Archive for July, 2006

Blogging Institute Day 3 Recap (Including Wiki Resources)

Friday, July 28th, 2006

We started the day by repeating the blogging assignment from Day 2… with some minor changes:

1. Find an interesting post on another blog.
2. Read the post (& think).
3. Write about the post on your blog (& think).
4. Include a link back to the original post. (Hint: Rt. Click on the post in bloglines to get the permalink.)

Meanwhile, I demonstrated moblogging. Both exercises of course led to a good deal of questions and conversation, during which I wound up sharing principal Tim Lauer’s blog and the school-wide blogs and podcasts of Dr. Tim Tyson’s Mabry Middle School. We also spent a little more time on the social aspects of FURL.

Then we got into wikis, using wikispaces, which was definitely a second wind for the participants. During the hands-on training, I shared a wide variety of example wikis and wiki resources: (A wiki used to organize a summer meeting) (The NECC EdBlogger Meetup Wiki) (A wiki to support blogs in education!) (Dan McDowell’s “Using Wikis with K12 Students” resource) (Eva’s wiki for sharing technology resources related to Houghton-Mifflin Language Arts themes) (Dave Conlay’s amazing wiki for his 9-12 English students)

After lunch we took a brief break from wikis and I introduced the group to Flickr. I’m not sure it will take – we didn’t get to play with it much.

Dave Conlay then joined us (after he was done teaching summer school) and shared in-depth about his experiences with the aristotle-experiemnt, focusing on the communal aspects of wikis in his classes and on how he allowed the students to generate many of the ideas… or at least to run with them. He also highlighted ways in which he offered more or less structure to his Comp. Lit. and AP students. The participants were full of questions, and Dave was full of inspiring real-world real-teacher answers. I often show off his stuff, but could never have done it as well. Dave’s discussion also covered the use of free multimedia editing applications to create the final projects his students posted on the wiki. (He mentioned Audacity and I said I’d share a link in this recap. He also mentioned YouTube, a source of inspiration for some of his introductory segments for the kids. )

We wrapped up soon after with plans for a follow up day in October and with the final survey. I enjoyed the week with the dedicated folks who took three days out of their summer to join me at the OCDE to learn about blogs and the read/write web. I look forward to seeing where they run with this.

Moblogging Morning Blogging

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Partocipants are reading and blogging to start the day. Their making lots of great discoveries and asking lots of great questions… Meanwhile I’m demonstrating moblogging. I can’t wait to get them into wikis… and maybe even Flickr, time permitting. Dave Conlay will be in this afternoon to share, too… after summer school that is.

Blogging Institute Day 2 Recap

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

In the Summer Blogging Institute yesterday we began by spending more time with edublogs. In fact, I had time to give this blogging assignment for the participants:

1. Find an interesting post on another blog.
2. Read the post.
3. Write about the post on your blog.
4. Include a link back to the original post. (Hint: Use the permalink.)

At the end of the morning we also got into RSS and bloglines.

Jannita Demian for Discovery Education then took the class to lunch before we came back to hear Discovery’s Steve Dembo (also of Teach 42) share more about how to find good reading material using bloglines and Following Steve’s talk (via Skype), Jannita shared more about a handful of Discovery programs, including United Streaming, Cosmeo, and most importantly – the Discovery Educator Network. (She also shared the Learning Adds Up program.)

Working off of Steve’s coverage of, we then got into Social Bookmarking with FURL… so this was another full day. Now, on Day 3, we’ll be moving on to wiki’s and other read/write web tools… following some review of course. ;)

Links from Blogging Institute Day 1

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I told the participants I would collect the links we discussed during each day of the institute (which did not appear on the agendas), so here are all of the links that wound up on the whiteboard by the end of yesterday: (to search blogs) (for alternative copyrights)

Shari Bithell, Brea-Olinda USD (writing prompts for math) (sample student responses) (small group) (large group – with parents)

Eva Wagner, Newport-Mesa USD (class blog) (computer center with games) (tech support and professional development) (blogging for others) (screen capture utility for windows)

We’ve got more great tools to explore today, and more guest speakers, including Steve Dembo and Jannita Demian from Discovery Education. Here we go…

Blogging Institute Day 1

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

I’m going to ask this room of varied but dedicated participants three familiar questions:

1. What is a blog?

It’s a web log. (So we’re getting somewhere… they’ve heard of this.)
A journal.
One individual’s thoughts or expertise about something.
It’s on the web.
It’s shared.
Others can write back to you and respond to your journal.

2. What is the read/write web?

You can read it and contribute to it.
What distinguishes it from user groups?

3. How might you use these technologies in your work?

As a basic class website.
To share information.
To exchange information globally.
To discuss a topic of the day.

These folks definitely know why they’re here… and they’ve heard of this stuff before… so we’re off to the races.

Summer Blogging Institute at the OCDE

Monday, July 24th, 2006

I’m back online, and I hit the ground running this morning. (Those “and Life” posts from our vacation will have to wait.) Tomorrow is the Summer Blogging Institute at the OCDE. The final enrollment is a small and diverse group of educators from various school districts, the local ROP, and the county office. They’ve got quite a few treats in store for them, even those who are already blogging. I’m sure I’ll be posting more related to this institute over the next three days, but here are the agendas… for the participants and for anyone else that is interested. I expect these might change as the institute gets underway. If so, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: Please visit to locate or inquire after materials related to this summer institute.

Vacation… and Blog Vacation

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

I know I just got back on the horse here, but Eva and I have an anniversary coming up this Sunday, and we’re taking a vacation to celebrate. I’ll be “off blog” for the duration. There may actually be some fun “and Life” posts in the next ten days, but your regularly scheduled Educational Technology programming will resume on the 23rd. :)

PS. I will check email and voicemail periodically – so if there is something critical, do leave me a message.

Schoolbooks Are Given F’s in Originality – New York Times

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Schoolbooks Are Given F’s in Originality – New York Times (Via pondering.) Josh Thomas makes a point in this post that I make often when people ask how we can trust the wikipedia (and blogs etc). My answer is, “how can we trust text books?” Nearly every teacher has had a “well, the book says this, but really” moment with their students… and we’ve certainly seen serious revision of even American History texts over the years. I also ask what academics consider the highest form of authority in text… the answer is peer reviewed journals. The Wikipedia is the ultimate peer reviewed text – minus the expert editorial board, of course… but the same issues Josh brings up apply to editorial boards. Even heavily read and commented blogs are peer reviewed after a fashion – or can be depending on the author. Josh makes a list of skills “truly literate” folks should apply to any text:

The issue is the same, regardless of the text. Truly literate folks are able to:
1. Read, comprehend, and analyze the text
2. Referee its reliablity (who wrote? why? when? who paid for it? why? when? who edited it and/or gave it a stamp of approval? why? when?)
3. Reflect on it
4. React to it and communicate something of interest about it

It doesn’t matter what the text is, the skills are the same. But since we have access to so much MORE information, the stakes are higher than ever.

Andrew Pass posts a response to the New York Times article, too. High School Textbooks Be Gone!! (Via The Current Events in Education.)

Rocketboom 2.0 (Beta)

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Rocketboom has released version 2.0 (Beta) with Joanne Colan. For my part, I miss Amanda.

Tabula Digita

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Tabula Digita (Via Digital Illuminations.) Man! I really missed this at the closing session, which Eva and I did not attend. It did not appear to be a keynote or new content when I read the description in the program. My mistake. We missed Kathy Schrock and apparently we missed this, too:

Those of you at the closing session will remember that they announced that next year at NECC there would be a gaming tournament. They showed a movie previewing the game – one of the taglines was “Learn math or die trying.” It is a very interactive game focusing on algebra. The game is from Tabula Digita called Dimenxian. There is a demo version on their site.

I’ve mentioned Dimenxian here before and included it in my presentation as well. It seems the CEO of Tabula Digital, Ntiedo Etuk, was at NECC also and served as a panelist on a session that I also missed. It’s a big conference.