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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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Internet @ Schools

Jul/Aug 2007: Features

A LOOK AT ... Writing Software and Webware in the Age of Social Computing

The “social networking” generation is writing, and this writing is important to them. Schools must find a way to merge these informal writing activities with the writing activities found in classrooms. It’s possible that the use of social networking technologies with classroom writing programs could make writing in school interesting enough to motivate students to tackle the more formal writing needed for college, business, and other activities in adult life. Charles Doe's latest "Look At ... " article examines some of the software and Webware possibilities inspired by social computing as well as some of the newer computer- and Internet-based writing tools.

I See, I Do: Persuasive Messages and Visual Literacy

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a few images can constitute a persuasive argument. Consider the impact of propaganda posters, of billboards, and of photojournalism. Creators of visual images leverage visual art principles to convey messages. In order to convince the viewer of a specific idea, mass media producers who understand the language and connotations of visual literacy can manipulate images to elicit desired responses—a strategy that is used increasingly with the advent of digital tools. Particularly in this electronic age, students need to know and apply technological visual principles and skills to become critical visual consumers and producers.

Mashups and Other New or Improved Collaborative Social Software Tool

Blogs, wikis, social software, Web 2.0—it’s not really about the technologies but about the method of collaboration between users that presents some of the more interesting advantages. The goal of authors Robert Lackie and Robert Terrio in this article is to continue the discussions of practical Web 2.0 tools and social networking sites that have been brought up in this magazine and at recent school librarian conferences and to highlight other collaborative tools and exciting developments in free Web 2.0 social software, items they categorize as “Useful Collaborative Tools” and “Practical Mashups”—both very exciting and practical for today’s teacher-librarian!

Take a Field Trip Without Leaving the Classroom: Museums, Zoos, and Interactive Videoconferencing [Available Full-Text, Free]

Educational videoconferencing has come a long way over the years. It started out very slowly, and, in recent years, there has been a burst of interest on the part of museums and zoos in providing their educational programs via this medium. As schools find it more difficult and more expensive to take their students on physical field trips, students are missing out on the phenomenal resources that these cultural institutions have to offer. When gas prices began to rise, local museums found that even schools in the neighborhood were unwilling to spend their precious fuel budgets bussing students off-site. Those in the museum community chose to take this as a sign that they should begin to promote their distance learning efforts.
 

Jul/Aug 2007: Product Reviews

HELP Math

Susan Hixson reviews an online math curriculum for middle school students.

Radius Audio Learning System

Charles Doe reviews the Radius Audio Learning System, a hardware product that plays CD-ROMs and reads digital activity cards to process information and student responses.

Science Online

Sally Finley reviews Science Online, a comprehensive subscripton database from Facts On File, Inc.

When the Levees Broke /Teaching "The Levees"

Alice Kurtz reviews a mutidisciplinary program containing the award-winning documentary "When the Levees Broke" and a companion curriculum guide.
 

Jul/Aug 2007: Columns

CYBERBEE: E-News Updates

Many organizations are distributing free newsletters with timely articles and links to valuable resources. Joining a mailing list or RSS feed is easy and convenient, and it's a timesaver when you want the latest news about innovative technology and practical ideas for integrating it into your classroom. This month, Cyberbee directs you to a selected mix of educational technology newsletters and RSS feeds to investigate.

THE PIPELINE: K-12 Information Literacy--Preparing for the Dark Side

It is essential, says Stephen Abram, that we teach information literacy skills to our learners—and today, the younger the better. We are already getting good at teaching how to select great sources, directories, and indexes; full-text searching skills; advanced and introductory modes; and the evaluation of quality. We're getting better at warning our learners about the bad guys—the four horsemen of gambling, sex, stalkers, and racists—plus other bad guys in black hats. What do we need to focus on next? Stephen's column this month concerns some of the stuff he says we need to teach but are less comfortable with, mostly because it doesn't involve information so much as manipulation--advertising literacy and media literacy in the Web environment.

THE MEDIA CENTER: Digital Cameras--Management Hassles, Curriculum Possibilities

Cables, adapters, and memory cards disappear; batteries run low at inopportune times; and busy teachers quickly borrow a camera from another classroom "just for a second" to take advantage of a photo opp. Digital photographers excited about creating photo-filled classroom Web pages come to work sessions with a camera incompatible with the computer's software or without the necessary connecting cable. It seems that no technology has caused more management hassles than digital cameras. Well, if you've got such problems—and who doesn't?—Mary Alice Anderson's got answers!

BELLTONES: Celebrating Communicating--Online Support Groups

In the May/June 2007 MMIS issue, Mary Ann wrote about listserv communication and the benefits thereof. That caused her to think of a related but slightly different array of communities: online support groups. For personal use, and also for patrons, it is worthwhile to look at these environments. They can be highly beneficial, but there are a few caveats. So this month, she discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such groups.

EDITOR'S NOTES: Finding, Creating, Using, and Understanding Visual Content

 

Jul/Aug 2007: In the Spotlight

Holt World History: Human Legacy

Holt World History: Human Legacy emphaszies document-based investigation and teaches students to read like historians, analyzing source documents to create an understanding of historical figures and societies.
 
 
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