Help Out a Great Cause: eduTechers Change the World

Tag: Adam Bellow

Help Out a Great Cause: eduTechers Change the World

Fall is a time of year that represents change - the changing of the seasons and, even more important this year, the change in your pocket.

edutecher_changetheworldFrom Friday, Oct. 1 until Thursday, Nov. 25, 1 cent will be donated to charity for every unique visitor to eduTecher, a free website that helps educators integrate technology effectively into their classrooms. eduTecher offers links to hundreds of web tools and sites, and provides information on how these tools can be used in the classroom. "eduTechers Change the World" is the brain-child of Adam Bellow, the founder and president of eduTecher, who has also guest-blogged for us on occasion.

"I truly believe that everyone, including eduTecher and all of the eduTechers around the globe, can make a real difference with this new initiative, and I urge all people to stop by the eduTecher website and lend a helping hand," said Bellow.

Adam is pushing the campaign via social networking sites. It's as simple as going to the eduTecher website and clicking a tab. If you choose to submit your e-mail address, you'll receive a message once the campaign is over, prompting you to vote for one of five selected charities. Help to drive the campaign by promoting it through your Digg, Facebook or Twitter accounts, or by inserting a badge on a personal page. Aiding a worthy cause doesn't get much easier than this.

Bellow is also encouraging a pay-it-forward approach by appealing to others to donate 1 cent for new visitors to their websites.

Starting Oct. 1, take a moment to visit eduTecher, and inspire those around you to do the same. Remember: "1 cent, it's a little change, but it adds up and can lead to big change."

Check out this short and sweet video overview of the campaign:

As soon as you are done watching, carpe diem! Head to eduTecher to Change the World!

The Life and Death of Web 2.0

Edublogger Adam Bellow held a memorial service for the term "Web 2.0" at the 2010 ISTE Conference as part of his session titled eduTecher's 10 Web Tools To Make Your Classroom Rock.  In support of his effort to "bury the term once and for all," Adam contributed this guest post to summarize his ISTE presentation for our readers.

An Abridged History of "Web 2.0"

The term "Web 2.0" was first coined in 1999, more than ten years ago.  A lot has happened since then.  For instance, we were introduced to a little Web company named "Google."  To think of it another way - "Web 2.0" was coined before the first iPod was introduced.  However, while the term was first kicked around in 1999, it wasn't until 2003-04 that "Web 2.0" took on its current meaning and gained popularity.

When originally coined, the term meant something because the predominant number of websites simply informed.  Company Web pages, and basic information tools such as dictionaries and reference sites, provided data and static information with minimal user interaction (social or otherwise).  These "read-only" websites came to be known by the moniker "Web 1.0."

In the beginning, "Web 2.0" was cool.  It was the new buzzword.  Unfortunately, it's still lingering with us today.  The "2.0" signified that there was a distinct and definable difference between new interactive websites and those that came before.  That's fine.  Initially this idea makes sense.  For a few months, or even a year, we can have a shiny new name to define a changing medium.

But today's Web is almost entirely interactive or social in some way.  Why continue to use a term that distinguishes itself from the predecessor if the predecessor no longer needs to be differentiated from (see example of "Coke II" or "New Coke).  Most of the static sites from years ago now offer a degree of social interaction - at the very least you can add comments or share content.

The Web has evolved.  The medium is still very much the same, but its use has changed.  It's meaningless to call it "Web 2.0" to designate it as different if the term doesn't explain what the difference is (see example of "Cave-People" versus People).

Well, We Have to Call it Something...

If not "Web 2.0," then what?  To find out Adam's suggestion, see the full-length version of The Life and Death of "Web 2.0" available through Scribd.

For more from Adam, view this Visibility Matters blog post: "The Tech Commandments."

Adam Bellow is the director of educational technology for the College Board Schools.  In addition, he is founder and president of eduTecher, a free website that helps educators integrate technology effectively into the classroom.  eduTecher offers links to hundreds of web tools and sites, and provides information on how these tools may be used in the classroom.  A free eduTecher iPhone application is available for download as well.

The Tech Commandments: Ideas to Revitalize Education

Adam BellowAccording to author Adam Bellow, The Tech Commandments are a reaction to what he has seen and experienced in schools over his several years as a technology training specialist.  We got connected with Adam through Twitter, and he graciously gave us permission to share a condensed version of these commandments with our readers.

Training is Essential
Providing training to staff is almost more important than the technology itself.  If a school spends its entire technology budget to buy "stuff," but nothing on teaching and supporting the use of the "stuff," it is a huge waste.  Training and support should be a top priority.

Money Isn't What Makes Educational Technology Work
Buying an expensive camera doesn't make you a good photographer.  It just means you spent a ton of money on a piece of equipment.  The same is true with educational technology.  A school may have an interactive whiteboard in every classroom, but that doesn't mean the technology is being used successfully.

Restricting Access is Too Extreme
Students need to be kept safe from offensive areas of the web.  Hate speech, pornographic content and graphic violence should be blocked from students inside school and out.  However, students need to be educated on this topic as well.  And education for parents is just as important as filtering the web at school.

Banning Tech Tools is Detrimental

In addition to blocking websites, schools often limit the tools students can use in the classroom.  Most students own cell phones that are valuable learning tools.  Not only can these phones enhance the learning experience, they can save schools money by serving as calculators and student response systems.

Teach with an Understanding of Today
Students live in a world that is rich with interactive experiences.  School is where students need to be most engaged, yet many see school as an interruption.  Students are immersed in a culture that speaks to them in rapid, flashy moments, and they're plugged into a 24/7 network of communication and information.

Collaboration is Key
Collaboration is important and technology can make it more meaningful.  Wikis, Skype and Google Docs provide real-world opportunities for students to work together in a learning environment, developing the skills they will need to enter the workforce.

Schools Need Direction
Just as educators spend time thinking about a scope and sequence for their curriculum, they need to think about bringing technology into classrooms.  Based on what works, and what needs work, they must choose the tools that maximize the effectiveness of the school's educational technology.

It's Okay to Try
Using new technologies in a classroom can be tricky.  Trying and failing is all right.  The students are learning, but so are the teachers.  Not using the technology for fear of failing is just as foolish as it sounds.  Even the most knowledgeable teachers continue to hone their lessons to improve the classroom experience.

Tech for Tech's Sake Can be Worse than no Tech At All
Technology is a tool and needs to be treated as such.  When a student is doing math, that is the time to use a calculator.  When a student is writing an essay, it's likely that the calculator is useless.  Teachers need not infuse technology forcefully into lessons that will not be enriched by its use.

Understanding Buzz Words and Keep Your Fingers on the Pulse

Technology changes so rapidly that it's hard to keep up with the latest devices, websites and software.  Educators need to make a vow to know what's behind the terms being used in the educational technology industry.  They should be open to new technologies, especially if their students use them.

A full-length version of The Tech Commandments is available through Scribd.

Adam Bellow is director of educational technology for the College Board Schools.  In addition, he is founder and president of eduTecher, a free website that helps educators integrate technology effectively into the classroom.  eduTecher offers links to hundreds of web tools and sites, and provides information on how these tools may be used in the classroom.  A free eduTecher iPhone application is available for download as well.