Web 2.0 Weekly: 10 June 2013

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Web 2.0 Weekly. Today I’m going to devote most of this issue to two ideas (sites) that I think are just brilliant.

Here’s the first… MacBook Maestro (bear with me PC users all will be explained)… By way of a preamble, acquiring technology skills both for teachers and students has been an interest of mine for a number of years. For a couple of years I ran lunchtime PD workshops for teachers in my school to help them acquire new skills in the software they were using, and to get them up to speed on software they were hesitant to try. Beyond that, my colleague and friend Chris Boston and I developed a “Technology Skills Matrix” for assessing tech integration and skill mastery by students and teachers alike. Today I ran across a fantastic site that I think every school should create or adapt to itself own purposes.

MacBook Maestro was created by Wes Fryer in response to 500+ MacBooks being given (yes, given!) to teachers in his district. The goal of the site is two fold;

  1. To empower educators to further develop and demonstrate knowledge about and skills with MacBook laptops running the MacOS.

  2. To explore and model the use of a Mozilla Open Badges compliant WordPress site and the BadgeOS plugin (with Credly) to issue badges reflecting MacBook knowledge and skills

It’s this latter goal that caught my eye. Teacher’s earn “badges” for completing PD on specific skills associated with their MacBooks. Each badge comes with an attached video and at least one exercise to complete. Once answers are submitted, the badges are awarded automatically.

“Badges! We don’t need no stinking badges!”, you say. Wait a minute. Think about it. This is a method that can be adapted to any software, any piece of technology. It’s entirely voluntary and don’t forget: most people like the feeling of accomplishment that goes with mastering a new skill and being recognized for it. (Remember those stickers and stamps back in Grade 2?) You can use it with both staff and students alike. It’s scalable from the school to the district/board level. Brilliant! Well played, Mr. Fryer. Well played!

Second, this past September the University of Mary Washington (who knew?) tried an experiment with its students: it gave 400 of them their own internet domains! This coming fall all students at UMW will be given their own domains… outside of the control and/or supervision of the university. A Domain of One’s Own takes blogging one better. Students are free to create their own space on the Internet and take it with them beyond their immediate educational environment. It’s not just a blog, or portfolio, or splash page. It’s a space they can create, sculpt, adapt to their own purposes – an interface to the electronic world that is controlled by them, not confined to the strictures of Facebook, or Twitter, or WordPress. Way cool!

Honourable Mentions

  • Teaching, Planning, Collaborating, News, Lessons: The Guardian Teacher Network
  • History, Games, Interactives, Resources: ActiveHistory
  • Presentations, Publishing, Interactives, Digital Storytelling: Zeega
  • Video, Invitations, Cards, Tools: InWiter
  • Fun “Just because I really like yo-yo” video of the week: Akitoshi Tokubuchi
  • Cute “Let’s your cat play with this ball!” video of the week: Zabu

As always, all Web 2.0 sites mentioned here are free (occasionally freemium) and I am in no way sponsored or remunerated by any. If you find a resource you think is worth sharing, please send it my way and I’ll pass it along. If you enjoyed reading this post, leave a comment below won’t you?

til next time… peace and love

Paul