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Monday, October 15, 2007


Tokbox is a free video chat tool that doesn't require the download of any software. You only need a basic webcam and microphone to get started. In addition to doing video chat you can also send video e-mails to your friends who may not be available for a chat. You can embed a video chat window within your site or blog much like the one shown below so that people can initiate chats with you. It isn't necessary to have an account with any of the major chat tools. You simply sign up with Tokbox and you are on your way!

Get your own TokBox at

Friday, October 12, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 5

This posting features a video created by a student to chronicle the journey of a new immigrant from Europe to America. It's told from the perspective of a young boy and uses only still images, music and narration. The video was made with iMovie but could have easily been created with a variety of other editing tools. You can find this video, along with many others, in the Apple showcase of projects. What I really like about this video is that it requires the student to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues early immigrants faced when traveling to America. He also has to show competency in being able to write a coherent script and make decisions about what images would fit best based on the narration. The use of video as a medium to convey his message works very well and allows him the ability to express a level of creativity that would be difficult to match in another format. The video is called A New Life and I encourage you to check it out as well as the other videos featured in the showcase.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 4

At first glance you may wonder, how does the Evolution of Dance video have any educational value and why is he bothering to share it as an example of Digital Video in practice? These are both very valid questions that I will attempt to address. First of all, I think this video provides an excellent example of how music and visual imagery can be combined to tell a story, convey meaning and express emotions without the need for the written or spoken word. I also think this video illustrates a very creative way to approach the study of history, culture and the influence of music on society. In addition to the original Evolution of Dance video I have included some adaptations done by different school groups. I think this illustrates the power of multimedia to motivate people to their own works of art. Watch and enjoy.

The Evolution of Dance (Original)

History of Dance (Middle School Version)

Pacific Elementary's Evolution of Dance

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 3

This post features Mrs. Burk the rapping math teacher who has a series of short videos posted in TeacherTube. In these videos she covers a variety of math concepts by singing a simple rap to some funky music. It's a great way to help kids learn and a great idea for a digital video project for students. They could write their own raps, songs, poems, rhymes or whatever and then create a short video to help demonstrate their knowledge of a concept and help teach others. As you watch this video your first reaction might be, "This lady is making a fool out of herself." But I bet her students know perimeter and area really well.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 2

Part 2 in this series of blog entries features the Amazing Color Changing Card Trick video that at first glance seems to be mostly about, surprisingly enough, a card trick. The video is really a great way to teach about selective attention and what we might miss when we are so focused on specific details. I think this could be an effective way to help kids realize that sometimes they need to look beyond the obvious to see the whole picture. It could also lead into a conversation of the danger of only seeing what we are told to look at.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Digital Video in Practice: Part 1

For this week I am going to share a different digital video that could be used to accomplish some kind of educational goal in a k-12 setting. I may also share an example of how a teacher is using digital videos (either student created or teacher created) to teach some part of the content. The video I would like to share in this post does a great job of showing how the Internet has evolved with the advent of Web 2.0 tools that allow the casual user to contribute to online content. This video is called The Machine is Us/ing Us and can be viewed below. I think this video raises a lot of issues and makes very clear that our approach to using technology in the classroom has to evolve to reflect the wide range of tools and capabilities that are available to us.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 5

The final podcast that I will share this week is the Coulee Kids' Podcast from Longfellow Middle School in Wisconsin. These podcasts are created by seventh grade students in their writing class but the topics span across a variety of content areas. They define their podcasts as "enhanced" podcasts largely because they include images so they are more like mini videos. You have to subscribe through iTunes in order to view the podcasts but they are worth the look and listen. This is another great example of how podcasts can be used to allow students to demonstrate their comprehension of a topic area while also allowing them to use their creativity.

Podcasts in Practice Part 4

Chris Shamburg teaches a high school English course called Podcasting and Creative Audio, which sounds like a great class and I wish it was available when I was in high school. Check out the different podcasts and assignments at his blog, which uses the same theme from Blogger as I use in my blog so you may feel like you never left the Ed Tech in Teacher Ed blog. I think this blog has some great ideas for podcasts but also some very creative assignment ideas that could be adapted to other English classes even if you weren't going to use podcasts.

Google Custom Search

There is yet another new tool from Google that has great potential for use in k-12 classrooms. It's called the Google Custom Search Engine and it allows you to define the individual pages you want included when your students conduct a keyword search. You can include as many or as few sites in your custom search engine as you want. The nice thing about this is that you can provide students with the experience of searching online for information knowing that they are only going to be searching through the sites you have specified. That way, they get the practice of conducting keyword searches without having to weed through 3 million sites that are returned in their searches. One thing to remember is that this is not a filter system in that it won't keep students from clicking away from a site in your approved list once they navigate to it. You can create multiple custom search engines or just have one and you can embed the search engines in your blog or webpage as a way to make it available to students.

Copyright for Dummies

Here is a great site by Tom Woodward that explains copyright by focusing on what teachers and students can do rather than emphasizing what they can't do. The site is clearly organized and uses green highlighting to denote the things you can do, yellow for the things you usually can do and red for the things you can never do. I strongly encourage you to look this over if you have any questions about what is legal in regards to copyright.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 3

The Downs FM is an example of how a school in the UK is using podcasting to create their own radio show. Many of the students contribute to the radio show with different segments, news items, jokes and more. They don't appear to have any new segments for the current school year but you can listen to shows from last year to see what they did. I hope there will be some new segments coming online very soon. One thing that seems apparent to me as I listen to the podcasts from The Downs FM and other sites like it is the excitement and enthusiasm from the students. I think that is a great benefit of using a technology like this. There is no law that says kids can't have fun when they are learning.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 2

Mr. Langhorst's 8th Grade American History website is the featured example of podcasting for this post. In addition to student podcasts, there are a series of Study Casts on this site as well. Study Casts are podcast reviews of units of study created by Mr. Langhorst for the students to use when they are preparing for upcoming tests. This seems like a great way to help students focus on the salient content of a unit and communicate to them the important information they need to be aware of before a test. It also provides students with another mode of learning and will certainly benefit those in his class who are aural learners. The study casts are found primarily on the homepage at the link above. You can also find many more examples of how he is using podcasts at his Speaking History blog, which has a very clever idea for teaching the Declaration of Independence as a break-up letter. Check it out!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 1

For this week I plan to share a different example of how teachers are using podcasts in k-12 classrooms for each day. The first example I want to share is Radio Willow Web from Willowdale Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska. This is by far one of the best examples of how podcasts can be used to teach students reading, writing, social studies, science, technology and much more. They call their podcasts Willow Casts and when you listen to a few you might feel a bit overwhelmed because they are so polished and professional sounding but I think a lot of that is possible because they start kids so early with this so that by the time they are in 4th and 5th grade they are true pros at podcasting...I mean Willow casting. Each of the Willow Casts follows a similar structure and form with a narrator and various segments recorded by individuals or small groups of students. When you listen to these you need to remember that these weren't created in a day and depending on the grade level there was probably a certain amount of adult involvement in the editing process. More importantly, as you listen think about what the students had to know and understand in order to create their individual segments. Students had to be able to write a coherent script, which no doubt required some research and a firm grasp of the content about which they were writing. They also would get practice in reading during their research and as they recorded their script. Of course, they also learn from listening to podcasts created by their fellow classmates. Check out a few Willow Casts and see what you think.

Donors Choose is a clever way to connect teachers and schools with sources of funding. The site has a straightforward project proposal for you to fill out, which then gets posted on the site. Potential donors can then search the site for the proposals they want to fund. It's a bit like ebay that connects shoppers with sellers except that is connecting teachers and schools that need funding with donors that want to fund worthwhile projects. Some of the projects are very modest and only ask for a few hundred dollars. Some of the projects are much larger but either way it seems like a great place to start when looking for funding.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blogs in Practice Part 5

The final blog I want to highlight is by Konrad Glogowski, an eighth grade language arts teacher. His blog is undergoing some redesign at this point but he has used blogs with his students for the past few years and is even working on his PhD and has been studying the use of blogs for his dissertation work. I think his approach to blogging goes beyond the usual idea we have for teacher blogs and I'm curious to see how he uses them with students this year. In reading his post on "Learning to be Myself" he makes a convincing argument for letting his true self come through in his postings and online interactions with his students. I think this can work particularly well with middle school and high school age students. This blog will be worth checking out periodically to get ideas about innovative ways to help students develop their voice within an online community.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blogs in Practice Part 4

The blog I would like to introduce next is Free Resources from the Net, which has a huge list of free resources for teachers. Looking through this blog becomes almost overwhelming when you see all the things that are out there and free to use. The resources are categorized by subject or content area and the list of categories is quite extensive. I have added this to my Ed Tech Tidbits pageflake so I can monitor newly added resources.


This is a cool online slideshow creation tool that allows you to upload your own photos from your computer or many of the photo sharing sites, select music and automatically create a free 30 second video that is completely animated with effects and transitions. Currently you can e-mail your video or embed it in a blog or webpage but they are indicating that you will soon be able to download your video to your computer or iPod. The video I have posted took less than 5 minutes to create and most of that time was spent selecting the photos and listening to the different music options in their library of tunes. You can make longer videos for $3 per video and they even have a yearly subscription you can pay to make "unlimited" full length videos.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blogs in Practice Part 3

The Science is Fun blog is a great example of how you can use blogging to teach science. The teacher who created this blog uses it to pose questions to students and review labs that they conduct in class. He also uses the blog to share files such as notes, worksheets and Power Point presentations with his students. There are also several postings where the teacher shares a web-based resource such as a website or virtual simulation to demonstrate a scientific concept to students.

ePals is Free!

The e-mail and blogging tool ePals that formally required a paid subscription is now free! ePals allows you to create and manage e-mail accounts for your entire class. You can monitor the accounts to maintain safety for your students and keep track of who is trying to communicate with them. They also allow you to create a School Blog that you can monitor and control access to with classroom only, parents only and public sections. This is a great resource and I strongly encourage you to check it out if you are interested in your students having their own blogs.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blogs in Practice Part 2

The Room 613 Student Blog is a good example of how to facilitate student blogs in conjunction with a teacher blog. It's still early in the school year so this blog isn't in full swing yet but judging by the postings from the previous year I think it would be interesting to watch this develop. I think the teachers also have made good use of creating pages to feature different topics. They even have a page for "Rules for Blogging", which is a great idea to remind students about how to be safe and what is expected of them when they participate in the class blog.

Blogs in Practice

For this week each day I'm going to highlight a different blog that is being used in k-12 education as a way to show how this technology could be beneficial in the classroom. Today, I'd like to introduce you to The Blurb , which is a blog maintained by a teacher along with a group of students. The Blurb is a newscast type of blog that focuses on different current issues and often invites readers to weigh in with their opinions on the different news stories. It's not updated daily but I like the thought provoking nature of the posts and how the different stories that are covered are giving the authors a chance to explore a broad range of topics. In addition, they get a chance to facilitate a higher level of discussion with a large audience while providing their readers with information and perspective on the range of issues discussed. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Online Video Editors

I will admit that I haven't used any of these tools but I wanted to share with all of you a blog posting I found on online video editing tools. Many of these tools allow you to upload video, photos and audio and do basic editing online for free. They all differ in various ways with regards to the interface layout, options for adding titles, graphics, transitions and effects and also the option to download your finished product as a video file. You can read about the different tools at and also a recent addition to the list is reviewed at Now it looks like you can even create a video collaboratively online! As you might imagine, bandwidth would become a major issue with these tools especially if you are going to be uploading real video footage as opposed to just static images. I'm not sure this would work so well in a computer lab setting as it would probably placet too high of a demand on the network to move data back and forth but the idea of being able to edit video online and collaboratively certainly piqued my interest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wikis Explained

In case anyone is still having trouble with the concept of a Wiki here is a great video that explains the idea behind a Wiki in plain English. It isn't related to education per se but I think you will get the point about the purpose and use of Wikis. Plus, I think this video is a great blending of old technology (paper and marker) and new technology (digital video, Wikis).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Week 6: MUVEs (respond by Friday, July 27th)

Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) allow us to enter and create a variety of different virtual worlds where we can learn, explore, interact and yes, play. Vast amounts of time and energy can be devoted, or in some cases wasted, in these worlds and there is a great deal of skepticism in regards to the educational value of MUVEs. I have provided a few links to some online articles about MUVEs that I think will provide helpful insight into the our present understanding of these virtual worlds and their potential promise for the future. The first article is by Stefanie Olsen who writes for CNET This article, entitled Are Virtual Worlds the Future of the Classroom? looks at the River City Project, Quest Atlantis and Whyville in it's discussion of MUVEs and their place in the "real" classroom. As you will quickly notice, much of the content and focus of these different worlds revolves around science. This is largely because the source of funding of these projects comes from the National Science Foundation which, understandably so, likes to fund research related to the teaching of science as opposed to social studies or math. But as the article indicates, there are opportunities to learn about more than just science. As you read this article I'm curious as to what you feel the primary affordances of these types of environments are for children. Also, what is your opinion about the possible detrimental effects of having kids spend large amounts of time in these environments? What impact, positive or negative, might it have on their ability to interact in the real world?

The second article is an interview with someone from Second Life, which is the virtual world designed more for adults (the version for young adults is called Teen Second Life). This article is actually part 4 of a 4 part series and you can feel free to read part's 1-3 if you want. This particular article (click here to view article) looks at some key issues that traditional educators face when they try to use Second Life either as a casual user or for educational purposes. Even though the issues outlined are focused on Second life I think the ideas apply to a broad range of virtual worlds regardless of the targeted age. In many ways the issues all relate back to changing, or broadening, our perspective of what education looks like and the ways in which learning can take place. I can completely understand the teacher who says, "I don't want to use a virtual environment because kids will just play, or it isn't safe, or it doesn't look like a classroom." But I think it's hard to deny that these virtual worlds, not necessarily all of them, hold some real promise in regards to their ability to provide stimulating and educational experiences for students. In response to the article I would like you to pick out an issue, or several of the issues if you want, that you found particularly interesting and share your opinions on the argument the author made with regard to that particular issue. Personally, I found issue 6 Re-Create v. Create to be especially insightful because this is something I see happening quite often with technology and online learning environments where we try to re-create the traditional learning environment or assignment rather than take advantage of the affordances of the specific technology to create something truly new and different. I'm curious to see what the rest of you think.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Second Life and the Environment

I recently read about an interesting project involving the virtual world Second Life. You can read about on the Serious Games blog but the basic idea is that people can learn about the rainforest, deforestation and other environmental issues through a project called Second Chance Trees. They can also choose to plant a virtual tree in Second Life and for each virtual tree planted a real tree will be planted in an area of designated need within the rainforest. This seems like a great way to combine education with social activism and give your students a chance to feel like they are doing something for the environment. Check it out.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Week 5: Web 2.0 (Respond by Friday, July 20th)

The Internet and how we use it is experiencing a very exciting revolution with the advent of Web 2.0. In the beginning, users would come to the Internet to perform keyword searches and retrieve information from various sites. We certainly still do that but there has been a growing change in the way we access information and our role as contributors of that information. We now have the ability to subscribe to websites, blogs, podcasts and much more so that new information is fed to us rather than us having to go find it. There are also many different ways for us to add content to the Internet through Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, digital videos (think YouTube), photo sharing (Flickr, BubbleShare) social network sites like MySpace and Facebook and much more. In fact, you can even create your very own social network with a tool like Ning. Web 2.0 is all about this idea of user generated content and can be thought of as the Read/Write Web whereby we as the users of the web can both read content and then write and contribute new content. I follow a blog called the Read/Write Web, which reports and comments on a variety of different new Web 2.0 type tools that are constantly becoming available online. This blog doesn't have an education specific focus but I often find that the tools discussed could certainly have a use in the k-12 classroom. I have included a video at the end of this posting that I think does a great job of looking at the evolution of the Internet. It gets a little bogged down in the middle with information about HTML coding but I think the overall message is right on point. As you watch the video (if it doesn't play properly you can access it directly through YouTube at I want you to think about what implications this has for your students and your approach to using technology. For instance, before we had Web 2.0 capabilities we could have our students create concept maps in Kidspiration or Inspiration to demonstrate their understanding about a particular content area. Now using a tool like Mindomo we can have our students collaboratively create a concept map with students (and content experts) from outside our classroom and that map can be shared online for others to see, comment on, edit and learn from. We are able to move beyond just having pen pals or e-pals to having learning pals and online mentors that can help contribute to our understanding of different subjects. However, just because we have this capability doesn't mean we have a clear understanding of how to harness it and use it to create effective learning experiences for our students. What ideas, concerns, suggestions and thoughts do you have on taking advantage of the read/write nature of the net and all the tools (mostly free) that are available to you and your students.

Another issue that arises with the read/write nature of the web is that we have to be even more careful about looking at sites and their respective content and determining their credibility. I always cringe a bit when I hear someone say, "I looked up the information on Wikipedia." My first response is, "Did you bother to cross check your information with any other source?" It can be a lot harder to determine who the author of online content really is and we need to make sure our students are aware of this. What do you think we can do to insure that kids are being diligent in their online research?

Finally, I want to touch on the issue of convincing the tech coordinators, media specialists and other technology gate keepers in your respective buildings and districts to allow access to these powerful read/write tools. I know this issue has been discussed a lot in your 501 class, for those of you taking that class, but I feel it should be revisited here as well. I think it is very important that we make a clear case for the educational benefit of using these tools when we ask for permission to make them available to our students. I have heard about the troubles some of you have had in getting new technology into your classroom but I would like to hear about your success stories now. What approach or approaches have worked for you to get new technology approved, new websites unlocked and new tools available for your students?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Zamzar, Weebly for Teachers and Snap Shots

I've come across some more interesting tools and tidbits that I wanted to pass along. The first is Zamzar, which is an online file conversion tool. You can take just about any text, image, audio or video file and convert it to a variety of other text, image, audio and video file types. The way it works is you upload the file you want converted, select the file type you want it converted to, and then wait for them to e-mail you to inform you the file conversion is complete. In the e-mail they give you a link where you can go and download the converted file. There is a 100 MB maximum but I don't think you would want to be uploading a file that big anyway. I have only used it to convert text files so far but I think this could be a very helpful tool especially if the audio and video conversions work well.

I have been e-mailing back and forth with a support person from Weebly and he has informed me that there is not a current way to clone pages but he liked the idea and put it on his "to do" list. He also informed me that they are working on a Teacher friendly version of Weebly to be used in education. I'm not sure how it is different from the regular version at this point but the fact that they are thinking about teachers is pretty cool.

The final tool I want to share is being used on this blog as I write. It's called Snap Shots and it allows you to show users a preview of the different websites you are linking to from your website or blog. That way, they can get a "snap shot" preview of the site before they decide to navigate to it. It was very easy to add it to this blog but I found that I had to add it individually to each page on the Ed Tech Wiki. I added the code to my templates in Wikispaces so that all future pages I create will automatically have the Snap Shots functionality.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Week 4: Digital Video (Respond by Friday, July 13th)

You might be noticing a pattern with these blog postings in that I am going to ask you once again to find an example of technology in use in the classroom. This week I want you to search for an example of digital video being used in a k-12 setting. Before I explain what I want you to look for in particular I would like to talk a bit about what we know about digital videos and education. There is plenty of research about how students are engaged by digital videos. The United Streaming site has several short reports they have compiled that essentially show that teachers enjoy using their particular videos and kids enjoy watching the videos. As educators, we tend to assume that if students are engaged there is a better chance that they are learning but we can't know this for sure without further investigation. I think that happens a lot with video and the trick, which really hasn't been done in the research, is to try and prove that kids actually learn as well or better from digital videos as they do from other more traditional forms of instruction.

This all has to do with kids watching digital videos but I would like to change course a bit and look at the educational impact of having kids create their own videos. As you might have guessed, there is a lack of research-based evidence that suggests students learn from the process of creating their own videos. Much like watching a video, they are engaged in the process of video production but what do they really learn? In response to this I would like you to do two things. First of all, search out an example of a student created video that, if possible, covers some content that you have to teach in your current position. Tell us where you found the video and take some time to reflect on what the students might have had to learn or know in order to make that particular video. As with previous weeks' discussions I would like you to talk about how you might assess students, and what you would hope they would learn from creating a video similar to the one you find and share with us.

The second thing I would like you to do is think about the curriculum you are required to cover and come up with an example of where a video would be a helpful tool to teach some part of that curriculum. This could be a video that either you create or have students create. Tell us why you think a video would be a helpful tool in this situation.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

More Thoughts on Blogging

In grading your first assignments I noticed that many of you created blogs to use with your students and the issues that were discussed have led me to write a bit more about blogging. First of all, I noticed several of you talked about having your students create their own blogs and I think this is a great idea. One issue with this is that you would want to make sure you, or some other adult, was moderating the individual student blogs to ensure that no inappropriate comments were posted. Having to moderate 25 different student blogs seems like an overwhelming task so one idea I had was that the parents could be put in charge of moderating their child's blog. I realize that some, or maybe many, parents wouldn't want to take the time or might not have easy access to a computer but it would be an option worth exploring at least. It would be a great way to help parents keep connected to the learning experience and promote communication between the classroom and home. It would also help introduce parents to blogging.

Another think I noticed is that many of you are planning on having students answer questions of the week or other similar type prompts in order to assess student learning and understanding. This is a great idea but the one problem I see is that students will be able to read each others' comments before they post. Therefore, if I don't know the answer I can just wait until someone else answers and then rephrase their answer to make my response. One way around this is through comment moderation. You can read all the comments as students submit them but wait to approve and publish the comments until everyone has responded. That way, no one can read the other comments until they have already commented themselves. You would want to set a due date and time by which students would have to comment so that you weren't waiting to publish the comments for an extended period of time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Blogging with Barriers

I have been thinking about the comments people made in response to my Week 2 blogging post about (what else) blogging and I wanted to talk a little about the barriers people mentioned. One big thing people mentioned is that they were concerned their students wouldn't be able to participate in a blog because of a lack of computers and internet access in the home. I think this can definitely be a barrier to participation if you expect kids to contribute mostly outside of class or school. This is one of the main reasons I advocate for finding ways to incorporate technology such as blogging within the normal school day. Many of you noted concerns about finding the time in school to have kids blog and I understand this as well but I also think part of this concern might stem from the fact that we are still thinking about blogging as being something "additional" that we do rather than an integrated part of the curriculum. I would encourage people to look at how they cover different content areas and think about how blogging could be used to achieve some of the goals they already have in place. For instance, if you have students write in journals on a regular basis then it would seem logical to have kids do at least some of this journal writing in a blog. You could rotate through kids so that certain kids are journaling on the blog on certain days while the rest of the class is writing in their paper and pencil journals. This would allow you to make use of the one or two computers you have available in your classroom and by the end of the week the entire class will have taken a turn contributing to the blog. I used to do this in my third grade classroom, although it wasn't for blogging it was more for general computer use. I would have a chart that was posted in the room that showed the 5 days of the school week and each day had a card with a list of 4-5 (or more depending on the class size) student names on it indicating which group of kids could use the computer on that day. The days rotated each week so kids didn't always have the same day. You could do the same thing with blogging and then when it came time to do journal writing or at other points in the day the kids could go back and respond to the blog if it was their assigned day.

Another idea would be to ask the computer teacher, if you have one, to allow the kids to take 10-15 minutes at some point during the computer class to post to your blog. This would give the kids an opportunity to practice their keyboarding skills while at the same time giving you a chance to incorporate blogging in your teaching. It would be helpful to have the kids prepared to respond to a particular post so that they could use their blogging time effectively.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week 3: Podcasting (Respond by Friday, July 6th)

My good friend the Ninja introduced us to podcasting (if you were absent that day check out the video on the Wiki) and we got a chance to play with Audacity a bit to learn how you could record your own podcast but the question of how we actually use podcasts as teachers might still be lingering for some of you. The research on podcasting in k-12 education is pretty thin due to the fact that it is still a fairly new idea and technology. More and more universities are using podcasting as a way to archive lectures and make them available to students but this isn't really the way I think of using podcasts with k-12 students. I have looked around for articles to share on podcasting but really haven't found anything I want to use just yet. It's easy enough to get a basic definition of what a podcast is and it seems like it makes more sense to me that we spend some time listening to actual podcasts and exploring how teachers and students are making use of this technology. Here is a "vodcast" (a podcast with video, which is a lot like a regular video but you can subscribe to it) on how one group of elementary students creates podcasts in their school. I think the teacher got a little ambitious with the purchase of an audio mixer, special microphones and other optional equipment but I really enjoyed learning about the writing process students go through when they plan their individual podcasts or corners as they call them. You might think these kids seem overly excited about writing and the video only shows them hard at work and on task, but I do wonder if the fact that they get to create a podcast with their writing isn't somehow a motivational factor for them. How might you be able to harness this enthusiasm and use it to teach different types of writing styles and skills through podcasting? If you want to see how the teacher from this class uses podcasts you can check out his blog at and have a listen. To get a better sense of the ways podcasts are being used please look around online for a podcast either created for or by students in your respective grade and/or content area. Share the link to the podcast you find and tell us what you like about it. I would love it if you took the time to add it to our Wiki as well.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Week 2: Blogging in Education (Respond by Friday, June 29th)

I really don't like changing tools midstream like this but I have had too many frustrating experiences with Edublogs over the past few months and this latest interruption of service was the final straw so welcome to my newest Ed Tech blog!

I have included a reading on blogs that you can access by clicking here. You can either read the article online or download a PDF version of it to print. I think this article does a great job of providing a broad overview of blogs and their uses in education. There are a couple things I would like you to respond to after you read through it.

  1. As you think about blogging in your own school what do you see as the biggest challenges or barriers to using blogs with your students? What could you do to overcome those barriers?
  2. Assessment is discussed in the article and I think it can be difficult in some ways to apply our traditional view of assessment on student participation in a blog. Forget about assigning actual grades for a moment and think about what you could learn about an individual student from observing his/her posting and commenting in a blog. How might these observations inform your teaching?
  3. The article provides different examples of blogs in use in education. Take a moment to look at some of those examples online and then search for an example of your own that you think is worth sharing with the group. You can do this by doing a keyword search in Google and then just including the url to the blog you found in your reply. Tell us what you liked about how the blog was being used and why you think it would be beneficial for students.