New Tools, New Schools: Starting the …

June 26, 2007

New Tools, New Schools: Starting the Conversation about Web 2.0




Gwen Solomon, with Timothy Magner, Will Richardson, Lynne Schrum and David Warlick


Technorati tag: necc, n07s702




  • Blogs motivate kid, real work changes classroom
  • Kids need to become learning environment
  • Challenges, yeah buts,
    • Lack of tech, admin understanding, time
    • Even though a lot of teacher who use these tools, pedagogy has not changes
      • Transfer from paper to cpu
    • Skills require deep understanding by teachers and admin in their own practice
    • Halfway down the road
      • Understand tools
      • Need to understand pedagogy



  • Staff development–topic
  • The kids are different, teachers are not
  • It is about respecting the audience
    • On-line handouts via wikis
    • Share password, respect audience to add to content
    • Tag presentation to draw in audience
  • Aggregator for del.ic.ious
    • NECC is emergence of learning, cannot turn around without learning
  • No one tool, always something new to facilitate learning


Schrum–higher ed representative

  • Technology is fun, but does it improve student learning
    • Not a lot of evidence on the bottom line, which is unfortunately test scores
    • How do we document this success
    • Everyone has stories, need documentation
    • How do we get the story out
  • Pre-Service piece
    • Need models
    • Research does show that educators will do anything to help students learn if they believe a task works
  • How do we do this?
    • Good models specific to content
      • Math, social studies, etc
      • Tools and teaching in each subject is different
      • Key is collaboration
      • Researchers willing and desire to work with teachers who use this new technology


Gwen Solomon

  • Need for models
  • Wonderful new tools, give new capabilities to teachers and kids that provide new experiences
  • One thing if principals and administrators tell teachers something works
  • Different if teachers tell each other, via stories



Timothy Magner

  • Everyone today went through industrial education for industrial society
  • None of us has idea who information school looks like
  • No common entry point
    • People know what school is like (football, prep assemblies, etc)
    • People know what Web 2.0 is
    • What is school 2.0?
  • School 2.0
    • Links home, school, community
    • Potential to fundamentally alter school
    • Cannot embrace everything or will lose mission, must embrace some to change dynamic of structure
    • What are students going to do in 6 hrs that will meet their needs?
      • Empowering education system not buying cool toys no one can use
    • Global community discussion
      • Teachers, administrators, parents–all must be involved
    • Visual world, need to create a common visual of this idea
      • Sketch is just that, must allow for something to be erased, added, collaboratively creative





  • Send your stories, experiences to:
  • David Jakes
    • Five guys on skype chatting about the panel while it is going on
    • Using it as idea to bounce ideas off each other
    • Using web 2.0 as professional development
  • Richardson
    • Must use the tools to understand networking
      • Myspace for better of worse is networking
    • How to engage ethically, safely is question
    • Teachers must be comfortable in personal, professional way
      • New tools transfer the power of learning
      • Teachers must engage in the technology so they can express the power of transfer to students
  • Magner
    • Technology allows for a lot of informal learning
      • Using Google to answer a question at lunch
    • Artificial discussions b/w home learning, after school learning, in-class learning
  • Schrum
    • Until people are comfortable in using these technologies they will not using them



  • Garrett (Gary) Brown–Sydney
    • Want to embrace web 2.0, noting will be blocked
    • Leadership team is required to blog as professional development
    • Building schools with open plans and learning teams
    • Seen bad uses of web 2.0 just for the sake of using web 2.0
    • Invite anyone who wants to join
      • Catholic school
    • School director taken some flack for opening all site
      • Principals discuss openly what myspace accounts and videos on youtube he or she has seen with students
      • Deters students from improper use of such tools
  • College student from Washington
    • Wants social network that will allow students to work and study together
    • Implementing
    • Plagiarism is an issue
    • Looking for teacher input
  • Skip Olson, Minneapolis–retired guy
    • Sees schools as spirit killers
    • Unless we change the business of school as learning environments…
      • 9-3, aug-may
    • these wonderful tools and opportunities will be shut down at school door
  • John Henderson, 32 years old
    • Did not know a world where VCR was difficult
    • Right now parents and students are becoming the same way
    • Do not know if we can be patient enough to wait for schools to change
  • Parent, created website for his kid’s school
    • Website was form of communication
      • Dates, handouts, volunteer opportunities
    • Parents now pushing teachers to keep up
  • Parent/Rutgers University instructor
    • Key is pre-service teachers
    • Have no idea of Web 2.0 apps
      • Google docs
    • By spring they are comfortable and have their own stories
  • Scott Garagan, Pennsylvania
    • Job is professional development
    • Face time is an issue
    • Library sites are great
      • Maryland create system to teach web 2.0 applications
      • Step by step, check the box system
      • Twenty-three tasks to complete
      • Library 2.0–google to locate
  • Question for panel members
    • Potential entrepreneur educators, is this something on the horizon that will challenge the current design
    • Lynne Schrum
      • No, system of education is so engrained that it does not allow challenges
      • Some charter school, but not much difference
    • Tim Magner
      • A lot of new models in charters, home school, etc
      • Challenge is how to make alternatives within the system
      • It is like diet and exercise
        • Must have incentive to make change (i.e. new swimsuit)
      • 2/3 People without kids in system, they do not see the need for change to system
    • Gwen Solomon
      • Web 2.0 tools will force systemic change
      • Again hitting the need for models
  • Edutopia has several video examples on-line
    • Ex. acme animation hooks up students with professional animators
  • Teacher from N. Carolina
    • Used United Streaming to demonstrate glass blowing
    • Kids where reading story, character was glass blower, they had no concept of the glass blowing industry
  • David Jakes


The Discussion of Web 2.0 and School 2.0

June 26, 2007

So I am a little frustrated because I have been better about typing blog posting, but I have not been able to submit them because by old blog has been having issues. After giving it some time I have decided to abandon the old site and create a new site. I will be uploading my previous post just as soon as I can get logged-in to the site. Anyway, on to bigger things.

Yesterday I particiapted in a great full-day training session with SMART Technologies (post to come). Our school began using SMART Boards shortly after I began at the school, and I have had a SMART Board for a year and a half. I do not want to ruin the anticipation post divulging my content now, but it was a worthwile session.

Considering this, today was my first day at the sessions at the GWCC. I started of with a bang. I attended the Web 2.0 panel discussion hosted by Gwen Solomon of with Timothy Magner, Will Richardson, Lynne Schrum and David Warlick. The quality of the information sitting behind the tabel is great. Also of great quality is the variety and quality of ideas in the audience. The overall theme I took away from the discussion is that we must demand and force a change in the education system. The views from the panel represented an empowering statement. Will Richardson make the statement of the day by saying that blogs and similar technology empower students by creating real work. The problem lies in the “yeah, buts”. To me this is a great attitude. While plenty of people are willing to embrace new technology, too many people allow obsticales to deter their motivation. This to me in the problems.

I agree with those who stated that school is in need for reform. To me this is a leadership issue. Either you are willing to adapt and make the change or you are not a leader. I admire school districts such as Garrett or Gary Brown from Sydney who spoke during the session. Apologies for the first name, difficulty to hear somethings clearly. Mr. Brown explained how his district choose not to battle with blocking websites and opened everything. Rather than just stick their head in the sand, they educate their students on the information available on these site and their administrators use this technology. This is great leadership. ( Mr. Brown, send me your email and I will not only correct your name, but would love to stay in contact with you.)

Aside from leadership is the issue of models. I agree that colleges are the best at resisting change. As Gwen Solomon stated currently exists a need for models. While many in education are doing great things, we need to provide universities with models to use for training purposes for upcoming teachers. So I encourage everyone reading this blog to email Gwen with your best story. By sharing the stories we can change the culture and begin the EDUCATION REVOLUTION.

Below are my published under GoogleDocs and I will soon have the podcast recording I made.

Enjoy your day,

My first Skypecast

September 4, 2006

I recently participated in the Skypecast organized by Miguel Guhlin on best practices using blogs. This was a great experience as I was able to talk to some of the educators whose blogs that I have spent time reading. In the conversation we shared some of our favorite and best practices. Along with those practices we also discussed internet safty where I was able to introduce some people to a safety clip introduced to me by our technology director, Paul Wood. I feel that the Skypecast was a positive experience and anyone who gets the opportunity to participate or organize such a meeting in the future should do so. If you are organizing a meeting, let me know and I will do my best to join.

Enjoy your day,


Student Narratives–This I Believe

August 27, 2006

This past week our English I Pre-AP class wrote narrative autobiographical essays. Within class we read and analyzed a selection from Arthur Ashe’s autobiography Days of Grace. We also listened to three selections from the NPR series This I Believe. I provided the students with the link to the NPR series to listen on their own. I elected to listen to the essays by Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, Josh Rittenberg, a junior at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan, and Sen. John McCain. I wrote my essay back in April and the link to my essay is still viewable under teacher entries on our Class Blogmeister page.

Besides working on our understanding of narrative essays, my goal for our class is to work on the editing process. This class is also taking AP Human Geography and will be taking the AP exam in May. As we work on our writing, my first goal is to get students comfortable with the revision process. I am publishing the originally submitted drafts; however, I am requiring students to submit a revised copy before we record these essays for publications. We will be revising and podcasting these essays later this week. Check back for the student podcast.


July 11, 2006

Mark Ahlness has written a great posting on Classblogmeister, the blogging website designed specifically for classroom use. I have used Blogmeister in my sophomore English and sophomore History classes through out the past six months. Personally I found Blogmeister as great way to engage my students while focusing on the writing process. It allowed them an opportunity to not only focus on writing, but also allowed them the opportunity to view the writings of fellow classmates. It also provided them a venue to a larger audience, the world, as supported by the Clustrmap displayed on our website.

While the website did have some technical issues, the listserve is a great way for quick responses from teachers using the program. Often tech support comes in the form of a computer specialist; however the listserve is support from fellow teachers. It is also a great way to share ideas. David Warlick has worked hard to make corrections to the program; most of which were the result of a feverish increase in popularity. He continues to improve the service while still not charging its users.

Feel free to check out my previous posting on classroom blogging for other ideas.


July 6, 2006

I began reading the posting by all of the bloggers at the National Educational Computing Conference tonight. While I was reading I used my teacher’s multitasking abilities to listen to the most recent Connect Learning podcasts. In episode 63, David Warlick described his new idea of Hitchhikr. Hitchhikr will allow registered users to hitch a ride to conferences with those who are attending by using common tags to blog about events. I am sure that my principal will appreciate this new site. I was all set to hitch hike to San Diego by taking the time to find blogs about the NECC. This site coordinates all of this information for us. Not only that, but by listing my interests the site also listed several conferences that may interest me. As with most information being added to the web, an RSS feed for these conferences are available. The RSS feed allows me to focus my time on my aggregator browsing all of my feeds and frees me up from checking back to Hitchhikr.

While I agree with David that nothing is like being at a conference, this is the next best thing. I have attended various teaching and coaching conferences and workshops and continue to learn new information at each session. Sometimes it is just not possible to attend all of the conferences we desire. Sometimes it is simply too expensive to attend the powerful, national conference. This tool will allow us to gain the insight and information when we physically cannot make it to the show.

Classroom Blogging

June 13, 2006

Now that we all have had the opportunity to load up our aggregators with various blogs, let’s discuss what can be done with a blog. I mean, blogging is nothing more than a trendy buzz word. Politicians do it to be hip and win votes. Reporters do it get the scoop on the competition. Mark Cuban does it to rally support for the Mavs and complain about the NBA. Right? Maybe not.

How can we use blogging in the classroom? There are a lot of examples and ways teacher across the country and the world use blogging. In my classroom I used blogging for a variety of exercises. First of all, I truly believe that blogging helps a student with his or her writing. While students can just as easily write answers and essays on paper, that format limits the audience. Even if a student exchanges his or her paper with classmates before they submit the writing to the teacher at best this limits the audience to a handful of readers. By submitting an answer as a blog entry everyone in the class can read the student’s answer. Everyone in the same course can read the student’s submission. Students in other school and even parents can read the submission. With the potential to increase exponentially the audience I witnessed my students taking more seriously their responses.

Additionally, it allows high achieving students the opportunity to review the position of equally motivated students. It allows a student who understands the question, but lacks the confidence to express properly in writing his or her position the opportunity to view how their peers articulate their responses. Furthermore, it provides a chance for students who lack the confidence to understand the activity to check their facts before submitting and revise the work following submission.

Another benefit that I see from blogging positions is a possibility for a student to view the progress of his or her writing. While in an ideal classroom setting students will keep previous assignment and refer to past positions when reviewing; the reality is that many students use the textbook as both a source for information and a binder. By blogging answer previous assignments stay on the student’s blog page and every time a student submits a new writing the previous writing are right in front of them. While not every student will take advantage of this, at least the opportunity is in front of them.

In my classroom I used Blogmeister, a free service provided by David Warlick, to create a blog page for each of my students. I like Blogmeister because it provides me with control of all of the information posted on the website. When student submit an article, it does not appear on the web until I approve the information. This makes it easier for me to ensure that I have given credit when a student submits an entry. It also assists me to ensure that students are reviewing the information they submit. In an instance that a student does not submit work that addresses the activity, I can request the student edit the response. This past school year I used the class blog page as a venue for students to answer chapter assessment questions, SAS in School activities, and personal reflections.

Mr. Warlick’s designed his site as a free service for schools and requires that school request a pass code to ensure that only teacher use this site. If you are a Bishop Dunne teacher, e-mail me and I can give you the pass code and assist you in creating your own site. If you are not a Bishop Dunne teacher, they I would recommend e-mailing Mr. Warlick for a pass code. I would also recommend subscribing to the Blogmeister list-serve. Using this list-serve it a great way to get quick answers to common questions when creating a blog page. It is also a great venue to share ideas and learn new ideas from teacher currently blogging.

For those of you wanting more information on the benefits of blogging in the classroom I would recommend reading a blog post by Angela Stephens, my pre-wife. She recently conducted a training seminar on blogging and posted most of her research and a step by step process to creating a blog in her site.