Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Completing the Semester

Here is a quick reminder of some of the things that you may need to complete.

1. Project 1 Your Blog including the following:
a. Your posts as assigned, including those I have added in the Class Blog
b. A summary (or individual posts) on comments4kids
c. Pictures and links that work. Pictures must include complete alt and title tags. Pictures are required after October 4, 2009.
d. Your presentation must be in a post on your blog
e. Your blog must contain a post related to Project 11. See Number 11 Below.
f. Your blog must contain a post related to your PLN (Project 6). See Number 6 Below.
g. Your blog must contain your post for the last blog assignment due December 2, 2009.
h. In the small column of your class blog you should have, in this order, the About Me gadget which also contains your picture, Contact Me (An HTML/Java Script gadget) with contact information (at least your gmail), a Link List gadget named Important Links with a link to the class blog and a link to your professional blog (and any other links that you have deemed important during the semester), and other gadgets such as Followers, Blog Archive, etc.
1A. Comments On Your Classmate's Blogs. You were to comment on at least 2 blogs of classmates every week starting September 20. It is impossible to catch up with this requirement. But there are 3 weeks left in which you can do what you were supposed to do. This assignment may affect your grade if you are "on the bubble" between two grades or in determining the grade for your class participation or both.
2. Project 2 Presentation This must be embedded in your blog.
3. Project 3 An iGoogle Page with an RSS feed for the class blog. Although I do not think that everyone complied with this requirement, I will accept it that you did since most of you apparently did read the class blog on a regular (more or less) basis.
4. Project 4 Professional Blog Due 12/2/09. You must add a link to your Professional Blog in the Important Links area on the side of your class blog. In addition, email the URL of your Professional Blog to me.
5. Project 5 Form You should have shared with me (To Edit) your spreadsheet that resulted from your form. This is NOT the same as having emailed me the form!
6. Project 6 Personal Learning Network In a separate post on your blog, describe your current PLN (for education related matters). Name names. Describe how your PLN has been acquired. Indicate how actively you make use of it. Discuss how you intend to continue it in the future (adding to it, making use of its members, providing assistance to its members).
7. Project 7 Skype You need to Skype me so that I can verify that you have installed your webcam and that it works as required and that you know how to use Skype. Tue 11/24 and Tue 12/1 would be excellent days to do that. You can also keep monitoring my availability. This Friday until 4 or so would also be good. Saturday, Sunday Monday between 10 and 4 (except for lunch) will also probably work most of those days. You can try over Thanksgiving but do not count on me being available much of that time).
You should have my list of who has Skyped me in your Google Docs.
8. Project 8 Comments4Kids You should have completed these assignments shortly after they were assigned. You should also post a summary of your comments4kids activities (with examples) unless you have posted individual reports as you carried out the assignments in which case you need do nothing more.
9. Google Earth Tour was cancelled. I hope you work with Google Earth on your own. It has lots of possibilities!
10. Project 10 Podcast Your podcast should be posted now or no later than 9 am 11/19/09. If your podcast is not on the Podcast Blog by 9 am on Thursday 11/19, contact me IMMEDIATELY!
11. Project 11 PresentationMake a separate post on your blog for your Project 11 Presentation. Most should have a link to a movie, a YouTube or a Google Presentation. If you do not have a link to an "artifact", write two or three paragraphs summarizing the content of your Project as well as detailing the process you used in presenting your information. If you have any questions, Skype, call or email me.

Actually that applies to all of the above. Skype, call or email me with questions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Catching Up? Five Warnings For Everyone

Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes
A number of you are making a mad dash to catch up with your blog posts. I won't say "I w*r*ed y*u", but I will caution you of five problems you must avoid when you race to catch up. Actually, these comments apply to everyone.
1. You must meet the requirements of the assignment. In the last set of blog instructions you have fewer posts, but the instructions are more detailed and complex. To catch up you must follow the instructions.
2. Avoid fluff and words without content. Sometimes students catching up think they can avoid reading or watching the assignment and just write "fluff" instead. If you were expecting cake but got only a cardboard picture you might be more upset than if there were only an empty plate. At least you would know what you were getting. Personally, I don't like cardboard cake.
3. Avoid PLAGIARISM! You might be tempted to see what others have written, maybe even copy (or slightly change) what another student has written, or copy hunks of material from the site itself without proper attribution. These are VERY DANGEROUS. If you plagiarize you are subject to VERY severe penalties,including dismissal from the University. Don't plagiarize! I have already encountered three posts which could possibly involve plagiarism and which I will review to determine exactly what happened.
4. You have been required to include pictures and links to your blog posts for some time now.
5. Don't forget that there are some blog requirements that I added through blog posts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Week 13

We completed most of the Project 11 Presentations.

We had a wonderful Skype session with Mr. Chamberlain. I hope to have that video posted soon. I have been slowed down by a terrible cold and my trip to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Week 14: Closing Assignments, Catch-up time, Foliotek, Final Examination Comments,and Whatever else is needed in a particular class to complete our work for the semester.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Room 10 Shares Their Skype Recording

Image of the number 10 from the Pt. England School Website.
Room 10 has posted some of the conversation we had when Skyping them last week. After you go to their post, click on the link to hear their recording.

And don't forget to leave a comment. It's all about commenting!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Joe McClung Skypes Class

Joe McClung
Mr. Joe McClung, 8th grade science teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas discusses his first two years as a teacher with EDM 310. I asked Mr. McClung to discus his initial year in Noel, Missouri with Mr. William Chamberlain where he received an induction into the use of technology from, in my opinion, the master of all teachers in the use of technology in the classroom. Unfortunately, I forgot to record much of that conversation. When I remembered to start recording, Mr. McClung was addressing my second question: What can you tell EDM 310 students about how to react when school technical support staff set the agenda with technology rather than the instructors? And what can one do when super cautious district administrators frustrate efforts to engage students in creative uses of technology? This part of the interview was disrupted by problems with data transmission which the EDM 310 students jokingly ascribed to "political interference." When our discussion was resumed, Mr. McClung provided the students with an excellent, common-sense approach, to using technology in the classroom and graciously answered questions from all students, even those who had supported Auburn rather than his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks in the previous week's football game. Of course Arkansas had defeated Auburn 44-23. A good time was had by all. Thank you so much Mr. McClung. The students were so impressed with you that one even volunteered to move to Arkansas and manage your campaign for School Board, Mayor, Governor - whatever!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Russ Goerend Skypes Class

Russ Goerend
What a week! We have had three outstanding teachers visit EDM 310 and share their passion for teaching with my students. I asked Russ Goerend, who teaches in a large school near DesMoines, Iowa, to discuss his use of blogging and the importance of commenting on blogs. I also asked him to talk about the ways in which he encourages creativity in his students. He concluded with a lively and stimulating discussion with the W6 students.

Jabiz Raisdana (Kaia's father) Skypes Class

Jabiz Raisdana
Mr. Jabiz Raisdana (IntrepidTeacher), father of Kaia and a teacher in the British International School in Qatar, spoke with EDM310 on Thursday November 5, 2009. He discussed his reaction to the events surrounding Kaia's blog and the importance of the human aspects of this story rather than the technological. He also answered a lot of questions about blogging, teaching, and international schools. Thanks, Jabiz. It was great!

Professional Blog Instructional Movies Now Available

iMovie icon
There are 3 Professional Blog Movies:
1. Creating a Professional Blog. This movie covers the steps necessary to create a blog (any blog) and also addresses the naming of the Professional Blog as well as the selection of a URL for your Professional Blog.
2. Professional Blog Content. This movie discusses what you need to prepare (think about and write) to create a Professional Blog. It covers the writing of approximately nine lines of text about you and your interest in teaching (The About me... section) and at least 6 posts that describe the attitudes, aptitudes, approaches, tools, etc. that you will bring to your classroom. At least one of these 6 posts must address the use of technology in your classroom. Although I have not mentioned this before, you could also add an audio or video message to your blog. If you are interested in doing this (I hope you are), do it. If you need help, ask me!
3. Professional Blog Layout. Your Professional Blog must use the Layout tools to achieve a "different", more professional look. This is to teach you some of the ways that you can alter the standard Blogger look, as well as to enhance your Professional Blog's appearance. You will need to have contact list (email address, Skype address, Twitter address, phone number, etc.). You will also learn how to create links to specific posts in this movie. Each post has a unique URL (called a permalink). You will learn how to make use of permalinks in this movie

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kaia and Room 10 - Why Blogs and Commenting On Blogs Are So Important

Composite picture Gloria, Room 10, Kaia, Kaia's rock picture
In an earlier post I discussed why blogging, and commenting on blogs, was so important. I gave two examples: my interactions with Room 10 of Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand and the series of interactions between Kaia, a three year old blogger (through the medium of her father Jabiz Raisdana) who lives in Qatar, Mr. Chamberlain and his 6th grade class in Noel, Missouri, and my EDM 310 students in Mobile, Alabama. Both examples continue to grow and a summary follows with links to all of the currently extant parts of the continuing interactions. First, however, I must add to the Kaia story.

After my students began to visit the original parts of the Kaia story (see below for links 1, 2 and 3 under The Kaia Story), Mr. Raisdana tweeted me and asked to Skype my class to thank them for posting so many comments to Kaia's blog which had pleased her (and her father) very much. I immediately said "Fantastic!" and the Skype visit was held last Thursday November 5 with my TT 11 class. One student, Dillon Rogers who is in the TT2 class and who has been quite taken by these interchanges, told me that she would be unable to attend class on November 5 and asked to be remembered to Kaia and her father. I said I would do that. Then a few days before the scheduled Skype visit I was reading Dillon's Blog and saw that she had taken the issue into her own hands and had made a movie for Kaia. The movie was Dillon reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Kaia watched that movie and asked to make a movie for Dillon. her father made a movie of Kaia reading Baby Bear, Baby Bear to Dillon. After Kaia's father had skyped my class, I showed both movies: Dillon reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Kaia reading Baby Bear, Baby Bear. My class wanted to do something for Kaia also so they recorded a spontaneous rendition of "i'm A Little Teapot".
What will happen next? I have no idea. But I am certain that these two expanding interactions among the students of Room 10 in Pt England School, Margaret, my gradddaughter, EDM 310 students, Mr. Chamberlain's students, Kaia and her father will continue and they will be replicated, ultimately, in thousands of similar interactions with people widely separated by geography, culture, age and many other things but closely linked through a common set of experiences and their humanity.

Think about this. We are changing the world! It is certainly something to celebrate!

Here are the links to the various elements of the story as they currently exist. Visit all of them. Read the comments. Visit the links within them. If you get lost, return here to pick up the story again. These are powerful stories of what technology can do to bring people together.

The Kaia Story

1. Kaia takes pictures and writes about them in her blog.
2. Mr. Chamberlain's class responds with comments and a Voicethread.
3. Kaia's father reflects on the above events and considers whether he likes what is happening. I see this post and the two parts of the story above. I make these three elements an assignment for all of the students in EDM 310. One of my students sees the same series of interactions and joins the conversation on his own. The conversation widens to Australia, elesewhere in the United States and beyond.
4. Kaia's father and I plan a Skype session with my class which will be missed by one of my students, Dillon Rogers. She reads Brown Bear, Brown Bear in a movie she makes For Kaia.
5. Kaia reads Baby Bear, Baby Bear in a movie she and her father made for Dillon.
6. Kaia's father, Jabiz Raisdana, Skypes my class.
7. I show my class Dillon's movie and Kaia's response. My class records a spontaneous rendition of "I'm A Little Teapot" for Kaia.
There are many other branches of this story unfolding, I am sure, as I write this. Why don't you add to this story also? Just comment on any of the related blog posts and you will be added to the growing web of participants throughout the world.
NOTE: I have added (1/27/10) some of the many other things that have happened since I first wrote this. The story continues!
8. Kaia's father posts his view of the unfolding story in Last Child on the Web
9. Kaia's original blog post This, This, That is honored as First Runner Up in Edublog's annual Most Influential Blog contest.

Room 10, Pt. England School, Auckland, New Zealand
1. I have my students participate in Comments4Kids (also on Twitter #comments4kids). I use Room 10 as my example in class and comment on this blog by third graders in New Zealand.
2. My students begin to comment on Room 10's blog. I get a thank you from, Mrs. Lavakula, Room 10's teacher.
3. Room 10 makes a movie to thank us.
4. I learn that schools in New Zealand are populated according to the SES of parents and that Pt. England school is at the bottom of that criterion. (But at the top, it appears to me, in the creative use of technologies!)
5. I make a movie to thank Room 10.
6. My grandchildren attend our annual family at the beach during the 3rd week of October. My 9 year old granddaughter, Margaret, watches Room 10's movie and wants to make a Movie for Room 10 which I post to the EDM 310 Class Blog. And Margaret tells me she goes to computer class (in Rochester, NY) every day but "we don't use them much."
7. Room 10 thanks me and Margaret through their teacher in an email and in comments on the EDM 310 blog. And others comment as well. You can see the connections expanding throughout the world!
8. Room 10 and I Skype each other. Room 10 sings and my class responds. Room 10 records some of our conversation.
9. I get a personal comment on my blog from Othaniel. Remember these are third graders doing this on their own!
10. We arrange another Skype visit for December.
11. Room 10 continues their blog posts.

Why don't you pay Room 10 a visit? Actually, why don't you pay Pt. England School a visit? You will find a school that has embraced technology and is using it wisely, creatively, and with great success! And leave them comments on their blogs! That is the most important part because you are their audience. And you become part of the growing world wide conversation that is taking place!

Celebrate this growing world wide exchange of information and ideas! This is REAL learning taking place!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 11

Header for Dr. John Strange's Professional Blog

Professional Blogs
We created a new blog which will be a Professional Blog. The URL should be I discussed how to alter the Layout to conform to the requirements for the blog:
1. A Professional Picture that replaces the standard About Me gadget. This is a Picture Gadget and is in the small column at the top.
2. A new About me text (9 lines or less) that will stay above the Posts. This is a Text Gadget.
3. At least 6 posts describing the Attitudes or Aptitudes or Approaches or Skills or Tools that will distinguish you as a teacher. Links to examples can be found in a post of the class blog. My Professional Blog, which can also be an example, can be accessed through a link in the Important Links area on the class blog. You must discuss technology in at least one of your posts.
4. A Contact Me list in the small column immediately underneath you picture. This is an HTML/Java Script Gadget.
5. Links to the specific posts you place in your Professional Blog. This is a Link List Gadget.

If you missed this class, I am preparing a movie which covers this material. Write the text for the posts. Then follow the instructions in the movie when iot is posted. Due December 1, 2009.

We discussed the creation of Forms. I have added Creating A Form in Google Docs to the instructional movies. Your form should be complete and emailed to recipients no later than Tuesday November 3. We will look at your data soon.

Skype Sessions
TT11 Skyped Room 10. A blog post describes that event.
W6 had a Skype visit from Mr. Joe McClung. I am working on that movie and a post to accompany it.