Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My EDM 310 Blog Assignments Are Now Complete!!!

THANK GOD!!
Best of luck to everyone this coming Fall! Aren't you glad this semester's finally over? I know I am. Everyone did a great job with their podcasts; I know most of y'all were as nervous as I was when we recorded those things! I hope y'all have a fun, relaxing, safe summer. Hope to see you in the Fall! (Or summer even...I'll be here, haha)

What I Have Learned In EDM 310

I don't know where to begin! I have learned so much in this class, and agree that it should be mandatory for all students going into the field of education. We have covered so much material in such a short time; there are our personal and professional blogs, which I enjoyed creating and contributing to. I think the professional blog will be especially useful in my future teaching as an elementary teacher.

We also did our class presentations about ourselves in which we employed the use of Google. Another way we used Google was in our spreadsheets, where we learned about absolute references, loan payments, and databases. We also used Google Docs for word processing. What I like about Google is that number one, it's free, two, it's easy to access, and three, easy to use and maintain use of. It also has many options, like the ones we covered with our presentations, spreadsheets, and iGoogle pages.

Another thing we learned about in this class was Twitter and how it can be used for communication and the exchanging of ideas through the Internet. It's a great networking device for extending your teaching ideas and learning new ones along the way.

One of the first things we covered in this class were ALEX and ACCESS, which can both be very useful for teachers and their students in the state of Alabama. This is the first time I was exposed to either of these programs, and was really fortunate to learn about them early on in my educational career towards becoming an elementary teacher.

We also recorded a podcast in this class. I have never heard of a podcast before this class, so I was confused at first. After we did some research and practiced, I learned that podcasts can indeed be very useful for instructional purposes for my future students.

One thing that I wish we would have had time to cover would be the Google Earth program. I do not know how to use this yet, but certainly plan on learning. I'm sure I can teach myself, now that I am more confident in exploring technology for myself. I can see how it can be a very useful tool, whether you are a teacher, a student, or just anyone.

One thing that aggravated me about the class was the fact that we had to use this personal blog. I think it would have been more than sufficient to create a professional blog, which we can update and maintain as needed. This blog, however, I cannot see coming back to in the future. It has been rather a pain to have to update this thing twice a week! But I'm glad it's over, and I can definitely say I came away knowing much more about technology than I did previously.

Special Examination T2: Response to Sir Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson, an author and experienced educator from London, England, had some excellent arguments and points to his views on education. He started out with an idea that I had never thought about before, but that is generally quite obvious: most adults do things for their careers that they feel competent in, but are not necessarily passionate about. Sir Robinson says that people should do things "in their element", meaning something they have a natural gift or knack for. Also, it should be something that you just "get". I could not agree with him more in this aspect. Being good at something should not be enough to make an individual want to do it for the rest of his/her life; they should love what they are doing! Sir Robinson says that your natural talent and abilities should meet your passions. I thought this was a great way to put it.

Sir Robinson also makes a good point when it comes to education; too much emphasis is being put on pure academic ability, while the students' natural abilities and tendencies are seen to be "unuseful" and nonrelevant to the job market. He says there are three specific aspects to intelligence: it's diverse, it's dynamic, or interactive, and it's distinct. It's not measured by how much a person knows or doesn't know; it's more about what they do with their natural talents and interests. Another view of Sir Robinson that I completely agree with is that education is not a mechanism, but an organism. Also, our success depends on our environment and available opportunities. Kids are all capable of great things. Different things, but they all have something personal to offer to society. He also emphasizes that creativity is as important as literacy. Kids are not afraid to be wrong or make mistakes; therefore, they are very creative in their ideas and how they carry out these ideas. Sir Robinson says that for some time now, students are being "educated out of their creativity". There is a hierarchy in education, with math and language at the top, then the humanities, and lastly the arts are taught. One subject should not be more important than the other; by doing this, we also catagorize the children who are better in some academic areas than in others, and their creativity in these areas is stopped abrubtly. Sir Robinson calls this "academic inflation", which I think is a proper way to label the way education is thought of and valued. According to Sir Robinson, we need to drastically change the way we view education and the educational system out in place by schools and society today. I could not agree more.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Twitter

In our EDM 310 Microcomputing Systems class, we have been required to sign up for, access and learn about Twitter and it's benefits to teaching and education. My initial reaction to this project was "WHAT!? I've never even used Twitter, how am I supposed to know how to use it?" It turned out to be much easier and more helpful than I thought. Twitter is basically a social networking service used to make and keep contact with other people for mainly business and work-related reasons. The thing I like most about Twitter is that it's as public or private as want it to be; you can allow only certain people, chosen by you, to view your "tweets", or updates. Your updates can include questions directed at the general public or toward certain individuals.

One of the first things I did when I began using Twitter was to subscribe to TwitterTips. This is an excellent resource for finding out how to effectively utilize Twitter. They give several websites to very useful articles. One of these articles that Dr. Strange had posted a link to was called "Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher". Some of these tips included:

14. Twits Like Me: Find other users in Education.
This could be very helpful, especially for new teachers, to make contact and receive updates and advice from more experienced teachers. It's a great way to get new ideas and gain new information from teachers who have more knowledge and experience in the classroom.

42. Twiggit: Using Twiggit, you can find news and articles related to your curriculum.
Once again, this program proves to be a big help to newer teachers. Fresh new teachers are of course less experienced and may not know where to find the best information for teaching their classes. The Twiggit tool provides new teachers with articles and other information about what they are supposed to be teaching to their students. Twiggit would also be useful to veteran teachers because they can keep themselves and their curriculum current and updated through the available news links.

These are only two out of a hundred ways that teachers can put Twitter to good use! Some of the other resources included RSS friends and feeds, scheduling help, lectures, weather updates, photos, research ideas and even games. I found this particular article about Twitter very useful and will definitely use it for reference in the future.

According to Laura Walker, a Twittering teacher, "your experience on Twitter is only as high quality as the people who you follow and the information you share." She is so right; you are not going to find anything useful through Twitter if you do not find anyone useful to follow. It's easy to use Twitter's search engine; you can search for either people or topics that may interest you. Keeping up with Twitter is not difficult either; you just have to be able to sort out useful information from the unhelpful. In my use of Twitter, I logged on about every other day, and at first was overwhelmed by the never-ending tweets left by Dr. Strange, my classmates, and other teachers who I was following. Dr. Strange told me that there was no way I could keep up with everyone and everything posted, but that I had to learn how to browse briefly through the information and pick out things that could be useful to me as a future teacher. Once I learned how to do this, it became much less time-consuming to locate what I was looking for.

I started out trying to use Twitter like I used my Facebook; posting just what I was doing at that specific moment. It was then that I read an article by an anonymous Twitterer called "5 Reasons Why People Won't Follow You on Twitter". Mistake number one on the list was "Talking to Yourself". This is what I had been doing the whole time! I soon learned that the purpose of Twitter for me was establishing a social networking community amongst myself and other teachers. My tweets changed from "I am freezing cold" to things like "What are some beneficial sites where teachers can get free curriculum ideas?" Several teachers responded, giving me links to useful websites. I had it now!

As far as I'm concerned, there don't seem to be any negative aspects to Twittering. Other than the fact that it's yet another thing to have to keep up with, Twitter is flexible and useful. I will probably be utilizing Twitter in the very near future when I graduate as an elementary teacher.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Critiquing Class Podcasts

After listening to four EDM 310 podcasts,including the one in which I participated, I have a few ideas on how they could be improved. I will start with my own podcast in which Johnie and I interviewed Dr. Dodge on the educational system in Alabama. I thought overall it was pretty good, since Dr. Dodge had a lot of great information and ideas for our school teachers in Alabama. He also had some amazing advice to give to future teachers. I think maybe the only thing I'd change about this podcast is that I could have spoken a little louder when asking my questions.

The second podcast I chose to listen to was the one called "The Strange Crystal Ball". In this podcast, Dr. Strange was interviewed by Katie, Jamie, and Laura. I think the discussion went well, and for the most part the girls did well keeping up with Dr. Strange. One thing I might suggest is to make it somehow more interesting and engaging, like Katie did when she questioned and challenged Dr. Strange on his opinions and ideas. If she would not have been a part of the podcast, I think it would have been very dry and monotonous. One person talking and rambling on and on is not very exciting to listen to. Also, I would have made this particular podcast shorter than it was. It was just too long!

The third podcast I listened to was the one about Facebook entitled "Facebook: It's In Our Class! But Can it Be Useful in Class?" I liked this podcast because the girls made it sound like an intimate conversation, like a little group of friends getting together at Starbucks to discuss the pros and cons of using Facebook for educational purposes. They also gave the history of Facebook, which I thought was interesting. I really wouldn't change anything about this podcast, except for the fact that it may have also run a little too long. Some of the girls said "um" too much. Overall though, I thought this podcast was interesting, informative, humorous and well constructed.

The fourth podcast I decided to listen to was the one about useful websites for high school teachers. Since I was not able to hear this particular podcast being recorded in real life, I was interested to see how this one was done. I thought the girls did a really good job and found the information given quite useful as well. They also gave several good examples of available resources to high school teachers, which I liked. One thing I would have done is to state the website when referring to it, instead of saying "my website" when I was talking about it. By mentioning the actual websites in abbreviated form, it could better encourage the audience to actually access and utilize these resources for themselves. It would just allow the websites to stick out better in the listeners mind. Overall though, the girls kept the conversation flowing really well and did not talk for an overextended period of time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Experiences in Blogging

For this week's post, I chose to look over Johnie's blog, since she sits right behind me and we did our podcast together with Dr. Dodge. I like the idea of being able to view other classmates' blogs on the web because you can get a glimpse into how they interpret the same materials and information that is being learned at the same time you are learning it. It lets you see how they might think about things differently than you yourself might and gives you another possible perspective. This way, you can find out something else you may not have known previously and gain another classmate's perspective, becoming more open-minded in the process.

Another thing I think could be beneficial with blogging in the classroom is that it gives teachers the opportunity to communicate on yet another level with their students. Students loose papers, assignments, and class hand-outs all the time. By utilizing a class blog. the teacher can easily post homework assignments and other paperwork online so that their students can access it at any time and do not ever have an excuse for not knowing what they were supposed to do. Teachers can also post study guides, review materials and other things students may need in preparation for testing.

One great thing about class blogs is that teachers can also post changes to their schedules and syllabuses online. If there happen to be any changes, the students will instantly know, as long as they check the class blog regularly. This way, the students can also be aware of what is coming up next in class, and can better prepare by reading up on any texts they might need to refer to.

Another plus to class blogging is that it's so convenient for both students and teachers to keep in touch with one another on a regular basis. It cuts down on the need for phone calls, e-mails, letters and other things that could otherwise be very tedious or time consuming to deal with. Plus, it lets students explore new aspects of technology, and since it progresses every day, it has become a necessity to familiarize ourselves with these new tools. Why not utilize a very reliable, practical, and easily accessible resource? I hope more teachers in the future will see the benefits of class blogs and will make it an important tool in their teaching practices, in elementary, middle school, high school and beyond.

"Growth" vs."Fixed" Minds

This week's blog post once again is taken from iTunesU. This podcast and free video from Stanford University featured psychologist and author, Carol Dweck, talking about the fact that a lot of students think their intelligence and cognitive abilities are "fixed"; that is, it is already set in stone, so to speak. These types of students will not attempt anything new unless they know that they will excel at whatever task they are trying to accomplish. The other type of students believe that their intelligence can be developed with practice and by processing and understanding new knowledge. These types of students develop good study skills and are able to put these skills into practice. As a matter of fact, in my psychology class we are studying intelligence and academic success and how these are affected by the way the students see themselves and are able to motivate themselves.

Students who have a "fixed" mindset do not usually do as well academically because they do not have the ability or know how to motivate themselves to do well in school. They figure that since learning and intelligence are already determined for them, and they are just going to fail, why should they try? This mindset can be very detrimental to students trying to succeed in school because they are already defeated before they even begin. On the other hand, students with a "growth" mindset do not see learning through trial and error as a negative thing, and allow themselves the room to make mistakes in their academics and other aspects of their life. Hence, they tend to learn new materials with a much more open mind and allow things to develop gradually until they can understand and grasp what is being presented in the classroom. They learn to "exercise" their brains, and become more intelligent and knowledgeable through their academic experiences.

This information affects me as a future teacher because I need to be able to recognize the differences between students who possess a "fixed" mindset and those that have a "growth" mindset. This will help me to be able to better help and motivate those of my students that do have a "fixed" mindset and help them break the cycle. I need to help these students understand that it is okay to make mistakes, that it doesn't mean you are stupid. I must explain to them at an early age that this is how we learn and remind them that everyone makes mistakes, even adults.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grades K-5 on iTunesU

I watched the video podcast entitled "What is A Planet?" I was surprised to find out that up until very recently, scientists had not defined within scientific terms what a planet actually was. This created a dilemma when faced with the amazing new discovery of a possible planet in 2005. But, in 2006 a planet was officially defined in by the International Astronomical Union(IAU) as a celestial body that is in orbit around the Sun, has sufficient mass to assume hydrostatic equilibrium(is a round shape), and has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. According to this definition, the planet we know as Pluto is actually considered a "dwarf planet". However, science is constantly changing with new observations and discoveries being made every day. Who knows how many planets there are? Nobody knows for sure, it's mostly speculation that still must be proven.

This video was very educational in that it gave the official scientific definition of a planet. It also showed some computer illustrations and diagrams of the planets in our solar system. This would be a great video to show to my future students, for example during a science class. It's a good way for them to get a visual idea of what our solar system might look like, and what qualifies a planet. I can also imagine the videos being more interesting and engaging for elementary students than, say a textbook would be. "What is A Planet?" showed three dimensional movement in space, as well as interviews with real scientists and astronomers.

Another great aspect to incorporating iTunes podcasts and videos into teaching and education is that the information is condensed. You get a brief, overall, to-the-point review, definition, and explanation of whatever material you are looking at. This gets rid of a lot of excess and/or unneccessary information that would possibly allow the students more opportunities to become distracted. As an added bonus, the videos on iTunesU are free!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"The Edible Schoolyard" and "A Night in the Global Village"

The first free video on iTunesU that I watched was literally "the edible schoolyard". This was an ingenious idea! Gardening taught the kids from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School SO much. They learned the scientific facts about photosynthesis and plant life, how to grow varying types of fruits and vegetables, and how to fertilize and harvest the food they planted. They were also learning about the different seasons and how they affect the agricultural industry. The children also incorporated math and science into their preparing, baking and cooking of the food they harvested. They also learned how to work together to achieve a sense of community and belonging in helping one another. And it didn't feel like school because they enjoyed it so much. It was more like play for the students. You could tell that all of the children loved their garden and had a sense of pride in what they had accomplished with it. This hands-on approach to education is one of the best, most effective, and most fun ways for kids to learn. For me, watching this video gave me ideas that I could use as a teacher, especially in the subject areas of science or social studies. I think children of just about any age would benefit from this way of learning.

The second iTunesU video was called "A Night in the Global Village", and described how the Global Gateway Program can benefit students. Through this program, the kids got to experience first-hand the difficulties faced by many third world countries: hunger, poverty, and having a shelter to protect themselves. They learned that it was not always just about getting food; they had to be able to successfully communicate with each other and neighboring communities in order to trade and bargain for necessary resources, like firewood and water. This experience allowed the students to understand that there are people in the world that need our help. It taught them sympathy, responsibility, cooperation, and to be thankful for what they had in their own homes. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads and good food and water every day. The students realized this through their experiences in the Global Village. I think the Global Gateway Program is a very successful way to help students be more aware of the different cultures and ways of life of the people in the world around them, more so than having them read about it from a book. Once again, hands-on education like this works, and the students will most likely never forget what they have been through and learned during the process.

iTunes University

There is a multitude of student and teacher resources that can be found through iTunes. If you go to iTunes U, you will see what I mean. One of the most helpful things available for students, especially at the college level, would be the different links listed according to subject. This list of subjects can help students to narrow down their resources and saves them the often daunting task of searching for information on the internet. For instance, if you click on the "literature" link, you will find at the top of the page materials that are new and notable. Some of these media are podcasts, including lecture readings, surveys and interviews. Other resources involve the top downloads, so students can view the most used media circulating iTunes for that day. This helps to narrow it down even further, as there is so much information available.

As for teacher resources, iTunes has the "teaching and education" link available. This useful link includes project learning, technology advancement, and career development help. It has tips for integrating studies and lesson plans as well. It even has podcasts relating to social and emotional learning for teachers to help students build character and become more responsible. Many of the podcasts have movies and instructional videos included for visual aid. The biggest plus: almost everything on iTunes is free. All you have to do is go to www.iTunes.com and download iTunes to your computer. You save the program to your desktop and it's there whenever you need it! I know I will be using iTunes quite a bit as a student now and as a teacher later.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Using iPods in the Classroom

The use of technology in the classroom has escalated again with the use of iPods. If you type http://cit.duke.edu/pdf/reports/ipod_initiative_04_05.pdf into your browser, you will find that Duke University has employed the iPod in their classes. In 2004, Duke became the first college to offer 20GB iPods to all of their incoming freshmen. The new students cold use their iPods for a course dissemination tool for use in podcasts, as well as a classroom and field recording tool. The students became more engaged in school with the continued use of their iPods.

Another school using iPods in 2006 was Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic School, in their World History class. Most kids already have iPods, so the teachers decided to use them for school and classroom instruction. The students in their World History class were learning about the Islamic religion, so they used their iPods to research the internet and download information pertaining to the material they were discussing in class. They could also use the iPods for class presentations and podcasts. Several of the teachers at Bishop Dunne could use the video technology for downloading class assignments, homework and lectures. The best thing about utilizing the iPod during classroom instruction is the ease and portability of the tool, thus minimizing the need for so many textbooks, binders, and other more cumbersome materials. As technology in education continues to advance, I'm sure many more schools will want to use the iPod in their future classes.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dr. Alice Christie's Web Site: Useful to Educators?

If you type http://www.alicechristie.org/ into your browser, you will be led to a terrific website designed to help teachers in all areas dealing with technology and the internet. Dr. Christie was a teacher for 25 years. She was Arizona State University President’s Professor Emeritus, and received her Ph.D. in Educational Technology and Language and Literacy from ASU. She has recently retired, but continues to help present and future educators through her knowledge in technology and language. If they were to click on the Educational Technology tab, teachers could find several resources for effectively using technology in the classroom with their K-12 students. There are many internet tools and resources, such as spreadsheets, podcasts, rubrics, and electronic portfolios, just to name a few.

The resource that I found to be particularly interesting, especially for educators with younger students, was the link pertaining to internet safety. I think it's extremely important for teachers to let their students know what the risks are in using the internet, especially with technology increasing at such a dramatic rate. Teachers need to warn students early on about the negative and positive effects of resources available on the internet. Dr. Christie gives teachers the links to several web-based presentations created by herself and other educators regarding cyber crimes. She sites the warnings and positive possibilities of podcasting, wikis, YouTube, blogs, instant messaging, and other social networking as well. Altogether, Dr. Christie's website is very useful to all educators teaching K-12. This site is one resource I'm sure I'll refer to again and again as both a student and a teacher.

Is Wikipedia Reliable?

Can anyone really trust what they find on Wikipedia? Just because it is one of the first reference websites to pop up on the internet when someone types it into a search engine doesn't mean that you will necessarily find accurate information there. Wikipedia, because it is a free reference source, has one huge drawback: anyone can make alterations to the articles, articles that too many people take as fact.

People who own specific companies, such as Walmart, can change things written about their business to make them seem too good to be true. In fact, they are. Changing or editing Wikipedia is not illegal. It was designed to be able to let anyone edit its content. Although some of the information found on Wikipedia is truthful, you can't ever completely trust what you read on this site. When referencing Wikipedia, it is good advice to check several other websites to make sure the information you are receiving is accurate. I would not recommend using Wikipedia when writing research papers, for instance. It is important that your sources for research or any other papers written for school are reliable, accurate, and non-debatable.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon graduate school who incorporated phenomenal new teaching methods utilizing technology in his classroom. His perspective students would actually have to form long lines during specific registration, hoping for entry into his course. Randy believed it was extremely important to have fun in everything you do. This belief allowed him to become highly successful in his teaching.

The course that Randy created, with some help from colleague Don Marinelli, was called Building Virtual Worlds. This high-tech course was intended for a double bachelor degree program offered at CMU. The students were so enthusiastic, they almost forgot that the projects they were creating were actually hard work, since they had so much fun doing it. Randy appropriately referred to his course as "edutainment".

What made the Building Virtual Worlds course so unique was that CMU permitted Randy to have total charge and creativity with the students. They had no deans to report to and used only project-based curriculum, as well as a license to "break the mold". The students had intensely fun experiences, including collaborative group projects and field trips. This course helped the students become so knowledgeable and experienced that several companies signed contracts agreeing to hire the students the moment they graduated.

While giving his last lecture, what he called "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", Randy Pausch used several examples of technology in his presentation. He used old family photos, in-class videos, a model of a virtual studio, graphs, charts, and several props, such as a hat, a football, and several large stuffed animals to aid in demonstrating his ideas and principles. Not only was he an amazing professor, he was an amazing man. Randy Pausch passed away from advanced pancreatic cancer
last summer, in 2008. He wasn't even fifty years old, and left a wife and three children, for whom he gave his last lecture. You can see it here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8201478015841155798&vt=lf&hl=en

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Fischbowl: The Best of 2007-November

After scanning several of "The Best of" blogs on The Fischbowl, I decided on the month of November. This particular blog caught my attention mostly because I know how important it is for teachers to keep their students up-to-date and current in all things technological, especially during their high school years. By clicking on http://thefiscbowl.blogspot.com/2008/01/best-of-fischbowl-2007.html , and selecting the best of November, "Why Wireless", you can read the blog in it's entirety.

In reading this blog, I found that Fisch gave several excellent reasons why schools should implement wireless internet. Aside from resources for writing research papers, gaining information on their subjects, sharing information with other students, etc., having any-time access to the web will keep the students who utilize the wireless system "lifetime learners". As Fisch states in his fifth paragraph, "they will need to learn how to learn". This means endless access to the world around them in the form of the internet. Wireless internet is not only beneficial to the students, but to the teachers and professors as well. There, teachers can read online professional journals to stay up-to-date and keep in touch with students, parents, and other teachers. I completely agree with Fisch in that all U.S. schools need to eventually include wireless internet in their computer labs.

Previous Podcasts: Fall 2008

I recently listened to a couple of the podcasts from Dr. Strange's fall 2008 EDM class. The first podcast was done by two students and was called Lessons from Life: The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch. The second one I chose was created by three students and was called Can YouTube Be Used for Educational Purposes? In listening to these podcasts, I found that, in my opinion, the best were done by three or four students as opposed to two. The more opinions you get, the more engaging the conversation. I have compiled a checklist that might be helpful to go through when creating a new podcast.

1) Be very thorough and complete on your topic; know exactly what you will discuss before you begin your podcast, and give a good introduction.
2) Give lots of explanations and details; also give any examples from personal experience.
3) Although you may have notes as a guide, do not make it seem as if you are reading directly from the paper; converse with your classmates.
4) Don't rustle your papers too much, as it is noisy and distracting.
5) Be enthusiastic about the subject you are covering.
6) Pronounce your words clearly and precisely.
7) Be sure to include what YOU would do as a teacher when discussing your topic. Agree or disagree, but make your case known.
8) Do not take too much time to pause; keep the conversation rolling.
9) Reply or refer to other classmates by their names. Don't say "you" or "he/she".
10) Keep the information interesting and exciting.
11) Practice your podcast with your fellow classmates BEFORE you actually record it.
12) Do your best to avoid "um"s, "uh"s or "you know"s. It makes you sound like you are unprepared.

I hope this helps! Good luck to all in doing your podcasts!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Response to: "Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?"

No not really, but I think you can go too far with this. The quote below attests to why I believe so.

"If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write."

Now that's a little over the top. Fisch does at least give you a warning, and admits himself that it is an extreme statement. Nonetheless, I have to disagree. This statement suggests that such a teacher, one who is "technologically illiterate", is not an effective teacher and can do nothing to better her students. Plenty of teachers are technologically challenged and impact the lives of their students every day, very effectively.

Yes, it is vital, especially in the 21st century, that teachers keep their students updated and knowledgable in current events and technologies as well as they know how. And they, as educators themselves, should be open and willing to learn. But it does not make them bad at their jobs if they are not quite up-to-date as they ought to be in dealing with technology. After all, it advances every day. They cannot be expected to keep up with everyone and everything.

Podcasts on iTunes

Starting out being forced to listen to these podcasts on iTunes, I got a little irritated. I mean, what is the point? Well, Dr. Strange stated clearly that the point was to familiarize ourselves with the podcasts and to see how they are executed. That wasn't good enough for me, but this is what I discovered. The podcasts are SO useful! You can find out so much information on these things, information that is spoken rather than something you have to read, which can get tedious at times. After all, reading is a big part of education, but so is the spoken word and the ways we use language.

The first podcast I listened to was called Smartboard Lessons. In this particular podcast, two teachers, Joan Badger and Ben Hazzard, talk about cross-classroom collaberations and how to use podcasts to create a sense of community. Basically, they keep teachers connected, which is very important. One of the first podcasts they had posted related to their website, . They spoke briefly about what this website had to offer and how to use the information given and apply it to your own classroom. One example would be essay writing and how to correctly write a successful essay. They also give other helpful links related to the particular podcats they are doing that day.

Another podcast I listened to was Kidcast, created by Dan Schmit. In podcast #58 he discussed podcasting in the classroom and how we can better help our students to utilize podcasts to their full advantage. In this podcast, titled "The Medium is NOT the Message", he emphasized that it is not always about HOW we organize the material, but what is contained in our message that matters. Dan suggested that instead of just helping students create and use the software, teachers should have the students focus on the content of what is in their presentation. Once they create their presentation, they should deliver it in person to a live audience, such as we did in class with our own presentations created in Google.

MacBreak Weekly, another podcast not directly related to education but still quite useful, was created by five journalists. As the name of this podcast would suggest, they discussed all the latest in Apple and Macintosh, including Adobe, the IPhone, Flash, and other programs. A lot of it was comparing and contrasting, which would be very useful to those who had Macs and other products. This content could be utilized by teachers and students for better communication.

One podcast in iTunes that I really enjoyed was TWiP, otherwise known as This Week in Photography. Now, I don't know all that much about photography, but I am learning a lot from my boyfriend and becoming more and more interested in it. This podcast revealed the latest camera techniques, technology and news. In Episode #17, the professional photographers and journalists talked specifically about imaging and the best and most affordable in ink jet printers. Some of the other topics included wedding photography, portrait lighting, and selling your photos. All in all, this podcast was very helpful and informative, as were the others.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Teachers Using Blogs Internationally

One international class blog that I found was located in Auckland, New Zealand. Buckland's Beach Intermediate school uses several blogs for several of the grades they teach. One of them is located at http://thediaryofannefrank.blogspot.com/ . The Diary of Anne Frank is the actual name of the blog where a group of 10-11 year old (sixth year) students from Buckland Beach Intermediate posted some of their literature assignments, such as letters written to Anne Frank, summaries, character analyses and other materials. For instance, they posted a podcast reflection on the book and a poster of Anne Frank. Here is their poster designed by Andrew:


anne frank poster


Also at Buckland Beach Intermediate School is another literature-based class blog for the seventh-year students, who are 11-12 year olds. They were in the process of reading "Goodnight Mister Tom", by Michelle Magorian, when their blog was being published. They wrote scripts, picture diagrams, poems, predictions, and discussions about the story. If you type into your browser http://goodnightmistertom.blogspot.com/ , you will see their site. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, you can see this little diagram using letters made by Robin:


willie mister tom diagram

Teachers Using Blogs in the U.S.

One of the first class blogs I found was located at Noel Elementary School in Noel, Missouri. If you type in http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/ in your browser, you will find a blog by Mr. C's fifth grade class. The class posted things like a book on water and dams they had been they had been reading and studying, and also a list of character traits of the main character, Stanley Yelnats, in the book "Holes". On January 21, 2009 they had posted pictures of the Barack Obama Inauguration and what had been going on in class that day. One of the photos was of the kids sitting in the classroom actually watchig the inauguration. Here is one of the pictures of a poster drawing one of the kids made:

obama poster

Another class blog in the U.S. was being used at Century Elementary school in Nixa, Missouri. If you go to http://teachers.emints.org/FY06/elliottl/ you will find their class blog. Lori Elliott, the 5th grade teacher, maintained the site for her students. In this blog, the teacher posted things like power point presentations, photos,resources, parent help, and updates. If you select "Our Class" and then click on the PowerPoint link, you will see one of the presentations titled "Boys Will be Boys", created by Mrs. Elliott. If you select "Class Blog", also under "Our Class", you will see that Mrs. Elliott posted some pictures of her summer vacation there. Here are a couple:

cruise boat


beach sunset

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Did you know?

If you go to http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2007/06/did-you-know-20.html, you will see a presentation. The information in this presentation contains facts that most people probably are not aware of. For example, the numbers of college graduates in the year 2006 in these three countries are as follows:
The U.S.-1.3 million
India-3.1 million
China-3.3 million

To me, this was rather surprising. I thought that the U.S. produced the largest number of college graduates, and definitely was unaware that it only produces a third of the number that China produces. Also, 100% of the college graduates in India speak English, and it is predicted that in 10 years, the number one English-speaking country will be... China. There are new college majors now that didn't even exist 10 years ago, such as new media, organic agriculture, e-business, nanotechnology, and homeland security. This shows the advancement of today's job necessities.

As for progressions in technology, it is simply amazing. More than 70% of 4-year-olds have used a computer. More than 50% of 21-year-olds have created web content. The number of internet devices alone increased from one thousand in 1984 to six hundred million in 2006! E-bay revenue for 2006 was six billion dollars, and there have been more than 2.7 billion searches performed on Google only this month! It makes you wonder who answered these questions before Google was around. More than 230,000 new users sign up for MySpace every day, and if MySpace were a country, it would be the eighth largest country in the world!

One thing we need to consider: are we as teachers doing our job to prepare this generation to put these technologies to use? One quote from the presentation especially caught my attention. "We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don't exist in order to solve problems that we don't even know are problems yet." And Albert Einstein said "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used to create them." Are teachers overdoing it in the wrong areas, and not yet doing enough in others? When is too much too much? And, what changes need to be made? These are questions I think are very important to consider and analyze as we continue in learning to be educators.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ACCESS

In my last blog, I promised the next post would be about ACCESS. The Alabama Connecting Classroom, Educators and Students Statewide(ACCESS), is an amazing online program that allows students to take courses and interact with teachers through technology by the web. ACCESS works with high school students and offers advanced diplomas, which are required by the state, AP courses, distance learning, additional courses and electives that may not normally be available, and remedial classes for those who may need extra help.

Students are able to converse with teachers face-to-face and ask questions when help is needed. The distance learning is especially welcome for students who live out in rural areas if no high school or transportation is available; they can participate in general courses, AP courses, electives, interact with teachers, and receive their diploma all from home. It can be either synchronous or asynchronous learning. Technologically, the students who use ACCESS will have a slight advantage over traditional classroom students because they will have had more experience learning online. All a student has to do to sign up for ACCESS is to be registered with the public high school in their area.

ACCESS is not only beneficial to the students, but also to the teachers who use it, by providing them with additional technology and tools to better educate their students. The teachers receive specific training to be able to operate the teaching systems within the ACCESS program. ACCESS is an Alabama statewide program that gives both students and teachers better opportunities to enhance education as much as possible.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

ALEX

ALEX, the Alabama Learning Exchange, is a community database that allows teachers to post lesson plans online. Teachers can also search for the required courses of study quickly and easily. ALEX even connects administrators and parents of students, so that the parents know what academic standards are to be met by their children. In this way, parents can better prepare their children at home and encourage them to do well in school.

ALEX is fairly simple to use, as it is set up in a very organized form. If a teacher were to go to http://alex.state.al.us/, they would be sent to the main page setup with eight separate icons, labeled Courses of Study, Web Links, Lesson Plan, Search, Personal Workspace, Professional Learning, Distance Learning, and Help. These icons tell the inquirer exactly what information they would need right away. This program is extremely useful and beneficial, especially if one is a novice in the field of teaching. It can provide teachers with templates for setting up their lesson plans, show them which grades should be in which levels on every subject, and give them web links for extra resources. Teachers can even have their own personal, password-safe workspace online to make things easier.

In addition, under the icon Professional Learning, ALEX provides information about special education, English language learners, grant opportunities, and certain tips and tricks that can be very helpful to teachers and administrators. The distance learning help is provided by ACCESS, another useful online program that will be discussed in the next blog.

Friday, January 16, 2009

About Me

Well, as you can tell from my blog my name is Jacquelyn. I first came to South two years ago in the Fall of 2006 as a transfer student from New Orleans, majoring in nursing. After only one semester, I decided that since my family was moving to Tennessee in December, I would move with them. We lived there only for about eighteen months, but when we went up there, since it was too late for me to transfer again, I got a job as a childcare provider in an all-summer/after school care program.

Now, I had worked with kids many times before: Bible school camps, babysitting my five younger siblings and other kids, etc., but this time, I came to the conclusion that I would be a teacher. I had considered going into education for awhile, and the daycare experience was my final push towards making that decision. So, we moved back down south to Mobile in September of 2008, and that's how I ended up back at South two years later. They supposedly have an excellent elementary education program here.

Some of my interests include reading and writing. I enjoy helping kids learn to read and reading to them as well. I have taken two psychology classes in my past college years, both of which I found quite interesting. I consider myself a little "technologically challenged", so I'm sure this class will help me out a lot with that aspect of teaching. As for my personal hobbies, I like photography and putting together photo albums. Music and movies are fun. My favorite types of music are old-school, classic rock, instrumental, soul, and jazz. I also love shoes more than anyone I know! My mom says I have a disease.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In Class Sample

First blog!!

In EDM310-103 right now:)