Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

NECC 2008 Day 1 June 30, 2008

Getting ready for the Monday morning session. Sitting in to watch Vicki Davis, AKA Cool Cat Teacher, talk to us about her use of wikis in the classroom. Had a great dinner last night on the River Walk here in San Antonio and then went to the opening reception where I collected an obscene number of ribbons to attach to my badge. Still sad I never found the ones that said “Rock Star” on them.

I am experimenting with Twitter as a communication tool with the group of educators from my school district who came with me. I set up a new account, had them all follow it and set it to send the messages to their mobile phones. This way I can send a tweet to the new account and it will automatically go out to everyone in our group. However, I have already learned this morning that not everyone is receiving the  tweets properly, so I may have to go back to sending good old fashioned text messages to each of them – might cost me an extra 30 seconds 🙂

It is still half an hour before Vicki’s session is supposed to begin and already the room is full. We are in the Open Source lab and most of the laptops they planned to make available to us are dead in the water because the rest of the power supplies did not arrive in time. Good news is that it looks like most participants brought their own laptops with them so it really is not a big issue. I left my laptop in the hotel room – really did not want to lug it around today  – but since I arrived at this session super early, I got one of the provided laptops that does have a power supply!

Getting started with the wikipreso!  They are trying to find someone who can UStream.

They have a backchannel chat room set up for this session using Chatzy. Love this idea – give the class a vehicle for side comments that is not disruptive to the session. Someone is monitoring the chat and will use the topics of discussion from the chat to answer questions in the latter part of the session. Wow – finding it hard to keep up with the chat and the presenter at the same time.

There is a wiki for the session (surprise)!  Wikispaces is co-presenting this.

Yay – CCT (Cool Cat Teacher AKA Vicki) is now showing her classroom wiki. Uploads docs for students to download. Lists projects and blog posting assignments. Cool – you can embed video directly in wikispaces – no need to upload to Teacher Tube first 🙂 CCT has her students create eFolios in Wikispaces – she creates the template for them to use. Students tag assignments with “turnin” when they are done. CCT then has those sent via RSS to her aggregator and automatically knows when there are assignments she needs to grade. Plans to aggregate to Ning as well.

Cool idea – CCT has her students set up a PLN (personal learning network) page for each project they do within NetVibes.  Thinking about how my district might use this for the NC Graduation Project!  CCT notes that her students  – who are in Rural Georgia have already had their world view changed in significant ways by collaborating with other students using wikis in the Flat Classroom project.

New term for me “techno-personal problems.”  CCT is referring to the ways students get into trouble online – i.e. changing the assignment date on the wiki. She and her administrators are proactive on how to address these issue – and guess what – they do not respond by taking away the technology – they use typically student management techniques such as detentions. Her advice is that every time you use a new technology in the classroom, expect trouble from a student within 1-3 days. Teachers need to be vigilant and watch the techno activity and deal with trouble swiftly.

CCT teaches her students that Blogs are for opinion and Wikis is for facts/assignments.

Very cool – wikispaces will grab RSS and embed directly into the wiki page. An example is grabbing tagged bookmarks from and placing them on the wiki page.

Fun session and well done!