Classroom

From the “Will Richardson always makes me think file,” I found this quote from one of his latest Weblogg-ed posts, New Reading, New Writing, to really set the wheels in motion.

Is social reading and social writing in our kids’s futures? I don’t think there is much doubt about that. More and more I’m finding Diigo annotations and notes cropping up on the articles and essays that I read, and by and large I’ve found the commentors to be serious, thoughtful and articulate.

Much like Mr. Richardson points out, I’ve been finding Diigo annotations more and more myself since I started using the Diigo toolbar for Firefox. When I read that quote initially, it had me thinking about how Diigo might look in a classroom environment. I guess I was thinking more of a 1-on-1 environment. However, upon further reflection, I don’t think that would be the best way to integrate Diigo.

Why, you ask? To me, Diigo is a tool that you use during those quiet, reflective times. Alone to your work, Diigo is there to help you push that bright yellow highlighter across digital text, rather than the thin pages of a paperback. You don’t really use Diigo with a crowd. You use it during “me” time, when you’re in a reflective mood and capable to be attentive and think critically about what you are reading. For most students, I don’t think that type of “me” time happens very often during the 6-8 hours that they are cramped in a classroom desk with 30 other kids around them. So when and how would a student use Diigo?

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Back in January of 2007 I had the opportunity to travel to Indiana University and meet with Dr. Curtis Bonk to talk about his work with educational technology, learning objects and e-Learning. I learned a tremendous amount from that trip and have since kept in contact with Dr. Bonk, whose latest book has been a great resource in improving my own teaching practice.

When I saw one of Dr. Bonk’s recent updates on Facebook was in regards to using wikis in the early elementary classroom, I eagerly dropped him a line to offer my assistance since I have given numerous presentations on this topic. As it turns out, you might be able to help Dr. Bonk and his colleagues as well, plus have a chance to win an iPod Nano! See details from Dr. Bonk below and thanks in advance for your assistance!

A research team from Ohio University and Indiana University is conducting a study of the use of wikis in the classroom by early childhood and elementary teachers and would love those of you using wikis in these age groups to help. If you are a P-6 educator who is using wikis in your classroom please consider contributing to the study. TAKE THE SURVEY

Those taking the survey will be entered in a drawing for a free iPod nano. Anyone volunteering to be interviewed about their experiences will be entered into a second drawing. The survey will take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. When you enter the survey site, you will first be asked to initial and date a consent form to indicate that you agree to participate in the study. If you have any questions, the researchers can be contacted via at the emails listed below.

Dr. Lena Lee, Assistant Professor, Ohio University, School of Human and Consumer Sciences, leer2@ohio.edu
Dr. Curt Bonk, Professor, Indiana University, School of Education, cjbonk@indiana.edu
Ms. Chun-Yi Lin, Doctoral Student, Indiana University, School of Education, cl17@indiana.edu

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Let’s take a closer look at the educational application Word Magic from anusen.com, which is available for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. The application is currently on sale for 99 cents.

DESCRIPTION:

Word decoding is an important phonics skill for students to master. Effective teachers combine  the use of context or picture clues when they provide instruction in this area. Word Magic applies this pedagogical approach to a skill based iPhone app that provides students of various skill levels to use multiple clues and problem solving strategies to figure out unknown words. This instructional component provides plenty of potential for classroom use.

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Let’s take a closer look at the educational application Wheels on the Bus from Duck Duck Moose, which is available for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. The application is currently on sale for 99 cents, but is regularly $2.99.

DESCRIPTION:

Wheels on the Bus is an interactive musical book for iPhone and iPod Touch, based on the familiar children’s song. Children can listen, sing and read along to the popular tune. The song contains eight different verses that allow children to touch and move objects and characters on every page. FORWARD ad BACK buttons are provided for easy navigation between each page and verse. Occasionally, children will discover fun surprises and sounds by touching an object on a page. Users can spin the wheels, open and close the doors, swish the wipers, make a dog bark and my favorite, pop some bubbles.

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Cell phone trifecta

When I was working on my masters degree in the principalship, I was involved in a program that utilized a classroom walkthrough (CWT) tool. This methodology was employed as a means for educational leaders to collect data in regards to what type of professional practice they observed in their school building. From there, principals had a base of data to review and analyze as they made decisions about what type of professional development their staff needed. Since that experience, I’ve been thinking that designing a CWT for the iPhone/iPod Touch would be a great project to work on.

If there is anyone who is using a CWT on a handheld device currently (I know of one option, but I’m not crazy about it…) or if you are using a more traditional method of CWT, I’d be interested in talking about it with you here or on the IEAR NING where I have also cross posted this entry on the discussion board. I think this would be a great app to get started on. Any thoughts?

Photo Credit: Cell phone trifecta by williamhartz, on Flickr

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iPod Touch Theme

I’ve been delivering professional development and providing training on iPods, iTunes and podcasting for about 3 years. When I first started working with educators in this area, I was toting around a fourth generation Classic iPod with me. At that time, I’d say that about 90% of the teachers I worked with had never had an iPod, used iTunes or even knew what a podcast was. While that percentage has probably gone down somewhat over the years, most districts I work with still want the focus of PD to lean more towards creating podcasts and using the iPod as a playback device. I am always happy to work with teachers on this kind of stuff, but it is a little discouraging since I know the device could be used for so much more in classrooms.

While the iPod technology has developed rapidly, i.e. numerous models, video capacity, multi-touch interface, most of the teachers I interact with are still trying to come to grips with how to master using the iPod as a portable media player. My conversations with them are most often centered around “how do I download this,” or “can I put movies on this thing?” In the hustle of a school day, our conversations rarely get to grow beyond the normal troubleshooting variety. I never really get the chance to talk to teachers about the education potential of iPhones/iPod touch. This leaves me constantly searching for conversations with other people who understand what mobile devices would/could mean to teacher practice.
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This is a personal blog. The resources, information and views presented on Raised Digital are solely the opinion of Jeremy S. Brueck, and are not meant to reflect the views of my employer.


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Why Raised Digital?

Today’s students were born digital but those responsible for their education were not. Youngsters arrive at school in tune with the social context and experience the Web offers. Children thrive when teachers find ways to educate them in a more flexible, hypertext manner. This space focuses on development of and support for teachers in their use of technology as they cultivate 21st century content knowledge and skills in their students.