Wild About Wikis

Are wikis still valuable in the classroom?

Are Wikis still valuable classroom resources? I believe that they are. Check out the post below with my take on wikis and some great examples of Google Docs (my FAVORITE wiki) student-created projects.

Wild About Wikis

The Grad School Journey Begins

Image via flickr.com / Kris McNeil

Well, I’m finally doing it. Taking the grad school plunge. I’m really pumped to be getting a degree in a field that I’m so passionate about – Instructional Technology! We set up a blog for the program, and I’m sharing my first post here as well. Hope you enjoy!


Bringing Web 2.0 to Life for Teachers & Students

Unlocking the Power of Video

Video Film image

Image courtesy of Mosio for Libraries

Okay, let’s face it: video is not a new medium. From the days of silent film through the late 1960s , it was the sole domain of professionals. Big, bulky, mounted broadcast cameras would clearly not have a place in the home, much less in a classroom. The early 1980s explosion of VHS camcorders firmly placed it in the hands of the public (my mom still has some classic childhood videos of me to prove it!) . But, up until recently, equipment costs, file/data storage, and security concerns have largely kept it out of the hands of students. 

Even today, some schools and districts are slow to embrace the power of student-created (and edited) video? Why? At the elementary level, teachers often cite time concerns and lack of training. Standardized testing and letter/number grade systems increase pressure on teachers to stick with paper-and-pencil assessments. Districts that still rely heavily on networked drives for storage are battling size issues. Cloud storage solutions like Google Drive can open new pathways for students to leverage this medium to showcase their learning, connect with others, and to impact their communities and beyond. Standards-based grading and elimination of NCLB testing mandates would help, too, but I’ll save that for another post.

Today, my 8-year-old and I set out on a Minecraft screencasting mission. He enjoys watching YouTube videos with players demonstrating various aspects of the game, and he was ready to take the step from consumer to creator. Thanks to Air Server, Screencast-o-matic, WeVideo, and some patience from both parties, we were able to get the job done. He really enjoyed being able to create and especially doing the video editing part. Usually these tasks are reserved for middle school and above, but I see no reason that a 2nd or 3rd grader couldn’t use a simple video editor. I hope that you enjoy our production and that it inspires you to take the video plunge with your students!

Click the picture to watch my awesome video!

Click the picture to watch my awesome video!


Self-Paced Professional Learning – Part I

Who Dares to Teach, Dares to Learn

Image courtesy of Ana Cristina Pradas / cristinaskybox.blogspot.com

I have always loved professional learning. I realize that the popular term is “staff development”, but to me that sounds like an all-knowing instructor waving the magic wand and dictating how the staff will be developed. As we move (hopefully) into an era of more choice in teacher professional learning, I have been inspired by edcamps, tweetups, and other events where educators themselves are asked what they want to learn and what they want to share. Although job-embedded teacher learning is an essential element of any successful school plan, many teachers still need time on their own to dig deeper or to experiment with something they have learned.

With that in mind, I have decided to create a website dedicated to teachers at my school in order to give them resources that they can use at their own pace, in their own way. I know this has been done before, but my hope is that this site (it already existed, but I didn’t really have a vision of its purpose at the time I created it) will become a place for teachers to use the self-differentiated resources to learn more about specific apps, web tools, questioning strategies, and creative ideas to use in their classrooms. Enjoy Part I of “Favorite Apps & Web Tools” and feel free to explore the rest of the site!