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...