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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Links for the Day 03/30/2008

Diigo and Ripples | Black Diamond

tags: connectingpeople, education, hz08, hzmeta, virtualcollab

This teacher is contributing and participating in projects and his enthusiasm is spilling over into class discussions (imagine that) -- Steve has helped us proofread our horizon templates and create a page for internet safety for the students that they will be adding to.

It is this type of professional educator that makes projects like Horizon so worthwhile and meaningful -- we have a lot of virtual volunteers out there!

TeacherTube - When I Grow Up... - revised -

tags: bestpractices, connectingpeople, edu_trends, education, hz08, hzmeta, virtualcollab

This is a video talking about what the future will be like. This is a good video for ideas about how to construct the video as well as the trends that are shaping our world today. It is important for the students of horizon to view and understand although many of us who've been watching this type of video for a while may think the technique is "old hat" it still has a powerful message.

The Teachers’ Podcast — The New Generation of Ed Tech PD  Annotated

tags: connectingpeople, education, hz08, hzmeta

More educators are beginning to podcast -- these two educators are sharing a wide variety of resources via podcast.

ABC News: Could MySpace Be Your Kid's Social Key?  Annotated

tags: coolcatteacher, digitalcitizenship, edu_trends, education

This is an interesting article that presents some interesting commentary on students today. It is very brief but makes some excellent points.

Site Community for coolcatteacher.blogspot.com,Cool Cat Teacher Blog

tags: coolcatteacher, edu_newapp, edu_news, edublogger, education

This is the "site community" for my blog -- I'm learning a lot about what people have marked and the annotations feature is really cool. If you blog or have a website, you should look at the automatically created site community -- also check it out for those sites you really enjoy reading -- you may turn up some of their great old posts that you've not read!

Annotated Links 03/30/2008

ABC News: Could MySpace Be Your Kid's Social Key? Annotated

tags: coolcatteacher, digitalcitizenship, edu_trends, education

This is an interesting article that presents some interesting commentary on students today. It is very brief but makes some excellent points.

Quotes from the Article:
Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University-Dominguez Hills, has long studied "the Net generation," the first to have grown up with the Internet, not to mention cellphones. In Me, MySpace and I: Parenting the Net Generation (Palgrave Macmillan), he helps parents understand social networks. His advice: Talk to your kids, learn the technology and don't panic. USA TODAY's Janet Kornblum spoke with the author.
    They're very self-motivated.
      This world encourages us to multitask. I think it encourages kids to be much less patient. More terse.
        This generation spends time at home — connected. Kids have to be social. It's all part of the preteen and teen years and young adult years
          Because they have a combination of people they know face-to-face in the real world and people they don't, (those of the Net generation) get a lot of chances to bounce ideas and to test out things on a social network that they probably wouldn't do face-to-face.

            Site Community for coolcatteacher.blogspot.com,Cool Cat Teacher Blog

            tags: coolcatteacher, edu_newapp, edu_news, edublogger, education

            This is the "site community" for my blog -- I'm learning a lot about what people have marked and the annotations feature is really cool. If you blog or have a website, you should look at the automatically created site community -- also check it out for those sites you really enjoy reading -- you may turn up some of their great old posts that you've not read!

            This morning I came here before I went to twitter. This seems to be the place to be right now. Sti | Diigo Message System Annotated

            tags: @education_trends, collectiveintelligence, collectiveknowledge, connectingpeople, coolcatteacher, diigo, education, hz08, hzmeta, twitter, virtualcollab

            This is a very honest, open discussion between educators about why diigo or delicious -- I think the fact we can have this conversation within diigo at all says a lot for the usefulness of the tool. Diigo is an emerging tool for social bookmarking and collective intelligence. These are extracted comments and my thoughts on what was said from the annotation feature in Diigo.

              Following are some "high points" from a variety of educators.

              Lisa Parisi

              This morning I came here before I went to twitter. This seems to be the place to be right now. Still not sure of all the groupings, taggings, etc. Reading what everyone writes and hoping to get it soon
                Will play on Sunday with Karen McMillan and Alice Barr. Anyone else want to join? Anyone want to teach?

                  Ryan Bretag

                  I'll join in the fun if you'll have me. Let me know time when you know.
                    I was going to present 20 minutes on Del.icio.us, but I may show Diigo instead - or both - or 20 minutes is not enough....
                      This new version "appears" to have fixed that issue, plus I've been impressed with the new features.

                        Caroline Obannon

                        I'm second guessing teaching only del.icio.us myself, too.

                          Liz Davis

                          I'm wondering if Diigo is too much for the newbie. Delicious is so simple and obviously useful. I'm afraid Diigo would scare some people away. I'm still inclined to start with delicious and save Diigo for my more advanced users (of which I have very few).
                            "Maybe overwhelming would describe my feelings.
                              However, I can defely think of quite a few people who would balk at it, too and favor the simplicity of Del.icio.us.
                                but most likely wouldn't participate in the social/sharing aspects they offer.
                                  The nice thing about the Diigo toolbar is that you can select which buttons to see, so for those who might find the extra choices of tools overwhelming, it can at least be customized.
                                    I'm feeling a Diigo obsession building. As soon as Explorer comes up I check to see if there are any messages in Diigo. How nice of them to put that number right on my toolbar!
                                      I created my very first List last night,

                                        Kristin Hokanson

                                        Liz I think it may be too much ially for the newbie and I will continue to send to delicious.
                                          There is one feature that I REALLY like and that is that you can EMAIL something you are tagging so for folks who LIKE to get those sites emailed, you can still meet their needs without an extra step yourself
                                            I second that. I like Diigo, but del.icio.us simplicity is so inviting.
                                              The value of Diigo is that it brings a number of tools together allowing for multiple entry points. The old training model is show them a tool from start to finish that goes over every single detail. With Diigo, why show everything to those new to all this? It is rather easy to click into your bookmarks. From there, teachers have a space they can grow. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to differentiate with your teachers -- the whole multiple points of entry.
                                                still I will have fun, exploring it and making effective use of it.
                                                  it is the ease of integration with blogging and twitter -- I annotated a page yesterday and pulled it directly into my blog. I can twitter bookmark that is important quickly -- AND I can use the tagging standards for the horizon project without having to remember the darn tags -- tag dictionaries are the most useful things to have been invented in a LONG time -- we need to set them up within one of our educational groups!
                                                    I don' t think I would not teach delicious. But perhaps starting with delicious and saving Diigo for later is a good idea.
                                                      I do find this site to be much more powerful and useful than delicious. I never really used delicious to its full potential. The fact that I am here just chatting with folks makes me want to stay and contribute to the collective knowledge.
                                                        We are conversing about the usefulness of diigo and I thought you might like to be included.
                                                          Maggie Tsai has invited Wade Ren to this conversation
                                                            Are you guys planning a Sunday get-together? If so, please advise the time - I'd love to join you and help answering any question.
                                                              Howdy! Wow, what can I say? Diigo is a lot more than delicious. If CoolCat Vicki hadn't written about Diigo again, I probably would have stuck with Delicious...and,if I hadn't been using Twitter, blogs, played around with Facebook, the social networking side of Diigo would have been just so much MORE to learn.
                                                                my concern would be to NOT limit learners in workshop sessions to the path I followed in learning these tools. Simply, folks, here is a tool that will grow as you grow and learn more about living and contributing in an interconnected world. The ability to have conversations like this, to annotate web pages, to share relevant quotes and tweet as needed...makes me wonder at the need for blogs at all.
                                                                  A few folks are considering exploring Diigo on Sunday morning and having a conversation about it now...join in and learn with us!"

                                                                  Saturday, March 29, 2008

                                                                  Chris Pirillo talks about Drupal: How did he do this?

                                                                  I am very impressed with how Chris Pirillo does this video. (I love the video and the chat at the bottom.)

                                                                  I know of several people who really like the Drupal and find it interesting. Of course, for me, for now, Ning is perfect and I don't have to do the upgrades behind the scenes, but I can see a great case for Drupal where you have embedded tech support.

                                                                  This video is literally brilliant! (I've always enjoyed Chris, ever since I saw him laugh uncontrollably on live TechTV. It is so funny.)

                                                                  I guess the tough thing is that we all want the newest features. And I want to remind schools that connecting within your school is vital (See my Five Phases of Flattening Your Classroom) BUT you MUST also connect online with other classrooms.

                                                                  I also like the term he said, "I don't want a social network but a socially relevant network..."

                                                                  tag: , ,

                                                                  Links for the Day 03/29/2008

                                                                  I'm testing the feature that lets me post annotations and links from diigo to here. I know that many of you are getting sick of hearing of this little tool and if you're a beginner, perhaps you should wait, however, for me, I'm finding it useful.

                                                                  Forgive me as I learn to work through the kinks here. It may be bumpy at first, but this gives me a more robust way to share links -- many of you have e-mailed me that you like my link goodness best! This way it can become part of my blog... I'm still not sure I want it here, and yet there are STILL people who go to the site directly and don't understand RSS.

                                                                  FeedFlare™ Catalog

                                                                  tags: blogging, twitter

                                                                  These are the cool feedflares that you can add in addition to those already used in Feedflare -- for bloggers using Feedburner to RSS things. There is a new one called twit this.

                                                                  Streamline It Part I: Diigo or Bust : Metanoia

                                                                  tags: diigo, edu_newapp, techintegrator

                                                                  Ryan Bretag says, "Okay, here it is. I’m dumping Zotero, Delicious, and Google Notebook for Diigo. Blasphemy to some, I know, but I can basically get all I need in one: "

                                                                  This chart by Ryan Bretag summarizes what the sites can do. He left off a few but this is great.

                                                                  A Collection on "Internet Safety Information" (cyberbullying,cybersafety,internetsafety) | Diigo

                                                                  tags: administrator, all_teachers, cyberbullying, digital_citizenship, digitalcitizenship, internetsafety, techintegrator

                                                                  A great list that I came across from the educators group on Diigo-- this is a collection of internet safety information -- great resources. This is an excellent tool.

                                                                  Top News - Analysis: How multimedia can improve learning

                                                                  tags: all_teachers, bestpractices, curriculum

                                                                  An analysis of existing research supports a notion that already has begun to transform instruction in schools from coast to coast: that multimodal learning--using many modes and strategies that cater to individual learners' needs and capacities--is more effective than traditional, unimodal learning, which uses a single mode or strategy.

                                                                  My Membership - Group Widget | Diigo Groups

                                                                  tags: diigo, edu_newapp

                                                                  Group widget for the Educators Diigo Group

                                                                  Group Tag Dictionary

                                                                  tags: all_teachers, diigo, edu_newapp

                                                                  This is the current tag dictionary -- we really only get 17 that show up and I had to truncate the names -- but if you join the group and send pages to the group when you bookmark these tags will come up.

                                                                  educators | Diigo Group

                                                                  tags: all_teachers

                                                                  This will be my first "official" bookmark to the educators group on diigo. I'm sending it to the group to make use of the standard tagging dictionary I've set up to use with this group -- this will help us share at a further level.

                                                                  Keeping students cybersafe! « On an e-journey with generation Y

                                                                  tags: connectingpeople, digital_citizenship, education, hz08, hzmeta, internetsafety

                                                                  Some good best practices from a teacher on keeping students cybersafe. I like this practical list and think it should be shared. It is important that we teach students about how to be safe online and good digital citizens.

                                                                  **TIP: Click the annotated link below**

                                                                  This morning I came here before I went to twitter. This seems to be the place to be right now. Sti | Diigo Message System Annotated

                                                                  tags: @education_trends, collectiveintelligence, collectiveknowledge, connectingpeople, coolcatteacher, diigo, education, hz08, hzmeta, twitter, virtualcollab

                                                                  This is a very honest, open discussion between educators about why diigo or delicious -- I think the fact we can have this conversation within diigo at all says a lot for the usefulness of the tool. Diigo is an emerging tool for social bookmarking and collective intelligence.

                                                                  Cool Cat Teacher Blog: The Five Phases of Flattening a Classroom

                                                                  tags: collectiveknowledge, connectingpeople, education, flatclassroom, hz08, hzmeta, virtualcollab

                                                                  I wrote this post to outline the progression I take my classes through to get them to the state where they may collaborate directly with students in another country. I put a lot of time and thought into the progression of collaborative skills.

                                                                  Wikinomics » Blog Archive » Wiki collaboration leads to happiness

                                                                  tags: collectiveintelligence, collectiveknowledge, connectingpeople, govt_business, hz08, hzmeta, usercontent, virtualcollab, wiki, wikinomics

                                                                  This incredible chart says it all about the importance of wiki collaboration. This should also be a message to bloated bureaucracies looking to squeeze that last bit of efficiency out of already overworked staff. This is an important chart for horizon project students to include, I believe.

                                                                  Blackboard claims initially denied

                                                                  tags: education

                                                                  U.S. Patent & Trademark Office issued its Non-Final Action on the re-examination of the Blackboard Patent. We are studying the document, found here, but in short, the PTO has rejected all 44 of Blackboard's claims.

                                                                  The Map Is Not The Territory: the changing face of the edublogosphere at dougbelshaw.com

                                                                  tags: blogging, edublogger, education, researcher_thoughtleader

                                                                  Doug Belshaw's ruminations on the edublogosphere and how it is changing. I'm going to be thinking on this one.


                                                                  Content Filtration: A little dirt for your health?

                                                                  This was literally my first post on Tech Learning back in November of 2006 and I forgot to cross post it over here. I find myself referring back to it a lot as content filtration policies come under review and I wanted to share it here. I believe it is still relevant today.

                                                                  Content Filtration: A little dirt for your health?

                                                                  Modern science has invented numerous methods of removing allergens from our lives. We have air purifiers, hand sanitizers, and anti-dust mite methodologies. What should have happened is a decrease in allergies, but what has happened is a dramatic increase .

                                                                  When asked about how to help kids with allergies, researchers have made the bold statement , "Let them eat dirt! " As I read these articles, I was struck with the parallel to the content filtration debate that rages in education today.

                                                                  Who can resist "sex"?

                                                                  I am a believer in having some sort of filtration in place, particularly to prevent the inevitable teen curiosity about sex from finding inappropriate websites. I mean, what prepubescent boy can resist typing "Sex" into Google?

                                                                  In the above analogy, notice that allergists say "play in dirt" but do not say "play in sewage." Playing in sewage would kill children. Likewise, I consider pornography, hate speech, weapon construction, profanity, and the "dark" areas of the Internet to truly be the sewage of the Internet. This type of thing should definitely be filtered and we should protect our children from it.

                                                                  The Dark Side of the White List

                                                                  However, I believe that the practice of "white listing" (only allowing websites to come into your school which you specifically permit) is going to create more problems in the long run than it will help. Just as the body needs exposure to dirt to create immunity, students need exposure to the real world to create discernment.

                                                                  I believe that students will suffer from their own ignorance as they emerge into the world uncognizant of the "virtual tattoo" they are creating in their on line spaces and naively trusting every site they view. Ignorant students post inappropriate pictures and subject matter, and just do not understand how to thrive in our socially connected world. (Just take a look at the Gossip website that takes the Myspace pages of public officials' children or the son who is taking teenage rebellion to new heights as he throws a wrench in the AT&T / BellSouth merger.)

                                                                  What do teachers say about filtration?

                                                                  I was stirred by Bud Hunt's keynote for his strand in the K12 online conference two weeks a go. He was talking about a captivating discussion that he and his students were having about the problem of school violence. As they typed in "school violence" it triggered the filter.

                                                                  Bud says,

                                                                  "It is frustrating to teach information management when you can't find answers. Driving into a filter is like driving into a brick wall, it stifles interest in continuing the journey."

                                                                  I teach using the Socratic method (by asking questions) and Google is a key part of this method. I am fortunate because I do control the filter at the school and am able to unblock things if it is necessary to class instruction. When students emerge from my class, they must be self teachers. They must be able to use RSS to aggregate information and discern both sides of the issue and objectively discuss issues.

                                                                  If you are in charge of filtration, listen up!

                                                                  Solutions can emerge on this issue, but professionalism and trust must be present if improvement is to occur. To me, this discussion boils down to several things:

                                                                  • If you want students to treat teachers with respect, treat teachers with respect.
                                                                  • If you want students to treat teachers as the authority, give them some authority.
                                                                  • If you want teachers to act professional, treat them like professionals.
                                                                  • If you want to hold others accountable, accept accountability for your part of the equation.
                                                                  • If you want your teachers to be innovators, allow them to be connected to hotbeds of innovation. (Excited teachers are better teachers than bored ones.)
                                                                  • The morale of your classrooms is related directly to the morale of your teachers. (This issue is a morale killer!)
                                                                  • Good learning is fun and exciting! It is OK to laugh and learn!
                                                                  • Sometimes it is more important to do the right thing than to be right.
                                                                  • Spend your time removing roadblocks, not being one.

                                                                  I am fortunate because I have absolutely incredible administrators. Not everyone is so lucky.

                                                                  What Schools with Overly Strict policies Might have Missed This Week

                                                                  For those who believe in strict filtration, let me tell you about how you might be missing out:

                                                                  • Math videos organized by NCTM math strands (on Google Video and YouTube) (from last week's k12online wiki project .)
                                                                  • Discussing Time Magazine's Invention of the Year - Youtube - (I don't advocate just surfing youtube, but teachers should be allowed to display these great videos.)
                                                                  • Google Earth - They have added featured places this week. You can literally fly from your home to the great wall of China. You can go in the crater at Mt. St. Helens. You can fly through cities and look at the deserts of the world. Social studies, history, current events, and social awareness teachers have so many exciting resources here.
                                                                  • Newsmap - The incredible visual display of current news based on Google news aggregation (it has different country and world views) - This is incredible for cultural literacy and should be used in all social studies classes. I use it to create my questions of the week on classblogmeister.
                                                                  • Skype - This is fun to use software that turns your computer into a telephone/chat machine and has been a great addition to my classroom. My students can chat me questions (even if I'm out at a conference), I can hand out files to the class, and they can collaborate on team projects across the room. It makes for a quiet but exciting classroom. The business world is integrating chat into every workstation so that employees can work better together. Students need to know how to use it effectively as well. We don't use it all the time but every day in my Computer Fundamentals Class.
                                                                  • Netvibes - I use this incredible RSS aggregator with my students. They can sign in and have it read my blog, their classblogmeister assignments, changes to their wiki projects, and keep up the latest technology. They will not always have me to help them "keep up" with innovation. They have to become aggregators and assimilators themselves! (This is part of my strategy to teach them to be lifelong learners.)
                                                                  • Gliffy - My students used this amazing online tool to complete a Spanish project. In this project, they were to design their dream home and label it with the correct spanish words.
                                                                  • My students use and love tools such as Airset to manage and share their calendars (including homework and test calendars). It sends them text messages on their cell phones to remind them of upcoming tests and projects and their calendar. It will also synchronize with PDA's if they have one. (I use it and it synchs with outlook and my PDA!)
                                                                  • My students have begun using MyNoteIT to create and share their class notes.
                                                                  • My students use Librivox to download public domain works (like William Shakespeare) onto their iPods. (This is an essential skill for auditory learners!)
                                                                  • As part of information literacy we often use Wikipedia and contrast it to other sources of information to determine fact and error.
                                                                  • My students use Google Video, youTube , and very soon will be using SlideShare to integrate meaningful content into their wiki projects on Wikispaces.
                                                                  • My blog -- Teachers e-mail me from around the US that they have to go home to read my blog. They have to print it and take it back to work to follow the tips, ideas, and instructions. Somehow, "blogs are evil" and are blocked carte blanche from their system.

                                                                  In Conclusion

                                                                  When I blogged about this topic , I got many responses. I'd like to share a few with you (added emphasis mine):

                                                                  "This is hot hot hot issue at our school. Emails have flown back and forth for the last two weeks between frustrated teachers and administrators about too much blockage! I lost half of my class time the other day because my students were blocked from my moodle and personallearningspace blog - which I had asked to be unblocked (and permission was given) last week. I had to give up on my plans to communicate with some students in Israel and move to plan B."

                                                                  "My son is in debate and has repeatedly had problems accessing sites at school that contained evidence needed for a debate case. When the teacher has requested that particular sites be unblocked she has met with a brick wall...if a student is trying to access a site that is educationally sound and the only answer we have when it is blocked is "sorry but it is blocked by the software" then I think we are telling our students that we are not capable of making judgment decisions ourselves. I think that filtering is great for protecting our students but it needs to have a human factor.

                                                                  "Many of us are out there working within the system, one in which technicians determine access for the students. When requests for more access are met with LESS access, you learn to keep your mouth shut. It is about power, and teachers have none in this one."

                                                                  Being effective educators requires facing tough issues

                                                                  This is my first post on TechLearning, and I know this is a controversial issue. I understand that there are bandwidth issues as well as control issues here at stake as well as some real (or imagined) sue-happy parents who would love to have "little Johnny" come home complaining. However, we have lessons to teach, high stakes testing, and we must be relevant to the children we are teaching.

                                                                  The easy answer is to block everything; good education is never easy.

                                                                  In my opinion, in schools where people care, filtration must begin having a human component. The easy thing to do is to just turn it all off.

                                                                  In businesses that overconcerned about cutting costs, the saying is -- "OK, cut it all off -- close down and that will cut costs." I think that is what some educators have done; they have cut it all off: and cut their classrooms off from meaningful, relevant education.

                                                                  So what should we do?

                                                                  Returning to the adage about allergies, filter out the sewage with software. But allow teachers the authority to have some sites unblocked and hold them accountable for the appropriate use and the results of that use. If you trust them with the kids, you should trust them with the Internet.

                                                                  Let the teachers teach students how to discern accurate, appropriate sources of information and do not over sanitize the Internet. Its not possible and its not healthy. We are an information society. That is what we are producing. The best filter ever invented is the human brain. The best supervision is the teacher, not a piece of software. If teachers aren't responsible, they shouldn't be teaching.

                                                                  How will history label our generation of educators?

                                                                  Robert F. Kennedy said:

                                                                  "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."

                                                                  How will this generation of educators be labeled? What do you think about this issue? Does your school have a solution that works for you?

                                                                  Friday, March 28, 2008

                                                                  The Five Phases of Flattening a Classroom

                                                                  a simulpost with TechLearning

                                                                  The Five Phases of Flattening a Classroom

                                                                  Right now, Julie and I are both doing several things to help duplicate ourselves and help others understand what it takes to conduct a Flat Classroom project or Horizon Project.

                                                                  I've outlined what I believe are the five phases I take my classes through to prepare them for independent, self-directed levels of collaboration. I suspect these ruminations will evolve.

                                                                  Phase One: The INTRA-connected Classroom
                                                                  First, one must have a classroom that is connected electronically to itself.

                                                                  This includes:
                                                                  • A walled blog (I use Ning.)
                                                                  • Intra-class Instant messaging and Skyping I teach this using a backchannel in some of our class discussions. By observing a live backchannel chat, I teach appropriate behavior and what it means to be a professional student. I also have them video and audio skype each other.
                                                                  • Intra-class collaboration using a public wiki
                                                                    • First, someone they sit next to.
                                                                    • Next, someone who sits on the other side of the room. (I have to cut off the verbal tether to transition students to online interaction!)
                                                                  I wouldn't DREAM of connecting my class to another until I teach appropriate electronic behavior. There is a BIG difference between understanding how to USE electronic media and understanding appropriate BEHAVIOR. The using is easy, the behavior takes time and vigilance.

                                                                  PHASE 2: The INTERConnected Classroom
                                                                  I connect ALL of my classes to one another on the Ning. Students must learn the dynamics of interacting with people of other ages and in other classes. This is a wholly different dynamic than intra-classroom because students are interacting with students they may not see on a daily basis.

                                                                  This includes:
                                                                  • A walled blog (I again use my social network, Ning that is private.)
                                                                  • Inter-Class projects and collaboration on the wiki (i.e. Your 2nd period class is doing a project with your 4th period class)
                                                                  • Asychronous communications -- sharing videos, photos, blogging, and more where students must respond and communicate on a topic. (You have to cut off the tether of both time and space and teach students to collaborate with those who will work at a different time and in a different space than they are occupying at the moment.)
                                                                  This further helps students understand that they are working with REAL people with an online presence and takes them in a gradual transition to a fully online project. It also helps you pick up on potentially troublesome habits of students while ALL students are still under your direction and policies.

                                                                  Phase 2A - IntraDistrict or IntraAssociation students
                                                                  For those in a district or association -- I would add another possible step in here of connecting by grade level and subject. Honestly, I can see no excuse for not connecting all fifth graders in a district or all World History Students.

                                                                  DON'T STOP! I don't think that one can get enough diversity within a private school or public school association or within one district to truly accomplish what needs to be done in terms of cultural understanding with today's teens. Move on to the next phase.

                                                                  Phase 3: Flat Classroom - Many to One Connections AND one to Many connections with Teacher Direction

                                                                  In this phase, students as a class are connected to one person or group of people typically via Skype. This is essential because they can see me model appropriate behavior and techniques.

                                                                  This includes:
                                                                  • Presenting to another location as a class via Skype.
                                                                  • Interaction with an expert (such as our keynote speakers for our projects) via wiki or videosharing.
                                                                  • Connecting to others through my quoting their work (with permission) and sharing with others. (a sense of global audience and they are more likely to read and see me model appropriate behavior.)
                                                                  • Public (anonymous) blogs of my students who have permission from parents. (others blog on a large blog with 1,000 other students at Youth Voices.)
                                                                  This gives them awareness of a global audience and transitions them to full blown connections as individuals. They learn accountability and I am able to isolate their individual practice and habits to help them.

                                                                  Phase 4: Flat Classroom: Many to Many with Teacher management
                                                                  This is Flat Classroom with many students collaborating with one another directly to create wikis and digital artifacts (they outsource part of their video to one another.) On this project, the teachers are still very involved in group dynamics and media issues with the teams.

                                                                  This includes:
                                                                  • Collaborative Writing and Editing between students
                                                                  • Involvement of experts and other educators to provide a rich, diverse global audience and feedback.
                                                                  • RSS readers and customized learning spaces (for self-directed learning)
                                                                  • Instructions delivered via wiki to all students (they use their RSS reader to get their assignments.)
                                                                  • Interaction with a keynote or thought leader to inspire them and help them understand global audience from the beginning.
                                                                  • Digital Storytelling with outsourcing of part of their video to a partner in another location (This requires an EXTREME amount of communication between the partners and is quite challenging.)
                                                                  This is a HUGE step between Phase 3 and 4 and the first time I did it as a teacher it was a bit overwhelming. I liken it to going down a really long water slide for the first time... knowing it is supposed to be fun but also knowing that once I start, I'm not stopping until the end comes!

                                                                  Phase 5: Flat Classroom: Many to Many Connections with STUDENT Management

                                                                  This is the Horizon Project. This is everything that we do in Flat Classroom with an added component: student self-management and organization.

                                                                  This includes:
                                                                  • Students manage the teams. We have project managers, assistant managers, editors elected for each wiki AND subgroups have the option of organizing themselves as well.
                                                                  • Increasing use of social networks and IM's of the students to connect.
                                                                  It HELPS if students have done flat classroom first, however, usually, that is not the case.

                                                                  However, I would say it is essential for teachers to move through this process by phase. I don't think that we could have had project managers on our first Flat Classroom for the simple reason that Julie and I were still learning what we were doing.

                                                                  Now, the other Horizon teachers can handle student organization because they trust Julie and I to facilitate it and help it work.

                                                                  This is my favorite project because the student management piece is truly monumental and so EXCITING!

                                                                  Sometimes I wish that Horizon was not in the shadow of its father, the Flat Classroom project because in a lot of ways Horizon is a younger, stronger, improved version of Flat Classroom. However, both projects are very important and exciting!

                                                                  What is your phase?
                                                                  I'd be interested to hear from you, the reader, to see what phase you are at in your classroom.

                                                                  Just as a baby doesn't jump out from its mother's womb to compete in a 100 yard dash, likewise, it takes time to progress to flat classroom.

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                                                                  Research Proving that Wikis are More Efficient than Email

                                                                  via Stephen Downes and Miguel Guhlin

                                                                  Those of us using wikis find the latest slide to be added to Don Tapscott's Anthony Williams' arsenal of no surprise. Anthony says:

                                                                  "The model is courtesy of Chris Rasmussen at US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. I presented this slide during a talk I gave at Nokia today and someone pointed out that the happy faces on the left probably ought to be frowning — he had a good point."

                                                                  This incredible chart says it all about the importance of wiki collaboration. This should also be a message to bloated bureaucracies looking to squeeze that last bit of efficiency out of already overworked staff.

                                                                  However, learning to wiki isn't just about vocational "goodness," but rather about an essential skill moving forward. Just as we teach word processing, wikis and blogs have to be standard inclusion.

                                                                  I'd just hate to see wikis and blogs be taught as poorly as some teachers teach word processing. Maybe someone will let me write the book!? (In my spare time!)

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                                                                  Overheard today: "We don't live in tents!"

                                                                  One of my extremely excited and talented assistant project managers for Horizon Project has set up an appointment to instant message the project manager in Doha, Qatar today. They had an appointment for 8 am and 12:30 noon! (Uhm -- we got out at noon for spring break!).

                                                                  As they made their intros and said hello, first she exclaimed to the class:

                                                                  "Hey, guys -- they go to school on Sunday through Thursday."

                                                                  Another one of my students didn't "get" what she was saying and said, "Let them just TRY to make ME go to school on Sunday."

                                                                  "No, you don't understand, she said, their weekend is Friday and Saturday."

                                                                  Now this is interesting because I had told my students this... in fact, I have told them multiple times, however, it was this exchange that got their attention. It was this exchange that TAUGHT them!

                                                                  Then, as I peeked over her shoulder (as I always do when my students are instant messaging), I saw this conversation. (I got permission to take a shot of the screen over her shoulder.)

                                                                  ...and on they went about misconceptions about the culture of South Georgia and the Middle East. It was a conversation that impressed me with its depth, breadth, and humor.

                                                                  It was an honest, real exchange between two students who were very professional but very authentic at the same time.

                                                                  We've only entered the "handshake" phase of this project and yet the conversations move me almost to tears when I see the almost visible shifting of my student's world views.

                                                                  It is something that needs to happen more!

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                                                                  Thursday, March 27, 2008

                                                                  Is TeacherTube a Bad Idea?

                                                                  I'm experimenting with posting directly from diigo -- I've annotated and highlighted from the original post from my friend Shmuly Tennenhaus.

                                                                  My friend Smuly is a youtube expert -- he's been on many nightly news programs and in newspapers (see the New York Times article on him.) I'm still turning over the thoughts from his blog post that he shared.. he has made a few good points that I had to go back to teacherTube to see.

                                                                  We have to use teachertube on horizon because it is the only video sharing service that is unblocked in all of our schools. We are cross posting to youtube for those schools that allow youtube access.

                                                                  SchoolFinder Blog » YouTube Versus TeacherTube Annotated

                                                                  My notes:

                                                                  • He has been cited multiple times for his videos and has been on more news tv shows than i can count. He does know video! - post by coolcatteacher

                                                                  • Many schools do block it for bandwidth reasons. - post by coolcatteacher
                                                                  Some highlights from the article:

                                                                  "Video-sharing can be very useful in the classroom. And many schools do block access to sites like YouTube...

                                                                  This is more than just semantics. If the name of the site makes ME cringe, how will it ever appeal to a teenager who shops at Abercrombie and has Timbaland streaming from her iPod?...

                                                                  For example, maybe YouTube can make an education domain that does not have access to the rest of the site. Google would like to be a player in the education space. As would Yahoo. And Microsoft....

                                                                  3) TeacherTube is ad-supported. (Yup; I am not sponsoring the site!) The ads unfortunately are anti-education!

                                                                  a) University of Phoenix Online is all over the place. Yes; they are into education etc. Here are the FACTS: UOP overall graduation rate is 16%. The national average is 55%. And University of Phoenix Online? Their graduation rate is 4%! Ouch.

                                                                  b) Check out the screen shot of TeacherTube. That’s an ad for a get rich scheme site. Check them out. The landing page has a guy without his shirt on. The guy does have nice pecs. Still, I doubt schools would be excited with the association."
                                                                  This leaves me wondering, we've got to give some method of making money to these businesses. If educators aren't paying for a service then the business either has to: 1) sell it to us or 2) sell it to advertisers, or option 3) Sell upgraded services to educators.

                                                                  There are costs involved.

                                                                  The rule about free stuff: there is no such thing as free stuff!

                                                                  I'm thankful for companies such as wikispaces who give us great service for free. I also like that schools can purchase upgraded services from them.

                                                                  I think that companies that serve educators need to take a long hard look at what they do. My honest opinion: Google Adsense and education just don't mix. Period.

                                                                  Contextual advertising will often give innappropriate options for students to BUY term papers, or "date sexy women in Qatar" (the ad that almost killed flat classroom when at the time Ning was google adsense loaded.)

                                                                  We just need to think about it educators. It is free but is it the right thing?

                                                                  We should consider what we're doing. I don't have answers and I'm not saying run away from TeacherTube which I've supported from the beginning. I am saying that I think it is time to evolve and think about some of this.

                                                                  (Oh and this blogging from Diigo thing is cool.)

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                                                                  YOU SPEAK: Looking for Current Research on Interactive, Study Focused, Customized Learning Methods of Teaching -- Please Share!

                                                                  I received this e-mail today. I've edited out who it is from and the author's name who is requesting it for privacy reasons...

                                                                  I have several research topics that I've uncovered for this request but NEED to know what you have. (Don't have time to post the links.) Please share your insights, projects, and RESEARCH! Thanks!

                                                                  " Vicki -
                                                                  Do you have evaluation studies showing the impact of Flat Classroom project or Horizon on academic achievement (or other social benefits - like higher school attendance, fewer behavior problems, etc.)??? ***AUTHOR**** is looking for evidence [if] the new model of pedagogy (interactive, student-focused, uses inquiry methods, customized for individual learners) like your programs use are “working.” In addition to evidence from your programs, if you could direct us to any other evidence from programs similar to yours that you know of – that would be great. We’re working against tight book deadlines now (yay, the end is near), so any info you could get us soon would be much appreciated!"

                                                                  We are in the process of doing studies on these projects but do not have any full scale information to be released. What we've found from a very small sample is that we've seen an increased willingness on the part of the students to work with and befriend people from other parts of the world (particularly those who they consider are very unlike themselves) as a result of the project. We're testing this with our horizon project now.

                                                                  We are looking for researchers for Flat Classroom in October - December NOW who would be a third party to be involved in this research. We're offering.

                                                                  HELP! What do you have that I could share today? Post here or message me on twitter.

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                                                                  Monday, March 24, 2008

                                                                  Going from "It" to "Out": Dealing with network withdrawal

                                                                  Sunday after going to church and eating lunch with my family, I got to relax by the pond, watch the millows meander and the dragonflies hum as I fished for catfish. I enjoyed being "out" of it.

                                                                  We went home and watched the The Pride of the Yankees, about baseball great Lou Gehrig (which is worth seeing just to see the Real Babe Ruth play himself) and had a very interesting discussion about how quickly a person arises into "fame" and then can be snuffed out due to health reasons or retirement.

                                                                  It was a fascinating discussion with the kids and my husband about going from being "It" to being "Out." (Gehrig died in his thirties from the disease named after him.)

                                                                  My children observed that that seems to be the problem with Britney Spears here in the states. They think that she will, "Do whatever it takes to stay on the front page... not able to deal with the fact that she's no longer 'it.'"

                                                                  I also see this in the blogosphere and twittersphere
                                                                  It is a dangerous path to trod to be dependent upon the feedback of others for one's self esteem.

                                                                  For a while, when I first emerged into the blogosphere, and then had to go away from it for a while, I was plagued with guilty feelings. What would I miss? Who would I not respond to? What would happen without me? Would I be left "out?"

                                                                  Then, it slowly dawned on me that the twittersphere and blogosphere and all such things will rock on just nicely without me and that is OK.

                                                                  In today's world of hurry and scurry, we have still got to be able to disconnect and slow down!

                                                                  A life to live!
                                                                  I also think that most of us feel "out" at least some time or other.

                                                                  For example, I didn't have time to do color Wars 2008 (the world's most massive game of rock, paper, scissors using Flickr) this weekend -- I had things to do with my family... and that was OK!

                                                                  And I missed out on the Christmas "elf" santa thing a lot of twitters did over Christmas. I haven't been able to do any memes and am quite behind on my RSS reader.

                                                                  Does this mean that I am insufficient? Does this mean that I'm doing something "wrong?" Should I feel "guilty?"

                                                                  Realization that we ARE "it"
                                                                  And almost by divine providence, I opened up my "Real Simple" magazine and saw this poem from Maya Angelou:

                                                                  "When we come to it/
                                                                  We must confess that
                                                                  we are the possible/
                                                                  We are the miraculous,
                                                                  the true wonders
                                                                  of this world/
                                                                  That is when,
                                                                  and only when/
                                                                  We come to it."

                                                                  Maya Angelou from A Brave and Startling Truth (c) 1995, Random House

                                                                  Being "it" is not being "in."
                                                                  It is being me.

                                                                  In this world of immersive, submersive social networking -- we can easily lose ourselves. I find that it is easy to get lost in a sea of friends and left wondering where and who I am.

                                                                  We have got to teach students and ourselves how to navigate these waters and continue to have a strong, grounded, purpose and life. How to be "called" when everyone is call-ing.

                                                                  I find that I HAVE to make the time to spend alone in prayer and reading my Bible. I also have to find time alone to read and just think and ponder.

                                                                  I even have to find time to fish.

                                                                  Let's go fly a kite
                                                                  I saw something terribly disturbing last Friday. We were out flying kites with the kindergarten class and my six year old son who is a student in the class. Many parents came out to enjoy this.

                                                                  As my husband and I struggled to help our son get his kite up -- we'd get it up and it would fall. It would go up, he'd run a while or run into another kid and then it would get tangled and fall. WE laughed and had a blast.

                                                                  But there was a little boy in the corner. His kite wouldn't fly.

                                                                  You see. His Mom was on her cell phone.

                                                                  The little sad boy with his lip quivering was trying to get the kite in the air while the Mom was giving her half attention as she exclaimed why she didn't like flying kites any more.

                                                                  Her body was there. She wasn't.

                                                                  Parents need to wake up
                                                                  I'm tired of hearing parents complain about kids and cell phones when parents are horrible offenders too!

                                                                  I see so many people so busy being somewhere else.

                                                                  We're trying to be "it" and don't want to be left "out" so we forget "it." We forget the meaning in life, I think.

                                                                  There is great beauty in watching a movie with one's family. Or reading a book with your child. Or flying a kite. Or pretending to catch a fish while the minnows meander and dragonflies hum.

                                                                  There is also great beauty in being able to be instantly available to my family. There was also great comfort in the direct message twitters of my extended network of friends when my grandmother passed away this past summer. There is great laughter in the prods and pokes of my friends throughout my networks.

                                                                  I do not reject the new novelties we have found.

                                                                  I only state the obvious.

                                                                  Beware the things you try to master lest you become the servant and it becomes the master!

                                                                  Technorati authorities change like the wind as does readership, blog stats, friends, links, twitters and blog comments. And staying grounded in who one is has never been more important.

                                                                  My advice on finding "it"
                                                                  Remember to intentionally use your time to do the things that will make your life better.

                                                                  Clutter in your house, your life, your computer, and your habits will take away from your life, not add to it. Consolidate what works and throw away what doesn't.

                                                                  God is everywhere... you're not. It is not possible for humans to be everywhere and be all things to all people and the pressure to be "it" whether real or imagined is a WASTE of time.

                                                                  Be who you are and respect others who aren't you. My Dad always says that "even a fool is right some of the time" -- listen to all sides and make up your mind for yourself.

                                                                  Just don't let technology take over your life... it should add to it. Recent additions to my life like TimeBridge and Diigo are time savers and I plan to keep using them. Other sites I've tried recently don't work and will go the way of the dodo.

                                                                  All this to say...
                                                                  Learn, use, and tinker with technology... don't take it all so seriously.

                                                                  Sometimes I literally walk away from this blog because I simply am not going to live the rest of my life worrying about my technorati ranking. I'm here to blog for the long haul about what I'm doing.

                                                                  I'm here because it means something to me to be able to share and encourage others even though I'm so far from perfect.

                                                                  I'm here because I have a calling not only to teach and parent and learn but a calling to blog and share with the most amazing profession of incredible people in the world... the educators.

                                                                  Remember your noble calling, teachers.

                                                                  And remember, you've got enough people in the world making you feel guilty about this and that without adding any more fuel to the fire. Your best is good enough... read your RSS when you can.. twitter when you can... blog when you can. And walk away from it sometimes so you can stay sane.

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                                                                  Saturday, March 22, 2008

                                                                  This Week at Westwood: Horizon Evolves, Digiteen Begins

                                                                  Sometimes I just like to share the things that are happening in my classroom. They may seem old hat to me (and my students) but understanding HOW these things work is tough for some people just learning what is happening.

                                                                  1) Computer Science (10th)
                                                                  This is the class that is participating in the Horizon Project. We're continuing the four week "handshake" period before the start of the project on April 15th.

                                                                  Why a handshake?
                                                                  We've found that the most difficult part of the project is helping the students meet or "handshake." This is also difficult because we have to help all of the teachers get up to speed AND there are a lot of holidays that happen around this time -- which vary all over the world.

                                                                  So, during the handshake, we:
                                                                  • Join all the members to the wiki and Ning.
                                                                  • The teachers go through the Getting Started Checklist
                                                                  • We hold weekly teachers meetings in Elluminate and record it for those who cannot attend.
                                                                  • The teachers have a private google group that gets fired up and hot for our private communications and questions.
                                                                  • Students fill out a pre-project survey to ascertain their thoughts about working with people from other countries.
                                                                  • Students post their "introductions" -which we work hard to be personal but not too revealing. This is a tough balance.
                                                                  Horizon's Blogs are Hopping!
                                                                  It is very exciting to see what happens as we ask the students to start blogging. There is one particularly profound post from Crystal in Illinois:

                                                                  " So to a certain extent, all of us on the Horizon Project 2008 are looking to change the world, even if just a bit. So I guess this blog is to acknowledge the problems of the world and things you would like to change about your surroundings/community or things that need to be changed in the world...."

                                                                  She goes on to talk about what she wants to change. Other exciting posts to me are:

                                                                  Jehan in New York has been appointed Assistant Project manager for a team and is "taking the bull by the horns." He says:

                                                                  " As much fun as just socializing and talking about music is.
                                                                  I have some work related news....According to the wiki. I am assistant project manager for the social operating systems group...Here's the link to the wiki team page in case you do not know what you are doing. Link

                                                                  I'm gonna make the group for social operating systems. So SOS people should join."

                                                                  We don't "officially' kick off until April, but we're finding that the students are organizing themselves if we just give them a little time. There is a lot of angst with everyone wanting to know who is on their team, and we've unveiled the teams today... perhaps a few will change but they are pretty set.

                                                                  I really enjoy the insight into Easter from Jess living in Qatar and the really great responses that are emerging from the other students or Ali's discussion about hobbies and Aaron asking about when students sleep and when they do homework, Jamie T talking about the handshake period.

                                                                  I am also impressed that the students have started self-organizing and creating groups and am very interested to see what is beginning to take shape in the group forums (I really like the group pictures!)

                                                                  Meanwhile, we didn't get to "handshake" as much as I would like this week.. I had to finish up a module on computer hardware. When they had 10 minutes after their test Friday, my students were more excited about the fact that you can add photos in Ning comments and change the look of a Ning page with some pretty cool new templates. You can see this on my profile page.

                                                                  Chris Morgan's class in Illinois is so excited about Ning, they are planning to get rid of their forum and set up a private Ning.

                                                                  What is next for Horizon?
                                                                  The teachers will be meeting again next week. We plan these ahead of time via wiki. We'll be working on the templates and are enjoying using the tags in wikis to help us organize what we need to proofread.

                                                                  I've also had my students learning about the new features of Profiles in wikispaces. You can customize your page. Star pages that you're working on and use tags as well. Look at my wikispaces profile page (just click your wikispaces name to see yours) to see how I'm using it to manage my wiki work.

                                                                  2) Computer Fundamentals (9th)
                                                                  We're continuing the "handshake" period for the low-key DigiTeen project between Julie's class in Qatar, Barbara's in Austria, and mine at Westwood. We didn't publicize this just because we wanted to keep it small and manageable since we also have HORIZON!

                                                                  We completed watching the PBS series "Growing Up Online" which is definitely for high school students. All of the students in digiteen are watching this and it makes for VERY interesting conversations.

                                                                  My students have been finishing up their work in Excel, which has also included some work in Google Spreadsheets and will take them into ZohoSpreadsheets next week.

                                                                  They continue to maintain their personal, public blogs and blog every chance they get... even when it is not an assignment. These blogs have become an extension of who they are.

                                                                  3) Keyboarding (8th)
                                                                  We've FINISHED UP THE KEYBOARDING! Last week our class average broke 60 words a minute and the students have done very well. They've already been taken into the private class Ning, where all of my classes communicate.

                                                                  Embedding Files and Blogging
                                                                  I've taught them how to embed files (which just got easier with a recent improvement to Ning) and they have been blogging as I teach them about Voice. (I have them embed videos from youtube and blog in first person as one of the people in the video.)

                                                                  Introducing Video Making
                                                                  I've taught them basic video capture with their logitech quickcams and how to upload video to the Ning. On Friday, we had a "Fun Friday" and I taught them how to use Animoto and embed it on their private Ning.

                                                                  We talked briefly about licensing and needless to say, my students always HATE it when they learn that they cannot use the music on their ipod to make their movies. It makes them ANGRY! (But everyone else does it on youtube, is always their response. "But you're not everybody," is mine. "We do things the right way here and I hold you to a higher standard."

                                                                  It is tough, but you cannot teach movie making without broaching this painful subject with kids.

                                                                  What's next?
                                                                  We'll begin work on efolios AND I have to delve into MLA papers and formats.

                                                                  4) Senior Movie Making
                                                                  We are working on Graduation and the Senior Slide Show. I have shared folders et up on the server for these students and now, they are just dragging the photographs that they bring in into our folders.

                                                                  We have a definite system for working on these. (I have a "used" folder to which they drag folders after they've put a copy on their local hard drive to use to make the PhotoStory.)

                                                                  I also have a student who is drawing some artwork for me to photograph for graduation. I'm excited about it because he is really good at it and it is his hidden talent! So, this class is editing movies like crazy. Creating special mixes of music in Audacity for the slide show, scanning, and filming.

                                                                  It is a lot of fun to do the slideshow but it is VERY VERY hard work. I have an external hard drive of my own and secretly make backups of the photographs pretty often just in case something ever happened.

                                                                  5) National Honor Society
                                                                  While this isn't a class, I'm had a breakthrough there. Ihave a pretty big database that I'm about to abandon that tracks the student time. I'm about to go to a self entry system using Google Spreadsheets and a form and have them turn in the documentation. I'll just check it off instead of having to enter it. I'm not going to take hours to enter their time any more... they can do it!

                                                                  6) 5th Keyboarding
                                                                  I'm FINALLY done with this class -- whew! It is very difficult to teach 6 classes and have one planning period. I'm just getting caught up on Everything tech support now and am still very behind! I left the students with the knowledge of how to play typershark -- a cool game from www.popcap.com that is wonderful (after you know the keys.)

                                                                  My Week
                                                                  This has been a very busy, crazy, and tough week. I won an award Friday but cannot tell you about it until next week.

                                                                  I'll just say that I literally cried in front of the whole middle and high school I was in such shock. And for my students who know me... they know that I don't EVER do that.

                                                                  Finally, after two years of this stuff.. the local paper HAS to include what my students and I are doing. And that in itself was enough to make me cry...

                                                                  Have a great weekend.

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                                                                  Friday, March 21, 2008

                                                                  IF U Marry Me - I'll be "a-twitter" -- Twitter's First Marriage Proposal

                                                                  We are increasingly linked together by electronics in ways we can only just barely begin to comprehend. And as I jumped into twitter for a moment this morning... I saw this tweet from @xoost -- and followed it to Mashable, which said:

                                                                  " Max Kiesler has proposed to Emily Chang over Twitter (took him fifteen years, sheesh). And she said yes! "

                                                                  Is this legit? Is it real? It could be!

                                                                  And if it is not, I can guarantee this... it will be!

                                                                  And remember, although we use electronics to communicate, there is still a need for face to face interaction... don't think we'll be making babies via twitter any time soon!

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                                                                  Thursday, March 20, 2008

                                                                  Second Life - 24 hour Languages Conference

                                                                  Now this is a fascinating idea! I cannot pass along EVERYTHING I get, however, this is a really great one that I've got to share.

                                                                  There will be a 24-hour multilingual conference about using Second Life to Teach. It will be held entirely within Edunation at Second life -- the times are:

                                                                  Starts: 10am PST (18.00 GMT) 23 May 2008
                                                                  Ends: 10am PST (18.00 GMT) 24 May 2008

                                                                  This is what I like about this.

                                                                  What is the best way to teach language?

                                                                  But not every child can afford a trip to Spain or Italy or China or wherever. With 3D immersive experiences, I believe (researchers please listen) that we could see richer, more meaningful ways to increase language learning.

                                                                  I believe that languages represent an INCREDIBLE opportunity for 3D immersive worlds. So, pioneering language teachers, get a friend to take you into Second Life (DO NOT GO IN ALONE!) and learn how to navigate. And sign up and head on over to this conference.

                                                                  Here is their slideshare:

                                                                  This is the press release.

                                                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                                                  SLanguages 2008:

                                                                  Virtual Conference Explores New Frontiers in Language Learning

                                                                  Barcelona, Spain, 20 March 2008 - - SLanguages 2008 is a 24-hour multilingual conference to celebrate and investigate the use of 3D virtual worlds for language education. The event will be held in Second Life on 23-24 May 2008...

                                                                  SLanguages 2008 is a 24 hour multilingual conference to celebrate and investigate the use of 3D virtual worlds for language education. The conference will be held within Second Life allowing the participants to exchange ideas and share experiences simultaneously around the world. The online conference is free to attend and includes talks, workshops, discussions and posters on language education using virtual worlds such as Second Life. The events will cover methodologies, teaching tools and experiences.

                                                                  Second Life is a 3D virtual world that has attracted over 12 million residents worldwide and has become a mainstream phenomenon for education, business and entertainment. Throughout 2007 Second Life has become an important tool for language learning with many universities using the 3D world for language tuition, including Michigan State University and the University of Southampton. “Interest in using Second Life for education has increased exponentially over the last year” says Second Life educational consultant Gavin Dudeney, author of The Internet and the Language Classroom, Longman 2007.

                                                                  The event is an opportunity for those new to virtual language teaching to learn about the opportunities virtual worlds offer. The conference also allows experienced language educators to share experiences and ideas. "3D virtual worlds such as Second Life offer a unique form of immersive learning not found elsewhere. The SLanguages 2008 conference is the perfect opportunity to see the recent developments in this area and to meet those involved in truly innovative educational projects" says Graham Stanley, who has established the British Council's 'Learn English Second Life for Teens'.

                                                                  SLanguages 2008 will be hosted within Second Life on the tropical “EduNation” islands owned by The Consultants-E. The conference starts 10am (PST) Friday 23 May and ends 10am (PST) Saturday 24 May. The seminars will continue to also reach a much wider audience through archives of the event on the www.slanguages.net website.

                                                                  To register for the conference or for further information, please contact Gavin Dudeney of The Consultants-E or visit the website www.slanguages.net.

                                                                  The Consultants-E is an educational consultancy company specialising in online education, offering tailored consultancy in technology for education. Their consultants assist companies and educational institutions to integrate innovative technologies into their teaching practices. The company also offers courses in e-learning tools such as Second Life, wikis, podcasts and Moodle. The Consultants-E own and run three private islands in Second Life that foster education and training.


                                                                  Gavin Dudeney

                                                                  The Consultants-E

                                                                  c/ CerĂ¡mica 54

                                                                  08035 Barcelona




                                                                  Dudeney Ge (Avatar in Second Life)

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