Introduction to Project-Based Learning

Speaking at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference, Pat Bassett, NAIS President, highlighted Edutopia‘s project-based learning resources. The George Lucas Educational Foundation has touted PBL’s merits for many years. I decided to revisit the PBL section at Edutopia and thought I’d share this video. It provides a good introduction to project-based learning.

The following quote from Seymour Papert about PBL especially stood out to me. This sort of flies in the face of what we are currently seeing in many of the test-focused schools.

“The first thing you have to do is give up the idea of curriculum. Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day. Replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it. So, that means you are going to put kids in a position where they’re going to use the knowledge that they get.

ShowMe iPad App: Easily Create Online Video Tutorials

ShowMe makes it possible to easily record interactive lessons on your iPad and share them online. It’s simple and intuitive and is the type of technology that can revolutionize the way we teach, provide support, and individualize instruction. Here is a quick video demonstration.

The following video tutorials are examples of how ShowMe might be used in and out of the classroom. (Note to ShowMe’s staff: It would be helpful to teachers if the tutorials were embeddable.)

Potential Impact
I agree with TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld that was is especially exciting about Show Me is that we are getting a “glimpse of how the iPad can completely change the way people learn. Any teacher can simply record their lessons and their students would need nothing more than an iPad to learn. Add some real-time chat and maybe some video, and it is not too difficult to see how this kind of technology can turn the iPad into a classroom.” (Source)

Audio and Video Tutorials Made Simple #aaim2011

I’ve been developing this professional development workshop for the past few months and I am excited about presenting it for the first time today at the AAIM Conference.

Workshop Description
Equip parents to help with homework and enable students to engage with course content inside and outside the classroom with online tutorials. Learn how to easily create audio and video tutorials using free web-based resources.

Workshop Resources
Wiki Page with workshop lesson plan, tutorials, notes, and materials

Easily Connect with Students, Parents, and Colleagues Online

Posterous Groups is the simplest way to communicate with your students, colleagues, family and friends. Posterous Groups may be the next evolution in email communication.

Messages and attachments submitted to the group will be emailed to everyone in the group. Send any type of file to your group and Posterous will convert it to the most web-friendly format available. Photos will be sent to your group members inline, and if you send multiple photos, Posterous will automatically create a photo gallery for you. Submit a YouTube URL to the group and Posterous will grab the embed code and automatically embed it in your site. Email replies can include photos, videos or any other rich media and will be automatically shared with the rest of the group via email and stored on the group website.

A Few Benefits

Most everyone has access to email and understands how to send and received messages and attachments.

No account required. Anyone can participate in your group simply by emailing your group address while receiving email updates without ever having to visit your site.

Your group can be public or private.

Posterous Groups have been optimized for viewing on mobile devices. Your students and their parents can access your Posterous materials from their cell phones and iPads.

Multiple people can have full control of your group. That means you can share administrative rights to the website/group with others if you choose to do so.

Worth Noting

Best I can tell (and I certainly hope I’m wrong) it isn’t possible to have a Posterous website and a Posterous Group integrated together in the same domain. This is disappointing because it means that we can’t connect blog posts and web pages with the group features in one site. This can be worked around by setting up a Posterous site and a Posterous Group and linking them together, but it means having to administrate two different instances. This isn’t difficult for teachers comfortable with technology, but will likely be a bit overwhelming to those entertaining the idea of developing their first class web presence. In this case, I’d suggest they simply stick with setting up a website (in most instances).

Get Started

Get started by creating a group for your classes, clubs, groups, teams, or students’ parents. You can also start groups for your family, friends, church, and more.

Publishing to AudioBoo from a Web Browser

Our kids and I have a lot of fun with AudioBoo. AudioBoo is a service that makes podcasting and audio blogging a snap and can positively impact your classroom (See previous posts1, 2, 3 and 4). Although the service has previously pretty much been limited to iPhone users it is now available to everyone. Here’s a screencast demonstrating how to use their recently released BrowserBoo feature which makes it possible to record to AudioBoo through any web browser.

Here’s the sample Boo that I created during the screencast above.


You can browse through my AudioBoo profile page to look through many other examples of boos that the kids and I have published.

I strongly encourage all teachers to take a look at AudioBoo. Whether or not you choose to use it as a teacher I believe there are students in your classroom that would enjoy using it and benefit from engaging this learning modality.

Sign-up for your AudioBoo account, friend me and other educators, and begin enjoying the valuable contributions this can bring you and your students.

15 Second Search Tip Videos

These very short videos will help you more effectively use Google’s search engine. Click play to watch the entire playlist or use the arrows to navigate to particular clips that interest you.

PD for the Holidays: Web 2.0 Tutorials for Teachers

We wrapped-up final exams last week and had graduation on Saturday. Now that things have slowed down a bit I’ve been able to spend more time on my own professional development (Translation: I’ve been more actively engaged with my personal learning network (PLN) the past few days.). While my primary goals during the holiday break are to spend lots of time with family and friends and accomplish many of the things on our house to do list I do also have a few professionally-related goals. Thinking that some of you might also intend to spend part of your vacation time honing your skills I am sharing the following valuable teacher resources.

Starter Sheets by Andrew Churches
This is a series of job aids to help teachers and students begin using Web 2.0 tools and to give teachers ideas about how they could be integrated with teaching and learning.

21st Century Technology Skills, 2nd Edition by Liz B. Davis
This book (Paperback available for $9.94 or downlaod PDF for FREE) of technology tutorials specifically for teachers is filled with screenshots that will help you begin using many of the most commonly used Google applications, set up a wiki at Wikispaces, bookmark with Diigo and Delicious, create a VoiceThread, and more.

Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 by IDT 7078
These modules were jointly developed by the graduate students in my special topics seminar during Summer 2008. The Table of Contents helps you navigate through the topics (Theories, Models and Strategies, Internet Safety, Overview of the term and characteristics of Web 2.0) and tutorials for the many genres of Web 2.0 tools contained in this ebook/wiki (Audio, Blogs, Wikis, Images, Presentation Tools, Video, Productivity and Collaboration Tools, Social Bookmarking, Social Networks, and more). Each module presents an overview of and tutorials for the most commonly used tools by teachers, provides classroom examples and provides resources to help you and your students begin using the tools.

Free Technology Toolkit for UDL in All Classrooms by Karen Janowski
Karen has organized a set of free resources that should be on every classroom computer to promote learning for all students based upon principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). These tools are fun and engaging and provide improved access and accommodate for learner differences.

Here are a few Google Docs tutorials for teachers that I recently shared.

Greetings from Selmer, TN

I’m spending today and tomorrow with teachers in McNairy County Schools. I’m looking forward to them discovering Andrew Churches’ revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and related resources. We’ll also explore ways to effectively integrate a wide variety of digital technologies and Web 2.0 tools with teaching and learning. Watch for us as we venture out into the network. We’ll be using the following tag for everything related to this professional development workshop: mcnairypd (and #mcnairypd on Twitter).