Monday, August 10, 2009

Creating Online Classes

I have been experiencing and exploring making online classes using ning, facebook and PBWorks. I am not amazed by what you can do but by how quickly and easily it can be done. These are great online spaces for use in a classroom, specifically ning and PBWorks. I am not a fan of using facebook because you can only have one account (legally) and I do not want my account connected with a class page. If you are looking to take your class online, do not use a simple html webpage. It lacks the collaboration needed. Save time, money, etc and use ning (social networking) or PBWorks (wiki). You won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Week Two of Collaboration and Learning in a Virtual Environment

I am ending week two in the class mentioned in the title of this post. My previous posts were for the last course, but it all relates. This week was wiki week; it was all about wikis. Although most people would consider me technologically forward, I did have apprehension about using wikis in class. Why? Because even though i have websites, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc, a wiki was the one thing I had never created (that is a little untrue. I did create one in a very controlled Blackboard setting once, but it was very limited).

Well, this week I read about wikis and discussed them in class. The discussions made me think of ways to use them in my classroom, and guess what? I found uses very easily. In fact, I was excited by the possibilities. I learned about the potential problems I could face and worked through some solutions. I developed activity ideas. Now I am a fan of the classroom wiki. Why? I love collaboration, and wikis are virtual collaboration at its best. It is writing, editing, debating, and working towards a collaborative truth that seldom is found in the classroom. So I am suggesting to educators of all kinds to check it out.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Can blogging be used as a learning technology?

The short answer is yes. The long answer follows.

There are not many web presences as easily accessible as the blog. It is free and easy to use. This makes it a great learning tool for the classroom, especially the budget friendly classroom. However, the tool is only as good as its learning outcome. Therefore, it is important to get the most out of it. I will discuss two uses of a blog in the area of education.

1. The blog as an interactive forum for academic discourse

No one can deny that social interaction is an important part of learning. Sharing and discussion/debating of ideas allows a learner to use prior knowledge as well as the knowledge of their peers. Blogs allow two crucial interactions.

The first is the ability to respond to a post. This allows discussion of a topic. Not only does the poster of the comment benefit from creating the comment, but the final viewer who sees both post and comment benefits greatly from both sources of knowledge.

The second is the ability to view media and other sources of information. A blog can act as a gateway to reliable trustworthy content on the Internet. For instance, if the teacher is the creator of the blog, they can ensure that they link to reliable content and show reliable videos. This way, the learner does not waste time trudging through useless garbage (not that learning how to do this is not useful knowledge). Time is the currency we have in the classroom. We must use it wisely.

2. The blog as a collaborative learning experience

Learning in groups is a proven method. Sharing ideas and creating new ones together can benefit a learner greatly. A blog is an excellent collaboration tool.

One method used in classrooms is to have students learn through teaching. The steps to prepare to teach require that a student knows the content, and the outcome is a great assessment of what the student has learned. By having students create a blog together, they can research, discuss, share their ideas in a blog post, and share their blog with others. Each group member can even contribute separately through a comment, and the other learners can comment as well, aiding the learning of the blog post's creators.

A goal of all forms of education is to create an environment supportive of learning. We want to use the tools we have to foster learning and make sure we have the necessary resources to find the information we need. A blog can do all of that. Just like any technology, the blog is a tool that can be used in many ways. It is up to the creator/moderator to ensure it is being used in a way that is supportive of the learning objectives.

About Me

Hello. My name is Luke and I made this blog for school. I am a teacher in Philadelphia certified to teach the following:

k-12 Business and Information Technology
7-12 English
7 - 9 Mathematics

I am constantly learning new technologies that can be used as tools in the classroom.