I am looking for real examples/ideas of how to use the reader and iGoogle both for students and educators. If you have an idea or a link - I'd love to hear it. Or if you have any other thoughts about these tools, I'll take those too!

Lee Anne

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I used google reader this year with my 8th graders. We did an assignments to write the president a letter about an issue that needed his attention in his first 100 days. They set up a google reader account and subscribed to content about their issue. Bonus---many students still follow the issue that they researched for their letter!
Thanks so much, Marie and Matt. Two great examples. If you don't mind, can I share your examples in class with the teachers I work with?

Lee Anne
Hi Lee Anne -

As for Google Reader, I think this is a great way to introduce the power of RSS feeds - anyone who is particularly interested in a given topic can likely find one or more sources of feeds that make it easy to stay informed, and learn more (and many of today's RSS feeds can also be directed into email or RSS feed folders in Outlook). One great way to introduce the technology and have it relate to a standard academic process is to tie it into a reporting or project effort, where students are asked to find at least one decent RSS source for a topic of interest, and then follow up on what they learn from it, or supplement that learning with other more standard sources - maybe even compare the RSS source to other sources for quality or extent of information? Anyway, just some ideas.

As for iGoogle, it provides a wealth of tools, and many students may find the portal idea engaging. For me, the use of Google Apps (which I access from my iGoogle page) is a great way to work on document drafts, or maintain some regularly updated worksheets, from any of a number of different computers I use, without having to worry about what device or network they are stored on (they are always accessible via the Internet!).

[www.emergingedtech.com - my blog about the use of emerging internet technologies in education]
Thanks, Kelly! I will share this and your blog with the class. Great blog topics, BTW

Lee Anne
Like Matt, I use it for my own professional growth and sharing what our small band of technologist/educators find that we think other faculty might benefit from reading. Near the bottom of this link is a Reader that we also have in our colleges faculty tab in our portal system.

As for any class application, I think that by sharing a Reader feed with the class is a great an efficient way to share information. It can be placed into online courses or as a link to the public shared page.
Anne, This is from one of my older edu-blogs and I tried this last year and it worked really well. In short I basically replaced the student planner books that many students receive at the beginning of the school year. What I did was set up a blog for each of my three classes and had my students subscribe to the blog via their iGoogle start page. students had to post on the blog and would have outside class discussion groups on their current reading. I found it to be a major success and would like to share the blog with you that I posted last year.

You have also inspired me to write my next blog post on ways to utilize these tools in your classroom. You can find it soon at http://iteach20.blogspot.com

Throughout most of my brief teaching career I have embraced the changing landscape of high school curriculum. I am a product of the rise of the information and communication age; this great time in our history when the world is becoming increasingly flat. However, this rapid change in education has turned off many veteran teachers who are unable or unwilling to try something “new” in their classroom. I, on the other hand, have done everything in my ability to evolve my classroom and implement new technology into my daily lessons. This approach can sometimes frustrate students to the point where they are not sure why they are actually using technology in the classroom. Another problem that arises is the student who does not possess computer/Internet access at home.
To alleviate these problems, my school was recently awarded a Technology grant from the state of Pennsylvania. Through the grant I was hired to take over the classes of our current technology coach, Ken Rodoff. Ken has been a valuable asset to the Springfield educational community. Many teachers have embraced this new opportunity and some have staunchly rejected the idea that it exists. This rejection of new ideas is frustrating to witness. However, those who reject these new ideas are content with teaching in the same educational structure that was in place at the dawn of the 20th century. This is not to say education has not evolved, because it has, but the primary blueprint of education has been in place for many years.

Here is one of the ways I am embracing new technology and with the assistance of our technology coach, creating a new forum for learning and communication…

This semester I am piloting a new project that will flatten my classroom and provide a consistent forum for information. I set up a blog page for each of my three classes. Then I had students set up an iGoogle page (see left).

The students can add the blog to their iGoogle page and receive assignments, reminders and updates. Students can also comment on the blog if they have a question or concern. This forum is also used to organize. I am not one for papers and folders; I loose them! The blog and iGoogle page is especially helpful when a student is absent. Yesterday, I finally yielded the results I have been looking for since I started this “flat classroom” project. I received an e-mail from a student who has been home sick all this week. He was in class on Monday (the first day of our new spring semester) when I had all of my classes set up their iGoogle page and link to the blog. Here is the e-mail:

“Hey Mr. Marcinek, I have had a real bad cold over the last few days, but I saw the doctor today and I should be back tomorrow. I saw the assignment on the blog and wrote a rough draft, so I thought you might want that. The rough draft is attached.”




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