User Generated Education

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Posts Tagged ‘web 2.0

Integrating Technology: Technology Tools to Develop a Collaborative, Participatory School Community Learning Space

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This year I have a new position as a part time technology instructor at a K-8 Charter School.   The principal and a few of the teachers/staff, not realizing how advanced educational technology has become, got excited when I demonstrated how technology can be integrated throughout the entire school curriculum.  The principal, being the change agent she is, understands that the integration needs to be a process . . .  that the first year of my employment should be in assisting teachers to see the benefits of technology integration, and how it can enhance the lessons and projects that are already doing.

As a learner-centric educator, I perceive my role as a tour guide of learning possibilities.  As such, I offer a menu of options for learner engagement (in this case, the learners are the charter school professional staff).  I provide instruction about how to use the tools and examples how they have been used in other educational settings.  But then I get out of the way to see if and how the learner uses the technology.  I may love a tool but learners may not – I then let it go.

For this upcoming year, I set up the following FREE educational networking tools to offer the professional staff at the school:

  • Social Bookmarking: Diigo
  • Wiki: PBWorks
  • Social Sharing: Gro.ups
  • Blogging Platform: Kidblogs
  • Projects and Student Pages: Thinkquest
  • Classroom Projects and Communication: Edmodo
  • Online Book Shelf and Discussions: Shelfari
  • Facebook (already established) – Parent and Community Communication

I will document if, how, and why these technologies are used throughout the year as a case study of technology integration in a school that has historically had a limited use of technology.

A Rationale for Integrating Technology Into the Classroom


Social Bookmarking: Diigo


Social bookmarking permits websites and online resources to be saved and compiled in a central location.  By setting up a group for a school or an organization, users can save them so all members of that community group can view and access them.

Diigo in the Classroom tutorial:  http://www.slideshare.net/granolagirls/diigo-in-the-classroom

ANSER Group Link:  http://groups.diigo.com/group/anser-charter-school


Wiki: PBWorks



A wiki allows a group of people to collaboratively develop a Web site. Anyone can add to or edit pages in a wiki — it is completely egalitarian.

In the Classroom

  • Encourage student-centered learning.  Even young students can build web pages, embed images & video, and post documents.

What can you do with a Classroom Workspace?

  • Class Resources – Publish class notes, PowerPoint lectures, schedules and policies; show off examples of great student work.
  • Group Projects – Build collaborative pages, start discussions and encourage comments.
  • Parent Outreach – Keep parents involved. Post assignments, key dates and volunteer lists. All available at home, from work, or anywhere.
  • Student Portfolios – Give students their own page to post content, upload homework, and share their work.
  • Expand Horizons – Share and interact with other classrooms or groups, across town or around the world.

Throughout the School

User Manual: http://usermanual.pbworks.com/Educational-Editions

Resource: http://educators.pbworks.com/

Class Example: http://weewebwonders.pbworks.com/

ANSER link: http://ansercharter.pbworks.com/FrontPage


Social Sharing: GRO.UPS


GROU.PS is a do-it-yourself social networking platform that allows people to come together and form interactive communities around a shared interest or affiliation. The functionality of any online group is limited only by the members’ collective imagination and ambition.  By giving any user the ability to create an easy-to-use, yet powerful, social network, GROU.PS is propelling online collaboration, communication and content sharing in a new socially-aware direction.

For those familiar with NING, GRO.UPS is being used as the alternative as NING has become charging for its services.  I foresee using the GRO.UPS as a central place to post the different classroom projects.  It permits uploading of photos and videos, and the ability to make comments and discussions.  Individual members can create a “My Page” which has some similar properties as Facebook.

ANSER Gro.up Site: http://grou.ps/anser


Blogging Platform: KidBlogs



Blogging is a means of self-expression that extends to nearly every social sphere — moms, entrepreneurs, soldiers, athletes – bloggers can be found in every walk of life, every niche, profession and people group. Everyone has something to learn or share in a blog community. It is that idea that makes blogging such an ideal method of learning for children. Surely Matt Hardy, an elementary school teacher, had this in mind when he created Kidblog.org, a blogging platform exclusively for elementary and middle school students and teachers. The platform creates a safe and simple environment for students to publish posts and participate in discussions within a secure classroom blogging community.

Since this is a K-8 school, Kidblogs was selected as the Blog Platform.  This is a closed learning environment meaning only ANSER students who are registered by their teachers can use it.  If the school was upper level, I would  have recommended Edublogs.

Kidblog Tutorial: http://www.slideshare.net/cgmediaspecialist/blogtutorial

Special Note:  I like Nicholas Provenzano’s idea of staring a Blogger’s Community-Café at his school – see http://www.thenerdyteacher.com/2010/08/creating-blogging-community.html and plan to offer this at my school.

ANSER Link: http://kidblog.org/ANSER/


Projects and Student Pages: Thinkquest



ThinkQuest is a protected, online learning platform that enables teachers to integrate learning projects into their classroom curriculum and students to develop 21st century skills. It includes the following: a project environment where teachers and students engage in collaborative learning; a competition space where students participate in technology contests; the award-winning ThinkQuest Library.

I think this is underutilized in education settings.  It was a favorite technology tool of  my gifted elementary student a few years ago.  It permits students to set up their own “My Page”.  It has many of the same attributes of Facebook – the ability to have a “My Page” where students can personalize their avatar, create polls, suggest links, upload pictures and create discussions.  This site can only be accessed by registered schools, their teachers and students.

I plan to create accounts for all of the 350 K-8 students as well as offer classroom teachers the opportunity to develop projects.

Example Student Page:

Example Project Page:


Classroom Projects and Communication: Edmodo


Edmodo is a social learning network for teachers, students, schools and districts. Edmodo provides free classroom communication for teachers, students and administrators on a secure social network. Edmodo provides teachers and students with a secure and easy way to post classroom materials, share links and videos, and access homework, grades and school notices. Edmodo stores and shares all forms of digital content – blogs, links, pictures, video, documents, presentations, and more.

This is a closed learning environment meaning only ANSER students who are registered by their teachers can use it.

Edmodo Users’ Guide:  http://www.edmodo.com/guide/

http://www.edmodo.com/home

(Need Log-In Code to be go to ANSER Site).


Online Book Shelves and Discussion: Shelfari


Shelfari is a social cataloging website. Shelfari users build virtual bookshelves of the titles they own or have read, and can rate, review, tag, and discuss their books. You can also create groups that other members may join, create discussions, and talk about books.

I introduced this site last spring during my interview.  One of the Junior High Language Arts teachers and a few of the students have been using this site throughout the past summer.

General Website: http://www.shelfari.com/


Facebook



A Facebook page is already an active part of the ANSER community.  It is used a parent-family informational and PR tool.


http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Garden-City-ID/ANSER-Public-Charter-School/190805753573?v=info&ref=ts&__a=24&ajaxpipe=1

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm

The Scale of the Universe in the Classroom

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Student-centric learning puts the educator in the role of an ethnographer.  In the role of ethnographer, the educator studies the learners – both individually and as a group.  The educator can then offer a menu of learning activities based on what is discovered about the learners.   Because of technology and the Internet, this menu can be composed some rich and exciting learning delicacies.  The learning environment operates in a similar manner as a food cooperative (the ideals of a cooperative, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochdale_Principles)

The Size of the Universe

A few years ago, I worked with gifted 3rd through 5th graders in a pull-out program.  What I learned about them, as a group, was a general attraction to science and especially, space and space exploration.  I also learned that as much as they loved technology (I had a small computer lab and integrated technology into the curriculum) that when given a choice they would choose hands-on activities over technology.  So with that in mind, we began our second year together with an activity, The Thousand Yard Model or, The Earth as a Peppercorn.

This is a classic exercise for visualizing just how BIG our Solar System really is. Both the relative size and spacing of the planets are demonstrated in this outdoor exercise, using a mere peppercorn to represent the size of the Earth.

The kids talked about this activity for the entire school year – stating it was one of the best school activities in which they had ever participated.

Now, with so many related activities online, I would have offered (and can offer future students with similar interests) the following activities as part of this learning menu:

Online Interactive

The Scale of the Universe

From the smallest possible unit of distance (known as the Planck Length) to the other reaches of space and the universe and everything in between, this amazing tool gives you a small idea of the incredible scale of the universe. Fascinating for any biologist, chemist, physicist, as tronomer, cosmologist, science student or simply anyone who marvels at our insignificance in the grand scale of things.

Videos

The Known Universe by AMNH

The Grand scale of the Universe

Artistic Interpretations

. . .  and for the more artistic and mathematics oriented learners, here is a TED talk:

part of the transcript:

And here is a similar sculpture. That’s the Sun at that end. And then in a series of 55 balls, it reduces, proportionately, each ball and the spaces between them, reduce proportionately, until they get down to this little Earth. This one is about the Moon. And then the distance to the Earth, in proportion also. This is a little stone ball, floating. As you can see the little tether, that it’s also magnetically levitated.

And then this is the first part of — this is 109 spheres, since the Sun is 109 times the diameter of the Earth. And so this is the size of the Sun. And then each of these little spheres is the size of the Earth in proportion to the Sun. It’s made up of 16 concentric shells.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 21, 2010 at 12:29 am

Posted in Education

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