Tag Archives: media literacy

How Skype can Enhance your Lesson Plans

Skype has to be one of the best free and simple web 2.0 tools available.  Skype makes it easy to collaborate, share files and messages, and work with others from anywhere in the world.  Many schools are using Skype to connect with content experts, leaders, and other classrooms and students.

Skype is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages, and share files with other people. You can use Skype on your computer, mobile phone, or a television with Skype.  Skype has a very easy tutorial for getting started for Windows  and Mac users.  Get started today!

Now, Skype has an resource just for schools called Skype in the Classroom.

Click the photo to access Skype for the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is a free community that allows teachers to connect across the world to help their students learn. Log in with your Skype account to get connected.

Hear how teachers are connecting with each other, finding partner classes and sharing inspiration using Skype.

Click on the “Projects” tab to find a project that might coincide with your curriculum.

Listen to how teachers are using Skype with their students to collaborate with other schools around the world! Find out more about this global initiative and how you can get involved.



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Are Infographics the new PowerPoint for 21st Century Learners?

I am mesmerized by infographics.  I not only find the information, data, statistics, and messages fascinating, but I also see how they appeal to the brain of the 21st century learner.  We are inundated with information, bombarded by snippets, soundbites, text messages, and little bytes of information that we process effortlessly.  To demonstrate this fact, as I am typing this post, I am listening to a podcast, watching a football game, checking my Facebook, and texting on Skype.  We function now in pieces, not in the whole.

When our students look for information, chances are, they will not be drawn to a thirteen page article or four chapters in a textbook, but they will look for something they can view and something with which they can interact.  Let’s face it… Infographics are interesting!  They suck us in.   They provide fodder for GREAT discussions, and they lead us to search for more information because they pique our interest.  Infographics are the hook we need for our 21st century classrooms.  How could this work, you ask?

What are Infographics? 

Infographics are a way to make sense of data and the story behind the data by using a visual representation of given information.   The study of these visual representations helps us uncover trends in large data sets in some instances.  Infographics also take smaller data sets and makes them visible, interesting, and easily accessible to a wide audience.  Often, the mode of display is directly related to the context of the intended message.

Take this infographic for example… (Click the infographic.)

This graphic provides a visual representation of the Left and Right Wings of Government.  Think about how a Civics teacher could use this infographic.  The possibilities are endless.   And this is just one example.

Challenging Students to Think Beyond the PowerPoint

Media Literacy is a cornerstone of 21st century learning as well as preparing students to be college and career ready.  What better way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic than to create an infographic?  Because infographics communicate the author’s data and understanding, creating an infographic encourages creativity, analysis and evaluation of information, and a deep understanding of how to interpret data to deliver a message.   As we embrace Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and provide students with more opportunities to think critically and draw conclusions, infographics may serve multiple purposes in our classrooms.

Check out my Delicious stack of infographic information:  Things to Make you Think to see more examples of infographics as well several really powerful examples.



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New Changes to Delicious are Simply Divine!

When Delicious first introduced “stacks,” I was not completely sold on their functionality.  Then, I took time to really play with the “stacks” function.  And… I love it!  I began to realize all of the potential that this new element of Delicious can have on classroom instruction.

In case you aren’t familiar with this site, Delicious is a free social bookmarking web resource for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks.

Click on this video to see how stacks work!

As 21st century educators, one of our charges is to teach students to be media literate.  We throw around this terms, but one important component of teaching students to be savvy consumers of media is teaching them how to navigate resources on the web.  How do we teach students about how to access reliable, factual information?  Delicious stacks can help in a number of ways.

Students with Little Research Experience:  The teacher can create a stack on a topic the teacher wants the students to research.  The teacher can provide the link to that stack, and students would use only websites in the stack to conduct their research.

Students with some Research Experience:  Students could create a Delicious Stack of every site they use in their research.  This would help students on a number of levels.  First, they could quickly revisit any site where they retrieved information.  Next, teachers or peers could review student resources to check for reliability.  Then, students could use the text option to write a description of what they found on this site.  Their comments could be helpful if they use their stacks to collaborate and share ideas with other classmates.

Savvy Researchers:  As part of a research assignment, one of the components of the rubric could be to create Delicious stack as part of their final product.  This stack along with the text description could help serve the purpose of our notecards of old.  These stacks can also provide teachers with a quick resource to check citations and reliability of information.


For a short read on eight ways to tell if a website is reliable, share this article with students:  Eight Ways to Tell if a Website is Reliable


Follow my Delicious links at:  www.delicious.com/mullinshe


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