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Showing posts from July, 2010

The Difference is the User, Not the Tool at BLC10 Day 3

My third and final day at BLC10 (Building Learning Communities 2010 from November Learning) brought yet another valuable message that will sure have an impact on my teaching:

Web 2.0 tools don't make the difference, it's the user strategy that makes the difference.

Class Blogs
Darren Kuropatwa (see @dkuropatwa on Twitter) hosted a workshop called A Day in the Life. He talked about several ways that he allows his students to create their own academic content online that is related to his class. While he used many tools, he brought it all together to a central blog to share it with the world. The quality of the student entries on the blogs improved over the course of the year and the class got more and more visits.

As a teacher, I have seen class blogs that teachers use to post their own lessons and handouts and other information, but they never let the students themselves control the content. Mr. Kuropatwa allows the students to run the class blog. This is why his workshop was a le…

Give Students the Power at BLC10 Day 2

Today at BLC10 (Building Learning Communities 2010 from November Learning) the theme of the keynote and workshops I attended seemed to focus on providing students with an experience that blends classroom interaction with online participation. When students learn through face-to-face discussion AND online interaction, they are empowered to create and publish their own new ideas.

Why We Need Classroom AND Online Interaction
Dr. Michael Wesch (see @mwesch on Twitter) started the day with a keynote address that ended in a standing ovation. Those of you who are reading this post and are educators yourselves know how difficult it is to get faculty meeting full of teachers to be enthusiastic about a speaker's message.... imagine that situation multiplied by 5 or 10 or 25 (depending on the size of the faculty you work with). Dr. Wesch brought a room filled with hundreds of teachers to their feet. He showed various examples of how user participation on the Internet can lead to change and tru…

Tearing Down the Walls at BLC10 Day 1

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The theme of the Building Learning Communities 2010 conference from November Learning seems to be:

TEAR DOWN THE WALLS OF YOUR CLASSROOM

Four different presenters followed this same theme. Here are my reviews of their workshops throughout the day.
Create and Share Video Games! Today's keynote speaker, Dr. Mitchel Resnick, demonstrated Scratch, program from MIT that allows users to create cards, posters, animations, video games, and lots more. They can then share their creations on the Scratch website and encourage others to build on, or remix, their work. Most of the work on Scratch was created by kids, like this one about a girl who hates alarm clocks. Dr. Resnick's biggest message was that taking what others create and then making something new out of it or even contributing to it causes a new kind of learning. Not only are children creative when they remix, they are collaborative. Click here for his paper on Scratch and how it fosters learning. "The Smartest Person in the R…