For Your Bookshelf
Books by Kist, Boss and Krauss, Rozema and Webb, and Richardson
The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age by William Kist (Corwin, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2009)
Social networking is here to stay, and it has already transformed the way we connect with the world, but has it “transformed the way we ‘do’ school?” asks Bill Kist. Using the lingo of Starbucks: “short,” “tall,” “grande,” or “venti,” to indicate school environments ranging from low-tech to unlimited tech access, Kist demonstrates how social networking looks in real-world classrooms, including his own, all along the continuum. The entire text is framed by essential questions that may be practical or pedagogical, for example, “What Are the Generally Accepted Rules for Blogging?” This is followed by information on how to set up a blog, a sample introductory assignment with blog criteria, a sample assessment rubric, and lively accounts of actual classroom practices in a variety of disciplines. Readers will find dozens of detailed, engaging lessons that use hyperlinked double-entry journals, online reading and writing portfolios, wikis, Nings, Facebook, and a myriad of Web 2.0 tools to support learning.
Along with supplying technical information throughout the text, Kist emphasizes the important roles of community and collaboration. There are also insightful discussions on topics such as how to keep students safe, how to use social networking tools to teach a kind of hidden curriculum outside the school day, and how these new literacies shape reading and writing. The appendix offers a variety of sample letters to parents regarding blogs, publishing online, hybrid classrooms, and online courses. In the final chapter, “Refill,” Kist challenges educators to continue the dialogue and explores some of the hard issues that surround the use of social networking in the classroom, such as limited time in the schedule and the relationship between entertainment and education.
See William Kist’s article, “From Web 2.0 to School 2.0: Tales from the Field,” in this issue of In Perspective.
Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age by Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss (International Society for Technology in Education, Eugene, OR, 2007)
Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss have created a “how-to” field guide that can help educators navigate the journey from traditional classroom toward a project-based, technology-rich approach. Sharing examples from actual classrooms worldwide, they delve into the components of well-planned, authentic projects that maximize digital tools. From project kickoff to the final celebration, the authors emphasize the role of collaboration, inquiry, and critical thinking, along with meaningful assessment and reflection. Valuable sidebars are placed strategically to add additional technology tips and resources to spark ideas for the classroom. The appendixes include a handy annotated list, “Essential Learning with Digital Tools, the Internet, and Web 2.0,” and a reading group guide for the book. Intended for those who are open to new ideas and who like learning, this friendly text will become a daily reference sure to inspire exciting learning experiences for both teachers and their students.
Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies by Robert Rozema and Allen Webb (Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH, 2008)
Robert Rozema and Allen Webb bring readers into their classrooms and show how creative use of web technologies combined with effective teaching practices can enhance students’ love of literature. Using their shared philosophical foundation, the authors recommend each tool for its power to help students (1) enter the world of the story, (2) do close reading, (3) understand the text’s social, cultural, and historical contexts, and (4) respond to the text. Instead of overwhelming readers with unnecessary technical information, each chapter is organized to provide the essential information needed to use digital text archives, electronic discussions, blogs, podcasts, feed readers, and virtual realities in the classroom. For every technology discussed, there’s an explanation of what it is, advice for getting started, and inspirational vignettes showing ways literature teachers are using it to engage today’s students. For instance, Rozema shares ways to use feed readers to make literature relevant through connections to current events. Webb describes how his African literature students discussed novels with students in western Africa via electronic conferencing. Suggestions are even included for adapting the ideas presented in classrooms with limited or no technology resources. At the end of each chapter, there is a handy annotated list of all the web resources (mostly free) mentioned in it. It is impossible to read the book without being enticed to try some of these. The compact professional text, packed with practical strategies, concludes with encouragement and advice for becoming a web advocate and technology integration mentor.
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, 3rd edition, by Will Richardson (Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2010)
Technology is rapidly changing in the twenty-first century, and schools are scrambling to keep up with Web 2.0 tools. Former high school journalism teacher and technology coordinator Will Richardson has fully updated the technology in the third edition of his extremely useful book. Richardson continues to offer practical ways for teachers to take their students into technologies that challenge thinking and promote twenty-first-century skills. One of the early promoters of weblogs in education, he now offers practical ways to support learning with numerous other tools, including not only blogs, wikis, and podscasts, but also social bookmarking, online photo galleries, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Second Life. In this latest edition of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Richardson provides real examples from K–12 teachers around the world. These teachers are leaders in bringing today’s web tools into their schools and classrooms. Suggestions and practices highlighted in this book can easily lead to enhanced student learning and achievement while enabling teachers to use the newer technologies comfortably.
—Carol Brown Dodson
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