Saturday, May 1, 2010

A pretty cool link...

click here to see my Professional Blog

Self Reflection

1. During the course of this class, I've truly learned more than from any other class. iGoogle has been by far my most favorite thing I've learned about. I love all the gadgets that I can use to create my own personal page. The world of Google really is truly amazing. Creating a presentation through Docs was my favorite project, definitely fun, and learning how to navigate iTunesU was another biggie for me. I actually like blogging and it's something I'll continue to do after this class. Making the connections we did through comments4kids and comments4teachers will help us (teachers) understand others better, and be able to learn from others. ALEX and ACCESS are two of the best websites I've ever used, and I KNOW I'll be using them in the future... I've already used them for other classes this semester! Comments4Classmates was a really good way to get us to read our peers' blogs and to get to know them. Besides the presentations, I probably liked this best.

2. One of the main components of this class was being able to manage time appropriately. Even though I certainly played catch up a lot, this is not something that comes easily to me, and maybe I didn't learn as much as I should have. Through my fault alone I've created a speed bump, however, recognizing this and stating so will allow for future learning (in a more time productive way).

3. I will definitely try as hard as I can to forget about Google Earth! Okay, that's virtually impossible since that project actually brought tears to my eyes! What an annoying program, I hate it! I'm sure the greatest science teacher in the world somewhere has done amazing things with his classroom using this tool, but I think I'm okay with never clicking on that blue and white ball ever again.

4. I have mixed emotions about the excitement I've had for this class. I HONESTLY was excited about it at first... I was excited about starting my technological journey, excited to learn tools I've never used before, and work with students that I had just met. I shouldn't have taken a class that was only once a week, and independent learning is not my cup of tea... I prefer collaboration and spending class time working on projects. I feel my 9 hours outside of class should have focused more on maintenance, rather than production.

5. The most intellectually challenging part of this course was adapting to Dr. Strange's teaching modalities. I feel twisted inside knowing and appreciating his reasoning, yet want to scream at the top of my lungs at the unorganization! Yes, it's there... in black and white, it's on the blog, it's in the post, it's in your gmail, it's in a doc... OMG! Enough already! I think I've become a more intelligent person just being able to make it though that Strange syllabus!

6. Boring is a word that cannot come CLOSE to compare my reflection of this course. In fact, I would have been more happy using our class time to work on more together. The very last night of class was nice when everyone was walking around helping each other out. I would have liked to see that through the entire semester. Although it's physically difficult for me to just SIT for so long sometimes, the work I got done never bored me. The assignments were appropriate, relevant, and effective (there's those two words again).

7. What I would change about the class is I would spend more time in the classroom and less on independent learning. If a student wishes to do online work only, an online EDM class should be available and for those of us who like to go to class, we should HAVE CLASS. I want to learn. I want my teacher to be with me, work with me, and help me along the way. Is that too traditional?? Is that too needy of me? Maybe I should focus more on being an independent learner? The anxiety I feel from this class has been from the lack of guidance (not the workload) which I crave, given my long personal history of low guidance.

8. I am without a doubt technologically literate. I have a LONG way to go, but I am more than well on my way to understanding myself more, as well as navigating though the web, and being able to use resources and tools for my future as a teacher. That being said, I don't have a desire to use technology every single day, and I would encourage more screen time be used spent outside in the sun!

9. The maintenance of my technological literacy throughout the rest of my schooling will be upheld through my blogs and keeping in touch with the people I've made contact with during this course. A lot of the teacher's blogs we've read have great ideas and continuing to collaborate, teaching others what I've learned, and my own person search for intrinsic guidance will improve my technological literacy.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Goodbye Class, Hello World

What a bittersweet ending it has become for me. I'm rejoicing that this semester (especially this class) has come to an end, yet I don't think I would have made it very far as an effective and relevant (can't you tell I love those two words?) teacher without this course. I was basically lost at the beginning of the semester, and I've come a long way. I'm in much appreciation of everything I have learned, and not only will it benefit me in the future, I've already used a number of tools and sources I've learned about in this class.

I'll be looking forward to keeping in contact with many of my classmates as well as other people I've met around the world, and it wouldn't be possible without the use of the wonderful world of technology. Good luck to future students of the class, and job well done to the staff that's done such a great job helping all of us! The class is over, but now it's time to put our knowledge to the test...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just for fun?

A wordle with a few things a gymnast might need :)

Teaching Using a Voicethread

One of my favorite recipes is cottage cheese salad. Through this voicethread I will teach you how to make it so you may enjoy it for yourself. :)

Skype Me Baby One More Time

This semester I've downloaded Skype but used it very infrequently. I understand the power it has behind it, but I haven't had the need to really use it. My family lives in Pennsylvania and I've talked to my grandmother and aunts using Skype a few times, but it's awkward, hard to hear, and we like to just talk on the phone. Also, my brother lives in Florida, and we keep in touch (sometimes) using Skype. It's not my favorite medium for communication, since I'm usually on the go, but it surely serves a purpose as a tool for many to use.

My Google Earth Project

Results from my Google Docs Form

Here's a link to the results from my Fitness Form I created in Google Docs

Monday, April 26, 2010

comments4teachers weeks 13 and 14

Morgan Bayda is a teacher in Canada. She's completely honest and very passionate about her learning network.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Prime Example of Learning from our Students

The second I got to this link I realized how embarrassing my PLN is. The (7TH GRADE!) student was able to create (learn from) a network in which she is involved with daily. School projects were constructed with ease, and bibliographies were virtually built in. If feedback was needed, tools like Skype came in handy for peer or scientific review.

The student navigated knowledgeably through the apps, but I thought the digital poster was the coolest thing. She is able to work from the classroom, home, or anywhere else for that matter. The dymanics that is PLE provides are endless, and I am more than thankful to have this (now) as part of my own.

Personally, I find searching for things and endlessly looking at pictures, trying to filter out what information I need from what's being given frustrating, and using tools like delicious, and students sharing their work, collaboration is catalyst to sharing knowledge and learning from sources we would otherwise never encounter. I've become more inspired (and more equipped) to make for a better personal learning environment for myself... thanks for the nudge in the right direction! (and from a student, nonetheless)

The Question

I'd like to just start out noting that I LOVE the fact that a woman started this whole thought provoking video... Thank you for that, Clare Booth Luce...

When my students are grown and productive members of society, I hope they look back and reflect on the impact I had on them...I hope my sentence goes something like this: "She helped me learn about who I was as a person, taught me how to live with integrity, how to learn from others and treat them with respect and kindness, and to strive to live up to my God-given potential."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Timetoast Assignment

Check out my timetoast project here! Each year family and friends come together for a week of R & R, and our unplanned itinerary always has FUN in every time slot!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

iGoogle wonder

One of my favorite things that we've done (aside from comments4kids) in this class is learn the world of google. This class was my first experience REALLY using it, and setting up a gmail account and having an igoogle page has helped me become more comfortable using the computer for other things I would normally just (haphazardly) write down.

I've enjoyed learning docs (which I didn't even knew existed before this class) and doing presentations. Docs has been useful for me in many other classes, and friends not even attending this school are intrigued about my blog and want to make their own presentations. I'm sure I'll be using forms and other features in the future for other classes as well.

Docs, Forms, RSS feeds, and other links are right at my fingertips on my igoogle page, making keeping up with classwork simpler. I'll be using it for a long time and will definitely be sharing the wonder with others.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And the Zax are taken down by the Landslide....

The two videos we watched for this blog assignment were probably my favorite. They were personal, sweet, and powerful. The Dr. Seuss video of the Zax described two Zax, traveling opposite directions, bumping into each other, and both believing that their way is the right way, wouldn't budge to the side to let the other pass. Well, they NEVER budged, and life carried on about them just the same... life progressed...change happened about them, and they were lost...right in the middle of it all. This video is powerful in that it can be applied to almost any aspect in my (your, our) life, and it really inspires me to be more self-reflective.

Pertaining to this technology course, this video teaches us that we can refuse to be technologically literate teachers...but we will have no effectiveness if we make that choice. I do not want to be a Zax, I am not a Zax. I don't have to know everything and I don't really care to, but I know that being willing to learn will carry me through the rest of my life with the impact I want to carry and the integrity I want to uphold.

The second video was amazing. I know that the assignment is to comment on publishing student work on the web, but I can't get over the emotions that these children left me with. Seeing these children coming together, working hard, singing from their hearts, and watching their faces as they followed along with their teacher is what drives me to BE a teacher. I want to work with our future generation and inspire them to learn more about themselves and others. I want to encourage diversity and openness, and one of the best platforms to do this on is with the help of technology.

Showing student's work on the web creates a network of shared information that normally wouldn't ever be seen or how Mr. C streams his classroom live... this could give many teachers different ideas concerning classroom management, lesson plan ideas, student project ideas, etc. Collaborating and sharing provides a base for knowledge to grow and build upon!


For this set of comments, I visited Tom Whitby's blog "Island View". His first blog I read was Lead us into Reform and the second was Illigitimi Non Carborundum. Here he discusses how it may be the time to get out of the horse and buggy and ease into the car. YES, it is true a good teacher needs no tech to be good... It is also true that a good teacher with tech can be better!


This morning I left a comment for a student in Mr. McClung's class. The student described a baseball player "Dizzy" Dean, who was a legend that "slipped under the radar". He used online resources to find out factual information about the baseball player, and did a great job leaving his post.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

comments4kids week 13

Mary is from Room 14 and she told us about a magnificent trip down a water slide. It was her favorite thing at camp, and she was very descriptive. She did a great job telling her story and I hope she likes the comment I left for her.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kaia- an Ocean of Ideas

During the semester we've gotten to know Mr. C and seen first hand the outreach and support he provides for many technological newbies (and oldies). Mr. C's class got involved in Kaia's blog and since she was only 3, left a voicethread for her so she could hear what others had to say (and not have to be read to). I think that was special, and I know Kaia and her dad both enjoyed it.

Kaia's blog shared with us a picture essay of a trip to the beach. She did an excellent job narrating the slides her dad put together for her. We got to meet her little sister Skyelar and her family, and it's nice to know someone so willing to expose themselves, to teach others it's okay to share. Kaia's dad Jabiz Raisdana is interesting to me, and I've began following him on twitter. He's shared with us his concerns of exposing his children, which is probably only natural for a parent... He's gotten a lot of feedback which is what I believe he was going for, and hopefully his fears subsided.

Education is waiting for us. It's there to be sought out and shared, built upon and expanded... it's our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children. We should use what we have and strive to be leaders, and understand there are new ways of learning. We should reach beyond the textbook, and see how others live. We could be inspired; we could inspire someone else! I think this is a great way to document a child's life, and I more than likely will do the same when I have children.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

comments4kids week 12

This week I went to visit a blog by Michael. He did his first imovie, and he tells the world why he loves his dad. Even though his movie only lasted eight seconds, I'm sure the learning experience that Michael got will last him a lifetime. He's ready to take that camera anywhere, film anything, and share it with the world!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Morgan Bayda and Dan Brown

I visited Morgan Bayda’s page and got sucked in for a while. I love her creativity!. I have been a coach for a long time and I am in school to become a Physical Education teacher. For me, teaching and learning has always been a physically active thing for me, and screen time is new and sometimes frustrating (meaning boring) for me. However, I more than appreciate all of the new tools I’ve gained from this class and the invaluable connection with the rest of the world for FABULOUS ideas that I can use in any aspect of my teaching. I plan to further my education after I begin teaching, and may possibly be in the classroom full time then. I will look back and be so thankful for what I’ve learned so far.

I watched the video of Dan Brown. He rants that Universities are becoming so institutionalized that learning is on the brink of extinction. He says the internet has provided us with a means of moving forward where education hasn’t stepped up to the plate. Now that “facts are free”, textbooks become irrelevant and teachers are spinning around, frantically making a powerpoint for what could just be discussed during our valuable class time and remembered (probably) easier. It’s time for the two to join forces and work together as a catalyst for brilliant minds of our future.

Dan, I hope nothing but the best for you. You are brilliant and passionate and I hope somewhere along the way you find what you're looking for. Maybe you could start a mentoring program? I could see that soaring! Morgan, thank you for what you do. You inspire people (like me) to sit down and learn... and want to learn more. :)


Eric from Mrs. Kolbert's class has taught me something I never knew! There is a species of jellyfish that is immortal! It is able to transform from full maturity back to it's original polyp form and the cycle continues! I left him a comment letting him know we'll be keeping our eyes out for them here on the Gulf Coast.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comments4Kids week 9

This week Lafayette is a student who was trusted with a camera to capture images for a school project. What was found was hilarious, mischievous, random pics of Laf all over the classroom. The lesson learned was not to trust Laf with a camera, but I beg to differ. What Laf did was probably expected, and creative nonetheless, even though the pics probably were few and far between for what they were actually needed for.

My out of order, (almost) better late than never, March 12 Blog Assignment...and still in the making...

ACCESS is a distance learning program intended to connect people from different aspects of teaching for the purpose of sharing information and learning. Between ALEX and ACCESS, there's more than enough to begin with. I love the links, the search tools, the opportunities provided to connect the otherwise unconnected student.

Alabama Learning Exchange

This website is so user friendly! I love how easy it is to navigate from one thing to another. It's very organized yet very broad. I've already used this site as part of an assignment for another class, and I'm sure I'll be back plenty to take full advantage! ALEX is a resource center for teachers and is a great place to start if you are a little confused or if you're well into developing your lesson plans.

Comments4Teachers, weeks 7,8,9

I have been following Wesley Fryer on his blog entitled "Moving at the Speed of Creativity".

Wesley is a very student oriented teacher (isn't that the best kind?)and his blog posts reflect this. He shares information with other teachers about presentation projects for students (Petcha Kutcha) and other online student portfolios. One of my favorite posts of his is his thanking of teachers for their selfless work, and I appreciate that he took time out to remind these teachers how much a difference they truly have the potential to make.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

His last (my first) Pausch lecture ... His Legacy... My Future

Randy Pausch's video gives us lessons that can last us a lifetime. Pausch has been diagnosed with cancer, yet he has the most brilliant and peaceful aura about him. When he said his deathbed conversion was buying a Macintosh, I literally laughed out loud. This only makes me want one more!

He made me look back and think about what my childhood dreams were. I like how he said he "got more from the dream and not accomplishing it than from others that he did accomplish". I think being in tune with our own inner child will help us connect more with our students, making us more effective and personable.

Fundamentals are the cornerstone to build upon. His story about his coach not bringing a football to practice was very potent. He made a point that of 22 players on a team, only one on the team is holding the ball, and it's time to work with those other 21 players. As a gymnastics coach, I apply this mode of learning to my students. I teach safety rules, flexibility, correct body positions, tight muscles and pointed toes before I ever even attempt to teach a cartwheel or even a front roll.

Randy described a to us a time in his life when his coach was riding him extra hard one practice. Instead of beating himself up about it, he listened to another coach who told him that this was a good thing. What he's telling us here is that when you're screwing up and no one is telling you about it, they've given up. Let's hope that my mentors and teachers will have the persistence to ride me a little harder when I need a boost. This is a good thing. Some might consider this a brick wall... but Pausch mentions that brick walls are put in front of us only too see how badly we want something.

I think what sticks out to me most in this video is when he's describing one of his first assignments to an undergraduate class, and they came back just blowing him away. He had no idea what do to... so he called his Mentor. Andy Van Dam laughed and told him to tell them that they did a fantastic job... but it could have been better. He was pointing out that he didn't know where the bar should be and setting it would only be a disservice for the students. What an amazing viewpoint. This encourages students to want to be responsible for their own learning and to ask questions, work harder and smarter, and to think outside of the box. One of Pausch's mentors John Snoddy said "give someone some time, and they'll almost always impress you." So here's to having my cake and eating it too. Thank you Randy Pausch for one of the most profound videos I have ever watched.


I was able to review Day 108 of a kindergarten class. The teacher was so organized and the kids were engaged all day long, either inside or out, or using technology. Here is the comment I left on the class's blog:
I love seeing the word "sensory" in your kindergarten class. :) I'm sorry to hear that art didn't go so well, but maybe next time you'll have cooperation. I'm visiting this site as an assignment from a class I'm taking at the University of South Alabama. I'll enjoy coming back to visit often. Keep up the good work and the great attitude! You can check out my class blog here or my personal blog I've started (also an assignment for the class) at

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

PLN in progress

It's been an adventure, this class, that's for sure. I've been able to acquire some time management skills as well as some fine information from (guess where!) online! This is a work in progress and will be updated frequently.





Miller, Drexler, and Wesch... Our Future is Now

I know that I'm not as prepared as I need to be with my students, but I will be... and with all the tools available to help me learn, I will be more than happy to share with my students. When I say I'm not prepared, I'm referring to the ever updating world of technology. Although I can type pretty fast with accuracy, and typing papers has grown easier over time, and even though I have my very own blog(!) it's nerve wracking sometimes to think of all of the things I have to "be on the lookout for" and what things I'll be doing such as composing, publishing, writing, researching, and last but not least sharing. (Since, Miller points out, educators ARE in the business of sharing!)

Miller shares his ideas on how media and technology are going to enhance what we already have available to us. His thought that "the certainty of this is that it will happen again" has not only come to pass, but is quickly happening more and more. Adding sound and video, podcasts, and e-networks to the educating scene is more than an enhancement, but a means of keeping up with the expanding world of our minds and technology.

I believe my students will naturally be better than me at these various tasks, for they will have grown up using these tools and many more I can't even anticipate yet.

As far as connectivism goes, I love how Drexler's video is organized and informative. I believe networking is important and useful, and teachers advocating this type of learning should be commended as well as encouraged to maintain and update material as necessary. With the emergence of comments, daily, on countless subjects, networking provides more learning opportunities, and the purpose (for lack of a better word) of the teacher in this experience is simply to organize and pass on the information. [Information Management, if you will]. Connectivism promotes conversation and prompts debate, encourages self responsibility and accountability.

I believe it will be easier for a middle school student to do a project like this more so than a college student, or even a high school student. Already, I feel behind, and I am just beginning on this technological journey.

Michael Wesch's video was next on my to do list, and I enjoyed watching this one as well. I like the point he makes regarding the fact that we don't know who our audience is going to be at any given time, not to mention that watching ourselves in the future may be like watching another person all together. I also love how he compared broadcasting yourself online is somewhat like being in a confessional. His equations were identifiable, and with the ongoing growth, perhaps more people will respond positively to using online networking, and not apprehensive, reserving back to [only] their old pen and paper ways.


This week's comment4Kids was an article persuading us to just say no to fast food. It was thoughtful and easy to read. It's nice seeing young people being concerned about what types of food they are eating. The second was an article describing how hockey is better than soccer. He won my vote with such an incredible article.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dr. Alice, ITunes, IPods, and The Strange Wiki

There is so much information on Dr. Alice's page! I've already added it to my favorites! Endless information on "everything technology". I love how organized Dr. Alice's page is. It's going to be so difficult to pick just one topic to blog about, but I'll probably come back later for more... I'll keep you posted ;)

As a teacher, I will continuously be looking for new ideas to bring into my classroom/in the gym and this is an excellent spot to start. I think I most appreciated her Educational Technology section where she began with basic understanding of the internet, navigating, and how to bring technology into the classroom. I enjoyed her research links and her many suggestions on enhancing power points; the rubric examples were my favorite though. I just learned what a rubric was last year, but I think they're one of the best things our students can use to help guide/motivate themselves.

Dr. Alice's website will be useful to me as a teacher by means of helping prepare for my own lessons and it also serves as a useful guide for parents to better understand what their children are working with in school, so they're more comfortable being involved with the process.

I Tunes
You Tube
My Space

Mine...Yours... I don't think I've ever seen or heard of as much "sharing" as what's going on now. Anyone from anywhere can find out anything. Controversial, maybe sometimes, but I believe there's hardly anything but usefulness in these networking meeting places. ITunes University is an awesome tool for any student or teacher, and I plan on taking full advantage of the site.

Strange's Wiki was really cool. I liked seeing what other people had to say!


This week's comment was left for a student named Zion in Room 8 at PT England School. He and his friend PJ set goals together and worked on a podcast. It was refreshing seeing such young people in front of the camera setting an example for us older generations to "get with the program".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wiki What?

Even though I've heard of and even used wikipedia, I've never considered it to be a real viable source of information. I've known that it can be edited by whomever at anytime, and I've used it really just to find out things that I had NO idea about before. Wikipedia's great for gaining insight on some topics you might not have been familiar with at all, but I wouldn't use it as a sole resource for any reason. I think it's cool that a database has been created to monitor what's being edited and by whom. One would want wikipedia to be as factual and true as possible, but with these big corporations adding or omitting information as they see fit, our view may become misconstrued. It's nice to know there's a quick way to brush up on something, but it's also good to be able to keep an eye out for the manipulator.

Mr. McClung learned it.... why can't we?

I was so pleased when I read Mr. McClung's post. It's refreshing to hear teachers speak of their students and remember that they are the driving force that moves us. Having a connection with the students truly is the only way to be effective. Being flexible and being able to modify your lesson plans "on the fly" are of most importance. Trying to control every move will only create stress and will hinder the learning atmosphere. Being relaxed will encourage students (and other teachers) to relax as well, opening the channels for communication. Effective communication is acquired with practice and is the key to solving conflicts with students and other teachers alike. Another skill that an effective teacher has is setting reasonable goals and objectives for her students. To quote Mr. McClung: "While its fine to have lofty goals for our students, we set our students up for disappointment when a goal is not met and we scold them for not coming through. Our job as teachers is to simply pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again." I agree with him when he says we must take interest in our students. They appreciate it and it's important. It also speaks volumes about the teacher who really cares what the student has to say. Lastly, leading by example, sharing my passion for learning (including about technology!!) will encourage my students to strive to be the best they can be, and that is my only hope as a teacher... that each child will recognize and strive to reach their own potential.


Mr. Lamshed sure has some great kids he works with! I've been able to see his boys shave their heads to raise money for cancer awareness, and I've enjoyed watching their progress. Click here: for Mr. Lamshed's page.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Technology, the Back Seat Driver

The millenia generation and technology go hand in hand, and podcasting is allowing for expansion of the classroom. students are becoming a part of the teaching process, enhancing learning. I like how the young students have positive things to say about listening to the podcasts. With the principals supporting their teachers with using technology, specifically podcasts, it has potential to serve as a basis for bringing educator and parent and student closer, with regular communication and the ease (easier?) of expression through technology.

As wonderful as it is that (very) young persons are doing everyday tasks using technology, I believe we must teach responsibility when using these tools. It might also be a good idea for schools to hold workshops for parents and invite them to learn along with the students on the benefits of the enhancements of these applications. The more involvement, the more beneficial for everyone, with the student being the center focus.

I immediately was attracted to the Brain Quest for 1st graders, because I remember when I was in 6th grade, my aunt gave me one of those in my stocking one year for Christmas... it's neat that it's on iPod now! I was thrilled to see the variety of material available. As well as academics, other topics were healthful living, dance education, and many others! It's exciting to see study guides such as spark notes available on an iPod (as opposed to downloading onto something else with text, like a kindle). The variety of training available is very broad and that will only lead to advancements across many fields.

I appreciate all of the information I've recently been exposed to since the beginning of this course. I believe it's more than relevant to me. Being new to podcasting, it's nice to be able to hear many examples, and instructions for publishing my own. For our group project, we've decided to do a vodcast, and some things that I've once dreaded, I'm looking forward to working on.

I think I honestly owe the kids for the motivation behind my want to learn now. Their creativity shines, and before my apprehension held me back, but seeing them flourish with the use of these podcasts has encouraged me to seek more knowledge about the usage of these tools and the enhancement for my students.


Twice so far I've left comments for a young man named AJ, and I've become pretty familiar with his page. It lets me relax a little for it reminds me that this "technology stuff" really isn't that hard.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Welcome to the Podcast Industry...

This semester I'm experiencing many firsts. I just recently bought my first laptop. This edm class is the first time I've heard of a smartboard, and now I've downloaded my first podcast. I'm ashamed, given that I've owned an ipod for a little over 3 years now. I enjoyed listening to the podcasts, and more so, I appreciate what I've learned from them. I've come to the realization that I have been out of the loop, I'm not up to date on a lot of the things that I should be, and I'm very excited to begin my journey of knowledge. (Technological literacy, here I come!)

I'm very new to terms like audio conferencing and video podcasting, but what I failed to realize before now is that my students are going to be so conditioned to these terms, the newness that I see will be invisible to them. Wikis to them will be like chalkboards were for me. Staying a step ahead or even just in step with our students will earn their respect, I believe, for they will see that we are reaching out for that connection that we might only be able to accomplish through the use of technology.

Listening to the podcasts put me out of my traditional comfort zone but made me feel good to know that I was on my way to catching up to the rest of the world. I don't want to find myself being a Mr. Winkle and holding students back because I can't connect with what they're talking about. It's absurd to think that a third grader can become frustrated with me because I'm not following what he's saying about the new book he read on his kindle.

It's amazing the amount of information available to us. People are taking the initiative to share what they know, and syndicated media is booming. I would say that I can't believe what all is out there, but I really can! The 6 podcasts we listened to this week for class opened my eyes to what all is available for us. I never would have listened to a show dedicated to photography, and I never would have heard the (interesting) topic of the photo discrimination lawsuit.

I'm pleased to announce I'm a new fan of podcasts, and I can't wait to see what all I can find for myself and share with others.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Technological Illiteracy... probably not a good thing

Michael Wesch has made a video giving us a broad view of college students today. Students today are busy multitasking... texting, twittering, facebooking, blogging, emailing, taking notes, and all while listening to their ipod. It's hard to define a typical student anymore. People of all ages and all backgrounds are walking around campuses, changing their paths, their lives. One thing that is similar across the board is technology is in our face, and there's no way of turning our back to it. Technology is fun, interesting, and always being updated. There's something for everyone in my opinion, and the search is the best part!

Kelly Hines suggests that it's not all about the technology... We keep shouting technology! technology! but what are these teachers doing with it? If the new age ideas are in the hands of old thinking, nothing will blossom. There are so many tools available to us through the use of technology. But where is the instruction? How is what is being taught being taught?? Are we as teachers challenging our students? Are we preparing these students for the forward thinking they will be required to use to be able to be successful citizens? I think we need to focus more on learning ourselves...learning from our students and sharing with them what we learn. This technological journey can be taken by all, teacher and student alike and with the right approach by the teacher, technology will shine the light on our futures.

Karl Fisch asks us if it's okay for teachers to be technologically illiterate. I say no it's not. I agree with him when he says that for this day and age that we're in, not being tech literate is like not being able to read and write back in the beginning of the 20th century. Fisch also implements the idea that technology is "a part of life, and not an add on". Teachers need to embrace this idea. If we don't, we will be left in the dust. We are living in exponential times, and we must be able to keep up. Gary Haye's social media count was shocking to me, (check it out here) showing by the second how many facebook members are added, how many tweets and blogs are being posted, how many videos on youtube are being watched, and how many emails are being sent globally. With data like this, being updated literally by the second, it's impossible to reject the fact that technology is a part of our lives. Being tech illiterate will leave you with very few opportunities to grow and prosper. Being tech illiterate AND a teacher is a dangerous combination that is sure to hinder the learning process of some students. We must not let this happen by continuing to learn about technology and by sharing the passion to learn with our students.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Technological Awakening

I watched a video tonight entitled "Did You Know?". I really was blown away at some of the numbers that I saw on the screen. I hadn't even thought of some of the things that were being suggested in the video. I came to a realization that I don't know as much as I should...or at least as much as my potential students....
I'm amazed at how prevalent technology is, and I believe we've only seen a small portion of our potential. It's obvious that as the years go by, there's shorter time in between transitions of "old to new". In the video, we are asked "to whom did we ask our questions before google?" and our future generations are asking "there was a 'before google?'" It is becoming near impossible to fight this gap.
"So what does this all mean?" The video asks us at the end of an overload of information... I believe it means it's time for us, educators, to step up to the technological plate and take a few swings, because we are being lapped by the younger generations, you know, the ones we are guiding?
Another thing that this means is that the children that our coming to our institutions to learn are becoming bored with the lack of stimulation they are receiving. These children know that they can find out anything they want to with a few clicks and I can see how they would find the classroom setting with the technological illiterate teacher regurgitating a memorized lesson to them boring, even counterproductive. Which brings me to the second video that I watched...
Mr. Winkle wakes up after 100 years to find that life is passing him by at exponential speeds. Then Mr. Winkle goes for a visit into the school. He is at home. Things are normal. He finds that he can keep up with the pace of the school. The system is old. It's time to wake up and bring something new into the school before the children don't need us anymore.
I'm disturbed, even a little scared, if you will at the thought of what all I DON'T know. I now will be more thoughtful of the "new" and appreciate things I learn, for I more than likely will be able to use these tools to touch the students that I work with. Ken Robinson said in one of his videos that "nobody knows what the world will look like in 5 years, yet we're supposed to be educating our youth how to thrive in the world". I find that we might not be moving forward fast enough.
Robinson's position is that creativy should be put on the same level as literacy and we should not "squander" the creativeness of these children who possess extreme capacity to prosper. Robinson wants us to not be afraid to make mistakes... for this is where original thoughts are produced, and creativity is nurtured.
I was touched by Ken Robinson. I appreciate his dedication to dance and the arts and I agree with his philosophy that these disciplines are just as important as math or sciences. I don't want to be part of the problem that stifles the learning of these children. I hope to increase my knowledge daily and share what I learn with my students. Click here for a link to this video.
The last video I watched for this blog was very interesting. I'm jealous that I never had a class like the one in this Georgia school. I love that the teacher is so willing to use other tools than just pencil and paper and encourages many types of learning. Now that my curiosity has been heightened, I am more than eager to delve into the world of technology. I'm still nervous as to what a terraform might be but I have the confidence that I can keep up with what's going on around me and use what I know to accumulate more information. I'm very excited to begin this new journey. Vicki Davis is doing remarkable things with her students and I can't wait to see what I have in myself that I can bring forward as well.