Host of Science Channel’s Build it Bigger
Invite You to an Educator Reception
During the AAEA Conference
in Little Rock!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
6:00pm – 9:00pm
LuLav220 West 6th Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Please click on the link below to RSVP by July 29
If you cannot attend this event and would like to learn more about Discovery Education, pleasevisit our booth at AAEA or www.DiscoveryEducation.com
Discovery Education would be happy to host you at this event; however please consult your ethics official to ensure no locallaws, or school district rules prevent your acceptance of costs or promotional materials associated with this event.
Danny Forster is the Host of Science Channel’s, Build it Bigger. Forster travels the world with a camera crew in search of incredible feats of architecture and engineering.
Forward this invitation to your superintendent:
As we wrap up the 2009-2010 school year we want to hear about the ways you use DE streaming resources in classroom and how DE adds value to your students’ learning. We decided to create a WallWisher to capture all the terrific ideas. Please add your ideas/comments to the Arkansas DEN WallWisher page.
Find the caches in Historic, Downtown Batesville, Arkansas!
Want to have some fun with your family? Join Judy Pearson and Karen Wells for DEN Geocaching Day, May 22, 2010.
Register soon! We are limited to the first 20 people who sign up.
(provided by Discovery Education)
When you register, let us know if you need to borrow a GPS.
Click here for upcoming Geocaching Webinars on Discovery
I am developing a Wiki for use with a project on the novel Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom, an insightful work that immediately engages students as they learn the important lessons of life. As you know, Wikis, collaborative web-based sites with open editing, have met with some resistance in education. As is often the case with incorporating Web 2.0 tools in the curriculum, teachers must make sure the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. One advantage to Wikis is that they can be used to change the individual focus of traditional instruction to one of student collaboration. Planning and creativity are vital to developing the most effective instruction that meets student learning expectations. I found David Wetzel’s article “5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom: Engaging Students in Technology Projects that Support Learning” to be helpful while I was developing my Wiki. I have included a summary of his major points.
1. Collaborative Projects using Wikis. This works especially well as long as the teacher has clear guidelines on what is expected on the project and the roles class members will be expected to fulfill. 2. Students Demonstration of Knowledge. Student responses to the Wiki should demonstrate an understanding of the learning expectations. 3. Online Resources for Classroom Use. Teachers should provide a list of accepted online resources that students can use on the project. 4. Wikis as a Classroom Webpage. Use the class Wiki to post a calendar of events, homework assignments, links to Glogs, and collaborative projects 5. Wiki Filing Cabinet. Teachers can use a teacher access controlled area to store working drafts and to backup resources.
Spring is here. Are you geocaching yet? With the arrival of warmer weather, I have started walking again in the afternoons. While walking, one of my ongoing projects is to find the cache hidden at the local cemetary. Its discovery has escaped me for several months, but I am determined to find it this spring! If you have just started geocaching, you might want to check out the website for the Arkansas Geocachers Association. It’s a great place to join discussions with fellow Arkansas geocachers and to get the latest geocaching news in Arkansas. Their goal is to expand and improve geocaching in Arkansas. Membership is free!
This week educators in my district took one step toward leading our students on the road to a more collaborative environment in which authors, student writers and their parents, and local community members delve into how writers use rhetorical strategies to develop their message. While a visit with a “real, live” author is definitely beneficial to student writers, cost is often a deterrent. Skype was the answer for us. Authors who skype, such as Roland Smith, made it possible for our literacy professionals to seek out experts in literacy and invite them to share in student-led discussions of their novels. Teachers are no longer the ultimate authority of knowledge in the classroom. When I tell my students that authors often rewrite numerous times to get the effect they want, they often think I am just trying to get them to edit their own pieces – something they often despise doing. When Roland Smith told them why his novel Elephant Run took ten years to write, I could almost see the wheels turning. By skyping in Roland Smith, we tapped into the potential of Skype to make our classroom open to all experts in every field.
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.
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?
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.”