Re: Electronic Means of Communication = Blogging?? from July 9
Instead of using a tool that we’d all heard of, blogging, I started with the platform of collaborative learning and went from there. I threw in some learning about our digital footprints, too. (I opened with them Googling me and telling me about myself. Way better than me telling them, and they learned how to do it for themselves. I never would have told them I was a “recovering librarian,” but they learned it from my Twitter profile and thought it was great!)
We set up Google accounts for everyone and started in on Google Docs. The group learned how to share and create documents, spreadsheets and forms. They were so excited to see the possibility of kids working collaboratively using this tool.
Then we talked Twitter. What does 140 characters have to do with school? I showed them examples of breaking news events, I showed examples of fictional characters with Twitter accounts and I showed them real life examples of teachers using Twitter to tell a story. They are not sold…yet. But I guarentee that six months from now, someone will remember something about what we talked about and I will get an e-mail from them. That’s the best – the seed has been planted!!
We continued on with blogging, visual images, digital storytelling, http://www.4teachers.org, webquests and library databases. Phew. We just barely skimmed the surface of some of those, but now they are out there.
The best part of the day was when the offer was made for the Instructional Technology staff or myself actually coming into the Literacy classrooms to either model technology instruction or help facilitate the lesson with the teacher. The group was ecstatic! Yes, it’s true….we will be collaborative with you, so that you can model it for your students! Woo-hoo!!
I had the fantastic opportunity to present at the Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference in Rochester, NY this week. Sponsored by Nazareth College, Monroe #1 BOCES and five local school districts, this is really the place to be to connect with some outstanding educators that are using technology for all the right reasons.
My sessions on Tuesday focused on Thinkfinity – a venture of the Verizon Foundation. (Used to be called Marco Polo for those that remember back that far!) Both groups were fantastic and I loved being able to spread the word about the NYS Teacher Centers partnership with Thinkfinity.
On Thursday, I co-taught Google This! with my good friend Jeremy Peters. We presented a 3-hour course about using Google Docs, Google Reader, Google Searching and the effect of technology on our digital footprints. Jeremy is a K-6 computer teacher for the Rochester City School District. My latest experience is in professional development. Between the two of us, we hope the group got the best of adult learning and also how to apply it in the classroom.
There were over 115 registrants for the conference…but I want to see more educators there next year! You bet that I will be talking up my experience this week. There were some other Webster folks there too, so I hope to connect with them in the fall. For $125, attendees got 3 days of workshop sessions and lunch! You can’t beat it!
Will I see YOU there next year??
I was asked to present a half-day technology session for middle school literacy teachers – which I immediately agreed to! It could be so fun!
I was asked by a a district office administrator that has been working with these middle school folks to design a new literacy course for sixth grade. The idea is to include something in the curriculum that is about communicating electronically…which is supposed to get the students ready for future learning…aka “21st Century Learning.” The suggestion by this administrator was blogging.
Sure – sounds simple enough. But I have 3 hours to explain that there are about a million possibilities to use blogging, and they not only have to figure out how they are going to use it, but also the other possibilities (because in about 2 months they are going change their mind once students start blogging with them). They also need to understand what a blog is, and how it fits in to the bigger picture of tools. The teachers have to understand how our district blog site works and then all the outside, free, blog sites that they can pick from. Will the blog be open only to the students? Will the students create avatars or user names, or will they be required to put their real name? Will the students need e-mail addresses? Will the teachers need to create an e-mail address for them? What parent permission form will they use? Will the teachers approve the blog posts as they are posted or will they approve them ahead of time? Will students have a required number of blog posts? Will parents have access to this work? Are teachers taking the students’ digital footprints into account in this work? Will the teachers save the blog posts year after year? Will students be required to comment on other students’ posts?
And I will figure it all out in 3 hours.
So as I tried to explain my concerns about focusing on one tool for 3 hours, I had a really hard time. I needed an analogy for ed tech and how fast it changes, and how the blogging is sometimes the end and sometimes the means. It is the automate vs. informate question. Maybe that’s how I should have explained it…