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Week 3, Assignment 2

Assignment 2: New Tools in Schools and How You Would Integrate Them

The Assignment:

Chapter 4: New Tools in Schools, discusses the ways some schools have changed in
order to meet the needs of 21st Century learners. Please note that most schools have not
made significant changes to curriculum and practices. Has your school made changes to
the curriculum, processes, or practices to make it more relevant for 21st Century
learning? Have you? Visit some of the websites provided in the text that are applicable to
your classroom/curriculum. You might also want to investigate:

● Google Lit Trips​ - Uses Google Earth to connect geography and literature
● Skype an Author
● Telling Their Stories​ - Student interviews of elders who experienced the
Holocaust, liberators of concentration camps, and civil rights struggles. This is
one of my favorites! It puts faces on historical events.
● Radio WillowWeb​ - Podcasts created by students. As you listen to these, think
about all of the standards that are addressed during this process

Research and Discussion:

These last two schools have definitely designed significant learning experiences
using Web 2.0! How might you incorporate these tools?

Telling Their Stories looks like a great way for students to read, watch, and listen to
people who have witnessed historic events (Levin, 2014). This is a fantastic tool for any
historical lesson plan, because students have the opportunity to listen to students like they
ask eye witnesses questions; in this way, students are engaged and motivated, and the
research that they are conducting seems meaningful to them. The Podcasts found on
“Radio WillowWeb” are truly remarkable. This site proves that all grade levels and
subject areas can incorporate podcasts into their classroom. This is fantastic, not only
because students must conduct thorough and accurate research to make an acceptable
podcast, but because students are so excited, engaged, and willing to learn in this
situation (Greenwald, 2014).
You have discussed what Web 2.0 looks like in schools. Think about Web 2.0 tools
you have used or would like to integrate into your classroom. Discuss one Web 2.0
tool that you have used or ​would like to​ integrate into your teaching practice. How
does this tool fit with previous discussions?

After closely reviewing many of the podcasts found on “Radio WillowWeb,” I would
absolutely love to integrate a similar “radio” set-up in my own classroom. How
motivating! This tool fits with previous discussion that we have had about Web 2.0
because it allows students to collaborate together to achieve a goal. According to our
textbook, Web 2.0 is “collaborative, with information shared, discussed, refined with
others, and understood deeply” (Solomon and Schrum, 2007). Podcasts allow all of these
things to take place. In order to create a podcast that is acceptable to put online, students
must first come up with appropriate questions to research, collaborate to find acceptable
sources, and work together to put all of their information together in a meaningful way.
The end result is something that students can take pride in.

Is it teacher- or student-centered?

A podcast is student-centered. The students are the ones who “run the show” and make it
possible for others to listen to their information. Not only do students work together to
create something, but they also must be completely organized to be successful. Students
have the opportunity to take a lot of ownership over their work.

Does it reinforce prior knowledge?

Podcasts, like “Radio WillowWeb,” definitely reinforce prior knowledge. In order to

create an informational podcast, students must first build upon what it is that they already
know and expand upon it. As the teacher, I can make sure that this is taking place by
requiring my students to think about what they already know before researching any
further. I am excited to use this tool in my classroom.

Provide problem- project-based learning experiences?

Our textbook suggests that “project-based learning is a constructivist approach that
encourages learning in depth by allowing students to use inquiry-based methods to
engage with issues and questions that are rich, real, and relevant to their lives” (Solomon
and Schrum, 2007). That being said, I can picture using podcasts in our social studies
lessons as we study current events. Students must create the questions that they wish to
answer, collaborate together to research and share information, and then must present
their information to an actual audience through the podcast. In this way, their podcasts
are completely relevant to their lives and worthwhile.

Does it promote constructivism or connectivism?

Since project-based learning is a constructivist approach, podcasts do promote

constructivism. Connectivism suggests that “learning and knowledge rests in diversity of
opinions; learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources;
the capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known” (Solomon and
Schrum, 2007). I think that podcasts do definitely support the connectivist approach as
well because as they work in a group to create a podcasts, students must engage in the
decision making process and must respect and consider a wide array of opinions.
Throughout the entire podcast creation, students must maintain connections with each
other in order to be successful.

What Common Core State Standards does it address?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, podcasts would address

the following Common Core State Standards for the follow areas in Writing for History
and Social Studies:

CC.8.6.6-8.A. ​Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

CC.8.6.6-8.I.​ Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and
revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of
discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

And the following in Reading for History and Social Studies:

CC.8.5.6-8.A.​ Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and
secondary sources.

CC.8.5.6-8.H.​ Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.

What PA Academic Standards does it address?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, podcasts would address

the following Pennsylvania Academic standards for History:

8.1.6.B:​ ​Differentiate between fact and ​opinion​, multiple points of view,

and ​primary​ and ​secondary sources ​to explain historical events.

8.1.8.B:​ ​Compare and contrast a historical event, using multiple points of view
from ​primary and secondary sources.

8.1.8.C:​ ​Produce an organized product on an assigned historical topic that presents and
reflects on a thesis statement and appropriate ​primary and secondary
sources.​ (Reference RWSL Standard 1.8.8 Research)

8.4.6.B:​ ​Identify and explain the importance of historical documents, artifacts, and sites
which are critical to world history.

…among many others!

How would you integrate this technology?

As stated before, while podcasts could really be used in any subject area, I can personally
see this tool used in my social studies lessons. Whether it is to extend research out of our
textbook, to argue a specific viewpoint, or to create a historical timeline, a podcast could
be used. I can also picture podcasts in my classroom as we evaluate current events. I
think that it would be great for students to come up with their own questions to research
about a topic that is currently happening in the world, and regularly create podcasts on
the events to share with others. It would be a lot of work for both students and me, as the
teacher, but I think the end result would be very rewarding and worthwhile for my

Commonwealth of PA. (2014). ​Pennsylvania Department of Education: SAS​. Retrieved

June 7, 2014, from http://www.pdesas.org/Standard/PACore

Greenwald, C. (2014). ​Radio WillowWeb​. Retrieved June 7, 2014, from


Levin, H. (2014). ​Telling Their Stories: Oral History Archives Project.​ Retrieved June 7,
2014, from http://www.tellingstories.org/

Solomon, G., and Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, new schools. Washington