Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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U Tech Tips

It’s that time of year again as last week we started working on our student computer image for the 10-11 school year here at ISB. Trying to find the best software for students is always difficult as there are so many things to consider.

That’s what makes the Educational Software Wiki a great place to start when looking for what software you should consider for next school year.

I encourage you to have a look and if you know of a piece of software that isn’t on the list, help others out by adding it. Simply click the “EasyEdit” button and fill in the information.

As our first Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy program (COETAIL) draws to a close here at ISB educators are starting to put the finishing touches on their projects for the 5th and final course. They’ve been working all semester on putting into practice what we’ve been learning about the first 4 courses. They have been paired with a mentor (Kim, Dennis, and I) to help them create a unit or lesson to use in their classroom. We then schedule a time to go in and observer them using this rubric that the three of us created (worth checking out) based on the enduring understanding of all of the courses.

Some of these projects have just blown me away. Take this Multi Cultural Games Wiki created by two of our PE teachers who have taken the course Andy and Kerry (check out their blogs to see how they’re using cell phones in PE Class as well). Students are outlining, filming and sharing cultural games from around the world….and Andy and Kerry invite your students to do the same and add to the wiki. They do a fantastic job of outlining for other educators the idea behind the wiki and how to get started in this youtube video.

These are two PE teachers to follow and pass on to your own PE Department. Andy next year will be moving into the Athletic Directors role and with me moving to the High School next year, we’re already talking about ways to use technology even more to enhance our physical education program.

Next up is a very tech savvy 1st Grade teacher who is finding ways to use the technology in his room to help teach a life cycles unit in science. Vu was one of the first teachers I connected with moving here to ISB a year ago and he continues to find ways to use technology with his 1st graders. Using technology in the early primary grades is where I struggle most in my own understanding. Vu’s been a great resource for me to go to, bounce ideas off of, and someone who is willing to explore crazy ideas on new uses of technology in the classroom. He’s created a blog for their life cycles unit here, and has found ways to take some amazing pictures with the document camera and digital microscope in his class. His students are now all working on VoiceThreads and should have those posted soon. He’s currently looking to connect with other classes around the world on this project. You can find the details here, and if you’d like to be a part of this or know a primary teacher who might be interested please contact him. Check out this Cotton Stainer rolling over…1st graders love this stuff!

I’ll be sharing more projects in the coming weeks as these “students” finish up their projects.

The COETAIL program has been a huge success at our school with about 50 teachers completing the 5 course 15 graduate credit certificate program. We’ve already started the next cohort which has 20 teachers signed up. The model that we’ve created here is starting to spread as well. Taipei American School will be starting their first cohort next fall and Kim and I are working with SUNY and EARCOS to find away to try and offer the program online (more info coming soon!).

In the end this program is changing the pedagogy at our school in small but noticeable ways. 50 teachers with a deeper understanding of both the technology and the pedagogy behind it are now looking for new and innovative ways to use these tools in their classroom.

U Tech Tips

This is what I love about wikis. You start a site, create the structure for collaboration, invite a community and then stand back and watch as the community helps you create a site that you could never have done on your own.

As a new school year begins I want to draw your attention once again to the U Tech Tips Wiki. A wiki were educators around the world share different tools they use in education. If you are looking for a free or low cost tool to do a specific function this is a great place to start. We even have different tools based on platforms. So if you are looking for a PC tool or a Mac tool, or even a Linux tool, we’ve got something there for you.

Over the summer someone added an iPhone Apps page. SWEET!

Another one of my favorite pages is the FireFox Add-on page. Where you can find some great FireFox add-ons that help you do your job or make your job easier (yes…there are even some that are just for fun).

And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if you use an app that you don’t see on the list and think should be there, add it! Click the EasyEdit button on the page you want to add it on and type away!

Wikis in Education

It was fun while it lasted but as of August 11th Wetpaint.com will no longer be offering a free upgrade to ad-free status for educators. The news is as much a shock to me as it is to many of you. I was notified by the Director of Publishing at Wetpaint on August 4th about the change.

Since that time I’ve been communicating with Wetpaint about this decision and my future role as Educational Ambassador with them. Below is part of the e-mail I sent to them.

I thank you for extending the offer to allow me to stay on as
“Educational Ambassador” for educators. It means a lot to me that you
value my contributions to the Wetpaint team. I have appreciated the
opportunity to collaborate and provide educators and students with such
a great wiki platform. However, with the suspension of the ad-free
program indefinitely, I feel I can no longer be an advocate for using
Wetpaint as the premier educational wiki platform. I know that
educators who have already set up sites will continue to enjoy using
them with students, a large part of my role was helping those new to
the platform get their feet under them and answer questions as they
move forward. It’s hard for me to “sell” a program that will now cost a
teacher $19.95/month for ad-removal (especially for US schools that any
advertisements at all on a site is a deal breaker) when there are other
free programs out there for educators to use with students. Although
they might not be as good as Wetpaint, they are still free. I’m also
well known for being a proponent of open source software and for
finding the least expensive (free!) way to utilize technology in
education.

So to that end I will no longer be the Educational Ambassador for Wetpaint at the end of August.

When I approached Wetpaint about the idea back in November of 2007, it was commissioned as a trial project. Now nearly two years later, the educational wikis on Wetpaint number around 160,000 sites with some 600,000 users. I can’t image what the financial cost is of running and supporting that many sites, and in these hard financial times. projects that cost money without making money of any sort are the first to go.

Wetpaint will still support the some 160,000 educational sites on it’s system and will allow those to run ad-free if they applied before August 11th for the Ad-Free status.

As sad as I am to see the program go, I can’t blame Wetpaint (or any Web 2.0 company for that matter) that allows educators to use their product without ads and for free. I can’t image trying to make money that way…Edublogs.org tried it for awhile but even they ended up putting ads on their blogs.

Education and educators are a tough crowd. We want our products free and without any limitations. How do you make money that way? Even if it’s just enough money to run the system.

I have nothing but gratitude for Wetpaint. Their support of me, the educational community, and students everywhere has been wonderful. Of course I’m sad to see the program go, but I hope the educational community will join me in thanking Wetpaint for their effort and support of the education of our children.

U Tech Tips

After my post about moving to a new school and having a Mac for the first time in 10+ years, I received more suggestions of software that I needed then I ever thought I would. I’m still going through the list and of course installing and uninstalling software as I try things out and find what I really need.

I was asked if I would create a wiki to keep track of all the cool software that people were mentioning….so….I did.

The wiki is set up and asks for software recommendations for educators and education in Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Now all it needs is software. It is open to the public so you can go ahead and start adding software recommendations without signing up for an account.

If everyone took the time to add just one piece of software it wouldn’t take us long to have an amazingly useful site.

So head on over and add just one…..that’s it! Through one….comes many!

Thanks!

http://wiki.utechtips.com

Created By You, Awarded By You! - Wetpaint Golden Paint Can Awards To celebrate their 1,000,000 site creation Wetpaint is hosting the Golden Paint Can Awards!

The prize:

  • Custom “Award Winner” badges for your site
  • Promotion of your site on the Wetpaint homepage
  • Mentions in the Wetpaint e-mail newsletter
  • Lifelong bragging rights

I’ve been spending the last 30 minutes browsing the categories and looking at different layouts of sites to get ideas in helping teachers design good looking wikis. It’s a great way to get familiar with Wetpaint and at the same time get ideas on how to use Wetpaint in your classroom or school.

Of course you’ll want to stop by the Education 2.0 category and cast your vote for the best Education 2.0 wiki site.

Wetpaint is such a powerful wiki program and these top sites really showcase the versatility of the software.

(Full Disclosure: I am a paid Educational Ambassador for Wetpaint)

I think we’re going to see a lot more of this in the future. Last week ning dropped the ads for educational ning sites (which I took advantage of today to help a global issues network for international students get started).

Jason Welker (a teacher here at SAS) and I have been working with wetpaint over the past couple of months to help them move to this ad-free model for educational wikis. We have some 30 wikis being used by teachers and students at our school and wetpaint used those wikis as a way to work out how to go ad-free for education. Wetpaint is a great wiki host. Our teachers following Jason’s lead have jumped on wetpaint and it has quickly come the wiki of choice for our staff.

Here is the official press release from wetpaint. Thanks again wetpaint for supporting education!


Check out other cool wetpaint wiki youtube videos here.

Educators Can “Go Wiki” with New Ad-Free Wetpaint Wikis

Free-for-Education Wetpaint Wikis enhance student learning with easy-to-use collaborative technologies, social networking, and third-party widgets

Seattle, WA – November 6, 2007 – Nearly every educator is looking for opportunities to embrace Web 2.0 technology in the classroom, however teachers have struggled to incorporate Web 2.0 services that use advertising to monetize. Wetpaint (www.wetpaint.com), the consumer-friendly wiki for collaborating and publishing online, today announced it will offer ad-free, no cost wikis to qualified educators so easy online collaboration can extend into any classroom. The availability of ad-free, no cost Wetpaint Wikis builds on the core mission of the company to empower consumers, brands, and now educators to create collaborative Websites written for and by those who share a passion or interest.

“Since the launch of Wetpaint, we’ve heard from several classrooms that have benefited greatly by using Wetpaint to collaborate and share information outside the classroom,” said Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint. “We also heard from many teachers who were unable to share in the fun because of school-mandated ad-free policies. By removing the ads for educators, Wetpaint Wikis will be available for any classroom that wants to move the learning experience online.”

Thousands of educators worldwide have launched a Wetpaint Wiki, which offers educators the best aspects of blogs, message boards, social networking, and other collaborative technologies to advance School 2.0 initiatives. Teachers are able to extend the learning process out of the classroom by creating “click and type” wiki sites that any designated person can edit. This allows both students and teachers to easily create and participate in collaborative forums for discussion, share lesson plans, and distribute class presentations and much more. In addition, users of the wiki site can easily take advantage of Wetpaint Widgets to add third-party applications like YouTube videos, RSS feeds, Google Calendar, Vizu Polls, chat, and more to offer a fully integrated Web 2.0 solution in the classroom.

“Wetpaint has helped me integrate the Web 2.0 technologies my students love to use in their personal life into their learning process, and now they are actually excited about working on coursework,” says Jason Welker, an AP Economics teacher at the Shanghai American School in China who started a wiki, Welker’s Wikinomics, for his class. “My students have fully embraced the wiki by engaging in peer-to-peer and student-to-teacher collaboration on a broad range of topics from tests, study guides, and other important classroom initiatives that further their learning potential.”

To better understand educators and their unique needs, Wetpaint invited Jonathan Bartels, a high school English teacher and MAEd student at East Carolina University, to become its first Education Ambassador. Mr. Bartels shared his own applications and experiences with School 2.0 to help Wetpaint build out a robust Education Wiki section on Wetpaint.com, and is available to help guide other educators to wiki success by providing suggestions, tips, and answers to questions that teachers post to the Education Wiki pages.

To learn more about qualifying to get ads removed and find great tips for creating education wikis, visit: www.wetpaint.com/education.

About Wetpaint
Wetpaint is changing the way people share and collaborate about passions and interests online through its consumer-friendly wiki platform. For the first time, anyone who knows how to use Microsoft Word can use Wetpaint to click and type online. Wetpaint has powered more than 500,000 user-created community sites since launching in June 2006. The Seattle startup has also caught the attention of prominent consumer brands such as CBS, Dell, Discovery Channel, HP, HTC, and T-Mobile. These companies have partnered with Wetpaint to create community sites for their most active and knowledgeable users. Wetpaint is backed by Accel Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Frazier Technology Ventures. For more information, visit www.wetpaint.com.

[tags]wetpaint, wiki[/tags]

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