Saturday, November 24, 2007

Joyce Valenza –21st Century Research Skills!


Navigating the Shifting Information Landscape

Interview with Joyce Valenza

This interview is with Joyce Valenza, Springfield Township (PA) High School Teacher-Librarian and technology writer, who is a featured blogger and presenter at numerous conferences.

What are the greatest challenges for teachers and teacher-librarians when teaching the effective use of research skills/strategies?

At this moment it is understanding the shifting landscape. The last two years saw dramatic change in the information landscape. The change forces us to examine new questions: How do we respect intellectual property in a mash-up universe? What do creative, effective information products look like? How do we balance issues of privacy and safety in an information landscape that busts through borders and invites us to share our ideas and our work? How do we use these new tools to participate creatively in global discussion? How do we best exploit exciting new opportunities for authorship and audience? What "old world" tools and skills need to be carried over into our new projects?

You have spoken of students as being either "sponges," absorbing information passively; or "miners," actively searching for information gems. How can educators structure research assignments to help students become “miners” instead of “sponges”?

If they haven't already done so, every district should ban the "report." If you asked me to write a report on Pennsylvania, I'd likely print you an encyclopedia article. That work has already been done far better than I could do it myself. Students need to use information to imagine, to solve, to analyze, to propose, to invent, to create. Give me a challenge or allow me to create my own information challenge based on my own questions and passions. Ask me (or allow me) instead to create a commercial promoting travel to my state and post it on YouTube. Ask me to make a decision (based on criteria I myself develop) about whether to move to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. Ask me to collaborate on solving a local problem in a wiki and to present my solution using a media slideshow I could share on the Web.

How can Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, del.icio.us, and GoogleDocs enhance and transform the teaching of K-12 information literacy/fluency skills?

Among the most powerful applications we've used so far:

Blogs to record, manage and reflect on major research projects. These make the chaotic process more transparent and more interactive. They allow teacher, librarian, mentor, and peer intervention. They can also prevent research disasters.

Wiki pathfinders allow teachers, librarians and learners to collaborate as they construct guides for projects and lead students to sources they might not discover independently. We've moved most of our lit circle activity to blogs. Each circle manages its discussion, setting up timelines, establishing categories. Our teachers love that they can easily assess the level of participation and quickly gather what any group or student had to say regarding characterization.

We love using tools like
Animoto and Voicethread for preparing powerful media presentations.We use GoogleDocs for group writing and to allow teachers and librarians to suggest edits. We are exploring ZohoPolls for original research as well.

Students work hard to craft solid questions and make sense of the data they collect.We've recognized what our misuse of PowerPoint has done to our school. We are considering new presentation options and tools, as well as the concept of "presentation zen." How can we best connect with an audience? What does effective storytelling look like in the 21st century?

How can we help our students create their own meaningful information spaces to support their work as learners?

I think we may need to guide them to widgetizing their personal desktops. This year we asked our seniors to use
iGoogle as a tool to organize their senior projects. I see more tools like that emerging. Now students can open an interface and be presented with their favorite online dictionary, foreign language tools, mapping tool, thesaurus, calendar, to-do list, while they push research-relevant RSS feeds to them through a reader. They choose their theme. Their little game applets are there too. This was perhaps the "stickiest" activity they've done yet this school year. The spaces continue to grow more personally meaningful.

I look forward to the day when we can offer more widgetized library tools. So the student who needs the American History database this semester can drag that widget onto her desktop and replace it (or schooch it further down) to substitute a science database widget next semester. We also ask students to consider their research blogs as their own information spaces. Blogs help students organize, categorize, reflect. They can be customized learning spaces.

Tech Tip: Personalize Your Desktop With Gadgets and Widgets

A host of free “mini-apps” are available to personalize your computer workspace for fun and productivity, and to gather your frequently-used information resources in one spot. In Macintosh OS X, these are called “dashboard widgets”, in Yahoo they are “widgets”, in Windows Vista they are “sidebar gadgets” and in iGoogle they are simply “gadgets”. Since there is no universal format for widgets/gadgets, a widget designed for Mac’s OS X Dashboard won’t work in iGoogle or Vista, or vice versa. However, there are options for converting Google gadgets to Dashboard or Vista Sidebar formats.

Here are links to directions and galleries for adding widgets/gadgets to Mac OS X, iGoogle, Vista, and Yahoo.

Announcement

Download our new poster for your bulletin board at:
http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/pdf/poster.pdf
Are you looking for graduate courses that support your professional development goals for changing salary lanes, licensure renewal or advanced certification? January classes are filling now. No payment is due until the beginning of the semester.

SEARCH/BROWSE LIST OF NEW COURSES
http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/courses.shtml

REGISTER ONLINE AT:
http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml
Educators who are registering for an online course do not need to apply for graduate admission to the university unless you are beginning a Masters degree program at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

(Republished with Permission from UW-Stout Infobytes: Karen Franker Editor.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Green Room Podcasts

E-Learning and Online Learning: Podcast Treasure Chest!





The Green Room Podcasts are done by instructional designer Dan Balzer, and Susan Manning, who teaches the instructional design course in UW-Stout's E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate program. Dan and Suzan produce a wonderful podcast series for Learning Times called The Green Room. I urge you to join Learning Times, a vibrant online network of learning professionals, so you can listen to Dan and Susan's program.

Clever, insightful, cutting edge... these professionally produced podcasts are very informative!

Here's the Index for the Green Room!

http://home.learningtimes.net/learningtimes?go=z1080283

You'll have to create a free account with Learning Times to listen to these podcasts. Do it! You won't be sorry.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

PowerSearching in a Web 2.0 World

power searching in a web 2.0 world

Last Call! Class starts November 12, 2007: Register Now!

This popular four-week on-line course empowers participants to search efficiently, evaluate Internet and Web 2.0 information effectively and use it ethically incorporating the full range of 21st Century Information Fluency skills and resources.

This course, developed by the 21st Century Information Fluency Project is open to all adults who desire to become fluent in searching and evaluating on-line resources. Anyone who intends to teach 21st Century Information Skills to students and staff should complete this training.

Details:

  • Instructor: Dennis O'Connor

  • Time commitment: login at least four times a week

  • 2.5 CEUs are available for the 25 online contact hours

  • Course delivery: 21CIF Moodle (view the course -- log-in as a guest)

  • Assignments include readings, interactive learning games, discussion groups and practical projects you can use in your work

  • ISTE NETS (for teachers) addressed: I, II, III, IV, V, VI

  • ISTE NETS (for students) addressed: 2, 3, 5

  • ISTE NETS (Refreshed for students 2007) 1,3,4,5

  • $99.00 course fee

Online Registration is Now Open! If you would like to be added to our interest list, send us an email with your name and preferred email address. If you'd like to register, click here!

Objectives:
  • Participants will increase skills and efficiency in searching world wide web

  • Participants will become reliable evaluators of digital information

  • Participants will become successful integrators of digital information

Registration Deadline: Nov 12. Please alert us to any special accommodations you may need.

Cancellation Policy: Any registration cancellation must be received 48 hours before the scheduled date for a refund to be issued. Because attendance is limited, persons registering and not in attendance will be charged the full registration fee. 21CIF reserves the right to cancel any session due to insufficient enrollment. Participants will be notified by email or phone if a cancellation occurs.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Classroom Blogging: Taking It to a New Level



Tech Tip: Tab Shortcuts in Internet Explorer 7

Republished from UW-Stout's Infobytes Newletter. Editor Karen Franker


Photo Credit


New Study Explores the Online Behavior of Tweens and Teens

The results of the National School Board Association’s online behaviors study show that 96% of students with online access use social networking tools such as text messaging and blogging. How to convince your administrator that blogging has value? Read the complete report at: Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking.

Blog Pedagogy: Classroom 2.0

Fourth grade teacher Matt Kish discusses with other blogging educators: “What does complex blogging look like at the elementary school level? How can teachers scaffold this type of powerful blogging and learning? “

Rationale for Educational Blogging

Anne Davis explains how blogs are reshaping the learning environment and fostering the development of new literacies.

Student-Created Blog Policies

Bud Hunt shares student-created blog policies and blogging rules.

Blog Rubric

The staff at San Diego State University shares a blog reflection rubric to evaluate students’ blog entries.

Exemplary K-12 Classroom Blogs

UW-Stout provides a listing of innovative and exemplary student-written classroom blogs which model meaningful and thought-provoking collaborative learning with peers and others outside the classroom.

Tab Shortcuts in Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 7 for Windows has a popular Tabs feature, which allows you to quickly switch from one recently-viewed site to another, all in the same window.

Here are four handy shortcuts for using tabs:

1. Quickly switch between tabs by pressing Ctrl +Tab.

2. Open a new tab by pressing Ctrl + T.

3. If you want to save a set of tabbed Websites to view later, click the Add to Favorites button on the left side of your screen (yellow star with a green plus in front of it), and then select Add Tab Group to Favorites.

4. If you have multiple tabs open, you can click and drag on them to rearrange the order.

Announcement:

Earn credits via online courses and meet your professional development goals for K-12 Reading Teacher Certification

January cohort is filling fast--Apply soon and complete early registration!

For additional information, email Joan Vandervelde at vanderveldej@uwstout.edu or call Joan at (715) 642-0209

Teaching Online: Interaction & Collaboration Activities

Reposted from the UW-Stout Infobytes Newsletter, edited by Karen Franker

Two people working at computers

Online Teaching: Interaction and Collaboration Activities

Special Issue on Online Collaboration
The February 2006 issue of the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) contains eight articles which provide an excellent overview of effective methods for structuring online collaboration activities.

Relationships between Interactions and Learning in Online Environments (PDF)
Kathy Swan presents research findings on best practices in interactive learning and how they can guide effective course design and facilitation.

Online Learning Communities
Jan Engle and others describe how an effectively-designed online course can facilitate movement of a class through group development stages and deepen the learning experience. Key elements impacting student interaction include: the level of structure required, teamwork skills, discussion forums, and cooperative/collaborative learning exercises.

Understanding Interactions in Distance Education
Veronica Thurmond and Karen Wambach ask educators to consider if they are making optimum use of interaction and feedback, and describe four types of interactions commonly seen in online classes.

Earn a Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching!


For More Information about Classes Forming Now.

What Our Students Are Saying…

About the Online Classroom: Creating Collaborative Communities course:

"...the course design fostered a level of cohesive participant interaction that I have not experienced in many places. The instructors provided an effective model of online facilitation while teaching about online instruction. Every potential online instructor should take this class." ~ Paul Mugan , High school biology teacher, Waverly, Iowa


Tech Tip –
RSS Feeds in Internet Explorer 7

The new Internet Explorer 7 for Windows makes it easy to set up RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds for favorite Web sites so that you automatically receive personalized information updates. This can be a huge timesaver, as the updates are automatically sent to your Favorites Center, so you only have to look in one place. To set up an RSS feed:

1. First, check your favorite Websites to see if an RSS feed is available. To do this, open a Website and look for an orange and white striped icon in the toolbar (usually next to the Home icon), which means that RSS feed capability is available for this page. If there is no RSS feed for this page, the icon will be gray and white.

2. Next, click on the small black triangle next to this orange Feed icon to see which site items are available via RSS. Select an item from the list. A new window opens. In the new window, click on the Subscribe to This Feed text near the top of the screen.

3. To read your RSS feeds, go to the Favorites Center in Internet Explorer 7 (yellow star icon at left side of screen) and click on the Feeds button. A list of your selected feeds will appear. Select a site feed, and the content will open in a new window.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Beta Testers Needed: Website Evaluation Wizard








Evaluation Wizard Menu

Help us polish the latest edition of our Evaluation Wizard!

Evaluation Wizard

Carl Heine is rewriting our Evaluation Wizard; a ten step process for website evaluation. This tool will step you through the evaluation process, offering criteria for 10 different elements of evaluation.

As a student evaluates the site, they are guided to write their evidence for each step of the process. Once three criteria areas have been used, you can choose to print your evaluation. They system gathers all of your writing into a single page that can be copy/pasted to a word document or printed directly from the screen.

No log in required (the system does not store your data)

Please offer us feedback. Are we missing something? Are the criteria clear? Will you use this with your students?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Class Begins Nov. 12: Register Now!

power searching in a web 2.0 world

This popular four-week on-line course empowers participants to search efficiently, evaluate Internet and Web 2.0 information effectively and use it ethically incorporating the full range of 21st Century Information Fluency skills and resources.

This course, developed by the 21st Century Information Fluency Project is open to all adults who desire to become fluent in searching and evaluating on-line resources. Anyone who intends to teach 21st Century Information Skills to students and staff should complete this training.

Details:
  • Instructor: Dennis O'Connor

  • Time commitment: login at least four times a week

  • 2.5 CEUs are available for the 25 online contact hours

  • Course delivery: 21CIF Moodle (view the course -- log-in as a guest)

  • Assignments include readings, interactive learning games, discussion groups and practical projects you can use in your work

  • ISTE NETS (for teachers) addressed: I, II, III, IV, V, VI

  • ISTE NETS (for students) addressed: 2, 3, 5

  • ISTE NETS (Refreshed for students 2007) 1,3,4,5

  • $99.00 course fee

Online Registration is Now Open! If you would like to be added to our interest list, send us an email with your name and preferred email address. If you'd like to register, click here!

Objectives:
  • Participants will increase skills and efficiency in searching world wide web

  • Participants will become reliable evaluators of digital information

  • Participants will become successful integrators of digital information

Next Registration Deadline: Nov 12. Please alert us to any special accommodations you may need.

Cancellation Policy: Any registration cancellation must be received 48 hours before the scheduled date for a refund to be issued. Because attendance is limited, persons registering and not in attendance will be charged the full registration fee. 21CIF reserves the right to cancel any session due to insufficient enrollment. Participants will be notified by email or phone if a cancellation occurs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Benefits of Cooperative Learning


44 Benefits of Cooperative Learning
Ted Panitz lists forty-four benefits of cooperative learning, including: develops communication skills, addresses learning style differences, models problem-solving skills, and establishes an atmosphere of cooperation.

Fifteen Common Mistakes in Using Cooperative Learning

The Instructional Innovation Network staff has created an excellent list of cooperative learning (CL) pitfalls and suggestions for planning successful CL experiences.

Potential Challenges With Cooperative Learning

The Starting Point staff at Carleton College provides tips on how to deal with “hitchhikers” and dominant personalities.

Rubrics to Evaluate Student Collaboration and Teamwork
UW-Stout online instructor Karen Franker has developed three ready-to-use rubrics for students and their instructors to effectively assess individual participation in group projects.
Primary Grade Self-Evaluation Teamwork Rubric (pdf)
Elementary Teamwork Rubric
Secondary Collaboration Rubric


Tech Tip – Collaborate Online With Stixy
Stixy is a free new Web-based tool that facilitates communication between learning teams, colleagues, friends and family. Stixy helps users share and organize tasks any way they want on Web-based bulletin boards called Stixyboards.

Users can create and upload: appointments; Microsoft Word, PDF and image files; photos, notes, and bookmarks and share them on a common space which is only viewable by group members. The visual interface with drag-and-drop Widget tools is user-friendly and invites exploration.

What Our Students Are Saying…

About the Digital Classroom: Teaching Information Literacy With Primary Sources class that begins on October 8:

“I learned so much from the assignments as well as my classmates in our online discussions. This has been one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable, class I've ever taken."
~Elementary Media Specialist, Wisconsin

“I learned that primary sources are more than photographs, scrapbooks, and diaries. I have also learned that primary sources are a wonderful classroom tool that can teach students many things.”
~World History, Consumer Economics, American Government, Current American Issues Teacher; Thorpe, Wisconsin

“It's amazing that once you KNOW about primary sources, it's the first thing that enters your mind! This class is JUST what I needed to get several groups back into the library asking questions, using books AND the internet in a productive way!"
~ Media Specialist; Weatherford, Texas

Register online at: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Re-posted from Infobytes: The UW-Stout Newletter, edited by Karen Franker.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is the Educational Value of Podcasts?

Debating the Educational Value of Podcasts

Photo Credit

Tech Tip: Three Must-Know Podcasting Microphone Tips

Podcasting: A Teaching With Technology White Paper (PDF file)
Ashley Deal explores the question: does podcasting have any inherent educational value, or is it just a passing trend?

7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting (PDF file)
The EduCause staff summarizes the pro’s and con’s of podcasting, and the implications for teaching and learning.



Karen’s Mashups: Elementary Student Productions
Karen Fasimpaur provides a compilation of links to elementary student podcasts which demonstrate the finest uses of podcasting.


Rubric for Podcasts
UW-Stout online instructor Ann Bell has created an excellent rubric for evaluating student podcasts.


Tech Tip Three Must-Know Podcasting Microphone Tips
(Adapted from Andy Williams Affleck, author of
Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac)

Many podcasts suffer from poor quality in the audio. The proper use of a microphone can greatly enhance your podcasts. Here are three top tips for maximizing the effectiveness of any microphone:

1. Don’t put the mike too close to your mouth: Position it a few inches away so you do not breathe directly into it. This helps prevent "plosives," or popping sounds, generated by the letter P, and helps reduce S sounds.

2. Angle the mike: If possible, point the microphone down toward your mouth from above to reduce plosives, nasal tones, and lip-smacking sounds.

3. Use a windscreen: If you can get a mike with a windscreen--a foam shield that covers the mike--it helps a great deal in preventing wind noise when outside. Some people swear by a variation made by stretching a piece of nylon pantyhose over a hoop placed in front of the mike.


What Our Students Are Saying…


About the Digital Media and Visual Literacy class:

"This course was exactly what I wanted and needed. Because of this course, I feel that I am equipped to include multimedia projects in my journalism courses. I am happy with this class and very happy that it met my expectations.”
~ Instructor, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wisconsin



"What I liked best was that it answered questions that I would never have known to ask...in other words, it enlightened me to what I actually needed to know about video in order to not only use it more effectively, but teach it!"
~ Art, Computer Art, Video Production Teacher - Wurzburg, Germany

"I have realized that using digital media in the class is a magnificent motivational tool. It allows students to perform and perfect essential life skills such as problem solving, responsibility, cooperation, planning ahead, following a timeline, and perseverance just to name a few."
~ Elementary Teacher - Taichung, Taiwan



Sign up soon for the Digital Media class or the Building Better Instruction with Technology fall class. Earn graduate credits via online courses that support your professional development goals for licensure renewal and salary advancement.
Classes begin on October 1.
Register online at:
http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Labels: ,

originally posted by Karen Franker, Editor UW Stout InfoBytes

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Teaching Online: Interaction & Collaboration Activities

Reposted from the UW-Stout Infobytes Newsletter, edited by Karen Franker

Two people working at computers

Online Teaching: Interaction and Collaboration Activities

Special Issue on Online Collaboration
The February 2006 issue of the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) contains eight articles which provide an excellent overview of effective methods for structuring online collaboration activities.

Relationships between Interactions and Learning in Online Environments (PDF)
Kathy Swan presents research findings on best practices in interactive learning and how they can guide effective course design and facilitation.

Online Learning Communities
Jan Engle and others describe how an effectively-designed online course can facilitate movement of a class through group development stages and deepen the learning experience. Key elements impacting student interaction include: the level of structure required, teamwork skills, discussion forums, and cooperative/collaborative learning exercises.

Understanding Interactions in Distance Education
Veronica Thurmond and Karen Wambach ask educators to consider if they are making optimum use of interaction and feedback, and describe four types of interactions commonly seen in online classes.

Earn a Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching!


For More Information about Classes Forming Now.

What Our Students Are Saying…

About the Online Classroom: Creating Collaborative Communities course:

"...the course design fostered a level of cohesive participant interaction that I have not experienced in many places. The instructors provided an effective model of online facilitation while teaching about online instruction. Every potential online instructor should take this class." ~ Paul Mugan , High school biology teacher, Waverly, Iowa


Tech Tip –
RSS Feeds in Internet Explorer 7

The new Internet Explorer 7 for Windows makes it easy to set up RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds for favorite Web sites so that you automatically receive personalized information updates. This can be a huge timesaver, as the updates are automatically sent to your Favorites Center, so you only have to look in one place. To set up an RSS feed:

1. First, check your favorite Websites to see if an RSS feed is available. To do this, open a Website and look for an orange and white striped icon in the toolbar (usually next to the Home icon), which means that RSS feed capability is available for this page. If there is no RSS feed for this page, the icon will be gray and white.

2. Next, click on the small black triangle next to this orange Feed icon to see which site items are available via RSS. Select an item from the list. A new window opens. In the new window, click on the Subscribe to This Feed text near the top of the screen.

3. To read your RSS feeds, go to the Favorites Center in Internet Explorer 7 (yellow star icon at left side of screen) and click on the Feeds button. A list of your selected feeds will appear. Select a site feed, and the content will open in a new window.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Feedback in Online Classes

This is a repost of work by Karen Franker, Editor Of UW-Stout's Infobytes Newsletter

e-learner works at computer

Using Peer Feedback to Enhance the Quality of Student Online Postings: An Exploratory Study
Writing for the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Peggy A. Ertmer and others describe how peer feedback was used to promote higher-level thinking and higher-quality student postings in online classes.

Strategies for Providing Feedback
The Illinois Online Network staff provides fifteen effective feedback strategies to promote high-quality student participation in online classes.

Using Asynchronous Audio Feedback to Enhance Teaching Presence and Students’ Sense of Community
(Registration required -- be sure to register for this wonderful free resource!)
Philip Ice and others in the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks report on the use of audio feedback to provide a more personalized communication with online students.

Effective Feedback
Paul Hammond lists the characteristics of useful feedback, and includes tips for providing effective feedback in a professional manner.

Tech Tip – Convert MS Word Documents to PDF Format
PDF (Portable Document Format) is a popular file format that is readable on Macs and PC’s. PDF’s are especially suited to documents with special formatting and graphics (such as classroom newsletters) which will be displayed on a Website. Converting to PDF format retains the formatting of the original document.

On OS X Macintosh computers there is a built-in PDF converter which is accessed by opening your document and choosing File – Print. In the Print window, click on the PDF button, and then pull down to select "Save as PDF..." which creates a PDF version of your file.

For Windows, there are two free options:
PrimoPDF or CutePDF Writer (both are free downloads).
When downloaded and installed on your computer, these applications can convert most documents into PDF format by going to File - Print, and ‘printing’ to the PrimoPDF or CutePDF printer which appears in the Print window. If you don’t wish to install PrimoPDF on your computer, you can use the new Primo Online converter which allows you to upload a document to the Primo site, convert it online, then download it as a PDF file.

What Our Students Are Saying…

About the E-Learning and Online Teaching Certificate Program:

Julie Fischer is a business and information technology instructor at Hayward and a candidate in UW-Stout’s online Master's in Education program. She selected the E-Learning Certificate courses to learn more about teaching online and how to “create an environment where students could have flexible learning and to provide options for students who may be home-schooled or enrolled in charter schools and taking courses from our high school which would help them learn to meet state technology standards.”

Sign up soon for Fall Online Classes. Instruction begins October 2007.
For more information, contact Dennis O’Connor, program advisor at
oconnord@uwstout.edu Phone: (530) 318-1145
Register online at: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

NETS-S 3: Research and Information Fluency


I'd like to beat the drum for the refreshed student nets.



My focus is on Standard 3: Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.

b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

d.process data and report results.


Since the last century I've been working to train teachers in the essentials of Information Fluency.

I hope that by teaching teachers to search, evaluate, and ethically use digital information, I'll also be teaching kids. The universal cry is there isn't enough time in a test prep curriculum to teach these skills.

My answer is a combination of providing great free materials, modeling integrated units of instruction, and explaining that digital natives remain untaught and gullible when it comes to finding information on the web.

It's an uphill battle to find a way in, but worth the struggle. For years worth of free research based learning materials (including flash games, lesson plans, micro-modules, and online classes) visit the 21st Century Information Fluency Project at: http://21cif.imsa.edu

Friday, July 27, 2007

Learn to Teach Online: Graduate classes forming now

This post was originally created by Karen Franker, editor of UW-Stout's Infobytes Newsletter

  • Facilitating Effective Online Discussions
  • Engaging Reluctant Students

Discussion Rubric for Online Class
Lynn Nielsen’s rubric provides an excellent, ready-to-use set of guidelines to assess the quality of online discussion participation.


Dialogue-Intensive Learning
Richard Dool describes how he manages some common student behavior problems, such as: the last-minute poster, the “I agree” person, the dominator, and the contrarian.


Lurking
UW-Stout online instructor Susan Manning and Dan Balzer, hosts of The Learning Times Green Room, have produced an excellent podcast about lurking. Should online instructors allow students to lurk on the edge of discussions? Are lurkers learning anything?


Top Tips for Moderators of Online Discussion Groups (pdf file)
William Spitzer and others describe the strategies used by effective online moderators, including: asking good questions, promoting reflective dialogue, and setting a motivational and positive tone.


Moderation, Response Rate, and Message Interactivity:Features of Online Communities and Their Effects on Intent to Participate
Kevin Wise and others explain the structural features of an online community which elicit the highest intent to participate, including: moderated discussions, response rate, message interactivity, and the length of time between posts.


Tech Tip – Manage Passwords Easily and Safely With RoboForm
Keeping track of all of the login passwords for every online account and making them secure can be a challenge.
RoboForm keeps track of all your passwords, and generates new, hard-to-crack , encrypted passwords. All you have to remember is one master password, which gives you access to all of your stored passwords.

This free, award-winning software (for Windows only, including Vista) stores 30 passwords. To start using RoboForm, go to the
RoboForm Web site and click on the Download button to download the software to your desktop and install it on your Web browser’s toolbar. For a visual, step-by-step guide on how to use RoboForm, click on the tutorials link on the home page.

Sign up soon for the fall classes in the E-Learning and Online Teaching Certificate Program.
For more information, contact Dennis O’Connor
,
program advisor at
oconnord@uwstout.edu Phone: (530) 318-1145 (West Coast)

Register online at:
http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Teaching Online is Like Juggling: The big summer of 2007


Timing E-Learning Delivery

I still get nervous before a class. I keep checking the course tech, clicking links, creating new tutorials,trying to find the inevitable chinks in the armor. With almost 50 people starting in three of my classes at UW-Stout tomorrow (2 sections of E-Learning for Educators & Teaching and Assessing Writing with the 6-Traits ) I know I'll be super busy next week. Today is the last chance to blog before an intense first week. Too often those first weeks feel like an avalanche (for the teacher and the student). Somehow the more I prep the more I can hope for a great start up.

Things do settle down quickly, but only if you help folks feel safe, and get oriented. I work to help people realize that an online class has people, not a machine, at the heart of it all. There’s nothing more powerful when it comes to retention than making that personal connection.

I’ve poured my nervous energy into blogging and working with the calendars & timing elements of Desire2Learn and My Moodle site. (I give students full instructor level access to Moodle in the third module.) D2L lets you set release conditions for nearly everything. I wish there was a way to set global default timing calendar for everything, but I always want the software to do more.

If I get the timing right, I can forget about the mechanics of presentation and focus on making personal connections with all of my students.

Module Release Timing: I’ve set the opening dates for all of the modules on three different classes. We run the modules from Monday through Sunday, with each new module opening on Friday. This way the ‘weekend warriors’ can catch up or work ahead. I’ve tried dozens of configurations, but this one works best for me. (Of course, I work weekends on the class so I can monitor transitions fairly closely.)

Can I see my grades? I’ve also set the timing on the gradebook. I only want one new module to show up in the student gradebook each week. If learners see all the assignments waiting in the wings I think they get discouraged… or perhaps intimidated. Better to limit the view to what’s been done and what lies ahead in the coming week. I broadcast through the News menu that I wrap my grades over the weekend, but some still write worried over the points if they don’t see an almost instant update.

Gradebook Comments: I use the gradebook comments a lot. Students don't see the comments until I real ease them for view. I often make notes as I read in the comments area, and then pull it all together at the end of the module. Then I release the grade for the week. That’s where I want to deliver individual feedback. I think it has more impact if the assessment and evaluation comments are in the same personal space. This takes a lot of time. My biggest stressor during online classes is supplying meaningful (specific) feedback. That’s why I like to co-facilitate with Sara. We can share the eval duties and go deeper into discussion facilitation.

News Bulletins: I also time the news sections so critical info pops up at the right time. This is tricky with D2L. I have to set both an opening date and an order of presentation. In some cases I need to set a news item closing date too. This news section is a pain… but it’s better than Blackboard and eCollege. Moodle is more primitive. I can set the weeks of a class and what students see, but it’s all manual. I’ll bet some Moodler has figured out a plug in for timing, but I haven’t had the time to look (nor do I have the skills to install and tweak an open source plugin.

Hmm... what's left to do? I should do an audio overview for the writing class. Hope I get it done in time.

Friday, June 08, 2007

InfoBytes - Four Terrific Tech Resources to Explore this Summer

Which new tech tools are having a significant impact on teaching and learning in many classrooms?

What are some cutting-edge web resources that reflect interactive and collaborative learning trends?

Infinite Thinking Machine

Sponsored by Google and written by educators, this is a top site for keeping informed about the newest tech trends. If you only have time for one tech blog each week, make it this one!

PB Wiki

“Make a free Wiki as easily as a peanut butter sandwich” on this user-friendly site which is perfect for beginning Wiki creators. For more on wikis, see the excellent YouTube video “Wikis in Plain English”.

Teacher Tube

View teacher-created instructional videos and upload your own videos on this educator version of YouTube created by teacher Jason Smith. Search for professional development videos or locate movies to help your students learn a particular skill.

Del.icio.us

Enter the world of social bookmarking and discover a huge collection of shared, searchable Web favorites. Find out what other teachers think are the best Websites and share yours. Save and organize your personal bookmarks and access them from any computer on the web.

Announcement: Final Call for Online Courses Starting June 18-25

15 summer courses available! Get ahead, start here!

Consider taking a summer online course from the comfort of your home and earn graduate credits to meet your professional development goals for licensure renewal.

FINAL CALL UW-Stout Online Professional Development

June 18

EDUC 744 911 Effective Classroom Management — Elementary

EDUC 744 912 Effective Classroom Management — Middle School-High School

EDUC 744 920 Teaching Writing with the 6-Traits — Elementary

EDUC 744 909 Teaching Writing with the 6-Traits — Middle School/High School

EDUC 744 925 Bullying in Schools

EDUC 744 951 Digital Classroom: Teaching Information Literacy with Primary Sources

EDUC 744 949 Instructional Role of Assessment

EDUC 744 937 Learning Applications for the iPod® and Handheld Computers

EDUC 744 928 Digital Photography Basics and Graphic Design for the Classroom

EDUC 760 E-Learning for Educators

EDUC 762 Assessment in E-learning

June 19 EDUC 744 940 School Library and Classroom Collaboration

June 21 EDUC 744-941 Mentoring Teachers

June 25 EDUC 744 930 Web Design

Registration closes five days prior to the course start date to allow time for assigning user name, password, university email account and online orientation practice activities.

Register online at: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.shtml

Apply now for the September classes in the Online Master of Science in Education Degree Program and Reading Teacher Certification Program.

For additional information, email Joan Vandervelde at vanderveldej@uwstout.edu or call Joan at (715) 642-0209.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Instructional Design for E-Learning




Last Chance to register! Do it now!
EDUC 763
3 semester hours graduate credit
Instructor: Susan Manning

Evaluation, discussion, and application of instructional design theories and principles for e-learning. Examination of hybrid, self-paced and facilitated e-learning experiences delivered via learning management systems. Discussion of scenario based simulations and case study analysis, interactive multimedia learning objects, and instructional strategies to meet a variety of learner needs and content areas. Consideration of universal design for accessibility and usability.

NOTE: This is one of the courses for individuals pursuing the Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching and is also open as an individual course to students seeking professional development.

Dates of Next Sessions
Learning Outcomes
Resource Requirements
Course Outline
Alignment with Teaching Standards
Accreditation
Registration
Tuition

Because this class is asynchronous and open to you 24/7, you may participate from your home or work computer during hours that are best for your work and family schedule. Advanced computer or programming skills are not required. Learners need a basic understanding of Internet browsing, email, and word processing.

The class is highly interactive with a significant discussion component. Instructor/peer comments will be available through discussion groups or sent by e-mail.

SIGN UP SOON!
Register online
Return to Catalog and Schedule

The demand for online education is growing as teachers discover that Web-based courses offer a convenient alternative when pursuing educational and career advancement goals.

---------------------------

Friends, this course is getting rave reviews from former students. Susan Manning is an insightful responsive online teacher. This is a chance to learn from one of the best! ~ Dennis

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Assessment in E-learning

This course is taught by my friend and Colleague Datta Kaur Khalsa. You'll find her to be an exceptionally insightful and skilled online teacher! Join her this summer for a great online class. ~ Dennis

Course Starts June 18. Registration closes June 12!

Have you realized how powerful assessment is in the online learning environment? Assessment has the capability to drive interactions and engagement, as well as minimize plagiarism, strengthen higher-level learning and build e-portfolios. Learn what is needed to become an excellent online course designer while developing your electronic record keeping systems and methods for evaluating discussion postings and group projects. Become familiar with assessment tools that could make or break your online course.

EDUC 762 - 3 gr. cr. begins June 18, 2007

EDUC 762 - 3 gr. cr. begins September 10, 2007

Description Registration

NOTE: This is one of the required courses for individuals pursuing the Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching and is also open as an individual course to students seeking professional development.

Dates of Next Sessions
Learning Outcomes
Resource Requirements
Course Outline
Alignment with Teaching Standards
Accreditation
Registration
Tuition

Because this class is asynchronous and open to you 24/7, you may participate from your home or work computer during hours that are best for your work and family schedule. Advanced computer or programming skills are not required. Learners need a basic understanding of Internet browsing, email, and word processing.

The class is highly interactive with a significant discussion component. Instructor/peer comments will be available through discussion groups or sent by e-mail.

SIGN UP SOON!

Register online
Return to Catalog and Schedule

The demand for online education is growing as teachers discover that Web-based courses offer a convenient alternative when pursuing educational and career advancement goals.

Note:The School of Education reserves the right to cancel classes that do not meet minimum enrollment requirements.

For More Information...

Request for Information Form
Email: Dennis O'Connor
Program Advisor
E-Learning & Online Teaching
School of Education
Online Professional Development
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University

Telephone: (530) 318-1145
Home Page
Online Professional Development Catalog and Schedule
Newsletter


Friday, May 18, 2007

Online Classroom: Creating Collaborative Communities


This course provides you with real hands on experience. You'll learn how to create a sense of online community as you facilitate discussions with your peers. This is an opportunity to practice online teaching skills in a caring, personalized and supportive environment.

Course activities include hands-on practice using asynchronous communication technologies. You will actively: facilitate, explore questioning skills, conflict resolution, netiquette, and collaborative learning through problem solving scenarios, simulations, and online discussions. You will investigate time management strategies and pitfalls to avoid when designing and facilitating online class activities and explore various assessment tools to analyze and evaluate student participation in online discussions.

Don't miss this chance! Register Today!


EDUC 761 June 8 - August 3, 2007
EDUC 761 September 20 - November 16, 2007
3 graduate credits

Totally online - no travel to campus required
No extra fees or surcharges for out of state or international participants.

This course is part of the University of Wisconsin-Stout Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching.

Instructor: Dr. Kay Lehmann
School of Education
University of Wisconsin-Stout
140E Voc Rehab Bldg
Menomonie, WI 54751
Phone: (509)-529-4006
E-Mail: lehmannk@uwstout.edu

Kay Lehmann of Walla Walla, Washington has a Master's degree in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University/Hayward. Upon completion of her Master's degree she began working full-time in the professional development of teachers, both online and face-to-face. Prior to that she taught middle school social studies/reading and was honored to win the Milken National Educator Award and the Washington Award for Excellence in Education. She recently completed her Ed.D at Walden University.

See what Kay's former students have to say about this class!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Will Richardson on Information Fluency

The May 2007 Issue of the 21st Century Information Fluency Project's Full Circle Resource Kit features a podcast interview with Will Richardson. Login and listen as Will discusses the interplay between online tools, communities of learning and pursuing our passions.

snap shot of will richardson podcast page


Hotspot connection to 21cif project

Monday, May 07, 2007

NCLB & High Stakes Testing; Tell your stories

The request comes from Kathy Champeau Wisconsin State Reading Association NCLB Co-Chair . . .

Please help us document the impact of high stakes tests on students' and others' lives.

We are looking for teachers, parents, guidance counselors, school nurses, or anyone else who has firsthand experiences that can help us document as richly as possible the experience of high stakes testing in schools.

If you have stories you can share with us, we ask you to participate in a very short and completely anonymous survey. It should take about fifteen minutes - perhaps more if you have a lot to say.

Interested school personnel please go to:
http://m1e.net/c?40065577-iGBM/YeQVYL1E%402449269-tpJQkLhKUm8EM
(www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=351423260023)

Interested parents please go to:
http://m1e.net/c?40065577-BWmtNm3nd7jK.%402449270-c50s.y5mOGbT%2e
(www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=246153266525)

If you know of anyone else who may have pertinent experience to contribute please direct them to these websites.

Thank you for your help,

Peter Johnston (Professor, State University of New York at Albany)
Kathy Champeau (Reading Specialist, Wisconsin State Reading Association)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

21CIF at NECC 2007







See You at NECC (Atlanta 2007)

MA309 Power Searching: Information Fluency at Your Fingertips

Click Through to register for a half day workshop!

[Workshop: Hands-on] with Carl Heine & Dennis O'Connor, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, 21st Century Information Fluency Project.

Monday, 6/25/2007, 8:30am–11:30am; (location available mid-May)

Search more efficiently and evaluate digital information more effectively. Learn digital research techniques that return better information more quickly using the Internet.

Purpose & Objectives

This session strengthens participant’s skills in using the Internet to find credible information. Since 2004, Power Searching workshops have been presented to over 1,000 Illinois teachers, librarians, technology coordinators and administrators. Participants report that they learn many new search and evaluation techniques and, as a result, are better able to find high-quality information they need for instruction and better equipped to pass these skills along to students.

Digital information fluency is a necessary 21st Century skill for all teachers and learners. A statement issued this year by the American Association of School Librarians underscores the importance of teaching students to “access up-to-date information from around the world, to evaluate its relevance to the questions at hand, to assess its authority and reliability, and to apply it to information problem solving.” (American Library Association, 2006). To fail to do so, the report contends, leaves students at risk, “inadequately prepared for the workplace and adult life.”

This workshop approaches the need by training the trainers, giving them strategies and tactics they can use to enhance their productivity and pass along to those they teach.

As a result of this session, participants will…

1. Become more efficient Internet searchers:

• Knowing when and how to use search engines, subject directories and browsing optimally;

• Building powerful queries with the right keyword and operator strategies;

• Finding the best databases to search for the information they need;

• Searching the Deep Web;

• Analyzing search results for important clues;

• Overcoming common information “dead ends,” such as “page not found” and finding relevant information buried in millions of returns (and raising it to the top).

2. Become more effective digital evaluators:

• Credibility criteria: Authorship, Publication, Date, Accuracy, Links To and From, Bias, Evidence, External Support and Expert Reviews;

• Red flags: domains, unendorsed pages, links.

3. Practice with tools for teaching these skills to students:

• Instructional tools for advanced searching, evaluating digital information and citing it accurately;

• Interactive tutorial games that provide instruction and feedback in search and evaluation techniques

• Self-paced MicroModules on strategies and techniques;

Outline

Introductions, 21st Century Information Fluency, and identifying the need (15 minutes)

Searching Efficiently: (1.5 hours)

• Five minute search: find today’s workshop materials online*

• Analyzing what went right and wrong in the first search (discussion)

• Digital Information Fluency process (presentation)

• Turning questions into effective queries: The Buffalo Search*

• Keyword selection: Keyword Challenge Tutorial*

• Keyword power: Professional vocabulary, synonyms, hyponyms and hypernyms*

• Search Engine Strategies, understanding literal matching (demonstration)

• Keywords, operators and special operators (demonstration)

• Choosing the best database for searching (demonstration)

• Deep Web searching: Broadway Search, Page not Found Search*

• Recognizing relevance: Find command and scanning: Gold Rush Challenges*

• Finding better keywords: Great Wall Challenge*

• Learning cycle: Live Internet Search Challenges and MicroModules*


Evaluating Effectively: (45 minutes)

• Credibility criteria: What do you use? (discussion)

• Digital Information Fluency process and the Revision decision (presentation)

• Analyzing author, publisher, and links To: Truncation, browsing, searching with special operators (demonstration)

• Encountering red Flags: domain, ~ (unendorsed pages)

• Three Live Evaluation Challenges*

MySearch and Questions (30 minutes)

Fifteen minute search on an individually selected topic*

* the asterisk represents an online activity for learners

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Confessions of a Search Challenge Game Designer.


Thinking Outside the Search Box

The IMSA FullCircle Resource Kit just published a great article by my friend and colleague Dr. Carl Heine. I call Carl the 'Flow Miester' because he as the natural ability to get into the creative flow with grace and great results.

If you've been using any of Carl's great flash games for teaching Searching, Evaluating, and Ethical use of Internet materials you'll know the work he's doing helps users understand how to be a power searcher.

In this month's issue of the FullCircle kits, Carl writes an intriguing description of his game creation process. Check it out! (You'll have to sign up for a free subscription to view the article.

Included in this edition are a number of exciting new resources:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching

UW-Stout Launches Online Certificate Program in E-Learning and Online Teaching

Graduate Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching courses begin in June

Do you want to learn how to:

• Motivate online learners to succeed

• Use multiple assessments to measure online learning outcomes

• Take advantage of free Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, and podcasts) for instruction

• Facilitate online discussions to foster higher order thinking skills

• Create an efficient flow of instruction using a course management system

• Blend online learning with classroom instruction

“Our new E-Learning Certificate program will benefit K-12 instructors, curriculum consultants, and administrators, as well as instructors in technical and community colleges who are interested in the essential knowledge and skills to effectively teach or train online. Clearly, having this skill set will help prepare educators to become leaders in their school’s distance learning initiatives,” said Dennis O’Connor, course author and program advisor.

Summer Registration is Available Online

Dates of Summer Online Professional Development Courses

Sign up soon to reserve your spot.

What Our Students Are Saying…

About the E-Learning and Online Teaching courses:


"The courses were an eye-opening, growing experience and provided a strong foundation for teaching online classes. The expertise of the responsive and supportive instructors was excellent. Online learning made it possible for me to complete a course from my home computer without traveling to campus."

~ K-12 Staff Development Trainer

"I loved the format. I also enjoyed the ability to try and test new tools that I had never even heard of. I liked the feedback and challenges provided by Dennis and his positive supporting nature. This class was amazing!"

~ Corporate Manager

"I have benefited most from the challenge of the 'hands-on' aspect of the course. The readings and activities have been practical and thought-provoking."

~ High School Drama Teacher

Friday, March 02, 2007

Beautiful Moodles?

If not beautiful, at least well designed: Moodle Sites with Exemplary Design Elements

This site lists exemplary Moodles from around the country that have caught the eye of whoever put this list together for the new Hampshire State Department of Education.

Moodle is like your dog, no matter how ugly you still love it. For my money, I'm not interested so much in pretty as in clean and functional. I will admit that just looking at a few examples of exemplary Moodle design from this list has convinced me that my own Moodle site (http://wiredinstructor.us) is too cluttered. My site, hosted by the ever dependible Moodlerooms.com has more than a dozen classes running or archived. I've got to get that first page to look less intimidating and busy!

Looks like at least a front page rebuild is in order!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Crazy Librarian Guy on a Soapbox: Let Us Help!

Don't get me wrong, I think that the teachers at my school are incredibly good. Many hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from the most selective and prestigious universities in the country and our student body has some of the best and brightest students in the city, but even with those wonderful (on paper at least) credentials, most teachers here (IMHO) have a woefully shallow understanding of the complexities of conducting research on the Internet.

As librarians, it is evident to us that at the root of the problem is that most people really do not understand one of the most fundamental aspects of doing quality research using online resources and that is that the Internet is NOT a single monolithic entity.

The WORLD WIDE WEB IS NOT synonymous with the Internet.

The World Wide Web (also known as the "free web" or "open web") is the part of the Internet that you search when you type a search query into a search engine like Google or Yahoo. In many cases you will find information that is "sufficient" to fulfill your information needs. This is where you go to find answers to questions like:

"What is Julie, the Mormon girl from the Real World—New Orleans, doing now?"
"What is the word that you use to refer to a whole bunch of frogs (like a gaggle of geese)?"
This is when Wikipedia can be a great friend! :-)

However, searchers should be doing a majority of their online research in a SEPARATE part of the Internet called SUBSCRIPTION DATABASES.

Most substantial research conducted by high school and college students should at least be partially completed using PAID SUBSCRITION DATABASES that are in all likelihood available through your institution's library/librarians. Subscription databases are a part of the Internet and sometimes referred to as the "deep web" or the "invisible web" because most articles from professional journals/magazines/newspapers will NOT show up in Google or Yahoo search results.

Go tell it to the Librarian!

Before you give students an assignment that requires any kind of research, let your school or academic librarians look the assignment over and ask them for feedback. Librarians will tell you if the assignment can be done reasonably or will give you some ideas about where/when your students may have difficulty locating necessary information.

If your librarians are good, they may even offer to come up with a list of resources that could be useful for you to pass on to your students! (Believe me, librarians LIVE for this stuff … otherwise we're just cataloging books and shushing people … which is just REALLY BORING! Require your students to include citations from subscription databases where solid professional peer reviewed research is most appropriate. If you are in a blended instruction environment please consider requiring students to cite PRINT sources (gasp!) if they are available. In spite of the widely held belief that everything is available online, there is MUCH information out there that is NOT YET available in digital form (it depends on your field and the topic(s) within your field of study)

Bottom line: students really need to be made comfortable using BOTH print and online sources of information.

Read more (sources from the free web … :-):

The Internet and Subscription Databases—Know the Differences Between the Open Web and Premium Databases—Available at: <<< http://www.contra-costa.lib.ca.us/researchcenter/differences_databases.pdf >>>

Is Wikipedia an Acceptable Source for College Papers? (Includes a statement from Jimmy Wales a co-founder of Wikipedia) Available at <<< http://www.williampolley.com/blog/archives/2007/02/is_wikipedia_an.html#trackbacks >>>

Thanks for letting me rant!

Dave /middle school (where in a lesson, 80% of my very high achieving 7th graders once believed that California's genetically engineered velcro crop was being threatened by a virus causing the hook and loop strips to be un-harvestable <<< http://home.inreach.com/kumbach/velcro.html >>>) AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!