Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Web Stuff 02/28/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Educator's Brief Guide to 21st Century Tools

(click to open bigger)

This weekend, Heidi Hayes Jacobs posted THIS BLOG POST on the ASCD Edge blog. While her post was about the way we continue to assess the kids with decades old brain had a little brainstorm and came up with the image above. Lately, I've been working in districts where a lot of tools are blocked, but the old standards are still there--though the kids are bored by them. I understand the need for safety, but that is something that is taught through experiences, not through a veneer of protection that ultimately teaches only avoidance behaviors.

Remember that scene in the 5th Harry Potter book where the "Defense Against The Dark Arts" teacher wanted to teach the students text-based things, versus the real defenses they needed and were dealing with outside of school? Pretty decent metaphor for 21st Century skills and learning.

Do you remember how that ended up? Ultimately, the kids just taught themselves, and the teacher was carried off by centaurs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Web Stuff 02/19/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Social Justice LIVE!

Social Justice LIVE! is a global action research project where 8th Grade Students in a North Carolina school collect and interact with information from multiple people, as they seek solutions to problems of justice.

Participants, anywhere in the world, can contribute their thoughts anytime between now and Tuesday, and can also join us for the live classroom event on Monday. In order to participate,

CLICK THIS LINK to go to the LiveBinder of resources.

Inside the Binder, you can choose a particular Social Justice issue by clicking on the relevant tab, each of which has subtabs for different ways to interact. You can choose to pose a question/answer in the Today’s Meet subtab. You can choose to leave a comment, relevant image, or response to others’ comments/images on the Wallwisher subtab. Or, you can choose to write a comment or leave a web resource link in the Google Doc subtab.

You can participate in any way, at any level, at any time between now and next Tuesday.

Students will be responding to, interacting with, communicating and collaborating during the LIVE event on Monday, February 21st between 12:00 and 1:00 PM. (EST) The event will be USTREAMED Live (click the link here or in the Binder...) and students will be able to interact with the world audience through live streaming chat and video.

Social Justice LIVE! is open to all...individuals, classrooms, both local and international, kids, adults, EVERYONE! The comments, questions, responses, resources--all interactions, will be data that these students (and anyone else who wants to use it!) will organize and write about in the days after the LIVE event. You can access the students’ blogs by CLICKING ON THIS LINK.

We hope you can join us for this Global Event, as we engage 21st Century Fluencies, New Forms of instruction, and unlimited opportunities for learning!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

No More Printing! Teachers Using Dropbox

I was working with a district this week in Western New York on upgrading their curricular practice. A lot times, when I do work like this, there is an in-the-moment needs analysis that ultimately directs the workshop time.

For this workshop, the teachers had a specific need to update the way in which they deliver resources to students. In the wake of the same financial crunch that everyone is dealing with nationwide, teachers were trying to find opportunities to share resources in an equitable way without continuing to print reams and reams of paper.

I shared the online file sharing and folder syncing Web 2.0 tool “DROPBOX” with the teachers. I explained that it would be an option for sharing resources with their students as well as an option for students to “turn work in” online. (Updating previous technology ‘turn in’ options of using a shared directory on the school’s network and/or using email.)

Instead of printing up a bunch of paper resources, including lab manuals, and hauling all of these papers around every time they needed to be graded, these High School Science teachers were able to construct a plan for using a Web 2.0 tool in an innovative way that suited their particular needs.

Specifically, they planned to create folders in the Dropbox system for each class, including a shared folder that all students could access. (Permission is granted based on the students having Dropbox accounts as well.) Within their framework, each class would have its own folder, and each student would have a shared folder within that class folder. This folder would only be accessible to the student and the teacher. Additionally, all folders would be private to the teacher and the students and not to the Internet at large. (See screenshot.)

Dropbox used in this way gives teachers and students ubiquitous, anytime/anywhere access to materials, from school computers, to home, to their mobile devices, etc. One of the teachers, on that day, also added the DropBox app to his iPad, along with a companion app (Noterize) to make notations on submitted student work and re-drop into the Dropbox folders. (You could also use iAnnotate or Smartnote apps)

We talked about considerations for access, the learning curve for students using the tool, and the reality of using a web 2.0 tool for something like this, since some web tools in this economy have proven to be ephemeral and could disappear at a moment’s notice. In this particular district, most students have access to the internet at home, and those that don’t have regular access to shared computers while at school, and the local libraries also provide access. If needed, students would also have options for getting print copies from the teacher and/or turning work in a traditional way. Additionally, since this application also installs a web-linked folder to a user’s computer; if the tool goes away, the folder still stays, so no resources are ultimately lost.

I thought this was a REALLY good idea and wanted to share. Not only does it save a tree or two, it lets teachers model the 21st Century ways in which we interact with and share information. My hope is that it will make things more convenient for these teachers and their students, and perhaps prompt the students to use web tools for instruction as creatively as their teachers!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Web Stuff 02/03/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

A Walk in the PARCC


I've been wanting to use that title for a couple of weeks now.

I've been collecting resources lately for Common Core Implementations and the associated Assessments that are coming: PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium).

I know that many of you are probably just now dealing with bringing the Common Core into your districts, and assessment options for 2014/2015 might not be on your plate right now. However, if you are interested in finding out more, I thought I'd share the links I've been saving around the assessments here:

Additionally, all of the resources that I'm saving around the Common Core are here:

Many of those links refer to different state’s pages around Crosswalk documents and Common Core Resources. If you’d like something that is a little easier to navigate, you can visit Curriculum 21’s LiveBinder of the same information here:

Curriculum 21's Common Core Crosswalk Binder

The Diigo links will be updated from time to time as I find new resources, and if you'd like to share any resources that are valuable to you...please put them in the comments section below and I’ll be sure and add them to the Diigo list.

Hope this is helpful!