Students meeting the NETS-S

When I opened up this file this week: NETS for Students 2007, I immediately sent it to all three of my IT guys at Credenda and said, we need to put together a strategic plan to ensure that the 28 schools we provide IT services to have all these areas addressed. What a great standard not only for ensuring that the schools computer labs are adequately setup to meet these standards, but we need to make sure when we are using technology, that we meet standards that ensure learning is taking place and not just a lot of busy work.

In Saskatchewan, we use CELS’s as standards for every lesson that is taught, and so there is similarities between NETS & CEL’s.

The following standards can easily be met with the use of Web 2.0 tools.

1. Creativity and Innovation:

Without a doubt, I would use Animoto and Moonk as two great Web 2.0 applications for students expressing creativity and innovation. Both give students the ability to create video with ease. Animoto has one drawback that unless it is a education account, the video length is limited to one minute. But with an education account, which you can request, students can upload pictures and choose music to create amazing presentations that are fun and very professional looking.

Moonk is similar, but also adds features for slideshows and jukebox presentations that can be embedded into your blog or a social network, like MySpace. My interest in this application is how it can be used to enhance a blog. Now normally, I like to embed a video or two or some images into my blogs, it just adds some extra flare and creativity. Students need to do this as well to express themselves creatively for NETS-S.

2. Communication and Collaboration:

I’ve really enjoyed working with Diigo as a Web 2.0 application for collaboration. Even the logo reveals the intention of collaboration and communicating between individuals and groups in the sharing of bookmarks. Now there are other tools out there that are similar, but I really like some added features that Diigo has, such as the ability to highlight information on a given web page that a teacher wants students to notice, or to add sticky notes and write brief descriptions for students to focus in on when viewing the page. Great tool for sharing bookmarks on a particular theme with students. This is a must for collaboration for students.

3. Research and Information Fluency:

I already mentioned Wikispace in my previous blog, but a close second and maybe a better tool for sharing research information and increasing information fluency is Ning. We use Wikispace for the student and teachers project site, but we use Ning for the researchers to collaborate their data findings, and pull in the results from the wikispace project that the students post. Ning is a great web 2.0 application to facilitate this for our research project. I can see students using it as well. It has great added features to promote learning and be more than a social network. But more importantly, it’s a great site for housing data and information that students can process, evaluate, write reports about the research for others in their group to view and collaborate.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making:

Another really cool site that facilitates learning and promotes the thinking is the Oracle site called ThinkQuest:Think.com. It was a toss up between this and Global Schoolnet. Both are good, and both promote the idea of using 21st Century tools to create projects for teachers and students around the world to share ideas with or work on together. These projects are not just so students can learn more about a topic, but so that they can critically think about the issues, develop solutions, and then put together action plans to make a difference. Now both of these web applications do the same, but ThinkQuest provides a nice site to house the project and use the tools that Oracle is developing for the business world.

5. Digital Citizenship:

My favorite site for promoting citizenship, which by extension, builds digital citizenship, is GoodTube. Now I realize the idea behind digital citizenship is having students communicate respectfully with one another in the digital world. We want students to be safe and behave legally online. We don’t want them sharing personal information with complete strangers. But rather than focus on the negatives, I want to promote a web application called GoodTube that makes it their mission to share and post video stories that promote caring, respect, and causes that good people are working to promote. It’s a great resource for teachers to use with their students to create a greater sense of helping others out and making the world a better place to live. Students can create their own digital stories and feature them here as well.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts:

The purpose of this strategy is to ensure that students are applying the various applications to learning and are transferring this learning into something practical. There is no one web 2.0 application that stands out to do this, in fact, this is where the teachers need to really focused on what the outcome is for the lesson. There are great tools out there like Bubbl.us that are great for mindmapping, or Freemind, as well. These are great tools for brainstorming the concepts with students, but I still believe that if a teacher isn’t being challenged themselves to think and consider new ideas, none of these web 2.0 applications will make any difference in learning. So I need to promote my favorite site for learning, Ted.com. Absolutely a must for every teacher to spend 30 minutes a week and feed there mind with something challenging or encouraging from this website. I love the ideas that are shared at this site. I find myself fed and energized after listening to a variety of people share their ideas. Afterwards, I find myself thinking about how I can communicate the lesson I’ve learned to students and friends. If I want my students to be a lifelong learner, then I must be as well.

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