Web 2.0 Tools


We’ve had a lot of ongoing conversations about the Palm Beach Technology Conference held this past Friday and it’s great that so much of that is happening via Twitter. In the widget below you’ll see results of a search done for our “official” hashtag from the Tech Conference: #pbtechconf. You can keep the conversation going by using that tag when you post and your posting will be added here. Fun!


We have a few teachers covering our district blogging platform as we ramp up the scale of our service. It’s pretty exciting and our annual Technology Conference is a great place to get some new teachers started.

Of course, being a public school district we have plenty of rules and policies that have to be followed as well as solid practical advice from the time we’ve spent watching students and teachers interact with blogs.

If you’d like to see how we handle some of the common issues that come up with blogging and glean some ideas from our policies feel free to download our Acceptable Use for Classroom Blogs here.

He makes a decision... his own choice

John Shoemaker set up a Shelfari book club with all the books from one of my previous blogposts.

I know it took a lot of time to set up (so, a BIG thank you to John) but it won’t take a lot of time for YOU to join and participate in the discussions. If you’re interested, just join Shelfari (free), and join our group. It will be a great activity to do for the summer that can carry well into the school year.

You’ll see that Shelfari allows you to add books to your own shelf, and track whether you’ve read them, are reading them currently or plan to read them. You can rate them, mark them as favorites, comment and recommend for others. You can also add friends and send messages to each other as well as view the most popular books being read and recommendations for you.

I’ve already started my first book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, by Rafe Esquith fwhich will be followed by  The Herb Kohl Reader by Herbert Kohl. For those of you who are interested in joining us on Shelfari, but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about, here are two recent segments from PalmBreezeCAFE where I show Kim Cavanaugh how to use Shelfari.


Shelfari Part I



Shelfari Part II

The nice thing about the Shelfari group is that there is a discussion set up for each book on the original list, so you can not only jump in on any discussion on any book, but you can throw in your own book and add your own discussions!

A cross-state collaborative event occurred between one of our teachers here at Waters Edge ES (Mr. Fisher) and a teacher in Chicago (Mrs. Broos) to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday.

5th grade students completed a KWL on VoiceThread and were then grouped in 2’s from partnering classes to conduct research together. They collaborated by creating their own VoiceThreads, adding their documents and leaving each other comments. Classes communicated using Adobe Connect and the links were shared on Edline. In addition, this has all been uploaded to MediaShare (search “lincoln”) for the ultimate sharing experience for all teachers to be able to replicate. As if that isn’t enough, Mrs. Weinroth  and Emilie from WOWL and one of the anchors from PalmBreezeCAFE were on the scene to capture it all!

On this final day (shown in the video) the Mrs. Broos’ class in Chicago had an assembly and put on a show while the class here watched and participated.

I hope you will take just a few minutes to watch the video and check out their VoiceThread.

Skills:

American History

Government

Research Skills

Effective use of technology

Back in August, Kim posted here about word clouds, specifically using Wordle to build them. I found this extremely timely interactive website while reading Larry Ferlazzo’s blog. The New York Times has created an interactive look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses. The most-used words in each address appear in the interactive chart, sized by number of uses. Words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in each inaugural address than average. Included is the full text of each address as well.

After listening to President Obama’s, can your students (or perhaps as a whole class) use Wordle to create their own?

Is It Stressful?
It’s not uncommon during the gift-giving season to find yourself exchanging gifts with many, MANY, many people. Certainly there’s people from your family, but then there’s teachers in your schools or perhaps you belong to a church group, sports team or a MahJongg group. (Hi Mom! How’s the MahJongg coming?). Dare I even say, as I approach 50 (in 4 years, don’t rush me), the Red Hat Society? And how “Scroogey” is it to decline your part? Downright embarrassing, but sometimes necessary. Even putting a price limit on gifts can still cause quite a bit of stress on participants when there are so many involved.

Find Your Inner Elf
If you haven’t already considered organizing a Secret Santa Or Secret Hann-u-Claus or a Festivus For The Restivus exchange, now is the time. It’s not too late.

Watch and Learn
I was first introduced to Elfster by good friend, Steve Dembo. He finds the best stuff online and as quickly as he finds this stuff, he’s shared it with his friends (all 2,769 of them). I’m not going to explain Elfster any further because I know you are just DYING to watch this segment from the PalmBreeze CAFE where I explain how to set up your very own gift exchange and of course, I give credit to Steve for organizing probably the world’s largest gift exchange ever with Educators world-wide.

If you like this segment, you can subscribe to all the PalmBreezeCAFE segments through iTunes by clicking here!

How do you handle gift-giving during the holidays?

If you are looking for an EASY and very cool way to promote community amongst your interest groups, I have found TabUp to be an outstanding resource. If your school district or community group does not provide you with your own web presence FREE TO YOU, and you would like to create a private, semiprivate, or open destination for communication, TabUp can provide just what you are looking for.

With features like a shared calendar, forums for discussion, links to various web resources, and the ability to make this modrated or invite only ALL FOR FREE, I can’t think of a school group, sports team, or common interest group that would not find some use for this service. Please take a look, and add your thoughts to this page. The page is not intended to be a primary source of new information, but rather a living example of another great FREE tool available to educators and community groupsI will be automatically notified of any changes or additions, and will be sure to act on valid suggestions.

Me neither but I felt like I was very close!

Today, I had the pleasure of video conferencing with a 5/6 grade class in Central Butte, Canada. Participating in the activity was (teacher) Barb Mcinnis (& her students), Tim Lauer (Portland, Oregon), Tom Barrett (Nottingham, England) and Dean Shareski (Moose Jaw, Canada). This is direct from Mrs. Mcinnis’ class blog

:

The grade 5/6 students had the chance to meet people from different parts of the world thanks to wireless technology!  On Tuesday, November 4 we participated in a web conference.  We had the opportunity, thank you to Dean Shareski (division technology) to interview educators from Nottingham, England;Portland, OR; Florida; and Moose Jaw via a web cam.  We were able to see and talk to these individuals. We first asked them questions to try and locate them, then we talked about the wireless technology that exists in their classrooms and schools.  Wow!  there are sure some great pieces of technology being used!! This project came about from an article we had read called “Get Set For the Net”. This article helped us understand how past inventions lead us to the wireless age we live in. Most of the students take this age for granted and do not realize the negative and positive effects it can have on our lives. We watched “Smart Guy:Stranger on the Net” to help us become more “Net” smart. Then we decided to do something positive and exciting with our wireless technology.

I’d like to commend Mrs. Mcinnis for her innovative vision as she seeks out relevant technologies to make learning for her students relevant. Wouldn’t you love to be in her class? This is an easy and free activity that took less than 40 minutes and can easily be replicated in YOUR classroom. Where would you find another class to communicate with? Try ePals, for starters.

This is the edited version that Dean created (5 min):

This is the entire conversation (40min):

Thank you, Dean, for asking me to participate. It was truly a pleasure to “meet” Tim, Tom, Mrs. Mcinnis and all of her students.

P.S. I hope my clues (about where I live) still have them stumped!!

The Technical Stuff:
We used Adobe Connect to have our online conversation and I recorded the session. When we were finished, I downloaded the video in .flv format (the default for recorded Adobe Connect sessions) and then uploaded that file to our school district’s Vodcast server (Video On Demand). I was then able to copy the code (anyone know how to read code??? Certainly not me, but I know how to copy and paste!) and pasted it into this blog. Code like that can be pasted into ANY webpage, including Edline! The video is also available on MediaShare along with a description so other teachers can easily access and replicate similar activities in their classes.

As most of you are probably aware, we will host our 11th annual SDPBC Technology Conference in March 2009. We are pleased to be returning to Santaluces High School for the second consecutive year. Here an example of a free online publishing tool that you can employ to spread the word. Feel free to share this countdown with anyone you think might want to have it simply by clicking on share in the lower left corner! Or better yet… go to www.sproutbuilder.com create a free account and build your own! You can build all kinds of widgets and other neat things. If you build something you’d like to share, LET US KNOW!!

If you wold like to add a little personality to your Edline page, possibly lighten up the presentation of some of your content, or try and inject some creativity into your project based learning. I recommend checking out Go!Animate. You’ll find this web based publishing program at www.goanimate.com and it does require an email to create an account, but the service is free and FUN!! Here’s an example of something I put together in about 15 minutes, and I am still learning the interface. Your students will amaze you!!
Get Creative!!

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