Monday, February 19, 2007

Explanations, Explorations

Today was a holiday, and tomorrow is Curriculum Day at my school; the kids are out and we have a guest presenter (Marco Torres of San Fernando High School and Apple Computer), who has done amazing things with high school kids by teaching them how to use video as a primary communication tool. He was at Punahou last year and is back for an encore. After his presentation we have department meeting time, so today I went over to school and met with Chris Watson to shape up the presentation we will be doing for the English department tomorrow afternoon. We're dividing the two-hour session up into two segments: Explanation and Exploration.

In the explanation section we're going to provide an overview of some of the tools we've been working with this year: Google Docs, Google Reader, Google Notes,, Flicker, Youtube, Podomatic, blogs, and wikis, and so on. We're also going to show our colleagues, for the first time, the stuff kids are actually working on now, including the wiki and the class page (with links to the individual blogs) my sophs have just gotten started on (I finally got the setup I wanted on the school server using Movable Type as a platform), the various pages Chris's students have created, his wife Anita's class pages, and Mark Maretzki's class pages. We'll show them some other stuff too, like Clay Burell's site in Korea and this wiki Chris showed me which is being set up as a kind of general listing of student and teacher blogs. We're in this knee-deep this semester, and it's new for all of us, but it's been pretty interesting so far and I figure it's about time to get the word out.

In the second hour, during the explorations segment, we're going to give the teachers the chance to work individually or in pairs to a) create a blog in blogger2 (I've put together a set of step-by-step directions complete with screen shots, b) visit the individual student blogs and post comments on some of them or c) do a little bloghopping of their own, either by working from the wiki I just referenced or by going from one site to another via the blogrolls on each site, which is more or less how I began to find my way around these lo these many years ago (well, months, actually. But it sure seems longer.) After our meeting Marco Torres is going to be doing a workshop on creating short videos with kids, and after that the school is hosting a dinner for him, so tomorrow is going to be a blur. Wish us luck.

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