Friday, February 29, 2008

E2T2 Online Parenting Session

If you missed the face to face session, we are hosting a repeat session online. It will be today at 11:00 AM. You can access it here or at our school website.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blogging for Me

February 25, 2008 This blog began as class assignment but has grown into something so much bigger. Even though the class is ending, this blog will continue. It has afforded me the opportunity to network with my colleagues and peers on a variety of subjects. Blogging has also allowed me to share my experiences in classroom situations that others may learn from my mistakes. Why reinvent the wheel or start from scratch when learning from other's mistakes can be enlightening while at the same time being quite humorous. I look forward to learning and growing in the field of blogging.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Safety on Web and 2.0

February 25, 2008~ Safety on the Internet is always a high priority in my life. This is not just because I am a Technology Coach responsible for teachers and students at my school but I am also a mother of two girls. One of which has already embarked on the journey of the MySpace venue and the other in which is happy being online with her WebKinz. I have instilled in both the girls (as well as the students I come in contact with at school) to use precautions while online and in everyday life. But honestly, this is not enough in today's society. Yes, I too have a MySpace so I can keep track of my older one and have even had to have conversations regarding content, pictures, and comments she has posted and received. And YES, we have even had to delete some school friends because of what they had posted and whom they had allowed to be their friends.
Alas, this is at home and how does this apply to me at school?? Well, the onset of Web 2.0 and its many different tools allows an open door to similar situations. Students have access to a variety programs that give them similar situations. It is my duty as an educator to ensure their safety. Many of the Web 2.0 tools are set up so teachers can set up a class account thereby not allowing students access to anyone not deem necessary (i.e. not on the class roster). This provides a great training ground for real-world applications their will use upon leaving the educational setting. A few of the tools we are currently and are preparing to use include Moodle for our book club, Voicethreads, and I am looking into blogging and Wiki's with my classes as well. Having the students in the safe-gate keeping programs will allow them to explore in the safety of the educational environment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Podcasting (or should it be titled "Authentic Learning"?)

February 14, 2008~I have created a few podcasts and listened to many, taken the SCOPD online course on Podcasting, attended workshops given by Tony Vincent on podcasting and LOVE it. My question, comment, concern is how to I get teachers to buy in and want to either have their students do podcasts or at the very least record a class and allow me to produce a podcast from their lesson. They all have their iPods and MP3 players but haven't converted to using them in the classroom. Students listen, sync, and download all the time at home, how do I assist teachers in learning the value of them in the classroom?

The potential for podcasting, as well as a lot of the other technology vehicles available, provides the students the ability to create their own learning. Is it because teachers are afraid they will loose control of the classroom if they are not in control of the classroom? Aren't we supposed to step back and guide the learning process in order for the students to learn? I mean truly learn not the recurgitate back facts learning. I guess what I am not seeing enough of with the use of technology is authentic learning.

So my question posed for everyone is how to I change the tide? How do I get teachers as a hole to see the authenticity with technology? I can share lessons, provide software and hardware training but not seeing a big change. Yes, I have my few that are producing Photostory projects from their mythology tales and seeing results with the use of Moodle and book clubs but I WANT more for ALL OF MY students. I want live news broadcasts, podcast book reviews, Sketchy's on how the water cycle works, Crazy Talking with their mammal it too much to ask or am I just being impatient???

Friday, February 8, 2008

"My Eyes Hurt From Reading...."

January 8, 2008~Posted one reluctant reader yesterday afternoon on our newly established Moodle Book Club. I arrived at home to quickly check my email and was astounded at the posts to our Moodle site. The students had posted over 30 comments in less three hours. Comments included predictions as to what would happen next and included one student taking the lead and posting what he like best and wanted others to share their best part of the book. Amazing! Considering these students are the ones that do not like to participate in reading during their regular ELA class and the fact they had only had the book for a couple of hours. I wanted to phone the Literacy Coach (Mary Beth Thomas) but decided against it. Let her also revel in the pleasure of discovering the students posts and the caliber of the questioning that was being developed. That she did..I received a phone call while at my daughter's soccer practice that started something like this..."Robin, have you seen the Moodle Board??" At that moment I just grinned and new we were on to something very big for our students.

Questions for me include, why didn't we do this earlier in the year and what book are we going to use next time...Oh, and their will be a next time I can assure you. However, right now my eyes are hurting from reading all their wonderful posts!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Moodling Around with Book Clubs

February 7, 2008~ We had our initial meeting today. The book club is a group of sixth grade students, the Technology Coach and the Literacy Coach. The book we will be using for the dicsussion is Stormbreakers and Moodle will be our means of sharing. Things went well until I discovered, while we were walking through the logging in process with Moodle, that there was no "reply" button on our discussion board for the students. It is fixed now and the students were extrememely patient having to watch the steps on how to post, etc from my log-in instead of getting to post today. Oh, well, I guess on Tuesday we will have our Book Club Cafe with muffins to make-up for my mistake of not giving them the correct permissions. I know better and should have set up a "false account" to make sure all was working. Live and learn and do better next time!

Anyone else facilitate book clubs via moodle or another type of message/discussion board? I would love to hear how things went in order to make the experience for our students a much richer learning session.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Wiki Ideas

February 5, 2008~ On the left is a Gcast that gives more information on Wiki's and their uses. I found it very helpful and even a few ideas.

One idea included working with a 6th grade ELA teacher and class that has been toying with the idea of doing ePals, she was concerned we couldn't get email addresses set up for them (that is a whole other can of worms I am not willing to tackle at this time..perhaps sometime in the future). However, what if the two collaborating teachers set up a Wiki and the classes could connect via the Wiki instead of email or snail mail. Having no classroom Wiki experience I have used them the professionally (we have a computer services Wiki that is gated for us to use rather then storing the info on a network drive and having to be worried about being logged in a certain way), I am not certain as to management strategies, ideas or hints that may prove useful for the teachers. If anyone else has strategies they would like to share please send them my way..I am always looking to expand our technology usage in the classroom.