Archive for the 'blog' Category

Web 2.0 Use May Not Be Formative Assessment

As I look at articles, blogs, and conference sessions, I see titles like

Formative Assessment Through Clickers

Formative Assessment Through Cell phones

Formative Assessment Through the Class Blogs/Wikis

Formative Assessment Through Online Quizzes

Formative Assessment Through Twitter

Formative Assessment Through Flickr

These people are generally  using Web 2.0 tools to monitor students, the first stage of formative assessment.  They collect information about where the students are  academically.

However, formative assessment moves from the monitor stage to the diagnosis stage.  How does the students’ present status compare to the desired learning goal?  If there are learning gaps, what strategies will help the students overcome those gaps?

If teachers or Web 2.0 programs do not offer improvement strategies based on the students’ specific learning gaps, then formative assessment does not occur.  Formative Assessment is much more than just seeing how many questions the students can answer;  it helps students to improve through providing new strategies for learning.

For example, if students take an online quiz about a certain learning goal, what happens next? Do the teachers diagnosis the results to see how individuals do on each item? Do the teachers determine which minor goals the students have yet to learn? Do the teachers determine which strategies will best help each student? Do the teachers give formative feedback to each student? Do the teachers build in class time for the students to practice their new formative strategy?  Do the teachers re-assess the learning?

Tuttle's Stages of Formative Assessment

Do you use Web 2.0 tools to go beyond the monitoring of students to a full formative assessment?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Wii, Web 2.0 Learning, and Improving Student Learning?

I got to spend about 2 hours with Wii sports -bowling,baseball, tennis and golf. I am not very coordinated; you could say I’m ambispastic. I bowl with either hand, both equally poorly. When I play virtual bowling, I do even worse. Being virtual does not make me better.

So how do we prepare our students to be better at learning in Web 2.0 environments? Just popping them into Twitter, Wiki, Blog,  Social bookmarking, etc. does not make them any better learners.  How do we as teachers prepare them for and create environments that are more than just social environments  but that are truly learning  environments?  How do we structure an environment that creates in-depth thinking? That promotes comprehensive thinking about a learning goal? That causes the students to make the connections among big ideas?

I do not need to hear more student chatter, I want to hear more ahas.

How do you structure your Web 2 environments to be be powerful learning environments?

Backing up data

Over the years I’ve had two laptops die on me. Yes, I had backed them up – a few weeks previous to the crashes. But I still lost much data. Two students last semester had their flash drives toasted so that they could not get data off of them and they needed the data for their end of the course portfolio.

So let’s check: How often do you back up

Your computer?

Your files at school? (How often does the school back up student files?)

Your bookmarks if they are not online bookmarking?

Your wiki or blog- in case your provider does not back it up?

Your flashdrive?

Do you back up your information to at least two different storage device – perhaps an external harddrive and a DVD?

Do you store those backups in two different locations – one at home and one at work? Don’t keep both in the same location! The house of a person I know was destroyed in a fire and all of his multiple backups were destroyed.
Do you save critical files online such as in your Google docs or email them to yourself frequently?

How do you protect your valuable work?

Blog Content Skills Checklist

I’m trying to think through the skills that our students should display in the class blog that represent academic learning.

Do our students
Provide in-depth information?
Ask others to clarify information?
Ask probing questions to understand the topic more in-depth?
Summarize the many blog entries  into a few meaningful statements?
Identify patterns in blog entries?
Provide vivid examples?
Provide real life examples?
Show alternative views?
Support others as they try to understand the concepts?

What other academic skills should our students show in the class blog?

How to make Wikis and Blogs Collective Intelligence

THE magazine has an article on 6 technologies that will impact education in very near future. The writer used the term collective intelligence to refer to Wikis and Blogs. I agree that wikis and blogs are collective. Are they intelligent? Ithink that depends on how the teachers have their students use these tools. As a comparision, are all classroom discussions intelligent ones in which students grow academically from the discussion or is it a an exchange of opinions?

Here’s two things we can do to improve the intelligence of the wikis or blogs.

When students do add to a wiki to build a collective body of information, how do they use the information once they have created it? For example, if students find articles on different article on the same topic (immigration), summarize the articles, and post to a wiki, we simply have a collection of articles. What do we have the students do that uses that collection? Do they compare/contrast the articles? Do they search for the bias in each article? Do they create their own article that incorporates an in-depth view of the pros and cons of the issue?

When students post their ideas to a blog or even twitter about the ideas, how do students grow from each other’s comments? Are the students’ comments ones that challenge ideas, ask probing questions about it, give another view(perspective) of it, show connections, provide alternative explanations, or explain how to do it? How do their comments move them along the learning path?

Class Blogs – Create a New One or Build On to Previous One?

This year I am using blogs in all my classes. One of the classes is another section of a class I taught last semester. I had to make a decision whether to start with a new class blog or whether to keep the old one.

Some advantageous of having a new blog are: the students can create their own work; they can feel a complete sense of ownership; they have a clean slate, not a slate already created by others;

Some disadvantages of having a new blog are: not learning what others have done; not building on what others have done; and having to re-invent the wheel/materials.; and my not having to enter the old essential material.

I’ve decided to build on the previous course’s blog. Students can read the previous class’ chapter summaries and add new material. They are adding new material to the blog that go beyond where last semester’s students went. For example, this semester’s class is adding business letter examples from the web so that we have real examples to react to. Since I do not have to recopy all the essential material I had in the old blog to recreate a new one, I can add new sections for the students. I can create more sections that provide more scaffolding.

Do you create new blogs or build on the old ones for the same class?

Identifying Student Learning Success for Them

Do  you have an attitude of “I know quality when I see it” for assessing student work  or do you have an attitude of “I insure that my students know what quality looks like” when assessing student work?

Have you posted exemplars to the class wiki/blog?  Have you  had students rework the rubric (or whatever  assessment tool) so that it is completely understandable to them? (A great wiki collaboration learning experience). Have your class created a rubric or assessment tool to assess student work through using the Smartboard?

How do you use technology to help students understand the quality that is expected of them in their standards-based learning?

Not Really Web 2.0 Classroom Use

When is a Web 2.0 tool, not a Web 2.0 tool? The answer is when we use a Web 2.0 tool as a Web 1.0 tool. I hear of many schools that have blogs. Students post their ideas to the blog but they do not respond to each other. The blogs are closed to the class. They only blog during class time. I don’t see that as a Web 2.0 tool use.

Students use Google docs to share their documents for peer-review. Ok, they are sharing a document but how different is this than sharing a physical paper within the class? The sharing just allows the other person access to make comments. They could do it with email.

I see videoconferencing that is 85% lecture or demonstration. The students do a token activity. Is that an example of social sharing? Or is videoconferencing really a one-way tool to dispense information?

How do you use Web 2.0 tools in your classroom?

Twitter- My beginning

Twitter logo

I was introduced to twitter at the NYSCATE conference; twitter is a micro-blog applications limited to a message of less than 140 characters. I think of it as a a telegraph. I’ve just begun to use it. As I read tweets, I realize that much can be said or asked within those characters. Messages can be very meaningful and also very silly.

You can get instant help with real-life problems. You can expand your horizons and be exposed to new ideas.

The trick to twitter is to have people you follow and who follow you to create a social network. It makes no sense to tweet yourself. Finding people to be “social” with is the awkward part.

my twitter is

Full Engagement in Standards-Based Learning Through Technology

How engaged are our students in standards-based learning? Are they fully immersed in their learning like a Spanish student who is studying in a Spanish speaking country or are they just putting their toes in the water?

How do we use technology to fully immerse them?
Creating a PowerPoint may keep them busy but it may not fully immerse them in the standard. When students create a PowerPoint that argue their point of view and others react to their point of view, then they are fully immersed.

Doing a videoconference may be an exciting activity but it may not immerse them in arguing and debating the concepts involved in the standards.

Participating in a class blog can be a novel activity but it may lead to non-focused discussions. Doing a blog in which each student has to contribute and react to two other students in terms of the standard is a different experience.

Taking digital images of their classmates may be a fun use of a digital camera but that does not engage them in standards-based learning. Taking pictures of five different examples of geometric shapes in the school engages them in the standards.

How do you fully immerse your students in standards-based learning through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


LifeLong Learning-Part 3: Students Learn From Their Peers, Teachers, Mentors

Students learn from

A third aspect of lifelong learner is learning from different types of “teachers.” Students can learn from the classroom teacher but they can also learn from peers and mentors. Since our students will be on their own after their graduate from school/college, we can help them to see the value in learning from others.

How do we foster learning from others?
Do we have students work collaboratively where they learn from each other? (Collaborative work is very different than group work.)
Do we encourage collaborations that go beyond the classroom such as getting help through IM, Skype, etc from people who live in other locations?
Do we have our students teach a concept to other students in distant locations and have other students teach our students through Web resources such as videoconferencing?
Do we help our students to create instructional videos on standards based topic for YouTube?
Do we have them work with a mentor in a field of their interest through email, Skype, phone calls, etc.?
Do we encourage our students to participate in a blog on an standards based topic and share their learning with the class?
Do we have our students contribute to a Wiki about a standards based topic? To correct others?
Do we ask students to research and create their own topic report through connecting with an expert and bringing that expert virtually into the classroom?
Do we help students to assess the “teachings” of others?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Blog vs Webpages in Education

Webpages vs blogs

Recently I had to create a website but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a blog would do the same thing. I created the whole blog in a fraction of the time that it would have taken me to design a website. I used the website mentality of one topic per blog entry (webpage) and then linked all the entries (four pages) to the front menu page. I put in numerous images per page. Because I used a professional blog template, the blog looks good.

I would suggest that educators do not think about creating webpages but that for 99.999999% of the time, a blog will be easier to create and update.

Do you have blogs or websites? Why?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Blog as Eportfolio: Using Tags

Eportfolio Blog Tagging
I have mentioned in previous blogs, students can use blogs for eportfolios. The use of tags will allow students to indicate the critical standards-based elements of each blog.

As educators, we want to assess the students’ growth in our subject area standards. However, the students may include various learning experiences that incorporate more than one standard in a blog entry. They may organize their eportfolio around their bigger authentic learning experiences. However, they need to carefully tag each entry and to clue us as to their awareness of each standard.

If students in English class create a blog that demonstrates their labeling a nature trail, they can tag that blog with the appropriate standard key components such as 1.1, 1.3, and 1.5. In the blog, they will insert the appropriate standard component and explain how this aspect of the blog demonstrate the component. (We listened to a nature guide who explained to us the various flowers and trees on the nature path. From her talk, I listed the trees and four facts about each one (1.1-getting information from oral sources). I then researched these trees on the Internet to find two additional facts and to get more details for each of the facts (1.3-getting information from text sources). Then I created a label for each tree in which I included a picture of the tree, its name, and six detailed facts about each tree. (1.5-creating information for others). Here is a sample…… The student then includes a reflection on her growth in each of these key components.

Due to the tags, the teachers can find the standards easily in the students’ blogs and then with the students’ annotations, the educators can see the specific evidence within a larger context. If their blogs are private (them and you), then you can rate them and give them formative feedback.

Do your students tag their blog work for your standards-based assessment?


Music Learning To a Higher Beat Through Technology

music notes

Music teachers have many wonderful technology resources that can help their students. Here are a few.

Student interviews another student about her music -Kingswood #3
Your students can explain their musical compositions before they play them.

David Honeyboy Edwards Youtube music blues in a shoebox

Thelonius Monk in Berlin 4:12

Tons of student made music videos to critic

Have your explain how to do something in music through an emovie (you can post it to YouTube for the world to see)

Has your class been Youtubed (blog entry) Search to see choir, instrumental, etc.

Have students sing or write a song based on a picture from Flickr. Or give the class the same general topic (family) and have them pick a picture from within that topic for their music.

Have students select pictures to illustrate a song or instrumental piece. They compare their pictures and explain their understanding of the piece.

Graphic Organizers/Inspiration
Students show the historical connections, cultural connections, famous artists, famous examples, time period, and characteristics for a style of music.

Have your choir learn how to sing a song in French from a French choir, sing it for them, and sing it with them.

Your students can watch up close as a famous instrumentalist plays. The students can play and the expert can give them constructive feedback.

Software/Online resources
Free Finale Notepad to create music

Elementary Music Bulletin Boards

Music resources

So how do music teachers involve students in their music learning through technology in your district? How do they use interactive technology to improve the quality of music learning?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007





Art Beautifully Drawn by Terrific Technology

Art and technology

Art teachers have many valuable technology resources that they can use to improve their students’ learning.

Walter’s Art Museum Director’s Blog

Museum of Glass blog African-American quilting entry

PDF of Art Museum Blogs by Ideum


Moma Museum Blog Jackson Pollock’s Echo Number 25


Cubism Explanation and Watch student drawing 2:00 minutes

Virtual visit with a museum or an artist -great source is CILC

Students analyze a story told in four pictures and create their own visual story.

So how else do your art teachers use technology n their classrooms?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007





Student Personal Learning Goals and Self-Assessment in a Blog

Personal Goals in a Blog

We all want students to be life long learners. Students have to be able to self-assess and improve. One technique is for students to create a personal subject area or school goal blog.

They identify what their own major goals are for the course and how they might go about achieving those goals or what help they might need. Frequently during the semester they revisit their goals and write about their progress. They may revise their goals or revise the activities to help them get there.They add evidence of their activities that support their growth in their goals.

These blogs become their goal and learning online journals. The blog serves as a personal celebration of the students’ successes. They may choose to put some of this in their eportfolio.

How do you have students’ use blogs for their own self assessment of their learning goals?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Blog as Eportfolio: Part 3-Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantage Disadvantage of Blog as Eportfolio

The advantage of a blog eportfolio is that it is easy to put up a blog. Most students have their own email so they can set up a blog quickly. They can individualize the appearance by selecting from many existing templates. A blog is a good tool for an eportfolio with much text.

There ae some disadvantages. The eportfolio can contain images. However, often those images are limited. Many blog programs do not allow video. Some allow audio with special programming. The student has to be shown how to set up the blog to limit access to it if it is a school eportfolio.

The student has to be more creative in showing improvements in their work such as their growth in their comparison writing. One way is for the student to write notes in parentheses such as ( ) to show the changes. For example,

Don Quixote’s love for Dulcinea is a fantasy love. He devotes all of his actions to her even though there is no real woman with the name of Dulcinea. (I added the “even though…” part to prove the fantasy concept). When he tells people he has saved to go to her town and praise her, he gives them the name of a town. El Toboso, that does exist. He describes her great beauty to others although the woman on whom he bases Dulcinea is not beautiful. (I decide to use the same pattern in each sentence to help the reader see the difference between the fantasy and reality.)

Most blogs do not allow for double column entries with one column being the original document and the other column being the students’ comments on their growth.

If the eportfolio blog is a private blog with limited access to invited people, the teachers can make comments on the students eportfolio.

What other advantages or disadvantages do you see in using blogs for academic eportfolios?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Blog as Eportfolio: Part 2- Blogging Logistics

ELA Eportfolio Links

I would suggest having one blog entry per standard. Within that blog entry for the standard, the students has the paraphrase of the standard, the numerous artifacts or evidence and how each shows the standard, and the reflection on growth.

The students enter the blog eportfolio in reverse so the end of the eportfolio goes in first. The title of the eportfolio goes in as the most recent entry.

The student has an index on the initial page where each part of the eportfolio is listed. The students will go in their blog, find the URL for the blog of the first standard, copy that URL, highlight the first standard in the listing of the standards on the initial page, and hyperlink it. They will repeat this process for each part of the eportfolio. The students will save their changes. Therefore, this initial index page serves as a quick jumping off point to any part of the eportfolio.

If the student has less than ten blog entries which is very probably, then they can simply have the blog list the most recent blogs entries. A reviewer can click from the side listings to navigate through the eportfolio. Another more complex technique is for the students to edit the previous blog entries. They copy the URL of this initial index page, write “index page” at the bottom of each eportfolio part, and link that page to the index. They will re-save each blog entry. Then the reviewer can go from any eportfolio page back to the index page.

If you’ve used a blog as an educational eportfolio based on standards, please share your experiences.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Blog as Eportfolio: Part 1- Basic Eportfolio Structure

ELA Eportfolio Cover

I talked to someone who is interested in having her students put up their academic eportfolio using a blog. I think blogging is an easy technology that can be private and limited to who views it.

I think these eportfolio parts are critical (the structure of the eportfolio):

Title page with basic information

Standard overview to see which standard subparts are addressed in the the eportfolio and the student’s self -rating on these standards.
First Standard
– How the student understands the standard
– Multiple artifacts or evidence to demonstrate the standard and how each artifact demonstrates the standard
– Reflection on each standard (What the student knew, learned, and needs to learn)

Second Standard
– How the student understands the standard
– Multiple artifacts or evidence to demonstrate the standard and how each artifact demonstrates the standard
– Reflection on each standard (What the student knew, learned, and needs to learn)

Continue for each additional state, national or 21s century skill standard

An overall statement that shows how the student sees all the standards combined to produce a good English (Math, Social Studies, Math, etc) student.

Are their other parts of an eportfolio that you feel should be included?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Advantages of Blogs (Blogging) During a Professional Development



Advantages of Blogs During a Professional Development

During a series of recent professional development workshops, I had the participants blog in response to questions I raised. Each question was a new blog. I had them blog for many reasons:

Each person has his or her own ideas and does not copy those of his/her neighbor

No one dominates the conversation.

People make thoughtful insightful statements since they have time to reflect.

People can read all the comments of the other people and then make general or specific reaction comments.

Often when a person writes a very insightful statements, others become aware of being more insightful.

The blog “conversations” are on topic.

The initial blog helps me to serve an assessment of the participants’ level of knowledge about the topic.

The constant blogging allows me to monitor individuals during the professional development. If I discover a difficulty or problem, I can talk with that individual to find ways to help him or her.

I can determine how the class is progressing by looking for a growth in their comments. Are they seeing the “big picture” of the professional development? Can they apply it?

People can go back to their earlier blogs and see what they thought at the beginning of blog and then see what they think about the topic at the end of the professional development.

I believe that the class moves at a fast pace because the blog conversations do not continue forever as some live conversations tend to.

Also, blogs can be used to distribute common word processing documents such a form that you all will work on during the professional development.

During one session we had seven blogging times and some one commented how they had enjoyed the discussions. We had only one short spoken conversation but seven purposeful blog conversations.



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