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Sunday, January 31, 2010

EDM 310 Blog Assignmnent #3

Video Podcast : One year old with iPhone :

I may be alone with my reaction, but a baby operating the iPhone is not impressive to me. The brainpower in doing what he has done is not much when you dissect it. What he is doing is a simple repetitive operation, which is no different than knowing how to turn on a computer. I love that my kids are excited about technology and know how to use certain aspects of what’s out there. I’m just not that interested in the aspect that only allows them to experience what a computer programmer has provided, with one right or wrong answer.

I see parents give their cell phone or iPod to their kids to keep them busy. It goes against my personal philosophy that I have used with my two children whom are 8 and 4 years old. To “keep them busy” I provide them with chances to learn by their own unlimited exploration. I’m a proponent of toys and activities that don’t box them in to a correct answer, certainly not those with binary results. Some of our favorites are paper, pencil, crayons, markers, stickers, yarn, and basic art supplies. We’ve now ventured into staplers, hole punches, protractors, rulers, and other tools. Elizabeth and Olivia can create a wardrobe for their animals and Barbies out of those things. They create cities, play school, invent new pieces to their playroom to carry things, such as elevators and ziplines. They write, illustrate and construct their own books. They write letters to each other and make things for people. Give them a stack of towels or some blankets and the dining room turns into a city in Egypt and their bedroom is Chicago. My point is that when they play, their options are endless and are driven by them.

Now don’t get me wrong. My 8 year old LOVES gadgets. And she loves computer time. The spy tank with remote camera and control has been a big hit this Christmas. She has wanted a Nintendo DS for two years now and, well, I broke down and there it was Christmas morning. Reluctantly though. The technology is a part of life. There is no question about that. My preference is to use it to enhance their creativity options, exposure to the world, and to expose them to tools that they will be using down the road.

My 8 year old is very excited about EDM 310. She loves to Skype (something I’ve been meaning to do, but made the time this semester), enjoyed working with me on my presentation due this week (she really wanted to add a wild background to the presentation, but I finally convinced her my professor was against it!), and is looking forward to making a family blog. These to me are the technology opportunities for creativity and unlimited ideas, which I am 100% behind.

“They are First Graders, Are You Ready?”

I was impressed with the first grader who demonstrated accessing their class website. What a great exercise for her to have to organize and order events, to verbalize them, and then to build confidence in presenting. She did a great job. I can see the benefits. I’m ready to bring it to my classroom.

“Little Kids… Big Potential”

I am so happy to have seen this podcast. Many times I heard the following : work together, I decide, my choice, learn, look up, ask questions, plan with my buddy, etc. The students are getting so much from the experiences with laptops, Skype, blogs, etc. I really liked what the one student said about blogs. He liked to log onto the class website at home to see what one of his friends had posted.

I wonder if future grade levels for these students will provide these tools and techniques to continue this aspect of their education.

Reviewing Podcasts to Become Familiar with Different Styles

“Smartboard Lessons :Timmy’s”

I was looking forward to listening to the information to be presented in the four and a half minutes or so that was allotted. The format was very casual, as if he was talking to himself in his car. As a matter of fact he was I his car. It gave me an idea that podcasts may be a great “on-the-run” way to capture thoughts that I may have after having time to think about a lesson or project. I could record them for the class, post them online after school on our class blog to be used in discussion on the next class day. I didn’t like the format of this podcast as the author included too much discussion about his lunch and coffee.

The introduction of the podcast included vocals and music. The man’s voice was desirable hear. The content of the podcast was pertinent to the well –focused topic. The speaker didn’t include personal information. This was more like a lecture rather than a personal conversation.

“ConnectLearning” episode 96
The format was that of a commentator and interviewer. It was clearly presented. Any interviews that were spliced into the podcast were of great sound quality. This was a very formalized conversation with clear points.

“EdTalk” episode 62
The style of this podcast was a relaxed, conversational style. The ladies voices were nasal and not audibly appealing. I would have preferred a very factual interview, but much personal commentary not pertinent to the topic was included.

“This Week in Photography” episode 125
This format was much like that of EdTalk, although the voices were appealing and clear with a little more fact. The format was conversational.

“APT Music Voyager” episode 14
This was a video podcast about the interview of a musical group. I liked the notes on the bottom of the screen during the video. The sound was great for both the music and interviews. I liked the video for this sort of topic.

The following three Podcasts were found on Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 Podcast Blog, found on his personal Website.

Well done fellow future teachers. The format was a question and answer audio podcast. I didn’t feel the need for video here. The interview was well conducted and clearly spoken.

“John et al” – Well done fellow future teachers! This was a three person contribution to convey technology in high school and college sports. I liked the video aspect of this one. If I were to do a video, I don’t know if I could be as relaxed. The challenge with video that I can see is having a good setting and candid motions and interaction.

This was a great, very entertaining podcast. What was the software program used to format the presentation? I really loved the animation. The video and audio were quite great!

Points to Consider when Making My Podcast:

In looking at these seven or so podcasts, I have seen some things I prefer and others I don’t. I think my least favorite podcast was the one about Smart Boards. I would have loved to hear more about the topic, but the man spent so much time talking about coffee, ordering lunch at a drive through, and then other non-related things. My style as a listener is to be more interested in a podcast that is well organized, stays on task, and is as short as possible. So well presented facts would be most appealing to me. I also enjoyed the podcasts that included a short introduction that summarized the podcast succinctly.

I enjoyed the ConnectLearning and “AshleyMayRachel” podcasts the most. I felt my time listening was well spent. The interview and discussion was relaxed, but organized and I never lost track of the conversations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blog Assignment 2

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today

I would first comment that this was an interesting class project. I wonder which points made were most important to the students. What would the sequel entail? Would the students have suggestions for presentation alternatives to the chalkboard that would be more interesting than Facebooking during class?

I admit that I would probably be no different than today’s students if I were 20 plus years younger and had a ton of time at my disposal. I was a telephone junkie during high school (I remember the day we got the 20 foot phone cord and I could take the one phone to my room and maybe a brother or two would trip over the cord every now and then.). I stayed connected with friends – in person. But if I could use my iPhone and keep up with them all day, every day, I probably would. Not to mention my friends in Istanbul, New Zealand, and New Mexico I would have made while Facebooking. Being connected is just plain cool!

After graduating in 1991, I’m now back in school, acquiring my teaching certificate. The statement “I’m a multitasker” emphasizes an attribute about today’s students that was not present when I was in college (the first time ). When returning to college life, I was really surprised at the number of students who are so preoccupied during lecture with texting, Facebooking, or even shopping online. I sometimes joke that it’s the new ADD. I don’t see it as multitasking, but as distraction. Facebooking or texting doesn’t take a lot of brain power and the interaction may only require attention for many segments, only seconds in duration. Presentation of a complicated topic requires time to understand the key concepts, put them to work, and solidify the theme, theory or method. Disrupt that with multiple short breaks and it is difficult to solidify the theme.

I’m absolutely in support of technology in the classroom. Absolutely! And I’m absolutely in support of lecture that is full of interactive examples or out of the box information that a single textbook couldn’t contain. Lecture that is exciting, thought provoking, challenging and organized, without being a sleeper. And I’m absolutely in support of keeping focus on the goal of the lecture without the distraction.

As for the student whose neighbor paid for class but never came, is that due to the structure of the class? What would convince him to come to class? Is it technology? Is it relevance of the material?

"It's Not About the Technology" by Kelly Hines at

Well said by Kelly Hines, that good technology doesn’t mean good teaching. I couldn’t agree more that teachers need to be eager to use the technology, but most importantly eager to “do amazing things.” I liked her comments about teaching and learning not being the same. Knowing what makes these children want to learn, how they learn, and what motivates them is going to be the key. There is a common thread in several of the blogs or clips that I have seen this last week which really brings to light that students are learning differently and desire different than the traditional classroom and curriculum offer. Programs like 21st Century Teachers are fascinating to me. They are even more fascinating when I learn of initiatives that have worked.

Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write.

Extreme? Maybe. Your thoughts?

Only possibly extreme, I must say. If being technologically literate means using email, surfing the web, and using computer aids like word processors and spreadsheets, then I think it is imperative that teachers be technologically literate. These are tools that can make them more effective and reduce non-value added work, hence theoretically allowing more time for teaching and lesson development. Those few basic technology skills can allow exposure to specific teaching methods offered and proven in many areas of the world, a virtually endless supply of teaching materials, and supplements to the textbook. And maybe there is no textbook, only computers and links for the children to work with. I feel it should be required to have basic technology skills, but even more important to develop and use them in your school for teaching and ancillary functions.

Gary Hayes Social Media Counts
Watch the Social Media Count change every =second when you click on this sentence. Think about these changes that are happening at such an astounding rate. What do they mean for your professional career as a teacher?

My first thought about the information is that the activity for the technology social network is overwhelming. I wonder if the activity is even more rapid when students are out of school (it is currently 1:19pm CST).

Social life for middle school and high school students is a big part of their day. Since I plan to be teaching one or the other, understanding their social networking and what occupies their time is going to be important. So, what is Second Life? And why is Twitter so much more active than Facebook in terms of posts? Also, by which means will a student rather communicate with me; through email or Facebook?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blog Assignment 1 Posts

Did You Know? by

My first reaction to the information in this movie is SHOCK. Where did these statistics come from? How do I know they are valid? I can’t help but be skeptical, as it seems so often that some very interesting information worth acting on or at least passing on, is deemed false by Snipe or some other source. The numbers here are so amazing, I would love to know how they were derived, specifically the predicted numbers such as the obsolescence of knowledge.

So if I assume much of what is in “Did You Know?” is true, many, many things have never been considered by myself. I consider myself educated, but think “ How do I educate my children to be successful in a world where the information they are taught one year is outdated by year three?” And then as a future teacher, I think, “What strategies do I implement so that my students will be prepared to be adaptable to potentially many employment changes?” There hasn’t been a classroom that I have witnessed learning or teaching since in my education program that would promote out of the box thinking so students would be able to be taught to solve problems we don’t yet know. Certainly teaching to the standardized tests isn’t getting them there.

Mr. Winkle Wakes by Matthew Needleman

I liked the Rip Van Winkle concept used here. What a great metaphor. This will stick in my head when working on my lesson plans in the future to keep the question in my mind “How do I move these students forward?” The way I learned, and the technology available back then was so different and limited compared to today. If I use the same techniques, will they even relate? What are the best ways for kids to relate nowadays to the material we are providing?

I think about the technology buzz words today; Smartboard, Live Classrooms, etc. How do these fit into the teaching toolbox to be effective and not just “cool things to have?” Kids love to push buttons (I know I always chose the Museum of Science and Industry over any other museum when it was my turn to choose because you could turn, push or manipulate most every exhibit) and get a response. Maybe that’s the hook for them when bringing technology or distance learning into their day.

Ken Robinson

Fantastic points. I fully agree with Ken Robinson. Making mistakes is a necessary part of learning. I remember when learning to ski with a friend a long while ago. He said, “If you don’t fall, you’ve not pushed yourself far enough to learn how to ski. You have to push the edge of the envelope.” My father has always pointed out that there’s a reason that every pencil has an eraser on it. I have also heard a great saying from a teacher at a camp last summer. He used the term “fail forward,” encouraging his campers to try what comes to mind to see if it works. In the process of “failing forward” you not only learn what won’t work, but an unlimited number of other ideas are sparked, and creativity is not smothered.

Encouraging students to create, innovate, individualize solutions is so critical to a student discovering his strengths and interests and developing critical thinking skills. Providing students with experiences we teachers can arrange are important, but creating an environment that allows them to discover on their own is even more important. In our public schools, so much emphasis is put on APY and in turn standardized test scores, that the students are taught a limited knowledge base with limited solutions in one standard methodology. Since not all children learn the same, have the same talents, or express themselves alike, the education that the public schools are offering as whole, can’t provide students with the means to discover and create.

There must be many teachers that have found ways to infuse creative development into their curriculum, which I am eager to find.

Vicki Davis : Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

This is exciting stuff. Confidence building, social studies, public speaking, ethics all taught with the incorporation of the Digiteen program with the curriculum. I liked the exposure opportunities to technology as well as other cultures. This is a generation that can not afford to be only exposed to domestic cultures. Their world is a global world. I hadn’t thought of students collaborating with other students via technology.

The technology use in the classroom for school use such as blogs and calendars is good prep for their future. I can only imagine the resources available to them for research papers and unknown information.