Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Web-based Resources: The Musical

Today, I presented a number of useful resources available out there on the web to the district's technology committee.

From a show of hands, many of them had heard of and read blogs, which is a great start. Unfortunately, only one other person had a blog, and she admitted that it was in need of an update. Still, this is a start. My hope is that the resources I showed them today help push them toward using these tools in their own lives and in their classrooms.

We started with blogs and, specifically, Class Blogmeister, which is an incredibly teacher friendly way to have students use blogs in a safe, managable way.

Then it was time for wikis. Most had heard of/used wikipedia and used the tech committee wiki I had set up for posting subcommittee work. This is encouraging. Those of us on the tech committee are seen as the ones out in front of the wave (rightly so or otherwise); we need to be using the tools.

We then spent a fair amount of time on bloglines and furl as tools to help control the flow of information. I also showed them how these tools are part of the social, information gathering network, which naturally led to how powerful the sharing of information can become in a classroom.

We wrapped up with SuprGlu. This tool has enormous potential for pulling together all the bits and pieces a class is creating on line. All the furled content, all the blog entries and flickr postings, across multiple classrooms (and even subject areas) gathered together in one place for the students to use.

I only had an hour, and I really feel like I ended up blasting through most of it. My hope is that a few bits sink in, here and there, and people start by playing around with these things on their own. I have already been asked to do a more in depth session when we can get together in a lab and really do some hands on work with each of the resources.

Overall, things went well. Anyone visiting from the committee, leave a comment, become part of the conversation, and have fun playing with these new tools.

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