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Paul Allison

Teachers Teaching Teachers #199 - Bitstrips Creators and Writing Project Teachers Talking Comics - 05.05.10


69:27 minutes (15.89 MB)

On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, we enjoyed a lively conversation with two guys from the Toronto-based  interactive design team who created Bitstrips for Schools, Shahan Panth and Jacob BlackstockJacobAtWork-Candid-300x221.png

We were also entertained by a couple of Writing Project teachers: Kevin Hodgson from Western Massachusetts and Larry Neuburger from the Ozarks in Missouri.

In September 2009, Bitstips launched a “new educational site, Bitstrips for Schools!

Soon after we launched Bitstrips.com, we found that teachers everywhere were using Bitstrips as a teaching tool, engaging their students with the exciting power of comic creation.  So, we decided to build a new version of Bitstrips, tailored specifically for teachers.  Bitstrips for Schools has all the awesome tools from Bitstrips, transplanted into a safe and secure environment, with additional administrative features that put the teacher in control.  Teachers can create a virtual classroom, where their students can become cartoon characters and then complete activities by making comics.  It’s an amazing way to promote literacy while having fun.

And, to start things off with a bang, we’ve licensed the service to the Ministry of Education for our home province of Ontario.  This means that all 5000 publicly funded schools now have access to Bitstrips – that’s over 2,000,000 students!  We can’t wait to see what they come up with.

So, go check out Bitstrips for Schools – learning with comics has never been so much fun!

 Earlier this spring, the National Writing Project invited their teachers to try Bitstripsfor free until the end of the summer.

Have you thought about using comic strips as a new way to engage your students? It seems like a perfect step along the continuum of multimedia use in composition, but the artwork aspect of it may be daunting. Enter: Bitstrips for Schools.

Kevin Hodgson wrote a review:

I am always interested in the various online, but protected, sites offering students and teachers a way to make webcomics. I use ToonDooSpaces with my students, and I love the variety of artwork and other options at ToonDoo, but I keep an eye out for other sites, too.welcome.jpg?w=500&h=183

Recently, the National Writing Project finagled a deal with Bitstrips to let NWP teachers give the Bitstrips for Schools a trial run, so I jumped right in (big surprise) and started up an account, established a “classroom” and began making a comic. Later, I created an “activity” that will show up in any student account that I create.

Perhaps you do comics with your students, or would like to consider the possibilities! We hope you enjoy this conversation!

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #198 - David Niguidula and Bill Fitzgerald Give New Life to Digital Portfolios - 04.28.10


70:09 minutes (16.05 MB)

We asked two of our favorite software developers/consultants/activists/dreamers, Bill Fitzgerald and David Niguidula to talk to us about digital portfolios on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers.


Bill Fitzgerald and FunnyMonkey

At an Educon 2.1 session in January, Bill Fitzgerald showed us a Durpal-based digital portfolio system that he and his colleagues at FunnyMonkey had been developing. As always with Bill, it was more than a software demonstration. With this project, he is leading us in a process of “Rethinking Portfolios.”

The promise of the portfolio is that the demonstration of learning remains as close as possible to the process of learning, while allowing individual elements of the learning process to be highlighted and discussed as part of evaluation. This type of assessment creates a nuanced picture of how a person is developing as a learner.

Portfolios have been around for a while, yet they are still largely viewed as an “alternative” means of assessment. What are some of the barriers for adoption that exist? What are the arguments against using portfolios?

When used effectively as part of ongoing professional development:]

  • A teaching portfolio shows what and how a teacher is teaching;
  • In conjunction with a student portfolio, organic ties can be made between student learning and the role of the teach
  • The process of creating a teacher portfolio accomplishes (at least) two things
  1. it transforms curriculum development from an individual endeavor into a community endeavor; and
  2. after maintaining a teacher portfolio for one year, a teacher will have created a fully portable outline of their entire course, which has the potential to eliminate the need for a textbook.

We were happy the opportunity in this podcst to learn more about FunnyMonkey’s Digital Portfolio project.

David Niguidula and Richer Picture


Fifteen years ago, Paul Allison and Shantanu Saha were working at University Heights Secondary School in the Bronx when we had the opportunity to begin building a digital portfolio for our school. David Niguidula was the leader of this project with the Coalition of Essential Schools. That project was a life changer for both Paul and Shantanu. It was the experience with technology that would put each of us on our own journeys into educational technology that continue today. Occasionally our paths meet up. Both Shantanu’s and Paul’s students work on Youth Voices, a Drupal site developed by Bill Fitzgerald.

We were excited to have this opportunity to catch up with David Niguidula! This is how his site describes their work:

Richer Picture® products and services help schools use technology to personalize teaching and learning. Our digital portfolios provide a new way for your students to show that they are meeting standards — while celebrating who they are as individual learners.

We have the most extensive experience in developing and implementing electronic portfolios in K-12 schools. In the 1990’s, Ideas Consulting Founder David Niguidula led the first research project on digital portfolios while at the Coalition of Essential Schools. Since then, we have accumulated over a dozen years of experience working in elementary, middle, and high schools across the country and around the world.

We provide both technology tools and the professional development to help you use them effectively. Our software is customized for your school and is designed to fit your needs. Our professional development goes far beyond learning how to use the tools; we help your staff address the essential questions of assessment and school change.

These tandem descriptions made us wonder if these two guys had ever met before. Well, they didl meet, on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. Enjoy!

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #197 - Students, Teachers, and Gardeners Mark Earth Day 2010 - Hour 2 of Earthcast 2010 - 04.21.10


58:44 minutes (13.44 MB)

Where were you when Earth Day 2010 started at Zero Hour - Greenwich Mean Time Thursday (also known as 9 p.m Eastern / 6 p.m. Pacific USA) ?

Many of us were listening to the 2010 Keynote Earthcast speaker, Jason Czarneki, which is available at Earthbridges.net.

Jason Czarneki, professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School, was the keynoting Earthcast 2010, a live, 24 hour webcastathon starting at 0 GMT on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 . Jason keynoted Earthcast 2009 and was back to jumpstart Earthcast 2010, this time speaking to the topic of, “Climate Policy and U.S.-China Relations.” The theme of the talk was particularly relevant as Jason is currently living and teaching in Guangzhou, China, north of Hong Kong, on a Fulbright Scholarship. Jason gave a 20-30 minute talk followed by 30 minutes of discussion and questions from the moderators and virtual participants.

That was a tough act to follow, but we did our best! Teachers Teaching Teachers was the second hour of Earthcast 2010:

 

  • We talked about school/community gardens! Paul Allison’s students at the East-West School of International Studies, Flushing have been tilling the earth this spring. They’ve been inspired by their play in Evoke to change the world, one garden at at time. A couple of student-gardeners join us on this podcast.

  • Susan Ettenheim also welcomed students from the Green Team at her school, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Manhattan.

  • We also had a teacher new to TTT, Elizabeth Kee. She teaches at Lower East Side Prep, also in Manhattan. Elizabeth had been teaching Paul Fleischman’s Seedfolks to her mainly Chinese and other ELL students. This spring they planted the seeds from this book, and at the time of the Earthday, they were getting ready to move to a community garden.

  • AND!! We were joined by Evoke gardeners, Michele Baron from Virginia, and Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys from Guadalajara, Mexico!

What a way to start an EARTH DAY!

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #196 - Mash-up of Youth Voices Student Photographers and Evoke Gardeners - 04.14.10


62:55 minutes (14.4 MB)

We hope you'll enjoy this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers where we bring together gardeners from the alternate reality game, Evoke with photography students on Youth Voices. Take a look at this recent photo discussion, and join a few Youth Voices students:

  • Gamer, photograher, and musician, Jake, from Chris Sloan's classes at  Judge Memorial H.S. in Salt Lake City
     
  • Matt, Brianna, and Annie, from Susan Ettenheim's digital photography class at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, NYC
     
  • We are also joined by Evoke gardener, Michele Barron.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #195 - Spring Curriculum Share - 04.07.10


64:59 minutes (14.87 MB)

It’s Spring in the northern hemisphere. Some of us have five or six, others nine weeks left in the academic year. It’s a great time to try out something new or to reflect on what we tried this year. What are you doing this academic season? Listen to this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, then let us know what you are doing this spring.

  • You will <fill in the blank>
  • Paul Allison and Rachel Smith report on how Evoke is going, perhaps with a student or two.
  • Susan Ettenheim and Chris Sloan talk about how their collaborations in digital photography classes are going.
  • Matt Montagne and a student discuss Goggle Apps and the plans, at the time, for Earth Day, which was a success again this year.

Photo: Uploaded on April 12, 2010 by AnnaBanana628
 

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

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