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Melbourne, Australia had a tremor last night which registered 4.7 on the Richter scale. To take advantage of this current event in your teaching and the amazing up-to-date resources now available on the internet, visit U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program (http://earthquake.usgs.gov). Since the early 1990s, the magnitude and location of an earthquake have been available within minutes on the Internet. Now, as a result of work by the U.S. Geological Survey and with the cooperation of various regional seismic networks, people who experience an earthquake can go online and share information about its effects to help create a map of shaking intensities and damage. The map is available at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/.

The website also has a number of resources for teachers and students at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/kids/. There are facts and information about earthquakes as well as activities, puzzles and animations. The Teacher section includes photos, PowerPoints and maps as well as other resources, although they favour a US perspective.

The map below was accessed from the website on 7/3/09 and shows the earthquake indicator near Melbourne as well as other earthquakes which have been recorded in the previous 7 days. Earthquake times are listed in USA time, so need to be converted to your local time.

Map showing latest earthquakes

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What software do you find most beneficial for your students to use? Click here for a link to a short survey.

Zoomerang provides a free online survey tool which can survey up to 100 people. Very easy to use and publish. The survey will remain active for 10 days. To see it working, complete this survey and then try creating your own.

Results published soon …

http://voicethread.com is a free Web 2.0 tool which provides easy-to-use features for students to create multimedia projects. This is exciting in itself, but even more motivating for students is that viewers of the project can leave comments via the internet. Look at this example to see how it works: http://voicethread.com/share/107896/

The online media album can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in different ways – using voice, text, audio or video. They can even be exported to an Archival Movie for offline use on a DVD or video-enabled MP3 player.

Comments: as seen in the little thumbnails down the left and right side of the example. Simple voice recording within your web browser allows students or viewers to add their voice. All you need is a microphone! Comments can also be written or recorded on video.

Doodles: the Doodler is a way of annotating the presentation. It captures drawing as an animation and synchronises it to the voice or text commentary. See the red circle drawn around “name” in the example.

Identities for easy classroom management: to leave a comment, you need an identity and be logged in. One class account can have multiple identities so  a number of students can easily switch identities on-the-fly without having to sign-out.

Sharing your VoiceThread

It is totally safe for your students. You can set the access privileges – from completely private to completely open and variations in between.

Moderation: comment moderation puts the teacher in charge of the conversation. Only the comments that are deemed appropriate are exhibited on the screen.

A family picture was the inspiration for VoiceThread. One of the program’s creators was looking at the photo and thought it would be really great to hear each person commenting on the picture. They would all have different stories. This thought was a spark for the creation of the Web 2.0 tool. It is an extremely easy online application that allows you to create multimedia using your own photos, video clips, audio, etc… and then allows others to comment with text or audio in a way that will play along with your presentation.

It has been enthusiastically used by many teachers all over the world as a simple way for individuals and groups to work together on a presentation and storytelling. Visit VoiceThread to see more great examples!

 

 

Dipity is a Web 2.0 application which allows chronological information to be entered and displayed as a timeline. It can then be shared via a blog or other website. The news headlines about our Olympics team below is an example of one your students could make. It is a ‘live’ timeline in that as events are reported, they are added to the timeline automatically. Any RSS feed can be used and I’m sure there will be heaps during the Olympics. Students could also research Olympic data from the past and enter manually … for instance, host countries, records for 100 metres, etc.

Thank you to Bob Sprankle at Seedlings for this great Web 2.0 tool. Students can type in text or upload Word or pdf documents to the Read the Words website. A ‘voice’ is chosen to read the text. The resulting sound file can be embedded into a blog (as I have done to the right) or downloaded as an mp3 file to listen to. A great motivator for students to encourage a more effective proofing and editing process as well as providing a bit of a giggle :-). Free registration provides a wider range of voices. Below is the text from my Read The Words audio – a reworked excerpt from a paper Lesley and I wrote for AAEC conference in 2006.

The use of ICT tools such as word processing, graphics packages, database and spreadsheet applications, has often been proposed as evidence of technology uptake and integration into learning and teaching. While many worthwhile uses have been made of these tools, their integration has largely been as an optional ‘add-on’ to an unchanging traditional teaching environment (Bottino, 2003). In contrast, I recommend educators take advantage of the potential of new technologies, including Web 2.0 tools and provide a variety of multimodal ICT project-based learning activities to enhance children’s learning. There are many benefits associated with this approach. Students have a high level of engagement while they are actively designing and making multimedia presentations for real audiences. Teachers report that not only are students gaining a greater depth of understanding of curriculum areas but their collaborative, communication and problem-solving skills are also being developed. Research also testifies that students display increases in mental effort and involvement, interest, planning, collaboration and individualisation (Lehrer et al, 1994). The acquisition of ICT skills and confidence, independence and risk-taking when using technology were also a valued consequence.

New media, Web 2.0 tools and software have many beneficial impacts in the classroom. Key aspects of this kind of learning is not so much the technology itself but the interaction of the learner with the technology (Gros, 2003). Using ICT has tremendous potential for reaching, motivating and fully involving learners. Any teacher who has used ICT project-based learning strategies should be able to attest to the power of a project topic to capture a student’s energies and enthusiasm for exploring knowledge (Richards, 2005). Project-based activities encourage collaborative talk around the computer screen. Students also freely and easily share resources and skills. Multimedia projects can encourage students to be better learners as they are getting immediate feedback as they work through their project and reflective evaluation from peers and audience when they have completed their product.

The most successful classroom projects involve the interweaving of learning, student engagement and presentation. Teachers provide a framework for students to scaffold their learning by balancing support and the explicit teaching that needs to occur. The result is not only improved learning outcomes but your students will learn to use these emerging technologies and communicate effectively in ways that are visual, dynamic and interactive.

 A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most of the information is researched via the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March at San Diego State University in 1995 (http://webquest.org/index.php)In an interview with Linda Starr of Education World,  Bernie Dodge discusses some of the key aspects of using WebQuests (complete interview). 

Bernie describes why WebQuests are not just internet Treasure Hunts or research projects … The key idea that distinguishes WebQuests from other Web-based experiences is this: a WebQuest is built around an engaging task that elicits higher order thinking of some kind. It’s about doing something with information. The thinking can be creative or critical, and involve problem solving, judgment, analysis or synthesis. The task is more than simply answering questions or regurgitating what’s on the screen. The benefit to using WebQuests is that it puts more responsibility on the learners themselves. Usually, a WebQuest includes the following:

Introduction: an engaging first statement that draws the reader in while setting the stage for the WebQuest – includes the central question around which the WebQuest revolves.

Task: a description of the end result of the students’ work; the culminating performance or product that drives all the activities of the lesson.

Process: describes step-by-step how the learners will accomplish the task. Includes online (and offline) resources, role descriptions (if any), and guidance on individual steps in the process.

Evaluation: a rubric or other means to evaluate the final task.

Conclusion: final statement that may include reflections on the lesson or extensions of the content for further exploration.

With today’s Web 2.0 tools, a WebQuest can easily be set up on the internet, include multimedia and hyperlinks and be an exciting, engaging activity for students across the curriculum. It can form the basis for a COGs unit, a G&T activity in Literacy and Numeracy or a group activity in any KLA. 

Bibliography

Linda Starr – Education World

WebQuests in wikipedia 

David writes:

The concept of best practice usually illicits some strong emotions from educators; what exactly is best practice.  Best practice means different things to different people.  With that in mind, here is my perspective of a framework or scaffold that can help school districts implement learning technologies appropriately.  Again, my perspective; yours might be different.  Read my blog post on this topic.

  1. Does the use of the technology support a fundamental literacy that the school believes in? For example, digital storytelling first and foremost seeks to improve the ability of students to write.
  2. Does the use of technology add value to the lesson? Does the technology extend the lesson to a place that could not be achieved unless the technology was included? For example, using the process of digital storytelling also helps students learn visual literacy skills, project management skills, network skills, and how to use media in an ethical way.
  3. How will I structure the lesson so that the technology fulfills the first two criteria? For example, the time-tested methodology of preparing a narrative, developing a script, storyboarding, locating imagery and other media, and then building and sharing the story is a truly effective methodology or framework for effective digital storytelling.  What pedagogical process will I use to structure the lesson?
  4. How do I know what I did works?  How will I assess the outcomes, both from a student perspective (did they learn what they were supposed to learn?) and from a lesson design perspective (did the technology perform as anticipated, did the pedagogical process work as intended, and did I meet Criteria 1 and 2?).  How will I use assessment data to improve what I do?

Best Practice ideas about blogging might look like this:

  • Authenticy of blog posts-focus on authentic topics
  • Teach audience and the power of writing for audience
  • Use blogging and commenting features for peer review of writing
  • Create a reading response-students read and write an interpretive blog post
  • Focus on metacognitive activities and have students reflect on learning
  • Like learning languages, start blogging young so it becomes a part of what students do
  • Involve the entire school community in blogging
  • Use blogging to establish connections and networks for learning
  • Focus on cross-curricular applications
  • Link to others to support content and create a culture of mashup
  • A goal/focus should be on student empowerment through self-expression, promoting a competitive voice and an identity
  • Take advantage of the digital nature of the medium to include other types of inforamation, repesented in podcasts, movies, graphics and hyperlinks.
  • Provide additional time to complete blog posts when computer access for certain student groups is limited or not available.
  • The teacher should model blogging by being a blogger.
  • Provide time to read and comment on other student blogs
  • Apply traditional writing skills to blog posts, no IM language
  • Consider using blog posts as an ongoing portfolio of student writing.

Read whole article at http://newtools.pbwiki.com/Best%2BPractice

Here are a variety of wikis used in schools. Have a look and contribute a comment on possibilities for your classes …

Edublog Award winner Best Wiki 2007 : Welker’s Economics wiki  http://welkerswikinomics.wetpaint.com/?t=anon

http://304sophs.wikispaces.com/Historical+Context

http://www.infinitethinking.org/2007/07/pe-geek-boys-sports-and-wikis.html

http://senior-calendar-07-08.wikispaces.com/

http://literature.wikispaces.com/AP+Language+and+Composition

http://discoveryisms.wikispaces.com/

Bud Hunt’s Wiki: Created by Colorado teacher Bud Hunt and many educator-collaborators.

Educational Blogging Wiki: Supports the educational uses of blogs and contains links to student and teacher blogs.

High School Online Collaborative Writing: Features the collaborative writing of various high school students.

Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki: Smart practices for libraries and the issues that impact them.

Westwood Schools Wiki: An online space for Westwood Schools’ students that includes a variety of student projects, including an insightful analysis of Web 2.0 tools.

SwarmSketch: Just for fun: This site allows you to contribute a single line to a drawing and then vote for the inclusion of other lines in the drawing.

Warlick’s Wiki: A wiki designed to support the presentations of education guru David Warlick, who speaks at Technology & Learning’s Tech Forum events.

Wikibooks: Collection of textbooks that can be edited by anyone.

WikiVille: A wiki where students can build stories about where they live.

Look at one of these classroom blogs. Write a comment below to describe what feature you liked best and will add / incorporate into your classroom blog.

http://australianedubloggers.pbwiki.com/FrontPage

http://class.huffenglish.com/

http://www.missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/

http://english12ns.blogspot.com/

http://theopenclassroom.blogspot.com/

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/

http://appliedscienceresearch.blogspot.com/

http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/

http://lisaslingo.blogspot.com/

http://room9nelsoncentral.blogspot.com/ (a primary school blog … creating an audience for student writers)

http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/

Tania Major talking with Andrew Denton

Listen to the audio.

Comment on why so many leading Australians believe Tania is a positive role model for young Indigenous Australians.

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