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Monthly Archive for June, 2007

Herman Wood, of the Cobb County School District, co-presented with his colleagues on Monday at NECC on how he helped facilitate a project in his district using a blogging service to have students create fictional journal entries for various historical figures. Students researched their designated historical figure, then created journal entries on a word processor, which were later cut and pasted into the blog.

The first example, about Harriet Tubman, produced in an elementary school classroom has posts arranged in reverse chronological order and doesn’t allow comments. Someone in the audience asked Mr. Wood if this truly was a blog, since comments weren’t allowed and students didn’t post their entries. The teacher actually copied and pasted the text from a document into the blog. The presenter explained that at the time this blog was created, blogs were blocked in his district. Now that the policy has changed, he intends to do more authentic blogging with elementary students.

He showed another example at http://www.tappmiddleschool.typepad.com/ww2/ of a middle school project he helped facilitate. Although comments are turned on, the blogs still looks like everyone copied and pasted their entries on the same day. I beleive this project is a creative way to engage students in doing old things in new ways, but is a blog truly the right tool for this kind of work? Somehow, it doesn’t just feel right calling this a blog. (I really have no room to talk, since I use a blog for a newsletter, which also isn’t what it is intended for.)

The power of blogging and authentic learning doesn’t seem to be coming through in this project. This project reminds me of the teachers who used to come into the computer lab to type their essays on the word processors and called that “integrating technology”. However, perhaps this is a way to introduce blogging tools to teachers and students to help them become familiar with how they work. From the discussion after the presentation, it seems that just might be the intent.

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I arrived without a hitch in the airport at Atlanta yesterday. From reading the posts in Hitchhikr, it seems many from around the country are beginning to arrive also. Mark Wagner wasn’t as lucky as me. His plane, coming from the John Wayne airport, had to be redirected to Los Angeles. At last post, he had a two hour delay. I hope he makes it in okay, ready for the edublogger conference today.

As I was sitting yesterday outside, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, David Warlick drove up to register. I waved, but of course, he has no idea who I am. The funny thing is that at last year’s NECC, we stayed in the same hotel also. I really know how to pick them. Last year’s hotel pick really wasn’t the best, but being able to walk home from the Edublogger meet up with him was something I won’t forget. It’s wonderful to meet someone you admire so much, and to find that he is just as friendly and personable as he seems to be from reading his blogs and listening to his podcasts.

I look forward to a week filled with meeting educators from around the world. On the shuttle ride from the airport yesterday, I met an educator from Missouri and one from Florida. We made connections about open source software and video conferencing. It’s so fun to talk with others about their experiences with using technology to engage students. The edublogoshere is wonderful, but meeting people face to face is truly an experience.

Today’s Edublogger Conference will be filled with those kinds of experiences. I will be able to meet and connect with people whom I highly respect, from around the world. I only know them by the ideas they share on their blogs, podcasts, or webcasts. But today, I’ll get to meet them. How exciting!

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I’ve published the first in a two part series of a conversation I had with Mr. Howard Johnston, a literacy coach at Corona Ave. Elementary. He talks about how he uses technology in his job as a literacy coach and also how he used technology when he was a classroom teacher. Howard is an outstanding educator. He was wonderful to interview. I really enjoy talking with him always. He has so many great ideas on how to use technology not only for learning, but for working smarter. You can find the podcast here:

District 6 EdTech Podcast 

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I have to admit that I’m always amazed that I am learning something new each and every day about how to use all the new collaborative Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. I just became a Google Certified Teacher last week, and already, my mind is filled to the brim with ideas about how we can use these tools in the classroom. Being able to be in contact with so many outstanding educators who are thinking and collaborating together in Google groups through this academy is opening my mind to new ideas and possibilities every day. Add to that the reality of our district going to Google Apps for Educators next year, and I am energized with thinking about the possibilities. I’ll share ideas here as I think about these possibilities.

I’m currently teaching an online course on the Read/Write Web. Teachers new to all these tools express frustration at information overload yet exhilaration about the possibilities of all the new tools they are learning about, including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, RSS, and podcasts. I understand the feeling, because when you are thinking and learning in this educational technology/Web 2.0 environment, everyday is like that!

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