Monday, July 27, 2009

Eight Ways to Use School Wikis

With school just around the corner teachers are beginning to plan for next school year. One way that teachers can increase collaboration among their students is to use Wikis. Wikispaces can also be used to store digital materials, screencasts, presentations, PDFs and other content. Wikis are also a great way for teachers to collaborate and share within a school or school district. Let’s look at the eight ways to use wikis in your school.
  1. Decrease disruptions of instructional time
    a. Instead of everyone listening to all the announcements for an entire school, teachers can read over the principal created wiki and read only the announcements that apply to their students.
  2. Make meetings more efficient
    a. Team meetings and planning can be collaborated thru a wiki
    b. Each team can have their own team meeting page on the wiki site
  3. Collaborate on important documents
    a. Wikis are a great place to create, revise, and update the school education plan
  4. Enhance professional development
    a. All materials needed for professional development workshops can be housed in a wiki for the school
    b. Discussions can be created for each professional development workshops for teachers to extend their learning of the materials
  5. Share and collaborate on curriculum maps
    a. Teachers can collaborate and plan out their curriculum maps by subject, grade level or by school thru a wiki
  6. Save trees and time
    a. Many documents for the school can be housed in a wiki and teachers can access from the wiki printing only what they need
  7. A portal for all your lessons
    a. All lessons for a particular subject can be uploaded to a wiki where teachers can discuss, create and collaborate on the lesson plans throughout the school year
  8. How to get started
    a. Go to to learn more about creating a wiki for yourself, other teachers or for your school
    b. Do a search for Educational Wikis on the internet to see all the ways schools, teachers and students are using wikis

Article from Tech & Learning July 21, 2009
Eight Ways to Use School Wikis by Lisa Nielsen

The Morning Announcements

Do you remember morning announcements when you were in school? Not very exciting but times have changed with audio and video communication technologies. Many schools have learning stations, interactive boards, on-demand resources and Kiosk viewers in the halls. With all of this technology what is the best way to do the morning announcements?

Let’s look at three examples –

Formal Model
Some schools use a journalistic organizational approach with news meetings where the group discusses past, present and future stories for the morning announcements. The teachers who work with these students usually have a strong journalistic background. These high school students are producers, directors, reporters and anchors who were trained in middle schools. Many of these schools have production studios with students learning skills that can transfer to television and journalism jobs.

Informal Model
Each student has a job and usually rotates through the jobs to learn each position. Rather than a journalistic model these students produce a more expressive, democratic model. Students collect news from various sources including the Internet and present a more personal style to the morning news. These schools usually have a designated place to broadcast each morning using the computer, some type of camera and they show videos clips from earlier events. Somewhat scripted but certainly open to creativity and flexibility.

Morning Announcements as “Local News”

At some schools morning announcements are a unique blend of local news by students for students keeping them informed. It’s a presentation that meets the needs for that day. Throughout the school year many students will be involved with the morning news learning how to speak to the camera and present information to the school. These segments can be recorded that morning and presented as a short clip along with the principal's morning announcements for that day. Short, impromptu segments videoed by the teacher or other students for the next day's announcements.

Whatever style your school chooses it’s important for teachers to spend time teaching students how to create and present the morning news building their skills, confidence and understanding of how to use technology to create a presentation that best serves the school community. This is one way that schools and teachers can incorporate technology into the morning news and create opportunities for students to be involved in the learning process of creating and producing short informational presentations.

Article title: Morning Announcements – Reflections on a Timeless K-12 Ritual written by Michael Schoonmaker:

From School Video News: the For Teachers section.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

10 Ways to Become More Tech Savvy This Summer

Have fun checking out each of these tools and think about how you could integrate these tools into your lessons.

  1. Create a Video Vault
    a. Use Miro 2.0 (free open source HD video player and video podcast player) to select videos to use with classroom lessons. Save videos to a flash drive and you’re ready to content specific videos to your students.

  2. Using Photos
    a. Use Big Huge Labs to do fun things to photos, such as make posters or magazine covers.

  3. Creating Comics
    a. Turn pictures into a comic book by using Comic Life software or create storybooks or picture albums.

  4. Create a Wiki
    a. Wikis are a great place to organize, collaborate and share information with your students and staff. Try using PBWorks.

  5. Form a Questionnaire
    a. To help students understand content more deeply teachers need to question students. Try using SurveyMonkey to create professional online surveys for your students or staff.

  6. Share Snapshots
    a. Teachers can start a project within the school, district, or across the US by sharing images and information through Picasa, a free photo editing software from Google. Teachers can create photo web albums to share and students can enjoy adding pictures to the web albums.

  7. Survey a Situation
    a. By using Google Maps check our various locations your students will study this fall thru novels, social studies or historical events.

  8. Cache In
    a. Geocaching can be a great way for your students to find places they are studying. Geocaching uses a global-position-receiver that makes latitude and longitude come to life for your students.

  9. Know the News
    a. How great would it be for your students to read front page news items from around the world? To help students better understand the global economy think about using Newseum, an interactive online museum.

  10. Listen Up
    a. Have you ever wanted to set up a series of stories or poems for your students? By using Lit2Go teachers can select from free audio collections of public domain books to download for your students. Collections can be browsed by author, title, or database and can be downloaded as a PDF so students can read along while listening to the stories.

Take some time to browse through these great resources and think of all the ways these resources will motivate your students to be active, engaged learners.

Article from Edutopia The George Lucas Foundation – July 10, 2009:
Image from Microsoft Clip Art

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The UN's World Digital Library

Four years ago James Billlington, U.S. Librarian of Congress wanted to share cultural and educational data from the Library of Congress with anyone who had access to the Internet. On April 21, 2009, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Library of Congress unveiled the World Digital Library, a collection of 1,200 high-resolution digitized files that allows users to zoom in on ancient documents and archival photographs.

Resources may be searched by keywords, time period, place, type of item and the institution that contributed the data. Descriptions are given for the materials in seven languages while the documents are shown in their original languages. Currently there are books, journals, documents, photographs, audio and videos. There are currently 457 maps in the World Digital Library and I hope there are plans to continue adding cultural and educational data to this digital library.

Students and teachers can find interesting items like the first printed edition of a 16th-century Japanese novel called The Tale of Genji; a journal by Ferdinand Magellan kept from his voyage around the world; a panoramic view of Constantinople; to an early recording of Marseillaise, the national anthem of France.

To check out the new World Digital Library please click here or go to:

There are many ways that teachers and students could utilize this information to make learning more engaging and real world.

Article from Time Magazine April 22, 2009,8599,1892916,00.html

Image from the World Digital Library

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Global Competition: U.S. Students vs. International Peers

The U.S. has been leading a movement of discussion about the importance of educational technology and 21st Century Skills that all students need. But several countries are doing a better job of preparing students with technology skills which means that US schools could fall behind other countries in using educational technology to improve K-12 schools.

Australia, Britain, China and South Korea have launched plans to make sure students will know how to effectively use technology for learning and work. Developing countries such as India are making financial commitments to ensure that technology skills are taught in schools.

What makes the difference between U.S. students and international students? According to the article U.S. students know how to use cellphones, computer applications and multimedia equipment but they are not being taught to think critically about what they present, how to analyze content or how to employ tools for specific tasks and problems. Students are not receiving consistent, engaging, comprehensive instruction in how to apply technologies to the kinds of assignments given in schools or the workplace.

According to Donald G. Knezek schools need to instill critical thinking, analytical and technology skills as well as creativity, collaboration and communication into the curriculum. According to the article many states in the US have become more deliberate in infusing technology into the curriculum since the No Child Left Behind Act but states have been left to figure out how to reach this goal. How can schools help students gain “technology literacy”? How can schools engage students to use technology for more than Web research or as a presentation tool?

Here are several sources of information for teachers:
ISTE’s Educational Technology Standards for Students

Partnership for 21st Century Skills – Framework for 21st Century Learning

Intel Education Programs and Resources

Benefits of Technology Literacy Projects

Teachers: Content Literacy

Article from Digital Directions - June 16, 2009