Monday, June 30, 2008

expressive learning

Blogging Communities in the Classroom: Creating Engaging Learning Experiences
presented by Konrad Gonglowski at NECC2008

Engaging students in blogging can look very different across classrooms and grade levels, with a variety of purposes being served. But, what happens when a writing workshop approach is used when students blog? How will the habits of teaching and learning change and be developed?

How can we make our classroom a Third Place- a place where people go to hang out?
  • Create a sense of constant interactions and fun and kids can enter any group and interact with each other
  • Moving away from prompts and pre-identified ways to write toward students writing about that which is important to them
How will the uses and activities change?
  • useful sustainable active
  • opportunities for expressive student voice
  • have freedom to do that
  • freedom to speak
  • Freedom to customize, build, design
  • Freedom to interact and network
  • To form networks with others and share common interests and goals
  • They will find something that they are interested in following

How can we provide Access and Linkage

  • We need a public space that needs to be accessible
  • We need to propose what are students are doing in the community
  • We need to define community
  • We need to create a place where the interactions can be seen- one web page that hyperlinks to their blogs
How will our teacher stance change to develop expressive writing? What is the difference between expressive writing and school writing?

  • Expressive writing will extend classroom discourse and can't be clearly defined.
  • School writing has clearly defined formats and specific guidelines.
  • Expressive writing is developed through writing and responding to ideas that mak a difference to the writer.
  • School writing is a skill to be acquired - not something that comes from yourself.
  • Expressive writing is what you do when you are passionate about something or want to sort or think through something.
  • Expressive writing is full of voice.
  • School writing can be voiceless.
  • Expressive writing is written for an audience of many.
  • School writing is written for one person to see
How does grading and rubrics affect student writing?

  • The potential for conversation ends
  • Language as a tool for shaping meaning is compromised
  • Contributions to an ongoing discourse do not exist
  • There are not active participants to further inform meaning

You need to redefine your presence- trade your teacherly voice.

  • It will take time to change your voice
  • Read differently- like you are reading a novel- not like a teacher who will assess
  • Have instructional conversations
  • Be a reader not an evaluator
  • Show that you are human- share your feelings, connections to your experiences
  • Make everyone feel heard- link to specific student entries

We need to help guide our students see the journey they will embark upon and the steps along the path that will enable them to grow a writers and thinkers.

How to Grow a Blog-Student goal setting
  • What do I want my blog to look like in June?
  • Roots- How do I sustain it? What resources will I tap in to feed and support my ideas?
  • What habits will I develop?

Ustream of presentation at

techsaavy picture on flickr by Mike Sansone
How to Grow a Blog on flickr by teachandlearn

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Web2.0 Smackdown

What happens when you put about 150 educators who love technology in one room and ask them to share their coolest Web2.0 tool?

Check out the whirlwind tour!

Poll Everywhere
Create multiple choice polls and have students use their cell phones to answer- works with classroom sizes up to 30.

1- 800 tochacha Use your cell phone to call and ask a question. You will receive a text message with the answer.

Create music videos for your images and pictures.

Blog live sessions. As moderator you accept others to join in with you in blogging about the event.

Via your cell phone you can do live streams, post an announcement of the stream on Twitter, and embed it on the web. Also includes chat capability.

A tv studio which enables you to have multiple cameras and switch between them.

A game kids play to teach responsible habits. Kids earn points for doing chores, homework, and staying healthy.


Make your own comics and then take screen shots to embed them on your site.

A free that tool will enable you to create your own IM network.


Helps scheduling meetings and other appointments. Simply set up a poll, send a link to plan and schedule it.

More easy scheduling for coordinating meetings. Also snycs with Outlook.

Tag Galaxy

Browse through Flickr photos in 3D with this flash application.

Gives you a screen shot of any page.

Alternative to Twitter.

PHEW! Now go have some fun!

Social Networking with Students

Do you do Social Networking with students?
Are you considering social networking with students?

The second session of EduBlogger Con 2008 I attended explored these topics.

We need to educate our students about social networking.
Students may be using social networking in their personal lives and we need to help them understand how to use social networking in their professional networking. Students need to learn to use appropriate behavior which is expected to be used in a professional educational space.

In using social networking in the classroom situations arise across different cultures which enable us to have discussions about what is considered appropriate with our students and which also furthers our ability to teach digital and global citizenry.
Educators are finding that through social networking, students who are reticent to share in the classroom will share through online chats or back channels. Once they realize that their ideas are valuable and respected, they become more active as learners in the classroom.

We need to educate our technology departments and administrators.
When deciding to use social networking with students we need to know:
What kind of sandbox will it be?
How will you keep kids safe in there?

We need to educate our parents.
We need to educate our parents about social networking and what we are doing with their children just as we do with other experiences we provide for our students.

So, not unlike anything else that is new, we need to engage all of the stakeholders in understanding it. We shouldn't expect it to be easy because we are forging the road. We are exploring the pitfalls and successes so that even more students will be able to benefit. What is important is to continue to find a way to gather all of our collective ideas together so this can happen. Are you game?

The Learning Extravaganza has Begun

Edublogger Con has begun!

A room full of talented, passionate, knowledgeable, and open to sharing and questioning their practices to learn from each other. I am sitting in my first EduCon session, Social Networking for Professionals - a roundtable discussion about the use of socialnetworking for professional development with a room full of talented, passionate, knowledgeable, and open to sharing and questioning their practices to learn from each other.

This is a group of people who are honestly asking questions about their practice and collectively trying to learn from each other.

So what are some of the questions?

What is it about social networking that makes it compelling and valuable for professional development?
How do we assess the impact of professional development?
How do you develop continuity?
A basic purpose and synchronous communication capability?

Social network faders - what keeps you coming back and how can we further develop your ideas and learning experiences?
How do we create a sense that professionals NEED to be part of just in time learning?

Tippping Points

Through discussion there were some common threads that seem to foster professional development through social networking.
  • It is really important to have some immediate purpose and will generate some feedback which will help foster people coming back.
  • You need a reason for people to keep coming back. There are always new ideas
  • Feeling like you are a member of the community
  • Needs to solve something
  • Needs to have something specific it is solving if it is for a local group
  • It has to work and be reliable
  • It has to be easy to learn
  • Beginning with a group that is organized and has a purpose yet have the ability to morph and open the doors for personal exploration.

There are also clearly obstables that interfere with the use of social networks for professional development:
  • fear of failure
  • parent questions
  • administrative concernsprescribed professional development done to you not for or with you
  • NCLB

This is only a brief review of the discussion since I often caught myself listening and thinking rather than taking notes. Please comment and add to the ideas so that we can continue to learn from each other and learn how to foster the learning of other teachers.