Google Docs in the Classroom

Tom Barrett developed the below presentation. It is full of strategies and tips for effectively integrating Google Docs with teaching and learning.

Connecting the Classroom and Outside World

Educators, what are some strategies for connecting the classroom with the outside world?

NOTE: I’d like to share responses in my keynote at the iConnect iLearn Conference and on my blog and wiki. You can submit your ideas using the form below, share your text/audio/video reply in the Comments section of this post or respond to the corresponding Twitter and Plurk discussions. You can also view the compiled database of suggested strategies on my wiki, Learning Telecollaboratively.

Learn with Us (IDT7078)

As I mentioned in a recent blog post I’m teaching a seminar this summer focusing on Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 Technologies. I concluded the earlier post by sharing the following:

In keeping with the principles of Web 2.0 I encourage the participation of everyone with an interest or expertise in this topic. You may contribute to the discussion and fun by using the following tag/keyword: idt7078. Be on the lookout for ways (Ustream, Skype, Twitter, Plurk, etc.) to informally participate with us. I would certainly consider making it possible for those wishing to enroll in the course and participate from a distance, too.

Greg R. Fishbone replied to my earlier post and asked the following question regarding my concluding statements.

I’d love to participate informally, but how does one follow a keyword?

I think this is a GREAT a question and I suspect Greg is not the only one wondering about this. I’m sharing this information here in hopes of helping Greg and anyone else that may be interested in being part of our learning community this summer.

Google Keyword Search
You can add the following RSS feed to your aggregator (such as Google Reader or Bloglines). New blog posts, wiki entries, bookmarks, videos, podcasts, etc. tagged with idt7078 will then be “delivered” to you as they show up in Google.

An alternative to this strategy would be to setup a Google Alert for idt7078.

Twitter Search
You can also add a keyword search for idt7078 to TweetDeck or similar Twitter platform if you are using one. If not, then you can add the following RSS feed for the Twitter Search of the course tag to your aggregator.

Plurk Search
Add idt7078 to your list of Saved Searches in your profile’s dashboard.

Professional Development Meme 2009

I’m a big fan of goal setting. It can provide a road map for the short or long-term and can be an effective motivational strategy. I have set a few professional development goals for this summer and have challenged a few of my friends/colleagues to do the same thing. In 2008 I realized that I could set this up as a blog meme and hopefully encourage some of my online friends to achieve a few items from their To Do Lists. There are a myriad of ways to approach this, but I’ve opted to take the short-term, easy-to-assess approach, but I’ll leave some wiggle room for you to customize it to meet your needs. The official information is below.


Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2009 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

The Rules

NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.

  1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
  2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/07/09).
  3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
  4. Title your post Professional Development Meme 2009 and link back/trackback to
  5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme09.
  6. Tag 5-8 others to participate in the meme.
  7. Achieve your goals and "develop professionally."
  8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

My Goals

  1. Continue to improve video skills and integrate my own instructional videos into courses.
  2. Finish all the items on my To Do List regarding my website.
  3. Submit at least 1 of the articles currently in progress for review.

I Tag…

Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0

Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0I’m teaching a special topics seminar this summer for graduate students (3 hours graduate credit). The topic will be Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 Technologies. While we’ll consider common trends and issues and survey many of the popular tools and services related to Web 2.0, the heart of the course will be learning to effectively integrate Web 2.0 technologies and principles with teaching and learning. The focus will be on K-12 education but accommodations can be made for individuals from other fields (health, corporate, military, higher education, etc.).

I’m very excited about this class. I taught the course in Summer 2008 and we learned a lot and had a blast! You can view the ebook (authored by the graduate students) and other course materials that emerged from the 2008 Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 class to get an idea of what this class will be like.

In keeping with the principles of Web 2.0 I encourage the participation of everyone with an interest or expertise in this topic. You may contribute to the discussion and fun by using the following tag/keyword: idt7078. Be on the lookout for ways (Ustream, Skype, Twitter, Plurk, etc.) to informally participate with us. I would certainly consider making it possible for those wishing to enroll in the course and participate from a distance, too.

1 Thing Student Teachers Needs to Know!

Linda Eller

Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.

Entering a classroom at second semester can be daunting for everything seems easy. It took work early in the year to make the wheels of an effective classroom run almost on empty. It’s all about preparedness, procedures, and practice. The inhabitants of the classroom know what do to when they enter the door, they know where to put their homework or have emailed to the night before. They know when the computers are open and low noise works. They know what to do during read aloud and what group they work with for math. These procedures for getting through each day are established during the beginning of the school year and are practiced often. Student teachers often do not see how an effective classroom is set up at the beginning of the school year.  With this in mind, it is imperative that student teachers ask questions. Things like – How did you establish your rules? How did students learn signals for your style of teaching?  What do your signals mean? What is the difference between a rule of behavior and a classroom procedure?

I’m reminded of the best book any new teacher should have that helps address some of these questions, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry Wong. There is a new 2009 edition out now.  In reviewing the table of contents of the new edition, he writes about being successful on those first days, positive expectations to hold, classroom management, effective lessons, and assessing students. The book is free and new and easy to read. I think it is a critical resource for all teachers but especially student teachers.

One point in Wong’s book that still lingers with me is the importance of planning and preparation. You cannot over plan. Yes, it is work to plan for everything but when you do so, you’ll have one great day after another.  Be proactive and ready for anything before it happens instead of reactionary.  Those instant reactions set you the teacher up for a student to adult power play. Students don’t give up unless you are ready.

From my time in the classroom and having student teachers I’d also have to say that asking questions of the supervising teacher, sharing your ideas, listening to responses, and talking things out will be invaluable. If one doesn’t see or understand how something works then ask. Be mindful of the skills you bring with you and share those strengths. Keep a log of your experiences. It might be helpful when that first teaching assignment is won. Keep in touch with your supervising teacher especially if a good relationship was developed. I had a student teacher once that ended up being my substitute after she graduated. It was wonderful. She knew the expectations in my classroom and I knew she could handle whatever came along.

A teacher impacts student’s lives. A student teacher will do the same for a time. You leave a lasting impression on them as well as their parents and other teachers in the building. Make it a positive, open-minded but assertive impression. Listen to students but be firm with what you expect from them. They will test you over and over and over. Listen to your supervising teachers for they have experiences you can learn from. Listen to your heart and make sure you love working with children. Your days will be filled with new and different things with no two days the same.  Be kind to the children you work with for some will need all the extra attention. Be flexible but hold to your expectations.

With good procedures in order, students trained, expectations explained and lots of practice, the classroom can run smoothly. When you plan well, stay organized, and maintain a positive outlook even when it becomes stressful, you can bring new challenges and fun ways to learning. You will gain as much as your students do for it will be a rich and rewarding experience.

Now here is a young student teacher’s point of view:

We the People…

I’m old enough to remember the Schoolhouse Rock videos airing between cartoons on Saturday mornings. I really liked (most of) them as a kid. I rediscovered them years later as a classroom teacher and was even more impressed by them. Not only do these videos cover a lot of curriculum they are also artistically impressive. My wife and I are getting to enjoy all the Schoolhouse Rock fun again with our kids.

We’re looking at integrating higher order thinking skills and word processing in one of my classes right now. The following video is connected to the lesson. Reminisce and enjoy!

Let’s share ideas about how any/all the following could be integrated with teaching and learning.