Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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):

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!


Past participants' comments:

and older past participant comments and insights may be accessed here.

921-Session 11

One of the elements we'll be covering in this session will be videoblogging. This is the ability to post more than just text to your blog, but entire videos to help support your lessons. I've shown you a few examples on our class blog this semester.
One of the great things about this tool (there are many to choose from) is that every resource and skill I will be showing you can be done for free.

You may read past participants' comments here, and here:

Here is example of a college using a vodcast (a video podcast), to help them solicit prospective students. They've posted this to YouTube so whenever a potential student does a search for Franklin College they'll receive this video as part of their results:

This session you will have the ability to go into as much depth as your curiosity allows. There is basic, elemental information available, as well as advanced information, instruction tutorials, and text directions for you to recreate and duplicate what these models show you. Similar to the distinction I made with Podcasts about the ability to simply use this tool, as opposed to creating videos yourself, please remember that I try to give you more information than you can digest with the hope that you will revisit these sessions in the future when the need (or desire) arises.

Here are a few more tutorials showing you services that make podcasting seem simple:

And then this one from GCast:

Good luck, have fun, and keep an eye on the clock.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Final Projects

Well we've come to the end of the semester. Please post your Final Project below (before midnight 6/25) and also post it to the wiki: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Final+Projects this way you will have your original draft locked into our blog and future participants will be able to add to, and improve upon, your project in the wiki. Perpetually evolving, forever improving, changing, and growing.

It was a pleasure working with all of you. I will be sending you your semester grade early next week.

Good luck, and as always, feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions.

Professionally Yours,

Dave Fontaine

Internet Librarian

National Board Certified Teacher

Educational Consultant



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

921-Session 10

I thought I'd take a moment to go over the schedule for the rest of the semester.

  • 6/15---Sessions 8, 9, &10

  • 6/22----Session 11 & 12 (optional)

  • 6/25---Midnight---Final Project (details in syllabus)

  • Deliverable #3 should be completed and posted under S 9's comments before (as well as placed on the wiki)

Please don't wait until the last minute to contact me if you have any questions, and as with all of these projects, "Practicality Shall Take Precedent over All." That means that if you have an idea to modify a Deliverable or Final Project so that it will be more useful to you in your setting then please feel free to pass your ideas by me. (I approve most of them.)

If you'd like to read past participants' comments you may find them here:

Spring '09

Summer of '08 are here.

Some people find that reading these ahead of the session gives them some well-needed perspective.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with Podcasting, so let me put it in simple terms. You have the choice of going the 'simplistic route' or the more 'complex route'. The simple route entails finding, listening, and integrating podcasts that have been created by others into your lessons. The complex route entails creating them yourself or with your students. Keep these distinctions in mind to avoid drowning yourself in S10 & S 11.

Someone mentioned that they wanted to know if it was possible to set up an "Instant Messaging" box on their blog. The answer is, "yes!" I haven't tried it myself, but I know that you can use any number of services, like: (http://www.plugoo.com/, or http://www.meebome.com/learnmore.html )

Mr. Dudley (a past participant) mentions his success here.

This session brings us to a new category, "PODCASTING." I have found that teachers' experiences, and exposure, to podcasts vary widely, so I built in some 'Differentiated Instruction' into this session. For those of you new to the term you will be enlightened, and if you want more detail there will be hyperlinks from most slides that will give you that extra support you may need or want. Here is a video to give you a brief overview if you're a 'newbie.'

For those of you with more experience, I have integrated into the session the opportunity to bring yourself to the next stage in your 'podcasting evolution.' You will find video tutorials, and dozens of resources, that will help you rise to the next level of 'podcasting sophistication,' so you may create your own if you are so inclined. Here is a more 'research-based' video for those of you interested in that aspect.

For others, you may not have any desire to learn or use podcasts at this point in your career, so if that is the case you may skim through this section and focus upon your Final Project. Next session will expand on Podcasting and address Videocasting.

Good luck and podcast away!


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 '08. Check it out.

Also, in this session, you will make your second addition to a wiki.

Good luck and don't forget to post your Deliverable 3 under this entry as well as on our wiki: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/EDC921

You may also read past participants' D3's there.

Good luck and have fun!


A backup of this week's session can be found on Authorstream.com Once there just search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.

921-Session 8

This week we will be dissecting a wiki. If you would like to start by reading past participants' comments then you will find them here:

Spring '09

Also, someone from class asked for more information on how to get the 'double-click on any word and then get its definition' feature, so if you are interested you may visit here for more information.

I thought a lot about how to address this session and decided to stray from the usual presentation format and teach this session entirely from the blog.

I believe that it is always easier to 'show' instead of 'tell,' so the bulk of this session will be spent watching videos that will help clarify the nuances and details that make a wiki such a powerful tool--as well as address the topics laid out in the syllabus: new literacies, wiki benefits, and wiki drawbacks.

Now, just be aware that there is some redundancy in these clips, so feel free to fast-forward through parts that you have already seen.

Let's start with a clip from one of the many companies that offer free wikis for you to use. This one is from PBwiki.com. They claim that making a wiki on their site is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. Please keep notes while watching these.

I hope you liked that one. This next video focuses upon how collaboration really works. It is a good transition from our last session on Collective Intelligence.

So naturally, these 'beg the question' about ease of use. Is it really as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich? Well let's take a look at an explanation.

And this one shows you how wikis can help educators educate.

And lastly, we'll address the underlying issue all educators have about using Web 2.0 tools in education----SECURITY for our students.

Now, in the 21st century, it doesn't take long before the major technology giants latch onto any and all good ideas from the small start-ups. So Google has jumped on the 'wiki bandwagon' and created their own variation. They call it 'Google Documents' and the details can be accessed from the link below. Please visit this site and take the online tour. While you are there jot down your ideas and thoughts to aid you in your post-session comments.

You'll immediately notice the similarities between wikis and this new Google tool. Those teachers from the Math and Science areas will find the spreadsheet component particularly interesting.

Google Documents & Spreadsheets

Now, before your head spins off from all the possibilities, I want you to take a break. When you come back we'll take a look at this 4-part online video course, created by the University of Wisconson-Milwaukee. It addresses some of the benefits and drawbacks of wikis. The great thing about it is that it is self-pacing and asynchronous just like this course. Again, I would like to remind you to take notes as you progress through these tutorials, so that you may post quality comments and insights when you have completed everything this week. If you feel part 1 is redundant then please skip forward to 2, 3, & 4.

University of Wisconson-Milwaukee

I hope you enjoyed the variety in this session's presentation and I would like to end this week's posting with a reminder that Deliverable 3 should be posted under Session 12's blog posting, as well as on the wiki.

Also, please keep in mind that the deadlines for D3 and the Final Project will be here before you know it, so please use this week to get a headstart.
All assignments are due by Friday, June 26th at midnight EST.

Thank you, and as always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Monday, June 7, 2010

921-Session 5 "The World of Wikis!!!"

Welcome to Section 2 of our course

"The World of Wikis!"

This second part of the semester will take us down a new path!

A path that leads to more collaboration--

more cooperative learning---

and more opportunities to create differentiated instruction and visual learning---all with the goal of helping foster literacy, and learning, for our students.

Don't worry if you have barely heard of the word, 'Wiki'. Here is a taste of the excitement that awaits you when you download session 5.

Good luck and take plenty of notes because I don't want to miss any of your ideas, excitement, or insights when you post your comments!

If you're eager to get started, but still have some apprehension then maybe some tutorials might help. I've added some beneath the blog tutorials on the left.

You may also read past participants' comments:

Spring '09

Fall '08

Summer '08.

Have fun!


Backup copies of sessions can be found on Authorstream.com Just do a search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.

921--Session 6

You may access past participants' comments here and here.

This session will find us broadening the scope of our view of wikis. We will begin by taking a look at the benefits of wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools, for students, teachers, and the entire educational community. We'll view some screencasts and videos that give us students' perspectives, as well as hear from teachers from across the K-12 spectrum. Each and every one will be focused upon how Web 2.0 tools have changed the way they teach and learn.

And lastly, we'll end by discussing the fluid definition of the word, "literacy" and try to pin it down in a 21st century classroom---a classroom where the walls have come down and the world is flat. After reading your comments, it has become clear that there are lots of different interpretations out there.
Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments, insights, and reflections.

PS-As always, there is a back-up copy of this presentation on Authorstream.com Just search for edc921.

921-Session 7-Collective Intelligence

You may have noticed that I have added a cool feature to the blog. You can now double click on any word on the blog and you will be prompted with more details. The possibilities for a tool like this are astronomical when using edublogs in the classroom. Any word used by the 'blog author' or 'comment poster' can be defined w/o a student leaving the page. Give it a try.

Now, regarding future assignments---Please don't wait until the last minute to contact me if you have any questions, and as with all of these projects, "Practicality Shall Take Precedent over All." That means that if you have an idea to modify a Deliverable or Final Project so that it will be more useful to you in your setting then please feel free to pass your ideas by me. (I approve most of them.)


There is a renewed movement underway from schools, businesses, and universities. They are giving 'Collective Intelligence' a closer look. From MIT's new 'Center for Collective Intelligence,' to businesses using wikis within their internal networks, to schools using Collective Intelligence resources and tools in the K-12 setting---we will look at all of these examples, as well as discuss their long term implications during this session.

Keep in mind while you are viewing this session that your Deliverable 3 will be due, and posted, under the comment section of Session 12, as well as posted to the wiki. Additionally, keep in mind that the deadline for your Final Project is fast approaching.

As always, feel free to contact me if you ever have additional questions or comments.


Past semester comments:
Summer '08 participants' comments as well as participants' comments from previous semesters here.

P.P.S. Backup copies of each week's session can be found on Authorstream.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

921-Session 3

So there may still be some skepticism in some of you about the practicality and positive uses of this technology. After all, it does seem like every time we hear or read about blogs and children from the news media--- they have a negative connotation. Briefly skim this report published by Nielsen. I am sure that you will be convinced that blogs are not a passing fad. You can't fake these numbers (and its 4 years old). That's probably a reality check for those of you that are just getting familiar with blogs.

Some of you have already begun creating your own blogs (As they are posted I'll place links to them in the left-hand margin).

A few semesters ago, John jumped right in and began practicing with creative headlines and sidebars, as well as with emailing his posts to his blog. Check it out.

I'm placing links to all the course participants' blogs as they come in on the left. Check them out, as well as some of the past participants' blogs and give them a comment or two. It'll be good practice.

Session 3 is now uploaded and accessible, (if you are having trouble use this as a back-up and just do a search for edc921), but before you do that I want to introduce you to a simple tool to help you monitor both my blog postings and the comments from your fellow participants.

Please visit:

This link will visually walk you through the steps to set up a Bloglines account. Its primary purpose is to deliver to you every new blog posting by me and every new comment by your fellow participants. It has a lot of bells and whistles, but don't get distracted by them. Follow the basic instructions and it shouldn't take you too long. If you are interested in reading the comments and reflections from previous semesters then you may find them here:
and last summer's are here.

Spring '10 comments here.

Additionally, I'd like you to watch this tutorial. It is on 'Social Bookmarking.' We are all familiar with the ability to save favorite websites in our "Favorites" folder, but what if you had the ability to see other edc921 participants' favorites? What if you could benefit from the greatest sites found by other teachers? What if you could access their favorites, as well as your own, from any Internet connected computer? Check out this tutorial and sign up for an account, (optional) and help us by 'tagging' all the great sites you find with an 'edc921' label. If you are apprehensive, visit Delicious.com and do a search for 'edc920' and you'll find all the websites used from that course. I haven't started tagging for this course, but maybe we could do it together.

Pace yourself this week. Some weeks will be easier than others---this will not be one of those. There is a lot to go over, so don't put it all off until the weekend, and don't forget to visit your fellow participants' new blogs. All addresses should be posted under S2. And don't forget, I'm also creating a links to each one in the left hand margin.

Enjoy and have fun!

921-Session 4

Session 4 & Deliverable #2

To gear you up (and psyche you up) for this session I'd like you to watch this. You have to click on it twice. "Did You Know? 2.0" :

As you begin to work on, and think about, your project for Deliverable #2, (details in the syllabus and please post in both the blog and the wiki) consider using these resources to guide your integration with the students:

Past semester participants' comments and Deliverble #2's:

Spring '10
Spring '09
Older comments.

Rubric for student comments:

And don't forget to visit your peers' blogs. Pamela's elementary school now has 11 bloggers, including the Principal!!! Wow! Her school only started on the blogging bandwagon last summer when one of her co-workers took my 920 class. Great job Narragansett Elementary School!

And also check out Jennifer Geller's posting. It traveled so far around the blogosphere that the author of our main text, Will Richardson, even responded by leaving a comment on her blog. These examples are just tip of the iceberg. Explore and check things out for yourself.

And if you haven't already, check out the Answers.com tool I've added to our blog. Just double click on any word and check it out with these words: Andragogy, Pedagogy
There's even an audio option.

Someone was looking for information on 'copyrights.' One way to avoid copyright issues for online images, (or any other kind of file) is to do a search for files that are 'free to use and share'. For example, try a Google Advanced search, but choose the 'usage rights' option. Once there you can decide which kind of 'usage restriction' suits your needs. In this example, I did an GAdvanced search for butterfly, chose 'free to use and share', and then also restricted my search to Flickr.com (an online image site). It takes a few steps, but you can eliminate copyright issues entirely with this process. It also works for PowerPoints. In this example I did a GAdvanced search for caterpillar and restricted my file type to: PowerPoints that were 'free to use and share' and found these were my results.


One of the education blogs that I subscribe to also recently wrote on this topic. Check it out: http://www.consultpivotal.com/powerpoint_reform.htm

On another topic---Lynne and Joanne were discussing the editing ability of posts. Blogs are more static than wikis (which we'll be discussing later in the semester), so when you post a comment to someone else's blog and you want it changed, then your only option is to delete it and rewrite it. Lynne correctly mentioned that when you are in your own blog and you write a posting then you can always go back and edit it when you are in your 'Dashboard' screen, so these are some options.

David C. also mentioned,

"As the availability of 'going online' becomes more affordable and the price
of technology continues to decrease, I'm sure we'll see even more families in
our classrooms join the world wide web. With this in mind, educators must also
do everything we can to use the tools that our students are using in order to
reach them. It makes me think back to when the second or third generation ipod
came out... I remember hearing about the first colleges that were making
podcasts for their students to listen to. (Will we learn anything about

making/using podcasts this semester? - just a side thought)"

Well David mentions how some colleges and universities are making podcasts, but it goes much further than this. Dozens of schools are now recording professor's lectures (some video, but most just audio) and putting them online, along with the support material for the course. But even more powerful than this is the fact that they are also allowing the lectures to be accessed from anyone in the entire world.

It is part of the "Open Educational Resources" movement. If this topic interests you, and you decide to explore this path, then check out some of the cool things out there, like this interactive site on "Trapezoids."

Even more important however is the number of colleges that are beginning to subscribe to this philosophy. Just check out this list of schools, and then take a look at all 1900 different courses that MIT makes freely available. We go into a lot more depth on this topic in my edc922 course.

I also subscribe to this philosophy. By now most of you have noticed that all of our weekly sessions are licensed under Creative Commons. We'll go into more detail later in the semester about this movement when we begin talking about 'wikis' and start to create and edit some.

David also mentions,

"I remember Dave mentioning that he doesn't even have to log on to the
blog to make comments.. he can do it from his email. Was I just hearing things
wrong? If not, I am not sure where to go to set up my blog so I can work though
my email. If that is possible, then I could open one less application and work
solely though Mail."

Well, when you are logged into your Blogger account go to the Dashboard option and from there choose, 'Settings' and then both, 'Emails' and 'Comments.' Within both of those tabs you'll see the options to email postings to your blog, as well as have every comment emailed to you.

Lastly, keep on checking each other's blogs and don't be afraid to post a comment or two. Those who have already begun using them in class can use your comment as an example to the students that there are other people around the world reading their work.

Also, remember that if you are having trouble downloading a session you can always find a back-up copy at Authorstream.com Once there just do a search for edc921 and pick the appropriate session.

Happy blogging,

PS----One last reading for this session. It's worth the quick skim: