From Serendip
at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/IIT/fourthsessionans.html

INQUIRY, INTERACTION, AND TECHNOLOGY
A program for students of education at Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, University of Pennsylvania
(Supported by an AT&T Learning Network Teaching and Technology Grant)


Project Reviews ... and Beyond

During the fourth spring semester session, we reviewed projects created during the semester, and returned to the question with which we started: what role can/should information technology play in education? Both reviews and wrap comments comments were posted in the institute forum area. Following are the postings, as they originally appeared.


Name: Mindy Steinberg and Esther Kang
Username: msteinbe2000@hotmail.com
Subject: Lauren Richardson's page
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:05:37 EDT 2000
Comments:
Lauren's website was both clear, simple, and straightforward. It seems to be a good website for people new to the area of writing and poetry looking for information. It might also be good for people new to the internet because of its clear and concise nature. She provides a good compilation of available links on the topic and they are listed clearly with synopses of those sites' contents.

It is difficult to critique Lauren's page without knowing what population of students she is trying to reach. Is this page aimed at elementary or secondary age students, or is it aimed at other educators? Maybe it would be more effective if there was a bold, easily seen title at the top of the page instead of a narrative. We are sure that interactivity is limited by our small amount of knowledge of html and other programming languages, as well as time, but more interactivity in the site could make the site more effective. It might also be a good idea to include a purpose for the website. Is it being used to help students gain a certain basic knowledge of writing, etc? Is it being used as a tool for other educators to find relevant sites for their own teaching?

All in all, considering our limited knowledge of webweaving, this site was a pretty good start.


Name: Anne King
Username: acking@brynmawr.edu
Subject: Making a Musical Education
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:07:59 EDT 2000
Comments:
Making A Musical Education addresses a topic that is frequently skimmed over in education - the fine arts. It clearly states the goals of the page and provides links between the music and the other "core" subjects. It helps to open up the possibilities that music can be combined in other lesson plans for different subjects. The lesson plan clarifies the possibilities that are found in a music lesson. I did have some trouble reading the font against the background. The links were a good color for the background and easy to pick out against the text. I was really impresed by the background knowledge and interest that is apparent in the page.

Anne


Name: anonymous
Username:
Subject: 5 Senses
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:08:16 EDT 2000
Comments:
You chose a very interesting topic to address here. I wasn't quite sure what to expect though. Perhaps you could have been more clear about the purpose of the page through an introduction or something similar.

Many of the pages looked really fun and interesting. You chose many interesting sites. The lesson plans look relevant and fun - especially for young and/or new learners.

Something else to consider is the "look" of the site. I know it's hard (it was for me anyway) to make the site LOOK good, but the colors make some of it hard to read.

Overall I think the site is very useful. I enjoyed perusing it!


Name: Howard Glasser
Username: hglasser@haverford.edu
Subject: Australia Link
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:09:22 EDT 2000
Comments:
The intro. paragraphs are well-written. Adults and children alike would be drawn in by the opening text, and the links are very informative. The games, stories, and tours provide a variety of ways for students to learn more about Australia. The activities are also lots of fun! The only suggestions I have would be to change the text to something other than white so it is easier to read, and perhaps have a few more links or links to other jump sites for Australia links. One more suggestion may be to place some pictures of Australia, flags, animals, or other symbols on the links page. Great page! -Howard
Name: anonymous
Username: jbean1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: Commentary-Projects
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:10:00 EDT 2000
Comments:
I thought Howard's resource page for information on physics was very well constructed and was quite extensive. He included a wide range of sites that covered any number of topics that students might want to research. I also like his decision to use concise descriptions of each site or link. Students look for quick fixes to their problems, not long, drawn-out explanations. My only suggestions would be perhaps spicing the site up a little bit. Maybe he could throw in some color or a graphic, or even something that flashes. Also, the beginning was a bit long, especially for a middle school reader. Maybe he'd want to tighten the margins a little bit so as to make the text seem shorter and less like pages of a book. Maybe he could restructure the text so as to make it more appealing. Great job, though, Howard. I know where to go if I need information on physics!
Name: Alarcon
Username: ralaroc1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: Anne King's website
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:13:30 EDT 2000
Comments:
On the topic of Anne King's website "Professional Resources": Overall this webpage contained a good amount of links that would help a professional in their search for information and a job in the secondary school system of PA. The colors for the text and the background worked well, and the simple pictures did not take up too much space. The only problem I could see with the site was the lack of variety in the font and its sizes. Although the information contained on this site might be important, you might choose to put less here until after the link is followed.
Name: Susan Jo
Username: sjo@brynmawr.edu
Subject: Nicki's Webpage
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:13:32 EDT 2000
Comments:
Miss Pollock's webpage is very practical and helpful. Nicki, you did a great job in making it very easy to read, not cluttered or straining on the eyes at all :) I like how you start the page by addressing your audience in a very professional yet welcoming manner. You also did a great job in making clear sections and links. The whole blurb about what you expect in the classroom is a really good reminder for your students as well as parents. I didn't really go to the links but they all look really useful.My suggestion to you is to add some images to make it even more inviting. Perhaps go to this site and look for some science cartoons. Maybe you could even get your students to add some comments to the page, like student quotations and thoughts. Here's the cartoon page: http://www.csun.edu/~hcmth014/comicfiles/allcomics.html. Great job! :)
Name: Melissa Kobelin
Username: mkobeli1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: John's webpage
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:14:14 EDT 2000
Comments:
I really like the link to the list of Aboriginal stories and see that this particular piece could be useful in the classroom... none of the stories are long/overwhelming... If kids were asked to choose a story to work with, etc.. I see lots of potential. Wish I'd been able to look at the "interactive games"-- the computer kept quitting Netscape on me with this one. I'm not quite as sure how some of the other sites could be used effectively in the classroom... and with any of them (and any of mine) I still worry about the idea that kids will just click, click, click and not really get much from the experience.
Name: Joel Price
Username: jprice1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: "5 Senses Sites"
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:14:24 EDT 2000
Comments:

This webpage is very informative and easily accessible. The formatting is simple and easy to use and there are a multitude of informative links from which to choose. Perhaps you could make your email address a link so that people could click on it to email you; it just makes it a bit more user-friendly. Also, if you're interested in making it look spiffy, you could add a background color or text color, but that's your decision. I like how you have included a bit about each of the links so that the user has a taste of what s/he will see when clicking on the link.


Name: Stephanie Lacambra
Username: lizzybennett@hotmail.com
Subject: Joel Price's Webpage
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:14:59 EDT 2000
Comments:
I was rather impressed with Joel's approach to integrating music, education, and technology together in his webpage. The link to a write-up of his mini-lesson using music in the classroom and his reflections on how to incorporate the lesson into an array of academic disciplines provides a valuable example of how to represent the interdisciplinary connections across subjects. The page as a whole has a lot of text and a couple of interesting links to other musical education websites. The only suggestion I have is perhaps an addition of pictures or graphics to make the page more asthetically pleasing and visually engaging. Great job!
Name: John Loeser
Username: jloser1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: Rory's Science Links
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:16:36 EDT 2000
Comments:
This webpage is very easy to navigate because it is organized with tables. Each link is described, and the user can easily locate what she/he is interested in. In addition, I like the way Rory divided the webpage into different sections, and how he provided both general science links and more specific science links to accommodate the various interests of the users who log in to his website. One suggestion is to make the title larger at the top of the page. In addition, it may be useful to provide more detail in the description of how the webpage is useful to teachers and students. Finally, the e-mail link at the bottom of the page can be made into a link that will take the user directly to an e-mail forum. Overall, I think this webpage is informative and well designed. As a teacher of general science, I would use this web-site to help inform my lessons.
Name: lauren lee richardson
Username: lrichard@haverford.edu
Subject: ***picture power***
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:19:48 EDT 2000
Comments:
I was impressed with these final projects. I think they represent a creative spectrum of information and insight. I was really taken by Stephanie's page because of the striking image of the couple with a child.Even though other sites may have had more extensive layouts and expansive links--I found the use of this image to be exceptionally powerful and inviting---thus, it was the only site I really explored.
Name: Alarcon
Username: ralarco1@sqwarhtm,ore.edu
Subject: Grobstein
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:22:07 EDT 2000
Comments:
Prof. Grobstein, Although I am sure your website project might has very interesting links to follow, you should consider the average Web user. The average person is working through a 28.8 K modem, so they might not have a connection that allows them to access the page well enough to read. Also, Shockwave is a new program that takes up a relatively large amount of memory to run, so it is not the best medium through which to communicate. 'Bigger and flashier' might entice the Web 'surfer' to stay on the page longer, but they need to be able to access something first. I have run into similar problems myself in the past.
Name: Jesse Bean
Username: jbean1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: Serendip Credo
Date: Mon Apr 3 17:59:52 EDT 2000
Comments:
I found this experience quite helpful, and the tools which I was given are both appropriate and accessible for use in my lesson planning and teaching. Thank you all for your help and advice.
Name: Mindy Steinberg and Esther Kang
Username: msteinbe2000@hotmail.com
Subject: Revisiting the original question
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:02:34 EDT 2000
Comments:
Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!

However, it is much more difficult to construct sites to do this than originally expected. If you want to keep up with what's going on in the news, current events, etc. (for instance), a great deal of updating, monitoring, and work is necessary to maintain web sites. Above and beyond that, the technology necessary to make sites interactive is complex and would in itself require a significant time commitment: a luxury most teachers do not have.

It was definitely a good experience to create a web page. It helped us to think more about the students, the audience of the web page, and what would be helpful for them and their learning process. It also helped us to realize how easy it is to put anything up on the web without monitoring. It is infinitely important to monitor our children on the web to make sure that their experiences with the internet benefit them and their education. It is amazing the amount of resources available to us through the Internet. As long as we can come up with productive ways to use them, the information technology revolution can, in fact, revolutionize the world of education.


Name: anonymous
Username:
Subject: final thoughts...
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:03:15 EDT 2000
Comments:
I am anxious to be able to use the web more in my classroom now - I've become more aware of what resources are available in order to teach creatively in the classroom.

I think I am more concerned with how I would "begin" the use of computers, especially now when some students don't really have much experience. This is where I think it's important to keep in mind that everyone in the classroom, including myself, will be students and teachers at the same time. We'll all be learning together how to use technology more effectively.

I'm also really happy that I can make a web page of my own. I had fun with it and intend to put more time into another one when I have a classroom of my own.

I've enjoyed this session of the tech project very much. Thanks!


Name: anonymous
Username:
Subject: final thoughts...
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:03:16 EDT 2000
Comments:
I am anxious to be able to use the web more in my classroom now - I've become more aware of what resources are available in order to teach creatively in the classroom.

I think I am more concerned with how I would "begin" the use of computers, especially now when some students don't really have much experience. This is where I think it's important to keep in mind that everyone in the classroom, including myself, will be students and teachers at the same time. We'll all be learning together how to use technology more effectively.

I'm also really happy that I can make a web page of my own. I had fun with it and intend to put more time into another one when I have a classroom of my own.

I've enjoyed this session of the tech project very much. Thanks!


Name: Oswald
Username: oswald@dallas.edu
Subject: Final thoughts
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:04:20 EDT 2000
Comments:
My final thoughts on this project are the same as my intial thoughts: The web could be a useful tool in the classroom BUT there is still not enough support in classrooms to use it effectively. I am sure this will change in the future as the new generation of teachers assume responsibility for curriculum planning.
Name: Melissa Kobelin
Username: mkobeli1@swarthmore.edu
Subject:
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:04:29 EDT 2000
Comments:
At this point I do think that the web has some potential for use in the classroom, and I think that if I can give my students some understanding of what the web has to offer, I should. Nonetheless, I believe not only is internet access still not reliable in many schools... finding relevant useful sites for classroom use is challenging. I'm student teaching in a first grade classroom and some of my kids are struggling readers. Finding sites without text that would overwhelm them is near impossible. Finding a way to structure use of the web in the classroom is still difficult. I'm positive and hopeful... and probably more so now than I once was, but I have developed new practical concerns and continue to struggle with the reality.
Name: Stephanie Lacambra
Username: lizzybennett@hotmail.com
Subject: Reflections on the use and purpose of technology in education
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:05:20 EDT 2000
Comments:
After participating this semester in the inquir, interaction, and technology project, I would have to say that I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for how the web can be used in the classroom. Over and above it's traditional use as a research tool, the world wide web can be designed and programmed through web-weaving and information sharing to generate global discussion and interaction, as well as create interactive "worlds" that can be entered and shared -- as in PAul Grobstein's Serendip House. My only caveat to this conviction is that access to the technical know-how and equipment to create this kind of exchange remains limited to a vast portion of the world and that I hope we continue to design and explore new ways in which to transcend these inequalities.
Name: susan jo
Username: sjo@brynmawr.edu
Subject: My thoughts
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:05:43 EDT 2000
Comments:
I am impressed with these technology sessions and my classmates. These sessions were practical and time well spent! The fun part was creating my own website and seeing other's creations as well. The main thing that I will take away with me from these sessions is that learning is interactive. I as a teacher will incorporate this interactive component of learning because the best way to learn is to do. I proved that to myself here and now I can take it to my own classroom. I agree that technology can be a very useful part of learning but only if you carefully and intentionally design it to be. These IIT sessions were thoughtfully and creatively planned! Thank you Professor Grobstein :)
Name: Howard Glasser
Username: hglasser@haverford.edu
Subject: New Thoughts on the Starting Question
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:08:13 EDT 2000
Comments:
I do agree that the Web provides classrooms with a greater variety of ways to present material to students. Ideally, when access to the Web is no longer an issue, the web may provide students and educators with the unique opportunity to structure a class so as to best meet the needs of the students.

However, there is something to be said about human interaction that the web will never provide. Technology may become more interactive, but there is a certain amount of social knowledge that I believe would be difficult to be learned from the Web. Interaction with other students and teachers informs students about humans, socializes them to society, and teaches them more that technology cannot replace. The Web provides students with more opportunities than they may have had in the past in terms of the information they may learn and the formats in which the knowledge is gained. This type of instruction lessens the affect of financial barriers, but cannot and should not ever fully replace the education attained from human interaction.
Name: John Loeser
Username: jloser1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: Revisiting the Question
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:09:33 EDT 2000
Comments:
This experience has made me realize that the information technology revolution can be used to further educational objectives in more ways than I had originally believed possible. I never once thought about creating my own webpage to use in my classroom, and as a result of this project, I feel confident enough to bring some of my experiences/interests into my classroom via the web. While this webpage project helped me see more possibilties for the internet in the classroom, I still believe that it would have been beneficial to learn and be trained to use other technological advances as well. I will hopefully be able to bring this experience into my teaching next year, and I thank you for making this project possible.
Name: lauren lee richardson
Username: lrichard@haverford.edu
Subject: final thoughts
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:10:54 EDT 2000
Comments:
This forum has introduced a number of possible ways to use the web for educational puproses-- positive, thoughtful, creative and instructive ways! I learned that the computer is not my enemy, but instead a helpful tool for communication, exploration and education. I am very lucky to have had this opportunity to make a web page. There are very few computer based projects that I would have joined. I am very proud and excited by my new understanding of the current technological revolution. Thanks Professor Grobstein, and don't ever cut those sideburns-they're awesome.
Name: Joel Price
Username: jprice1@swarthmore.edu
Subject: reflection
Date: Mon Apr 3 18:11:59 EDT 2000
Comments:

In reflection, I definitely feel as though the information technology revolution can be used to enhance education. I felt this way originally as well, and still hold fast to the belief that educators need to know how to use the resources available in order to make the experience the most enriching to those taught. There are definitely ways to use technology to uniquely provide experiences that would otherwise be impossible to have in an educational setting. By continuing to learn how to use technology (from exploration, instruction, and teaching), we can increase our own understanding and hopefully that of those we teach--and in turn hope that those we teach will teach us and teach others.