Thursday, May 27, 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:

Spring '10

and older ones here and 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.


Now that you have completed Session 1 let's start on Session 2. Please remember that this is a lot of information to internalize in a short period of time, so take what you find practical and put the other resources aside until you have the time/need. That's one of the advantages of being able to download these lessons. You keep them in perpetuity for a refresher whenever you have the need.

Welcome back!

Let's start by reading a powerful blog entry on today's techsavy students. It can get a little heavy at times, but spend some time exploring the links there. It is eye-opening information (even if at three years old) that all educators should read.

I hope that after that you don't feel too overwhelmed with all of the references and links I included this week. Your first assignment, Deliverable #1, is due before next Wednesday morning (6/2/10). The details are in the syllabus and summarized here:

Deliverable #1 will be to sign up for your own blog (I see that some of you already have). You don't have to create anything fancy. (A person could lose track of time playing with all the details.) Save the 'add a gadget' part for later this semester.

Setting up a Blogger account will also change how you comment on our class blog. Instead of choosing 'anonymous' you will instead type in your Blogger user name. If you already have a Google account (either gmail, gdocs..... ) then you can use the same user name and password b/c the companies are interconnected.

You may access the wisdom of those that have taken this class before you here. And also here.

Also, don't forget to tell us your new blog address in your comments for this week. As they come in I'll post links to them in the margin with past participants. Spend some time and check them out.

By now, most of you are getting more comfortable navigating our class blog. You will spend the bulk of this session being exposed to the multitude of possibilities for using blogs in education. Unfortunately, it seems that some school systems use filtering systems that block access to many blogs, but where there is a will there is a way. You can't stop the evolution of technology, so for every blogging service that is blocked I'm sure there will be ten others to take its place. We are told that the rationale for blocking access is to protect the children, but I see examples every week of our students using inventiveness and ingenuity to circumvent filters. The kids are more savvy at this than us. I've seen students use proxy servers, foreign country websites, and different languages just to check out their MySpace and Facebook accounts at school. Also, every new cell phone now has the ability to access the Internet, so very soon the students won't even have filters to slow them down.

Blogs are popping up everywhere. Just check out my local newspaper, the Providence Journal's website: and count how many different blogs are available there. I also have 30 high school students this semester taking 'virtual' classes at a vitual high school. They come to my library for their scheduled period and nearly every one of these classes has a blogging component. Check it out:

Tomorrow (or the next time you are in front of your students) I'd like you to take an informal survey of your students and ask them about their online journal or blog use. (They may call it something different, but the most prevalent are MySpace or FaceBook) Obviously the older the students--the higher the percentage of use---but if your survey shows you results similar to mine, then you will be very surprised at the usage statistics. More then 95 % of my students here at the high school use some sort of online journal. The new trend is moving toward And that number appears to be increasing all the time. Blogs won't always work for "every discipline--every day," but when you begin to grasp the versatility of their usage you will see that they can be a powerful communication tool. And if such a large percentage of our population is using a certain kind of technology then it is surely in our best interest as educators to become well versed in it. Watch this video on Web 2.0. It might be a little deeper than we, as educators, need to reach, but it gives us some perspective.

An example of how the power of participation can be harnessed within a single course comes from David Wiley at Utah State University. In the fall of 2004, Wiley taught a graduate seminar, “Understanding Online Interaction.” He describes what happened when his students were required to share their coursework publicly:
Because my goal as a teacher is to bring my students into full legitimate
participation in the community of instructional technologists as quickly as
possible, all student writing was done on public blogs. The writing students did
in the first few weeks was interesting but average. In the fourth week, however,
I posted a list of links to all the student blogs and mentioned the list on my
own blog. I also encouraged the students to start reading one another's writing.
The difference in the writing that next week was startling. Each student wrote
significantly more than they had previously. Each piece was more thoughtful.
Students commented on each other's writing and interlinked their pieces to show
related or contradicting thoughts. Then one of the student assignments was
commented on and linked to from a very prominent blogger. Many people read the
student blogs and subscribed to some of them. When these outside comments showed
up, indicating that the students really were plugging into the international
community's discourse, the quality of the writing improved again. The power of
peer review had been brought to bear on the assignments. Full Article

I had the fortune of working with Dr. Wiley during 2009 as an educational fellow for the non-profit group Curriki. (We'll talk more about that later.)

Now"blog away!!"
Dave Fontaine
PS--If you have trouble downloading this week's session from the link above, then use this as a backup. Once there just search for edc921 and find the appropriate session.

PPS--All of this week's comments will go below. Please preface each comment with a label (ie-s1, introduction, s2...)


Mrs. Riley said...

Joanna Riley
I have a masters in Library Science and worked at a public library for 4 years before I decided to get my teaching certification and make the jump to a school library. I have been happily working as a media specialist at a K-6 grade school on Chicago's south side for the past 2 years. I hope to come away from this class with a ton of new ideas about web2.0. We have a young staff at my school who is very interested in incorporating more technology in the classroom and I want to be able to show them some ways to do so. I would also like to get a blog going for the library for either our book club or just for students to post reviews of books they have read.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jennifer Limoges, and my email for this class will be
I began my undergarduate work at URI, then transferred to RIC where I graduated with a degree in early childhood. I went on there to earn an elementary certification as I began teaching. I started classes toward a master's degree in Reading at RIC, then transferred back to URI and finished my Master's degree there. I am a certified Reading Recovery and Wilson teacher. I was in one of the first rounds of RITTI teachers years ago, but have not had a great deal of technology training recently. I am also a National Board Certified Teacher.
I began my teaching career in Coventry as a Literacy teacher. As new teacher, I moved around teaching third and fourth grade before settling into a first grade position for eight years. After I finished my masters degree, I took a position as a reading specailist split between two schools. The following year I was able to remain at one school and had my first son. The next year I had my second son. I have been fortunate to teach reading at Washington Oak Elementary in Coventry half time the last two years in order to spend more time with my little guys.
I have used some internet programs in my reading classes in the past, and they have proven to be great motivators for many students. I have yet to find an effective way to use computers to help students to respond to literature. When I read this course description on a listserv, I thought that maybe blogs could be the method I have been looking for. I haven't used blogs myself, and do have questions about privacy issues, especially with elementary students. However, from what I have read so far, this may be a simple way to help stimulate students to share quality responses to literature. I have also been looking for a way to share fluency timings with families so that they can follow procedures established in class at home with their children. This might be a way to post passages as well as tracking progress with these students.

Mrs. Borges said...

Hello Everyone!
My name is Lisa Borges ( and I am a computer applications teacher/sometimes network support person/ at Exeter West Greenwich Middle School in RI. Previous to my 9years in EWG, I worked in a similar capacity in Holliston, MA and started off my career as a 1st grade teacher in Barrington, RI. I've also moonlighted as an adult ed. teacher and independent contractor providing software training to schools and businesses.

I earned my Master's in curriculum and instructional technology from Framingham College back in 2003. It was my first experience in online learning and I loved it. I'm taking this class because I want to update my tech. skills and try to stay on top of emerging technologies. I'm considering getting a 2nd master's or certificate in online learning and I am eager to create some new lessons to breathe some life into my existing curriculum.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jackie Fagan. I am a chemistry teacher at South Kingstown High School in South Kingstown, RI. My undergraduate work was in Microbiology and Chemistry. I spent a good many years playing volleyball at the semi pro and professional level. This included a year playing in Matera, Italy. I have coached and played volleyball for many years. I got into teaching 13 years ago, obtained my teacher certification and began teaching at South Kingstown High School in 2000. I coach the boys and girls volleyball team here as well. I received my master in Geoscience and I am now working on 30 credits beyond my masters.
I hope to create a blog for my chemistry classes.

Jackieelmer17 said...

Okay here my first atempt at a blog. I am pretty much flying by the seat of my pants.

Jackie Fagan said...

My email address is:

Mrs. Riley said...

Session 1 Comments:

I have never heard of read/write 2.0 as a way to describe web 2.0 and I really like it! I feel like as a media specialist I should know about more “cool” ways to show the teachers how to incorporate technology into their classrooms using 2.0. I also loved reading Anne’s teachable moments. I was really interested in the idea of group blogs that was mentioned this week because my school is team taught. I really see that as a way to bring the school together but also give each team their own thing. I see my administration, though, as being really wary of blogs and I could definitely use many of Anne’s ideas to convince them otherwise.
Something else that I also thought was very interesting and something that I hadn’t thought of was Will’s idea in his video that the students are more worried about producing quality work when they know it will be online for all to see. I also think he is right about the idea that a blog creates a way for parents to be more involved in their child’s learning.

Mrs. Riley said...

Deliverable #1

Right now my blog is:

I say right now because I never really got it going with the students this year (sorry Dave). My goal for next year is to have a media center blog for students to review books on and also have the book club blog. This summer I need to get everything in line to introduce it to the students at the beginning of the year.

Mrs. Borges said...

After completing all the readings, I feel I finally have a better understanding of what a blog is and why it could be useful in the classroom. I particularly liked the article "What You Need to Know about Web 2.0" It's funny, I've been hearing the term web 2.0 for a bit, but never I really understood what it meant, thinking it was an updated version of some software product. Now, I know that it means the "evolved" form of the web where it is no longer only static, but interactive as more and more people are able to regularly read, write, and respond to all the information they see. I'm also beginning to think of ideas where it can be of use in the classroom, though I haven't come up with a personal classroom application yet. I still lean towards just a web page, but this is only week one.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't really heard of web 2.0 either and now I feel a little more in the loop! I also enjoyed seing some of the different examples of elementary blogs. I want one that has purpose, that the students, parents and teachers actually use. One of my colleagues set one up last year and to date has had one comment.
We are all supposed to have teacher web pages, and this seems like such a simpler format to work with and remain current. Had I realized this last year, I would have set mine up as a blog as I am sure not many have used my webpage either. I am still skeptical about opening up younger children's work to exposure to the whole web. Our school has signed consent to publish any student work on the web, and many parents opt to keep their children's work, names, photos, etc. private. I look forward to trying this out, hopefully before I finish with my students this year.

Mr. Schofield said...

My name is Jay Schofield, and my e-mail is I am the English department chair at Lincoln High School where I have taught for the past 10 years. I graduated from URI with my Bachelor's in Education way back in 1999. I also have my master's degree in Secondary Administration from Providence College.
I consider myself technologically literate as I try to incorporate technology into several aspects of my instruction. I have attempted a blog already, which you can view by following this address: I hope this class will allow me to improve my use of the blog as well as the overall quality of the blog itself. I'm also very interested in using wikispaces to create an online resource for my classes, especially in terms of students creating this resource. I look forward to learning a lot!

Mrs. Limoges said...

All right, I'm on my way. The blog address is I'm still mulling over what I want to put on, and how detailed I want to get with school names, locations, etc. I loved the poll feature! I am definitely going to put one on for favorite characters in the novel the kids have been reading. I think that will be something quick they can interacti with right away. More to come!

Anonymous said...

Kim Lebrun writing...

Wow there was a lot of information in this session, but it was totally worth the time and effort going through it all. So many things were interesting and inspiring. After reading a few of the articles, I began thinking about how I was going to utilize this information in my classroom, then my ideas began to expand to help my whole school. One way I thought of using blogs to help my school was to include blogging into the summer reading/work. Although it may be too late to get that in this summer, I am definitely interested in looking into having students blogging over the summer. Maybe I could create an online book club? I have so many ideas swimming in my head...I can't wait to go to school tomorrow and talk to my tech. guy about what we can do to collaborate and improve our school!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody!
My name is Liz Charest. I currently teach k-5 music in North Kingstown RI. I got my degree at URI and was lucky enough to find my job right after I graduated. I am not only taking this course, but am also taking the "Using the Internet" course.
By taking these courses I hope to become a little more tech savvy. I am also hoping that I will become inspired to add some new and different lessons into my curriculum.
I enjoyed reading the articles in this first session. I really enjoyed Anne's blog. I can easily see how communicating with a teacher through a blog would be very appealing to students.

Mrs. Charest said...

My Blog

My blog site is I am sure that as I start thinking about blogs in relation to my classroom I will think of more ways to use it. For starting up, I thought that I could give students assignments to blog about. For example, we just went to see the RI Philharmonic perform a concert. It would directly relate to one of the national music standards if my students were to review the concert using the blog.

Jackie Fagan said...

I have completed the readings thus far and I think it is fair to say I am a little overwhelmed. I often find the best way I learn something is to jump in and try it. Which is what I am in the process of doing. The biggest challenge for me is getting it all organized in my head. The diagram in the 2nd assignment post is helping me do that.
What is imediately apparent is the incredible possibilites of web 2.0!! Viewing all the examples of how it is being utilized got me jotting down ideas for my own class room as I went.
Since we are starting end of the year projects at school, I have started a simple blog to answer questions and misconceptions about the project. These are questions that I typically answer over and over to varies students. As I write them down in the blog it is helping me rewrite the instructions for this project. In this way I am improving my teaching already!
My students are able to go to the blog from home as they get stuck on the project. I am excited to start improving my blog.

Jackie Fagan said...

I am not sure if this is where I am supposed to turn in my first deliverable but here it is.

Deliverable # 1
Pick a blog service.

I would like to create a place for my chemistry students to go to get information on my chemistry class and content. On this blog I would post dates of tests labs and projects along with helpful hints and links that help my students prepare for class and master content.

Over the past 5 years or so I have begun saving varies tutorials form the internet that provide practice exercises and step by step problem solving help. I would like to post these and encourage students to look for and post other sites they might find. I hope to learn how to create separate place just for helpful tutorial sites. Over the years it would be a valuable resource for students.

Open communication between students would also be encouraged.
• Lab partners need to share their data or observations in the lab.
• Students that miss a class could easily access from home notes or assignments they missed
• Study buddies from home

Students would be required to comment once a week on what we are doing in class. It would count as a quiz grade
• Do they understand the concept
• Can they relate it to other topics in chemistry?
• Can they relate it to the real world?
• Often I find articles on cutting edge research in science and chemistry. I could post these and encourage students to do so as well.

I would respond to their questions with online tutorials or perhaps adjusting the next day’s lesson to clear up misconceptions. I will also answer commonly asked questions from class the previous day. Students usually have trouble in the same areas.

I will begin the blog with specific hints for students to complete the final assessment lab we are working on in class. Since this is a final lab, it includes material we have used throughout the year. To refresh this material I have provided clues as to what units they need to review as well as online tutorials to review that material.

This could also be a place for parents to keep up to date on what we are doing in class. They could support/encourage their child and also communicate with me.

Here is what I have so far:

Mrs. Borges said...

Deliverable #1

The address of my blog is : I have been mulling around various ideas for how I can use it in my classroom all week. I’m thinking, going forward, it would be a good place for students to list their ideas about projects and then get thoughts/reflections from their peers. For right now, I am planning to use it as a message board/ Q & A area for a new group project I am working on with the music teacher. We’re also planning to develop a wiki so it will be a great opportunity to see the uses of the two products. I explored several of the tutorial links on the course blog and I highly recommend the one entitled “36 Blogger Tutorials” for anyone who needs practice and guidance.

Mr. Schofield said...

I found the information in both Sessions 1 and 2 to be very informative. The aspect of blogging that can be overwhelming was addressed in Session 2's comment moderation feature. Since I work in a high school, the prospect of providing students with an open forum is a little scary. The comment moderation idea is fine, but the e-mail inbox fills up quickly. It's a nice way to ensure propriety on the blog, but I'd rather teach students proper online etiquette (which is severely lacking on many blogs) rather than play Big Brother. I did have one student use a swear on a post, and I was able to turn it into a teachable moment. Later, Blogger allowed me to delete that post as well.

I like the fact that the blogs can extend the conversations that occur in class. It provides a forum for those students who shy away from voicing their opinion in class. It's a great tool that can empower all students.

Kris said...

Kris Waymire
I started school in the '70's and was unable to continue due to lack of funds. I went back after a couple decades, a couple kids, and still married. I mostly went part time but went to be a media specialist which I became in 1995. I started working with a bachelors at a high school who felt the best way to save money was to not have a media specialist or a tech director. So I was lucky enough to then join the school system I'm still with as an elementary media specialist. I did that for 7 years then was transferred to the high school where I have been for 5 years. At the time I graduated I was very technically inclined but as the years progress they had me doing much more with just books and had a separate tech person. Now they have decided they want to get rid of all the media specialists in the district and get lay people for less money. Thankfully the decision got overturned for a 1 year period to see what we can do. So I want to get up to speed again and really get the board to see the value of a media specialist. I have started a blog on but I want to do better. I'm sure this will help greatly. Thank you for letting me join you late.

Kris said...

s3 - I am starting to build my blog. I have named it KrisKlutteredKloset because I'm going to try and follow my progress on trying to de-clutter my house! I thought I'd play it safe and use this to try my hand at it. Actually I have a blog that has been taken over by my kids at the high school. It's called Reading Rebels and they are using it to discuss books. It doesn't go too in depth, but it's a start for all of us.

LHS Library Lair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LHS Library Lair said...

Hello everybody,

Sonja Stewart

Last week I closed the books on 22 years in education with a Web 2.0 Faire. It was great. First, I sold the idea to a teacher who knew nothing about web 2.0 tools. We jumped in and just did it. I've got to learn a whole lot more before the Fall.

Currently, I am a Library Coordinator in Lancaster, Texas. It's southwest of Dallas. Before becoming a librarian, I taught Journalism and English. Had fun with that too.

I have a lot fun watching the level of student engagement increase with Web 2.0. I have to find ways to keep up.

Earned my Master's of Library Science at Texas Woman's University.

Looking forward to the Read/Write Web dialogue.