In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, most students and teachers in schools were sharply limited in the potential audience for which they could share their ideas and publications. Gone are the days when the top destination for exemplary student work was the family refrigerator. The potential audience for student work has changed dramatically in the 21st century with the advent of read/write web (web 2.0) tools like blogs, wikis, social networking websites, and video publication venues like YouTube. The ability for anyone with access to a web browser to publish text, audio, and video on the global stage of the Internet is a disruptive, challenging, and empowering phenomenon. In the context of digital storytelling, a variety of tools are available which permit learners of all ages to constructively share their voices and perspectives via the Internet using free website tools, readily available technologies like cell phones, and relatively affordable commercial hardware tools like portable audio recorders. This article explores several options for mobile digital storytelling.
Content on Internet’s world-wide web continues to grow at a dizzying pace. While a wealth of engaging content for learning is now available online, locating and later RE-locating websites for instructional uses is frequently challenging. As teachers, we’ve all likely had an experience similar to this one: “I know I saw a great website about that topic just last week. How frustrating I cannot find the web address again so I can share this with my students!” Social bookmarking offers a free and compelling way to address the need we all have to locate, record, later RE-locate, and share “good website finds” on the Internet. Regardless of future changes in the Internet and the content it contains, this ability to ably manage website “bookmarks” or “favorites” is likely to be an enduring skill important to both teachers and students alike.
While in the past, a teacher had to be blessed to have an educational “Yoda” working next door or across the hall in school, today thanks to interactive technologies it is possible to be mentored and serve as a mentor by and for teachers literally all over our planet. Teachers need to become more aware of these opportunities for positive, constructive social networking with other educators around the world, and join the conversations taking place in multiple virtual venues. The scale of the “sea changes” we face can appear staggering, but challenges can appear less formidible if you have supportive mentors at your side (both literally and virtually) in the 21st century classroom.
Despite the proliferation of web 2.0 technologies and more tools for interactive, desktop videoconferencing than you can shake a mouse at, Internet research remains one of the most common uses for computer technologies in U.S. schools today. The process of copying and pasting information, source URLs, and photographs for a report or multimedia presentation is often a laborious process. Multi-tasking between a web browser and a word processor when conducting online research requires a large number of mouse clicks for each piece of information to be saved appropriately. Thankfully, the availability of the free, web-based Google Notebook program (www.google.com/notebook) can dramatically streamline the research process. Instead of multi-tasking, users can conduct all their research from the comfort of their web browser! In this article, we’ll explore ten reasons for using Google Notebook for online research as well as some tips and tricks.
The digital environment increasingly provides a window into face to face (F2F) as well as virtual interactions between people. Bullying, which sadly seems to be a timeless activity, has moved into virtual environments as more students have gained access to and knowledge about the Internet. While some educational leaders may prefer to metaphorically “paint over” these windows in schools to hide these negative interactions from public view, schools need to take a more proactive stance than merely banning social networking websites to adequately address issues like cyberbullying.