Some friends of ours send their kids to a local Jewish parochial school. Over the spring break I was invited to speak to the staff at the school about web 2.0 in education. There are about 10 teachers in the school, including the principal, and none of them had ever heard of web 2.0, blogs, wikis or podcasts before except as buzzwords in the mainstream media.
By far the highlight of the morning was Kathy Cassidy. Kathy graciously made herself available to skype in to our workshop and chat live with the teachers. Many of them had never seen or heard of skype before. It was a powerful experience for them. They had seen Kathy's presentation from K12 Online and after hearing how a self described "non-techie" teacher leverages the power of web 2.0 tools to foster enthusiasm and excitement for learning in her students, they were juiced.
By the end of the day we had six new blogs started. The principal really "gets" the possibilities inherent in blogs, wikis and podcasting for his school, teachers and students. One family is leaving the school for a year to live in Israel, the teachers are planning to keep in touch and maintain connections between the students and their school via a blog.
After we had chatted with Kathy, he announced that when they get back from their break next week each teacher will be required to maintain a blog. They will publish a minimum of one post per week about anything they like as long as it relates to what is going on in their classrooms. He's also made a commitment to find 15-20 minutes in their instructional week to free them up to do this. We're going to collect the feeds from all the blogs and create a Protopage (linked to the school's website) so that parents can see what's going on throughout the school at a glance.
Here are the slides from the presentation on SlideShare and here's the link to the video of the first half of the workshop. We used the second half of our morning together to build new blogs for each of the teachers in the workshop.
Full screen version here.
The links embedded in the slideshow aren't working on the web hosted versions so I've added the list of links, organized by slide, below:
Slide 1: George Siemens, link, Alan Levine, http://adifference.blogspot.com.
Slide 2: photo source.
Slide 3: video source.
Slide 4: Go2Web2.0.
Slide 5: The Weblog Project.
Slide 9: The Important Thing About a Wiki.
Slide 17: The Story of Eddie.
Slide 18: The Language of Math.
Slide 19: Eddie and Intro to Trig Modeling and Flickr.
Slide 20: A Good Day.
Slide 21: There's Something Happening Here.
Slide 22: Tell The Stories.
Slide 23: Great Day in Georgia.
Slide 24: One Drop of Water.
Slide 25: photo source.
Slide 28: Trout Blog.
Slide 30: Al Upton and the miniLegends.
Slide 34: video source.