Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lost in the Tech Speak

I've been burying myself in Web 2.0 the past few weeks, and trying to figure out best practice for integrating it into the classroom, especially since my new job requires me to teach it to other educators! With that in mind, I purchased two books, one published last year and one published last month.

Will Richardson's Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms is a god-send. A fire up Amazon and BUY THIS NOW!!! kind of book. If you are AT ALL interested in educational technology, this book will not only answer your questions (or questions you never thought of), it also gives you practical, start-to-use-it-on Monday advice and ideas for classroom use. It explains not just the what, but also the why and the how. I've never had a clue how to really use RSS feeds, but Richardson not only explained the technology in easy to understand language, he gave great examples of how to get set up and ideas for using RSS feeds in the classroom (and why every teacher should). I'm convinced! He gives plenty of examples K-12. As an ex-English teacher, he makes a strong case for building the read/write web into the English classroom, with fewer compelling cross-the-curriculum examples, though he does try. My strongest praise would be that my school offered to let me teach an English class along with the library duties, if I wanted. Originally, I planned to turn that down so I could concentrate on the library (English teacher burn out!). Having read Richardson, I'm now so excited to try these techniques in the classroom, I not only WANT to teach a class again, I'm excited about the possibilities.

Less compelling (as a practicing teacher/librarian) is Gary Bitter and Jane Legacy's Using Technology in the Classroom (7th Edition), just published a few weeks ago. Written as a textbook rather than a practical "how to,' the book serves more as an introduction to educational technology for the neophyte ed student. While I knew what the technologies were after reading this (well, I knew before, but I'm speaking as a tech-tyro here), I really didn't have a clue how to get started using them, or what to do with them if I managed to get up and running. Some chapters offer a few teaching ideas, but I found them limited in scope. The book comes with a DVD and an companion website; frankly, what working teacher has time? What were incredibly useful (and almost worth the $90 price!) were the plethora of links and and resources at the end of each chapter. This alone will save you HOURS culling the web for content.


  1. Hi Jeri,

    Thanks so much for the kind words about my book! Glad it was of help to your work.

    All the best,


  2. (grin)--Well, it would be more useful for you if I actually had any readers!