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.