Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Newbie Presenter

This past weekend was my first presentation (other than at school, of course). I was a presenter at the 37th annual Pennsylvania State Librarian's Association Conference.

I'm happy with how the presentation went. There are a few things that I wish I would have done differently in hindsight. I wish I would have taken 5 minutes at the beginning of the presentation to make sure everyone in the audience was able to get to the online portion of my presentation. A few people were having trouble finding the link on the conference wiki. I also wish I would have scheduled about 5 minutes between each application I was talking about to answer a few questions. Oh well, next time I'll try to remember to do those things. Live and learn:)

I began with a short presentation embedded below:

At the end of the presentation, I linked out to a poll by Poll Everywhere. I wanted to get an idea of where everyone in the group was at in terms of using applications like glogster, wordle, audacity, etc.

Then I launched into the content of my presentation using a LiveBinder I created. I absolutely LOVE LiveBinders for presentations because your presentation then becomes a resource binder for those in the audience. My session focused on creating multi-media book projects. I talked to teacher librarians about how to make book projects 2.0-style and allow students to learn important 21st century skills - creative commons, visual literacy, communication, etc.

It is amazing how a presentation that can take hours upon hours to create and organize, is over in 1 hour and 15 minutes. I wanted more time, but the time I did have was great and the participants were wonderful!

Number 1 photo used under Creative Commons license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/49968232@N00/2115400318/.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Collaborative Writing Made Fun and Easy

Last month my fifth graders completed a unit on Internet Safety. Our culminating activity (which only took 1 1/2 periods!!) was a group essay.

To facilitate the collaborative writing process, which can be difficult, we turned to Etherpad, making the whole process fun and flow smoothly.

So, I'm disappointed to hear that Etherpad will be shut down and access to previously created pads will be lost on May 14. Google had recently purchased Etherpad, released their API, and now they are shutting Etherpad down. Luckily two "clone" sites are available, so I will be using one of them in the future:

1. I introduced Etherpad to the students, which only took about 10 minutes. Then I allowed the students to test it out and practice with it for another 10 minutes. Since it was my first time and their first time using it, we worked out all the kinks and brainstormed some ideas on how to use Etherpad effectively to create a collaborative essay. This was also a great teachable moment on discussing the difference between academic writing and text/chat writing because they were switching back and forth between both!

2. Now the students were ready to really begin. Before their next class, I created 5 pads for each class and posted the invite URLs online. All the students had to do was click on the link corresponding with their group and everyone was on the correct pad and ready to write!

3. The class was silent even though they were constantly checking in with one another and communicating about their writing process. Here's just a sampling of the conversations occurring about their writing in the chat box.

4. Once they finished their final products I showed them what the TimeSlider button did. They loved seeing a video of their entire writing process enfold before their eyes. It is the perfect end to a collaborative writing process.

TimeSlider video (I imagine this link will not work after May 14, 2010).

Finished Products

Classroom Ideas:
Write a group story
Lab reports
Group projects
Summarizing (book, lesson, presentation, video) activity

Teamwork photo used under Creative Commons license from