The Power of Social Media: An Expert Responds to a Student Blog

Ms. Lester, I, and one of our students, Nolan, were thrilled that a real world expert took time to respond to one of Nolan’s blog posts.  Nolan, who is researching the latest advances in military prosthetics, received a gracious and helpful comment with suggested research information sources to one of his posts from Troy A. Turner, Research Portfolio Manager for Advanced Prosthetics & Human Performance with the U. S.Army Medical Research & Material Command Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center in Maryland.    Nolan, I, and Ms. Lester are hoping to arrange either a class Skype interview with Mr. Turner or an e-interview in April.   These kinds of meaningful and authentic connections are exactly what Ms. Lester and I envisioned a year ago when we first began thinking about our collaborative learning project and plan for our students.

Here are Nolan’s thoughts on receiving feedback and information from a real-world expert via his blog:


The Verdict Is In: Media 21 Students Love Evernote

A week ago today, my students jumped headfirst into trying out Evernote for bookmarking  and taking notes on information sources.  Wanting to provide students a choice this semester, I gave students until Thursday to decide if they wanted to use Diigo (which was introduced last semester) or Evernote.  Ms. Lester and I were sure to tell students we had no preference but we wanted them to choose the tool that was most comfortable for them to use.    As of today, all but four students out of two classes chose Evernote as their tool of choice.

Why is Evernote the overwhelming tool of choice?  Here are some of the comment students shared via a Google Form survey:

from Jennifer:

I found that Evernote was easy to navigate and kept all my information together. I like Evernote the best out of all the tools we have used.

from Robbie:

Evernote is more organized and sensible than Diigo. Also, I can download a free app version on my Android powered phone.

from Hannah:

I find Evernote is a much simpler version of Diigo. There are no confusing sticky notes, and you can simply clip the entire article for your research.

from Lindy:

Evernote is really simple and easy to use. I am so glad Mrs. Hamilton gave us the opportunity to use this tool. I am really anxious to keep clipping and working with Evernote!

In the survey and in informal conversations this week, students shared time and time again that they liked the navigation and organization of Evernote as well as its ease of use.  Students also like having the option of using the downloaded program version of Evernote as well as the web-based version.  Several students have also downloaded the mobile apps for their Droid phones or iPod Touches.  While I will be doing a small group hands-on mini-lesson on how to use the mobile app next week, some had already jumped in fearlessly and were experimenting with ways to use their newly installed mobile Evernote app.  I have also been showing students how to share their research notebooks publicly, and students are adding the RSS feed for their research notebook to their Netvibes pages.

I will provide an update again in a few weeks on how students are usingEvernote as well as some video interviews with the students.   For me personally, I find I am loving Evernote more and more, especially the mobile app.  In the last ten days, I have played with the options of easily saving emails to my Evernote account, integrating my Google Reader shared items into my Evernote lists, and utilizing the Twitter feature.   While AP Mobile is the primary free news app that will easily interface with Evernote, I have discovered that by adding my Evernote email address to my contacts, I can now easily email any article I find while surfing the web (or database!) on my iPhone to my Evernote email address, and consequently, with ease to my Evernote notebooks.


In Their Own Words: Students Provide a Video Tour of Their Netvibes Learning Portals

After a little stumble out of the gate during the previous week because of some tech issues we had to resolve,  my Media 21 students jumped full force into adding content about their new veterans’ issues research project to their Netvibes information portals this past Monday.  While I am doing some “Netvibes triage” for students who may feel a little less confident even after some guided group practice and the sharing of video tutorials, some students have jumped in fearlessly and become our classroom experts who are exceeding our expectations and helping their peers, too.

Originally, Ms. Lester and I envisioned the Netvibes portal as being a PLE (personal learning environment) that would reflect the tools and information sources for their research on the veterans’ issues each student selected.  However, as you will see in the videos, some are also using Netvibes to create additional tabs to house information sources and multimedia they feel supports the books they are reading in their literature circles that are taking place concurrently within the larger context of this research project.

The videos you are about to see were shot on the fly during 7th period on Friday, March 26, 2010 in class.  When asked if they needed a moment to collect their thoughts about what they wanted to share in the video, neither student hesitated and was immediately ready to tell the story of their work with Netvibes from the last week.   The videos are a wonderful form of assessment in terms of students sharing their work as well as providing feedback about how certain tools or learning activities are (or are not) working for them—I love my Flip cameras!  Above all, though, these videos make me realize how much these students have grown since August—I honestly sat in awe as I listened to them articulate their work they have accomplished in just a few days and to hear the passion in their voices about their research topics and work.  You can visit these students’ Netvibes pages (which will still be growing until the beginning of May) by clicking here and then clicking here.

My next post will share students’ responses to Evernote,  so please stay tuned!


Learn More about the CCSD Media 21 Program at ALA Learning

Please check out my latest post at ALA Learning!

I am most fortunate to work in a school district (Cherokee County) that has invested time and resources into technology integration training not only for teachers, but also for school librarians. Our school district recognized early on that our hardware and network infrastructure could not be truly utilized to the fullest extent without instructional support to help district educators effectively integrate technology for improving student learning. Our district’s innovative Teach 21 and Media 21 programs focus on strategies for engaging students and creating a learning-centered, participatory environment for students…