Yep, it is me again. I decided to slip away from the Discovery booth long enough to sit in on a session about Web 2.0. The presenters are Micki Daniel and Betsy Jones, both from the Knox County System.
For me, I’m learning how to use Safari on a Mac, so just picture the geeky guy from the commercials who only knows PCs and that’s me.
The website we jumped to first was here. Click on the Research link at the top of the page to find a LOT of alternative ways to search apart from Google. One of the most informative for me was Vivisimo. Vivisimo’s search results are “clustered” around sub-topics which makes it very helpful to drill down into results.
Next, the conversation jumped to wikis, blogs, and podcasts. We discussed wikipedia as a classroom research tool as well as personal and professional blogs and podcasts. They discussed free podcasts from university instructors and the need to meet students where they are. Classroom instruction is now available to download from iTunes. (While there was a lengthy discussion about the podcasts available for teachers from other sources, the need for teachers to podcast for themselves was not addressed). One specific recommendation was the Princeton Review Vocabulary Minute podcast.
Next, we turned our attention to resources that help us harness the power of Web 2.0. First up: Google Tools. Lots of questions about “why have a gmail account” and “Okay, I’m in Google Docs, now what.” This is a fantastic session for those just learning Web 2.0. The Knox County Tech department even has some in-service hours available on the web.
After Google Docs, we headed over to Go2Web20. This is one of my favorite sites ever! Our presenters demonstrated how to browse through Go2Web20 both by searches and the tag cloud.
All in all, this was a very informative session for those brand new to Web 2.0. From my history in other professional development settings, this is actually the largest group of teachers still out there.
I am truly glad I sat in on this session. I learned that Knox County has some terrific resources easily available for teachers, and the county has great teachers in the tech department ready and willing to help. They truly love what they do!Next year, Knox County will launch School Fusion allowing teachers to create their own webpages through the school tech services. Awesome! Session over. Back to the booth!