Union University logoI’m so excited to go back to Union University today.  Dr. Anna Clifford and her students invite me from time to time to come and spend some time with them talking about Google and Web 2.0.  We always have so much fun.  (Anna always remembers that M&Ms are my favorite treats, too.)  Today, I have the pleasure of Joanne G. coming with me to share her expertise as well.  She’s a former middle school teacher with Memphis City Schools and has a wealth of real-world knowledge that can be sure with Anna’s preservice teachers.  I don’t know if we’ll get everything that we want to talk about in or not, though.

Today, we’re going to tooling around with Google Docs/Apps.  In particular, we’re going to take a look at Google Reader, Google Docs word processor, Google Docs presentations, Google Docs spreadsheets and Google Docs forms.

Here’s the links to the wiki pages I’ve created to go along with the workshop.  Anything we don’t get to will be accessible through these links, and please use them liberally.

  1. Using Google Reader
  2. Using Google Docs word processor
  3. Using Google Docs presentations
  4. Using Google Docs spreadsheet
  5. Creating forms and quizzes with Google Docs forms

And a Google Form for us to try if we have time.

Union University logoIt’s going to be a great Saturday morning! I get to spend the morning with some awesome teachers at Union University in Jackson, TN. So, “Good morning, Union!” or maybe it should be, “Google morning, Union!”  They are taking a weekend class with my dear friend Dr. Anna Clifford, and she asks me from time to time to come spend some time playing with them. I’m so honored that I get to come.  I love sharing and I get to learn something, too.

Today, we’re going to tooling around with Google Docs/Apps.  In particular, we’re going to take a look at Google Reader, Google Docs word processor, Google Docs presentations, Google Docs spreadsheets and Google Docs forms.  I hope we can get through it all.

If we don’t happen to make it through everything (and that’s okay, I always plan too much), here’s the links to the wiki pages I’ve created to go along with the workshop.  Anything we don’t get to will be accessible through these links, and please use them liberally.

  1. Using Google Reader
  2. Using Google Docs word processor
  3. Using Google Docs presentations
  4. Using Google Docs spreadsheet
  5. Creating forms and quizzes with Google Docs forms

And a Google Form for us to try.

Clif Mims and I have a new book chapter that will be published in the next couple of weeks or so. It’s taken over a year for this to get to press, so I’m happy for it to finally get out. Web 2.0 in teacher education: Characteristics, implications and limitations will be published by Information Age Publishing in the book Wired for learning: An educators guide to Web 2.0. The book was edited by Terry Kidd and Irene Chen.

You can order a copy of the book directly from the publisher at http://www.infoagepub.com/index.php?id=9&p=p49a46fbae54e1. Information Age Publishing also a deal going on right now to celebrate their 10th anniversary. If you order 10 books, you can get them for $10 a piece. (Yes, you have to order 10 books.)

Here’s the abstract for the chapter:

Like the variety of Web 2.0 applications, theories of learning and instructional models are also primarily content independent. So it is left up to the teacher educator to match learner characteristics, content, pedagogy and technologies. This chapter will concentrate on the use of Web 2.0 technologies in contemporary constructivist and cognitivist learning environments. We will present the characteristics of Web 2.0 tools to support teaching and learning, including low threshold applications, a variety of tools and models, as well as access to tools and knowledge. Finally, we will identify the limitations and challenges that exist with using these tools, such as immature applications, longevity of applications, number of applications, unconsolidated services and security and ethics.

I’m at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting this week in San Diego, CA.  I’m presenting three session throughout the week, which is a little tough to get through.  On Tuesday, I presented on “Coming to Understand the Influences on and Artifacts of Learning.”  Today, I’m presenting “Understanding Projects in Project-based Learning: A Student’s Perspective.”  The abstract reads:

Project-based learning offers promise as an instructional method that affords authentic learning tasks grounded in the personal interests of learners.  While previous research has presented results of learning gains, motivations and teacher experiences, still limited empirical research has presented the student perspective in project-based learning.  This research sought to explore how learners created projects. Using a case study design and five purposively selected participants from eighth grade geography, five themes emerged:  (1) internal influences, (2) external influences, (3) beliefs about projects, (4) tools for technology-rich environments, and (5) learning outcomes and products.  The first four themes describe influences to shape the fifth theme, learning products.  The term learning products was used to describe both the learning garnered by the participants and the learning artifacts the participants produced as part of the instructional unit.  Implications for practice and future research are considered.

You can download the complete file here.

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Anna Clifford

Anna Clifford

by Anna Clifford

Napkins and individual packages of cheese and crackers were handed out to the group of preservice teachers.  The professor asked them to couple with a partner  and make a Cheesy-Crackette!  One partner watched and took notes, while the other made the masterpiece, as instructed. However, there seemed to be some congestion with one group that gained the attention of the entire class.

Aynne explained, “I have never seen one of those things, and I don’t know what to do with it!  I am lost!”

The calming partner chuckled in dismay and stated,  “You have never seen a package of cheese and crackers and you have never experienced the red stick?” Girl, just grab the red stick and smear it on! It is all good! ”

Bewildered eyes cut across the class of preservice teachers in the instructional technology class. “What is a teacher suppose to do? “ asked the professor. There responses included: show her how, draw her a picture, let her figure it out, and give her some directions. “ Look at you!  Let’s give her some step-by-step directions,” concluded the professor.

Discussion continued, as they compared and contrasted their directions and edited and finalized a class JobAid for making a Cheesy-Crackette.

Will it work?  Who should try it? Aynne was selected to follow the JobAid. Her peers  watched as she made her very first Chessy-Crackette.   “It is delicious!” she sounded.

The conversation continued, as the preservice teachers began to close the teaching-learning gap. They agreed the concise JobAid http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~smflanag/edtech/basic.htmworked for Aynee and a job aid could be posted on a computer, as needed to close the computer skill’s gap, as well.  In addition, teacher selected videos from YouTube (e.g.,   How to Insert Pictures in Word 2007) or  TeacherTube, (e.g., School House Rock: A noun is a person, place or thing), and  using the Help aids (e.g., Microsoft Office Word Help) within the software, were suggested.

“It just depends on the student and the student’s needs. So is this like …  learner adaptations or differentiated instruction?”  questioned another.

Red sticksThe red stick … waved another awe moment!

Guest blogger:  Anna Clifford is an associate professor in the School of Education at Union University.   She works extensively with preservice teachers in early childhood education, as well as, instructional technology.  Her background in Montessori education has shaped her philosophy.  Her research and interest focus on technology integration in the PreK-8 teaching-learning environment, particularly, its impact on the professional growth of teachers and preservice teachers.  She works along the side of colleagues and preservice teachers, planning and implementing effective technology integration into the current content curriculum. She completed her EdD in Instructional Design and Technology from The University of Memphis, where she is an adjunct professor.

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