On Thursday, March 22, 2011, I will make a presentation titled "Overcoming Resistance to Teaching with Technology and Online Resources" at the 2012 New Leaf in Learning Conference.
Here are links to the presentation and the sources and quotes contained in it.
I provide full contact info and information about Dulcinea Media as well.
Overcoming Resistance to Teaching with Technology and Online Resources
The printed description of this presentation:
This session will illustrate how library media specialists can become a persuasive, supportive and indispensable resource to classroom teachers who might be reluctant to embrace online resources and educational technology. Mark Moran of Dulcinea Media will discuss a wide array of content resources, discovery tools and education technologies, and how many teachers are using them successfully in class. Participants will also learn the root of the most common objections to the adoption of a new way of teaching, and how to overcome such objections by dispelling fear and doubt, providing ample support, and celebrating successes.
The guiding question: "What are the principles that should guide education companies and educators as they support classroom teachers in embracing online content, relevant technology and a student-centered teaching style?"
This presentation is a PowerPoint that is available on SlideShare by clicking here.
The links contained in it are repeated at the bottom of this post for your convenience.
DULCINEA MEDIA'S PRODUCTS
Dulcinea Media offers free products that help educators teach students how to use the web effectively. These products are discussed comprehensively in these blog posts:
We've also partnered on the LineTime World History Timeline an app for iPad and iPhone that enables students to scroll through all of modern history and then zoom in on particular decades, years, months and events.
Here is a description of Teaching Web Research Skills, a research-based, multimedia tutorial that teaches effective web research skills to both educators and students; it will be available in early April 2012.
Here is a link to reviews of Dulcinea Media's products by leading educators, publications and journals.
Do not hesitate to contact me at Mark [dot] Moran [at] DulcineaMedia [dot] com or call me at (917) 597-3815 with any questions.
SOURCES IN PRESENTATION :
Dulcinea Media Intro (see links above)
Learning from Your Peers
Historic Newspapers and Magazines and Newsreels
History Animated (animations of historic battles)
Ideas for Lesson Plans
Tomorrow, a stellar group of brilliant, dedicated educators is meeting at Discovery Education in Maryland for a session titled, “Beyond the Textbook.”
This follows on the heels of the recent SXSW Edu conference that featured more than a dozen sessions on Open Education Resources (OER).
Clearly, the long-predicted demise of the physical textbook is imminent (though “imminent” has a much different meaning in the education field than elsewhere).
Unfortunately, when it comes to discussions of “Beyond the Textbook,” many people cling to the familiar, comforting and convenient notion of a textbook, albeit one in digital form. Apple’s introduction of the iBook several months ago was met with great fanfare.
However, digital textbooks suffer from one fatal flaw: they are textbooks. As education professor Alec Couros Tweeted last recently, “as long as there are textbooks of any sort, there will be no reform.”
Digital textbooks are, in the words of Pete Townsend, a case of “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.”
What should come next?
Hopefully, it will not be something created by large education publishers desperately seeking to replace their textbook revenue. At SXSW Edu, Pearson presented an early version of its OER solution; it clearly had a very different concept of “open” than most of the attendees in the session. Pearson plans to charge a substantial sum for access to its platform, another concept that was met with groans from the audience.
Discovery has also introduced a digital textbook, with all of the above limitations, and I presume it intends to charge a significant sum for it. If this is the spotlight of tomorrow’s meeting, I’ll be curious to see the reaction of the educators attending, whose “buy-in” Discovery may be seeking.
I also have my doubts about the successor to textbooks being created under the auspices of a state department of education. I saw several OER platforms created by state education departments on display at SXSW Edu. They all offered some very promising features. However, a common thread is that all of them currently lack a critical mass of high quality OER resources. In other words, they have built it, but not enough educators have come. In each case, I sensed the platforms relied heavily on a database-driven design that was simply too cumbersome for the average, overwhelmed teacher to use. I had the same visceral reaction when I was given an overview of NYC Schools’ ARIS System in 2008 – in addition to its data tracking capabilities, it had a platform for educators to bookmark and share digital resources, albeit one that was clearly far too unwieldy to be used widely. While the ARIS platform is still in use, one writer has deemed it a “$100 million white elephant,” and reported that some schools are instead paying to license another system – one built by teachers.
Indeed, what comes after textbooks should be something created to leverage the wisdom of a crowd of educators who, in the words of John Carver, superintendent of Van Meter (Iowa) Schools, collectively decide that no one should have "ownership" over what is taught in schools.
How can educators collaboratively develop a tool that solves all of these problems?
For many years now, a rapidly growing number of innovative educators around the world have been using the Web to deliver the best educational experience to their fortunate students. They are finding, and sharing with their students, outstanding Web resources - including primary sources, expert analysis and countervailing viewpoints - that dwarf the information available in any textbook. This information is the virtual version of a "course pack" of articles that many college professors curate for students.
These teachers are also creating lesson plans and assignments that test students' critical thinking and relevant communication skills, rather than prepare them to fill in bubbles on a standardized test. They teach students how to effectively use the Web resources they'll use the rest of their life.
Many of these educators post their assignments on the Web. Unfortunately, it is probably a rare case where people outside of the educator’s own students see the great work the educator is doing.
What is needed is a single, central repository that aggregates the work of great educators and makes it easily searchable. Teachers should be able to access assignments created by other teachers, learn from them, build on them, and then contribute their own, improved versions to the repository. For example, once a few dozen U.S. History teachers create innovative, resource-rich assignments relating to the U.S Civil War, a new teacher entering the fray can synthesize the best of the existing lesson plans to create his or her own.
To put a smiley face on a despised term, it would create a "Race to the Top," but one unburdened by federal oversight.
We’ve created a prototype of such a repository, called findingEducation (a name unlikely to endure). It's in Alpha stage, but in its current form, it has several useful features:
We’ve spent five years creating resources to help educators teach students how to use the web effectively. Our mantra from the beginning has been to simplify, simplify, simplify. While we believe that findingEducation is far simpler to use than any other OER platform we’ve seen, we actually have been ruminating about ways to make it even easier to use and search, and will be implementing them this year.
We have a number of modules and additional features that can be introduced into findingEducation once it develops a meaningful user base, and of course will create other features based on user feedback.
For more information on findingEducation:
See a sample page: http://markskillman.findingeducation.com/
Take our site tour.
Mark E. Moran
Founder & CEO
Dulcinea Media, Inc.
Three years ago, we introduced SweetSearch, A Search Engine for Students. It is a bold concept – a human curated search engine that searches only Web sites that have been evaluated by research experts. We didn’t apply an algorithm or a filter – we created a whitelist of 35,000 Websites. Reviewers have uniformly praised SweetSearch as an outstanding tool for students.
After we launched, we learned of another group of people that may actually appreciate SweetSearch even more – educators. We continually monitor Twitter and education list serves to learn about the specific search needs of educators, and to make sure we meet those needs. The response has been gratifying:
See many more Tweets by educators about SweetSearch.
Teachers are learning that if they search in our reliable universe of sites, they can quickly build their lesson plans, find blogs and advice from fellow educators, and discover primary resources, which are hard to locate using the internal search function of sites such as The Library of Congress or National Archives.
To see typical results for yourself, take a look at the results for these representative terms, then compare them to the results of Google and Bing:
You'll likely find, as Paul Gilster, a technology journalist, wrote in the News Observer about SweetSearch: “Google or Bing may find many of the same sites, but what I've noticed is that some of the better sites for a particular topic wind up deep in their search results, often outranked by Web pages more commonly used but of inferior quality....I was impressed with SweetSearch's focus on credible scholarship and emphasis on primary source materials.”
SweetSearch has integrated Yolink, a tool that highlights keywords, showing where the term is used and in what context, so that anyone can quickly scan a search results page and easily determine which results will be most helpful for a particular task. See how quickly you can evaluate the full first page of 20 results! The search terms and surrounding context can then be saved, with one click, to a Google Doc (with the link included), EasyBib's citation generator, or a social bookmarking service. So you not only can find what you’re looking for in seconds, but you can be sharing it with colleagues moments later.
For Open Education Resource platforms to succeed, they need to be as easy for educators to use as possible. It's not enough to give educators a long, aggregated list of relevant resources of varying quality; the resources need to be expertly curated, and there must be a function for educators to search within these resources.
That is what SweetSearch provides, at no cost.
Get this picture on a t-shirt at Allfavourites.com.
You can fire off a three-paragraph e-mail in one minute and condense a day’s worth of thoughts into a few 140-character tweets.
But how’s your grammar?
Modes of communication like e-mail, instant messaging, texting and Twitter are changing a lot of things, like the way we get information, how we consume it and most importantly on National Grammar Day, how we compose it.
Today is a chance to treat every utterance like it can’t be spell-checked by Microsoft Word.
The official site of National Grammar Day has a simple message for all those who want to “get involved” in the celebration: “Speak well! Write well! And on March 4, march forth and spread the word. We want people to think about language and how it can be used best.”
One way you can “march forth” is by challenging yourself with the University of California Press’s copy editing quiz. You may feel like you’re back in the classroom where you first took the SAT. But even if you get the answers wrong, you’ll get an explanation of the right answers.
Also, read our article on the decline of grammar, in "What's Happening to Writing Skills?"
Grammar Girl hosts podcasts about common grammar and usage mistakes. Confused about “which” and “that”? “Between” vs. “among”? Need proofreading tips? These and more topics are covered in a format that’ll give you a nice break from screen-based reading.
Refer back to a good, old-fashioned book, “The Elements of Style,” for trustworthy tips and explanations.
Finally, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar publishes this blog in which it members "document their noble efforts."