WikiJoan Marks

1. Name of Session: “Video-Conferencing It’s Easy, Free and Powerful”

Conference Year and Strand: 2008, Getting Started
Session URL:

A teacher presents how he used video-conferencing in the elementary classroom.
The applications included:
  1. Setting up Skype for a sick student who participated in class activities from home. This gave the students in school a real audience for their videos and blogs.
  2. Watching a guest speaker who gave a presentation to several schools in different geographically regions simultaneously. Students practiced note-taking, made podcasts and vidcasts, wrote blogs, and were able to revisit the presentation later as needed.
  3. Giving oral presentations through podcasts and vidcasts for students at a school in another state. Students assessed each others oral communication skills which was expecially powerful for the ESOL students.
  4. Analyzing and evaluating the productions of middle school students proved to be highly motivational.
  5. Collaborated with students in other schools using Google Docs in writing stories.

Questions/Ideas for further exploration:
After watching the conference I decided I couldn't do anything without setting up Skype. I have a new computer and I was able to create my first ever webcam video:

Personal Professional Development:
This conference pushed me to set up Skype on my computer and to try out the Webcam. I also uploaded the Webcam video I made to Youtube so that I could upload/embed it onto the Wiki. Just being pushed to do these things is so very good for me personally and professionally. I fel as though I am one step closer to being able to get video-conferencing going in the classroom.

Ideas for Application:
  1. Set up sister schools in geographically diverse places for video-conferencing.
  2. Have regular guest speakers for content area work.
  3. Allow students to assess each other for oral communication skills especially ESOL.
  4. Use Skype when students are out sick.

2. Name of Session: Leading the Change: There's Something Going on Here that You Need to Know About...

Conference Year and Strand: 2008, Leading the Change
Session URL:

First Time Gliffy User

The following is a link to a live giraffecam on ustream:

3. Name of Session: Reading Revolution: New Texts and New Technologies

Conference Year and Strand: 2008, Getting Started
Session URL:

Ideas to Explore:
The use of auditory text materials is extremely important for auditory learners and especially ESOL.
These are links that Laurie Fowler recommended in her online conference:
Audio Books
Audio Book 4 Kids this site from the UK has mp3 files that your students can download and listen to at their leisure.
Free Classic Audio Books This site allows you to download either mp3 or iPod files to listen to the classics.
Planet eBook This site also has literary classics that many secondary students worldwide read in their literature classes like Treasure Island, 1984, and the Iliad.
Project Gutenberg This site has over 25,000 free etexts of classics like Anna Karenina in text and audio formats, The Aeneid in Latin and in English, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer plus the complete works of Shakespeare. It is a great resource for students who cannot afford to buy individual paperback books for study and for schools that may not have the literature texts they need.
The Online Books Page provides links to over 30,000 books online at universities and other locations. This site is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.
Picture Books
BookPALS StoryLine Online This site has actual published picture books being read by celebrities along with the text.
Children's Storybooks Online This site has links to lots of great books for kids.
Internet Public Library's Picture Books Online This site has links to several web sites with picture books for kids that they can view online.
Literacy Site--Fiction and Narrative This site from the UK has picture books to look at online and some that have audio as well.

Professional Development:

This is the link for Laurie Fowler's Reading Revolution /wiki where her resources can be found. She also has a blog on this topic which is a great place to go to when looking for fresh ideas on using new texts.

Ideas to Try:
Blogs for students response to text.
Wikified Word Wall- a totally online word wall that everyone in the learning community can contribute to.
Using a variety of podcasting resources. (I used Vocaroo for the first time here. I would like to try the different ones I'm finding out about.)

4. Name of Session: Learn to Blog: Blog to Learn

Conference Year and Strand: 2007 New Tools
Session URL:

5. Name of Session:Promise into Practice

Conference Year and Strand: Prove It! 2008
Session URL:

6. Name of Session: Starting From Scratch: Framing Change for All Stakeholders

Conference Year and Strand:Obstacles to Opportunities 2007
Session URL:

7. Name of Session: Design Matters

Conference Year and Strand: Classroom 2.0
Session URL:

The presenter makes a case for intentional design in learning and divides it into two main categories: The Physical Design of the Learning Environment and The Pedagogical Design of the Learning Environment. The first half of his video presents three experts in design who discuss the role of the physical space. Educators and architects who focus on the utilitarian form and function of the learning space: a teacher who views the classroom as a "studio" which is open for multiple uses, where the teacher is a facilitator and a learner simultaneously and: a professor who makes the case that in order to get beyond the slickness of technology that kids need to be creative, need to collaborate, and need to experiment in order for learning to happen in a meaningful way.

The second half of the presentation focuses on five main components of designing with visual literacy in mind:
  1. Planning - the importance of teaching how to use storyboards to plan in order to focus and frame ideas before using technology tools.
  2. Imagery - the idea that visual literacy is just as important as textual literacy. Design principles of photography, videography and the use of Flickr.
  3. Whtespaces and Transitions - the importance of whitespaces for emphasis; that less is more.
  4. Constraints - ideas should be focused, concise. Edit, edit, edit!
  5. Innovation and Significance - moving beyond PowerPointessness to get to a deeper meaning. It encourages students not to use templates but to create their own way of branding their ideas.

Ideas for further exploration:
This way of thinking is very near and dear to me. Having come from a design background into education, it has long been a dream of mine to truly create a classroom learning "environment" that encompassses the components discussed in this presentation. Since I am currently unemployed, this presentation has inspired me to begin to frame a way of expressing these ideas through text, speech, and visually in my next interview with an administrator. I am waiting for the day when I meet a visionary leader who recognizes what I have to bring to this way of thinking.

Personal Professional Development:
I would like to develop the four slide sales pitch for myself. Perhaps I will post it here later. I would like to turn my resume into a Web 2.0 presentation instead the traditional text-based document.

Ideas for Application:
I think it would be exciting to take the presenters ideas of planning, imagery, whitespaces and transitions, constraints and innovation and develop a standards-based curriculum for a specific unit. Social studies would be very easy to adapt to this structure, as there is always a focus to the lesson that is usually connected to larger essential ideas. American History and visual literacy would be very exciting to attempt. Students who are studying the American Revolution, Westward Expansion, and the Civil War could easily find ways of branding ideas of the founding of the United States into visual products. There are endless numbers of these types of ideas in the media to analyze and discuss.

8. Name of Session: Oodles of Googles

Conference Year and Strand: 2007 New Tools

Summary: This conference was the most user friendly and practical conference I could imagine. The presenter showed how to use several applications in Google Docs for use by teachers and students when conducting research. She demonstrated the Notebook feature which allows the user to add pictures for a report and copy and paste text (and where to find the information for citations.) She showed how you can see your web history so you don't lose the locations of places on the web that you have visited. She then demonstrated how to take what's in the notebook and turn them into notes in Google Docs and how to make it an online file. Next, she showed how to collaborate on a "PowerPoint" type slide shoe in Google Doc and how easily students can contribute to it as it is being created. She explained about Page Creator in Google Labs where the teacher can be a site manager by creating links as you go for ease with research.

Ideas for further exploration: Everything in this presentation is an idea for further exploration. I have used Google Docs mostly for Word documents and slide shows but I have yet to be so brave as to try out any of the other features. I love writers notebooks and I love the idea of have a Google Doc notebook that can be turned into notes with citations right at hand. Fantastic!

Personal Professional Development: I have got to set some of these things up in a way that is consistent with the kind of reading and writing process classroom I strive to create and facilitate. It is the larger goal for me in integrating Web 2.0 in how my student learn to "process."

Ideas for Application: Everythng I learned here is ideal for research in social studies and science. The ways to use it seem infinite. I am putting a link to the Wiki here

9. Name of Session: Free Tools for Universal Design for Learning in Literacy

Conference Year and Strand: 2006 Getting Started

10. Name of Session: Release the Hounds

Conference Year and Strand: 2007 Classroom 2.0

Summary: The teacher presenting this conference shows how he used electronic portfolios as a tool for engaging students and their parents in learning. He created a class web page and then individual student web pages that were used as a kind of student-led conference. The students had to create their own pages, and then teach their parents about what they were learning. In some instances, they were teaching their parents 8th grade math. As the year went on the students continued to create their web pages which actually documented their learning and was also used as a class wiki. Throughout the process students were introduced to Web 2.0 tools to try, resulting in the production of various media.

Ideas to explore: E-portfolios and the way to set them up is definitely high on my agenda as a teacher. Making student work available to parents and the larger school community is a must if a Web 2.0 classroom is being constructed. The approach taken here is simple and straight forward, and probably should be started right after school begins in the fall. The materials to be made available on class web pages needs to be thought through and appropriate for student to be able to work independently, and in order for them to engage their parents in the learning process.

Personal professional development: For me this inevitably comes down to time management. Becoming more competent in the use of computer applications will go a long way in enabling me to be able to manage a classroom set up around e-portfolios. I am committed to spending as much one-on-one time with students in support of their reading and writing growth. I need to be able to set up the Web 2.0 classroom structure early in the school year so that, once in place, it can be supported by students as appropriate, but does not become the sole mode of my engagement with students. I can only accomplish that if I grow my understanding of technology. I believe there must be a balance to all this. We all seem to know when we don't have balance. When learning something new, it often feels like a disproportionate amount of time is going into the endeavor. It's unavoidable but hopefully I will be able to apply what I've learned and balance it with other necessary types of instruction.

Ideas for application: Possibilities for application seem as vast as the curriculum. I am a writing/reading process based teacher and so I would want to put much energy into beautifully written student pieces. It's just too difficult to read poorly written or uninteresting writing. All the content areas offer opportunities for an e-portfolio. I could see setting up each student web page with reading, writing, science, social studies, and math sections. Each could have a place for homework assignments, parent involvement, blogs, images, slide shows, etc. The collaborative efforts could be posted on both the student and class web pages. There could be a places for parent comments or a blog that the class could take turns posting to.