RSS for Education

Basically, I see RSS as an essential time saving educational tool that can aid in my unit planning and assessments in various ways.  To begin with, RSS can be used to quickly access and read students’ work in one location, rather than collecting a journal or a portfolio, which can be cumbersome to keep organized, carry home, and grade.

For my Honors English 11 students, this could mean that as they complete their Honors Project, I could teach them first to set up a blog for the purpose of writing and sharing about their experiences, whether they chose to complete a job shadow, an altruistic endeavor or a personal improvement project.  Because I require a daily journal as they complete their hours and a Q and A with their mentor, a blogging format would be a perfect substitute for the alternative paper portfolio I currently require.

After students learn the basics, I can have them set up their blogs similar to our learning logs where they will showcase their evidence for their project and post reflections about their experiences. Just as portfolios are personal and reflect the individual’s personality, I would encourage students to set up their blogs to mirror their creativity and organizational style with just a few guidelines that I already have in place.

After I subscribe to their blogs through RSS and organize folders by class or by project, I can teach students to subscribe to each other’s  blogs through RSS.   I will encourage them to not only comment on each other’s progress, but to share ideas and resources. I can even include this as part of my final assessment.  Overall, this project can be taken to new heights incorporating blogs and RSS feeds.

Check out my Blogroll on my left sidebar: Teaching Resources link

or click below to go my Google Reader Teaching Resources Bundle:

Google Bundle

Please subscribe to view some of my favorite resources that discuss using technology in the classroom.

AECT Standards:

Zotero Group Library

Link to Zotero Group Library:

Zotero Library: Shared Sources and Notes 

Using Zotero for research, organization, and collaboration:

Zotero allows the user to literally grab research right off the database or webpage, document it, take notes on it, and create and join groups in order to collaborate on research and on projects.

All of these tools benefit collaboration and group research.  From pooling sources, to sharing notes, to creating an annotated bibliography or any type of bibliography, this tool will not only keep the entire group organized, but it will also speed up the production of a group project.  For example, if a group is assigned to research the benefits of merit pay, each member can conduct his or her own research, save articles, take notes, and share it all in a group library, giving access to all the information to the members.  This interface is not only a great collaboration tool, but it is an extremely useful organizational tool because not only is everything in one place, it can be reorganized, if necessary, and placed in folders.

Using Zotero in the future:

Personally, I will use Zotero for future research.  I really like how it organizes my digital research, and it is a great tool for citing sources, no matter what style is required.  In addition, I know I will find it valuable to take notes on the research as I collect it.  I have an extremely busy schedule, and having those notes attached to the articles will definitely keep me organized and assist me with pulling my research together.  In addition, I find that the ability to create separate folders for the research will also aid in organizing my research, especially since I will use this interface for multiple projects from my Masters degree to teaching in the classroom.

Using Zotero in the classroom:

In terms of using this tool in my classroom, well, I already have!  My students are beginning their research  for a 5-8 page research paper that deals with a controversial issue of their choice.  First, we  downloaded Firefox on our Macs, and then we downloaded Zotero.  It was a little difficult to teach because it was new to me, but the timing was perfect, so I went for it!  My students thought it was really cool, especially the citing tool.  The only issue we had is that even when a student logs out, when another student from a different class logs in, he or she is synched with the former student’s account.  We figured out how to keep both accounts, but they are synched, thus connected together.  If I had more than two classes using Zotero, I don’t know how this would work.

ACET Standards and Rationales:

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies:  This standard is being met because this interface involves using a computer to produce or deliver materials.

4.1 Project Management: This standard is being met because this interface involves planning, monitoring, and developing a  project, and in this case, it is research based.

Horizon Report Tech Trends

This lesson plan was not only a lot of fun for me to teach, but my students really enjoyed it from start to finish. As I mentioned in my previous post, my students created a VoiceThread analyzing chapters in The Grapes of Wrath. They loved using this interface and are excited to use it again in other classes that require presentations.

My tech trends lesson plan incorporates my students’ VoiceThread presentations, and adds new technology that allowed me to assess their learning by using the following tools: M-Scorative and Evernote.

As students watched each groups’ VoiceThread presentations, they took notes on the Evernote interface and had a tab open for formative assessments on M-Socrative (student).

Evernote not only served multiple purposes for this lesson, but it also will be used on upcoming assignments.  For example, students were able to digitally share their notes with other students, students shared their notes with me so that I could assess their work, students were able to access their notes for their formative assessments on M-Socrative, students will be able to use their notes for an in-class essay final, and students can use the interface for other classes. In addition, not only does this interface allow students to take notes and keep them organized, it also allows them to record and take pictures, both useful additional tools that can capture important subject matter in the classroom.

M-Socrative is really easy to set up and use, especially since students do not have to sign up for anything.  This interface allowed me to ask my students short answer questions during transitional periods throughout the presentations and at the end of class as an exit ticket assessment.  This interface also allows instructors to upload several different types of quizzes such as true or false, and multiple choice.  Because formative assessments are vital to assessing student comprehension, this tool is valuable in that it is easy to use, easy to access, and engaging for the students.  In fact, my students thought it was fun.  In addition, it can be used as a scaffold for summative assessments because data can be saved and analyzed by the instructor to assist in building future assessments.

ACET Standards Rationales

2.4  Integrated Technologies: This standard has been met because students used several different types of media to produce and deliver information using a computer, including VoiceThread, Evernote, M-Socrative.  In addition, these technologies were integrated in such a way that they complimented each other and built off each other engaging and enhancing student learning.

3.1 Media Utilization: Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning and in this lesson plan the resources encompassed visual, audio, and hands on learning.

5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation: Formative evaluation for this lesson was directly linked to the Evernote shared by each student with the instructor and also by utilizing M-Socrative for this purpose.  Summative evaluation will involve gathering information used in the formative assessments and applying it to create a summative assessment.