Saturday, June 27, 2009

EduBlogger Con at NECC '09

(That's me in the front left corner)
What an opportunity!!!! I am sitting in the EduBlogger Conference here in Washington, D.C. on the Saturday before the NECC conference. This is a unique experience that has been organized by Steve Hargadon. the most unique aspect of this experience is that it is free. ISTE provides the room and there are a few sponsors.

This is the 3rd year of the EduBlogger Conference. I would bet there there are probably 200 attendees. There is a schedule of events, but it is something that evolves as the day goes on. People sign up to present on the wiki and this provides for groups of people to get together to discuss their ideas. Very constructivist!!!

Right now we are talking about an original project that we (as a group) will design and then find a programmer using rentacoder.com to actually create the application that wewould like to see available in the world. Presently, we are discussing a project that would enable a teacher to create an online rubric for students to use in peer-to-peer review. One person just suggested that these rubrics need to be aligned with district objectives. It is a bit complex but I believe that it is doable.

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I am back, I am sitting in a session lead by Wesley Fryer that is showing the k12onlineconference
This is a unique concept for a conference. All of the presentations are "phone in." This means that they create a 20-minute audio/video recording and then submit it to the conference organization. These resources are presented in within a few days which constitutes the conference. The most important part is that they then become part of a huge archive that we can use for professional development or as resources for teacher education courses. Look into this!!! It is paradigm shifting.

Is Blogging Dead? Jeff Uteckt is leading a discussion about whether Twitter has replaced blogging. It appears that Twitter has redefined the blogging application. Twitter is for the the quick opinions of the writers and blogs provide the writer an opportunity to reflect on different ideas.

Question is why blog at all or why spend all of this time trying to keep up on all of this information. Some of the folks commented on how overwhelming it could be but Angela Maiers noted that what counts in blogging is consumption and contribution. It is an experience and understanding that our kids must have for the future. Warlick is noting that it is called "voice." it is important to be able to post content and receive a reaction from others.

Scott McLeod noted that there is a difference between "appropriate use" and "empowered use."
We talk about appropriate use to cover the legal problems. The winners of tomorrow's world
It is important for students to have clustermaps on their blogs. It validates the audience.

I raised the question about using Facebook in school. Dana Boyd has a good article on using Facebook in schools. They say that kids want to use FaceBook to keep connected with their own friends, not meet people they don't know. They equate Twitter with email. It is for old people. They don't want to share it with adults. Students want things that are authentic.

Dave Warlick notes that the question about whether blogging is dead is irrelevant. "Is writing dead?" He said that if these technologies are getting people to write, then they are addressing what needs to be done.

It was suggested that at the end of the session that we should read the book "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies." This provides a good foundation for teaching social networking.

Well, we have come to the end of the day. There were a few more sessions that I didn't blog, but they were quite valuable. This has been a profitable day because I have had the opportunity to meet people whose blogs and tweets I read. I made new friends who share my passion for using these tools to expand educational opportunities. It was informal and informative. Thank you, Steve Hargadon.

Best of all, Wikispaces is sponsoring a reception tonight. My son, Jeff (DC resident), will join me for the evening and it should be fun.

Best of all,

Z

BTW, Here is a photo of me calling Kathy (my wife) on the largest cell phone in the world which was parked across the street here in DC.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NECC 09 - Using Emerging Technologies to Create a Collaborative Learning Environment

Join us in our 12:00 (Wed) session at NECC 2009 as we explore a variety of new technologies that can be used to create and support a collaborative learning environment in your class.

We will be using:
  • Skype (Video Conferencing)
  • Cover-It-Live (Back Channel Chatting)
  • Google Apps (Cloud Computing Environment)
  • Google Sites (Publishing)
  • Google Forms (Resource Sharing)
  • Custom Search Engines (Resource Sharing)
  • Delicious (Resource Sharing)
  • Zoho Notebook (Resource Sharing)
Cover-It-Live Chat Room (Click the arrow to review the archive)



Slideshow Presentation for the Workshop


Delicious
Delicious Tags used to identify resources relevant to our presentation: necc09 cle

Zoho Notebook
Zoho Notebook sample page.

Embedded Zoho Notebook sample page



photo: flickr.com/Michaelmarlatt


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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching & Learning - Couros



Dr. Alec Couros delivered the closing keynote presentation at the 2009 Summer Faculty Institute program at the University of Delaware on June 5, 2009. I was fortunate enough to learn that it was being webcasted through UStream and enjoyed the presentation.

This man is genius. He is an advocate of Openness: Open Source, Open Curriculum, Open Classes, Open Teaching . . . the opportunities are endless. Alec displays the openness that we need to see in education. This holds true for both the university and K-12 worlds. He points out that sharing knowledge adds value to what you are doing. It brings it to life in a way that keeps it relevant and alive.

He is doing what I am trying to do in my classes. He is using the web as a all around source for information and research as well as a place for his students to publish and submit their work. I was struck when he said that his students published on the web and instead of them submitting papers or putting their links on a wiki (which is what I tend to do), he has them use a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us to tag their work so that he can retrieve it.

I know that these are small changes in the wide scope of the Web 2.0 world, but they are significant changes in perspective. This perspective considers learning as a global activity. It connects the students with the world in which they live.

How are you using Web 2.0 in your classes? What have you heard about and would like to do in your class but haven't figured it out yet. Please leave a comment so that we can get this conversation going.

I look forward to spending some time reviewing Dr. Couros' website, Open Thinking and following his twitter.

Z
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Google Wave: Google Docs Meets Email (& Social Networking)


Just watched in introductory YouTubevideo about Google Wave. This was a presentation that was given at the Google I/O 209 conference (for developers). This was an early alpha demo so it crashed a couple of time in the presentation, but that is OK. They were showing this to the developers so that they would develop some apps before they release it next year.

As the title suggests, Google Wave is a new email system that merges the Central Location document concept of Google Docs with Email. This means that instead of having individual emails sent between individuals, the email will be kept in a specific place and then email would be a matter of sending invitations to the desired recipients. It makes A LOT of sense when you think about it.

Wave allows us to share photos by just copying the images into a single place and then each of the recipients will have access. They demonstrated how one person dragged the photos to the email document and it immediately appeared on one of the recipient's screen.

Blogs can be embedded in the Wave as well. It looks like the Wave is all about merging social media and breaking down the interfaces that separate them.

Since the whole system is online, it is accessible through mobile units. Unfortunately, the link didn't work in the demo, but we will believe that it works.

An exciting capability of Wave is its ability to provide collaborative writing. This is similar to the collaborative writing capabilities of Google Docs but it is IMMEDIATE. This means that your changes appear on the screens of ALL of the screens of the participants.

Wave also includes a document history capability similar to wikis. It looked like you would insert comments and track changes so it might be useful for assignment exchange between teachers and students.

I only watched the first 30 minutes but you should watch the rest to see the future.
This is AMAZING!!!

What do you think?

Z
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