Muddling through the blogosphere

April 21, 2012
by blogwalker

Student-Created Content – Changing the question

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.

October 12, 2008
by blogwalker

Shift Happens

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Edublogger community. As as veteran Edublogger (my first EB post was in March 2006), I’ve have been through a few upgrades and therefore know that when EB returns, it’s even better than before. I’m thinking back to June of 2007, when there was a two-weekwindow of down time during upgrades. I was attending a NECC Conference in Atlanta where a number of “big names,” such as Will Richardson, were attempting to introduce EB as part of the their blogging workshops. Because they’re used to working through technology issues, not having access to EB was not that big a deal.

But here’s what’s changed for me … Over the past two weeks, I’ve received many emails from teachers who’ve been in my EB workshops wondering what was going on. OK, this is a huge shift. Since most of my district, county, and A3WP workshops are free, I’m never really sure if my attendees truly want to learn about blogging, or if they are just looking for free units to apply to their salary schedule.

So about those emails….bring ‘um on !What the flood of questions means to me is that I now have a growing bank of teachers who are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into their teachers’ toolkit. What felt like just a ripple a year ago is starting for feel a tsunami. Welcome back EB!

May 14, 2008
by blogwalker

David Warlick at SCOE

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.warlick.jpg

Dave Warlick has started his presentation…without PowerPoint. Presentation is posted to Slideshare. Handouts are at

Below is a mix of some of his tech tools and words of wisdom:

  • For the first time in history, the best thing we can be teaching our kids is how to teach themselves
    • They need to be literate – knowing how to do what you need to do now
    • Plug for Wikipedia – information escalates but it’s still as easy to navigate – As an educator, don’t go back to the good ol’ days of books as sole source of information. THE SHAPE OF INFORMATION HAS CHANGED. We need to teach students to prove the authority of the information. We need to be journalists with openers like “according to this source…” Our job is not to teach which sources to teach, but to show students how to evaluate. Wikipedia is really good about currency of information e.g., announcement of Pluto’s fate – if you check date and minute that article is published – Wikipedia less than a minute behind BBC news.
  • RSS ( – Shift in that information comes to us. We’re training information to find us. Recommends because it’s web-based, you can make your aggregator look like a newspaper. Demoed from view point of social studies teacher. Cool tab feature. Went to Technorati, “which is to the blogosphere what Google is to the web.” Enter a specific term such as cartography, find blogs that are specifically about maps. Go back to Netvibes, tell it where link is – then drag down into tab box. Strange Maps – very cool (but I can’t find the link). Flickr example -grab – so only photos labeled with “map” will come up
  • New model is more about us modeling new literacies than teaching them
  • What about arithmetic? – 2 things have happened in last 15 years: we’re working with digital numbers (in the 1000s) – into his Library of Links (from Technorati) – For a demonstration of a raw data link, he showed the ANSS site (connected to seismographers all over world). Started by copying data, grabbing Excel and pasting it in – used text to column feature to clean it up – went through wizard and used scatter plot in graphing tool – You can “make numbers tell their story.”
  • Words of Humankind – Searched for presidential inaugural addresses – and tag clouds – TagCrowd – new tool! Allows you to for example top 75% – added new Web 2.0 twist. Gives you ability to zoom out and look at content in new way.You could compare Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat, Tears speech to Roosevelt’s “Day that will live in infamy” speech.
  • Today, all information is made out of numbers. It’s about the ability to use the information to accomplish goals.
  • The Long Tail – 1998 study – Developed by Chris Anderson – calculating line where everything to the left shows hard copies of books available in store because they’re lucrative enough; to the left books, etc, not lucrative enough to market – but are available online. Dave uses to surprise to publish his books.
  • 21st century – we have to communicate with multimedia. Information now competes for attention – therefore kids must learn to write well, including with images and animations. – used iCan sweatshop video.
  • Beacon HS in NY – Humanities school (alternative) paperless school – teachers evaluate quality of work based on its strength as communication piece, not the technology component – Othello assignment -What was the difference in entertainment from 1500s to today? Students produced movie trailer and in the process became script writers, collaborators, videographers.

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.

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