Another international collaboration is born!

Our seventh grade IT students are just about to begin a new international collaboration with students in the United States. They will be taking advantage of the exciting communication tools (like YackPack) that we are using with sixth grade, plus they will put to use all of their wiki skills which they learned on the 1001 Flat World Tales project.

This project will focus around learning more about each country and getting know students on the other side of the planet. Our seventh graders have been very fortunate this year to have the opportunity to collaborate with so many different students all around the world!

Join the Pack

Our sixth graders are about embark on yet another exciting adventure!

As part of their current collaborative project with a class in New Zealand, they are learning all about 21st Century Literacy skills – wikis, Skype, and now YackPack.

YackPack is basically an online telephone and answering machine. Students, teachers and parents in the Pack can either communicate “live” when both parties are online, or leave voice messages for other members of the Pack. This tool will allow our partner classmates to get to know each other on a more personal level.

We can’t wait to get started!

What makes you happy?

Our sixth grade students have just begun an exciting new project!

We are collaborating with a class in New Zealand to produce multimedia presentations about what makes us happy. We began today with a 20 minute Skype conference with our partner class in NZ.

Please come back to our wiki often to see what amazing new things our students have produced. Ms. H and I are very excited to see how this turns out!

Image: http://www.andreaharner.com/archives/SmilingCat2.jpg

1001 Flat World Tales Begins!

Our grade 7 English students are embarking on an exciting collaborative project today! They will be part of the 1001 Flat World Tales project initiated by Mr. Burrell at Korea International School. Our students will be writing myths and legends about Malaysia using a wiki to work in collaboration with students in Serbia and Canada (who are, in turn, writing tales of their culture). Our students will partner with students in either Serbia or Canada to peer edit and review their stories. Eventually all stories will become part of the 1001 Flat World Tales.

Making Connections

Our eighth grade students have just started a fantastic new project in Mr. R’s English class. The will be working with students all around the world to discuss what life is like as a teenager in today’s society.

“The purpose of this project is to have teenagers from different locations around the globe exchange their thoughts and perceptions of what their lives are like. By viewing, reading, and listening to the perspectives of others from around the globe, they will gain a greater perception of the similarities and differences of people’s lives around the world. We are looking to dig deeper, to have kids dig, read, write, etc. We want them to explore issues, and work intensely to gain a clearer understanding of concerns that people have in a global world.”

We will be collaborating with students in Cartagena, Columbia; Snow Lake, M.B., Canada; and Virginia, U.S.A. For our students, this will be the first time they are directly collaborating with students outside of the school, and they are really excited. We are approaching this project through the upcoming Poetry unit in English class. In addition to authoring their own poetry, students will be asked to present their poems in any multimedia format. We’re thinking digital video, podcasts, slideshows, soundtracks… The possibilities are endless!

21st Century Communication

All of our middle school students now have their own blogs hosted by Learner Blogs. You can find links to all student blogs here on this blog (on the sidebar), or sorted by class on the individual teacher blogs (listed below). Feel free to read what they are writing and to participate in the conversation. Learning is no longer limited by our classroom doors.

These blogs are part of:

What blogging does for students


“Helps them find a voice

A benefit to educational blogging (and wiki-writing) is the opportunity for the student to find a personal “voice” and to develop individual interests. Much like journal-writing, blogging gives wings to ideas that otherwise may can stay trapped in the mind. Many individuals find that blog-writing changes their lives in a significant way by allowing them to express their ideas in a medium that appears to have life and longevity–and that might find a kindred audience.

Creates enthusiasm for writing and communications

It is not expected that all students will take to blogging (just as not all students enjoy writing), but it is believed that blogging has a unique ability to create enthusiasm for writing and the communication of ideas.

Engages students in conversation and learning

Educational Blogging is more than just being about writing, just like writing is more than just writing business correspondence or a lab report for Chemistry class.Unlike traditional forms of publication that are one-way, when the work is done at the end of the publication process, students can be engaged in ongoing conversations about their ideas and thoughts. This can be threatening for some administrators afraid of endangering children, yet, it brings a reality to the classroom that was not previously possible.

Provides an opportunity to teach about responsible journalism

Because students who are posting blogs reach an audience with their posts, whereas a personal diary can be kept private, students have the opportunity in blogging to learn about the power of the published word. Whereas they might be tempted to criticise or make fun of someone in private conversation or in a diary, they can be taught about responsible journalism, and that the consequences of these kinds of remarks in the new world of the read/write web can be serious and long-lasting.

Empowers students

Student blogging is incredibly empowering in the following ways:

1) Instead of writing as a mechanized approach to empowerment where we learn to write well enough for school and work, we learn to write for life-long learning purposes.

2) Writing and blogging and life are intertwined as difficult issues are exposed and dealt with in a transparent community of voices. Although this type of writing entails risk and trust, growth and teamwork naturally result.

3) Writing and blogging encourage students’ initiative to write, to be engaged at more than just the head level. It involves writing from head and heart. Children often have not learned to do more than live from the heart, while adults have concentrated their efforts on more cerebral approaches. This means adults and children can bridge the gap that exists by writing together, creating a community of writers in their classrooms where there is no pseudo-community, only community where humans write.”

“What Blogging Does for Students.” Support Blogging Wiki. [http://supportblogging.wikispaces.com] Retrieved on 1 December 2006.

The Wide World of Wikis

We have 3 groups of software experts here at school! Each middle school IT exploratory class created an online tutorial wiki about the software application they studied during the quarter. These wikis are aimed at first time users of the software and are intended to teach everything that the students learned. Students worked collaboratively to create these tutorials and they look amazing! Check them out!

What is a wiki?

“A wiki (IPA: [ˈwɪ.kiː] or [ˈwiː.kiː] [1]) is a type of Web site that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change some available content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring. The term wiki also can refer to the collaborative software itself (wiki engine) that facilitates the operation of such a Web site, or to certain specific wiki sites, including the computer science site (an original wiki), WikiWikiWeb, and on-line encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.”

Definition from Wikipedia, Wiki Entry. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki] Retrieved on 17 November 2006.

Integration Takes Off!

The middle school IT integration initiative is really taking off! We have authentic, engaging, and exciting projects developing at all grade levels. I will be keeping track of all projects on this site on the projects page. To give you an overview, here is what’s going on:

Grade 6:

Social Studies Meets IT: Blogging in Social Studies: We started out the year using blogs to learn about current events. Since then, these student blogs have expanded into a one-stop-shop for all social studies work, as well as a place to post other core subject material.

Code Blue!: Wikis in Science: In order to develop an authentic assessment for a project about the human body systems, we decided to have the students create an online medical clinic in the form of a wiki. This was an exciting project because students were able to collaborate across class sections (even though they never actually sat in the same classroom at the same time, they were able to work on the same wikispace).

Are You Ready?: Wikis in Study Skills: As students learned about different study skills to make the transition from elementary to middle school easier, they collaborated on a wiki to help other sixth grade students at school and around the world.

Where in the World?: Google Earth in Social Studies: Students began their geography unit by researching different countries and marking them on Google Earth (still looking for a way to post this online).

Grade 8:

English Eight: Blogging in English: Students are ready to communicate with a wider audience by posting their writing online and commenting.

Cross Grade Level:

Strings Online: Wikis in Orchestra: A unique way to present personal projects on musicians. Students research their choice of artists and then post individual project pages online. The discussion tool is used to create an online version of classroom discussion.

What is IT Integration?

“Technology Integration is a term used by educators to describe effective uses of technology by teachers and students in K-12 and university classrooms. Teachers use technology to support instruction in language arts, social studies, science, math, or other content areas. When teachers integrate technology into their classroom practice, learners are empowered to be actively engaged in their learning.

Definition from: Wikipedia, Technology Integration Entry. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_Integration] Retrieved on 20 November 2006.

Middle School IT Wiki Online

All middle school students will be learning how to create and edit a wiki during IT this year. To start us off, I’ve created a middle school IT wiki which has links to all of the student created spaces. Check it out!

What is a wiki?
“A wiki (IPA: [ˈwɪ.kiː] or [ˈwiː.kiː] [1]) is a type of Web site that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change some available content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring. The term wiki also can refer to the collaborative software itself (wiki engine) that facilitates the operation of such a Web site, or to certain specific wiki sites, including the computer science site (an original wiki), WikiWikiWeb, and on-line encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.”

Definition from Wikipedia, Wiki Entry. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki] Retrieved on 17 November 2006.

Welcome to the Middle School IT blog!

This is the middle school IT blog maintained by Ms. C. On this site you can find news about middle school IT, all resources for the middle school IT classes, links to the middle school IT integration projects, as well as links to various helpful websites and student produced work. Take a look around and explore what our fantastic middle school students are doing with technology this year. Use the tabs above to navigate through the site.

msittabs.gif

What’s a blog?

Wikipedia defines a blog as, “A weblog (usually shortened to blog, but occasionally spelled web log or weblog) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles, most often in reverse chronological order.”

“Blogging is the posting of journal-like pages to a website. While these pages can contain photos or media, they are primarily focused on the easy ability to post written thoughts to a website. The postings are organized chronologically. Typically, a blog “post” can be “commented” on by others, allowing for a dialogue on a the topic of the post. Teachers and educators have used blogs to allow for what is commonly called “peer review,” meaning that students can post writings or assignments to the web, and other students can respond or encourage through the comment feature.

“In a broader and more educational system, blogs are about communicating. You observe your experience, reflect on it, and then write about it. Other people read your reflections, respond from their perspectives by commenting or writing their own blog article. You read their perspectives, often learn something through their eyes, and write some more.

  1. Blogging is about reading and writing.
  2. Literacy is about reading and writing.
  3. Blogging is about literacy. (dfw)

Quote from: Support Blogging, Educational Blogging. [http://supportblogging.wikispaces.com/Educational+Blogging] Retrieved on 20 November 2006.