Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another way of learning (and teaching)

One of the things that I find challenging when supporting the development of teachers understandings of ICT and their applications in the classroom is offering simple explanations of what many of the applications are. It's all very well to suggest that a teacher create a blog to get their students to record a project, or create a wiki so that they can collaborate. Harder still is to explain how RSS feeds might be a very effective way to track how students are working on their digital portfolios or why podcasts might be a new way to let parents know about the history of their school community. I constantly have to remind myself that wikis, blogs, RSS, podcasts and many more are for many teachers still techno gobbledy gook and as such, cause angst and feelings of unnecessary inadequacy.
Today via a mailing list, I came across a very cool site called CommonCraft that explains Web 2.0 applications in simple yet entertaining. The appealing thing for me I think is that it uses little props such as drawings and cutouts to visually represent a group of ideas. Very useful for both teachers and students. They are even available for downloading onto the school's local server from Bliptv or YouTube.
Here's one that explains RSS.

4 comments:

Chris said...

yes these are great Anne. Lee does a great job of making them and they seem to be really popular with teachers. I often use them in PD sessions as a way to introduce an idea like wikis or RSS... he has a good way of making these things seem very simple.
Thanks for spreading the word about them.

Anonymous said...

Luckily, the next generation of teachers will more than likely be advanced enough in these kinds of technologies that teaching them to students will more than likely be even easier. I've read about 6th graders using blogs to communicate with their teachers when they are at home, and I'm using a blog right now to complete part of an assignment for a collegiate level teacher education course. Because of these technologies and the opportunity to do them at any time of the day learning my course work has become much easier, and I can only hope that Web 2.0 will continue to flourish in the education field. If you're looking for another technology to use for your classes, provided your school allows you to do it, is GabCast. Essentially, you have your students call a toll free 800 number, and record a message, such as an answer to an essay question, a full conversation in a different language, or questions that they'd like you to bring up in class. We've used it in class a few times, and it was really fun to see how it was instantly viewable to our professor.

Anonymous said...

I am currently taking classes to become a teacher. The teaching technology I am currently learning is unlike the simple technologies I used in high school less than 3 years ago. The technology will be nice to know, and will make some aspects of teaching very interesting. As you point out some teachers will not have any idea about new technologies. The tutorials can be a great deal of help. They can also be used as a learning tool for students. My professor showed us a tutorial of the same variety about wikis. I hope to use the technology I learn and also be able to keep my cool while some of the faculty is still lagging behind.

Michael said...

Thank you so very much for this, and Snap Shots!!Whenever I can I create project-based syllabi for my classes. A wiki would be a great way to do this. I have some questions about assessment but I'll post them to EFL Classroom 2.0.
BTW, I've posted a link to your site on my blog.
Thanks again!