Sunday, January 31, 2010

 Wordle: Jessica's blog

January 31, 2010

A baby using a computer A baby using technology?! If this is what our world has come to then I say maybe we're doing something right.


Listening to these podcasts was painful. They were utterly boring and I felt exhausted after enduring only ten minutes of them. I think that maybe if the people who were talking in them weren't so dull and made their voices more animated and lively to make up for the lack of a visual accomplice would help dramatically. Overall these podcasts gave me an idea on how podcasts are done and how not to sound in one.

The SmartBoard Lessons Podcast I felt was the most poorly done. It was fuzzy and hard to hear and follow what he was talking about. I think he was in a drive-thru or a restaurant ordering soup and coffee and he kept talking about it and to the people he was ordering from. It was very distracting and took away from the message he was trying to portray. What I think he was trying to talk about is using as a teaching tool. Its an online meeting site you can use with SmartBoard. You can also use it to do call in conferences with other classrooms and record meetings. Again, it was hard to understand him and what he was trying to say between the poor audio and all the background noise.

I think the KidCast podcast was much better done. His voice was clearer to understand and there wasn't any intrusive background noise. He was discussing video podcasting or "vodcasting" a term he did not like to use; which I agree it sounds too much like podcast and can become confusing if your discussing podcasting and vodcasting in the same conversation. I'm already confused writing about it. It's not needed, just go the extra mile and say video podcasting, it can't hurt. He seemed to be more pro podcasting because it is less time consuming and the editing isn't as difficult. But, he gave useful circumstances when video podcasing is the better way to go such as, when you need to capture a nonverbal message or you need to use a visual model to demonstrate or animate something. It can also save time with the way you explain something, it makes someone have to think more on how their audience will perceive them because they're not just hearing their voice, and in doing so it also builds confidence. He said the best way to decide whether to use a podcast or a video podcast is to find the medium that best fits your message the best and ask yourself what do you have the time and resources to do.

ConnectLearning Episode 92 was also hard to understand due to the poor audio quality and had distracting background noises that took away from the message, and made it difficult to understand just WHAT they were discussing. What I got from this podcast was that David Warlick is having a conversation with another educator about how to make conferences better and to discuss how to find better ways for classrooms to work together. He wants to use technology as a teacher and for teachers to be a teacher 2.0; someone who blogs and uses twitter. The EdTech Talk podcast was more conversational, choppy, and also hard to hear and make out, but it got better as the podcast progressed. The woman who is talking in this podcast is a college undergraduate social work professor. She teaches and designs online courses. She talks about using Wiki as an email source and uses a blackboard for discussion posts. She finds the blackboard useful because her students can find assignments 24/7. She also uses Wiki for collaborative group work she assigns to her students and finds this the most effective way to use Wiki. She also states that online learning expands the learning community and I agree with her point, that for an online course the learning does not end when class time is up, it is ongoing. She also talked about how she made a question box where her students could ask for help if they needed it but instead students were answering each other's questions and figuring out that they could rely on each other for answers instead of always relying on the teacher. Which I feel is a very positive thing.

The MacBreak Weekly 177: ipad podcast was much easier to understand and follow. It was almost like listening to radio vj's. They said the iPad was going to be big, bigger than the iPod touch which was strange to me because normally technology gets smaller not regressively bigger. It's a tablet with a bright screen and you can get it in a WiFi version between the prices of $499-$599 depending on how many gigabytes you want. I think it was just a joke how they were saying the iPad was inexpensive because it was less than $1000, that doesn't make it cheap when you can get a netbook for half the price. They did though however, admit that it was probably not a mainstream product for your average income family and the originality and creativity about the name, iPad, seemed to be a debate amongst the speakers in the podcast. The This Week in Photography 126 podcast was also very conversational, but it was conversational without being confusing on who is talking and when. This podcast discussed certain cameras in which they considered racist. Some digital cameras with new technology have difficulty functioning properly when an Asian or African-American is the subject of the picture. I definitely do not think that the cameras or racist, that's just silly, moreover that they were not fully tested properly and that the makers of these cameras need to use a larger more wide range of people for there sample group to test the cameras functioning on.

Media Literacy in the First Grade
Click here to see what I'm talking about.

This film was inspirational to me to be a more technology literate person, so I can be a more effective and technology literate teacher. I think that my future students deserve that from me. It was great how the kids new and could EXPLAIN how to do all of these technological things, maybe they could find a way to make money and teach it to older less media educated people. One boy even explained very effectively the rules on commenting on someone else's blog, his main point being in so many words don't say something cruel, it's unnecessary. Agreed. According to the film media literacy was evaluating, navigating, creating, and responding, which I feel is an easy way to put the scary concept of being media proficient, an idea that sounds difficult to do but if you follow the guidelines above it seems less demanding.

As to answering the question, Am I ready? I'm going to do my best to teach students who will definitely know more than me about the technological advances of this world, but again I'm going to do my best to keep up and just keep learning it along the way. So to answer that question, yes, yes I am ready.

Little Kids...Big Potential
Go Here to watch these amazing kids do amazing things

I think the title speaks for itself on what exactly this film was about. The kids were blogging and commenting and explaining how to comment and use technology. They discussed how blogging helps their writing improve. Webpages helped them find and search for things they wanted to learn about. They also helped them learn how to use the Internet. I feel the use of technology has encouraged independent learning among these students.They even used their Nintendo DS' in the classroom.

They also used Wiki a popular classroom tool. It teaches them about collaborative learning and an easy way to get help from other people. Using Wiki, they learned about all kinds of traditions and rituals, and even different ways on how to make the Alphabet, from people all over the world. Using these tools are extremely beneficial to today's students and in a way they're getting to see and experience the world. I also liked their use of Skype in the classroom, to talk to experts and interact with other classrooms. They're doing so much with technology at such a young age and they are definitely little kids with big potential. The world needs more teachers and students like this.

Iphone used by 1 year old baby Part 2
Click Here to see a BABY use an iPhone

This kid was AMAZING! Absolutely brilliant. He could turn the phone on, find pictures, zoom in the pictures, and then even return to the home page on the iPhone, very impressive. He knew exactly what his parents were asking him to do with the phone at the age of 1, I am almost speechless by this. Between the first graders and the one year old using this technology at an expert level, I think children are born knowing how to use technology. Needless to say, if a one year old can do it anyone can. An iPhone just cannot be that hard to use. I don't have one so I don't really know, but after seeing this video I'm convinced it can not be that difficult. By the time this baby reaches grade level schooling his knowledge of technology will be expansive, but I feel keeping up with the growing technology is the key to teaching this new age generation in the most effective way possible.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2010

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
Click Here to watch the movie.

I feel this video relates to my college experience to a certain extent. When I attended the University of Alabama, this video hits that experience right on the head with the large classrooms filled with hundreds of students most of whom would show up on the first day of class and for exam days and then you would not see them again for the rest of the semester. Which still seizes to amaze me why people would pay thousands of dollars to go to college and then not show up for classes. My experience at the University of South Alabama has been quite different. The classes are much, much smaller. One of my classes only had 10 people in it, and in even in my largest classes that are in auditoriums still have half as many people in them then there were at Alabama. At South Alabama the class discussion seems more personalized, with students asking questions and being involved in the class discussion. Although, not all classes I have attended at South Alabama have been this way, but the majority have been. A quality of a college I can appreciate.

So my college experience has been similar and different. I definitely do no get seven hours of sleep at night; try more like three to five mainly because my work seems like it is never done. I write more papers and handwritten assignments then I do emails and I open up every book I buy and read every assignment given to me and seem to find the relevance in most assigned readings because I search for the relevancy. I undoubtedly read more web pages and Facebook profiles then I do books and I watch about an hour and a half of T.V. or more a day. But I do not believe I spent three hours a day on the computer, until now since I have been taking Dr.Strange's EDM310 class.

I don't feel that technology alone can save us. Especially when students are bringing their technology(laptops) to class and then playing on them instead of using them to enhance learning. I personally listen easier to a professor lecturing and writing on the board then I do a PowerPoint presentation, and I like the fact that the movie said writing on the board forces the teacher to move around. I do however feel that teaching does need to reform to address the changes of the world and to address the varying ways students learn, and in a society where a younger generation couldn't imagine a world without cellphones and computers, the use of technology seems vital to use in classrooms. As for adding something to this movie to make it better relate to my college experiences, it would have to be more people sleeping during class, other than that I'm not sure what I would add, but there are things I would change to make it better relate to my college experience; smaller classroom with less people, a white board or projector instead of a chalkboard, and less people using laptops in class.

"It's Not About Technology" by Kelly Hines

Click Here to read her post.

This post was inspirational to me and I agree with her that teachers must be life-long learners and should be passionate about what they do. If teaching something one way is not working, try a different method, makes sense to me. Students learning something should be the foremost main goal of all teachers. I believe her view that technology will do no good if mindsets of teachers are not changed. Creativity and innovation are important life skills and I believe critical thinking and problem solving are essential for survival in this world. I agree with Hines when she says that if a teacher can accomplish to teach their students these skills, they're doing them a favor. I also feel that what good would technology do for a student if put in the wrong hands.

I could not agree with her more that technology is not needed to achieve greater learning for students, but that successful teaching is what influences students in a positive way. I think that the idea that if a teacher could have all of the qualities Hines' listed (teachers must be learners, learning and teaching are not the same thing, technology is useless without good teaching, and be a 21st century teacher without technology) then put technological skills in the hands of a teacher like that, great things can be accomplished. I want to do amazing things as a teacher and work hard to do so, I just hope I'm good enough for the students sake.

Karl Fisch: Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
Go Here to read Karl Fisch's Blog post

I found Fisch's post somewhat harsh, but I understand and agree with his point. That it is NOT okay for a teacher to be technologically illiterate. I agree that "all educators must achieve a basic level of technological capability." I feel that it is extremely important that the people who are to teach our youth should be technology literate. I agree with him in that today's college students or anyone receiving a teaching certificate should graduate being technology literate, but if they are not I do not think that will jeopardize children as long as the teacher is willing to learn how to be well read in the ways of technology. Learning more about technology I feel is a constant and ongoing process that all good teachers should consistently be going through especially if they want to keep up with the twenty-first century student. Technology has become a livelihood for many people; personally and in the workplace. It is important to be technology literate and to teach it to children.

I do agree that many teachers especially older generation teachers have accepted and are comfortable with the fact that they are technologically illiterate. This is sad to me because I feel that all teachers should want to constantly learn and provide as many methods of teaching to children as they can, seeing that children learn differently from one another. Where as a book and a piece of paper works great for one child to learn with another might learn better by watching a movie and blogging about what they saw. I believe technology has boomed at such a fast rate that for some teachers it might seem impossible to keep up with. I can understand why. I myself have a hard to time keeping up with it all, but I don't mind learning about it, and I feel that it is quite alright to learn technology right along with students and may even create a more positive relationship between student and teacher. Mostly I believe that teachers who refuse to become educated in technology are afraid of it and intimidated by it, they need to break out of their shell and become fearless with it. They need to be reassured that it is not that difficult to use once you begin exploring it and playing with it, and that is how children learn to use technology so it is okay for them to learn this way as well. Most mishaps with technology can be easily fixed (unless it drops and breaks into pieces, then you might have a problem), so there is no worry about breaking it. There is a need in this society for a person to be technology literate, and I agree with Fisch that if a person wants to be on the same playing field with others that they are competing for a job with, then be technologically educated because you might be able to get by now, but in the future chances for success for the technologically clueless will be slim to none.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count
Click Here to see how fast the social media count changes every second

I think this ties in with all the other assignments. I find how quickly the numbers grew to be unreal. That at the constant fast paced rate at which so many people use technology, being technologically literate is unavoidable and must be a necessity to know in order to be a teacher. Well, at least a productive and successful one. I'm nearly convinced that in today's society it is almost as important to learn as reading and writing. With so many people using so much technology at one time, it should be required to be part of the curriculum in schools to integrate the use of technology into lesson plans. At least to be able to teach a twenty-first century student in a way which they can relate to and understand. They're using the technology anyway so why not incorporate it as learning tools at school and get out of old-fashioned ruts.

I just want know though, how do you begin to teach children this technology? Especially Kindergarten through second graders, do you just jump right in?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010

Did You Know 3.0?

I was shocked and awed by the data in this video. Technology is booming becoming better and more advanced, reaching more and more people at enormously fast rates. I found the rate at which technology is growing to be scary and somewhat unsettling, mostly because it seems impossible to keep up with. The idea that a computer could be made that could "exceed the computational capabilities of the entire human race" is unreal. The whole world of technology is so much bigger than me or anything that I can imagine. The fact that if MySpace were a country it would be the fifth largest is absolutely startling to me, that there are that many people using one social site.

I find it sad and disappointing that American citizens are so behind technology wise as well as educational wise. The fact that India has more honor students than there are kids in America is depressing and frightening and yet unacceptable to me. Americans need to get up to par with the rest of the world. With more and more people using so many different technologies for so many different things; school, work, and even down to an alarming number of couples meeting online there's no getting around it, technology rules the world and knowing about it has become or at least should become a way of life for all, and for many it already has.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

I feel that this video had an important message and a great and funny way to portray that message. Schools have remained the same for 100 years, and have not technologically advanced with the rest of the world. I find it disheartening that schools have not progressed from 100 years ago, especially considering all the technological advances that are available and that could be useful to students. Technology in classrooms to me is an excellent way to keep students interested in what they are learning in a new non boring, exciting way. Let's progress from 100 years ago!

I think that if businesses and hospitals are up to date with technology then why wouldn't schools be teaching and using technological tools to our youth who will one day be America's doctors and business people using advanced technology. The moral of the story is schools need to get out of their old-fashioned ruts. Using technology can turn learning and education from dull to thrilling. Granted there are many other ways to make learning fun without using technology, but since technology is used all around us and there is obviously no getting around it that it has become a livelihood for our society why not incorporate it into to classrooms.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

This video was utterly moving, and Sir Ken Robinson was hysterical. I felt completely inspired by it. I think it is atrocious that teachers and schools are "educating people out of their creativity." I think that being creative and original is just as much as a commodity to have as being a genius in math and science. Children are incredibly imaginative and that creativeness and innovation needs to be honed. Children are fearless, can you imagine if that fearlessness could remain with them as adults? That ability to not be afraid to be wrong and corrected. I feel that so many wonderful ideas and creations could come from that, making our world a better place to live in.

It's sad to know that people are teaching students skills that are mainly important to get a job and that if you're better or would rather do something more artistic such as, dance or music, it's frowned upon and not valued. I agree that we need to rethink the way we educate people. Teachers need to value the importance of uniqueness and imagination as well as or in conjuction with the other school subjects.

Viki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

I think Davis' vision that using technology in classrooms empowers students is a wonderful idea. I enjoyed the fact how humble she was in saying she had her students teach her, that she admitted she did not know it all even though teachers are stigmatized to be expected to know everything, but she was willing to find out and learn. I find this incredibly admirable. I liked her approach on having her students look up the answers to words they did not know and finding out for themselves instead having her tell them what everything means, and give them the answer.

It is marvelous that even though she teaches in small town, rural Georgia, she still managed to bring the world to her classroom and students using technology. I think this is useful for students to see that there is a bigger world out there then where they live and then what know. I feel that this is an important concept that students should learn, and technology makes this possible on great scales. I agree with her notion that not every student can excel when they are limited to learning with a pencil and a piece of paper, and that incorporating technology can help students shine.