Quick Byte: Library 2.011 World-Wide Conference Nov. 2-4

Professional development conferences play a large role in my life.  What’s not to love about intellectual sharing, healthy questioning of norms and looking into the future of one’s field?  It’s hard if not impossible to walk away without a mind whirling full of ideas and possibilities.

Due to costs and logistics, it’s not always possible to attend conferences.  Fortunately, there are increasingly more quality, free online opportunities to stay current.  The Library 2.011 World-wide Virtual Conference seems to be one of these!  It was held Nov 2-4.  You can find out more info here at Library 2.0 the future of libraries in the digital age. Watch recordings of the sessions here.  The conference Twitter hashtag is #lib2011.

As a side note, with these free online conference possibilities, I find myself stepping a bit beyond my profession and gaining a broader view of education and our future by attending.  Although I am not a librarian, the topics of this conference seem applicable to all of education.  We have addressed some of these ideas within this blog such as in the post, What’s a Book?  Is This a Book?  I also learn a lot from following and interacting with librarians in twitter and on Google+.  What a better way to learn and support this amazing group of people than by attending?

Stay tuned for an upcoming post highlighting The Future of Education, Classroom 2.0 and Steve Hargadon, the creator of Library 2.0 Ning Network.

Happy attending!
*This post was updated after the conference concluded.


Tech and Ed Play with Web 2.0 Tools: Part 1 Timelines

Series Introduction to Tech and Ed Play with Web 2.0 Tools: I’m excited about this series of posts.  It started with this question that you may want to challenge yourself to answer as well: What ways do I currently use or have I used digital technology effectively in the classroom or in my personal life?  I’ve been contemplating how to answer this question on the blog for a long time, and I have put it off because it seems overwhelming. It also makes me feel vulnerable to show examples that are less than what I am capable of doing, but what I had time to do, the knowledge to do at any given time, etc. (The whole competence vs. performance thing my TCE 572 students discussed this week.) These experiences have spanned many classes and several years.   I will inevitably fall short here because I know there are so many more creative ideas and tools to explore, so I’d love to gather examples and ideas from our readers.  When I recall one of the main focuses of this blog, to play with technology and share, I’m going to go for it here! 

My first post here focuses on online timelines.  Upcoming posts will highlight online make-your-own comic strips and books, voicethreads, uses of screencasting tools in digital storytelling, and more.  A final post will be a screencast compilation of some of my own creations.


Description and My Example (When Tech): I became interested a few years ago in the possibility of online timelines, and dipity.com was the first one I explored.  Dipity states, “Users can create, share, embed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and timestamps.”  I used it in an intermediate adult ESOL Listening/Speaking/Vocabulary class as a simple model for students when doing a presentation on their past, present, and future.  My example is really basic, but it gives the general idea.  Watch this video that walks you through it.

Here’s another example on dipity entitled Steve Jobs Life and Career.  You may change the views in the upper right hand corner to see it as a timeline, flipbook, list, or map.  Happy exploring of dipity.com.

Possible Uses in Education (Met Ed): Several of my former college of education students have used and even presented their own dipity timelines when they reflected on their own language learning.  Online timelines can be used in all content areas.  Students or teachers can highlight any event(s) in a history timeline.  They can use them to document the steps of a scientific experiment.  They can use them to tell a story, outline the plot or characters in a story, etc.  Online timelines can also serve as an alternative to a Powerpoint or Prezi.  How can you use them?

I like how many of the timelines like Dipity can be embedded in a blog or website.  Most of them have the option to be either private or public.  More online timelines that I haven’t yet had the time to explore completely are listed in our web 2.0 tools page.  Some of them include LIFE Timeline, TimeToast, and Xtimeline.    LIFE Timeline contains ready to go timelines with some beautiful pictures as well as the option to make your own. Tiki Toki also looks especially engaging to me.

Additional sources:  If you are interested in exploring more student examples of media in education, check out Wes Fryer’s  Share: Playing With Media.  His site, book and podcast in part inspired me to get started on this series. 

Discussion:  How would you use or have you used online timelines?  Which timeline(s) have you found useful?  Feel free to share a link here or drop us a line via email.

Happy exploring and creating!


Bringing Writing Alive With Web 2.0 Tools EERC Presentation

Here is part of our presentation entitled Bringing Writing Alive K-12 With Web 2.0 Tools.   It explored blogs, online dictionaries, digital storytelling, and online stickies. 

You may access the outline and presentation links here.  http://bit.ly/oWunfi

We were going to use this Primary Wall link to introduce ourselves: http://primarywall.com/TEB0aRKt5o For whatever reasons, it wasn't working in the lab.  That was the first time we had experienced any issues with Primary Wall, so we still recommend it for elementary teachers.  It's a good reminder though to test out any technology in your given setting first and to have a plan B.

We used this Titan Pad as a wrap up of the discussion. http://titanpad.com/IRmBcuMAhB Titan Pad is an easy set up, online collaborative writing tool, with a low learning curve.  No passwords are required and only the link is needed.

Here's a thanks to everyone who joined us!


The Teachers Should See This: National Geographic Kids Jumping Jacks

I am ten years old and a guest blogger here.  I often find interesting sites and sometimes want to share them.  I will occasionally post things I think teachers should see.  Here's my first post! 

Do you know what the Guinness World Record for people doing the most jumping jacks is?  Michelle Obama is trying to break the record.  Click here to see how you can help or just to watch the event on October 11, 2011.  It is found on National Geographic Kids.  This is a site I recommend for teachers.


The Versatile Blogger at Year One

We have been blogging for approximately a year now on When Tech Met Ed.   Sylvia Ellison at El’mentor recently passed on The Versatile Blogger award to us.  It was a welcomed reminder of how professionally useful the blogging experience is.  Our purpose continues to be to explore technology as a tool and for professional development.  Along the way, we have discussed and researched topics such as gaming, transmedia storytelling, podcasts, etc.  These topics often make us think and are fun to consider in larger contexts such as educational reform and the future jobs of children. Blogging has also opened up some doors like professional networking.

After accepting The Versatile Blogger, here are some things we are requested to do:    
  1. Thank the person (people) who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  2. Share 7 things about you.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 other blogs that you have discovered.
Seven Things About Us (See our individual bio pages at Cheridy and Kacey.)
  • Cheridy:  I can’t think without considering education and learning.  I’ve tried without much success. Even simple things such as taking walks, watching movies, etc. cause me to make connections with teaching and education.  This can at times be annoying to those around me, but on a positive note, it leads me to have a love for curriculum development.
  • Kacey: I am interested in learning. I spend time listening, reading and processing anything I can find to help my students learn. 
  • Cheridy:  I am interested in learning more about instructional design and effective ways of teaching online classes.  
  • Kacey: I became a teacher because as a child I had a difficult time learning. My hope is that because I struggled and eventually succeeded I can fast forward a child in their learning so they won't have to go through the pain and frustration that I did.
  • Cheridy:  Chocolate, family/friends, huckleberries, reading, teaching, traveling, and writing make me happy.  Above all, I like people and activities that make me laugh or think. 
  • Kacey: I enjoy gardening, reading, camping-- especially at the beach, and spending time with family and friends. 
  • Cheridy and Kacey:  We enjoy discussing all things education and technology and have fun collaborating.
15 Top Notch Blogs We Learn from Reading  (See our network page for more.)
  1. 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning: Michael Gorman 
  2. Bit by Bit: Bob Sprankle 
  3. Box of Tricks: Jose Picardo 
  4. Bud the Teacher: Bud Hunt
  5. Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners: Susan Oxnevad 
  6. Edu Mashup: Jessica Vaz 
  7. iLearn Technology: Kelly Tenkely 
  8. Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom: Kathleen Morris 
  9. Langwitches: Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano 
  10. Tech The Plunge: Jeff Thomas 
  11. The Clever Sheep: Rod Lucier
  12. The Principal Blog: Melinda Miller 
  13. The Kids Should See This: Rion Nakaya and her 3 year old curator
  14. Mr. Salsich’s Class 
  15. Write Now in Room 204
Thanks again to Sylvia Ellison, our readers, and those we enjoy reading.  If you are considering blogging for professional growth, our advice is to go for it!  It’s rewarding on many levels.


Part II Gaming: Making It Work for Teachers and Students

Here’s a post with more questions than answers.  It’s a post that reflects learning in progress about gaming and education.

Here’s what I hear practicing teachers saying:  For the most part, they see the potential of gaming, but they face some challenges using it.  The technology is not always functioning in the class or able to support it.  When the tech does work, fitting it into the curriculum, making sure it aligns with the standards, etc. for multiple reasons is a task that is asking a lot from an underpaid and overworked group of dedicated people.  Some want one place to go to—where they are not searching all over the Internet to find resources.  In essence, these teachers want it incorporated into the curriculum they are using and part of a system. 

I also hear many teachers saying they are extremely hesitant to recommend or use online games that require passwords. This hesitancy is at all levels K-adult.  The ramifications of managing 25+ kindergarten students on more than one online site is understandable.  Yes, I’ve read multiple ways of doing this—using the same password, etc., but the reality of it is enough to turn most teachers away.  This issue persists all the way to adults.  I see it changing, but many of my adult students are hesitant to create yet another password and username.  It can lead to good discussions about security, digital footprints, etc, but is it all worth the time and effort the busy teacher asks?

Equal opportunities:  And then, there is the question, how can students access these same sites outside of class to extend their learning?  Not all students have access to the Internet at home; while other students in the same class not only have the Internet, but their own iPads.  Is it fair for the teacher to require or recommend online games or apps when only a portion of the students have access to them outside of class?  Is it fair for them to not recommend them?

old soul by FotoChronicle, on FlickrThese questions lead to other questions:  1. Perhaps a disruptive educational innovation in the hands of students and teachers is on the horizon that includes gaming, individualizing instruction and addresses some of the issues faced?  Oh, let’s throw transmedia  storytelling in there for good measure too.   2. What changes are on the horizon with text based curriculum?  See our previous discussion on this topic.   3. And then the inevitable can of worms: How does all this fit into standardized testing?  Life is interesting in part due to not having all the answers. 

As I search, here are actions I wish to pursue and encourage others to do
  • Keep searching for online and mobile games that do indeed foster positive learning experiences beyond rote memorization to developing high order thinking skills.  Use the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy as a measuring stick.  
  • Advocate for educational gaming that is accessible to teachers and students both inside and outside of school.  The author’s of Disrupting Class have an intriguing blog.  This article is one of several that relates to this topic.
  • (This is perhaps the hardest considering how much our teachers face and do.)  Encourage creative and innovative administrators and teachers to look beyond the curriculum.  There are some amazing opportunities out there that are not bound by textbooks or walls and that do incorporate the standards and keep individual students at the center. 
  • Promote computer science K-12.  Whenever we can put students in the role of the designer, empowering them with these tools, we are empowering them with critical thinking skills and perhaps shaping our future.        
In the meantime, when can teachers use gaming?  In the broader definition, most do.  See the low tech World Peace Game post for an example.   It can also begin with simple steps like discovering what is available.  (See links below to get started.)   Creating links to games on class websites or blogs can also be effective for providing kids safe spaces in independent work time or as an outside of school recommendation.   

Here are recommendations to get started for finding appropriate educational gaming:
Feel free to share additional resources with us!  Happy educational gaming!

*photo creditsCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by FotoChronicle