Web 2.0: Putting it all together

Okay, I realized last year that I was too spread out on the Internet to be effective for my students. This year, my goal was to focus my efforts and make my web presence more effective. In an awkward way, I am doing so by using more Web 2.0 Tools…kinda ironic isn’t it.

The way my online presence was set up became ungainly and cumbersome. I outgrew the wiki I was using as my main site a couple of years ago and began looking for alternatives. I used BlackBoard which became too expensive, went to Moodle, which did not work out, then on to Edmodo, which rocks. I went with a “Two Way Street” model, I push out information via Edmodo, students would use the class wiki for their informational platform.  My students still use the wiki for posting their projects, but the everyday information has fallen off. We have a class blog where the students post their writing assignments for the world to see, warts and all, or as @bpasquale likes to say, “the unvarnished work of students.” My parents were directed to the various sites by either our school’s Edline page, or the class wiki. This set up just did not work, the reasons are plentiful.

Well, here is my game plan. I needed a one-stop shop to direct people around my many sites that was not cumbersome and did not require a log in.  I finally jumped on creating a website. This is now my main site, located at http://www.mrsalvucci.com, surprise, surprise.  From here you can, or will soon be able to, access everything that is necessary for success in my classes.  I will still use Edmodo as my online classroom, the blog for longer student writing pieces, and the wiki as a student publishing platform.  However, my website ties everything together and strengthens the connection between the existing sites.

My website will contain all of the information parents, students, and even my administrators need to keep current with my classes.  I will even use the site to showcase samples of student work, and hopefully spur interest in the main sites where student work is published.  I will explain not only the tools my students are using, but the reasons behind their uses.  This should clear up some of the confusion that occasionally arises throughout the year.  The site will also host ways to sign up for tools and services I use such as Textmarks, my new self-made Droid app, Netvibes, Google Docs, Evernote, and others.

I am hoping this tool streamlines the other sites and reinvigorates their usage by all parties involved in the educational process.  The potential is there for the sites to be powerful learning tools, but as I often like to say in my classes “potential and $4.95 gets you a small frappachino latte at the chain coffee store.”  These sites need to be more than potential tools, they need to be effective in the real world.

PETE & C: Arianna’s First Presentation

This year’s PETE & C was my third year attending and second year presenting. My favorite moment came at Monday’s Birds of a Feather session on Mobile Technology in the Classroom, when my daughter made a cameo appearance.  She and my wife were walking around the lodge and strolled past the session. 

Arianna came into the room to say hello and then proceeded to conduct an impromptu session on Meegenius with my iPad.  She quickly found the app, by “looking for the little owl.”  Once the Meegenius app was opened, Arianna quickly opened up her favorite story, “Little Red Riding Hood” and had the app read to her.  Meegenius is her favorite app, it has the ability to read stories to her while highlighting the words.  I like it because it is free and has many free and/or inexpensive stories that go with it.

She is four years old and can not only manipulate the iPad better than many adults, she can also explain the process.  Granted, she uses four year old terms in her explanations, but she also drops words like “plethora” in conversations…and with correct usage.

She has demonstrated the use of iPods and iPads for me before, but only through short video vignettes. Her brief appearance last Monday was her first live presentation…further proof that there is no logical reason why schools should hold off implementing 1 to 1 programs until the older grades.