Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links for [del.icio.us]

  • Special Olympics: Soeren Palumbo
    Soeren Palumbo's courage to say what he believed in front of his entire school was inspired by the love between a brother and sister.
  • Online University Reviews : 100 Most Inspiring and Innovative Blogs for Educators
    Being a teacher is a difficult and often thankless job. Between lesson plans, unengaged students, and new emerging technologies, teachers need help now more than ever. By visiting the 100 blogs below, they will find answers to all their questions, as well as valuable teaching resources.
  • The Power of Project Learning | Scholastic.com
    Project-based learning can be traced back to John Dewey and it has come and gone since the early 20th century. As a pedagogical method, it often meets resistance since it doesn't fit the skill-and-drill model that typically dominates education. But today, it is enjoying a comeback as cutting-edge schools demonstrate just how effectively it imparts the skills students need in today's workforce.
  • 6 Ways to Publish Your Own Book
    Online self-publishing services have given users the tools they need to create, publish and promote their work. These sites allow authors to bypass the process of finding an agent and pitching to publishing houses, a venture that can take months, if not years. Here are six great sites that will help you publish your work, guaranteeing you a published book that can be sold via different outlets, such as Amazon.
  • The Edurati Review: A Missing Piece of the Professional Development Puzzle
    We often approach professional development without all the pieces in place. We schedule a training event rather than strategizing how to support the changes we want to see in our classrooms. As a result, the training becomes a memory rather than a springboard. A good coach can carry the professional growth from the training event into the classrooms. With coaching, a great training event becomes a launching pad for greater instructional excellence. Why? What does a coach do that aids professional growth?
  • Bedford Bits » Blog Archive » Ten Ways to Use Twitter with Colleagues
    In my last post, I shared Ten How-To Resources that explain how to use Twitter, and if that's not enough, here are thirty more Twitter tutorials. There's no end to the number of Web pages that explain the technical how-tos of using Twitter. You'll also find quite a few sites that explain how companies are using Twitter for marketing, customer support, and more. But how are language arts and college English teachers using Twitter?
  • Photosynth
    Photosynth creates an amazing new experience with nothing more than a bunch of photos. Creating a synth allows you to share the places and things you love using the cinematic quality of a movie, the control of a video game, and the mind-blowing detail of the real world.
  • ISTE Classroom Observation Tool
    The ISTE Classroom Observation Tool (ICOT®) is a FREE online tool that provides a set of questions to guide classroom observations of a number of key components of technology integration.
  • Skype Other Classrooms! | The Edublogger
    This page has been set up to help you make connections with classes in other countries who are interesting in having Skype conversations with other classes. You can contact each person by clicking on their name.
  • TECSIG TV on USTREAM: Live from the TECSIG meeting in Austin Texas. TecSig is the Technology Directors Special Interest Group of the Texas Computer Education
    Will Richardson talks about making connections through RSS feeds. Live from the TECSIG meeting in Austin Texas. TecSig is the Technology Directors Special Interest Group of the Texas Computer Education Association.
  • tecsigmay2009 / FrontPage
    Will Richardson's presentation on RSS feeds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Teaching Internet Safety [del.icio.us]

  • i-SAFE Inc.
    i-SAFE Inc. is the worldwide leader in Internet safety education. Founded in 1998 and endorsed by the U.S. Congress, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. Please join us today in the fight to safeguard our children's online experience.
  • CyberSmart! Student Curriculum
    Free to educators, the CyberSmart! Student Curriculum empowers students to use the Internet safely, responsibly, and effectively.
  • NetSmartz.org
    A wealth of resources to help students learn to use Web 2.0 tools safely.
  • Internet Safety CFF/MVSD / FrontPage
    The Classrooms for the Future initiative at Moshannon Valley High School recognizes the hazards to your children posed by the Internet. Though your children may seem wise to the ways of the Web, they still need to be guided and monitored by you, their parents. In order to help you fulfill this crucial responsibility, CFF/MV is providing this resource of information concerning child safety on the Internet. The Web is a world of information, communication, and entertainment beyond belief, but like any powerful entity, it needs to be handled wisely and safely.
  • Real Life Stories - "Cyberbullying: You Can't Take it Back"
    A teen regrets his participation on a web site created to rate others at his school.
  • internetsafety - Michelle Krill on Diigo
    Michelle Krill has put together a great list of resources on internet safety and cyber bullying.
  • Pew Internet & American Life Project
    This presentation pulls together Pew Internet Project research about teenagers' online activities, their behavior on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and their Web 2.0 content creation activities. It covers the threats posed by cyberbullying, and stranger contact on the internet. and suggests that a new kind of competence we call "self literacy" is useful in the digital age.
  • YouTube - Childnet International - Cyber Bullying
    This video illustrates the dangers of cyber bullying and offers solutions to the problem.
  • YouTube - Merciless {Gay Slurs} Bullying Leads to Child's Suicide
    CNN's Anderson Cooper Reports: On April 6, 2007 - Sirdeaner Walker came home, walked up the stairs to the second floor of her home, and saw her son suspended from a support beam in the stairwell, swaying slightly in the air, an extension cord wrapped around his neck, according to police. He apologized in a suicide note, told his mother that he loved her, and left his video games to his brother. Walker said her son had been the victim of bullying since the beginning of the school year, and that she had been calling the school since September, complaining that her son was mercilessly teased. He played football, baseball, and was a boy scout, but a group of classmates called him gay and teased him about the way he dressed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Vision of Digital Literacy

I spent some time last week walking the halls, finding teachers and staff to talk with about digital literacy. I’ve been wondering about how students learn the soft skills of working with Web 2.0. I’m not talking about how to use this application or that piece of software. Instead, I wonder about where, when, and how students are learning better internet research skills, safety when creating internet profiles, issues involving cyber-bullying, and internet etiquette, to name just a few topics. Unfortunately, teachers are overwhelmed and isolated, two pressures working against promoting a vision of digital literacy in our schools.

It can be the trap of the traditional high school. High school teachers get engrossed in content. As a high school English teacher, I know. I love what I teach. If you start talking with me about non-western memoirs and their value in the secondary literature classroom, I will go on and on. We sometimes get trapped in the mindset of needing to cover the curriculum, of “getting it all in.” With so many demands on our curriculum, with so much more to “cover,” digital literacy can feel like just one more thing to teach. Just one more thing to cover.

Added to this pressure, a number of teachers I spoke with expressed feelings of isolation. We are working with the doors of our classroom closed, and we are working hard. Many teachers are not just finding critical and creative ways to teach their content, but they are also finding ways to integrate and teach digital literacy skills. I’ve been in classrooms with teachers using wiki pages to encourage student collaboration. I’ve seen students excitedly respond to a text using a Ning. Teachers are using so many Web 2.0 tools to engage and collaborate with their students. Unfortunately, many of our high school teachers are not working together. We are not sharing our success with others in our building. As a result, the lessons on digital literacy are not consistent. Teachers are creating lessons using this or that application but with no vision of what we are teaching and why.

With technology exponentially changing the educational landscape, teachers and administrators have had a difficult time keeping up. "Integrating technology throughout a school system is, in itself, significant systemic reform. We have a wealth of evidence attesting to the importance of leadership in implementing and sustaining systemic reform in schools. It is critical, therefore, that we attend seriously to leadership for technology in schools, " writes Don Knezek of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Unfortunately, many of us get caught up in learning about this or that application that we forget to reflect on the skills that are being developed. And the skills are what we should be focused on. The skills are transferrable from one application to the next. Ultimately, applications will come and go, but digital literacy skills, like traditional literacy skills, should remain relevant beyond a particular web page. We need to find ways to build a cohesive vision of what, why, and how we teach our students 21st century digital literacy skills.

1) What is our vision?
Schools need to establish a vision for how, when, and who teaches digital literacy to their particular students. What are the skills our students should leave our school knowing? We need to establish a vision for what it is that we need our 21st century students to know, understand, and do when it comes to digital literacy. When do we teach students about internet safety? Who teaches students effective research skills? How do we teach copyright issues? Having a document that sequentially lays out these digital skills gives our whole community a shared vision. It should be a vision that students, teachers, and administrators develop together.

2) How do we share our vision with teachers?
What sorts of professional development opportunities do we offer to teachers? What are the models for engaging teachers in learning and sharing digital literacy skills? Professional development is an integral component of sharing our digital literacy vision. It is something that teachers must help to develop, build, and present in order for there to be buy-in.

3) How do we share our vision with students?
Do we create required digital literacy classes? Do we find ways to use our homeroom/advisory programs to help teach students digital literacy skills? Do we make sure particular skills/issues are embedded in particular courses? Do core courses have final projects that address particular digital literacy skills? How are other schools are teaching digital literacy? What are the models for educating students on issues of internet safety and appropriateness, effective research skills, copyright concerns, among other skills.

How does your school teach digital literacy?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links [del.icio.us]

  • XHTML live chat based on the XMLHttpRequest Object
    This chat tool has been refined for purposes of collaborative and conversational learning. You are here not only to learn, but to share and teach. Each participant is asked to pose questions, comments, and additional ideas and resources. The transcript of this chat canl be transferred into a wiki page where participants and presenter will be able to continue the conversation by inserting additional content -- growing a document of learning and exploration. Knitter is an experiment in the use of backchanneling in instructional settings. It was developed by David Warlick, using opensource code created by Alexander Kohihofer. Knitter may be released in the future of a limited number of educators. Please stay tuned here and David Warlick's blog, 2¢ Worth.
  • Best Embeds for Educational Wikis and Blogs | Making Teachers Nerdy
    Now that you and/or your students are using wikis and blogs, are you curious what could be added to them? From animated slideshows to collaborative documents to interactive review games, many great (and free) tools are available. As a follow up to my previous post "What Teachers Should and Should Not Be Posting on their Classroom Webpages", I've pulled a master list of embedding options that will hopefully spark your imagination.
  • eduwikius - home
    Welcome to the Eduwiki.us Project - Dedicated to Building a Better Learning Community A wealthy of resources with subject specific wiki pages full of ideas and lesson plans.
  • Education - Change.org: How to Write Timed Essays That aren't Crap
    Nowhere does it exist except in classrooms, AP exams, and SATs. Most horribly, students get the idea that this mechanical form is good essay writing generally, even for take-home papers. To me, it's the job of the high school teacher to unteach the mechanical form, and grow students into the organic approach.
  • Training Resources & Links - Twitter for Teachers
    A collaborate effort to teach teachers about Twitter
  • FACEBOOK FAIL: How to Use Facebook Privacy Settings and Avoid Disaster
    The beauty of Facebook's many features is that now you can choose what you show and to what type of people. By using friend lists and playing with your privacy settings, you can create different views for each segment of your life.
  • Powerful Learning Practice, LLC
    Powerful Learning Practice offers a unique opportunity for educators to participate in a long-term, job-embedded professional development program that immerses them in 21st Century learning environments. The PLP model is currently enabling hundreds of educators around the country to experience the transformative potential of social Web tools to build global learning communities and re-envision their own personal learning practice.
  • Cool Cat Teacher Blog: 122 For You: Cool Cat Teacher's Favorite Apps, Software, and Sites
    A wonderful collection of applications and sites organized by type and annotated.
  • Personal Learning Networks Adoption Within Schools: Impact on Learning & Challenges Faced
    Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) when used effectively extend our learning, increases our reflection while enabling us to learn together as part of a global community. Unfortunately it's hard to make people new to social networking appreciate the importance of developing a PLN because they need to experience its impact themselves. This is a wonderful archived session.

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