Tech Tools Showcase: Blogs, Wikis and Other Web Wonders!

NAEYC 2008 Annual Conference Presentation:

Welcome to Everyone: "The Future is starting to Happen"

Mark Bailey: Associate Professor, Pacific University, Oregon. Director Pacific University Child Learning and Development Center.
Bonnie Blagojevic; Research Associate, the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies (UCEDD),
Warren Buckleitner, Editor, Children's Technology Review

Warren, Mark, Bonnie videochatting about the presentation

Mark's Story can be followed along with on his keynote website:
Web 1 was all about content that that was provided to you. It was top down - eg. Encyclopedia Britannica What is Web 2.0? Web 2 is all about bottom up in that it empowers everyone together, content that you can share with everyone else. It is the democratic web. - eg. Wikipedia
At the heart of this idea of Web2.0 is the concept that information does not have to come from the top down, but a new way of thinking about sharing – Pedagogical reforms begun at the turn of previous century, notably the ideas of John Dewey, continue through to the present day in the form of work by Semour Papert, Mitch Resnick, David Jonassen, Will Richardson and Tim Lauer. This is the concept that was echoed in the Berglund Center for internet studies summer institute entitled “the Wisdom and Madness of Crowds. Through our collaborations come great things. Web 2 is all about all together, content that you can share with everyone else. It is the democratic web. This means that you can share with fellow educators, students, parents, and interested learners of all ages This means that you can share with fellow educators, students, parents, and interested learners of all ages What makes this possible? New forms of software, RSS, easy to use webtools, a revolution in the manner we conceive of sharing and learning. What are some tools that foster this: wikis, Google docs, blogs, teachertube, youtube, RSS, social bookmarking, podcasting, online project sharing, photo sharing, What are the unique qualities of these tools that are that are socially and pedagogically powerful: real time collaboration, shared Collective Understanding, open acceptance of revisions, formation of social learning networks, support for real time collaboration, ubiquitous access, the support of emergent and collaborative ideas, and at the core the establishment of a network of communities.

Here is an excellent video on what a blog is - I have selected some Kindergarten blogs based on the interesting characteristics that they retain. As you explore them, notice the variety of special way they use images, video sound and other representations of student work.
Kindergarten Tales -
Manaia New Zealand -
Kinderkids Classroom -
Mrs. Henderson’s Blog -
Ms. Aja’s Classroom -
Note the ongoing set of comments over about a week on Ms. Aja's blog, and the comments from famiy out of the country on another.

So where Can you begin to look to find blogs, using blog-specific search tools?
Blogmeister’s Search Engine
Blogs on Educational Blogging
Blog Search by Google
Ice Rocket Blog Search

There are a variety of tools available to the nascent blogger. A Learning and Leading column on Blogging is a nice place to begin. One of the easiest sites for students and teachers to begin is Edublogs. David Warlick of the Landmark Project has also put together a good set of tools called Blogmeister. A classic further set of tools is wordpress, Typepad and Googles new entry Blogger. The key is to jump right in and begin to conect with people and to develop your own style. Our democratic Web is awaiting the addition of your voice.

Bonnie's Story: You don't have to be tech savvy to use web tools. Tech enthusiastic works, and not afraid to ask/look for answers, and try things out...

Learn about it: My "web wonders" starting point was the ACTEM (Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine) Conference in 2007. A clear message from Will Richardson, Keynote speaker for the conference, was, "get out there and try it." The wiki he created and used during his Keynote presentation, "A Web of Connections:Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything" not only provided a jumping off place for his comments, but was available later on for attendees (and friends :^) to visit. He can constantly update and revise for future workshops, and we all can stay "in the loop" on resources he finds and posts there that he feels are important. The wiki provides an opportunity to discuss with Will, others in this and previous or future workshops, topics shared in the wiki.

Try it: The NAEYC Technology and Young Children Interest Forum created the ECETECH Wiki, a wiki "sandbox" project and invited members of the group to join us in a "hands-on experience", to learn more about wikis, social bookmarking and blogs. In addition to starting the conversation about these 3 topics, other topic pages have been added. Another web tool members of the tech interest forum group used was "Google Docs." This free, web-based tool was selected by the group to provide an opportunity for collaborative authoring, and resulted in the publication of an article for Young Children, Meaningful Technology Integration in Early Learning Environments. The companion article about the process of creating the article, "Ten People, One Article? How a Group of Early Childhood Educators Used Web-based Collaborative Tools to Write an Article for Young Children" was created in the wiki sandbox .

Go for the Gold! There' s great information out there in cyberspace- we need to "mine" some of the great nuggets of information to benefit our work and the early childhood education community. Increasingly, there are free tech conferences, "webinars" and webcasts online, evening the playing field for participation and learning. You can access information for great conferences (or sessions!) you can't attend, by looking at names/links and following the leads to presenter websites, handouts, presentations etc. For example, ACTEM 2008...Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's keynote slideshow presentation, " Schooling for the 21st Century: Unleashing Student Passion can be seen on her website: and heard via podcast on Bob Sprankle's blog/podcast site "Bit by Bit". Not only can you see/hear the keynote presentation, but there are many other goodies on these sites. Use them as a jumping off spot for "cruising" and following links in cyberspace, such as this free K-12 Online Conference "Amplifying Possibilities", where not only the content, but the web-based tools used reflect the changing nature of education.

The concept of community is changing...People may turn to their "Twitter"(microblogging) community with questions, to share discoveries, or let people know what they are doing in 140 characters or less. "Why would I want to do that? you may ask...Read "Twittering, not Frittering: Professional Development in 140 Characters." to learn more about how these social networks can help professionally. (can be a great way to keep up with family and friends, too!) Voicethread, Diigo, Ning - online collaboration and idea/information exchange now comes in all shapes and sizes.

How to begin?- think about what you want to accomplish, and which tools can help. Consider what kinds of supports are available, and match your learning style. (Are you a "learn on your own" type, or , "someone please show me what it looks like" variety?) You can start simple, but just "get started!"

Are young children going online? What do they do? What are some good sites?
Googlizing your school (K-12)
What about Video Games?

Here's a quick tour of some recent titles.


Resources and Web 2.0 Tools, and examples of their use by early childhood educators:

Michael Richard's Handy Web 2.0 Reference page Web2PrimerMR.pdf.
Bob Goodwin Jones of Virginia Commonwealth University has published an excellent article on Blogs and wikis for online collaboration. It includes many links to blogging and Wiki resources -
Tim Lauer is an exceptional early childhood educator (now principal of Lewis Elementary School in Portland, OR) who has long been one of the leaders in thinking about technology in education
The Kinderkids' Classroom Maria Knee, NH Kindergarten teacher and winner of the winner of the Kay L. Bitter Vision Award for Excellence in Technology-Based PK-2 Education feels having an "authentic audience" has provide powerful learning opportunities for children in her class.
Room 208 Bob Sprankle suggests "blogging/podcasting will blow the walls off of your classroom, let world in..."

Blogging Tools:
50 useful blogging tools for Teachers -
One True Media for slideshows-
Edublogs, For Teachers and Students to get started -
Voki provides avitars to speak the words that you vocalize -
Odiogo, Converts text articles into sound files to provide support for those needing audio support -
FeedJit, Cool Widgits for your blog -
Pingomatic, Tells search engines you updated you blog -

Microblogging/social networking Tools
Jaiku -
Plurk -
Tumblr -
Twitter -

NAEYC Technology & Young Children Interest Forum WIki
"Examples of the Specialquest Approach" (to professional development- focuses on inclusion for young children with disabilities and their families.)

Social Bookmarking:
ECETECH Diigo web-based bookmarking collection, allows a group to save and share bookmarks on a particular topic.
Delicious is another social bookmarking site -

My Favorite Part of the Fire Station Trip

The Shining Stars in as guest) Leah Welch, Maine/ACTEM "Teacher Leader of the Year" 2008, Grade 2 Classroom.

Elementary students become podcasting pros: Apple Education -

To learn more, about new developments and ideas related to Web 2.0 and education...
Classroom 2.0 Ning
Will Richardson's blog Weblogg-ed
Ewan McIntosh's "Social participative media, education, and the future" Cool Cat Teacher Blog
WEb 2.0 accessibility