Saturday, January 27, 2007

Planning for a photo a day

I am excited about the interest in the Flickr project. To move it from an idea to a reality I have just created a wiki so that all interested parties can collaborate in the planning.

So are you in? Visit the wiki and add your ideas and insights so that we are all on the same page and then let the fun begin!

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Flickr Activity/Challenge- Are you in?

I love early morning Blog always gets me excited about the day ahead! This morning in my reading I ran across a really neat idea.

David Muir Writes about a personal project on Flickr documenting the year in pictures and then ruminates on if or how we might use this in schools. This is a spin off of Project 365 which David talks about and in essence it includes posting a picture a day to capture life or in our cases the life of a school or class. David says that at Project 365 they have included some weekly challenges to make it more fun. So what can we do? It can include some weekly challenges to so that this week we might all capture the essence of __________ ( you fill in the blank- for example maybe recess/break time) As you can see in the comment below which I left on David's site...I think this has incredible possibilities especially if we connect and make a group of schools around the globe. Talk about learning to appreciate culture and visual literacy and connections....etc So is anybody interested in setting up a Flickr group and participating???

Comment I left at David's site...
Before I got to the end of the post I had already thought about how this could be used at school. I love the idea and we are just about to start our second why not start now. I do not know if we have the energy to do public and private postings as some suggested but I want to do this.. the public aspect appeals to me the most...especially if we can connect with schools around the world..We Pre-K (3 year olds) to 8the grade (aprox 13 year olds). I will post this to my blog so if you are interested come on over and leave me a note.
Thanks for this great idea.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Need your help to work smarter not harder

Leading others into WEB 2.0 always is an interesting journey and at least in my case I feel like I am only one page ahead of those who are looking to me for direction.
The staff has dabbled with Bloglines but are somewhat overwhelmed by searching for and adding feeds which leads to my question.

I work in a K-8 school and I would like to be able to point the teachers to some teachers blogs that mirror their grade levels. I have plenty for 6-8 but need some recommendations for teacher blogs for 3-5 and Pre-K to 2. Any ideas?
Maybe someone has their own blogroll sorted by grade levels?

Everybody will learn to search and add blogs but in the beginning sorting through lists like those at Support Blogging can be a daunting task.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Discovery: Two new Web tools from a great feed

In my morning sojourn with Bloglines I ran across two tools that I thought might be of interest. One of my feeds is from the site Solution Watch which is run by Brian Benzinger. The first article is about a site called Footnote that deals with original source documents and has partnered with the National Archive There is a free and a paid interface depending on your needs but the basic free level seems like a great portal to help older students utilize some original texts. It allows you to interact with the sources and like any good web 2.0 tool it calls for users to create content by adding other sources.

The second tool that caught my eye from brains reviews was one called Viddler. While we are not ready to use this yet I know many of you are busy with video creations and so I pass this one on for timed tagging of videos so you can show sections. I have bookmarked it for future use and hopefully some of you will put it through its paces and let me know how it works.

Even if these tools do not work for you check out Solution Watch. It is definitely worth and RSS feed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pedagogy and Practice

I am catching up now on my Bloglines reading and a couple of ideas are resonating with me. I have been thinking on and off about the issues of pedagogy and practice as we embrace Web 2.0. There have been various posts at various times that have opined for more development of pedagogy in the application of Web 2.0 for the classroom. In reflecting on this I found myself wondering about the old conundrum which came first the chicken or the egg. In this instance I think that two posts, one By Jeff Utecht and one by David Warlick have pointed me toward an understanding that works for my reality.
David writes about a recent workshop he gave and he quotes the reflections of Doug Hyde who writes....

"What particularly impressed me was his[David's] 3-E’s: Exposing the information, Employing the information, and Expressing ideas compellingly. These are supported by the invisible ‘E,’ Ethical use of information. In short we need to encourage ourselves and students to look for the truth, find relevance, and create value for information; all the while keeping the information honest, unbiased, and personal by citing sources."

For me this says it all. offers the following definition for pedagogy "1.the function or work of a teacher; teaching." No matter what subject we teach our goal, our work, our function and our purpose is well defined by these four E's.

The practice, the practical dabbling, learning and changing that teachers embrace as they move into the 2.0 world will reflect the pedagogy only in the doing. Jeff states it so well...

"Not every teacher ‘gets’ the power of these tools, how they really can be used to change the way we teach and the way students learn. Right now, I’d say we are building
School 1.5. Using the technology because it’s there, not really looking at how it impacts learning. But, for now, I’m OK with this.

Because …(this for me is one of the key things I need to remember)

We have to use the tool before we understand what it can do for us. When I started blogging I had no idea where it was going to lead, 16 months later I get it!

[Of course if Jeff thinks he is only at 1.5 then I have not even left the starting blocks- but that is another discussion]

So at least for me the practice and the pedagogy develop simultaneously….. as long as we dialogue about our practice and continue to stretch and try new things.

Blogmeister- The students are getting started!

We are getting started! The students have begun posting their first blogs. We are having some difficulty with the scribe posts but their individual posts are showing up so you are invited to encourage their efforts. Click on over to Blogmeister

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Year, New Perspective, Off and Running

First, I apologize for the long break in my writing. I had hope over the holidays to begin to post but I have been processing a lot of information and struggling with where we are and where we are going to the point of feeling overwhelmed. I did not even read any blogs because I did not want to get excited over another idea that I might not be able to implement.

Finally though I have regained a perspective and I am ready to look toward the future.

We have reviewed our growth over the last 4 months and there is much to celebrate. We have said that we are on a journey from 0 to 60 in 6 months. While my vision may have included “lassoing the moon” ( thus my frustration) the faculty and staff have accomplished truly great things . I invite those who might visit here to celebrate with us our journey. It is a long journey and every so often we need to look back to see how far we have come. Any comments or encouragement will be passed on to the teachers!

July of 2006

4 members of the staff attend NECC and the ISTE Institute

August 2006

Faculty in service-

What does it mean to teach and learn in the 21st century- Is it fundamentally any different than in the 20th century?

Watched Thomas Friedman’s MIT lecture on The World is Flat

Reorganized our K-8 school into learning academies

Primary Learning Academy

Intermediate Preparatory Academy

Junior High Information Technology Preparatory Academy

Sept. 2006 to present ( some of what we have done)

  • Computer lab reconfigured to a classroom layout
  • We disposed of our Pentium Computers with either 32 or 64 megs of ram and 3 gig hardrives were replaced with industry cast offs that are Pentium 3 800 meghertz with 10 gig hardrives and 256 ram—These at least are adequate for our needs----
  • Went from computers gathering dust to a full utilization of the lab by classroom teachers (tech support but no lab teacher)
  • Purchased to LCD projectors and two lap top computers which are in constant use by teachers and now students. Who are learning the ins and outs of good presentations.
  • Introduced open source software- specifically Open office
  • All teachers have read educational blogs and left some comments on student work from around the world
  • All teachers have been introduced to RSS and have written at least one blog entry
  • A classroom has signed up for e-pals
  • Grades 5 to 8 have worked on internet literacy and talked about the validity of web sites
  • 6 to 8 are beginning scribe activities
  • Students in Grade 7 have tried their hand at creating a wiki
  • Grades 6- 8 have been given online access to their grades and homework through personal passwords
  • Grades 6- 8 each student has a blog and they are just beginning to see some action as of this writing
  • Teachers in 6-8 have designed a cross curricular unit based on Romeo and Juliet which will encourage blog activity across the subjects
  • We established a Moodle site and we are beginning to build content..
  • 5 Teachers attending California CUE conference in March