Nuggets -- Welcome to Nugget Repository & Exchange Page

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Nuggets are useful bits of knowledge or skills related to technology in education. These can be big or small and you never know when you will fined one; but they are always valuable. Finding the good ones takes requires work; not only to uncover them, but to use and apply them. The old saying "chance favors the prepared mind" applies to finding and using nuggets. You can steal a nugget from this page, but it won't mean anything unless you struggle to find it, accomodate and assimilate it, to make it your own.

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Names have been removed from this page. Because this is an open wiki page, you are free to edit a nugget, under the spirit of Creative Commons. Just remember to cite your sources; this is a scholarly exercise.


  • Find and learn from more capable others. One of the “big ideas” that we discussed at length in class (and that Richardson discussed in his book) was finding people with more skills than yourself, so that you can learn the most from the people around you. I think that this is an idea that impacts thinking about not only technology, but teaching and learning in general. As a continuous learner, it will be essential to surround myself with people that possess different or more knowledge than I do, so that I can not only learn from them, but be challenged by them, so that I can grow and develop into a better educator. Technologically this is essential since I am much less capable than some. By immersing myself in communities that hold knowledge and expertise (technological and otherwise), I will be able to assimilate this knowledge and make it my own.
  • Shifting forms of literacy. A current event presentation that stuck with me throughout the semester, and that I think is important for all educators to remember over the course of their careers is the concept of shifting forms of literacy. Twenty years ago, literacy was strictly based on a child’s ability to read and write and comprehend. Now, a student’s literacy encompasses a wide scope of issues, which include the traditional view of literacy but are not exclusively that- according to Richardson it also includes editing, publishing, managing, and collaborating (pg. 127). Computer and technology literacy is essential to student success, and these new forms of literacy may be difficult to keep up with, but are just as important to nourish as encoding and decoding skills. I think it is not only important to remember the ins and outs of the new forms of literacy, it also key to remember that forms of literacy do indeed shift and change and it is the job of the effective educator to keep abreast of these changes. Just think: where will literacy be in another twenty years? It is my job, and the job of every other teacher, to make it my business where it will be in 2028.
  • Cloud Computing: Cloud Computing was mentioned often in class; the internet is like the cloud and it stores information on the server. This involves saving information temporarily via cache. A user can access the system and all of their information from any device with internet capability. Also, many users can use and access information all at the same time. Google is a good example of cloud computing, and offers the services that I prefer to use and will be able to use with teaching, such as Google Doc and Google Calendar.
  • Podcasts – I have heard of podcasts before this class but had no idea what it was or how in the world to make one. For my demo video, I made a podcast for the first time which was pretty neat. I had no idea where to even find them when I started in the class. The cool this is that they didn’t cost anything! I found some neat little math tricks that a person demonstrated which I still might show to my class the day before break next week (provided I remember to download iTunes on my computer at school). I think podcasts would be and are a valuable tool in a math and especially science class. I would imagine there are podcasts of all sorts of crazy science experiments that would keep students entertained and educated. This is something that I feel will be more mainstreamed in a few years. I will keep working on this one.
  • Software evaluation. I haven’t been provided any formal steps in assessing software until I took this course. Games and other interactive activities go a long way in assisting students in constructing their own learning and social learning. I do, however, believe that time spent online playing any game should be done in moderation. I plan to use the six categories to review games that I recommend for my students. Again, the six categories are 1. ease of use, 2. identifying the skills needed to have success and how much reversibility does the game have, 3. is it educational, 4. is it entertaining and engaging, 5. what is the design feature, and 6. how much does it cost?
  • Creative Commons: “Creative Commons defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved.” This is ironic because I just copy and pasted off of our class wiki! HAAAYYY! Since all information posted online is pretty much for everyone to see, the issue of copyright has become a hot topic. The Creative Commons site is non-profit and works to work within the laws of copyright in order to share and add onto ideas available on the World Wide Web. I was unaware of this prior to taking the course; I will be sure to look for the Creative Commons licenses on websites.
  • Podcasting: I discovered podcasting about a week prior to reading Richardson’s chapter, so this technological “a-ha” was re-enforced by the class literature. Podcasting is the new radio. The podcasts are free off of iTunes, which means you can listen to them even if you don’t own an iPod. I use podcasts often to help me with my Spanish and to learn about the culture; I can see myself recommending podcasts to my students to listen to as well. I also like Richardson’s suggestion for world language teachers, they could “record and publish daily practice lessons that students could listen to at home…or on their own MP3 player,” (p.117).
  • Google: We discussed Google a lot in class, and debated about the truth of it being “free”. Although Google Ads seem to be on every website, Google does offer just so many features, it’s hard to keep up! They seem to add new ones every day. I use Gmail, Google Scholar, and iGoogle just to name a few. Google has become so popular and widely used that it has become its own verb, just “google it”! It really does offer a lot of great tool for you to use and keeps you organized and informed.
  • Google features – I found it very fascinating the day in class where we listed all of the Google features on the board. There must have been at least 20 of them. I have never heard of half of them but I think in the near future more of them will become popular and mainstreamed that they will be used in school. I know for a fact that our science teachers use Google Earth all of the time. I would like to get more familiar with some of the features. The calendar is something that students should have to keep themselves organized, especially ones that are going to college and need to learn how to manage their time. The Google document I have used once or twice and was nice because my work automatically got saved “in the cloud” so I couldn’t loose it. I think some students that lose items easily would benefit from this. I will continue to explore the Google features and maybe find something that I can have the students do a project with.
  • The Read/Reflect/Write/Participate Web: In Richardson’s final chapter, he says “In reality, we now have a Read/Reflect/Write/ Participate Web, one that will continue to evolve and grow in ways not yet thought of, spurred by the efforts of creative teachers who recognize the potential to improved student learning,” (p.133). I think this class has opened me up to this type of web whereas prior I was simply just reading off the web. This is the future; this type of web will make for even easier modes of communication and the sharing of ideas. It is important to remember to contribute your own ideas and opinions in order to fully participate in the experience.
  • Wikis: Most certainly having our class Wiki was a great experience to become acquainted with this technological tool. A wiki offers more freedom with editing than a blog, because as Richardson simply puts it, “a wiki is a website where anyone can edit anything anytime they want,” (p.59). I think Wikis are good for teaching, since anytime student or teacher has great stuff to add, it can be instantaneous. Our class Wiki was much better that just a regular website; it was good and helpful to see classmates contributing to course material.
  • Wikis: Many of the technologies that we’ve discussed in this course were unknown to me prior to taking the course. Wikis happen to be one of these technologies. I never even heard the term before, and was actually a little skeptical about how one could implement one in a math classroom. However, I believe that there are several applications that I intend to implement in my own classroom. For example, a Geometry class could create a wiki to serve as a glossary of terms. Students would all need to contribute, and the wiki would serve as a valuable resource as they study for tests and quizzes. In addition, the wiki could also serve as a place to post relevant course information, such as upcoming tests and quizzes. Although I have not implemented the use of wikis in my classes, I definitely plan on doing this at the start of next school year. I plan to begin by creating a wiki for important class information and a glossary of terms, as well as a list of postulates and theorems. I want the students to begin the course with the idea of contributing to the wiki and using it as a study resource. I would most likely try to implement their use in my Geometry classes first. If successful, I would try to incorporate their use in my other classes as well.
  • Weblogs/Blogs: As Richardson professes in his third chapter, if we want students to blog, then we must blog ourselves! The Weblog is one of the items Richardson includes in his digital toolkit and they are the “most widely adopted tool of the Read/Write Web so far,” (p.8). I think I will try to incorporate blogs in my classroom, since they are a great way to scaffold information and really get students to express themselves. Blogs would also be nice for me as the teacher to track and get to know my students and their abilities and goals for the class.
  • An audience of millions. Weblogs are both easy to create, and provide an immediate audience (Richardson, pg. 17). They provide students with an opportunity to feel ownership of their ideas, and a sense of pride in their work. They move the hanging of the paper on the fridge for the family to see, to the posting of the paper on the web for the world to see. Blogs create outlets for emotions, provide opportunities to write freely, and allow feedback so that ideas can change and grow. They hold students accountable, as well as encourage them to be reflective. I think that blogs are one piece of technology that I will take with me and incorporate into my classrooms, mainly so that my students can feel the pride associated with a true sense of ownership of their work. No matter what form that blog takes, I think it is a nugget that is irreplaceable.
  • Touch Screen Interface: The touch screen interface is the future as we have seen class presentations on the thin reader, the touch screen desktop from HP, the Google phone, the iPhone and much more. The stylus is a thing of the past! The only tool we need now is our finger. This also applies to the Smartboards that will hopefully be put into more and more classrooms in the future. These all relate to the kinesthetic interface, which is a way of engaging students.
  • We are all kids at heart. When Hava presented her demo on the last day of class, you said something that struck me, and made a concept hit home. She was showing the flow of cells, and she asked if it was entertaining. Without thinking, you said that it would be, if you could flick the cells and make them move across the screen. Who wouldn’t be entertained by manipulating the concepts that are being presented? Whether it is a ten year old or a fifty year old, the smart board technology makes this interest possible…it makes that child inside everyone say “cool! I can flick that cell, which makes it real!” The demo of the smartboard that James gave to the class has stuck with me throughout the semester, and I think that this technology is the one thing that I would love to have in my classroom before anything else. Because it makes learning real, and interesting, and it hardwires ideas to the hand, and it makes kids (and adults) excited by learning. ‘We learn best when we are laughing,’ and I think that this technology makes ideas come to life, and makes them fun. Waking up that child should be our goal: whether it is a kid inside of an adult, or a fourteen year old who is bored by learning. We need to remind everyone that learning is not only valuable, but is enjoyable- and I think that smartboards hold the potential to do so.
  • iTouch/iPhones/touch screens in general – I remember the one of the first times I used a touch screen in a very unexpected place. It was probably 5 years ago in the Sheetz gas station store. I wanted to order a sandwich and there was this new electronic touch screen where I had to order the sandwich. Let me just say, I would go to Sheetz even if I didn’t need gas! I was in awe of this new touch screen because it was fun to use and the people got my order correct every time. I would guess that was about the time when touch screens started to become popular in everyday life. Today it’s rare to go to a store that doesn’t have a touch screen to sign with a credit card. The iPhone and those similar to it make technology simple and easy to use for people young and old. (Although I would find it entertaining to see my grandfather use one.) I like the idea of the tablet computers and their touch screen that uses the stylus. I will discuss this more in the next part of the final, but to have students doing their work on a computer and being able to save it is a great idea.
  • Don’t allow the invisible child. An overarching concept discussed throughout the semester in Richardson, in our class, and on the wiki, is the idea of not allowing there to be the invisible child. I think that above all other nuggets, this is one that no educator should ever forget. Technology gives teachers and students power. The power to be excited, the power to enjoy learning, the power to succeed, and most importantly, the power to not be forgotten. The quiet student sitting in the back of the class (who has just as many ideas inside his head as the student who never puts her hand down), cannot be forgotten when he is held accountable, with the help of technology. I think that everything that we have learned in this class can all contribute to this one idea- the idea of never, never, allowing a student to fall through the cracks. Whether it takes hours of extra work on a smartboard, or a simple survey to know how he is feeling, or bringing an author into class via webcast that he admires, that student cannot be forgotten if technology is utilized in an effective and productive way. I think that technology can give a teacher the tools to never allow that invisible child, and I will remember this throughout my career, so that I never let a student slip away unnoticed.
  • Online Instruction/Courses: We had a webcast with Dr. Robin Dickson who runs the Michigan Virtual University. By her trying to recruit members of our class for positions as online instructors, it was obvious that this is a growing trend in education. There is some cause for concern with online courses, as it lacks in social interaction for students; this is especially crucial for young students. I think because of this, we will not see all classes and all schools becoming online any time soon.
  • Digital Immigrants vs. Natives: “Digital immigrants” and “digital natives” are terms coined by educational theorist Marc Prensky regarding the level of computer literacy one might possess. Students these days are the natives and their teachers, for the most part, are immigrants. The natives were born into a technological world and their computers and cell phone are life as they know it. This difference in ability, in turn, presents the problem “of an educational system that is out of touch with the way its students learn,” (Richardson, p.7). I would consider myself a native, as it is difficult to remember life before computers and the internet. However, this motivates me to be sure I incorporate technology into my teaching strategies so that I am in fact in touch with the way my students learn!
  • Hardwire the concept to the hand. Learning through doing is something that I have always believed in, but technology gives this concept a new life. A nugget that we discussed numerous times in class, I think that hardwiring a concept to the hand is an invaluable notion to remember. Playing can equal learning, and this is where part of the power of technology is- it’s enjoyable. A student using technology not only hardwires ideas because he is actually interacting with the ideas, but he is also playing and experimenting with them. Concepts are memorable when they have been explored in an enjoyable environment, and thus are appreciated. The use of technology also makes the job of teaching to all different learning styles, easy. A visual learner can see the concept; an auditory learner can hear the concept. An active learner can actually touch and manipulate the concept. Technology makes accessing all students’ styles possible, and so makes material both memorable and fun…what more could an educator want?

  • Wikis. Wiki is a website where anything can be added or edited by anybody from anywhere in anytime. I first learned Wiki by using one of the best known wikis – Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Not until I read Richardson’s book did I really understand what a wiki is. According to Richardson, Ward Cunningham is the creator of wikis. Cunningham described wiki as the simplest online database. The concept of a wiki is in accordance with Vygotsky’s ZPD theory which emphasizes that “everyone together is smarter than anyone alone” (p 57). When I begin teaching ESL, I will start a class wiki with my students. Our class wiki will be treated as our second classroom where everybody can contribute.
  • Picasa and Picasa Web Album. Picasa and Picasa Web Albums enable people to organize and share their photos online with the world. Picasa is free to download and Picasa Web Album provides 1G of free online storage. You can also use Picasa to print out photo collages and create video slideshows. I have been using Picasa and Picasa Web Album for many years. I like it very much because it is very easy for me to upload pictures onto my web albums from my laptop. Also, there are news feeds to inform me if my friends have uploaded new pictures. Richardson talked about Flickr in his book. I have never tried it. But I will explore it more and compare it with Picasa to see which one can be better used in teaching.
  • Cool Edit Pro. Cool Edit Pro is a digital audio editor program. It supports surround sound mixing and unlimited simultaneous tracks. It also includes plugins such as noise reduction. This software works as a tape recorder but it can be used to edit audio files and put different effects on sound waves. With Cool Edit Pro, you can download accompaniments and produce your own songs. I use this software to edit audio and make it cell phone ringtones. Recently, I notice that Cool Edit Pro has been purchased by Adobe. It now has a new name called Adobe Audition. I think Cool Edit Pro will be a very practical nugget for me to use in my future teaching because I can record students’ dialogue, songs and presentations. Cool Edit Pro will be much more interesting to use with video editing software because students can do voiceover and all the creative things with it.
  • Photoshop. Photoshop is one of the professional graphic editing programs. It supports formats such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, EPS, and so on. Richardson advocated that if teachers and students want to experiment with creating content other than text, they’d better start with digital photography. Thus, Photoshop is really valuable and essential for teachers and students to adopt. Using Photoshop will be a step to take before uploading photos to online web albums. Teachers and students can work together to edit their photos. For example, they can adjust the brightness, contrast, and they can creatively change the background, add interesting stuff on the photos. I am pretty sure by using Photoshop, students will develop their creativity and they will have a lot of fun in the process of learning.
  • Camtasia. Camtasia is a screen video capture program designed for Windows. The users can choose which area of the screen they are going to record before the actual recording starts. After they have captured the presentation, they can use various applications to revise it. Richardson defines screencasting as “capturing what you or your students do on the computer with an audio narration to go with it” (p. 122). I think Camatasia is a perfect program for screencasting. I used it when I was doing the basic skill demonstration. I found it very easy to use and it gave me many inspirations on how to make the demonstration more fluent. In my future teaching, I will ask my students to do presentations by using this program because it is more interactive and creative than PowerPoint.
  • Facebook I am amazed by the popularity of Facebook among people of different age and from all walks of life. Whenever my friends and I turn on our laptop, the first thing we do is to check Facebook. Facebook is a social networking website. People can interact with friends from the same regions, same schools, same workplaces, etc. They can also make friends with anyone from all over the world. It connects people together. Facebook provides teachers and students with opportunities to share content in multiple modalities. It is a great tool for teachers and students to use because it helps build up teacher-student relations. However, teachers need to make sure that students will not become “Facebookholics”.
  • GoogleSite. Formerly Google Pages (changed Summer 2008) GoogleSite is one of Google’s applications. You can share your Google site with the entire world. It supports all of the Google gadgets, and a Picasa web slideshow can be easily inserted in it. I like GoogleSite because you can insert almost everything you can think about. You can also use your GoogleSite as your personal blog by writing text, adding pictures and outer links on it. One thing I need to figure out is how to add music onto my GoogleSite. I will keep working on my GoogleSite and put various contents in it to share with my students. I will also ask each of my students to have his/her own GoogleSite. They can be as creative as possible to make their sites unique to them so that they can keep getting new ideas from each other.
  • Kindle/thin paper reader – Do I think books in general will become obsolete? Not really. I think people like to curl up with a good book and not a computer to read. But as far as textbooks go, I do think they will become far and few in between within the next 5-10 years. Some textbooks do offer online editions to students but in a public school this is only really useful for a student at home since they do not have laptops in school with them. The idea of all students having these new thin paper readers with an electronic version of a textbook blows me away. It’s funny because just yesterday I told my students to bring their books to class today. Do you know how many of them still left their book in their locker or at home? At least a half dozen from each class. Having this Kindle and electronic book would solve all of my problems and take away all the whining and complaining of students not wanting to carry their books around!
  • Skype. Skype allows people to make phone calls via internet. It is free if one person with a Skype account is talking to another person who is on his/her contact list. Skype can also be used to make phone calls to landlines mobile phones, but you need to purchase points. It is much cheaper than making phone calls by using telephones. With webcams, people can even do video conference through Skype. We have used Skype to meet and talk with prestigious people like Will Richardson in Computers and Education class. And I have been using it for many years. As a future ESL teacher, I will definitely taking advantage of Skype because it can pair my students with native speakers of English to practice English face-to-face.
  • Scratch. Scratch is a programming language which can be used to create interactive stories, animations, games and music. These creations can be uploaded and published on the internet. Scratch is invented to develop young people’s mathematical and computational skills. It promotes logical thinking, and students can work together and produce wonderful creations. By using Scratch, students can “produce work in truly collaborative ways for larger audiences” (p. 132). I have worked with one of my classmates to make a Scratch project. It is really demanding because you need to think logically. Using Scratch is more meaningful than simply solving maths or science questions on a piece of paper.

  • It takes many different types. An idea that was presented in Richardson, and that I previously discussed, was the concept that teachers are essentially people, and thus are all different and come from all different walks of life. I still believe that this is one notion that I will find important as I continue my journey of teaching. And it encompasses one of the huge ideas behind the Read/Write Web: immediate access to all of these different walks of life, and different ideas and knowledge. Whether it is respecting the differences between a teacher at an inner city school and a teacher at a $50,000 private school, and the insights and perspectives each brings to the table (equally valuable, though different); or it is understanding and appreciating that the web gives us immediate interaction of all of these different perspectives. I think that it is a concept that I find essential to being both a quality educator and a person- who is constantly in awe of the people in the world, and how many different and unique ideas they have. The web gives us instant access to these differences, and thus can make us more appreciative of these varying views.
  • Teachers have special needs, too. One of the things that my eyes have been opened to this semester is that not only do all students come from different walks of life, having different life experiences, but so too do all teachers. If a teacher works in an inner-city school he or she may see education in a totally different light than the teacher still teaching in the suburban middle-class high school he himself attended. Or, if an educator works with children with severe disabilities, he sees teaching and learning in a very different way than someone who works with students in an AP class all day. The point is, all educators do have some things in common, but ultimately, people are people, and the experiences that they have, the places they are, the people they encounter- form them into very different educators. Having access to this wide spectrum of ideas, experiences, and insights could only make a teacher become a more aware person and educator.
  • How to make a ring tone. I already have the program Audacity on my computer. The program is very easy to use. Although I don’t use it to record audio, I do use the program to edit audio. I actually use it to make ring tones for my phone. A ring tone can only be 350 KB in size which is about 20 seconds in length. I use Audacity to cut about 20 seconds of a song. I can then export it as an MP3, and then email it to my phone as a picture message. Once my phone receives the message, then I can choose “save as ringtone” and in turn save myself the cost of paying for a ringtone. I figure if I’ve already paid to download the song in the first place so I shouldn’t have to pay the same price again to have it as a ringtone.
  • Podcasts and math. I clicked on mathguy and it brought me to his page and he has a bunch of other math podcasts, mostly about math tricks. I downloaded 5 episodes and I was surprised how quickly they downloaded. I just finished watching the one called “Phone Number Trick” and holy cow, that’s awesome. Basically to input parts of your phone number and do some operations to it, then the answer to the problem is your number. How awesome is that! But the best thing is that the mathguy goes through step by step algebraically why this works. I even think my slower learners could follow it. I could see this as a fun little activity to do before a break or when there’s some extra time at the end of class.
  • Celebrating the child: I must buy a digital camera so that I can practice screencasting and movie-making. So many precious moments have slipped away and no one video tapped them. I can only speak about my Sunday School class because they are the only group of students that I teach at the moment but they were given a theme to create skits or whatever they wanted to create. They created some great skits but what would have been even better is that we had video taped the skits, put them on the computer, edit them, add some music and do a talk show or do a podcast if showing pictures of the students poses a problem with the parents. Of course, I would inform the parents first and get their permission.
  • How to sync your iPod. A technology “a-ha” I discovered this week was how to put the podcasts that I download from iTunes onto my iPod. For some reason it wasn’t automatically uploading onto my iPod so I had tinker around with it before I realized that I had to select “sync” under the Podcast tab. For some reason or another, the check was not there.
  • Time as a constant. The most significant thought from last week's class was when XXX said something along the lines of "When I first started teaching, 5 years ago, the only thing I was asked to do was check my voicemail daily. Now everyday, I need to check my voicemail, respond to any parent emails with 24 hours, update my website, upload grades, etc., but I still get relatively the same salary and no extra prep time."
  • Teleconferencing: Although our esteemed Mitchel Resnick and Warren Buckleitner are struggling with Skype, my mother-in-law has figured out how to use it to talk to her granddaughter in Memphis, so it can't be that challenging. Use of teleconferencing could allow teachers to have conferences with the parents during the school day without parents having to leave their workplace and come to the school. Teleconferencing could also be used to bring special guests into the classroom, who would not be able to travel to the school. Teleconferencing can also be used in other areas to allow more individuals to work from home. The ability to be actively involved in a real time conversation from countries away would save money, time and energy by reducing travel.
  • Podcasting san iPod. I have to admit, I've usually just tuned out any conversations that had podcasting in them because I don't own an iPod or any other MP3 play and likely never will, and I figured that since the name is “pod”-casting that it probably necessitated the use of an iPod. I was wrong. Close, but wrong. I can do the recording and downloading through my computer, though it doesn’t seem to be as cool to create audio files on your computer and need your computer to listen to them as it does to carry new stuff in your iPod each day. So, much less cool, but it is a definite possibility for classroom use.
  • Last weeks class I learned a hugely important tool that every teacher really should be using. The website work so well and its extremely easy to use it took me seconds to pull off and save 5 to 6 videos. I actually used added a video portion to the test I gave to my 7th graders today. They had to observe a bacterial growth video and explain the shapes/arrangement of the bacterial cells.

  • Picasa and Flickr are free, online photo management applications. Both tools allow you to find, edit, organize and share your photos. You can create albums, cards, CDs and print photos. Although some people favor one application over the other, both have powerful implications for the Read/Write Web. Flickr was first introduced to me in Richardson’s text and although I’ve heard of Picasa, the class demo was an excellent introduction for how to use Picasa and the variety of options that are available. I plan to explore both applications and choose the one the best fits my needs and comfort level. My goal is to start using picasa or flickr for my personal photos such as a vacation this summer and then I would like to try it out with my class. As a first grade teacher, I take tons of pictures of my students and class activities. To calm parent’s fears about their child’s picture being on the Internet, I will give a brief overview of the application I choose to use during Back to School Night.
  • Online conferencing – From our experience with Will Richardson, I learned you can do a lot with some what little resources. I would love to try and get special speakers for online conferences for my class. While I think nothing is as good as meeting and talking with the person in real-life sometimes they can’t make it because of other reasons. Web conferencing may open the door for more opportunities for children to meet and talk with interesting people.
  • Facebook as a social networking site provides realtime chat; messaging and email; RSS feeds and notifications; group homepages; event notices; the ability to post, share and distribute content; schedules and calendars; and everything else that the other classroom managers provide – FOR FREE. More so, it’s already in use by students and teachers alike, so that the transition from a “fun” tool to an academic one is a single step process. The only difficulty I see in using Facebook is convincing a district to stop restricting access to it in school. (It is important to be able to see the "forest from the trees" when looking at these multi-layered social-based services).
  • The Read Write Web and education: The World Wide Web (WWW) was original conceived as a medium for bidirectional communication, i.e. access to others’ information and an opportunity to publish one’s own information. Therefore teachers should educate students in both aspects of the Read Write Web, consuming information and producing information. That idea is especially important for science education, because there is a current push in science education toward creating scientific communities within classrooms, not just having students memorize facts, and a very important aspect of any science community is publication.
  • Create a Global Learning Community: “One of the most imaginative ways of utilizing your classroom web site as a communication tool is to connect your classroom to others across the globe, thereby building a global learning community for your students” (TLWT, 293). One good nugget to come out of Teaching and Learning with Technology is the broad range of tools the book discusses and informs the reader how to follow up on afterward. Of course each classroom should have a website and the ability to connect to other students around the world: this is essential in a global information age. But where do teachers begin? TLWT suggests Internet Pals, or keypals, as one way to do this. The idea intrigued me when I read it, and I was struck by the power of the same potential in a recent Skype conversation with my friend in England. My friend is also a creative writing teacher. He suggested that when I have my own classroom, he and I should link our classes together in a very similar peer to peer format that TLWT lays the groundwork for. This will definitely inform my classroom technology instruction. Imagine students who write poetry for a worldwide audience! The walls have already crumbled.
  • Educate students about safe web publishing practices: Especially among adolescents, the idea of being able to publicly express oneself is tremendously appealing. However students often lack the common sense and foresight to publish safely. Therefore, it is important to have open discussions between teachers and students about safe web publishing practices.
  • Educational technology should be viewed holistically. One’s view of educational technology should include more than a set of discrete items of software/hardware, and should include not only knowledge of how to use the technology, but also knowledge of how to integrate technology into all aspects of the learning process in a way that facilitates learning. Similarly instructional technology is not just computers, it includes things as basic as whiteboards. Teachers need to be equipped to choose the best technology for the teaching, not necessarily the trendiest technology.
  • Weblogs can play a powerful role in the 21st century classrooms. I definitely support the use of weblogs as a “class portal” for posting assignments and communicating as parents. I am still worried about privacy issues in regard to student blogging. Although for some students a blog that is a comprehensive history of their schoolwork would be an asset, for others it would serve as an impediment to admission to universities and employment. Richardson also presents a compelling case for the pedagogical value of weblogs. Although there are risks involved in webpublishing I expect that over the next generation, those risks will become more accepted as a part of daily life and we rarely worry about them.
  • Technology is no substitute for planning. Although this was not a new nugget, I think it is one that merits repeating. Technology enhances well designed lessons, but it does not make up for lack of planning. I hope that the “you decide” on page 52 of TLWT “Is it worth the time and effort to make comprehensive plans?” is not very controversial. I hope all teachers recognize that instruction must be carefully considered in order to be effective. As teachers gain experience less of the planning process may be recorded on paper, but I sincerely hope that those experienced teachers are still going through the mental steps of effective planning.
  • Consider competitors when buying the latest technology. Education budgets are always tight. Therefore teachers and administrators need to critically consider all competitors when purchasing new technology. For example; SMART Boards look really cool and are very appealing, but if one takes the time to look, there are much cheaper alternatives out there.
  • Students need to understand the Pros and Cons of Wikipedia and other Wikis. Jimmy Wales’ description of the power of Wikipedia is very powerful “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of human knowledge.” In previous generations, the volumes of encyclopedias in many of our homes represented the collective knowledge of a relatively small set of experts. Now, Wikipedia represents the sum of human knowledge in the sense that all individuals are able to contribute to Wikis and those Wikis represent the global pool of knowledge on that topic. It is important for students to know that a Wiki as is not a scholarly source, because it is difficult to determine the potential biases or inaccuracies of the information. That being said, Wikis are a valuable tool for constructivist education and can provide quick access to certain types of information.
  • RSS is quicker than checking many sites individually. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and basically allows individuals to subscribe to feeds of changes to websites that they want to track, so they don’t have to check websites individually. Richardson says he thinks RSS is “the one technology that you should start using today, right now, this minute,” (p.75). Although RSS seems like more trouble than its worth at this point in life, I hope to use it a timesaver in the future.
  • Social Bookmarking is power. It is a valuable way for teacher to organize links to the favorite site for collaboration with colleagues or classroom teaching. While I was planning my wedding, I accumulated a very organized set of bookmark folders with every dress, band, florist, ect that I had researched/selected. It would have also been nice to have been able to access that set of bookmarks from anywhere and even nicer to have been able to share it with other brides planning weddings in my area. I can also see the educational value of social bookmarking as I could use to organize lesson plans, resources, and simulations that I find online by topic and then share all of those resources with other teachers. Students could do the same thing for their work. I also like the feature on Furl of being able to export links in APA format, what a time saver!
  • Assessment. As educators, we need to move from individual assessment with the teacher as the exclusive audience to collaborative forms of assessment with a wider audience of one’s peers or anyone with an internet connection. Ultimately to be successful, students need to be able to work collaboratively with others to produce real products for a real audience, so why aren’t we teaching them to do that in school? In real life there isn’t a test you can pass that will give you an A and you can move on, you have to sweat to create, get feedback from peers, revise your work, learn from mistakes, etc.
  • Anyone can make a web site. New FREE webpublishing tools like GooglePages allow anyone to create their own website. Many school budgets do not have money for special programs like Dreamweaver and enough time to properly train teachers. GooglePages would allow teacher to make class websites at no cost and with little/no specialized training. There are some significant limitations to GooglePages; however, I am committed to using it to make an online portfolio and a web page for my students.
  • Distance learning has strenghts and weaknesses. Although distance education holds a lot of promise that I hope will be realized within my teaching career, distance education cannot capture the full depth of interaction possible in a traditional classroom. Distance learning is wonderful when you have a students population who in self-motivated and has the access to the necessary technology. With that type of population, students may get more feedback than they would in traditional classrooms, because the students have time to think at their own pace and carefully consider their questions before asking them. However, students who are not self-motivated often need to have a personal relationship with their teacher in order to be successful. I am skeptical about a teachers’ ability to form online relationships with students that are powerful enough to help students be motivated to achieve. Furthermore, distance education requires teacher to have a very well planned curriculum for students to follow. One of the drawbacks that stems from requirement is that the teacher cannot spontaneously modify instruction to better fit students’ needs and/or interests.
  • Cyber-Bullying is a new, but real danger to kids. defines cyber bullying as “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.” Cyber-bullying takes traditional bullying to a whole new level, because the written word has a certain inherent power and email makes it much easier to quickly spread rumors to large groups of people. Schools need to work with parent to address cyber-bullying early on. Teacher can also educate students regarding cyberethics and the law.
  • Good People + Powerful Technology = Good Results. Powerful technology in the hands of effective education can dramatically enhance education. However if either of those two components are lacking, then the technology can be a waste of time, money and resources.
  • Open Source. There is an option for every budget. Welcome to the world of Open Source. With limited school budgets, teachers and administrators need to be aware of the wealth of software available at low or no cost. Picasa, Linux, Google Earth, Google Pages, Open Office, etc. (I know Google is not open source, but it is still free.) These free software options can free up money in the education budget to use on new hardware, which is rarely free.

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