Tapped In Newsletter: February 2009

...On the Tapis
February 2009
Issue 135

In This Issue

[1] Social Networking on Training Wheels
[2] Tips and Comments from the Experts
[3] News Nuggets
[4] Tapped In Technology Tip
[5] About ...On the Tapis

Quote of the Month - "Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which one will I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then', said the cat, 'It doesn't matter.'" - Alice in Wonderland

[1] Social Networking on Training Wheels

If you're not familiar with the student campus in Tapped In, here is the 411! Teachers create a classroom in the student campus and assign usernames and passwords. When the students log in they land in their classroom where they can engage in real time text chat, post reflective writing to the threaded discussion boards, and access files and links provided by the teacher to complete research or construct Webquests. The students are not able to enter any other classrooms unless the teacher chooses to collaborate with another teacher or change settings for the group.

So, here's this safe and secure place for your class to learn how to be accountable in a social networking environment... now what?! Some classes have collaborated by doing literature circles. Maybe you want your class to learn about a community in another state or another country. What about assigning historical figure's names to the students and have them log in for their classmates to interview them? Or what about collaborating with an older class who can be reading buddies or mentors to the younger class? The possibilities are endless! There are lots of K-12 student classrooms... what are YOU doing?! I'd like to start a monthly column in the Tapis to share ideas on using the student campus and finding other classes to collaborate. Send me your ideas, your success stories and your not-so-successful stories or concerns. We can all learn from each other. Isn't that what collaboration and Tapped In is all about?

If you have some ideas, but don't know where to start, join Jeff Cooper's tour every Saturday of the student campus. Send ideas and comments to bjb@tappedin.org

[2] Tips and Comments from the Experts

TI member Valerie S. Jakar, PhD, Convention Program Chair, TESOL 2008. "Worlds of TESOL: Building Communities of Practice, Inquiry and Creativity," sent this thank you note to the Tapped In team, "Thanks again for all your help. Your team are wonderful people. I am so pleased that I can be associated with the Tapped In folk."
TI member Dede M. Ponto and BJ Berquist, TI Helpdesk volunteer recently had the following chat:

BjB: hi, Dede
DedeP: good morning! Just updating my classroom discussion board!
BjB nods to Dede
BjB: how is that class going, Dede?
DedeP: Excellent! The 4th graders think it is the coolest thing ever!
BjB . o O ( we always love to have feedback on how people are using Tapped In )
DedeP: They are ALWAYS on task and ready to work!

(This chat was the inspiration for [1] Social Networking on Training Wheels.)
TI member AbdulKh would like to know more about developing writing skills, "Perhaps it would be quite useful if I could get some kind of info on different types of letters, news reports, and other functional writings. The students need lots of inputs in terms of structures and language. Do we have a forum that would cater these needs? They might find it very helpful if they could get samples from native users. Looking forward to hearing from you."

If you have suggestions or ideas for Abdul, contact him through the Tapped In interface (see Technology Tip).
If you have a comment or experience to share with the Tapped In community, please submit the information to BJ Berquist at bjb@tappedin.org or post here.

[3] News Nuggets

Global SchoolNet Announces 2006 Online Shared Learning Champions
Everyone is talking about the importance of collaboration, yet sadly, every day billions of kids still learn in isolation. In a world that is becoming increasingly flat, our youth will face intense competition that is bound to have enormous social and economic implications. Global SchoolNet's Online Shared Learning Awards recognize outstanding educators, who make significant contributions to global collaborative learning.

This year eight teachers worldwide were selected for this honor, representing Canada, Israel, Macedonia and the USA. Included in the top award winners is TI member Jennifer Wagner from Crossroads Christian Schools in Corona, California. Among the five finalist champions was TI member Kevin Hodgson from Southampton, Massachusetts, United States.

"Extraordinary things happen when we connect kids worldwide, engaging them in educational projects where they learn how to communicate, collaborate and solve problems with one another," said Dr. Yvonne Marie Andres, President and co-founder of the Global SchoolNet Foundation.

Winning teacher, Jennifer Wagner, describes herself as a "cheerleader for teachers to use online projects to expand their curriculum." According to Wagner, "The goal of my Technospud website is to help teachers utilize technology in a non-frightening and easy way." But, Wagner is probably most famous for helping her primary students improve their math and science skills by using Oreo cookies as manipulatives. They count, stack, graph, and share their cookie results with other kids around the world. The success of the Oreo project inspired Wagner to develop other original online collaborative projects, including Dear Soldier, DC Ducks, The Great Egg Roll, and "adopting" schools affected by hurricane Katrina.

For more information contact Yvonne Marie Andres, Global SchoolNet.
TI member Sasa Sirk is excited to share her first You Tube video...

"...a story of a teacher from Slovenia ending up becoming a Webhead - using [TI member] Michael Coghlan's beautiful song and [the Webheads'] smiling faces. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0OvWli2PkQ I love you guys and would like to thank you all for being Webheads (can't think of a word describing Webhead spirit which would sound nicer." Hugs, Sasa
Do you have a News Nugget about yourself or another member of the Tapped In Community? Send your News Nugget to BJ Berquist at bjb@tappedin.org.

[4] Tapped In Technology Tip

Communication with Offline Tapped In Members
After you log in to Tapped In, select the SEARCH tab in the top right of the web window. Enter the name or username of the person you would like to contact. You will usually have a choice of sending a saved message (envelope icon) or an email, however, not everyone has their email visible. When you select the option available to you a message box will open.

The user may have set their message feature setting to send an email or to save as a saved message to be read when that user next logs in. This choice will be visible to you when you open the message box. If you want the person to respond quickly, you may want to include your email in the message.

[5] About ...On the Tapis

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