Thing 15: Delicious

Finally!  A way of bookmarking favorite sites and having access to the collection from any computer.  I love it. 

Tags will organize and simplify my searching.  Great!

Tried to share a site  by tagging with “K12Learning20” but so far nothing has shown up on the Wiki page.  Don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I have to move forward.

Thing 13: Attend a “21st Century” Conference

There’s something odd about attending a conference (K12 Learning Conference 2008) that occurred one year ago.  It’s also a bit odd that although thousands have participated in this conference from around the world, I’m sitting here by my lonesome in the session How Can I Become a Part of this ReadWriteWeb Revolution?  Honestly, I’m OK about being a pioneer, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to be a revolutionary.  I’m ready to start the journey and willing to wander aimlessly around for a little bit, but I’m not ready to raise the charge and proclaim the transformative effect of Web 2.0 tools  such as voicethread, flip cameras, Skype, and nings.  The good news is that Alice Barr, Bob Sprankle, and Cheryl Oakes in this keynote session assure me that there is a community involved in this revolution.  I don’t need to go this alone.  I am not by myself.  There is a lot of support out there.  I am hoping that here at ‘Iolani there is enough of a core group of teachers who have taken the first steps and can act as mentors/guides as I continue to wander about in this still all too strange land.  Darren?  Mel?  Erin?  Kathy P.?

As a side note, I find it ironic that as I prepare for this new school year, I am seriously considering moving my desks from groups of four to rows and columns.  Am I taking a backward step into more traditional territory even as I try to have students become active collaborators in the classroom?

My second session at the conference was actually fun, and exciting to think about.  Chris Betcher in I Like Delicious Things introduces the novice to tagging and folksonomies.  I don’t understand folksonomies, but tagging makes sense.  I have been collecting more and more digital photos, and as the number of items in my collection begins to grow, it becomes harder and harder to find just the right photos I need to create a scrapbook page.  My photos are currently organized in files by event and date.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to search with tags such as mother, or huladancer, or sunset to create a thematic page? Then Chris shows me how a wordle can create tag clouds.  Wow, that’s amazing!  And being a statistics teacher, I immediately saw it as a graphical way of  showing statistical frequency by the size and boldness of the text.  What a great visual way to capture the “essence” of a collection!

I just spent another 20 minutes trying to create my own wordle.  Since I’m still in the dark (having technical difficulties), I’ll send you to Rod Lucier’s blog site.  I’ll have to leave this side adventure for another day.

Thing 8: Wiki Wiki means Quick

Nothing really seems quick in this Web 2.0 world.   I’m really talking about the speed at which I seem to pick things up.  I have to linger and mull, dwell and ruminate.  And yet, according to Vicki Davis’ blog post Wiki Wiki Teaching, students seem to grab on to Web 2.0 with lightning speed. And the surprising part, is that they often run further and faster than ever could be imagined.  That would be exciting!

In Thing 8 (week 4) … oh my I am behind … I investigated Mr. Monson’s Grade 5 Classroom wiki.  Looks like the students are having fun posting a new question each month for their world audience to answer.  I was able to contribute to the list of 1000 things we do to conserve energy.  Yikes!  This page seems to have disappeared.  Sorry, I can’t give you the link. The ephemeral nature of web pages. One thing that I am especially proud about in my contribution to energy conservation is learning to hang up clothes to dry!  We’ll see if my electric bill actually goes down for my efforts.

Small Stones has students posting a daily review of work done in an AP Calculus class.  Hmm…using a wiki perhaps not daily but for chapter summaries could be useful!

I like the way students research the issues and stances of political candidates in the Great Debate of 2008.  The front page describes how the project works, its guidelines and an invitation to participate.  The sidebars shows pages organized by topics … civil rights, death penalty, health care, etc. 

When I first saw a wiki last September (Shelley Paul’s visit to ‘Iolani), I thought it might be useful as a collaborative tool for teachers of Algebra 1A.  We were teaching out of a new text, so sharing of tests, quizzes, and worksheets was particularly helpful.  Unfortunately, the wiki never saw flight and we continued our exchange of ideas using ‘Iolani’s antiquated email system.  Maybe this year!

Thing 7a: From my RSS Feeder

Just came back from a week in Oregon and Washington, so there’s quite a bit of catch up to do.  Thanks, Suzanne, for the nudge.

The fun part of having a Google reader is that you can collect not just all the educational stuff, but items that are meant to encourage summer fun and exploration.

Here’s an educational example:  In his Instructify blog, Bill Ferris talks about wolgram Alpha as one of the five great tools for math teachers .  Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine.  Ask any question involving mathematics or data, and this search engine will respond with facts, graphs, charts, and multiple representations.  Interested in the value of π?  Type in pi.  You’ll see decimal approximations as well as series expansions.  Pi doesn’t interest you?  Type what’s in a Big Mac.  Knowing  that you’ll consume 510 calories and 28 fat grams from this delicious burgermight keep you away from McDonald’s!

A summertime fun example:  Want to experiment in the kitchen?  Itching to try a new recipe?  Elise Bauer’s personal blog Simply Recipes became one of Time Magazine’s 50 coolest websites of 2006.  Elise writes:

A few years ago I started writing down the recipes I had grown up with and posting them to my website. I had just turned 40, and had spent most of my adult life working as a hectic Silicon Valley consultant with little time to cook, let alone learn how to cook beyond what I had learned growing up. I come from a big family – six kids – and thought what a terrific family project, to document our family recipes!

I think I might try Stuffed Zucchini with Turkey Sausage tonight.  I only wish that the zucchinis came from my own garden!
















































Thing 5: Getting Started with RSS

My Google Reader is up and running!  I set it up awhile ago, with the required blog sites, and now after a little hiatus, I am back.  The real challenge with all these Web 2.0 tools  to remember what I did and why I did it and how to do it all over again.  How do I mark an item read?  What if I want to look at it again?  Do all websites have RSS feed links, or just blog sites? 

I am trying to relearn and to play and to make it all stick in my brain.  To my great joy, I was able to do something new today; I set up a feed for podcasts from one of the NPR film critics.  In case you were thinking of going to the movies this weekend, it’s thumbs down on The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock.

Moving on to the task of Thing 5:  reflect upon an item from the reader that caught your eye.  So after scrolling, skimming, and skipping, I came across Bill Ferris’s post on Instructify.  He write about a site where teachers can download pictures for FREE.  That is, you won’t have to worry about 1) paying for the pic or 2) violating copyright laws.  At Pics4Learning, you can use photographs in your lesson plans or even contribute your own pictures.  When I used the search feature (I entered King Kamehameha), it didn’t come up with anything close to the image of the Hawaiian warrior.  So at this point, I’m not sure how useful the site is for getting exactly the image you want!  Keep on searching … and let me know if you find a better resource!


Thing 2: Thoughts About Web 2.0

Today’s students are definitely immersed in a digital world.  I have only two look at my two daughters (Kelsey who just finished her freshman year at ‘Iolani and Elisa who just finished her freshman year at Western Oregon University) to see that reality in my own home.

My kids constantly multitask (although yesterday on Oprah I learned that according to brain science, the idea of multitasking is actually a myth) when sitting at their computers at home: sending IM messages, talking on Skype, watching a video, writing a history paper, shopping on the web all at the same time.  In addition, although they don’t have the much coveted I-phone, they do use their cell phones in a myriad of ways that I have not even begun to touch:

  • a camera
  • a calendar
  • to text message
  • to play games
  • and yes, every once in awhile, to speak to another person

This concept of the interactive web, however, has been all new for me.  It seems to shift power into the hands of individuals rather than to keep it in mainstream institutions such as schools, newspapers, and the government. It does this by providing the tools to actively collaborate and workin real time on content that really matters and issues that affect the heart.  So the challenge is to teach students how to channel that power and their digital fingers/minds into productive outcomes.

Where to begin? Sometimes I see clarity … but most times I just feel a bit overwhelmed at all that is available.  As the weeks progress, I hope that the vision becomes clearer, and that practically speaking, I will be able to start by taking one small step.  Still … where do I begin?  A web blog, a wiki, google documents, classroom 2.0 … these are all still swimming around in my head.

Thing 4: A Blog About Blogging

Blog writing is very much linked to blog reading.  So after reading a number of blogs, here’s what I learned.

  • Brevity can be challenging, but powerful.  Just try keeping your comments <42 words.
  • You can learn from students.  Some students like ten-year-old Laura Stockman are actually making “a difference.”
  • To turn blogging into collaborative teaching and learning, you have to create the Ripe Environment.  Don’t be so focused on the tool, that you forget about the content.
  • Some people have found ways to use blogs in mathematics.

There’s a lot out there to read, reflect upon, and write about.

Thing 1: Reflections on Lifelong Learning

I have a confession to make.  I’M AFRAID OF BLOGGING.  OK, I said it.   It’s not that I’m afraid to write, or that I’m a math teacher (and more analytical than prosaic), or that I don’t have any ideas (although sometiems my brain feels rather empty.)   I think that I’m afraid that somebody else might read this (which might happen sooner or later), and worse yet, that somebody might disagree with what I write/think/believe or even have the audacity to respond critically to my musings.  So while others might just be waiting for someone to respond/interact/comment, I’m just hoping that my musings stay mine and help to challenge/encourage/critique my own wanderings about this giant 2.0 Web.

Of course, that’s not really the point, since this adventure is supposed to be COLLABORATIVE, so somewhere deep inside I am secretly wishing for someone to comment upon this post.  Maybe.

There should be a lifelong learning step that reads:  BE UNAFRAID TO TAKE THE PLUNGE.  You will make mistakes.

OK … so as a lifelong learner, I am most willing to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY OWN LEARNING.  After all, I am not in a standard classroom, nor am I being graded, nor is anyone checking over myshoulders as Icheck off the “things” completed.  I am grateful that there is a support group here at ‘Iolani that can help me stumble through the technology frustrations, encourage me to try new tools in the classroom, and keep me on the straight path to Thing 23.

I know that there will be times when I will lack CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF.  The older I get, the harder it gets to learn new things.

But I will keep the END IN MIND.  The goal is simple:  to learn about Web 2.0.  Nothing lofty.  Success will be in the journey, and the journey hopefully will open my mind to new possibilites.


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