I would like to set up iGoogle accounts through Google for Education for my 5th and 6th graders. I would like for these students to have their own iGoogle Homepage with widgets to get to their teachers’ blogs, shared and private Google Docs and presentations, use the To-Do list to keep up with their agendas, and gmail accounts to send homework, projects, and questions to their teachers and when working on group projects. I am not sure as to how to begin setting this up. I have gone to http://www.google.com/educators/index.html and looked at the tools, but don’t know what my next step is. I am looking for someone to advice me, send me to the place where to start, etc. I am stuck. Has any technology integration specialist or teacher done this and is willing to help me get started?
Reflection on Getting Boys to Read Post April 14, 2009
I just watched a video on 6 reasons why boys like to read magazines posted on a great blog: Getting Boys to Read. http://gettingboystoread.com Here are the top 6 reasons:
#6 – Cheap
#5 – Current
#4 – Visual Design – Boys like color and graphics
#3 – short reads – read little pieces – not long time to read
#2 – non fiction
#1 – find on a topic on their interest
As his movie post went on I just kept thinking, “This is the same reason that teachers should blog, and or have students create blogs!” Blogs are free. How much more current can you get than reading something that someone just posted? Students can add all the graphics and obnoxious color schemes that they want! Short reads – Well that is just a post that did not get carried away! Nonfiction – Can be. They can create create explanations of what they learned (class scribes), create commentaries on their school day or football game, or create posts from researching on topics. Students could set up their own RSS feeder and subscribe to online magazines that interest them! Boys and blogging should go hand in hand.
Now what I would like to know is how much different are the girls? I would think girls would lean more towards fiction…but they could make up stories and post those, like an extension of a story read in the class. But all the other 5 reasons I bet are just the same.
So really, Blogs are kid friendly. And teachers really need to tap in to this world to tap into a way to create energy and interest in students learning environments.
Transforming Teachers February 23, 2009
I have been so energized by several of the teachers that I work with who are transforming themselves into 21st Century Educators!
I have my 3 grades (4th, 5th, and 6th) all working on PBWiki. The students LOVE getting to work online and collaborate with others. This tool has really added bump in their motivation and responsibility towards their school work, not to mention improving their writing skills!
I also just gave one teacher editing rights to her webquest by moving her files from being housed in Dreamweaver, to it being housed on a wiki. I will no longer have to update the site because now she can do it without knowing webpage software!
Several teachers are also starting to blog, one teacher using her classroom blog as a means to teach. You can tell the students who are about to go in her room and learn because they are SO excited!
My school is fortunate enough to have a leader who is 100% motivated for this change or reform in education. He backs us with reading material, technology tools, professional development opportunities, and much more. This year he has gone to the NING! Our school has its private NING, where we are encouraged to hold book discussions, reply to his blog entries, further discuss revamping our report cards, etc…but are also having fun with getting to advise whether we should cancel school for snow day, or play with funny comments on what is going to happen on our school retreat, etc. He has gotten us to start in a comfortable setting to start communicating through this Web 3.0 tool! And since “we” are getting comfortable, several of us have been joining other NINGS. Some of my teachers are getting into Classroom 2.0
This tool is slowly making its way into the classroom. Several teachers jumped on board, but don’t have the understanding of the tool quite yet. One even deleted her account. 😦 But others have made global connections with other educators, creating collaborative classroom activities. Two teachers are using cutting edge programs and finding great websites to use with the students from the people they follow on Twitter. A few of us are even using Twitter as a means of advertising student projects to allow others to see and comment on the work. It has really improved the quality of the projects since the kids know that others besides the class and the teacher are going to be looking at what they did.
Watching the classroom transform with these tools makes the learning environment so exciting. The kids in the hallway have a completely different attitude when walking into a class where the teacher has transformed!