Younger than 25, but older than 20…and I Approve this Article!

The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a very interesting article in their Wired Campus tech blog a few days ago on Snapchat. What is Snapchat you ask? Ask a teenager, and they’ll tell you that you send photos that disappear after 10 or less seconds. Ask anyone above 25, and it’s that app with a little ghost. Ask Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and it’s a punch in the face.snapchat-vs-facebook Just last year (November 2013), Zuckerberg offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat, which was turned down. I know, right!? Who would turn down $3 billion? Especially with the founders being 23 and 25 at the time! But, they believe their product, Snapchat, has way more potential than $3 billion, and so do all the teenagers running from Facebook to Snapchat. Check out this pie graph of how many photos are shared daily on Snapchat compared to Facebook and Instagram…Screen-Shot-2013-11-22-at-07.07.38I do not blame the University of Houston for adopting Snapchat as a medium for reaching their current and prospective students. It just makes sense. Teenagers and young adults are using less of Facebook, and more of Snapchat to communicate. So why not go to them? Like I said, I’m fresh out of undergrad and currently working on my master’s degreeI’m a millennial. If Snapchat was around when I was searching for colleges, I would definitely be drawn to a school that was sending me snaps. That would tell me that this university understands me, understands my generation…and this would be a place that I would be understood. After all, that’s all kids want nowadays, to be understood.

Four Skills to Teach Students In the First Five Days of School

I read a great article last week from MindShift. It was titled the same as this blog post. I decided to summarize it here, and cover four of the main points. Please feel free to check out the whole article! It’s amazing.

Mindshift2_illo2_72

  1. Power Researching
    • “My job used to be to give you the information, now my job is to teach you how to find the information.” -Alan November
  2. Meaningful Contributions
    • “You can make meaningful contributions to the world, no matter how old you are.” -Katrina Schwartz
    • “The best teachers were kids who had really struggled with the material and really understand what it’s like to learn…Sometimes teachers suffer from knowing too much. The material they teach is easy to them and it can be hard to empathize with the stumbles of a new learner. Kids who have struggled with the material understand the pitfalls and can often explain them in ways other kids will understand.” -Alan November
  3. Ask Them About Their Passions
    • In a computer science class November taught, the most resistant student ended up building a massive database of resources for people with disabilities in her town. She couldn’t finish it by the end of the year, so she came in during the summer to complete the work. “That’s the difference when students define their own problems with intrinsic motivation,” November said. They care so much they’re begging for the computer lab to stay open during the summer.
  4. Build A Learning Ecology
    • “I think teachers should demonstrate how they learn in the first five days,” November said. Typically we demonstrate what we already know and have learned. That has to change. We have to teach students to learn to learn.”
    • If Twitter is such an important tool for educators, why keep it from students who also want to know how to connect and build a network? “We should teach them to follow the best minds in the world on whatever their passion is,” November said.

 

Is it the Age of The Netflix Generation?

I’ve heard many names for my generation: Generation Y, which I think is boring; Millennials, getting a little more interesting; Net Generation; Echo Boomers; Generation Next; and so on. But my favorite, and what I think describes Millennials better is the ‘Netflix Generation’. You could also call it the ‘Netflix Age’ as Generation Z will also be lumped into having instant access and gratification of streaming videos. I read a very interesting article last month on how to engage the Netflix Generation: 5 Strategies For Engaging The Netflix Generation.

20140615170328!Netflix

Number 2 on Beloit’s Class of 2018 List says, “Since [students from the Class of 2018] binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.” And Netflix is largely to thank for this. I just read an extremely interesting and exciting article just last week from Netflix Hack Week. Netflix made an awesome virtual reality interface for the Oculus Rift.

I consider myself part of the Netflix Generation. I love watching and consuming video, especially from Netflix. Also from my iPhone thanks to YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s always there. I can always find a really engaging video to explain something or a great story to get lost in. And that’s how education needs to be. These students need to get lost in the videos of lectures. Educational videos need to be engaging, creative, and “binge-capable”. It used to be students would “cram” the night before a big test. Maybe the future is that students will “binge watch” their class videos the night before a big test. This may not be the education we need, but it’s a step toward a 21st century education.

Google Upping the Ante in Online Education with Google Classroom

Google-ClassroomGoogle +, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, Google Communities — Which of these savvy, trendy Google tools do you use in your classroom? I have become somewhat of a fan boy of Google for Education (don’t tell my iPhone, or iPad…or MacBook Pro). These tools provide easy collaboration and friendly, intuitive design interfaces, both on the computer and mobile. And now, Google is introducing Classroom, coming in August 2014!!

Daily Genius just published a sneak peek at the new Google Classroom. And it looks awesome! Google basically designed a virtual classroom for teachers and their students to digitally gather in one place and use all of those awesome Google tools in “one cohesive online environment”. I am excited about this.

Here’s to hoping one of my future graduate classes (in educational technology) experiments and uses Google Classroom!

 

Personal Learning Philosophy 2.0 (The Global One-Room Schoolhouse from J. Seely Brown)

 

My learning philosophy from 10 weeks ago hasn’t changed much. I chose to begin my video with a quote from Williams Butler Yeats, which also happens to be the first thing I wrote in my Personal Learning Philosophy v1. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This idea is extremely important to me and resonates with me on many levels. I mentioned before that my early educational experiences were mainly “filling of a pail”. Pretty boring. It almost feels like a chore. “Son, go and fetch some water!” No thanks. But when that switch turned, and I became excited about learning, something sparked inside of me. From that moment on, I was all about feeding my fire of learning. I started with this because it takes passion and excitement to get to this point where learning becomes fuel to your fire. When you can infuse excitement, passion, and relevancy into education, that is how you create engagement in learners.

I would have to say that my ideas around learning and education are in perfect alignment with John Seely Brown’s “The Global One-Room Schoolhouse” Vimeo video from his “Entrepreneurial Learner” keynote at DML2012. He talks about play as a “kind of a permission to fail, fail, fail, again and get it right.” I feel that this is incredibly important to give students a permission to fail, to give them an environment where they feel safe to question the status quo or even the teacher’s expertise. He later says in the video that “the key part of play is a space of safety and permission.” Brown also talks about epiphanies.

If we can create one epiphany for one child, that epiphany lasts for life for that kid. Brilliant teachers are brilliant in being able to create epiphanies for kids. How do we think about that? And how do we use play as a way to amplify the chance for that to happen.

What if every teacher’s goal was to create an epiphany for each one of their students? Maybe some teachers do strive for this. But I’m willing to be that this isn’t even on the radar of the majority of teachers. I want to cover two last quotes from Brown in his video:

In a world of constant change, if you don’t feel comfortable tinkering, you’re going to feel an amazing state of anxiety.

I love this idea because it’s so true. Everything around us is in a constant state of flux, and if you can’t adapt and be able to tinker with new technologies, it’s going to be a tough world. If we are teaching our students to tinker, to play, to be curious, we are teaching them to adapt to change. I wrote about the PlayMaker School in LA in a recent post. This is a great school that is really pushing the boundaries of what education is and how kids learn. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out!

And to close, Brown’s idea of taking the one-room schoolhouse idea of yesterday and mixing it with today’s classroom and technology to get the “global one-room schoolhouse” where “the teacher [isn't] transferring knowledge, but the teacher [will act] as a coach, a will turn around and also teach the younger younger kids.” This is how the one-room schoolhouse operated. Why couldn’t we have a global one-room schoolhouse today? With social media and web 2.0 tools, this is absolutely feasible.

What will tomorrow’s classroom look like? How will it operate? What if tomorrow’s classroom partnered with a classroom from the other side of the world, every day? Now that would be cool.

 

Podcast – Practitioner Interview of Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom with Brittany Spayd

This week I sat down with a practitioner of Web 2.0 tools in education. I interviewed Brittany Spayd, a 10th grade English teacher at Central Cambria High School. I was very curious when initially speaking with Brittany because she uses several web 2.0 tools for her personal educational planning, however, her students do not use web 2.0 tools as much as she would like in the classroom due to barriers from the school being old. We dive into this issue more in the podcast. Enjoy and please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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*I used a program called Soundtrack Pro to record and edit this podcast.

 

Reinventing the Library? Or Should We Be Thinking Bigger? (Makerspaces and Hybrid Learning Spaces)

What is the purpose of today’s library? Is it “just another dusty bookshelf” (Graves)? Or maybe just another “warehouse—a place to go to get things” (Foote)? Or are “today’s libraries incubators, collaboratories, the modern equivalent of the seventeenth-century coffeehouse: part information market, part knowledge warehouse, with some workshop thrown in for good measure” (Colegrove)? My favorite definition of what today’s libraries are is simple. Literacy. But “[not] just print literacy; we are about ‘understanding the world we live in’ literacy” (Foote). This is great, and exactly what we need. We need a place where we can come and understand the world, not a place to come check out a book. Colleen Graves, a school librarian at Lamar Middle School in Flower Mound, Texas says that “at [her] school, students now see the library as a place where they not only belong, but a place where they can become a cutting-edge leader.” In a world where everything and everybody are constantly being judged and compared, having an environment free of comparison, free of judgement, free to be who you are and passionately seek after what you love, this has the potential to dramatically shift education into 21st century learning.

Graves makes a vital point when discussing successful workshops in their school’s library makerspace.

The key to successful workshops was letting the teens choose what workshops we would hold.

This is a great way to engage timid or quiet students. An example Graves used in her article was a student who stepped up to lead a Minecraft workshop during their one of their “Mayker Monday” events. The student’s teachers were so surprised he “volunteered to lead others” that they came to the library to ask if the student really was leading the workshop. If that’s not enough proof that makerspaces work, then I’m not sure what else is. Reaching out to these “quite and reserved” students has always been a challenge in school. But if we present opportunities where these students can lead their peers in something they love doing, there’s no telling where the possibilities might lead. Graves followed up with saying that this “quite and reserved” student “felt ownership in the library and felt like it was not only a safe place, but also a place where he could grow.”

Makerspaces are great, but as Tod Colegrove said, they have “been happening for thousands of years.” We just lost touch of what a library is for, or we failed to stay current with our advancing, tech-society. We need to think bigger. What if we had schools that were makerspaces? Woah. There is a school in Los Angeles that is disrupting education. A lot of people are uncomfortable with A School Day That’s All About Play (especially parents), but at the PlayMaker School, they are doing just that, playing.

playmaker-school

This school is really pushing the boundaries of education, and it’s wonderful. Another great read that dives into a little more detail on this school is A School That Ditches All The Rules, But Not the Rigor. Ted Wakeman, an educator at the PlayMaker School in LA, was drawn to the playmaker approach because he “grew disillusioned with how students were forced to learn.” His views are aligned up perfectly with the PlayMaker School:

When we talk about the area of a trapezoid or when King Tut died…, might these things be important to a small sliver of the population? Sure, but data in the 21st century, I can look on my phone and in 20 seconds get the answer to pretty much anything. So shouldn’t we be teaching broader skill sets, encouraging curiosity, creative thinking?

This nails it for me. I remember in middle school, high school, and even college—I was that kid that asked, “Why do I need to know this?” I didn’t care about when the fourth battle of the Revolutionary War started. I didn’t care about the Pythagorean theorem. Memorizing that did nothing more than get me a higher test score on my school’s standardized test. I didn’t really learn anything except that I needed to plug this number into here and that number into there. A quick Google search leads straight to a Wikipedia page that tells me the theorem is a2 + b2 = c2. Wakeman is right. We can find basically anything we want on the internet. So why are we teaching these monotonous, memorizing-based facts? Shouldn’t we be teaching 21st century skills, like navigation literacy? In a previous article I wrote, Navigating the Web 2.0 for Social Learning, I quoted John Seely Brown in his article Learning, Working & Playing in the Digital Age. Hepredicts that navigation will be a new form of literacy in the 21st century:

What I want to suggest, though, is that the new literacy, the one beyond just text and image, is one of information navigation. I believe that the real literacy of tomorrow will have more to do with being able to be your own private, personal reference librarian, one that knows how to navigate through the incredible, confusing, complex information spaces and feel comfortable and located in doing that. So navigation will be a new form of literacy if not the main form of literacy for the 21st century.

Everyone knows the saying, “Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” The PlayMaker School in LA understands this. They aren’t concerned about their kids memorizing meaningless facts and numbers. They are concerned that their students are learning how to learn.

References

Barseghian, Tina (2014 July). A School That Ditches All the Rules, But Not the Rigor

Barseghian, Tina (2014 July). A School Day That’s All About Play

Colegrove, Tod. (2013, March). Editorial Board Thoughts: Libraries as Makerspace?

Foote, Carolyn. (2013, September) Making Space for Makerspaces

Graves, Colleen (2014, March) Teen Experts Guide Makerspace

TOK, Hawaii, and Twitter (Week 8: Social networks for learning)

You don’t get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see. You are, in fact, a mash-up of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe goethe-quotesaid, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”  -Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

“You don’t get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers.” This is one of my favorite quotes from a book by Austin Kleon that I read over a year ago, Steal Like an Artist. At the time, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me and how much it would relate to educational technology. It’s funny that the article I’m about to discuss mentions this same author, Austin Kleon.

In the article Theory of Knowledge, Social Media and Connected Learning in High School, Howard Rheingold interviews Amy Burvall, a teacher at Le Jardin Academy in Hawaii, about how she uses Web 2.0 tools to support a course she teaches about the Theory of Knowledge. It is rather amazing and I found the interview quite compelling. In the video interview, Burvall mentions that the class watches a lot of TED talks and the whole course is based on a blog with each student having their own blog, which sounds very familiar to our current class! Burvall also heavily relies on backchanneling to involve the more introverted students who are less likely to participate orally. She says she often finds that these students “blossom” on twitter or vlogs, a video blog.

Blogging and vlogging are not only about the projects the students create, but about their creative process: “The author Austin Kleon has a book coming out called Show Your Work and a hashtag on Twitter, #showyourwork, which has become a mantra in our classroom,” says Burvall.

It’s not about the projects, but more about how they became to be, the journey. This is awesome and has so many other applications in life. This stuck out to me the most because I am familiar with Austin Kleon. As mentioned above, I read his first book. I haven’t had a chance to pick up Show Your Work yet, but I definitely plan on it. I did, however, check out the hashtag #showyourwork on twitter, and was very impressed and intrigued by how many people are conversing through that backchannel and using Kleon’s hashtag and book to put themselves out their. I think twitter is a highly underrated educational tool that is not used nearly enough in the classroom, or out of the classroom!

I found Burvall’s use of twitter, the G+ community, and blogging to be super engaging and fun. Burvall has her students blog, then tweet their blog posts AND then post them on their class G+ community. This opens up doors to invite others outside of their class and community to join the conversation on twitter and G+. This is true power – having the ability to talk to anyone about anything on any subject. It is great that Burvall is teaching such an important skill at a young age.

TOK students don’t just use social media tools — they use them for specific purposes. They reflect on their purposes and how the tools support them, or not. They learn how to study knowledge, not just as an academic pursuit, but as an essential life skill in a digital milieu.

This is so important to understand that we shouldn’t “just use social media tools” but we should be teaching our students to “reflect on their purposes and how the tools support them”. In another DMLcentral article, A Collaborative Guide to Best Digital Learning Practices for K-12, a document was created on Google Docs in “Bangkok, Thailand, at the March 28-31 teacher’s meeting of EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Schools”. Collaboratively, they came up with a great preamble in my opinion. “Tools aren’t teachers, they aren’t students, and they aren’t magic.” They started off their document with this and I feel that it’s super important that teachers understand this. Tools are nothing more than tools.

Another one of my favorite aspects of Burvall’s course was how she used twitter for the “twitter question of the week”. I think this is a great way to really get the students engaged and also introduce them to the power of twitter. Having a class hashtag and attaching that to all of their conversations, including the twitter question of the week, allows others to follow their conversations on twitter and participate. Burvall described the twitter question of the week as sometimes being deep, like what makes us human, or other times being more specific, like what is your strongest memory. I think this would be a great way to engage students even further with class discussions. Burvall said that she finds it interesting to see who jumps in on these questions and how they will sometimes challenge what the students say. I always find this extremely fun when other people jump in to a backchannel twitter conversation and add value to what is happening. I once tweeted how cool and interesting I thought a certain book was. What happened next? The author private messaged me on twitter asking for my address. He sent me a free copy of the book!! Twitter has power.

The last thing I would like to touch on is Burvall’s use of circles. I found this fascinating and would love to be a part of a class that does this. She forms an inner and outer circle of students. The inner circle discusses questions and ideas out loud while the outer circle is backchanneling on twitter. The tweets are then archived via Storify and those act as the “class notes”. This allows students to participate in both verbal and digital discussions. I think this would be really neat to try out in a classroom setting to see what would flourish.

Overall, this was a great read and a very interesting interview to watch. It appears that Burvall is right on track to adapting a diverse array of Web 2.0 tools into her TOK class. I was able to check out a few of the students blogs that Rheingold linked to, and they were very neat to browse through and watch some of the class vlogs.

 

Rediscovering Wikipedia for Education (Week 7: Wikis and learning)

wikipedia1I must say I was not aware of the power of Wikipedia until this week. I was very familiar with Wikipedia before, but not so familiar with it’s use for education. I found myself on a digital journey of rediscovering Wikipedia through Schweder and Wissick’s “The Power of Wikis” from the Journal of Special Education and the DMLcentral article on Wadewitz. Schweder and Wissick’s article was a nice, light read. It was a good transition into Losh’s article about Adrianne Wadewitz, How to Use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool: Adrianne Wadewitz.

Schweder and Wissick break down educational wikis into four categories and provided some great examples of each (which I also listed a few that they mentioned):

  1. collaboration
  2. sharing
  3. organization
  4. instruction

I liked this article because it was short, sweet, and to the point. It gave a brief description of each category, showcasing specific wikis, which provided to be great resources that I listed a few of them above. The category that caught my eye was organization and their shout-out to “techies”. Schweder and Wissick say that “as ‘techies,’ we are constantly bookmarking Web sites that we think might be useful to us now and in the future” and that “we also like to share information with others that we find.” It’s as if they were describing me. I am always bookmarking and saving websites – I even started a links page in this blog that I just renamed “My edtech Toolbox“. I just might have to create my own wiki to collect and share web sites and links!

What really got me going was the article about Adrianne Wadewitz. I was saddened to discover from her Wikipedian page that she passed away a few months ago. As tragic as this is, Wadewitz will always be remembered by her advocacy for adopting Wikipedia in education, fighting for feminism in Wikipedia, and from what I can gather, her amazing passion for education and life and her love of rock climbing. According to Losh, “[Wadewitz] helped write a helpful brochure from the Wikimedia Foundation on ‘How to Use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool‘.” I also stumbled upon a video on my journey to rediscovering Wikipedia about “The Impact of Wikipedia” that features Wadewitz. I discovered a whole new world of Wikipedia. I never knew about Wiki awards, which very much resemble badging, and badging is a strong interest of mine. There are also userboxes that you can add to your Wikipedian page, that are used to give a sense of personality to a person. Check out Adrianne Wadewitz’s collection of userboxes on her page. I find all of this very interesting. Everything combined together could almost resemble a professional portfolio of accomplishments.

Back to Losh’s article on DMLcentral, I especially liked, and found most useful, Wadewitz’s examples of common mistakes that instructors make.

  • When asked to identify the most common mistakes instructors make when assigning students to contribute to Wikipedia, Wadewitz argued that “the biggest one is not understanding that the encyclopedia is made up of editors.”  While an “old-fashioned” reference work like Britannica can be approached naively as “just entries that you go to and read” without serious consequences, “the essence of Wikipedia is the community,” which means respecting “its efforts” and understanding how “a global group of editors” might “work collaboratively” and “to think about it ahead of time.”
  • When asked to identify common mistakes made on the side of instructors, she pointed out that “not taking enough time to design an assignment” could be a fatal error committed by novices, particularly those who are excited by the potential for participatory learning.  Diving right in and learning by trial and error “works for a lot of technology,” but “with Wikipedia you are engaging with a lot of people on the other end,” so you need to articulate feasible learning goals that respect existing community practices.

These are great takeaways from Wadewitz. I think these common mistakes illustrate just how knowledge building occurs in wikis — through collaboration over a network of global editors. And once an educator understands just how this happens, they will be able to create more well-rounded and engaging lessons for the students.

My only concern when it comes to group projects involving wikis is that only one person can edit a page at once. If that’s the case, how does the group communicate? Do they make a comment on the page and wait for a reply, which could come a few hours or days later? Do they use another Web 2.0 tool for communication purposes? I am not aware of any messaging service within wiki sites. What if more than one person wanted to make edits during the same time? I feel as if this would not be possible and therefore wikis would prove to be inefficient when real-time editing and group work is needed, and this is where Google Docs fills in the gap. Although Docs does not create a full-encompassing, web-hosted website, I guess tradeoffs come with everything. It even appears that the Google wiki does not allow simultaneous editing either.

As my blog post title hints, I have rediscovered Wikipedia. I was always aware of Wikipedia and used it on a regular basis for a quick reference or to look up information about a movie or an actor. But I have never considered its use for education. I must say what I have found is promising and I can’t wait to explore wikis and Wikipedia even further.

Exploring Flickr and Podcasts in the Classroom (Week 6 – Educational Applications of Web 2.0 Tools)

flickr-in-educationLet me start off my saying Flickr is outdated, or at least so I thought. I have never used Flickr nor have I had any interest in using this medium. I grew up with the cliché stereotype that Flickr was for girls and photographers. Now that I am a videographer, I know that photographers rarely use this site and girls gravitate toward Tumblr more. After reading “Pedagogical Uses of Flickr” by Jennifer Chu and Erik Van Dusen in 2008, I still wasn’t sold. Everything they described in that article, Pinterest does better, at least in my opinion. Pinterest is more popular, more versatile, and provides more options to spark creativity. However, after looking into Flickr a little further, I discovered that Flickr now gives everyone a terabyte of free storage. That was enough to spark my interest. I signed up for Flickr using my already created Yahoo email, which was simple enough, and lone behold, 1 free terabyte of storage! I was impressed by the revamped structure and usability of Flickr. I still believe Pinterest is has far more versatile in the classroom, but I will admit that there could be potential for picture blogging and digital storytelling. Chu and Dusen acknowledge that Flickr “allows students to explore the world around them from the comfort of their own classroom and home through photographs.” Eh, I’m sure it does. But so does Pinterest. And now Instagram. And Twiiter, and Facebook, and so on. I understand this article was written in 2008 and back then, Flickr was a great medium for exploring the world through your computer. But due to the ridiculous growth of new social media platforms, that has since lost its touch. The last thing I would like to touch on from C&D Flickr’s article is in the closing statement. They quoted Will Richardson in saying, “using web applications such as Flickr in educational settings carries some risks and it is usually the teacher’s job to teach students what is safe to post in terms of safety and privacy.” I bring this up because I feel it relates to the conversation that was sparked from Joe’s blog 4, Networked Teacher, about privacy. There is a big risk that comes with using Web 2.0 tools in educational environments, especially for children. This is why it is important for the teacher to first explore these tools and become familiar with them first, before employing them in the classroom, as Richardson and Mancabelli point out in “Becoming a Networked Learner” chapter in their book Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education.

It’s not enough to employ these tools and technologies with our students; we have to employ them in our own learning practice. Otherwise, nothing changes. The vast majority of classroom uses of blogs, for example, are little more than taking what has already been done on paper for eons and publishing it in a different medium. In these cases, nothing has changed because the person at the front of the room (or in the front office) doesn’t understand that a blog is not simply about publishing; it’s about connecting. The great opportunity these tools provide is that they allow us to interact with others out there, but it’s an opportunity that’s meaningful only if we experience the full potential that exists in those interactions. (34)

This is crucial to understand. I fear that if we do not introduce Web 2.0 tools such as blogging to our students, we are limiting developing their personal learning networks and their education. But if we understand the tools, understand the risks, and give students the option to make these connections and interactions, it could be a game-changer.

Another game-changer that are not used even remotely enough as they should be, are podcasts. Most of my experiences with podcasts come from me subscribing to Happy Tree Friends and the Best of YouTube on my first iPod, not even close to being educational. But as you can see like any other Web 2.0 tool, podcasts are used for many more purposes than just education. I have had only one experience with podcasts in an educational environment, and that came last semester in Design Studio (LDT 550). We used Flipgrid to virtually introduce ourselves and to play around with a new edtech tool. You could argue that Flipgrid isn’t exactly a podcast, but I agree…and disagree. I would say it falls under the podcast umbrella, but just like other Web 2.0 tools, they are constantly evolving and transforming to fit the needs of this world. In an article posted in the British Journal of Educational Technology, “Educational usages of podcasting“,  Howard Harris and Sungmin Park say that podcasting “has become a means of communication and dialogue between teachers and students.” Flipgrid allowed us (the students of LDT 550) and the professor to asynchronously communicate via a short video clip. The professor created our “Flipgrid classroom” and posted a question. We then answered the question with a short video that anyone in the class could view at any time, and respond with another video. As Harris and Sungmin point out in their conclusion, “podcasting enables direct communication and interaction with students which go beyond the temporal and spatial limitations of conventional face-to-face education.” This is exactly what Flipgrid did for our classroom. LDT 550 was not an online course. We met once a week in a classroom; however, we used tools such as Flipgrid, Google Hangouts, Adobe Connect, and even Second Life to push the boundaries of our classroom experience.

Want to create your own podcast? Check out my podcasting resources under my links page!