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Long time Judge Memorial journalism and English teacher Chris Sloan uses technology to tell the story of the school and engage students in collaborative writing projects.
By using a monthly printed newspaper and an online blog Chris's New Media (journalism) students are able to effectively tell the story of the school by using the delivery mode that best suits the story. The newspaper staff publish a monthly printed paper as well as maintain a public blog. In his words:
"I have this group of really good students who can get the information and get the media. It is just up to our class to present it in different ways and probably the most appropriate way. Some stories are meant to be seen, some stories are meant to be heard, and some stories are meant to be read."
Chris's English classes are participating in Google's Global Warming Speak Out. By using Google Docs and other Google tools students are collaborating in research and writing about ways to combat global warming. Judge is one of 80 schools participating nationally.
"The way the software works seems to mirror the way they [students] think and the way the conversation flows, so them having the immediacy of the information and the flexability of a lot of different information to flow with the conversation seems to be different to me from how I used to do it."
Youth Voices is another collaborative writing project Chris and his students are involved in. In this project, students work with other students from around the country and the globe instead of being limited to their own classrooms. Students post their writing in an ELGG (think educational blog) and students from other schools read and comment on their work.
"Kids are going to do MySpace or whatever social networking software they want. You can do whatever you want to try and have them stop, but our thinking is maybe we should actually be doing that in the classroom and talking about what makes a good comment. For us a good comment is different from what you would expect on MySpace."
With all his experience as a teacher and his willingness to incorporate new and emerging technologies into his practice, Chris is meeting the needs and learning styles of his students and setting a great example of what an educator can be in this era of new technology.
Listen to the whole interview: