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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Master Class' THING 3: Diigo

Electronic research tools are as yet unexplored territory here at RB, not in small part due to my own very high level of skepticism regarding their potential usefulness for high school students. Many types of electronic research tools exist, but I haven't yet taken the plunge with students because I strongly believe that in order to successfully utilize these tools, one must be a HIGHLY SKILLED researcher, who truly understands the importance of effective highlighting, annotating, and note-taking. It seems remiss, however, to dismiss these tools without having ever actually used them, so here we are. We as Master Class participants seem to be the perfect guinea pigs to jump in and give them a try-- and since I've had to learn how to use them as well in order to design this "Thing", we can discuss together whether using electronic research tools with students has potential here at RB--or not. I want to state again that I can definitely see the value of these tools for college students or others who have a solid understanding of research basics, but that high school students, who are just learning the "whys" and "hows" of effective highlighting, annotating, etc., might not be ready to use them appropriately. I'm totally biased, but I'm willing to be proven wrong!

Subscription-based electronic research tools exist (NoodleTools), but, because it's free and has received excellent reviews, we are going to be taking a look at Diigo. According to its slogan, Diigo allows users to "Annotate, Archive, and Organize" information on the Web. It does not have a note card feature (NoodleTools does), but it does let the user highlight and annotate web-based information, share it with a group, and save it for later. Here are websites that I highlighted and annotated: http://diigo.com/0e5vd and
http://diigo.com/0e5sb .

For a Diigo overview, check out this video:

For this "Thing", you will be creating a Diigo account; downloading the Diigo toolbar to your classroom computer (you might want to download it at home, too, if you think you might use it in both places); bookmarking, highlighting, and annotating two websites; joining the 17 Things Master Class Diigo group; posting your bookmarked sites to our group; searching the Diigo Community for websites specific to a topic; and reflecting on your experiences using Diigo in your Thing 3 blog post.

Note: You cannot use Diigo with database articles-- it won't save the annotated link. You can use the "Snapshot" button to save part of your annotated and highlighted screen as an image, but you can't actually save the entire article like you can when you use Diigo with a regular website.

To Complete Thing 3:
  • Sign up for a Diigo account.
  • Download the Diigo toolbar (Mike saved the file in the "Diigo" folder on the R: drive-- just double click it every time you want to use the program. You will have to do this every time you restart your computer, as it will be "erased" by the network's DeepFreeze program when you restart)
  • Highlight and annotate two websites. You might use different colors to indicate different subtopics, types of info, etc. To annotate, hover over your higlighted section of text and select "inline sticky  note." Try adding "floating sticky notes" to the websites, too.
  • Bookmark the annotated websites.
  • Get the annotated link for the websites.
  • Join the 17 Things Master Class Diigo group.
  • Add your two annotated links to the group by clicking "Bookmark".
  • Write a post reflecting on your experience, including your two annotated links. Would you ever use this? Would you use it with a class? Do you think our high school students could use it effectively? I'm anxious to know what everyone thinks. If anyone is interested in test-driving Diigo with a class, we could explore Educator Accounts and talk to Mike about making the tech part of it happen.
If you want to explore further:
  • Look through the Help Section-- videos and tutorials for various Diigo features.
  • Search the Community Library for subject-specific websites bookmarked and commented on by other uses.
  • Once you've bookmarked a few sites, click on "My Library" to see how Diigo lays out your highlights and annotations in one screen for easy review.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Lite Edition' THING 3: Creating Websites

Having a website of your very own used to be the stuff of dreams, but now it's become a reality. Creating a multi-paged website used to require familiarity with Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage, in addition to having an FTP program to upload HTML files, plus purchasing a domain name and server space. Have I lost you? Do you have any idea what I'm talking about? Who cares! It doesn't matter anymore, because all you need now is access to the Internet and some content you'd like on the web. You don't even need to be creative because these tools do the design for you! Ahh, web design for the armchair techie. You'll have the choice of using two different website creation tools: Weebly or Yola.

Watch the following video, which describes how to use Weebly.com (and why, as a teacher, you might want to have a website):

You can use websites to do so many different things. Check out Christine Stiel's Contemporary Lit class website, created using Weebly.com. See how she has created multiple pages for each unit? Or you could have each page be a separate class. You could even have students create websites as a culminating project. Here and here are examples of final products created by my husband's social studies classes (password: mcculture).

To complete this Thing, you will choose either Weebly or Yola, sign up for an account, and create a multi-paged website. It can be simple, without a lot of content, but it should at least have a structure. It can be professional or personal. Once you've published your site, post the link to your new website in your Thing 3 blog post.

To complete Thing 3:
  • Create a MULTI-PAGED website using Weebly or Yola
  • Write a blog post reflecting on your experience creating your website. Was it easy? Difficult? Will you actually use this website, or will you create another? How could you incorporate website creation into your professional or personal life?
  • Post the URL (web address) of your new website
  • Comment on at least one other person's blog- even if they haven't yet completed this Thing!

Friday, November 19, 2010

'Master Class' THING 2: Prezi

ZOOMING presentations! Have you heard of this? Zooming presentations are the latest in the slideshow revolution, and Prezi is leading the way in rethinking how people conceptualize, construct, and present ideas to audiences. Instead of creating a linear framework of consecutive ideas, Prezi allows you to create a bigger picture of a main idea and then connect it to other ideas, laying it out spatially in a way that makes sense to the creator. What the what? Confused yet? Let's take a look at a Prezi that I created about student swearing at RB (don't worry if you can't read all of the data on my charts- it is much more readable on a full screen!):

Here is another Prezi explaning why we might reconsider slideshows:

Now it's your turn! Set up a Prezi account and create a presentation to share. Your presentation can be about anything, for any audience. Before you jump in and get started, I HIGHLY recommend that you watch the Basic Lessons #1, 2 and 3, which are only 5-10 minutes long. FYI: Wendy C. and Allison C. both had students create Prezis for their Big6 research project final products, so they might be helpful resources.

Once you have created your Prezi, either embed (ideal!) or provide the link in your Thing 2 post. Good luck, and Happy Zooming!

To complete Thing 2:
  • Create a Prezi account.
  • Create a Prezi.
  • Embed or add the link in your Thing 2 post.
  • View the Prezis of at least 3 other Master Class members.
  • Comment on the Thing 2 posts of the 3 Master Class members' Prezis you viewed.
  • Post about your experiences using Prezi. How steep was the learning curve? Could you see yourself using this with classes? Does it compare positively or negatively with PowerPoint? Will you ever zoom again?
Note: Thing 3 will be posted on or around December 10th!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

'Lite Edition' THING 2: Cloud Computing

Do you ever find yourself working on a document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint at home and wishing there was an easier way to access it at school, or vice-versa? Have you ever lost a flash drive (I know our students have!) or had your computer crash, erasing all of your work? Or have you ever had to work on a group project and had to email a document around and around so everyone could edit? So cumbersome! Google Docs is a Web 2.0 application that is part of the new wave of "cloud computing", where documents are saved in a "cloud" (on a server somewhere), and can be accessed from any computer around the world. This "Thing" is especially timely because very soon all RB students will have Google accounts of their very own!

Watch these videos for a quick explanation:

And just for fun since we ARE working in a high school :0

I've created a document called 17 Things Lite Edition Ideas, where I've asked people to add an idea for how we could use some of these Web 2.0 tools in a school setting. I have saved it as a "Public" document that ANYONE can edit, just to make it easier for this exercise, but you can also choose to allow only certain people editing rights. Open this document and add an idea or two.

I've also created a shared calendar , which has dates for the posting of each Thing, voluntary work sessions, and the final due date.

To complete Thing 2:
  • Add an idea or two to the 17 Things Lite Edition Ideas shared document.
  • Create a Google Document- it could be a worksheet, lesson plan, rubric, etc. Make sure you change its status to either "Public" or "Anyone with the link can view", and post the link to your document in your Thing 2 post.
  • Create a 5-slide-minimum Google Presentation explaining to students/parents why Google Docs (or cloud computing in general) is educationally beneficial. Make sure you change your presentation's status to either "Public" or "Anyone with the link can view", and post the link to your slideshow in your Thing 2 post.
  • Reflect on your experience using Google Docs and Calendar. Now that all students will have Google accounts, how can you see yourself using these tools with classes?
Note: Thing 3 will be posted on or around December 10th!

Monday, October 25, 2010

'Master Class' Description and 'THING 1': Email Publishing

Welcome Back to 17 Things to Chew On! Thanks for coming back for Round 2. This program will be slightly different than the original 17 Things to Chew On program that many of you completed last year. This time, there will only be five new "Things" during the course of the program, but the most significant difference is that you will now be asked to design and implement three lessons/units/projects with your class(es) in which Web 2.0 tools are featured prominently. This will require you to teach these tools to your students and will also require the students to be in some way directly involved in either using or creating the tools themselves. You may choose from any of the original seventeen "Things" or from any of the five new "Things" from this year's program.

For your blog, you may use the blog you created last year, or you can create a new one; just email me the link to whichever blog you will be using as your program headquarters.

The project description template that you will fill out for each of your three lessons/units/projects is linked on the left sidebar of my blog. You should open it, choose "File-- Make a Copy", rename the document to reflect your project, and save it to your Google Docs account. When you're ready to share your project, make sure the settings are set to "Anyone with the link can access" (as opposed to "Private"), and post the link to your blog. Also, please email me when you post the document so that I can make sure to include it on the "Master Class Projects" page.

Finally, you will be listed as "mentors" that will be available to people completing the 'Lite Edition' program. You can choose to work with specific people (I know of one group already that consists of two mentors and two mentees), or just be informally available.

To get inspired, watch this TED video (It's a different Sir Ken Robinson video from last year!):

THING 1: Email Publishing
Weblogs? Been there, done that. Facebook? It's full of kids. Twitter? That's so 2006, darling. No, the smart thing to be doing online these days is tumblelogging, which is to weblogs what text messages are to email - short, to the point, and direct. -- Telegraph.co.uk

As much as I enjoy blogging, sometimes it seems a bit cumbersome. Having to sit at my computer, login to Blogger, yada yada yada. Enter: Tumblr and Posterous. These are customizable blogs to which you can add text, photos, videos, music, links, etc. by sending an email, leaving a phone message, or sending an instant message. Compared to traditional blogging, email blogging frees the user from being tied to the blogging program; it might also make things easier for people who are comfortable with email, but not yet with other Web 2.0 tools.
I've embedded my Tumblr site into this post. My Tumblr blog name is 17 Things to Chew On (what a surprise), so you can follow me, and even "Ask a Question!"
Now it's your turn. Explore Tumblr and Posterous, choose one, create an account, and experiment. Make a few posts via email and voicemail, follow other people, embed your Tumblr on your blog or website, etc.

To Complete Thing 1:
  • Email me the link to your blog for this program (either the one from last year or a new one you create for this year; you can even use your new Tumblr/Posterous blog if you'd like!)
  • Explore Tumblr and Posterous
  • Sign up for an account with one of these services
  • Make at least 3 posts to your new email blog-- try to use different methods of posting (e.g. email, voicemail, etc.) and try to post different things (e.g. text, photo, video, etc.)
  • Post about your experience. Would you use email blogging as opposed to a traditional blog? How could you use email blogging with classes? Make sure to include the link to your Tumblr or Posterous blog in your post.

Here is my embedded 17 Things Tumblr blog:

Note: Thing 2 will be posted on or around Friday, November 19th. Also, you may post your Project Descriptions at any time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

'Lite Edition' THING 1: Blogs

Part 1:
Set up your own blog & make your first post. Your first post should tell us why you have joined the program and what you hope to take away from it. Once you've completed this step, email me your blog link.
Assuming we all agree that technology is changing education and teaching (for right or wrong)... support that idea with a YouTube video. Place that video on your new blog (either as a link or as embedded video).
You should then watch the video below and COMMENT on my post. What did you think of his description of the phases of educational technology?

Some keywords for searching: collaboration, "24/7 education", "open learning", "web 2.0", "school 2.0", edtech, connectivity, social networks+schools, "personal learning networks, "education+think tanks", "21st century skills", "flat schools", "creative education", "new schools", "student centered learning", remix

Just for Fun (optional!):
Watch part of or all of this TED video ("Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution!") and comment here on my blog. You can choose to embed a TED video into your first post, if you'd like, instead of a YouTube video.

Part 2:
Blogs are great for keeping up to date with other people, so you'll be commenting on and following some of your colleagues' blogs.
First, choose at least five of your colleagues' blogs ("Participant Blogs" tab), and comment on their first post or on their video. Commenting on blogs allows us to ask questions of one another, make suggestions, or simply to reply to what has been written or posted. I will be commenting on various blogs throughout the 17 Things to Chew On program.
Once you've commented, you should then "follow" those blogs. Oh, and "follow" this blog (17 Things to Chew On: Round 2), too. I will "follow" you, also, so you will be able to see my picture on your blog's sidebar. Now when I log into my blog and look at the Dashboard, I can see what's been updated on the blogs I'm following! Let's try to share the love, so if you notice that someone's blog has not yet been "followed" by anyone but me, you might choose to follow them.
So, for Thing 1:
  • Write a post about why you've joined the program and what you hope to learn
  • Comment on my post
  • Embed a video about technology and education (or a TED video) into your blog post
  • Comment on at least 5 other people's blogs
  • Follow the 17 Things to Chew on blog AND the other blogs on which you commented
Just for Fun (optional!): Upload a picture to your profile. It can be a picture of you or of something else you want to represent your online self. Having a picture makes your blog a little more personal!

Note: Thing 2 will be posted on or around Friday, November 19th.