Monday, December 7, 2009

Create and share rubrics online with iRubric

BY BILL FERRIS

iRubric is a slick way to create and share rubrics for assignments. Like Rubric Machine, you can create a rubric for an assignment in minutes. The interface is fairly intuitive, and made more so by a helpful series of how-to videos posted on the site.

Of course, one of the primary advantages to an online rubric application is the ability to share and adapt existing rubrics. At iRubric, you can find hundreds of rubrics developed by fellow teachers, all organized according to subject and grade level.

iRubric also makes grading easy — just click on the appropriate competence level for each criteria, and iRubric calculates the scores for you based on the grading weights you assigned. That is, let’s say you assigned students to create a comic book out of the events of The Grapes of Wrath. In the category of “Visual presentation,” an “Excellent” is worth four points, “Good” is worth three points, “Meh” is worth two, and “Poor” is worth one. If an assignment rated a “Good,” just click on box marked “Good,” and iRubric will award the appropriate number of points. Seriously, you could probably figure it out yourself faster than it takes to read this last paragraph.

After you’ve used a rubric to grade a student assignment, iRubric lets you confidentially send the rubric to each student, with your feedback. To do this, you’ve got to set up a class and a gradebook, however.

iRubric is free for individual classes and teachers (if your entire school wants to sign up, they can do so for a fee). All they ask is that you tell other folks about iRubric. Another way to pay it forward is to share the rubrics you create by putting them in the public gallery for other educators to use.

iRubric

Related stuff:

Create and Share Rubrics with Rubric Machine

The Real Thing: Authentic Assessment Toolbox

Setting the Standard: Rubistar

Posted via web from kakronfeld's posterous

Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: 12 x 3D Tools for Education, Training & Collaboration

« Tools of the Trade #oebjh | Main | Etherpad to go open source »

04 December 2009

12 x 3D Tools for Education, Training & Collaboration

Here is my pick of 12 3D tools for education, traniing and collaboration that I'll be presenting to the 3D EU Online Educa conference session today. 

These tools are suitable for those who want to start simply and have fun, as well as those interested in creating high-end simulated learning environments.  A mix of free, open source and commercial tools. I would be interested to hear feedback from those who are using any of these tools.

The slideset, speaker notes and links to tools and resources are available HERE.

04 December 2009 at 09:47 AM in Tools | Permalink

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12 x 3D Tools for Education, Training & Collaboration

Here is my pick of 12 3D tools for education, traniing and collaboration that I'll be presenting to the 3D EU Online Educa conference session today. 

These tools are suitable for those who want to start simply and have fun, as well as those interested in creating high-end simulated learning environments.  A mix of free, open source and commercial tools. I would be interested to hear feedback from those who are using any of these tools.

The slideset, speaker notes and links to tools and resources are available HERE.

View the entire comment thread.

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10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For

10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For

10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For

by K. Walsh on November 29, 2009

Sharing my gratitude for some great online software applications.

10productslogosIn the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I’m taking a break from my series on Interactive Whiteboards, to post this list of internet and instructional technology products that I am grateful for. Some of these tools are purely education focused, and some are much more general. They have each played a role at the school where I oversee technology, or for me personally in my pursuit of education technology knowledge and awareness.

  • SurveyMonkey: This low cost online survey tool is easy, flexible, and really delivers. We are able to create electronic surveys quickly, with a wide range of question formats available, and then hand off the administration of the surveys to the users who requested them. Survey administrators can have complete, secure access to results, browsing them in summary or full detail on line, and downloading them in a variety of useful formats for further analysis if desired. I was particularly thankful as I put up some new surveys recently and discovered that SurveyMonkey now provides much shorter URL’s for accessing surveys.
  • The Timecruiser integrated suite of products: We licensed and implemented the Campus Cruiser portal and the Cruiser Alert emergency notification and messaging systems this year. I am thoroughly appreciative that we now have a robust Portal tool for the entire college community, and comforted by the knowledge that we have an easy and effective mechanism to message everyone quickly in the event of an emergency or other important notification situation. I am also quite grateful for the SaaS delivery model that eliminates the need for server procurement, implementation, maintenance/management, upgrade oversight, etc. I’m looking forward to the next step with this product suite, the migration from our current LMS/CMS (Blackboard) to the Course Cruiser LMS that is integrated into the Timecruiser suite.
  • Google Sites: A was delighted to learn recently that this free application positions students to easily create an ad-free, uncluttered web site where they can host an electronic portfolio of representational academic work, which can facilitate further academic pursuits and their career searches.
  • Doodle: This simple, free “polling” tool is a real time saver when trying to offer and coordinate multiple training sessions. In about 10 minutes, I can create multiple offerings of a training session, and send the link to the resulting poll to as many user as I want. Those users can then see and self-select from the available offerings. This has reduced the time required to administer the scheduling of training offerings from hours to minutes!
  • Blogger: I am grateful for Blogger because it helped get me started with blogging about education technologies. Of course, Blogger also facilitates blogging for lots students, teachers, and administrators (as well as vast numbers of users outside of the educational field).
  • Wetpaint: Wetpaint’s free Wiki’s are utilized in various courses at my college, and having the option to have ads turned off (for educational users) is very much appreciated! A Wetpaint Wiki can be a great, fun introduction to hosting your own web site, but it is also functional enough to serve as a pretty robust web-based community site.
  • Microsoft Office: Yup, good old Office made the list (while this isn’t typically used as as online app, there are now online versions available). How many of us would be willing to give up Word or Excel? Up-and-comers like Google Docs offer interesting alternatives, but few of us could go without this gold standard productivity suite. We teach it in our classrooms, students use it regularly to complete assignments, and it plays a daily role in administrative processes.
  • Goodsearch: While Google Search is the search engine of choice for the masses, we are grateful for Goodsearch here at our college because it allows organizations to earn some income for charitable purposes. By indicating the charity of your choosing when configuring Goodsearch, searches you conduct can result in small donations to that charity. For us, this helps to grow our scholarship funds for students in need.
  • Wordpress: This free, powerful Content Management System is the main tool that allows me to produce a professional looking blog. It positioned me to blog about education technology in a professional manner, and I could hardly be more thankful for it (and for the recently purchased outstanding Thesis theme add-on). This blogging effort has helped me learn so much, which benefits my institution and myself. I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with lots of knowledgable people online through this blog, and Wordpress is an essential element in making that possible. Of course, Wordpress.com also hosts blogs, and like Blogger, hosts many student, teacher, etc., blogs.
  • YouTube: YouTube undeniably popularized the use of Internet based video clips, and with the vast potential for this technology in instructional applications, one has to appreciate the impact that YouTube has had.

There are plenty more Internet and instructional technologies I am thankful for, but the above ten products quickly rose to the top of the list as I thought about the many tools we use. Hopefully this listing provides a couple insights for you (or at least reminds you of what you have to be grateful for!).

Speaking of you, and of gratitude, I am so very, very thankful for my subscribers and readers! Your feedback, comments, and suggestions bring so much value to the process. Without you, this blog just wouldn’t exist. I hope you had a great weekend, and I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy upcoming holiday season!

  • Share/Bookmark

10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For | Emerging Internet Technologies for Education

Sharing my gratitude for some great online software applications.

10productslogosIn the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I’m taking a break from my series on Interactive Whiteboards, to post this list of internet and instructional technology products that I am grateful for. Some of these tools are purely education focused, and some are much more general. They have each played a role at the school where I oversee technology, or for me personally in my pursuit of education technology knowledge and awareness.

  • SurveyMonkey: This low cost online survey tool is easy, flexible, and really delivers. We are able to create electronic surveys quickly, with a wide range of question formats available, and then hand off the administration of the surveys to the users who requested them. Survey administrators can have complete, secure access to results, browsing them in summary or full detail on line, and downloading them in a variety of useful formats for further analysis if desired. I was particularly thankful as I put up some new surveys recently and discovered that SurveyMonkey now provides much shorter URL’s for accessing surveys.
  • The Timecruiser integrated suite of products: We licensed and implemented the Campus Cruiser portal and the Cruiser Alert emergency notification and messaging systems this year. I am thoroughly appreciative that we now have a robust Portal tool for the entire college community, and comforted by the knowledge that we have an easy and effective mechanism to message everyone quickly in the event of an emergency or other important notification situation. I am also quite grateful for the SaaS delivery model that eliminates the need for server procurement, implementation, maintenance/management, upgrade oversight, etc. I’m looking forward to the next step with this product suite, the migration from our current LMS/CMS (Blackboard) to the Course Cruiser LMS that is integrated into the Timecruiser suite.
  • Google Sites: A was delighted to learn recently that this free application positions students to easily create an ad-free, uncluttered web site where they can host an electronic portfolio of representational academic work, which can facilitate further academic pursuits and their career searches.
  • Doodle: This simple, free “polling” tool is a real time saver when trying to offer and coordinate multiple training sessions. In about 10 minutes, I can create multiple offerings of a training session, and send the link to the resulting poll to as many user as I want. Those users can then see and self-select from the available offerings. This has reduced the time required to administer the scheduling of training offerings from hours to minutes!  
  • Blogger: I am grateful for Blogger because it helped get me started with blogging about education technologies. Of course, Blogger also facilitates blogging for lots students, teachers, and administrators (as well as vast numbers of users outside of the educational field).  
  • Wetpaint: Wetpaint’s free Wiki’s are utilized in various courses at my college, and having the option to have ads turned off (for educational users) is very much appreciated! A Wetpaint Wiki can be a great, fun introduction to hosting your own web site, but it is also functional enough to serve as a pretty robust web-based community site.
  • Microsoft Office: Yup, good old Office made the list (while this isn’t typically used as as online app, there are now online versions available). How many of us would be willing to give up Word or Excel? Up-and-comers like Google Docs offer interesting alternatives, but few of us could go without this gold standard productivity suite. We teach it in our classrooms, students use it regularly to complete assignments, and it plays a daily role in administrative processes.
  • GoodsearchWhile Google Search is the search engine of choice for the masses, we are grateful for Goodsearch here at our college because it allows organizations to earn some income for charitable purposes. By indicating the charity of your choosing when configuring Goodsearch, searches you conduct can result in small donations to that charity. For us, this helps to grow our scholarship funds for students in need.
  • Wordpress: This free, powerful Content Management System is the main tool that allows me to produce a professional looking blog. It positioned me to blog about education technology in a professional manner, and I could hardly be more thankful for it (and for the recently purchased outstanding Thesis theme add-on). This blogging effort has helped me learn so much, which benefits my institution and myself. I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with lots of knowledgable people online through this blog, and Wordpress is an essential element in making that possible. Of course, Wordpress.com also hosts blogs, and like Blogger, hosts many student, teacher, etc., blogs.
  • YouTubeYouTube undeniably popularized the use of Internet based video clips, and with the vast potential for this technology in instructional applications, one has to appreciate the impact that YouTube has had.

There are plenty more Internet and instructional technologies I am thankful for, but the above ten products quickly rose to the top of the list as I thought about the many tools we use. Hopefully this listing provides a couple insights for you (or at least reminds you of what you have to be grateful for!).

Speaking of you, and of gratitude, I am so very, very thankful for my subscribers and readers! Your feedback, comments, and suggestions bring so much value to the process. Without you, this blog just wouldn’t exist. I hope you had a great weekend, and I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy upcoming holiday season!

  • Share/Bookmark

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Tagged as: Course Cruiser, Cruiser Alert, Doodle poll, Goodsearch charitable search, Google sites for eportfolios, portal for education, survey application, Survey Monkey, Timecruiser

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

NASSP - Shifting Ground

Stand outside any U.S. high school at dismissal time and face the doors. As you watch the students file out, you will see them pull out all sorts of devices�most of them banned in school� and get on with the way they live their lives, often viewing school as nothing more than a necessary evil in an otherwise modern life. For most students, the tools and talents they employ outside of school have little place in their academic classes.

For many students, the world of textbooks and lectures and worksheets cannot hold a candle to Facebook, text messages, and YouTube. Technology-assisted social networking is part of their lives, but because schools have not embraced technological change in meaningful ways, most students do not consider how the modern tools can transform the way they think of themselves as students and scholars.

Moreover�and perhaps most damning�by blocking and banning many of the tools and Web sites that form the cornerstone of teenagers� experiences, educators deny themselves access to the conversations that students are having about how to use these tools intelligently, ethically, and well. And given the overwhelming flow of information that students can access using such tools, it is essential that educators become part of those conversations.

Time for Change

For quite some time, the promise of 21st century tools in schools has been a focus of the education community. In too many schools, however, there haven�t been major changes in the way in which students learn. Postman (1992) wrote that certain technologies are transformative, not additive, and used the Guttenberg printing press as his example: when the printing press was invented, the outcome wasn�t Europe plus some books, but a whole new Europe. Despite investing billions of dollars in hardware, wiring, and professional development, too many schools are the same as ever, only with some computers, when they should be whole new schools where kids are accomplishing things that no one ever dreamed possible.

But change is coming, and it is apparent in the success of many virtual high schools. Christensen (2008) makes the claim that by 2019, half of all high school classes will be taught either fully online or in a �blended� fashion, with between 30% and 80% of the interaction happening online. There�s no question that the United States is becoming an increasingly wired society�and as schools increase their bandwidth, there is no technological reason why classes can�t be taught online or become blended, but what will those classes look like? How will they be taught? Who will teach them? Everyone�parents, teachers, administrators, and students�must be willing to rethink many of their basic assumptions about what classes�and schools�can be.

Empowerment

Those of us who work in education talk a lot about student engagement, but I don�t think that goes far enough. Engagement is certainly better than boredom, but schools should set the bar for themselves is much higher. What schools should strive for is student empowerment.

Science Leadership Academy
Philadelphia, PA
Grades: 9�12

Enrollment:
493

Community:
Urban

Demographic:
49% Black, 36% White, 7% Asian, 7% Hispanic, 10% other

Admin. team:
1 principal, 1 school secretary

Faculty: 26

Right now, many of the technological innovations in education are more engaging than empowering for students. Districts have spent thousands of dollars installing interactive whiteboards�which are a more powerful, more engaging chalkboard. And yes, they are a tool with some very useful functions, and yes, we have them at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, where I am principal.

But let me be clear: interactive whiteboards only enable a teacher-centric style of teaching to be more engaging than it would have been with a traditional chalkboard. Much of the prepackaged educational gaming similarly makes the same mistake.

Yes, it is engaging, and yes, students will learn better, but schools should not be satisfied with reaching the student engagement plateau because to do so is to miss the true power of what those tools can achieve. True empowerment comes when students take the skills they have learned in classrooms and apply them to ends of their own creation.

Schools can and must be empowering�what held down the progressive school movements of the past 100 years was not that the ideas were wrong, but rather that it often just took too long to create the authentic examples of learning. The tools to achieve John Dewey�s dream of what schools can be are in place, but schools must embrace the opportunity to harness the 21st century tools and marry them to a more progressive pedagogy to put the responsibility�and the joy�of learning and creation into the students� hands.

If the only thing that schools do with Internet and computer technologies is create a system that has more-efficient ways to deliver content and has predetermined objectives, all they will have done is repeat the mistakes of the 1950s, when the common thought was that TV would revolutionize schools by delivering the best content in the world. Instead, we as a society need to understand what schools can be if they become transparent through the use of 21st century tools. When the classroom, the teacher at the front of the room, and the school library are not the be-all and end-all of gaining information, schools can become truly inquiry driven.

Real-World Learning

The single greatest challenge schools face is helping students make sense of the world today. Schools have gone from information scarcity to information overload. This is why classes must be inquiry driven. Merely providing content is not enough, nor is it enough to simply present students with a problem to solve. Schools must create ways for students to come together as a community to ask powerful questions and dare them to bring all of their talents to bear on real-world problems. With technology tools at their disposal, students can research, collaborate, create, present, and network in meaningful ways. Those activities blend and blur and cross boundaries, but they all stem from an inquiry-driven process that allows students to build knowledge with the help of a skillful teacher.

After students have created questions, they must conduct research to find answers. There is nothing wrong with the traditional methods of research�at the Science Leadership Academy, we take students to the Free Library of Philadelphia all the time, and we have built a school library that supports our curriculum�but research means much more than that. When our students learned that the deputy mayor of Dallas, TX, was working with a local rapper to try to convince young men to pull their pants up, they did more than read articles about it, they contacted the deputy mayor with e-mail and phone calls, eventually leading to an interview using Skype software to question him about the initiative. When students wanted to know about the environmental impact of planned construction near the school, they got water and soil samples and analyzed them with scientific probes and their laptops, investigated their results, and eventually worked with the city government. Their findings created an investigation that halted construction.

And the tools that are available now can allow students to collaborate in new and powerful ways. Collaboration does not have to be limited to time spent in class or be bound by geography. Students can use instant messaging; text messaging; course management software; and collaborative writing tools, such as Google Docs, to work together at all hours of the day. The idea of community has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and that idea should be reflected in classrooms.

During the 2008 election, students from the Science Leadership Academy worked with a school in Texas to capture the sights and stories of Election Day. Students from both schools went out into their communities and used their cell phones and laptops to record interviews�along with photos�with voters as they waited in line, and then both groups came together virtually to share their experiences, making their understanding of the day much more powerful and much deeper.

Once students have worked together, the question must become, What can they create? Students have access to powerful, easy-to-use production tools to create authentic content that can be shared. Students can make films and podcasts, presentations and poetry, and they can publish them and share them with the world. For example, when Michael Wesch and his students at Kansas State University created the viral video �A Vision of Students Today� (www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGCJ46vyR9o) in his digital ethnography class, they could not have known that it would generate more than 3,000,000 views and affect the way thousands of people thought about school and students. Whether they are making documentary films, writing blog entries, or collaborating on a wiki project, students can create original work and share it with virtually everyone.

Finally�and perhaps most powerfully�students can build a network that reaches far beyond their immediate communities. Students at Science Leadership Academy use Twitter to connect with a wider world, often staying in touch with educators who have come to visit our school. When they take trips to other countries, the trip itself becomes the physical manifestation of virtual visits that have been taken for months. Students can find mentors not only among the adults around them but also among adults around the world.

Transformation

Social networking has changed the landscape of society. High school reunions are being planned on Facebook, so this is no longer simply a �kid� thing. But it is not enough for educators to simply be aware of social networking; they have an obligation to teach students the difference between social networking and academic networking. Students can be known for more than just photos they took on their latest vacations; they can be known as serious evolving scholars. Educators can help them understand how to paint a digital portrait of themselves online that includes the work they do in school and help them network, both locally and globally, to enrich themselves as students.

It is a bewildering time to be in school today� whether one is a teacher, a student, or an administrator. The ground is shifting under everyone�s feet as schools hustle to catch up to the changes in society. But those changes, although difficult, have brought school communities to a moment in time when they can rethink what they can be. Schools can and must be transformative�when they encourage kids to harness the new tools at their disposal to create real work of meaning, students can be authentic voices in the world. In the end, it is time to stop thinking of school as preparation for real life and instead show students that the time they spend in school can be a vital and enriching part of their very real and very important lives. PL

__________
References

  • Christensen, C. (2008). Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York: Knopf.

_____________________________________
Chris Lehmann (chris@practicaltheory.org) is the principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

10 Best Technology Videos Explained in Plain English

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CommonCraft Show

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Technology nowadays has become a big part of everybody’s life. Social media, RSS, podcasts, & blogs are among the most discussed topics when it comes to Web 2.0. Unfortunately, not everybody is familiar with the latest buzz words in tech sector. It was not long ago when I talked to people who didn’t even know what Twitter is. So what can we do to educate those people on the best usage of the Web 2.0 tools?

Commoncraft has created a video series which covers subjects “in plain English.” The founders Lee and Sachi LeFever use paper cut-outs in their explanation videos. Each video is short, simple, and fun to watch. Most importantly, they are informative. I have selected the best 10 videos in the technology category, covering the following subjects:

  • Twitter
  • Blogs
  • Social Media
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Podcasting
  • RSS
  • Social Networking
  • Google Reader
  • Wikis
  • LinkedIn

1. Twitter

2. Blogs

3. Social Media

4. Social Bookmarking

5. Podcasting

6. RSS

7. Social Networking

8. Google Reader

9. Wikis

10. LinkedIn

Related posts:

  1. Virology: 31 Top YouTube Viral Videos of All-Time YouTube is known for its ability to massively and rapidly...
  2. 13 Most Inspiring YouTube Videos of All-Time YouTube has been a great place for posting and...
  3. 4 Impressive Google Wave Videos Google Wave is one of the most chatted subjects about...
  4. The 15 Best Technology Podcasts Living in New York City, one thing I have...

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Tagged as: Commoncraft, Plain English, Video, YouTube

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Researchers Say the Social Web Improves Kids' Literacy (Geeks Say 'Duh')

Researchers Say the Social Web Improves Kids' Literacy (Geeks Say 'Duh')

Written by Jolie O'Dell / December 3, 2009 7:20 PM / 3 Comments

According to a recent survey of around 3,000 kids, those who text, blog and use social sites such as Facebook have better writing skills than their less technologically inclined counterparts.

This hardly comes as a surprise to us tech geeks who spent our younger days alternating between writing critical theses on esoteric forums and getting assaulted by grammar Nazis on said forums. Although we may take it for granted that voluminous written communication online builds writing skills, others decry the lack of formality in most tween and teen lexicons. Is "text speak" as much a concern as enhanced writing skills are a benefit?

Of the children surveyed - a group of 3,001 young people between the ages of 9 and 16 - 24 percent maintained a personal blog and 82 percent regularly sent text messages. Seventy-three percent used IM clients to chat online.

When researchers asked the children to rate their writing skills, 47 percent of those who were non-bloggers and didn't use social networking sites said that their writing skills were good. The online set projected higher levels of confidence; of those who maintained blogs, 61 percent said their writing was good or very good.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, told BBC News, "Our research suggests a strong correlation between kids using technology and wider patterns of reading and writing."

He continued to say that online engagement can lead to offline creativity, such as story writing and song composition.

And what about the "LOL OMG c u l8r" informality of text and chat communiqu├ęs?

"Our research results are conclusive," said Douglas. "The more forms of communications children use the stronger their core literary skills." Or at least, the more children are accustomed to using the written word, the more confident and comfortable they will be with written communication in general.


Comments

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  1. There's sort of a selection bias in the study, wouldn't you say? It could be that social technology improves literacy, or it could be that kids with higher literacy rates are more likely to use social technology. The study itself can only indicate that the kids using social technology have higher than average literacy, it can't tell us what direction causation flows.

     Posted by: Adam Gurri Author Profile Page

    | December 3, 2009 8:06 PM



  • Indeed, a longitudinal study that compares how children's writing and reading skills change before and after using social networks might be more reliable. But then, any improvement might just be due to the children's natural maturing/aging process.

    Also, using children's self-reports as a way to gauge their writing and reading skills doesn't seem to be the most accurate way to do it.

     Posted by: Zachary Lin Zhao Author Profile Page

    | December 3, 2009 8:25 PM



  • I have read the article based on the Social Web improves the performance and aptitude of the children.Social websites such a forum and blog comments which increase the capacity of building the mind and the literacy levels.This post really creates the good awareness among all others.I want to know suggestion from others.

    Posted by: tee | December 3, 2009 8:33 PM



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    Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

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    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    SchoolChange

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    BPL Kids Page- Using the Internet for School Reports

    Before you use information from the Internet in your school reports, it is important that you know a little bit about where that information comes from. Some information on the Internet is very useful and may help you find just what you need. Other information might be false or give you the wrong idea about something. Use the tips listed here to help you figure out whether you should use the information that you find to do your school report.

    1. Who put this information on the Internet?

    2. When was it put there? Is there a date on the page?

    3. Is the information meant to be serious, or is it a joke? How can you tell?

    4. How do you know where this information comes from?

    5. Is the information biased? Does it only give one opinion?

    6. Who is the information meant for?

    7. What type of information is it? Is it a home page or an e-mail message?

    8. How should you list information from the Internet on your bibliography?

    If you are still not sure whether you should use Internet information for your school report, ask your teacher or librarian for advice. It is always a good idea to check many different sources for your school report, including books, encyclopedias, magazines, and newspapers. Check your local library for more help with your school report.

    1.
    Who put this information on the Internet?
    When you are looking for information on the Internet, it is very important to find out who is providing the information you see. If you look at the bottom of this page, you will see a small picture of a bear, the words "Back to the BPL," and our e-mail address. You can tell that the BPL, or Boston Public Library, put this information here by reading what is at the bottom of the page.

    At the top of the page, you can also look at our Web address, http://www.bpl.org, and find out a little bit about us. Addresses that use the letters ".org" (such as www.bpl.org) belong to organizations like libraries, museums, and non-profit groups. Some addresses use ".com" (such as www.disney.com) and those are businesses. You might see a page that says, "Buy the exciting new Space Adventure Action Figures! The best action figures you can buy!" If the address on the page is www.toy-store.com, you might want to find out more about these action figures before you buy them. The "toy-store" company probably put that information on the Internet to help them sell their toys. Other addresses you see might use ".edu" (for schools and colleges), ".gov" (for the U.S. government), and ".mil" (for the U.S. military).

    Questions you should ask about who provided the information are: Is this person (or group or company) an expert in the subject they are talking about? Are they trying to sell something? Are they trying to make you believe something? Would you find information like this in a book or a magazine? Does this person give information about themselves, such as an e-mail address, so that you could ask them questions? Is the information the opinion of only one person (or group)? Do you think the information provider is serious or are they playing a prank?

    2. When was it put there? Is there a date on the page?
    If you see a page that says "Today's News," you expect it to be about things that happened today. On the Internet, information you find will sometimes be old, though it says "news" or "today" or even "February." Try to find a date on the page. Sometimes at the bottom of the page, there will be a line that says, "This page updated on:" and give you a date. Get the month and year the information was put there if you can, and for real news stories, get the exact date.
     
    3. Is the information meant to be serious, or is it a joke? How can you tell?
    Did you know that Senator Bob Dole, who ran for president, has two home pages on the Internet? One is his real page, with true information, and the other page is a joke put there by someone else. It can be hard to tell a real page from a fake (or prank) page. Look for clues: If the page is about a person, is his or her name spelled in a funny way? Is there a photo or other picture that the person might not have wanted people to look at (because it's silly or makes them look dumb)? Are there invented names or links, or words that sound like they aren't real? Are they saying or offering things that might be impossible, like "win a free trip to the moon"? Read a page carefully to look for clues to whether it might be fake.

    If you have e-mail, you might have seen e-mail pranks, or "hoaxes." A hoax happens when someone sends a false e-mail message. They think it is funny because people might believe it is true. For example, in early 1996 there was a hoax saying that the Internet would have to be shut down for cleaning! This is impossible, but many people didn't understand that it was false. If you are not sure about something you read on the Internet, ask someone else for advice.

    4. How do you know where this information comes from? Does the page list any sources for the information?
    In books about true subjects, there is usually a page at the end saying where the writer got his or her information. Sometimes you will see this on the Internet, too. If you find a page with lots of charts and information about Boston, it might say "City of Boston Census Figures." Or maybe you find a famous poem, which says "by Robert Frost, 1962." You should include these sources in your school report. If there are lots of quotes or charts on a page and there is no information about where these came from, be careful in using them. Try to find out more about this information, or ask a librarian for advice.
     
    5. Is the information biased? Does it only give one opinion?
    Many people can put information on the Internet. It doesn't cost much, and it isn't very hard to have your own home page that says anything you want it to say. Imagine you knew a kid in school whom you didn't like, and you decided to put insults and ugly pictures you drew of that kid on your home page. Just because it's on the Internet, on your home page, doesn't mean it's true. There are many things on the 'Net that are put there by one person or group that has a certain opinion. Sometimes this information is biased, which means it doesn't give you all the information and opinions you might like to know about. Once in a while, you might even find something that is really mean and hateful toward a person or group of people. Remember that, just as with magazines or books, you shouldn't believe everything you find on the Internet. Ask for help if you're not sure.
     
    6. Who is the information meant for?
    If you are looking for an easy explanation of how the heart works, and find a page on the Internet called "Double Bypass Heart Surgical Procedures on Congenitally Diabetic Patients", this is not going to be something you can use. That information is probably meant for doctors, not for kids and students. When you find something on the Internet, before taking lots of time to write it down, print it out, or add it to your bibliography, read it through to find out if it's written at a level you can understand.
     
    7. What type of information is it? Is it a home page or an e-mail message?
    You can get information from the Internet in many different ways: World Wide Web pages, gopher files, e-mail discussions, and so on. When doing research, any of these might be helpful, but you should be very careful about using e-mail. If you send questions by e-mail to an expert who can help you on a difficult subject, and they send you an e-mail reply, it's a neat way to get information for a school report. But if you find someone else's old e-mail message that has been put on a World Wide Web page, it might not be as useful. Because you may not know who sent the e-mail, who replied to it, whether the reply was from an expert, or when any of this happened, it's difficult to tell if the information is true. If you aren't sure, check with a parent, teacher, or librarian.
     
    8. How should you list information from the Internet on your bibliography?
    First you need to find out: who put the information on the Internet, what is the name of the page or file you have been reading, when it was put on the Internet or updated (or when you read it, if you can' find any other date), and what the Internet address is. For example, imagine you would like to include this page in your bibliography. You can see from the words on the very bottom of this page that this is the BPL, or Boston Public Library, Kids' Page. The BPL put this information on the Internet. At the top of the page is the name: "Using the Internet for School Reports." By checking the date at the bottom of the page, you might also be able to find out that this information was put here, or last updated,  in March, 2001. The Internet address for this site can be seen in the address line of the browser: http://www.bpl.org/KIDS/Evaluate.html.

    Different teachers may want you to list Internet information in your bibliography in different ways. Ask your teacher how he or she would like you to do it. Here is one way you can do it:

    Name of Person (or Group) Who Provides the Information. "Title of Page You Are Looking At." Internet Address. Date Page Was Posted, Updated, or Read.

    So the entry for this page would be:

    Boston Public Library. "Using the Internet for School Reports." http://www.bpl.org/KIDS/Evaluate.htm. July, 2001.

    Posted via web from kakronfeld's posterous

    What Makes Learning Joyful?

    by Ken Royal

    0615cw02

    Have you thought about why you enjoy learning? Chances are that testing, and a list of complaints have nothing to do with it. I get worried, sometimes, that adults and especially teachers have forgotten joyful learning. It’s easy to do, and can happen without knowing. I do think that most teachers remember joyful learning—and joyful teaching, because one of the most common complaints I hear from educators (other than contractual) is that there’s no time to do anything fun anymore.

    I recently talked with a young educator, who glowed when she spoke about her students and the projects they had done, but then the light went dim when she got to the part about cutting back to do more practice testing.

    Furthermore, I had a wonderful chance to meet with teachers I had taught with. I listened. One of the young ones was so angry about a contract freeze that it scared me a bit. He began shouting about a money argument that had happened at the last faculty meeting. A teacher with about 17 years under his belt, tried to calm him, and sort of took the district’s side—explaining something about furlough days…and avoiding more. Another educator joined in on the calming. It didn’t help. A soon-to-be retired teacher, watched and smiled—counting the days. No on one talked kids.

    When I was asked about what I was doing these days, I said that I was hearing, daily, the incredible things teachers and students are doing. Sure, I hear about finding enough time, enough equipment, enough gratitude, enough pay, but my advantage is listening outside the district walls—so I hear much more. I think that sometimes the in-district bad baggage never gets put away—and is just left to stumble over—again and again. The worst thing is to have that negativity-cloud hover. That makes it very difficult to think forward.

    I guess I’m recommending a kind of field trip out of the system—and out of the dark clouds. I encourage educators and districts to get involved with online Personal Learning Networks (PLN), because they are good for the ego, good for fresh ideas, and good for staying positive. I also think, at least for right now, following other educators on Twitter, and joining education chats can make a positive difference. Taking a vacation from the only work world you know, can be rejuvenating for an educator. Believe me, if you haven’t thought about what’s really learning-important lately, you will—fast—by joining or building a PLN. Discover what makes learning joyful—again—and do your best to teach that way, regardless of those perceived negative pressures. That takes positive support. Your students will appreciate it—and you’ll feel better, too.

    Posted via web from kakronfeld's posterous

    The Electric Educator: Google-Proof Questioning: A New Use for Bloom's Taxonomy

    18 comments:

    mike hattman said...

    John: Another way to attack the problem is to use Google Books. Add a few books with full or limited preview to your Google Library and use the ideas suggested. http://books.google.com/books?id=FzxsvOY4t00C&pg=PA108&dq=Questions&ei=yWf1SvqEBYPuyASuwfmiBg#v=onepage&q=&f=false
    Mike

    November 7, 2009 6:33 AM

    Divergent Learner Blog said...

    Hi there ... since your students are keen on technology, perhaps also introducing the Bloom's Digital Taxonomy will motivate them more to blend technology with higher order thinking skills AND google-proofing. I also use the updated Bloom's which now show "Creating" as the top HOT skill. http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom's+Digital+Taxonomy

    November 7, 2009 8:35 AM

    Anonymous said...

    Hi, I'm just a mom and love the new technology and ability to access information almost instantaneously. Having said, I worry the effect it will have on our children. For example, this past summer my daughter took a supplemental Reading/Writing class because this is an area of weakness. In the class, they were required to read a book and then "discuss" it. Made sense to me, back to basics...how to break down a book. She needed it and I was relieved and praying that this would help her. Until she told me that the teacher gives them a certain amount of time to read and then posts a "discussion question" on the computer....? Apparently, the kids were all given laptop computers as they come into the class and "discussing" a book is done via the computers. 13 kids in a class, discussing a book, and no one is talking. Great. Help my daughter dissect a book but take away her ability to communicate effectively. It's bad enough that they communicate via text messaging. Needless to say I was crushed.

    November 7, 2009 9:47 AM

    jrsowash said...

    Your concern is understandable. I am a great champion of technology which enhances education however I clearly understand (and teach) that technology must support effective instruction, it is not an end in itself.

    It is important for students to learn how to express themselves digitally as it is also important for them to express themselves verbally from one person to another. You can not nurture one at the expense of the other.

    Thank you for posting your thoughts. It is always good for groups of educators to hear voices from outside our "circle." I hope that you will contribute regularly.

    November 7, 2009 11:53 AM

    charrod said...

    I guess I would question "Anonymous'" belief that having an online discussion is any less powerful as a teaching strategy as face to face discussions. Take away their ability to communicate effectively? What?

    In the 21st Century, children are going to need to understand how to communicate with people from around the world through the written word. Granted, it does seem somewhat useless to have them in a room together and not discuss the book f2f; I think I might have had them express themselves online and then opened the discussion up for oral commentary.

    I have found online discussions to be powerful and extremely freeing for those students who will not open up when placed in a f2f situation; particularly teenagers. We need to change the way in which we look at learning in the 21st Century. I hate to burst the bubbles of millions of adults but the world is changing...get use to it.

    November 7, 2009 1:04 PM

    Global Association for Teaching Excellence said...

    Someone very smart once said, "I never try to memorize something I can write down or look up."
    I think this is totally appropriate to today's learners and Google-proofing assessment questions will go a long way to prevent the useless memorization of facts that are now available at our fingertips.
    We definitely need more and better ways to get those facts into play, though, so that the HOT skills can then be utilized effectively to allow true engagement with the learning to occur.

    November 8, 2009 1:03 AM

    Cheryl Oakes said...

    Our digital learners are learn and participate differently. Even in a small group of 13 students, reflecting on a book, there will be more than a few in the group who will not speak because they are fearful. However, by posting a comment or replying to a comment, there is pride that their comment is valued, they had time to be thoughtful and then write their comment , they are published- that word goes further than their teacher, and they can speak out and reply anytime of day. This is a powerful concept for our young writers.
    The Google it! mode of education today will force all educators to let go of the notion that we hold the keys to knowledge. We are facilitators of knowledge. If a question can be answered by Googling it, we should not be asking that question. That is rote memorizing which our computers do quite efficiently. The computer gets the A+. However, when we ask the kinds of questions that John suggests, we lead our digital learners to the kinds of thinking, creating and uncovering of material where answers are thoughtful, reflective and tested. Great discussion!

    November 8, 2009 8:12 AM

    gWhiz.Ralph said...

    I like the topic of discussion for the issue that it raises "google proofing", or in general, the habit of copying an answer from someone else. The approach of moving the "assessment" into higher realms of Bloom's taxonomy seems valid. As if to say "yes, now we have had a revolution and information is only as far as your fingertips. You don't have to memorize it, but you must show that you can think about it". My company has written a set of assessment/communication tools for students and teachers that run on ipods and cell phones. The challenge for us has been to design tools that are compatible with assessing "higher order thinking", It is more challenging that it seems on the surface, and comes back (as always) to how the question is designed.

    November 8, 2009 11:49 AM

    Priyanka Dalal said...

    The answer to "Design an experiment to test the consumption of oxygen by germinating seeds." is one of the tops results on Google.. so I guess this is not exactly Google proof question is it?

    But I do like the idea of Google proof questions..

    November 9, 2009 3:09 AM

    Anonymous said...

    I like how the Mom with the daughter with the "weakness" in reading and WRITING can't understand how having her daughter WRITE her responses is helpful in a class on reading and WRITING.

    November 9, 2009 10:57 AM

    Rodd Lucier said...

    Well put!\

    I'm an advocate of the open exam/test. Let students refer to any resource or person they can locate, but ensure the questions/challenges require that students apply their found knowledge in unique ways.

    Here's how I put it a few months ago:
    http://thecleversheep.blogspot.com/2009/05/open-exam.html

    November 10, 2009 8:55 PM

    Bob Ruggiero said...

    Thank you for your post on Google-proofing. I am always seeking to ask those higher level questions in my science classes, and in fact, have Bloom's Taxonomy as a bulletin board in the room with the words "How Are You Thinking". It never occurred to me to rewrite the web-quest and research tasks with the same approach, and it makes so much sense. Thank you for sharing!

    #i3cs21

    November 11, 2009 4:55 PM

    Joel Zehring said...

    Great post and excellent graphic. Data is such a buzzword in education. Perhaps a better tool is wisdom. Students need to develop wisdom and educators need to use wisdom in their decision-making.

    November 11, 2009 9:51 PM

    Kevin at Snow College said...

    I'm finding some real challenges at a new post where I am teaching anatomy alongside a veteran teacher who has been honing his methods for 20 years. Anatomy is one class that can lend itself very well to lots of rote memorization, and my colleague is worried that I am jeopardizing the strength of the program by focusing less on memorization of anatomical landmarks and more on interpretive questions. One could argue in a subject like anatomy that you need to do a lot of memorizing before you can even get to the higher level thinking. Would be interested in other opinions.

    November 12, 2009 4:50 AM

    Anonymous said...

    I love your blog- thanks for sharing. What strikes me is how much better your post google questions are for students. Wish i had used those when I taught biology in 1990 (even w/out Google :)

    November 12, 2009 1:53 PM

    Anonymous said...

    This may or may not have been posted earlier.

    But I do not believe you can Google proof a question. There may be an anwer to the Google proofed question if a student has posted it.

    Also, if you have to Google proof questions, then there may be something wrong with the picture. The more important thing would be to find out why the students are not interested in bettering themselves academically or personally. What are we missing? How can we spark thier interest to learn? How can we help them to love to learn? Is it understanding, lack of confidence or something else? Once we can get at the root of problem, then maybe we may not have to Google proof questions.

    November 13, 2009 12:05 PM

    Cheryl Oakes said...

    Hi John, great post, I wrote about your post at techlearning.com last week.
    Cheryl

    November 14, 2009 1:58 PM

    Ruth said...

    John, You raise some really interesting questions. To me, the question is how to make the technology transformative or value-added. My daughter's school is full of smart boards, and my dad (college professor) thinks smart boards are cool, but I can't see how they are being used in any way that makes kids learn more or think differently. So why pay for them?

    In some subjects, memorization is essential--does having a Spanish game on the computer help kids learn vocabulary? Maybe, if you are a kid who likes computers, if you have access to computers.

    Your point about google-proofing is a good one, except that really we probably want to emphasize those analytical and creative skills anyway...

    November 18, 2009 12:49 PM

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    Thanks for contributing to this blog. If you ask a question, I will answer it by commenting below your post.

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