Take a Deep Breath…and Keep Running

I have two goal for the “23 Things” course

  1. Expose you to all of the potential flavors (or crayons) of Web2.0.  You have to at least know the lingo.  Without at least knowing the buzzwords, you are not likely to ever enter a conversation with experienced Web2.0 teachers.  Wonder how you are doing?  View this brief video below to evaluate how much you understand versus how much you do not yet know.  Another way to think about this course is that you are learning letters of another language.  You don’t have to know each one equally well, but you have to be able to recognize all of them.  For example, I know relatively few words that start with a Q, while I know thousands of words that start with T.
  2. I am most hopeful that this knowledge will make you more productive.  At times, I have alluded to the fact that Web2.0 will make your life easier.  Imagine if important online resources are at your fingertips and a huge network of teachers is waiting to answer your questions.Here is an example of what I am talking about:
    1. I was reading a blog posting and found that the author has a very good Delicious account with 1000 bookmarks already organized for science classes (link)
    2. I also noticed that she had her best bookmarks neatly organized in an RSS reader called Netvibes (link)
    3. Most importantly, I saw that she was a member of a Facebook-like organization of Middle School Science Teachers (link)
    4. It took me three minutes to find this information – known as an element in my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  How much time do you think this will save a MS science teacher?  Do you think that there are similar (or better) resources for your subject area?

If the video above is not visible, then use this link at home.

I also came across people who were blogging about their own “23 things” course.  Here are a few links for other teachers so you can see what they thought about the course.  Don’t feel intimidated.  You don’t know their technical background.  You also don’t know how if they were able to spend more than one day per rotation taking the course.

Doesn’t it seem like a long time ago that we started this course.  Doesn’t it seem like even longer that you were creating your “password document” to manage all of the website usernames and passwords for this course?

Happy reading!!

Thing 10, 11 & 12 – Digital Content

There are zillions of images, audio, video and presentations on the web.  You should see what is available before spending time creating something from scratch.  As sharing personal digital media has exploded, it gave rise to a new form of copyright called Creative Commons (CC).  In a nutshell, CC lets people share their digital content with other teachers and researchers and still maintain ownership and protection.  CC does not replace the copyright laws and you should still be aware of them and how they affect teachers (see pdf). Images and video are an increasingly important skill for 21st century learners as their world is increasingly multimedia.  Consider the handouts and test that you make.  Are they all text?  Is there anything in real life that is only text?

Why are digital media and presentations considered Web2.0?  New websites make it ways to share digital content with others and this includes embedding it into your blog. Most students don’t find Powerpoints particularly interesting anymore.  You can make them interesting by making the prompt thought provoking.  Saving the presentation online enables them to learn by analyzing other students’ presentation and see their presentations improve over time.

Note: it is relatively easy to organize your digital content across multiple websites.  For example, let’s say that you have pictures from your Greece trip and a presentation.  You would be able to conveniently manage them if you tag them similarly (known as folksonomy).

Thing 8 & 9 – Wikis

A Blog is comprised of a chronology of postings, which can be commented upon.  By contrast, a wiki is is not chronological and there isn’t a notion of comments.  There is only one “version” of the wiki at any one time.  If users have comments, then they directly edit the wiki.  Blogs are used in class when you want students to respond to a prompt.  Further, you could have students read each others postings and critique them with a comment.  Wikis are best used to have students work on a common idea.  For example, students could take notes collaboratively or work together to formulate debate positions.  For additional ideas see this link at wikispaces or this screencam showing a college-level wiki.

When you are done touring wikis as part of Thing8, proceed to Thing9 and play around with our wiki.  Please add your opinion of a few of the Web2.0 websites that the “23 Things” introduced to you.  In addition, please share your favorite academic websites and how they can be used in class.

Thing 5, 6 & 7… Using Your Blog

Believe it or not, you are about way through the course.  The first four things were the most time-consuming.  By comparison, Things 5 and beyond are smaller tasks that are resources you add to your blog.

Reminder: On the course website, there is a link called “Stretch“.  This is a link to  one or more optional  tasks for each of the remaining Things.   Consider looking at these as you do the remaining tasks.  Some of the cooler things for your blog are part of the stretch tasks.

The great thing about blogging is the quality and diversity of viewpoints once you find a few master teachers.  Master teachers will lead you to other master teachers through their “Blog Roll”.  In a relatively short time, you will have a great source of lesson plans and pedagodgy.

Having many blogs in your personal learning network is a great resource.  Although you shouldn’t use this as a substitute to connecting with peers at King, it is convenient to read your blogs in the comfort of your home on your own schedule.  There are tools to help read blogs without having to visit each website on a daily basis.  The class of tools are known as RSS readers.  They pull information from your blogs and mash it together into a personalized newspaper of sorts.

Note: RSS Readers can “pull” information from not just blogs.  You can pull information from many other types of information, such as Delicious bookmarks, calendars, etc.  Do you see use in this for students?

Here are several ways to find other teacher blogs:

  1. Search using Delicious tags (link)
  2. Search using Google (link)
  3. List of teacher blogs (link)
  4. Another list of teacher blogs (link)
  5. Yet another list of teacher blogs (link)
  6. OK, one last list of teacher blogs (link)
  7. Search using Google’s blog search (link)

Thing4-More Blogging


  1. Make sure that created a blog at edublog and completed Thing3.
  2. Add the URL of your blog to the Google Docs control spreadsheet.
  3. Blogs and Wikis are the two main type of websites for mere mortals.  Take a moment to understand the difference between them.


I have found bogging extremely useful for several reasons:

  1. Blogging provides me with way to crystallize my thoughts.  I find that writing forces me to reflect on teaching and technology activities.
  2. Blogging makes me more aware other people’s blogs.
  3. Blogging provides me a way to build my digital footprint for others to find.
  4. “Blog rolls” show interest in other blogs.  This is a great way to profile people with similar interests.

Video Links

If the video Blogs in Plain English on Thing3 didn’t work, then click here

If the video PBWiki for Education on Thng3 didn’t work, then click here


  1. Take a moment and review the optional tasks listed as “stretch” tasks.  There will be tasks that are relevant to you, which you may want to include as part of your blog.
  2. Proceed to Thing4 and complete the tasks listed.  Note that you will find a directory of other teachers’ blogs here.



It is now time to create a website.  Websites are CENTRAL to becoming a full digital citizen.  Using e-mail is limiting and it takes too many e-mails to collaborate.  Think about it another way.  If your inbox is overflowing just with e-mails from the King community, how will you effectively collaborate with teachers from other schools?

Wikis and blogs are two of the more popular types of websites.  We are going to create a blog.  It will be the central resource for using  Web2.0 technologies and reflecting on each task (“thing”).  So far, I have used quizzes as a reflection tool for you.  Going forward, I want you to reflect using your own blog.

Wiki vs Blog

Both wikis and blogs generally follow a three-column format with a large central columns and two smaller columns on either side.  Blogs are chronological and collaboration is limited to comments.  Wikis are not date-based and people can make direct changes to content.  Both have a range of security features to maintain privacy and appropriate content.  Please reference the document I handed out at the beginning of the course (see thumbnail above)


1.  Take a deep breath.  You completed all of the previous “things” without being left behind.  You have already been exposed to about a dozen “crayons”.  I don’t expect you to be able to master them.  Once you identify the “crayons” relevant to your curriculum, then we can work together to build your expertise.

2.  Proceed to the “thing3” assignment and watch the introductory video.  Also click here to watch a video about pbwiki.

3.  Spend a few minutes looking at good examples of blogs and wikis.

4.  Sign up for your own blog at www.edublogs.org using this convention to name your blog:

  • xxx23 things  where xxx is your last name.  For example, my blog would be named “faig23things”.
  • When you create your blog there are 100 different themes that you can use to customize it
  • Time is critical to wiki postings, since they are chronological.  Make sure that your time zone is set to UTC-4

5.  Watch a brief five-minute  overview of Ediblogs at http://edublogs.org/videos

6.  Once your blog is created, post your first blog in response to these prompts:

  • Reflecting on your initial thoughts about Web 2.0 and its role in 21st Century teaching and learning
  • Consider the ways in which Web 2.0 tools might change (or have already changed) your professional practice.
  • How might you be able to use these new tools to to engage today’s “digital learners”?
  • Why would you want to? How might you be able to use these tools to support your own learning?



In order to start thing2, you should have successfully taken the two online quizzes listed below:

  • Electronic Resources quiz at QuizStar
  • Thing1 quiz at QuizStar

If  not, then please do not proceed to this thing.  In addition, make sure to update your progress in the Google Docs spreadsheet to reflect the completion of “thing1”.


Web2.0 is the term given to the hundreds of new Internet technologies that make the Internet interactive.  Unfortunately, you can not use any of these either personally or professionally if you do not have a website.   Shortly, we will be building a website, but it is important to see a few of these Web2.0 technologies.


Navigate to “thing2” and watch the three videos on the assignment page.  Jot down your brief thoughts about each video.  There are several tasks listed towards the bottom of the page.  You may even see some comments from teachers outside of KLHT.

Also, think about how you teach now versus five years ago.  Do you think that you will be teaching the same way five years from now?

After reflecting, go to Quizstar and take “Thing2” quiz.

Good Luck!

Thing1-Lifelong Learning


Before you begin this activity, make sure that you have a firm understanding of the digital resources for this course. There are two prerequisites you must complete before starting this thing.

  1. Proceed to QuizStar and take the “Electronic Resources” quiz.  Be sure to click on “Student Login”.
  2. Make sure that you have updated the Google Docs spreadsheet with your delicious account name and checked off that you completed “thing0”.


I know that you probably want to jump into the “things”.  The first thing is a little academic in that you are asked to define Lifelong Learning.  Consider Daniel Pink’s prediction that right-brain people will rule based on their create use of knowledge.  Consider other sources that suggest that the students we are teaching will have fifteen jobs over their professional lives.  Consider the role of a teacher given the explosion of information and adaptability students will need.. Eventually, you are going to keep your observations and reflections in a blog.  For now, please type your observations about Lifelong Learners in a Word document.  Make sure that you know how to find the document.  My recommendation is to make a new folder for files related to this course.


  1. Make a list of the 7 habits, what they mean to you, and if you agree that they are important.  You do not need to listen to all speakers on a particular habit.  The habits will cause you to stop and think.  My favorites are habit 7 and habit 7.5, but 5 and 6 are important too.
  2. The voice and text commentary you saw was created using a technology called VoiceThread (www.voicethread.com).  Navigate to Thing1 and jot down some impressions of VoiceThread?  Do you think it could be useful in your classroom?
  3. Click here to go to a Voicethread where you can leave a text or voice comment.  Signup using your Gmail e-mail address.
  4. Proceed to QuizStar and take the “Thing0” quiz.

Welcome to our online “23 things” course

“If you have come this far, hopefully I can ask you to travel a little farther” … line from the Shawshank Redemption


This is an online course that will help you understand the most important new Internet technologies that are relevant for education.  The latest Internet technologies are collectively known as Web 2.0.  This second-generation of web tools is more powerful than the original set because they are interactive.  The first websites build over ten-years ago published information and were not interactive.  Our course is completely hands-on and has “23 things” that you will learn between now and the end of the year.  I am committed to everyone completing the course, so the only way you will not complete the course is if you don’t come to class or don’t ask questions when you are confused.


Please come ready to learn each teacher tech class.  Each week or two, we will do one of the 23 things.  I will stay on a particular thing until the majority of teachers complete it.  We will work on each thing in order, so everyone will be working on the same assignment at the same time.  This will pave the way for collaboration.   and only move on to the next thing when everyone has completed the assignment.  I have extra “things” (called stretch things) to challenge the more advanced users and keep them from moving ahead of the group.


At the end of each activity, I have carefully chosen review questions for you to reflect on the activity and imagine how you might use it in your class.  All of the assignments will be hands-on and everyone’s projects will be available to review –  collaboration is encouraged.  For each “thing”, I have reflection questions that you should answer using your own website.  You may also review other teachers’ reflections, but please provide your own first.  At the end of each task, each person will reflect on the thing via their own website.

We will be using many different websites.  They are all free, but usually require you to register.  This means that you will have lots of usernames and passwords.   My strong recommendation is that create a Word document to keep track of website urls, usernames and passwords.

Keep in mind that every aspect of this online course is to demonstrate a useful Internet technology!  This includes things that you work on and tools that I use to demonstrate things.

Bon Voyage