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Web 2.0 and School Administrators
Thursday, 4 October 2007
Info Literacy Resource for Adults and Students
Topic: Getting Started
I returned last night from AETA. I really enjoy this conference because when I'm not presenting, I have time to get to other sessions. One that I attended featured a resource that's well worth pointing out to administrators so they can share it with staff. Offered through the 21st Century Information Fluency Project (here's a link to the online agenda), the site features a variety of resources for educators including web-based activities (called Challenges) for polishing information literacy skills. Check it out!

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 8:56 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007 8:59 AM PDT
Thursday, 16 December 2004
Blogging Principals- Workshop Experience
Topic: Getting Started
Yesterday afternoon I worked with a small group of principals with whom I have worked in the past. I'll be meeting with them several times during the winter and sping and wanted an online tool for staying in touch between meetings. I also wanted to share a new tool with them, so blogging seemed to be the ticket.

Within an hour, not only had they each set up a blog to communicate with me, but they had figured out how to invite other members of the group to subscribe to the blogs and how to upload graphics. Not bad for a group where only one person had heard the term 'blog' prior to the meeting!

It'll be interesting to see how this goes!

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 5:24 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 16 December 2004 5:25 PM PST
Friday, 22 October 2004
With Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy...
Topic: Getting Started
Getting back to thinking about digital natives and digital immigrants. At a recent workshop, I spent some time with the participants talking about the concept and how a digital 'accent' manifests itself. One thing led to another, and we ended up having a little fun with behaviors that identify a digital immigrant. Like the old Jeff Foxworthy jokes about being a redneck, we launched into "If you..., then you might be a digital immigrant."

Here are a few they came up with:

If you know how to make and receive a call on your cell phone, but can't use any programming features, you might be a digital immigrant.

If you know how to view a VHS tape or DVD, but can't set the clock on the player, you might be a digital immigrant.

If you send an e-mail and then call the recipient to make sure s/he received it, you might be a digital immigrant.

If you remember when your modem had a cradle for the telephone receiver, you might be a digital immigrant.

If you have a collection of 5 1/4" diskettes you can't bear to throw away, you might be a digital immigrant.

Although this was not planned, I think I'll use this as an activity in future workshops. Folks had a good laugh, relaxed, and were not so worried about making mistakes!

I'd like to collect more of these to share.

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 3:59 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 25 November 2004 11:40 AM PST
Tuesday, 19 October 2004
More ruminations about teachers, students, and technology use...
Topic: Getting Started
Last Saturday, Will Richardson posted the following message on his blog, Weblogg-ed:

"And another thing...

"At yesterday's workshop, only three of the 20 teachers had even heard of a Weblog when we started. I was pretty amazed. That's not a slap a the teachers who were there; it's just that the difference between my online educator blogging world and the reality of the classroom teacher world is becoming more and more acute. Online, things seem to be going in all sorts of directions. In the classroom, well...it's just a different story. Try as I might, I still have yet to find more than a couple of dozen K-12 teachers who are using Weblogs in ways that can potentially enhance their students' learning. It just feels like a big disconnect, somehow.

"One of the gems that I found this morning was from Darren Cannell who has a pretty interesting post titled "Are we entering a dark age of information?" In it, he paints a picture of the potential changes that these technologies are creating and the lack of recognition by schools.


"-Too much information.
-Students who understand how to navigate the web.
-Teachers who do not.
-Students who have no one to show them what is good and what is bad.
-A system of education in which students and teachers do not connect.

"I'm wondering to what extent students are passing their teachers in their ability to manipulate the Internet and information, and to what extent teachers will be willing to learn how to model the skills that students are going to need to manage all of this in effective ways. If I'm struggling, I can't imagine what it must be like for teachers who are just seeing the landscape for the first time."

I think there's a direct link here between what Will is seeing and Prensky's idea about digital immigrants teaching digital natives. Maybe what we need to be doing is looking at how our digital 'accents' manifest themselves and how we can compensate for that...

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 3:25 PM PDT
Saturday, 16 October 2004
Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants
Topic: Getting Started
I've spent a lot of time thinking about why it seems to be so difficult for educators to effectively incorporate technology use into instruction- not just blogs, although that's had my attention recently, but all kinds of technologies.

For a long time I've thought that much of it has to do with the findings from the Apple Classrooms or Tomorrow research which identified various stages of use people experience when learning to use a new technology. And I still think that the stages are important. But I couldn't figure out why so many people get stuck at Adoption and/or Adaptation. A few weeks ago I read Marc Prensky's articles Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part II. While I'm not certain I believe that today's kids brains are wired differently, the rest of what he has to say makes a lot of sense.

I shared the information with some principals I'm working with and it was as if a light was turned on for them as well. Heads were nodding and people began to come up with all kinds of examples of their own digital 'accents.'

Have any of you read these articles? What do you think? Do you see the tie to ACOT and the lack of serious tech integration?

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 6:24 PM PDT
Wednesday, 22 September 2004
Bloggers to Blame
Topic: Getting Started
I heard a news report yesterday. It had to do with CBS and the 60 Minutes broadcast about Mr. Bush and his National Guard service. During the broadcast it was stated that CBS had rushed to air the show because of bloggers! Something about news reporters being scooped too often by personal blogs and arguing that blogs are changing how stories are researched and verified prior to airing. There was also talk about how bloggers don't have to verify their postings because someone else will get online and make corrections for them! Suppose this would translate into how teachers and students deal with blogs?

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 8:44 AM PDT
Thursday, 16 September 2004
Communicating with Students (and Staff)
Topic: Getting Started
I stumbled across another blog created by a principal. This one comes from J.H. House Elementary School in Conyers, Georgia where principal Joyce Hooper plans to post weekly entries that align with the school's character education program. The blog is accessible to staff and students to read and make comments. It's called Principal's Quest. Take a peek!

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 4:46 PM PDT
Wednesday, 15 September 2004
Another Tip from Tim Lauer
Topic: Getting Started
In addition to the school weblog and personal blog maintained by Tim, he is also blogging the staff bulletin. Teachers are able to read the entries, post questions, and discuss these items online. Tim reports that this blog has saved a great deal of staff meeting time that used to be spent on questions and comments about items in the bulletin. Sounds like a great idea!

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 3:36 PM PDT
Tuesday, 14 September 2004
Blogging Administrators
Topic: Getting Started
Last week Amy Garrett Dikkers suggested several blogs of interest to school administrators. I've visited them all and found that two are the work of school principals. The Butlerville Elementary School weblog was created by Pamela Coates and the Meriwether Lewis Elementary School is maintained by Tim Lauer. I've contacted both principals and each of them reports that the parents are quite pleased with the schools' weblog Web sites. Lauer also send home a print newsletter each week, to keep parents who don't have online access up-to-date, but says it's easy to do because the weblog creates an archive that becomes the foundation of the newsletter. His teachers also post Classroom Notes at least once each week and these entries are also sent home.
Coates' teachers have individual blogs linked to the school's weblog.

Lauer also maintains his own personal blog.

Does anyone out there know of additional examples of blogging administrators?

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 8:22 AM PDT
Saturday, 11 September 2004
Misconceptions about Blogging
Topic: Getting Started
Prior to starting this blog and doing some research, these are some things I thought were true about blogging:

- I thought most bloggers were in their teens and 20s
- I was under the impression that most bloggers made entries at least daily
- I believed that bloggers used this venue to reach a large (read world wide) audience of readers
- I also thought that most blogs were sustained over a long period of time (at least a year)

Now that I've read a wide variety of blogs and sifted through a number of articles and reports, I see that most of what I thought is wrong. I was right about the blogging age group, but that's it! Most of the blogs I've read myself are updated sporatically, if at all. Most seem to have a very targeted audience (e.g., friends, a teacher). And many blogs were less than a year old, based upon archive dates.

I read the Pew Internet and American Life Project report which surveyed American adults and found that just 2% to 7% are have their own blogs and 11% read blogs created by someone else. Hmmm...any wonder administrators may not be embracing this communication form?

Then I read a report published by the Perseus Development Corporation . This document looked at use across all age groups, not just adults, and this was where I saw statistics that supported what I was seeing rather than my preconceptions. According to this report, 91.1% of all blogs are the work of young people aged 13-29. No surprise. But then I read that most blogs reviewed for the survey (66%) had been abandoned- no new entries for at least two months. That's a lot of languishing blogs! And, the average 'active' blogs are updated every two weeks, not daily. Females blog more often than males. Their intended audience is not usually the world at large. They're using the blog to keep their friends up to date. The average blog has a lifespan of 4 months before it's abandoned.

This has me thinking about what we might be trying to accomplish with blogs in schools. While I was feeling a little guilty earlier about suggesting that principals use blogs for mundane tasks such as agenda or bulletin reviews, maybe that's not such a bad idea. It would be a blog for a very specific audience. It would not require daily updates- okay, maybe a high school bulletin would, but then teachers could do their own updating, not the principal. It provides opportunities for users to interact about information they (we hope) care about.

There are also ramifications for how teachers use blogs with students, but I think I'll deal with that tomorrow.

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 4:01 PM PDT

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