Saturday, March 13, 2010

What do I do now?

I need your help.

This ancient Luddite, who still uses a turntable and does not own a cell phone, not even a broken one, somehow managed to glom a grant. A technology grant.

I am getting a set of notebooks for my classes, along with a fancy router--we're going to jump into the 21st century.

Wiki, Twitter, Ning, Google Docs, moodle, Mouse Mischief, Skype....where to start?

Who's connected out there? Who wants to help saddle up this old horse for one last ride before he hits the glue factory?

I feel like Bill McKay in The Candidate after he won:

What do we do now?

OK, a cheap way to put me and Mr. Redford on the same page.


JoeVol said...

Well, I think the first thing you do it read this:

Then, figure out what you want to do with the notebooks and blog about those goals. Here's an example of a teacher wrestling with similar things:

I work for a science teacher education program and we teach an entire class about technology in the service of science education. Let me know how I can help.

John Spencer said...

I'm wrestling with the same things, Doyle. Same questions, same concerns, same everything. I don't own an MP3 player or cell phone and I'm trying to convince my wife to let us get rid of the microwave. I'm also going back to riding my bike to work.

I can tell you that Google Apps and Ning networks have worked well. We also use PBworks and some of the kids prefer Zoho to Google Apps. I haven't been impressed with Edublogs, but I know of a ton of educators who prefer them.

But we also make great use of Kompozer, Concept Maps, Open Office, Audacity and other open source applications that are "cloud-free."

If you are running on Linux (and I assume you are), I'd be glad to let you know what programs we use.

I'm in the minority on this one, but I prefer Linux Mint, even with netbooks.

P.S. in my book, I have a chapter about technology and you can see the questions I ask my kiddos. I point this out just to prove that I still have a Luddite streak as well.

Louise Maine said...

Congratulations! If you ever need help, you know you just need ask.

Of course I recommend wikispaces which allows you to start traditionally and let students take over much. Our recent one is here. Maybe our bio classes could collaborate or discuss about something related to the environment or nutrition or DNA - stem cells, etc.

We could skype. I am not impressed with edublogs either. My kids are blogging with their schoolwires blog (not impressed there either but one less password to remember.) Nings are great too, but still like wikis more.

Google docs are a must too because they can create forms for collecting lab data and then analyze them and make charts. They can also collaborate on docs and presos.

Why not just go paperless?

Theresa Milstein said...

I stumbled across this blog, and thought you might find it helpful:

momomom said...


ertzeid said...

Congratulations! I take it this is for a biology class?

Shared information, like wikis, is a great start.

Also consider using them to teach the kids about how technology is used in the sciences--mapping the human genome, modeling various natural processes, etc. Perhaps have the kids collaboratively create a wiki about how computers and the Internet have advanced scientific research. If you want to grade it, just look at the history of each page to see who contributed what, who corrected, and who just changed the font or spacing on a page to make it look like they'd done something.

Les Petits Nous said...

It's not readily your field, but I love the spirit of what she posts and she reviews a lot of technology tools:

and congrats!

Sue VanHattum said...

I second the recommendation to follow Teaching College math.

JoeVol said...

Doyle, if you don't already know about this site, it's a great student-maintained biology class blog:

doyle said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments--I have been busy checking out the resources, and phenomenal stuff is happening out there. I rarely wish I'd live longer than my time, but the explosion of the internet/interneural network is amazing.

I planted peas this weekend. Soil is more complex than the internet. It is my hope that I can segue the internet connections to that big thing going on outside.

Please keep the comments coming as you find new tools (or new to me, anyway).

Barry Bachenheimer said...

Very cool. Congrats. My first suggestion would be to answer the question "What experience(s) would I like to provide to my students that that are not getting now that would enrich their learning and understanding of what I teach?". Based on the answer to that question, that is where you start. Post your response to that question, and I'm happy to throw you some tools you might want to start with.

Kate said...

No peas until next weekend for me, but there will be peas.

Love love love google docs & spreadsheets and presentations. Forms for collecting information, great tools for all kinds of collaboration.

Wikispaces - easy to get ad free spaces that are easy to use and very functional. Gets students collecting and sharing knowledge.

Here's to peas and netbooks.

Kelly said...

Um, not a single one of you mentioned let the students be his guide - ! :) Doyle - why not ask a few of your trusted students where they see the learning and technology integrating in your classroom? You will get some inspiring insight.

doyle said...

Dear Barry,

That's exactly the question that got me into this mess--but it's an essential question for what we do.

Dear Kate,

I liked wikispaces when I used it a couple of years ago, but need to work around some school blocks. I have the account set up and ready to go!

In the end, the peas may matter more than the netbooks, but no way for my kids to know this unless they've been exposed to both.

Dear Kelly,

That was actually built into the grant proposal--once we're set up and going, I am counting on the students to take charge of their learning. I like the idea of seeking them out first, though.

john in nc said...

I agree with JoeVol -- read lots of Bill Ferriter's "The Tempered Radical" posts. And also my middle school science friend Marsha Ratzel... make e-friends with her and read what she's up to at "Reflections of a Techie." She teaches middle grades science and math:

nashworld said...

(Firefox just crashed and killed my detailed response, so...)

But Barry is right. Think skills and environment as opposed to tools. It's not semantics, but you know that.

I'm more than game to put in my two cents on the instructional stuff. Differences between assessment of differing types of online writing, research, etc.......

I certainly don't have all of the answers, but I do have two things: what I have personally done in a live classroom to some level of success, and the ability to ask rather upsetting (yet crucial) questions. ;)

Exciting potential. You'll have fun empowering kids in this way.