I've been reading good blog posts lately, such as about School 2.0. I can more easily see it with older kiddos, not the elementary ones I work with. Is that just because I'm stuck in this old paradigm or are there valid reasons why there would need to be a continuum of School 2.0-ness? I have trouble getting past the idea that it's hard to be admitted into School 2.0 until you can read and write, at least a bit. But this is turning into a discussion topic of its own instead of an introduction, so I'll move it to a new discussion. Please comment on it there. I'd really like to hear some other perspectives.

(And yes, I'd love to link to some of those good posts but now that I'm searching for them, I can't find them. Could have sworn Jeff Utecht just had one, but I can't find it.)

Tags: school2.0

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You can definately do this with elementary students, because I use it with my fifth graders. There are teachers that use it with kindergarten. You can have students create slideshow stories and read parts (Nags Head School is one that comes to mind with this). You can just record story discussions students have (ask them what did you like about the story?) and put it up as a podcast. You can do the typing and project the what is being typed, so the students can see it (use this for building a story together).
You need to check out think.com (http://www.think.com). It is online community your school can sign up for geared toward younger kids. A girl I work with, who is also on here can give you a lot more information. I will tell her to post.

Instead of having your kids read and write, what about sharing video or digital stories. I would recommend PhotoStory 3. A free download for Windows XP. It is a very simple to use program that lets you put digital pictures in a sequence and then put audio to the pictures. I really believe that this is the best software MS has ever published.

My wife teaches some preschoolers one night a week at church. She usually has a mini book for them to color and take home. Next time they color a book, I am going to take it home and scan the pages. I am then going to bring the pages into photostory. Finally, I will record each child saying a different page.
Hi Susan,
I am a former first grade teacher...so I had to bite on this one. Now that I'm out of the classroom teaching teachers, there have been some points that I've looked at all the great web 2.0 stuff out there and thought, "Wow, I wish I still had a group of kids I could use this with." This week it has been Kathy Cassidy's grade one and two kids who has done it for me. If you spend some time on her blog and website, you'll see blogging, wikis, podcasts...all being used by beginning readers and writers in ways that are just incredible. Then, if you watch the video about her on youtube...wow! It gives me chills. Check it out, and you'll see what I mean!
Thanks All,
I've appreciated these comments. Timely because I am just starting to use Photostory with my grade 3 students. I'll check out the listed blogs for further enlightenment and enjoyment.I do use technology in some of these ways with elementary kids. I've used it with kids as young as first grade.

I guess that part of my emerging definition of school 2.0 involves the kids having more choice and voice in the classroom, of kids learning what they want to learn, not restricted to our set curriculum. And not just "when they are done with their assigned work." Some of the conversations Jeff Utecht, Stephen Downes and others have been having are starting to define School 2.0 as having a radically different structure than our current one. Some are making me think of the open school movement in the 1960s and 70s with students learning what they want to learn when they want to learn it so that learning is engaging and meaningful. The when even includes coming and going as they please.

Makes me think of how Clarence Fisher's classroom has been evolving over the past few years. Now his 7/8 grade classroom runs like a studio arts lab with kids working on all sorts of things, not everyone on the same task at the same time, not a lot of direct, whole-group instruction. While they are not all learning whatever they want, they have had a hand from the outset and designing what they will learn. They use a class wiki to collaboratively design the curriculum. He isn't feeling that particular piece is working up to its potential yet, but he's making a stab at it. He's even opened it up to parents to be part of the process.

I love the model he is building. I keep wondering how to bring those elements down to elementary. Can elementary kids be designing their own curriculum in meaningful ways? I've taken stabs at inquiry learning, but it is challenging in the elementary grades because we kept running into skill level road blocks. Kids were asking real questions, but they couldn't read the answers when they found them, or couldn't even find them because it was too challenging to find experts or internet sites. And it was too challenging for them to determine if their sources were credible so sometimes they were finding yellow journalism instead of solid answers. A very teachable moment, but not when you are 1 to 30 teacher-student ratio.
Oh yes, we have these tools being used in primary classrooms. I work with a second grade teacher who is big into wikis, blogs and digital stories. Some of the tools for voice are fabulous with our youngest learners. Chinswing.com can start a conversation around the world with different students for example.
This is a great discussion and a compliment to an ongoing discussion on my blog. We are looking at textbooks and have delved into the issues of primary grade skills- like learning to read. It is one thing to move away from texts which to often define the curriculum and the teaching and it is another to develop good alternatives and ways to move into classroom 2.0...so lets keep exploring this.

One thing that was a real ahh moment for me today was a comment on my blog which I will paste here... It reminds me of how parochial our vision can be and how a global conversation is so important...

"Very interestingly, where I taught in Alberta, Canada, the elementary teachers never used textbooks (the textbooks usually began in Junior High School - Grade 7 and on). This doesn't mean that the elementary teachers didn't use other books: they had to have a whole set of resources at their fingertips in order to fascilitate the learning. (I am not saying that every book is useless, I actually quite like books.)

Elementary Teachers in Alberta need to create their own lesson plans, figure out what is important for them and their kids in order to fullfill the requirements of the curriculum, understand where the students are still lacking, and fill that void. I thought this was the standard, until I read your blog. I didn't realize that a textbook in elementary (K-6) school is required."

I hope this comment does not seem to tangential ..I see a real connection to this thread but may not have expressed it clearly.



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