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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blog Assignments Week 8

Richard Miller This is How We Dream

Am I ready to write with multimedia? In considering the videocast from Richard Miller, I would say that I will be conscious of the response of my writings by students. I think the gist of this is to not focus so much on cool pictures and movement, but depth through data and display. The example he gives about the 2008 Presidential Election Data is fascinating. Not only was it real time data, but the demographic data was presented on many levels, real time.

I think students are in an information climate that provides them with a lot of depth. Is it absorbed or researched? It would be interesting to me to know how many kids read much more than that required by school. I also wonder how many just sit at the computer and browse the web for whatever comes to mind. It is our job to provide the depth to whatever it is we are conveying. So I would take the message of this videocast to be to provide the depth and charisma in the material we present to our students that will convince them to explore and learn.

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

When children are networked, why do they need teachers? I am of the opinion that teachers should be the experts. Not all are. There are even some that really shouldn’t call themselves teachers. But for those that are wonderful teachers, I feel there will always be a place for them. It’s not a competition of teacher versus information network. Certainly the challenge to the teacher is providing guidance on the base skills that students should posess developmentally while providing an environment for independent discovery and vast exposure. Maybe the “traditional” teacher and classroom become less of a lecture hall and more of a fast paced, integrated lesson style where the depth variety of information offered on the web are a large part of that. Throw in independent discovery, and there the teacher has allowed them the networking aspect while providing guidance for appropriate development.

I think this may be the fourth post that I mention this, but what I propose above sounds a whole lot better than a curriculum centered around standard testing. Another case for eliminating it?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Comments4Teachers Post - David Hopkins

Email Is So 1973

This is a Red Magma slide presentation. Do we call this a slide cast? Anyhow, take a look at it to see a view of why email may be obsolete. It kind of makes me chuckle that it would even be imaginable that email could be outdated by real time conversations online. WAVE by Google is the program that is discussed, although it is mentioned that it can be done without Google. I left a post for the teacher asking for examples of real time conversations on-line that are different than an IM or chat room. I am having a hard time coming up with an example myself differentiating the real time conversation from IM. Anyone have any suggestions for clarification?

The Evolution of My PLN - Initial Post

This PLN idea is fantastic. I never would have imagined that this is the kind of thing we would be encountering in this class. Teaching is looking more and more to be an art. With that, I feel, come endless ideas. What would be a greater way to test out your new ideas than networking? I also think about those times that I won’t be able to come up with my own solution. To be able to reach outside of our region, without the constraints of our school system, will be so valuable in learning new techniques. Grant writing comes to mind when being able to site supporting information for that grant from other teachers that already have proven the cause to be worthwhile.

My PLN started the first week of EDM310. A couple of rules of thumb that I quickly adopted were to respond to every post and post regularly. Who would want to post to my blog if I’m not actively posting?

As the weeks have progressed, I’ve pretty much done what Dr. Strange has recommended and then the PLN seems to have taken off. I’ve looked at a lot of blogs and websites, and have commented on a couple. When someone has responded with advice, I’ve gone to where they said to go and explored. Dorothy Burt from Pt. England left a lovely message on my blog with some good information about how she and her classes make podcasts. This launched me into learning a little more about the amazing podcasts submitted to iTunes by a variety of schools.

Mr. Chamberlain has offered a lot of time to our class in posting advice, and I have taken advantage of that. He strongly recommends Twitter. I posted my apprehensions about joining Twitter on my blog, and then Dr. Strange chimed in with some guidance, which was shared with the class last week, on managing Twitter. So I decided to try it. To further add to my PLN, I looked at the people and sites that Mr. C. and Dr. Strange follow and chose to follow the ones that appealed to me professionally. I have not spent a lot of time on it, but occasionally when I do get on Twitter, some good stuff crosses my list.

The podcast project has been where I have seen the biggest benefit of the PLN. Tyler and I chose to research “Can podcasts be useful in the classes I teach?” We had decided to interview a local teacher to see how he uses podcasts. Then I took a look at some websites that I had bookmarked through blog assignments that would help. I always like to have more than one set of data (that’s just the analytical in me) to see the trends, so I decided to email Mr. Chamberlain with similar questions we had for our interviewee, Mr. Fletcher. In that email, I also took the opportunity to ask for any leads Mr. C. may have for other teachers that he knew of that used podcasts in their math classrooms. And so he gave me the link to a friend of his Eric Langhorst. I emailed him requesting his interview and any contacts he may have for a math teacher that creates and uses podcasts. We received a great podcast with excellent information and a link for a math teacher that creates and uses podcasts. It was great to see how our research for the project unfolded and through mine and others’ PLNs, we received great information. This was a great learning experience.

I have truly enjoyed the exposure to the available (free) technology information as well as the perspectives by other teachers. This is where I use Delicious. I really was happy just using that bookmark program that comes with Explorer or Firefox. I went to Delicious because we were supposed to :) and have enjoyed it. I especially like sharing bookmarks. And so I saved all of Dr. Strange’s professionally pertinent bookmarks to my Delicious.

I have really enjoyed many student blogs. Jamie Lynn’s is one that comes to mind. The posts are always thought provoking for me. I haven’t been to everyone’s, and expect to hit those as the class progresses. It’s nice to hear the comments of my peers, as we all are in the same boat. Our eyes are wide open and our hearts and minds are getting ready to step foot in the classroom. It would be neat if Dr. Strange had an EDM310 alumni blog. Just a thought!

I’ve said in here a few times that I just did what I was supposed to. And that is my start. There are things that I know I will not use or use differently to fit my style or learning, networking and organization as time goes on. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. It goes the same for venturing into unchartered waters, which is where I’ll continue to go as well.

I like the start of my PLN and am looking forward to seeing how it evolves. I will quote Eric Langhorst from our podcast interview. He says, “If you find something that works, share it with other teachers…We are all on our own with professional development. Schools don’t have tons of money to pour into professional development…” The PLN sounds like a great start.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blog Assignment 6, for Week of February 15th

Dr. Alice Christie is a recently retired Education Technology professor from Arizona State University. She also has 25 years in the classroom in grades K-12. This website has a TON of information. This is a must have on my bookmarks. Dr. Christie has included lecture notes on many topics that can be helpful to a new teacher when considering different aspects of technology in the classroom. The entitled “New Roles for Educators” has a search engine for articles, allowing you to choose criteria on anything!

Under Dr. Christie’s Research Links, “Linking Technology, Learning and School Change,” the article “ How Middle School Boys and Girls View Todays Computer Culture” was interesting. It focused on the use and meaning of what computers can do and the way they interact with them, for a population with a mean average age of 12.5 years old. I appreciated the findings, in particular the recommendations for being aware of and addressing the gender bias in computer use.

This website may be a good add to a blog in addition to bookmarks as an addition to our PLN. The Education Portal has links to many websites covering educational news and links for educational funding.

iPods in the Classroom

The volume of information available is amazing for this topic.

iLearn : Learning Made Mobile is a publication I found on Judy Brown's (coordinator of the website) blog. The format is interesting, to begin with. The content nicely bridges some learnings from our EDF315 class (Fall 2009). This guide is an aid for learning what the different iPods can do in a learning environment.

iTunesU seems to be the application used by many schools to store their podcasts for all of us to use. Dorothy from Pt. Aukland stores the podcasts for this school on iTunesU because she feels the quality is very good from that site. iTunes can classify the podcasts by grade level or topic, making it easy for us to find what we need.

The Duke University iPod Experiement

Interesting research done here to see if iPods would be useful in the classroom. The first thing that came to mind was "What a great plan to investigate before a mass integration of the new thing!" The results were both for and against, but in general it seemed that the iPod was easy to use. Duke will continue to use iPods in the classroom, where the study showed it to be beneficial.

Some benefits that were seen during the study was that the iPod was most students used it to record lectures and field notes.

Negatives about using the iPod included that some publishers didn't allow recording of protected material and sometimes the recording quality was poor. Professors worried about class attendance, that lecture would be replaced by the recordings.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Comments on "What I've Learned this Year" by Mr. McClung

What I’ve Learned This Year by Mr. McClung

I enjoyed this post in that Mr. McClung shares the real side of teaching. I often wonder how I am going to put my education into motion in the classroom. Endless information about child psychology, diversity, and technology are presented to us. We hear snippets about the adverse conditions of the classroom and student population such as not enough resources (money nor people), pacing guide, standardized tests, student home life, learning disabilities, truancy, teen pregnancy, etc. At times it seems overwhelming to me to think that I will need to meet the pacing guide and standardized testing with all of these obstacles. There are a lot of teachers that make it happen, that their students learn. Their students learn more than the material that will “be on the test” and have opportunities to explore and enjoy learning. How do they do it? I’ve been told that it’s not until a teacher gets into the classroom that the real training begins.

Mr. McClung tells us about that. His learning curve was steep his first year. I expect mine to look much like Mt. Everest. Flexibility and positive attitude while focusing on the comprehension by the children seems to be his recommendation, in a nutshell. It seems to me from his last comment that he is a great net worker. Listening to the students as well as being a life long learner sounds like they are part of the formula for being a successful teacher.

I look forward to getting into the classroom, and wish it was more of an integral part of our entire time in the education program at USA. The toolbox I’m filling while in the program will have all sorts of tricks and treats that I will be ready to pull out when needed. I don’t think that until I actually work with students awhile, that I’ll know which ones will go to the bottom, and those that are necessities. And then there will be the teacher network that will have infinitely many lessons on what works and what doesn’t.

I hope he shares year two with us.

My opinion of how and when Wikipedia can be a trusted source of information.

I was surprised with the information I had learned about Wikipedia. I was always under the impression that this was like an Encyclopedia Britannica website where the information is factual. I must say, this solves the question that has always nagged at me about Wikipedia. It has always amazed me that I have never, and can really say never, except for a people search, have not pulled up a Wikipedia link for any topic I have searched on the internet. This certainly supports the fact that it is necessary to know the validity of the information we see. Shame on me for being so naive!

Virgil Griffin designed a great tool. I equate it to Fact Check which was used to verify the facts in Presidential campaign articles and speeches. It let me decide if the facts presented were valid and also illustrated the integrity and quaifications of the candidates,. Running an edit scan on the article I am accessing in Wikipedia would allow me to make my own decision as to whether or not to site it as a resource. Also, in defense of my decision, I could provide that information in the bibliography of a paper or presentation.

I can still see Wikipedia as valuable. I can almost be assured I can most always find the topic. If I were to cross reference the Wikipedia listing with another source, the facts could be confirmed. Wikipedia would provide some direction.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Teacher needed in NZ

I think this spot may have been filled, but I thought this podcast was too cute not to share. The children are requesting their new teacher.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blog Assignment 4 - Summary of Podcast Information Found - Helpful Stuff

Summary of information found about Podcasts

Website : Engage - by the University of Wisconsin Madison

This website provided tips on creating a podcast. The following information may be helpful to all of us in EDM310 whom are preparing to create our first podcast.

This is reprinted from the website.

There were some important points in the first step. UWM mentions that choosing to present material with a lot of detail is usually best kept to a lecture or reading because podcasts are usually listened to by the user while they are doing something else. Therefore they probably would not be taking notes during the podcast.

In Step 4, Produce your podcast , the information about your presence on the podcast will help in determining how you design it and whether or not you will consider video or audio or slides.

This site has a lot of information pertaining to podcast use and production.


“This is the home of the free podcast tutorial that will take
your podcast from concept to launch fast and for minimal cost
brought to you by, Jason Van Orden, author of Promoting Your Podcast."”

See the Audacdity related podcast that demonstrates how to add music and voice tracks to your podcast using Audacity.I like this tutorial for a couple of reasons. It gives specifics while demonstrating for the introduction of a podcast. This is a great example for the podcast factors of sound quality, environment, and interest level.

Check out Joe Dale’s blog, specifically the tutorial. It has a ton of really neat stuff from photo information to podcasting in the classroom. His focus is bringing technology to the foreign language classroom. He has posted links to many valuable sites that may help in our podcast project. I’ve bookmarked his site for blog ideas and tools.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010