Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Demonstration classroom: getting started

Students start next Tuesday, the 4th, and the various pieces of the demonstration classroom are coming together. I'll be using 21classes this semester with my English and journalism students. We will start with just the class blog, but as the semester moves along, the students will also have personal learning blogs.

The next piece of the puzzle will be developing the classroom portal, which will serve as a front door to the various web-based tools. My district is using dotnukenet, and so far I've found it fairly straightforward and easy to use. I'm looking forward to having a single URL that will connect students, parents, and fellow educators to all the pieces.

I still need to see if there is a way to provide an RSS feed for the portal. Anyone using RSS with dotnukenet for their classroom / school web portal?

Monday, August 13, 2007

What to tell the principals?

Next Monday, the 20th, I get to spend roughly 90 minutes talking about the wonders of the read/write web with all of the district principals, assistants, and deans. Originally, the plan was to have 3 hours with them during which time I was going to facilitate a more hands on exploration of all things web 2.0. I agree whole heartedly with Will Richardson when he discusses how the transformative nature these tools have on learning only fully reveals itself through use, so I had planned getting them set up with an RSS aggregator, a blog, and an initial "welcome back to school" message recorded as a podcast. Unfortunately, time constraints I learned about today have forced a change in venue and schedule.

Now the plan lacks the hands on nature, so I want to show how these tools are being used by students. That is where you come in. I will be doing the presentation twice, once for high school principals and once for the K-8 crowd. I have some high school level projects in mind (NPR's YouthCast, Vickie Davis & Julie Lindsay's Flat Classroom, and Clay Burell et al's 1001 Flat World Tales) but know little about what has been going on in the younger grades. So, those who know of good examples of younger students (or even a great high school example) using the read/write web please leave a comment sharing the resource.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Growing up the son of a media specialist, there were rules when it came to the proper care and handling of books. Dust jackets were taken off of books while actively reading them. Paperback were never opened beyond 180 degrees. And the only appropriate way to keep your place was by employing some kind of bookmark--dog earing a page was a sin. As a habitual "loser of small things", bookmarks frequently are scraps of whatever paper was at hand.

So, when I finally started reading The World is Flat this summer, I grabbed the first handy scrap on my nightstand, a ticket stub from one of this summer's blockbusters. Today, I happened to notice which ticket stub I had grabbed.

Thanks to Ewan MacIntosh for the invite to Skitch. What a fun program/web service.