Tuesday, February 21, 2006

K-12 Blogging Resources (UPDATED 4/2/07)

K-12 Blogging Resources

I originally made this post last year, but it is substantially updated now. (Thanks to http://www.mikeberta.us/ for the image.)

Writing with Web Logs
A good argument for using blogs in the classroom. If you can only read one of these articles, this would be a good one to read. "
The challenge, as it so often is with new uses of technology, is integration. How do educators take advantage of the Web's publishing tools with limited time and resources and in keeping with the standards? Enter a promising new use of technology called Web logs-or blogs, for short. Part Web site, part journal, part free-form writing space, blogs have the potential to enhance writing and literacy skills while offering a uniquely stylized form of expression."

Blogging Techniques for the K-12 Classroom
Here's an informative overview of K-12 blogging from the Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Nice diagrams, too.
"Some advantages include:
  • Providing a centralized place for regular writing practice, thus eliminating the need to collect multiple papers from each student.
  • Allowing the teacher and other students to comment and provide feedback on individual posts.
  • Creating a greater sense of community within a class that will more deeply permeate into their personal lives.
  • Giving a voice to students who may not feel comfortable speaking aloud in a classroom setting or who are overshadowed by the more vocal students."
Teachers are Reaching Out to Students with a New Class of Blogs
A good overview of how some Seattle-area elementary teachers are using blogs. "At the end of the year, the third-graders reflected on their experience. "I like blogs because you get to share a creative idea with the world," noted one. "I think I'm a better writer because of my blog," commented another. Added one: "I think that other kids should blog because it's fun and it really helps you learn more and more.""

The Future of K-12 Blogging
Here's a manifesto for K-12 blogging. Focuses on computer science, but interesting for everyone, I think. Sidebar has links to a number of K-12 teacher blogs

Paul Gates' Second Grade Class Blog
Learn about flowers, from second graders! Neat writings, drawings and photos!

WillowWeb Blogs
Yes, it's those kids from Omaha again! Find out what they are doing by checking out their school's blogs.
Check out Mrs. Petta's blog. http://www.mpsomaha.org/willow/blog/pettateacher/
Check out her students' blog: http://www.mpsomaha.org/willow/blog/pettastudents/
Notice any differences?

New Kids on the Blog
"Richardson encourages teachers to move beyond online diaries, like the ones at Connors-Emerson, and consider using Web logs as thinking tools. In his old journalism class, no trees were killed—every assignment was paperless. And, in a growing number of classrooms, particularly at the secondary level, many teachers are discovering that a Web log serves as the perfect catalyst for critical debate."
"Plourde believes it's the public and immediate nature of blogging that so motivates her kids. "It's like writing in the clouds," she says. Anybody on Earth can read it, although usually it's just Alexa in the other fifth-grade class or Yuxi's mom."

Schools grapple with policing students' online journals
"The worries range from the serious - student safety and cyberbullying - to the mundane, minimizing gossip and protecting students from embarrassment. Some schools are trying to restrict access to the sites, or are holding sessions to educate both parents and students on proper guidelines."

Experts to Students: Watch What You Post
Everyone is always talking about the dangers of predators on the Internet, but the greater danger to many more students may be when future employers or schools look at the things the kids post in their blogs.

A Blogger's Code of Ethics
This is aimed at "professional" bloggers, but could easily be adapted for use with students.

I like this video about blogging in a high school (first one on the page):
Check out the rest of the weblogg-ed site, too!

Why Weblogs?
Need an academic rationale for the use of blogs with your students? Read this:

Why Teachers Blog?
Check out this graphic! Sort of a concept map about teacher blogging.

Two examples of graduate student-created blogs:

Kenny Kimchee's EFL Adventures.
One of my students is a middle school EFL teacher in Japan, and he shared his experiences as a teacher over there. Really well-written, insightful stuff!

Children's Writing
Another one of my students created this blog to show "examples and thoughts about children's writing at various stages of development." I wish she (and Kenny) had kept their blogs going.

I welcome any other suggestions!

Extra Stuff:

Podcast, Blogs and Wikis Video!
Our workshop on podcasts, blogs and wikis went very well! You are more than welcome to check out the video.

Are You Familiar with LoTi?
It stands for Levels of Technology Integration. It's a kind of rubric for evaluating technology integration in a K-12 classroom. Take a look at it and rank yourself, if you're a K-12 teacher and/or your kids' classroom, if you have kids.
According to this blogger,

the LoTi is "valid & reliable assessment tool with over 60 dissertations attesting to its worth, independently validated by Temple University, "


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Episode 7: "K-12 Podcasting" is Online!

Episode 7 is now available for your listening pleasure. It features a fun, informative interview with Tony Vincent, technology specialist from Omaha's public schools, about his experiences with podcasting at his school. It also features snippets from his students' podcasts, which are quite cute and amusing, as well as educational. I bet you'll be singing the "Ideas and Content" song all the rest of the day after you hear it!

This episode is just under half an hour. It won't be split up into segments, since it would mess up the flow of the interview. See the "Get the Podcast" link on the right? Click there to go download it.

Note the post below with references to articles about K-12 podcasting. I was going to mention them in the podcast, but I ran out of time. I may mention them next time. Or maybe not!

Tomorrow, we're giving a face-to-face workshop on Podcasting, Blogs and Wikis here in the IU School of Education, from 10-12 noon. You're all welcome to attend!

Thanks to Tony for this interview, and to his students for their contributions! Any comments about this show are also welcome!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Innovative K-12 Project and iPresent-it!

Hello again, Teach with Tech fans!

The interview with Tony Vincent went very well. Collaboratively, we figured out how to use Garageband to record iChat audio. Which is a great way to do audio interviews, because GB automatically puts each person on a different audio track, and adds chapter marks when the conversation switches from one person to the other. If you're not using GB to record your podcasts...well, you should!

I'm going to mention this in Episode 7, but you blog readers get the early scoop... Tony Vincent has started a neat project, the Our City project. Students create podcasts about their town. His kids did the first one, Omaha. I dibs Bloomington, IN! Lots of information about how your students can join in the fun at:


Also, I just found out about a neat new piece of software that puts Powerpoint and Keynote presentations onto your iPod! And the iPod can then be plugged into a TV. This could be a lot easier than lugging a laptop to your presentations! It's called iPresent-it (Mac only, unfortunately).


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Episode 7 preview: K-12 Podcasting and Vidcasts: Humbug!

Let's focus on K-12 podcasting for this next episode. I have a really cool interview scheduled with Tony Vincent, from Willowdale Elementary School in Omaha, NE. http://learninginhand.com/podcasting/

A lot of the articles out there on K-12 podcasting rehash the same basic information, without specifically talking about using the technology with students. Here are the best of the articles that I've found on K-12 podcasting.

NY Times Article (have to register to read this one)

"It teaches [students] to do research, to communicate in print, to speak effectively and grab attention with sound."

Podcasting craze comes to K-12 Schools (from Education Week)
"Longfellow 7th grader Alyssa M. Gilbertson described the appeal of creating a podcast. “When you're writing an essay,” she said, “you don't try your hardest because after you're done, you throw it away or put it in a box.” But with podcasts, she said, “now we try a lot harder because we want other people to know that we [can] do more. We want people to hear us.”

Exploiting the Educational Uses of Podcasting
"In what ways can the podcasting phenomena be exploited within education? In reality, there are so many possibilities and, ultimately, the creativity and imagination of teachers and learners will drive the educational podcasting agenda in future. However, there are three areas where the potential of podcasting could be realised within schools:
  • Devising a cross-curricular activity;
  • Providing alternative teaching approaches;
  • Promoting and using personalised learning."
iPods Fast Becoming New Teachers' Pet
"Teachers say the benefits of making podcasts are clear: The trendy technology and the possibility of a wider audience motivate students. "My students research better, read more, write better and understand the material," said Beth Sanborn, a fifth-grade teacher at Willowdale Elementary School, near Omaha, where students have been making podcasts since last spring." (***More about Willowdale iin Episode 7!)

Podcasts as Student Projects

"Sprankle notes that the podcasts allow his students to publish to a global community and that motivates them as writers. One a weekly basis, they create successful and purposeful pieces of writing. Sprankile sees his students as “sculptors” of the show and of their learning day. “They ask themselves questions. ‘Is this a podcasting moment? Do I want to share it? Is it meaningful?”"

Podcasting: Transforming Middle Schoolers into "Middle Scholars"
From a student: “Podcasting motivates me because you feel like you are telling the world about little stuff that we do. It makes you feel important and accepted.”—Ryan"
The technology is a tool to implement the curriculum,” Halderson says. “Podcasting is all about learning the content. If you don’t have educational content, you have no podcast; no amount of sound effects, visuals, or music can hide a lack of content in an educational podcast."


I don't know about this whole vidcasting, or video podcasting, or whatever, thing though. Right now, I'm listening, yes listening, to the vidcast of Ray and Hollye's The Tech Teachers (http://thetechteachers.blogspot.com/). I started off watching it for the first couple minutes...but it's two people sitting on a couch, for gosh sakes... IMHO, the extra bandwidth and hard drive spaced consumed by the video is wasted. An image of them sitting on the couch attached to the mp3 would be just fine. It's not just them. I watched a recent Mac-related vidcast and it was just two guys standing there talking. To add some visual appeal, they were standing in front of the ocean and occasionally a boat would go by, but geez. There needs to be meaningful video content, folks! Like a product demo...show me the new MacBook Pro, or some new software. But if the program is just people talking, keep it in audio-only podcast format.

Oh, and we should talk about enhanced podcasts too...