Last week I was invited to present at our local county office of education on the topic I am passionate about: student-created content. To me, one of the most important reasons for students to have Internet access across the school day and and within the core curriculum is to ensure that they have multiple opportunities to take their work and their voices beyond the walls of the classroom and out to an authentic audience.
It has been my experience both as a classroom teacher and in my current position of tech integration specialist that when we provide and promote opportunities for students to share their work with their peers, community, region, or with an international audience, a commonly asked question changes. For an audience of one (one being the teacher), the question they ask as they hand in their work tends to be, “Is this good enough?” But when students know their content will be seen by their peers and beyond, the question changes simply to: “Is this good?”
How about your sites and districts? Do you have samples of student-created content to add to the collection below? Please jump in and share, either by adding a slide on the Google presentation or by adding a comment.
I’m at the Sacramento COE this morning for Dave Warlick’s Preparing Students with 21st Century Skills workshop.
Opening comments are by SCOE’s Ben Anderson delivering his Educating in a Google World – To catch the full flavor, and Ben’s engaging sense of humor, you need to watch his slide show, which included a live Skype call to a friend in Warsaw, Poland – pretty amazing how seamless it is to connect virtually with colleagues thousands of miles away. If his preso is online, I’ll come back and add the link.
Below is a mix of some of his tech tools and words of wisdom:
In a nutshell – 3Rs to 3 E’s: Expose truth,Employ information, Explore ideas – spam (costs US billions in investments to block it out) – Cost of controlling HIV/AIDS. Any definition of literacy in 21st century must explicitly include a conversation about ethics – k-12! Right and Wrong on Internet – A student & teacher information code of ethics – grabbed from journalists association. Students must be able to justify how something they’ve cited is true – teachers must model this accountability. Spam peaks in august – kids bored – and don’t have ethical background in place.
I couldn’t stay for his afternoon hands-on session, but I’m glad I made it to the morning session.
I am very glad that I traveled down Highway 50 yesterday to join 300 other educators for the CTAP3 Ed Tech Conference held at Granite Bay High School. CTAP3 Director and conference organizer Ben Anderson opened the day with the statement that we would “have a great day and find this conference a valuable learning experience for your own professional development.” Here are my top three reasons for enjoying the event:
1. Learning about Granite Bay High School‘s “World Class Tech Support” - Three impressive, engaging seniors kicked off the conference with an introduction to their highly successful GBiT program. This program (and class) provides students with the opportunity to engage in real-world technology support, web development, and management. GBit students maintain all technology on campus, including updates and upgrades, build and maintain the school’s web site and websites for outside customers, and provide faculty with technical training. GBit faculty coordinator Mike Fisher has built the program around a strong college-to-career path. (Note to self: Get the word out to high schools in my district about the GBit program and model!)
2. Listening to Hall Davidson‘s “Revenge of the Digital Immigrant: Teaching wit Media Technology” presentation – Hall reminded us of the brain-based research that supports media in the classroom. What I took away from this session was the power of short – 10-second, maybe 20-second, no more than 30-second – videos in the classroom. By projecting an image of Warren G. Harding and then flashing several times the phrase “29th president, ” followed by “handsome” flashed a few times, followed by “worst president ever,” I am pretty sure it will be a long time before I forget the gist of Hall’s mini lesson on the president who was elected more on looks than on ability to lead. (Note to self: contact Hall or Discovery folks to find link to Hall’s PowerPoint.)
3. Meeting and co-presenting with Alice Mercer – I met Alice about a year ago in the chat room of a Teachers Teaching Teachers Skypecast. From there I started connecting with her in the blogosphere, first through her classroom blog, which was often the model that made visible to teachers in my Web 2.0 workshops the power and possibilities of blogging with students. As a regular reader of the Blog of Mz. Mercer, I feel that I know Alice pretty well…yet…(and here comes the blogosphere connection)…Alice I had had never met face-to-face until walking into the auditorium at Granite Bay High School yesterday morning. Thanks to Skype, Edublogs, and Wikispaces, we did our pre-planning online and were ready to jump in and – together – lead two workshops: Blogging for Absolute Beginners and Going Live with Edublogs. If I do say so myself, I think we did a great job:-) .
One of the favorite things I learned from teaming with Alice was a nifty trick for commenting back to students in Edublogs. Since Edublogs does not have an option for threaded discussions, Alice’s tip will come in handy for teachers wanting to respond directly to a student’s comment (or a fellow blogger’s comment):
I’m already looking forward to next year’s CTAP3 conference – but immediately to next week’s Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco!
If you haven’t seen the National School Boards Association’s Creating & Connecting: Research and Guideline on Onliline Social – and Educational – Networking, it’s a fast (12 pages) read that might provide your site and/or district administrators with a new perspective on the value of blogs and blogging as a tool for learning.
The attention-grabbing statistic for me was that nearly 60% of online teens and ‘tweens say they use social networking to discuss education-related topics, with 50% stating they actually discuss homework! And I quote:
“ In light of the study findings, school districts may want to consider reexamining their policies and practices and explore ways in which they could use social networking for educational purposes.”
Thank you to SCOE‘s John Fleischman for sharing this report during last week’s K12 HSN meeting. Discussion of the report findings prompted #1 IT guy Bob Carter to share how his whole understanding of the value of social networking changed during a recent workshop with Alan November.
Thank you Nat’l School Board. Thank you Alan November.