Monday, May 25, 2009

Learning 2.0 Applied by Real Teachers Who Blog

There are time when I have my head in my hands waiting for the Muse on Duty to show up and give me a hint. I search but nothing is sticking. Finally the Muse shows up. “Where have you been; I’m on deadline you know?” The Muse said, “Not my problem. I’ve got more important things to do than to wade through that muck you call memory.”

“There is no reason to be nasty. All I’m asking for is a little help. Aren’t you supposed to be a bit more nurturing?

“I’m no angel, I’m a Muse. Come on, times a ticking what do you need?

“What cha’ got on the education beat?”


“What do you mean nothing? Stuff is jumping all over the joint. You have people desperate for education and other who couldn’t care less. You have a technological revolution in tools that can aid in self-directed learning. You have young folks that are starting to think being stupid is a badge of honor. Get real time, what do you mean nothing?”

The Muse is sucking up on a Strawberry Sangria smoothie. “Oh, all right! Why don’t you look at how learning is being adapted by actual teachers or bloggers that teach or something like that.”

“You couldn’t tell me this Sunday?”

“Ingrate. I’m out of here.” (We have actually improved our relationship but there are times when she is “challenging”. I blame the Sangria.)

It Is Elementary

Kathy Cassidy of Mrs. Cassidy’s Class Blog is using her class blog as one of the tools she uses to help educate her first grade class, inform parents about activities and connect the students around the world. I’m not exaggerating on that one. Though the use of Skype, video and other tools she has her Canadian students communicating with students in Alabama, Louisiana and Australia.  Kathy also has a wiki to demonstrate resources for students age 5 to 8 years of age. This might be of interest to home schooling parents looking for ideas or even traditional teachers looking to spice it up just a bit.

From Kathy’s wiki I discovered Mrs. Berry's Classroom Blog who make use of slides to demonstrate concepts and to show what the students have learned.

The platform that both these teachers use is called BlogMeister where a teacher can set up a blog and is the administrator for the class. Young students can have a blog through the teacher who can monitor for content. To add this to their daily works load is very commendable. I hope they have the support of the parents and the school administration to help them in their efforts.

Junior High on the Sly

There is no one way to use a blog for education. At Crews Lake Middle School it is used to remind students what they did in class and what the homework assignment is for the next day. This is putting a serious crimp in “I forgot my homework.”  The students are working on integrated learning skills. Fear not, there are slackers in every class. One kid thought he/she could mooch by with a three word/four slide PowerPoint presentation. 

The battle for spelling, grammar and writing a complete thought continues but on new platforms. Teaching the Outsiders has a post about what middle school students need.  An older blog that hasn’t been updated Hannah's Monarchs had students writing about social studies topics.

Sometimes a teacher needs to talk about the actual process of just what happens between teaching, needing to adhere to testing requirements and administrative diversions. A good example of this found at On the Shoulders of Giants by Ariel Sacks. Ariel lays it out their about the reality of teaching in New York and being able to afford it. 

One post I found really interesting is the one about the Digital Divide in her classroom. Not just that some of her students don’t have access to the Internet but there are electronic and software blocks placed in school so that Internet access is restricted or crippled. 

We signed out the LCD projector and a laptop at school ready to demonstrate the site, only to realize, duh, the site is not accessible through school internet!  For the next day, we took still shots of the site at home and showed them to students the next day, and passed out detailed instructions for them to sign up and access the site. 

The kids were very excited about this, but only some of them have been able to access the site at home. Some have internet access, but needed help going through the steps of signing up, which of course, I can't help them with at school.  I have helped some students by phone.

I wasn’t kidding about support from the administration and infrastructure.

12 O’Clock High School For Teachers and Parents

As students become teenagers the challenges increase.  Students may have multiple means of contact such as mobile phones, blogs, Second Life and, dare I say it, SMS or Twitter. They have created social networks that provide the information they deem important. Convincing them of what you need to teach them is equally important might be a little rough. In addition, Parents can be techno-oblivious and that is not a good thing with a tech-savvy teen in the house.

Classroom 2.0 is a network of teachers trying to figure this out.  Lorna Costantini is asking questions about Teaching Parents How To Use Web 2.0 tools. Marielle wants to know the best way to incorporate writing skills using technology. Marielle’s other blog Authorship 2.0 looks a little bit closer at how students are really using the technology and that educators (and the rest of us) need to engage in the process.

Over at Fireside Learning Conversations about Education, Jane Jessep wants to know how do you make online learning more dynamic. Susan Sedro at Adventures in Educational Blogging is actively using the current technology tools and writing about the results.

Which puts me right back where I started. So much to write about and not knowing where to start. Again.  Oh, my head. I’m going to make a Strawberry smoothie w/o Sangria and begin again. I don’t want to have to deal with that dame again next week.

This post originally appeared on  BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor.

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