Saturday, May 1, 2010


Have you ever seen a child have a "light bulb" moment? You can see on their face that they get it. I am like that child. I finally get what EDM is all about. It hasn't been easy. I have fought it tooth and nail. TECHNOLOGY was not my friend and I wanted to make my point. Well, I changed my mind. I am a woman and I reserve the right to do so. TECHNOLOGY can be my friend.

How did this change come about you might ask? Well, it all started with a little thing called a Library Blog. You see I am a Librarian at a local Christian School. It is a job I quite enjoy. I was somewhat offended at Dr. Strange and his techonology when he talked about computers replacing books. Take away books and you take away my job. But, I have learned that I can make technology work for me in my little Library. And work for me it has. In just a few shorts weeks, I have posted summer reading, classic club lists and reviews by students, a movie with K5 on how to check out books, and listing of my VIP's for the year. My next projects are recommended reading and a VIP movie. I also hope to find authors that will SKPE in for me next year. The possibilities truly are endless.

When making my blog, I used, Vocaroo, Windows Moviemaker, and Picassa - all of which are FREE products. It did not cost me a dime to create my blog. You can't beat that - I said FREE!

That is not the end of the story. I don't think their will be an end. I am too excited to let their be an end. Since I started the blog, I have had students create a blog of their own because of my telling them about it. I have had several teachers comment on how they would like to create a blog for their class as well. I have sparked interest in my Headmaster in getting all elective teachers to participate in blogging. All because I was required to take this class for my education major.

The most valuable lessons we learn are often the hardest. I have always had to learn the hard way. I don't know that I would change that. It takes a lot to convince me but when you do it's lasting. I won't say I lost this battle - although technically I did. I have gained too much to have lost. Do I think technology has a place in the classroom? ABSOLUTELY!!

My blog was my Substantive Project. Check it out at KCS Library

Only because I am required to do so, I will add that there was only one thing I would like to have learned more about that we did not cover. I would like to have learned how to use the SMARTboard. I earned one for our school this year with our profits from Scholastic Book Fair. Now I need to know how to use it and teach the others how to use it as well. Things I did not find useful - GoogleEarth. That is only because I don't really know how to make it work for me yet. I just need a trip to someplace fantastic to make me want to figure it out. I really enjoyed doing the Timeline. I created one for my son and I want to do one for my daughter. I can really see this being useful for history and science projects. Overall, I think the EDM experience was challenging yet rewarding.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Teaching Someone Something Using Technology

I am so excited about my first library video. I was teaching the K5 how to check books out all by themselves. I decided that would make a wonderful video that I could use again and again. My kids were excited to be a part of it as well. It will also be on my library blog. I wanted to mention that I uploaded it to instead of youtube. Penelope and I had to do our podcast on if we felt teachertube could be useful to teachers or not. I SAY YES!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Podcast Project

Teacher Tube

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Here is a short message I recorded on Vocaroo to post on my Library Blog. I love how easy this was to do. I also love that it was free! Yeah for free!

Final Comments4kids

Week 13 I commented on several students from Rm 10 Pt. England Elementary School as they recited their Mihi in Maouri. I was really impressed with their efforts although I could not understand what they were saying. Eric was concentrating so hard on saying his speech and it showed in his facial expressions. Semi had a really hard time eating squishy noodles with chopsticks. I never get tired of commenting on kids work. They need that positive reinforcement that what they are doing is good.

My final comments for kids was Kobe at Pt England School. Kobe seems to be a very intelligent boy. He has a wonderful vocabulary. He is only nine and was using words like tactical, cautiously, and opponent to describe his recent Capture the flag game. I was very impressed and I told him so.

April 25, 2010

This was one of my favorite assignments. I was really WOWED by this 7th grade student and her PLE. I need her to come to my house and show me how to get this organized. She sounded so much older than her age. She really knows her stuff and she seemed like she enjoyed school. I was also impressed with her school. I loved that her assignments were on the computer and she just came in everyday and got busy. Self motivation is a wonderful thing to teach children. I also loved that she was emailing scientist in other parts of the country to check her work for accurancy. (He should be responding quickly. Shame on him!) She is well on her way to being a successful high schooler, college student, and career woman. Kudos to her and her PLE.

On to the next video - Two questions that can change your life. What a powerful little video. What is my sentence? I would hope that it would be - She made a difference in the lives of many children. Am I better today than I was yesterday? I want to ask myself that every day. You can never fully arrive at perfection but you can certainly aim for it. I want to be a better educator every day. I want to make a difference. The only way I can do that well is to stay educated and relevant. I need to meet the students where they are and motivate to AIM HIGHER. Great Video!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Google Earth

Neat tool. I need to play around with alot more to really make it useful. My cousin Trey will be getting married in July so I mapped a trip to the wedding location. Google Earth Project

Sunday, April 18, 2010


“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” Dr. Haim Ginot

I just picked this quote up off Big Universe on Twitter. They are part of my PLN. Also part of my PLN are Kelly Hines, Joe McClung, and Paige Baggett. So far I am following 16 people and have 6 followers. Doesn't sound like much but I am just really getting use to Twitter. I hope that number continues to grow. I am getting alot of useful information from the few that I am following. Still working on Classroom 2.0. I am registered but not entirely sure how to make this site work for me. I will figure it out now that I am seeing the real value.

April 11, 2010

I love this story The Zax by Dr. Seuss. I have this DVD and showed it during Dr. Seuss's Birthday Week Celebration in my Library. When watching the movie, I realized that I am being somewhat of a Zax when it comes to technology. I like to think I am coming around a bit. It is a wonderful thing to know what you believe in and stand your ground when necessary. However, it is an ignorant thing to allow the world to change around you and be unmoved by these changes. You then become irrelevant and no one wants to listen to you about important things. I still love my books over computers any day. However, I am willing to see that computers are a vital teaching tools in our classrooms today.

I, again, love this song by Stevie Nix. She is an excellent singer/songwriter. I don't agree with her personal beliefs but that doesn't change the fact that she can belt out some beautiful music. Wow - these children did an incredible job singing her song. I can see how she would be so honored that they chose to sings for her. What an honor that they in turn got to sing with her at Madison Square Gardens. Can't you just here the children scream when the teacher gave them that bit of news? I know from experience that children love the attention they receive from work they do at school. I am in the process of creating a library blog for the school where I work. You should have seen the way my students reacted when I told them I wanted them to write a blog post about the books they are reading. They were so excited. I made a really big deal about how they were going to be published on the web and how their friends and family could see what they were writing about. It got them excited about reading all over again.

That is what I have learned the most this semester in EDM. Children love to blog and show the world what they are learning. It makes them feel proud of what they are accomplishing. I love being a part of that. I want to make blogging a part of my future classroom. I truly see the benefits.

Here are some examples of the excitement in a child's face when he/she shares with the world what they are learning at school.

Mihi in Maori

Leopold Primary School

And lastly my work in progress - no pictures yet but you have to imagine their excitement. Please leave comments. They will be so excited!

KCS Library

Timetoast Timeline

Nate The Great

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just Breathe

Love this Song!


Ok - so the first thing that comes to mind is "You had me at hello" - I mean you had me at Kaia. I am a mom and I don't mean that creepy. I just mean that if I had seen this blog on my first day of class then I would have found it hard to complain about any facet of technology.

Let's start off with her little movie with the pictures she took with her daddy. First of all I love the song playing with the movie. Just Breathe by Pearl Jam is one of the best songs I have heard in a LONG time. Put that song to a movie made by a sweet three year old and you got gold. I love that she and her father were finding beauty in things that weren't beautiful. What perspective! Great parenting.

Moving on to how we came to find out about Kaia. It is awesome that we get to share in this experience because Mr. Chamberlin participated in comments4kids. I looked at the excitement on this little girl's face when Dillon read her the story and heard her say play it again. Priceless! By the way, the class I raved about in my last post was ENG 226 with Jody Conrad. Dillon, the girl in EDM that created the video for Kaia, was in that class with me (both 225 and 226). Sweet girl. She touched a little girl's life with a story read via the internet. I thought to myself now this can touch so many lives all over the world. Human connection is a beautiful thing. I think of all the grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends who are away from the people they love. Now they can communicate face to face via Skype. The can create lasting experiences and memories through movies and blogs that can be shared with people they love. I am sold.

Now onto the father's concern about sharing Kaia with the world. As I said, being a parent I hear his concern. I applaud him for considering his daughter and how this could affect her both positively and negatively. I also appreciate that as a teacher he is looking at this as an avenue for future learning. Dr. Scott McLeod talked about fear on his blog. He feels like there is too much fear with regard to allowing the students to use the internet in schools. I commented that I have fears with regards to my children's safety. I always go overboard. But I feel that the fears I have come from a place of love. I hope that is how the school boards feel about the children they are charge of and that is the reason for internet controls. I know that Kaia father loves his daughter. It is so evident in his interaction with her. I know that his fears of putting his daughter out their for the world to see comes from a place of deep love. I thank him that he is taking that risk for the sake of learning. I pray that he is making the right choice. I am not that brave YET with my kids but I want to be. I would love for my kids to connect with children all over the world. I see nothing but positive things happening because this father is taking such a risk.

Bottom line - I loved this week's assignment. You had me at hello - I mean Kaia!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28th

The assignment for this week was read the post by Morgan Bayda and watch a video by Dan Brown. I think they are in agreement that universities are arcaic in the way they share information. Dan Brown believes that the university is interferring with his education so he dropped out of school. As I type that, I think to myself what is he hoping to accomplish by dropping out of school. I understand he wants to make a statement. He has a point and I hear that. However, I don't think that in today's competitive job market, dropping out of school was the right thing to do. I may be wrong. I admit I have been wrong before. I just think that may be shoting your own self in the foot to make a point. Anyway...

Back to their point. Morgan says she feels like she has been cheated when she has to buy exspensive books for a class that is too long and too boring. The teacher doesn't know her name and she doesn't really learn anything. Amen to that. I just had that same experience in my Biology 101 class. I won't name names but it was a drag. I have to admit that science is not my thing. The professor already had that strike against her. However, my class had over 100 students enrolled in it. It was 1 hour 15 minutes long. The professor read from a slide show presentation. It was soooo boring. She never knew my name and I can't really remember hers. I don't remember a thing from that class and I made a B in it. Thank goodness for that $200 book because I taught myself enough information to pass the class. I totally get that this type of learning environment is junk and needs to be revamped. I never want to take another class like that one again.

On the other hand, I had a class in that same semester with about 30 students. My teacher loved the material she taught and it showed all over her face. She knew my name and called on me regularly. She encouraged class participation - it was part of our grade. I remember so much from this class. Most of this information I pass along to the middle school students I have in Library. I love reading and this was a literature class. My teacher already had that going for her. However, she made Moby Dick fun and that is a tough thing to do. She couldn't operate a DVD for anything. She confessed to being technologically challenged. She didn't use powerpoints or the internet. She just loved what she taught. She made me love it too. I wish I could have her teach all my classes. I told her so in a email at the end of the year. That is the kind of teacher I want to be.

I don't think it is in the tools, although I agree they help. I think it is in the passion the teacher possess's for teaching. Dr. Strange has a passion for technology. He wants to stir that up in his students. Is it working? I think so. Is it a challenge for him? I know so. The point is he wants to make a difference in the way students learn. That is what teaching is about.

Now how do you get that for every student entering college at every university across the world. I don't have that answer. Maybe it is in reshaping the classroom. But I don't think great teaching goes out of style. That is something you either how or you don't. You can have all the fancy tools in the world and still stink it up in front of the students.

I hope Dan Brown finds a teacher like Mrs. Conrad in his quest for learning. Maybe he can find that on-line. I have come across some passionate teachers in various assignments given by Dr. Strange. I certainly believe that change is coming for the classroom. I hope that change doesn't knock Mrs. Conrad right out because she can't operate a DVD. That would be a waste.
March 12 Assignment

I have to say I could spend hours on the ALEX (Alabama Learning Exchange)website. There is just a wealth of information available for teachers. I just looked up some lessons plans on art. I have to do a mini lesson in AED on Tuesday. The lists upon lists of lesson plans that are available is amazing. Penelope Humansky and I did our podcast on a similar site called It was not exactly the same- it has more of YouTube vibe - but the general idea is the same. We both agreed that the site was helpful. I would imagine that she found ALEX just as useful. It is incredible the amount of information that is out for teachers. This site has more than just lesson plans. There are useful websites available, some podcasts (there were more podcast available on, links to sites such as ACCESS, and much more. Again, I could spend hours on this site.

Moving onto ACCESS(Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students). I thought that this program was interesting. I did not realize that any Alabama High School student in the public school system could register for free to take these online courses. What a wonderful opportunity for some students to take things that are not offered in their schools or take classes that can help them with future classes. I believe that AP college credit courses are offered through ACCESS as well. There is also opportunity for students to take these classes in the summer. I thought that was pretty incredible.

I think this program has to be for the motivated student who wants to make the most of their time in high school. A recent survey on their site that 75% of students who take these on line courses felt that the classes were as good as or better than the classes they normally took in school. I think that is a pretty good success rate. I also like that everyone that teaches these on line courses are highly qualified and have experience in teaching AP classes. I think we will see so much more of this in the future.

Just as a side note, I thought it was pretty neat that they offered Spanish V, and Chinese I and II. Those are the classes for the extremely ambitious student.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

comments for kids

While I have been making my comments for kids, I have failed to write about it in my blog. I apologize for that. I have been so impressed with how much children know about technology and how much they enjoy displaying that knowledge. I really need to get with it to keep up with them.

Some students I have commented on:

The students at 2KM Leopold Primary School have an incredible site. The are really on the ball. Their teacher is also very kind. I made a comment last night and she had responded to my comment by this morning. I am super impressed. I was assigned to comment on their blog post about a poster they had created on How to Comment on a Blog Post. I found their tips extremely helpful and I told them so. One of the tips was watch out for punctuation and grammar errors. I told them that we recently had this discussion in EDM 310 because we were making a lot of punctuation and grammar errors. Mrs. McGeady (the teacher) gave me an A+ on my comment. I so needed that today. What a great site, great teacher, and great kids.

Elle in Mrs. Kolbert's class blogged about her precious puppy. I told her we recently had puppies at our house and how quickly we have become attached to them. She even had a picture of her dog for me to see. She really is a cutie! Elle says she is the cutest dog in the world. What do you think?

Diana M believes in the Nessie (The Loch Ness Monster). I love that Diana has faith to believe in something she has not seen. I told her that in my comment. Although my husband finds it important to tell my children there is no Santa Claus (he doesn't want to lie to them), they still believe in Santa. Children need to use their imagination and keep the faith in things not seen. I am not encouraging lying to children - just let them have fun being a child. Who knows - maybe Nessie does (or did) exist. Who I am to say otherwise? GREAT JOB Diana M.

Students at St. Puis X created a video in which they were performing for American Idol. They created dance moves to pop songs. They did a really awesome job and I told them so. Again, I am so impressed with students and their technology skills. I ask them if they could come to Mobile and help me create my video. Of course, I told them I was just kidding (but not really HAHAHA!).

These are just a few of the children I have been assigned. I truly have enjoyed making comments. I know that children love "mail" - I use to. I hope they are enjoying all the feedback they are getting from all over the world.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A little extra...

So I decided to go and look a little deeper into Randy Pausch and found a short video on YouTube called "A Final Farewell." It took a short five minutes for me to see why he did The Last Lecture. He didn't want to be helpless and not do anything. He wanted to continue to make a difference, make a mark. He wanted his kids to know who their father was and he wanted them to be proud. I am sure they will be! This was a softer side to this very courageous man. What a touching video.

Randy's Pausch's Last Lecture

I was excited to get to which this video. I had seen his book (I think his wife wrote it)entitled The Last Lecture and wanted to read it. I think I am glad I watched the video first because now I don't want to read the book. That is not because I am unimpressed with what this man has accomplished but just that I think I have haeard his message and that is enough. Oh no...I am skipping the book for a video. May fears are coming too! HAHA!

Moving onto the lecture. I wish he would have given his speech then told everybody about his condition at the end. I guess his was giving it to a room full of people who already knew so he felt like he just needed to get it out in the open. However, if the speech was given to people he didn't know the viewer wouldn't have the sympathy thing going throughout the speech and could just really focus on what he is saying. When I didn't really like the way he said something - maybe I felt it was a little arrogant - I'd think "Oh, be kind because he has passed away." The speech at times a little showy. Even the thing with the cake for his wife. Was that for her or him? She seemed touched so who am I to judge. He was a very smart man who did some really incredible things and so I guess he should be afforded a little arrogance.

His teaching style reminds me of Dr. Strange's teaching style. Dr. Pausch gives a project assignment in his ECT program and the students ask about content. What should we be doing? His reply...I don't know. Just don't do violence or pornagraphy. I could so here Dr. Strange saying that. Just give the students freedom to create and learn with little to no guidance. Let them just do it. The end result was some great stuff - projects that blow the mind of the professor. Lesson learned - give the students the freedom they need to learn and succeed in their work whatever that may be.

Another thing he talks about is that "he don't do no book learning." Just like with EDM 310 - there is no book telling us what to do or how to do it. We have to just figure it out. Ask questions as needed but basically just find the way that suits us to learn what has been assigned.

I love that he wants kids to achieve their dreams and have fun doing that. Learning should be fun. I think it is awesome that he has come up with this program "Alice" to get students learning to program when they think they are creating a game. He calls this the "head fake." I think we have alot of "head fake's" in EDM 310. We are learning how to blog but more importantly we are learning how to figure things out for ourselves. I don't know...let's figure it out. I want to remember the "head fake" for my classroom.

Dr. Pausch, when talking about the "Alice" program, said he felt like Moses who got to see the promised land but didn't get to go in. That really touched me. He was not bitter that he didn't get to see the product to it's full potential. He was just as excited to know that it was going to happen and he had a part in that. He was leaving his mark and that was more than enough.

His parents were such a tremendous influence in his life. I took alot from his talk about them. His mom allowed him to create by painting his room and she never changed it. They encouraged him to reach for his childhood dreams and they keep him in check when he complained it was too hard. He complains to his mom that getting his phD was too difficult and she proceeds to tell him "We understand son. When your father was your age he was fighting World War II." Talk about not letting your kid drown themselves in self pity. I think I would like this woman. Great role models.

Lastly, I like that he said that he learned "people will impress you, you just have to give them time to do so." I really want to remember that with my students. Several people come to mind as I am writing this blog. Potential sometimes takes time to surface and become visible. All children have potential and just need time and encouragement to reveal their potential.

All in all, I enjoyed this video. The world lost a lot when they lost Dr. Pausch. He was man who didn't set limits for himself and encouraged others not to limit themselves either.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

February 28th

I want to first start out by saying that my computer crashed right in the middle of my homework. This of course was frustrating and made me realize how a computer can not be completely depended on as a reliable source for communicating. I also began thinking about how we are always talking about "and it's free" but the reality is that these wonderful tools such as computer, iphones, ipad, etc. cost alot and so do the applications. It reminds of my of the old saying...nothing in life is free. We will always be spending money on education - whether that be on books or computers. can see that I am frustrated right now so forgive the rant.

Moving on to the assignment...

This video was about presenting information via media. I was surprised that this man Mr. Miller is an English professor who teaches students the value of reading and writing. However, he is proposing this new why of teaching via technology. I need to recognize and appreciate that even this man who has made his life profession in books sees that times they are a changing. If we won't to be "relevant" we must change they way we think.

I have a "dream" if you will of being a teacher with a master's in library science. Naturally my ears perked up when he said he did an entire project without ever stepping foot in a library. What will this mean to my "dream". I LOVE the library. I just told my husband that I feel the same about a library that a kid feels about a candy store. I worry about it's future. I sound like an old broken record I know but I love books and I love that my kids love books. I so don't want them sitting in front of a computer reading a "book".

I did agree on what Mr. Miller had to say about educators should be in the business of sharing ideas with one another freely. That is what I am starting to really appreciate about technology. You can go online and find ideas from other more seasoned teachers. I also liked his comment that "ideas belong to us as a culture". If you have a great idea, share it.

Moving on to the project by Ms. Drexler's senior class.

Again, naturally my ears perked up with "Why a teacher?" as that is what I am going to school to do. I really appreciated with they came up with...modeler, organizer, one who gets the students excited about learning. Those are all great things. I am still not sure about the students learning via the web and the teacher just aiding them along. I see that the web can be a great tool but never replace the teaching that should go on in a classroom. Note I said in a classroom as I am a firm believer it is important for students to come to a place that is designated for learning.

Lasting I viewed the speech by Michael Wesch. I really enjoyed his sense of humor and I felt like I could easily take one of his classes. I am sure he makes it a fun learning experience. I liked the quote by Marshall McLuhan, "We shape our tools and our tools shape us". This is a little scary...we create the tool, then become dependent on the thing we created. I was impacted by the quote that we have become "amused to indifference". We see things on TV or Youtube but what do we plan to do to change what we see. Are we making a difference or just being entertained.

I enjoyed the timeline of Whatever. I can hear my daughter thinking (she is only three so she can't articulate it yet) "Whatever, I'll do what I want". I see that children are so all about me and I worry about their future when they realize that this world is not all about them.

Mr. Wesch and his students started a study on YouTube as a community that would change the way people are all about me. I was not convinced that YouTube is a community that negates the all about me. I feel that it feeds into the whole look at me - it's all about me. He said that he felt it gave people the ability to experience the freedom to be themselves without social anxiety. I think it is the opposite. You put yourself out their for the world to judge and the world can have less than kind things to say as he points out. How could that be a way to break out of your shell so to speak. I think it is a way for the person to hide behind a screen for fear of rejection and it is not healthy. I recognize that people need an outlet and maybe that is what YouTube is for some. I just don't see it as an entirely positive community.

Overall, I like that he points to both sides of the media as entertainment arguement. He looks at what has happened and wants to see the media as WE SHAPE IT work for good. I can appreciate that!

I will leave this week with a video that I saw in my LIBRARY this week. It really made me look at myself and say "Paula - are you being a ZAX with regard to technology?" I don't want to be a Zax but change is not always easy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dr. Strange is not kidding...they do start young!

February 21

I first took a look at Alice Christie's site. She had some very useful teaching tools and lessons plans for art, photography, podcasting, internet safety, and so on. I particularly enjoyed one of the articles I read under her education technology article links. The article was written by John Snyder and it was entitled Teaching with New Eyes. Here is a quote from that article - "The fact that students need to acquire technology skills does not mean that they must sacrifice other skills. The fact that we need to help students learn to act ethically and kindly and responsibly does not mean that we need to neglect other areas. Good teaching is still good teaching, and kids are still the focus. If we can use technology to shape their assumptions about connections to the community, we will have given them treasure that will be measured in lives, transformed by insight." I think he says it all right there. I especially like that he says "teaching is still good teaching, and kids are still the focus." That has been my concern through all this change in mindset about technology. Learning at 6 & 7 has to be easier then
36. I need to be prepared for these technologically advanced kids so that I can teach with the tools they are already familiar with and use.

I believe that her sight as well as sites such as this can be an excellent tool for teachers. The goal is to get teachers to use such sites and prepare us future teachers to do the same. It is comforting to know that there is so much knowledge available for us to gleen from - teachers that have been in the classroom and sharing what they know works. It is just getting in the habit of utilizing these available resources.

I searched the web looking for sites on suggestions or experiences on iPods in instruction. I found this great article in USA Today published in 2006 that said Duke University gave away free iPods to all incoming freshmans in 2005. In 2006 42 classes were using iPods as study aides. They also issued iPods in some classes and the students were allowed to keep them if they passed the course. I am all for something like that at South Alabama. It seems that class attendance actually went up in some cases because students were excited about discussing what they had listened to. To be honest, I don't know if I could agree with that but I do like the free iPod idea. Do you see me smiling - because I am.

I also found this wiki site on ipods in the classroom. There is a video of this 17 year old's plan for allowing the itouch to replace books, copiers, paper, etc. He has some pretty good ideas for a 17 year old. He has really thought this through. I don't know that this could work. However, just that he is thinking about this - saving money for the schools, the environment, the kids is pretty amazing. He is call this the ischool initiative. I have posted the video in my blog. You can also check it out on Maybe that is our future education system.

I believe this really goes along with the iTunes University topic as well because he talks about all the educational tools available on his iPod Touch such as USA Presidents, Starwalk, Formula (math and science formulas), ways to track attendance, books online (selecting chapters on any books), and so much more. He has almost convinced me to go out and buy one. I could see that this would be very helpful in the schools and really could eliminate alot of costs. I just don't know how you could truly monitor the children's access on the internet and make sure time is not wasted on things like facebook and such. Such wasted time happens as already displayed in the video we watched at the beginning of the semester.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

February 14th

Wikipedia - Not an accurate source! This is something I just found out. I recently had a librarian tell my group of middle school students "do NOT use Wikipedia as a source" because the information can be put up by anyone. She went on to tell these middle schoolers that they could add information to Wikipedia that is completely fabricated and people could view it as truth. This was shocking to me. Why would anyone even go to this site? My husband, who is a complete computer guru, always tells me to look stuff on Wikipedia. Why? You've got people adding information, deleting vital information, corruption, and who knows what else so why even go to it for information.

Why is it surprising that companies would try to cover themselves by deleting negative information. Who wouldn't want negative information deleted about themselves if they had the opportunity to do so. I wish I could delete some of the facts about my life but that is another story. point is why is this
A. shocking and B. even considered a source.

Moving on to Mr. McClung's blog. I really enjoyed the things he had to say about his first year of teaching and what he learned. I particularly enjoyed what he had to say about lessons plans and be flexible with sticking to them. This is something that is difficult for me. I can be somewhat controling and I like a plan. I need to remember that all children are different and they all have good and bad days. Lesson plans are important but what is most important is that they are learning the information that is presented. If it needs to be changed as you go, so be it.

I also like what he had to say about communicating with your co-workers. They can be one of the greatest sources you have for the classroom. Teaching should not be a competition. I have heard of some teachers who refuse to share great ideas with other teachers because they want to be the BEST in the eyes of their superiors. Wanting to be good at what you do is natural and is a good thing. However, the most important thing as a teachers is that children are learning. If you have something that really works with your class than SHARE it so that other children benefit from it as well. Your co-workers are with you more than your family. This is true in any job. Why not make them your friends as well. It will make your day to day life so much more enjoyable.

I also like that he says he is still learning. I don't think there will ever be a day in a teacher's life where he/she can say I KNOW IT ALL. If you feel that way you should probaly quit because you will have lost your effectiveness. Especially in this day and age with all the technology that is available. You got to be on your A game everyday. Learn something new everyday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February 7 More podcasting

This week I was thinking oh no! not more podcasting. I just don't get the fascination.

That is until I went to the Langwitches site. I listened to a podcast by a class of first graders who did an interview with characters from a Magic Tree House book. As a librarian, I recognize these books as being very popular with elementary school students. I thought this idea was incredible. Immediately, I thought this is just like kids art work. They create it. We hang it in the hall and the kids LOVE the feedback they receive. It makes them work harder if they know that it will go in the hall. They feel proud of what they have accomplished. This is how this 1st grade class was about this book. They read it and loved it. They summarized the story in this interview which they recorded. This displayed their wonderful comprehension skills. They relish in the feedback, or comments, they recieve. They are proud of their work. For the first time, I made a connection to what this can do for children. As the 3rd grade podcast about endangered animals said - WAKE UP! And I think I finally am.

I also loved this idea on the site that had 6th graders making movies for their 1st grade little buddies. I thought this would be a wonderful for the middle school students at our school to do in computer then share with their little buddies. You have creative writing, art, computer, social skills (getting people out of their shell), all rolled into one package. I know the little ones would enjoy it and the middle school would have that WOW sense of accomplishment in having created it. I can't wait to talk with our computer teacher about this tomorrow. WONDERFUL IDEA!

I really enjoyed this site. I can now see how podcasting for students can be a wonderful thing. What a great motivational tool to get them to learn and perform their best as it will be broadcasted. Just like art - you do your best when you know it will be displayed. An AHA moment!

January 31 Podcasting

I guess you can tell from the time stamp that I am a little behind in my blogging. I had some trouble with the podcasting. I could not get my sound to work and I had to get the computer genius in the house to fix it. Go ahead and think what you will. This is a future educator and she can't get the sound to work on the computer. Anyway...

I listened to the Kidcast podcast as well as the Smart board podcast. I guess the thought that comes to mind is how in the world is this different from lecture. I listened to someone teach (or try to teach me) something about podcasting and I am supposed to be able to do as they say when the lecture is over. For me this is not much different then going to a biology class. The subject matter is not very interesting to me so I had a hard time really concentrating on what they were saying. If the podcast had been on something of interest to me I might have felt differently.

I had all but given up on the value of podcasting until I get to this week's assignment. Moving on...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Today, as I was walking down the hall at my school, I had a great idea. Can you believe it for one thing and just wait until you here it. You are going to love this Dr. Strange coming from me. I owe it all to the video from the 1st grade class. I thought wouldn't it be awesome if I could get some authors to talk with my library classes via Skype. My kids would love this and I would get a kick out of it myself. See, my brain is coming around to all this technology stuff. Now to convince my Headmaster that we need a projector screen and access to Skype. I need to research all this and see how much this would cost. Anyway...excited about the possibilites.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ok Dr. Strange,

My brain is on overload. I have to say that I don't like it either. This, I fear is what is wrong with our world today. We are multitasking with our brains on overload. I just want it to slow down. Now that I have started on a such a positive note, I will move on to discussion of the first video Vision of Students Today.

In this video, students at a university give us insight into how many hours a day they spend emailing, watching TV, talking on their cell phone, texting, social networking, sleeping, eating, etc. The numbers totaled 26.5 in a day. One student holds up a sign that says "I am a multitasker". No one can multi task 26.5 hours in a day. That is my fear for these students. They are giving up something and it's not their cell phone time or their texting time. I fear it is there 3 and 1/2 study time. That is my concern with all this technology. We are losing what is important. We are going 90 to nothing for what? Making sure we tell our friends on Facebook what we are doing ever second of the day while our loved ones in the room are desperately trying to get our attention. Maybe I am giving myself away here but you get my point. They said "we didn't make this problem" but "it is our problem". I agree and I like that they said problem but I don't know if they identified the true problem. It is not the chalk board in the front of the room. Although I can completely identify with the frustation of a class size of a 115 and the teacher who never knows your name. I can identify with the text book prices being outrageous. But I am not completely sure that information goes hand in hand with how many text messages they send in a day. Is this a suggestion that if the information where emailed or piped through a computer instead of being taught in a classroom that their day would be better spent? I honestly don't believe that learning from a computer or a Iphone is better than a classroom. I see the problems our young people are facing today and I worry for my kids. We can't do more than we are our doing in a day. What is the answer? More use of technology - I just don't know if that is the best answer? We are fostering a world of people who want to be entertained and I worry about that!

Moving on to Ms. Hines blog. I thoroughly enjoyed what she had to say. I felt that she was right by saying that teachers being perpetual learners. We as educators need to be constantly motivated to learn in order to keep our students motivated to learn.

But what I really enjoyed was her statement that we can be 21st century teachers without technology. I want to say that for the record I DON'T hate computers or technology. I just so don't want it to replace the teacher or the teaching that goes on in the classroom. Nothing will impact a child more than a teacher who shows a child he/can is valueable and able to learn. When a child has confidence, he/she can do anything. Maybe computers can help build a child's confidence. I am willing to go with that - maybe more so today than I was a week or two ago.

I love the comment she made that she wants teachers to work smarter not harder. Yes, technology will facilite that in the classroom. Grades can be calculated, communication with a parents can be done with a touch of a button and in a teacher's timeframe, parents have access to grades at all times, and the list goes on and on. I beleive that technology can be a wonderful asset to the teacher.

On to Mr. Fisch's blog. I didn't agree with his even posting the comment made by another gentlemen that teachers who are technologically illiterate are jeopardizing our children. I commented at length on that. I feel that Mr. Fisch himself acknowledge that the comment was a bit too harsh. A teacher with a love for learning, love for teaching and love for children cannot and will not jeopardize a child simply because they can not operate the latest and greatest software. I also found some of the comments posted to his blog a little alarming. One in particular was by a Giondi that felt internet filters should be lifted or at least relaxed in our schools. Why and why? Children need boundaries and if as educators we don't provide those boundaries then we are not doing our job. The internet should be for teaching in a school setting and that can be done effectively with blocks. I thoroughly agreed with a Ms. Kohos who really went to bat for teaching who are lacking in their technology skills. She agrees that technology is good and necessary but that Mr. Fisch went a little too far. Thanks Ms. Kohos!

As for the numbers of how rapidly things are changing every second in the technology world...keep my head spinning won't you!

Wow! Those 1st graders are blowing me out of the water. I have to admit that I had never heard of skype or wiki before this class and they are using this stuff in there 1st grade class. Wow again! I watched this with my son at my side and I ask him what he thought of all that in the classroom. He is a five. His didn't have much to say until the DS popped up on the screen and he said "I have that one". I think it is great that they are getting to using these cool tools. I just hope they are learning what they need to succeed. I noticed that the spelling on the blog was not too good. I do realize they are in first grade but...are they getting enough spelling time in the week? Anyway...I will take the advice of the 1st grader who said "we should never say anything mean or that will hurt someone feelings". I think the site was cute and if that was my son in that first grade class I am sure I would be proud of all that he could do on his on.

With that I will say Good Night. My eyes need a rest!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My head is spinning...

I have to say before I get started that I am nervous about this blogging thing. It is new to me and I don't adjust to change well. This may be some of the reasons I am concerned with the rapid advancement in technologies and how these movies are expressing the urgency to keep schools as up to date in technology as possible. I am old school pen and paper and I have to say I like it that way.

I think I have put the cart before the horse. Let me back up. After watching Did You Know, my head was spinning with facts and data that I have never heard before. It scares me to think that I am supposed to be preparing children for jobs that have not even been created yet. Is there a teacher's manual for that. Just kidding (kind of). I don't think that the fundamentals of teaching should or would change just because technology is changing so rapidly. And I think it is sad that people are changing jobs so rapidly - 10 -14 jobs by 38. It seems as if we are a ADHD world. I didn't see any statistics on that by the way. How many of our children are diagnosed with ADHD with this rapid growth of technology. I think our children are suffering from TV, cell phone, Twitter, DS, WII, etc. overload. What kid rides a bike anymore or READS A BOOK. I am a librarian by the way and this is a daily struggle - getting kids to read a book. They would rather wait until the movie comes out. Don't get me wrong I know there is a need for technology. With that I will move on to Mr Winkle Wakes.

Mr. Winkle wakes after sleeping for 100 years to find that buildings and hospitals were full of machines printing information and people talking to other people on small screens. All this was too much for his brain to take in. He finally finds a school and it was just the same as it was 100 years old and he feels safe and good again. Well, I guess we know what the message is here. The schools are behind technology wise and we as a nation of educators like it that way. It is what is comfortable for us. While I can understand the need for techonology in the classrooms, I feel that schools should not be competing with hospitals and workplaces as far as technology. Children are sponges - I get that. They will learn what is made available to them. We put the most advanced computers in their classrooms and they will learn how to use them - probaly faster than the teachers. However what will that replace? Will that replace story time, centers, hands IN THE paint art, one on one teacher child interaction? I believe that there is a push to move us ahead with technology but there has to be a balance between the old and the new. Not all the old is bad. Kids need real life teachers and they need pen and paper to work it out, create, LEARN. I just don't want us to end up like the humans in WALL-E - completely dependent on technology for every aspect of our exsistence.

On a lighter not, I thoroughly enjoyed The Importance of Creativity by Sir Ken Robinson. When I say lighter note, I don't mean the information is less valuable. Quite the opposite. I just mean that I thoroughly enjoyed his since of humor. He spoke about children being born artists and they grow out of it through the education process. He feels that education places values on things such as math and science and gives little value to the arts. I gleened alot of this movie. Every child is different, every child will excel in various areas, and every area including the arts are equally valuable to the education of the whole child. If you ask me how to do chemical equations I may - at 36 - not remember how to. However, I can remember making turkeys out of pinecones in kindergarden and how proud I was of mine. On the other hand, I may not remember all the colors in the color wheel (which I learned 4 semesters ago) but I can remember being extremely proud of my handwriting and spelling skills in the 4th grade. Ms. Pierre made me feel like I was the smartest, most creative child in the whole world. She commented on everything from my artwork, to my writing ability, to my reading and spelling. You get my point. She encouraged me in every aspect of my learning including the arts. My kids (5 & 3) have the best imagination and although I am very proud of what they do at school, I love to tell people they use their imagination. That is what being a kid is all about - creative expression. Stiffle that and a child will be afraid to tackle things that are out of their comfort zone.

Finally, I watched Harness Your Students Digital Smarts. I get the importance of this as a creative measure. Letting children express theirselves and feel good about creating something on the computer. I still remember taking computer in 7th grade and writing a code that would allow a ball to jump across the screen on my computer. That was a big deal then. I want go on and on about too much technology. I think I have made myself clear.

Dr. Strange - I hope I have not made an F in this class already. I would like to say that for the record my husband is a computer programmer so technology supports my family. I am not opposed to equipping our children for the future just wanting balance especially with regards techonolgy.