Monday, July 20, 2009

My EDM 310 Blogs Are Now Complete

Fellow classmates, I wish you well with your endeavors! May your teaching career be fulfilling, may your students be served well, and may you take the knowledge that you have gleaned from this course and put it to practical use!

What I Have Learned in EDM 310

So much was covered in this course! It was almost overwhelming. I don't think that I'll remember it all unless I keep all of my class handouts (which I will try to do). Still, I did learn about some important technological resources available to teachers.

The following are the resources that made the biggest impression on me: blogging, ACCESS, Google Earth, and creating presentations, and creating links to websites. I know that these are only a few of what we covered, and that the others can be invaluable tools as well.

I'll go into a little more detail. Blogging is an excellent way to collaborate with other teachers across the globe, as we have seen in our blog assignments. ACCESS is a wonderful source of ideas and information for teachers. Google Earth is a wonderful and exciting way to share experiences with other people, such as travel, and history. Creating presentations is a wonderful way to present visual material to students. Finally, creating links to websites allows one to share information in a collaborative way by inviting readers to visit the site themselves easily.

I have to say a word about podcasts. I want to acknowledge this very important technological resource. When one visits iTunes or iTunes U, they are presented with an unending wealth of information. The possibilities are endless. Students will now be able to learn class material anytime, anyplace. I was impacted by their importance in the classroom. Now, with that said, I have to confess that I personally may or may not use podcasts outside of the classroom. It reminded me of talk radio, which I despise. The main difference is that the topics actually matter (which is not always the case with talk radio). These are matters of personal preference, and I do hope that I continue utilizing the podcasts for the classroom. As I said before, I do realize the importance and relevance of podcasts.

There is nothing that I learned in this class that I think is useless. I think all of the information about technologies is wonderful. Even if I choose not to utilize some of them, I am grateful to Dr. Strange for exposing them to me. I know that I will use at least some of them in the classroom. I will also strive to become more technologically literate as time goes by, so that I may better serve my students. This class has made me a little more open to the use of technology, and I will continue to try to grow in that openness.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Becoming a "Technologically Literate" Teacher

I must admit that all that is involved in becoming a technologically literate teacher is overwhelming to me. There is so much to learn, and the kids are already way ahead of me! Still, I can take heart in the fact that teachers are now learning that they can learn alongside of their students. There is hope for me yet!

A teacher who wants to be technology literate must have a desire to learn. That is what it is all about. Learning available technologies, learning which educators utilize them, learning how to utilize them ourselves, all lead to becoming a technologically literate teacher.

There are so many technologies at our disposal! Blogging, Twitter, iTunes, iTunes U, podcasts, facebook, YouTube, the possibilities are endless. Networking and collaboration have never before been so readily available to us. We need to learn to utilize these technologies in order to become technologically literate teachers.

Once more, I say that we must be willing to learn! Our students will benefit, and we will benefit. The opportunities are there. It is up to us to decide whether or not we will utilize these technologies for benefit. Will you become technologically literate? Will I? I hope so!

Summer 2009 Podcasts

In our summer 2009 class we were seperated into two groups and given topics for our class podcasts. Megan and I were in one group, Kitty and Nicole in the other. Megan and I spoke with Dr. Strange regarding the topic Listener/Watchers versus Reader/Writers. Kitty and Nicole spoke with him about the possibility of education and school being conducted solely through the use of technology, and no other media. Both podcasts went very well, and there are only a few improvements that I would suggest.

I will start with the podcast by Megan and myself. Overall, I felt like it went well. However, I think that, had we alternated asking questions, the podcast would have sounded smoother, creating more variety (in the sense of audio). I thought that we also needed more discussion and comment. We spent too much time asking questions and not enough time commenting. Finally, I would like to have known ahead of time that it was going to be video-recorded. I would have made myself more presentable, as well as being more mindful of my body language.

Kitty and Nicole did an excellent job on their podcast. I felt that they did a good job discussing and commenting. My only suggestion would be that everyone be sure and interject their thoughts during the conversation. I think that it's okay to interrupt the speaker, as long as it is done in a polite, courteous, and relevant manner. Overall, great job, guys!

The Plusses and Minuses of Classroom Blogging

Blogging is something that is new to me. I have read blogs before, but this class has given me my first taste of actually creating and maintaining a blog. I haven't found it difficult, yet I know that I have much more to learn.

We have seen this summer that blogging in the classroom can be beneficial. We ourselves have learned about it through the instruction of Dr. Strange, and also through just "jumping in". I hope that my experiences through classroom blogging will continue with me involving my future students in it.

There are definitely some plusses that come from classroom blogging. Feedback is one. Also, the sharing of information and ideas comes from reading/writing blogs as well as from the posting of comments. These seem to me to be the most obvious of plusses related to classroom blogging.

I really can't think of any minuses to classroom blogging. I certainly can't say that I don't want my students to share ideas or info. I can't say that technology doesn't have a place in learning. So, I must conclude that blogging in the classroom can only be beneficial for my students. It has been for me!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Richard Miller Videos

In Richard Miller's videos, he discusses writing with multimedia technology. It seemed that some of the technology to which he was referring is only just now coming around. It did seem rather hardcore to me.

Still, I believe that the gist of the videos was the fact that the emerging technologies are what we need in order to be effective in writing, communicating, and sharing ideas. Current technology is making collaborations increasingly possible, not only locally, but around the world as well.

These new trends in writing and communicating open up many possibilities for students. It's a whole new world.

Update: Finding the Passion

Once again Mr. Lamshed has provided an informative video featuring Sir Ken Robinson on his blog. This update features this video in which Sir Robinson discusses the benefits of following one's passions.

I agree with Sir Robinson's belief that pursuing your passion leads to fulfillment. Isn't that how we can strengthen our communities? To produce passionate, fulfilled people who have a desire to contribute something of themselves? It would certainly better the community.

If people are fulfilled, it stands to reason that they will be more productive. Certainly, they would be happy.

Finding the Passion

I have just read Mr. Jarrod Lamshed's blog titled "Finding the Passion". The blog deals with the fact that we likely better serve our students if we encourage them to utilize their passions in their learning processes.

Each child has their own hidden talents and creativity, which they sometimes lose by the time they become adults. These talents should be encouraged, so that these kids can use every resource available to them. Besides, who knows what we may be stifling if we do anything to discourage them. Case in point is the story of Gillian Lynne, the choreographer, who was thought to have learning problems as a child because she was restless in class. (See video in Mr. Lamshed's blog.) Fortunately, her mother, on the advice of a wise doctor sent her to dance class. Ms. Lynne is now a famous choreographer and multi-millionaire.

If we can learn the passions of our students, we can utilize them to enhance the learning process. Once we do that, who knows how far our students will be able to go! Their learning experiences will be enhanced, and they will enjoy learning and using their talents! That makes for success.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Edible Schoolyard" and "Global Village"

There are two very interesting podcasts in iTune U. called "The Edible Schoolyard" and "The Global Village". Both are about cutting edge educational programs that are being used to give students a perspective that otherwise they would likely not have.

"The Edible Schoolyard" showcases a class in which middle school students learn science, math, and home skills in a garden and kitchen setting. Working in the garden gives the teachers multiple opportunities for teachable moments, while giving the students hands-on practical scientific applications. Home skills are learned when the students take their home grown food into the kitchen for cooking lessons.

Heifer International has a program for students called "The Global Village". Students, along with their teachers, experience a night of poverty stricken life in a "village". They must learn to work together to meet needs, they learn about those in need, and they learn about community.

Both of these podcasts are great for providing information about cutting edge educational programs. They may serve to give inspiration to teachers about topics to explore with students. There may even be the possibility that teachers and students could participate in the programs.

"Growth" Mindset v. "Fixed" Mindset

Stanford University has an interesting podcast posted on iTunes U. It is about the idea of teaching students to have a "growth" mindset instead of a "fixed" mindset. The podcast describes an experiment they did with students to see how each mindset affected them.

According to the podcast, a student with a "fixed" mindset believes that they have only a certain level of intelligence. Students with a "growth" mindset believe that they can increase their intelligence continually through learning new things. In the experiment, they gave one group of students study notes, and for other students taught workshops on developing the "growth" mindset. Those who had study notes continued to decline in their grades. Those who had gone through the workshops showed significant improvement on their grades.

I believe that this is not only relevant for students, but for educators as well. We can certainly implement these ideas for our students, but for ourselves as well. With this new attitude, we as teachers will be more able to achieve success, both with our students, and with our own job performance.

K-5 Podcasts

I have just watched three wonderful educational podcasts for the K-5 grade levels. They were "Observing Clouds", "Observing Precipitation", and "A Night in the Coral Reef". The former two relied mostly on visuals, while the latter had an audio commentary.

In "Observing Clouds", no audio was utilized. It was simply video of moving clouds in the sky, accompanied by written instruction. It included a time lapse in which it is easy to note the movement and changing of the clouds.

While "Observing Precipitation" was similar to "Observing Clouds", it did include an audio that provided the sounds of the falling precipitation. It included the different kinds of precipitation, and gave a word to describe what each type of precipitation is called.

"A Night in the Coral Reef" was much like a documentary on television. (I do believe that it came from the show "Nova".) There was beautiful color video accompanied by a narration describing the habits of the sea creatures of the reef during the night.

All of these podcasts have the potential to be fantastic teaching tools for young school children. The first two would be wonderful for teaching observation skills, teaching children how to pose questions about what they have observed, and helping them to try to come up with their own ideas about what those answers are. The more documentary style podcast can give valuable information, inspire creativity, and make the students more curious about the material. The teacher can use what they have seen to come up with engaging activities for the students.

These podcasts were wonderful, and I look forward to the new podcasts that I can download. What a wonderful site for teaching tools!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

iTunes U

There is a wonderful resource on iTunes for educators. It is called iTunes U. This site, located in the iTunes store, makes learning educational material possible anytime or anyplace. Anyone can use it, and it is a great tool for teachers to utilize.

The site enables teachers to create lessons and make them available on iTunes. They have the option of making them available only to the students on their campus, or making them available for public viewing in iTunes U. Students will be able to access the lectures and lessons on their ipod or iphone, making studying at anytime possible.

In addition to this, there are numerous podcasts available through iTunes U. The information comes from universities, K-12 programs, public broadcasting, and virtually any organization that wishes to broadcast educational media. This makes iTunes U not only educational for students, but for teachers as well, and enables educators to make a bigger impact on students. For information on iTunes U, you can visit this website: Click here for information.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

iPods in Education

Technology is increasingly being incorporated into the classroom settings. A new trend is the use of the ipod for educational purposes. It can be used to record podcasts, download educational media files, and in a number of other ways. Duke University is one school that has tested the effectiveness of the use of the ipod for educational purposes.

At Duke, school officials decided to do an experiment in which they gave all incoming freshman an ipod. The students were instructed to see how they could use the ipods to enhance their academic and social experiences. As a result, Duke now has several classes in which the teachers have planned for the use of the ipod in the curriculum material.

Clearly, the ipod can be effectively used in the classroom. If you would like to learn more about the utilization of the ipod in education, please visit the following link: Click Here to go to the website.

Dr. Christie

Dr. Alice Christie has a very interesting website. Dr. Christie endorses the idea that teachers should learn along with their students. She helps make this possible by sharing multiple educational resources for both students and teachers.

The tool she provides which I found most helpful was the educational technology page. There are numerous topics regarding current and new technologies that are relevant to education. Since I am new to the utilization of these technologies, it is good to know that I have a resource to help me in my quest to incorporate the use of technology in the classroom.


Wikipedia is a site in which readers can edit material. It has recently been learned that individuals, organizations, and politicians often make changes that support or improve their image. Though Virgil Griffith has invented a scanner to check IP addresses, I still would not trust the Wikipedia site for information. The persons editing the site may make their changes anonymously. If I was looking for reliable, factual material, I would not look at the Wikipedia site.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

In his last lecture, Dr. Randy Pausch of MIT included some life lessons which can also be applied in the classroom setting. These are some of those lessons. First, the proverbial brick wall that we may likely run into while pursuing our goals is there to help us realize how badly we want something. Another lesson is that the best way to learn is by doing. Finally, perhaps the most important lesson is to have fun while learning something new.

Most everyone has goals. According to Dr. Pausch, those walls are in place to seperate those who "want it" from those who don't. In other words, the brick wall engages perseverance. It is through perseverance that people are able to achieve their goals.

Dr. Pausch also endorses the idea of learning by doing. I have always thought that hands-on experience was much more enlightening that simply reading "how to". I hope that when I become an educator that I will have the opportunity to utilize this approach to learning with my students.

The most important lesson Dr. Pausch gives us is what he calls the "head fake". This basically means that while someone is having fun, they are actually learning something. I have always wondered why classwork could not be fun. It seems to me that if the students are engaged and enjoying what they are doing, that they would be much more likely to learn in the process. Dr. Pausch's experiences seem to support this. If the students have fun, you can sneak in the material, and this is the "head fake".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Karl Fisch

Mr. Fisch is quite a remarkable man! What an accomplishment, to have an award winning blog! He obviously feels very strongly about the importance of being technologically literate, especially for educators. I have to wonder if any of his thoughts regarding the topic are considered a bit controversial.

Still, it's very easy to see the point he makes. How can we serve our students if they are ahead of us in their computer skills? One of the comments regarding his blog suggested that he define the phrase "technologically literate". I agree with that. It's interesting how a blog like this can generate more important questions. I believe that this is how we grow in our generating more questions and discussion.

Student Podcast Links

Students these days are technologically sophisticated. If we are to be effective teachers, we need to be able to utilize this technology in the classrooms.

Please watch the following podcasts, which were created by 6th grade students, and then answer the questions in this blog that follow the links. The links are as follows: Click Here to go to the Chameleon podcast.

and Click Here to go to the Lions podcast.

Now, ask yourselves these questions: "1. Are you prepared to teach these students? 2. What do you need to do to be able to be an effective teacher in classes where students are already doing videocasts? 3. Any reaction to what is happening? podcasts? international links? 6th grade students? your preparation to teach in this new world where new communication tools seem to emerge daily?" (Please note that the questions in quotation marks were proposed by Dr. John Strange, and, as I have directly quoted him, I give the credit to him for the questions.)

These questions must be addressed and answered if we are to become effective teachers in this technological age.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spring Podcasts

Dr. Strange's EDM310 spring '09 class gives us some good examples of podcasts. The two that I read were titled "ACCESS Distance Learning: A Work in Progress", and "Burpback Education: A Discussion with Dr. John Strange". The "ACCESS" podcast consisted of three class members, while "Burpback Education" included class members as well as Dr. Strange. One was a discussion style forum, while the other was in interview form.

Both were done well, but I might have done a few things differently. For example, in the "ACCESS" podcast, the students were clearly reading much of what they were saying. It might have been better had they been able to use their own words, giving credit where due, of course. A little further on in the podcast they seemed to accomplish this a little more. Also, while advantages to the program were pointed out, no possible disadvantages were verbalized. I think that it's important to explore both sides of an issue.

The second podcast that I heard was called "Burpback Education: A Discussion with Dr. Strange". It might have more appropriately been called "An Interview with Dr. Strange". I found very little discussion going on. It was very good information, but I would have like to had more response (on the students' parts) to Dr. Strange's answers to the interview questions. Also, the topic of "project-based learning" was explored. I think that the phrase "project-based learning" should have been defined before the interview began.

Overall, I think that the students did a very good job on their podcasts. I hope that ours goes just as well.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Florida Vacation

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I have never listened to a podcast before today. I have to say that I thought that it was rather like listening to talk radio, only with specialized topics. I did not know that podcasts could include video broadcasts. I liked the fact that video is an option (I am a very visual person).

When I looked up my podcasts, I used two from our list, and I used four that I found on my own. The podcasts included the following: SmartBoard Lessons, KidCast, The Art of Storytelling with Children, Ecogeeks: Untamed Science Video Podcast, Teachers Teaching Teachers, and, finally, Autism Podcast.

Many of the podcasts that I listened to involved increasing one's knowledge of technology via information presented on that podcast. Two in particular stood out in this area. KidCast dealt with informing the listeners about effective use of podcasts and how students can benefit from them, and how teachers can best utilize them in their classes. Teachers Teaching Teachers is a technology based podcast on which educators share their knowledge of current technology and how it can benefit the classroom.

Other podcasts were less technology oriented, and dealt more with increasing knowledge for both students and teachers. The Art of Storytelling with Children is a good tool for teachers to become better equipped to engage their students during story time. Ecogeeks is a wonderful science podcast with video feeds and shorter podcasts, and would be a wonderful learning tool for students.

Podcasts are yet one more way that technology can enhance the teaching experience for teachers, and the learning experience for students.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mr. Lamshed's Blog - "Being Inspired Part 1"

Mr. Lamshed has grown as a teacher, and it is through his use of the internet that he has been able to do so. He says that through blogging, he has been able to access tools to aid him in teaching, and, more importantly, he has been able to learn much from the teachers and students that he collaborates with via the blogs.

He gives credit to some specific teachers, Myles Webb, Bill Chamberlain, and Joe McClung. He includes links to each educators' class blog. These classes, through their blogs, have been able to share information, and not only that, but classes across the world from each other have actually been able to participate in at least one project together, sharing reflections on the book together. Mr. Lamshed has clearly been inspired, and I hope that my new utilization of blogging will yield the same results.

Mr. Chamberlain's Blog

Mr. Chamberlain has taken an active role in his students' education. Rather than sit idly by, lecturing and doling out worksheets, he has elected to make his class an interactive experience, as evidenced in his May 12 blog, and his class blog site.

In his May 12 blog, Mr. Chamberlain explains that through his collaborations with other educators, his teaching style has evolved to better suit the needs of his students. His brief interviews with his students reveal the options students are given when working on projects, and how the students themselves perceive the benefits of such choices. It was quite eye-opening.

In his class blog, Mr. Chamberlain serves both students and educators alike. Blogs regarding student projects are posted, educational links are provided, and video presentations are prevalent. There are blogs for his students, and blogs for educators visiting the site. However, what I liked best about the site was the video presentations. They are wonderful sources of ideas for teaching activities (for teachers), and wonderful sources of ideas on "how to" (for students). Mr. Chamberlain's class blog has something for everyone; students and educators alike.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mr. McClung's Post

Mr. McClung was new and inexperienced when he began as a teacher. He reports that he has learned much in his first year. The first thing is that one needs to make their students the center of attention. The needs of the students should be the driving force behind what you do in your lesson. The next observation he made is the fact that lessons do not always go as planned, and one should expect the unexpected and simply do their best.

Another important aspect of the teaching field that Mr. McClung brings up is the working relationships we encounter. His experience has taught him that communication is vital to not only resolving issues, but developing positive relationships as well.

He also asserts that we sometimes expect too much from our students, and that this is something of which we should be wary. Other lessons he has learned includes "don't be afraid of technology", "listen to your students", and finally, and possibly most important, "never stop learning".

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adding a Picture to a Post

Creating a Link

1. Make sure that the EDit HTML Tag is selected.
2. Click the link icon. It looks like a link in a chain.
Summer class blog

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reaction to Movie Presentation

I have to say that I found the information in the movie somewhat overwhelming! I am very technologically challenged. I also sometimes worry that technology will overtake real person-to-person, in the flesh interaction. Still, I know that technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and that, like anything else, it has the potential to be beneficial.

I think that the educational systems will be positively affected by the increase in technology. Certainly students will have more opportunities for learning, and more tools will be made readily available for both students and teachers. I hope that training in new technology will be made available for educators as quickly as the technologies evolve. If educators can keep one step ahead, then I definitely think that the technology will be an asset.

Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide (ACCESS)

The Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide, or ACCESS, is a website dedicated to improving the quality of education for high school students. It is a distance learning program, meaning that all of the courses are conducted online, with teachers and other students at differing locations. The program seeks to utilize technology to not only bring the educational system into the 21st century, but to offer advancement, enrichment, and remediation as well. The program is active in all counties of Alabama. Students are exposed to new technology, and are able to receive more individualized instruction. They can also work at their own pace.

The teachers of the ACCESS program are all highly qualified, certified teachers. This program offers teachers an opportunity to utilize the available technology to enhance the classroom experience. It gives them tools that they otherwise would be without. Links are provided that enable online teachers to communicate and collaborate with other online teachers. I will be working as an elementary teacher, but ACCESS will be a wonderful resource to have, and I certainly will give parents the information about this site.

Friday, June 5, 2009

ALEX: A great resource!

I just finished researching the ALEX website. It's a fantastic tool for teachers! ALEX, or the Alabama Learning Exchange, is a website dedicated to providing resources for educators. On ALEX, one can find educational standards for each grade level, lesson plans, and links to other educational resource websites. The potential for the amount of information that one could conceivably gather is astounding!

The system is extremely easy to use. Just go to the website at The first thing you will see is boxes showing different topics, such as lesson plans, for example. Simply click on the box you want. You will be taken to that information. Or, you may want to click on one of the options on the left side of the homepage screen. Basically, if one can read, then they should have no problem navigating this wonderful website, and finding an abundance of resources.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hi! I'm Dana!

Hello, my name is Dana, and welcome to my blog. I am a graduate in the Education department, and I am working on my alternate master's degree in Special Education. My undergraduate degree is in theatre. I am taking this class in an effort to improve my computer skills. I now see that I will learn how to network as well.

I am a native Mobilian, and I have lived here for most of my life. I have a wonderful husband, and we have three four-legged children (Lady, Prince Valiant, and Morgan Le Fey). My husband and I are both animal and nature lovers, and we love to travel.

I myself am an imaginative, creative person. I am a member of a local acting troupe, and I do community theatre as well. My favorite activities are traveling with my husband, watching movies, reading, and using my imagination. My favorite types of movies are sci-fi/fantasy, and my favorite types of books are sci-fi/fantasy, classic literature, and classic children's literature. I also enjoy books about mythology and folklore.

I look forward to meeting all of you, my classmates. Good luck in class!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My First Post

I am now published internationally!