The best Web 2 article this week was written by a 19 year old!

Wow! Nineteen year old blogger-prodigy Brian Benzinger over at Solution Watch has done an amazing three part series on Web 2.0 in the classroom. READ IT!!

It is an essential must read and must share set of articles. I have read each of them and highlighted the article's content and my biggest "take aways" for you.

Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0, Part 1
Oh my goodness, You have to read this one! It would take a student to start as he did, with the students. (I think us teachers tend to start the process with us, however, true education is something that happens WITHIN a student not TO a student.)

He reviews student organizers. I am going to have computer science test and review the following: (student organizer and social notetaking tool), Gradefix (homework tracker), and mynoteIT (note taking.)

He also profiles teacher and club management options, including some course management options that may be great for those of us not wanting to undertake open source installations on our local server.

I'm going to show our math department
Create a Graph. When we do resume building, job hunting skills, I am going to familiarize my seniors with Emurse (online job hunting/resume building with tracking stats on the hits taken on your resume!), and we will use hResume Creator to take our resumes and make them HTML compatible for our e-portfolio project. We will also review the "best news source for students," as he puts it - Newsvine. Brian says:

"I could have picked any ol’ news site for this post, but Newsvine is, in my opinion, the best news source for students. It’s a clean and friendly social news site containing articles from the Associated Press, ESPN, and New Scientist as well as user contributions. Students can browse the site comfortably, rate news articles, participate in article discussion, and even start their own news column where they can write and publish articles. More on Newsvine."

Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0, Part 2

This great article discusses office applications, web based applications, and thoughts on whether web-apps are ready for education. (I would ask is education ready for web apps.)

This is a great article for those looking at other technologies to integrate into the classroom. I reworked the curriculum this year for my ninth grade class and used a model I call the "intuitive learning" model. I developed it from my over thirty years of computer use. People have always asked me, "Vicki, how can you sit down at a new computer program and know how to use it so quickly." Well, without knowing it, I had a system. That is what I'm teaching my students. I teach them to learn how to learn.

My ninth grade class this semester focuses on word processing, however they have also used writely, zohowriter, Google Docs (after it gobbled up writely), wikispaces, and classblogmeister. (We're doing a short module on web pages in word and will then go to Google Page Creator.) After reading Brian's post, the next word processing target is Writeboard.

(There is also a hidden gem in there, -- although it is used for competitive intelligence tracking for business, it has the ability to do feature comparison matrices that are amazing. I am going to have my students use it in computer graphic design when they "invent" their companies with products to market. I always have them do an analysis of the competitive landscape. I will also use it for their genuine assessment in Computer Fundamentals when I have them compare the aspects of various word processors. It is a graphic organizer tool par exellence! Wow!)

Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0 Part 3
Blogging, photosharing, educational podcasting, wikis, videosharing, Web 2.0 courses, School 2.0, and some other cases including a fascinating Harvard class that is being offered for free over at Second Life. Brian says:

It may sound odd, but some students are now learning in their SecondLife. Harvard Law School has recently started a new course called, CyberOne, where students actually log into their SecondLife account and learn in the massively popular virtual world. The CyberOne course website states, “Enrollment to the Harvard Extension School is open to the public. Extension students will experience portions of the class through a virtual world, known as Second Life. Videos, discussions, lectures, and office hours will all take place on Berkman Island. Students from anywhere in the world will be able to interact with one another, in real time.” For those of you interested, head over to the CyberOne website and watch this video trailer (YouTube) that can give you an idea of what to expect.
Note for people who think the world hasn't changed
These three well written, amazingly insightful education and Web 2.0 articles are written by a nineteen year old kid with an associates degree.

Bloggers take note and look at his style. Although he writes a long article, he clearly outlines for you in the opening sentence what his post is going to be about. (A habit I will emulate.) He has a great use of graphic tools (note the red arrows beside his favorite picks) and an effective use of hyperlinks. He refers back to his previous posts where need be.

These three posts reflect 20 or 30 hours at least of research (at least it would for me.)

The world is not just flat, it is upside down!

We are standing on our heads learning from those who used to be at the "bottom of the educational foodchain." (And I include myself at the bottom.)

My favorite college professor, Dr. Philip Adler, always told me,

"Vicki, if you set your mind to be the best, doors will open. The great leveler of discrimination is excellence because the world of the future is one where brain power is going to be vitally needed, and that world will be yours."

All of you who sit around having pity parties thinking that "I don't live in a good location." (I live in a town of 6,000. or "Poor me, I work at a small school." (I work at a school of 350 K-12.) or "I am behind." (I started in November 2005.) Stop the pity party and get blogging! You CAN make a difference!

This is a new day and as David Warlick said in his keynote of the K12online conference,

"The scale has tipped away from location and back in favor of talent."

The world is upside down.

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