An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

An educator blogging….novel idea.

Posts Tagged ‘edtech

Coursekit: An essential tool for engaged Professional Learning Communities

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Whenever I meet educators at EdcampNYC or engage in Twitter chats (#scichat, #edchat, #edtech, and #kinderchat are my favorites), I shake my first at the sky and say “Man, I wish there was a way to engage in a structured and collaborative Professional Learning Community with these people!”. I have similar needs during in-house professional development, Professional Learning Communities, and grade level meetings. By the time we’re really digging into a topic, it’s time to leave. There isn’t a central place we keep notes, action calendars, or resources. Engagement needs a place to live. This week, I’ve been experimenting with Coursekit – an engagement manager that’s useful for a variety of digital and in-house professional learning communities.

Coursekit has features we’ve seen before – gradebooks, a place to submit work, and calendars. The innovation is the focus on peer to peer interaction. The case studies on Coursekit’s website feature professors teaching hands-on classes in a university setting. As a primary educator, I am drawn to Coursekit because I can use it to support my Professional Learning Communities whether participants are at my school or the other side of the world. I’ve created a mock Professional Learning Community coursekit called “Professional Learning Community: Integrating Social-Emotional Content into K-2 Lessons“. I’ve left the coursekit open so anyone can join. Have at it! Pretend you’re a part of this learning community – post questions, links, and media.

Coursekit is free. Create your own and comment with the link. Do use Coursekit? Are you as excited about it as I am?

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BTW, I blog about Community Management now (and education too, LOLZ!)

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I’ve been in sick in bed for 6 days. After exhausting all of the “Sh*t _____ say” videos, I decided to clean-up my social media outlets. I found a post in the draft section of my dashboard: “2009 Resolutions: Work out. Blog more. Survive student teaching.”

Well, I survived student-teaching and 3 years of teaching in my own South Bronx classroom. I have a healthy approach to fitness – long Bed-Stuy walks and longer 5 boro bike rides. I’ve decided to change the focus of this blog so it’s a relevant place for me to facilitate meaningful conversations. My Classroom Management Plan on Scribd has over 20,000 hits and continues to start conversations about what it means to create lively intellectual, social, and activist communities in our classrooms. Community-building is the foundation of my professional practice. On the side, I’ve begun to engage in the world of Community Management. In the digital world, Community Managers are people who build and facilitate communities around brands and causes. Most think  social media is the primary focus of Community Managers. Like good teachers, good Community Managers foster meaningful collaboration amongst small groups of people. They help members build community norms and roles generate meaning and value for participants. From now on, this blog will focus on community-building from a teaching perspective, a digital perspective, and of course, an edtech perspective. Stay tuned, folks!

Written by TeacherC

16 February 2012 at 10:37 am

Podcaster workshop: What makes a good podcast? (part 1)

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Last week, I decided to start podcasting. Being the tech geek I am, I Googled the web for howtos, and quickly found the best freeware and (reasonably-priced) digital recorder. Now, my Amazon.com box is cracked open, and I’m asking myself hard questions about podcasting. What makes a good podcast? It seems like howtos for podcasting focus on what should come second -the tools of the trade, rather than what should come first – content.  If I’m going to create a podcast for listeners, or use podcasts in my classroom next year (both to deliver content and for student projects), good content has to be at the heart of my planning and execution.

Dan Meyer says it best:

Consider these three mediums, in increasing order of technical difficulty: blogging, podcasting, and vodcasting.

  • Successful blogging requires original thought, sturdy writing, and bloodthirsty editing.
  • Successful podcasting requires original thought, sturdy writing, bloodthirsty editing, and a command of the aural experience.
  • Successful vodcasting requires original thought, sturdy writing, bloodthirsty editing, a command of the aural experience, and a command of the visual experience.

In order to achieve the same communicative result, not only does the number of necessary skills increase across all three mediums but the editing process for each grows harder and vastly more technical, the difference between hitting the delete key in one and wielding Final Cut Express’ digital blade in the other.

What does it mean to have “a command of the aural experience”? Should I ship my digital recorder back to Amazon because my content is best conveyed via blog? I’m a big fan of writing workshop in my classroom. Students work through the phases of the writing process: immersion, collecting ideas, drafting, revision, editing, publishing, and celebration. I’ve decided to put myself through a podcasting workshop.

Now, I’m in my immersion process. In the classroom, I read texts by genre, author, or craft strategy. Then, I chart students’ observations about the texts, and we make an attribute chart. Over the past few days, I’ve listened to a variety of podcasts. I’m in the process of creating an attribute chart.

picture-4

When I started making the chart, I realized it needs a different layout in its final version to separate different podcast formats (two hosts w/no interviews, roundtable/multiple people, narrator and story/interview, etc). This chart is still a good way to get started. When I have listed all attributes, I’ll sort podcasts into type. To start an attribute chart, pick your favorite podcasts (or ones you think are noteworthy), and figure out which features are shared between the podcasts. The final steps are to figure out which common attributes I should include in my podcast and the “holes in the market” – attributes my podcast will have that others do not have.

Stay tuned for my completed and sorted attribute chart in part two of my podcaster workshop series. What are attributes you’ve noticed in your favorite podcasts? Are there holes in the market – attributes you think should be in some podcasts but are missing? Can you reccomend podcasts I should listen to and add to my attribute list?

Podcasts listened to: Science Friday Podcast (NPR), This American Life (NPR), Stuff You Should Know (Howstuffworks.com), various news podcasts (The Economist, BBC, CNN, etc), Rachel Maddow Green 960, SMARTboard Lessons PodcastWicked Decent Learning Podcast, Project Xiphos, Bit by Bit, and EdTech Weekly.

Written by TeacherC

3 April 2009 at 6:33 pm

The Self-Publishing Classroom: Glossy Magazines with Magcloud

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Who needs to work for Condé Nast or Time Warner when you can publish professional-quality magazines in your own classroom? In an article entitled Do-It-Yourself Magazines, Cheaply Slick, the NYT introduces H.P.’s new service called Magcloud.

In the words of H.P.:

MagCloud enables you to publish your own magazines. All you have to do is upload a PDF and we’ll take care of the rest: printing, mailing, subscription management, and more.

How much does it cost?

It costs you nothing to publish a magazine on MagCloud. To buy a magazine costs 20¢ per page, plus shipping. For example, a 20-page magazine would be four bucks plus shipping. And you can make money! You set your issue price and all proceeds above the base price go to you.

How are they printed?

MagCloud uses HP Indigo technology, so every issue is custom-printed when it’s ordered. Printing on demand means no big print runs, which means no pre-publishing expense. Magazines are brilliant full color on 80lb paper with saddle-stitched covers. They look awesome.

I pay particular attention to how students publish work. There are many (reasonably priced) self-publishing websites that give students an authentic medium to publish their work. The process of choosing prices of books (on websites where the books are put up for sale) is a learning and community-building experience. Magcloud opens up a new medium where students can produce professional quality work in the classroom.

Many schools do not have software that exports high resolution PDFs (Adobe InDesign, Quark, etc). If you know of free alternatives, please tell us about them via comment.

Not your grandmother’s time capsule.

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I’m always looking for new ways to show my students how we have grown over time intellectually and socially (community building). Capzules (via angelamaiers on twitter) seems like an innovative new way to do that. Capzules says you can “combine your videos, photos, blogs, and mp3s into rich, multimedia story lines”.

I’m brainstorming uses for my 5th grade class:

– Making our class time capsule during our last morning meeting of the week. Keeping track of our class goals, celebrations, favorite lessons, etc.

– Digital storytelling in language arts, social studies, and science: having students tell stories using digital media.

– Portfolios: uploading student work into a digital portfolio they can keep forever.

– Better teaching: keeping a portfolio of my lessons and contributions of the class. This is a cool way to track professional growth.

capzules

You don’t have to bury this time capsule in the playground.

Make your video content Klickable.

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One of my friends in nonprofit communications introduced me to Klickable. You can use the site to make web videos click-able. This means you can click on any object displayed in the video to learn more about it. Klickable’s motto is “interactive video that connects you to the content”. Although the folks at klickable are marketing their site for PR purposes (the demo video features a Klickable of a Trump properties commercial), this could be an amazing tool for teachers. We can take videos we find on the internet or ones we make and add a new layer of content for students. If your students do video projects, they can add more information.

Neat deal.

Klickable

Written by TeacherC

1 March 2009 at 2:16 am

Discover new tweets with Tweetizen

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At Tweetizen, you can discover new tweets by creating lists of hashtags you care about. Hashtags are organized into groups – this makes it easy to find tweets by subject.

Tweetizen

Yet another way to indulge my twitter addiction…..nice.

If you want to be less productive, try this drum set.

Drum Set

Written by TeacherC

1 March 2009 at 1:11 am