Monthly Archives: April 2009

Is cutting of aid to Africa a good idea?

In one of my technology classes we are looking at the millenium development goals. They sound like such a good idea. They are compassionate, after all. So is it possible that Ms. Moyo is on to something? Do her ideas apply to all of the millenium development goals, or just some of them?

As a class, we are going to explore her ideas, and hopefully learn about the use of technology at the same time.

We have actually learned a little bit already. We are looking at as a way of examining point of view. More to come.

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Two Uses of Etherpad in the Classroom to Promote Higher Order Thinking Skills

I am completely sold on Etherpad. Today I used it in two ways, both with obvious success. Students were engaged, able to retain information without being distracted, and thinking progressed at a high level.  Perspective, empathy, and self-knowledge were all revealed during the discussions.

Inner Outer Circle

The outer circle used the left hand side to summarize and formulate BIG questions. It used the chat function to carry on dialogue about what was happening in the middle. I could monitor the chat to make sure people were involved, and understanding what was being said. I would periodically stop and let the outer circle summarize what they were hearing from the inner circle, and to give the inner circle participants the collective thoughts and ideas of the outer circle participants.

After both groups participated inside and outside of the circle, I then gave the participants a chance to affirm or to “argue” with the summary that was created about them by others. Uniformly, they were impressed with the summary, saying that others had heard them correctly.

Then I asked them to formulate an upper level thinking question that was still left unanswered, and to answer it. The focused concentration was amazing as students worked hard to answer the question posed by them! And they can see what others are saying as they themselves answer the question.

Finally, we posted both the chat and the summary/written response onto our class-created site. What a lesson! Again, I cannot say enough about the positive effect of etherpad on the class.


Another use of Etherpad. In Cultural Studies class, we used Etherpad to collaborate in creating subheadings.

Directions for subheadings are as follows: (1) As you read, pay close attention to the subheadings of the chapter; (2) As you read, take notes on the specific details in the subsection; (3) Use these notes to turn the subheading into a complete sentence that expresses the main idea of that subsection; (4) The subheading must be included as part of the sentence; (5) After reviewing the sentences you have written, return to the section heading and make a complete sentence from the section title that expresses the main idea of the entire section, and; (6) After completing the chapter, turn the chapter title into a complete sentence that expresses the main idea of the entire chapter.

The classwork is on display at Chapter 10, Lesson 5 Subheadings.

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Using Newssift as a News Research Tool

This site, Newssift, was recently recommended by Internet Scout Project.  In the words of the Report, Newssift “provides access to thousands of global business news sources, including news wires, television and radio, and expert commentary.”  It is a great way for finding articles on a particular topic that take a particular point of view (positive or negative), or where you are looking for an article on a specific topic from a specific medium.  

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Using Technology to Show Change and Continuity in Flowers for Algernon

I asked students to respond to this quote: “I had reached a new level, and anger and suspicion were my first reactions to the world around me.” 

In this first presentation, Nicolas and Arham used the Sketch and Paint to create graphics that were posted into a powerpoint that addresses the question how this new attitude caused change (or not) in Charlie’s relationships with his co-workers.   Nicolas and Arham DO think that Charlie shows anger and suspicion in his new-found relationships with his co-workers.

Charlie’s Change in Work Charlie’s Change in Work Xnicolas95

In this second presentation, Alvina and Maria used Microsoft Powerpoint and Word to talk about the changes and continuities in Charlie’s relationships with women.  Maria and Alvina do NOT think Charlie shows anger and suspicion in his new-found relationships with women. 

Change and Continuity Change and Continuity av_ashfan_12 The changes and continuity from Harriet and Ms. Kinnian

Finally, in this third presentation, Alexander and Agatai used Microsoft Powerpoint to identify the changes and continuities in Charlie’s relationships with his doctor.  Alexander and Agatai DO think Charles shows anger and suspicion in his new-found relationships with his doctors.

I Had Reached a New Level And I Had Reached a New Level And Agataibek

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