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20:47:49 paulallison -> -EdTechTalk: Susan around?
40:00 minutes (9.19 MB)Listen to Scott Floyd, Tech Liaison for the Texas Bluebonnet Writing Project, and Ellen Petry Leanse explain how and why they collaborated on a project that resulted in this VoiceThread, as well as other media versions of the same story. Scott writes on his blog:
Ellen Petry Leanse has a powerful story to tell of her escape from the political unrest in Kenya during the presidential elections over the 2007 Christmas holidays. She and her 12 year old son were there volunteering in an orphanage as well as other humanitarian work.
I first encountered her story January 15th on Guy Kawasaki’s blog as a guest post. Her writing moved me. Something inside of me kept saying to contact her and help her share what she and her son went through. As Google would have it, her email came up in the first try, and by 8:11 AM I sent off a personal plea to her to share her narrative through digital storytelling.
Listen to seven National Writing Project teachers plan a Spring Blogging curriculum together.
Find out if seven people can plan a curriculum together over skype. These seven teachers from Writing Projects across the country met and planned a 15-week blogging curriculum that they have started to put together (click read more).
Bob Levin and Gail Desler (Area 3 Writing Project, Sacramento, CA)
As we plan this work, we are looking at other examples of urban/rural exchanges such as the exchange between Joel Arquillos' students in San Francisco and David Boardman's students in a town in Maine.
When Joel Arquillos, a social studies teacher at the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco, started his 11th-grade American history students blogging, he didn't know what to expect. Mr. Arquillos set up a group blog as a joint project with David Boardman's English class juniors and seniors from rural Winthrop High School in Maine for students to post assignments online, comment on each other's work and expand their cultural awareness. At first, the students needed to be prodded to post. But the blog took off when Mr. Arquillos had them write about their neighborhoods. A student who lives in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco described her feelings about the drug dealing and gang violence in the neighborhood. The Maine students posted that they had thought neighborhoods like the Tenderloin were urban legends. Soon, the students started posting on their own to find out what their peers cross-country thought about various subjects (the structure of the new SAT's, good reasons to skip the prom, etc.), discussions that almost came to match the assigned writings in volume. "I want to give these kids the tools to say, 'Hey, my voice is important in this world,' " Mr. Arquillos said after the yearlong experiment. "This blog helps me do that."
Here's the kind of frank, thoughtful conversation you will hear on this podcast:
Graham calls it a grassroots collaboration. And that, it is. He set up a wiki
last August called Spin the Globe. It’s a web space where his class and mine can hopefully learn from each other about our respective far-flung parts of the world. Graham gave it a fair review, but I haven’t had a lot to say about it because it hasn’t really come together for me and my group yet. But we’re getting there, and now, since Paul Allison invited me and Graham to discuss it this evening on the Teachers Teaching Teachers podcast, I’m sorting through my reactions to the project so far.
I’ll be honest here and state the goals that Doug and I negotiated have been
our guiding light because the process and the final product has been constantly malleable and subject to redefinition. The big difficulty was making this project important to two very different groups of students living very different lives. My class enjoyed the advantage of being the initiators and being very settled as we were well into the second half of our school year. They knew me, I knew their capabilities and by that stage in the year I knew them all well enough to enthuse them about this mysterious project we were doing with “the kids from Alaska”. Doug, on the other hand, was just starting his new school year and was still working out his group’s particular tendencies and skill sets. From my perspective, his position was always going to be trickier to manage. But I have to pay tribute to his support, his diplomomatic balancing of some of my hare-brained ideas and ultimately suggesting ways to get around some of the barriers (cultural and technological). One of the best pieces of advice actually came from his wife, also a teacher, who pointed out that a top-down approach that dictated specific roles and topics for students was somewhat at odds with the inquiry based approach we were actually wanting for them. In my class, the project gained its largest boost of momentum when I spoke to my students and announced that the shackles were off and they were free to develop whatever pages of the wiki they wanted. After all, Wikipedia contributors don’t get assigned to write specific articles by a superior. I know that a classroom effort can’t be quite as organic as that but productivity and engagement went up noticeably from that point on.
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