Wednesday, October 10, 2007


cara·van· (kar′ə van′) (noun) 1.a company of travelers, esp. of merchants or pilgrims traveling together for safety, as through a desert. 2. a number of vehicles traveling together. 3. a large covered vehicle for passengers, circus animals, gypsies, etc.; van. 4. Brit. a mobile home or trailer

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word caravan, other than the Dodge Caravan, is the vision of the travelers on the silk road with perhaps a few camels thrown in for good measure. Dangers lurk everywhere.

But at Oxford Hills Middle School, a team of teachers has a tradition of using the caravan theme as a way of exploring countries around the world. Yesterday and today I have been presenting new tools that help to empower students and teachers in their explorations. This includes tools that help to find, evaluate, organize, process and present information.

It works like this: I spend a couple days in the classroom of one of the teachers on the team. As the kids cycle through his classroom from other classes on the team, I get the opportunity to not only show them some of these powerful tools, but the teacher gets to see the presentation 5 times. I'll also attend a planning period with all teachers on the team to repeat the work one more time. Doing this repeatedly creates a critical mass of people on the team who are fluent in the tools and thus greatly improves the chances of it being seriously used for curriculum projects. A simple model for encouraging integration.

The agenda for sessions included:

1. How to make a PDF and attach it to an email.
2. The wonders of MARVEL - making use of it for the Caravan Project
3. The Powers of Noteshare - how to use it for the Caravan Project
4. Setting up back-up server access for students.

Great fun! The kids are so quick to pick it up . . . and are enthusiastic to start making use of it in their projects.

Making a PDF on a Mac
MARVEL - Maine's Virtual Library
Noteshare Resources

1 comment:

Scott Love said...

Hi Jim,

When you have a moment, feel free to add this link to our Demo Theatre video site to your web notebook of resources for NoteTaker and NoteShare.

The videos highlight:

- homework assistant script
- project team sharing and collaboration