I came across this post from Pat Aroune in Western NY who has been diving head first into Read/Write Web tools with his students:
About one month ago, I asked five students to participate in an online experiment utilizing Skype and an online interactive whiteboard called Vyew. Vyew is a free, always on collaboration and web conferencing site that allows individuals real-time desktop sharing and capturing. I met with this small group of students, and we began what was essentially on online tutoring session for an upcoming essay. We did nothing that had not been done during the course of a classroom session, except we were all in our individual homes, and it was 8:30 p.m.. I began to sense, over the course of that hour long session, a wave of energy and enthusiasm from the participants. One month later, this concept of online collaboration has taken on a life of is own. Just last night,twenty sophomores from my A.P. European History classes, met online and did a Skype – Vyew session in preparation for an essay exam today. The remarkable thing is, I was not even a part of it. Individual initiative got last night’s conference off the ground. More power to the students!
You might want to check out the reflections of some of his students on another post as well.
Almost as cool is that Pat’s superintendent Neil Rochelle is blogging about his efforts to bring the tools into the school as well. And this post reflects the type of approach that I’ve been thinking and writing about more and more lately. It’s his recap of a monthly Parent and Student Cabinet meeting where they are talking about the Read/Write Web and it’s use in his school. The result:
Students that have been involved in blogging and social bookmarking love the use of these tools that are being made available and integrated into their instruction. Their chief “complaint”….they are overwhelmed! Because we have attracted teachers to the use of these tools in “pockets” across the district, the same teachers are teaching the content as well as the “how tos” for using the technology. Students feel that they need to learn the newest technology in another class BEFORE using it in these selected classes. A point well taken and one that I will be giving much thought to. Consensus however is they love the approach. They are motivated by on-line collaboration such as internet conferencing such as Skype and video conferencing. Before this year, MySpace was a close as they came to social networking. Now they see an educational value.
It reminds me that kids are overwhelmed too, that they don’t know all of this, that we still have a great opportunity to lead and model appropriate and effective uses, and to learn from each other and our students. Pat and Neil are taking their school in a much different direction, and it’s pretty exciting to watch.
Just some feel good for the holiday…any other stories to share?