Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome to EDC586-921 !!!


This is our class blog. It will serve as our discussion forum, connection to each other, and the main webpage you will be accessing.

If this is your first visit, then please first read the entry below this (entitled, 'Practice Session') and follow the instructions there. When you've done that return to this one.

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

This forum can be viewed by anyone in the world, but will only allow the participants of EDC 586-921 to interact with it. When you would like to respond to someone or comment upon a session, just click on the 'comment' link below each of my postings and choose the 'anonymous' button under 'choose an identity'; and

If you every run into any trouble or need to contact me then please feel free to email me at:

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

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

The bonus for you, of course, is that this information will also always be accessible for you. This way, in the future, many semesters from now, you may revisit this site and benefit from the ideas of all the participants that have come before and after you.

In this way---YOU will gain from all the 'learning speedbumps' of those that have come before you--even though they are not currently enrolled in this course.

You may also read past semesters' participants' profiles here and older ones here.


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

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

After you have finished posting this profile, come back to this page and click on the 'Session 1' link (in the left-hand margin), download it, and view it. When you are finished with the session please click on the 'comment' link again and add any comments, insights, or reflections you have for Session 1. This means that under this session you will have posted comments twice. Once for the profile, and a second comment with your reflections on Session 1's content.

Sometimes it takes a little while to get the hang of using this forum. I have taken this into consideration by reducing the workload of the first session. Its primary goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page and skill level before we sink our teeth into the meat of this course.

Also, everything here is protected by Creative Commons License. This means that you have complete authority to download, save, share, and use all of the lessons in your classroom, but are prohibited from any commercial uses. Check out this link for more information.

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

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

Dave Fontaine

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


The Naz Family said...

Hi, my name is Staci Nazareth. I am a media specialist for 5 years, a tech teacher for 7 years before that, and a Lang arts teacher for 3 years before that. I have a bachelors in English, a masters in teaching and another masters in school library and information technology. I hope to learn some new tech tricks, and share some of my own. My email is I'm located in Saline, MI at the middle school.

Anonymous said...

I am Ali Phelan. I have been teaching for about seven years. I am a grade 7 special education teacher. The program where I teach allows me to coteach both math and English. The students are fully mainstreamed. I have my Masters in Special Education but I feel completely incapable of the technology I was so confident with just a few years ago. I am sorry to admit, until I read the article, I did not know what a Wiki was.
I teach in RI and have two young children and a wonderful husband that will do his best to keep them entertained while I attempt this class. I look forward to incorporating what I learn into the school where I teach.

Dana Dones said...

Hi, my name is Dana Dones. I am a Graduate Student at the University of Rhode Island enrolled in their Adult Education Program. I have a Bachelors degree in Nursing and a Masters Degree in Management. I have never taken a full online course and this will be a challenge I am certain. I am a Nurse in the US Navy, Married with 2 children. I am a full time student at the moment and I am not teaching or working at this time, but I have taught Basic Life Support and medical life saving and safety techniques to hospital corpsman, physicians, nurses, practitioners and civilians. What I hope to come away with in this class is to learn how to incorporate the use os Blogs and Wikis into programs in the Navy community. My e mail address is

Anonymous said...

-Hi, my name is Cheryl Tondreau.
-Ages ago, I received my Bachelor's Degree in Social Studies from Providence College. After working in another field and spending some time at home with my children, I went back to school for a Master's Degree in Teaching (MATC - Elementary Ed.) from Rhode Island College. I've also taken many other courses to keep my certification through the years.
-After substituting in the elementary schools in Central Falls, I took a full time position teaching adults. I have been doing this for the past 12 years. I am currently "teaching" a remedial program for CCRI at Network RI in Providence. Participants use Skills Tutor, a web-based program, to improve their reading and math skills in order to qualify for job training. I assist the participants as needed and monitor the computer lab.
- I have used a blog with a Reading/Writing class in the past and have a blog set up for my current program. I am really looking forward to learn more about how I can improve what I've already done, to learn about wikis (which I knew nothing about until I started to read for this course), and to learn how I can really engage my students using Web 2.0.

Anonymous said...

Comment re: Session 1.
I know that is just the beginning of the course, but I’d have to say that my first comment about this week’s assignments and lesson is that I’m a bit overwhelmed. With so many great web 2.0 tools to use in the classroom, I wonder what is most appropriate for my clients and which will help them explore the internet and improve their skills.

That being said, I’m also very excited to have the opportunity to explore these tools and I’m sure that I will learn a lot of valuable things that I can bring to my practice now and in the future. (I just need to devote a lot of time for the exploration because there is so much.)

Even though I am not currently working with children, I can see the extraordinary value of incorporating web 2.0 in the classroom. I have volunteered at a local high school and could see first hand how the students used the web with, and without, the teacher’s permission. I feel that as teachers we should try to understand the technologies that the students use outside of the classroom. And whenever possible use these in our instruction to promote literacy and motivate students. I also agree that many teach-able moments can occur when using these technologies to show students how to best use these and to use them safely.

Anonymous said...

Hello. My name is Malaree Searle. I am currently in my fifth year of teaching at Ponaganset High School in northern RI. I am an agriculture teacher. Our department offers courses in aquaculture, animal science, environmental management, landscaping, greenhouse production and floriculture.

As is common with most elective type courses, my classes are filled with students who vary greatly in their skills and abilities. I am looking forward to this class because I feel as though it will teach me how to develop an interactive tool that can help me better meet their needs.

It has always been the goal of our department to provide students with hands-on learning experiences. I feel as though this class will allow me to do just that while also incorporating the type of technology that our students are so accustomed to.

This is the first online course I have taken and am looking forward to participating in this style of learning.

My email address is

Anonymous said...

Session 1: Malaree

I most certainly agree that this first session was somewhat overwhelming in terms of the amount of information. However, I would say that its great information and am very excited to start putting some of this to use.

While I regularly use a teacher webpage via my school's homepage, I don't feel as though my students are really using it. In the session 1 PowerPoint, I believe the term "static" was used to describe the typical wepage format and would certainly agree that this is the case with my website. The page is simply a place where I post PowerPoints and class information but it is not engaging or interesting to my students. After looking at Anne's blog, I am very excited to begin creating my own. I can see where it would be so much more interesting and useful to my students and to me as well.

Although I think I understand the general idea, I'm looking forward to learning more about RSS. The thought of being able to create podcasts and things that my students could download to their iPods and such is very exciting (after all we can't seem to get them to put them away!). I really feel as though these Web 2.0 tools will help bridge a gap between me and my students.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping I can ask a few questions. Should I be asking questions here? Along the side of the class page are PARTICIPANTS' BLOGS...should we be expecting comments from that entire list or are those previous classes?
I was unable to open the video and my book has not yet arrived so I do have more to do.
I will share that for a few weeks we have tried the seventh graders responding to prompts on a blog. Many of the students enjoy it and I believe it is from the perspective of having a greater audience than just the teacher. We introduced the blogging being very clear about the expectations and many students have taken to it with enthusiasm.
We do still run into the occasional student that does not have Internet at home and so we have been creative finding the time for that student. I realize that what we are doing is only the surface of the potential. I am hoping that over the next few sessions I will have more to contribute rather than simply knowing how to change the prompt for the students.

Anonymous said...

Hi...I am Deb Marcellino. I have my Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from URI. Although I have taken many graduate courses to meet the requirements of certification renewal, I have not yet committed to a Master's program. This is my 12th year of teaching at J. H. Gaudet Middle School in Middletown, RI. With the exception of one year in 7th grade, I have taught 8th grade English. At the beginning of this year, I was placed in a 5th grade position; same school, but entirely new world for me!
I signed up for this class with the hope that it will help me meet some of my IPlan goals. I am looking forward to learning about opportunities for using technology in my classroom.
My email is

Mrs. McAllister said...

My name is Rebekah McAllister and I am currently teaching 8th grade physical science at Davisville Middle School in Rhode Island. I also coach a Science Olympiad team at DMS.

My email is:

I have graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in Biology and a General Science degree. I am endorsed in Middle School Education. I am currently working on a Master's degree in Science and Technology at URI.

I am dedicated to demonstrating how the technologies available in a digital learning environment can be the catalyst for teaching and learning. In my classroom, I have access to five Dell computers and a SmartBoard. I use technology in one way or another every day to present information, investigate scientific problems and communicate ideas.

I really like the idea of using blogging in the educational process. I took EDC 920 and now I have a blog on blogger (created due to the knowledge gained in the class) that I am using for students to reply to science related article questions. The students enjoy reading each other’s answers. I also am happy about being able to monitor student comments as they can be sent directly to my email before they are posted by me.

I look forward to working with all of you over the course of the semester.

Anonymous said...

My name is Esther Wolk this is my 12th year as a library media specialist in Coventry, RI. I have worked in the elementary, middle and high schools and I am currently working at the elementary level at Tiogue and Blackrock schools. I have a BS in Journalism and Masters Degrees in Education and Library and Information Studies. When my job at the high school was cut two years ago one of the things I missed the most was having technology available to me whenever I wanted or needed it. I am trying really hard to incorporate technology into my elementary library classes. I am hoping that this class teaches me new skills that I can share with my students and colleagues.

I can be reached at

Mrs. Neri said...

Hi, my name is Michelle Neri and my e-mail address is I have a B.A. in English education, and I am on my way to both a masters in English Education and certification in theatre. I have been teaching English at North Kingstown High School for the past four years, prior to that I taught middle school music, and pre-school in New York. At NKHS, I have been teaching primarily classes with research paper components. In this regard, I have been spending my class time discouraging students from using the internet as it is often not an authoritative source for research. Through this course, I would like to be able to show my students appropriate and enjoyable uses for learning and sharing through the internet.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to view both classes. I will try to explore that too. I am feeling inspired and frightened at the same time about this class. I guess I am a bit embarrassed to admit all of the things I learned so far, some, I think, I should have known. Maybe it is just that I had not thought about it from that perspective. I love how interactive the web is now but had not noted the change. With the freedom of anyone to post anything, I hope we explore ways to check the validity of some of the blogs we will visit. I understand that some are more formal than others.
Today, I decided to take a few minutes and ask the students to reflect on the blog process we have started in class. They seem to love it, I promised I would have more to contribute. We have been holding an afternoon session to allow for the few that do not have access to the Internet. Thank you-

The Naz Family said...

Staci Nazareth
Session 1 EDU921
I just wanted to comment on my thoughts about blogs. We use blogs here in our middle school (after some pushing from me!) to have the students report on current events. The blogs can be easily organized by section, and show which student posted when. We use for this purpose, but I am investigating kidblogs for some of our other purposes. I think that one of the things that we need to work on is assessing a student's participation in the blog. If we could find some way for all the teachers to assess that in a similar way, that would be a real boon.

Mrs. McAllister said...

Rebekah McAllister
8th Grade Science
Session 1

After reading the selections for Session 1, I am, more than ever, certain that using technology (especially blogging) in the classroom is a vital component of education today. Most students use technology in one way or another every day to communicate their thoughts and ideas so it only makes sense to tap into this activity for teaching purposes. As the article Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview states, “More than half (55%) of all of online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites.”
I believe it is important to consider technology a tool in education. The focus should be on the way technology allows for more student participation. I like the way the article Writing in the 21st Century talks about imbedding technology and writing together. According to the article “Teachers have three opportunities to tap into student writing: developing new models of writing; designing a new curriculum supporting those models; and creating models for teaching that curriculum.” We can help our students become more interested in writing by using chat rooms and blogs. One example of a teacher who uses technology instead of always using the traditional “chalk and talk” said, “students now continue fiery classroom debates when they get home from school via blogging sessions and they walk each other through difficult readings of The Odyssey and Hamlet and return to class with stronger understandings. Their projects are regularly published which leads to comments and ongoing conversations with the outside world.”

Students are becoming increasingly familiar with using technologies in collaborative ways, often for social reasons. I feel that as teachers, we have the responsibility to teach students how to evaluate information on the web, which can be dangerous if a student is left to their own judgment. As Will Richardson points out, “It’s imperative that we be able to teach our kids how to use the tools effectively and appropriately because right now they have no models to follow.”

Teaching via tools such as blogs, podcasts, forums and wikis focuses on students’ multiple intelligences, gives them a sense of learning as a social experience and makes the teacher aware of the students’ perspectives. Referring to the article, What You Need To Know about Web 2.0, using such technology is “useful in the classroom because it is an easy and inexpensive way for students to learn, create and share with each other and their teachers.” I was happy to see the article reference something that I am already implementing in my classroom…posting an assignment on a classroom blog and having students respond to it in the comments section.
I look forward to having this process evolve to a deeper level by having peer evaluation postings on the class blog as well.
20 Techniques

Deb said...

The readings in Session 1 make clear the many benefits of blogging with students. The article, "Edublogs" claims that "school blogs give students their own them become habitual writers." Isn't this every writing teacher's dream? I know that I constantly strive to help my students "own" their writing, and to to see the benefits of daily writing practice beyond the classroom. The Anne Davis weblog inspired me. I read quite a few of the students' blogs and their reader comments. The opportunities for collaboration and reflection with a weblog like this seem endless. It was reassuring to see that this kind of work can be done with elementary students.
I liked the idea for a classroom bulletin board activity from "Intro to Blogging" by Stach. Having my fifth graders post comment strips to answer a wall post such as "Was the book better than the movie?" would be an easy, visual, and straightforward way to introduce them to the concept of blogging about their reading.

"Aggregator" and "RSS" were foreign terms to me before I read the Richardson article. I appreciated learning about more efficient ways to organize and filter blogs. So often, I have killed hours sifting through one edublog after another, knowing the blogs could potentially enrich my teaching, but then quickly felt "lost" or overwhelmed due to the vast amount of information out there. My head is spinning a bit with all of this new lingo, but my confidence in the advantages of blogging (and my own ability to do it) in the classroom is quickly growing!

M.Searle said...

I figured there was no better way to spend the snow day then to begin creating my blog! Feel free to check out I've still got a lot of work to do but time certainly flies by when you start delving into all of the options. The more I learn, the more excited I get.

I am the co-advisor of my school's FFA Chapter. We have a number of different activities and events that occur throughout the school year and also during the summer. I think that creating an FFA page on my blog will be a great way to keep in touch with parents, students and alumni about various chapter events.

I'm also very very relieved to know that Blogger allows me to view posts prior to publishing. Over the last week and was somewhat concerned to think that students could post inappropriate material that parents or administrators might see before I got the chance to delete it.

In terms of "I wonder" questions, I am curious about whether or not my students will be able to use this blog in school. I am pretty sure that my school's network currently blocks access to Blogger and other such pages. I don't know much about network management but do know that several other people in my school have completed this same course and am wondering if the school might consider granting access.

I'm also looking forward to learning about adding audio to my blogs. I think this would be a fabulous way for me to help the several students I have that struggle with reading. I could also add audio to lecture notes and PowerPoints for students who are absent or who need to review.

Mrs. Neri said...

The first session for me was overwhelming, albeit very informative. As a “young teacher” I am a bit embarrassed at how little I know about, or use, the internet. Most of the lingo in the PowerPoint and in the articles is new to me; I have a website on our schools server but sadly do not know how to alter/update/use it. The thing that struck me most in all of the readings, however, was Writing in the 21st Century. I try to share a joy for reading and writing in my classes, and I never thought to use this medium to do it. I was also inspired by the video of the class of students using blogs to discuss their class work. That is what I do with my students in class on a daily basis. I am excited to start continuing the conversation with them at home, and maybe involving their parents in our work.

When I mentioned this class to one of my senior classes, and told them about what I learned in the PowerPoint they were a bit amused at my internet ignorance, but eager to help me learn. They helped me sign up for and begin to set up our classroom blog, it was nice to see them so engaged in the process, and even my non-enthusiastic writers excited to start sharing their ideas via the internet.