Monday, March 10, 2008

Teen Tech Week Workshops - part three

(I almost called this THE REVENGE OF TTTW! ARGHHHH! This is part 3- read from below up to here! :) ~guybrarian)

Evaluation: Wow. Did I learn a lot! Here are some highlights:
1) Informal statistics
From my little polls I determined that 1/2-2/3's of my students have their own My Space accounts (only one student out of the 8 classes said they had Facebook).
About 1/3 of the students use an online photo tool, most use Photobucket
Most of them have been creating powerpoint presentations since about 4th or 5th grade.
There were 8 blocks of students that attended, filling every IMC computer. (Also a handful of teachers!)

2) What they don't know
They don't really know whats available to them online.
Most of the students had never seen the applications I previewed for them, much less used them for classroom work

They don't know too much about how to tag information
When we talked about online photo accounts, they used them but had never tagged their info in order to organize or even RSS them. Even the term TAG or TAGGING was new to them. I think this puts them at a disadvantage when they to sort information or research.

They don't know too much about RSS.
Making friends in my space- you bet! But we also talked about push/pull technology and it was pretty clear that they didn't know they could create spaces that would bring all their information to them in order to create meaning.

They don't know how to embed code into their web pages
When finished working with VOKI's it provides a script, and very very few of them knew what it was or what they could do with it. So, they didn't really know that they could adapt their online pages to become something that helps their learning.

They don't know how to create online workspaces that help them to be more efficient and organized.
When I showed them
IGoogle (or pageflakes or netvibes) they had no idea that they could set these types of workspaces up for themselves. A few created them during our time, and saw the value in it.

They need practice on how to have productive live/online conversations.
While I was hoping that they could use the backchannel to clarify and share constructive information, my monitor ended up refereeing much too much for my taste. I just don't think students had a concept of what could really be accomplished here.

What does it mean?
Even though this didn't quite accomplish what I hoped there were some positive things.

A few students registered for online photo accounts and began organizing photos. I thought the avatar creator had less educational value than some of the other applications, so was a little embarrassed when students flocked to it. Then a teacher found a way to embed this cute avatar in her foreign language wiki. She set up an brief response to go with an assignment that I'm sure the students will love. (Check it out!) Lastly, I was very glad to see a few students create IGoogle accounts and began using them. This really seems useful for them and I wonder what it would look like to help students set these up for classes and activities.

The whole experience brought up many questions...

* What do students need to know so that they can create something of value to add to the web?
* How can we coach students to get to deeper levels when researching for themselves (rather than a prescribed assignment for school)?
* How can we best help students to productive and meaningful conversations on the web?
* What are some questions you have? :)

1 comment:

Mrs. Ackerman said...

Thank you for your summary of the experience teaching teens to use free online technologies. I see a lot of value in your observations! I'd like to do the same type of teaching for our students and you gave me some things to think about.
I'm working with a couple of teachers to show students online free presentation tools - alternatives to powerpoint. It will be interesting to see how many students use one of the 5 tools I'm showing.
Keep up the good work, oh techie guru!!!