricted my search to Flickr.com (an online image site). It takes a few steps, but you can eliminate copyright issues entirely with this process. It also works for PowerPoints. In this example I did a GAdvanced search for caterpillar and restricted my file type to: PowerPoints that were 'free to use and share' and found these were my results


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

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

David C. also mentioned,

"As the availability of 'going online' becomes more affordable and the price
of technology continues to decrease, I'm sure we'll see even more families in
our classrooms join the world wide web. With this in mind, educators must also
do everything we can to use the tools that our students are using in order to
reach them. It makes me think back to when the second or third generation ipod
came out... I remember hearing about the first colleges that were making
podcasts for their students to listen to. (Will we learn anything about

making/using podcasts this semester? - just a side thought)"

Well David mentions how some colleges and universities are making podcasts, but it goes much further than this. Dozens of schools are now recording professor's lectures (some video, but most just audio) and putting them online, along with the support material for the course. But even more powerful than this is the fact that they are also allowing the lectures to be accessed from anyone in the entire world.

It is part of the "Open Educational Resources" movement. If this topic interests you, and you decide to explore this path, then check out some of the cool things out there, like this interactive site on "Trapezoids."

Even more important however is the number of colleges that are beginning to subscribe to this philosophy. Just check out this list of schools, and then take a look at all 1800 different courses that MIT makes freely available.  We go into a lot more depth on this topic in my edc922 course.

I also subscribe to this philosophy. By now most of you have noticed that all of our weekly sessions are licensed under Creative Commons. We'll go into more detail later in the semester about this movement when we begin talking about 'wikis' and start to create and edit some.

David also mentions,

"I remember Dave mentioning that he doesn't even have to log on to the
blog to make comments.. he can do it from his email. Was I just hearing things
wrong? If not, I am not sure where to go to set up my blog so I can work though
my email. If that is possible, then I could open one less application and work
solely though Mail."

Well, when you are logged into your Blogger account go to the Dashboard option and from there choose, 'Settings' and then both, 'Emails' and 'Comments.' Within both of those tabs you'll see the options to email postings to your blog, as well as have every comment emailed to you.

Lastly, keep on checking each other's blogs and don't be afraid to post a comment or two. Those who have already begun using them in class can use your comment as an example to the students that there are other people around the world reading their work. 

Also, remember that if you are having trouble downloading a session you can always find a back-up copy at Authorstream.com  Once there just do a search for edc921 and pick the appropriate session.

Happy blogging,

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


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

921-Session 3

So there may still be some skepticism in some of you about the practicality and positive uses of this technology. After all, it does seem like every time we hear or read about blogs and children from the news media--- they have a negative connotation. Briefly skim this report published by Nielsen. I am sure that you will be convinced that blogs are not a passing fad. You can't fake these numbers (and its 3 years old).

Some of you have already begun creating your own blogs (As they are posted I'll place links to them in the left-hand margin).
Last semester, John jumped right in and began practicing with creative headlines and sidebars, as well as with emailing his posts to his blog. Check it out.

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

Session 3 is now uploaded and accessible, (if you are having trouble use this as a back-up and just do a search for edc921), but before you do that I want to introduce you to a simple tool to help you monitor both my blog postings and the comments from your fellow participants.

Please visit:

This link will visually walk you through the steps to set up a Bloglines account. Its primary purpose is to deliver to you every new blog posting by me and every new comment by your fellow participants. It has a lot of bells and whistles, but don't get distracted by them. Follow the basic instructions and it shouldn't take you too long. If you are interested in reading the comments and reflections from previous semesters then you may find them here:
and last summer's are here.

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

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

Enjoy and have fun!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

921-Session 2

Welcome back!

Let's start by reading a powerful blog entry on today's techsavy students. It can get a little heavy at times, but spend some time exploring the links there. It is eye-opening information (even if at two years old) that all educators should read.

I hope that after that you don't feel too overwhelmed with all of the references and links I included this week. Your first assignment, Deliverable #1, is due before next Tuesday morning (2/3/09). The details are in the syllabus and summarized here:

Deliverable #1 will be to sign up for your own blog (I see that some of you already have). You don't have to create anything fancy. (A person could lose track of time playing with all the details.) Save the 'add a gadget' part for later this semester.

Setting up a Blogger account will also change how you comment on our class blog. Instead of choosing 'anonymous' you will instead type in your Blogger user name. If you already have a Google account (either gmail, gdocs..... ) then you can use the same user name and password b/c the companies are interconnected.

You may access the wisdom of those that have taken this class before you here. And also from las Summer's participants here.

Also, some invaluable resources you should also start to check out are the tutorial links along the left side of this page. They'll walk you through a lot of what you need. Great for the visual learners out there. And lastly don't forget to tell us all your new blog address in your posting for this week. As they come in I'll post links to them in the margin with past participants.

By now, most of you are getting more comfortable navigating our class blog. You will spend the bulk of this session being exposed to the multitude of possibilities for using blogs in education. Unfortunately, it seems that some school systems use filtering systems that block access to many blogs, but where there is a will there is a way. You can't stop the evolution of technology, so for every blogging service that is blocked I'm sure there will be ten others to take its place. We are told that the rationale for blocking access is to protect the children, but I see examples every week of our students using inventiveness and ingenuity to circumvent filters. The kids are more savvy at this than us. I've seen students use proxy servers, foreign country websites, and different languages just to check out their MySpace and Facebook accounts at school. Also, every new cell phone now has the ability to access the Internet, so very soon the students won't even have filters to slow them down.

Blogs are popping up everywhere. Just check out the Providence Journal's website: http://www.projo.com/blogs/ and count how many different blogs are available there. I also have 29 high school students this semester taking 'virtual' classes at a vitual high school. They come to the library for their scheduled period and nearly every one of these classes has a blogging component. Check it out: http://www.govhs.org/

Tomorrow I'd like you to take an informal survey of your students and ask them about their online journal or blog use. (They may call it something different, but the most prevalent are MySpace or FaceBook) Obviously the older the students--the higher the percentage of use---but if your survey shows you results similar to mine, then you will be very surprised at the usage statistics. More then 95 % of my students here at the high school use some sort of online journal. The new trend is moving toward Facebook.com. And that number appears to be increasing all the time. Blogs won't always work for "every discipline--every day," but when you begin to grasp the versatility of their usage you will see that they can be a powerful communication tool. And if such a large percentage of our population is using a certain kind of technology then it is surely in our best interest as educators to become well versed in it. Watch this video on Web 2.0. It might be a little deeper than we, as educators, need to reach, but it gives us some perspective.

An example of how the power of participation can be harnessed within a single course comes from David Wiley at Utah State University. In the fall of 2004, Wiley taught a graduate seminar, “Understanding Online Interaction.” He describes what happened when his students were required to share their coursework publicly:
Because my goal as a teacher is to bring my students into full legitimate
participation in the community of instructional technologists as quickly as
possible, all student writing was done on public blogs. The writing students did
in the first few weeks was interesting but average. In the fourth week, however,
I posted a list of links to all the student blogs and mentioned the list on my
own blog. I also encouraged the students to start reading one another's writing.
The difference in the writing that next week was startling. Each student wrote
significantly more than they had previously. Each piece was more thoughtful.
Students commented on each other's writing and interlinked their pieces to show
related or contradicting thoughts. Then one of the student assignments was
commented on and linked to from a very prominent blogger. Many people read the
student blogs and subscribed to some of them. When these outside comments showed
up, indicating that the students really were plugging into the international
community's discourse, the quality of the writing improved again. The power of
peer review had been brought to bear on the assignments. Full Article

Now"blog away!!"
Dave Fontaine
PS--If you have trouble downloading this week's session from the link above then use this as a backup.  Once there just search for edc921 and find the appropriate session.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome to EDC921 !!!


This is our class blog. It will serve as our discussion forum, connection to each other, and the main webpage you will be accessing. If this is your first visit, then please first read the entry below this (titled, 'Practice Session') and follow the instructions there then return to this one.

Early this semester I will give you a detailed lesson on blogs and their use in the classroom, but for now you only need to know a few things.

This forum can be viewed by anyone, but will only allow the participants of edc921 to interact with it. When you would like to respond to someone or comment upon a session, just click on the 'comment' link below each of my postings and choose the 'anonymous' button under 'choose an identity'; and

In the left-hand margin you will see links to individual lessons (accessible every Tuesday).

If you need to contact me then please email me at DaveFontaine1@gmail.com.

This blog, in addition to its use as an interactive communication tool, will also be where you can access and download your weekly sessions. The presentation links to the left will be accessible on a week-to-week basis (Tuesdays). When attempting to download always choose 'save' rather than 'open.' The syllabus is also linked there. Google has a free service that allows you to just upload any Word document and with one additional click it gets published online with its own URL. The course syllabus is an example, and we'll practice with this tool before the semester is over.

One more aspect that will be unique about this course is that I support a completely collaborative teaching philosophy. Following that mindset, I will keep your assignments, comments, and reflections viewable and accessible to future participants of this course. The 'goal' is for future participants to gain from the collective knowledge of your experiences, use what you have done, and incorporate new ideas into their classroom.

The bonus for you, of course, is that this information will also always be accessible for you. This way, in the future, many semesters from now, you may revisit this site and benefit from the ideas of all participants. In this way---YOU will gain from all the 'learning speedbumps' of those that have come before you--even though they are not currently enrolled in this course. You may also read last semester's participants' profiles here and older ones here.

Before we go any further I would like each of you to practice using this forum and introduce yourself. We will be spending the semester together, so it is important to learn as much about each other as possible. Click on the 'comment' link below this posting, then you may click the 'anonymous' button and write a few paragraphs about yourself. (If you are feeling bold you may sign up for a Blogger account now and use the 'user name' that you create when you 'comment' rather than choosing 'anonymous.')

Please include:
-your name
-email address (so that you may contact each other directly if needed),
-your educational background,
-teaching history,
-current teaching position with location, and lastly
-what you hope to come away with when this semester is over, along with any additional information about you that you wish to share.

After you have finished posting this profile, come back to this page and click on the 'Session 1' link (in the left-hand margin), download it, and view it. When you are finished with the session please click on the 'comment' link again and add any comments, insights, or reflections you have for Session 1.

Sometimes it takes a little while to get the hang of using this forum. I have taken this into consideration by reducing the workload of the first session. Its primary goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page and skill level before we sink our teeth into the meat of this course. Everything here is protected by Creative Commons. This means that you have complete authority to download, save, share, and use all of the lessons in your classroom, but are prohibited from any commercial uses.

You will notice that each slide of the PowerPoint presentation has the narration transcribed in the 'notes section' of each slide. This is because we have teachers from around the world (China, Alaska, California...) taking this course. (And they may need help understanding my "Ro-diland" accent) but more importantly, it allows you to take these slides and use them in your own classroom.

Good luck this semester! I look forward to working and collaborating with you.

Dave Fontaine

PS-If you are running into trouble viewing our first session you may also access it here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Practice Session

Welcome to EDC921---"Using Blogs And Wikis to Foster Literacy."

Throughout these 13 weeks we will be covering a vast amount of information.

New sessions will be posted once a week (by the end of business on Tuesday). Please keep in mind that there are new developments and trends in online information every day, therefore we may have to be flexible when interpreting the syllabus. This may mean some modifications, changes and condensing of information.

To ensure that we are covering the most current skills, I will be assimilating and collating information right up until the moment I post a session. This means that each session's link (over in the left-hand margin) will not be accessible until its respective Tuesday. Even so, there may be times when a cited link is dead. If that is the case, I will try to keep saved copies of all the information. Just email me and I will forward the data to you.

During the first few sessions we will be covering foundational skills. This is to ensure that we all have the basic essentials ‘down pat’. Once this is covered, we will pick up the pace and begin to delve into the mechanics, nuances, and meat of our course.

To ensure continuous accessibility to the information within these presentations I suggest you immediately download, and save the sessions, to your computer. I cannot emphasize this enough. Along the left-hand margin, there will be a link for each session. When you click on this link you may be prompted to 'save' or 'open' the session.

Always ‘save’ it to your desktop. Previous participants have found it easiest to organize if they create a folder and store all the sessions in one place. Another option would be to right-click on the link and choose, 'save target as.'

Saving’ the sessions will decrease problems relating to your bandwidth. Also, although it may take a while for a presentation to download (up to 10 min. or more depending upon the speed of your connection) it will be much easier to toggle between a PowerPoint and the Internet if you have it saved to your hard drive. Weekly sessions will also become portable if you save them to a thumb drive.

Additionally, you will need to have access to a computer that has PowerPoint version ’97 or above to view the presentations. If you cannot hear the sound on them it is possible that the “wave” element of your volume is either on ‘mute’ or not turned up enough.

Please remember that we are all teachers, and that this is a collaborative course. So, as you post your reflections and comments we will all be responding to you. Therefore, timely responses are imperative. After you have posted your weekly assignment, make an effort to return again later to read and comment about other participants’ assignments.

Once again remember that we are all perpetual learners; constantly growing. I hope to learn as much from you---as you will from me.

Now I would like you to try a practice download. Tuesday evening I will update this page with information about our first session. Along the left-hand margin you will see the words "PRACTICE SESSION." Please try to download this session to your computer, strictly following the directions above.

Once you have been successful with this process, please also download the syllabus. There is only one required, purchasable text: ISBN 1-4129-2767-6

You may order it from most online book sellers. Until then you may want to read it online (not ideal), but here is the link: Wikis, Blogs, and Podcasts

If you run into problems, please review the directions again. It is not uncommon for participants to 'stumble' a little getting used to this forum.

If you run into any trouble after that, then please feel free to email me or call.

Thank you,

Dave Fontaine
Internet Librarian and Information Specialist, NBCT