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.