Monday, April 5, 2010

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:

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 Once there just search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.


Cheryl said...

All I could think when I finished the lesson for this week was "Wow" - all the possibilities.

Dave, I loved the article. It was well written, very informative and really made me consider possibilities that I would never had considered.

"Teaching is a collective effort, not an individual accomplishment." I think teacher preparation courses try to make new teachers see this by doing many group projects, but really never stress ways that we can be most effective as teachers if we share our knowledge. I think many of us still have a proprietary view of our work. I think a change will occur in our field because of the availability of Web 2.0 tools if we can spread the word. And of course, this URI course helps to do this.

"Student input is imperative." Working with adults, I am keenly aware that I must make what I teach relevant to the lives of my students or they will drop out and leave the program. A teacher I know once said, "students vote with their feet." Being able to create a textwiki and/or use a class wiki will further enable us to give students more of what they need. I was particularly drawn to the box in your article that talks about a collaboratively created wikitext addressing multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. I am more convinced now that using a wiki would help to give our students more of what they need to succeed.

Now I just need to find the time to explore more examples and start to create my own.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the article was quite informative and helpful as I begin to work on Deliverable 3. I found the comparison between the 1978 and present day college experience humorous but also think that it’s a great way to demonstrate just how much of an impact technology has on our students.
I have already learned so much over these last nine weeks and am overwhelmed by the amazing tools that are available. What I find even more amazing however is that there are so many people who are doing wondering things and are willing to share them for free! I think that this is great and says a lot about how much teachers really care about education. The media often portrays teachers as overpaid and money hungry but the examples I’ve seen through this course prove just the opposite. Schools are paying thousands of dollars to purchase textbooks from large publishing companies while educators on Flexbook are willing to share what they know for nothing and are working together for the benefit of their students. I thought this website was awesome. I had no idea that something like that even existed.
Another thing that I think is so great about many of these Web 2.0 tools is that they are so easy to use. I know absolutely nothing about HTML and when I first began this course was scared that I would struggle with some of the software. However, the creators of these programs had the good sense to truly make them user friendly and many of them work like a Word document. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to create a blog and Wiki. I truly believe that with only a little instruction, I could now teach my students to use them too.
I like the idea of developing or participating in professional learning environments. To be quite honest, RI is such a small state that I can honestly say I know all of the other ag teachers in it. While we have a lot of great things to offer one another, I think if would also be beneficial to collaborate with ag teachers from around the country. I’ve been fortunate to have this opportunity at conferences but these events only happen occasionally and can be quite costly. I believe that there are some of these professional communities for ag educators that already exist. I now feel a little more comfortable in trying to get involved.

Alexandra Phelan said...

I just finished the proposal for my district. I think I am convinced. It is just such a forward moving tool that is free and accessible to students at all levels. We certainly have had students create CDs in response to literature and make posters and to have another interactive tool such as a blog in the classroom seems the only logical step. I thought the perspective at a coolcatteacher blog were great, blogging is an additional tool but not the only tool for the classroom. I thought your article offering the perspective of the text book was great… by the time my children are in school I can’t imagine the medium of their learning. It is so unbalanced in it’s ability to keep up.
I do still find myself unfocused; I can envision the uses of a blog much more readily for Science, Social Studies and English but struggle a bit with the incorporation into the math curriculum. Math is more concrete. My math teacher and I have an interactive white board so I am drawn to make this work in that classroom, with that curriculum.

Mrs. McAllister said...

I really like the idea of a paperless textbook. First, I think the overall setup of textbooks can be improved because I usually have to flip through the whole book to find the diagrams and content I want the students to study on their own …most of the info I don’t need as we go over in class together. I really like the idea of textbooks being customized or “place-based” for my curriculum. Also, in science, new research and information needs to be added into the content so having access to texts that are constantly being updated by the input of both faculty and students would be valuable and timely. It’s hard to believe that it’s already happening with CK12.

I love the idea of creating a textbook on CK12 and can’t believe CK12 is a non-profit! I have always wanted to tailor paper textbooks to incorporate only the content being focused on so that students would have all the information that applies to the class. Also, since I teach earth science and physical science, students have to switch books mid-year which is a hassle… and they have another book dealing with solutions, acids and bases that I don’t even bother with having them sign out. It would be awesome to have a textbook online with all the chapters that incorporate the information we need without the material we don’t. Also, students could read them at home without having to worry about forgetting it in their lockers.

Dana Dones said...

EDC586 Deliverable#3 Dana Dones

With all of the information that I have received this semester about Wikis and Blogs I am more comfortable with stating I think it would be an excellent idea to create digital type text books. One concern I would have is I would want the pertinent information that is true to remain in print in the textbooks. Over time we have all learned that some of the information we were given as children was not all true. For example, nowadays scientists are stating that Pluto is not a planet. I believe if students can utilize electronic textbooks that have been embedded with audio, video and interactive tutorial as noted by Mr. Fontaine then we would certainly reach some if not all of the learning styles students have.

The Flex book technology’s amazing. I was impressed at how easy and quick Emily was able to create her flex book. I also I clicked on the Jing project while I was waiting for the Flex book info to load and I viewed the tutorial on how to communicate with online chat. That was interesting as well.

Dana Dones said...

Here is my take on Deliverable #3 Creating Wikis to help increase retention in the United States Navy Nurse Corps.

I would like to implement a Wiki Space, which will fall under the Staff Education and Training Dept at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia. An approved link to the wiki space will fall under the home page of the hospitals webpage upon approval from the Commanding Officer and the IMIT Director.

The description of the technology for the Wiki Space will be “Mentoring US Navy Nurses”. The Goal of this wiki page is to help foster communication and professional development of junior nurses by senior nurses. This mentoring will help increase retention in the US Navy Nurse Corps and slow down discharges (departure from active duty service) of nurses.

The type of services I would like to create would be a page that will set up junior nurses with senior nurses. The goal is for the senior nurses to share some of the programs they have benefitted from in the Navy. Allow photos and stories to be shared with the junior nurses, and encourage the junior nurses to share what type of programs or services they would like to see which may increase their retention.

Another type of service would be to assign a list of senior Nurses to a list of Junior Nurses for 6 months to1 year with required meeting times at least once per month.

Evidence that this type of technology will be useful in my hospital is noted throughout the Navy Times which states retention of nurses is low. During the last few years the Navy Nurse Corps has been loosing qualified nurses. Navy Times March 22, 2010 states that currently the Navy Nurse Corps is only 92% manned. There are several reasons for their departure, but perhaps if there was a go between on behalf of the junior nurses, which would include the senior nurses, the detailers (persons who assign staff to duty stations around the world), and the Director of Nursing Services then maybe retention could take place.

Please see the following journal links, which focuses on the issues of recruitment, training, and retention of experiences nursing staff and how it remains an ongoing business strategy.

The second link would be
This website focuses on professional educators needs with online spaces for portfolio development and fostering interaction and collaboration.

Although Julie Lindsey focus covers K12 the theme and concept are relative to Nursing Professions and a site could be developed but the content area would focus on nurses.

The third link or website focuses on mentoring techniques that the Senior Nurses can use.

Some of the roadblocks that I may face are past failure of this program. This program was in place a few years ago and faded away. There was not a Wiki page created it was a lot of paperwork with very little face-to-face time. However, with a technological aspect such as the creation of a wiki space the incorporation of uploading photos and personal stories of the participants may help retain some of the nurses.

The down side is getting approval from the Commanding Officer and buy in from the IMIT department to allow this link to be added to the web page for the hospital. Furthermore getting the Senior Nurses to take the time to actually share their experiences and spend quality time with the junior nurses.

An up side would be because I will be part of the education and training dept at the next hospital I am stationed I will already have and inside look at how to market this. The overall goal is to retain the nurses and try to assure them of a quality of life in the military. Utilizing the tools and technologies I acquired in EDC586 is a valuable asset.

Deb said...

The Bierman article was an eyeopener. How unfortunate that our students have the latest technology and a world of current knowledge at their fingertips, but are still confined to using outdated text books in most classrooms. Students know how to use today's technology, better than the teacher in many cases, but they need to be taught how to evaluate, organize, and apply the information that is so readily accessible to them. I am determined to bring these tools into my classroom now, but I've learned that it will not be an easy battle against policy. It seems so simple; with the use of blogs, wikis, and other interactive tools, learning becomes more student driven, collaborative, and inquiry based. How can districts deny that integrating these tools is best practice?

I was amazed by the Flex book tutorial video. I love the idea of creating tailor made digital texts for individual classes, and the tutorial made the process seem easy. I noticed several examples of math and science related texts, but I wonder if there are flex books for my content area that already exist. I often use a single story or chapter from one text book, then turn to a different text for the next lesson. In fact, I have a whole library of outdated sample textbooks that I have saved just for a few chapters. I know many teachers who resort to photocopying sections from a variety of texts to meet their needs because districts cannot afford a class set of the most current resources and we have yet to find that one "perfect" text that contains everything we need anyway. Using Flex book to create customized texts would save districts money and eliminate the need for all those file cabinets overstuffed with paper. These unique digital texts would provide students with current and relevant information that they could easily access from home as well as the classroom.

Mrs. McAllister said...

Proposal for Implementation: Flexbook - Electronic Flexible Textbooks

Dear Dr. Thornton Ed.D.,

Flexbooks are flexible, current electronic textbooks which gives teachers the opportunity to modify and customize online content information into inexpensive, standard adhering student textbooks. Flexbooks for science can be compiled using open source content from the CK-12 Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12. CK-12 Foundation's Flexbook is an online system for collaborative, custom-collated, self publishable educational content that can be adapted for individualized needs in the form of digital textbooks.

I would like you to consider replacing traditional science textbooks which are limiting, expensive and difficult to update with science Flexbooks. As we are thinking about cost efficiency, it would be advantageous to having a more flexible and less expensive system in place using online flexible textbooks. Electronic Flexbooks can save our school district money in this time of economic crisis. Compared to paper textbooks which can be damaged, lost or quickly outdated, Flexbooks will always stay up-to-date and are inexpensive to replace. CK-12 would provide science teachers with access to high quality online content that can be customized, updated and printed (if needed) while adhering to curriculum standards.

Additionally, having a flexible science textbook would keep the content as current as possible in this ever changing field.
Switching from traditional science textbooks to Flexbooks will benefit Davisville Middle School’s budget, promote student engagement by incorporating technology and advance student achievement. Additional benefits are found at Paul Bierman, a geologist at the University of Vermont initiated this workshop composed of 54 leading scientists, educators and technology experts at the National Academy of Sciences. They met under the theme "Reconsidering the Textbook” in Washington D.C. "Textbooks have yet to respond to changes in technology, teaching philosophy, and student life. The goal is to retain the core stability and authority that make the textbook so valuable while at the same time providing the flexibility, timeliness, and inquiry-focused approach that the web and other electronic resources provide" says Paul Bierman.

Professor David Fontaine from the University of Rhode Island teaches EDC586-921-Using Blogs and Wikis to Foster Literacy at and has been speaking and writing about CK-12 for years now. He is available to discuss this non-profit organization and how it has the potential to positively impact our school district.

Mrs. McAllister said...

In the online article at, The E-Textbooks Are Coming by Walter Minkel, Matt Gomez, marketing manager at DigitalOwl, believes that schools are ready and eager to introduce electronic textbooks to the classroom. The initial texts will be simple digital duplicates of the printed texts, but DigitalOwl plans to add features such as highlighting, hyperlinking, and teacher comments and quizzes. “There's definitely a place in the school of 2000 for digital textbooks,” says Phyllis Lentz, resource development specialist at Florida High School (FHS), one of the test sites. FHS is a statewide "virtual high school" offering specialized classes online--such as advanced placement history and calculus--to small schools unable to offer them. FHS has an added interest in having its students download their texts from the Net (Walter Minkel, 2000).

In the online article at, Cutting-Edge Curricula Killing the Textbook by Caleb Johnson, classrooms may be devoid of traditional textbooks within the next five years. Dr. Sheryl R. Abshire, chief technology officer for the Calcasieu Parish school system in Lake Charles, LA, told the Times that modern students think in less concrete ways than their forebears, so they need more fluid learning tools in the classroom. "They don't engage with textbooks that are finite, linear and rote," she says (Caleb Johnson, 2009).

A potential road block is that CK-12 provides online texts for limited subject areas it is not accessible for all teachers at this time. As most teachers in our school support the idea of Flexbooks, the concern is whether all students will have access to them outside of school as all students do not have computers available. Having the majority of students using the digital textbook, the need for printed chapters for those students without computer access would be necessary. All science would discuss and implement a plan for printing chapters across science classrooms. Perhaps a science binder could be created for each student without computer access that could contain all the chapters with additional printed chapters added as all students get to it on the computer.
I would suggest using CK-12 at to access electronic textbook software because it is free, customizable and standards aligned. It would be very efficient to have a textbook online that incorporates the specific content information we need without having to flip through the information we don’t need. I believe that using Flexbooks in science will also make it easy for students to access their textbooks as they could read use it at home without having to worry about forgetting it in their lockers.

Access to flexible electronic textbooks that are constantly being updated for current research and information would be both valuable and timely for science teachers and students.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Rebekah McAllister
Davisville Middle School

Deb said...

Deliverable 3-Brief Overview

In the proposal that I created, I asked administrators to allow teacher and student use of I plan to use the blog not only as a way to improve the home-to-school connection by posting assignments and resources students and parents can access at home, but also to nurture my students' critical literacy skills. I believe that using the blog for activities such as an online book club and posting a response to a daily writing prompt will prepare my students for the collaboration and reflection that are required in the real world work place. Interaction with technology is a major part of my students' life outside of school. Implementing blog use in my classroom will help me build on their strengths while guiding them toward a safe and appropriate way to use technology.

Cheryl said...

Deliverable #3
I have added my proposal to the wiki for your review.

My proposal is to use Web 2.0 for Practitioner Collaboration and Support. The printed proposal will be given to the members of the RI Adult Education Technology Advisory Committee and the Director of Adult, Career, and Technical Education to accompany my presentation or a podcast explaining the project.

SueKelly said...

Evidence everywhere suggests that we are losing the battle to promote literacy in our school district as well as in schools across the country. The number of literacy classes has increased not only in our school district, but in school districts around the state. We ourselves have one of two reading specialists in the district at our junior high. The numbers of those students requiring intensive literacy support goes up each year as we struggle to meet the needs of all students. We need to explore all options in regards to enabling our students with the tools they will need to meet the future ahead of them, a future that will surely include computer literacy.

The popularity of computer use among teenagers is often to blame as a factor in this decrease in literacy. The popularity of social networking websites (Facebook, My Space), instant messaging (IM), and e-mail has rendered conventional forms of communication, such as newspapers and text books, as archaic. Although the average teenager spends a total of 31 hours a week online, the harmful effects of computer use may be overstated. According to Media Literacy Clearinghouse, 78% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 have created some type of content online. This could include social networking sites, blogging, or using wikis. A survey conducted in August of 2009 by Media Use Statistics found that 87% of adolescents write for pleasure. It also found that 94% of them use some type of electronic communication and 81% of adolescents believe that good writing skills will be important for them to succeed in life. 78% of teenagers believe that more time spent on in class writing would improve their abilities to write better and more effectively. 89% would like for their teachers to use Web 2.0 tools to teach writing, among other skills, in their classrooms.
The evidence is vast and we can no longer ignore it. Today’s teens are engrossed in a culture that is technologically savvy. It is only logical that we should use any means to our advantage in gaining growth in literacy. The way to do this is to bring the technology that our students are using into our classrooms. If properly used, Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, wikis, and podcasting, can be used to promote student reading and writing and to encourage and enable students to broaden their horizons by communicating, interacting and collaborating with a wide range of audiences that are far more reaching than the four walls of a classroom.
There are many ways we can integrate this technology in our school; however, I would like to recommend the use of blogs in the classroom. There are many ways in which teachers can integrate the use of blogs into the school day. Starting at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, I would introduce the concept of Web 2.0 tools in my classroom using my SmartBoard. There would need to be several lessons on what specifically Web 2.0 tools are, how we will be using them, and internet safety. I truly believe that the use of blogs in the classroom will motivate students to want to be more effective learners. The use of a classroom blog will enable me to engage my students in novels that we are reading in class, as well as other aspects of learning, to new levels. This is something they already know; why not use it to our advantage?

SueKelly said...

Part 2

To clarify what exactly a blog is, let me refer to the book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, by Will Richardson. He writes, “What exactly is a Weblog [blog]? In its most general sense, a Weblog is an easily created, easily updateable, Website that allows an author (or authors) to publish instantly to the Internet from any Internet connection” (17). Since so many of our students are already so proficient in the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts, the next step is to incorporate these tools into classroom instruction, assessment, and work production. I see a classroom blog as a chance for all students to have a chance to use their voice, especially the ones who try to never speak during class time; a place where students can understand the importance of being able to express themselves in order for others to validate their input; a median through which students can collectively share what they know about a topic and get feedback from others; a place where they can relax and write about interesting books they are reading and offer comments to their peers about what they are reading; a porthole through which parents can glimpse what their children are doing in class
Blogs are already being used successfully in many other schools around the country. To watch a video that shows the benefits of blogging from student and teacher perspectives, please view the following link:
In the article “Educational Blogging,” Stephen Downes makes a very persuasive argument about the benefits of blogging, and he pinpoints five specific ways in which blogging can be used effectively in education: This next article was quite informative to me because it explores ten ways in which blogs can be used by teachers, even those who are beginners and are trying to figure out how to work with web tools:
Although blogs do have benefits, they certainly have their drawbacks as well. The first concern is always student safety. My first thought when it comes to the internet is always how will I keep my students safe? To begin with, the students must be taught how to use the technology with care, consideration, and in a realistic light. “A Blogger's Code of Ethics” by Jonathan Dube, a writer from the website will be useful in this area. Specific guidelines should be created for the students to follow, including what information they should never give away, for example no phone numbers, addresses, or last names. Students will have a formal evaluation rubric which they must follow in order to score a high grade. They will also have a behavioral evaluation rubric which will grade them on the language they are using. These two rubric grades will be combined into their total blogging grade. Another drawback will be how much the teachers at our school know about Web 2.0 tools, and how they would be trained in the usage of these tools. One possible way to ensure that all teachers are prepared and familiar with Web 2.0 tools is to hold a session of workshops that will have hands on learning.

SueKelly said...

Part 3

There are many blogging sites that are available for us to use. The best part…many are free. I recommend It is the blog I use in my classroom with my students. I found it to be simple to use and easy to understand. I invite all you to visit and view the blogs that I have set up to use with my students in my own classroom. We blog about books that we are reading in class, and have recently started doing “Reading Blogs” online. Instead of completing their weekly reading logs in a written format, we are now blogging about them online. Part of their responses has to include a comment on a book that another student is reading. I believe this incorporates the true spirit of what a blog is…an interactive tool where students can share their thoughts about what they are doing. I truly believe that blogging is only the beginning. There is so much we can do with Web 2.0 tools, and I hope you all become as excited as I am to integrate them into our school.