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!