Presenter: Carolyn Foote, Westlake High School/Eanes ISD, Austin, TX
Carolyn’s blog is Not So Distant Future, and she’s also been involved in this month’s K12 Online Conference (K12onlineconference.org).
“Part of your schools’ participation in Web 2.0 depends on administrative support and an understanding of the advantages of these tools.” Her goal for the presentation is to share tools that will be useful to principals. Administrators hold keys to budgets and giving permission to use Web 2.0 tools.
“Radical transparency” is a concept that sometimes is associated with students having personal blogs, Facebook and MySpace sites, participating in Rate the Teacher, and snapping shots with their cellphone cameras. Some radical transparency can be negative, but there are good Web 2.0 tools that principals can use to communicate with the school community.
Uses of Web 2.0 Tools for Administrators
Promote work efficiency
Model use for staff
Communicate with parents
Provide transparency about school’s goals and activities - this can help in rough times
Promote a sense of community
They help a principal stay current and aware of educational trends
VoiceThread.com - PowerPoint images can be saved as JPEGs and pulled into VoiceThread. VoiceThread offers a record button so you only need a mic to add an audio track to the slides.
How?: Notes on Sharing
Factors to ponder when sharing tools with principals (from Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog):
Foote uses Twitter to poll her network of contacts on topics, including polling principals on what to put in this presentation! Results were coming in every time she checked.
- Leader Talk is recommended reading
- Mabry Online is no longer current but it’s a good model. Mabry is a middle school where PTA, nurse, principal, cafeteria, teachers -- just about everyone -- had blogs that were more like newsletters.
- G-Town Talks is another good model for principals.
One principal’s take on blogging: “I have been amazed at the response to my blog. It has helped convey the district initiatives, help staff and community better understand me as a leader and individual, and has helped recruit teachers...”
The Dangerously Irrelevant blog is highly recommended. See “Creating digitally interested administrators” entry, which models a conversation about blogging.
Castle - Great Blogs for Administrators. Has tools for administrators.
Edublogs - good for educational blogging. It also supports podcasting.
Speaking of Which -- Podcasting
It’s easier for an administrator to podcast than you might think.
Use a Olympus Ws-100 digital recorder (or an iPod and a Belkin TuneTalk) to record podcasts.
Check Tech Tools for Administrators, pt. 1 and 2 on the Podcasting Principal blog. The blogger explains the technology tools she uses for principals.
Gabcast - records podcasts directly from a cell phone. (Could this be Gcast?)
Use Audacity, free Open Source software to record and edit podcasts and the LAME plug-in to convert the podcast to MP3 format for posting.
- WetPaint - allows multiple user editing and allows others to be invited. Students apply to be a writer. Can see how much each student has edited. Can see how many minutes students spent on wiki.
Use wikis for inservice planning and/or use them as an internal communication tool.
Connected Libraries offers a jointly editable calendar.
Use the web as an awareness tool. Enter a search term on Google Alerts to have alerts sent to you when sites mention your school. Also be sure to check your school’s Wikipedia page.
Google Docs. and Spreadsheets
Google Calendar allows you to have joint calendars for different groups. These can be migrated to a wiki.
Zoho.com - writer, sheet, show, meeting, notebook, project, CRM, creator, wiki, chat, mail, and business features - all are free
Del.icio.us or Furl are good services for sharing websites
Use Bloglines to compile a page with the blogs you read. This offers one-stop shopping for new posts.
Pageflakes is similar (as is NetFives) but it offers a graphical interface. Add a “flake” - an item such as a podcast or an RSS feed.
Best source for learning about RSS is Will Richardson’s Weblogged blog. Look for the RSS tab. He’s also written a book about blogs, wikis and podcasts.
Set up an account. Set up groups within the account such as department chairs, secretaries, English Department, 4th grade teachers, etc. It’s voice activated so the principal can record a message after stating which group is to receive it. The message is processed through voice recognition software and a text message is sent to the phone numbers associated with the account. A sound file also is sent to the group members’ email accounts.
Like YouTube for educators.
Watch Walkthroughs (http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=7f89ddbebc2ac9128303), an amusing video by principals for principals.
Carolyn has a VoiceThread video on analyzing information resources that she has posted on her blog.
Also take a look at Connected Libraries PBWiki. This has a link on the sidebar to her district’s Destiny technical support wisdom!
Summary: If principals use Web 2.0 tools, they can be more understanding and supportive of their use in the school setting.