Sunday, December 27, 2009

Technology Videos Worth Reel Time

Video sharing sites such as YouTube and TeacherTube offer up a great deal of educational content, consisting of a wide range of appropriate resources for all subject areas and grade levels. Here are a few notable technology/21st century literacy videos worth sharing.

Digital World: Kids Today
The 21st century has created a new digital culture through the use of web tools and technology. Kids today are using new digital literacies to communicate and connect.

Pay Attention
Today’s students can be labeled as digital learners, so why should we pay attention?

A Vision of K-12 Students Today
How did you learn? How do students today learn? A snapshot how best to inspire and engage digital learners today.

Discover Information Literacy
Great introduction to information literacy and how teachers can help students ‘discover’ information literacy:
D Define
I Inquire
S Search
C Collect
O Organize
V Verify
E Express
R Reflect

Ian Jukes: Understanding Digital Kids
Ian is a well-known Canadian educator, author, consultant and keynote speaker. One of his educational missions is to make sure that educators are properly preparing students for the future.

The Machine Is Us/ing Us
This is the second draft of a very interesting video. Who is using who? Are we driving the technology or is the technology driving us? You be the judge…

Did you Know 3.0?
Karl Fisch created this poignant snapshot of the Information Age, Globalization. This latest version has approximately 2.6 million views.

Explanations in Plain English
CommonCraft produces an easy-to-understand video series on emerging online tools such as:
• Blogging
• Podcasting
• Web Search Strategies
• Social Media
• Social Bookmarking
• Social Networking
• Wikis

Saturday, November 14, 2009

K12 Online Conference 2009

The K12 Online Conference 2009: Bridging the Divide is right around the corner. Educators from around the world come together to present innovative ways technology and Web 2.0 tools can be used for instructional learning. This year’s pre-conference keynote presenter is Kim Cofino, 21st Century literacy specialist from the International School in Bangkok, Thailand. Kim’s blog Always Learning gives participants an overview of her presentation titled Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education.

Getting Started…
To participate in this free online event, register by joining the K12 Conference Ning. During conference dates, participants can view content online or download content and then post comments on the conference blog.

The conference runs between December 7-11th and December 14-17th. Over the two weeks more than fifty presentations will run as well as three ‘fireside’ live events. This conference was first hosted in 2006 so there are well over one hundred archived events for educators to access.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Literacy and Learning in the 21st Century – David Warlick

Today I attended an Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium session titled Literacy and Learning in the 21st Century presented by David Warlick. This was the first time I had the pleasure of listening to David speak in person. What a great learning day!

One of the first questions he threw out to the audience asked “What is the web going to be like in five years?” He deferred answers to this question in interviews given by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. I didn’t catch exactly which interview David pulled his information from, it is worth listening to a variety of Eric Schmidt interviews posted on YouTube. Some of Eric’s predictions included:
• A web dominated by Asian content
• Bandwidth increasing exponentially
• Sites like YouTube making significant profits
• Real time communications growing

How much information is too much information? David reminded us that literacy today is not just about reading and writing, but instead knowing how to find information, ask questions and find answers. For the first time ever, educators must prepare students for a future we know nothing about! We are simply preparing students for an unpredictable future, or what David calls The Perfect Storm. What do we need to do to prepare our students? We need to pay attention and bring their outside experiences into the classroom – blogging, social networking, creating, collaborating, connecting, authoring, and publishing. Education must be relevant; education must keep pace. Teachers must steer classrooms forward as if they are ‘Learning Engines’. The best thing we can teach students is how to teach themselves. Being literate today means questioning information, exposing information and becoming an informational ‘digital detective’.

These thoughts are just a small part of a connected learning session presented by David Warlick.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Day In The Life of 2.0

This posting was inspired by Joyce Valenza’s School Library Journal article titled “My 2.0 day and the response/rant about our cover argument” from October 15, 2009. Have you reflected on your digital 2.0 life and how it has transformed over the past couple years? What does your digital daily routine look like professionally (or personally)? How many times a day do you have to type in a user name and password? How many different user names and passwords do you manage? It is really quite interesting to list how the digital world impacts my daily routine.

First thing in the morning I check all four of my email accounts – two personal and two educational accounts. Are four email accounts too many? Once I arrive at school the 2.0 life really begins. I check in behind the scenes with the school blog, Technology Learning @Camilla. Are there new comments posted that required an administrative reply? From there I login to my professional Delicious account so that my laptop is ready to use the Delicious quick launch buttons in my browser.
On any given school day, I will login to most, if not all the following digital tools:
• Blogger
• Discovery Streaming
• LearnAlberta
• Promethean Planet
• VoiceThread
• Slideshare
• Podomatic or Podbeam
• Wikispaces

Throughout the day there are numerous web 2.0 tools, Internet resources and digital applications that are part of the regular technology landscape in my classrooms:
• Google Earth
• Wordle
• Audacity
• Photo Story 3

After the school day is finished and I have arrived home, I quickly boot up the laptops. It is now time to manage more digital accounts at home. Some of these applications are simply for personal use, some are an extension of my professional day that can only be managed at home.
• Teching Around with Web 2.0 Personal Blog
• Twitter
• Google Reader
• Google Docs
• Shelfari
• Skype
• Flickr
• Picasa
• ZoHo Notebook

How many Ning’s are too many Ning’s? It is not enough to belong to one educational Ning these days. Each time I read about the creation of a new Ning on Twitter, I suddenly find myself joining the community. I tend to follow some of my favourite Twitter colleagues into new social communities because I don’t want to miss out of the amazing discussions, resources, and sharing. Although I belong to a handful of social networks, I regularly manage four social networks:
• The Educator’s PLN
• Canadian 21st Century Teacher-Librarians
• Classroom 2.0
• Stenhouse Publishers

I have over forty web accounts, and that number is somewhat underestimated as there are many more web 2.0 accounts that I used and have forgotten to type up on my master list.

My day is digitally busy. The rapid growth of emerging technologies will continue to keep my 2.0 life in a state of typing in user names and passwords.

Is life now one big login?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Personal Learning Network

Building my own personal learning network (PLN) has been professionally rewarding. Next to my graduate studies, my dedication to developing my PLN has been an invaluable investment. Connecting with technology professionals, educational experts and creative individuals through such networks as:
EdTech Talk
Classroom 2.0
The Future of Education
Canadian 21st Century Teacher-Librarians

The opportunities to connect locally, provincially, nationally and globally 24/7 have open up dialogue for critical thinking conversations on a variety of educational topics to support my professional learning, which in turns allows new knowledge to be woven into my instructional practices. My PLN provides daily support, gives answers, asks questions, and shares resources.

Look beyond your classroom, your school, your district…there is a global PLN out there ready to
Connect, Communicate, Converse

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes."
~Winnie the Pooh

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stenhouse Online Book Reviewers Club

I am pleased to announce that I will be part of an online book reviewers club for Stenhouse Publishers.

My online educational responsibilities include:
• Participation on the Stenhouse blog
• Posting book reviews and author information on this blog
• Hosting/participating in blog book tours

I look forward to this new partnership over the next school year and invite administrators, teachers and instructional coaches to join the Stenhouse Publishers Ning for lively discussions on new educational resources supporting professional development.

The first book I will be reading is A Sense of Belonging Sustaining and Retaining New Teachers by Jennifer Allen. Jennifer is a literacy specialist from Maine who has created professional development programs and workshops at the local and national levels.

Take the opportunity to browse the entire book online and then join the Ning discussion!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Twitter #edchat

Edchat has become an exciting collaborative conversation forum for educators via Twitter. Edchat discussions happen Tuesday’s on Twitter in two different time zones – 12pm and 7pm (ET).
• Follow the hashtag #edchat
• Each week hosts a new educational topic

There are great bloggers who have explained, in detail, Twitter and edchats. Here are just a few samples:
Teacher Reboot Camp
The Cool Cat Teacher
Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom

I participated in my first edchat discussion on August 18th and was pleasantly surprised at the thought-provoking discussions with last Tuesday’s topic “What Objectives are Necessary for Effective Tech Integration?”
• Technology should become increasingly transparent
• Innovative educators needed
• Do innovative educators always equal good educators?
• Encourage and engage colleagues
• Teachers engaged in teaching; students engaged in learning
• Explore new resources and tools
• Focus on content, not the technology
• Tell admin, show admin, involve admin
• Tech needs to be adopted, not adapted!

I found myself continually refreshing my Twitter page as the conversations were lively and constantly evolving from people joining in throughout the evening. Is this kind of conversation worthwhile? Absolutely! I have added a number of new technology experts to my professional learning network (PLN), and have gained new followers who share in my educational interest in technology.

Dare to Tweet in #edchat…it will do your PLN good!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Whole New Mind

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future is a book by Daniel H. Pink. This book was recommend reading from a few of my colleagues and while I am not quite finished reading the book, I am fascinated with Pink’s provocative commentary on our global future.

Chapter One, titled Right Brain Rising, gives readers a refresher of the misconceptions vs ‘the real stuff’ in the different roles between the two hemispheres of the brain.
We need both left and right brain approaches to live fulfilling, productive lives. So why does Daniel H. Pink feel the need to emphasize the right-brained approach?

“Last century, machines proved they could replace human back. This century, new technologies are proving they can replace human left brains” (p. 44). Automation and technological developments are shifting the emphasis in the workplace away from information-based, analytical focuses to narrative, storytelling, and empathetic right-brained thinking.

Pink outlines four defining ages in chapter three (p. 49):
Depicting the historical progression of society shows the evolution from left-brain domination to the right-brain rising.

In part two of the book, Pink introduces six senses essential in the Conceptual Age.
• Design
• Story
• Symphony
• Empathy
• Play
• Meaning

“These six senses increasingly will guide our lives and shape our world” (p. 67).

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future will take readers on a fascinating journey exploring the future that we should no longer be waiting for, but instead embrace as it has already arrived.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A School Year in Review

Another academic school year is quickly coming to an end. It has been a busy one! Reflecting back to the beginning of last September, I was unsure of how I was going to get through what seemed like an overwhelming glance of the year at hand. The Fall began with my final regular graduate course titled Exploration of Web 2.0. A fantastic introduction to Web 2.0 tools alongside the creation of this blog as a partial requirement for the course. A plethora of new tools, applications, articles, reports, books were introduced as part of the professional learning. I found myself completely engaged in the twenty-first century participatory culture of Web 2.0 and new technologies.

Technology highlights of my academic school year and my last year of graduate studies include:
• Becoming a blogger
• Following blogs
• Streaming slideshows and creating collages in Flickr/Picasa
• Subscribing to Delicious as my main social booking account
• Creating podcasts using Audacity and PodOmatic
• Exploring virtual libraries
• Creating wikis in pbwiki
• Attending Internet Librarian 2008 Conference in Monterey,CA
• Using VoiceThread personally and professionally
• Attending Kaleidoscope 9 Children’s Literature Conference
• Becoming a Tweeter by joining the Twitter nation
• Setting up Google Reader as my aggregator for RSS feeds
• Using document cameras & Promethean Boards at school
• MEd Convocation Day, June 4th

There’s so much more technology learning to come.
I’m inspired to share more.
I’m motivated to learn more.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Twitter: What Are You Doing?

The Power of Twitter
Well, the secret of Twitter is really out! Last month, Twitter was revealed to millions more as Oprah sent out her first tweet on April 17th Friday’s Live Show. I suspect Twitter will be a little more crowded now because everything Oprah endorses explodes in popularity. Recently there have also been a number of ‘Twitter Wars’ between media moguls and celebrities, all competing for the title of Twitter King or Queen. It is easy to dismiss this tool as frivolous and a waste of time. Everyone has their own reason for using Twitter – personal, professional or both.
Although Twitter was developed in San Francisco in 2006, I have only been tweeting since 2008. I had a little trepidation at first, not knowing exactly what was worthy of saying in 140 characters or less. In the beginning I truly did not understand the power of this application. However, the more I use it, the more I understand Twitter’s power in building networks and facilitating professional connections. For the most part, I choose to follow people, institutions or industry experts working within the field of education (public, private, government), technology and media specialists, and Web 2.0 enthusiasts.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a tweet from someone I was following stating that he had just updated his blog with a posting titled 3 Reasons Why Twitter Works in Education. The blog posting described Twitter in three words:

Twitter is simple. It gives users quick, short updates leaving readers the choice to follow a link for extended reading, or skip over and continue browsing tweets.

Twitter is an instant communicative platform that networks and connects with others who may have similar interests, thus creating social and professional connections that establish online relationships which may prove to be professionally beneficial.

The University of Minnesota has officially sanctioned using Twitter as part of their Digital Media program as outlined by Terry Freedman in his article Twitter in the Classroom.

Tim O’Reilly has much to say in his commentary Why I Love Twitter. Six key points outline the “architectural features” that O’Reilly finds impressive – simple, cooperative, sustains natural social grouping with privacy support, provides alternate interfacing, and is an ever-evolving application. O’Reilly specifically describes more of Twitter’s benefits as being able to:
-pass along tidbits of news
-follow interesting people
-learn from others
-track interesting ideas
-shape the future

Local, national and international media has jumped on the Twitter train. Marshall Kirkpatrick gave interesting insight into How We Use Twitter for Journalism on the ReadWriteWeb last spring. I receive Twitter updates from my local media outlets such as the Edmonton Journal, CTV Edmonton news, and Global Edmonton.

To sum up, Twitter is a simple communicative outlet that allows people from around the globe to network and connect.

What about the educational implications of this Web 2.0 tool?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grown Up Digital

Last week I ordered my copy of Don Tapscott’s Grown Up Digital book. I had recently heard a great deal of buzz from some of my colleagues about this book being a ‘must read’ for educators. As I sorted through my Spring Break reading stack, Tapscott’s book made it to the top of the pile as the second book to tackle in my short break from teaching. Of course I had my trusty highlighter pen and pad of post-it notes before reading Tapscott’s research and insights on how the Net Generation is changing our world.

Chapter 1 titled The Net Generation Comes of Age. “The bottom line is this: if you understand the Net Generation, you will understand the future” (p.11). Equally important is that if we understand the past, we [educators] can begin to understand how our personal views, behaviours, attitudes and attributes are shaped through our own generation. I found it quite enlightening to read about the expectations defined for my generation (Generation X). Tapscott defines my generation by saying “Gen Xers among the best-educated group in history” (p. 14). That definitely puts a smile on my face as I prepare for my MEd convocation this spring!

While I’m not quite finished reading the book I had to post just a few of his comments from the beginning section that struck me as important factors to understanding the Net Generation:

· The Net Generation assimilate technology because they are growing up with it; adults accommodate technology – this presents a more challenging type of learning (p. 18).

· As adults we must change our established thinking patterns to truly accommodate new technologies (p. 18).

· The Net Geners are active collaborators, initiators, organizers, readers/writers, and strategists (p. 21).

· Net Geners are forcing the education system to change “from a teacher-focused approach based on instruction to a student-focused model based on collaboration” (p. 11).

Once I have finished reading the book, I suspect that I will have more comments on this fascinating look at the Net Generation.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blog Book Tour Visit with Johanna Riddle

In my last posting I had the opportunity to review Johanna Riddle's new book Engaging the Eye Generation: Visual Literacy Strategies for the K-5 Classroom (2009) published by Stenhouse. I hope that blog viewers had a chance to read some excerpts online. Some of you left comments/questions on the blog, I also received a few questions via email.

What sparked you to write this book?
It’s always interesting to watch the progress of sharing ideas and to trace the synergetic domino effect of that decision. If you are reading this blog, then you know how important it is to connect and collaborate with others in our profession.

My interest in visual literacy is grounded in my training in art education, and that interest was inherited from my mother and my aunt, both of whom were art teachers. In the context of the art classroom, I spent a good deal of time teaching students to interpret visual information, and to develop original visual work with intention and skill. As I moved from art education to the world of the media center, I began to see clear links between writing devices and visual devices, such as metaphor, context, inference. I also began to look at picture books with a new eye, as a crucial nexus between visual and traditional literacies. In addition, I was beginning to explore the role of technology in education. I began to build a textual/ visual approach to literacy, often frame worked in the context of informational literacy. I decided to share these ideas at FAME, our state media conference. Someone in the audience mentioned my presentation to an Adobe colleague, and that resulted in an invitation to become an Adobe education leader. A prime benefit of that alliance was access to software and training that I was able to infuse into the classroom. I also offered training to my school faculty. It was about this time that I also began to write for Multimedia and Internet @ Schools magazine. The magazine editor, Dave Hoffman, invited me to speak at the MMIS East conference in Washington, D.C . Immediately after that presentation, a high school teacher from Pennsylvania came up to me and said “My principal wants me to teach this way, but I don’t know how! Have you ever thought of writing a book?” (My response was ‘No!’) She even mentioned Stenhouse Publishing, a company that specializes in books by teachers, for teachers. I sent a sample chapter, a proposed outline, and a query letter to Stenhouse, and the rest is history. The moral of the story: You never know who is listening to your ideas, and where in life they may lead you. We all have something valuable to share. Go for it!

What are some of the biggest obstacles or barriers for teachers when it comes to integrating technology into their lessons?
The first word that popped into my head when I read this question was “fear”. It’s an intimidating barrier. We fear failure, fear loss of control, fear the unknown, fear looking stupid. I know, because I have felt that fear! My mantra is "Embrace the fear, and do it anyway." When you build a community of learners on a foundation of trust and respect, that foundation supports everyone involved in the community--including you. We expect our students to "let go in order to learn" and we must be willing to do the same. Be brave! We need to make a concerted effort to understand and embrace technology as a creative, communicative tool for relevant learning, and not just a screen and keyboard for viewing software-learning programs.—think of the creative difference between filling in the lines of a coloring book, and creating an original painting on a blank canvas.

Management issues create another barrier. Too many of us are still teaching in that old factory model. We are inured to the format of whole group instruction; it's familiar, comfortable, and seems the most efficient way to check off all those little boxes at the end of the day. King Schedule doesn't do too much to help us move away from that old tradition. These days, so much in education is also driven by state testing, federal, state, and district mandates, and various other incremental requirements that seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm very interested in the dynamic decision of school districts such as Adams 50 in Denver, Colorado, who are scrapping the old factory models entirely, and rebuilding their education programs through a 21st century lens. Talk about embracing your fears and doing it anyway! I’ll be watching their progress with interest, and cheering them on as they boldly go where no man has gone before!

What suggestions do you have for teachers who are digital immigrants and are trying to incorporate 21st century skills into the classroom for the first time?
Teachers are doers. We cultivate an amazing ability to focus and respond to the tasks before us. We may be less likely to take time for reflecting, mapping, and "big picture" professional development. But that’s the essential starting point. If our ultimate goal is to prepare our students to successfully participate and contribute to life in the 21st century, what skills do they need to develop in order to experience that success? It’s a question that we, individually and collectively, need to consider carefully. Further, we must consider it in the context of the world, and not just the classroom. I sometimes perceive a big disconnect there. I mention, in Engaging the Eye Generation, the impact of Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. That book inspired me to look at teaching, and learning, in a radically different way. There are some excellent resources in the back of my book. I know that they helped me to establish of vision of the ultimate learning goals that I held for my students. Once that vision is in place, you will look at your curriculum, benchmarks, and standards with a fresh eye. Then start to make those changes, in simple ways. When you see how engaged your students become in learning and how rich and relevant your content becomes, I promise you will be hooked. There is nothing more rewarding than a classroom of students who are excited about the world of learning that you are opening to them.

How important is it for a school to have a vision that recognizes the importance of 21st century literacies and technology integration?
It’s essential. If the way we choose to approach education—as a community of learners-- is not relevant to the ways that today’s students interact with, perceive, and apply information, then we are missing the boat. These literacies and integrations are skill-building processes. That means that everyone must be on board to learn, communicate, and apply those skills.

Have you had experience teaching adult education? Are the processes and projects in the book adaptable for the adult classrooms?
My experience with adult education has been limited to the university classroom and workshops and training within the context of professional training. But you bring up an excellent point: If visual literacy is a crucial process, and a learned process, how is it being addressed at every level of education? Anyone familiar with the GED knows that visual literacy skills are assumed; that test requires proficiency in visual interpretation, not only in the form of map, graph, and chart reading, but in the direct processes of interpreting and inferring meaning behind photographs and political cartoons. So, engaging adult learners in visual literacy strategies has direct correlation to the level of proficiency required for the GED. Right now, I am involved in a project with high school ESL students. They’ve written stories about their experiences as immigrants, and are creating digital stories. A final piece of the project will be a digitally altered, interpretive self-portrait, which will serve as the CD cover for their project. This is a good example of a multiple literacy project that could easily adapt to an adult education context—simultaneously teaching traditional literacy skills, visual and technological literacy skills, as well as pronunciation, inflection, and presentation skills. It serves a higher purpose as well, that of giving voice to the students who participate in these modes of learning and expression.

To what extent do you think that teachers have adapted 21st century literacies into their personal lives?
I think that the answer to that has to be as individual as teachers themselves. Some adaptation is unavoidable. After all, we are living in a multimedia world. Consciously, or unconsciously, we are perceiving and streaming in information nearly continuously. Whether we choose to be passive recipients or empowered communicators of those literacies is up to us.

I would like to thank Johanna Riddle for visiting Teching Around! Thank you to Stenhouse for facilitating this blog book tour visit.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blog Book Tour

On Friday, March 6th author Johanna Riddle will be visiting Teching Around. Please feel free to post questions about 21st century literacies and technology integration to the comment section prior to March 6th and I will post her responses.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Engaging the Eye Generation: Visual Literacy Strategies for the K-5 Classroom by Johanna Riddle

Author Johanna Riddle has written a new book titled Engaging the Eye Generation: Visual Literacy Strategies for the K-5 Classroom (2009) published by Stenhouse. I have come across some of Johanna’s work throughout my graduate studies and enjoy reading her thoughts, as a media specialist, on Web 2.0 tools, 21st literacies, and technology integration. Johanna has over twenty years of educational experience as a teacher, media specialist and arts administrator. She takes readers on an educational journey emphasizing the power of visual literacy with today’s learning generation. This book is a great resource for grades K-5 teachers (and probably beyond) as we all must forge ahead not only recognizing 21st century learners, but how to best teach this multidimensional generation.

Browse all of Engaging the Eye Generation online!

The way that students are learning today is an ever-evolving process. Johanna opens with an introductory question asking “How do we change the way we teach to best reach today’s learners?” (p. 1). Engaging the Eye Generation answers that question and more. To genuinely reach students with meaningful, authentic learning experiences, educators must prepare them to “navigate life in the twenty-first century” which in turn means we “can’t keep looking at teaching through twentieth-century lenses” (p. 1).

The introductory section is particularly interesting as it lists eight fundamental categories of literacy found in today’s information-based society identified by the North Central Regional Education Laboratory from work already established by the International ICT Literacy Panel.

  • Basic Literacy
  • Scientific Literacy
  • Economic Literacy
  • Technological Literacy
  • Visual Literacy
  • Information Literacy
  • Multicultural Literacy
  • Global Awareness

“Rather than merely “new”, today’s literacy is multidimensional, incorporating many different ways of receiving and expressing information and often involving creative collaboration. Visual literacy is central to such communication” (p. 4). Johanna starts at the beginning by setting the stage to introducing 21st century literacies and visual skills by comparing them to the beginning stages of reading in young children. The process is a slow sequential one that gradually becomes learned and more complex taking students beyond traditional literacy boundaries.

Chapter 3 begins by saying
“When we embrace the notion that how we teach is as relevant to the learning process as what teach, we naturally begin to expand our instruction to address a wider range of learning styles and literacies. We continue to work within traditional disciplines, but our approach to teaching those disciplines broadens. The inclusion of art, technology, and imagery adds power to traditional tools such as books, paper and pencils. Our students become actively engaged in visual, auditory and kinesthetic interpretation and production of information. As we reach into their world, we transform the everyday business of teaching and learning into a shared, creative journey” (p. 55).

With the advent of all of the new literacies weaving their way into educational instructional environments, developing these literacies is important because it nurtures active engagement through a shared educational journey.

Johanna carefully details her experiences with visual literacies. I think this will remind educators that developing visual literacy skills not only differentiates learning but recognizes that there are a number of ‘multiple intelligences’ that need creative inspiration in the learning environment.

A blog book tour will be taking place here, more details to come. If you have questions you would like to ask Johanna, please post them in the comment section of this post.

Happy reading!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Visitor Map Widget

I thought it would be interesting to post this visitor map and watch the little beacons blinking from all corners of the globe.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Architecture of Web 2.0

I revisited an article written in 2006 titled ‘Web 2.0 The new internet “boom” doesn’t live up to its name’ by Paul Boutin. Interesting that only a few years ago ‘Web 2.0’ was considered a buzzword by some, while others were wondering what exactly Web 2.0 meant. Tim O’Reilly (who is credited with creating the term Web 2.0) wrote a ‘compact’ definition describing Web 2.0 as:

“Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.”

Software, if continually updated, gets better as more people use it. The more people that create and use accounts with such tools as Delicious or Twitter, the more it makes the network of sharing and collaboration that much more powerful and meaningful. The “architecture of participation” describes the natural foundation in which Web 2.0 is built. Thinking, linking, connecting, interacting, sharing, collaborating (the list of descriptive words is exhaustive). Web 2.0 lives up to its name, and more.

O’Reilly, T. (2005) Web 2.0: Compact definition? Retrieved from

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why Let Our Students Blog?

What a great little video. Why should we let our students blog? How many educators are actually asking that question? How many are still asking what is a blog?

I took key themes from the video and created a Wordle summary of why it is important to recognize the power of the blog.

Will Richardson has much to say about students blogging. One of my favourite postings on his blog is titled Why Weblogs? The posting is a running collection of compilations from different sources. The first story interestingly describes the lack of connection students made between their participation in the ReadWriteWeb as active reading and writing. “To them, the Internet and other forms of electronic discourse were not associated with their concept of “reading and writing” in the school sort of way”. As suggested in Richardson’s posting, students may indeed see blogging, texting, emailing etc as recreation, not necessarily associated with formal 'school-type' learning. Encouraging students to take part in the blogosphere can create an authentic learning experience that engages passive Internet participants to create conversations that can continue to evolve anytime, anywhere.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let’s Talk About EdTechTalk

If you are visiting EdTechTalk (ETT) for the first time and want to find out more about this site, you might just visit the ‘About Us’ section. The opening statement sums up the goal of this highly valuable educational website. “EdTechTalk is a community of educators interested in discussing and learning about the uses of educational technology.” There is no shortage of topics to meet your professional development needs. The plethora of technology shows on the website line-up is well-rounded and sure to satisfy all techy appetites. The current ETT line-up includes:
21st Century Learning
EdTechTalk K-12
Making Connections
Parents as Partners
It’s Elementary
Teachers Teaching Teachers
Women of Web2.0

There are several different ways in which to catch the ETT action:
• Listen to a live webcast
• Access show archives
• Subscribe to a RSS feed

I was first introduced to EdTechTalk last fall during my Web 2.0 graduate course as some of the podcasts were posted on the course Trailfires. Wanting to get to know more about the personalities hosting EdTechTalk, I began following their blogs and reading their Tweets on Twitter. What I can say for certain is that educators who are interested in expanding their knowledge about 21st technologies cannot pass through this website without taking time to sample a webcast.

I have become an avid fan. I have become an avid fan so much so that I have subscribed to multiple shows through my iTunes. What better way to enjoy a webcast at leisure than by uploading the iPod and hitting the play button!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Image to Word Image

A random find. While I was searching through the Internet, I stumbled across Textorizer Generator, a free widget that transforms images and logos into a world of word imagery. I decided to try it out as the examples on screen looked fun and interesting.

There are two ways in which try out this tool, download the application or use the online version. I chose to use the online version. According to the creators, Safari, Opera and Firefox are the browsers that work best and this seems to be the case as I first tried creating an image in Explorer with no success. I then moved into Firefox and had an interesting time trying to create something recognizable enough to post on the blog. After a few failed attempts with different logos and pictures, the blogger symbol was finally a logo that proved to be successful in this textorizing experiment. Little did I know that there is an online community of textorizer images posted on Flickr.

From this...

To this...

I used the phrase Teching Around with Web 2.0 to make up the text imagery. Would this application easily be incorporated into an educational setting? No. Most schools use Internet Explorer as the desktop browser. However, the potential to create some cool digital art is waiting for those who are willing to go on a Safari, perform in Opera or travel into Firefox.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Teching Around in 2009

Happy New Year! With the celebration of welcoming in 2009, I decided that Teching Around needed a makeover. I dedicated some time this week changing colours, gadgets and rearranging components within the template. Out with the old, in with the new…well, at least out with some of the old blog and in with a few new things. I have not given much thought to blogging over the holidays. A much needed break was in order. However, I expect 2009 to bring new insights into 21st century learning, technologies, and ICT skills in the field of education. It is time to start researching more Web 2.0 applications, articles, and catch up on my RSS feeds.

Yes, it is time I updated my blog!