EdTech Article Archive:
From January 2003 through October 2006 I served as the "IT Guy" for Technology and Learning Magazine. 2 of my tips were posted online per week and an archive of past tips is available. (www.techlearning.com/content/outlook/itguy/)
In the context of digital storytelling, a variety
of tools are available which permit learners of all ages to constructively
share their voices and perspectives via the Internet using free
website tools, readily available technologies like cell phones,
and relatively affordable commercial hardware tools like portable
audio recorders. This article explores several options for mobile
"Social Bookmarks 101 "
Social bookmarking offers a free and compelling way to address the need we all have to locate, record, later RE-locate, and share “good website finds” on the Internet. Regardless of future changes in the Internet and the content it contains, this ability to ably manage website “bookmarks” or “favorites” is likely to be an enduring skill important to both teachers and students alike.
"Join the Global Education Conversation"
While in the past, a teacher had to be blessed to have an educational “Yoda” working next door or across the hall in school, today thanks to interactive technologies it is possible to be mentored and serve as a mentor by and for teachers literally all over our planet. Teachers need to become more aware of these opportunities for positive, constructive social networking with other educators around the world, and join the conversations taking place in multiple virtual venues. The scale of the “sea changes” we face can appear staggering, but challenges can appear less formidible if you have supportive mentors at your side (both literally and virtually) in the 21st century classroom.
"Online Research with Google Notebook"
The process of copying and pasting information, source URLs, and photographs for a report or multimedia presentation is often a laborious process. Multi-tasking between a web browser and a word processor when conducting online research requires a large number of mouse clicks for each piece of information to be saved appropriately. Thankfully, the availability of the free, web-based Google Notebook program (www.google.com/notebook) can dramatically streamline the research process.
"Addressing CyberBullying in Schools"
The digital environment increasingly provides a window into face to face (F2F) as well as virtual interactions between people. Bullying, which sadly seems to be a timeless activity, has moved into virtual environments as more students have gained access to and knowledge about the Internet. While some educational leaders may prefer to metaphorically “paint over” these windows in schools to hide these negative interactions from public view, schools need to take a more proactive stance than merely banning social networking websites to adequately address issues like cyberbullying.
"The Ethic of Open Digital Content"
Online publication of ideas, particularly through blogs and collaborative spaces like “wikis” used by WikiPedia, provide publication mechanisms for people around the planet at almost no cost. The distribution costs of ideas contained in binary computer code of ones and zeros is virtually negligible, as Nicholas Negroponte observed in his book “Being Digital” published (traditionally) in 1995. Digital content published on the public Internet is much more accessible, offers far lower barriers of production, distribution and access, and offers robust potential for language translations unthought-of in the traditional world of analog print. For economic, pedagogic, and moral reasons, educators in the 21st century need to become “open educators” supporting the free, global exchange of ideas and information in our networked world being drawn ever closer together through the magic of technology.
"Interactive Podcasting: Asynchronous Online Audio Discussions"
Podcasting, along with blogging, is playing a pivotal role in ushering in a new era of decentralized content publishing and idea sharing across the globe. Like any other tool, podcasting can be utilized in various ways to serve diverse purposes. This article examines two emerging read/write web technology services, YackPack and Vaestro, which are extending the interactive possiblities of web-based audio conversations (here liberally defined as “podcasts”) and the exciting, creative possiblities these free tools offer for educators, students, parents, administrators and community members.
"Creative Commons in K-12 Education"
Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) “is a nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works.” Everyone involved in education should be familiar with Creative Commons both as content consumers and content producers, wanting to legally access and use digital content.
"Classroom Audio Podcasting"
Instead of asking students to write exclusively for an audience of one (the teacher) using technology from the mid 1500s (a pencil,) teachers can now challenge students to publish for a global listening audience via a classroom podcast. This article provides an overview of the benefits of classroom podcasting and showcases several exemplary classroom podcasts teachers and students can use as models when creating their own.
"Digital Curriculum and The Last Mile: Providing Curricular Flexibility and Limitless Bandwidth"
In our environment of prophesied educational transformation thanks to the influence of new computer technologies, and a business environment clearly changed thanks to technology’s disruptive powers, what are teachers, educational leaders, and policymakers to do? The simultaneously simple and difficult answer to this question is “change.” Defining the type and scope of that change is challenging, however. The policy framework in which educational organizations must operate plays a pivotal role, and two key changes are now overdue. Laws and regulations must change to permit school districts to purchase digital curriculum instead of only analog / paper-based textbooks, and telecommunication companies must be forced to provide fiber-optic Internet connections to every public school district in the states of our nation.
"Skype in the Classroom"
Internet connectivity in educational settings provides opportunities for interactive exchange and collaboration between students living on other sides of town or the other side of the planet. These synchronous, real-time discussions using free software like “Skype” can tangibly expand the walls of the traditional classroom and engage students to write, share, and communicate with an authentic audience inaccessible just a few years ago. Educators interested in helping motivate students to develop both traditional as well as twenty-first century literacy skills in the classroom can and should use audio conferencing technologies like Skype to literally plug their students into collaborative exchanges with global partners on a variety of projects.
"Blogging TCEA 2006: Create, Share & Access"
The advent of web technologies like text blogs (www.edublogs.org
), photo blogs like Flickr (www.flickr.com
), and tagging/search tools like Technorati (www.technorati.com
) are revolutionizing the way people create, share and access real-time content. Rather than wait weeks or perhaps months for a conference CD to be released containing presenter handouts and media attachments (that may have been created and submitted months before the actual conference), read/write web tools like those discussed in this article permit anyone to create, share, and access multimedia content created during and after a conference immediately.
"Teaching & Learning with the Read/Write Web"
In the initial phase of Internet’s development, the majority of users were primarily information CONSUMERS, rather than information PRODUCERS. In our present era of “the read/write web,” however, access to the Internet is ALL that is required to be a global content publisher. This article will highlight multiple “the web as platform” examples, along with several implications the “read/write web” can have for education in the twenty-first century.
"Successful and Safe Educational Blogging"
This article provides an overview of blogs as well as suggestions for ways they can be effectively and safely used in educational contexts. Like many technological tools, blogs have potential for exciting instructional uses, but also potential for abuse and even dangerous uses which educators should acknowledge and proactively address to protect their students as well as themselves.
"Strategies to Address Digital Plagiarism"
Plagiarism has always been an educational reality, but its prolific nature in the 21st century classroom may be underestimated and poorly understood by many teachers. This article presents a variety of strategies that can be used by K-16 educators to address the age-old problem of plagiarism, which is more prolific than ever before thanks to its digital face.
"Computer Security 101 for Teachers "
The increasing importance of computer technology, and the information contained and transmitted by computers used both at school and at home, makes it essential for EVERY computer user to become more aware of security related problems as well as actions which can prevent or help resolve security related problems before or when they occur. This article outlines six different ways classroom teachers can become more proactive in taking computer security threats seriously, and hopefully minimize the potential for these threats to become destructive realities either in their classroom or at home.
"Tips for Presentations with Movies "
Teachers as well as students often want to include movie clips and animations in digital presentations, using PowerPoint or other multimedia software. This article presents four different strategies educators and students can use to include movies in their presentations.
Google may be the most popular search engine worldwide, buts its volumes
of search results can still leave students and teachers alike overwhelmed.
Vivisimo and Grokker are alternative search tools featuring dynamanically
generated categories of search results. These tools provide compelling
reasons to "search different."
of Handheld Computer Use in the Classroom"
Different visions about the ways handheld computers should be used in K-12
classrooms abound in educational technology circles, and it is vital for
parents, educators, and students to understand the defining characteristics,
assumptions, and goals of these perspectives. While some of these visions
of classroom handheld computer use may be complementary, some are clearly
Digital literacy IS a necessity and NOT an option. It is a skill set needed
by many in our society, not merely a select few. If the Internet represents
a digital frontier, we are its pioneers, and the challenges we will encounter
on our "virtual
trail drives" are likely to be numerous as well as unpredictable. We
need to be prepared.
Integration Lessons from the TLA"
Past participants in the Texas Technology
Leadership Academy (TLA) share many common perceptions about the ways administrators
can most effectively foster a school culture where technology integration
in classrooms is commonplace.
Software: An Essential Tool in Every Classroom"
Recognizing the limitations of traditional, text-only instructional methods
as well as the need to address different learning styles, teachers at every
level should celebrate that Inspiration software (www.inspiration.com)
is available to help learners of all ages bridge the gap between visual
and textual literacy, and aid in concept development in virtually every
101 for Educators"
"Do I have to get permission to use this?" "Is this legal?" "If
it doesn't have the copyright symbol on it,
is it still copyrighted?"... Misconceptions abound among educators
today about what uses of multimedia are permissible and legal in the classroom
under US copyright law, and it is critical to address and correct
these ideas. This article presents some answers in Winter 2003.
Lab Management Software"
In the context of this article, "computer lab management software"
refers to progams used by a teacher in the course of a lesson to maintain
student attention and enhance instructional delivery. Access to and use
of lab management software by a teacher can make a TREMENDOUS instructional
difference in the classroom. This article explains the primary features
and benefits of lab management software and reviews three different options
for Windows and Macintosh computers.
Computing: New Opportunities and Challenges in Education"
This article examines the reasons educators should be informed about
wireless technologies and reviews different wireless standards prevalent today
and likely to expand in the future. Lastly, some implications of wireless computing
Email Sanity with Rules and Filters"
Is checking email a much anticipated or a dreaded event? Educators
at all levels need help maintaining sanity when it comes to email, to maximize
precious minutes devoted to electronic communication. This article presents
an overview of email rules, or filters, available in most email software, to
assist in managing wanted as well as unwanted email.
Excel Shortcourse for Teachers"
This article describes ways spreadsheet software, specifically Microsoft Excel,
can be used to manage lists within an educational context. Steps for Excel in
this article apply to the following versions: Excel 2000 for Windows, and Excel
2001 for Macintosh.
This article presents three different options for educators wanting to create
webpages to supplement and/or facilitate a course. These include Blackboard
(http://www.blackboard.com), Yahoo Courses
(http://courses.yahoo.com), and WebCT
(http://www.webct.com). Including a variety
of both free and fee-based features, these web services are worth examining
if an educator wants to teach with online content.
Freedom with Technology!"
late Spring 2001, the Texas legislature and governor voted and signed House
Bill 1776, designating the last full week of classes in September as "Celebrate
Freedom Week" in public schools. This act takes effect on September 1, 2001,
and affects grades K-12. The goal of this legislation is "To educate students
about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the
values on which this country was founded." This article describes five different
technology infused activities that can be used to meet the requirements of this
new educational law, and utilize a wealth of internet content in dynamic and
motivational lessons for students. A copy of this article, including links to
all referenced lesson ideas, is available on http://www.wtvi.com/teks/freedom.
2000-2001 Articles / Online Publications:
for Elementary Technology Integration Reform: Facilitators and Technician-Aides"
This proposal was written in Spring 2001 for the Lubbock ISD Technology Committee.
I authored this proposal with input from other teachers and technologists in
Today, teachers and students all over the United States have increasing access
to digital cameras and digital tools, including computers, software, and Internet
connectivity....This article describes several ways to share digital photographs
with others on the Internet, using free online services and software available
to all educators connected to the information superhighway.
to Go: Offline with Internet Explorer"
Learn to copy internet webpages to your own hard drive or network file server
that you plan to use during instructional lessons. Access to these "offline
webpages" will be faster and guaranteed, regardless of the speed/status of your
internet connection during classes.
Link to a hotlist of Election 2000 resources including candidate views on ten
different issues. Candidates for the Republican, Democratic, Reform, Natural
Law, and Libertarian parties are included. A scavenger hunt for students is
available, along with downloadable template files in AppleWorks and Word formats.
Based Calendars for Education"
This article describes the steps required to set up two
different types of web based calendars: a locally running calendar program (called
"iCal," shareware) and a free, internet accessible calendar program (Yahoo Calendar.)
These techniques can be used to create an easily updateable, web based calendar
for a single classroom, a computer lab, a campus, or an entire school district.
(This online article is longer than the one published in the TechEdge: the
published version did not include the Yahoo Calendar section.)
This article describes the reasons and techniques required to create template
files on Macintosh and Windows computers...Templates can be student documents,
ready for students to insert their own ideas and information into it. They can
also be designed for teacher use, like a form letter including your school letterhead
and mascot...The methods described here can become some of the most essential
"tools in your technology toolkit" as a professional educator.
and Efficient: The Cody Model of Technology Deployment"(December
Schools across the United States share the twin challenges of needing to purchase
up to date computer resources within limited budgets, and also provide timely
technical support for teachers, students, and administrative staff...The Cody
Public Schools, located in northwest Wyoming just east of Yellowstone Park,
provide an outstanding example of how schools with limited resources can deploy
technology across a district in both an affordable and efficient manner.
A Teachable Moment" (September 99 TechEdge)
As educators, the Y2K issue and the opinions which surround it present
an excellent opportunity for learning: a "teachable moment"... This article
presents ideas for a multimedia student project focusing on Y2K issues, and
includes many online sources for Y2K information which can be used as curriculum
materials within the classroom. All student links needed for the lesson are
available at http://www.wtvi.com/teks/y2k/links.html.
War in Yugoslavia: Seeking Perspective Through Technology" (May 99
These classroom lessons are designed to utilize various internet resources
to help students develop a realistic perspective on the war in Yugoslavia. A
region with a complicated, recorded history spanning hundreds of years, Yugoslavia
is a challenging topic for classroom study. Armed with these lesson ideas and
background information, however, accurate and effective classroom lessons about
conflict should be easier to put together.
Your Site on Success" (March 99 TechEdge)
As the internet continues to grow in both size and the number of homes
it reaches, the ability of educators to effectively utilize school websites
to communicate with students, parents, and other community members will continue
to increase in importance. This article provides twenty different suggestions
to "set your site on success," making your website an effective communication
tool for a global audience.
the Dog in Educational Technology: Elevating 'IT' Into the Classroom"
(January 1999 TechEdge) - As schools race headlong to meet the perceived
challenges of the information age, many districts are purchasing computer systems
which are comparatively detrimental to the instructional goals of the classroom.
The purpose of this article is to highlight this significant and correctable
trend within K-12 schools relating to the acquisition of educational technology.
Georges: An Interdisciplinary Lesson" (December 98 TechEdge)
This article provides detailed instructions for teaching a multi-day classroom
lesson about Hurricane Georges using computers and internet resources as tools
in the learning process.
Information and Resolving Information Conflicts" Article (October
98 TechEdge) Learn how to help students apply critical analysis to resolve
information conflicts and validate informaton, as well as why the validation
process for webpage content is so important.
Internet Files" Article
(August 98 TechEdge) Learn how to download freeware and shareware
software from the internet on Macintosh and Windows computers. Required software
tools are discussed as well as virus protection. (Workshop curriculum for "Intermediate
Internet Skills" is also available on www.wtvi.com/teks/ii.)
- Decompression Tools:
- Shareware/Freeware Sources:
- Virus Software:
- Virus Info:
with Quicktime" Article (May 98 TechEdge): This
article highlights techniques teachers can employ to help students utilize digital
movie clips, called "Quicktime movies," in multimedia presentations with HyperStudio
and PowerPoint software on both Macintosh and Windows computers. Methods for
obtaining Quicktime moves from the Internet and other sources are also discussed,
using both Netscape and Internet Explorer. Cited websites include:
Stanford's Fairuse and Multimedia
Platform Computing" Article (March 98 TechEdge): This
article explores some of the vocabulary terms associated with "cross platform
computing" and highlights several of the software and hardware solutions which
permit files and software applications to be shared between computers with different
operating systems. These references from other authors and vendors are also
Web Browsing = No More Excuses!" Article (January 98 TechEdge):
This article defines offline web browsing and explores reasons why educators
and students benefit from this type of internet use. It explains important features
to look for when selecting offline web browsing software, and compares the features
and performance of several offline web software products from the perspective
of a classroom teacher. These references from other authors and resources are
Search Strategies" Article (November 97 TechEdge): Learn
to conduct successful searches on Yahoo, AltaVista, and Excite. Specific "search
syntax" required for each search engine is explained, as well as boolean search
syntax. These references from other authors may also help:
Student Internet Access" article (September 97 TechEdge):
Learn to set up student computer workstations for internet access so less time
is wasted and more "time on task" is achieved.
- A sample "customized webpage" for student use is available at http://www.wtvi.com/teks/kidlinks.html.
Use this page for your students or modify it to fit your instructional needs.
- If you are interested in more information about creating webpages like this
one, check out Writing Webpages with Wesley,
my online webpage authoring curriculum.
Browser Skills for Research" article (August 97 TechEdge):
Learn to copy and paste text and graphics from a webpage into a word processing
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