Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 7 Prompt


For this week, you will have two SEPARATE postings.

Post #1 - Building and Refining your PLN

At the beginning of the term, you created a Twitter account and set up an RSS reader. Now it's time to refine and expand this process. Using a site like Google Blog Search (https://www.google.com/blogsearch?gws_rd=ssl), or http://www.blogsearchengine.org/, search for blogs that might be of interest to you based upon your own teaching background (e.g., grade levels, students, geographic location, subject area, etc.). You may also want to consider searching in Google with phrases such as (without quotes), "[your content area] blogs," "K-12 blogs," "Best [content area] blogs," etc.

Select THREE ADDITIONAL blogs to add to your RSS reader (and feel free to select more than three if you find others that are of interest to you).

Write an entry to your blog that lists the three blogs you have selected, the address for each of these three blogs, and a sentence or two about why you selected to follow them. Please include more than something to the effect of, "It was a blog about using technology in elementary school." or "It was about teaching high school mathematics in an urban area." There are dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of blogs that meet those criteria. Why did you pick that specific one? What about it caught our attention and/or interest?

Similarly, I want you to follow other teachers on Twitter. Using the same idea as above, search for experts in your content area that post to Twitter. (There are also links such as this which give a top 10-100 list). Find FIVE people/organizations to follow on Twitter, and a sentence or two about them (you don't need to be as detailed as you are with the blogs).

Finally, I'd like you to write a one paragraph reflection on how you have used these tools so far this semester (note: it's OK to say you haven't), which one have you gravitated toward, and what is something you'd like to do to improve your information gathering skills.

There is no requirement to comment on others' blog entries for this post...but you should at least read what each other has found. Be sure to have this completed by 11:59pm on Sunday, March 1st.

Post #2 - Judging the Quality of Wikis and Non-vetted Sites

There have been many opinions about the use of resources like Wikipedia and YouTube in the classroom. Some teachers refuse to accept information from students when their source is Wikipedia, while others are more than happy to allow their students to use it as an authoritative source. A group of scholars even examined the issue of the accuracy of Wikipedia. Also, some schools block YouTube in the classroom, some teachers only use educational videos vetted by Discovery Education, SchoolTube, TeacherTube, and others.

At the heart of it, Wikipedia is a wiki that anyone can contribute to and anyone can change. Likewise for YouTube: anyone can post just about anything, AND people can comment and rate what is published. How do you view Wikipedia as a resource for your students? Why? Do you let them use either as a resource? Do you yourself use them during instruction?

[Keep in mind, though, that just because anyone CAN edit and upload to these sites, not everyone DOES.  Consider the gender discrepancies in Wikipedia editors (listen or scroll to the bottom of the page for the transcript), as well as other gaps in age and race when it comes to content creation on Web 2.0 sites.]

As usual, we will spend this first week developing our own post, and the next week will be spent in discussion. Please have your initial post completed by 11:59pm on Sunday, March 1st.

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