While in the past, a teacher had to be blessed to have an educational “Yoda” working next door or across the hall in school, today thanks to interactive technologies it is possible to be mentored and serve as a mentor by and for teachers literally all over our planet. Teachers need to become more aware of these opportunities for positive, constructive social networking with other educators around the world, and join the conversations taking place in multiple virtual venues. The scale of the “sea changes” we face can appear staggering, but challenges can appear less formidible if you have supportive mentors at your side (both literally and virtually) in the 21st century classroom.
Despite the proliferation of web 2.0 technologies and more tools for interactive, desktop videoconferencing than you can shake a mouse at, Internet research remains one of the most common uses for computer technologies in U.S. schools today. The process of copying and pasting information, source URLs, and photographs for a report or multimedia presentation is often a laborious process. Multi-tasking between a web browser and a word processor when conducting online research requires a large number of mouse clicks for each piece of information to be saved appropriately. Thankfully, the availability of the free, web-based Google Notebook program (www.google.com/notebook) can dramatically streamline the research process. Instead of multi-tasking, users can conduct all their research from the comfort of their web browser! In this article, we’ll explore ten reasons for using Google Notebook for online research as well as some tips and tricks.
The digital environment increasingly provides a window into face to face (F2F) as well as virtual interactions between people. Bullying, which sadly seems to be a timeless activity, has moved into virtual environments as more students have gained access to and knowledge about the Internet. While some educational leaders may prefer to metaphorically “paint over” these windows in schools to hide these negative interactions from public view, schools need to take a more proactive stance than merely banning social networking websites to adequately address issues like cyberbullying.