Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My EDM Assignments Are Now Complete..

To my classmates (all 3 of you, lol), it was a pleasure this semester. I feel very lucky that we had such a small class which allowed it to be a personable atomosphere. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your path that leads you to your destination.
Kitty, I can tell that you give a 100% in everythig you do, it is admirable. Thank you for inviting us into your gorgeous home after class.
Dana, you are already plannig your next blog, that is great! I will for sure check it out and good luck!
Megan, you are going to be a wonderful teacher someday soon.

Enjoy what you do! Laugh along the way!

Check this out if you haven't! http://http://mcclungsblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/clippers-for-cancer.html

What I learned

Let me start off this blog by thanking Dr. Strange for his time, patience, and enthusiasm towards bringing technology into the classroom. Being a person that does not particularly love school, you made it a great experience for me this summer. I have learned so much in this short period of time and enjoyed it every step of the way. These are tools that will be very useful to me which is really cool. I look back at this short semester and honestly it is a blur. I said a couple of comments the other week in class and I meant them. I have only two regrets when it comes to this class. First off, I wish I wouldn't have taken it in the summer. I feel I enjoyed it too much and wish I could have taken my time in this particular class. Summers are an especially crazy time for me with work as well as other things I have going on. I would suggest to anyone to take this in a full semester term to get the full feel of it. Secondly, I almost wish I would have waited until closer to my graduation date. This will be useful to me while I am working on my degree however technology is changing so rapidly that taking it your last semester puts it fresh in your mind as you get out and hopefully begin your carrer. I am thinking I'll see you again Dr. Strange! I may just have to come back and audit this class.
I am no where near technologically literate, however I have a foundation to build on along with a positive attitude! Before this class I did not know much about blogging, RSS feeds, networking, google docs, podcasting/videocasting, iTunes U, wiki, twitter, (there's more...). I most certainly didn't have an understanding of the benefits of all of it which I do now.
I will wrap this up by again thanking Dr. Strange and I hope you know how inspiring you are! I would also like to thank Mr. Lamshed, Mr. McClung, and Mr. Chamberlain for sharing their work. Let me promote teachers, students, or anybody to check out http://attheteachersdesk.com to see first hand what some amazing teachers are doing with thier students as well as some inspiring thoughts and ideas.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What does it take to be a technologically literate teacher? Is it ok not to be?

I think one of the big steps in becoming a technologically literate teacher is having an open mind about it in the first place. You have to be willing to learn. You have to have patience and understanding that new developments are being made every single day so the learning never ends. This whole new wave of teaching/learning/collaborating/networking is not going away so there is no reason not to explore it. By ignoring it teachers are doing no good for their students. It will certainly take a majority of people out of their comfort zone however the benefits will speak for themselves.
These are the BASIC things a teacher should be able to do or be familiar with on the path to becoming a technologically literate teacher:

RSS Feeds
Google Docs

The rest will come as you explore and adventure out into cyberspace. With the number of people out there collaborating and sharing ideas and helpful tools there isn't much of an excuse to not be a technologically literate teacher. That is unless you just plain don't want to... well then... get yourself another career! (Was that too harsh?)


Pluses and Minuses of Blogging in the Classroom

Let's start with the minuses...

Ok, well on to the pluses of blogging in the classroom. First off it can be a great classroom communication system. You can use it for responses to lessons, sharing ideas, or even assignments. In fact, I can remember at a fairly young age in school having a class journal. How about instead of turning in a notebook journal having a student blog!
Another great benefit of blogging in the classroom is nation wide and world wide collaboration. I am particularly excited about bring this into my classroom one day. Something else I remember doing at a young age in school is everyone in the class was paired up with a "pen pal" from another classroom in another country. We exchanged photos and letters about what we were doing in our classroom, our culture, and current news happening around us. Now days this is easier and quicker than ever by just doing it through blogging. You can collaborate with other classes or students anywhere around the globe instantly! What a powerful and exciting learning tool!
Having a classroom blog can be beneficial to parents as well. You don't have to worry about sending home papers with students knowing there is a chance it won't make it into mom or dads hands. The blog can be a place parents can check for newsletters and updates straight from the teacher as well as the progress of their child and his or her class.
Blogging can be done anywhere, anytime (with access to a computer/internet). Let's hope it is a priority of parents to make sure these are available to their children. If not there are always libraries and school computer labs.
Right now this is a fairly new trend so students will be more enthusiastic about this new style of learning, collaborating and exploring!
The possibilities here are endless. I couldn't come up with any real negatives of blogging in the classroom but that doesn't mean there won't be obstacles. I believe it is worth it though.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer 09 podcasts

During our time together this summer we participated in a podcast. Megan and Dana's topic was listeners/watchers versus readers/writers. Kitty and I teamed up to argue against the idea of replacing the schools with computers/technology. Dr. Strange wanted us to make a couple suggestions for improvement or some feedback so here are my suggestions.
First off, I think that it should have some sort of time frame set.
I think that it should have been ran through once before hand. Especially since this was the first time any of us had ever done a podcast.
Basically I know for myself that this was a subject that could go on for hours. So when it came time for the podcast one comment can turn the whole direction of the conversation. It was like I wasn't ready to be done because I didn't even get to discuss my most important points. I guess that is all apart of adapting to the situation.
However, we all participated and took it seriously and from what I could see everyone enjoyed themselves and learned something at the same time. Isn't that what's important?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Richard E. Miller Videos

Dr. Miller, from Rutger University provides an in depth view of what writing is headed toward here in the 21st century and in the future. Dr. Miller grew up with books and himself stated that he is a reader/writer. Here in these videos he is sharing his awareness of the technology around us and gives great insight and ideas of how to adapt with the changing technology. We have moved from printed materials to laptops which provides information to us instantly. Along with this instant information all of this allows for quick and easy ways of communicating and collaborating. This is a very beneficial tool we have today and should be taken advantage of.
Dr. Miller has fine ideas and good reason to speak about them. He is acknowledging the changing technological world and has decided to jump aboard. He is clearly a life long learner and hopefully it helps other people make the leap into the vastly changing new generation of learning.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding the Passion: Update

Mr. Lamshed provided another another great podcast by Sir Ken Robinson on his "finding the passion" post update. He elaborates on his ideas of passion and education. It is almost as if he gives you the tools to find your hidden talents and passions.
I agree and love what he says about passion and what it can do for you. I think it is such a key in success and happiness both. It is a great challenge that I accept with pleasure and excitement in finding passion in the children I plan to teach in the future.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Finding the Passion"

On April 24, 2009 Mr. Jarrod Lamshed posted his thoughts on passion on this website. Let me just say that I believe Mr. Lamshed can make anybody feel passionate about being in this field. He hits the main point of becoming a teacher in this post. We need to help kids find what they are passionate about. Mr. Lamshed understands and promotes this and has miraculous outcomes! If you don't believe me just check out the song in it that one of his kids did from his class, truly awesome.
He also has a short movie with is a speech by Sir Ken Robinson in his post. The ideas and concerns he expresses are well worth addressing. He sees that we are all born creative people, that sadly we get educated out of it. We as educators have to make a conscious effort to allow children to explore in the things they can excel in. Thank you again Mr. Lamshed

The Edible Schoolyard AND A Night in the Global Village

Want to witness creative ways that children are being allowed to control their own project learning experiments? In iTunes U you can go to Edutopia and find these two podcasts I just had the pleasure of viewing. It is pretty cool what they do here. It is another way to step outside of the box and give children valuable learning experiments that I would bet they never forget.
"The Edible Schoolyard" gives us insight into what these Middle School students are getting the opportunity to do in Berkley, California. They spend the first hour of school caring for their organic garden and in a kitchen classroom setting. It is a valuable hands on project based learning experience for these students. They learn about growing, harvesting, produce, nutrition, working together, and basic kitchen and table values. These children are very lucky to have this integrated into their education system. It takes them out of a desk and puts them in an active learning environment. These kids probably aren't even realizing the amount of education they are actually getting.
"A Night in the Global Village" is a project that puts students in a poverty stricken village for a night. They role play in this re-creation of communities in developing countries. It gives them real insight into hunger and poor living standards. It looked pretty intense on the podcast and students clearly learned a lot from it.
Project based learning is a fabulous thing teachers can do for their students. It is inspiring to see these things going on in school systems. Hopefully when present or future teachers get wind of these type of learning experiments it sparks some drive to incorporate project based learning in their schools or classrooms.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Growth" vs. "Fixed" Minds

Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford produced a video podcast discussing "Growth" and "Fixed" mindsets. What she is saying is that many students (can also apply to adults) are stuck in a "fixed" mindset. This basically means that they believe they hold a certain amount of intelligence. This affects the way they do their activities, projects, thinking, etc. The first thing they think about before producing something is "will I look smart?" It is kind of like they are afraid of challenging themselves. I can relate to what she is saying here. If I am being completely honest I think I have spend the majority of my life in this mindset, almost putting a cap on learning. I think I could have expanded my educational experiences and knowledge had been taught otherwise.
What she is trying to do here and has done a study on is the concept of the "growth" mindset. This is where students believe in challenging themselves, believing that their intelligence can grow. In teaching this "growth" mindset they see the brain as being a muscle growing with new information learned. They are taught not to be afraid of the unknown, but instead to learn it and expand your intelligence level.
I see a good bit of what Professor Dweck is talking about and doing here. I agree with a lot of what she is saying. However, I do have to give a shout out to my fellow classmate Kitty who kind of made me see it in another light as well. I do not feel that we should attach labels to kids as well, and that learning should work to be more individualized for the kids. Kids learn in many different ways and it is our job to find ways to connect to these kids. However... something very interesting to think about.

Video Podcasts in iTunes/WGBH

I went into iTunes and checked out some video podcasts under WGBH. Honestly I watched a handful of them because I though; wow, how cool. The videos I watched were k-5 and I found myself learning! I watched videos on clouds, why the moon doesn't fall down, coral reef, solar eclipse's, and a few more. Some were just visual, some were visual plus speaking. I really like that they are short video podcasts with one simple topic to share about such as "What is a Planet?" This is great for the younger years.
These video podcasts can be a fabulous tools for teachers. It makes me sit back and wonder why teachers would just want to sit in front of these children, make them pull out their textbook and just spit this information to them. These video podcasts are a great way to get their attention and curiosity levels up. It did mine, and I am 25 years old.
If you'd like to check this out go to iTunes, then iTunesU, then featurned providers/WGBH, then K-12. If you haven't, it will be worth your time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

iTunes University

Bare with me here, I almost feel as if I am starting to sound repetitive in some of my blogs. iTunes University is a fabulous resource. It is basically free educational media available to students, teachers, administrators, or anyone wanting to learn. Teachers can create lessons and share them on iTunes for anyone's benefit or they can make them available only to their students. The cool thing is that you can pull up lectures or materials missed right on your ipod.
There are other advantages of iTunesU as well. Teachers and students can post podcasts, share media tools, and schools can share the benefits its school has to offer and use that for recruiting purposes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

IPODS in Education

Dr. Strange wanted us to search the web for suggestions or experiences using ipods in the classrooms. I must say it was quite interesting. Honestly, before I took this class I didn't think much about my ipod (iphone) as more than a way to listen to my music when I am working out or driving down the road. It is amazing the different things you can do with it. Apple has an official website about iPods in education which has a lesson plan page, how-to-guides, audio files and more!
In 2004, Duke University did an experiment where they gave each incoming freshman an ipod to explore how they can enhance academics and student life. Now, Duke offers them through specific classes with professors that plan on using them.
After searching around a little bit, I found one website that I really liked. Check out this website and get some more ideas on technological resources, incorporating iPods in the classroom and tips for teachers and parents to help along the way. I like it because it focuses on the 4th grade and younger and that is the area of teaching I want to be in.


Another wonderful and useful website! The Alice Christie Website is a fabulous source for teachers from a knowledgeable and experienced woman. She shares excellent tools on how to bring technology into the classroom.
On her website I clicked on classes, then proceeded to check out using multimedia in presentations. Here you can check out anything from her student blogs to educational portals to in class exercises. These are things I plan on using in my classroom one day. The more you get exposed to them, the easier it comes to grasp the whole technology in the classroom movement. The only way to see the value it really holds is to check it out. Thank you Dr. Christie for sharing your valuable tools and insight.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wikipedia: Is It Reliable?

Wikipedia is basically a free online encyclopedia that can give you information on just about any topic. There is now much controversy surrounding wikipedia and its representation of accuracy. I am glad I got a chance to read up on these articles because now apparently companies, organizations, even politicians have altering or changing information for their benefit. I myself was wikipedia user and felt it was pretty safe. I have recently been hearing some things though, that it was not trustworthy. I guess this is true and even people can edit this information without giving proper references or names for that matter. I know now that when I research on the web to steer clear of wikipedia, I don't want to have to question if the information I am using is legit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chameleon/ Lion

Yay! This is very promising for the future leaders of this world. I think it is great that these kids can do these things at their age. How do we get everyone else to climb aboard? Mr. Lamshed is a very exciting teacher to follow. Can I teach these kids right now? Sure, about lots of things. However right now it looks like they can teach me a few things as well! Isn't that what it is all about? I am greatful to be learning about all of this podcast/videocast and feel fortunate for those who get to learn it at such a young age.
In order to be an effective teacher in a class where students are already doing videocast you have to keep an open mind about learning and using the tools available or making tools available to do so. As tough as it may be we just need to try to keep up as best as we can. I think that all of this is fantastic! I must thank Dr. Strange for introducing me to this whole world of technology I didn't know much about. You have certainly opened my eyes and gave me a whole new lookout on my future career. Same goes for you Mr. Lamshed, thank you!

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Let me first say that I think everyone should check this out. My heart goes out to Randy and his family. What a positive thing to do with what time you have left, I am not sure I've seen something so inspiring. In his lecture he talks about his childhood dreams, how he believes he's been able to enable the dreams of others, and lessons learned. It is truly amazing the drive and will power this man has (even now in his last few months with us).
One of these lessons learned is the brick wall theory. We all set goals and want things in life but how badly? That is where this brick wall comes in to play. Either you want it so badly that you knock down this wall and get it or you give up when you hit it. Another point he makes is to help others, however it may be, help others. Randy believes in karma- what goes around comes around.
NEVER GIVE UP! This is universal, however Randy has some great background here. For example he was not accepted right away at Brown or graduate school but never gave up, he wanted it and pushed through the brick wall that was put up and made it happen. Randy also lectures about showing gratitude, don't complain; just work harder (I personally really like this one and try really hard to follow it though it is not always easy).
His most important lesson I think was the "head fake". Have fun when you are learning and you may not realize everything that you are actually learning. Things may not always be what they seem. Wow! The end of his lecture got me in tears! Need I say more?
Thank you Dr. Pausch

Monday, June 22, 2009

Karl Fisch

First off, congratulations to Karl for the award he received for this post. "Is It Ok To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher" is a powerful post written by Karl discussing the inexcusable technologically illiterate teachers in the classrooms today. I agree with the idea that he is discussing, I just believe it is going to take some time for this movement to really completely sweep the country. I don't think that all people who are computer illiterate are "proud" of it just by admitting it. Yes, they can do something about it but it takes time and people have lives and busy schedules that they just can't drop to learn the ins and outs of the internet and all that comes along with it. The comment about parents admitting they are not good at math when they were in teacher conferences like it is ok for their child not to be upsets me a little. I am horrible at math, I admit that but I am not proud of it, I am just honest about it. It does not mean that I won't work really hard to try to re-learn a lot when my daughter is going through it to help her. But it also doesn't mean I am going to spend what little spare time I do have practicing or learning more about mathematics.
Teachers need to be computer literate, hands down. I think it should be a requirement in some sort of a way. There is too much to learn and gain from it not to be.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dr. Strange's Spring Class Podcasts

For our next blog Dr. Strange wanted us to check out a couple of the podcasts done by his spring edm 310 class and sort of critique them and point out what we will do to make ours better. I will be honest, I am new to this so I am not really sure what I can do yet to make it better. I listened to two of his students podcasts from last semester and thought they were very good (especially most likely it was their first time).
The first one I listened to was Pick of the Day: Source Materials for High School Teachers on the World Wide Web by Anne Gardner and Kimberly Hinojosa. No particular reason to choosing this one, it was completely random. I thought for the most part it was a job very well done. I am no podcast critic that is for sure however I will say that one of the ladies was a little easier to follow than the other for whatever reason. That made me more aware of how knowledgeable about my subject of podcast I need to be and to go over it and over it before it is published (and maybe work on my radio voice...jk).
The second podcast I listened to was Facebook: It's in Class! But Can It Be Useful in Class? Basically I chose this one because I am a crazy facebook user. Just like the first one I listened to I thought they did a fine job! It sounded like they had fun with it which I think is good, it is kind of a fun topic.
It is hard to say what "improvements" I will make. I will just say that I need to be prepared, speak clearly, be interested in what I am podcasting about and have fun!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This was the first time I have ever listened to a podcast. Honestly, at first my reaction was this was just people audio recording themselves and posting them for other people to hear. I guess in simple terms that could be one way to describe it but once I took the time to explore and listen to different podcasts, I became increasingly aware of how beneficial and useful these can be.
I used two podcasts from Dr. Strange's list and four that I picked out myself. I first listened to SmartBoard lessons which was pretty cool considering just an hour prior to that I was having a conversation with a good friend from back in Wisconsin (who is a special ed teacher) and after telling her about this class asked me if I have ever heard of smartBoard. I said no because I really hadn't however now I have an idea of what it is about. I then listened to KidCast and listened around a bit and got a better understanding about what podcasting is really about. I liked that he differentiated between podcasts and radio because I was getting the feeling like it was a talk radio type thing. I like how he compared it to TVO because I am a big TVO fan and understand that comparison!
The others that I listened to are the Autism Podcast, The Art of Storytelling with Children, Middle School Matters, and U-TURN Podcast. I chose these because they were of interest to me and I love for instance how parents, teachers, and people in general can share their experiences with autism for everyone to hear. Things like this help us become better understanding of situations in our life and also help others in a similar situation. I have no close ties with autism but think that it is amazing how people gain inspiration and knowledge from sharing and speaking out about it.
We will explore podcasting in Dr. Strange's class and it should be a fun and educational experience. I get more amazed everyday about the limitless sources out there to expand our knowledge of learning and technology.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Things I Am Looking Forward To This Year!

"Being Inspired- Part 1" by Mr. Jarrod Lamshed

It is a fabulous thing that is going on here. Hats off to Mr. Lamshed for his drive to keep learning and experimenting with new things. He is a teacher over in Australia dedicated to expending his and his class's learning capabilities and strategies by collaborating with other teachers and classrooms around the world. The experiences he's had with blogging and collaborating have been an inspiration to him. He acknowledges these fellow teachers in his post and hopefully someone is acknowledging him! How wonderful it is in our world today that we can sit in on a fellow teachers classroom thousands of miles away or even across the world!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mr. C's Biome Project

How awesome would that be to have a teacher (facilitator, sorry) to have such an open way of communicating with his class and allow his children to play an active role in their own education? Pretty darn awesome if you ask me. I love it. Mr. Chamberlain's post "Students Making Decisions for the Biome Project" reflects on his experience with his students when giving them a choice on note taking strategies and projects. Not all children/adolescence/adults learn the same way so what at fantastic way to give children more incentive to learn. Not only will this give them a grasp on how they learn the best way for themselves, but I bet it was fun also!
Mr. C has really taken on the world of technology in his classroom and is not looking back. More people need to jump on the train! Check out his class blog. http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"What I've Learned This Year" by Mr. McClung

Mr. McClung post a very insightful and useful blog after his first year of teaching. He seems to really be involved in being the best he can be in his career and I think that is fabulous. He understands what it takes to make it about the children and not necessarily the teacher. We as educators and future educators need to be flexible and figure out what works in our classrooms with our specific children. It is not an easy task. He is not afraid of technology and uses it for sharing his ideas and sees it as a great tool in Education. I like how he closes his post with the importance of continuing your education, however it may be. This is very important because things are changing around us everyday and we need to keep up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The ACCESS program is essentially what it stands for, Alabama Connecting Classroom, Educators and Students Statewide. It is a program aimed at using technology for providing access to advanced diploma courses, more classes being offered, advanced placement, supplemental courses, and more. Access does this by internet based courses, interactive video courses, and the blend of the two. They have a lot of great ideas and strategies to keep this alive.
To get the full affect of ACCESS check it out at http://accessdl.state.al.us/. Alabama needs to catch up with the rest of the country in academics, that is a fact. Many low income or rural areas don't have these advanced educational classes and tools the state requires, and should require. There should be no limit when it comes to the education of our children. Current educators as well as upcoming educators need to keep fighting for these programs to exceed and expand.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I think this is an amazing tool out there for educators! Alex can be a powerful tool for not only teachers, but administrators and students as well. It is very simple and straight forward. ALEX is insight to lesson plans created and posted by teachers which is great for sharing ideas and gaining outsider insight. It also has a page where you can go to any subject and any grade to see what basic knowledge should be taught in each grade level. This is just something to look at and explore to see how it can benefit you in your quest through teaching.
Honestly, I don't see how this website can't be useful to anyone in the teaching field. The best part is the collaborating of teachers and administrators from all over. The best teachers are hungry to keep learning themselves. Times change, this is a great way to see how to keep up. I think it can be especially beneficial for new teachers so you have a possible variety of veteran teachers mixed in with newer teachers and gain the best from both.

About Me

Hello! My name is Nicole, I am 25 years old and a junior here at South. Welcome to my blog! This is a learning process for me so bare with me. I am from Wisconsin, I moved here 5 years ago. I have a 4 year old daughter, Hallie who is my world. Besides being a student and a single mom I work two part time jobs. It keeps me very busy but it is for a good cause.
I literally just switched my degree path into elementary education. I am very excited about this but I must admit a little nervous too. Budget cuts are being made all the time and teachers are losing jobs all around the nation. I have hope that things will change and they will stop taking money away from our children and their education.
A few little things about me are that I love to travel (even though I have very bad flight anxiety), trying new things (except foods), bike riding, casinos, visiting my friends and family at home in Wisconsin, and quiet nights home with my wonderful boyfriend and my daughter.

The Fischbowl

Whoa! This was very intriguing. You know, since middle school I have had computer access and learning about it still as I go. I would say it has been a gradual thing for me (I still know squat about this stuff), but to have these fun facts right in front of my face was quite interesting. I believe that the message here is right. School systems and teachers need to keep advancing in world technologies to pass on to the students of today. It is clear where technology is headed and we as teachers and parents need to give them the tools to excel in the 21st century. I wish that I was better equipped for this but I believe I can learn, and am eager to as well. I also wish as a whole our country was even a little more up to speed.
My daughter is a week and a half away from being 4 years old and I do not think it is too early for her to explore on a computer. There is a fine line of exploring and learning about technology at a young age and still being an active child. I don't like how a lot of kids sit in front of computer and play video games all day. There is a beautiful world outside to be explored as well. But when it comes to learning and building a base for the knowledge of technology that will be crucial in her education I am all for it. To tell you the truth I am thinking about getting her her own laptop for Christmas, filled with learning programs (maybe a game or two).

Monday, June 1, 2009

My First Post

I am now published world wide!