Saturday, October 20, 2007

Interesting Use of Social Networking Technology at the Smithsonian

Catching up on my reading list that has been sitting patiently among my delicious tags.

In September it was announced that the Smithsonian Institution was launching an interactive website to build collections for its newest museum that won't open until 2015.

The museum is the National Museum of African American History and Culture and with the online content that people are contributing a virtual museum now exists. Here's the link for the virtual museum:

The IBM corporation has donated hardware and software to allow for the use of social networking technologies to be employed on the interactive website so that people can add to the collections and direct the content of this new museum. "The museum thought, ‘Let's harness this. Let's build a social network that brings together people interested in the African American experience ... all those people that are your visitors but who have great stories to tell," said John Tolva, IBM's senior manager for cultural programs, in an article in the e-School News magazine (see

I'm not the first blogger to write about this topic -- see for example this blog entry from the Netherlands at, and this entry from the Chronicle of Higher Education at, and IBM's posting on this venture at

It will be interesting to watch how this type of application may spread to other endeavors. ...still the digital immigrant...Lois

Note: Logo from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History at

Monday, October 15, 2007

Responses to Ferdi's ISTE assignment

1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
A. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
B. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
C. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
D. identify trends and forecast possibilities.

Have students create new products or services in an entrepreneurship/business class and then create podcasts or vodcasts that advertise the new product or service.

2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
A. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
B. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
C. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
D. contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

Create groups of students in a social studies class that use a wiki-space to write a group report on socio-economic characteristics of another country. Explore the development of podcast pals (instead of pen pals) with students in a school in another country.

3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
A. plan strategies to guide inquiry.
B. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
C. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
D. process data and report results.

Have students in a social studies class gather socio-economic data on developing countries around the world via web-resources. Have students use spreadsheets and mapping software for reporting data. Have students explore similarities and differences between developing countries using a wiki-space.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision-Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
A. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
B. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
C. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
D. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

Have students in an environmental science study recycling patterns in their school or home. Collect data for one month period and then analyze the data set. Students can make recommendations for improving recycling efforts in their school or home.

5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:
A. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
B. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
C. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
D. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

Have students study intellectual property rights in an economics class and then examine issues related to inappropriate downloading of music and how the artists and the music industry are impacted by illegal download behaviors.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:
A. understand and use technology systems.
B. select and use applications effectively and productively.
C. troubleshoot systems and applications.
D. transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

Have students use the statistical tools in MS Excel to evaluate a data set and then recommend possible courses of action to meet quality control standards in production of a product.

iPod instructional uses

Last night's evening news on NBC had an interesting feature on a school in Union City New Jersey where iPods are being used in the an ESL classroom. The story featured ways in which music, audio books and spoken interviews with the iPods were being used to help students' learn about nouns, improve reading and speaking comprehension.

One student interviewed in the story was asked how they would feel if they were using a book to accomplish these things -- her response -- it would be boring! Spoken like a true digital native. The link to the NBC video piece is here:

The Apple website has a section for educators with resources for getting started and some great examples of how ipods are being used in various school settings at ...still the digital immigrant...Lois