Thursday, May 22, 2008

e-Learning Summit Breakout Session 4: E-Engage: "Doing" School 2.0

Wendy Wolfe from Totino-Grace spoke about integrating Web 2.0 in a K-12 environment.
She talked about students wanting to be "entertained", but maybe a better word would be "engaged".
"For some reason they want to teach us stuff that any fool can look up in a book."

Educating the Net Generation-
Majority of secondary classes-15 seconds or fewer are devoted to group discussion. 85% of instruction is Teacher centered.

Trend-with high stakes testing, instruction is becoming more teacher centered, not less.
New Blooms taxonomy-Creating has replaced Evaluation at the top.

Wiki's and Blogs allow students to create and to publish.
She shared information about the wiki she created for her classes. She saw wikis as a tool for virtually everything she does on the Web.
One of the projects had the students creating a video with Animoto. Here is a video that Jen Buckley from South View created using this tool.

Comic Generators
She then talked about cartoon generators, the most popular being Toondoo and Comiqs.
With the increased interest in Graphic Novels, these tools provide kids with the opportunity to create their own. Toondoo has a feature that allows you to upload your own photos to add to the cartoon. They have added some protection features as well so that you can keep images private or share only with friends.

Web Based Presentations
Splashcast is a Web based presentation tool that allows you to embed your presentations on the Web.
Spresent-has some nice features, but is unavailable until June. There are image and annimation features that leave Ppt in the dust! Included is a scrolling credit of all images used from the Web.

Concept Maps blogged about before, here, can allow you to create concept maps and floorplans. World Language teachers can have kids label floorplans in Gliffy in the language they are teaching. One issue is that Gliffy connects to Yahoo for image searches, unfortunately, they don't include the URL for the image.

Gcast-allows you to create your podcast on your phone.

Read, Write, Think-Online desktop publishing- can create trading cards on famous people

Wolfe's presentation was enthusiastic and engaging, and told me that we were on the right track with our Web 2.0 initiatives.

She ended by putting in a plug for the K-12 Online Conference.

Resource Wiki for the presentation

e-Learning Summit Breakout Session: Creating a Common Vocabulary in Digital Story Creation

Heather Wells from TIES presented on creating a common vocabulary for digital storytelling.

She started by defining digital storytelling as one that incorporates media and visual images.

  • Beginning
  • Middle
  • End

Digital Story
Content, storyline, soundtrack, narration, editing, plot, ...

Most important: Visual Literacy

She used some of the writings of Dr. Anne Bamford
Partnership for 21st Century Skills Framework-Part III discusses this.
Visual Literacy Toolbox has some good info.


  • Light and Shaddow
  • Color
  • Scale
  • Symbolism
  • Balance-Symetrical and Asymetrical
  • Context-Who created it?, In what context is it seen?
  • Intended Audience
Elements of Media Arts
  • Image
  • Sound
  • Space-Rule of Thirds
  • Time
  • Motion
  • Sequence

Copyright- Use Creative Commons guidelines for images and video. In order to use an image from say, "Flickr", there are 3 types of licensing- Copyright, Creative Commons-which allows for varied levels of sharing capability, and Public Domain. Using the Advanced Search in Flickr, you can check a box to only show images that can be used and altered.

e-Learning Summit:3-D Learning Environments Breakout

This session focused on different Virtual 3-D environments that may impact education.

Second Life
Everything created in Second Life is the property of Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life. MNSCU Island is MNSCU's presence in SL.

Sun-Project Wonderland
MPK20 Sun's Virtual Workspace

Sun is using this for collaborative, business interaction which allows people to interact in a business environment. This mimics the real world more than Second Life does, but you can also include live video interaction combining the real with the virtual.
Currently, Wonderland is a bit rough. In fact, Sun still uses Second Life for their virtual conferences. Wonderland is free, open source and Java based.


Julie Sykes, a Spanish instructor at the U of M and Liz Wendlund, developed Croquet, which allows you to pull in open source content for 3-D simulation. The simulations are task based, meaning they are monitored and assessed as you move through the simulation.

The next step is to have students complete the simulation to determine course placement in the Spanish language program.

What was interesting in this session, was that with my laptop, I was able to create this blog, and fact-check the presenter. He stated that Second Life was for people 8-85, when in fact it's 18-85. He also said that a Dr. Nora Paul had developed Croquet, when in fact it was Dr. Sykes.
Had I not had access, all of the people in the session would have been misinformed.

One of the participants also mentioned Active Worlds as a site that may be more appropriate for education.

e-Learning Summit: Dr. Michael Wesch

Dr. Michael Wesch was the keynote speaker at the e-Learning Summit at Normandale Community College. Dr. Wesch produced the "The Machine is Us/ing us" video with his cheap little laptop in the basement of his house in Kansas.
He discussed the cultural revolution occuring, that is more than the technology.

He has spent a great deal of time in New Guinea to study people in one of the last isolated cultures in the world. The worst form of culture shock is the loss of self and inability to define yourself. Identities in the New Guinea culture used to be defined by their relationships. It shaped their identity. In the last 8 years they have developed a language, and they have torn down their houses, which used to face the doors toward people they related to. Now they have a census and have reorganized their homes and have defined names.

"We shape our tools and thearafter our tools shape us."-Marshall McLuhan

The video he created was in response to his work in New Guinea and how it relates to our society.

The most significant problem in higher ed is the problem of significance (He thinks it applies to K-12 as well):
How many do not actually like school?
Over half.
How many do not like learning?

Media are not just tools. Media are not just communication. Media mediates relationships.
The chalk board: no photos, videos, animations, network
-forces the teacher to move, interact, limits class size to those who can see the board.
Powerpoint: easy, mindless, fast, linear
-helps presenter remember notes-while doing harm to the presentation.
Encourages students to:
-memorize key points
-let prof decide what is key
Power corrupts...PowerPoint corrupts absolutely!- Edward Tufte

Teaching has not changed with the tools we now have...Learning has changed.
Students learn what they do!
If students learn what they do...what are they learning in your classroom?

If these walls could talk:

  • To learn is to aquire information

  • Information is scarce and hard to find

  • trust authority for good information-

  • authorized information is behond discussion.

  • Obey the authority

  • Follow along

Something in the air...

70 billion gigabytes of information will be produced...This year.

112.8 billion blogs today. Youtube produced more content in the last 6 months than the 3 major networks produced in the last 60 years. All new and original!

Then he refuted all of the "If these walls could talk" information so it looks more like this:

If these walls could talk:

  • To learn is to discuss and create information

We need to create platforms for leveraging information.

A class of 12 people contains 66 relationships, this gets messy, thus as educators we step out and have a 1 to1 relationship with the student.
Students today are all about the network. We need to harness the value in education, and build a new platform for participation.

He suggested looking at "Project Look-Sharp's 12 basic principles of Media literacy" as a tool to assess quality.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Personal Learning Networks:Do You Diigo?!

On Saturday at the Scratch workshop I attended at TIES, I convinced Troy Cherry, the presenter, to give Twitter a try.
This morning, he created an account and started following me. Later he "tweeted", "I'm a huge fan of I may become a bigger fan of Diigo."

Having no clue what Diigo was, I went to check it out. Here is what I found:

It's like on Steroids! As we look at teaching kids about research and reading online, here is a tool that can pull it together, with the added bonus of collaboration with others researching the same thing!

Here's the thing...
If I hadn't talked to Troy about Twitter, I may have found Diigo somewhere else, but perhaps not. Sometimes Twitter is a time sucking machine sorting through people sharing information about their golf game and other matters. But quite often, a nugget like Diigo comes along that makes it worth following people. It's my own Personal Learning Network that allows me to learn from experts around the globe and share ideas.
I love the 21st century, and I love my Personal Learning Network!
I encourage you to give it at try!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Scratch Workshop

Scratch is a programing language developed by MIT to allow students as young as 8 to create interactive stories, animations, games, music and art. You can download the program for free from the Scratch Site, and there are versions for Windows and Mac.
Using Scratch, students can learn:

  • Coordinate Graphing
  • Problem Solving
  • Logical/Sequential process
  • Artistic/Creative Development
  • Game Design: Roles, Rules, Success
  • Visual Design, not language intensive-Great for Special Ed or ELL students!
  • Following directions
  • Cause and Effect

The programming utilizes blocks similar to the Lego Mindstorms software used in Lego League.
Here's a simple example that I made by modifying a "Scratch Card". Scratch Cards are a great place to start learning how to use the program. They contain simple code scripts that you can duplicate in Scratch to get your "sprite" or character to change in different ways.
Once you've created your animation in Scratch, you upload the file to your free Scratch account, and then you can share them with your friends as I have below.
To use the animation below, click on the bat. Then drag your mouse away and watch the bat try to get the cursor!
Contact me if you're interested in learning more.

Learn more about this project