Tuesday, April 14, 2009

921-Session 12-Research Supporting Edublog Usage

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

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





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












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












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












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












  • Diane has tons of kids commenting.












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












  • Andrea's adding screencasts and picture slideshows.












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




















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





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

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

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

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

Good luck and have fun!

Dave

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


19 comments:

Mr. Kaczynski said...

I just was going through all the material from this class, the stuff we read, the ppt lessons, the sites I bookmarked, the videos, all the new programs and technology. It is crazy how much there is. I'm trying stuff, downloading, signing up for new accounts. It is going to take a while for it all to settle in. The only thing I'm doing regularly are keeping up my blogs. There sure are a lot of options and a lot to think about.

Abbe said...

I really enjoyed looking at everyone's blogs. Blogs are still not an option at our school-so my blog doesn't have a lot going on-but I'll be ready when it's GO time! The administration has come to me to ask questions about setting up blogs (good thing I'm learning so much!) So I think it will happen soon. One theme that kept coming up in the reading is that teaching must change when you start to us blogs and other Web 2.0 tools. It seems like a no brainer, however, I can imagine that some teacher will have concerns about their "control" of the flow of information. The information this week is great. I am going to hold onto the articles for professional development. Welcome to the Blogosphere and Blog On will be useful in giving people the idea of the power of blogs. I really liked the video from Clarence Fisher. I liked the idea of a classroom that's more like a studio. I think he's in a location that illustrates how connected we can be from wherever we are. Last week our French class introduced their French counterparts (in France) to a wiki. They hadn't done one before and now they're online together. It's pretty exciting- the students can upload their work and videos for each other. The kids are very motivated to learn more.

Mrs. K said...

I have to agree that there is a lot of information to digest and I am glad that I have it all saved to go back and review. I have begun to create my math wiki. It is a lot of work and I am looking forward to going back to school to get my kids to help me. I started with the M(G&M) GLE. I have two pages complete for two different geometry concepts – polygons and 3D shapes and surface area. It is a lot of work trying to keep my blog up to date (Maybe that’s because I have three!) - I have a main blog with weekly updates, a math blog – where I post a problem of the week, and a Read-Aloud blog – where I post questions to get my students predicting and thinking outside the box. I know that all of my work will pay off and I am looking forward to having an outline for next year.

vivrelelivre said...

There really is a lot of information this week. One part of me is saying "who knew there was so much support" and another is saying "why isn't there more?".

Interestingly enough, I just got the April edition of American Teacher and their pro/con column is about whether or not electronic toys should be used in preschools. I can see valid points in both the pro side and the con side. Something like this makes it easier (for me) to understand why there is so much controversy about electronic tools in education.
Of course it doesn't stop me from wanting them.

It is nice to read an article like
"Blog On" and get a teacher's hands-on perspective of blogging. She also showed/told how students themselves took things one step further by extending conversations and providing posotive feedback and encouragement.

Collaborative Blogging as a Means to Develop Elementary Expository Writing Skills was also very informative. I love the fact that there were very positive yet unanticipated outcomes. We know our kids are smart but it's even better when you have proof of it. The kids taking the knowledge from just this one aspect of their learning and transferfing to so many other places really goes to show how receptive and innovative they can be when they aren't being quite so ridgedly controlled.

So much of what we have looked at this week and this semester shows how children can use electronic tools in such a way that they help to foster their own educations. So many of these 2.0 tools help the kids take more responsibility for and interest in what they are learning/doing. The tools do so much to turn them from passive receivers and doers to active sharers and makers.

Suzanne said...

I am interested in the effects of technology in education and enjoyed reading many of these articles.

The article discussing television in the classroom had me thinking that I too use television mainly for science. I don't know if that is because I don't know what else is out there (other than what we have in our libraries) or because I always saw science shows and filmstrips in school. I have used movies with my reading group for comparison after we have read a book. I do believe TVs are on their way out as we can select and extract exactly what we want digitally now.

I was surprised that incorporating technology in early childhood had positive effects after all we hear about not letting children watch TV or use the computer.

The edublogs article outlined all of my concerns that I had when starting this class and also gave me a few ideas for my own blog.

As long as we are teaching children the proper ways to navigate the internet and proper use of the computer, I don't think we should be limiting computer time in the classroom - just making sure everyone understands and follows the rules.

Finally, I like the use of a blog for the school newspaper. This opens many opportunities for the students to collaborate and would also allow children from different classrooms to work on the newspaper during their own "free" time.

There are so many things out there now I don't even know where I will begin this summer. I do know that my classroom will be up and running with a blog starting on Day 1.

Amy Kalif said...

Wow! I'm definitely saving this presentation to use as a potential reference.

As a parent, I particularly enjoyed/felt validated by the Pediatrics article. Apparently pre-school use of computers improves cognitive abilities. Thank God for www.noggin.com!

As I was browsing through the different articles, I misread collaborative blogging for competitive blogging. I wonder if competitive blogging would be a useful tool in high school. Maybe there could be a competition for students to create the "best" blog--most appealing, most followers, most visitor comments, etc... I think students would try to out-do each other, and in the process become tech-savvy writers.

Charlotte Lesser said...

Well, I have to admit that research and statistics aren’t really my favorite kind of reading! It’s been a bit slow going this week between the fact that it’s the beginning of my vacation and the type of readings! I admit to being also very sidetracked, because I clicked on the link for the talking avatar and ended up at VOKI creating my own personalized talking avatar that I then stuck on my blog. You are correct, prof, very fun!!

That being said, I was blown away by Clarence Fisher’s presentation!! Articulate, passionate, yet very down-to-earth. I really liked his comment that “geography is irrelevant” and that it’s not about the fancy web2.0 tools, it’s about changing the way that we teach. Also I liked his comment that teaching is a collective effort, not an individual accomplishment. Very insightful and inspiring, and boy, if he can do it in Manitoba, we sure ought to be able to do it where we live!

Two of the studies I read, TV goes to school and Early Childhood computer exposure I have concerns about using. TV goes to school was sponsored BY public television – I always worry about groups sponsoring research to show the good in what they do! Kind of reminds me of the research about Accelerated Reader (AR) – it’s all been done or sponsored by Renaissance Learning who owns AR! The early childhood computer use was a TINY sampling: 122 children living in rural Michigan. Not sure that that’s enough children that really represents our nation.

I enjoyed reading Nancy White’s article on Blogs and Community. Her depiction of the 3 types of communities and how they work was well laid out. I also liked how she defined how people play different roles: facilitator, moderator, information brokers, readers. I need to make sure that next year I encourage students to play some of these different roles online.

One quotable quote for me came from Collaborative blogging as a means to develop writing skills: “Feedback generated from the collaboration, rather than the use of technology itself, increased students’ motivation to write.” So, it’s the collaboration piece (presented via a new & way cool technology) that is important.

One of my biggest concerns, which we really haven’t talked about much in this class, is still Internet access. Much of NH is rural and many of our areas still do not have access to anything but dial-up. Scary but very true!! Not just in northern NH but where I live and work. One of the towns in my district which is very affluent has this problem. We can’t join our school district together in a WAN or even with cloud computing because of access issues. One of our small schools has to have satellite Internet access. Another town in which I live all summer also has this same issue. The small public library has a wireless access point and many of us take our laptops and go sit in their parking lot to use high-speed. Until we resolve these access issues, I think we need to think long and hard about how we use Web 2.0 tools in our schools, and especially what we ask our students to do from home.

I don’t want to end my post on a rant, so I will say that I have enjoyed my readings and all that I have learned. Like everyone else, I will be revisiting a lot of this material over the summer. I am very excited about my final project and know that it will be a keystone for my lesson plans for older students next year. I can’t wait to read everyone’s final projects!

Maura McGill said...

There were so many resources to investigate that I am glad I have them saved. I am amazed with the amount of information available for teachers and it’s great to know that most of these tools are free. Talkr.com was an interesting site. How cool is it that you can turn you words into an audio? However, I feel I would rather read the information on a blog then listen to that robot sounding voice.

Some interesting points were made about Classroom 2.0 and how education has to change so that kids are ready to meet the challenge of our changing world. The tools that children are taught with need to change and societies’ view of the classroom need to change. It made me wonder if school administrators are required to take classes about technology so they can understand its importance in the classroom. It is important to have the administration educated in the many ways these tools can be used in a classroom. Luckily, my principal values technology, but unfortunately we don’t have the funds.

Reading the statistic that people generally remember 50% of what they see and hear compared to only 10% of what they read, changed my opinion of video use in the classroom. Also, I was surprised by the findings of the study on early computer exposure before or during preschool year and how it is associated with the development of preschool concepts and cognition among young children. I would never have thought of preschool children using a computer at such a young age. I guess because my children are older and never did. I always thought of it as having a negative result on children. Again, a change in the way you think about education!

The article, Collaborative Blogging as a Means to Develop Elementary Writing Skills, had many interesting findings about improving student writing. The study was done with third graders. This is the grade I teach so I found it to have some great ideas for supporting a collaborative blog. Students writing improved with feedback, attitudes toward writing improved, and keyboarding skills improved. Again, I found myself wishing we had a computer lab at our school or just more computers in my classroom! I used to feel computers were more appropriate for the secondary level, but have changed my view. I realize that computer knowledge needs to start at an elementary level as well. Thankfully, I now feel educated in the use of Edublogs for my classroom!

Maura McGill said...

There were so many resources to investigate that I am glad I have them saved. I am amazed with the amount of information available for teachers and it’s great to know that most of these tools are free. Talkr.com was an interesting site. How cool is it that you can turn you words into an audio? However, I feel I would rather read the information on a blog then listen to that robot sounding voice.

Some interesting points were made about Classroom 2.0 and how education has to change so that kids are ready to meet the challenge of our changing world. The tools that children are taught with need to change and societies’ view of the classroom need to change. It made me wonder if school administrators are required to take classes about technology so they can understand its importance in the classroom. It is important to have the administration educated in the many ways these tools can be used in a classroom. Luckily, my principal values technology, but unfortunately we don’t have the funds.

Reading the statistic that people generally remember 50% of what they see and hear compared to only 10% of what they read, changed my opinion of video use in the classroom. Also, I was surprised by the findings of the study on early computer exposure before or during preschool year and how it is associated with the development of preschool concepts and cognition among young children. I would never have thought of preschool children using a computer at such a young age. I guess because my children are older and never did. I always thought of it as having a negative result on children. Again, a change in the way you think about education!

The article, Collaborative Blogging as a Means to Develop Elementary Writing Skills, had many interesting findings about improving student writing. The study was done with third graders. This is the grade I teach so I found it to have some great ideas for supporting a collaborative blog. Students writing improved with feedback, attitudes toward writing improved, and keyboarding skills improved. Again, I found myself wishing we had a computer lab at our school or just more computers in my classroom! I used to feel computers were more appropriate for the secondary level, but have changed my view. I realize that computer knowledge needs to start at an elementary level as well. Thankfully, I now feel educated in the use of Edublogs for my classroom!

Maura McGill said...

Sorry! This is an example of trying to do too many things at one time! My children were talking to me at the same time I was posting my comments and I posted them twice. I wish I knew how to delete comments...

jimmyt said...

After reviewing the session this week (and this entire course), I definitely see how edublogs are important to the classroom. I'm looking forward to the summer so I can spend more time to set up and plan how I could best utilize a blog in my class, and be able to implement it in the beginning of the school year. Although it's like taking on City Hall to try to get it set up for the school, I plan on using a blog at least for my class. Hopefully after a successful year it will catch on. The readings this week offered more proof and evidence to the importance edublogs play in education.
A couple of the articles caught my attention. I found it interesting in the Kulik paper where he said greater access to computers and the Internet increases the writing skills of students. This has been one of my biggest concerns, how can the writing improve, but obviously there is data to support this issue. I also found it interesting in the "Blogs-On Building Communication" article the students sharing their strategies on decoding. I think it's cool how the students try to help each other and share their strategies in an open forum like a blog.

Mrs. Wright said...

This week’s session talks about the 21st century educator’s toolbox and it really made me stop and think about all the new ideas and web 2.0 technologies that this course opened for me. The video by Julie Lindsay in the professional learning environment section is just one more site on a long list of summer quests. It’s great to know that even if I forget a site like Teaching hack wikis, I have everything saved and can find it easily.

I do sometimes find I am intrigued by the strangest things- like adding the cluster maps as a gadget to a blog and trying out Talkr.com—but I did wonder if you can just ad it do parts of your blog and not the whole thing. It would be great to use for parents especially if you had parents who spoke English as a second language or had literacy issues.


I have to agree with Vivrelelivre that the web 2.0 tools will make our students more responsible for their own learning. Collaborative blogging besides improving writing skills would enable reluctant readers and writers to participate more comfortably. During reading class I see so many of the 1st and 2nd graders whose eyes dart around the room- sometimes in the middle of speaking a word or reading— I have to wonder if focused active learning using technology wouldn’t be helpful for them. I worked with middle school reading students using the limited technology of Read 180 and there was a noticeable difference in their independence and focus when they worked at the computer. So I am not surprised that young pre-school children with all their enthusiasm for learning new things would show growth.

I wonder now as we begin to use these new(to us) Read/Write web tools, when the students in rural RI, NH, and in our big and small districts will have equal access to the technology?

HerMom said...

Rebecca Gordon

There was an incredible amount of information the last two weeks and it is just unbelievable the things that we can do or use if we choose to. As I listened to a podcast or watched a video cast, I realized that when I was listening to a podcast I started to be distracted by anything around me. With Professor Fontaine's PowerPoints, I did not get so distracted because the screen had words or pictures on it and I stayed focused to his presentation. But, with a podcast that had a black screen or a swirl of moving colors (which gave me a headache if I watched) I became very distracted and had to go back and again listen to what I did not pay attention to. I wonder if the children will get distracted without a screen to focus on or a video to watch.

juliep said...

The article titled Early Childhood Computer Experience and Cognitive and Motor Development gave me something to think about as a parent of a preschooler. I interviewed and visited many preschools when I was in the process of deciding where to enroll my daughter, but I didn’t even ask if there would be any access to a computer. Honestly my main focus was eating and outdoor playtime. My daughter is very active and just loves to run and play chase. We have a computer at home, absolutely but I haven’t had her really “play” on the computer at all. I do think that the correlation mainly is in relationship to the average income of the homes that have the computer in their houses; those would most likely be homes with parents with a college education who READ to their kids. I do think there is a time and a place for kids to be exposed to computers and games but I don’t see anything wrong with old fashion reading. Now that I am off my soapbox, I will move on.
I created my blog earlier this semester with Edublogs and I have loved it. I recently created a wiki with pbwiki and I am going to use it with my 3rd & 4th graders for their famous American projects later in the year. BUT, wow what a mess with assigning each student their own account info and password. Pbwiki gives you all the account info but the logistics of assigning the info to an entire grade level, about 125 at each grade in my k-5 school, what a mess. I really like my blog much better because honestly when I put up a new post it is a simple as approving or deleting their comment based on if they followed the directions and answered the question I gave them, usually very opened ended in the library anyway. Not that I won’t use the wiki, but at my level with the numbers I deal with it will take a huge amount of time on my part and really needs to be collaboratively taught with the teachers if possible, and that is only if I can get them to stay in the library long enough for me to ask the question of them in the first place. I will keep up with my blog because the kids have really loved posting their comments and reading what the others kids had to say as well. They get all over each other when they spell things wrong, hopefully this will help with some of the spelling the teachers have been struggling with.

Amy Kalif said...

Help please! My students are working on my wiki (aka Final Project). I would like them to post a podcast on the wiki, but I don't want them to have to sign up for accounts at Gabcast, Odeo, etc...In our school library we have Macbooks with Garage Band. I can easily create a podcast on Garage Band, I just can't find the html code to post it on the wiki. Any suggestions?

Mrs. Patricia Colonnese said...

I liked TALKR. It may be a way to differentiate instruction on our blogs by having the audio. For students that need the help with reading, it would be a plus. I started using the audio with some students in Kid Infobits and it really helps. My students are now writing to my blog. I have been working with a new wiki that I am adding webcam videos. What I am realizing now even with the support from my fourth grade teachers -is that technology is very time consuming. There are glitches and work arounds to be found. At some point we have to move on because there is so much to be done before year end. I only see my students once a week in the library since we are on a fixed schedule. I have seventy eight students to videotape. I should have just stuck with the blog but the kids are eating it up doing their author study.

Charlotte Lesser said...

Just came across this- haven't checked it out myself yet. BUT if it really offers free space for videos & podcast files - sounds good to me!

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"Drop.io is a totally free, totally private server space that allows you to upload and share documents and (unlike Google Docs) music and video files.

“Drops” can hold up to 100MB of data and come with their own e-mail addresses and fax and voice-mail numbers: Once you’ve built one, you create a password to allow others inside. Work on group projects, back up your files, or post all your holiday photos at once and shoot the URL over to your friends and family members. The best part? Unlike other file-sharing sites — YouSendIt, box.net — drop.io doesn’t ask you to register or provide an e-mail address."

Drop.io

Amy Kalif said...

I figured out how to create a Podcast in Garage Band, and then embed it on the wiki. Here's the
link to my directions if anyone's interested.

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Well, this is it. The final project is due. Do we post it here as well as the wiki? I wonder . . .