Thursday, March 8, 2007

Response to Chapter 9

Chapter 9: What It All Means

"When today's students enter their post-education professional lives, odds are pretty good that they will be asked to work with others collaboratively to create content for diverse and wide-ranging audiences." (126) There truly is a gap in the expectations of the future and the expectations of today's educational system. Traditionally, we as teachers keep our students disconnected from the outside world by having them write assignments to us or to their peers, and then product is finished. The web opens up their world of learning and teaching others, so that we are not the only teachers, and they are not the only students.

The web requires that the student become a "critical reader and viewer, not simply accepting what is presented." (126)

It's interesting that our students do not need to know all the answers, but know where to find them. I have found that good web search skills are so important, really the basis to successful research.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Great WebQuest!

As I searched through WebQuests to find something appropriate and worthwhile for a high school English class, I came across a great one for learning poetry. The link is as follows:

It is called "Poetry Quest", and is written by Robert Keim. I was impressed with the amount of information, the layout, step by step instruction, and, best of all, ALL the links are active (as of 2/28/07). The end result of the WebQuest:

"With a partner, students will create an informative booklet titled "Guide to Poetry" which must include the following:

Comprehensive list of poetic elements (at least 10 elements)
List of types (forms) of poetry (you'll choose 26 types)
Definitions and examples of terms from both lists"

I feel like this WebQuest is a little more comprehensive than just a quick overview of the elements of poetry. If the WebQuest is TOO comprehensive for your liking, there is a "lite" version that still covers a good bit of information, but will take less time.

Overall, it is very well done, fun to look at (colorful, but not too distracting), and the tasks are in a logical order. Thanks, Robert Keim, for all your hard work!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Response to Chapter 6: The Social Web

My response to Chapter 6: The Social Web: Learning Together...

I am really excited about the concept of Social Bookmarking. As a teacher, I feel like I waste so much time searching the internet for some web pages, ideas, worksheets, etc because most of the stuff I come across is useless to me. When I finally find something that will work, I make sure I bookmark it for further inspection at a later time. How wonderful it would be if I could save some of that time by browsing through other English teachers' social bookmarks. Typically we only bookmark sites that are actually helpful, so the chances of finding something usable on others' social bookmarks are good.

I signed up with and, so I will learn more about their usefulness as I continue to play with them and personalize them. I am just getting used to using tags, so I know I will get better at knowing how to accurately tag a site so that it can be useful to others.

The ideas in this chapter will definitely decrease my frustration as I search for neat things to do with my class. And it can help my students when they are doing some searching of their own. So much to learn, so little time!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Response to Chapter 8:Podcasts

Podcasts sound very attractive to me as a teacher of EBD middle and high schoolers. I have a small handful of students who like to write. All the others would rather talk all day. Podcasts could put all that vocal energy to good use. Planning a podcast could prove to be interesting as they would have to have some kind of plan before recording. But many are very creative, and would make quite interesting recordings. They could also work on social skills by creating a group podcast, reporting on a topic of the week or general class news. Hmmmmmmmmmm. I will have to put some of these ideas to the test!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Response to Chapter 4: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts...

Before reading this chapter I wasn't sure how accurate wikis might be, but Richardson laid many of those fears to rest. Although content can be edited at any time, many are always watching those changes and will correct them if needed.

I see the advantages of using wikipedia as a research tool in the classroom, but also as using it as a tool for the class to collaborate on a certain subject. Students would find it interesting to add and change info in a wiki. I think it would hold their interest much longer than doing a common research paper. It may also be a good way to unify a group of students at the beginning of a new class.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Response to "Adopt and Adapt" and "Synching up with the iKid"

I found these two articles a bit frustrating. I felt as if they were reprimanding teachers for not using every technological advancement available in the classroom. Unfortunately (and as the author noted), sometimes the teacher is the last one to have the option to use technology in the classroom, aside from the basic internet usage. Board members and superintendents make many of those decisions long before the first lesson plan in August is implemented.

According to “Adopt and Adapt”’s definition, I mostly do old thinks in old ways, and sometime old things in new ways. I am willing to try new things in new ways, but I am definitely a creature of habit, and I generally have the opinion that “what was good enough for me as a student is good enough for my students.” I honestly have to fight that one a lot.

My basic feeling after reading these two articles is…tell me what to do and I’ll do it. If I don’t know it’s out there, I can’t use it. And if I don’t know how to revolutionize my classroom with technology, I will stick with what works.

I am well aware that students these days can multitask electronically. My 13-year-old daughter sits at the computer on MySpace, chatting with at least four different people on iChat, and talking on her cell phone, all at the same time.

The best idea out of the whole readings (in my opinion) is the school that uses no textbooks, only PC’s. It was a good example of how to get technology into the schools that would better keep our students informed on the newest advances in science, etc. I would be interested in finding out how well that went over in that school. What were some of their major problems? What were some of their successes? How can we use their knowledge to help our students?

Lesson Plan using

Using the picture below as an example, I will have my students take pictures on a digital camera, choosing one that they would like to write a poem about. Each student will upload their own picture on Flickr and add text within the picture that reflects their poem. The poem can be posted onto the Flickr website along with the picture. One of the main objectives of this lesson is to get each student to take ownership of their writing, and to feel like they have some "say" in what they can write about. It will get them thinking about key words that reflect the mood and topic of their poem. Also, the movement of going outside or around the building to take pictures will hopefully get their creative juices flowing, and create excitement about a task (writing poetry) that is difficult for some.