Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

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When To Prezi

posted: 10.29.13 by Traci Gardner

In his post last week, Barclay Barrios asked whether “To Prezi or Not to Prezi.” Coincidentally, the day before Barclay’s post was published, one of my colleagues on Facebook also questioned using Prezi, and the response was rather negative. It appears that my friends just aren’t crazy about using Prezi. [read more]

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To Prezi or Not to Prezi?

posted: 10.24.13 by Barclay Barrios

Prezi.  Either you love it, hate it, or have no idea what it is.  If you’re in the last category, go check out  Me? I’m in the first category.  I love its Web 2.0-ness, its fluidity, its boundlessness, its exploration of virtual space.  But haters hate and not without reason. [read more]

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Twitter Resources for the Classroom

posted: 5.18.09 by Traci Gardner

Now that you’ve learned to use Twitter to communicate with friends and colleagues, it’s time to think about how to use it in the classroom. Lots of people are already using social networking for educational purposes, but you may still be asking why Twitter is a good tool for the writing classroom.

Fortunately, lots of folks are answering that question. The Tech & Learning article “Nine Reasons to Twitter in Schools” explains that the tool can help with everything from teaching communication to encouraging self-reflection. Point students (and colleagues) to “How Twitter Makes You A Better Writer,” which outlines the benefits in a quick and clear way.

Once you’re sure why you should use Twitter, you need to figure out how to use it to meet your pedagogical goals. To help you get started, I’ve gathered a bunch of great resources below. Some are general tips, and others are very specific activities that you can try. So go. Read. Get inspired.

  1. Tap the strategy in the Chronicle article “Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class — via Twitter” to invite students to tweet during class presentations, creating their own class archive and extending the discussion with back-channel conversation.
  2. Where for art thou Twitter?” asks students to take on the persona of a character from a work of literature and exchange tweets based on what they’ve read so far. Add requirements such as including details about the setting or key imagery as appropriate.
  3. Try the idea in “Twitter Book Reports?” for fun, quick reviews of books, but don’t stop there. Extend the technique to reviews of films, music, events, and more.
  4. Famous Last Tweets” includes some material that I wouldn’t use in the classroom, but the idea can still be a winner. Visit the site and read the first few fictional epitaphs. Students can write similar “famous last tweets” for authors whose works they are reading, for fictional characters, and for historical figures.
  5. Watch the Current video The Twitter Experiment—”Twistory” in the Classroom to see how a history professor used Twitter to engage more students in class discussion.
  6. If you still haven’t found the right activity for your class, check out “Twenty-Three Interesting Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom,” “Twitter for Academia,” and “Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher” for even more tips and ideas.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Teaching with Technology
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What Everyone Assumes You Know about Social Networking

posted: 5.15.09 by Traci Gardner

No matter how you’re using tools like Twitter and Facebook, there are a few things that every teacher should know. In fact, because you’re a writing teacher, everyone assumes that you know all about composing, regardless of the genre or how it’s published.

  • Go beyond the generic and everyday details. Remember how you tell students to be specific when they write? Follow that advice! Say something beyond the ordinary. Even if you’re only telling readers that you’ve checked out a new book from the library, you can add advice, a critique, or some suggestions. Post something special that makes your update worth reading. If you’re having trouble packing all that info into a single tweet, there are some simple ways to “Maximize the Use of Your 140 Characters.”
  • Be helpful to your readers. Audience is as important in social networking as it is in a persuasive essay. The more your entries and updates connect to your readers, the more likely those readers will be to follow your posts. The secret is simply to be useful to your readers. Share tips, point them to free classroom resources, and suggest new tools and sites that they can use. Give people a reason to come read the latest thing you’ve posted.
  • Link, but also comment. Include links to people, books, software, other web sites, and newspaper or journal articles. In Twitter, you can retweet what someone else says word-for-word, or rephrase the idea and use the via format. Also, add a word or two that explains why you’re passing it along. It’s just like introducing and explaining quotations in a research paper.
  • Be ready to explain and support your posts—online and in person. If you post your entries and updates publicly, anyone might ask you questions. Someone in your department might want to hear more or challenge your opinion. Be ready to reply online and in person.
  • Use tools and tricks that simplify the process. Posting your updates and entries could take up every moment you have. Fortunately there are ways to streamline the process. FriendFeed and Bebo are social networking aggregators that let you post your comments to multiple sites simply. The New York Times article “All You Need to Know to Twitter” and the ReadWriteWeb entry “Two New Ways to Update Facebook Pages without Using Facebook” suggest some other great tools.

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Categories: Teaching with Technology
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Plug-in Composition Lessons

posted: 5.11.09 by Traci Gardner

Last week on the TechRhet discussion list, Mark Marino shared some cool student widgets that are definitely worth checking out. What are widgets you may well ask. “Widget-Based Education” relies on small plug-ins that communicate nuggets of educational information. Their small size and specific focus make them perfect for fast mini-lessons and they work well to remind students of key ideas or writing practices. To give you an idea what these widgets look like, here’s Marino’s own Topoi widgets, which is part of the Topoi Flakes page.

Students in Marino’s advanced writing course at the University of Southern California created these three widgets, which you can plug-in to your own site to share with your students. To the right of the content you’ll find a panel of buttons that gives you the code to add the tools to Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, and more. If you want to add the widgets to a site that’s not listed, just copy and paste the embed code under the buttons.

Here are the three tools. Each is an alpha version, so remember that students are still tweaking and polishing their work!

  • Writing Process: How to Cure Writer’s Block” suggests 10 different ways that writers can get past blank-screen syndrome. You’ll find links sprinkled through the different sections that will take students to recommended sites, like MindMeister and
  • Rhetorical Devices: Do you Have MagicSpeech?” tests visitor’s knowledge of figurative language and other rhetorical devices. A series of cartoon scenarios demonstrate rhetorical devices in action. Visitors choose one of three options to identify the techniques and get automatic feedback on their performance.
  • Voice: The Wheel of Moody Voices” defines and demonstrates six different moods or modes that writers can adopt as they write. Note that the example sentence for each mood communicates a similar idea, but each in a different way. Suggest students compare the examples to see voice at work.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Teaching with Technology
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Teach Using Twitter… Sort Of

posted: 5.9.09 by archived

Copyblogger has an interesting article about writing gripping Twitter headlines. Why not apply this same approach towards having your students write theses, key ideas, or even titles for their papers?  Most students can use practice writing powerful and interesting titles.

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Categories: Adjunct Advice, Assignment Idea, Drafting, Gregory Zobel, Planning, Teaching with Technology, Writing Process
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