Book Review: Managing the Madness

While at the NMSA09 Conference in Indianapolis, I picked up several books, one of which was Jack Berckemeyer’s Managing the Madness.  This was a quick read over the Thanksgiving break and I thought I would share a few thoughts on this one.  The book is subtitled “A Practical Guide to Middle Grades Classrooms” and that is a pretty good idea of what you’ll get from this book.

I have attended a few of Jack’s presentations in the past and will say that the non-stop humor that comes through in real life takes a bit of a hit with this book. Those of you who have also experienced Mr. Berckemeyer’s presentations will notice the near total absence of Bernice (though she does make a breif cameo appearance here and there).  While humor isn’t everything, and perhaps this was an attempt at a more “serious” endeavour, I was certainly expecting more “snicker worthy” moments in this book.

Managing the Madness, at it’s core, is as much about living and working with early adolescents as it is about teaching them.  Jack’s work with the H.E.L.P. series of pamphlets is evident throughout the writing.  The book starts off with a chapter on Engaging Adolescents providing information on group work, activities/actions that help keep early adolescents focused and excited, and ideas for dismissal.  The most interesting part though is the Developmentally Responsive Classroom checklist.  The checklist is based on the elements of This We Believe, and asks you to identify activities which match up with the characteristics of young adolescents, such as:

  • Need for Physical Activity
  • Intense Curiosity
  • Real Life Learning Opportunities/Situations
  • Dealing with Shades of Gray
  • Need to Build Positive Peer Relationships
  • Seek one-on-one time with Teacher

Along with 21 other characteristics.  Including activities to meet all 27 Characteristics would guarantee that your classroom is being developmentally responsive, and would be quite a challenge in its own right.

Jack then moves on to discuss the use of humor, trends, and showing you care.  He emphasizes the use of true humor over sarcasm, as the latter tends to bring someone down or imply that is okay.  He also advocates being aware of trends that involve early adolescents, recognizing that you’ll never be cool, but at least be aware of what they are interested in.

Chapter 3 focuses on the classrom environment.  My favorite part was the discussion of ways to tame the ever aging classroom bulletin board.  I’m notorious for changing posters only at the end of a unit. In fact, this year I mistakenly used paper that was too dark for the board, so when the first unit posters came down, the paper had faded around each of them.  Jack recommends preparing a schedule for students update the bulletin board.  Another idea that I love is that of taking photos of finished bulletin boards to share with others for help generating ideas. The chapter also includes a discussion of seating arrangements and an evaluation survey of student’s impressions of your classroom.

The fourth chapter deals with using Technology and unforunately suffers from extreme ADHD.  I’m not sure if this is an effect of not being comfortable discussing technology (the elephant in the room) or from trying to cram so much into a short chapter.  Across the 18 pages of this chapter, we get:

  • Differences in student brains and teacher brains
  • Challenges of Teaching with Technology
  • Cooperative Use of Technology
  • Educating and Holding Students Responsible For School Tech Policy
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Degradation of Spelling and Grammar
  • Phone Policy
  • Using Technology with Purpose
  • Wikipedia
  • Laptop Use
  • Facebook
  • Technology Safety
  • Impact of Social Networking…including concerns

That is an amazingly ambitious amount of information to try and cram into a very short section of the book, and effect is to make each section feel like just a teaser of the information.  Don’t get me wrong, there is excellent fodder for conversation within the chapter, but very little depth of any of the information.

From here, Jack moves into a discussion that is more focused on general ideas about working with adolescents.  He focuses on social skills and manners, dealing with adolescent power, and proactive discipline over the course of the next three chapters. The chapter on Sharing Discipline offers a five step discipline plan:

  1. Document – parent contact, anecdotal interactions, records of conduct infractions, etc
  2. Meet with Student as a Team – invite student in to discuss behavior during a team meeting
  3. Create a List of Strategies – Separate behavior issues from academic issues and address one at a time. Included are checklists for possible interventions for both academic and behavioral issues.
  4. Inform parents and admin – keep them in the loop of all that is going on
  5. Follow-up – with both student and parents as needed

Overall, Managing the Madness is a truly middle school book.  Equal parts great advice and ADHD, you get a feel that the author is a true middle school personality.  One of the best features in the book has to be the reflection questions that are posed at the end of each chapter.  These would make excellent discussion points for a full staff book study throughout the course of the school year.

Call for Presentation Help

I have recently been asked to present at NMSA’s Middle Level Essentials Conference in Las Vegas this upcoming April. I will be leading a 3 session strand on “Getting the Most Out of the Technology You Already Have”.  The sessions will be run twice, once on Thursday and again on Friday.  The focus will be on Middle School classrooms/students but there will also be a contingent coming for the 9th Grade Academy sessions, discussing how to build a transitional program from middle school to high school.

My question for you is: If you were a teacher coming to this conference, what 3 topics would you be most interested in under the strand of “Getting the Most Out of the Technology You Already Have”?

Here are some preliminary thoughts:

  • Effective Use of Tech Tools – Poll the audience on various hardware tools (IWBs, Doc. Cameras, Digital Cameras, Flip Video, etc) to find out what most have available and discuss the effective use of these tools in the classroom.
  • Harnessing the Power of the Collaborative Web – Take a look at various tools that allow for collaboration in platform independent environments. Discuss the use of tools like Wikis, Blogs, RSS, Social Bookmarking, Google Tools as a means of building collaborative and creative potential of students.
  • Technology and Differentiation – Ways to use classroom technology, both hardware and software/Web to differentiate in the Middle School classroom.  Discuss tools that allow students to display their content knowledge in a variety of formats: podcasts, Glogs, video clips, blog posts, etc.
  • Web Literacy (a la Alan November) – Though I’ll still side with Ben Grey and call it something other than Literacy (perhaps introduce a whole group the the idea of Technoracy?) I could envision a session discussing how we teach students to verify information they find on the Web, from the Tree Octopus, down to using Wikipedia as a starting point for research online, advanced Google searching, etc

Those are my initial thoughts for sessions.  I fully recognize that many of these ideas are highly ambitious within the framework of a 75 mintue session. What other things would you be intrigued in as an educator at various stages of technoracy?  I’m sure I’ll have some who are coming who aren’t yet really comfortable with these online tools, and others that are looking to push their boundaries.  I don’t yet know if my sessions will be lecture style or if participants will have computers available, though I have been told to plan what I want and NMSA will do it’s best to make things happen for the sessions.

Any and all feedback/suggestions are greatly welcome! I need to have some basic session descriptions pulled together next week, so feel free to share this post far and wide until then…

We’re Talking…But Who’s Listening?

Tonight I spent a little bit of time discussing how to get disinterested teachers engaged in the use of technology with the other folks on the weekly Twitter #edchat discussion. I must say, this is an issue I’m struggling with mightily lately. Last March, when I attended the NCMSA conference, my response was one of amazement at the limited number of individuals who were using technology AT the conference. I assumed things would be better at the NMSA conference in Indianapolis. While things were “better” and part of the limitation was a lack of free wifi throughout the conference site, there was still a smaller than expected number of teachers taking/posting their notes or thoughts on blogs or Twitter.

I attended several technology sessions while at NMSA09 as well. The overwhelming feeling I got during these sessions was that I was ahead of the curve when it came to using the tools within my classroom, but the vast majority of attendees were nowhere close. The awareness of tools that I think are the lynchpins of collaboration and creation in today’s classrooms just isn’t there with the large portion of teachers.

So on the one hand, we have a small, dedicated group of educators who gather each week on Twitter to discuss issues regarding technology in education, differentiation, and other pertinent topics. On the other hand, we have the uncountable masses of teachers who are unaware/unsure of their ability to use tech in their classrooms. How then do we drag the conversation from #edchat to those teachers who aren’t even in the conversation at this point? The pace of change of tools is enough to make my head spin, so our discussion can’t simply focus on tools. Yet at the same time, there HAS to be a basic understanding of the tools to get to what they can do in an educational setting. So while we’re moving on to newer, more collaborative tools like Google Wave, we have legions of teachers who think that Wiki stands for “What I Know Is” and still think that Wikipedia is a cesspool of misinformation.

I had an excellent conversation with a colleague of mine this afternoon (the only one who attended today’s Tech in 20 session). She is admittedly a less tech-savvy, or should I say “technorate,” teacher. She has worked hard to include the use of the Internet and her SMART Board in her classroom this year. She also moved her school website over to a blog (more for formatting, than for actual blogging purposes). Many of these moves have been a struggle for her, but she’s made the attempt. Our conversation drifted toward the “digital native/digital immigrant” false dichotomy and she expressed concern:

What if some of us (teachers) will just never get it?  Like a deaf person who gets a cochlear implant late in life, and while able to hear, has lost the neural pathways that allow them to learn proper speech.  What if our brains have missed out on the chance to learn a lot of this stuff?

That, to me, was of great concern.  On one level, there’s concern if there is any truth to that idea.  It would mean that the vast majority of teachers who did not grow up with technology will finish out their careers without fully understanding something that can have a great impact on their students.  On another level, I’m concerned that an idea like that could be used as grounds for a teacher to bury his/her head in the sand and never reach out and attempt what my colleague has done this year.

As one of the first generation of teachers who would generally be considered to have “grown up digital” I have some great concerns for the direction of our profession.  Many folks have been working diligently for years to try and promote tech integration.  However the names of such folks like Will Richardson, Wes Fryer, and the numerous others are far less recognizable than they should be.  In his TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson pointed out that the students entering Kindergarten the year he spoke (2006) would be retiring in 2065 and we have no clue about what skills/knowledge they will actually need.  Isn’t this statement true of any generation however? Are we more keenly aware of the different landscape of the future due to the rapid pace of change in our lives? If we, as teachers, are more keenly aware than our counterparts 50+ years ago, why then is there still so little movement to incorporate the things we feel are necessary for success in the job/learning markets our students will be entering?

More NMSA09 Session Notes

This morning, Shawn McGirr shared his NMSA09 Session Notes with the MiddleTalk listserv. Here’s a link to the notes he took during the conference:

Shawn McGirr’s NMSA09 Session Notes

According to the Notes, Shawn attended the following sessions:

  • Robert Balfanz: Why Middle School Matters
  • Debbie Silver
  • Dr. Monte Tatum: Differentiated Instruction and Technology
  • Todd Johnson: Classroom Discipline “Establishing Respect and Responsibility”
  • John Collins Writing: Four Essential Writing Assignments to Improve Student Achievement
  • Rick Wormeli Keynote

Thanks for sharing your notes with the larger community Shawn!

8 (or more) Tech Tools to Blend into Your Classroom

Presenter: Todd Williamson

Session Description: 21st Century Classroom (Convention Center – Exhibit Hall)
This session will focus on web-based tools that allow your students to
collaborate, communicate, and create. Join us for a fast-paced (possibly
lightning fast) look at eight (or more) tech tools that you can use to
enhance your teaching and student learning. Oh, and they’re free too!

Prezi Presentation
MY NOTES…Wait, these are all my notes…

8 (or more) Tech Tools to Blend into Your Classroom

http://www.sharetabs.com/?8techtools

The focus of my session is to present 8 tools that can easily be integrated into your classroom that help students do one of the following three things:

-Create
-Connect
-Collaborate/Communicate

As we get a more firm grasp on the skills necessary for success in the 21st Century, these are three things that we should look for in a tool for student use.  All the tools presented in this session are designed to be used by students to facilitate one of the above goals. Students should be using the Web as a platform for the creation of content in various modes that will engage their multiple intelligences. The ease of connection due to the Web means we should be serving as connection guides, or “network sherpas” as it was so wonderfully put in a video about Connectivism. And finally we should be looking at tools that allow our students to easily collaborate and connect around the content we are sharing in our classrooms.  These three things help make sure that tools are meaningful, and not just a way for students to get more “screen time”…many are getting tons of screen time as it is, we need to channel the purposes of that screen time.

Though this session focuses on Tools, we need to recognize that the real importance is shifting our pedagogy in a way that allows us to use these tools to effectively do the 3Cs above. If certain tools are blocked in your district, find ways to use them in your own life, and then help build a case for their unblocking within your district.

The Tools
*ShareTabs
*WallWisher
*Chatzy
*Edmodo
*Animoto
*XtraNormal
*MakeBeliefsComix
*Netvibes

APOLOGIES TO FOLKS THAT ATTENDED THE SESSION FOR THE NEARLY INSANE PACE…THE TOOLS I TRIED TO CRAM INTO A 55 MINUTE SESSION WOULD HAVE BEEN TOUGH ENOUGH, BUT WHEN THE SESSION STARTED LATE DUE TO LIMITED TIME BETWEEN SESSIONS THE PACE BECAME EVEN MORE INCREDIBLE

ShareTabs

  • http://www.sharetabs.com
  • Take multiple webpages and “package” them into a single URL
  • The ShareTabs site gives you thumbnail images of the sites, allows you to open them all at once, and gives you individual tabs despite the browser you are using.
  • It is unfortunately not possible to add sites after the ShareTab has been created
  • Classroom uses?
  • Teacher has multiple sites for students to visit…give them one URL that makes all sites available to them
  • Students doing a research project…If there are multiple web resources that need to be checked, students can create a ShareTab to submit to the teacher for checking sources

OVERALL A RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE TOOL THAT SOLVES THE PROBLEM OF STUDENTS HAVING TO ENTER/WRITE DOWN NUMEROUS URLs

WallWisher

  • http://www.wallwisher.com
  • Allows you to create an online “wall” where virtual “sticky notes” can be placed
  • Notes can include links to images, files, or websites
  • Notes can have up to 140 characters of text
  • Notes can be moved around by each student, but the teacher has final control of the placement of the notes
  • Great as a Graphic Organizer…could be used for cross-curricular vocabulary (create notes for terms in all classes, students organize terms together for each class)…great for collecting questions from multiple students (in our room we used a wall to collect about 80 weather related questions prior to our weather unit)
  • http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/8techtools

The above link is for a Wall that was created for this session. Participants were allowed to post any of their favorite web-based tools for classroom use. This is where the (or more) part of the presentation comes in.

Chatzy

  • http://www.chatzy.com
  • Private, disposable chat rooms
  • No account creation necessary
  • Great for a backchannel chat about some curricular topics
  • I have used Chatzy for a chat during videos, allowing students to ask and respond to questions they have about the video in real time
  • This type of web usage for real-time chat, does require you to set up a climate within your classroom where students understand that inappropriate use will lead to their loss of priviledge to use the tools in future discussions. This is a management issue, not an issue particular to the tools.

Edmodo

  • http://www.edmodo.com
  • Private, Twitter-style network
  • Allows for group creation
  • No email addresses necessary for students
  • Teachers and students can send messages directly to each other
  • Students cannot send individual messages to other students…only to the entire group
  • Student can receive Assignments and Alerts from teacher as a text message
  • Assignments can be posted, completed, and graded within Edmodo.
  • Good, basic, FREE, course management system.

Animoto

  • http://www.animoto.com
  • http://www.animoto.com/education
  • Animoto lets students create videos from a set of still images
  • Creative Commons licensed music
  • Free education accounts give access to full length videos instead of 30 second videos with a standard free account
  • Great for vocabulary or anything where a large selection of images are available or easily created

XtraNormal

  • http://www.xtranormal.com
  • If you can type, you can make movies
  • Free accounts allow you to create 1 or 2 character animated movies
  • Type in the script and select expressions and camera angles to make a short movie clip
  • Great for teaching punctuation, as dialogue doesn’t sound natural without proper punctuation.
  • A download is now available called State, which I have not yet tried out.

Make Beliefs Comix

  • http://www.makebeliefscomix.com
  • No account required
  • No email required
  • Free online comic strip generator
  • 15 characters, 4 expressions each
  • Thought bubbles or Talk bubbles
  • Comics can be printed or emailed
  • My students began printing the comics and drawing in their own background images

Netvibes

  • http://www.netvibes.com
  • Netvibes is an RSS feed aggregator
  • It allows you to make a public page of RSS feeds
  • I have set up one for my students that includes Science and Social Studies feeds culled from national and international sources
  • I also have pages for the feeds of each our student blogs organized by classes
  • This way students can have one place to go and get information with international perspectives on the topics we are covering in class
  • http://www.netvibes.com/sunfishscience

I DID ATTEMPT TO RECORD THIS SESSION VIA JUSTIN.TV…HOWEVER IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE RECORDED PROPERLY…I WILL CONTACT THE ADMINS AT JUSTIN.TV AND SEE IF I’M JUST MISSING THE ARCHIVE SOMEWHERE.  IF IT CAN BE LOCATED/RECOVERED I WILL POST THE VIDEOS OF THE SESSION HERE, ASSUMING IT’S ALSO POSSIBLE TO HEAR OVER THE NOISE OF THE EXHIBIT HALL IN THE BACKGROUND.

THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO CAME OUT SATURDAY MORNING FOR MY SESSION, FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU HAVE SUGGESTIONS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT ANY OF THE TOOLS!

NMSA09: Rick Wormeli Keynote

THE CONFERENCE HAS BEEN FANTASTIC SO FAR!!  THE FOCUS OF RICK’S KEYNOTE WILL BE ON TEACHING IN 4-D…I’M READY TO FLOOD THIS POST WITH TONS OF INFORMATION…HOPE YOU ALL CAN FOLLOW IT…APOLOGIES IF IT DOESN’T COME THROUGH AS SUCCESSFULLY AS I’D LIKE!

Here we go…

We’re caught up in a swirl of great ideas…we’ll rededicate ourselves, look beyond education vistas, we will trun profoundly to each other and change teaching…but very soon reality will return

Our realities inspire our best efforts…never enough time, effort, or resources…but we do it anyway!

Looking at things 2 or 3 dimensionally mires us in mediocrity!

We should propose candid questions about what we do…1 note on a guitar doesn’t motivate, but multiple notes together can inspire.

Expertise

  • Showing before and after pictures of his son across 15 months…
  • How much of “This We Believe” runs through every decision we make?
  • Some meat of what we know must be in every lesson
  • Cognitive science…nothing goes into long-term memory until it is attached to something important
  • Teach in ways students best learn, not the ways we best learn
  • We must be experts in subjects we teach…so we can unpack our standards
  • We have our own secret code middle school kids can’t figure out to combat text messaging: cursive
  • 80% is abstract while 80% of middle school kids are concrete
  • Middle school kids are into their bodies…use it for good, not evil…using hand gestures for showing learning,
  • Kid says “I don’t know?” you say “What would you say if you DID know?”
  • Outdoor education is vital to their success

Creativity

  • Aristotle – ethos, logos, pathos…students show each by juggling a single ball…then begin juggling with each other to show that they can’t be separated from each other
  • He was worried he might get toothpick and gumdrop triangles…what if he had limited them to his imagination?
  • What if our students could only learn what we know?
  • Margaret Wheatley…are you willing to be confused?
  • Major inventions usually come form someone who’s just a little out on the edge…we want creativity
  • Do our kids know how to ask good questions? If not this, will take us down the wrong path..
  • Whoever asks the questions, does the learning…teachers tend to ask about 80 questions for every 2 from the children…

Failure

  • Get over the idea of looking silly in front of others
  • David Warlick – Interaction WITH the technology is how tech actually helps out YES YES YES YES YES…THANK YOU RICK!! GREAT TO HEAR SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF EDTECHWORLD SHARING THIS!
  • If we’re teaching a product, it’s difficult to differentiate…If we’re teaching Persuasive Essay then that’s the only product…if we’re teaching Persuasion, then we can do Essays, Scripts, Dioramas, etc…
  • Expert in any field is the one who made the most mistakes…The person who makes no mistakes is the one who takes orders from the one who does.
  • Don’t stand on the edge of the pit your kids have dug and wag your finger…jump in and help them out
  • Young adolescents are undergoing the second fastest growth and development period after ages 0-2…we don’t label 9 months old who don’t walk and say they’ll never amount to much…
  • LSAT, MCAT, Praxis, any test that we use to “determine what someone’s life will be” can be taken multiple times…why can’t an 8th grade math test?
  • For a teacher to change a behavior…he/she must first admit what they are doing is wrong, or there is a better way

Collaboration

  • There’s a huge amount of information out there…do we teach kids how to critique Wikipedia
  • Are lectures launching points or just a way to fill kids heads?
  • I Don’t have to know it all!!! YES YES YES!!!
  • TALKING ABOUT SHARING LESSONS, COLLABORATING, LEARNING FROM OTHER TEACHERS
  • IF WE LIMIT KIDS ACCESS THEY”LL NEVER LEARN HOW TO CRITIQUE SITES THEMSELVES!!! (Rick said this…just can’t say it in small letters it’s so important)
  • YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!
  • MiddleTalk: one of the greatest professional development experiences that exists
  • Plugging Listservs…talking about building a PLN…MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST FORMAT, THOUGH I LOVE MIDDLETALK (YES SHAWN I’M REALLY TYPING THIS) BUT MAN IS IT GOOD TO HEAR SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF EDTECH COMMUNITY SAYING THIS
  • Write down all you’ve learned at this conference and ask someone to mail it to you in 6 months
  • We must break out of the echo chamber
  • Doubt gives richness to faith

Get out there and ask questions and inspire the next generation.

Sound of Music video about Differentiation

THANKS RICK! GREAT AS ALWAYS…VERY NICE TO HEAR OTHERS SPEAKING ABOUT THE POWER OF BUILDING A LEARNING NETWORK…DESPITE THE TOOL, TWITTER, LISTSERV, OR OTHERWISE, WE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE WE DON’T HAVE TO KNOW IT ALL. NO NEED TO REINVENT THE WHEEL EACH TIME…LOOK FORWARD TO USING WHAT I’VE LEARNED THIS WEEK AND SEEING MANY FOLKS AGAIN NEXT YEAR IN BALTIMORE!!!

Web 2.0 in Your Middle School Classroom

Presenter: Erica Roberts

Session Description: Are you ready for a breath of new technology in your classroom? Web 2.0, also known as the “Read/Write Web,” provides online collaboration tools like wikis and podcasts to engage students and transform classrooms. How can you use these new technologies to enhance and support student learning? This session will focus on specific, middle school curriculum-connected sample projects as well as a resource list you can use to get started with Web 2.0 on Monday morning!

MY THOUGHTS IN ALL CAPS

ERICA AND I HAVE HAD SOME PHENOMENAL CONVERSATIONS ALREADY SO FAR DURING THE CONFERENCE SO I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO GREAT THINGS IN THIS SESSION.  NICE GROUP IN THE ROOM FOR THIS TO BE THE LAST SESSION BEFORE THE KEYNOTE…ABOUT 40 PEOPLE IN HERE RIGHT NOW.

Erica is a computer apps teacher in Woodridge, IL.  Came into teaching from the computer software/consulting world. “Business has no soul” so she came into teaching.

Lots of presentations on tools: this session will focus on how teachers are USING them.  THIS IS GOLDEN…THAT’S WHAT I HOPE TO DO WITH MY SESSIONS, PROVIDING USES ALONG WITH TOOLS.

http://www.go2web20.net

http://iteachyoucomputers.wikispaces.com

Discussing differences in Web now instaed of then. Showing The Machine is Us/ing Us

Good teachers overplan…the video stopped midstream…Erica’s ready to roll with other stuff.

Content Creation not consumption gives students more buy-in.

Social Networking

“Social Networking makes my brain bigger” – crowdsourcing allows you get more information than you can know on your own.  Plugging Twitter, “some of the smartest educators I’ve ever met, are folks I met on Twitter.”

Look at who “smart people” are following, then follow them yourself

Plurk – Like Twitter…but where Twitter goes vertically, Plurk goes horizontally…smaller network, less public network…THIS DEPENDS ON HOW YOU SET UP YOUR NETWORK AND ERICA ACKNOWLEDGED THAT FACT.

Showing Edmodo talking about how this is a private network for students to practice the use of social networking.

  • Conversations
  • Online Grading
  • Asynchronous – don’t have to be online for it to work, can come back in and check later and info is still there
  • Discussing setting up classes/groups
  • File Storage…replaces flash drives that could break or be lost

Blogging

  • Class Blogmeister – set up by David Warlick…get the kids blogging, give them a  global view, start working on collaboration
  • Speaking of History – social studies/history blog

RSS – Really Simple Syndication

  • Google Reader
  • Netvibes
  • Bloglines

**Fresh blog content sent to you daily via RSS feeds.

Wikis

Wikipedia is not the only Wiki out there.  It’s a tool for collaboration. Multiple users can edit a single page and provide the information on the wiki. Showing a Wiki that was created in her school rather than creating a book that would sit on a shelf and never be looked at again.

Analyzed grades of 2 years worth of students work comparing wiki to books, and the wiki grades were higher. Students can work on from home, parents can see, gives a wider audience for student work, improving quality.

Showing Wikis in Plain English

Podcasts

Don’t need to have an iPod to listen

Wonderful things available in iTunes

Google Docs

Gives students access to:

  • Document creation
  • Spreadsheets
  • Presentations

Online, no version questions, no worries about updates/upgrading…Mac/PC compatible…can be worked on simultaneously by multiple students.

Ning

Your own private MySpace.

Can be accessed from home and school.

Have kids create accounts based on characters or individuals they are studying in class.  Post avatar pictures as if you were that person.

Can be a member of many Nings

  • Smart Board Revolution/ IWB Revolution
  • MIDDLE SCHOOL PORTAL
  • MIDDLETALK

Creative Content Creation

Students are engaged when they can put stuff together and CREATE:

  • Glogster
  • Wordle
  • VoiceThread

CONTENT CREATION IS SUCH A HUGE THING…WE TEACH KIDS WHO WANT TO CREATE IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE…GIVING THEM MULTIPLE MEANS OF CREATING AND EXPRESSING THEMSELVES VIA TECH IS VITAL.  STILL NEED TO MOVE FURTHER TOWARD GETTING THE STUDENTS USING MULTIPLE TOOLS AT ONE TIME.  TOO MUCH FOCUS ON “OKAY, NOW THIS TOOL IN MY ROOM”.

THANKS FOR SHARING ERICA! GREAT STUFF…WE NEED MORE FOLKS DOING SESSIONS LIKE THIS TO HELP REACH THOSE IN THE CLASSROOM THAT AREN’T YET USING THE TOOLS.  THERE’S GREAT INTEREST IN ALL OF THIS FROM THE EDTECH FOLKS, BUT WE NEED MORE AND MORE IN THE TRENCHES ACTUALLY USING IT.  THANKS FOR BUILDING THAT GROUP!