Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tweets Worth Mentioning

As always, Twitter provides me with an endless supply of rich professional resources, websites, tools and networking opportunities. The past two weeks have been no exception. Here are a couple highlights from my Twitter PLN that I thought were worth passing along.

How to Solve Tough EdTech Problems: 5 Articles to Start Your Week

Google Docs Updates; Now Supports Drag and Drop File Uploading

The 35 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen By You

8 Ways Technology is Improving Education

Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning Wiki

28 Education and Technology Keywords or Hashtags to Follow on Twitter

Saturday, October 30, 2010

K12 Online Conference 2010

Another K12 Online Conference is here! This fantastic online event is a free conference organized by educational volunteers from around the world interested in promoting, sharing and improving innovative ways Web 2.0 technologies can enhance student engagement and learning. Join the Ning, participate in fireside chats, follow communication via Twitter, download podcasts from iTunes or access archived events.

K12 Online Blog

K12 Online Conference Ning

K12 Online Wiki

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Student Blogging

More and more teachers are introducing the blogosphere to their classrooms, whether it be through a school blog, class blog or student blogging. For the first time I have taken on a project with grade 7 students to introduce them to the blogging world as content creators. We will be using the ultra easy blogging tool from kidblog.org as individual students can blog without email addresses. While searching for a blogging tool that was appropriate for student blogging in my school, I came across a number of useful websites dedicated to blogging resources, tools and information.

50 Useful Blogging Tools for Teachers

Blogging in Education

Bud the Teacher’s Wiki on Blogging

What You Wanted to KNOW About Student Blogging

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No More Pencils, No More Books…Back-to-School Shopping Can Be High-Tech

Back to school means that students are going to be immersed in a high- tech learning environment full of mobile devices, wireless laptops/notebooks, interactive whiteboards, and much, much more. The three C’s - connectivity, creativity and collaboration are linking students to a global learning community like never before. High-tech learning can mean exciting shopping for technologies that can enhance anywhere, anytime learning for students. Many students are now opting to use their own personal technology devices at school. So, how does a back-to-school shopping list read in the 21st century? The back-to-school shopping list has morphed into items that could include personal laptops, USB memory sticks, Smartphones, iPads, iPods, tablets, and netbooks. Back-to-school during my formal years included shopping for three ring binders, duotangs, coil scribblers, lined paper, HB pencils, highlighters, pens and so forth. Today’s student learning identity is redefined in ways, one being as simple as a back-to-school shopping list.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Teaching Students to be ‘Tech-Skeptical’

Teaching Students to be ‘Tech-Skeptical’
Inside Higher Ed published an article this month titled Technologically Illiterate Students. Once upon a time the educational technology landscape used to consist of expectations for students to handle straightforward word processors which would navigate simple search engines and straightforward software. The technological divide used to be about hardware haves and have-nots. Today’s technology goes far beyond those simple times and technologically literate students need to be much more sophisticated. Today’s technology goes far beyond those simple times. Almost everyone has access to hardware and software. The 21st century focuses on access to information in a Web 2.0 sharing, collaborative environment. Students today are digitally savvy natives; students know how to handle hardware and software. What they need is to be taught is how to be ‘tech-skeptical’, that is “the critical capacity to glean the implications, and limitations, of technologies as they emerge and become woven into the students’ lives” (Kolowich, 2010). Even students in this digital age aren’t inherently equipped with the skills associated with tech literacy. Educators can help prepare students through K-12 and post-secondary education by:
• weaving digital literacy into existing curriculums
• encouraging students to draw on real-world examples
• leading discussions on the ethical use of technology
• teaching students how to scrutinize and filter information

The future should be information friendly.

Kolowich, S. (2010). Technologically Illiterate Students. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/07/16/techliteracy

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teachers would help me learn better if…

I came across a posting last week titled “Hey Teachers: This is How I Learn.” from a blog titled TeachPaperless: Seeking social solution to the mysteries of 21st century teaching and learning. The philosophy behind the blog is to help educators create paperless classroom through integrated technology learning communities. The June posting tells the story of a classroom discussion between a teacher and a class of students. Here are some of the thoughts from students who would learn better if…
•Teachers focused on applying lessons to real-world learning
•Teachers applied more assessment for learning
•More groups projects were the norm
•Teachers stopped using boring PowerPoints to teach
•Lessons were more interactive, hands on
•Teachers used different instructional approaches (do we remember the Theory of Multiple Intelligences?)
•Teachers gave less homework
•Technology was utilized more often

It was interesting to read the thoughts of the students. How many of us [educators] think we are always creating engaging, interactive, exciting lessons? How many of us (who teach multiple grade levels) can really identify how our students learn best each and every day? Each student is an individual learner with a unique learning style. Do we remember Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences? Can we name all eight of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences?
• Spatial
• Linguistic
• Logical-mathematical
• Kinesthetic
• Musical
• Interpersonal
• Intrapersonal
• Naturalist

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is based upon the research first presented in his 1983 book Frames of Mind, stating that there are different intelligences in which people are able to learn (Giles, Pitre, & Womack, 2003). Today more than ever, “learning through a variety of unique experiences allows children to better understand themselves as lifelong learners, and to see how others acquire knowledge and apply their skills” (Hampton, n.d.,p. 1). An educational awareness of the theory of M.I. has helped stimulate teachers to discover new ways of teaching all students in the classroom (Guignon, 1998), thus opening up the world of learning to all consumers. Howard Gardner’s research on multiple intelligences has influenced educational thinking practices since his theory burst onto the academic scene.

Teachers would help students learn better if...

Giles, E., Pitre, S., & Womack, S. (2003). Multiple intelligences and learning styles. Retrieved from http://www.coe.uga.edu/epltt/mi-ls.htm

Guignon, A. (1998). Multiple intelligences: A theory for everyone. Education World. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr054.shtml

Hampton, R. (n.d.). Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved from http://www.lth3.k12.il.us/rhampton/mi/mi.html

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Digital Citizenship

One of the focuses we continue to address in education is digital citizenship, Internet safety and cyber ethics.

“Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology.” (Digital Citizenship, 2010).

Many online websites have developed specific resources for teachers, students and parents. The Internet is an exciting tool full of infinite resources, information, education and entertainment. However, students need guidance and direction of how best to appropriately explore the Internet and become responsible, safe digital citizens.

Get Web Wise
The Government of Alberta created this website to educate parents, teens and children on Internet safety.

Be Web Aware
Be Web Aware was developed by the Media Awareness Network, Microsoft Canada and Bell as a national Internet safety program.

We’re On To You
This provincial site is sponsored by Alberta and Children Youth Services.

NetSmartz has created resources for educators, parents/guardians, teens and kids.

This site was developed to help online users make informed choices and decisions using the Internet.

SafeKids provides tips for social networking, Internet safety, cell phone use, and cyberbullying.

An Internet safety website for students, teachers and parents full of resources and interactive activities.

OnGuard, Online
This site provides tips and multimedia resources on how to protect your personal information when using the Internet.

Digital Citizenship, (2010). Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately. Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Home_Page.html

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweet Search

Sweet Search is a new search engine passed along to me via a blog visitor who first heard about the resource through a Seedlings webcast on EdTechTalk. Sweet Search is an engine that is designed for students through the expertise of research professionals, teachers and librarians. It searches approximately 35,000 researched and approved websites, whereby drastically cutting down the number of search hits students would encounter through the major search engines. This kind of search engine is a welcome addition in information literacy learning as educators continuously strive to help students receive the most relevant and credible information possible in their learning environment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Are You Searching For?

There are dozens of search engines available for online users to access. It is important to recognize that while Google is the most popular search engine on the web today, it is advantageous to explore different engines and not simply rely on retrieving information from one source. Students need to be well-informed citizens that are able to seek out information from multiple sources. While Google continues to dominate as the number one search engine, it should not be the only means to which students are researching, retrieving and using information. Students no longer have to rely on textbooks, libraries or the classroom to access and receive information necessary to complete assignments. Internet tools offers up a world of immediate knowledge. However, educators need to guide and nurture the skills it takes for students to become effective information consumers.

“To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information”. (Wikipedia, 2010)

Search engines are tools intended to help us search out information on the World Wide Web. When searching the web, there are a few basic tips to pass along to our fellow educators and students:
•Narrow the search topic into keywords or phrases
•Spelling counts!
•Searches are not case sensitive
•Use precise words for your search topic
•Punctuation is usually not necessary
•To locate an exact phrase, place quotes around the words
•Explore as many search results as possible

Recommended search engines for students include:
Ask Kids
Quintura for Kids

Wikipedia (2010). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_literacy

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How do we ensure specific tech tools match student learning goals? #edchat

Edchat continues to be an exciting collaborative conversation forum for educators via Twitter. Edchat discussions happen Tuesday’s on Twitter and I would invite you to participate using two simple steps:
• Login into the TweetGrid
• Follow the hashtag #edchat

Last night’s #edchat discussion revolved around the question “How do we ensure specific tech tools match student learning goals?” The discussion was very fast paced, but worthy of following because of all of the resourceful and insightful comments from Twitter’s technology PLN. Highlights from the discussion include a snapshot of the following comments:
• Committed teams of educators is the key
• It’s not about the tech tool, but the way students use the tool
• New tech tools have taken over, we cannot ignore the power of their learning potential
• New tech tools bring new energy to the learning environment
DETA Digital Education Teacher Academy
• Tech is a means, not an end
• Do not separate tech from curriculum, integrate/infuse
• New tech tools support ‘relevant’ learning
• Don’t focus on the tech, focus on learning goals at hand
• Many web tools are blocked by districts
• Tech tools needs to be taught & modeled with best teaching practices
• Focus should be on developing sound pedagogy
• How do we evaluate the value of a tech tool?
• Application of knowledge are signs of learning and understanding
• Educators should be using tech tools everyday
• Is education overwhelmed by technology?

Finally, a Wordle from last night’s edchat created by web20classroom lists a culmination of key words from this week’s topic.