Archive for March, 2010

Digitally Speaking – Week Eleven: Do You Blog?

Sunday, March 28th, 2010


While teen use of social-networking sites is on the rise, fewer are blogging.  These are some of the findings that arose from the Pew Internet & American Life Project called “Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults.”  Release this past February, this study reinforces the trend educators are seeing to shorter forms of communications being used as students use of mobile devices increases.  While blogging and email may still be useful, it is definitely not trendy.  Although teen use of blogging is declining, there are over 30 million adult bloggers – a number that has remained constant since 2005.  So, who or what is to “blame” for the decrease in teen use?  The Pew study indicates that the answer lies with the explosion of social networking.  Four years ago 55% of teens used social networking sites such as Facebook.  That number has now grown to 73%.  Quick status updates from mobile devices increase the need for brevity.  Does the information from the study need to play a role in curriculum planning?  It most definitely does if educators hope to stay abreast of the technology use of teens.  Does this mean we should develop curriculum that focuses on social networking sites.  Not necessarily, but it does suggest that as educators we should be preparing students for digital citizenship and online success in whatever format they choose.

Digitally Speaking – Week Ten: 1-to-1 Computing

Sunday, March 28th, 2010


Personnel in my district are in the planning stages of developing a program that will supply students on our campus with individual laptops.  Of course, with any progress comes a little growing pain.  Who will be responsible for “regulating” the use of the laptops?  Will security be a big issue?  Can our current network handle the strain?  While the answers to these questions are imperative to the success of the program, recent studies have shown that the success of school laptop programs is only effective as the teachers who apply them.  As is sometimes the case in education, it is important that the use of technology for technology sake is not what governs the program but the success of student engagement and achievement.  As outlined in the March 2010 eSchool News, Damian Bebell, an assistant research professor, and Rachel Kay, a doctoral candidate, at Boston College stress, “teachers must make massive investments in time and effort to adapt their teaching materials and practices to make the 1-to-1 environment relevant.”  Thorough planning, teacher buy-in, and professional development are vital to the success of a 1-to-1 computer program.  Perhaps the most thought-provoking question that arises concerns mobile computing.  If handheld computing is the future and laptops are seen as very 90s, shouldn’t we be looking more at mobile computing if they can handle concept mapping, animating, and writing?  Maybe we aren’t dreaming big enough?

Digital Speaking – Week Nine: Digital Citizenship

Sunday, March 28th, 2010


According to the 2007 NETS, digital citizenship is “the ability to practice and advocate online behavior that demonstrated legal, ethical, safe, and responsible uses of information and communication technologies.”  But, what does digital citizenship mean to you?  Is it a list of rules that lead to a stagnant curriculum or is it a process of transforming your students into professionals who are empowered to create student-centered projects that connect with their unique learning styles?  Of course, you chose the second choice but are we as teachers living up to the expectations that come with that definition?  Do we use collaborative Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogging platforms, and podcasts in our curriculum?  Likewise, do we “badger” our network administrators until our students have administrative rights to personalize digital tools so they can develop appropriate online content and global citizenship while building digital fluency?  In the March/April 2010 issue of Learning & Leading with Technology, Christine Greenhow explores the research from the University of Kansas that identifies nine elements of digital citizenship:  digital etiquette, digital communication, digital access, digital literacy, digital commerce, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security.  She stresses that we as teachers should be “reinforcing the notion of an informed and participatory citizenry whose online behaviors uphold standards for legal, ethical, safe, responsible, and respectful uses of technology so that students will be successful in online learning and career opportunities such as educational and professional networking.”

Digitally Speaking – Week Eight : iPad and Libraries

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

33958447-2-120-01.gifLike most everyone else, librarians around the country are anxiously awaiting the April 3rd release of Apple’s iPad.  The question at the forefront for most school LMS is just what do book publishers have in store for the new iPad platform and how quickly will it trickle down to public school libraries?

According to Lauren Barack in a recent issue of School Library Journal, “Penguin Books, which produces stories from the Spotearly reader line, to the “Vampire Academy” series for older readers, recently unveiled a rough idea of how they might use the iPad for their children’s books.”  A Penguin iPad demo highlights how readers can really delve into a book’s content using the iPad.  For example, with Dorling Kindersley’s book The Human Body readers have the option of zooming in on different parts of the anatomy or watching videos that deal with specific content found in the book.  Will the iPad and change the way we read?  While the traditional book format will always have a place in school library media centers, I expect to see an increase in the demand for ebooks and the platforms used to display them.  As always, price is the key factor to how quickly school districts will embrace the new technology.

Tech Tools, Trends and Tips – Terrific New Resources for Teachers

Friday, March 5th, 2010


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originally posted on the DEN national blog