Archive for category web 2.0

Quizilla for Creating

A student of mine contacted me the other day and asked if he could use Quizilla to complete a compare and contrast assignment by making a quiz.  It seemed like a really interesting method for a student to demonstrate a higher level of thinking so I said “go for it” before I even looked at the site. When I pulled up the site the next day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it offered 5 ways to create:

  • quizzes
  • stories
  • polls
  • poems
  • lyrics

A student could use any of those creative options to demonstrate learning for most of my lessons.  I sent this out to my kids and told them to feel free to develop and publish their own story as a replacement for any writing assignment as long as they cover the basic lesson requirements.  Meaning, if their story shows me they understand my objectives then they can be as creative as they want in how they turn work in.

They could also create a poll and publish it.   If its interesting enough people will take the poll and they could share the results as part of the assignment.

Writing poetry or lyrics for a song takes a special talent, so I encouraged them to “use it if they got it” but just make sure they demonstrate clear knowledge of the topic.

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Wordle, Stripgenerator, and NECC Week

Your first thought might be, how are these all connected?  They’re not.  I was just playing with them last night so decided to put them all together.  I know, not my greatest show of deduction.

Wordle is one of those sites where you can enter in text and it gets turned into a word cloud.  You can copy your url, a blog post feed, your delicious account or just simply paste some text. I came across it here, and after reading Karen’s post wanted to try out my own blog to see if my ideas were being backed up by my words.   Glad to see they are.

Wordle - Create
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

I’m always looking for little quirky Web 2.0 programs that I can introduce to my students so really enjoyed coming across Stripgenerator in one of Larry Ferlazzo’s many posts about about web tools.  I see it as a tool kids can use for making introductions to unit projects or spicing up presentations.

Classroom Funnies

At NECC Week, I had been playing with a Flip Cam that my work bought for students taking my Web 2.0 class next semester.  I needed to learn how to use it in case kids had questions :), so brought it along and recorded a few short clips.  I was more interested in playing with the camera rather than making a video, but decided to put together a pretty disjointed compilation of what I was able to record.  It has a few highlights though, some scenes from EBC including, Ewan Macintosh’s request for Pearson Learning to turn off their cameras (he was intimidating so I did too after that).  It also has a bit from David Warlick’s session, from Steve Hargadon’s Social Networking in Education session,  and a few other snippets if you’re interested.

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Goods, Bads, and Bests from NECC Week

NECC 2008 was the best conference I’ve ever been to.  Mostly, because it was so dynamic.  Usually I judge a conference only on the quality of the sessions but this one was so much more than lectures.  I wanted to take a couple minutes and reflect on the Goods, Bads, and Bests from NECC Week (EBC, NECC, and NECC Unplugged).

Easily, the best part of EBC and NECC2008 was meeting people from my personal learning networks.

The 2nd best part was participating at NECC Unplugged.  I didn’t get to schedule a session there because my travel plans were made so close to the conference that I had no idea if I would even be attending past Monday afternoon until a couple days prior.  So when I got to sit-in and contribute to an impromptu roundtable conversation with Steve Hargadon, Darren Draper, Robin Ellis, Karl Fisch, and several others from my PLN, I was excited.  We discussed how EBC could be better next year along with social networking in education.  I had been a passive observer at the Blogger’s Cafe until that point, and it feels so much better to contribute to the community.

The third, and last, best part is a little of a selfish one.  I hosted a poster session called Using Web 2.0 to Motivate Student Creativity which focused on Web 2.0 for Beginners and it went really well.  A lot of people stopped to watch our (OCHS) kids talk about their experiences using these tools.  I met hundreds of people and loved talking to educators who really wanted to make their children’s experiences at school more relevant.

The Goods.  The best sessions I sat in were all at EBC.  They were discussions yet, only one of the sessions that I attended at NECC was even close, mostly because they hosted a backchannel chat (pw:necc) through Chatzy. David Warlick and Alan November didn’t dissapoint but Social Networking in Education was the livliest and most passionate session that I attended outside of EBC.

The Bads.  By far the worst part about NECC Week was the lack of wireless connectivity.  In over half the rooms I was in I had nothing, nada, zilch for connection.  Kristen Hokanson said it best to an IT guy trying to solve the problem at EBC once he declared they had no idea so many people would have laptops, “but this is an edtech conference.”  They didn’t have enough access points and in the theater where the spotlight sessions were at, there was nothing.

Those view-blocking Pearson cameras at EBC were annoying, but I wasn’t nearly as mad as others about them recording and profitting from our words.  Spreading information…..good.

The other bad part, which I have encountered at almost every conference I’ve attended, was their take on Online Learning.  When I went to NECC in Philadelphia a few years back, I don’t remember any online sessions so was happy to at least see that strand in almost every concurrent session.  However, most of the sessions weren’t worth attending, the NACOL booth didn’t even have someone sitting at it, and the one session I did attend was horrible.  It was three instructional designers from the University of Houston who lectured for 45 minutes straight about 3 basic lessons you could teach online.  It was like they just discovered e-learning and somehow convinced ISTE to accept their proposal.  I wish they would screen for people who are really doing something with online learning and hybrid schools, its a future of education.

flickr user: kjarrett

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In Their Words Video

I created this video from over 2 hours of student interviews and dozens of still images.

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Chiming in on Diigo

Much like I feel in love with Obama after seeing this video, I got hooked on Diigo after a similarly stimulating four minutes. :) Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little….

A friend tweeted out the above noted video for the Diigo Beta V3 this week and it kicked off a firestorm. I’ve been playing with Diigo all week, just like the rest of the Twitter Freaks, and am really intrigued. While most of my friends in the network are excited at how Diigo combines the tools from Delicious, Facebook, and Zotero, I’m just ecstatic about annotated url’s. Sounds a little strange to say outloud but let me explain.

I hate textbooks. I don’t use them, and so far have been lucky enough to avoid them in my four years of teaching. I’ve always known there was a reason I didn’t like them. Used to think it was because they only promoted rich white men, and were super boring, but besides that couldn’t put my finger on why they made me so uncomfortable. Then I read James Loewen’s book called Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong and it all made sense. Between him and Howard Zinn, I decided that I would do my best to avoid textbooks during my teaching career.

Normally I research sites on the web and then direct kids to those sites when I want them to get a piece of info. Sometimes its complicated because I say things like, “click here, read the 3rd and 7th paragraphs.” That’s pretty silly but without cutting and pasting to create a new document, that was my only option. Enter Diigo. I can go to a site, highlight the passages I think are the most relevant, comment (sticky note) on those passages and produce an annotated url that I can give to my students. That special url comes complete with highlights and comments from me or from everyone who has annotated that page if I wish.

I teach online. Only online. So every lesson I create for my students, whether its for the Web 2.0 class I’m developing for next year, or the Travel course I made last year, all my resources come from searching the Internet. Diigo is a one stop solution to including that material in my courses. There are still some pretty gnarly quirks they have to figure out (annotations don’t work all the time, ‘twitter this’ function is spotty, and lots of stalls in application processing) the potential is ridiculous. And thats after only one week of playing, there is still way more to learn.

For a comprehensive analysis of the social networking benefits of Diigo, check out Kristin Hokanson’s blog from earlier this week.

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