Thursday, September 24, 2009

Karl Fisch and Did You Know 4.0

Karl Fisch says that it is time for teachers to step out of their comfort zone and learn! He explicitly talks about becoming more tech savvy, but the learning certainly doesn't stop there. After teachers become technologically endless doors of opportunity open. ESL and Foreign Language teachers can skype native speaker classrooms. Social studies teachers can follow live events around the world with their class through twitter. Youtube enables students to witness history and science in the making-- albeit Presidential Addresses, NASA space shuttle launches, animal placement in wildlife refuges... the possibilities are limitless! Beyond expanding the windows in the classroom-- the internet allows children to practice spelling and math exercises with free online games! Once students feel comfortable documenting their learning process via blogs, podcasts, and photostreams-- their teacher might even step into the more challenging yet infinitely more creative realm of teaching studnts to build their own online realities (see Randy Pausch (college students) or Vicki Davis (middle school students) videos which can be found in my blog archives)!
Did You Know 4.0, like the previous version Did You Know 3.0 is a rich source of factoids about how technology and how it is changing the world. I decided to blend my response on Karl Fisch's Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? because the video show exposes the astounding technological literacy of Gen XY.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to:Take a Screenshot

screenshot of how to take a screenshot directionsBasically, you hold down the ALT key and press Print Screen (top right key on keyboard) then you open up Word Processor, Paint, etc. - right click and select paste. I opened it up in Paint instead of Word Processor. Hope this helps for your Wordles and such!

WoRdLe--My Blog Gumbo

Wordle is a colorful snapshot for web-audiences to preview your site at a glance! Try using new colors, shapes, and sizes!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last but not least-- Randy Pausch

As the audience stood for an ovation that signaled the end of Randy Pausch's Last speech, I immediately switched tabs to post a link on my blog to this video because I believe that everyone in every discipline should watch this man tell his story. I wish that I knew a more appropriate word than "inspiring" to describe the emotional response I felt while listening to him speak of his achievements, experiences, challenges, and the lessons he learned along the way.

Throughout his lecture, Randy Pausch related his experiences back to a few main philosophies that included what he called "head fakes... brick walls... and seeing the good in people." He first used football to define a "head fake". He says that people don't enroll their kids in football to learn a three point stance, forward pass plays, or field goal kicking skills. They enroll their children to help their kids learn bigger, more applicable character skill-sets like team work, strategizing, work ethic, etc. Essentially, for the kids its about the game, but for the grown-ups they will become, its about the skills they gained from playing it.

I really appreciated his philosophy about "brick walls". It was significant for me because as I watched this video I became more and more humbled. It made me reflect on how my academic laziness as a youth has become a self created obstacle for the goals I am striving for now. Simultaneously, it helped me to realize how important my hopeful career is-- the ealier I can help my students realize how important it is to ALWAYS put forth their best effort in everything they do, the less self made hurdles they will have to jump over later in life. I look at Randy and see everything he has done in his life and with a deep exhale I say, "Wow." However, it was when he showed us a photo of his childhood room which he painted in high school that I realized my forementioned brick wall. He had the confidence to write equations on his wall and paint elevators to no where. He was free to be himself at an age when (I presume because of my own experiences) most kids struggle to conform and become each other.

The last of the three most repeated philosophies that he shared with us, was that if you wait on somebody long enough, they will surprise and impress you. Look for the good in everyone, and if its hard to spot quickly, wait. I think this statement needs no more explaining. It only needs an open heart to recieve and live it.

***Notes, Questions and Quotes
1.) "Your critics are the ones who tell you they love you and care. You're in the most trouble when you see that you are doing wrong, and no one is telling you."
2.)"Experience is what you get when you don't get what youy wanted."
3.) I liked his acknowledgement of Captain Kirk's success as a leader regardless of his lack of specified skills.
4.)"The brick walls are there to show us our dedication/ how bad you want something."
5.)"The best gift an educator can give is to get somebody to be self reflective."
6.)"Get a feedback loop and listen to it."
7.)"Are you a tigger or an Eeyore?"
8.) Who is Andy Van Dam?
9.) Look up Caitlin Keller at Washington University (?) and her progress with integrating Alice into middle schools.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Comment for Mrs. Kelly Hines

In the blog post, It's Not About the Technology, Mrs. Kelly Hines elaborated on the title with four main points. She says that in order to generate effective learning,
"Teachers must be learners. Learning and teaching are not the same thing. Technology is useless without good teaching. Be a 21st century teacher without the technology."
The main idea of this article particularly impacted me because I spend 10 hours a week witnessing the success and tribulations of two different teachers and their classrooms. The successful teacher that I am referring to has 30 students in her 4th grade class. She is equipped with one computer which is barely capable of running the AR Test program and one laptop for her SmartBoard which has snail like processing speed. However, her classroom is still a success because she has built a partnership atmosphere between her students who are constantly buzzing with relevant input for class discussions-- albeit Math, Language, Literature, Science, and Social Studies. Her previous classes enjoyed music and art classes, but as a result of budget cuts she willingly came up with ways to incorporate music and art into her daily routines. It's amazing to see how quickly the students are learning despite the absence of sufficient technology.
Unfortunately, I also witness a classroom that thrives much less as a result of an outdated system of learning. The classroom atmosphere is silent and stale. The students spend most of their time warding off behavioral problems that accompany unused energy and boredom. This classroom is equipped with a quick processor for the smartboard and four computers. The building itself is a mere 8 years old (relatively new in terms of educational facilities). Just this morning the teacher I volunteer for expressed her love for the smartboard. I asked her if she learned how to use it in college or if she took some kind of tutorial when she got it-- neither of which occurred. The lack knowledge of its capabilities is evident. For her, the smartboard is nothing more than a touch screen transparency projector.
I believe the forementioned experiences that I have shared serve to highlight the points that Mrs. Hines made. We all must become what teachers should exemplify, life-long learners.

Technology can save us--> Technology alone can save us...

The main point of A Vision of Students Today is clear: teachers must adopt new teaching techniques that include innovative technologies in order to keep their tech-savvy students engaged. While I find the purpose agreeable, my mind became wrapped up in unnecessary conflict as a result of the videography.
The movie begins by illuminating problems in our current education system at the university level, such as: scan-tron tests, large class sizes, distant teachers as well as uninviting, big, and expensive books. It also brings attention to the fact that we are expected to cram 26.5 hours worth of activities in 24 hours, illustrating that society demands us to become multitaskers. The following clips are the cause of my blurred anguish. One student holds up a piece of paper that says schools are not preparing us for all of these problems... the surrounding students simultaneously raise their paper with problems, but all of the papers are too out of focus to identify the problems that are written. The next student's note reads, "I did not create these problems, but they are my problems." Finally, here's the rub. The student messages that directly follow the girl's "my problems" statement describes how students Facebook through class and abuse laptop privileges.
My reaction is this; students must take responsibility for our own learning and teachers must provide up-to-date means of accessing information. This means that teachers must move beyond the mindset that teachers are the all knowing, all powerful source of information that can only be attained through dictation. Teachers must recognize the reality of today. Information is everywhere and technology is where it is stored and retrieved. Instead of teaching students the facts of the world, teachers should teach their students how and where find any abundance of information.
Furthermore, students should hold fast to their curiosity. They should use the information that they discover to create a new way of presenting it. This ideology serves two purposes, which are: students will retain the information longer and simultaneously create a new, fun and original pathway for other students to learn. According to Sir Ken Robinson, kids are the source of creativity. The younger they are, the more potent the originality of their ideas remain.

***Notes and quotes
1.) Personal favorite quote, "If students learn what they do, what are they learning sitting here?"
2.) Check out this youtube video of Marshall McLuhan on societal transformation via technology.
3.) From chalkboards to smartboards, Josiah F Bumstead would be proud. Watch the video below to learn why I think so!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How to: Make Your Own Podcast

I viewed four websites that were assigned to help me prepare for the creation of my own podcasts. Of the four, I wrote a description of the one I explored in depth, Langwitches Blog, and I wrote my quick notes and reactions for the other three The Educational Podcast Network, Practical Principals, and Eagle's Nest Radio and Class Blog.

As I browsed Practical Principals I remembered my intention to look into Evernote. While briefly exploring the site, I listened to Scott and Melinda talk about their short summers as principals and their cyber friendship. It was entertaining so I decided to follow them on Twitter after discovering their Twitter name under their Twitter blog post and audio blog. Their blog has great links that are organized according to the topics that they discuss in their podcasts. The podcasts are irregularly posted, but still created often enough to keep tabs on.

My favorite part of this week's assignment was listening to the Eagle's Nest podcast on Rome. It was GREAT! The kids are always so inspiring. I commented the post and I asked a question about who actually created the script, how the narrator's were chosen, and how much time it actually took to produce. I hope to hear back from them soon. Also, I hope to include this as a part of my Project 6 Comments4Kids.

the 3rd grade podcasters dressed as romans
I didn't invest too much time looking around The Education Podcast Network because the website looked so starch. Likely, I will not remember to go back and look into it further because there were no pictures, only two font colors, and the structure was, well.... too structured. Seeing this has helped me hold a mirror up to my own blog (which has no pictures and no color as of now). As soon as possible I hope to jazz up my website, and I also plan to give EPN another chance.

Last but certainly not least, I want to highlight Langwitches! This is a website with a teacher target audience. It was so comprehensive in terms of its organization, information, and examples. I have not even thought about copyright issues until reading the post, Podcasting with 3rd Grade. This post uses the topic Florida endangered species as an example of great elementary podcasting. Not only did the post include examples of podcasts created by the students, but it also included the freeware that the students used to build their audio posts like: Kidpix and Audacity. Once again, the blog had a Twitter link that I used to help build my personal learning network for teaching techniques. Glancing to the left of this particular post, I saw another post related to "digital footprinting" which I learned is the result of someone googling your name and what matches are found. I never really thought about this as a potential resume type flag. But now that I am aware, I realize how important it is for me to be actively producing a trail that I can be proud of-- I want to be googled well. This is even more motivation for me to be active in my networks whether they are my residential community, school, work, or online affiliations (which can be any or all of the formentioned)!

To see an example of EDM 310 class podcasts visit It's Time for Technology Talk. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Angela Rand and separately discuss Teacher Tube, TED, Smartboards and Edutopia with my classmates.

***Notes and questions
1.)The Kidpix link did not work, does anyone know a good link that will connect me to the right website?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

EDM 310 Podcasts Critique

For this assignment, I listened to three different podcasts: Useful Internet Sites for Elementary Teachers, Can Facebook Be Used as an Educational Tool?, and Technology Used in the Classroom at the University of South Alabama. Each of these podcasts were composed by former EDM 310 students who are also aspiring teachers. The podcasts can be found at
After listening to Kristin, Briana, and Andrea's Useful Internet Sites for Elementary Students-- the most appropriate response is, WOW! I hope to model my group's podcast after their wellpaced, informative, and clearly articulated podcast. The best part about their podcast is that they introduced so many new ideas, resources, and overviews. They discussed websites such as Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX), Stark Wall (sp?? which has peaked my interest, but Kristin did not enunciate well enough for me to look it up), Funbrain, and Scholastic. Each of the three group members took turns introducing the websites. Then, most effectively, they each told which facet of the website was most appealing or useful for them. As an avid listener of NPR, I think their podcasts should be broadcast on National Public Radio as a testimony to the many resources and innovations ready to be used in the classrooms of the 21 century.
The next podcast was less enjoyable for me. However, Can Facebook Be Used as an Educational Tool was relevant to another article I read thanks to my google reader application. Mr. Jarred Lamshed from Adelaide, Australia and contributor to the blog: At the Teacher's Desk, wrote that he effectively uses Facebook as a means of communication with 20 out of 29 parents of his students because he has found their response time with Facebook to be faster than traditional email. Although I do appreciate the friendship that I have with Sam (a co-host of the podcast), I was minimally stimulated by the audio podcast her group recorded. I think that this is because I was already very familiar with the topic, and they did not rotate speaking roles frequently enough.
The best thing about the least informative podcast that I listened to, Technology Used in the Classroom at the University of South Alabama, was the colloquial nature of the commentary. Sarah, Nick, and their third partner made you feel as if you were sitting on your living room couch having a mildly reflective conversation about school tools. Although it was not informative at all, I must give them kudos for keeping it so comfortable.

***Notes and questions for clarity
1.) What is the website that Kristin refers to that sounds like starkwall?
2.) I would like to learn more about the Courses Application for Facebook that Candace refers to even though I don't think Facebook is an appropriate tool for my classroom.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Class notes/ thoughts

to me: I can find out what other people are bookmarking in Delicious: public figures, friends, other book-markers with same interests...

to Dr. Strange: How does a blackberry compare to an iphone?

to Dr. Strange: What is your Delicious username? How do you find a user easily? How do you change your username?

to Dr. Strange and the Lady in Pink that sits in the aisle seat in the row in front of me: What is Kendall/ Tendall/ or whatever?

to me: (in response to the Needlemen conference) Blogging empowers and motivates students by giving them a real audience outside of the class setting. Using skype allows students to be taught by people who are actually in the field; his examples included a bird scientist in Boston. Integrate a few things at a time when I first start teaching, he says, because it will help me keep afloat.

to me: (about Karl, inspired by Special Needs comment in Needlemen Skype) How can I get Karl to be more engaged in peer to peer work? How can I inspire him to say "yes", instead of my now least favorite word, "no". Maybe the website would be more appropriate for Simeon because Karl isn't not struggling to keep up academically, just socially.

to me: Look up the "Mobile Schools Now Equipped for the 21 Century" from the Mobile Register.

to Dr. Strange: How can I take a screen shot (like in Mr. C's Why Do I Blog post)?