Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blog Post 13

Cartoon showing people protesting the invention of the wheel titled Protesting against technology the early days

I learned a lot of things in EDM 310 that will help me be an incredible teacher in the 21st century. Being technologically literate does not come easy, but it is worth the time and occasional frustration. I always wanted to be a teacher who implemented technology in the classroom and now I have some knowledge of how to do it effectively. Blogging and podcasting were things I had heard of, but not anything I had thought about using with students. Now I know I will be using both in my future classroom. Blogging is a great way for students to reflect on and internalize learning.

There are so many great, free online tools available that I never knew about. Google Docs, Screentoaster, Timetoast, and Evernote are instruments I will be using a lot for myself and with students. Having an online place to create and access your presentations and other documents is a wonderful way to work. Thanks Google! I had always been afraid to post anything on You Tube, but now that I have been forced to, it is not so scary anymore. I think I will make some videos just for fun and post them now. I look forward to having students create videos and see how creative they are with them. I really like the Smart Boards, too. No matter what anyone says, they are great tools and if you are lucky enough to have one in your classroom you should be utilizing it to the fullest extent.

One thing I realize though is you are never totally technologically literate. There are varying degrees of this type of literacy. Things change so fast and there is so much information available at our fingertips it seems impossible to keep up with. That is why I like my PLN so much. I am going to try to incorporate Twitter. in my life as well. Sharing ideas and information with others is the only way to stay on top of what is going on in education and technology. With people all over the world collaborating to make learning more relevant and exciting the future of education seems very bright to me.

There are many things I would tell someone who was getting ready to take EDM 310. First and foremost, keep on top of your assignments. Make sure your blogs are posted on time and if there are any assignments you can finish early, do it. Be creative. Jamie Lynn told me she pretends she’s a kid when she is trying to tap into her creative side and that helped me. Also, when you are doing your blog assignments, keep a word document open to jot down notes. Some of the videos you watch are pretty long and you will not remember everything you wanted to say in your blog post unless you take notes. Use pictures for your blog posts. Try to be creative when choosing them and do not forget your “alt” and “title” tags! Check the class blog everyday. There are often assignment changes and you never know when they are coming so be flexible. But most importantly, have fun. The class is enriching and what you learn in it will make you a better teacher so enjoy it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My PLN 2

I have added a lot of sites to my PLN. I also started using to keep track of the sites. I originally started with Google Reader and then I tried I thought I might like it better, but went back to pretty quickly. What format you use is just a personal choice based on what works best for you. I really like the way I can keep up with regular websites, blogs, and RSS feeds on the same page with

These are what I have on my PLN so far, but I plan to keep expanding it:

Education News

Suite 101

Concepts to Classroom: A Series of Workshops

The Tech Literate Teacher Wiki

LD Online

The Assistive Technology Blog

The Special Education Law Blog

Brian Crosby’s Learning is Messy Blog

Caren Carrillo’s Teacher Blog

EDM 310 Class Blog

The Schools of Tomorrow and the Tech Literate Teacher

The Thinking Chick

Wendy Drexler’s Teach Web

Alana Carpenter’s Blog

Mellisa Jones’ Blog

Concepts to Classroom: A Series of Workshops

The Tech Literate Teacher Wiki

LD Online

I also have my iGoogle, YouTube, and Facebook accounts on my PLN along with some other sites like and Mapquest.

Comments4Teachers 2

cartoon showing teacher in front of dry erase board asking who wrote on it with permanent marker

For my second Comments for Teachers assignment, I read 3 blog posts by Caren Carillo. She is a history teacher who implements technology in her classroom through videos, podcasts, and blogging. The following are links to the posts I commented on, a little about each one, and my comments.

Classroom Management: Commercial Breaks and Attention Spans

This post tells how Ms. Carillo schedules her class period. It is a great example of how to keep the students from getting bored with the class.

My comment:

Hi Ms. Carrillo,

I have been assigned to read a few of your posts for Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I appreciate the great advice for structuring a class period you provide here. As a future teacher, I want to learn all I can about how successful teachers do things and incorporate those tactics in my classroom. I also watched the multiple intelligences video and think it is terrific!

You can visit our EDM 310 class blog here and my personal class blog here.

Thermometer or Thermostat?

This post talks about teachers being either thermometers or thermostats. The quote I am referring to by Dr. Ginott is,

“I have come to the frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or hear. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, a child humanized or dehumanized.”

My comment:

Ms. Carillo,

I really love the quote by Dr. Haim Ginott you included here. I will also keep a copy of it available for when I have my own classroom. Teachers should definitely strive to be thermostats! Thanks for the inspiration!

You can visit our EDM 310 class blog here and my personal class blog here.

Assessing Gate Students

This post describes what Ms. Carrillo learned from a recent research article explaining how teachers can identify gifted students in their classrooms.

My comment:

Ms. Carrillo,

I appreciate you posting this article and your comments about what you learned from it. In the teacher education program they are trying to incorporate making sure we know what to look for to find students with learning disabilities, but knowing how to find gifted students is not emphasized as much. There may be fewer students who qualify for GATE, but we should make sure those who do are being identified.

I agree that providing specific criteria to teachers will help identify more students who are gifted. I also like that you pointed out students labeled as GATE may not need differentiated instruction for all subjects. We need to find what areas they need it for and not just assume they will need accelerated instruction for all subjects. I think a lot of teachers believe a student is either gifted or not, but it makes more sense they could be gifted in some areas and not in others.

I am commenting as part of an assignment for Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. Click here to visit our class blog or here to visit my personal class blog.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Final Summative Project

For this project I worked with my classmates, Alana Carpenter and James Mark Marshall. We wanted to find some useful ways to use I chose to create an interactive document to provide to potential employers along with my regular cover letter, resume, and reference list so they can see work examples. This will be easier for them to access than having to search through a blog, although I give them my blog link in case they want to see further examples. For a better view of this glog click here.

Check out Alana's blog and Mark's blog to see their creations.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Comments4Kids 4

I visited the blog by the Pt. England Scribes of Room 11. They had taken a field trip to Cornwall Park where they climbed to the summit of Maungakiekie and down into a crater. There are a lot of pictures from their trip and they look like they are having a wonderful time in the photos, which can be viewed above. You can visit the blog post here.

Just a hint: If you try to embed from like I did above, it has the same error we encountered in, where it does not close the embed tag so you have to manually close the embed tag.

Teach Someone Video

This video was created in iMovie HD because it was the only way I could use the video made from my camera. I thought the program was not as user friendly as iMovie, but maybe it is because I had never used it before. The transitions cut off parts of the clips I was using and It took longer than my iMovie project to download to YouTube.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blog Post 12: Mr. McClung's Reflection & ISTE Videos

Hands holding a growing plant with the words personal development at the bottom

Mr. McClung’s What I Learned This Year (#2)

Mr. McClung reflected on his second year of teaching in this blog post. It is linked here. He wrote a very candid and honest post about how he had trouble with his new grade level and subject requirements as well as some administrators. Often we think when we become teachers, everything will revolve around our classroom but there are many more variables involved. He makes a good point about changing his techniques to allow for the more independent nature of older students. Even though we take our Human Growth and Development class early, we should not forget how important it is to teach on a level that will benefit our students. He talks about learning to let our students guide us in his reflection post about his first year of teaching and he seems to have put that realization to work in his new situation. Dealing with the expectations of administration can be a difficult part of teaching, especially if there are personality clashes. We have to be diplomats as well as teachers. I love his advice about finding a “school mom” and I am sure it helped him deal with the administrator issues he encountered. His advice about not being a control freak goes along with what he wrote after his first year of teaching about not expecting all lessons to be perfect. A good teacher is a flexible teacher. I also appreciated that he brought up the scope and sequence aspect of teaching. You have to be prepared to make the state standards fit into your school year, but since you have to be flexible you need to be well organized before you go in on the first day. Of course, you also have to know that your scope and sequence will be a “living” document that will have to change, but it will still keep you on track. It is similar to our continuously changing EDM 310 Instruction Manual. The road may change a little, but you understand your destination and how long you have to get there.

4 ISTE Videos

I enjoyed the videos I watched from this series because I am interested in good ways to teach students mathematical concepts. I subscribed to the fablab4teachers series and added it to my PLN so I can stay on top of this excellent reference.

Video 1: M-Cubed: ISTE Presentation (1:58)

From this video, I learned a noisy classroom can be a productive classroom. I sort of knew that already, but this is a good example of it.

Video 2:Robert Berry-Base 10 Rods and Division Part 1 (3:26)

I learned how to teach division with a multiplication mat from this video. It’s a great hands-on activity to help kids understand division.

Video 3: Robert Berry: Base 10 Rods and Division Part 2 (6:15)

From this video I learned how to use the multiplication mat for division with larger numbers and the low stress algorithm, which can help students get a better understanding of the concept of division.

Video 4: The Classroom Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) (2:39)

Watching this video helped me understand what the students were doing in the M-Cubed video (#1). I did not really understand the software program very well until I saw this one. I learned from this video that the FabLab program helps students internalize understanding of complicated mathematical concepts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Comments4Teachers 1

Abstract picture with statement: transforming teaching through technology

I was assigned to read blog posts by Daneah Galloway on her blog The Thinking Chick: Pondering by the Pool. She works as a school counselor in Bangkok, Thailand and is enrolled in a certificate program there. Her posts involve how technology has changed our lives, as well as those of our students.

My responses to her last three posts have not been approved through mediation yet so I have provided them here:

Magic Wand (5/6/10)

Hello Mrs. Galloway! My name is Rebecca Classic and I am following your blog as part of my EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I am getting a second bachelor’s degree in Collaborative Education, 6-12. You can check out our class blog at EDM 310 Class Blog and my personal class blog at Rebecca Classic’s Blog

I also find myself nostalgic on occasion for my old technology. I even still hold onto some things for no reason at all. I continue to keep my landline, for instance. I worry that my cell phone won’t be charged and I will need the phone for an emergency so we waste $20 a month keeping it hooked up even though my husband continually tries to talk me into dropping it. I hold onto my videocassette tapes, also. When I bought a new DVD player last year, I had to get one with a VCR player in it. I actually watched one of my old videos the other day, even though I could have rented the movie on DVD at the library for $1 and viewed it with a better picture. It seems silly, but I just cannot quite let go. Just to age myself a little, let me tell you that I have a videocassette my friends and I recorded during the last few days of our senior year in high school and I had it converted to VHS from Beta a few years after we recorded it. Beta! Isn’t that funny! I guess I’m not the only one because, out of curiosity, I looked on E-bay and there are old Beta players for sale there. Change is hard for us old folks (I’m only 41, but it seems like by technology standards that makes me old).

I looked at the post, ”21Things That Will Be Obsolete in Education by 2020” and I have to agree that it is a little ambitious. Education definitely moves too slowly for all classrooms to look like that in 10 years. So many schools are without good technology resources so it would be impossible to carry off this vision. It is really interesting that the author feels the SAT test will become obsolete when, at least here in the United States, we have more standardized testing than ever before. Testing is too profitable to let go of its hold on our education system anytime soon. I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more!

The Hole (5/6/10)

Hello Mrs. Galloway! I am still following your blog as part of my EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. You can check out our class blog at EDM 310 Class Blog and my personal class blog at Rebecca Classic’s Blog

I love your story about how technology allowed you to purchase and remodel your new home from so far away. It is amazing how technology has changed the way we do things. It sounds like you have a lot of support and it is great they are also technologically literate! I look forward to hearing how it all turned out.

Murky Waters (4/27/10)

Hello again Mrs. Galloway! I am still following your blog as part of my EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. You can check out our class blog at EDM 310 Class Blog and my personal class blog at Rebecca Classic’s Blog

Copyright is such a difficult issue. It is especially hard to explain what the rules are to children because the laws have not quite caught up to the rapid developments in technology. And then there are problems concerning the difficulty in passing international laws. It is great you are discussing it with your students and helping them become responsible digital citizens. This will be an important task for all teachers now that we live in the age of collaboration.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blog Post 11: Little Kids...Big Potential Video (4:56) and Skype Session with Ms. Cassidy and EDM 310

picture of hands in a circle that says collaboration is everything in the middle of the circle

Ms. Cassidy has done a terrific job implementing technology with her first grade students. The video she posted showing how well her students perform using technology is excellent. It is amazing that she started doing so 10 years ago and it is wonderful that she has had the support of administrators and parents. Having the students maintain blogs is a great way to improve their writing skills and gives them incentive to do a good job because they know other people are going to see it. Since they only do it once or twice a week it is not necessary for every student to have computer access all the time. They can just schedule time in the computer lab when they blog. Having the students make only positive comments on each other’s blogs is a good way to teach them tack. I love they way her students get input from people around the world by using wiki’s to learn about traditions and rituals. Skype is also a great way to get information from experts. I did wonder where they got funding to have so many Nintendo DS’s. She talks about some federal funding, which is wonderful. Getting funding is a problem for many schools, but writing grants and making requests to local businesses can help.

I would like to implement all of Ms. Cassidy’s techniques in my future classroom. One thing that would help me do so is having access to a good technology coordinator like she has at her school. I would also need approval from my district and administrators to send forms home with students pointing out that we will post student work and try to keep the student’s identity unknown. Ms. Cassidy’s advice of having students only use their first name and not using it when posting pictures is a good way to keep their identities secret. As she points out, blogging is a great way for parents to get to see student work when it is convenient for them and shows how their writing is progressing. One problem that could come up is if a parent does not want their child to post on the Internet. In that case, I would explain the benefits to the parent and ask them to follow some of the other student blogs for a few weeks so they can get a better understanding of what we are doing. I agree with Ms. Cassidy that we have to change because the world has changed and we are handicapping our students and ourselves if we are not taking advantage of the collaborative opportunities available online. You can check out her Skype session with an EDM 310 class last semester here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Comments4Kids 3

Puzzle piece with the word recognition in the middle

I was assigned a post written by Mr. McClung about an award ceremony he held for his students. He gave awards for various non-academic behaviors because he wanted to make sure his students who were not overachievers got some recognition. I agree with him that all students need some appreciation for the unique things they bring to the learning environment and they will probably always remember it. He included pictures of them with their awards and they seem so happy. I used to do something similar with my classes and for some it was the first time they had ever received any type of recognition. I think this is an important piece of the puzzle when trying to motivate students and get them to love learning. You can check out his post here.

Blog Post 10: PLE and Two Questions Videos

Personal Learning Environment Internet Icons

Welcome To My PLE

In this video a 7th grader gives a tour of her Personal Learning Environment (PLE). It is quite impressive. She has a lot of things on her PLE that I do not have on my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I like the way hers is organized on Symbaloo. I signed up with the site after watching the video, but I have not figured out how to use it yet. I like the way she has her school sites and her personal sites organized there in the same place and I would like to do the same. That way, you can start your digital experience in the same place no matter what you need to do and if you come across something good for school while you are browsing for personal items, you can easily put it there for later. She also has sites like Evernote bookmarked there, which is a great idea. I love that site, but I have not gotten in the habit of using it yet. I know it will be helpful to both my personal and educational needs. This student did a great job with the screencast and organizing her PLE. I need to put some time into organizing my PLN, but if a 7th grader can learn how to do it I should be able to also!

Two Questions That Can Change Your Life: by Dan Pink

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

This video gets you thinking about what you hope to accomplish in your life. It asks you to answer the question, “What’s my sentence?” What is my absolute goal in life? For a long time, my goal has been to help students appreciate themselves and the value of learning. So, I believe my sentence (for now) is, “She helped students learn their strengths and weaknesses, improve upon both, and become lifelong learners.” That is my mission in life. I do not need fame or money. I just want to know that I made some people’s lives better by helping them appreciate themselves, each other, and the value of knowledge.

The other question Mr. Pink wants us to answer each night before we go to sleep is, “Was I better today than yesterday?” I think this is great advice because it keeps us focused on our ultimate goals. Everyone makes mistakes in life, but we can keep improving as much as possible and it will help make the world a better place in the end. There is no greater goal than that. I will try to incorporate these ideas in my life. In fact, I think I will by Dan Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us because in it he offers some great ideas about motivation we can use in our classrooms.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blog Post 9: Morgan Bayda and ALEX

A cartoon depicting students sitting in a classroom taking a standardized test with one student out of his seat remarking that being a child left behind doesn't sound that bad

Morgan Bayda’s Post On Dan Brown’s Video

I agree with a lot of what Ms. Bayda says in her post about the video by Dan Brown entitled, “An Open Letter to Educators.” However, some of my experiences have been a little different. I never felt cheated by the university system as Ms. Bayda did because I learn well through lecture. I loved listening to my history professor’s lectures and they often told me things that were not in the books. Many times in class I learned little known stories that would be difficult to find through research because of the vast amount of information available on some subjects. But, I am aware that not everyone appreciates this type of learning experience. I also love collaborative and hands-on learning, though. And I know it is important to give all students lessons in a variety of ways so their individual learning style is addressed.

I often hear people complain they had to buy books they never read for their college classes, but I have not found that to be true in any of my classes (and I’ve taken quite a few). However, I am one of those people who love books and I never sell them back at the end of the semester. I actually use them for reference. I know. I’m a geek. Once I had another teacher tell me when he saw the library in my classroom, “You know they have all that on DVD now.” I know. But I love books!

I do think all classes can be enhanced by collaborative activities and in the classes I have taken in the past from history professors with unbelievable high standards it took the form of study groups. We did learn a lot from each other just from discussing the material and it was one of my favorite early college experiences. Don’t get me wrong though. I 100% agree with Dan Brown that institutional education has to adapt to the current revolution of “liberated” information. And, it is the “best thing to ever happen to society.” I always loved Einstein’s quote, “Never memorize what you can look up in books.” And now we have so much information available at our fingertips there is really little reason to memorize all the facts we are taught in school. But somebody better tell the standardized test makers and pushers that because institutionalized education is currently in a tug of war match with the people who want to cut programs to make room for more test preparation and those of us who want to teach creative, student-centered lessons.

A Screenshot of the Alexville portion of the Alabama Learning Exchange website


ALEX stands for the Alabama Learning Exchange. It is a website put together by the Alabama Department of Education that contains creative lesson plans posted by teachers. It is searchable by subject area and includes web and other technology resources. The lesson plans have icons showing if and how they relate to current Alabama standardized testing practices. They also show which Alabama state educational standard they meet. It provides a section for teachers outlining information on professional learning opportunities including technology tutorials. There is also a wonderful library of student created podcasts/videocasts on the site, which are also aligned with the state standards. Another terrific feature on the site is a professional learning community called ALEXville with several courses for professional development. It is a well-organized site with a wealth of resources for Alabama’s teachers to help them bring their classrooms to the 21st century.

I would love to have a tool like ALEX available to me when I am teaching again. Proving that your lessons meet state standards can be a time-consuming and overwhelming thing for new teachers. This site gives teachers everything they need to show they are providing learning activities that address the required standards. The professional development courses on the site are also helpful if you forget exactly how to use a technology tool. And, the podcast/videocast examples are helpful for teachers trying to implement this type of technology in their classes for the first time. I would use this site a lot if I was going to be teaching in Alabama when I finish my Collaborative Education certification. In fact, I may use it wherever I end up!

Assignment 9 - Audacity Discussion: What constitutes a technology literate teacher?

This is a cartoon of three people sitting around talking

Featuring Alana Carpenter, Rebecca Classic, and James "Mark" Marshall

Thursday, July 1, 2010

SMART Board Collaborative Lesson

A lesson on counting featuring Rebecca Classic, Alana Carpenter, and James "Mark" Marshall along with our wonderful student, Kyla.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog Post 8: Mr. McClung's First Year

Faces with statement Lifelong Learning

Mr. McClung wrote what he learned his first year of teaching in this blog post. Check out his post here. When he was in college he thought his classroom would be teacher-centered, but he found having a student-centered classroom was more effective. He also found that letting the students help him guide instruction can be an effective strategy because they stay more interested and they do not get left behind when you try to push forward too fast. He also found being flexible is important. Perfect lessons are never going to happen and you have to be ready to go with the flow. Another lesson he learned is that the ability to communicate with both students and other teachers is an essential skill. Building relationships will help to resolve conflicts more easily. He found teachers need to hold high expectations for their students, but also support and encourage them if they do not meet those expectations. He points out we should not be afraid of technology because it is essential to today’s society so we should just “jump in head first.” Another important thing to do as a teacher is to listen to your students. Mr. McClung learned that taking an interest in your students lets them know you care and builds mutual respect. And lastly, teachers should always continue to learn and grow as educators. We do not know everything and we should accept that.

I agree with everything Mr. McClung says in this post, especially the part about not expecting your lessons to turn out perfectly all the time. This can be a very difficult thing to accept for some people, but I think it is essential to keeping your sanity. Listening to your students will help you understand their behavior better. If you don’t know why they are saying or doing something, you may completely misinterpret it and your response may stay with the child for life even if you don’t realize it at the time. It always surprises me when teachers do not want to implement technology because it is such a great asset. I know it can be frustrating, but the rewards are worth it. I also agree wholeheartedly that people need to continue learning as much as they can all the time. We need to set a good example for our students and show them nobody knows everything, not even their teachers. It sounds to me like Mr. McClung will be an effective, respected, and loved teacher. I wish him more future success!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blog Post 7: Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Success spelled out with letter blocks

This video is very inspiring. Mr. Pausch had a wonderful attitude about taking advantage of the life he had left and having fun until the end. He used some great lecture techniques including humor, meaningful pictures, videos, and props. There are some wonderful lessons about how to teach and how to live. I did not like the example he used to show the virtual worlds his students were creating, though. I mentioned it to my husband and he said it would be interesting to see if I would have reacted to it differently before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Something about the rabbit crying, “But, we loved you!” and the bear shooting himself made me feel ill. It is a creative example, but I think I am a little over sensitive right now because of the disturbing images of the destruction of nature we are seeing every night. I guess it is sort of silly, but I was disturbed.

Anyway, back to the video. There is a lot of excellent advice in it about how to educate people. The theme of using “head games,” where you make the students think they are learning something fun instead of something important has been a controversial idea in education but it works. I have heard many teachers complain that they are not there to entertain the students, but I think it is good to be entertaining and the students will absorb more information if you are humorous because it holds there attention. I prefer learning that way. The props he used, such as the football and cell phone, to make his points are memorable. Learning is fun and exciting so why should we not make it that way for our students?

The program he started at Carnegie University using project-based learning is really interesting. It is wonderful that the university supported the experiment. I am not surprised it worked out so well because students get excited about creating things. They learn the valuable skills of collaboration and responsibility needed for future success from working together. It is such an unusual way to run a Master’s degree program, but I really liked how Mr. Pausch explained that the students did all the book learning as undergraduates and were ready for something else. It is great that one of his students ended up applying the same techniques to middle school students and we should all consider how to do the same.

Two other things really stood out to me as an educator. Mr. Pausch said the best gift we can give students is to make them self-reflective and I agree. You cannot improve yourself if you cannot evaluate yourself. A lot of people do not learn how to do this and although some people gain success without this skill, I would guess not many of those gain true happiness. The other thing was when he first started the Building Virtual Worlds class and the students turned in their first programs, which were well beyond his expectations. He did not know what to do next, and one of his mentors told him, “you have no idea where the bar should be and your only going to do them a disservice by putting it anywhere.” All educators should keep that in mind because each class is very different. It is full of diverse personalities and varying ability levels. As teachers, we will not know exactly what the students are capable of, especially if we let them collaborate and learn from one another. So, we should keep an open mind about how high the bar can be. We do not want to keep them from reaching their true potential by setting low expectations. I have always liked the saying, “reach for the moon; even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” We should want that for our students.

If you have not seen this video yet, you should. Click here to view it.

Comments4Kids 2

I commented on two children's blogs because I counted wrong in the June archives of the assigned site. But, I really enjoyed both the blogs. The first one was by Taiaha, who wrote what he learned about crossing the road safely. He drew a picture of a car driving down a street with houses and made two videos. One gave the rules of safely crossing the street and the in the other he reflected on what he learned. You can visit the blog post here. The second one was by Kahui, who wrote about how he likes to visit his granddad on the weekend. He drew a picture of himself outside his granddad's house and made a video telling his weekend story. You can visit his blog post here.

These blogs are great debriefing and reflection activities for students!

Instructional TimeToast

Cooperative Audacity Recording

audacity icon with toolbox

A group discussion about using YouTube as an educational tool, featuring Alana Carpenter, Rebecca Classic, and James Marshall

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Main Tools Used in a PLN

I am keeping track of my PLN on Google reader. So far, I have subscribed to the following websites: Once a Teacher (Kate Klingensmith’s blog about technology and education), Teach Web (Wendy Drexler’s blog), Tech Literate Teacher (one of Dr. Strange’s blogs), The Thinking Chick (my assigned teacher, Daneah Galloway’s blog), and the blogs of my fellow classmates, Alana Carpenter and Melissa Jones.

I’m also following an education news site and a site dedicated to technology and learning disabilities. I am utilizing Delicious for bookmarks and I hope to find someone to follow on Twitter soon (besides Ashton Kutcher-He did inspire me to create an account a few months ago, but I have not used it since).

Blog Post 6: Videos

Multimedia Icons

Richard Miller: This is How We Dream

These videos are inspiring. I had never really thought about the implications of global communication through technology on writing and the humanities. I agree with Mr. Miller that the changes taking place as a result of technology are, “The greatest change in human communication in human history.” As a person who has studied history and loves to contemplate how future historians will tell our stories, I am curious about what the true significance of these changes will be 100 years from now. When we are living it, sometimes we do not appreciate that a real revolution is taking place. I am very excited to be a part of it.

Some of the things I found most profound in the first video include the ideas that we are sharing knowledge indefinitely and we are using network collaboration to compose unique, visual publications. When I was young, if a book went out of print you may not ever be able to get it again unless you happen to run across it at a used bookstore. Now, when writings are placed on the Internet they are theoretically there forever. Because of our ability to exchanged ideas and information so easily, you can get a book that’s been out of print for years on or There are so many ways things have changed and this is just the beginning. Whether or not educators embrace these changes will determine how quickly this revolution makes it to all our classrooms.

The second video really motivated me to continue towards my goals of teaching and implementing technology with my students. When Mr. Miller starts talking about how our schools, “need resources we don’t have at this time” including creative teachers it made me realize I can help usher in these fantastic changes. I thought the fact that he brought up the need for “inspiring spaces” went well with my arguments about Smartboards. Sure, you can complain they cost too much or they encourage teacher centered learning but I believe the cost of NOT having exciting technology tools in our classrooms is much higher and Smartboards inspire creative, student-centered learning in the hands of the right teacher.

I love the idea of the humanities and the sciences working together to create exciting new learning experiences and information exchanges. It should have been that way all along, but now there is real purpose in their collaboration. When Mr. Miller said, “We can do this. We should do it,” tears actually formed in my eyes. It is a great time to be in education!

Connectivism Model and Questions

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

I really love the way this video is made. The producers are so creative to think of using pictures and words in this way. The message is profound. If most teachers actually used the idea of connectivism in their classrooms, and had the resources to do so, our students would not be falling behind some in other parts of the world. One of the best statements in the video is, “The tools themselves are not as important as the connections made possible by them.” This is a perfect example of an argument to spend money on technology in our schools. Although, I don’t think the people who promote constant testing would think so. However, this type of learning does empower students. It is so different from what most teachers today grew up with they probably have a hard time imagining the possibilities. Most students would get excited about learning by using this real world approach and they would be better prepared to solve the complex problems they face in the future.

Using PLN’s is a terrific way to teach students about determining the validity of information they come across on the Internet. This is one of the most important skills we can teach students. It has always been important, but now it is even more so because of the volume of information and the diverse population students will encounter across in their lifetime due to the global nature of our lives. The idea of giving them access to a virtual textbook with continuous updates is truly wonderful! No more worries about that outdated map on your classroom wall!

The video does an excellent job explaining why we still need teachers in the technology-enhanced classroom. Students need help maneuvering this new world, guidance along the way, a model of behavior, and someone to help them determine what is credible information and what is not. My worry is that we will not figure out how to fix the problem of segregation between rich and poor schools soon enough. It is so sad when some teachers have all the technology and do not use it and others make the most of one outdated computer. I want to imagine a future where all public schools have access to lots of technology and all the teachers use it effectively in the ways described in this video. I hope I can help make this dream a reality!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Comments4Kids 1

For the Comments4Kids assignment, I checked out a blog by Mrs. McGeady’s class at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia. This blog is a great example of how to get students involved with using technology to report what they are learning in school. I commented on their post about iPods and using a video to learn how to make origami boxes. They posted a video with great instructions for making origami and provided a picture of their finished product. This activity helped them learn how to follow directions and work as a team. This is such a creative and engaging way to educate children! The blog is kept up to date and used to keep parents and administrators informed about the class. Mrs. McGeady responded to my comment right away. Check out the terrific work going on in this class here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vocaroo Recording: "We the willing...."

This is a saying I heard from my mother a lot when I was young. I just Googled it and it's actually a quote by Mother Theresa! I just love the Internet!! It's a perfect quote for teachers, parents, and everyone else who works hard and feels underappreciated on occasion.

Blog Post 5: Smartboard Spending and Creative Videos

For the first part of this assignment, we read the following articles arguing against the purchase of Smartboards for every classroom:

Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative By Michael Staton

Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards By Bill Ferriter

I agree with Mr. Staton when he says, “Smartboards don’t change the model that’s broken.” There are so many things wrong with the education system today, including misusing funds by buying expensive technology tools and then not giving teachers the skills to use them effectively. I agree with Mr. Ferriter that, “these high-priced contraptions are sad examples of the careless decision-making and waste that are crippling some of our schools and systems” in the sense that the careless decision is not to follow up with professional development for teachers. Both argue buying Smartboards is a waste of money because you can use a computer and a projector with the same results, and that is mostly true. However creative use of a Smartboard can be much more effective than a computer and projector. If you wanted to project a picture of an eye on a regular whiteboard and have students go up and label it, the projection would make viewing the words more difficult and the lesson would quickly become disengaging for the students. I can see them rolling their eyes now.

Many teachers do not know how to use a Smartboard creatively. However, if they are given some training and work collaboratively to come up with great ideas for using them they can be a very successful teaching tool. Teachers who want to do the traditional lecture and not embrace technology may need some convincing, but it is possible. The problem is that schools notoriously jump on the latest bandwagon and do not give teachers the help they need to make the effort successful. Or, they do not listen to teachers when they explain what is desperately needed, and many times it is not a Smartboard. This Smartboard debate is just a symptom of the problem that has been part of the education system for a long time—policy makers and administrators often do not listen to the people who are working in the classroom and give them what they need to help their students. In many cases, spending the money on another teaching slot to alleviate overcrowded classrooms might be more effective.

I was more than surprised when I read Mr. Ferriter actually gave his Smartboard away! I cannot imagine what he was thinking. If he cannot think of an awesome way to use the board in his classroom, then he is not trying hard enough and obviously does not even want to try. He said, “They do little more than reinforce a teacher-centric model of learning.” I do not understand why his students were not up at the Smartboard instead of him and why an expensive tool that was already paid for was not used for cooperative learning activities. While I agree the administrators buying them are often just trying to look good in the eyes of their Board of Education or keep up with the Joneses (the school down the street), but he seems to have an especially bad attitude about the technology itself even more so than the issue at hand: the educational system is failing miserably to make good decisions about almost everything. The more important debate is we need to offer equal educational opportunities to all the students in the United States of America. And that is what people should really be talking about. It is nice that he has enough computers in his classroom to not need a Smartboard, though. Not many public school teachers can say that.

I actually had a difficult time finding an article supporting spending education funds on Smartboards. There are many questioning whether or not they are a good way to spend money in schools. There are also many arguing Smartboards are a waste of money that could be spent in better ways. I did finally find the following:

Teacher Feature...Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?
 A Baker’s Dozen Reasons! By Dr. Mary Ann Bell

Dr. Bell loves Smartboards. A couple of her reasons are; they are excellent for demonstrations, they are colorful and studies show students learn better when color is used, they are great for distance learning, interactive learning, and brainstorming, and all ages respond well to them. The parts of her argument for Smartboards that counter the above contentions best are that Smartboards interface easily with other peripherals, they are perfect for students with limited motor skills (including small children), they are excellent for one computer classrooms, and they are excellent for the constructivist teacher. The last one makes an excellent point against Mr. Ferriter’s argument that Smartboards promote teacher-centered learning. I would have to agree with Dr. Bell. Smartboards are fabulous tools in the right classrooms.

I do not necessarily disagree with the above arguments against Smartboard spending completely; I just know they can be used in wonderful ways. They are excellent for visualizing and group brainstorming. They are also easier to manipulate then trying to reach for your computer mouse all the time. A classroom I taught in had a ceiling mounted projector and it was a real pain to go back over to the computer and mess around with the mouse. The kids could have been sneaking out of the classroom while I was occupied with it! Perhaps Smartboards are not the best way to spend educational funds, but they are not the worst way, either.

For a summary of what a constructivist teacher does, go to:
Constructivist Teachers

The second part of the assignment was to watch the following videos:

The Chipper Series and EDM for Dummies

They were a lot of fun, but I had trouble with the first one. When I clicked the link it would not open, so I deleted all the numbers after “strange” and pulled up Dr. Strange’s entire gallery, where I was able to find the video. It is creative and fun. The EDM for Dummies video is so funny! I know I’ve felt that way at 2am once or twice so far! However, I am so excited when I see my finished products. I know I will use this knowledge when I am teaching. Technology is frustrating sometimes, but worth it. I really would like to make some videos, but I cannot think of ways to be creative like these. I am not sure anyone would want to see what I do. I really want to think of ways to use videos for Collaborative Education, but I have not figured out how to do it yet.

My Presentation with Voiceover using Screentoaster

I used Screentoaster to add a voiceover to my presentation. It is really easy to use, but keep your hands near the "alt s" buttons on your keyboard in case you need to clear your throat or scroll down on your script. You can use this website to record the whole screen or just a portion of it. I ran my presentation on one side of the screen and had my Microsoft Word voiceover document open on the other side. I probably paused this 4 times while recording it and you can't even tell.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My First You Tube Video

I made this in iMovie. When I was first playing around with the program and the built-in camera on my Mac, I was not having any problems with sound. However, when I went to actually produce it, I could not get any sound. My husband and I both kept trying to figure out what was wrong and were in every preference and microphone section of both the program and the computer. We tried the" help" sections of both and the Internet for answers. After awhile, I was just moving my mouse around on the screen clicking everything I saw. Suddenly, I clicked a little box I had not noticed before in the middle, right portion of the screen. Putting my mouse on it did not give me a tag to tell me what the box did. I said out loud, "I wonder what that is?" When I did, lights next to it flickered to the right. Holy smokes! I had somehow clicked that box at some point and turned the sound off! After that, the sound worked without any problems. And, by the way, none of the "help" materials on the computer or online said anything about that box! Sometimes it pays to just play around.

Hope you enjoy the video!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blog Post 4 - Podcasting

I learned a lot about podcasts from reviewing the assigned materials. Before this, I had heard the word “podcast” before but I did not really know what it meant. Most podcasts we looked at for this class were audio, but they can also contain video. They provide a chance for students to work together on collaborative storylines and other assignments. Students can record individual audio segments and put them together into one radio style broadcast. Students get excited about making podcasts and it gives them a chance to be creative.

One of the things about podcasts that really remind me of the old radio shows from the 1930’s and 40’s is the sound effects added for emphasis and engagement of the listeners. There is also a need to use voice acting, like when you read a story to a child. Students get a chance to be engaged in project-based learning and this gives them a greater understanding of the material. They probably take on more personal responsibility for making sure the information is correct and entertaining since they know anyone could listen to it as opposed to it just being graded by the teacher and forgotten.

The fact that you can download a podcast to your computer or a portable listening device makes it wonderfully versatile. I always wonder where they are getting the music from in the background. I know there are copyright issues involved, but they always seem to have good music. I also think it’s wonderful how you can make one with someone anywhere in the world using Skype. It is also interesting podcasts are now used to download study materials, like Cliff notes and ESL classes. And, I had no idea you could subscribe to podcasts like a magazine. The world is really changing and it is an exciting time to be alive!

Below are 4 of the assigned websites I spent more time researching.

Integrating ICT into the MFL Classroom

The first thing I wanted to do on this site was find out what ICT and MFL stood for because I was clueless. It took a few minutes, but I finally noticed right under the website title it says MFL is modern foreign languages. But I could not find anything explaining ICT. When I did a Google search, I came up with several websites defining the acronym as, “Information Communication Technologies.” That sounds about right.

The website title is a little misleading because it offers much more than just information about implementing technology into foreign language classes! There are some really great podcasts and videos explaining all the wonderful ways technology can enhance a classroom. One really great idea is to use podcasts to help students who miss a lot of school. Teachers who load their daily lectures on their website allow students who are home sick to access the lesson when they feel up to it. This keeps both the students and teachers on track because trying to update students on everything they missed in a class session can be difficult. And, it provides accountability for both. Parents and administrators can access the lessons to see what’s going on in the classroom. The podcast lessons can also generate discussion within a student’s family on what they are studying, which helps them absorb the information and have great quality time with their family.

I could go on and on about this site, but instead I’ll just point out a couple more useful things I learned exploring it. Joe Dale offers excellent resources to help people learn about podcasting, Audacity, Garageband and other technology tools. He also provides great examples how to use them. When you start podcasting a lot, using headphones can be helpful because you can hear exactly what is being recorded, including background noise. This is a website we should all bookmark!

Practical Principals

This is an interesting website. I have never explored one like this before. It contains podcasts created by an elementary school principal in Missouri and a high school assistant principal in Northern Colorado. They discuss a variety of topics, including workshops they attended. They use Skype to create their podcast and the episodes sound like a radio talk show. One of the best things about it is the way they offer links that outline what they discussed and take you to websites related to the discussion. They also offer a Twitter feed for listeners.

The principals offer access to their podcast episodes through iTunes. You can access all their episodes, download them for future listening, or subscribe to them so you get the new one “delivered” to your account as they come out. I really had no idea all this was going on! They also have a podcast feed available where any podcatcher can access their shows. What’s a podcatcher you might ask? Well, I did. Apparently it is a software program used to download podcasts through RSS or XML feeds. Some can even download video, newsfeeds, text, and pictures. And, some can even be set to automatically transfer received files to a portable media player! I cannot even imagine what future technology will be able to do.

100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better

I am definitely one of those people who only use my iPod to listen to music. I did use it once to show my family some digital pictures I put in it, but that is it. This article describes a multitude of fabulous ways it can help students. There are study guides, summaries, flash cards, language guides, and test preparation materials available. You can get and learn about music from around the world. You can even get the King James Bible downloaded to your iPod for free! There are educational games and videos, tutorials on a variety of subjects, user guides, and lesson plans. You could spend your whole life discovering all the wonderful things available. I never knew my iPod could do all that!

There are also applications available to make your iPod do new things. There are ways to make it read your computer documents, like notes and presentations. You can convert DVD’s and other formats to an iPod friendly format. It can even help you find the nearest public Wi-Fi hotspot. I am sure glad I kept my stock in Apple! Handheld devices are definitely the future of education. It may take awhile for public education to take advantage of this technology, but there is no way it won’t find it’s way into our classrooms. Of course, it’s already there. If we can show our students how to make it a useful educational tool there will continue to be endless possibilities. It sounds like the iPod is doing for computers what Wii Fit did for video games…making a product that seemed like nothing but an entertainment device into a fabulous, fun way to improve ourselves.

EPN: The Education Podcast Network

This is definitely another website to bookmark! It contains podcasts created by students and educators from all over the world. It offers a terrific, short explanation of what a podcast is and one of the best quotes I’ve heard in a long time, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people” (David Weinberger). I can see now this is a true statement. The Internet and all the technology it inspired have made the world a smaller place and teachers need to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities it offers. On this site, I listened to high school students from Bangladesh debating censorship of the Internet, interviews of 5th grade students by their peers in Australia, and a historical docudrama performed by middle school students in Wisconsin. The podcast seems like a great learning tool for students and I hope I can learn to implement them in my future classroom.

There is also a subject specific podcast section. Listening to these can give you some great ideas on what you can do with your students as well as what you might want to do yourself. You can listen to these podcasts or explore websites that are linked with where you can see video and pictures associated with the podcasts. Some of the podcasts wouldn’t play and I never figured out why, but the ones I listen to were well worth visiting the site. They even offer a place for you to suggest podcasts you think should be on the site.

Curriki Podcast Collection

One of the great things available on this website is a list of things to keep in mind when creating podcasts with students. I will list them here because they are important to point out for us “newbie’s”:

1. Make sure you spend enough time learning Audacity (or the software you use) to feel comfortable with it
2. Give students a choice of topics
3. Let students pick the people they want to work with
4. Include a list of criteria for research
5. Allow plenty of time to complete the project. Everything takes longer than you think it will!
6. Invite the principal, department chairperson, or some other person to come in and see the presentations. Students will be very proud of their work.

This is great advice. I especially relate with the one about how everything will take longer than you think it will! That is the biggest problem I see with implementing technology in the classroom. You have to figure out a way to fit it in and with all the testing requirements it will be hard to do. There is a great timetable for teachers on here, but it shows using 17, 42 minute class periods for creation of the podcasts and it can be difficult to find that sort of time.

The other thing I really love about this website is the rubrics. It can be so hard to come up with a fair grading system when you are just struggling to figure out how to get your class to create their first podcast so it is nice to have someone who knows more about how it works provide this for you. There are even student work examples to share with your class so they get some ideas of what’s expected. This is a perfect website to help you plan your first classroom podcast experience.

My Timetoast Timeline

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Presentation: My Puppy Raiser Experience

3rd Post - Assigned Videos and Posts

Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? By Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration at Iowa State University (where my dad went) and the Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). He also blogs, creates videos to make people think and question, and is a self-defined “agitator”. I think we would get along well.

In this post on his blog “Dangerously Irrelevant”, he has written a poem about teaching children to use technology. It is a great post because it makes you think he is against teaching technology as you start to read it and I was thinking, “Is this guy crazy?” But, in the end you realize he is actually pointing out that children who do not learn about technology will not be as successful as those who do learn about technology. I really like the way this post brings up all the reasons people say we should not use technology in schools, such as the fear students will look at pornography, because although it is unfortunate there are so many bad things out there, this is the world we live in and we need to prepare out students to deal with it.

The iSchool Initiative by Travis Allen (5:42)

This high school student from Georgia has come up with a solution to save schools money and increase student and teacher accountability. He believes using the iTouch in schools can revolutionize education. Applications that already exist can be used to replace a lot of school supplies from books and agendas to ink cartridges and maps. It would also save natural resources by having all those supplies available in a handheld, touchscreen device.

I believe it is a good idea, but it is hard for me to imagine. I wonder how often students would loose their iTouch. How many times would the school replace one for a student? I suppose the parents could be charged, but if they are already struggling financially they may not be able to get another one. Also, Mr. Allen points out how the school could limit Internet access to only educational websites, but I have seen how students learn to get around those blocks on school computers so I would imagine they could do so on the iTouch as well. I agree it would be wonderful for students to have access to all those applications at their fingertips. And, I love the idea of saving the environment! Having customizable applications available would be an asset. But, it is still hard for me to imagine. I do think it is probably what will happen in the future.

The Lost Generation (1:44)

Wow! The technique used in this video is brilliant! I wish I were this creative. It starts out reading as if everyone in this generation is selfish and greedy. I kept thinking they must be talking about my generation, not the younger generation. And the statement about environmental destruction becoming “the norm” made me think about the BP oil spill we are currently battling and how there is a real chance it will be the norm in the near future. There are over 3500 more of those oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that could have an accident at any moment. We are allowing entities focused on profit to put our environment and way of life at risk so we can have all the wonderful things we are used to in our lives. If we keep ignoring our own responsibility in the destruction of the earth and families we will not make any improvements in our situation.

At least the message of the video was hopeful in the end. It was so neat that reading the same words backwards changed the whole meaning of the text. I hope the next generation focuses on taking care of the earth and each other instead of living a life of comfort and ease.

Eric Whitaker’s Virtual Choir (6:20)

This is a very inventive use of the Internet. I am not sure I understand how they did it. How did he find all those people? Did he audition them first? How did they put all the faces together so you could see them? I’m guessing when they were singing they could see the conductor and that is how they perfectly followed the song. It really is amazing what is possible with the use of computers. I wonder if they had to practice a lot first and then recorded it? The singing sounded beautiful and it is a great idea. Jennifer found a really interesting video.

2nd Post - Assigned Video, Posts and Real Time Counter

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today (4:45)

I like the way this video is presented. The way the camera comes into the classroom and focuses on the writing on the wall and chairs is creative. However, the experiences of these students do not match my own in many ways (although they do in some ways).

I did have a few freshman classes in college that had over 100 students, but not very many. I did not grow up using cell phones and computers the way most students today did and I learn well through lectures so it never bothers me to listen to the professor and take notes. I would imagine it is hard for younger students to learn that way because their lives are filled with using so many types of technology at the same time. I have often seen young people having a face-to-face conversation while texting several other people at the same time. However, I would not be able to keep up with all those conversations. I do not know how students could ever pass if they were using Facebook or texting during every class. I certainly could not do that. It may be the difference between growing up with a lot of technology and growing up with very little. I learned to type on a typewriter, after all.

Education will have a hard time implementing all the technological changes as they occur because they happen so fast. By the time today’s students become teachers some of their knowledge of technology will be outdated. But, at least they grew up with computers and cell phones. It is definitely harder to keep up with when you did not.

The only thing I can think of to make this video more relevant to my college experience would be to put an older student in the class having no problem with the structure of the class and confused by all the technology the students are using.

It's Not About the Technology by Kelly Hines

I agree that teachers must be willing to continuously learn, not only new information about the subject(s) they teach, but also about the changes occurring in the world and the lives of their students. Having great technology tools can be a wonderful asset to a teacher, but not if the teacher does not know how to use them or is not interested in facilitating real understanding among the students. Critical thinking and problem solving skills are some of the most important things we can teach our students, regardless of subject matter or technology. But in today’s world, knowledge of new technology is more important than ever before.

Many people who become teachers think they will just get up in front of the class, give out information, and their students will learn. However, the students learn more if they are actively engaged in the lesson. Technology is a great way to get the students involved in their own learning, but Mrs. Hines is correct in saying that, “learning and teaching are not the same thing.” This fact can be one of the most difficult things for teachers to understand, but it should be the driving force behind every decision they make about their educational practices.

Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

I would have to agree with Mr. Fisch that it is not okay for a teacher to be technologically illiterate. There is no way to get around the fact that the technology tools available to teachers will help their students learn and should be implemented whenever possible. Teachers who do not make an effort to learn about technology hurt themselves as well as their students because they are not taking advantage of this wonderful time we live in where so much worldwide interaction and access to information is possible. Teacher education programs and school districts should be responsible for making sure all teachers are technologically literate for their own good and the good of the education system.

I liked the way Mr. Fisch linked being able to read with being technologically literate for future success. Even now, anyone who is technologically literate will get most jobs over someone who is not. This will only increase with time and we are doing our students a disservice if we are not using technology tools in our classrooms. If a teacher does not know very much about technology tools, they can learn a lot from their students and they should be willing to learn from their students anyway. By getting help from students it will create a collaborative learning environment in the classroom and make the teacher more successful while learning about technology at the same time. So, there is no reason not to implement these wonderful tools.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

This real time counter is so amazing! It really makes the idea of how much technology is changing our society sink in. The number of people posting videos and communicating with friends and family on the Internet is hard to believe. All this sharing of information will change the way we live our lives in ways we cannot even imagine yet.

I was really amazed by the way Twitter was used during the riots in Iran last summer over the presidential election. You know the military must have been going crazy trying to figure out how the people were spreading information to each other! It will be much harder for people to be controlled in this new age of technology. That is why it is so important for educators to be technologically literate and to implement technology tools in their classrooms. At the same time, teachers need to focus on helping their students understand how to figure out if the information they find is reliable.

There is no way for all educators to completely keep up with all the changes in technology, but if they do not even try their students will loose respect for them and learn less from them. As teachers, we will have to do whatever we can to learn how technology is changing and how we can utilize in our lives and classrooms. Even though it is sometimes scary to do so, learning new technology will help us be better teachers and interact in the new global scale many of us never saw coming.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Wordle

This is a Wordle produced from a paper I wrote on understanding reasoning. Wordle: Understanding Reasoning for Better Teaching Practice

1st Blog - Assigned Videos

Did You Know 3.0 by Karl Fisch (4:56)

I love the way this video is presented. The music is perfect for the subject matter and the transitions in the video work well with the musical changes. The background pictures and animations were excellent and accented the information well. As a Collaborative Education major, I wonder if the words should have been shown just a little longer for someone who reads more slowly due to disabilities. Of course you can pause it, but if someone with dyslexia was watching the video with someone who did not have difficulty reading, the person with dyslexia would most likely not ask for the video to be paused and would miss some of the information. Definitely, the information presented is interesting and relevant for all to know. I posted it to my Facebook page and look forward to finding out what my friends think of it.

The video is very creative. I worry about how creative mine will be. I loved the use of the Google search box and Blackberry to type in statements. By beginning and ending with questions and letting you come to your own conclusions you are more likely to really think about the information.

A couple of things I found especially interesting were the statements about how there will be a computer by 2013 with the capabilities of the human brain and that, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”
I was just watching a “Friends” episode the other day from 1999 and the character, Ross, was discussing a book he read that said a supercomputer would be built by 2030 that would have the capabilities of the human brain (Season 6, Episode 7). It is a good example of how fast technology changes that the current projection says there will be such a computer by 2013. Teachers of all subjects should be concentrating on both how fast technology is changing and our inability to know exactly what we are training our students to deal with in the future. It was true for our teachers and it is true for us. Creative problem solving and love of learning are 2 of the most useful traits we can teach our students.

Mr. Winkle Wakes by Mathew Needleman (2:51)

This is a cute video with a good message. The idea that the way teachers teach has not changed much even though the rest of the world has changed dramatically is true in many cases. Often teachers are not equipped with the knowledge to work with technology and help their students learn how to use it in productive ways. Even if teachers do know how to use it as a teaching tool, many schools simply do not have access to much technology. Some schools that do have technology tools do not have the technical support to keep it working. Many of these issues can be solved by money, but the biggest change needs to involve attitudes. People are often scared of what they do not understand or just do not like change. There have to be proponents of technology available to change the attitudes of those involved in education from the taxpayers to the teachers.

As future teachers, we often only think about what is going on in the K-12 system. I have seen a wide range of differences in the amount and quality of technology available in schools as well as the ability of teachers to deal with what is or is not available. However, I am noticing that the same problem exists at the college level. Many professors do not have access to technology or do not use what is available and continue to lecture as the primary means of information delivery. At the same time, I see other professors embracing technology and becoming facilitators of knowledge instead of just lecturing and giving tests. Overall, it seems like K-12 education is embracing the capabilities of technology as a teaching tool more than college level education. I would expect that colleges have more money than public schools, so again it comes down to attitudes. And, what happens to student who do not learn through lecture in their K-12 education when they get to college classes that expect them to be able to learn that way?

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity (19:21)

The speaker in this video is engaging and entertaining. He does not use any visual aids, but still holds your attention. His sense of humor is very good and I could see him doing stand up comedy. However, the subject matter of the lecture is serious. I agree that many teachers stifle creativity in their students. Many teachers are happy to lecture to a quiet classroom and give tests. They do not want to deal with the more challenging students because they do not know how to deal with them. I think the reason a lot of teachers do not want their students to be creative is because they do not want them questioning their authority and they want their classrooms to appear subdued. They only want to work with those students who they believe to be the smartest, but I believe all students are smart in their own way and sometimes a classroom has to be a little loud and challenging for students to really be learning what will help them as adults. Life requires creativity to navigate successfully.

I really liked what he said about young children not being afraid to take a chance and be wrong. As adults, we are afraid to be wrong so we often do not make suggestions or voice our real opinion. We just spit out what we believe will be an acceptable opinion or solution. It’s sad we are not more like children in that way and I wonder if it really is the school system taking our creativity and fearlessness away from us or if it is society in general. I also think if we did teach all our students to dance everyday we would not have such a problem with obesity. Not all students like sports, but almost everybody likes to dance in one form or another!

The way the video is set up so there are segments at the bottom is really nice so you can easily go back and find the spot you want to listen to again. My favorite segment was the story of Gillian Lynne. As a former dancer and a Collaborative Education major, I identified with many elements of the story. It is so sad that we medicate our children when they do not want to sit and be lectured to. There are many different ways to deal with behavioral issues and these days it does not seem that teachers or parents are equipped to creatively manage children who are considered ADD or ADHD. They may be more challenging, but I do not think all of them need medication (although some do need it). Hopefully, we can learn to tap into the creativity and talent within these children the way that Gillian Lynne’s mother was able to do.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts (4:49)

The glossary underneath the video was great! I read through the definitions before I watched the video and I was very glad I did. I like the way Ms. Davis referred to herself as a “teacherpreneur.” We should all think of our ourselves this way. We should be trying to keep up with the latest innovations in education and technology, and come up with new things to make our lessons more relevant to our students. I agree we should all teach our students how to learn and empower them to question information, no matter where it comes from. The Internet is an awesome wealth of resources, but students need to know how to figure out if the information they find is true.

I found the amount of technology available in to students in this rural area interesting. It is a wonderful thing to get students collaborating with people around the world, but not all schools have the capability. Even if they have some of the technology available, they may not have a fast enough Internet connection or the available expertise to deal with computer problems. Hopefully, this will continue to change and all students will have access to this type of learning experience. The way they are taking away money from the schools and the fact that schools are more socioeconomically segregated than they have every been makes me wonder if this is possible (Karp, S. (2007). Money, schools & justice. Rethinking Schools Online, V21 n4).

For more on inequality in education, check out Jonathan Kozol’s book, Savage Inequalities, available for purchase at