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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Getting Started with the Web Tools Collective

Eric Brunsell

Asst Professor of Science Education @ UW-Oshkosh

A few weeks ago, I introduced the Edutopia Summer Professional Development Series' Web Tools Collective. Over the next two months, you will have the ability to participate in a collective -- an informal group of "like-minded" individuals learning together -- to explore a variety of web tools and how they can be applied to the classroom.

Introduction

Randy Nelson, the former dean of Pixar University, describes four key aspects that employees in "innovative" companies need to have. Individuals need to show persistence as they develop mastery -- or depth of knowledge -- in an area that they are passionate about. They need to be curious and have a breadth of knowledge. In other words, they need to "be interested, not interesting." Individuals need to be good communicators with the ability to translate complex ideas into something understandable and engaging. Finally, they need to understand collaboration as a way to amplify the ideas and expertise of a group. As a team, these individuals need to take each others' ideas as a starting point and "plus" them. When given a piece of work, instead of judging, they take it as a starting point and ask, "What can we do with this?"

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As educators, we should be providing opportunities for our students to develop these same characteristics. Just as importantly, as professionals we should be developing these characteristics in ourselves.

Participation in the Web Tools Collective

Participation is simple; there is no need to register. You can learn and share at your pace and on your schedule. I will be writing three posts to provide a loose framework for exploration:

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Patti Grayson's picture
Patti Grayson
4th grade teacher from Newport News, VA

After watching these videos, it occurred to me that the "pencasts" I have made with my LiveScribe Pen for my students are very similar to the podcasts shown in the first video. If I were to shift the control, I could let groups create the pencasts or use a Flip camera to film student "tutorials".

I agree that the concept of purpose - creating something of use for others - combined with the concept of a legacy - creating something lasting - is a tremendous motivator.

This year our Social Studies curriculum covers "States & Regions". After seeing a Google Map Eric Brunsell created for his introduction to the course at UWOSH, I am thinking about having students create Google Maps this year for the states they are studying, identifying and providing a narrative for natural resources, historic sites, etc.

Students would be assessed based on the level of detail and accuracy provided in the tutorial video or Google Map. A rubric would be provided. Making the change is simply finding those situations where the students have the opportunity to create something that not only demonstrates their learning, but provides a useful resource to other students.

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