Welcome to Mr PC's MESPA Web 2.0 Class Blog - Instructor: Mary Marotta  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Love My Voki

A must for your classroom. Check it out! Free for educators. Have your students express themselves with the use of a personalize speaking avatar which they create. Great for students sharing ideas and knowledge. Enjoy!


Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm Really Digging Diigo!

Had a chance to use Diigo today and I have to say I'm really impressed! Another great Web 2.0 tool. I've imported all of my bookmarks from Firefox, approximately 300, and I love the way Diigo tagged all that I had organized into separate folders.  I also love the Educator features which will allow me to build groups for each of my classes so that they will be able to Research, Collaborate, and Share with me and their classmates. There are so many functions it will probably take me a little while to figure out how to put all to good use.

Did you know that Diigo now allows all basic account users to save up to 20 of their favorite tweets per day! It was the one thing Evernote had that Diigo didn't have but it does now.  Speaking of Evernote, I have now uploaded all my resources from my laptop to Evernote, so now, no matter which computer I am on, I can update my files and keep all information synchronized. What else did I discover since our last class? Evernote for Windows does support the sharing of files within Notebooks. I right clicked on a Notebook and had the option to share. I can simply provide email addresses of those I want to share with and just like Diigo I can now easily share information with friends and students.

I look forward to continuing my self-teaching  as a life long learner with all of the new found knowledge I have acquired from this class. I look forward to integrating all of these tools into my curriculum thus allowing me to share all this information with my students and other educators, continuing the discovery of new tools, and the continuous building and growth of my own PLNs.  Thanks again to MESPA, my classmates, and our amazing instructor Mary Marotta.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thanks for a Wonderful Journey!

Good morning All!

Just wanted everyone to know that I have really enjoyed this class and having the opportunity to discover all of the ways in which we can build relationships with other educators, collaborate, and share like we do. As I said in our last class, what started out to be another class with hours of work to keep us busy, for me this class has turned out to be less about work, and more about rediscovering education, learning how to take responsibility for our own growth, and how to become more engaged as educators.  I do feel bad that I've been so busy the past two weeks that although I have used my time wisely I still haven't had time to watch more webinars, watch Anne's Tech Talk Tuesday night, and so much more. After all we still have other obligations such as family and the students we see everyday. Yet, with the skills we have been developing in this class with Mary I feel we will have the rest of our careers to continue in the pursuit of our own learning and building of useful PLNs. I'm just glad I've had an opportunity to do it with all of you. Your contributions to your blogs have been very informative and useful to me.  Thanks to all of you and a special thanks to Mary.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Using Edmodo as a teacher with school/district benefits

Edmodo for the Classroom - An Investigation

My first reaction to Edmodo, when Mary introduced the web 2.0 resource to us in class, was one made quickly and foolishly and if I hadn't taken the time to investigate Edmodo over the past couple of weeks, I probably would have never taken the time to revisit again. My first reaction was that I use Quia for my classes and class lessons. Why would I need another similar application? Besides the fact that Edmodo is completely  Free, let me tell you why!

A great first step in getting to know the benefits of Edmodo and how to use it is by following this link  http://www.edmodo.com/home?tour=1 in order to find out how to set up a teachers account on Edmodo and to see how your students sign up as well. One of the benefits of Edmodo is that your students do not need an email in order to sign up. I have experienced a couple of times this year in the middle school where a certain online activity required that a student have an email and occasionally there is a student whose parents do not want them to have access to email creating a small barrier to your classroom plans.

Once a teacher has signed up for a Teacher account Edmodo allows teachers to create groups, usually each group being associated with a class, and when they do they are able to get an access code to be used by their students so that the students can go to the Edmodo.com, click on the sign up for a student, and use the group code in order to join the class group. It is also nice that the teacher can change this group code at any time so that those who have not been invited will not be able to join the group.

Once groups have been formed and students have joined a group using the given group code, the students and teachers can communicate in a number of ways: Alerts, Posts, Assignments, Polls. The teacher can also
create assignments, upload files, add or obtain files or various formats from your private Edmodo library. The library can hold up to 100 MG of materials.

The teacher is able to see from their Edmodo homepage when assignments are turned in by students, assignments can be tagged, the teacher can send the student replies, or even make their resources public.

A teacher can also receive notifications, from their students or other teachers who have joined their group or have a Edmodo connection to you, in a number of ways! A Mobile version of Edmodo allows you to stay connected with students and teachers at all times.

Edmodo provides tools for organizing your groups and choosing settings, for organizing message streams with Filters and tags.

The Edmodo gradebook lets you view the whole class as well as individual students within the class and all of your classroom materials can be organized and located by group or by class.

Teacher Connections

Edmodo lets you connect with teachers within the school or located in another school or district by allowing you to invite others to join or by others inviting you.

Even better than connecting with teachers within a group Edmodo has the capability to help you in extending and building your own PLN. Edmodo provides you with access to a number of Edmodo communities wher the communities all focus on a specific area of expertise and knowledge. Here you are able to join with a community, connect with those individuals with which you would like a closer and more personnel working relationship, and allows you to share and obtain resources shared by all members of the community. Currently there about 325 members of the Computer/Technology community which I was able to join and the Edmodo community blog allows you to communicate and share information, questions, and resources with these people on a daily basis. These are people who are teaching and trying to do the same things you are doing in your classroom on a daily basis.

Edmodo for the School/District

Beside the free services Edmodo provides when you sign up as a teacher you can also sign up for additional free services for your School and District. If you click on the School and Districts tab at the bottom of the home or Edmodo login screen you can sign up for your own subdomain for your school and/or district with the added benefits.

I signed up for this free service for the middle school that I teach at in Ludlow and about a week later received a confirmation from Edmodo with a link to my new Baird Middle School portal which is a subdomain within Edmodo:  http://baird.edmodo.com/
With the subdomain you receive via email your own subdomain admin login so that you can now manage the groups and communities, not only within your own school, but within the other district schools as well. Once you have your own subdomain you can use your regular teacher edmodo account to log in and then you can use your name at the top of your home page to toggle between your teacher account and your subdomain account. This account allows you to toggle between school admin and teacher features.

Now that you have your own subdomain each school in your subdomain is set up as a community. You can now contact all teachers within your school, all teachers in another school, or all teachers and administrators throughout the district. You can also setup parent groups and hold conferences between a student, their teachers, and a student's parents all from within Edmodo.

I could go on and on but there is still much more that Edmodo can do for you totally free. Although I love using Quia, and Edmodo cannot do some of the things Quia does for me and my classes, it is a powerful resource and tool that should not be overlooked! Now that I can use both Edmodo and Quia, my classroom management, resources,  and capabilities such as social networking and building my PLN are far more numerous!

Lesson: Try out everything you are introduced to. If you don't take the time to investigate what the resource is and how to use it you'll never know if you are passing up a great tool. 

A few useful links to get you started with Edmodo:  

Here are a few helpful resources found on the Edmodo help page. I discovered with Edmodo that there are some things very difficult to figure out if you are exploring Edmodo on your own. The tutorials and help documentation are well worth your review in order to fully understand the power of this Web 2.0 tool.

 * Take the tour - http://www.edmodo.com/home?tour=1
   * Read the new user guide -  http://www.edmodo.com/guide
   * Check out the latest Edmodo news - http://blog.edmodo.com/
   * Questions? Ask our support group - http://www.edmodo.com/home?support=1
      and the edmodo blog http://blog.edmodo.com/ 

Information from the School/District User Guide

Case Studies:
Promotional Videos (to be played at inservices and PD sessions:
Rollout Documents:
Teacher Profiles in the Press:

Here is the link to the Edmodo user guide for both your classroom and School/District if you have signed up.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Animoto - I tried it and I like it.

Put together two animotos. The first presents our first family trip to Disney World 2010. The second presents my nieces baptism in 2010.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Podcast: Assessment in a Web 2.0 World - My Reflection

http://www-cdn.educause.edu/sites/default/files/eli09-assessment.mp3 - Podcast link

I found the podcast on Assessment of a Student's Work in a Web 2.0 World very interesting. How do we assess our students in this time and age of widespread technological tools? Being a computer and Scitech teacher I often find myself teaching my students technologies that are web based or assign projects where students need to use a new tool or technology based application to complete their project or assignment.  I have come across the same concerns about how to assess a students work many times.

The following questions have come to mind: How do we assess the progress the students have made? How do we assess a group project outcome when students in the group have different levels of knowledge and understanding in different areas of the project? Is it just as important what the students have learned in terms of the technology they are using and being able to work with others, as it is in getting across the subject matter content? Many of these questions arise because teachers in general have never had to work with their students on so many levels and with so many tools.  I see students come into my class everyday for the first time where I have students well versed in computers and technology, and others having never logged onto a computer before. Should the student who never had an opportunity to work on a computer before be assessed in the same way as a student how has been using technology for years? In my classes each student is individually assessed in terms of the overall growth they have experienced from my class.

I took notes as I listened to the podcast, thanks Evernote, and found that the podcast interviewees seemed to have more questions than answers in terms of assessing students work in a Web 2.0 world.

Some things that were discussed were:


Jerry Bing and Dave Beard Colgate University, Janet Simones, Andrea Nixon
Assessment in Web 2.0 What does it look like?

Faculty should work through assignment themselves and come out with a model outcome before assigning it to their students.  Before you can assess a student's performance you should have an idea of how difficult the task is. Students need to navigate the material as well as to come up to speed in using new technologies to complete projects. How do we assess their work? Very difficult for a teacher to know if a student 'Got it' or not, and sometimes the educator ends up giving a student the benefit of a doubt in terms of understanding the medium being used and knowing if the student understands how to use it or not.

Key Message: Can't lay out criteria of an assignment if you haven't done it yourself.
Students are often prompted to express ideas visually. Not all academic fields are well versed in assessing these visually oriented type of projects.

There is a hugh challenge in group projects and work, and in assessing student's work as a group. Companies today are telling the young people that important skill in companies today include the ability to work in teams, lots of collaboration, and in working with web 2 tools. This is also found challenging for students. Some students work more than others but not necessarily because some students are lazier than others but more because each student has different skills and when working in collaboration students are often going to take responsibility in areas they are comfortable. A movie producing project is a good exercise for having students come together as a team. Problem: How do you as an educator assess a visual product produced for class if you as an educator have no background in film producing, web site design, etc., when your expertise is in teaching Math or Science?

Educators individually, as well as in collaboration with other teachers and technology specialists, need to define parameters on how these students may be assessed. Includes whether or not the students collaborated successfully, project results, and so on.

Technology specialists are important link between academic departments. Technology specialists are in a position to see how Web 2.0 tools and technology can be linked to the different disciplines.

Today education is focusing more on learning skills not associated with memorization skills.

Students need to be assessed across a broad range of potential modes and levels. Assess ability to learn vs. actual knowledge gain. Need to teach our students how to keep learning within a forever technology changing world.

In multi-modal project development the process is more important sometimes than the result of the project. Assessment with individual student ... identify comprehensive exercise goals. What do you want your students to learn from the exercise?

Assessment needs to be on a multilevel process!

What are students learning and what do they need to learn. Hard to balance? Challenge has existed for a long time. How much does each discipline need to cover so student or group of students is prepared for their future courses and goals.

Support staff skills need to be growing as well. We must learn how to interleave PD with support staff and form collaborative relationships.  Technologies will continue to change. Can't be content experts but need to know and understand basics of these concepts so as technology changes we can keep up more easily.

In conclusion I think it is understood that there is still much for all of us to learn and to figure out in terms of being educators in this time and age of technology.  Just like our students we cannot learn it all on our own and have to rely on collaboration between teachers and educational professionals across all departments, and with the help of technology specialists we can be more successful to developing curricula that will be rewarding for both our students and ourselves.

Thanks Mary for the links to all of the different types of rubrics for web 2.0 projects performed by students both individually and in groups as found on our MESPAN google site.  I know that I will find this information useful as I continue to teach Instructional Technology and SciTech in a public school setting. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

To Yam or Not to Yam?

Thanks Mary for sending us the yammer invite. I've been intrigued from the beginning and couldn't stop working with it until I found a way to use it in my classroom. Was able to use today with my two 8th grade SciTech classes and implementation, presentation, and introduction of Yammer to my students went relatively smoothly.

After your invite I investigated on what Yammer was and what it had to offer. I figured out how to create my own network for my school in Ludlow by creating a network using my school email address. The following link will take you to the web page allowing you to create a network.
                                https://www.yammer.com/login and then click on Sign Up

Once I received confirmation to my email I was able to log into Yammer.com and begin building my network. I developed 2 groups, groups requiring the people within the group to have the same email extension as I had for school. In this case only individuals I invite with a .ludlowps.org email extension may be used. I created a group for both our Science and Technology Department as well as the Math department.

What I really wanted to use Yammer for was for each of my classes but couldn't see how to make this happen since my students didn't have email accounts within the Ludlow school system.

March of this year Yammer added and released a new capability to form communities within your network with the intention that your private company networks would be able to communicate with customers outside of the company with different emails.  This is what I needed in order to form a private community for each of my classrooms.

Once logged into yammer.com you have a number of network related functions you can perform. The next picture shows where to go to form groups or communities. Since my students have emails not related to the school's email system it was communities that I was interested in.
I clicked on communities and built a private community for each of my classes. When my students came in I spoke about Yammer as a classroom discussion blog explaining that sometimes technology should be used to enhance our education and how we could utilize Yammer in class to collaborate and share information stressing the necessity for using this tool appropriately at all times.  I had the students come up to type in their email addresses so that they could be invited to join the community. Accept for a few glitches where their online email web site was being blocked by the school network I got all students to accept the invitation. Since I had already installed the Yammer Desktop onto all of my classroom computers all the students needed to do was to use their email addresses to sign in and to choose a password. Once they accepted the invite and became part of the community I had them log out and to start up their desktop Yammer. The students signed into the desktop and then had access to the classes microblog. In order for the students to try it out I posted instructions prior to them joining for which all had to post a response. The results of my Yammer desktop with my classes looks something like this.

If you click on the down arrow seen in the pic you can see all of your networks, groups, and communities. The Preferences  button at the bottom allows you to add different accounts so that you can visit any of your groups or communities blogs at any time switching between them at your convenience.

I see numerous benefits of using this application in the classroom!  Try it out and keep on Yamming!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Resources for moving beyond textbooks - Obtained from #edchat

When I was on #edchat the other night I noticed that there seems to be some participants who are marketing their educational products. I caught a tweet containing a link to the following word document. I uploaded into google documents (which is something I am beginning to use and love the convenience) so I could share with you. The document contains links to many online resources. Hopefully some of them will prove useful for you and your school. The link is provided below. Enjoy!

 Resources for moving beyond textbooks

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From Patrick Larkin - Sharing: The Moral Imperative Video

Had a chance to talk to Patrick Larkin today after he responded to my post and tweet about seeing Patrick on the Channel 5 news. You can read his reply below. He recommended that I watch the video named in the title which I did after spending sometime on twitter tonight with #edchat where I shared the video link since a big part of the discussion tonight was on common planning time, sharing, and collaboration. As I listened to the video I took a few notes in Evernote so that I could share with all of you.  The link to the video is provided. Education is all about sharing so I would like to share with all of you at Mespa what Patrick shared with me today. Thanks Patrick!

Presenter: Dean Shareski
Location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Link to presenter’s K12Online Ning Profile page

Presentation Title: Sharing: The Moral Imperative
Presentation Description: This keynote looks at the new obligation of sharing for educators. With stories from the a variety of sources, the fact that we now have the ability to teach and share beyond our classrooms is moving from “nice to do” to “necessary to do”. See if you agree.Participate in a large learning community. Posts information in many forms but not sure how much is completely his own. Can't claim ownership and is OK with that.

Sharing is a responsibility of an educator.
Sharing online, with our students, with everyone we can.

David Wiley BYU - responsibility to teach students in building and beyond.

Social bookmarking has been around for a decade. Bookmark easiest way to share with others. Something everyone feels comfortable with.

Is sharing safe, is it worth my time, how do we make it meaningful?

Focus: Is this an obligation, is there value in this, how will it help students?

Before the internet never expected to share beyond your building. Sharing was hard. Sharing was only for students in the room. Believes most educators love to share.  

It's not the sharing that is the problem, it's the who, how, and where.

Dan Myer: Videos on Graphing Stories he chose to share free rather than sell to a company for profit.

The more people who use it the less the personal cost in preparing the material. In other words, the more people who use it the more worthwhile the time invested.

Take the time to watch! Well worth it! http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=610 

Thanks Patrick!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Is Pat Larkin Everywhere?

Three weeks ago I had never heard of the BHS principal Pat Larkin @bhsprincipal at Burlington High School. Before you know it we are following him on Twitter, Skyping with him, following his conference on ustream, and now Pat is following me as I'm sure he is following you as well. Then 3 minutes ago I see Pat again! Where? On channel 5 news approximately 5:15 PM being interviewed about local police using his high school during February vacation for exercises and training in handling a potential lock down situation where a gunman is in the school. Pat explains that all must be done to make sure all students are safe in all situations.  It just amazes me how everything we learn in Mary's  @mmarotta class begins to show up everywhere.  Thanks again Mary for this great class!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

IPEVO Point 2 View USB Document Camera and www.samanimation.com

A couple of weeks ago I saw on Twitter some comments being made about the IPEVO. I had heard Ed and others talking about it in class so I finally decided to by one which I received yesterday. I also in my travel with twitter and the learning certain tools came across www.samanimation.com a Stop-motion animation software for students and teachers. I am going to put a lesson together for Sci-Tech where my students will get a chance to put together a movie demonstrating different Sci-Tech standards.  Can't wait! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 1st - Tech Talk Tuesdays with Anne Mirtschin - Evernote Use

Hi everyone,
Was able to review Tuesday Nights Tech Talk with Anne Mirtshin. Anne hosts 
this webinar every Tuesday night and for this webinar she interviewed a special
guest Adrian Camm who is a very young teacher whose innovative techniques 
in teaching has won him a number of national teacher awards in Australia.

What I liked about this session is that the webinar had fewer participants and 
the overall presentation involved the listening audience a lot more. 
Questions could be posted on the whiteboard and I found it quite enjoyable 
and educational. All links required to revisit this webinar has been provided below. 

Once again I used evernote to take notes while the webinar was going on which
I have found quite useful especially since when I take handwritten notes during 
a class or presentation I often find it difficult to read my notes afterwards. 
Using Evernote allows me to type my notes that are automatically saved and 
updated on Evernotes website. Once again it made my overall experience with 
the online presentation more enjoyable.

I strongly recommend that you visit with Anne and also use Evernote on a 

daily basis.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!
Name: Tech Talk Tuesdays: Big, Little Education
Event Type: Web Event
Event Creator: Anne Mirtschin
When: Mon February 28, 2011, 21:00-22:00, US/Pacific(GMT-08:00)
Find your local time zone here.
Repeats: none
Calendar: Go to Group
Short Description: Adrian Camm an innovative, multi-award winning teacher, will
speak about his life since a major award last year, including, conferences attended,
experiments with augmented reality/other emerging technologies and his current work
with Quantum Victoria.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Use of Tweetdeck and Evernote during #edchat

Wow! I love these tools. Been on edchat the past 40 minutes and had time to prepare before it started. Decided to put tweetdeck in single column mode and on one side of my screen. On the other side I put evernote and opened up a new note. As I watched and participated in the conversation I could 'select all' a comment I liked and paste it into my note with any other notes I wanted to add. Then I could just save the session away. I heard during the chat that you can also go back to look at archives later if you missed anything. Just as a test I emailed myself the note after it was done.

Tonight's topic: RT @mbteach: 5 min till #edchat: How do we give effective and meaningful feedback to students? #edchat

Some good comments and suggestions were made. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Interview with Will Richardson - Revisited

I decided to revisit the interview with Will Richardson that took place on January 18th, 2011. If you missed the interview you can revisit by clicking on the link below.  Will Richardson is the author of Bloggs, Wikis, and Podcasts. The interview focused on education, technology, and the impact of Web 2.0 on teaching and learning. Will talks about being a parent that wants someone to be able to tell him what new teaching options there are and looks forward to a teaching environment that embraces all types of learning.

 Will says that before education within schools change teachers need to make changes for themselves first and they can do this by becoming a learner. Teachers need to discover Web 2.0 tools which focus on and support connections and making networks where we can share information with other people. Will says that he doesn't want people to think that he is putting down teachers but feels that even his own children in school have very few role models or examples of adults who are learning and using new tools to enhance the classroom experience for their students.  Will says that teachers need time to learn and create and feels there are places where teachers have an opportunity to do this. Teachers need to provide a culture for learning. Will says we need to find ways of becoming a community or learners, as educators we need this, and the communities we build don't have to be just local.  Will is also a strong believer of giving and sharing information on the internet without expecting anything back. Will says he personally shares all of his materials with workshop participants.

The interview with Will was quite interesting and he discusses many other interesting tools and topics. From what I understand Mary has met and worked with Will Richardson before.  If you would like to hear more about Will's feelings about technology and education click on the following link.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

50 Tips for Motivating Students

Been doing a little twittering today and came across this link http://www.campbell.k12.ky.us/programs/ktln/50motiv.html. Check it out. I saved it to my evernote notebook.  Also, it's amazing how ignorant I can be at times. Just discovered on tweetdeck today that their is a compose button you can click on that will display a place where you can send tweets while viewing your tweet deck. I has been looking for awhile on how this could be done and prior to today would go into twitter.com if I wanted to send a tweet. I also discovered that my account on twitter wouldn't show anything on my twitter home page until I had tweetdeck running on my computer.