Saturday, February 27, 2010

Week Seven

Writing in Multimedia
Dr. Richard Miller from Rutgers University had a unique series of YouTube videos on writing in multimedia. The videos were all about 'alternative' ways of publishing and producing information. Instead of library books made from pen and paper, these videos advocate digital publishing. I certainly agree with this method. It is more current, more interactive, and can be used on more of a global scale. Students and adults can share knowledge not just with the few people who may or may not read a book in a library, but they can share it with the world when they post it on the Internet. That is a pretty cool thing for a kid especially to know - that so many will be able to read and be interested in what they have learned.

As far as whether or not I am ready for this, I'm not 100% sure. I am pretty proficient in word processing, but I don't claim to know all about it or the other forms of technology to use. This class has opened my eyes to the various means and methods that technology can be used. Specific to the topic of this video, however, I think I am pretty ready for this challenge.

I plan to prepare my students as well as I can in this area. I will implement both written and electronic assignments using all manner of technology as pertains to the assignment. I plan to learn all that I can so that I will be able to best serve the needs of my students. I want to offer all manner of activities and methods so that all my students will be able to maybe find that one thing that fits them that they are comfortable using.

The Networked Student
I have mixed feelings about this video by Wendy Drexler. On the one hand, I am completely on board with students having a PLN and using technology to learn. On the other hand, I am saddened to think that this may be, in some way, be eliminating the need for direct teaching. Although the video does maintain the role of the teacher as a moderator and one who teaches the students how to find these things, I imagine that this will eventually become all that a teacher is - even in the elementary school setting.

I think it is part of our job as teachers to train students to think for themselves and find answers on their own. That is a no brainer and something I think that every teacher should strive for. To put learning and school in an such an online format, I think, devalues the training that those in the field today have already gone through. Should they learn new methods? Absolutely! Should the ones coming behind them (myself included) be trained in this area? Yes! But should classes even at the elementary level be solely electronically based with the teacher who has gone through so much conventional training reduced to the role of moderator? Absolutely not!

I am not downing technology or being a moderator and teacher of these things. I think the good and creative teacher will find ways to combine the methods of the past with all the bright hope of the technology of the future. His or her training will be worth it, the students will be more balanced, and a lot of learning can still take place and be shared with the whole world! I look forward to implementing technology in my own classroom, but I also want to make the best use of the "pen and pencil" methods I have learned and will learn. I think it just makes sense to give our students the best of both worlds!

Toward a New Future of Whatever
I enjoyed Michael Wesch's video. There were a lot of parts of it that thoroughly confused me and made me wonder why the heck I was watching it. His delivery was really good, however, and he finally made it to something that made sense to me (YouTube!). YouTube is a fascinating tool that I can definitely see myself using. He also brought in Twitter, Facebook, and blogs as forms of expressions as well.

I can well relate to this "search for significance" and presenting a "version of myself" for the world to see. I think it is really important to always present yourself well. I have learned the importance of self-presentation during my college years because that sets the impression that people will have of you for years to come. It is nerve wracking, I imagine, to sit in front of a camera (or a person) and lay yourself out on the line. There is a lot at stake. I am self conscious about talking to a camera or the like when there are others watching. I am also not exactly keen on talking in front of others (although thanks to public speaking class, that is getting better.).

Comments for Teachers and Kids
Over the past few weeks, I have gotten to comment on some student blogs. Most of them are just about their day and things they are doing in class. I am able to encourage them and learn from them through these posts. This week was no exception, as I got to encourage some students in New Zealand as they take action to help their environment. I also got to comment on a teacher blog where she posted a really cute game (more about that in a future post) and able to make her a part of my PLN.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Better Late than Never - Week 6 Post

Dr. Alice Christie has a really awesome website ( where she discusses some popular things and how they can be used in the classroom. She has links and information about anything from Google Earth, GPS, and geocaching to podcasting, web design, and more. She really gives some helpful hints and information about these popular things and how some of them can be used in the classroom. The one that I liked most was Google Earth. I think that is one of the all time coolest tools EVER! It can help students learn about things and really give them a hands on sense of where things are in our world.

The thing that I appreciated most about this website is the information she gave on internet safety. She provided ways to be safe while using various forms of technology. I think this is an important thing to consider and to really warn your students about. So many things can go haywire on the web and students need to be aware of those things and know what to avoid and how to avoid it. Teachers also need to be aware of safety issues so that we can do our part to protect the impressionable eyes, ears, and minds of our students.


I have to be honest...the next topic is one that I am not familiar with at all. iTunes U definitely does look like something that is very usable in a classroom, however. Students can use things on there to learn about and hear things they may not otherwise get the opportunity to hear or learn about. One of the examples on the website was about listening to heart murmurs. Video can also be used to allow students to see things they may not otherwise get the chance to do so, like I discussed in an earlier post on podcasting.

I think perhaps my favorite and the coolest thing about iTunes U is that it makes things available to all students, regardless of disability. Visually impaired students can now feel a part of things when they can listen to a podcast about something and be able to know just what their non-impaired classmates got to know. It also helps students with motor disabilities be a part of things as well by being able to hear the same things that their classmates hear and experience. I think this is a GREAT tool that I can definitely see myself using.


iPods are also a product with which I am not very familiar, since I do not own one of my own. They do have a unique possibility in education, however. Thanks to this, I now have a better understanding of how they can be used.

Susie Meserve sat down with Robert Craven, the education technology coordinatior in Orange County [California] Department of Education. He gave some helpful insight on how iPods can be used and how they are use in his district. They are helpful for students to be able to download podcasts, audio books, and the like so that they can have them at their own disposal for whenever they are needed.

I think this is a neat tool, but should be used with great discretion. It has its many good points, but it can also be used for non-educational purposes during education time quicker than most things that are available. However, I definitely think that they should be utilized to the extent that is appropriate and that the student is able to use them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Week Five ~ Wikipedia and More


This is probably one of the most debated subjects in all of technology. Is it reliable or is it not? Anyone can post anything (generally speaking) and many may see it and take it as the truth. There are ways for that information to be tracked and monitored, but it still gravely affects the site's credibility as a source of reliable information. I don't want to destroy Wikipedia entirely. I think it is a good starting point. I do, however, think that one should be VERY careful using the site and not trust it alone. Search out other information. Expand beyond Wikipedia and get more information from places that might hold just a little more credibility than Wikipedia.


Mr. McClung, a Missouri teacher, posted a blog about his first year of teaching. The insights he shared were really profound, but simple at the same time. The main thing that stuck out to me was about listening to your students and keeping your lessons student centered. So often, we teachers can get caught up in the test scores, student achievement, and so on that we forget that school is all about the students anyways. We forget that they are the entire reason we are in the position we are! So instead of trying to impress our superiors, let's listen to our students. Let's involve them in the learning process. They will be much more willing to learn and participate if they have a say-so in the way things go, with the teacher providing management and authority. And I believe that if we do that, the achievement and high scores will come!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Week Four ~ Podcasts/Blogs

Podcasting and Blogging with 3rd Graders

I came across the Langwitches Blog about podcasting with 3rd graders. Since this is the grade I desire to teach, I was particularly interested in this one. The students assigned an endangered species in Florida and had to research it not only to become an expert on it, but to produce a podcast as well. It is neat to to think that they are not only becoming experts themselves, but they are sharing that expertise with other students across the country and the world.

I also found a post on this same blog entitled "Blogging with Elementary School Students". I know our focus this week is on podcasting and the like, but I found this article to be really neat as well. It talked about how students not only use classroom blogs just to foster their own creativity and such, BUT teachers also use as a means of communication. The post homework assignments, classroom announcements, and other important news. I think puts a new spin on the importance of blogging and of web communication in general (in all the various forms it takes).

I can absolutely see myself using both of these tools in my classroom one day. Podcasts are a really neat, interactive way to enhance student learning and to have something that they can preserve forever. Plus, the podcasts can be used to help other students learn as well. Blogs are really effective tools of creativity and communication. With the proper guidelines, I think any student of writing age can learn to blog and journal his or her thoughts.