It's Elementary: Web 2.0 in the elementary classroom

4/07/2007 05:25:00 pm

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,

Slide 2: photo source.

Slide 3: video source.

Slide 4: Go2Web2.0.

Slide 5: The Weblog Project.

Slide 6: Nancy White, video source.

Slide 7: A Difference, Applied Math 40S (Winter '07).

Slide 8: Wikipedia, 1000 Names wiki.

Slide 9: The Important Thing About a Wiki.

Slide 10: What is a Wiki?, Heavy Metal Umlaut: the movie, John Udell.

Slide 11: Ask A Ninja, video source.

Slide 12: What is a Podcast?, How to Podcast.

Slide 15: video source, Visit K12 Online.

Slide 16: Class Blogmeister, Flickr, Audacity, video tutorial, BubbleShare, Wikispaces.

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 26: small voices, Kathy Shields.

Slide 27: EduBlogs Star Award, Duck Diaries.

Slide 28: Trout Blog.

Slide 29: Mark Ahlness, The Mighty Writers Blog.

Slide 30: Al Upton and the miniLegends.

Slide 31: EduBlog Award Winners 2006, Have Fun With English 2.

Slide 32: Room 613 Student Blogs 06-07, Room 613 Student Blogs 05-06.

Slide 33: Clarence Fisher, Excellence and Imagination, International Teen Life Project.

Slide 34: video source.

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  1. Anonymous8/4/07 03:45

    Thank you for this Darren, it is very timely. I was talking recently to Sheryl N-B, and she was suggesting that K-12 is such a wide category that maybe there is a need to look at K-5 or K-8 as a subgroup. This would mean that rather than swamp any 'newbies' with the plethora of K-12 tools, which may be a bit too much too quickly ( and some at a very high level ), we tailor content for the younger age group. There are a good number of us working within Elementary Education now who I am sure could develop something along these lines - I would be interested in your thoughts as Sheryl, Allanah K ( New Zealand ) and myself will be having a skype chat re K-8 on Tuesday 10th April.
    Thanks again Paul H

  2. Anonymous8/4/07 06:02

    Hey Darren,

    The thing is, I will be having the Skype chat on Wednesday as we are ahead of the world here in NZ. LOL.

    I was at TUANZ in Nelson when Sheryl skyped you in. Awesome stuff.

    I have just blogged about my uses of Web2.0 tools in my Year Four/Five class and find many similarities with tools mentioned in your presentation.



  3. Darren, You should consider posting a link to the powerpoint on Steve Hargadon's Classrooom 2.0 -

  4. Anonymous24/4/07 16:48

    Thanks for the for the positive feedback folks. I hesitated about publishing this one ... in some strange way I felt like it might not come across well. In the end I decided to go ahead with it so that the teachers I had spoken to that day could access it.

    I'm glad you found value in it too.

    Andrew, I always feel a little uncomfortable linking to my own work, unsolicited, on sites beyond my blog ... feels like bragging. If someone likes it they can link to it. I'm not much of a marketer I guess . ;-)

  5. Well Darren, I'm flattered to be included in the slide show and flattery will get you everywhere! Your name is frequently dropped in Women of Web 2 webcasts and I'm sure we've shared chat room space. I have little time to read all the blogs of value in our field of education but the least I can do is post you on my own blog roll. Keep making waves in the edtech ocean!

  6. Anonymous28/4/07 11:47

    Kathy, I first found out about your podcast in a WOW2 podcast. I love the way you use podcasting with your kindergarten class. I think you are a real model for weaving the use of the read/write web into early years teaching ... and I adore the byline: "small voices, where being small is a BIG deal!" ;-)

  7. Anonymous19/8/07 23:17

    Thanks for the mention in the slideshow Darren. Your student scribes idea worked quite well for us last year in Room 613. Have a great 07-08 year!