Student Blogging Resources — from Pernille Ripp, 5th grade teacher

Also, Pernille blogs elsewhere as well:

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How blogging can improve student writing — from by Ben Curran

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Gift guide: Explore Shakespeare iPad apps — from by Natasha Lomas


The Explore Shakespeare iPad apps are interactive versions of Shakespeare plays, made on behalf of venerable British publisher Cambridge University Press. In addition to the full text of either Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet, you get an entire audio performance, plus photos of productions, glossaries and textual notes, plot synopses, academic articles, study activities and more. A perfect gift for students, or anyone with more than a passing interest in the bard.


iPad Screenshot 1
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Blogs: vastly underused teaching and learning tool — from Donald Clarke


Blogs are a potent and vastly underused teaching and learning tool. The habit of regular writing as a method of reflection, synthesis, argument and reinforcement is suited to the learning process. Blogs encourage bolder, independent, critical thinking, as opposed to mere note taking. For teachers they crystallise and amplify what you have to teach. For learners, they force you to really learn.

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My notes from Thursday, 10/11/12 Sloan-C presentation by Hayley Lake & Patrick Lordan from Eastern Washington University, US
The discussion board audit: How will I know what I think until I see what I say

Discussion boards / forums are great for:

  • Reading and using research to support viewpoints/perspectives
  • Writing
  • Deeper reflections
  • Communications
    • Need to get point across succinctly
    • Decide what’s important
    • Tailor language to audience
    • Be professional
  • Critical thinking
  • Student-to-student interactions – students can generate their own online community
  • Time management and study skills
  • Can be relevant to real world and draw upon students’ experiences
  • Bringing out the wall-flowers – they can come alive and really contribute in this manner
  • Thinking more meta-cognitively and growing in self-awareness

(Bearing in mind a class size of 24-30 students per class)
Except for first two weeks, did not answer each posting; instead, typically the professor looked for themes and provided a weekly recap. Straightened out any wrong understandings.

Characteristics of reflective learners

  • Curious
  • Open to criticism and different approaches
  • Honest
  • Motivated to improve

Used the idea of a Discussion board audit

  • For closure
  • For summative assessment
  • For deeper learning/reflection; richness, depth, self-evaluation
  • Based off Mark Samples’ (George Mason University) blog audit
  • Re-read all DB postings, mark them up, analyze own work; look for themes and ideas worth revisiting, assess own learning
  • Really helped students see how they had learned, changed, grown




Another discussion board related presentation was:
Cleaning Out the Crickets: Enhancing Faculty Presence in Online Instruction
John J. Oprandy, Ph.D., South University, College of Nursing and Public Health, Health Sciences Program Online; Savannah, GA, US

  • John presented an alternative approach to discussion board questions and assignments aimed at helping students think critically
  • Discussed the merits of this approach and how to execute it
  • DB’s targeted as one of the most important ways to teach a student online
  • In their model:
    • Professor:
      • Sets expectations up front on when going to respond and how going to respond – i.e. NOT going to respond to each person’s every posting
      • Responds to each student’s main post; students respond to 2 other students
      • Use open ended, carefully crafted questions; questions need to be more complex in nature
      • Offers substantive responses, leads/guides discussion, models good writing, offers timely responses
      • Summarizes info and adds something new
      • Asks probing follow up questions to guide the conversations/learning – “It’s like putting pieces of a puzzle together.”
      • Provides final wrap up
  • What NOT to do:
    • Provide short/trite responses, give away the answer, give feedback that better belongs in the gradebook
  • This approach requires daily interaction and participation
  • Rubrics important and must align with approach
  • Works best with smaller groups
  • Faculty liked it because they often had to think on their feet

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What audiences want: Study uncovers possible futures for storytelling — from by Kim Gaskins


Earlier this year, Latitude set out to understand audiences’ evolving expectations around their everyday content experiences—with TV shows, movies, books, plot-driven video games, news, and even advertising. We began by speaking with leaders in the emerging “transmedia” space to investigate the challenges and the opportunities that today’s storytellers are encountering.

Then we asked 158 early adopters from across the world how they’d like to experience stories in the future. During the course of a generative, online survey, participants were asked to play the role of producer; they chose a narrative (a book, movie, TV show, plot-driven video games, news story, etc.) that they know well and re-invented how audiences might experience that story. Some of the ideas participants suggested are possible today even if they don’t exist yet—while others require technologies that are still several years coming.


5 tips for better storytelling — from by Ian Klein


At a recent conference on transmedia, or multiplatform storytelling, Starlight Runner Entertainment CEO Jeff Gomez said that stories help us commune with things greater than ourselves. In a world where attention and big ideas are prized, knowing a few things about storytelling can make you more successful in your endeavors. Below are five steps you can take to help better tell your story.

Connect with your audience through storytelling – an interview with Samantha Starmer of REI — from by Kit Seeborg


With so much information bombarding conference attendees during an event, it’s easy to overwhelm and saturate an audience with facts, figures and data. A skilled storyteller can form a deeper connection with each audience member by sharing knowledge in story form.

Samantha Starmer leads cross-channel experience, design, and information architecture teams at REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.). An active public speaker, Samantha has evolved her presentation style to that of storytelling. Audience members quickly forget that they’re in a conference room or auditorium, and are immediately drawn in as Samantha’s story unfolds.

We caught up with Samantha just after her return from O’Reilly OSCON where she presented the workshop How to Design for the Future – Cross Channel Experience Design.

Digital storytelling in online courses — an upcoming presentation by Aldo Caputo for the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference

This session looks at the power of digital storytelling to achieve greater impact, relevance, and ultimately learning in online courses.

Extended Abstract
The use of narrative has been used to pass on knowledge from generation to generation since humans began communicating. Storytelling started out as an oral tradition, and has taken root in every medium that has emerged since, including print, radio, video, and now the web. Storytelling plays a tremendous role in the human experience. Schank argues in Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence (1995) that stories are the foundation of human memory and intelligence. John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid posit in The Social Life of Information (2000) that stories are one of the key ways that organizational learning is captured and transferred. Digital storytelling can also be used in the online classroom to make strong learning connections. We will examine some cases of digital storytelling in selected fully-online, asynchronous courses at the University of Waterloo, and look at how the stories were created, why they were used, and the impact they had on the learning experience. In particular we’ll explore how we can leverage digital storytelling online for greater impact, relevance, and ultimately, learning. Examples will include videos of students and working professionals relating experiences relevant to the content being studied to underscore the importance of the intended outcomes and help establish connections and applications of the knowledge to the real world. Excerpts of these videos will be shown and discussed. We will also share strategies for capturing effective stories and incorporating them in an online course, inviting participants to discuss their own examples and experiences. A discussion of strategies for capturing effective video stories will likely break out at the end, as will as a fruitful exchange of advice and ideas. Anyone interested in making online or blended learning more relevant, engaging, memorable, and effective would benefit from this session. The presentation and tip sheet for effective video stories will be made available online to participants.


Some resources:


  • The app’s the thing: Shakespeare, bebooted — from by David Zax
    The world’s most famous playwright was a media theorist, says the co-creator of a new “Tempest” app for iPad, Notre Dame professor Elliott Visconsi. Here he explains how you re-create the bard for the iOS age.







iA Writer & Byword: iPad writing for minimalists — from by Sean Brage


Since the release of the first iPad in 2010, writers of all sorts – bloggers, journalists and journal-keepers alike – have been using Apple’s tablet to take their writing even further.

To that end, developers have been looking to create apps with the post-PC era writer specifically in mind; apps that put the emphasis on simplicity, productivity, and focus rather than seeing who has the longest feature list. Byword and iA Writer are among the best of these apps for the 21st-century writer; jump past the break to see how these two apps compare to one another!

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The Joy of Books — A Short, Inspired Film Full of Passion


From DSC:
This is a great one for all teachers out there trying to get students interested in reading & writing! It also is a nice use of multimedia to communicate a message — so it serves as an example of a new media literacy as well.


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The data-mining’s the thing: Shakespeare takes center stage in the Digital Age– from by Neal Ungerleider
Folger Shakespeare Library director Michael Witmore is using 21st-century tools to analyze the Bard’s work. When data-mining techniques borrowed from the sciences and business research were applied to classic Shakespearean plays, surprising discoveries were made.


Also see:

DocuScope screenshot

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