Thursday, February 28, 2008

Class Notes on-line - Good idea?

I recently had a conversation with one of our history teachers who is also interested in using technology to better his teaching. He has done a little bit of work on our new school website, drupal, and has stopped. He would like to post his in-class notes on-line and allow the students more choice. However, this poses a few problems:

1. Are you notes credible enough for the world to see?
2. Will this encourage laziness?
3. Does this take away from the obvious need for students to practice writing?
4. What do you do with the vacant time traditionally used for note taking?
5. If we don't teach them note taking skills, are we preparing them for the work world?

I am tentative to put notes on-line, especially since I am from an ELA background. I believe in the the severe need for students today to practice Writing, Reading and arithmetic. I am frightened when I look at my own teaching practices and how many times I have not given sufficient time for students to effectively practice the skills they need.

"We are beginning to use these (computers) as a crutch not a tool" - Kevin Burningham (ELA teacher)

I agree, students are too willing to use a crutch in life today, as teachers I am afraid we would be hurting our students more than helping them if we allow or even encourage them to use a crutch.

Like my great grandfather always says, "Everything is good in moderation." - Alan Bexson (104 yrs old)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Possiblities of Blogging

What better way to follow up the "Why Blog?" entry than an inspirational video. Recently I attended a session by Dean Shareski in which he discussed publishing. In his presentation he showed this video to explain some of the importance and possiblities of blogging.

After watching this video I hope you too can see where our world is heading towards, or at least where we can go.

Click her to watch video.

"Is this not what we should be teaching?" - Dean Shareski

I couldn't agree more!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why Blog?

After a recent on-line conference with Dean Shareski, I subcribed to his and a few other presenters blogs. One of the interesting articles I read was about integrating technology into the classroom for the wrong purposes. Using technology for the sake of using technology is a discredit to the education system.

I agree fully with this idea and I am guilty of it. This year I became a member of the Living Sky School Division In-Tech's and since then have dove head first into the uses of technology in both my pesonal life and professional life. I started with waht turned out to be a big mistake. I had my classes blog, basically for the sake of blogging. And as it is stated time and time again by those wiser than me, this does not work.

Shortly after this blunder, I attented the K-12 On-line conference and was caught by Konrad Glogowski's view of blogging in the classroom and more specifically how to assess and evaluate the blogs, making this a littel more relevant to my curricula. After looking at Konrads' blog, I was inspired.

I have now developed a blogging project that is based on the portfolio model. My ELA 10A class chooses a topic under the umbrella "The Unknown" and do on-line and off-line research on that topic. The receive 1/2 hour per week and are required to blog about the research. In those blogs, I have my students complete certain grammatical and writing objectives as an application assessment. Again this forces the relevant issue. At the end of the project they write a persuasive essay proving their topic to be real or a hoax and present a formal presentation using many of the Web 2.o tools I have taught them in the first ten minutes of each blogging class.

I once had a collegue say, "Blogging is professional suicide." I could not disagree more. In this adventure I am seeing more interest, self learning and shared learning than in any of my classroom teaching. I am looking forward to the presentations and seeing how their writing skills grow through their blogs.

Next step, global project. I would like to take this globaly and get into podcasting and video podcasting.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Google Reader

Let me start by saying, I LOVE GOOGLE! I have begun investigating my google account and found so many cool ways to organize myself. The latest, Google Reader. . I have set it up and found the viewing option to be so useful.

When you view an update from any of your readers blogs, the reader automatically marks it as read. This feature allows me to view my blogs in a book or newspaper style, just simply read. No clicking, No checking read, just easy efficient reading.

Google has other uses I plan on trying, photo, calendar, etc. I hope to be as excited at these as I am about the reader.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Google Documents

I have recently had a number of conversations about microsoft and google. The IP10 teachers in my school were teaching their students document files (MS Word) and I suggested GoogleDocs. We have decided to embark on a interdisciplinary lesson using GoogleDocs.

My ELA 1o classes will be doing research essays and they will complete these on their new Google accounts. I hope to see the students electric researching skills grow, as this is a major skill needed for the future.

A few worries I have is that the students will get stuck on either; looking at sites not reading them, or writing their entire essay based on one website. I hope to guide them into an organized and well rounded researcher.