Mark Barnes

Education Is Coming Full Circle

Posted in Classroom strategies, Impact on Education, Recent Events by Mark Barnes on March 8, 2010

According to eSchool News, the government has released its National Educational Technology Plan, which calls for sweeping edtech reform. Or does it?

As eSchool News reports:

“The plan, called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all students; standards and assessments that measure key 21st-century skills and expertise; a shift to a model of “connected teaching,” in which teams of interconnected educators replace solo classroom practitioners; always-on connectivity that is available to students and teachers both inside and outside of school; and a rethinking of basic assumptions, such as seat time, that limit schools’ ability to innovate.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but when I started teaching 18 years ago, we worked in academic teams that functioned  precisely as the plan outlines above.

We used interdisciplinary learning, team- and co-teaching and used the connectivity mentioned above.

Granted, our technology was not what it is today, but we did have technology and used it.

“Reform” may be the wrong word

None of this is to suggest that the plan is not important and that this is not what we should be doing in education. It just seems to me that rather than reforming, we may just be coming back full circle.


Podcasting in the Classroom

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 28, 2010

Podcasting in the classroom can be both educational and fun. 

Learn more in this “One Minute on Technology in Education” podcast. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Podcasting in the Classroom“, posted with vodpod


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InnovativeEdu Eyes Interactive Reading/Writing in This Edition of Edtech Tweets of the Week

Posted in Classroom strategies, EdTech Tweets of the Week, Impact on Education, twitter by Mark Barnes on February 26, 2010

Here we are for Round Two of the Tweets of the Week, something that I hope becomes one of your favorite attractions.

We had a nice start last week, and thanks to a great suggestion, there are no retweets this time. Remember, I welcome your suggestions for this weekly feature. As always, my humble commentary is next to each Tweet in parentheses. 

10:30am, Feb 22 from BuzzCanTweet
Blog on PLC’s and their use in teacher evaluation. Feel free to comment. #edch… (Wanted to start with something educational, and this is a very solid contribution.)
5:36pm, Feb 24 from HootSuite
Police escort student out of class after refusal to recite Pledge of Allegiance – (Some controversy never hurts; this piece could spark some nice debate on civil rights.)
Clueless Woman Calls Tech Show When Her Stolen Wi-Fi Disappears (Three Tweets in, it’s time for some humor; this is one of the classic oops moves of all time.)
Preview of my slides for a presentation on Twitter for teachers at my school (Very nice slide show on this important topic; worth your time.)
does anyone else have people laugh when you use the word “tweet” in a conference presentation for teachers? funny (I thought so, too.)
More ways to make reading / writing interactive for kids (One of the most insightful blog posts of the week.)
edTech: Quizzes in an Age of Course Management Software thx (In an age of online learning, it’s nice to have resources like this.)
Absolutely hilarious! “Funniest Headline Fails of All Time” (another reason to teach critical questioning!) #Funny (Nothing to do with technology or teaching, but far too good to leave off the list.)

Are Your Students Blogging?

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 25, 2010

I’ve been thinking about blogging in the classroom lately. My students do most of what would be considered blogging on web pages on their individual web sites on my classroom web site. It’s not blogging in the way we think of blogging, because their posts can only be seen by me, unless I share them in class with a projector and white board.

I have used a standard blog platform in the past, and my students love it. The difficulty is having them complete school assignments that I don’t want other students to see. Ultimately, this is what brought me to the wiki-based private student web site.

So, are you blogging? If so, what kinds of activities are your students doing in the blogosphere?

Feel free to comment.

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The Twitter Experiment Gets College Students Tweeting

Posted in Classroom strategies, Teaching Tools, twitter by Mark Barnes on February 22, 2010

A retweet on Twitter to a blog link about Twitter led me to another link to this video. 

The video was originally posted last summer, but it’s very well done and a powerful demonstration of how Twitter can be used in the classroom. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Twitter Experiment – UT Dallas“, posted with vodpod


Post assignment guidelines to your wiki

Posted in Classroom strategies, classroom web site by Mark Barnes on February 18, 2010

Another excellent use for your wiki-hosted classroom web site is the assignment guidelines page.  I create assignment guidelines pages for all activities and place them on my unit pages.

Not only does the assignment guidelines page help to eliminate paper, but because it is readily available, both students and parents can access guidelines anytime from any computer with Internet access.

Create a guidelines page today, link it to your classroom wiki. Your students will appreciate your effort.

Smart Board’s export to PDF enhances classroom web site

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Recent Events, Teaching Tools, wiki by Mark Barnes on February 17, 2010

If you have a Smart Board and a wiki-hosted classroom web site, you have a perfect opportunity to provide wonderful enrichment for your students, as well as a powerful communication tool for parents.

All you have to do is complete a lesson like this one on your Smart Board and export it to a PDF. Once you’ve done this, save the PDF and upload it to your wiki. Now, your students can access this lesson anytime as a review. This is also great for absent students. When they ask what they missed, tell them it’s all just a mouse click away and guide them to your linked Smart Board activity.

It’s also nice to guide your parents to any Smart Board lessons you upload to your classroom web site. It keeps them updated, and best of all they’ll love you for it.

The unit page is a key part of a classroom web site

Posted in Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Teaching Tools, Uncategorized by Mark Barnes on February 16, 2010

A wiki-hosted classroom web site has many functions. One that is often unnoticed is the unit page.

The classroom web site unit page consists of all of all the necessary items a teacher would keep in a folder on a unit of study. What is particularly nice about a unit page on a wiki site is that any item can be linked. So, if other lesson pages relevant to a specific unit have been created, the teacher simply links to those pages on the unit page.

Other forms of enrichment for the unit, such as video, audio or guidelines, can also be maintained on the unit page for quick reference for students and parents.

With a wiki-hosted unit page, the need for folders and paper is eliminated.

Welcome to a truly all-inclusive wiki and to the paperless classroom.

Widgets add spice to classroom web site

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Gadgets, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 10, 2010
A widget is an Internet feature that allows users to interact with a web-based application. Sounds technical, I know, but widgets are actually very easy to use and can add nice spice to a classroom web site.

With a wiki like, the widget is modular and added with a simple “include” code. So, in this classroom web site example, the html from the eSchool News widget was copied and placed in the module. Then, the code, [[include:eschoolnews]], places the widget on the page.

A site like widgetbox contains the widget codes for  hundreds of educational widgets.

Try a widget on your classroom web site today; your students and parents will love it.

Classroom web site requires teacher flexibility

Posted in Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Conferences, student web sites by Mark Barnes on February 4, 2010

Mark Barnes at eTech Ohio Ed Tech ConferenceWhen I presented at the eTech Ohio Educational Technology Conference, I was asked about giving web-based assignments to students who may not always have Internet access. My answer was both simple and complex, and it was just one word — flexibility.

It’s simple, in that a classroom web site with student web sites can be used for all activities, including homework, as long as the teacher allows for extended time. In other words, you can’t assign homework to be completed on a web site and always have it due the next day; this just isn’t fair to students who don’t have Internet access.

It’s complex, because many teachers simply can’t let go of the nightly homework.

Try assigning several web-based activities, which your students will put on their classroom web sites, and make them due at the end of the week.

Want to get really creative? Have homework be due on a Saturday night at 10:00 P.M. This will really blow your students’ minds. In the paperless classroom, though, anything is possibility.

It just takes a little flexibility.