Google Docs and Web 2.0 Tools

This is a wonderful example of how the Web 2.0 or The Read/Write web as Will Richardson calls it, can transform education by eliminating boundaries. The latest issue of MacWorld lists the top 10 trends of 2007. Number 4 is “The Net as Computer” by Lisa Schmeiser. She discusses Office 2.0 and by this she means what happened when Yahoo offered free e-mail accounts and how it started to change where and how people worked.
Check out a database of web-based Office 2.0 aps. Three notable ones include gOFFICE and Zoho and Joyent. All of them offer on-line tools that could replace local applications if users have constant on Internet access.

How will this impact our educational program in 2007 and beyond? Some students already use Google Docs so the future is closer then anyone thinks.

Since I first posted this in December of 2006, more students are using these tools. In fact, I am trying to get all students setup with a Google account so they can use them.

Interactive Mapping

I have just finished reading an article in Learning and Leading with Technology, August 2007 called Creating and Sharing Interactive Maps by Glen Bull. I have enjoyed his writing for years and am excited to try his ideas out this year. He discusses how the use of Google Maps with place markers can allow visitors to follow along with a trip. I thought about how I could do this at the Middle School so when David Glass mentioned he would like to work with me more this year to integrate technology into his teaching of Spanish, a light bulb went off. Then David said he uses geography of Spain to teach which put me in a full blown solar meltdown. I am very excited to get to work on learning how to do this project so I can be ready in September.

Some links from Glen’s article are:
America’s Highway: Oral Histories of Route 66

US Literary Map Project

The use of free tools along with the ability to share and put a face, a place, and a description, will help to make the courses come alive.

I spoke with David today and look forward to learning more about what he does and how we can map it together. Now that is mapping the curriculum!

What our students say about DAILE Moodle

DA Teacher – Mrs. Ward allowed Red Hat to film her students using the DAILE Moodle. Here is feedback her students generated which she shared with Julie and Greg from Red Hat.

“Thank you for coming to our class.  Aside from making us all feel very cool if even for just one period (of course the students managed to carry it on throughout the day!), your presence also allowed us to discuss what we like and don’t like about Moodle.  Below is a representative sample.  (I have done no editing.)  The themes of “organization” and “consolidation of resources” are prominent.  I hope this is of some use.  We are looking forward to seeing your article.

Best regards,


I thought the Red Hat moodle day was pretty normal seeming, even though there were people with cameras. That hats and frisbees were cool, though! And so was the green $100 computer. that is a great way to extend knowledge to people who don’t want or can’t afford a $1500 laptop.
I like moodle as a tool for learning. It allows discussions that we can have with our friends, but which can have more depth and knowledge than just a normal argument because we can look up information as we type it. Another reason it is good is for homework. If we lose our syllabus or lose a worksheet, we can just go right to moodle, find it, and then be able to turn it in on time.
I felt like class was more fun in the lab on moodle. The fact that moodle and the internet have more visuals really helps me. Moodle is very straight-forward, and yet it can be used in countless ways. We can take quizzes on moodle, do journal entries, and get assignments. In the classroom it could be (and already is) a very good way to learn.
Today was not at all tense even though there was a guy with a huge camera, and the people were really nice (and gave us free stuff).

I thought the experience in the lab was a good opportunity to learn more about clouds on our own. Moodle is a great tool at home and at school, as students often lose handouts and homework schedules when they are in the paper form. With Moodle, everything is in one place and easy to keep track of. Also, it often makes it unnecesary for us to print our assignments up, leaving less room for broken printers and wasted paper. Moodle is also good because the internet is a really good resource for research and education, and having the links online makes it much easier to reach the websites and share our thoughts on them with the class. It is really the only out of class place where we can have a class wide conversation about subject matter.

I thought it was lots of fun and interesting that another business would like to see how 8th grade middle school students use online programs.  I think that we should use moodle in the class room  because then our work is neater, more things can be done in one class period, and be able to discuss more than one topic virtually at the same time.  You can also message friends when ever not only ask the person next to you.

I thought yesterday’s experience was really cool and fun. I really liked Redhat and the computer they made for 100 bucks. I think Moodle is a great tool to use in the classroom. I can learn lots of cool stuff because Ms. Ward can easily get links to what we are trying to learn and post them on Moodle. Moodle is also a great on-line resource outside class because it is easy to get notes and to have fun creative discussions with your friends. Moodle is a great on-line source and I think that the lower school should start to experience Moodle.

This was quite an unusual experience with a camera behind my back but I think I learned a lot about Red Hat. Moodle is a very useful tool inside class and out, because if I lose an assignment sheet for all of my homework, in less than a minute I can look it up on moodle and print out another one. Also, I enjoy participating in class discussions in all of the forums about everything we do in class, so if I have a question, its answered instantly.

I really think that moodle is a great way to stay connected with in class work and especially homework. Whether we are having discussions, or the ability to get notes off line that have been posted. It is also really helpful to have important resources about our unit, in case you might need some extra help. I think moodle is a great way to stay oraganized and on top of the projects and homework going on!

With our planet changing every day Moodle is one step closer to eliminating the use of paper and textbooks. This is very promising because of the things happening with global warming, we need all the trees we can get. But saving the environment isn’t the only reason that Moodle is a great and useful tool. If you were to miss class one day then you can pick all the assignments up on-line and not get behind in class. Moodle is very helpful in-class as well, such as quizzes or in class activities that use the Internet. Overall Moodle is a great program that is leading us into a future with out wasting paper and providing a very unique, useful tool.

I thought that it was cool that we were filmed using Moodle. I like using Moodle because it is easy to use and, if you have internet, then you can access it. Also, the homework is posted there so if you forget it, it is there. It is also a good place to post class notes and sources to study.

Today’s experience was not too different from other days; it was as if we were just doing an activity and no one was watching us. I like using Moodle in the classroom. I like Moodle in general, too. It’s really organized. I especially like it as an online resource outside the classroom because all the information you need is there, and it’s really easy to use.

I thought that today was very fun, and also very helpful. I learned a lot about clouds that I didn’t know before. I think moodle is a very useful tool for students, and helps making learning easier. When you are using moodle, sometimes you don’t even realize that you are learning, even though you are. Also, moodle is a great place for teachers to post notes on what happened in class that day. Moodle also gives you great resources for studying and understanding tough concepts. Moodle is awesome and everyone should use it.

Birgel’s Life of Pi Blog Setup

Mrs. Birgel’s class will be doing a few culminating projects around the book Life of Pi. One tool we will use are free learner blogs for students. To do this, we will go to the following site Edublogs and start the process of creating a blog. When setting up your blog, do not use your full name but rather use either a persona or just your first name. Perhaps use your class code first so the addresses will be similiar. Do not go ahead of me as I want us to get this done correctly.

For an example, let’s look at one I started yesterday. Life of Pi Blog

What is possible with Web 2.0 Tools

Each 8th grade student completes an independent project on a scientific topic. Many do PowerPoint, Movies plus a posterboard. Here are two students who took a different route because the tools were available. Here are the links to the web sites that two of our science students built for their Independent Projects and one students movie on smoking.


Red Hat Films Us Moodling/Learning

Red Hatted Students

Red Hat software was here today to film Mrs. Ward’s 8th grade science class using the DAILE Moodle. The students were studying clouds and used the assignment, quiz, web page modules to study and identify clouds. Red Hat was here as being an open source software company they are keenly interested in how Moodle is being used in schools. They see Moodle as an essential technological tool for any successful one to one laptop program. I could not agree more. At the end of the period, all students were given Red Hat swag. Look for our video on the RedHatMagazine web site soon. Thanks to Mrs. Ward for jumping on board to show how DA uses Moodle. What role could all of this open source software play in our future?

Lady Red Hatters

The Constitution Project

For the 8th grade History Project, we will use the web sites that Mrs. Longee has shown you during your time in the library. As Mr. Dahlgren and Mr. Costello have outlined the project:

Over the next several days, you will be working to produce a  project demonstrating an understanding of the Constitution of the United States.
You may choose what type of technology that you like in your production of this Constitution project.  From Power Point or Keynote, to a Podcast, to using Word to create a booklet or diary, ing the software “Pages” to create a flyer/brochure , Comic Life to create a book, to iMovie (using still images) or even a colletion of songs created from Garageband, your work needs to answer specifically assigned questions on the Constitution.  If you choose a podcast, movie, songs or even a Power Point /Keynote presentation, you need to produce a script before beginning production.  Think about your comfort level when choosing the type of product. Challenge yourself, but do not take on more then you can do in the time you will be given. 

In your Constitution project, whatever the form, the following topics need to be covered:

1)  The purpose of the Constitution?
2)  When, where and by whom was it written?
3)  Identifying and defining the parts of the Constitution
4) The idea of Separation of Powers
5) The system of Checks and Balances
6) The principle of Federalism
7) The importance of the Bill of Rights
8)  And finally, a brief assessment of why the
Constitution is important in our study

Web Sites to use:

Ben’s Guide 

Library of Congress – American Memory 

Wikipedia – as a secondary reference. There are good links to images and other sites as well.

FlashStacks is a new tool for Durham Academy Middle School Students. The software was written by Robert Kindman and Joel Nackman who are now Upper School students.

Presently, there are no stacks are in the Middle School’s partition on the server, so when you “Open Stacks” on FlashStacks, none will appear (until middle schoolers start making stacks of their own)

You can also find detailed background on the program, help, and cool javascript lightboxes at

For the middle school, I can see two forms of deployment that might make the process smooth and successful (what we want).

1) Presenting the program to all students and teachers in middle school during an assembly – this assures, obviously, maximum exposure. There are problems with doing this… , minor technical difficulties that seem to somehow be present in almost every sort of presentation of this nature can cause a negative outlook on the program (bad), although this shouldn’t stop anyone from presenting in an assembly if that’s deemed to be the best solution.

2) Having specific teachers integrate FlashStacks into their test review. For instance, if Mrs. Brown has a test on China coming up, instead of (or in addition to) a paper review sheet, she could have her classes  (or just one) review using FlashStacks. (I see an nice extra credit opportunity for the student that’s willing to publish the stack).

“FlashStacks is a virtual flashcard maker designed by DA students for DA students. FlashStacks allows students to create “stacks” of flashcards for upcoming tests, quizzes or exams. With the press of a button, students can upload their stacks to a server for safekeeping. Once on the server, not only can students retrieve their own stacks for further studying, but they can also browse and study with a library of stacks created by other students. FlashStacks strives to build a community of peers with one focus in mind: to study (and maybe even have a little fun doing so).”

Tech Happenings in 528 Techland.

We are fast approaching the end of my first year in the Middle School. I thought I would showcase some of the projects we have worked on and when possible, link you to our efforts.

Ms. Liszka’s class has down several projects that required the students to use various tools in their digital learning. Early in the year teams created iMovies in Spanish that they storyboarded and shot on campus. They spent time editing the movie in iMovie creating just the correct narration or soundtrack to accompany the story. For a different project, students used iPhoto to create slideshows for speeches. Recently students determined the best tool to use to make a multimedia presentation for a famous celebrity. This past month students composed menus in Spanish for restaurants. Each project has moved the students closer to meeting the digital skills necessary in the Middle School.

Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 have been podcasting. Podcasting involves writing a script on a topic that they have researched in class. Once the research is done and a script is approved, students begin to record it in Garageband using Logitech USB Headsets. Students have collaborated together in order to create their digital recordings. Of course they did need to learn to work together in the process which we know is a skill that they will need very much in the flattened world we are educating them for now. You are able to listen to these podcasts either on your computer or by clicking on the Subscribe button through iTunes. Check them out.

Blogging has started with 6th grade Language Arts using Class Blogmeister. This is a free tool provided by David Warlick of the Landmark Project. Check out Mrs. Williamson’s and Mrs. Williams’ Classroom blogs.

Of course the DAILE Moodle has been used by many students to blend their learning environment to include not only a classroom experience but also an interactive online component.  This tool has many components that comprise the best of what online learning can bring to a classroom. Even though our students pass through our doors for instruction each day, they are more plugged in then any generation has ever been. In addition, there are more tools then ever before which they must master as they progress through their educational experience.

This is only a sampling of some of what takes place in the labs on campus. I am proud of the projects we have done and the overall growth in the digital learning taking place in the Middle School.