Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Post #5

Podcast.gifA good number of this week's assignments for EDM 310 are focusing on our next big project: Podcasting! The three sources I chose to read for this Blog Post were The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom, Eagle's Nest Radio & Class Blog, and Judy Scharf Podcast Collection.
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
In this video and blog post, Joe Dale tells of the many ways podcasts actually improve students' learning. He states that the generation that podcasts are really geared toward are millenials. A millenial is anyone that is born after 1980 who has never really experienced a world without technology. Podcasting provides content that can be listened to anytime, anywhere. It allows for differentiation in the classroom and for greater creativity amongst students. Using podcasts as a teacher is beneficial to the students because if a student is absent, he/she can still access that day's lessons right from home. Also it allows parents to become more involved in their student's learning by providing them the choice of downloading podcasts from their classroom and teachers. The students that were interviewed for this video really seemed more excited and enthusiastic about podcasts and found it to be a more interesting way of learning material. One tip that I will consider using in my own podcasts is using characters. By implementing characters and making it kind of like a television show, students are more intrigued by the podcasts and the content then becomes more memorable.
Eagle's Nest Radio & Class Blog
On this website there was a series of podcasts that a particular classroom of students had produced. The first podcast I listened to was "All Roads Lead to Rome." In this podcast the students had a good use of music and it really got the listeners attention. They gave the listener information about Roman architecture and key characters in ancient rome. The next podcast was all about traveling back in time. The students traveled back in time and held interviews with great explorers of history. The third podcast I listened to was about sharks and shark facts. One thing that I found particularly interesting about this podcast was the students' Make A Change segment. In this segment the students expressed their wishes to save sharks and show that kid's voices matter. It really gave the kids a chance to get involved in big issues at a young age and I thought that was really inspiring. The final podcast was a shark interview with an expert on sharks, Mr. Ward. The students had a pre-prepared list of questions they wanted to ask Mr. Ward about his diving experiences so there was never a moment of "awkward silence." One key idea that I will take from these podcasts and use in my own for EDM 310 is to have a prepared list of questions, if my group decides to do an interview type podcast. Also, something I really liked about these podcasts was that at the end they had a segment called "Rockin' Riddles."  In this segment a student came on and asked the listener riddles about the content they had just heard. I thought this was a really great way to make sure everyone was listening and to measure how much information the listeners were retaining.
Judy Scharf Podcast Collection
A podcast is a cross between "broadcast" and "iPod." It is a radio-style talk show that can be heard by millions of people over the internet. In her posts there was a lot of useful information on podcasting and benefits of doing so. Some of the benefits in education that she discussed were: available 24/7, parents can download classroom lectures, easy to make up missed classes, appeals to auditory learners, and allows an opportunity for students to enhance their communication skills by getting them to create podcasts as well. She also provided many links to documents on how to guarantee successful podcasting students and how to research, create and upload. I will use a lot of information from this site on my own podcasts for EDM 310. For one, I will use her suggestions for research when looking for information to include in my podcast. I will also use her step by step handout for audacity and how to upload if I find that I still need further instruction outside of our Class Instruction Manual. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

A&B) Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha both offer distinct qualities. They are both fast and very efficient in the information they found on the topics that I searched. However, for one of my searches I searched "University of South Alabama" and found that the information provided by Google Squared was more accurate than the information from Wolfram Alpha. Therefore you should be a little cautious when using Wolfram Alpha for things such as research papers, etc. This method of searching is a much faster way of getting information so it saves students a lot of time. I also like that the information provided was so well organized.
C&D) I had not heard about Google Squared nor Wolfram Alpha prior to this assigment. I am definitely glad we were given this assignment because I will be using these methods of searching very often. It's easier to see all of the information in one place rather than doing multiple searches for everything you need. I am very excited about using Google Squared in my future studies!
E&F) This assignment did not really change my opinions on what I saw. The only thing that slightly changed was that I went back and realized that those numbers for India and China were so shocking initially but when you realize how many more people occupy those nations than our own it makes a little more sense. From this exercise I learned that I have to be more careful when reading statistics. You can't just take a statistic and leave it at that. You should get all of the background information on the subject(s) that that statistic covers. Statistics can easily be manipulative if you don't have full knowledge and background information for the given statitistics.

Food For Thought: I thought it was really cool that Steve Jobs was able to create one piece of technology so accessible and easy to use and that could be understood by people across the world. I do believe that it will really be a major tool in education one day.

Pitcairn Islands Map

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blog Post # 4

Apple iTouchDon't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?
Dr. McLeod is Associate Professor od Educational Administration and the Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). I think that it is important for kids to be exposed to technology, however I do not think that it should be our primary focus. If we do not expose children to things such as social networking, online chat etc. then no one is going to show them the proper and safe way of using those tools. Just because we do not expose them to it ourselves does not mean they will not explore it on their own. Thus, we might as well expose them to it and allow ourselves to teach them of the dangers that are involved in it. I do think that the phrase "we can't trust them" was a bit extreme, not all kids are going to get on the computer and do evil things. We have to allow each student to build up his or her trust with the teacher individually and not just assume that no children can be trusted.
The iSchool Initiative
In this video, a 17 year old high school student from Georgia argues that the future of American education lies in iSchool. The iSchool is built on the iTouch platform and would be a school with no books, paper, expensive copy machines and no number two pencils. There are already many applications available for the iTouch that would benefit schools and eliminate paper materials. For example, Chemical Touch is a virtual periodic table of elements, U. S. Constitution is a digital copy of the U. S. Constitution, WorldWiki could replace all school maps and globes, Starwalk is a virtual tour of our universe and there are many more. The iTouch in its present form could already save students six hundred dollars each. I think that the idea behind iSchool is a really good idea, however there are some flaws. First off would be memory space, there isn't enough memory on iTouch devices to take on all of that responsibility. Also, the iTouch is simply too small to be used as a text book and a notebook. In order to read and take notes at the same time it would be very difficult. I think that it would eliminate paper and pencil supplies to an extent but not completely. I definitely think that with a little tweaking this could be a genius idea and something definitely worth looking into!
The Lost Generation
When she first started reading this poem-like piece I found it to be depressing. What she was saying was not anything my generation had not already heard, just hearing from a younger person was only reinforcing what the elder communities had already said. Something about people my own age admitting our demise made it much more life like. However, when she started reading the piece backwards it was very enlightening. It was more comforting to hear someone willing to fight back the assumptions made about today's youth.
I Think I Have Become A Blogger/ Virtual Choir
In Jennifer's blog she introduces a choir ensemble of 185 people performing Lux Aurumque. What made this piece unusual was that none of the members of the choir had ever met nor did they perform the piece together. The performance was put together through the internet. The singers represent twelve countries. Watching this performance was really awe inspiring. It really shows you just how much power the internet has and what it is really capable of doing. It was so incredible to just sit and watch and think about the time that was put into the performance. Watching it it almost did not even seem real. Even though so many people put down the internet and have only negative things to say, this video goes to show that when put to good use the internet can really do incredible things!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

C4T Summary #1

My assigned teacher for this post was Lisa Thumann. Her first blog post I read was on the topic of "Bucket Fillers." Bucket filling is a classroom project based on a book by Carol McCleod. Each Student in the class has a  bucket with their name on it and their peers fill those buckets with kind words about one another. All they do is fill out a slip of paper then place it in each other's bucket. Mrs. Thumann witnessed the positive effects of this activity first hand with her daughter, Emma. She was so impressed with it that she decided to team up with Emma's teacher, Mrs. Skaar, and create a documentary on the project.
I really enjoyed reading this post and loved the idea behind the project! It's such a nice and easy way to keep kids' self esteem up and a positive atmosphere in the classroom!
    The Second post I read was dated September 7, 2010. In this post Lisa discussed open courses on teaching technology. There were fifty courses on the entire list that was published by Online Colleges & Universities. On her blog she highlighted a few of the courses. Some of the courses deal with exploring the design of innovative educational technologies, while others explore the use of digital media as a teaching tool. In her blog she included links with helpful information for each of the courses she discussed in her blog. I was not aware that there were classes like this offered for teachers to take if they were interested. I explored the links she provided and found a lot of information on these classes. These classes are really great for keeping teachers up to date with technology!
   Overall, I really enjoyed keeping up with Lisa Thumann and reading her posts! She had such great ideas and was a wonderful source of information!

Google Presentation Project

Blog Assignment 3

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
    I would not say that this video captured my college experience completely. However, many aspects of the video did relate to my experiences. For example, I would agree that about 18% of my teachers actually know my name. I also strongly agree with the statement "If students learn what they do.. what are they learning sitting here?" In many of my classes ,this semester especially, I have been trying to figure out how I am expected to learn more sitting in a classroom than going out into the schools and working hands on with students. There were more differences between my experience and the students' experience in the video than similarities. 
    Some things I would change about the video were the percentages for assigned reading, how much they write for the semester, and how many hours they work everyday. The statistic that the students complete only 49% of their assigned reading and only 26% of it is relevant to their life is both true and false for my experiences. In my beginning years I would say that yes, I probably completed only about 49% of my assigned readings and at most 26% of it was relevant to my life. However, now that I have entered my major classes I actually read close to 95% of my assigned readings and pretty much 100% of what I read is valuable information for my career and my life. Next I would change how many pages I write for a class in one semester. I easily write more than 42 pages a semester. In all of my classes I take notes during class and I take at least 8 pages (front and back) of notes while reading per chapter. I would also say that I rarely email, thus my total pages for emails are considerably less than 500. The final change I would make would be the number of hours they work everyday. Having an on campus job allows me to have a pretty flexible work schedule. This means that I work at least 4.5 hours a day. 
    Overall, I found this video extremely interesting. I also found it a bit relieving that other students have the same thoughts that I do and to know that we are all on the same page.
"It's Not About the Technology" by Kelly Hines
I really enjoyed reading this blog post by Kelly! I liked that she admitted that technology is not the only aspect that needs to be changed regarding teaching. Today we are always eager to find the quickest fix possible, we don't always take the time to find the best solution. In order to be good teachers, we must understand that by choosing this profession we made a huge promise. A promise not only to ourselves, but also to our students. We promised to be the best we can be to better their future. However, if we are not willing to adapt with the times, then we are not upholding our end of the promise. We must continue to learn and grow with and for our students. Personally, I think this growth keeps it exciting. Teachers are privileged enough to get the chance to constantly grow and learn and experience new things. It keeps our jobs from ever getting mundane. One of my favorite lines from her post was this: "Teachers who want to be truly successful must be voracious and self-motivated in their pursuit of evolving understanding." I thought this line was a very powerful and moving statement. We have to want something in order to make getting it truly worth while.
Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
While this post had similar messages of the post by Kelly Hines, it also had a very different approach to the situation surrounding technology in the field of education. I also really enjoyed this blog post. Like Hines' post, Fisch makes it very clear that teachers need to continuously learn. If we do not keep learning, students will be taught how to be successful "in an age that no longer exists." Being part of a generation so consumed by technology, I always just assume that everyone is technologically literate. However, reading this blog post really put it in perspective for me that that was not the case. There are many many people out there that do not even know how to turn on a computer and that is in a way a very scary thing to try to comprehend. One line that really got my attention was when Fisch was discussing his wavering between wether or not illiteracy was somewhat acceptable. In this part he stated "there's so much on teachers plates that it's unrealistic to expect them to take this on." This is how he sometimes felt about making teachers learn technology. I disagree with this statement. In this regard, teachers should not be pitied. As a teacher, it is their job to be the best they can be for the betterment of the students. Like I said before, we made a commitment to be the best teachers possible. If we cannot even take the time to learn technology properly so that it is used in our classrooms for the very best purposes, then we are not doing our job. We are not only letting ourselves down, but also our students.
Gary Hayes Social Media Count
Seeing these numbers change so rapidly is truly overwhelming. Majority (if not all) of these changes are involving technology in some way which means that for every number that changes, there is a person out in the world using technology making that change. Students today are absorbed by technology and are living in a very fast paced world. This Social Media Count helped me realize how essential it will be for me to keep up with technology and all of its evolvements. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blog Assignment 2

Did You Know? 3.0
I thought that this video was both interesting and startling at the same time. It's hard for me to fathom that there are countries out there that far outnumber the United States in terms of population. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to be in a country the size of India or China. I really liked the point they made in the video about preparing children for jobs that do not even exist yet. Time goes by so fast and we do not even realize how much is changing everyday. The fact that the most sought after jobs in 2010 did not even exist in 2004 is something that we do not always stop and realize. Another thing that I had not thought about was what did we do before Google? Who answered our questions? That point definitely gave me something to ponder about for a while. Everyday our lives are turning more and more towards technology. From the way we keep up with old friends, meet our future spouses, and what/who we rely for information. We have definitely become a society consumed by technology.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
When this video first started to play I was a little lost and a bit skeptical of what was to come of it. However, once I got into the video more I realized that it really had an important message. After 100 years of sleep, Mr. Winkle finally awakens to find himself in a world he no longer recognizes. He first goes to an office building and it overwhelmed by all of the technology surrounding him. In an attempt to find relief, he goes to hospital. At the hospital he encounters the same kind of turmoil and technology and he was not comfortable there either. After that experience he found a place that he finally felt comfortable. He was comfortable in school. In the school there is very little technology, in fact he only sees one computer in the back of the classroom collecting dust. The teachers still use chalkboards for their lectures. Mr. Winkle likes this setting because not too much has changed. This shows that we are not using enough technology in our classrooms. Children are being taught using the same equipment. However, once they get out of school and into their jobs, they will be lost. They will not be familiar with all of the technology surrounding them and how to use it properly. We need to prepare our children the best way possible for their futures. Classroom instruction needs to be kept up to pace with the rest of the world.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
I thought this video was really interesting! It's so true, more and more kids are losing their creative edge at earlier and earlier ages. Instead of punishing children for being wrong, adults need to step back and learn something from the situation. Kids are not afraid of taking chances and being wrong. The older we get the more scared we become and for many of us that is a major downfall. As adults, we are afraid to take risks. We ignore that off chance that whatever risk we take may be the smartest thing we've ever done!
     I especially loved the story he told about the dancer. It really opened my eyes up as to how flaws are seen in society. Today we are focused on perfection, everything has to be perfect. We are so quick to fix any flaw or imperfection that we do not give children the chance to be themselves. Had that same scenario happened today the doctor would not have though twice about putting that girl on medicine. If she had not been given that chance to be creative it could have changed her life forever. We can't say for sure how her life would have shaped up, but it is safe to assume she probably would not have ended up where she did. Because she was allowed to be creative her life flourished into a brilliant and successful career. It is imperative that we start encouraging more creativity amongst our students.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
I think that the work that Vicki Davis is doing with her students is great! It's nice to see children so excited about what they are learning. You can tell they are really enjoying her class and the opportunities that she is giving them. Through Digiteen and Flat Classroom Project, students are able to learn and experience with children all over the world. When you teach children beyond just pencil and paper methods, it allows them to have a hands on learning experience. I think that children retain a lot more knowledge when they are able to have that opportunity. Also, her classroom techniques are teaching the children the importance of working with one another to achieve something and how to figure information out for themselves.