Tuesday, February 27, 2007

School 2.0

Two posts today reaffirmed my belief in the importance of School 2.0.

First I read Graham's post about Teachers Online. It is important for teachers to have an online presence. I wish I could convince more people in my building to catch the wave. I keep trying and slowly some start to take the first steps to becoming aware of School 2.0.

Then I read David Warlick's recent post. He included these 2 amazing images comparing school 2.0 and School 1.0.
School 1.0

School 2.o

When you see the diagrams remember this quote from David's post.
Students stop being mirrors, and instead become amplifiers. Their job is not merely to reflect what they encounter, but to add value to it. Content and skills are no longer the end product, but they become raw materials, with which students learn to work and play and share. Information is captured by the learner, processed, added to, remixed, and then shared back, to be captured by another learner/teacher and reprocessed.

Wow this is 2.0 in a nutshell. Students teaching teachers, students teaching students, students doing work without being prodded or fed with a silver spoon.

I love creating projects and giving students ideas to mash up and recreate into their personal learning.

When students want to learn........They will learn.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The great Fraction UN-project

I am trying out a new project. I hope it goes well. The final work will be published to this wiki.

Any suggestions?

A Fraction Unassignment.

You need to choose one of three topics.

1. What are Fractons
2. Adding and Subtracting Fractions
3. Multiplying and Dividing Fractions

You must become and expert in your topic. If I was an alien and you had to teach me everything about your topic how would you do it?

You have to be convincing and know your topic.

You must use different tools from studentblogwikitools.

Some presentation options are the following;

1. make a game

2. create an online quiz that would be good for reviewing.

3. create a song with lyrics that talk about your subject. If you remember the old sesame street this could be an option for

you will have to record your song and post it to the web.

4. make a screen cast or a set of slides to explain your topic

5. make a movie of you and your friends acting out your topic.

6. create a wiki and post everything that you need to know

7. Choose anything….. just make sure that you are explaining your topic. You must clear your choice of project by me first. Once you have the OK you can get started.

This project can be done alone or with one partner. If you have a partner you are responsible to work as a team. Once you are a group you are stuck with your partner.

Final due date April 5th. This is lots of time and you are expected to do a good job. Do something at the last minute and you will get a mark that reflects this work. This project is worth 10% of your term 3 mark. Do well on this project and you are on the way to getting a great term 3 mark.

Other important dates

* Project has to be chosen March 5
* Progress report 1 March 16
* Progress report 2 March 23
* Final due date April 5

All projects will be published to a wiki. What ever you are creating you need to be prepared to have it put on the web.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Net Nutrality

I just read Chris Lehman's post on net neutrality. I am curious to see how viral this video gets. I recently received an email from web 1.0 friends of mine and it was Karl Fisch's Did You Know presentation. Here is the video on Net Neutrality. I like the freedom we have right now with the web. I hope it continues....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Digital Portfolios Version 1

At my school the grade 8's have digital portfolios. These portfolios are used to share with parents for student led conferences. Our conferences are next week. My students this year did what they always do. Create a 5 question quiz for their parents. They will teach their parents the math and then have them do the questions.

In the past this has all be done in powerpoint. Yeah that was cool for a while but.................after learning how to wiki I sent the students to create a space at wikispaces. They will create the quiz on one page and have the answers on another. Their parents will have to do the quiz and type it into the wiki.

My students wanted to embed some bubbleshare files into their wiki. Wikispaces was not allowing it to be done through thier embeded tool on the tool bar. I emailed them and they quickly told me a simple fix.

The first needs to changed to a
when you cut and paste the code into the embeded tool. the last /span> needs to be changed to /div>.

So far everything has been going great. The wiki has been a success and my old computer lab in the back of my room has been able to chug a lug it out. The best part of using wiki's is that I am not tied into finding computer time in the library lab. The students can do it from home and I am finding the quality of the top end beyond expectations.
At the end of the conference I will show the kids how to take their powerpoint presentation and post it to the web using slideshare or another tool found at studentblogwikitools.

Friday, February 16, 2007

It has been a while.

I feel guilty that I haven' t blogged lately. My reports are due on Monday, family is coming into town and I am in the midst of basketball season.

I feel like the cat in the hat doing his stuff on a ball. Oh that fish......

Here are some notes that I would like to share. Jeanne and I started a collaborative project but she had to shut hers down because all the wikis were being filtered in her school. That was a real drag. It was a good start and taught me some valuable lessons about having backup plans. We will try to collaborate again using google docs and some open ended questions.

Jeanne and I created a wiki about using google video and youtube in your classroom. One of the biggest hassles has been gettng access to these educational tools.

Two recent posts have been added to the wiki. Here they are

From M Guhlin's

Online FLV Converter : Download online videos direct to PC / iPod / PSP. It's free!

Here is another It is called Save Tube. It looks pretty simple. Cut and paste and you have the youtube saved on your desktop without much hastle.

I read 2 great posts on Ewan McGregors blog about the acceptance of Failure and its importance. I have so many kids that do not want to fail so they do not even start projects that are given to them. They want the answers not how to get to the answers.

David Law of Speck Design gave a presentation. From reading Ewan's post here is the gist of it
  • first failure cool stuff isn't easy to come up with the time
  • second failure be creative but link it to reality
  • third failure you can't have it all
  • fourth failure fail fast fail frugal fail again
  • fifth failure don't get me to get obvious advantage
  • sixth failure keep your credibility
This is a business model. How does this relate to education
This is right from Ewan's post...
1 . Cool stuff: we constantly put ourselves under pressure to come up with cool entertaining stuff to get the kids educated better, deeper, wider or in a more motivating way. We're never going to get that all the time, so is it worth investing more energy in one or two big projects where we can see a feasible sign of success?

2. Link it to reality: so many projects to effect educational change don't offer a hook to what we do at the moment. Unless we can hook onto reality of today we can't expect to make a success of the unknown of tomorrow. School 2.0? Let's work our way there through all the 0.1s first.

3. You can't have it all: We can't have huge innovation in broadband overnight without huge cost. Spending money in one area means another suffers. Do you want high speed with no means to publish or a means to publish which is a bit sluggish in school? We'll always have to make that choice - nothing will change.

4. Fail fast, fail frugal, fail again: I'm not convinced the public sector allows us to do this. Projects are generally funded (saying you just want to do a project with no funding means the project is not taken seriously), and sometimes overfunded. There's rarely a get-out clause - part fund people until they fail and then part fund again until they have success. Website rarely just appear, they're always launched. A bit like most education initiatives. Maybe there's something to learn here.

5. Don't do a me-too: It's easy to copy others' ideas and think that what they're doing is the best possible thing. Don't. The best ideas are borne out of a localised, individual need. Satisfy what you need in your classroom and someone else might find it useful, but don't feel you have to join a bandwagon if it's going to stop you spotting a success for your own class.

6. Keep your credibility: I think teachers are pretty good at this. What are the instances of people losing their credibility through social media, though?

This is a post that just hit home for me. I have so many kids that will accept failure because they just do not care. Others will not attempt anything without willing to be unsuccessful on their first attempt. Where is the "learning to ride a bike" like in the olden days. You fell off and learned from your mistakes. Finally after failing a few times you were able to ride that bike. I want kids to accept failure as the first step to success. Better results will come out of making mistakes. Let's lose the silver spoon.

This is enough for this post. Thanks for listening.....reading.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Speed at School, Speed at home.

Many people are testing there internet speed. Here is my speed at school,
Not Bad. Now I will do one from home and update it later.

Here is my speed from home. I guess I have it good. Love to blog. Love to blog at speed.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why 2.0 is so important.

Sometimes procrastination is a good thing. As I was in the middle of creating some assessment pieces for my students (aka tests) I started to procrastinate.

Procrastination normally means one thing .... Bloglines!

And what to my wandering eyes should appear but Cog Dog blog by Alan Levine. He always has such awesome ideas and ways to make education better. Here was his latest salvo into the 2.0 sphere. It is a 5 minute video showing the change in text from linear to digital. This is powerful stuff. I pair this video with any of Karl's to bring the house down.

The video comes from Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University, “a working group of Kansas State University students and faculty dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.”

I just think that for a 5 minute video it is the perfect selling point to staff, administration and parents about the power of 2.0.

Thanks Alan for blogging about this video and thanks Kansas State for creating it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Developing Expert Voices

Daren has done it again. He has started to think outside the box and mashup some of his greates hits. In his latest,
A Difference: Developing Expert Voices

he will in his class...

I will make a list of topics and post it on a side white board in the class. The topics will cover the breadth of the course content students are responsible for. Working together in groups of 2 to 4 (no solos), students will be required to develop a project and publish it online in any format they like. I'll need to develop some sort of rubric for this but essentially, they will have to demonstrate their expertise in the topic and demonstrate it in a format that educates an interested learner.

I was thinking about starting another project that would wrap up after spring break. This is going to be the perfect opportunity to start to mash up one of my growing posts. Make it even better than before.

I always wanted to make a lasting time capsule to the Grade 8 math curriculum in this province. With these I just might be able to get the job done. Can you imagine the possibilities. I will once again point the students towards studentblogwikitools and let their creative juices flow.

I would love to see the project show work of students of all ages and show the continuum that is the learning process. What they learn in grade 6 is continued in grade 8 and into grades 10,11,12. Each student creating a unique project that shows their expertice in learning at their grade level.

Knowing Darren this is going to be an excellent project. Want to join in.... read his post and start to think on how you can harness your "."

Stay tuned for further updates...

One Great School

I am lucky. I love my job. I teach grade 8 math at the best school in the city. Did I day that I love my job!!

Imagine this if you will,
  • I live close to home but not too close.
  • My room is a double classroom with an (archaic) but functional computer lab for 30 students.
  • I have the 2 best administrators in the city.
  • Everyone on staff and I mean everyone helps each other and works for the betterment of the school, staff and students.
As I say I have a dream j0b. I am lucky enough to coach basketball. It takes up a lot of time but it is fun and I like doing it. On the weekends (all the weekends between January and the end of March there are tournaments. Whether you are at the school or traveling to other games the staff is always there to help and support you.

I just had to write this post because I love my job. I love my school.

Sorry if I sound so happy.

If you want a negative point... It is -40 with the windchill outside!

I love my winters (OK not when they are this cold!!)

Thanks for reading.

Educational Bloggers

Listening to the WOW2.0 broadcast on Tuesday, Vicky Davis mentioned that she and Bud Hunt had been included in a newspaper article about teacher bloggers who hide behind pseudonyms and blog. I guess that the reporter did not read many of either Vicky's or Buds blogs because both of them are pretty outfront in telling all that read them who they are and what their names are.
As I quickly skimmed the article I was struck with the topic. Many of these teacher "bloggers" have negative comments to say about their school, pupils or administrators. Anyone who bothers to leave a trail of comments and text behind in the blogosphere is foolish. This is one of the first rules of blogging that we teach the kids.

You have an audience. They are reading what you write. Be careful what you say. Think first... type later.

When I go through my aggregator and read all the wonderful things my network writes about I am always amazed at the amazing content that I am lucky enough to learn . I never have seen a negative blog post about a school, pupil or administrator. Inf act it is the opposite. These are positive posts about great schools or kids.

Go read the article, create your own response. I love my network of blogging buddies. You are like family.