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Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

As I revised a lesson on search tools for sixth grade this week, research and statistics confirmed what I already instinctively knew: that things have changed dramatically in one short year.  Searchme, which I discussed last year,  no longer exists.  Bing has appeared and made a strong showing.  Google’s search share has increased.  Specific question and answer search tools have cut into market share.  And these are just the glaring examples.  If the tools themselves have changed so drastically, shouldn’t our lessons be changing to reflect these innovations?  It is discouraging to see the same assignments being recycled by teachers year after year, with little or no adaptation to take advantage of the advances in technology.  How are our students going to be prepared for future expectations when they have to take steps backwards to create outdated projects?  And why do teachers continue to insist on the completion of such futile assignments?  Again, I can come to only one conclusion: resistance to change.  But what, if not the needs of our students, is important enough to spur this change? Changes in technology must leave the boundaries of the computer lab and the library.  It doesn’t help to give students information and training if it’s never used in a practical sense to create an original product.  I’m beginning to wonder, though, when this will ever happen.  Technology training for faculty, sharing information on a faculty wiki, and face-to-face discussions have only produced a few converts.  When will the rest see the writing on the wall?  Only time will tell (if it doesn’t run out).

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Kids’ Favorites

My library web page always has a “Website of the Week”, something I’m encouraging the kids to try that they may never have heard of before.  The site is usually tied to a curricular theme, and is often academic in nature.  In the past year, however, I find that the post popular sites are not those that help them with their work, but rather the sites that are fun.  (I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise.) The following sites are the biggest hits on my web page; thought other students might like them as well.

  • Mr. Picasso Head: Create art work online in the style of Picasso
  • Make a Flake: Students in all grades love folding paper and cutting to reveal beautiful snowflakes – paper cutting without the mess.
  • Seussville: A great arcade of Seuss related games in the playground.
  • Notebook Babies: Funny animation about classroom behavior by Tony Dusko
  • Wild West Phonics from BBC: Funny cartoon graphics that make kids forget they’re actually learning phonics

As far as authors go, the pages of Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl are the biggest hits.  

These websites encourage creativity, and the generation of original products.  Students are excited to use them, and are proud of their creations.  I’ll keep adding links, and let our ultimate judges, the students, pick the best.  After all, who knows better than the experts?

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