Sunday, May 2, 2010
2.) I wish everyone in the class could have had some more hands on time with the "Smartboard" technology. These boards are beginning to pop up in schools around our area, so some of us might get a chance to use them fairly early in our careers. We did not get a back introduction to IWB's but I do wish we all could have actually used one a bit more.
3.) I don't think it is wise to try to forget anything from classes, especially not classes like this. The thing is it is impossible to tell exactly which resources we may need one day in our classes. Something that we may feel is not that important could actually turn out to be invaluable at some later date in our career. I plan to try and retain as much information from this class as I possibly can.
4.) I was excited when I put two and two together that kids these days love technology, and therefore will be much more apt to do assignments that involve some type of technology. I am also excited about being a cutting edge teacher who is constantly looking for new methods that may be more beneficial.
5.) I think the most intellectually challenging thing about this class was getting used to how to operate some of these programs. The html tags can be a little bit tricky and Google earth was a little bit complicated. All in all though, this class just asked for us to use our brains, there was nothing that was so intellectually complicated you had to be a Mensa candidate to grasp it.
6.) The only thing that was slightly boring about this class was some of the tedium that can be associated with feeling your way through new software. I sometimes found myself dreading that some of these assignments would be boring, but once I got into them they turned out to be pretty fun.
7.) I would probably just recommend adding the xtranormal website somewhere into the EDM 310 bag of tricks. I really enjoyed using the software and creating something that I felt was beneficial potentially to others. Interacting with this software was easy, fun, and educational. I also feel that this website could be used in schools that students of EDM 310 will eventually be teaching.
8.) I am technologically literate at the moment. I would say I am somewhere in between good and great as far as my competence right now. I feel that I can grasp just about any kind of software as long as I have a little time to try it out and experiment with the interface. I feel like I really understand how to use Blogger, Google Docs, Twitter, Skype, Delicious, Vocaroo, and others. I feel like I could step into a class tomorrow and be able to integrate technology into the curriculum immediately.
9.) I plan to maintain and improve my personal learning network by staying connected to all of the resources I have been given in this class. I want to continue expanding my professional blog and my pln through graduation and into my teaching career. I also plan to keep my eye out for new technologies as they develop and become available to the general public. Somebody, somewhere is working on software that could change the face of education.
Well, here I am at the end of the semester and I managed to accumulate a nice PLN. The list of people I follow on Twitter has gone up, and I am now following almost 50 educators including Jabiz Raisdana, Paula White, Kelly Hines, and Scott McLeod. My Delicious account grew exponentially over the course of the second half of the semester. I bookmarked basically every site we visited for this class and am now sharing the information on the world wide web. ITunes U has become an interesting source for me to get information, and since our group podcast assignments are up, I have a podcast that is out there for all to listen to. Comment 4 Teachers was definitely a nice addition to my PLN because it allowed me the chance to communicate with actual educators who are out there with real classes. It was nice to get their feedback and input about topics.
All in all, it is very nice to have a PLN. It feels good to start getting out there and connecting with other people who are in the same field as me. I am excited about the chance it affords for me to share information. I hope my PLN will continue to grow and improve over time as I am able to meet and collaborate with other teachers. I feel that I am lucky to have been exposed to PLN's in EDM 310, because I feel that they are part of the way education will work in the future. It's exciting to be thinking on the cutting edge, and looking for approaches to teaching that are innovative.
Friday, April 30, 2010
For this project, I decided to make a Google documents presentation that teaches how to use the xtranormal text to animation website we used in project 14. Hope it is helpful.
Week 9: For this week I commented on Moturoa's 2010 blog from New Zealand. This was the post I looked at. Here is the comment I left: "Hi, I am an Education Student at the University of South Alabama, taking a class called EDM310. I am sorry to hear that someone pooped in your school pool as well. At least the link to the site with the game was pretty fun and instructive. Hopefully, that won't happen to you guys in the future."
Week 10: The blog I posted on for this week, Mrs. Kolbert's Class blog was very good. I commented on "Leo's" blog post called "St. Patrick's Day." Here is my comment: "Hello, I am also a student at the University of South Alabama EDM 310 (Educational Media), I know that you are always supposed to wear green on St. Patty’s day. I also know that it is a sign of respect for the nation, and since I am part Irish I love it. James Joyce is one of my favorite writers, and he was Irish, so I like St. Patrick’s day for that reason too."
Week 12: I commented on the "Team One Rock Stars" blog. I left the following comment on Mahana'a post, entitled "Get read, set, go!" : Mahana, Hello, I am a college student at The University of South Alabama. I am reading and commenting on blogs in school all over the world for a class called EDM 310. This was a really nice post. I liked the drawing and I am glad you liked the obstacle course. Keep up the good work."
Week 13: I visited Room 14 and commented on this post by "Eleva" Here is what I said: "Eleva,
Hello, I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am reading and commenting on blogs all over the world for a class called EDM 310. The skating limbo game sounds like fun, even though I know I am a terrible skater. Keep up the good work, your class's blog is very impressive."
Week 14: I commented on Mrs. Kathy Cassidy's class blog. I looked at a post by "Hayden" about baseball and hockey. In the post, Hayden says that his dad taught him both baseball and hockey. I told him that I played baseball in college and that we don't get to play hockey very much in Alabama.
So, before this class I had very little knowledge about "Skype." I was skeptical about the credibility of the program, because I have thought that video chatting was somewhat suspect for a while. Now, after a semester of EDM 310, I have realized that Skype can be a very useful tool. The first time I got to participate in a Skype call was actually part of a business conference that someone I know was in with their fellow AT&T employees. They reported that Skype was invaluable to them because they are on so many trips. I also really liked the video's of the different educators who spoke with our class and Dr. Strange through Skype. It seems to me that I may one day definitely need Skype in my class. I like the fact that you can call anyone in the world, speak to them face to face, and not have to pay a dime for it. Over the course of the semester, I have made a few Skype calls to friends and family and have gotten used to the program. I am glad I now realize its advantages and how useful it is.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Well, at long last here it is: Project 14 (with Brittany Lewis and Sam Blackman) using this website (called xtranormal). Xtranormal allows people to create their own animated videos. We decided to make ours about two teachers who are discussing technology in the classroom.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
All in all, I feel like my PLN or PLE (whichever you prefer) is somewhat similar to this 7th grader's, but they definitely seem to have a more advanced hold on these 21st century tools. They are doing work that is based on electronic media, such as blogs and google doc presentations, and at least attempting to share it with peers and academics alike. This student has definitely embraced the digital age and it is exciting to see. I am continuing to expand my own PLN and it is growing daily. There are so many outlets for learning and sharing online, and this video is yet another example of how effective these can be.
This video was profoundly thought provoking. Basically the two questions it asks are very simple: A.) What is your sentence and B.) Am I better today than I was yesterday? The first question involves what sentence would accurately summarize one's life. For instance, Abraham Lincoln's sentence would be "he preserved the union and freed the slaves." This was a new thought for me. Asking this question of yourself can be self-reflexive to an extreme point. In the end, I feel like my sentence is really not ready to be written yet because I have not progressed far enough in my life to really accurately place anything. I have a lot of long-term goals that I want to be my sentence, but they have not been realized as of yet. The second question is actually one that I am familiar with, and actually have been practicing since I was 15 years old. One of my dad's oldest friends has been a long time principal in Tampa Bay, Florida. When I was about 15, he told me about this question and I have actually tried to use it. It has been helpful, the only problem than can occur from it involves when you are not sure if you can actually evaluate yourself. All in all, both of these questions seem ridiculously valid and pertinent in people's lives.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I am excited about the potential possibilities that blogging may have on my classroom. Again, I feel like I can't say it enough, teaching in this field is completely dependent on student engagement, and I am all for anything that can keep their attention. Blogging, at least for now, seems like something worth experimenting with. I don't necessarily think it will be a "cure-all" for the engagement issue, but kids today are definitely fascinated with technology. I think a key to the blogging assignments is having students actually get feedback for their work. If this is accomplished, it seems like the sky is the limit. I was hesitant about their utility for a while, but I have slowly been becoming a bigger fan of them. They seem fresh. What do all of you think out there? Would you have appreciated having a blog assignment when you were in middle/high school?
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I can't help but feel like the "Dear Kaia" post from last week is one example of how vital student blogging can be. If Mr. Chamberlain's students had not been blogging in school, they never would have gotten to learn everything they did from their experience with Kaia and Jabiz. This is the type of change that educators should be open to. The key is to remain unlike the Zax, and be willing to alter our course as we need to.
I also feel like the Skype conversation with Mrs. Kelly Hines serves as another indicator that student blogs, and online sharing are a positive force in the educational world of today. It is incredibly fascinating that our class was able to have such an informative discussion about technology with an active professional teacher. If her students were not blogging and sharing their work on the web, our class would have never been able to learn from, and gather information about the way things are out there in the actual teaching world of today.
Our EDM 310 "Comment 4 Kids" assignments has also served as another good example of how student's work on blogs can be very beneficial. Getting to read actual student's work, from actual classes that are using technology today has been an eye opening experience. It's given me an idea of what kind of blog assignments teachers are using right now. This type of curriculum is something that it is brand new, so it's nice to be able to look at some examples of the different types of work that students and teachers are doing.
On the surface, this story could be passed off as being an insignificant encounter on the internet. Just a few pictures of a nature walk were shared, but this I feel signifies what is becoming a major shift in the Educational paradigm. These people were able to share ideas and experiences in a way that would never be possible without technology. Everyone involved with this story learned a lot. What I feel is most interesting too, is that Kaia was able to actually ENJOY the learning process. By sharing her learning experience online and getting such positive feedback, she will no doubt begin to foster a love for learning, and not only that, but a love for learning that includes technology. As far that the privacy issues, I believe that as long as parents, mentors, and educators do a good job of showing their students/children how to properly surf the net for information and connections, they can remain safe.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I decided to make my survey about something that I could at least attempt to apply to my field (Secondary Education/ Language Arts). My hypothesis was that students who read more will be better suited to: A.) Enjoy writing and B.) Achieve good scores on writing assignments. All in all, my results are not really that indicative of anything in particular. 62% of my subjects read 5 books or less over a six-month span. 81% reported that less than 2 of these books were required for school. 88% reported reading less than 5 books on their own time. The interesting thing is that 94% said they get A's or B's on all of their writing assignments. This was somewhat troubling for me, and frankly I question the honesty of some of my subjects. 69% also reported that they enjoy writing, which in my estimation, should have been 94% since that many said they get A's or B's. Either way below are links to both my survey and results.
The Reading and Writing Connection Survey
Results for The Reading and Writing Connection Survey
Sunday, April 18, 2010
For this portion of the "Comment for Teachers" assignment, I commented on the "Intrepid Teacher" blog of Jabiz Raisdana (found here). This was yet another very interesting professional blog from an actual educator in the classroom of today.
The first post I commented on was titled "Big Wheel Keep on Turning." The post listed and described some of the assignments, reasons for assignments, and the basic overall progress of the class. My comment read as follows:
I am one of Dr. Strange’s students at The University of South Alabama in EDM 310. My blog can be found at http://www.arthurfarisedm310.blogspot.com. I will be commenting on three of your posts on this blog as part of our class-wide “comment for teachers” project. I am very impressed that you have such limited resources at your disposal, yet are able to provide your students with a technological education. I think that the shift toward for technologically based media for education is inevitable. It’s good that you have your students using gmail and collaborating online to become more knowledgeable. Many of the things that you have your students doing is exactly what we are doing in Dr. Strange’s class. Keep up the good work, and you’re right it is great to be doing something that you love."
The second post a commented on "Nature of War," detailed an assignment that Raisdana was using to get his students to think about the deeper concepts of war. He posted a video of one of his students actual presentations, it is very good.
I commented with this: "Incredible. I think it is overwhelmingly important to teach students to do more than memorize dates, facts, names, ect… They need to be taught to actually analyze the overarching themes, and critically evaluate events and data. You have done an inspiring job of that with this assignment. The sample video you posted is amazing, it illustrates that your students are really evaluating and making deeper connections with the condition of war. This is really great and exciting work."
The third and final post I commented on dealt with the compatibility of new technology like the Ipad, with the older way of reading and writing (See video at the top of this post). I commented the following:
"In my opinion, the key problem here seems to center around some of the recreational activities that technology is often used for these days. For kids, I believe this makes them only associate the devices they are using with games. Some of these games and technologies seem to condition the user to only respond to very quick “flash in the pan” emotions. The problem here is that reading literature, and comprehending words and language can be a somewhat demanding and slow process. I worry that apps like these teach kids to be averse to slower and more complex thought processes that really are necessary for true lingual evaluation and learning. As long as the true intellectual process of interacting with words is preserved to some degree in these apps, I think they could be useful.A.W. Faris
For my first comment for teachers assignment, I followed three weeks worth of posts by Alan Strange. Strange is a teacher in Canada. Strange is a teacher in Southern Saskatchewan, Canada. His blog can be found here. The topics of posts I commented on ranged from merit pay for teachers, students' responses to teacher's methods, and a school where students and teachers collaborate to make rules.
The first comment I posted was titled "It's not What we Teach." In this post, Strange points out that the actual material taught by instructors is not as important as how the students respond to it. My comment read :
I am a Secondary Education major at the University of South Alabama. I am currently in a class called Educational Media (EDM 310).I have been assigned to read your blog and comment for the next three weeks’ posts. I will be summarizing my comments and posting them on my blog at http://www.arthurfarisedm310.blogspot.com. This post was definitely very interesting for me. It seems true that sometimes there is a disconnect between students and their teachers. I think that the ability to keep students engaged in and understanding the material the way we, as educators, want them to can be really tough. Pedagogical self-evaluation seems to be one of the most vital tools for all educators. The good ones can keep a definitive pulse on the attitude of their students."
My second comment was to a post about The Summehill School. In Summerhill, teachers and students are free to co-create rules and regulations for their school.
"Really insightful post. I really like the Summerhill model as being a potential framework for new classrooms. I get really excited when I read about educators who are investigating the possibility of revolutionizing the way we instruct and educate the generations of today. I want to be on the forefront of a newly evolved and more efficient secondary education world. The only draw-back I see to this model is that it would take some amount of time, in my estimation, for a freedom based model like Summerhill to be fully operational. In one school I have worked in, I know for a fact that the students have been so conditioned to the authoritarian model that they would run wild with the new freedom. They would make outlandish proposals that would never be realistic. In my eyes, it would take a shift at the lowest grade levels first before a k-12 implementation could be used. It’s all still exciting stuff though."
My third comment was about a post on the flaws of merit pay for teachers.
"I think that right now merit pay is just simply too good to be true. It would be wonderful if there was a fair way to evaluate teachers’ and students’ success and reward the teachers who were performing at the highest level. Sadly, we live in an incredibly flawed world where things like merit pay are just too utopian for the education system of today. Right now, it seems that each of us can really only do the best we can. I would rather be paid less and KNOW my students were getting quality, useful instruction than be paid more and have students who really had not learned anything valuable while they were in my classroom."
I really liked the critical stance that Alan Strange took on these posts. I think it is vital for teachers to be both critical and self-evaluative.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Morgan Bayda's post "An Open Letter to Educators" (follow this link to see her post) offers some interesting food for thought about the current education system, specifically at the University level. She references a video by Dan Brown (above) and ponders the state of higher education today. I feel like my experiences with education at the University level are somewhat different than many people's because I am an English major. I am used to having an insane amount of assigned readings, and usually I am able to get through them. With that being said, I can also definitely respect the plight of people like Brown and Bayda. There are many incongruous aspects of the education system and the lives of students.
The education system of today is based on a framework from a time when information was very difficult to come across without having tons of money. This led to the rise of collegiate institutions which had affluent students spending their parent's money to learn information. Nowadays, it is true that information is much more easy to access. People spanning the globe are used to getting their information through the internet and it only makes sense that they will feel much more comfortable in an academic program that embraces the information age. The education system should update itself to these changes, and I think that it SLOWLY is. I feel at this point like EDM 310 itself (and the class the Bayda described herself, ECMP 355) serve as proof that education is evolving, if only at a snails pace (because classes as innovative as these are truly few and far between). I do not feel that I personally need these changes in order to avoid dropping out of college, but I understand why many are frustrated. Our society does not behave or learn the same ways it did 100 years ago, and the education system often behaves like a 100 year old grand-parent scolding its progeny about how easy they have things. I think that this information revolution is happening no matter what, and Education should evaluate where it stands. I am optimistic though, because I think that some type of education system will be around as long as people are.
ALEX or The Alabama Learning Exchange (http://alex.state.al.us/index.php) provides a wonderful electronic database for educators. The website has received awards for achievement in digital education in 2008 and 2009. The thing I like the most about the website is that it is an open collaboration for teachers, administrators, and students state wide. I spent some time looking around the site, and found a ridiculous amount of information about virtually every subject that is being taught in schools. The ALEX website is something that I knew literally nothing about, but now that I have seen it I definitely think I could use it one day in my own classroom.
ALEX offers information on courses of study, lesson plans, a personal workspace, a search feature, links to other websites with pertinent information, and even a "treasury" of Pod Casts. All of these resources have information about any subject from science to health education. I took a more detailed look at some of the English language arts courses of study and lesson plans. I found that information and suggestions were available for every grade level K-12. The lesson plans were really amazing because they are created by actual teachers in the state of Alabama. I look at one in particular from Bibb County High School created by John Simmer. The lesson plan was designed for 11th grade students and dealt with Puritan writers and their views of God and the Devil. This lesson plan can be found here. I also listened to a Pod Cast interview of Alabamian Rick Bragg (found here). It was an exciting experience to realize that a database like this exists in our state. I can definitely see myself going back to it, if nothing else for all of the lesson plans, but somehow I think I will use it for many other things, including hopefully, the pod casts.
This website is also an exciting discovery similar to ALEX because I did not know it existed previous to this. I like it because it makes it obvious that because of technology no teacher has to feel alone in their classrooms. Resources like the ACCESS website allow teachers to connect and collaborate with other teachers. I am impressed that our state is making moves like this to try and improve our education system. Hopefully, it will continue to grow and accumulate information that will improve the quality of education for all students in the state of Alabama. Technology is definitely going to be part of the classrooms of tomorrow, and its refreshing to know that Alabama is making the necessary steps to include it in the education of its citizens.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Week 6: This week I commented on "TomJoe's" blog: http://pestomjoet.blogspot.com/. My comment read: "I am a student at the University of South Alabama and I was assigned to read your blog for one of my classes. This blog is very impressive, and I really liked this post about Phineas and Ferb. I have never seen the show, but your post definitely makes it seem funny enough to watch. Keep up the good work in school." This blog was a little bit more informal , but it was fun to read.
Week 7: http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?user_id=65078&blogger_id=299304. This week I commented on Staphons post about coral reefs. The post was very informative, and I complemented him on his work.
Week 8: http://temijuopelo.edublogs.org/2010/02/05/six-traits-organisation/#comment-56. This was a particularly interesting blog post for me to read, because I am also taking EH 401 (teaching composition). In EH 401 we discuss the sic-trait rubric for writing in great detail. My comment read : "I am a student at The University of South Alabama, and I was assigned to read your blog. This is an amazingly good post. I am studying to be an English teacher
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I really liked Rausch's description of everything he learned from his experiences in trying to become and NFL football player. His idea of 'head fakes' that indirectly teach traits through some other medium is spot on. More specifically, Rausch mentions that the long term lessons of football are not how to block and tackle, but rather the deeper values taught in football such as perseverance. He calls on teachers to look out for these 'head fakes' as potential ways to successfully impact students' lives. His point that "if nobody is criticizing you, they probably have given up on you" is definitely something I agree with and have used in my own coaching career with my own players.
Dr. Rausch also makes mention numerous times about figurative "brick walls" that people are bound to hit throughout their lives. He points out that brick walls are only in place to keep those who do not want something bad enough from getting it. He asserts that brick walls are merely a challenge and that the ultimate key is to keep going. This is also a value that I have attempted to infuse into the minds of students I have had the opportunity to instruct. Being able to teach values like this is probably one of the most special opportunities for educators, because lessons like these are not forgotten after the final exams are over, but stay with students for a lifetime.
Dr. Rausch's tales of his career in virtual reality and educating students about it is amazing. One of his lifelong goals was to work as an 'imaganineer' at Disney Land, a dream that he was eventually able to achieve. He also points out that as educators, one of our goals must be to help students achieve each of their own childhood dreams. I found this to be a very profound idea about the long term goal of teachers, and I think that this is definitely true. I would argue that everyone dreams of great thing during those years of childhood wonder, and teachers are definitely on the forefront of being able to help people achieve these dreams. It is a goal of mine to be a teacher that hopefully can do things that enable my students to one day achieve their dreams. Dr. Rausch was able to help many of his students accomplish their dreams, such as working on Star Wars films, and I can only hope to one day be able to tell stories like this about my own students one day.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Dr. Miller calls on anyone who cares about books, words, literature, and learning in general to consider the possibilities of technology and the Internet in classrooms of the future. He talks about his own personal collaborations on projects such as one about Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. Miller believes that in the future students will undoubtedly create work that goes far beyond the written word on paper. Miller's vision includes work that is an experience in and of itself; projects that have text, audio, and visual components that appeal to multiple senses. Miller feels like it is imperative for those of us in the humanities to begin making work like this that is profound, beautiful, and experimental. Until such work is made and gains notoriety, his vision will be only a conjecture about what may be to come.
Dr. Miller feels like libraries are obsolete now, and points out that most of his work is done without ever setting foot in one. He makes an interesting point that Universities, for the most part, are designed around being accessible by the automobile. In the future, Universities may find themselves in a world where academics no longer have to travel to go to school. I am excited about being an educator during times such as these. A certain type of upheaval seems to be looming off in the distance, and these winds of change seem to be propelled by technology. I feel like I am ready for this new world, I am fascinated by experimentation and a general rethinking of how things are done, especially in the field of English. I do not know when I will have the tools I will need to infuse my own classes with 21st century pedagogy, but I certainly feel that one day education will get the technology and funding it truly deserves. I do not really worry about my future students being ready for the cutting edge curriculum I want to throw at them, because their lives already include regular use of technology.
The video points out that technology allows students to share bookmarks, URLs, Wikis, blogs, and much more to research material they are studying. They can be part of a globe spanning community which exchanges their findings and information about virtually any topic. They can create virtual textbooks of their own and become individuals who are capable of learning and problem solving by themselves. Millions of people (especially school-aged individuals) have MP3 players or Ipods, and Drexler's video also points out that these are also tools that can be implemented in a 21st century learning program. I find any idea like this to be something that must be heavily considered because it presents a chance to actively engage students in academic materials. It allows us as educators to think about fusing what we want students to learn with tools that these students use everyday in their lives and that they enjoy using.
At the end of the video, the question "why does the networked student need a teacher?" is asked. In the end, even with all of these new possibilities students will still need teachers. They will need people like teachers to guide them along their journeys of learning. Teachers also can provide successful models for students in terms of creating their own learning networks. Teachers will most likely keep students on task with subject matter and help them anytime they get stuck. I feel like I am rapidly becoming ready for teaching a potential class that implements these tools in the future. I can't help feeling that it may take some time for me to actually get to use technology in my classroom (thanks to funding and "No Child Left Behind"), but I am definitely looking forward to that day and I hope to be more than ready for it.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I was very interested also by a link on Dr. Christie's site called Library Thing (http://www.librarything.com/). This site allows people to catalog books that they have read and enjoyed, and allows connections to others who have similar literary interests. As a future English teacher I find it amazing that it is possible to connect with others and learn about new books and literature. I know I can definitely use this in the future in my own classroom. I think students would really like a website like this because they can find more and more literature that they will enjoy, thus making them better students. One of the hardest battles that English teachers face is keeping their students interested, and many of the ideas Dr. Christie explores with technology is a great way to keep students engaged and interested because technology is an everyday part of the lives of 21st century students.
I definitely feel like this could be an application I could one day use in my own classroom. Students today can become very easily bored, and they do not like waiting long amounts of time to find information. ITunes U caters to the way students these days are accustomed to living, therefore they are much more likely to be learning. ITunes U seems like a great way to disassociate the world of academia from the tedious nature that so many students correlate it to. I think that once students understand that learning really is a fun and exciting task, they are going to be much more receptive to instruction.
http://cit.duke.edu/pdf/reports/ipod_initiative_04_05.pdf details the specifics of the results of the IPod initiative at Duke. Being that this University was one of the first to explore this technology as part of its academic programs, there were some problems. Some faculty had difficulty locating materials they needed for their lectures and lessons, students also found finding and buying materials from ITunes to be cumbersome. All in all however, the program seems to have been a success, and a model for educators everywhere. I feel as though the IPod could one day be a powerful ally for me as an educator. I want my students to enjoy learning, not dread it. IPods and education may definitely be a winning combination.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
If anyone can change anything they want to on Wikipedia, can it be trusted? I say no. The most important aspect when doing research about anything is that all sources of information are from a verified objective expert source. If I were doing research to determine if Wal-Mart was ripping off their employees, I would not expect their C.E.O. to give me the most honest objective answer. Therefore, if said C.E.O. can go on Wikipedia and manipulate any information he or she wants, then Wikipedia is not reliable or objective. While there is some evidence that Virgil Griffith is not actually a Graduate student at Cal-tech, and that his program is "re-inventing the wheel," the fact that information on Wikipedia can be changed by anyone remains a fact. A fact that is VERY troubling for those of us who really care about reliable sources and information.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
This week, I continued to read and watch videos about podcasting. One video that was really interesting to me was called "The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom." The video highlighted many of the reasons why podcasts can be a very useful tool in the schools. I thought the video made a great point about how podcasts can be used to record lessons so that students can access the class materials from anywhere via the internet. The video used an example of a sick student who was able to keep up with her school work by using her teacher's podcasts.
I was also very interested in the fact that tech activities such as podcasting often call for students to engage in cognitive activities that are near the top of "Bloom's Taxonomy." I feel like the biggest problem in education right now is that students are not forced to exercise their brains through the use of their higher reasoning ablilities. Students get too many assignments that are near the bottom of bloom's taxonomy. By using these higher end cognitive processes students are essentially arming themselves for successful life in the professional world. This is because they become able to use critical thinking to find answers to problems they may have never encountered before. Basically, they can think their way through any situation, which could perhaps be the most important skill for any person to learn.
I am starting to look forward to actually getting to create a podcast of my own. I read several resources this week which have given me some groundwork from which to work on my podcast project. I think that podcasts are interesting because you can use tools like music and sound effects to liven up the podcast. Podcasting can break up some of the tedium that is often associated with many school activities. They seem to make learning more fun for people who may have not liked traditional scholastic activities. Podcasting also shares that wonderful quality with so many other tech based academic activities: the ability to share knowledge and information with people throughout the world. Being able to collaborate the world over makes education into a limitless field where knowledge is readily and easily available.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Week 3: Introduction to the World of Podcasts, Mrs. Cassidy's Class, and a One Year Old with an I Phone
Many of the educational podcasts on iTunes are just audio clips of people speaking and conducting interviews. These seem to be aimed towards a more academic audience, but they offer some very interesting ideas for 21st century teachers. David Warlick conducts a very lively discussion with teachers and librarians about the uses of podcasts. This podcast points out that the most interesting part of podcasts, like many other new technologies, is that they allow students to connect and learn with students in classrooms miles away. Ben Hazzard offers some great information about Smart Boards (another new technology available to teachers today) and ways that teachers can utilize them in their community of learners. Hazzard's goal is to connect teachers everywhere, which is a very exciting prospect.
Podcasts are not simply audio clips of people talking, many of them on iTunes use music and sound effects as well. This music seems to liven up the mood of the podcasts, and could definitely be a way to get students to more actively engage online materials. The "Kid Cast.com" podcast channel offers a wide range of podcasts created by young students. These podcasts give students a chance to have fun while actively learning new tools that are available to them. Many of the pod asts have students book reviews, readings, and reports on current events. These podcasts provide an example for future educators to consider, they could become a very successful tool in the classrooms of tomorrow.
Podcasts are so interesting because they supply a platform for people to be a part of the collective learning community. The "EdTechTalk.com" podcast spoke about the need for teachers to create this learning community within their own classrooms. Students of today feel at home with technology, and podcasts are not something that seem foreign to them. We, as educators, need to evaluate the potential benefits of these podcasts in our own pedagogy. The goal teachers have is a common one, to help each of their students reach their maximum potential in life as well as school. Podcasts are innovative and could be innvaluable for teachers to get their students engaged with class material. There are so many different techniques for making them, and allow students to collaborate in the material they are learning.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Michael Wesch manages to definitely hit on some very interesting thoughts and concepts for educators to consider about their students. Some of the aspects of life as a student in the video, however, were focused on college students. High school students in public schools do not have to pay for textbooks, nor do they go into debt while in high school. Moreover, in the state of Alabama at least, high school students do not face issues of extreme over-crowding in school. Statistics can always be used to support one argument or another as well, which simply means that all of Wesch's statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. All in all, the video is very thought provoking, and supplies plenty of points for educators to consider. I believe that videos like this beg the question: can we more effectively reach our students and engage them in the learning process with the help of technology? Hopefully the near future will provide us with the right answer.
Hines contends that in actuality, technology will be useless in 21st century classrooms without a fundamental change in the way educators think. I think this is a very good point. The fact is that there are many educators out there who have been working as teachers for many many years. I have no doubts that they are somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of having to learn a whole new set of skills involving technology, but to teach is to be a person who learns their entire life. Teaching truly is not the same as learning, which Hines also asserts, but no matter what we must always consider the best ways we can help foster success in our students. As technology continues to improve it will become more and more difficult for educators to avoid using it. It is probably a good idea for this generation of teachers to begin preparing to welcome these new tools.
Another one of Fisch's key points is the analogy of a tech-illiterate (and unwilling to learn) teacher today is the same as a truly illiterate teacher thirty years ago. This, for me, is a little bit too much of a leap to make. Teachers by and large have been literate for longer than thirty years. Technology is only a tool that can advance the core material that students learn, reading and writing is that core material. Without this material, technology is useless. Even though this particular point may be a bit far fetched, this post is definitely one worth reading and considering. Teachers really should not have to be forced to use and learn new technologies for their students, rather they should want to with a burning desire. Many of these outlets are very exciting and allow teachers resources that no teachers in the past could have ever dreamed of.
"Gary's Social Media Count" by Gary Hayes offers truly profound evidence of just what a huge factor social networks have become in today's society. As soon as I clicked on the link to this site, the numbers began racing upwards. In 100 seconds there were over 1000 blog posts and over 5000 Tweets alone. This evidence only proves the fact that our society is truly enthralled with social networks. As educators, we must consider that networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Delicious can more than likely be used in some capacity to serve students . They are a new phenomenon but the magnitude of people's use of them cannot be understated. Infusing these networks in the classroom will take some creativity, but it may be a worthwhile endeavour.
Perhaps the biggest drawback that scholars would comment on with social networks is their lack of actual scholastic information. This is something that has definitely been true, but it is also something that can be changed. If these networks are to be used in classrooms of the future, it will be up to teachers and students to merge scholastic thinking and technological media. This would create and even greater range of ways scholars can exchange thoughts and information. Just because social networks are new does not mean that they are intrinsically bad. It will be up to educators and students of the future to turn these networks into a viable tool that teachers can turn to.