Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Pimp that Project" Presentation Resources for Students (and Teachers)

There are now a slew of web applications which students and teachers can take advantage of to create online slideshows, videos, and webinars, and to share them publicly or privately. These tools can provide a platform for delivering the perfect compliment to projects and presentations, and for creating a sharing, online community of similar interests and content. We've listed a few of the web-based video / slideshow applications which we've been using - we've created some samples using photos of our newborn twins...yup, proud parents.

These tools are all dead easy to use - creating a slideshow on any of the tools listed below should never take you more than 5-10 minutes. If you have any you think should be included please do make mention of them.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Bookless School Library

"When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books..."
Cushing Academy (Ashburnham, Massachusetts) Headmaster, James Tracy
And the 144 year old New England prep school has decided to "walk the talk" and discard its 20,000 book collection which has served generations of kids for a century and a measured "bridging" from one media to another needed here - feels about 451 farenheit right now, though Headmaster Tracy went out of his way to emphasize that this is not "that" situation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Writing, Students, and the New Literacy

There are endless articles clamouring about how active participation in social media and social networking sites by students is eroding their writing skills, and how literacy - or a borderline illiteracy - is emerging as a societal concern. The Stanford Study of Writing offers some data and conclusions which outline a very different picture.

The Stanford Study of Writing was an extremely ambitious research project which followed a large group of students (approximately 12 per cent of the year's class, a pretty solid figure for deciphering trends)throughout their four years at Stanford and one year beyond. The study collected student submissions of their class writing / notes, in all disciplines, along with whatever they were willing to submit of their out-of-class or extracurricular writing - this included in-class assignments, formal essays, and journal entries to emails, blog posts, and chat sessions. The research team, headed by Professor Andrea Lunsford and Vice Provost John Bravman, also invited these same students to be involved in an annual survey, of which one-fifth agreed to participate. In the end, the research team collected circa 1500 pieces of student writing which is now digitally stored in an Oracle database and available via the Library archives for future scholars and study.