Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seamless and Ubiquitous Technology

In July of 2009, I began my love affair with social media tools. At first it was more like a love/hate relationship. I struggled to figure out each of the Web 2.0 tools. I still have not reached a total comfort level with all of the tools. However, with many of the tools, I would feel comfortable with teaching their use to others.

I believe that technology integration in the classroom must begin with the teacher. Shircliff (2009) said, "Teachers need to make the technology seamless in their lives before they can make it ubiquitous for the students." Teachers need to be comfortable with technology integration in their own lives before they can begin to integrate it into their classrooms.

There are teachers out there who are scared of technology. How would this work for them? I would suggest assessing the technology that they are using. Help them to see that they are on the digital continuum. They can challenge themselves with their own learning targets for moving further along the continuum.

Years ago I read a book by Howard Hendricks. He mentions that if you want someone else to bleed, you have to hemorrhage. (1972) Teachers need to find those technology tools and concepts that they have a passion for and then spread the word. Recently one of my classmates obtained a new job helping to integrate technology in her province. When she was asked how she got this job, she said, "I guess I was an advocate for myself. I kept sending 2.0 videos to people at the department. I found a few who were interested and I sent them more. I dreamed aloud around a few people who listened. And then :-D I got a phone call and was offered the job as they saw my vision-rants as a part of their needs!" (MacIsaac, 2010) Her passion for Web 2.0 concepts and tools carried the day.

I would like to propose a recursive model of technology integration for the teacher. (Recursive simply means that it turns back upon itself and repeats endlessly.)

Step 1. Identify my learning need
What is my need? (e.g. Right now I wish I knew how to create a 2-D model of my thinking, one that I could embed in this blog post.)

Step 2. Choose an underlying concept. (Advanced level)

Which of the 21st Century learning concepts underlies this need? (See this wiki, created by students in this class to delve into these eleven concepts by Henry Jenkins. The wiki is not yet in its final form. There is a VoiceThread associated with the wiki which will soon be available for your viewing and listening pleasure as well.)

Eleven concepts for 21st Century Learners (Core Media Literacy Skills) (Henry Jenkins)
  • Play: The capacity to experiment with one's surroundings as a form of problem solving.
  • Performance: The ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery.
  • Simulation: The ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes.
  • Appropriation: The ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.
  • Multi-tasking:The ability to scan one's environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
  • Distributed Cognition: The ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities.
  • Collective intelligence: The ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal.
  • Judgment: The ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  • Transmedia Navigation: The ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
  • Networking: The ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  • Negotiation: The ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.
Possibly for my desire to create a model of the recursive process, I would use the skill of Appropriation. If I could find a similar model with a Creative Commons license on it, then I could build upon that model in order to create my own model. (In the end, I feel that I used Play and Distributed Cognition in this learning process.)

Step 3: Find the technology that will meet your need.

You could visit this Web 2.0 mind map created by Jesper Isaksson. It has many Web 2.0 tools on it. (E-Learning and Web 2.0 Tools for Schools) I go to the mind map. I think I will try Screencasting to display my model. I may be able to draw my model using Microsoft Word. I click on the "+" beside the word Screencapturing. I decided to use Screenr When I go to their site, they promise it will be easy. Unfortunately I have not created my diagram so I go into Word and create a diagram using their drawing tools to create a cycle drawing. It is only after I have completed my drawing that I notice that Microsoft Word actually has something available called SmartArt (click insert on the Menu bar and it will show up in the Picture tool area). I could have easily used it to create my diagram.

I have a diagram so now I will use Screenr to capture it.

Stop a minute. Screenr isn't the tool I want after all. It is more about capturing video of yourself to put on Twitter or YouTube. Have I been using the wrong idea. I head back to the Web Tool mind map and select a different tool.

Step Four: Use the technology to meet your need.

I have now selected ScreenToaster. I discover that I can use it to upload my screen view but I can also share my thinking by recording while showing my diagram. I decide to select that option. In the end, I can upload my screen capture to YouTube if I like. (However, I don't like how the words "Terms of Use" block out some words on my diagram. It should read Step five: Teach someone else to use that technology.) I will definitely upload a video to YouTube soon. I have never done this but have wanted to.

So here is my ScreenToaster video:

Step Five: Teach someone else to use that technology. I will teach the other students in my class.
(I have suddenly realized that maybe I need to revise my cycle. What about reflection on what I have learned? As I have reread my thinking about the process, I can see that I set out to do one thing. I did accomplish that objective but I gathered many other results of my learning along the way. So maybe this needs to be a six step process.)
a. Select a screen that you wish to share. It could even be moving from screen to screen. You could go through a set of Flickr pictures talking about your holiday. Possibly we could even use this tool to share with our professor, Joanne, our process of creating our final group project for this class.

b. Sign up for Screen Toaster. Go to this website: and sign up for an account. (Yes, I hear the groans. It's another application you need to sign up for.) They will send you an email but you don't need to wait for the email, you can start recording right away. (They are people after my own heart-instant gratification.)

When you record your first screen capture, you have the option of simply using your screen, adding your voice recording, or even adding a webcam image. I only tried the screen capture and my voice. I could not figure out how to maneuver the rectangle to capture only a part of my screen so that is why I used my entire screen. I know that my students (THAT'S YOU) will soon surpass me in understanding how this works, so please tell me the secret.

Once you have finished recording, you can upload directly to YouTube or simply upload to ScreenToaster where you can add a title, tags, and a description to your video. The video is easy to share since they give you the link or the embed text.

Go forth and multiply those ScreenToaster videos, my children. However, after you master it, remember to go and teach someone else how to do it, too. Spread those technology ripples ever onward and outward.

Repeat Step One and so on: It is a recursive process which keeps coming back to itself and repeating again and again. Identify a new need. Ask the person you taught to identify a new need and have that person engage in the process as well. As the cycle spirals around and around, the people involved in technology integration keeps getting larger. The spiral would not be one neat tight line circling outwards. Instead it would be a wildly chaotic number of spirals developing crazily in all directions.

Digital Continuum-- Each person is at some point on the digital continuum. If you unrolled each person's spiral or cycle of technology integration, it would also be carrying them further forward on the digital continuum. Today I already feel that I have moved forward on the continuum because I have now figured out how to easily create and upload a YouTube video onto the internet.

Digital Ripples--When you throw a stone into a pond of water, ripples will emanate from that stone. Each time you learn to use a new bit of technology and then teach someone else, you are spreading the digital ripples of capacity and agency out into the real and virtual world.

I have shared with you my suggested cycle for technology integration. Here is another more complex diagram for assessing and meeting technology integration needs.

Use this ICT in Education toolkit (you need to sign up in order to use it) to assess the technology needs in your school and to develop a systematic plan for meeting those needs.

If you need more inspiration for integrating technology in your life and in your classroom, please watch this video. I have noted some key quotes below the video.

Learning to Change--Changing to Learn (video)

Key quotes from this video:

"We've got a classroom system when we could have a community system."

"Start with the teachers. If I want my students to make global connections, I start with my teachers first. Provide the teachers with opportunities to connect with teachers around the world."

"We have to develop a narrative that sustains 21st Century Learning."

"The jobs our students will be having don't call for a right answer, vending machine approach."

Wonderful links if you need a place to start

I need my Teacher to Learn (Version 5)

Teachers are key in the job of integrating technology in our schools. Don't be afraid. Start with a need that you have today. Figure out how to meet that need using technology. Teach someone else. (Then ask your students to teach you in turn--whether it's how to text or how to download an i-Tune.) Then talk about your learning and develop that narrative to support Web 2.0 and social media use in our schools.


Hendricks, Howard. (1972). Don't fake it...Say it with love. London: Victor Books.

Jenkins, Henry. (n.d.) Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Retrieved from

MacIsaac, Dawn Elaine. (2010). Class communication on Blackboard site. EDES 545 class. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta.

Shircliff, P. (2009, July 24). Comment on Richardson, W. If every student has a computer. In Weblogg-ed. Message posted to

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just-in-time, Just-for-me Professional Development

I recently watched a video posted to YouTube by Dan Brown (no not the author).

An Open Letter to Educators video

Dan talked about learning and about why he recently dropped out of university. He said, "My schooling was interfering with my education."(pogobat, 2010) I have experienced this strange phenomenon for myself. At the present time, I am a full-time student in the Masters of Education program through the University of Saskatchewan. (I graduate on June 2, 2010--Yahoo!) In the September to December term of 2009, I found that the requirements of my university classes were interfering with the learning that was intriguing and engaging me. I had to pull away from the concepts that were important to me in order to focus on what my professors said was important to them. Often my professors have commented that it is great to see how I have made connections to my own life and current experiences in my assignments BUT where was the evidence (quotes, references) of the learning from the readings I was asked to do for class. If the concepts really resonate with me, if they are going to be sticky (new term for the take-aways from a learning experience), don't those ideas need to connect with me on a personal level?

I'm going to jump off my soapbox for a while to discuss what professional development (PD or pro-D) has looked like in the past for myself as a teacher. Generally it has been a top-down model in which either at the school board level or at the school level, someone has determined what the priorities for teacher learning should be. Then an outsider is brought in to teach us about that subject.

Unfortunately this type of PD did not always resonate with me. At times I was reluctant to leave my classroom for the day and go to learn about what someone else said was important. "The schooling was interfering with the education" (pogobat, 2010).

Recently my school division has encouraged us to set individual learning targets in the areas of most interest to us. This is a step in the right direction but most of our PD time is still devoted to our school board's priorities. It still feels like a "banking model" of education which is Paulo Freire's concept. Paulo talked about the teacher who knows everything and the learner who knows nothing. The teacher must fill up the learner just as coins would fill up the empty piggy bank. Of course, Paulo disliked this idea. He wanted educators to honour the worlds and understandings of their students. (Freire, 1970) (Anti-banking chapter) Paulo said that stopping people from establishing their own lines of inquiry was an act of violence. (Freire)

It is a balancing act. I have a boss who tells me what the priorities of my job are for the year. Possibly next year it will be a focus on problem-solving (which could be applied within each subject while encouraging students to determine their own questions). Teachers are asking for PD related to board priorities. Is there a way to make the PD rise up from the teachers in the classroom rather than being imposed from the board room?

I would propose the model of just-in-time, just-for-me professional development. There may still be large group PD sessions to build foundational understandings. However we need to move away from the "sage on the stage" in order to engage learners in the subject matter. As David Weinberger said at the Building Learning conference: "The smartest person in the room isn't the person at the front of the room. It's the room." ( How can we tap into the wisdom of the crowd?

I believe that part of accessing the wisdom of the crowd is participating in online learning through your Personal Learning Network (PLN). (Collection of many PLE/PLN diagrams

I like this PLN diagram from D"Arcy Norman (link)

As Mickaleh said in response to pagobot's video (2010), "One of the greatest transformations that's happening because of the internet isn't access to knowledge; it's access to people." So how does one develop this PLN? I will share my story with you of how I developed my PLN.

In the summer of 2009, I took an online University of Alberta class in the use of Web 2.0 tools . My professor shared about a live-streamed Elluminate session that was taking place with George Siemens and Dave Cormier. I decided to attend the session as a virtual attendee. Everything happened so fast in the session. The conversation zoomed from topic to topic and the chat room was full of articulate guests who typed their thoughts while asking and answering questions. I timidly entered the conversation. One of my questions was answered by another virtual attendee while one of my questions was not answered until months later. (See my blog post and read the comments where Dave Cormier answers my question several months later.) That night I learned about the Open Education Conference that taking place in Vancouver the following week. I attended this conference as a virtual attendee (my blog post about this experience). Since that time I have found many live-streaming conferences to attend. At each conference, I have met some new virtual friends (like Alastair Creelman [@alacre] in Sweden and Joyce Seitzinger [@catspyjamasnz] in New Zealand). I joined an open education class taught by Alec Couros (@courosa) at the University of Regina. This class had 20 for-credit graduate level students and 200 not-for-credit students. Through each online learning setting, I added more people to my Personal Learning Network. I added many more people via Twitter which has become an easy tool to augment my learning and to share my learning.

In the future, I will continue to access my PLN in order to discover new options for learning. I will pursue my passions and interests by following the virtual rabbit trails (or "link flow") through blog posts, YouTube videos, and TEDTalks. I will check out live-streamed conferences such as TEDxOntarioEd (taking place on Friday, April 9) and use this wonderful list to find other learning opportunities.

So this takes care of my own technology professional development. What about other teachers who also want to learn about the use of technology in education? In my own school system, I believe that we have enough computers however "technology infusion without professional development wrapped around it just doesn't work, and can backfire" (Ketterer, 2008). If you had a digital projector and a classroom pod of computers but didn't know how to integrate technology into your teaching, how would you feel after watching this video?

You Can't Be My Teacher video (made by teacher in Saskatoon)

After watching this video, I would feel guilty if I did not know how to integrate technology in my classroom. So how can those of us with this expertise help those who want to learn to use technology in the classroom? We need to be willing to take on leadership roles in this area. McLeod (2007) talks about the need for technology experts to learn more about being leaders. So how should or could we share with others? We need to discover the "felt needs" of those teachers and support the use of technology tools that will help them meet that need. It may be teaching the use of social bookmarking so that the addresses of their favourite websites travel with them from computer to computer. It may be teaching the use of an RSS feed like Google Reader so that the content comes to them rather than them needing to search for the content. It may be teaching the use of Google Docs so that they can access their document without the use of USB keys or emailing documents from one computer terminal to another.

Manitoba Education created a worksheet for technology experts who are visiting classrooms to help with technology integration. (Needs Assessment for ICT for Teachers This article (Hargadon, 2010) has more suggestions for technology PD. We could direct people to our blog posts on various educational technology applications to give people some foundational information about the Web 2.0 tools. Jesper Isaksson has created a mind map with many Web 2.0 tools on it. (E-Learning and Web 2.0 Tools for Schools) I have shared this mind map with teachers who wanted to learn to use some of the tools.

My new ideal for professional development is just-in-time, just-for-me learning when I need it. I am willing to be a leader in scaffolding this kind of technology PD for my teacher colleagues. Only with this type of "where the rubber meets my road" type of learning will digital immigrants become comfortable in working with the digital natives in all of our classrooms.


Freire, Paulo. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.

Hargadon, S. (2010, March/April). Educational Networking. MultiMedia & Internet@Schools. 17, 2, 10-15. ProQuest Journals.

Ketterer, Kimberley. (2008, June/July). A professional development menu. Learning & Leading with Technology, p. 11. ProQuest Journals.

McLeod, Scott. (2007, November). An absence of leadership. Learning & Leading with Technology, p. 17. ProQuest Journals.

mickeleh. (2010, March 2). Re: Re: Re: Dan Brown's open letter to educators. You Tube video. Retrieved from
pogobat (Brown, Dan). (2010, February 22). An open letter to educators. You Tube video. Retrieved from