Wednesday, June 29, 2011

921-Session 9-Collective Intelligence & Deliverable 3

Today we will continue with Collective Intelligence and I will introduce you to my 'living textbook' concept. (Session is in the left-hand margin.) 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 to our wiki: 
as well as a brief description and the link to it, similar to the Summer '10 course participants.
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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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 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.

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.

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.

Final Projects and any other missing assignments are due by Friday, July 29th at midnight EST.
Thank you, and as always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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 the 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.)


Now on to "Collective Intelligence".  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.

Let's whet our appetite:


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 '10
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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

921--Session 6-The Ultimate Tool for Online Collaboration

We'll have two sessions for this week.  Session 5's posting and comment link is below this one, so if you haven't read it yet, please scroll down to that first.
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 Just search for edc921.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

586-921-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:
Have fun!
Backup copies of sessions can be found on Just do a search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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 can be accessed here:

Summer '10
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 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 (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:

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 2000 different courses that MIT makes freely available. We go into a lot more depth on this topic in my edc922 course, "E-Books and Digital Content".  A few of you are taking this course simultaneously with that one.  Bold and courageous souls.

I also subscribe to this 'open' 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 Professor Fontaine 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 email."

Well, when you are logged into your Blogger account go to the Dashboard option and from there choose, 'Settings' and then , 'Email and Mobile.' Once there look for "Posting Options". 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 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:

Monday, June 6, 2011

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 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!