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.


Suzanne said...

I enjoyed viewing this weeks presentation. It was on the lighter side and very informative.

While I understand that textbooks can be extremely outdated and at times useless, I can’t imagine a world without them. I still enjoy picking up a book and reading that over reading it online. However, I often supplement with articles or information from the web – I think this is especially true with current and world events. The information I used for our government unit and coverage of last year’s election came mostly from the internet. I did use the newspaper as a source as well but the internet allows us to get the latest information at the click of a button.

The idea of wiki textbooks is wonderful. I love the idea of the flexbook as well. I can already imagine what my flexbooks would look like. I like that you can use chapters that have already been prepared and edited to suit your classroom needs. I think of the textbooks in my classroom that are outdated or not useful in meeting our curriculum needs. I think I have used only 4 chapters in one text book since the beginning of the year. Most of my information is gathered from other sources.

The idea of having the students write the wiki textbook is also intriguing and something to be seriously considered. I think the students would be up for the challenge and that it would be particularly motivating for them. It would give them information using their own voice and set up in a way that they can understand without the monotony of the traditional “homogenized” voice.

Your student, Mark Davis, made me think about the way I prepare my lessons as well. He changed the way he prepared his lessons for himself and his co-teachers. “The focus is on the goals and strategies of the lesson and not on simply the activity or skill being taught. Most of all, the standards are incorporated as an integral part of the plan, not an afterthought or documentation to please administrators.” I know, at times, that I forget about the goals and strategies of a lesson because I am focused on the activity itself and how and when I am going to get it in. After teaching the lesson, I sometimes realize that it could “count” towards Standard X. I am hoping that this will come easier for me once I start incorporating some of the Web 2.0 tools into the classroom.

Finally, setting up Professional Learning Environments is going to be necessary as we move our way into the Web 2.0 world. What an exciting way to share information, lessons and personal experiences that will enhance your teaching and your knowledge. You can collaborate on lessons and units within a district or across the nation. You can interact with teachers and administrators in other countries. There are endless uses for these learning environments in the educational setting and I look forward to creating and using them in the very near future. (Yes, I too am planning to spend more time reviewing all the information and resources in more depth this summer.) My wonder question is “How could we talk the administration into student developed wiki textbooks?”

March 22, 2009

Elementary School Principal
Any School
Any Street
Any City, State, Zip Code

Dear Elementary School Principal:
I would like to implement a wiki where teachers will be able to share ideas, resources and lesson plans geared towards meeting standards in the social studies curriculum at all grade levels. If successful, this could be brought to the district level so that all teachers in the district could have the opportunity to collaborate.

I have proposed a wiki rather than a blog because “wikis encourage knowledge sharing around topics while blogs are a sharing of spontaneous thoughts.” (Parker, KR and Chao, JT) http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=wikis+in+education A wiki is a web page that can be edited by anyone that has access to the page. It can be used by groups of teachers, students or parents to collaborate on projects, or share ideas and knowledge. Information can be added, deleted or modified as necessary by the wiki participants.

The wiki that I would like to implement would initially be geared to the staff at our school. I would set it up by grade level and standards. Teachers can place their favorite lesson plans, ideas, links and information that they use in their teaching onto the wiki. Others can tweak the lesson plans as they come across them or add to the information already available on the wiki. I have added a link to a sample wiki that was brought to my attention while taking a technology class at URI. www.curriki.org This wiki allows teachers to collaborate, share information and find information in an organized and professional way.

Some problems that we may have in implementing this wiki at the school would be staff knowledge and getting them to accept the challenge. People may be overwhelmed at the prospect of using this type of technology. They may feel that it is just one more thing they are being asked to do that does not fit into the curriculum or their daily plan book. Training could potentially be an issue since all training funds have been frozen this year.

Some ways to overcome these obstacles would be to provide an in-house training opportunity. Perhaps we could use one of our staff meetings to introduce some websites and on-line conferences that walk you through creating a wiki. If we cannot use the staff meetings for training, perhaps we could use a portion of our professional development days this summer to present this topic to the staff. If all else fails, we could have a volunteer from each grade level commit to familiarizing themselves with the tools and sharing their knowledge with other team members at common grade level planning times.

I would like to create the wiki using a program called PBWiki [[http://www.PBWiki.com. |www.P]]BWiki.com. You can create a free basic wiki (2 GB storage with limited customization) using this company. I chose this tool because the plan offers webinars (online training) and because it is advertised as being one of the simplest to use. If we are able to successfully implement this tool, we can upgrade to 40GB storage with full customization for only $99 per year.

I hope you will consider implementing this wiki at our school as an introduction to Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. I will set up a meeting with your secretary so that we may discuss this proposal.


Suzanne Krause

Amy Kalif said...

I LOVE the idea of a wikitext. I finally found one for Spanish, and it is fabulous. It's convenient to have one that already has the basics, rather than having to start from scratch. In theory I would prefer to work on a wikitext for my final project, but I am truly trying to incorporate my wiki into my classes this year.

Regarding this week's presentation...I feel like I struggle with teaching Information Literacy. Many times my students feel their research is done once they've found one bit of information. They don't necessarily consider the source, nor do they truly research a topic fully and then choose the best pieces. A bit of information can be retrieved easily and quickly, and then they're done.

I particularly enjoy/couldn't agree more with the concept of creating a "living, breathing wiki text for each class" through Backward Design.

I would be ecstatic to join a Professional Learning Environment for Foreign Language instructors--especially around the world. I feel like there's not much out there, or maybe I'm not looking in the right places. I wonder where all the Foreign Language teachers are online...

Abbe said...

I think that online texts will take over in the near future. It’s going to push more innovative teaching in all areas. It’s about time! Students are ready for their materials to be available online. Wikis really bring things to life. A science text that could include video, RSS feeds, audio and discussion groups is far more valuable than the print texts available today. I wonder if there is going to be more professionally produced wikis (from book companies) that include all of these things (for a subscription fee- of course:) There is so much available for free- I really hope it stays that way! Online professional environments are a phenomenal idea. There are so many ways to connect to people online. I discovered nings through a prof.development day I went to. You can share your ideas and see what other people are doing. This is the address of one: http://teacherlibrarian.ning.com/ It’s a professional social network. The Julie Lindsay wiki has so many resources on it. Definitely bookmarked! The eduwiki page had great examples of wikis that would be really helpful in trying to get your administration/staff to understand the power of wikis. http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples+of+educational+wikis
Here is my D3:

I am writing to request that the district consider allowing the use of blogs in our schools for educational purposes.A blog is a web authoring tool, organized in chronological order of postings, that that allows many people to collaborate and participate on a site. A blog can serve endless purposes in education. It can be a place to hold online discussions for classes. It can be used as a newsletter or an information center for courses. Students, staff and parents can contribute to blog discussions, as permitted by the blog security settings. An informative and concise demonstration of a blog can be seen at this link http://www.commoncraft.com/blogs.
Blogs could be easily utilized in our school setting. Using blogs in school will help both staff and students communicate more effectively. Staff members will have a way to communicate more information, in a variety of formats that can be easily connected to our teacher webpages. Teachers can readily post information to students and parents on the blog. Assignments and multimedia supports can easily be made available to students. Students would be able to interact with teachers and classmates, while in or out of school. Differentiated instruction can be facilitated through a blog, by including additional links, audio and video files. Using blogs relates directly to all aspects of the Connecticut Frameworks for Information and Technology Literacy Skills. The Framework includes the following areas: Definition and Identification of Information Needs, Information Strategies, Information Processing, Application, Technology Use, Responsible Use and Assessment. http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/Word_Docs/Curriculum/itf.doc
I would use a blog in the library setting to update students and the community on recent acquisitions, and write posts about class projects ongoing in the library. Students and staff could respond to a book club posting, or ask questions about available technology and resources for projects. I would also like to host an exchange of teacher ideas for information literacy infused lessons that worked in their courses. This information would be kept on the blog and teachers could receive comments and questions from other staff members. A blog would be an efficient way for me to communicate to the Library Advisory Board regarding upcoming events and to get student feedback.
Currently the school is working on improving CMT and CAPT reading and writing response scores. Use of blogs would enhance the students’ opportunities to practice these skills through collaborative participation in class discussions and posts. In “A Call to Support 21st Century Writing,” (a report from the National Council of Teachers of English) the Kathleen Blake Yancey writes that
This is a call to action, a call to research and articulate new composition, a call to help our students compose often, compose well, and through these composings, become the citizen writers of our country, the citizen writers of our world, and the writers of our future.
Blogs motivate students to write and participate more actively in their learning. The Pew Internet and American Life Project estimates that 85% of teens ages 12-17 engage in some type of personal written communication online. Pew also reports that 78% of teens believe that in-class writing time, using computer based writing tools would improve their writing.
There are many great examples of blogs created for education.

One fantastic elementary school blog is Mrs. Cassidy’s Classroom blog
http://www.classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=1337. Mrs. Cassidy’s grade 1 class highlights their activities through video, includes reading samples through audio clips and posts photos of the events. She uses Skype and class created videos to share their experiences with schools in other states and countries.

Mrs. Thornton’s Science class blog http://cathorn.learnerblogs.org/ is a good example of a high school teacher’s blog. This blog includes exam review, assignments and a list of links for students to use.

Principals use blogs as well. The following is a link to a Naragansett RI Elementary School Principal (http://principalnays.blogspot.com/). The blog acts as a newsletter for school activities and updates about the school.

Imagine having professional development ongoing throughout the year.
The Fisch Bowl (http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/) is a Staff Development Blog from Arapahoe High School in Colorado. Karl Fisch writes articles regarding such important topics as “Is it okay to be a technologically illiterate teacher?” He also includes clips from professional development at his school and comments written about his postings.

Things that need to be considered in making a decision about blogs includes the safety of our students online, the cost of the program, teacher training and the ultimate impact on our school culture. Blogs are used safely at schools. The implementation of blogs at our school would necessitate a structured approach to security settings and expectations for student online behavior. In choosing a program to launch blogging at our school, considerations of levels of security and moderation are of prime importance. Security measures include settings which would only allow members to contribute. Students would use given usernames which would make their participation anonymous to outside viewers. Comments may also be moderated by a teacher before they are published, so that inappropriate comments do not appear on the blog. Teaching students about appropriate blogging would become an important part of the curriculum. This is a life-long skill that students are practicing at this point in their personal lives. It is imperative that they be taught appropriate blogging skills and online presence to prepare them for their education and future careers.

Most blogging programs are free. Paying an additional nominal fee allows the users to have more security options. I would like to explore these additional features in order to set up the safest blogging environment for our students. Blogs would be used in conjunction with our current webpages. Blogs can easily manage video and audio clips, which is a support that teachers are looking for. Currently our website does not have the storage space for teachers to upload their larger files. I would like to investigate Edublogs and Blogmeister as possibilities for our school blogs. Many schools use these types of blogs and I have found that both offer appropriate levels of security and moderation for student use.
Teacher training could occur through professional development held at our school. Many teachers have at least some experience using blogs. We need time to explore blogs with teachers and this could be done in collaboration with each other, without cost to the district. The impact that this will have on our school culture will be enormous. Staff and students will have improved communication and students will have access to a variety of tools to help in their learning. I believe that blogs are a tool that we cannot afford to block from use. I would love to see students and staff creating more multimedia materials to be posted on blogs and share with other schools. I think that blogs will motivate our students to improve the quality of their writing. Students will become more active learners and staff will demonstrate greater knowledge of the application of technology in learning. Please consider this request to open up a new opportunity for our school to support the development of skills that our students will need to be successful learners in the future.

Charlotte Lesser said...

March 23, 2009

Dear (Elementary School Principal’s Name),

I would like to bring to your attention a blogging pilot program that I have started in The Northern Schools focusing on our
New Hampshire State children’s book award for 4-6th graders: The Great Stone Face Award. As you are aware your library aide (NAME) currently promotes this award a variety of ways during the year. (LIBRARY AIDE NAME) purchases all 25 titles and booktalks them at the beginning of the school year, using materials and resources that I have created as well as materials that they have created (USE EXAMPLE FROM SPECIFIC SCHOOL). We all encourage our 4th-6th graders to read the books over the school year and then vote for their favorite title in late April. I know that in all our elementary schools that serve 4-6th graders this is a popular reading program.

In the spring of 2009 I created a blog to give students an opportunity to share their reflections, comments, reviews and
opinions on the Great Stone Face Books which they have been reading all year.Great Stone Face Book Blog. A “blog” (short for weblog) is an Internet based technology that is free, can be accessed on any Internet connected computer (home or school) and is very easy to use. A blog can be created very quickly on any topic and allows the moderator (creator) of the blog to pose questions/comments/reflections to which others can answer/comment. A blog can be set up to protect the identity of students and to prevent any unapproved or inappropriate material from being posted to the blog. Students in the Northern Schools have aliases that they use to post and all posts get emailed to me for approval before being put on the blog. The classroom teacher, school librarian, other school staff, parents, as well as other students have the ability to read (and comment if they wish) on their comments which broadens the audience for their writing and reflection.

I believe that this blogging project is a remarkable addition to the ways that students can reflect on reading, practice their writing skills, share opinions with each other, and learn 21st century literacy and technology skills. The Internet has truly changed from a read-only format into a read/write format which is often referred to as Web 2.0. This read/write function is changing the ways that students learn and share information. Web 2.0 tools have created an online environment in which contributors are both learners and teachers at the same time because of the non-linear flow of information. The
National Council of Teachers of English released a document in February 2009 calledWriting in the 21st century which makes three recommendations. These are 1) developing new models of composing (including Web 2.0 applications) 2) designing a new curriculum supporting those models, and 3) creating new pedagogies enacting that curriculum. One of their main points is that, “it’s time for us to join the future and support all forms of 21st century literacies inside school and outside school.” It refers to students who contribute in the Web 2.0 world as “citizen composers” which acknowledges the global
impact composing on the Internet (for the world to see) has had on our educational environments.

One of the most remarkable and successful educators using blogs is Will Richardson who has written a book called Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts: and other powerful webtools for the classroom. The book is both a how-to handbook and also a remarkable wake up call to educators to help them understand how our students are very different learners because they have grown up in a digital world. A former classroom teacher for 20 years, he comments that “learning in this environment is about being able to construct, develop, sustain, and participate in global networks that render time and place less and less
relevant. In fact, in a world where our students will hold between 12-14 jobs by the time they reach 38, it’s imperative we
develop in them a kind of network literacy to guide them in this process.” (Richardson pg 8) I own this book and would
be very happy to loan it to you.

The March 2009 edition of Educational Leadership magazine’s theme is Literacy 2.0 and is “dedicated to looking at what this new 2.0 literacy entails: how it differs from, yet relies on, the skills of traditional literacy; which new possibilities and challenges it raises… . and finally, where and how literacy 2.0 should fit in K-12 curriculum”. (pg 7 v.66 #6) It has numerous articles that cover the multitude of ways Web 2.0 applications are now being used in schools all over the country.

There are many elementary schools across the United States involved in blogging projects. Two to take a look at are: The Electronic Pencil This is a 6th grade class writing site from Southampton, Massachusetts. Students are active contributors and their writing teacher frequently posts projects, guidelines to assignments and ways to students to improve their writing. Another great blog is KinderKids Blog This is a kindergarten class from Deerfield
NH and is online environment for their teacher to share what has been happening in the classroom, show photos, student work, and to provide each student their own blog page to practice writing.

In addition, another excellent blog to take a look at is the Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher (DCF) Book Award Blog. This award is a children’s book award comparable to the Great Stone Face Award. The DCF blog is for students, teachers and the community to comment on the award.

Ultimately I can envision a time when students across our district could contribute to district level blogs on a variety of educational topics, designed by staff, which would give our students a much broader audience for their writing. For now I would love to start with a small step which would be to establish a blog at your school this fall for the Great Stone Face Books. This would be a blog created specifically for your school, designed by me in conjunction with the library aide. Once the blog is set up there is almost no maintenance except to approve posts. Since this is all done through email, it is simple and not time consuming to review and post students’ comments. I would train the library staff and be available for concerns or troubleshooting if something came up. I would recommend using Blogspot because it is free, very easy to use and customize, and offers a way for our students to be anonymous when using it. It is
the resource I am using in the Northern Schools. Another possibility is Classblogmeister classblogmeister.com which was
specifically designed by educators for educators and has similar features.

I look forward to talking with you about this project. Please feel free to contact me with concerns or to set up a time to discuss this exciting writing project.


Charlotte Lesser
Director of Elementary Library Services

Anonymous said...

Carol Cappadona
Deliverable #3

Dear Dr. Annotti,

I would like to implement a blog into my library classroom. A blog is an easily created, easily updatable website that allows an author or authors to publish instantly to the Internet from any Internet connection. As David Warlick points out on his Web site,
1: A blog is a Web-publishing concept that enables anyone to publish information on the Internet.

2: Blogs (a shortening of weB LOG), or blogging has become a journalistic tool, a way to publish news, ideas, rants, announcements, and ponderings very quickly, and without technical, editorial, and time constraints. It essentially makes anyone a columnist. In fact, many established columnists now publish their own blogs.

3: Blogs, because of their ease of use, and because of the context of news and editorial column writing, have become a highly effective way to help students to become better writers. Research has long shown that students write more, write in greater detail, and take greater care with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, when they are writing to an authentic audience over the Internet.

I would be using a blog that I created using Blogger software. The address of this blog is http://rockwelllibrary.blogspot.com. The reasons for this choice are:
1. The service is free
2. This blogging website enables me to control what is published on the website
3. It is easy to use with tutorials to help students learn how to use the software.

One purpose of this blog would be to increase communication between the library, parents and students and faculty. The Rockwell School community could access this website to find out what is happening in the library and the school building. Children would be able to comment on what they are reading and let others know which books are their favorites. Access to the blog would give parents a way to communicate with the librarian directly and enable students to post their reading for the Rockwell Rockets Reading program on line instead of bringing in the paperwork to the library. Faculty members would be able to see what students are reading and writing about and be able to add their comments and insights to further expand student learning. Our students need to function in an ever expanding information society. It is imperative that we give our students the skills to analyze and manage information. The act of writing an edublog (educational blog) helps teach skills such as research, organization and synthesis of ideas. Our curriculum has been focusing on improving the literacy skills of our students. With this unique reading and writing tool, students will be engaged and actively reading and writing, not just for themselves and their teachers, but for a world audience. Will Richardson stated in his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom that bloggers learn to read critically because as they read, they look for important ideas to write about. Using Web 2.0 tools like edublogs with students helps prepare them for the future and motivates them to learn while at the same time improving their literacy skills and integrating technology.

Here are some examples of how blogs are being used in elementary education:

Narragansett Elementary School has a blog for each classroom with pictures and activities. So does Butlerville Elementary School. These two sites are used primarily as web pages that are frequently updated. Here’s an example of a blog that has students writing creatively: Duck Diaries is a grade K-2 blog with student writing about a duck that laid an egg in their playground. Just imagine what 4th and 5th grade students could be writing about.

One of the roadblocks to implementation is access. All blogs are blocked by our Internet filter. I have spoken to the technology department and they are willing to “unblock” any site I request with the caveat that any site unblocked is visible to the entire school population. The pictures posted on the blog, however, are still blocked. I will discuss this with the technology department to see if there is a way to post pictures that will not be automatically blocked. Perhaps we could store the pictures on our server and the filter would not block them.

Another roadblock is email addresses. Initially this project would be introduced to the fifth grade students. Each student would need access to a computer and an email address. Since not all fifth grade students have their own email addresses, I would propose that they could submit their writing to me using a word processing program and I will post it to the blog for them or their parents could assist them with posting from home. I mentioned this problem to the fifth grade teachers and both stated that all of their students had access to an email address, either theirs or their parent’s.

Another possible roadblock would be student safety. I have disabled the feature in blogger that would allow students to leave our blog site and randomly link to other blogs. I will not post any pictures of students with names and will check before posting that any student who has not signed the photo release does not have a picture posted.
I will teach them about blogging and provide them with guidelines for safety, protecting their identity on line and being responsible. I will also hold training sessions for parents and faculty members to teach them what blogging is about and how they can participate with their students.

Students will be given time for reading and writing using the computer lab in the library each week so that all students have access to computers and are able to participate.

I have mentioned this project to our fifth grade teaching team and they are excited about blogging with their students and designing a project that expands the curriculum to include new Web 2.0 tools. Together we can pilot this project and fix any glitches that arise. My goal is to have all the students and faculty at Rockwell using blogs and creating a collaborative on-line community dialog with parents, students and staff sharing ideas and expanding the learning experiences of our students.

Thank you for your assistance with this project.
Carol Cappadona
Teacher Librarian

juliep said...

Deliverable #3:
Dear Ms. Candace Rotruck, (Principal of Alvey Elementary)

I am writing to propose the use of a school library wiki to be used for an on-line book club. With all the access to current technology, we have the opportunity to tap into this new and exciting technology to promote literacy beyond the classroom for the 21st century learner. Please consider the following proposal:

Wiki, what is a wiki?
A Wiki is a place on the internet that allows users to communicate and edit word together. One key for the popularity of wikis is that you don’t need to know special computer language. Wikis are able to be created and edited by simply knowing how to use Microsoft Word type tools.
For some time now I have wanted to create a book club here at Alvey, but I haven’t been able to fit it into my daily schedule. I thought that using a wiki to create an online book club where the students and teachers could share their thoughts on the title that we are reading, explore websites and recommend future books for the group would be a great way to encourage literacy in today’s student body. This would be a blend of traditional text with some new technology that the students are interested to be learning about. There are many students at Alvey who are our “Frequent Flyers” in the library and they plow through our books. This would give them a structured environment where they could share ideas and thoughts about books that they have read. Also this is a great tool for the staff who enjoy young adult literature as well as staff who have elementary aged children of their own, who may not even attend Alvey to participate in a group activity with their parent.
Evidence of using a wiki in a school setting:
1. http://kcassidy.wikispaces.com/rituals This wiki was created by students in a 1st grade class and you can see the usefulness at even the primary level. If a 1st grader can use it then anyone can use a wiki.
2. https://k12onlinespeters.wikispaces.com/Tips+and+Tools This wiki is great because of its value to a new wiki user. Sharon Peters puts all her tips right out there for everyone to benefit from. This is invaluable when a teacher is beginning work on a new form of technology.
3. http://pln.palinet.org/wiki/index.php/Blog_or_wiki--which_tool_to_use%3F This article was very helpful for a new user of blogs and wikis, it went through the pros and cons of each and you could determine which to use for you specific purpose.
4. http://www.webjunction.org/social-software/articles/content/438229 This article supports the use of wikis in the library as community builders. Schools are built currently centered around the library. Using a wiki will allow us to do this beyond our school and reach out to our larger community.
As with any new technology there will be roadblocks that will need to be tackled. Such are administrative and parent approval, and maintaining security for student’s on-line safety. I believe that communication is important to overcoming all of these problems. Administrators can be shown any of the above wikis or articles that support and explain wikis. As for parents and security issues when the wiki is created paying special attention to the wiki security such as limiting the page to only those who are invited, using this feature that www.pbwiki.com offers will help ensure the on-line safety of the parents and students. Additionally having the students, parents and teacher sign a contract for acceptable use of on-line tools will commit all parties to the intended purpose of this technology.
Suggestions for types of wikis to use in a school setting are Wikispaces and PBWiki.

• Wikispaces is free to use in an educational setting and is extremely easy to use. Additionally they have tours that are easy to follow and understand even for teachers who are new to the technology.
• PBWiki is also free, however this wiki has a much more kid friendly look to it and you can view the complete history and audit trail for the pages. This allows the moderator to view who has made changes to the pages and when.

Ultimately I envision the creation of the Alvey Library wiki book club not only being a tool that the students and teachers can use during the school year but one that they can continue to use over holiday breaks and even after they move on to the middle school. This book club can be used to foster the joy of reading for pleasure, which is a life skill that will benefit the students long past graduation. This tool can be used to enhance the student’s lives into adulthood.

I sincerely hope you will contact me with any questions that you may have concerning this proposal and will consider the creation of this new and exciting technology.

Julie Ponn, Librarian
JW Alvey Elementary
5300 Waverly Farm Drive
Haymarket, VA 20169

Charlotte Lesser said...

I am enjoying thinking about the evolution of the traditional textbook into an online source/wiki text/ or some other format. I know that textbooks are incredibly expensive and I know my own district has struggled over the past 5 years to find any money for them. I loved watching the Flexbook screencast – WOW is all I can say. I thought the drag & drop capability was amazing, and the ability to pick and choose the elements that you wanted, as well as create something brand new AND to be able to save it to pdf or print what a fantastic resource.

I really enjoyed exploring Julie Lindsay’s wiki and resources. The video was a bit much, as I’ve said before I’m not much for chatty or local scenery kinds of videos, so I put the video in the background and listened to it while I explored her wiki. She has incredible resources posted – I love people who share like this. I would highly recommend watching a Youtube video she has embedded in her section on “Digiteens”. It’s called “No future left behind”. It says it was a keynote to a conference. The voices of the middle school students and what they were saying really brought home to me the issue of how we aren’t serving our students needs very well. Some of their comments included: I see the future – you block the future!! Why don’t you let us? The future is ours – you have to give it to us!! The future is coming like it or not. I know how to memorize – teach me how to think! We want to learn our way. Step out of the box/your comfort zone. When the future calls, will we be ready?

The concept of the online Professional Learning Environment is awesome. I have just started my new 3 year cycle of getting my 75 hours of professional development. I keep all my records on paper – very old fashioned. I think I may start a wiki for myself, with links to what I’m doing, my notes, Web 2.0 resources that I’ve learned about. It would certainly make everything more accessible to me. Not sure how others would use it, but you never know!

vivrelelivre said...

I really liked this week's presentation.

The Flexbooks look like a gift from the Gods to teachers. Edit your textbook so that it contains only information pertinent to what you are teaching? Can you think of anything better? The online availability is also a plus. We had a lot of textbooks come in (very) late this year and teachers were either flying by the seat of their pants or the entire grade level was making mountains of copies from the one or two copies we did have in the building. It is also great that teachers can edit the texts or create their own. In this way the books could be tailored to suite their teaching techniques and preferences and, again, provide information on exactly the topics they need and want.

Onto the thought of eliminating textbooks and using electronic based resources. I really think that this is a great idea and we will be leaning more and more towards this as the technology progresses. Hopefully, most teachers WILL construct their Wikis using student power and Backwards Design. By having them work on the “texts” the students are more involved and engaged but it also helps to ensure that the “texts” are written in a language that they understand. More than once I have picked up a textbook to help a student with a question and it has taken us 10-15 minutes just to figure out what the question is or to decipher the answer. And we wonder WHY kids are frustrated?
I don’t think that textbooks will disappear completely. They really do fill a need. A textbook as a guide, heavily supported by online resources, would go a lot further towards providing out students with the type of education needed to survive in the current “modern world” and give them a good base to build on as they eventually have to learn how to live in the next “modern world”.

Teaching Information Literacy in the current environment can be a very frustrating experience. I have taught it in college, high school and elementary school sometimes with an established curriculum, sometimes not. As an overall generalization, it has been a frustrating experience. It is so easy to just go online, Google your question and just take the first answer to come along. They never question the information since it must be right…right? Many of them don’t even know how to use a search engine properly and don’t even get me started on databases.
I recently used AllAboutExplorers.com to do a lesson on website evaluation. Out of my 6 pairs, 2 pairs managed to each get 1 question right (one of them by shear luck) the other four got all three answers wrong. They just looked at the first website and didn’t bother to verify their information.

Proposal for New Technology
Proposed by: B Sitler, LMS, Loretta Park

Technology to Implement:Wiki

Description of Technology: a Wiki is a web page or collection of web pages that allows users to collaboratively add, alter and update information. Wikis can be open to editing by anyone or can be restricted to certain individuals.

Use of Technology:To create a school community Wiki. This Wiki would provide information about the various services, activities and events that are occurring within the school. The Wiki would be “run” by students but overseen by faculty. The Wiki could increase communication between faculty, students and parents. Use of the Wiki for class assignments could help reduce the amount of paper and ink used by the school as well as the incidents of assignments not being turned in/completed.

Support for Technology:

Writing in the 21st Century – Report from NCTE that discusses the importance of Web 2.0tools (including Wikis) to the modern writing process. PDF can be downloaded at www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/

Using Wikis in Schools: a Case Study – British study into the use and practicality of Wikis in schools. Can be accessed at www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/discussion_papers/Wikis_in_Schools.pdf

http://hmtech.wikispaces.com/ - example of a Wiki created by a teacher to organize and support curriculum.

Terry the Tennis Ball – Fun student created wiki. Can be found at http://terrythetennisball.

Concerns: It is felt that Wikis are not a secure venue. Primary concern is with inappropriate postings and deliberate damage to or altering of another’s work.
The Wiki could be restricted in such a way as to only allow members to see or edit it. The Wiki would then not be accessible in any way to non-members.
Students could also use pseudonyms to provide further security.

Recommended Software:

1)Wikispaces (preferred) http://www.wikispaces.com/
The provider is used in many school communities. There is no advertising, the basic Wiki is free (special offer for educators) and it is relatively easy to use. This site allows administrative control which will reduce the risk of inappropriate postings and make wiki accessible only to users.
2)PBWiki http://pbwiki.com/
This is another wiki that is strongly favored by teachers. Also no advertising, free and easy to use. Security allows the set up of various levels of users including administrators. Can not completely remove Wiki from public access but emails are sent regularly with regards to changes made on the Wiki.

It is hoped that, in the long-term, a school-centered Wiki will help to improve cohesiveness between the various classes as a whole and the students, faculty and parents as individuals. It would provide students with a secure way to share their knowledge with each other and help then to develop a sense of pride in their work/accomplishments.

Nickal said...

Here is my D3:
To Kathy Almanzor, Principal Jamestown Lawn School

I am writing to inform you of a new means of communication that I have learned about. I have recently been taking an online class through URI that teaches educators how to enhance their instruction through the use of blogs, wikis and online resources. I have learned a lot and created my own classroom blog. You might remember the students using this online resource and posting their mid year projects to that blog. I have since created another blog. Hopefully this blog will be used by the staff at our school to share ideas, comments, and concerns about our advisory program.
According to the Advisory Steering Committee, one of the major issues that keeps coming up revolves around the planning of meaningful advisory activities. I believe that through the use of this blog, advisors can post their tried and true activities, as well as share ideas and thoughts about advisory. I envision this to be as useful as the Treasure Chest book we all received that was filled with activities. The nice thing about the blog is that it can be accessed from anywhere and it will not cost the school any money. Most of the advisors are in their third year of advisory and have done most of the activities in the book. The blog is an alternative to buying another book for the staff.
Another advantage of this blog is that other educators from around the world can contribute to the blog. The online learning community is enormous. I believe that it has the potential to really give our school advisory program a boost by getting the best ideas and activities from
There are many services that can host the blog. I have chosen Blogspot because of it is very easy to use and easy to access. I realize that many of us have very little extra time. The blog requires little maintenance and all comments are moderated so you do not need to worry about inappropriate comments being posted. I would like to ask your permission to use 15 minutes of the next faculty meeting to showcase the blog and teach the staff how to use it. I think that just the education of how it works might enhance teachers to use it in their everyday teaching when they see how easy it is to do. I would also like to use the computer lab so that everyone can login and post an idea that day. If we all post an idea the staff has the potential to have the rest of the year planned.
Thanks for your support.
Nicholas Alfred 7/8 Math

Mr. Kaczynski said...

My D3 is coming, but thought I would share something that worked for me. I was having trouble with students using the blog but not commenting. I posted an offer of a homework pass on my homework blog if they answered a question on my classroom blog ( I posted the link). In one night I recieved several comments. The only problem is that some answers were wrong or half right. I tried to edit the comments but could only publish it or reject it. Any help?

Mrs. K said...

Deliverable 3
Stacy Kennefick

I would like to implement the use of wikis in my classroom. The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian word wiki-wiki which means “quick”. A wiki is a website where anyone can add or edit information rather quickly. I would like to use a wiki with my sixth grade math students. I would like them to create a math tutorial. I find that a lot of students struggle with mathematical concepts. I would like my students to create an online resource for other students in the classroom and for future students. They could include definitions, examples, online videos, practice problems for extra support, and even possibly hints that they found useful for themselves.

This wiki would not only help current and future students but it could also help parents and teachers. I tend to see a math phobia across the board. I have many parent conferences where I hear “I wasn’t good at math either”. This tool can help parents feel more comfortable with the mathematic topics and be able to help their children at home. On the flip side, many students have no parental support at home and this would be a way to extend the classroom to their homes. The wiki would be created by other students so it would be explained from the student point of view and may make it easier to comprehend. This tool would also be beneficial to teachers. It could help other sixth grade teachers that are uncomfortable with certain topics, haven’t taught sixth grade math in a long time or ever, and it can be beneficial to fifth grade teachers – they can see the mathematical skills that are needed to be successful in sixth grade.

The first wiki was created by Ward Cunningham in 1995 – 14 years ago. Wikis are being used in schools over many disciplines, with children as young as first grade and have been very successful. Here are three different examples of successful wikis being used in the classroom.

Vicki Davis, a teacher at Westwood High in Camilla, Georgia, uses wikis with her computer class. They can complete assignments on the wiki, add relevant links as well as other sources to the wiki, and in 2007 they participated in Vicki’s “Flat Classroom Project” which connected her students to other learners around the world. You can visit her wiki at www.flatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com

Another example of a teacher successfully using wikis in the classroom is Kathy Cassidy. Kathy is a first grade teacher from Westmount School in Moose Jaw, Canada. She has a class blog that she uses for communication and a class wiki where her first graders can write stories. Her students also created a dinosaur wiki where they have posted nonfiction information about different dinosaurs. Also, Kathy’s students each have their own blog where they can post their writing and pictures of their work. She even set up “Blogging Buddies” with students in New Zealand. You can visit Kathy’s blog at www.classblogmeister.com/blogphp?blogger_id=1337

A third example of a successful wiki is creating a book study. Fifth grade students from Mrs. Herzig’s and Ms. Henkel’s reading class read Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty and created a wiki. The wiki includes chapter summaries, background information and a language section that includes information on idioms and figures of speech. This is a great way for students to get interested in reading and to extend the book across the curriculum. It is not only a reading wiki but a social studies wiki and a language arts wiki. You can visit the wiki at http://wiki.woodward.edu/hannalee/doku.php

In order to be successful with the use of wikis in my classroom I will need:
• Support from my principle as well as my teaching partners – the rest of the sixth grade team. I will have to show them the value of Web 2.0 and the benefits that the students will get from working in collaboration with one another on a wiki.
• I will also need to have more computers. As a sixth grade teacher, I know that my students are very knowledgeable with technology. I want to use their knowledge and put it towards a positive learning experience. In order to do this I will need access to some computer time with my students. Currently I only have one working computer in my classroom and we don’t have a computer lab in our school. I will use this computer lab to teach my students about computer safety, about using a wiki, editing a wiki, and adding to the wiki – links, podcasts, videos, etc.
• Support from parents - I’m sure that there will be some concern over safety. I will show them that my students are the only students that can edit and add to the wiki. I will be sure that they have anonymous user names and passwords to ensure their safety.

I hope to overcome these possible roadblocks with education. Knowledge is power and with out knowledge there is fear. I will educate my principle, parents and fellow teachers. I think that once they see that the benefits out weigh any possible risks, they will be more open to it. This “project” is also a way to meet one of our School Improvement Goals – to raise our math scores across the board – all strands of the GLE’s and problem solving. We can visit a computer lab at the Jr. High or High School in order to begin to educate the students.
A wiki is a great idea because it can be accessed from anywhere, at anytime. As a teacher, I can see all edits made and by whom they were made - this will allow me to be sure that all students are participating. It is easily monitored and it is free. I would use wikispaces.com because of the ease of adding information and editing the information. Wikispaces.com also offers a login and password option. I know that my students would be safe.

I hope that this “project” will allow my students to take ownership of what they are learning in the classroom. I want them to transfer from their role as the student into the role as a teacher. I believe that to really understand the material you should be able to teach it. I think that all students can benefit from having material presented in a different way. There are so many different learning styles and by embedding different medium into the wiki we will be able to reach all learners.

My thoughts about Session 9:
My Deliverable 3 Proposal was to create a wiki where my students transferred from the role of the student into the teacher. I have been working on it for some time and I was amazed to hear that Beirman and I are on the same page. I can’t believe it! I believe that it is important for the students to be the ones in charge of their learning. I can tell them over and over again why math is important but they need to see it for themselves and by becoming the teachers and having full-depth of knowledge I believe that they will begin to understand that. I am really interested in flexbooks. I think that the idea is wonderful. I find that the math textbook I use have many irrelevant details that don’t meet our GLE’s. I think it would be amazing to create a flexbook that would actually meet the needs of my students. It would be great to start with one discipline and build on it. There are always so many ideas and resources – it would be great to create a tool that would actually be useful. It seems very easy to use. I wonder if it can be accessed anywhere or if you have o print out what you needed? I know that many of my students hate to take home their textbooks – they do weigh a lot – and it would be great if they could access the flexbook from home.

juliep said...

I think a wikitext is definitely the way of the future. As for public school actually buying into the concept of it, that is another story. I feel that I work with a pretty cutting edge school district, however getting the superintendent, school board and principals to let go of the traditional textbook, I don’t think we are even close yet. I feel that they like the idea of supplementing the textbook with other tools such as online databases, articles either in print or online and videos on sites such as United Streaming. But as for giving up the text all together we are not there yet. Our school is going through a change with our Social Studies curriculum currently and we will be in a state of flux next year while these changes go into effect. Some curriculum will be covered in multiple grades so that the students don’t miss it as these changes take effect. However while this is going on there was a memo recently that they are looking at a text for the “in between” time until everything is ironed out. I read this and I was outraged and immediately e-mailed the director of Social Studies curriculum that it was insane to buy a text for such a short time that they needed to look at journals and magazine and online articles if they needed something in print for the meantime. Hopefully someone will figure this out, but what teachers think is best is not always what the school bureaucrats believe is best.

As a elementary school librarian one of my main purposes is to teach information literacy and I am still amazed that still at the end of 5th grade the students look at me like I have never said any of this to them EVER!!! And I will tell you my Kindergartners start research and the information literacy process right away. I think that it is intuitive to the kids but they have trouble with the organization of it. They know what they want to do, getting there is another story. I focus on how to organize and choose the best resources as well and being critical thinkers about what they read. But it seems that more and more the kids struggle when the research doesn’t answer the question exactly like the teacher asks, they have the inability to digest the information and answer more thought provoking questions such as why and how. They are very good at the small details but lack the ability to draw conclusions based on what they read. I am not sure if this is something we are struggling within ours alone, or is this trend seen in other schools as well?

Anonymous said...

Carol Cappadona

I, too, really liked the idea of Flex Books. Customized texts, topic and grade level specific , not too heavy to carry, accessible from school and home, could be saved to an iPod touch, smart phone or a Kindle to bring with you, never rips, tears or gets lost! What could be better? It seems we are moving towards our own personal libraries more than ever before. We personalize our television viewing by using TiVo and DVRs; we download our own music and create playlists, why not books too?! I do believe that the time has come for all of us to teach with today’s technology instead of yesterday’s.

Mr. Kaczynski said...

Jim K D#3 - To Kathy Almanzor, Principal

Dear Kathy,
As part of a class I am currently enrolled in, I have begun using blogs ( a type of interactive web page) in my classroom. Blogging, the interactive posting of comments, opinion, and content by individuals, is part of the next wave of educational tools available to teachers. At this time I maintain two blogs; one for posting homework (http://kaczynskihomework.blogspot.com), and another for classroom information (http://jtownscience.blogspot.com). It is my opinion that this technology is easy to use and would be useful to our school community. I am requesting your help in getting the district to commit to further exploration and teaching of this technology to our staff. It meets the needs of parents, students, and teachers while opening the lines of communication (one of the goals of our School Improvement Plan as defined by our SIT and recent SALT visit).

The homework blog is useful to students and parents and teachers. Students can check assignments, due dates and plan for their work load. Student’s lives are busier than ever and often have to balance school and extra curricular activities. Posting HW allows them the ability to see what they need to do immediately along with other assignments that may conflict with a game, band concert, or family obligation. Parents can help their student learn to manage their time, ask relevant questions about classroom lessons, schedule outside commitments, better understand the pressures their student faces, and open lines of communication that are harder and harder to establish as students push for more independence. For teachers the HW blog is an amazing tool. It communicates the assignments to the student, keeps a record of what has been assigned (and archives it), allows for student feedback, and cuts down on parent calls about assignments. Although I have only been using my blogs for a few months, I am very excited and happy with the results.

The classroom blog has many uses and forms. These forms change depending on the teacher’s comfort level with the new technology and the subject being taught. Edu-blogging is a way for teachers to deliver material to students in a mode that the students understand and feel comfortable using. There are great examples from all levels and all subjects created by past and present students of my class (edc921). They have great features and can be seen at http://edc921.blogspot.com/ (scroll down to participants blogs).

There are several free blogging services we could use but I recommend blogger.com. Since it is a free service, it will not cost teachers or the district any money. Another added benefit is that it is easy to use and internet based. This gives teachers the flexibility of changing their blog entries from home or school and is not dependant on the platform (PC or Mac) and does not require any IT maintenance. One of the major concerns discussed in my education class is the subject of student safety. In teacher created and maintained blogs this is not a concern because of the controls and built in security features blogger offers. Parents and students can also subscribe to and track changes to the entries using various services allowing for better home/school communication. For district professional development, myself and several teachers that are already using blogs could run seminars and serve as resources, trainers, and mentors for new users, again saving money.

Future expansion could include a school-wide blog with links to teacher pages. In this scenario we would no longer outsource our school web page, manage/control our content, and be part of the interactive community. I recommend you follow this link to the Meriwether Lewis Elementary School page http://lewiselementary.org/ to see how they have implemented web 2.0 into their school.

While I’m still new at this, I believe our students, parents, and teachers will benefit from expanded use of this technology. I would to like discuss any questions you may have and listen to your feedback and experience.

Amy Kalif said...

Here is my Deliverable #3...

Proposal to use Wikis in the Spanish classroom
Submitted by Amy Kalif

As a Spanish teacher, I am constantly searching for innovative ways for my students to use the language. In addition, I strive to make learning opportunities that are both meaningful and authentic. I believe I have discovered an outlet that will revolutionize my students’ classroom experience. This outlet is called a wiki. Rather than explain a wiki with words, I suggest you watch the short video Wikis in Plain English.
As you can see through the video, a wiki is similar to a normal web page, but offers the opportunity for students to contribute to the web page’s content. It also provides a forum for discussion of different topics. A wiki serves as a portal for information to help students. It is my goal to create a community online where my students will be able to collaborate, assert opinions and share research. I am asking that the school allow the use of a wiki in my Spanish class.
To give you an idea of what I would like to do, please browse Mrs. Almeida’s English class blog in Portugal. You can see that her students are proud to present their work in the “foreign language.” It is clear that they take ownership of their work, and consider this blog to be part of their learning community. I look forward to creating a learning community in my class, but I believe it requires more than a simple blog. I would like to have a body of knowledge that is easily accessible to my students. A body of knowledge to which the students themselves may contribute. As an example, please browse the Spanish Wikitext. This site can be used in place of a traditional textbook. All grammar, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation lessons can be found in this wikitext. Unlike a traditional text, students can add activities, insights and discussions about the material being presented. In my wiki, I will combine the community feeling of Mrs. Almeida’s blog, with the resources available on the wikitext to create a new environment specifically designed to meet my students’ needs.
Using a wiki, students read and interpret information, conduct research and then either assert an opinion or add to the body of knowledge that already exists. The joy of using a wiki in my class is that students will perform all of these skills in Spanish. By incorporating a wiki in my class, the following ACTFL(American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language) National Standards in Foreign Language Education will be met:
1.1 Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
1.2 Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.1.3 Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
3.1 Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.


5.1 Students use the language both within and
beyond the school setting.
5.2 Students show evidence of becoming life-
long learners by using the language for per-
sonal enjoyment and enrichment.

In addition to these national standards being met, the following Rogers High School Student Expectations will be met:

Students will demonstrate the acquisition of a body of knowledge as contained in the RHS academic curriculum by:
• Integrating and applying acquired skills and knowledge
• Applying research skills
• Using a variety of technology tools

Students will communicate effectively by:
• Writing clearly and concisely
• Reading for understanding
• Using other forms of expression

Students will demonstrate the ability to think critically and to work cooperatively and independently to solve problems by:
• Collecting, organizing, and analyzing information
• Drawing logical, in-depth conclusions

Students will demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the rights and responsibilities necessary to learn, live, and work in a culturally diverse and democratic society by:
• Taking responsibility for personal and academic choices
• Exhibiting integrity and a high level of effort towards goal attainment.

As you can see, a wiki easily helps students achieve national and local standards. In addition, the skills acquired by the students will help them meet the new Rhode Island Graduation by Proficiency Requirements. The communication, research and critical thinking skills needed to be part of a wiki, are the same skills needed for Senior Exhibition.

As a teacher and a parent, I am concerned about the security of children online. On my wiki, every student must become a member, and only members may contribute to the wiki. It is a protected website. Also, each time a student edits the wiki, I as administrator of the site, receive an email of the update thereby creating accountability for the students.

Every teacher dreams that his/her student will be inspired to use the content of class, outside of class. I am happy just to hear my students speaking Spanish in the hallway between classes. By creating a learning community with my wiki it is my hope that my students will not only use their language outside of the classroom, but become true life-long learners. There is no better way to connect to the content than to become part of it yourself. With all of the benefits of this technology, I respectfully submit this proposal to allow use of a wiki in my Spanish class.

Anonymous said...

Deliverable #3
Rebecca Gordon

Proposal for Implementing Web 2.0 into the Classroom
U. S. History – 10th Grade: Service Learning Project


As you are aware, U. S. History – 10th grade is responsible for implementing the Service Learning Project, which is a year long project. The students are separated into groups to work together in finding a solution to a world, country, state, and/or local problem. The students have to work through time sensitive, identified steps in order to implement and complete the project by spring for the Service Learning Celebration.

Web 2.0 – Read/Write/Speak/Listen Web Environment – The Wiki:

A Wiki is an online tool that enables students to interact with each other not only at school but also from home, the library or anywhere there is a computer. The Wiki can be password protected so that each student has to sign into the page in order to interact with it. The Wiki keeps a log of all entries and changes to the page with a day and time stamp. This enables the teacher to see who is working on a project and who is not. Also, using a Wiki does not require a student to know HTML or any programming languages.

Use in the Classroom:

The Service Learning Project has time sensitive steps that students need to meet. The problem with this project is students have a hard time collaborating out of the classroom. Because time is of essence and students do not have the same schedules, the Wiki will help students to collaborate outside of the classroom. By maintaining the Wiki with information and work completed by students, the students are working together but not necessarily by being together. They will be able to meet deadlines and will also create an original document for all to see. They can insert links to information, pictures, videos, and podcasts of their work. The students will take complete ownership of their work which will be authentic and peered reviewed.

The use of a Wiki as a tool for the Service Learning Project will help students by becoming the primary source of their work toward solving their problem. They will no longer have to maintain a binder and the teacher will only have to go to one place to review all projects. So, the Wiki will help both the student and the teacher.

Evidence of Success:

There are many school systems in the world that are using Wikis to promote student learning. At the site http://www.shambles.net/pages/learning/ict/studwikis/, there are examples of student work on Wikis. They use the Wikis for History assignments, researching and book reviews.At http://wikisineducation.wetpaint.com/page/Student+Created+Wikis?t=anon, Wikis in Education, there is many examples of student Wikis, Teacher Wikis and all sorts of information about Wikis, how they work, how people use them in education and examples of many Wikis currently in use. Teacher Rick Biche, uses a Wiki for student generated information in his history classes, see his Wiki at http://kmsamistad5.wikispaces.com/. Wikis give students a voice and an audience to hear it.


1. The recourse of the Wiki is free to teachers at wikispaces.com so there is not any cost to the school system.

2. As with anything to do with the internet, there may be concerns with security. Students will log in with a logon and password so their work will be protected.
3. Any vandalism to the site can be easily deleted by the teacher back to the previous entry before the vandalism. Also, because the site needs a logon and password, the vandal can easily be detected.


I would like to use wikispaces.com as the software for the Wiki I propose. Wikispaces is free to teachers and is easy to use. I believe using a Wiki to foster education and student learning is a great leap into a new sphere of collaboration. It holds each student accountable not only to the teacher but also to other students who are posting to the Wiki. It is viewable not only to the classroom teacher but also to the administration, the parents and the whole world.

Maura McGill said...

I found this session thought provoking. It made me look even closer at the future of education.
The quote, “the whole exceeds the sum of the parts” certainly summarizes what Collective Intelligence means. I realize how much you would have to rely on other people for their input and feedback. Collective Intelligence depends on the masses to respond to information. This is all the more reason to educate people in the field of technology.

I think it is important to remember, as teachers, the Literacy Standards and what our job is to our students. Students can find information, but they need to be taught how to evaluate, organize, and apply it. These are important tools that are sometimes overlooked. Just because students find information does not mean they understand it or know what to do with it. I want to take a closer look at the Literacy Standards.

I appreciated the comparison between the 1970’s education and today’s. My daughter is in college and is still buying those costly textbooks! Yet, she takes tests on-line from her dorm and communicates with her professors on-line. Do we really need these expensive textbooks especially when you can find the information on-line? Isn’t there a way to cut out this cost? The Evolving Textbooks updated by teachers and studentS, appeals to me. Inquiry based student driven learning seems to be a wonderful concept and it can be geared to the different learning styles of students. But, it does require educating teachers in these management skills.
I enjoyed reading Dave’s article, “Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct”. It was well written and touched on many of the same topics in the Power Point. I really liked the point it made about teaching heterogeneously grouped classes. The skills of students in these classes has become wider and wider. Teachers have difficulty meeting the different needs, but reaching and teaching these students can become easier using Web 2.0 and the tools of the participatory web. Subject specific teachers can find material at each student’s level.

The ck-12 site was exciting. What could be better than making free textbooks, teacher-generate books, relevant materials, and scaffolding units? It looked so easy to use and I loved that it was free. What a great resource you can design in the exact way you want. I am hoping to pass this site on to my colleagues.
However, I agree with Suzanne, there is a comfort and enjoyment I get from picking up a book to search for information or better yet just read!

Maura McGill said...

Deliverable # 3

From: Maura McGill, Third Grade Teacher

Re: Proposal for Responsive Classroom Wiki

My proposal is to create a school-wide Wiki for the staff at Charlestown School. A wiki is a collaborative web space where anyone can add content and anyone can edit content that has already been published. It is a tool that can be used for online collaboration. The creator of the word wiki stated that it means “quick” in Hawaiian. Wikis are quick for creating, editing, and collaborating.
The school district’s goal is to adopt the Responsive Classroom approach in our schools. This technology will be a valuable tool for our school setting. The district does not have the funds to send all teachers to the Responsive Classroom training. If the initiated Responsive Classroom wiki was in place for staff, teachers who have been trained could collaborate and share information with teachers lacking the training. It will support the needs of the school improvement plan. The wiki could be used for sharing ideas and resources. Teachers could post strategies for helping children build academics and social-emotional competencies for daily living. Teachers could post ideas for Morning Meetings, Daily Messages, Greetings, Activities, and Sharing. By posting ideas that are successful and unsuccessful, time and effort will be saved for staff. The Responsive Classroom wiki will be a resource for inspiration, guidance, and practical adaptable ideas. Teachers and support staff will be able to build common knowledge about values and expectations for students. They can establish everyday routines and build a school wide community.
The use of a collaborative wiki would be a practical and easy way of implementing our School Improvement Goal. Teachers can create or edit site contents without any special technical knowledge or tools. All they need is a computer with an internet connection. Listed below are some examples of successful wikis.
This is a great example of a collaborative network at Stanford University. It is a campus wiki where only faculty, staff, and students can edit. The wiki is a collaborative view of life on the campus of Stanford University.
Curriki was created for knowledge management and as a collaborative network. It is made up of a community of 10,000 people with a goal to create high quality resources for improving education.

This site was designed for teachers and by teachers. It is organized by grade level with different themes, presentations and posters. Teachers are collaborating on ways to motivate and engage students.
This site is a Wiki Walk-Through. It gives teachers some ideas on how to use a wiki in teaching.

One of the possible roadblocks to implementing this technology would be educating and training staff on how to work with and use a wiki. I suggest using staff meetings or after school workshops/professional development to provide staff with hands-on instruction which would be needed for using the wiki site. Hooking up the computer to the large screen television would be the best method of instructing staff since we do not have a computer lab. I would be happy to assist, demonstrate, and provide teachers with information needed to work with the wiki. Teachers should be given the following sites which describe how wikis work. This way they may access these links when they have questions.

This video clip has teachers giving their views on why wikis work.

This video clip features teachers sharing ideas on how they use wikis.

This site explains how to create a wiki.

This site will explain how to add links to a wiki.

This site will explain how to add pages to a wiki.

My suggestion for software would be Wikispaces.com. It has an easy format which takes about 45 seconds and it is free. You enter a username, a password, and a working e-mail address, give your wiki a name [no spaces allowed], select the type of wiki you want [“protected” to start], click the box to certify that you are using it for educational purposes and you are up and running. All you need to do is click the “Edit this Page” icon and you can start creating or adding to the Responsive Classroom site.
Another site that some teachers also like is PBwiki.com which is almost as easy as Wikispaces.com. Below are the two sites:

The collaborative environment that the Responsive Classroom wiki will facilitate can teach teachers many things about how to work with students, how to create a community, and how to operate in a world where the creation of knowledge and information is more and more becoming a group effort. Teachers will have access to ideas and links to resources which will cut down on the time spent searching for information. http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/ My hope is that the site can be accessed by new teachers next year who are unfamiliar with the Responsive Classroom program. It would be my desire to see the wiki still active in years to come and possibly in the future, branch out to the entire district.
Our staff will be able to learn from each other by generating and sharing ideas. This on-line conversation will build knowledge for the staff about what practices work best. I hope, by reflecting on best practices of Responsive Classroom teachers will expand their knowledge. As Michael Kaelin stated, “a wiki is a portal for learning”. This is my hope for implementing the Responsive Classroom Wiki.

Maura McGill

jimmyt said...

Deliverable #3

As we enter the 21st century, we are obligated to prepare our students, technology wise, for a worldwide education. Using technology, like blogs and wikis, can better prepare our students for a global economy and a global education. My proposal is to institute a pilot program to use a blog for the 8th Grade in Cluster 1. By doing this we can improve communication and learning between parents, teachers, students, and administrators.

What is a blog?
A blog is basically a webpage that can be easily created, accessed, and updated from anywhere there is an Internet access. A blog is a forum which fosters communication by posting comments and then having other people respond to the comments. On a blog, the teacher can communicate to the parents student’s assignments, rubrics, general instruction, and what is taking place in the class. Students and parents can respond by adding comments, asking questions, and students can post assignments.

Service Providers:
There are a number of different blogging services. Some of these services are free, while others charge a fee. Blogger, which is provided by Google, is a free service and there is easy access for all users. The only thing necessary to use Blogger is an Internet connection. In addition to easy accessibility, there is also an easy step by step set up for teachers on how to use the service.

Evidence of Blog Usage:
A couple of the articles that we read, “Virtual Support via the Blogoshpere” and the “Pew Internet Project Data Memo” contained statistics about the number of students (13-19) who use Face Book and My Space. The articles talked about how the numbers are drastically increasing in usage, but we still in American schools choose not to utilize this technology. The main point here is we are missing a teaching moment. Students are interested in this technology and we should take advantage of this. This would also help in teaching on line security to our students at the same time.
An example of a blog that I think would benefit my school is at http://www.butlerville.net/. It is from Blanchester, Ohio and contains everything from the parent student handbook to monthly newsletters and teacher blogs. It seems to be very cost efficient because it seems to be almost a total paper less school. The information on the blog contains a lot of the flyers that are sent home to our parents in our school. Also, our principal sends out some of the same information that is contained on the blog through emails, but they’re individual and I’m sure parents feel bombarded with emails and probably do not read all of them. By having a blog containing this information it would eliminate this problem. Another blog that I found interesting was at http://www.bryantschool.org/. This blog was more colorful and appealing and was also full of information. It’s located in Seattle, Washington and gave a good description of the activities and general information about the school. This information would be helpful for someone who was moving to Seattle and looking into their public schools.

Possible Roadblocks:
• Training and staff buying into blogging;
• Safety concerns, including cyber bullying;
• Cyber vandalism;
• Parental access to computers;
• Cost;
• Time consumption;

Training and the staff buying into blogging—We can utilize one or two hours from our 4 mandatory after school hours for training. By doing this, the staff would not be required to use their time for training. They would be more likely to approach blogging with an open mind. The staff will also buy into the program once they see how easy it is to use and set up a blog.
Safety Concerns, including cyber bullying—Although we currently have an Internet user agreement, we can easily add on to this. It would include: what is appropriate language to be used on the blog; explain that bullying or using the Internet to put down other students or to start rumors would not be tolerated; teaching students how to be safe on line; and also consequences for breaking the established rules. We can also use aliases so no real names of the students would be published.
Cyber vandalism—Once comments and assignments have been posted on the blog, they cannot be changed or edited by anyone who reads the blog. This will assure that students and/or parents could not edit, delete, or change the postings.
Parental access to computers—Most parents have either internet access at home or at work. Also, most people have cell phones and with a lot of cell phones today, i.e. Blackberries, they have internet access on their phones. Therefore most parents should have access to the necessary technology. For parents who do not have access, we can send home paper copies. We already do this for parents who do not have access to computers for progress reports and report cards.
Cost—Blogger is a very friendly user service which is free, therefore it would not cost the teachers, district or parents any money.
Time Consumption—After observing the training and reviewing the pilot program, the faculty would see how easy it is to blog and how it can be a time saver. They would be able to see that it takes little time to add comments or updates, which in the long run could save the teachers time from making phone calls. We currently write updates to the Grade Leader, who then sends out an email. This would not be necessary with a blog, therefore saving more time.

The goal is to pilot a program to use a blog for Cluster 1 Grade 8 as a way to improve communication. We would meet as a cluster in the beginning of June during one of the four mandatory hours. This would ensure that we would be able to implement the blog for the beginning of the school year in September. This would give us the summer to set up the blog and meet, if necessary, to finalize ideas and discuss questions and concerns. After the first trimester we would meet to see how things are working and what/if any changes are needed. We would meet again at the end of the second trimester to discuss where we are and any concerns. Finally, at the end of the school year we would present our blog to the faculty and explain our program. Hopefully at this point the administration would see the benefits and implement the blog for the entire school the following September. This way it would give the faculty the summer to experiment and plan for September. Also if there were any questions, they could contact us about their concerns or questions. Once we have a school blog set up, there would be different links for the various clusters and grades. With a school wide blog, all information can be sent to parents electronically, thus eliminating paper copies and saving money. Money would be saved because you would use less paper, less toner for the copying machines, and less time needed for people to copy.
Finally, by instituting blogging we will also solve a couple of other issues. First, students (especially 8th grade students) tell their parents they don’t have homework. Some times they use their planners and sometimes they do not. Also, at times, they will “forget” their planners in school. By blogging all this information (tests, projects, and homework) could be posted and the parents would not have to rely on irresponsible students. Next, parents could see the rubrics and projects and know what and when assignments are due. They could also help their students when needed. Finally, our School Improvement Team has identified parent/teacher communication as a goal. Blogging will also fulfill this aspect. Parents will learn what is being taught in all classes and be able to communicate with the teachers.

Mrs. Wright said...

Listening to John Pierce’s presentation- It’s Elementary, was very informative and relates directly to what we see and experience through our class. It was interesting to hear the evolution of his sojourn into Web 2.0 and see that problems in Australia are the same as here. The problems of setting up passwords and usernames for the students was predictably a pain—but even getting the teachers to remember was a good reminder that problems like this happen across age levels. Plus getting the kids to make entries – instead of just add images etc was also an important point. I really enjoyed the section on podcasts because the students seem to really like making them and they can be useful in reading (fluency) and writing instruction, especially revision. Since this class started, I find that I seek out podcasts and videos more often too,

The article about John Seeley Brown’s views on the internet in higher education from the Futurist also pertains to how students learn best when they are passionate about a topic.
This of course is nothing new to any early education or elementary teacher. - But we do sometimes need a reminder.

Using backward design to set up a learning tool like a digital textbook by starting with a learning goal and then building or synthesizing the components necessary to explore the goal reminded me of the Principles of Learning from the non Web 2.0 era.
Bierman’s project and CK 12 Flexbook site were really thought provoking. Many of us won’t miss the cumbersome, wordy textbooks and would look forward to flexible, reliable sources that can be current, relevant and yet geared to individual needs as Flexbook could be. I finally have a better understanding of my daughter’s use of online MIT classes that help her with equations and design specifications for her engineering classes. She uses them frequently because they save time and are reliable, and she and her classmates almost always solve problems in a group.—the beginning of a PLE, I guess

Viewing Teaching Hack as a resource, I can certainly see the value of using Delicious to help set up separate social bookmarks for student learning, parents, and staff professional reading development. This is something I could /should be doing right now with my reading colleagues.

I wonder if teachers will eventually be required to have an online portfolio that they develop over their career that shows their developing expertise.

Mrs. Wright said...

Deliverable 3
Proposal: To develop a collaborative school wiki for faculty in order to improve comprehension in nonfiction and fiction through professional development.

The Web 2.0 tool would be an Intranet wiki that would be private and available only to the staff at our school. A wiki will give teachers the opportunity to edit and discuss reading issues and to add hyperlinks with new information to share and discuss.
The wiki would provide the staff an opportunity to visit sites and listen to podcasts and video presentations about strategies that enhance comprehension and then to discuss and share their collective knowledge on comprehension instruction in their classrooms. This would enable the staff to have an ongoing professional communication vehicle.

The wiki will enable the teaching staff to examine reading comprehension strategies for both fiction and non fiction. At present our PD is not building based, and this wiki would enable us to address our school improvement goal of improving comprehension on the NECAPS. Wikis would also enable the teachers on a grade level to discuss and share what works for them and how they differentiate their instruction. It would also enable teachers to view instruction across grade levels and to ascertain if there are gaps in instruction, and if all GLEs are addressed during instruction. Veteran teachers could share their knowledge and experience, and individuals who attend PD outside the district could easily share new developments in the field.

An important part of the success of such an endeavor would be gently guiding the teaching staff into using Web 2.0 technology.
Teachers might need or like to read some background knowledge before embarking on a collaborative wiki. An interesting article in Education Leadership, How Teachers Learn: Learning with Blogs and Wikis by Bill Ferriter can be found at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/feb09/vol66/num05/Learning_with_Blogs_and_Wikis.aspx

To get started, teachers could view the following during a faculty meeting

Since teachers too will need to be convinced that using a wikis is both educational and feasible watching Mark Wagner’s video from this class would be a another great place to start professional development, or perhaps http://help.wikispaces.com/file/view/Help.Wikispaces.Teacher+Presentation,Wikispaces for Teachers a Guide to Using Them in Your Classroom

Once teachers are involved possible teacher web tools to share on the wiki might include podcasts such as this one by O’Brien, and Diana Lapp on how teacher modeling a Think-aloud can improve comprehension strategies http://www.reading.org/downloads/podcasts/Fisher%20Frey%20Lapp.mp3
Links the faculty might use include

or another interesting source might be
Or perhaps, http://blogs.proteacher.net/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=119

Roadblocks to success:
• Lack of teacher involvement due to lack of individual technology skills, time commitment necessary, and interest and motivation about the topic
• Technology problems due to technology restrictions from the district

Issues to Overcome:
Initiate a dialogue with district technology staff for ongoing support
Start off with small, short informational sessions so that the technology is understood and the staff is comfortable utilizing the wiki.
Have ongoing sessions and build a collaborative approach during faculty meeting.

Possible Software: My choices would be to use either PB Wikis or Wikispaces to implement this project. Sine this is for staff, the teacher section of wikispaces would be my first choice, http://www.wikispaces.com/site/privatelabel/k-12

Denice said...

Sorry this is so long....In the discussion of textbooks being outdated, I agreed with the statement,
“But they need the teachers to give them the skills to evaluate, organize, and apply that information. That’s Information Literacy!!!” My associate and I have been conducting instruction regarding effective Internet searching for over 6 teachers so far this year. It has been difficult recruiting teachers to devote a class period for teaching these skills to the students

Another statement in the presentation, “A growing body of teaching approaches—sometimes called ‘constructivist learning’, or ‘inquiry-based learning’—is driven by students’ own questions and adapts to various learning styles and levels of understanding.” Describes my philosophy of education. I was driven to use the constructivist approach when I was teaching Biology and I have continued that approach in my instruction for teachers regarding the integration of technology into their instruction.

I was intrigued by the description of your wiki textbook. What I believe is going to be s stumbling block to its implementation is the “’strong’ guidance from the teacher.” I can think of only 1 teacher in my school who would be able to supervise the creation of such and instrument.

Finally, I enjoyed searching through the links on the education wiki. Especially Gary Miller’s wiki regarding Web 2.0. It contained great links to very useful web 2.o applications and lessons. Another site, “Teach and Learn” also provided lots of examples of including media in our lessons.

Deliverable #3
Dear Sirs;

Our students are active participants in the technology of the 21st century; utilizing cell phones for texting, MySpace for social networking and digital cameras and camcorders as a natural part of their everyday interactions.

However, we educators have not been keeping pace with this technology. We are not integrating it into our instructional methodology. Students are constantly in some form of connection with their friends and are very familiar with collaborative Web 2.0 technologies. Some teachers have created web pages for posting homework assignments, etc. and have email accounts. They provide the URL for their web page to their students so that the students will be able to know what assignments are coming up or what test, etc. It is a static web page. The teachers also provide their school email addresses to the students in case the students have a question they want to ask the teacher or their parents what to ask the teacher. Again, the email is a form of one-on-one communication and this is often sufficient for most topics.

I would like to implement a series of professional development opportunities, during the school day, for the teachers to learn how to utilize some of the Web 2.0 applications that are available. I believe once the teachers see the benefits of utilizing these applications with their students, we will see more interactive projects that will develop our students’ communication, collaboration and technological skills.

I would like to begin by being assigned a duty period during the 4th time slot of the day. With our rotating schedule, each teacher will be able to work with me every 8th day. I have a small resource room in my library where I can work with up to 6 teachers each day. The focus of the beginning sessions will be the use of blogs. At a later time, I will be emphasizing the use of wikis for collaborative student projects.

A weblog, or "blog" for short, is an online journal that provides web users with information, generally on a daily basis. A blog's subject can range from the day-to-day notes, to updates about various events. Writers of blogs are called "bloggers" and the writing act itself is called "blogging." Blog entries called “posts” usually provide a section for comments by readers.

Utilization of blogs
A blog will allow a teacher to post daily assignments and updates regarding upcoming tests and projects. This is similar to the contents of their static web pages. However, the blog will also allow students to ask questions of the teacher and view the responses to these questions. Again, similar to the use of email but now the whole class will be able to read the responses and perhaps learn additional information they might need for success in the class. Of course, for topics that should only be read by the teacher, the students would continue to use the email.

The use of class blogs will allow students to connect with others in the class. Hopefully relationships will develop between the students and the teacher that will include mutual respect. The students will be able to read the comments that came before theirs and provide them with the other opinions and ideas of their classmates. As a side bar, the visibility of their comments on the blog will hopefully encourage the students to think a little bit before writing a comment. Each blog will also be viewed as having it’s own culture, the culture of their classroom. Certain behaviors (digital etiquette) will be acceptable and others will not be acceptable. Students will learn how to respect the rules of the community. In time, the students should come to view the blog as a source of help from their teacher and classmates in solving the problems related to a class topic or project. The blog will be developing a community of learners.

The expanded use of blogs will assist our school in building the “community of learners” to which our administration is always referring. Instead of static teacher websites where the students are just “readers” the students will be able to start a dialog with the teacher and other students through the use of comments on the blog. The teacher will be receiving direct feedback regarding the clarity of a project assignment and will be able to direct the progress the students are making in the project. The teacher, through the use of suggestions (posts) would also be able to serve as a model for appropriate research methodology. The students will be able to receive answers to their questions from their peers as well as from their teacher. Often the other students will be able to identify a problem another student is having with an assignment before the teacher because they are working at the peer level.

Validity of the use of blogs
The literature is full of positive assessments of the use of blogs in the classroom. Just view Will Richardson's professional and student blogs at weblogg-ed.com. Will Richardson's site offers blogging resources, including best practices, educator blogs, and technology recommendations for choosing content management tools

The use of blogs is worldwide as evidenced by this website - http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/
eval/curriculum/ict/weblogs/ where the opening line states, “Blogs provide a communication space that teachers can utilize with students whenever there is a curriculum need to develop writing, share ideas and reflect on work being undertaken in the classroom.”

“Writing with Web logs,” by Kristen Kennedy, (Technology & Learning, Feb 2003) states that, “blogs have the potential to enhance writing and literacy skills while offering a uniquely stylized form of expression.”

Additional sites to visit include:
•How Educators Are Using Weblogs - Intel Education: The Intel(R) Innovator 2003 (http://www.intel.com/education/projects/news/vol_05/elementary2.htm) - Four teachers across the K-12 spectrum were interviewed to see how they set up weblogs that help meet learning goals.
• EduBlog Insights - Anne Davis, Georgia State University (http://anne.teachesme.com/) - Maintains this weblog to enable teachers to reflect, discuss, and explore possibilities for the use of weblogs in education.

The biggest “roadblock” to implementing this technology is our IT department. They are not consistent in the manner in which they choose which web sites should be blocked – and at which class level – and react to any suggestion that there may be an issue of student safety. Last year, a few teachers were using blogs with very positive student feedback. This past September, the teachers found that all the major blog sites were blocked by the Internet filter. When the IT director was approached about unblocking the specific blog sites of the teachers the response was “Why?” He has now unblocked “edublogs.com” and “21classes.com.” Unfortunately, the teachers prefer to use Blogger.com and this remains blocked on our school computers.

The major concerns of the IT director are related to safety and privacy. Since the school system has a few servers in each school, they could create an INTRANET that supports the blogs. In order to make a blog viewed outside of school, a teacher would have to change the settings of the blog to be “read only” to the “outside world” so that parents and the community could view the dynamics occurring among the community of learners being created but not be able to make comments or posts.

Another roadblock is the “buy-in” of the teachers. Many of our staff members are “afraid” of using technology. Our TechSmart Teachers professional development program provides after-school workshops for the teachers and awards them CEU’s. However, many high school teachers do not like the time schedule of 3:45 – 5:45 pm.; they may leave school at 2:30 pm. Hopefully, by offering our teachers the opportunity to learn about the “read/write” web during the school day, they will not simply use the “read” web. Preliminary talks with some teachers have found them very responsive to this arrangement.

Blog Applications
Although Blogger is the most popular and easiest software for a blog, I probably would not use it. While Blogger is free, there is a recurring problem of preventing students from viewing other blogs, there is a link to other blogs in the header. Although there is a “work around” that can eliminate this feature, I have found that it does not always work. I do not want to be responsible for providing my students with the means to view other, perhaps unsafe or inappropriate content on other blogs while they are participating in my blog.

Edublogs.com consists of blogs from other educators at all grade levels, elementary, secondary and higher education. This software has been provided free of charge but recently the creators of the site have added advertisement to the free blogs. I would suggest that it is worth the small fee to become a “supporter” of the blog site and therefore have an ad-free blog.

Long Term Use
“Communication” and “Collaboration” are key in the business world according to various sources. With the utilization of blogs, teachers offer the students an avenue for peer suggestions and guidance. Instead of the one-on-one exchange of questions and answers via e-mail between a student and teacher, a blog allows a teacher to offer guidance and suggestions to the class with one posting. The blog also allows the students to assume a form of peer support group. Whenever a student reads a comment from another student they will be able to expand on the question or idea and offer peer level ideas and suggestions. The students can then assume a more active role in the direction of their accumulation of knowledge. For example, a colleague had a blog attached to a wiki project. Whenever she posted suggestion regarding what should be included in the individual pages, other students would include suggestions regarding good web sites they had found regarding the topic, provided mini-instruction regarding how to implement the addition of a video or podcast, etc. This form of communication assisted in creating a true “community of learners.”

Melissa Hafey said...

Deliverable #3:

Dear Mr. De Angelis,

I am requesting permission to create a blog for the Pleasant View library. The purpose of this blog would be to provide information about the library to the faculty and students. For example, the fifth grade students are working on projects in the library. These projects require some work to be completed at home. By making a blog available to them, the students and parents will be able to get updates on what is required, post questions, comment on other student posts, and collaborate on line. I also feel it it a great tool to stay connected to our students’ families. Setting up a blog is easy, posting to the blog can be done quickly, and it can be updated from anywhere-home or school. I have taken a look at several blog sites. Blogspot by Google is free, easy to use and navigate through .
I have also researched the benefits to having a school blog. According to the web site http://www.slideshare.net/frankcalberg/11-advantages-of-using-a-blog-for-teaching there are 11 advantages to using blogs in education one of which being the fact that blogging is participant centered.
According to http://teachingtechnology.suite101.com/article.cfm/teaching_with_web_20 using blogs and other Web 2.0 technologies is a good way to integrate technology into the classroom.
In looking at the website http://www.adultlearn.com/blogs-education.html a blog
“will also help parents to be informed of what’s going on in the classroom. This, in turn, will lead to more parents taking active roles in their children’s education.”
If you decide to allow a Pleasant View Library blog, I feel it would be beneficial to present this idea during our monthly faculty meeting as well as a scheduled PTO meeting. I think parents might be more receptive if they are able to ask questions regarding security, what it is to be used for etc.
Speaking of security, there would have to be guidelines for students to follow to ensure the safety of all students. We should also consider limiting postings to members of our school community only.
I have created a blog for you to look at before you make any decisions. It can be accessed at pleasantviewlibrary.blogspot.com. I look forward to your feedback
Melissa Hafey