Feb 21

While browsing Sue Waters’ edublogger, I was pleasantly surprised to find a contest in which I might be able to win a year of supported blog hosting at  All I have to do is post about a topic in which I am very interested: Getting Educators involved with Web 2.0 (more than just for checking email).  This topic has been on my mind a lot this week and I have been very nearly obsessed with adding technology to my own classroom, thereby having a positive impact on both my students and my colleagues.

Today at lunch, I was talking to some of my fellow science teachers about using wikis in the Science Classroom.  I was actually surprised at the amount of mocking and cynicism I encountered when I mentioned this.  Mishelleyb sent an article by Ruth Reynard, from, which was extremely informative for a teacher (like myself) who is considering adding a wiki/blog project to the classroom.  I talked with the lunch bunch about it and got mixed reviews; everything from “You have way too much time on your hands” to “Why don’t you send me the link for the article?”  I also heard questions like “what is a word cloud?” and “what’s the difference between a wiki and a blog?” I was both annoyed and pleased.  Annoyed because some of my peers probably thought I was neglecting my school work and “goofing around on the ‘net”; but pleased that there might be just the tiniest bit of jealousy that a newbie teacher might be making a bigger impact on students than the mature veteran teacher.

Because I want my colleagues to be able to succeed with today’s digital natives, I ended up sending the link to every one of our science teachers.  All of the responses so far have been positive.  The majority of tit came from my department chair, a veteran teacher who is motivated to teach 21st century skills in his classroom.  He is excited about the new things we are learning together; we have begun to find good information that we constantly share with each other.  I told him I would be doing some research for my wiki/blog project over the weekend and would give a full update on Monday.

Just as a little side note, I am the only teacher at my school (as of my last check) who does any type of discussion board or asynchronous discussion outside of class.  I was asked to and did give a short presentation about what I do and what I think are the Top 10 Best Practices for using a discussion board  as part of the classroom environment. I gave this presentation to about 60 teachers in my building.  Since I am only a second year teacher, this was the first time I had ever spoken in front of my peers.  Imagine me, a lowly newbie, telling all of those master teachers about what I do in my classroom.  Why would they even care?

Speaking of caring, I have gotten some really positive comments this week from students.  One that stood out to me was this:

“So I have to say first off that you have been very influential to my learning experience. Although I might not always get what we are doing in class, its been a great environment and I really have learned a lot. I like that we’re open in this class and it really has helped knowing more about you and people in the class. Thanks Bowie!”

My physics students seem to really enjoy the discussion board when I can provide them with a good topic.  If you are interested in seeing what our discussions are about, email me and I will provide you with a username and password so that you can access that part of our classrooom.

I would really be interested in what you have to say about using the web in your classroom.  Many teachers are considering this move towards technology immersion in their classes but just need a gentle nudge to push them over the edge.  It only took me attending two events in two weeks and hearing an excellent speaker on technology in the classroom.  What will it take for you?

10 comments so far

  1. Sue Waters
    5:11 - 2-26-2009

    Thanks Jody for entering The Edublogger’s First Birthday competition. Getting educators to become involved with using technology in their classroom can be quite challenging. It is good to hear that you are having some success with other teachers.

    Your work with your students sounds great. I know of a maths teacher who has added a chat facility to his blog so students can ask questions of each other and him outside of class times.

  2. Anne Mirtschin
    5:19 - 2-26-2009

    Great post and wonderful to see that you are enthausiastic about web2.0 tools, especially in science where teachers can often be reluctant to take it up. What a wonderful comment from your student! I have also found that it is difficult to get other staff on board, but once they see the positive reactions of the students or ‘are pushed over the edge’, they too can see the positive learning outcomes that they can bring. Keep up the great work.

  3. ldumicich
    5:26 - 2-26-2009

    Keep up the great work Jody! It is really exciting to hear of people having some success stories in the area of encouraging teachers to use ICT. I hope you Science Faculty really catch the web 2.0 bug and start following the lead of the newbie! Well done!

  4. Dean Groom
    5:27 - 2-26-2009

    Reform will challenge the current beliefs, so don’t expect a round of warm applause when you mention Web2.0. You are more likely to be viewed with suspicion and possibly even ridiculed publicly. It is a hard road, fall back on your personal learning network for support and that all important ‘bounce’ back.

    Lin (2004) “Social capital is the extent of diversity of resources embedded in one’s social networks”. There are many interpretations of social capital, however it is fair to say that there is a significant gap between ‘social networks’ organize and the way in which institutions, schools and colleges organize. We value and foster collegiality, but the extent to which this can cross boundaries is often only possible within the boundaries set by the institution.

    Resistance leads to a lack of change, but o-operation leads to a lack of tight control. A networked approach focuses the value that participants add to the group goals. It creates a flexible organization, but at the same time makes it less predictable – and therefore can be seen as disruptive.To be effective, the operation plan should work towards inclusiveness, building capacity and empowering people to be part of the network and act as nodes.

    The Internet is the technology that permits this participation. Web2.0 allows us to engage in boundary crossing. It focuses on the ‘we’ and ceases to work when focused on the ‘I’. It fosters collaboration though co-operative partnerships. The answer for me lies in developing effective frameworks that use the multiplier effect to develop a sustainable cycle of innovation and enrichment.

    Don’t discount the influence just one teacher has on ‘the network’ you are a multiplier – and are will impact hundreds of students. It takes time, patience and nerve … but thats no reason to log-off. Welcome to the metaverse! Great post and look forward to reading about your journey.

  5. Jenny Gilbert
    5:31 - 2-26-2009

    Glad I am not the only one facing such a range of comments about using online communities for teaching. I liked the advice about running online discussions.

  6. Colin Becker
    5:34 - 2-26-2009

    I’ve been using a blog as part of my math class this year. After the first few weeks I created a Google form and asked students to fill in for homework this week. I am pleasently surprised by the comments these 12 year olds made about using technology as part of my teaching and their learning. A few of their other teachers have heard of my maths blog and have dropped in to have a look. I’m hoping, like you, that slowly they will start to come round and see that technology can be used for more than just games. Also like you, I’m sure that a number of my colleagues think that I spend a lot of my time just playing with the technology and sending them emails.
    You may be a young teacher, but that’s where us oldies are hoping to get new ideas from. What frustrates me, is that after 26 years of teaching I’m more innovative than most of the young teachers we employ. I look forward to the day when a young teacher arrives at my school and shows me how I can use technology better.
    Good luck with the edublogs competition.

  7. Karen Johnson
    7:35 - 2-26-2009

    I was a bit cynical about class blogs but your post makes me rethink about how they could be used around a piece of Literature or Drama work. Thank you.

  8. Terry Elliott
    8:30 - 2-26-2009

    I have commented using Diigo. Here are my comments extracted auto-magically and copied here.

    Getting Educators involved with Web 2.0 | The Science Classroom

    * “been very nearly obsessed with adding technology”
    o This is one way to lead others- modelling it in your own professional life. This way can be double-edged in that it also might make you less approachable because you are an expert of sorts. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “Today at lunch”
    o Another way to bring folks into the fold–brown bag tech. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “I was actually surprised at the amount of mocking and cynicism I encountered when I mentioned this.”
    o Some people are not ready to enter into the dialogue. That denial is part of the process of change that might be necessary before real change can be accomplished. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “That there might be just the tiniest bit of jealousy that a newbie teacher might be making a bigger impact on students than the mature veteran teacher.”
    o Agreed, you have to look at all sides of the meaning. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “He is excited about the new things we are learning together; we have begun to find good information that we constantly share with each other.”
    o Pairing off is good and is the beginning of creating larger spaces to gather. Circles of sharing and understanding rippling out and rocking the other boats on the pond. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “I gave this presentation to about 60 teachers in my building.”
    o Larger groups, rippling out. Implies a need to create connective tools for staying in touch, one more notch in the belt. A Moodle site/wiki/or something like voicethreads could really bring more folks around. The idea I think is to provide a buffet that is not overwhelming and that says, “If you only want tapioca, knock yerself out, dude.” comment by Terry Elliott
    * “Why would they even care?”
    o This is a weeding process. If they are truly a master teacher, then they are acutely aware of their own relative “incompetence”. Those that don’t care, have a reason and can safely be ignored in this ‘triage of the tech types”. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “Although I might not always get what we are doing in class, its been a great environment and I really have learned a lot.”
    o Authentic learning is out in that proximal zone, that leading edge of turbulence that is what accounts for “lift” in learning. comment by Terry Elliott
    * “Many teachers are considering this move towards technology immersion in their classes but just need a gentle nudge to push them over the edge.”
    o I teach writing courses at Western Kentucky University. I am totally engaged in tools that connect through browsers. I am using Diigo everyday and Zotero as my main research database tool both professionally and personally. It is very hard to not feel guilty about taking time to teach tech, but if you are convinced of its value in your own learning life I don’t see how you can not do it. You can’t not do it. comment by Terry Elliott

  9. pchsfysicstchr
    11:10 - 2-26-2009

    Going to try to knock out a response to all of you in one comment. (impossible) First let me say how much I appreciate you all taking the time to read what I had to say. Not sure its that important, but thanks anyway. Its so nice to know there are others out there who are interested in using ICT in the classroom in the same way that I am. “No man is an island” comes to mind even though I feel that way sometimes. Its good to have people who are supportive of me, I am thankful I have a couple of those around here and apparently many more out there around the world from the look of my clustermap. Yay for red dots! I have been overwhelmed by the amount of information you all have out there on your blogs. I am trying to sift through and find some stuff that I can use/adapt and have already set up a twitter for my classroom (thanks for posting that Karen). I think this is just the beginning for a new direction in room 301.

  10. Nilah Cote
    6:59 - 3-8-2009

    Reading your story on bringing web 2.0 to the classroom and sharing your success with others is heartwarming. It’s an experience others have as they the break the mold trying new strategies with students. Change is never easy and breaking our patterns of behavior is even harder. It’s really wonderful that you are both willing to move forward and then share this with your peers. I taught in a 5/6 classroom for over 30 years and I needed change to survive. Bringing technology into the hands of my students brought excitement and new learning. I wish you continued success with your journey.


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