Posts Tagged ‘women of web 2’

Jen Wagner Steels (not a typo) the Show!

March 26, 2008

Today I facilitated a session introducing some faculty members to Web 2.0. This was a new PD topic for our school and the participants had no prior knowledge of Web 2.0. In fact they hadn’t a clue what it might mean. It reminded me of my own reaction a little more than a year ago when I first heard the term Web 2.0. I couldn’t pin down a definition. After much blog-reading, conference-attending and experimentation I finally have a handle on the term. So I ask, how do we typically describe something that is new and improved? I might hear, “This new generation of flat screen TV lets you view in TV in high definition.” New generation, an improvement, that’s what Web 2.0 is. It is a new generation of online internet tools. (see jeff Utecht’s video explanation) Most of these tools have two things in common that enhance internet user experience. Firstly, they are free. Secondly, they embody some collaborative features. In short, Web 2.0 is to the internet of yesterday what Vista is to Windows XP. It is new and improved. (theoretically)

The mystery of Web 2.0 quickly disappeared. It was now time to demonstrate some of the features and benefits. I opened Delicious to the CreekViewElementary page and displayed the contents on the Promethean board. I explained the benefits to using this kind of system for bookmarking over the traditional ‘favorites’ . Delicious links are available any time and anywhere you have internet access. Next I made four simple requests.

  1. Each participant had to download and install the Firefox browser.
  2. They had to sign up for a Gmail account.
  3. They had to set up a Delicious account.
  4. Next they imported the Delicious add-on to Firefox.

This took about 15 minutes and they were able to help one another in the process. Next I asked them to enter voicethread.com and then click the handy little delicious TAG button now found in their browser tool bar. I just love this feature. I explained how tags are used to file things by topic. The best part about tagging is being able to file one site under many topic headers. For instance, I put Voicethread under interactive, multimedia, projectbasedlearning, and web2tool. Now when I click on interactive, it appears as one of the options.

I pulled up an example of a 4th grade language arts project in Voicethread. The teachers could easily see how VT could be used within the classroom and even as a collaborative grade level project. Once teachers realize they has the necessary computer skills they get very excited about the prospects of using new tools. The necessary computer skills are very minimal and are virtually the same as the skills required to send an email. This is really another wonderful feature of Web 2.0. It is easy to use. Ahhh, finally and it keeps getting even easier. It really does. At this stage is you can read, type, attach pictures or documents and are willing to follow instructions, then you can enjoy all the web has to offer.

At this point, the participants felt fairly comfortable and were beginning to grasp the intrinsic collaboration component found in Web 2.0 tools. Suddenly they noticed a dialog box open on the Promethean screen from my laptop. It said, ‘ready?’ Oh, that’s my good friend Jen Wagner from California Skyping in to join our session. I will let her know we are ready. I typed back, ‘OK’.  I clicked the green call button and we connected. Jennifer Wagner is so warm and friendly she instantly gained the groups’ attention and started us on a journey exploring Google applications. She started with Google Reader and had everyone subscribing to her blog, jenuinetech.com/blog! She is one smart cookie. She spent 45 minutes with us, covering Google-Calendar and Docs. Jennifer has an amazing way of bringing concepts to life with spot on analogies and concrete examples that teachers can relate to. She was the highlight of the session. Why? Because she is an amazing teacher and because she was speaking to us from California and it felt like she was in the room. Not only did the participants learn about Google apps they also saw the wonder of Skype in action. I was able to walk around and check on progress and offer assistance. It was a wonderful experience for me and I think now, it is the only way to really get teachers interested in the power of edtech.

Jen, I owe you one! You did ‘steel’ the show by strengthening the case for integrating technology. Now if we can just get one or two of them to listen to Women of Web 2 on Tuesday nights from 9-10PM EST … If you are a teacher who thrives on new forms of communication and enjoys participating in lively chats about the latest greatest teaching tools then you really must tune in to Jen’s Show on Tuesday nights. She and 3 other stellar women host a variety of edtech gurus. You listen and chat while they have a conversation. If you do decide to test the water by joining the chat on Tuesday nights please say hello to me (sendkathy) and Jen (jenuinetech).

Why Tuesday Night is My Favorite

November 7, 2007

You may be saying to yourself, I know why, Lincoln Heights, Biggest Loser or Beauty and the Geek! As far as I’m concerned, those shows have nothing on Cathy Evanoff’s Making Connections or WOW2.0’s Women of the Web. I get such a rush from the fast-paced drama, excitement, back channeling and scintillating technological tidbits that I just can’t wait for Tuesday night. I know at first it is hard to conceive of a live interactive webcast involving some 60 people in the chat and 5-sometimes 8 in the live streamed conference but it beats asynchronous TV any day.

Last night was particularly exhilarating. First Cathy E. an award winning edtech educator hosted an innovative experimental show featuring uStreamTV. Jeff Lebow, Webcast Academy founder, his bio which I snagged from the TESOL conference site:

Jeff Lebow

external image jeff4.gifJeff Lebow’s educational career has included teaching 3rd grade in New Mexico, ESL in Thailand & Korea, and Computer Assisted Language Learning in New Hampshire. He founded Worldbridges in 1998 and has been experimenting with live, interactive webcasting and collaborative community building ever since. Worldbridges met the Webheads during EdTechTalk#1 in 2005, and the EVO2007 Webcast Academy session was only the latest in a series of webcasting adventures that have resulted.


During our meeting Jeff was able to host at least 5 streams simultaneously and feed them into the edtechtalk page in a single embedded window. He is quite simply a magician. Cathy E is very technologically adventurous and infuses her audience with confidence. In new age jargon I felt like my being was vibrating on a higher plane after the show.

An hour later and somewhat subdued and philosophical I joined the Women of Web 2.0 group who include: Sharon Peters, Jen Wagner, Cheryl Oakes and Vicki Davis. The special guest was Melinda Miller – The Podcasting Principal. Upwards of 50 people, fingers flying in the chat room while the talk begins. Melinda is redefining what it means to be a principal by modeling a feet first approach to experimenting with new forms of communication to enhance community. She is full of surprises. For example, she made a very personal announcement via her Meez character which is embedded in her blog page for her staff. By changing the background of her avatar she provided a clue to baby news. Can you imagine a leader so dynamic and spirited? Well actually, my own principal could give her competition when it comes to the element of surprise. I think random acts of kindness started with him because they come so naturally. But back to Melinda and the WOW ladies. The banter over their Skype conference call is witty and personal. I’d liken it to the view only without the political barbs. It’s kinder and gentler but manages to pack the hour with more content than you imagined a brain could hold. Fact is, you can’t hold it all so you have your tabbed browser set up and your delicious tool bar to capture any of the amazing links they mention.

So when people ask me how I know so much about technology. I tell them it’s all how you spend your Tuesday nights! Catch me in the next Tuesday chat with Cathy Evanoff or WOW2.0, I’m sendkathy.