Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Because I Read...

This morning before I went to work I logged into my Bloglines account for a quick check. The first blog posting I read was from Brian Crosby. Today, he was writing about a project that he'll be doing with his 5th graders in collaboration with Lisa Parisi. As I read through the post, I was struck by the number of technology tools that will be employed in the course of this project and how well they fit together to support the intended learning. The project will allow students to collaborate to write original stories based on the illustrations in the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. Not being familiar with the book, I went right to one of my super-duper librarians this morning to borrow it.

As soon as I read that post, the contents of a workshop that I'll do tomorrow suddenly crystallized. This workshop will be with a group of teachers that I've been working all year. They wanted to take another look at some of the web based tools that I've been talking about all this year. But I've been struggling with how to present these in some sort of meaningful context. That is, until I read Brian's blog this morning. And, it's because I read that this kind of thing often happens to me.

Tomorrow, we'll start by going to Diigo where I've already set up an account and bookmarked Brian's post. This will get us quickly to that post which I'll have the teachers read. [We'll talk about connections that this project might have to our own curriculum. I'd like them to also take a look at the NETS for students - this will expose them to a document that many of them might not have known about otherwise.] Now that we've gotten to the blog, we can learn how to annotate it using the Diigo toolbar.

Next up is Google docs. Brian and Lisa are going to use this tool as a way for their students to write collaboratively. We'll use it to respond to some questions that I've set up that are related to each of the tools we'll work with.

Then it's on to the concept of the wiki. By way of introducing this concept, I have Wikis in Plain English ready to show. Then we can go to Lisa's wiki page which will serve as one example. There are other samples that I've been collecting as well for us to explore. This will give us some food for thought about how wikis can be used effectively in instruction. We'll return to Google docs to record our impressions.

By exploring these tools within the context of this project, I hope that the teachers will be able to see the connections among these tools, and the value they add to learning. I also hope this will provoke some additional conversations about exploring the use of these tools further.

It's because I read that I learn from others and that I'm inspired by others. I can't imagine how I could do my job without access to the ideas and experiences of talented educators around the world. Thanks to all of you!

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