Making New Wine

January 30, 2007

haulin netWe are familiar with the parable that says: “No one puts new wine into old wineskins . . . But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Not to trivialize this biblical passage for the ages, but it aptly captures the intent of our school system’s new Laptop Learning Initiative for tech facilitators (and friends).

Now that the tech facilitators each have modern laptops, what kinds of “new wine” will we make? How will our teaching and learning activities differ from when we used the old “skins” (desktops)? Our old vintage wasn’t bad, but the new brew promises to be richer, bolder, and ever more dynamic.

Symbolic of this shift, I am casting off this old skin of Haulin’ ‘Net. I will keep it up and running as an archive. But from this moment on, new content will be in a new skin for Haulin’ ‘Net. Note that the URL has changed if you subscribe in an RSS aggregator.

The new Haulin’ ‘Net
https://jpoletti.wordpress.com


Why Web 2.0 in Our Schools?

January 29, 2007

Here are some more fresh voices from participants in the Laptop Learning Initiative . . .

TIFFANY: I know that a lot of the National Honor Society students that I have take challenging classes, have an after school job, are involved in sports and/or clubs around the school, and many of them also participate in community activities. It would be amazing for them to be able to have a lesson/lecture/supplement to their class time that they could listen to whenever they could. I think that “future ready students” are able to learn in a variety of different contexts. We have several students taking online courses at WCHS and many of them say that they enjoy the ability to do the school work when they can.

JEN: I am really excited about what podcasting can do for my students. Using an audio recorder I can record my lectures, notes, class discussions, etc. then post them to my webpage for student use. Also, online I have found several sites that provide free podcasts of famous historical speeches to audio recordings of important documents.

LAURA: I feel very fortunate that Carteret County Schools sees the merit in providing technology facilitators with laptops so that we can have information at our fingertips as we collaborate with the administration, faculty, and staff in their office, classrooms, planning rooms, etc. Working in a middle school, I believe that there is a huge value in audiocasts for educating our students. For this generation, multitasking is natural. They have radio/MP3 players on while doing their homework. Many students aren’t as excited about reading as I would like them to be, but when asked what they think of listening to it or using an interactive textbook online with the possibility of audio and/or audiovisual presentation of information, they are excited. Having MP3 players for students to use would allow them to listen to books, debates, and discussions, quietly, at their own pace, anywhere. In addition, teacher web pages with an audiocast would give students that are absent an opportunity to hear the lesson in the voice of their teacher—a great personal touch. For students with learning disabilities, I believe audiocasts would help to level the educational playing field. Students engaged in education, in a style they are used to, is the key to their success!

MARY: I am very excited about the journey we are about to begin. I think the journey begins with us as technology facilitators/media coordinators. It is our job to learn and in turn get our teachers excited about the possiblities. Then it the teacher’s jobs with our help to get our students excited about learning. As I am writing this I was reminded of a powerpoint slide I viewed at workshop I attended Monday on brain research, it showed a horse in front of a watering trough and the statement read “How do I make the horse thirsty?” I truly believe that the use of technology will and does make our kids thirsty for learning.


Wake-up Call

January 27, 2007

haulin netInquiring minds at a local high school recently wondered how video or audio clips could be used in their teaching efforts. This morning, I found a perfect example at Dr. Scott McLeod’s blog Dangerously Irrelevant.

His 7-step (60-90 minute) “module” works for me on two levels. First, it utilizes Re-useable Learning Objects…something more and more educators will come to value. Second, it succinctly shrink-wraps the whole “future-ready schools” discussion. Definitely, kick the tires on his entry called “100% Proficient on Old Skills.”

He combines .pdf files, a slideshow from the Fischbowl, an original slideshow, an audiocast, and a viral video. He can re-use these materials in future contexts, but more importantly, he posts them to the web and invites others to use them. That is the power of re-usable learning objects of the digital kind.

What could we blend as resources for a lesson on cell mitosis or The Battle of Antietam or character irony or . . .?

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The time is right for developing Web 2.0 capacity in Carteret County as our school system’s laptop learning initiative and Patrick Keough’s iTunes U at the community college roll out simultaneously.

Here then are some comments from our K-12 laptop learning crew as to what Web 2.0 audiocasts could mean for teaching and learning . . .

ANNA: Students are using MP3 players to download and listen to music. It is not much of a stretch to see students downloading and listening to content information now and in the future.

ELLEN: I can envision children in elementary school listening to friends (and others) sharing book reports or special projects, reading to one another, learning from community helpers by hearing their voices.

AMY: I believe that this is the future of education. Students being able to go to class anywhere without actually attending a set location. Also this will allow flexible schedules for students and teachers. We could even go as far and flexible high schools. Also it allows for students that need to hear a lecture or explaination more than once to do just that.

DI: I can see in my mind how podcasts, MP3 players and blogging can be resourceful tools for students and teachers. But with guidance and understanding of safety of course. In the elementary settings I agree with Ellen that students will truly enjoy sharing their works with others.

BECKY: Keeping in mind that we are dealing with seventh graders, after they realized that they would not be able to see their friends on a regular basis and socialize they quickly started to change their mind. One student bought up the point, they like being able to interact with teacher’s face to face and they don’t feel like they would learn as much or be able to pay attention when their classes weren’t face to face.

MILLIE: Audiocasts provide today’s educators with valuable information that can be transferred to the classroom. If you’re interested in a topic, Web 2.0 is guaranteed to produce a conversation about it. The information will most likely be current and correct. That information can be absorbed at any hour while doing any number of things (driving down the road, walking on the treadmill, waiting for the kids to finish soccer practice). The concept is two-fold…if the educator learns from the information that is heard, then he/she will realize that students can learn that way, too! The adult who has been given the opportunity, because they have been provided the necessary tools, can transfer that knowledge to his/her students and gain impressive results!

JANET: Many celebrities and politicians are creating blogs and podcasts because they realize it is the way to reach many of our youth.

PATRICK KEOUGH: I can tell by reading your blog and our conversation yesterday that we are on similar tracks when it comes to instructional technology and exploring new, and creative ways to teach students (and upgrade faculty) using innovative (alternative) instructional methodology.

DAVID WARLICK: As I read through these comments, and recall when, where, and how I listened to the (Will Richardson) interview, I was struck by the fact that we, from different parts of the state (and world) and at different times, were able to experience an event and then later exchange our insights in such a loosely convenient and powerfully connected way. What a potent learning environment this is, that is emerging! Our students need so much to be a part of this.