The presentation agenda for the MacWorld 2007 Education strand has been published by IDG. I feel a little like Jack Dawson in the movie “Titanic” to be be included in such an august group! This is really going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to both attend and and learn at MacWorld, as well as share some ideas about “Safe Classroom Blogging to Improve Student Writing.” These education presentations, including mine, will be shared on January 10, 2007.
To start my presentation, I want to show a short video that includes screen captures from a Google Earth “classroom world blogging tour” – an expanded version of the one I created back in August. I would like to invite anyone who has or is currently using a blog in their K-12 classroom to share a 30-60 second audio recording that includes and responds to the following prompt:
Our classroom blog has been important for student learning because…
My idea is to overlay screenshots of some posts and comments from each classroom blog that is featured, after virtually “flying” to the city where the classroom blog originates via Google Earth. I will not use any photographs of students or teachers in this– just screencaptures from classroom blogs and audio recordings of teachers (and hopefully students) reflecting on how their blog has affected their learning.
This ties in with the theme of students discovering and sharing their own voices in the context of classroom blogs. The case I will make in this presentation is that educators at all levels need to leverage the power and motivational potential of moderated blogging tools to help students improve their writing and communication skills. Unlike the “wild west” of YouTube and MySpace, educators and administrators need to understand that free, MODERATED blogging tools exist which permit “control by the adults” of the classroom blogging experience. I know that some teacher-leaders have moved beyond more tightly moderated blogging tools to further empower student writing and student voices (Clarence Fisher comes to mind)– but in the contexts where I live and work, the entire notion of students blogging is generally foreign and even considered ludicrous. So we need to start with moderated blogging tools in many contexts. My message is to be aware of the possibilities, and get started utilizing some of them.
If you are interested in submitting a 30-60 second audio clip that addresses this “prompt,” I would love to include your perspectives or those of your students. I have no idea how many of these I’ll receive or if I’ll be able to include them all, but I will try, and I will publish this video subsequently under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial license. I think this may turn out to be a neat way to communicate the power and reach of classroom blogs via a short video. It also will provide a chance to showcase your students’ classroom blog and encourage other learners around the globe to visit and edify (positively comment on) your students’ writing. If possible, Please submit your recorded audio file to me by Christmas: December 25, 2006.
The recording can be your own perspectives as a teacher, and/or include some recordings from your students. In the event you use student voices, do not have them identify themselves by name (or if you do that is ok, but I’ll edit out their names and just include their ideas) and obtain permission from their parent/guardian to include their recorded perspective in this video project. In obtaining permission and explaining the project, relate that student names and pictures will NOT be included in the shared video: Just student and teacher voices along with screencaptures of blog and comment posts.
You can email me your recorded audio clip to wesfryer [at] yahoo [dot] com. If you have questions let me know. If you want to work on this and hope to submit something to me, you can comment here to let me know. This could be a great activity to do with your blogging students prior to the Christmas holidays. If several want to record, you could record their ideas and then have the class vote which one(s) to actually submit to include in this video. Also if you have suggestions about specific blog posts or comments to highlight with screenshots during the segment about your class blog, let me know those URLs when you submit your audio clip. If you can, you can compress/export your audio clip to a 32 kbps MP3 to reduce file size, but I’ll take whatever you’ll send me. If the file size is large, you can send it to me via dropload, but please comment here to let me know the file is coming or has been sent.
The powerful story of how blogs are being used to engage students and help them improve their literacy skills is an extremely important one that needs to be heard by more teachers, as well as administrators and school board members. I hope my presentation at MacWorld will advance this agenda not only for those in physical attendance at the session, but also for others via the subsequent podcast(s) that will be posted of the session and session resources provided as a result.
I hope to record a “draft” of my presentation in the next week or so and post it here for public comments, suggestions and feedback. I have not ever done this before, but it seems like a good idea– Any feedback and suggestions I receive are sure to be helpful in further crafting the message. If you’re interested, you can check out a PDF version of my presentation slides that are going to be included in the MacWorld education strand handout. (The published version will include 6 slides per page, however.) I’m going to present in my favorite mode, which is a hybrid “Lessig-style” presentation— last night I took in Dick Hardt’s OSCON keynote on identity 2.0 that follows a similar style. (Thanks to Mike Lawrence for that link.)
The wiki page address I’ll be sharing for presentation resources is http://teachdigital.pbwiki.com/macworld07.
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