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 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 site for podcasting

The site 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

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010


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 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.


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).