Saturday, January 30, 2010

Podcasts and Videos

~ Podcasts ~

To be frankly honest, I did not enjoy this assignment as much as I have other previous blog assignments. The SmartBoard and KidCast podcasts were my favorites by far though. They were very relevant to my future career and were entertaining and fun to listen to. Smart boards are really fun to use, and it was neat to hear how podcasts can be used to set the tone for a field trip or another classroom assignment of any sort. My least favorites had to be EdTechtalk, MacBreak weekly, and This Week in Photography. Not a one of those podcasts seemed any bit as relevant to me. During part of one of them, all they were talking about was bridge scaling or something along those lines. What under God's blue sky does that have to do with anything at all?! I thought those last three were silly, irrelevant, and over all, just not worth listening to.

~ Videos ~

The first video about 1st grade Media Literacy was interesting to watch. These first graders were really smart in so many areas. I was amazed at how they knew how to navigate the computer and get to their class's blog! It's amazing to know how early they are learning things. It makes me wonder what students will know how to do in a few years.

The second one shocked me. It was nice to see how the teacher was teaching them the importance of using nice words in their comments. They use the internet to learn both in the school and at home. They use blogs to improve writing skills. They used Wikis to find information about various topics. They used videos to help learn the alphabet, which I think is really a neat way to learn things. They communicate via Skype with other students.

May we as teachers rise to this challenge to implore these means to teach our students!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Movie and Some Blogs

Video: A Vision of Today's Students

This video was right on in the portrayal of today's student, college or otherwise. I know it's how I feel from time to time. Do I deny the importance of reading and taking notes in class? Absolutely not. I know they have their proper place in the education process. However, I do think it is wrong to base a class purely on this method of instruction. A hybrid course such as EDM 310 provides the best of both worlds. You get to learn things "by the book" so to speak, and then you get to actually DO it and see how it can be applied to life.

As a future teacher, I think we need to keep this in mind. Students aren't going to always want to just sit and read and take notes. They may want to, and should be allowed to, interact and share ideas. Technology plays a huge role in this process. They can branch out to the world and see what others think about things, and then they can form more well-rounded opinions. Who knows? They may even contribute to someone else's knowledge...or even our own.

Blog 1 - It's Not About the Technology

Kelly Hines makes some wonderful points in this blog post that I absolutely agree with. It's not all about the technology. She emphasizes that teachers should be learners and grow and adapt to changing practices. And they absolutely should. Teachers who have been teaching for a long time have seen many things come and go, and I think they sometimes struggle with new technology that they just are not familiar with. She makes the point that teaching and learning are two very different things. Teachers may have one way they wish to teach something, but a student may not learn that way. They may learn by a different method. Maybe technology has the key to that.

The point that stuck out most to me is that technology is useless without good teaching. It doesn't matter if you have all the technology in the world. If you can't teach a particular point or somehow help a student to learn something, nothing matters. She gives some very good and practical strategies for teaching in a 21st century classroom without the technology. I think if we follow those guidelines, we as teachers and our students will be much better off.

Blog 2 - Is It Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

The answer to this, obviously, is no. Some of the points the author of this blog makes are pretty harsh to me, however. It really does make you many teachers do have basic levels of proficiency? According to the author, those in education who are not technologically literate should seek other employment (or become technologically literate). THAT is really harsh. While technology is a big part of education, I don't think that it should be a determining factor in the job search and hiring process. Teaching skills and qualifications should weigh heavier. Technology can be learned through time...teaching skills are a LOT harder to do that with.

He takes a strong stand on being proud of your technological ignorance. While I agree that not being computer literate and proficient is not a good thing, I disagree with it being compared to not being able to read and write. I don't understand all the ins and outs of computers, how they work, and the many things that can be done with them. And truthfully, I am okay with that. If someone offers to show me something or I am taught something (such as the many programs in this class), I am more than willing to learn and use them. However, I am not going to always push the "latest and greatest" forms of communication on my students. I will present a wide variety of things. And in so doing, I hope to train my students to be prepared to communicate in a wide variety of ways.

Social Media

This thing made my head hurt! It is absolutely astounding to know all those various statistics and how quickly they are happening. As a future teaching, it makes me wonder how I can incorporate these things into my classroom, since they are obviously so very popular.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shocking Stastics and Movie Musings

Did You Know? 3.0

The answer to the question for me was no. I did not know many of the statistics presented in the video. They shocked me. To know how advanced we are and are going to eventually be absolutely blows my mind! The one that blew my mind the most was when the video pointed out that by the 2040s, we could have a computer that exceeds the computational capability of the entire human species! The WHOLE species! That is absolutely impossible for me to even conceive right now!

There were many other statistics presented in the movie. They all seemed to drive home one point, though. Technology is rapidly changing, even as it has also done in past. Another point that was made that shocked me is that it is changing so fast that some technology will be outdated by the time a student finishes the third year of a four year program. Wow!! To think that some of the things will learn even today and in this course might change before we are completely finished with our education!

Mr. Winkle Wakes

This is quite possibly one of the FUNNIEST videos I have ever watched. Imagine what it would be like to be asleep for so long, and then to wake up and find that everything is so different. Hospitals have machines to keep people alive. Streets are filled with cars. Offices are abuzz with chatting, printing, and so much more. I think of my great-grandmother, who is no longer with us. How would she feel if she came back to our world today (she has been gone for almost 11 years)? What would she think? How would she react to everything?

These changes are true of course until you get into the school. As future educators, we have to learn to adapt to and embrace as much technology as is appropriate to use. I do agree with solely computer based learning, but it is indeed a very beneficial and helpful tool. It is useful in teaching skills that are necessary for life and can provide educational entertainment for many during the downtime in between lessons. So teachers and future teachers out there, let's embrace technology and incorporate into our classrooms not only as a method of learning, but also as a way to bring balance and a variety of knowledge not just to our students, but to ourselves as well!

Are Schools Killing Creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson seems to think so. He talked about hierarchy of subjects in education, specifically in the arts - music, art, drama, and dancing. These subjects are very rarely taught in our schools today, especially dance. I think that is just plain shameful. Some students may not learn and be gifted in hard core academic areas, but they may have the chance to go very far in some form of the arts. But do the get these chances in most public schools? No. Students are simply made to sit through basic courses, board and frustrated with the material.

This is simply not right! Sir Ken made an excellent point as he said that some are discouraged from these fields because they can't make a job out of it. "You can't play music. You're not a musician!" was one of the quotes he used. Sure, there may not be opportunities abounding and they are hard fields to get into, but to discourage children from pursuing their interests in the arts is just wrong! I hope that somehow when I have a classroom of my own that I can incorporate all modes of learning and doing...even those that are, well, less conventional!

Harnessing Digital Smarts

A classroom in Georgia uses mainly computer means of working, with a lot of student-led teaching. They uses wikis and blogs to share the information they learn. The teacher even confessed that she did not know how to do one of the things the students were doing until the day a student taught the entire class. A quote of hers that I will remember is, "The whole idea of turning school upside down and empowering students to share with one will have a much better classroom."

Student-led teaching is not always the best thing, BUT it can be a very effective tool. Letting students know that they are valued enough to trust them with that responsibility is always a good thing. It can foster learning in their lives, the lives of fellow students, and the lives of the teachers they come in contact with. Teachers do not know it all. I know I sure don't! Let's learn from our students. Who knows? We might be inspiring the future of the profession for which we spend our lives doing!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Hey everyone!! Welcome to my very first blog!