Saturday, June 9, 2012

You Have to See This

In my journeys online, I recently came across an extraordinary example of a teacher using wikis with her students. Not only is there a class wiki in which lots of class assignments are posted, but also every individual student in the class creates a wiki for posting work. Take a look at the main wiki and then explore at least one student’s work to see how this all works. It will take some time to explore around, but it is well worth it. Doing so will give you an excellent idea of how effective use of the technology creates an incredibly powerful, engaging learning and sharing environment for students. In fact, consider how public students’ accomplishments are by virtue of the wiki tool. In addition, the teacher has at her fingertips students’ work to assess their progress throughout the year. Here is the link to get to the main wiki. 

You will find on the homepage, a movie the students created. It is a trailer for a longer movie they produced. I have embedded the trailer in hopes that once you see the work, you will be even more motivated to explore the class wiki and individual students’ wikis.

This movie will give you an idea of how inventive and expressive these students are.

Once you get to the main wiki and have explored it, take the time to explore individual students' wikis to see what they are writing and how they are inserting their own multimedia into their wikis. Note that that students are also building a blog off their wiki pages. Additionally, spend time to see how the teacher has placed on her wiki the following information: organizational schedules, tips for writing on a wiki, and assignment guidelines.

Be sure to leave some comments. Let us know what you discovered. Has exploring the teacher's wiki and the students' wikis given you a sense of the power of technology to engage students in learning and to promote their understanding of curricular objectives? What is your takeaway message after looking into what this one teacher is doing with her students?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Watch, Know, Learn

Screen Shot from Watch, Know, Learn

Watch, Know, Learn is a site for finding videos to use in school. All of the videos on the site have been reviewed by educators, and you can find out about the content of the videos through summaries. In addition, the site is organized by grade level and subject area, easing finding videos.

The collection of reviewed videos on Watch, Know, Learn is increasing. For instance, in looking today, I noticed close to 6,000 offerings are available for language arts. One of the best features of the site is that you can easily find out about the videos in advance and see their ratings. There are also resources for teachers and parents.

Although some of the videos listed are viewable through YouTube, which might be blocked in schools, other sites are also used to access the videos. Also, YouTube videos can be downloaded from the site to use off the site. So even if you find the video on YouTube, there are ways for you to show it in the class without using YouTube.

The About section of the site offers this background on Watch, Know, Learn:

"Free educational videos delivered over the Internet. Viewed any time, from anywhere.
We believe that everyone should have the same opportunity to learn. The best way to make this possible, we believe, is to organize into one, super directory the hundreds of thousands of good videos currently available on the Internet. To make this a reality, we invite teachers, instructors and educators to suggest videos for inclusion into our directory, and then to review, approve, and assign those videos into appropriate categories using a wiki framework and philosophy. The videos are the highest quality found on the World Wide Web, cover all major educational topics from elementary to secondary schools (or age range 1 – 18), and are Kid Safe!"

If you find a video of interest, let us know. Also, let us know of other video sites intended for school usage that you have heard or used. Overall, what do you think of the Watch, Know, Learn site?