“New Tools: Blogs, Podcasts and Virtual Classrooms” in the New York Times today gives snippets from educators using these new tools.
Listen to podcasts by third and
fourth graders in Bob Sprankle’s classroom at Wells Elementary School
in Wells, Me. The online radio show features “Student News,” “The Week in Sports” and “Word of the
Week.” Mr. Sprinkle says, “The kids are incredibly motivated to read, research, and write.”
Next we hear from Joel Arquillos, a social studies teacher at the Galileo Academy of
Science and Technology in San Francisco, “I want
to give these kids the tools to say, “Hey, my voice is important in
this world,” “This
blog helps me do that.” I love that quote. His 11th-grade Amereican
history students participated in a group blog
as a joint project with David Boardman’s English class at Winthrop High
School in Maine. They discussed issues like drug dealing, gang
violence,urban legends, the new SAT’s, good reasons to skip the prom,
etc.” The diversity of topics was great. Patrick Delaney, Galileo’s
librarian helped the teachers set up the blogs. Nice to hear in a round
about way from Patrick. Patrick is probably one of the first “original
blogging pioneers.” He pointed out how “Having an audience compelled
these kids to step it up a notch.”
The article had some quotes from educators who were not sold on the
value of interactivity. Check out this line in the article: “Testing
requires a known body of material, but interactive learning often
involves students’ seeking out topics on their own. ” Heaven forbid,
However, Mr. Cunningham, a high school speech and debate teacher at Del
Valle High School in Del Valle, Tx closed with this simple but true
statement, “I think the testing model is working against education.
With Skype, you’re opening up the whole world to the student, and that
can’t help but be good.” By the way, he runs the Skype Foreign
Language Lab, a program that allows students around the world to talk
with one another via computers and headsets using the free VoIP phone
service Skype. How cool is that?
One interesting side note was that the article linked to some of the
tools like the iPod, Google, and VoIP but all the links kept me on the
New York Times site. No links to the school sites. I had to look those up
myself. When you get to the Galileo site, check out all the good links.
It’s an incredible web site chock-full of interesting links to
resources. You’ll learn a lot!
I did not find a link to the Skype Foreign Language Lab but I ran
across these interesting Language and International Resources at
Dickinson College that links to blogs and how to use Skype with foreign
language learning. Ahhhh, why wouldn’t we want our students to have
some time to pursue learning branched off of what they have already
learned? Don’t we want them to make connections and build on their knowledge? But that’s a post for another time…..