Monday, July 30, 2007

For Dr. Marcovitz

How I met and/or exceeded the project guidelines for Web 2.0:
  1. A blog is created with a welcome message by the 2nd of the semester: The welcome message was up and completed before the end of the firs class.
  2. At least two entries are made for each of three Web 2.0 technologies: As you can see I have chose blogging, podcasts, and social networks as my technologies to view. I have included 3 posts on blogging, 5 posts on podcasts, 6 posts on social networks, and I even included an interesting post on vodcasting using TeacherTube.
  3. Each technology is discussed in terms of its technical features and educational uses: Each technology is discussed fully in how it will work best in the classroom, and I have also included links to articles, and teacher forums about the different technologies. I also discussed how and when things worked well and when it didn't.
  4. The blog is open to everyone to read, and you can choose how to handle comments: The blog is open to everyone, and I have even received outside comments. For now comments are allowed.
  5. An example of your use of each technology is linked from the blog: For my blog example I obviously have this blog, but also included a link to how a fellow AP teacher uses blogs. For the first time ever, I made my own podcast on how I would use podcasting in the classroom. And for the social networking technology I was created my a Facebook & Myspace page to see what resources could be used in the classroom.
  6. At least two helpful external resources for each technology are linked from the blog : As you can see in the post itself I have included links to information and sample items for each technology. On the side of the blog I have included websites that I thought were of interest to do the different topics discussed.
  7. A link is made to each of your classmates blogs : As you can see I included all of my classmates blogs as well as a link to Loyola.
  8. Correct grammar, spelling, and usage is used throughout the blog: Spell check was used for each post, and as I found errors I was able to go back and edit the post.

YouTube for Teachers

I came across the website called TeacherTube and I thought it was a great way for teachers to find and upload their videos that they use in the classroom. Teachers can also use it as professional development to learn about different technologies, etc.

Here is one example of a video that explains How to Evaluate Websites:

This is an example of a video that a teacher created to go along with the song by Billy Joel for "We didn't start the fire." If I was still teaching U.S. History I would use this at the end of the school year for a wrap up. I have seen a few videos to go with this song, but this one seems to be done the best.

RSS in Plain English

I wanted to try embedding a video into my blog, I had seen others with them on their site and thought I would give it a try. So I picked the topic of RSS.

I know what RSS (really simple syndication) feeds do, but this little video from YouTube gave a clear and simple explanation of how RSS works and is connected.

Blogging Rubric

I found this rubric on Education World for grading blog posts. I thought it was an interesting way to hold students accountable for what they are posting. Grading or at least having standards for each blog post would be my concern. You may have students that write a lot and then students who do not write enough. Having a rubric would help all students identify your expectations as a teacher as well as making sure their comments are appropriate. Obviously this rubric will need to be changed to fit your specific assignment, but is a great jumping off point.

Here is another example of a blogging rubric.

H.R.5319 - Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006

In 2006 H.R. 5319 - Deleting Online Predators Act was introduced into the House by Rep. Michael G Fitzpatrick in order to:
"amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms." As of July 2006 the bill was stuck in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It was obviously killed or tabled because no further action occurred until it was re-introduced in January of 2007 by Senator Ted Stevens. Again as of January 4, 2007 it was still in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

In essence this bill would take away any federal Internet subsides that schools receive if they do not block social networking sites. The goal of this bill is to protect children from the predators that lie within social networking site. Thought this is a goal of anyone who has or works with children. I think it is also a little too "big brother" as the government would block all social networking site, would that include Elgg? which could possibly just be focused on your group. And what about blogs, instant messaging services, and all the other sites that kids can find and so can the predators. There has to be a better way.

For more information read this article : US House: Schools must block MySpace, many other sites

Elgg: Controlled Social Networking?

According to their website Elgg is:
"an open source social platform based around choice, flexibility and openness: a system that firmly places individuals at the centre of their activities. Your users have the freedom to incorporate all their favorite tools within one environment and showcase their content with as many or as few people as they choose, all within a social networking site that you control."

In August of 2006 ELGG Spaces was about ready to launch, it allows any one to sign up and have a tailored environment for their organization. This seems like it would be great for teachers because it allows teachers to create a space specifically for their class, however they are no longer accepting new sign ups.

Some Universities are using Elgg as a private blogging site, some as a course management tool, and some as a campus-wide social network.

Example: University of Brighton

Say No to Myspace for Education

So in the advent of trying to use social networking sites as an educational tool I moved from Facebook to Myspace, and the consensus is - Myspace would not work well in the classroom.
Here is a link to the Myspace site I created.
Compared to Facebook it lacked some of the on site options. In Myspace you could do polls and add other program features but it seemed to always bring you off site. In Facebook most of it was on the individual homepage. As far as the 2008 election, more of the Republicans seem to have their information on Myspace rather than Facebook, so there was a variety of candidates. Some of the candidates did have videos and pictures and blogs but all these things were found on Facebook and seemed to be better placed. I think I would leave Myspace for just social networking. I don't feel it could be used as well as Facebook and with all the taboo following Myspace, Facebook seems a better choice.