Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is now blogging at Learn it in 5

Posted in applications, classroom web site, Impact on Education by Mark Barnes on July 16, 2010

Mark is now blogging at

Please join Mark and other innovative educators for amazing how-to videos and thought-provoking blog posts at

Learn it in 5


Jing Video Demonstrates Wiki Site’s Slide Show Feature

Posted in applications, classroom web site, multimedia, Teaching Tools, wiki by Mark Barnes on February 26, 2010

The versatility of a wiki-hosted classroom web site allows teachers to empower students to create many wonderful learning experiences. An embedded slide show is just one example of a myriad of modules that some wikis provide.  

Although it’s not part of the wiki, a Jing video screencast can be linked or embedded on the wiki-hosted classroom web site, demonstrating how other tools, like the slide show are used. The example below is a Jing video I created in minutes and linked on my classroom web site, in order to teach my students how to create and embed a slide show on their student web sites, as part of a research project.  

The students enjoy these instructional videos, which they can view as often as they need. They love creating slide shows even more.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.


more about “Slideshow on a wiki classroom websit“, 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.

Do school administrators keep us from becoming digital learners?

Posted in applications, classroom web site, Impact on Education, Recent Events, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 15, 2010

My school district recently formed what is called the Digital Academy. This is a sexy name for a group of teachers selected to participate in technology training, provided by Smart Solutions.

In theory, this sounds progressive — especially when you consider that my district has languished in a digital wasteland for the last decade. However, I can’t help but remain skeptical about this so-called digital revolution.

Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but when technology trainers attempt to teach us an exciting part of Web 2.0, like those who recently visited our district to teach us the wiki PBworks, only to have the site either blocked by our firewalls or crash repeatedly during the professional development, one must wonder about the district’s resolve.

This is not some random rant either; this sort of thing has been happening for years and not just in my school district. I teach three online courses about web-based instruction and Web 2.0. Dozens of teachers taking my courses have told me that they run into these same issues, district administrators who are too afraid of potential harm from the Internet to truly allow their students and teachers to become digital learners. Many, in fact, wonder if they’ll be able to use what they learn from me at their schools.

This constant fear by school administrators that the Internet and Web 2.0 is something they must treat like an enemy must stop.

If we are to become the true digital learners that this time in history requires us to be, school administrators must tear down those walls — the firewalls, that is.

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.

Not just any student web site

Posted in classroom web site, Recent Events, student web sites, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 9, 2010

Most people think a student web site is nothing more than a blog or an Internet work space on something like Blackboard. In the all-inclusvie wiki-hosted classroom web site, the individual student web site is something quite different.  

Check out the video below to see the power of the new student web site.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.


more about “An amazing student web site“, posted with vodpod


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.

Embed your podcast on your classroom web site

Posted in applications, classroom web site, multimedia, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on January 24, 2010

Students love interactivity. It’s where they live. The flat world of the pencil and paper is not on their radar.

In order to get your students’ attention, you have to get into the new millennium and ramp up your classroom web site or blog. You can do this with a podcast.

Podcasting at a place like Voki or Gcast is easy and your finished product can be embedded directly into your classroom web site. Once it’s embedded into a single page, you can move it any place you wish with a single piece of code. Here’s an example on my classroom web site.

Don’t worry about how you might sound on the podcast. You can even have fun with it and try silly voices, or even have your students record podcasts. Either way, they’ll love it.