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.


Abbe said...

921 Session 6 (2/27/09)

The Sharon Peters video with her students is a great example to show other educators who don’t see the point of Web 2.0. I’m really interested in the Global Schoolnet Projects that she has on her wiki. It’s incredible to think that schools in the US, Kuwait and Canada could work on 1 project together. Mrs. Cassidy’s blog is fantastic. It’s more like a multimedia newsletter. It’s inspiring that she has kids connecting to another school (in Australia) at such a young age. Again, this is a fantastic example of what can be done with Web 2.0 tools (I’m definitely going to share these with people at my school.) I agree that our students have to develop a very different set of skills in order to be productive in their future. I fear that teachers aren’t developing these skills at a rapid enough pace to keep up with the demands of educating students. I wonder how to best educate the faculty so that they understand how important it is to move toward information literacy. It’s not okay to be technologically illiterate. I think that a lot of educators think that “computer things” are an add on, something they don’t have time to learn. I don’t see how we can properly educate students without these skills. The skills that students need are very complex and involve more than reading comprehension skills. Students didn’t have to evaluate resources in the past. Literacy skills now mean a whole different level of comprehension of information. I’ve been working with teachers to help create more critical thinking/reading assignments in research, rather than just reporting. It’s hard to move people in this direction when they’ve done the same thing for so long. Students can’t afford to be passive learners. Web 2.0 applications force this issue with both students and teachers. I do think we’re falling behind, especially when I know that 1st grade classrooms are working globally on school projects! wonder how quickly my school can catch up. This is my link to Dave's wiki http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/World+Languages, I'm still working on it-hopefully by the time you check this I'll have the video working- I had some trouble embedding it.

Maura McGill said...

Well, again I have learned something new! I finally, was able to post to Dave's Wiki! I was even able to post a link under elementary reading comprehension strategies.http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Comprehension It does make me feel empowered that I was able to successfully attach this link!

After finishing this week's lesson I feel as if I understand the use of Wikis in a clearer way. I do agreed that as with any new technology it is going to involve more time and planning until you master it, but eventually in the long run it will save you time.

Again, I enjoyed Mrs. Cassidy's video. Being that it was first grade, I could relate it to my elementary classroom. It was very visual and I liked the way she was able to use her Blog and Wiki to post student work. I want to check out the Bubbleshare and Audacity sites, too!

What I found very interesting was the Video on the Evolution of Literacy. It drove home the point that literacy is in a state of constant change and as a teacher I need to be accepting of these changes and move with the times.I had to laugh at the example of St. Augustine being amazed over seeing people reading silently. Who would have thought that reading silently wasn't something people always did?

I was reminded me of the responsiblities teachers have in teaching students to be able to adapt to different text. Text has become more complex so children need guidance to work through this and we need to supply them with the tools. I liked the way the video broke down the componets of literacy, comprehension, production, and interactive.
Again, as a teacher who has to teach these skills, I am questioning why our school district does not have a computer lab in our elementary school. I know computers are costly, but there must be a way of providing students with these skills. How can you have technology standards in an elementary school with one computer in a classroom?

Finally, I was reminded of the one concept that is still true about literacy. All students need to be able to READ! They cannot be taught to comprehend, access, evaluate or produce material on the computer without this important skill.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think I did it. I attempted to edit the page on fluency at wikidave. http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Fluency
I didn’t sign in before I edited it, so I don’t think my name will appear there. I still find wikis confusing. There are so many links, pages, and sections that I think I need to be taught some wiki literacy.
I enjoyed the video on literacy and agree that we need to teach our students to access information in new and different ways. As a librarian we teach our students the Big 6 steps to answering an information problem. One of the important steps is access. I now realize that I need to teach them how to access the information that they find on the web. Reading on line is different that reading simple text in a book. There is more of a need to skim and scan for information first, identify the sections that need further inquiry and then focus in on the details. Basic reading skills are vital but we need to add to students’ toolbox. We need to teach them how to begin, where to start, to ignore the advertisements. We also need to teach them how to evaluate the website, a new skill for most students. I was one of those librarians who did not allow students to use Wikipedia as a reliable source of information because it can be edited by “anyone.” A true encyclopedia has some authority behind it and I encouraged my students to use World Book on line instead. Now, I’m rethinking my stance. Wikipedia has answered my questions sometimes when World Book could not because it is more encompassing, is edited more frequently, and has more details and links to external sources that give even more information than the traditional encyclopedia. I do always check another source; just to be sure the information is accurate. The video also reminded me to teach students how to read a URL (I haven’t taught that this year to my students and it’s a valuable skill when searching for information). The video really pointed out our new definition of literacy. It is vital that our children can read not just text books but web pages, videos, podcasts, animations, spreadsheets, graphs, etc. At the elementary level we need to focus on basic reading skills so that students have a solid foundation. In my classes we have been learning how to read informational text by analyzing pictures, graphs, diagrams, captions, indexes, glossaries and tables of contents. I also need to teach reading skills for web pages, blogs and wikis – where to start, how to skim, how to evaluate. Then to the writing skills, not only do they need to be able to communicate clearly on a written page, they need to learn how to write responsibly and use the best tool to send their message whether that is a slide show, written paper, podcast, blog page, or video.

Mrs. K said...

There is so much information out there that I still feel a little out of it. I finally have a handle on blogs but I still can’t quite grasp a wiki. I am proud of myself that I was able to add to a wiki and embed a link. I am excited to use them with my students but I have so much more to learn before I can do that. I enjoyed the video from Sharon Peters. It was great to hear from the students themselves and to finally have a student’s perspective. Sometimes I feel like we as educators are telling them what to think and feel. The students really took ownership of their projects and were proud of them.

I also really enjoyed Mrs. Cassidy’s blog. It is amazing what one can do with students of such a young age. It really shows what can be accomplished if students are taught how to do something. If students are learning how to use Web 2.0 tools in first grade imagine if that learning continues – they will have so many necessary skills to be successful in the future.

I have to agree with Abbe when she says “I fear that teachers aren’t developing these skills at a rapid enough pace to keep up with the demands of educating students. It’s not okay to be technologically illiterate. I don’t see how we can properly educate students without these skills. The skills that students need are very complex and involve more than reading comprehension skills. Students didn’t have to evaluate resources in the past. Literacy skills now mean a whole different level of comprehension of information.”

I wonder, what are the administrators going to do to help prepare teachers? I feel very fortunate that I have a want to help my students be technologically literate, but what about all of the other teachers that don’t want to or don’t see the need to? If Mrs. Cassidy is education her 1st graders, who is to say that this will continue through 2nd grade, 3rd grade… Will the knowledge that they have gained be lost? Will there learning experiences be lost without the excitement of communicating with students in Australia? I believe that when one gets a taste of this type of learning they won’t want to go back to the standard read and respond.

Here is the link to the wiki that I edited. http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Middle-Math

vivrelelivre said...

I put Bookflix under the Elem. English listing. It addresses several different reading and literacy skills so I had trouble figuring out how specific to get so, in the end, I decided general was good enough. http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Elem-English

Looking at Mrs. Cassidy's video and playing around with her blog was very informative. I honestly never though 1st graders could be so computer literate. It really has given me pause and is forcing me to reconsider a lot of my ideas. I don't think it would be an easy thing to get my kids up and blogging but I am definitely starting to believe it is worth the work (as long as I can get the teachers on board).

The Peter's video was also very nice to watch. It is great when the kids find something that they like so much that they are willing to admit that they like it even when it isn't so easy. Teaching really is the best when the kids don't realize that they are learning.

The literacy video drove home for me some of the things that I keep wondering about. How can we call our kids literate just because they have the skills to read a book? Books are great, but we are no longer a print only society. We have a rich variety of formats and delivery systems, the kids need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of all of them.
It killed me in the fall when students working on practice DBQ's could not answer a very simple question about a picture. I had only 5-6 kids out of two classes who were able to figure out that the ladder wasn't big enough. The rest of them, even with instruction and theatrics, could not figure out how to examine the picture for content.
If they couldn't figure out a picture, how are they going to figure out a blog or navigate a wiki properly?

Since I get limited (or no) instructional time with the classes I see, I find it difficult to integrate these technologies into what I am teaching. I have had some success with teachers who are working on longer term projects but I really want to reach out to those who "don't have time for that kind of stuff". I just keep trying to drive home the fact that "the stuff" is going to be vital to the kids future success, they need to be able to do as well as understand.

Maura McGill posted some thoughts about her district's elementary school not having a computer lab that I agree with. My home district has 9 elementary schools, 7 with labs and 2 without (my son is in one of the building without...I worked briefly at the other), all classrooms have 5 computers. However, I did notice a great difference in the computer skills in kids with no labs versus kids in buildings with labs. It is very difficult to live up to technology standards when you have 22-30 kids fighting over 5 computers. Those kids spend a lot more time working alone, at home on projects while the kids in buildings with labs get time to work on their projects under the guidance of 2-3 teachers. (classroom teacher and librarian and/or comp. teacher). There was a difference in both the quality and the expectations of the work of the students depending on their situation. The kids with labs generally (not always) produced assignments that showed a greater degree of knowledge and understanding of the online resources and tools they were required to use.

Charlotte Lesser said...

For fun I edited Dave's wiki in the World Languages section. I majored in German in college (and Medieval history) so felt at least a bit competent to add some German websites and even a graphic! Didn't come out looking exactly as I expected, but not bad for my first attempt.

Suzanne said...

I really enjoyed watching Sharon Peter’s class interacting on the blog. These children seemed a little bit older than my students and they seemed to be in an appropriately sized classroom. The fact that they were each using their own laptop boggled my mind. I only hope that our schools catch up at some point. The fact that the children are so easy going and excited about working on their projects was wonderful. Using Moodle they feel that they can talk safely with students from other countries without random people piping in. You can see that the students really do take ownership for learning in her classroom.

Mrs. Cassidy’s blog was amazing. I love the way she has it set up. I love the fact that you (Dave) put a reference page on the slideshow for future reading. I will definitely be using some of these tools in the near future – I especially liked the KidPix pictures, bubbleshare and audacity tools. I love that each child has their own page and can receive comments and view how many people have looked at their work. Blogmeister sounds interesting and I will look into that further as well. I like that she has it set to approve all of the comments and entries before they are posted to the blog. She commented that nothing has motivated her students more than blogging or wikis in all her years of teaching. I have to agree that my students are completely motivated when it comes to computer learning, unfortunately, we have limited availabity of computers in our school.

The Evolution of Literacy video did reinforce (numerous times) that literacy is in a constant state of change. I am interested now in reading the book The World is Flat. The author claims (and I agree) that we need higher literacy skills to comprehend information now because we are getting it in so many places. We need the skills to be able to locate the information using different sources (books, websites, spreadsheets, graphs, pictures) and we need to know how to read the information. I never thought about how overwhelming this can be for the children. My wonder question is how can I help my students learn to use the internet, locate information and read text with only one computer in the classroom and limited computers available in the library. Some of my students do not even have a computer at home or if there is one at home it is used by a parent for business etc. and not available for the child to use. The computer in my classroom is so old and slow that the children often lose attention if I bring a small group back to look something up or show them something interesting. Having the one computer makes things very difficult.

I posted a very brief addition to the wiki and put my link on http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/middle-science.

Amy Kalif said...

My favorite reading for this session was "Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct," and no, I'm not trying to become the teacher's pet--I know I already am:) I regularly joke to my students that I am going to write textbooks when I retire. Aside from the back ache, textbooks give me a headache. I always wonder who writes them, why they're not thorough, why information not yet introduced appears in practice and activities, and most importantly--why are they so boring! Today, sitting on my couch watching the snow fall, I reflected on all the great activities/strategies my fellow Spanish teacher and I "borrow" from each other. Wouldn't it be lovely to incorporate all of our ideas together, and perhaps add some student input. Sounds like a wikitext to me. Somebody call Oprah because I think I just had an "aha moment."

jimmyt said...

The quote from Maria M. was right on target as far as I’m concerned. I could not have said it better. As I have said before, the technology that I’m learning is innovative and definitely can benefit the students in my classes. But I’m a planner and not a jump right into it type of person. I need to think things out and plan for the long term, as opposed to trying to implement something in the middle of the year without having the time to think it through. I want to try to have as much planned out and try to anticipate the bumps in the road. Although you cannot plan for all the bumps in the road, I prefer to try to be best prepared as possible.

When I tried to do the practice at wikidave, I kept having issues. Every time I went to a topic that interested me, I either got a message that there was an error, or when I clicked on the topic, the video showed up but not a page that I could edit. Since this happened several times, I became annoyed and decided not to continue with this exercise.

In one of the blogs I visited (Tracey McGrath Abigail Vare School), they had a couple of international projects listed. In one of these projects, her students conversed with a 5th grade class from Russia about grizzly bears and beluga whales. It must have been fascinating for her students to converse with these students and vice versa. What a unique way of learning for both groups of students. I wonder how much training and practice she had before she started her blog.

I have never viewed literacy through the eyes of technology or in a global context. I always viewed it as reading and writing from a text or documents, but what a powerful video by Clarence Fisher. What an incredible amount of information he presented. Our students today have the world at their fingertips, but need the proper skills to utilize their potential. Fisher makes some strong points that our students need new literacy skills today to be competitive in a global economy, but how do we, as teachers, learn the necessary skills to present to our students. Is it done through professional development (budget cuts really hurt here) or on our own? What role does the administration play? I personally have heard and seen very little as far as administration taking the lead in this area in our district. Furthermore, we need more computers and accessibility for the students to use during the school day. It’s a struggle to get time in the computer lab because of testing and competition from other classes trying to use the lab also.

Charlotte Lesser said...

It was interesting to think about how using wikis benefits more than just the students. I consider myself a lifelong learner, so I am always delighted when I learn along with my students. I think the great thing about most of the Web 2.0 tools is that the teachers are learning them either along with or after the students learn how to use them. I loved hearing the students’ voices and seeing them, they seemed pretty excited about how they were interacting with students across the planet. I did visit Sharon Peters wiki, but I have to say that after looking at the history it hasn’t been updated since 2006, so it’s more of an archive than an active wiki – too bad, she was doing good things with her students. I loved the one students comment that you need a manual to the World is Flat!

Kathy Cassidy rocks!! What an extraordinary blog she has created. I have to agree with "Mrs K." post tho, if the
2nd, 3rd, etc teachers don’t blog as well, that would not be a good thing for those students who have had such an amazing exposure to web 2.0. I particularly loved their video on what you can do in the snow – what a great way to share what they know!

As far as our readings this week:
Wiki as research – I was initially excited to read about this concept since I have a lot of online pathfinders for my students and was hoping that the author might offer some real insight in ways to use a wiki to do this. Unfortunately he was just starting out so not really helpful. That is one way I’ve been thinking about using wikis—as pathfinders.
However, if you add links, you still need to check them. I do like the idea of students and teachers being able to add and edit a pathfinder though.

How wikis are changing our world – I’ve been thinking a lot about the wikis that document world events like Katrina or the Tsunami. The author used the term “citizen journalists” which I think the whole idea of wikis promotes. People with common interests can share information no matter where they are located – how powerful is that!?!? The article also talked about authors posting a book they are writing for a sort of editorial review. I guess my thought would be that depending how much editing was done, whose book is it anyway? Doesn’t thing bring up who really “owns” the book?

If textbooks became extinct – great idea!! to move to having online textbooks. I guess the biggest problem that I have with that is that I have a great deal of trouble doing a lot of reading online. Full disclosure: I have printed most of the online reading that we have had to do! Maybe it’s my variable lenses or my age, but I just can’t read for
long periods of time on a computer. I wonder if students would have the same problem??

I loved Bubbleshare until I realized that you have to have ads (discrete – don’t you love that word?!) unless you pay for it. But I did like the different frames you could put your slideshow into – especially the old fashioned tv!

Ah… literacy! I had a fascinating discussion with the head of special education for our SAU about what it meant to be literate. We were talking about a blind student; I was helping her locate resources for that student. She asked me if I
thought that student was literate even though they couldn’t read in the strict sense of the definition. We had a great
conversation about literacy and decided that the student was literate even though they never “read” a page of print in
their lives. I do a unit on the history of books and printing every year for my students and we cover a lot of what the video covered. We have great conversations about reading, books and particularly books written specifically for children. They are always astonished that the idea of books written specifically for children is a relatively new idea in the history of books and printing. I really believe that we need to give students that “toolbox” of skills to read all the different kinds of media that they will encounter. Also they need the production skills, the ability to create as well as
“read” the different kinds of media that are available. I do worry that in these times of teaching to the test, students
aren’t getting the time they need to learn the new media skills they desperately need. That’s one of the main reasons I took this class; to be able to learn a couple of Web2.0 apps well enough to use them confidently with my students and my staff.

Mrs. Patricia Colonnese said...

I feel like I'm in catch up mode. I need to catch up with the rest of the world, in particular students in middle school and high school. Look at what that teacher was doing with the web 2.0 tools. We have been banning all these tools in school including Wikipedia, My Space Face Book and You Tube and these kids are going to find a way to use them because it makes sense as a way to communicate around the world. They will be blogging and using social networking as tool like the telephone and we are going to be learning from them. I can see this after viewing Susan Peters video that these kids are so in tune with the Web 2.0 tools, and I am just learning. My daughter is so adept at using these tools. She is teaching me and only now am I starting to understand what she has been doing for years. I was afraid of kid's IMing, but it so much more today. These tools are important to use as a teacher. She loads the pictures and videos to facebook like second nature. Instead of sending email, she send a video.
Kathy Cassidy’s video was like the lightbulb turning on to see the advantages of using a wiki over a blog. The capabilities of adding links and video and image. This was a first grade class and if I was a parent in her class , I would be overwhelmed. I have added Delicious, so I can bookmark all these sites for the future. I think the most important necessity for any one is the desire to learn these tools and to use them.
The literacy video was a warning to us all. We need to stay on top of this because literacy is changing everyday. I have recently used the Search News function in Google to capture any news documents on information literacy, so at least I can try and stay on top of it. I was so concerned that writing to Dave's wiki that I was doing something wrong. It felt so unnatural which I need to get over by writing more.

Amy Kalif said...

I came across an interesting post on Dangerously Irrelevant that reminded me of the literacy & flat world discussions we've been having. Here's the

It basically explains that we are forcing students to be "literate" for a world that doesn't exist anymore, and how higher order and communication skills are needed now.

Regarding wikidave-of course I added to the World Language page.

PS I'm very excited that I got my links to work!

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Gordon

Session 6:

I really enjoyed Sharon Peters video of her students using todays technology to the fullest. I believe that students learn in different ways and teachers do depend on the writen word because that is what we have to use. In order for us to become proficient in technology and the students also, like Ms. Peters students, every classroom needs to have computers so the students can access the internet on a daly basis. I would love to use video streaming offered by PBS to us, but in order to use it we need to have the computers. We can use the computer labs but there are only three that all classes share so availability is not daily.

Also, Mrs. Cassidy's first grade class is amazing. Think of what they will know when they reach high school.

I posted to Dave's Wiki but I am not sure that I did it right. I posted on the History outline. I actually enjoyed myself and found it much easier to use the wiki than to use the blog, go figure. I noticed that others had a page and I wonder how they did that.

I envision using the wiki for the Service Learning Project that each tenth grader needs to complete. It is a year long project and the students work in groups throughout the year. Their biggest complaint is that they don't have the same schedules to get together out of school. Using a wiki to keep in touch and keep the project flowing is very promising.

I don't have a link to Dave's wiki because I posted right to the outline. I'll have to figure that one out or maybe someone can inform me of what I did wrong.

Katie Wright said...

I'm starting with the literacy video first since I just relistened to it- actually that was yesterday. That's one of the great pluses of online courses--I find I redo most of the class! I agree with many of your comments that teaching the "new" literacies will be an important part of our future instruction. Likewise that will mean teachers need a lot more PD in the area of all informational technology, especially for those who chose to stay "illiterate" in technology. Connecting that to the Sharon Peters video I'll bet many of the students in our current middle and high schools are already way ahead of their teachers in using different technology tools. We will not only have a teaching gap in the new literacies, but the students will be teaching the "teachers" how to use the technology and how to apply it.

I found the ideas about viewing literacy as an ever changing and evolving concept also exciting. Literacy has always been more than reading a text or book-- it is as, I think, Dave said the interaction that occurs. It is that fluid zone of thinking-- where all the little things miraculously come together like background knowledge, anything that was just learned, all the pictures we either visualized or actually saw, all the connections to other books, people, or movies, songs we just heard, that come together to create something new that we now understand and can apply in a new way. Soon we will have students who will soar using these technologies - and perhaps not our traditional teacher pleasers, but those who are independent, risk takers, and cam make sense of this tools. But as teachers we need to teach many new skills, some of these skills remind me of teaching non-fiction texts or how to use a textbook, but there are so many more layers to teaching and learning new technologies and Web 2.0 applications. It will definitely feel like the beginning years of teaching as one of the presenters mentioned.

I know in RI we have a new technology assessment starting this year in middle school, but don't really know the particulars.
Once we discuss literacy and technology -- we know that standards and assessments will probably soon follow- but how do we assess such a fluid and evolving entity as literacy? How do we begin to structure standards when we have such gaps-including me- in implementing technology into our classes. Yet we know our students use this skills very day.

Learning that is inquiry based and student driven sounds like an ideal learning community. The 1st grade blogs and wikis from Mrs. Cassidy's class were so naturally meshed into her curriculum. I felt that amazed feeling as I did once when I volunteered in a first grade class and saw two students writing a story together(they were on their 5th page) with such easy and naturalness. Never was such collaboration allowed in the dark ages when I was in elementary school and now whole classes can wrote and learn together on a wiki. Which reminds me, this is the link to Dave's wiki

I have so many "I wonders" about finding the time, money for school technology, and reaching the teachers...

Anonymous said...

From Julie P
To Wiki or not to Wiki, I am not sure there is much of a question after this week’s session. How exciting it is to open up so much to ourselves as well as the students. There is a 4th grade teacher at my school who has a wiki and is using is as somewhat of a blog as well. He has a 4th grade class in Georgia that he is teamed up with on this wiki. The students have written an introduction that he was able to tie in with his language arts curriculum and the kids were able to learn about the other students in the class. There were encouraged to respond to the student’s introductions and ask questions so they could find more about each other.

I can see where Sharon Peters is completely dead on with her statement that our students now need to use and know how to use the web as a READ/WRITE/SPEAK/LISTEN tool. Many of our teachers are not doing this and I believe much of it has to do with fear. I am fortunate that my administration allows me a great deal of leeway in the library to try new things and I have a class of 5th graders that love to come and try new things with myself and our ITRT (computer teacher) But many of the classroom teachers are just so overwhelmed that they have no idea where to start.

I loved having a peak at how two different age groups have learned to incorporate wikis and blogs into their classrooms. I truly believe that my role as a librarian is to show the classroom teachers that these online tools are not extra things that they have to learn but that they are tools that simply replace some of the old tried and true methods to ultimately make their lives and jobs easier. However for many of us this is sometimes easier said than done. I find myself being very careful how far I push myself on the teachers with new and different ideas.

It was helpful to have Mrs. Cassidy give us a heads up for what some of the limitations are for using wikis with younger students. The example she found of only having one student being able to edit a wiki at a time is important to know ahead of time. Knowing how you or the classroom teacher intends to use the wiki is very important that way you can offer suggestions as how they can best achieve that goal.

I know that I am inspired and motivated to learn and try these new learning tools out, hopefully that will filter down to the teachers as well. There is no question as if it will filter down to the students, I think that is really a given. As soon as you say the word internet you have gained their attention immediately, at least in my library. Now I am off to try and come up with a creative way to use a wiki with my students…

Denice said...

I liked the image for the “Globally Literate” screen cast. The terms: Understands Scholarly Processes; Evaluates; Applies Strategies; Analyzes Questions were displayed inside of the diagram of a brain. These are aspects of learning that I believe all educators seek to instill in their students. The further discussion focused on the terms that Fisher stated were consistently in the definition of Literacy: Comprehension, Production and Interactive. His insights were wonderful! The section regarding comprehension expanded beyond just understanding the information that was collected. He discussed the importance of accessing and evaluating that information and these are skills that library media specialists are always dealing with when classes come in to research a project.

Our biggest problem today is guiding our students in navigating the Internet. We try to ensure that we subscribe to online databases that will provide quality resources for our students. We demonstrate to the students how they can access text, photos and videos from these sites. We will then turn around and find them “Googling” the topic. I have begun asking teachers to designate acceptable websites and provide the students with links to these sites to ensure that the students visit the sites. One teacher has “stepped up to the plate” and has required citations from her designated sites. It takes quite a bit of monitoring to ensure that the students stay with reliable resources.

In the past, when we were students, we “hit the books” for information or used the Reader’s Guide for articles. It was a very isolated activity. Occasionally, we sought out people to interview and this aspect was very productive because it allowed us to interact with someone who had the knowledge to share with us. We have to keep remembering that we are training our students for their futures and that is a multimedia, collaborative environment.

I also liked the section regarding “production skills are not technology skills.” We often ask the students to create a storyboard of the information they want to communicate and then decide on the best way, within their means, to present the material. We are focusing on getting them away from concentrating on the technical aspect and beginning concentrating first on the content.

As for this week's assignment, I found it a bit hard finding appropriate videos for my topic. I will need to work on my search techniques.

jimmyt said...

As usual, this week’s session was loaded with a lot of information. I know the video and podcast were long, especially when internet explorer had an issue during the middle of the video, but they were packed with a lot of valuable information. I liked the video where you can see the steps to signing up for a wiki and the different tabs and features. Again, I liked that you can limit access to users if you wish, since that is a major concern of parents with younger children in a school district. The podcast also had a lot of information that will be beneficial for me when I do Deliverable #3. It’s definitely something that I will go back to when it’s time to work on the assignment.

Although I see how important this technology can be to student learning, I still need to go through it slowly. I need to make sure I have thought it through, as was mentioned in the podcast by Terry Freedman. It will definitely be something that I’ll be looking at over the summer.

As I was checking out the various sites, I came across one which I will be able to utilize later this year. Our last unit deals with economic geography of Africa, South America, and Antarctica. At Curriki.org, it contained a large section dealing with social studies. I spent about a half hour looking at a unit “Causes of Conflict Analyzing Nigeria’s Past with Hope for the Future”. It’s a site that will benefit my students with some new information about Nigeria, their economy, and the causes that have led to some serious problems. I can’t wait to go back and spend some more time and see what I’ll be able to use from the unit.