Thursday, May 26, 2011

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:

Summer '11
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.

Lastly, please watch this video called, "Blogs in Plain English."


Jacque said...

I am currently a school media specialist in a high school (grades 9-12) in Suffolk County, NY. I have worked in public and academic libraries for the past 10 years, but I am just completing my first year as a school media specialist.

I am always interested in new technology. Hopefully this course will help me find and implement practical applications of this technology in my new high school setting.

Jacque Wrightson
jacque.wrightson AT

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon,

My name is Eileen Murray. I am a business teacher in the North Kingstown, RI district where I have been teaching for approximately 7 years. I currently teach keyboarding and basic computer skills at the middle school level. I am looking forward to finding out how I can possibly incorporate blogging easily into my classroom. Only my 8th graders have access to an email account. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oops; my email is:

Eileen Murray
Davisville Middle School

Anonymous said...

Barbara Connolly
I went to Douglass College – Rutgers University for history as an undergrad. I received my Masters in Library Science from Rutgers and an MA in history from the University of Wisconsin Madison. I have been in education for 21 years. I first taught World History and European History. I’ve taught a research class for a few years. I am now a high school librarian at River Dell Regional High School in Oradell, NJ. Since I have used blogs and wikis before, I hope to keep abreast of any improvements or changes that may have occurred in the area and borrow ideas for using wikis and blogs with classes.

Jacque said...

After viewing the Session 1 powerpoint and visiting the various educational blogs that showcase student efforts and demonstrate just how engaging this technology can be in a classroom, I couldn't help but wonder -

If you are not in an environment that enables and promotes the use of technology in the classroom and in the school community as a whole, how can you advocate for the use of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs?

Jacque said...

I thought the The Innovative Educator: World’s simplest online safety policy was exactly what my school's internet use policy would be in a perfect world. I have seen CIPA and COPPA used repeatedly as reasons for a highly restrictive IUP. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to potential litigation, but how can we expect to educate students on how to effectively navigate and interact appropriately on the Internet without doing so in a minimally restrictive environment? These "training wheels" rarely exist on students' home computers and students even more rarely have the guidance of an adult at their side to guide them in appropriate use.

Ms. Steele said...

HI folks
I am Erika Steele -
I have a B.S. in Secondary Education with a certification in General Science and Biology and recently graduated from the URI with a M.L.I.S. + School Library Media Specialist certification.
I have been teaching biology for 11 years at Coventry High School in Rhode Island.
I am a huge fan of imbedding 21st century literacy skills into my science curriculum. I am a blogger, wiki user and avid technology geek without enough time – so original I’m sure… I have used blogs and wikis in my classes, but have not fully incorporated student-generated content into my blogging and Web 2.0 experience. I will be honest that it seems at times quite daunting of a task. With this said I hope to learn about strategies to more fully expose my students to the educational aspects of the web. I am also interested in exploring the idea of flipping the classroom where content is instructionally delivered outside of the secondary classroom via podcasts and vodcasts. During class hands-on labs, inquiry work and collaboration can flourish. I am just learning about this and look forward to learning about experiences. Ultimately I look forward to sharing with other colleagues.

Karen said...

Hi All!

My name is Karen Rutar and I am a teacher with Edmonton Catholic Schools in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have a B.Ed from the University of Alberta and am in my 4th year of teaching.

I am currently working in a K-9 school in Edmonton that just opened this past September. I am teaching grade 7 and 8 English Language Arts and Math.

I am hoping to learn some new strategies to engage my 21st century learners and share with my co-workers. I am also interested to hear what others are doing with technology in their classrooms.

Karen Rutar

Anonymous said...

After reading and reviewing our session 1 materials, I keep asking myself how best to go about incorporating these tools into my middle school technology classroom. I do currently use a classroom wiki and love it in terms of having items available for students, podcasts, on-line assessment tool links, etc, but I still don't feel that I have figured out a good way for the students to publish their work that makes sense in the one trimester class that we have. This is what I am hoping to figure out with this class and by listening to all of you.

Eileen Murray

Dave Fontaine said...

In response to Jacque's comment above regarding getting Administration 'buy-in' to use this technology.

Unfortunately, your situation is more common than you may think. There are way too many of us that run into issues integrating this technology into the classroom. That was one of the reasons behind creating an assignment for this course that entails writing a proposal to your Administration regarding the powerful 'educational' uses of web 2.0 technology in the classroom. One of the advantages you'll have is to see all of the proposals written by the dozens of 'past' participants of this course, so in just a few short weeks we'll be seeing those examples.

Ms. Steele said...

After viewing session one and perusing some of the edu blogs I was drawn to two embedded topics. The first issue is that of Internet safety and students. I appreciated Anne Davis' post about her experience with inappropriate comments.( In my limited blogging experience I have felt the need to moderate comments. She wrote that she caught the inappropriate message early on and was able to delete it. I don’t trust my ability to read students’ blogs every day, but I liked her point that I can’t shield my students from inappropriate remarks in other parts of their world.

The second piece that interested me is the discussion of educators using facebook with students. I liked reading Vicki Davis’ blog and learning about how other folks are managing social networking and professional teacher/student interactions. Are other folks out there successfully using facebook in education? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Lastly, I have read Keith Jarrett’s tech/education blog for years and recommend adding this one to the list. The url is


Dave Fontaine said...

Thanks for the link and suggestion above, Erika. Here is just one example off the top of my head for using facebook in school:

Jennifer Hawkins said...

My name is Jen Hawkins and I can be reached at

I am currently enrolled in the MATCP program at URI. I have completed my certification and after this year will have completed my first year teaching.

I am a teacher at Killingly HIgh School in CT. I currently teach physical science and a chemistry elective (Chemistry in the Community).

I am hoping to learn more about using technology and gain experience using blogs in the classroom. I am looking forward to hearing everyones ideas on how they might use technology in order to gain perspective on effective uses of it. I currently use a wikispace with my chemistry class in which we collaborate and share research. It was a new thing I started with them and they really seemed to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone!

My name is Lori Chmelyk and I am currently teaching in Edmonton, Alberta with Edmonton Catholic Schools. I am in my fourth year teaching English Language Arts. I have a B.Ed from the Univeristy of Alberta.

I am interested in beginning my M.Ed and am just beginning to take graduate level courses; the area of technology is one that is very interesting as it is always changing. I'm looking to keep up with our students, as well as bring new ideas to my classroom and colleagues.

Lori Chmelyk

Jennifer Hawkins said...

After reading the articles and viewing the powerpoint, one thing stuck out in my mind. The article from the Innovative Educator discusses how teachers should not be afraid to use technology. I feel that it is imperative that we do utilize it for it's ability to engage the students in the classroom. As a new teacher, I am always looking for ways to connect to the students. Our school has a one to one laptop program, so they have computers to use for every class. Most of the students will try find ways to use them, even if the teachers don't assign work using them. I would rather have them using them for classwork, so I try to integrate their usage as often as I can. But it's a task that is difficult to monitor.

Another idea that I liked was from the video in the powerpoint. Using blogs for students to organize their classwork. I tried using wikispaces for that. It was hard to get the students into it, but one they were on it, they liked it so much better than using their lab notebooks.

Karen said...

After reading the articles and viewing the powerpoint there were a few things that stood out to me.

I absolutely loved Anne's inappropriate postings = a teachable moment. I think this is the absolute truth. Students learn by what they experience and I think that if you can find ways to use what students have done or seen as a teachable moment chances are those students will remember that more than they will remember what they read in a textbook.

I also think this is a great way to teach students that what they put on a public site is there forever. Even if they can delete it, it is possible that someone else has already saved the URL and passed it on to someone else. I think that this leads students to think twice about what they are putting on the Internet and how they are expressing themselves.

I think it is fantastic that Dave described blogs as being characterized as informal and unedited. Students realize this and they like that but they also want to feel confident when others are reading what they have to say. And the fact that their peers are reading their thoughts and not just their teacher may make them think twice about how they phrased something or going back to make sure that the grammar is "peer proof" and it doesn't look messy. This all leads to writing for a specific audience which is what all teachers want their students to achieve. This way they come to the conclusion by themselves…this being the goal of student centered learning.

Karen said...

In response to the examples for using facebook in school.

There are so many ideas here that seem great. The problem that I would have would be granting my students access to use facebook at school. My school district has blocked the site so students are unable to access it on any district computer and staff have to authenticate in order to gain access.

I understand the reasons behind why they have done this but when you see all these creative ways to use it in the classroom it is sad that we aren't able to do that.

Does anyone's students have the ability to access Facebook at school?

Mrs. Murray said...

Just trying to set up future comments.

Mrs. Murray said...

All set.

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. I sold the idea to a teacher who knew nothing about web 2.0 tools and we 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 keep up.

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

Lori said...

Sorry guys, that last post was me! I just clicked on anonymous!

Lori said...

So many ah-ha moments for only the first session!

I can’t seem to stop thinking about the analogy that was mentioned about teaching children how to use the internet and teaching them how to cross a street. So simple; yet so extremely true! I have to admit, I was, at one point, that teacher, who was hesitant to have my students “cross the street” so to speak. The issues that could possibly arise (computer tech issues, bullying, and students with no computer at home) seemed to out weight the positives that could come from having students online. Through a few very positive experiences though, I have come to understand, and appreciate, all that the online world can offer our students. This small metaphor struck such a cord with me. How could I not want my students to venture out safely, and with my guidance, into a world that we are all so connected too as adults?

The readings really made me think about all that educators think about when bringing their students online, how to make it educational, how to set up blogs, how to monitor. Overall, I felt that it really fit with Ian Jukes “21st Century Fluency Project” ( (There is also a blog to follow on this website – lots of interesting information gets posted!) We, as educators, are at a pivotal time where we are now teaching children how to access reliable information, and create authentic projects/assignments/pieces of writing, with the information that they have found. I find this to be a bit of a sway from the time when teachers taught a concept, a student memorized/practiced/learned and then wrote a basic test on the topic. I would have to counter this by saying too, that this practice is not completely gone, but in the age when a student can pull out their Blackberry or iPhone and look up an answer, we are forced to re-evaluate our own teaching practices to some degree.

It was informative and interesting to read over many different authors ideas and approaches to having our students blogging online. They all seemed to share the same idea though – that blogs and having our students participate in online discussions are a positive way to open the doors to pedagogy, both online rules and curriculum based. We, as educators, strive to create respectable citizens who leave our classroom doors with knowledge and a respect for the world around them – and why not start and continue to include a respect for the online world as well?

Dairy Queen said...

Reading the materials and others’ comments has made me think of a few issues. The students in my high school all have laptops, so we’re all encouraged to use technology with our students. But as Jacques pointed out AUPs and administration can get in the way of using things such as blogs and wikis. I know in my school, blogs are blocked. Facebook and MySpace are blocked. Our school web site provider allows us to set up our own “blogs” and I’ve used mine with my teen book club. Other teachers use the function with their classes as well.

In the power point, you mention that “I am confident that I can easily convince you that there is tremendous value to using some of this technology in education” regarding Facebook and Myspace. I don’t need to be convinced our school administrations need to be convinced. I have long proposed that we teach students how to use these forums appropriately (i.e., avoiding posting inappropriate pictures, posts, etc.) Some of the English teachers have the students make fake Facebook pages for characters in literature, which is clever but not the same as using the real McCoy.

Mary said...

Hello everyone,
Sorry about the late post. I actually posted on time but in the wrong spot. Here I go again:

My name is Mary Gotham. I am a high school librarian in a large, suburban school district in Upstate NY. I've been in Education for 15 years, 10 of them as a librarian, 1st at the elem level and for the past seven years at high school.

I hope to learn more about blogs and wikis. I am in the process of putting together a professional development format for the teachers in my building to learn Web 2.0. I'm not sure which platform will work best for our needs. I also want to have a way to assess teacher's progress and their future needs. I think this course will help me with both areas.

I can be reached by email me at I don't always check it daily, but try to a couple times each week.