Thursday, December 16, 2010

EDMS 550 Final Class (AKA Exam)

Since this is our last class (AKA Exam), I am posting the evaluation form online for you on my blackboard site for the course.
For my departing students, it was a pleasure to teach you. I hope that your experience was worthwhile, and that you will find a school which has all the technology which will let you teach those kids more effectively than any other time in history!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Online Class Agenda

This is the presentation for my class' Online learning opportunity.

Web-based RSS Readers

I can't take credit for this:

http://web.appstorm.net/roundups/top-10-web-based-rss-readers/

This is a great article which describes ten of the best online RSS readers. These are such an intrinsic part of using an RSS feed that I thought I would put a list together. These guys beat me to it.
 
The ten they name are these:
  • Google Reader
  • bloglines
  • mySyndicant
  • myAlltop
  • NewsIsFree
  • Superfeedr
  • Fever
  • Netvibes
  • Collected
  • Lazyfeed
I personally use Google Reader. Are you going to use another? Let me know by commenting. I'd like to hear what you think.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Online Educational Communities

I came across this site as I was looking for some new tools to help me connect to teachers of British Lit in the UK to see how we could connect in some way. I thought this was a good enough tool that I should share it with others who were interested in online networking in education.

Check this site out:
http://www.educationalnetworking.com/List+of+Networks

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Village Academy

This is a great summary of one of the great educational acheivements of our day. I am impressed with the administrator's approach to education, but what do you think?

Click Here to see the brief interview.

Oh, and I now want to eat pudding. You?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

21st Century Skills Site

In preparing for teaching my class on Tech & Topics tonight, I was looking at the 21st century skills and the overview put together by the organization who is really spearheading the 21st century skills initiative. The overview site is here:

http://p21.org/route21/

I think they have somethings right, and some things are related to historical learning. My question for the class is whether my students think that these 21st century skills are a fad that will fade away like movements such as whole language.

Please reply, let me know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Learning Style Quiz

This is the Learning style Quiz that is posted on edutopia's site:

Click Here

The quiz isn't that long, but it's an informative look at how you learn.

Here's mine from today:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Legal Presentations 4:15

Blog 2 for the night...

Please go to the Google Doc Here and sign up for a legal case.

Thanks.

New Blogs Abound

Hello!

So, you have a blog.
We'd like to share in your joy!
Comment on this post and paste your blog address into the comment, and we'll all be your friends!

Thanks, and happy teaching!
Mr.B

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Copyright and Creative Commons Videos

The following videos were shown in my EDMS 550 courses. I got the links to these from my friend and colleague Jennifer Jackson, and I use them at least once a year in my Web Design Courses at the high school.



And, to follow that one up:



Have Fun! Be safe!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Screen Sharing, Real-time

   I have been exploring a variety of online tools in my efforts to find new 21st century tools to discuss. The one that has struck me recently, and may just strike your fancy, is join.me.

   This website allows individuals to send their screen to remote viewers with no software installation required. The download that it runs is similar to the one your online banking uses to keep your information safe, so it is generally well accepted by networks that are locked down pretty well.
   The great potential I see in this tool is the ability to allow students to collaborate over distance. As long as both students are able to access the internet, they should be able to work together by allowing control of their computer to the other student.
   I see some great potential here, and I recognize that this is not a perfect collaboration because sound does not transmit through the screen, but a skype session or a phone call is all it would take to fix that.
   In all, I would recommend that teachers see this site as an opportunity to let students work together on collaborative projects outside the boundaries of school.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Animoto - video site

I've been looking for video software that would be easy to use, and I think I've found something in Animoto:

Animoto for Education - Bringing your classroom to live

I've applied for an education membership, but I think the 30 second spots would be more than sufficient for what most of my students would do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010



I enjoyed this video. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Screencasting

I have to say that ScreenCasting has become one of my favorite tools for helping students get instruction outside the normal channels. It is a great method for students who need repetition of verbal and visual cues rather than a sheet outlining a list of requirements.
For those who need it, here is a list of some screemcasting software:

Feel free to use any in the process of creating tutorials or lessons for your students. For more possibilities, go to this article.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Presentation on Youtube

As we discussed in EDMS 3/550 last Thursday, here is the video titled "An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube." Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How do you learn? The 3 types of learning styles

Well, are there only three ways?

How do you learn? The 3 types of learning styles

Question for EDMS 350/550

Hello!
I would like to pose a question for you to consider and respond to. With this being our first week, and with all the focus on technology, I would like to have you answer this one:
  • If you could imagine one piece of technology that exists today that you would like to use in your classroom, what would it be and why?

Respond to this post with your answer and I look forward to hearing your opinion!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cool Tools

The cool tools wiki is a good one, and I'll focus on three programs that I researched that hold some potential for me as both an English teacher and as the web design and yearbook teacher.

  • Kitzu, though it seems mostly arranged for the California standards, has some 'kits' of lessons that fall into many categories. In the category of visual arts I found lessons on color that I may be able to use with my yearbook staff as we discuss the use of color in the book.

  • snap.com, This site allows annotation on blog posts or on web sites that could be used by my web design class to add more multimedia to the site creation experience without needing to learn Javascript, a valuable thing to bypass whenever possible.

  • Google notebook, a tool which I think Google stole the ideas and interactivity when they purchased Etherpad. This seems to be etherpad without the chat window that can be anonymous. I am a fan of knowing who is typing what, so I think this has some merit in replacing online sign-ups for my students.


There are hundreds of other options, including yodio and other web 2.0 tools, but I don't know how I'll manage to fit them all into my curriculum. I think it is more a matter of finding a tool once the plan has been created as opposed to focing a plan to include a tool. That is my least favorite kind of planning, after all.

Ebook Final Project

Myebook - Freshman Poetry, 2010 - click here to open my ebook

This is the final project that I chose for the course. It requires that you have some instructional time with the students as well as a project that would allow itself to create a 'book' of work for the students.

I had students email me their Word files and audio, though in hindsight there are a few changes I would make to the procedure to save myself some time:

  • have each student create a 'jpg' of their poem so I don't have to convert them.

  • have students save all the files in a shared folder on the network so I don't have to 'save-as' all the links they email.

  • enable all students to record by requiring it and providing recorders (which the PTO graciously purchased us this year)


This was a good project, but I am still converting files and making snapshots of the poems. With the adaptations mentioned above, I think this is a sustainable project for future poetry units that we do.

Wordle 2

After using wordle a couple times, I really like its ease-of-use and its convenience. I decided for my second attempt to post the poem that got me really into the imagist movement, The Red Wheel Barrow by William Carlos Williams.

Wordle: Red Wheelbarrow

Wordle 1

This is a wordle I did of the unit 15 vocabulary words for Level D of Sadlier-Oxford's Vocabulary Workshop Book.

Wordle: Vocabulary Unit 15, Sadlier Oxford

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On the way: Nation’s first tech-literacy exam

Check out the article that I've posted here.

On the way: Nation’s first tech-literacy exam

This goes to show that technology education and use is more and more becoming part of our culture in the modern American high school. We are now going to be measured (as an educational system) on how well our students use technology.

Here are my questions:
What do you think this means on the local level? How long before the powers-that-be trickle-down the mandated technology course at the early grades? What do you think of this addition to education? Is this a valid use of public education? Can anyone really live without these technologies any longer? Is this what it felt like to be in the first generation of automobile owners or electric-light users? How long before it's just part of how we define our society, or is it already?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Wiki Experiment

This has been done for a while, but I'm just getting around to posting it. Sorry.

In the interest of authentic assessment, I decided to give the wiki a test during a class. My students had just finished reading Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and had to have an in-class seminar over this outside reading. Normally, students have to discuss an assigned book in a large-group environment. I thought this lent itself well to both a forum, which I've used before, and possibly a Wiki.

Students used Moodle to add forum posts with questions they had about topics in the story, and that portion of the day went quite smoothly. After that was completed, I had them work on a Wiki that described the various characters in the story so that all would have access to the most accurate information (telling a couple to be watch-dogs for inaccuracies).

The fact that the Wiki in moodle would only allow one student to edit at a time led me to revise the plan and create a google-doc that my afternoon classes could work with. The Google-doc allowed them to edit at the same time, but wasn't real-time. I am hesitant to use Etherpad due to the chat feature, though that was an option as well.

The overall product was not great with the Wikis while the Google Docs were a little better.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

U.S. moves closer to common standards



I highly recommend reading this article:
U.S. moves closer to common standards


I know that this is not an article about twenty-first century skills, but I thought it might make a difference when thinking about curriculum. Imagine how things are likely to change for us here in the midwest if we have to teach the same curriculum as the far east and west coasts. I enjoy the diversity of our nation, so my concern is that we will become less diverse due to uniform educational requirements. Will the federal government be assigning textbooks, or will we get a choice of reading materials for our English classrooms?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RSS Feeds

Google Reader is, as of now, my RSS reader of choice. It has the ability to compile not only the blogs I follow, but also to allow me to follow my UC Bearcats' sports teams without having to go searching for articles at multiple sites. It's nice to get the updates right on my iGoogle page as well.

I think that, as a teacher, this is a great tool. If students were using this and their teachers were blogging, then I think that students would be able to get all their assignments, etc. via one place. I don't know how feasible it is to expect teachers and students to use this, but it is an interesting concept.

I am a fan of blogging and of all the tools that make it easier to keep up with, especially RSS Feed Readers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Use Photo Sites

Here are a couple free use photo sites that I came across recently while working on a Web Design II Project idea. I know that many more exist at the Mariemont High School Library Site, so feel free to check them out as well!

Thanks, and I'll talk to you soon :)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Digital Storytelling

Today in class, we discussed several sites for digital storytelling. The list is below:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

iTunes U

I have been familiar with iTunes and Podcasts for quite a while. I especially like podcasts because they are free :)

The recent discrovery I found was a series of videos produced about poetry that will go very well with my Poetry unit that I teach in the spring. They are poets speaking about their own poems before reciting them. I think it is a great exercise for students to emulate, and I may even make them do a similar thing with the poetry project that we do.

I also enrolled my own podcast onto iTunes so that people can subscribe to it. That means that any time I record and upload an update to my podbean.com site, it will automatically update the itunes of people who have subscribed to my "LitCast." I love that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

21st Century Skills in the News

I came across this article [ What every 21st-century educator should know ] and thought it would be a worthwhile read. I particularly like the comments the author makes on focus and on democratization of knowledge. The latter is a very useful tool, in my experience. Students take command of knowledge when they produce something for the global community. They want to be percieved as 'in the know.'

Worthwhile read, if you get a chance.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

PodBean.com site for podcasting

The site Podbean.com is a podcast-hosting site. This past week I set up a podcasting site for my 9th grade English class. I called it my LitCast and have even uploaded it to itunes. I think that it can be a great tool for my students to have updates of what we do in class. The biggest thing to all of this was getting a template and system set up. I think it will be quite easy to run now that I have the initial setup out of the way.

Check out my LitCast at http://mrbecksfort.podbean.com/

or go to itunes and search for me... I should be up there soon!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

...Podcasting...

As the video below shows, Podcasting is not just something for us to do...



Find more videos like this on NCTE Ning


Courtesy of one of my burgeoning favorite web2.0 tools, the NCTE Ning!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

k12 Online Conference

Colin Hill - Using ebooks to motivate writing

The teacher, Colin Hill, uses myebook.com for students to publish their own collections for primary students. They post their work and the number of hits on the document. This is a good method for getting students to establish an application for their work and for getting it into a format that gives them a sense of keeping it authentic.

As part of creating this compilation of student work throughout a unit, the students can record audio of them speaking their written pieces. This is a fabuous use of the tools at hand and the idea of this really excites me to consider this for either our King Arthur unit or our Poetry unit, both of which have a project component.

This is the link to the ebook page

It looks as if you can even make commercial ebooks, but for student work, that is really negligible.

Overall, I am interested in how much more focus and attention to detail the students will have if they know that their work is going to be published to the web. I'm thinking that a poem that they must choose from a portfolio and record would make a good class project that they can use to demonstrate their work at the end of the unit. If I upload one student poem, then that would suffice to make a complete project.

I think I'll try it.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

After reading Churches' adaptation of Bloom's Taxonomy (the megalith of modern education), it became quite apparent to me that the author has great desire to modernize what could be considered an easily applicable and generalized method for achieving authentic education for students.

I think that the reason that there is some need for this document is that many teachers in our society are not technology-skilled. Students often have technology abilities that exceed that of their teachers (which has happened to me on many occasions). It is for this reason that an introduction to modern web tools needs to exist for teachers. By building this guide around Bloom's Taxonomy, Churches has created a guide for the teacher that speaks in a language they already understand.

The portions that I particularly noticed were:
  • Collaboration needs to be involved in twenty-first century skills
  • Finding on-line or technology-based ways to involve students in all the different levels of the taxonomy.
  • The fact that technology is just a tool to accomplish the same levels of understanding that we have always sought to have our students reach.
In all, a worthwhile read and a good reminder that we need to keep applying the tools that students understand in order to help them achieve understanding of our materials.

Skype

As a teaching tool, I have to say that Skype has been truly a change in how we can integrate not only other experts into our class (Lee Lowery had an author speak to her honors classes last year), but also allow us to teach using our technology directly.

I had the opportunity to teach someone how to use Sharepoint Designer over Skype. It was easy to begin a conversation and then use the tool to display my screen to them and let them ask me questions while I demonstrated personally how to do what they needed done. Though I have not had the opportunity to do this with any students yet, I have the feeling that within the next year I will have some of my web design students who would like to take advantage of this tool when they are finishing their large and complex projects.

The only concern I have for that is that we will be more attached to school time, so I imagine that some teachers will blur the lines even more between personal time and work time (an affliction that most teachers I know have).