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.