Chris Champion on Will Richardson's New Book

From Discovery Educator Chris Champion:

If you are excited about the DEN Regional Institute for PA, then you know that Will Richardson will be the keynote speaker.  I’m even more excited that he’ll be there because a) I bought his book the minute it came out because b) I am one of his former students at Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, NJ.  So… I thought I’d tell all the DEN Pennsylvania members about Will’s book.  Note: while there are some spoilers here, I will deliberately LEAVE THINGS OUT so you will have no choice to read his great book.  I could not put it down and I learned so much, even though I’ve been Podcasting since September and Blogging (sort of) for two years.

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson is a great resource for any teacher or instructional technologist who wants to integrate technology into the classroom.  Will begins by quoting Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web – the vision was that it was a "read-write web" – with web users not only collecting information but creating it as well.  In his book, Will gives many examples of how to do this:

Blogs:  great for class portals, an online filing cabinet, e-portfolios… but better: a collaborative space for students and teachers to react to questions and scenarios – all online where Will has arranged for his students to meet authors or students from other schools to discuss a topic.  Student writing becomes authentic, relevant.  Will recommends that teachers blog themselves before introducing blogs to their students (just like a teacher of writing should be a writer himself, or a reading teacher should read on her own).  Will dedicates an entire chapter to "getting started" with blogs – with juicy tips and tricks, as well as resources for new bloggers.

Wikis: after a discussion of the origin of the wiki (wiki-wiki – Hawaiian for "quick") and a discussion of the most well-known wiki, Wikipedia, Will discusses the uses for wikis in school: you can create an online text for your classroom, a lesson plan exchange for teachers, and he gives a good introduction to creating your own wiki using PBWiki.

RSS: OK- this is where my brain began to melt.  I was blown away by the difference between what I THOUGHT RSS was good for and all of the ideas that Will has for them.  To quote his chapter on RSS: "I think it’s the one technology that you should start using today, right now, this minute.  And tomorrow, you should teach your students to use it."  After reading this chapter I did, and I will.  Seriously.  This chapter was an epiphany for me.

Podcasts: amateur radio, with lots of possibilities.  There are many resources given in his book but the Education Podcast Network is the best known and a great place to start.  Will gives some great tips on software to use like Audacity – and how to use Skype to record interviews (using software from http://www.powergramo.com ).

I hate to sound like PBS’s Reading Rainbow, but if you want to find out more, you really should buy and read his book.  It is very well written, organized, and is an invaluable resource for any teacher willing to try technology in their classroom.

You can get Will’s book by clicking on the GET IT NOW link from his Blog.

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2 Comments

  1. Kristin Hokanson said:

    Chris-
    What a great list of links and resources…a few more things to add to my bloglines–the trip to will’s site was enough–the table of contents looks great–enough to make me want a copy!!!! Hard to believe so many districts block all blog sites

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