The Compleatly Connected Teacher: Links from the NCTE 2006 Annual Convention Presentation
Welcome to our links page for the 2006 NCTE Annual Convention Presentation entitled, "The Compleatly Connected Teacher: Blogs and Related Technology for the 21st Century Teacher." We hope you found the presentation useful. Better yet, we hope you find this web of cool stuff useful as you continue to explore this technology and what it can do for you and your students.
If you've never used a wiki before, feel free to poke around. Click the "edit" tab at the top of the page to add what you'd like. Click "discussion" to ask a question or to comment on the page. Again, we hope the session was useful to you, and we'd be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have. Don't hesitate to stop by our blogs or to e-mail us directly. Here's a link to the audio from the session, recorded in November of 2006.
I came to blogging in January of 2005. Since I've begun to blog, I've discovered an amazing network of professionals with whom I have much in common. These are my teachers online. Via my aggregator, I am able to pick and choose the teachers I need, when I need them. Some have become colleagues and collaborators. Others have become friends. I approach Web 2.0, or the Read/Write Web, in my classroom from the perspective that we all have something useful to contribute, and we've all got lots to learn from each other. There is no reason why our students cannot and should not be participants in the global conversation that is the buzz of Web 2.0. By working purposefully, we can do meaningful work online and remain safe in the process. The promise of blogging and the related good stuff is that no longer are our students passive participants in their education. Now, they can drive.
I used the yarn today, as I have before, because I think that so many people coming to blogging, podcasting, or other "techie" stuff sometimes get so wrapped up in the what and the how that they don't think about the why. In my experience, people who have a solid grasp on why they're doing something are far more interested in learning about the how part. I'd rather you left our session feeling strongly about the why than about the how, although my colleagues are going to show you lots of how options. Then I hope that you become a blogging supporter.
My introduction to blogging and podcasting happened at the same time. Over Winter break in December of 2004 I was surfing the net and ran across tech-guruChris Pirillo’s site. I attended Southeast Polk High School with Chris many years ago and had heard that he was involved in exciting activities online, so I looked him up. He was immersed in blogging and had just created a post about podcasting. During the next spring semester and through that summer, I listened to more and more podcasts from This Week In Tech to David Warlick, advocate for educational blogging. What I found is an amazing network of people writing about everything from technology integration to poetry. This was something that I wanted to bring into my classroom.
When school started in the fall of 2005, I began SpartanCast. It started meagerly: a Blogger account, a cheap computer microphone and a class full of willing students. Our first podcast was a Creative Writing assignment in which students were given diagrams of patents that were submitted in the early 1900s. We recorded the explanations, uploaded them to the web and voila... SpartanCast was born.
From there I taught a student the podcasting process, and off she went. I use podcasting for many different purposes, including class projects and showcasing student work. SpartanCast links parents and community to the school. The staff gives students and parents information about upcoming events, recaps of activities, and insight into daily life at Hazelwood East.
In the fall of 2005, I started blogging and podcasting at roughly the same time. Blogger was the easiest and quickest way to begin blogging, so that became my first blog. I started that one as a method of providing aid for students who were absent from class. After learning more about blogs I started my current blog to reflect on teaching and educational issues.
- Character Analysis
- POV Diary -- Have students react to different prompts from the point of view of a character in a book or story.
- Educational Reflection -- Monthly blog entries about what students have done in class
- Homework Responses
- Collaboration -- Collaborate as a class or with other classes using comments
- Online buddies
- To Be Continued -- Students continue another student's story using comments.
- Radio Show
- Class announcements
- Translation -- Works well for foreign languages; students can replay
- Character Analysis
- Subscriptions -- to subscribe to blogs, users need an aggregator of some kind
- RSS feeds
- Publishes student work
- High interest activity for students
- Technology availability and skills
- Advertising-based sites that offer free services
- Time commitment
- Blog spam
- Acceptable Use Policies and Guidelines
(this was my PowerPoint slideshow and handout, just in case you didn't get a copy)
- Goals: American Literature class, use blogs as a place for students to reflect about readings, relating them to the "American Dream."
- Experiences using blogger.com:
- setting up accounts, linking people together, username and password problems, non-functionality of blogger due to our tech. department filtering
- Overall reflections:
- good interaction, but students didn't take it very seriously. Posts on blog were mostly "first-draft thinking," treating the blog as a chat room type of interaction. Technical difficulties made students who disliked computers frustrated and like them even less.
- Goals: A place for students to share writing with each other. This year the goal was to provide a place for second-draft writing, pieces that students had already looked at and worked on, pieces they were proud of.
- Rather than blogger.com, I'm using 21publish.com
- Portal with registered users, each user has his/her own blog, rather than just independent blogs
- Already connected together, bloggers can find each other very easily
- I have control: can delete/edit posts, can control user settings, can shut things down if I choose
- Works at my school
- I've been tossing around ideas for using wikis, including as a place to highlight good writing, a place to list writing strategies and vocabulary strategies, and we’ll see what else
- At blogger.com, I had students set up blogs and give me administrator privileges so that I could monitor and edit if necessary. This worked but was very time consuming in class. Some students also chose inappropriate usernames. While these were problems, it did allow students more individuality, more ownership.
- I've found it's better to spend the setup time on my own, entering usernames and passwords, rather than use class time to do so.
- Like all teaching, a clear goal is essential. Last year's blogging worked, but not very well. The writing did not go into the kind of depth I would have liked, and, as I faced more and more technical problems, we all lost interest and that contributed to the superficiality of the posts.
- Security vs. Censorship--for me, the safety and security always wins out. Others will disagree, but I will edit student posts that are inappropriate or unsafe. I tell students that this blog is an extension of my classroom and I have ultimate say on what is allowable.
- Greg’s website: http://wmrfh.org/vannest
- Go to online resources for links to student blogs and wikis
- Greg’s blog: http://vannest.edublogs.org
- Bud’s blog: http://budtheteacher.com
- Bill’s blog: http://wbass.edublogs.org
A Year of Reading Two teachers think about and write about their lives as readers. Yes, we want to try to have read the Newbery, but our reading lives are much bigger than just that.
Ms. Dersch's English Blog This is my new blog that is centered around my English 10 class. It will include information on current events, literary genres, as well as student work.
educating alice This blog is about teaching, my life’s work; literature, especially that created for children; history, especially as it is taught to and learned by children; Africa, especially Sierra Leone where I was a Peace Corps Volunteer; and other sundry topics as they come to my attention.