Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Voice Thread & Elementary Pre-Service Teachers

I worked with a professor and her Junior Elementary Ed students on a podcasting project a few weeks ago. My colleague in the Media Center, Ann Akers, and I used iPods to record an entire podcast (using the micromemo microphone) and then upload the mp3 to their wikispace. It was a quick and easy way to create a podcast without any editing needed - which fit quite well into their elementary technology needs.

As a follow up we wanted to incorporate visuals and audio for a writing project. I had read about Voice Thread in Wes Fryer's Blog and had also seen it demonstrated during the K-12 Online Conference. It allows for users to combine photos and audio online, but with a twist - several people can have

When I showed it to the faculty member, she was blown away by the possibilities. I'll be working with her students next week and I'm exited to see what they create.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I am presenting a workshop on Podcasting for MEGA with Joselyn Todd (from Cary Academy) at the Friday Institute tomorrow. We have over 40 PEOPLE signed up!!!!!! I have had a great time prepping for this with Joselyn via Skype, Google Docs, and PB Wiki. We have truly modeled how teaching in the 21st Century can and needs to happen!

Our Wiki is set-up at http://megapodcast.pbwiki.com/ I can't wait to see how it grows!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

3D Online User Environments

DELTA at NC State is looking into 3D Online User Environments such as Second Life for Distance Education Purposes - here are my notes from the session I attended.

3D environments
Activeworlds - more control, hosted, not cross-platform, 30-50 people at a time
SecondLife - v. popular, freely avail, huge community
Google SketchUp - Info System, can set-up virtual space, develop models for Google Earth
Advanced Game Engines - requires programming experience for development

PP315 - Diagnostic Game - Lab environment simulation

Challenges: Accessibility & FERPA


Other Resources:
Discovery Education
Once upon a SLURL...Learning in Second Life

K-12 Online COnference
“Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds - Panel”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Online Learning Conference

I had one of the best conversations surrounding education last Monday. In the midst of everything I was doing - I took some time Monday morning to watch David Warlick's Pre-Conference Keynote and participate in an online chat that spanned timezones and continents. Some of my favorite bloggers were participating at the same time I was, Julie Lindsay and Jeff Utech amoung them. David has recently posted the chat, along with his comments.

Here are some excerpts, that I hope to elaborate on later (David's comments are in italics):

Bethany Smith (NC) • 2007-10-08 09:02:39
i vote for looking at products not tests

Hmmmm! Test kids, not on what they've learned, but what they can do with it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

EYH - Expanding Your Horizons

I am fortunate enough to be on the Steering Committee for Expanding Your Horizons, and excellent program for middle school girls in science. Here is the official announcement!

Seventh grade teachers and career counselors, mark your calendar! The Sixteenth Annual EYH Career Conference for 7th grade girls is scheduled on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008. The purpose of the conference is to expose middle grade girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. The conference is hosted by The Science at North Carolina State University.

Registration for schools will open on Monday, December 3, 2007 and close on Monday, January 14th, 2008. For more information about the conference, contact pamela_gilchrist@ncsu.edu.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

21st Century Learning

How do you define 21st Century Learning? Is it the content? Is it the tools? Is it how you deliver content? Does the room matter? Is it virtual? I find the idea of defining 21st Cent Skills odd in some ways, and difficult in others. We can't predict the future, and in our current society, technology and lives change at an exponential rate compared to the last century. So how do you build skills for the future? You add flexibility, yet set ambigious guidelines that allow for the ebb and flow of change. But how do you set standards that encompass 21st Century Skills? How can you categorize something that is so hard to nail down? We currently live in a EOG & Standards based world - and that isn't about to change anytime soon.

So when I look at the 21st Century Skills Initiative - that NC is apart of - I'm not surprised to see that this is an initiative driven by businesses and industry. Maybe this is where the flexibility we need to define skills - by business needs and the funding to make it possible can come together. Maybe....


This is based on a discussion in my 21st Century Learning Class:

I think Wikis are the poster childs for the entire concept of the Read/Write Web or AKA Web 2.0 (I personally dislike that term). The whole idea of making the web be the new OS, and be our applications has enormous possibilities. Wikis are the best example of this, they are a web page, a presentation, a word processor, all rolled into one.

But how does this make a difference to our students? By giving them the ability to 1) Create a webpage easily and effectively. 2) To share information with their group or classmates as a whole.
In regards to sharing information, have a wiki page for a subject in class, say the history of North Carolina in 8th grade, and build your own wiki page. Have students collect all the information they find into one resource to be shared. Not only have you created a worthwhile project that you can go back to, as a teacher you can view individual contributions and assign different grades for the same product! For those of us that love th concept of group work, but hate the grading of it - this is a lifesaver.

But, this brings up another point - how do we know the info in a wiki, such as wikipedia is factual? Well how do we know what is in Encyclopedia Britannica is factual? We place our faith in a few people that write for Britannica, and ASSUME that it is correct. Just because it is in print, doesn't make it any better, it just makes it harder to correct. Wikipedia depends on a community of people and corrections can be made easily, economically, and quickly. However, ALL sources, print, web or otherwise should be corroberated. In doing research, nothing can be taken for a fact unless two other sources can confirm that fact. Wikipedia nor should Encyclopedia Brittancia be our primary and only source for information - it should be a starting point, but not the be end and end all.

For reference, Nature did a study of Wikipedia vs. Britannica in 2005 http://www.news.com/2100-1038_3-5997332.html