Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Farewell, So Long, TaTa For Now.....

Ms. Averitt, I would like to begin by saying THANK YOU for your instruction, patience, and understanding. It was a pleasure to be in your class and I enjoyed most of it tremendously. I hope you are well and that you will be back to 100% in no time.
My fellow classmates: I enjoyed sharing this class with you! I didn't get to know most of you very well, but that happens when so many have such busy lives. I am thankful for those of you who brought your wonderful, entertaining personalities to class with you! I absolutely love people who can make me laugh. Thank you! I wish you all the very best in your college classes and your teaching careers. May God bless you.

And So We Come to the End

picure is of a little gold man standing next to a large Q & A symbol
There are so many new things that I have learned this semester in Ms. Averitt's class! To think that I almost tested out of it before I even knew what it entailed. My favorite lessons include learning about iTunes and all you can do with it, learning how to blog, learning how to use Excel (finally!), giving Power Point presentations, and making an iGoogle page that my students could use as a resource. As a prospective physical education teacher, I don't think I will be able to use as many of the tools that a traditional classroom teacher would use, but that doesn't mean I am not going to try to implement technology into my teaching! I am anxious to be able to see what I can do with it.

I can't say that there is anything that I would have liked to learn about in this class but didn't for one simple reason - several of the new things I learned I had never heard of before and basically, I was "in the dark" technologically!!! So, I feel that I learned a lot that I didn't know. On the other hand, I do believe I can do without videopodcasting just for the sheer nerve-wracking experience it was!

I got very excited about giving my power point presentation because it gave me a chance to do something I rarely get to do -talk about me and where I am from! That may sound a little selfish, but today people don't really care about who you are and where you are from. In my experience, most people just want to know what you can do for them. So, being given the opportunity to share myself just a little and be able to talk about my hometown (which I'm very proud of, if anyone could tell!) was very exciting for me.

I didn't find anything "intellectually challenging" in this class which tells me a very simple truth. It says to me that anyone can learn and implement technology into their classroom. It also tells me that what we learned - and that a lot of kids already know, is that technology is the way of the future in the classroom and all over the place. One would be foolish not to embrace it.

There were times that I was bored in the class, but I think that was due to my having some computer skills already. The only thing I would change about the class would be to have it better organized and less confusing. There were times when it seemed like we were jumping from this to that and never really getting clarification on one thing before starting another. However, for the most part, the class was informative and helpful.

Am I Technologically Literate? I would say yes, a little and no, not by a long shot! There is so much to learn and it is an ever-changing and growing phenomenon, so I don't believe I will ever be fully Technologically Literate. However, I've been given the tools to get started and it will be up to me to increase my "literacy." I don't know exactly how I will maintain or improve my techonological literacy from here on out. My guess is that while I am in school, I will probably have the opportunity to use what I have learned in other classes. Once I begin teaching, I will have to ensure I don't lose what I've learned and continue to learn and implement technology into my teaching.

Stupid Mistakes, Brilliant Things, and New Rules

picuture shows a blackboard as the background with a gray shadow of a teacher in front of it writing Classroom Rules 1.
Doug Johnson's Seven Stupid Mistakes Teachers Make with Technology and his Seven Brilliant Things Teachers Do with Technology are both very informative but succinct. I think any teacher who deals with technology in the classroom should print and display them as daily reminders! The "mistake" that I relate to and should learn from is about not backing up data. I know it is a very simple process - to most. I, though, can't seem to get my mind around the whole process or which backup device to use. I think I have my stuff backed up and remember (vaguely) agreeing to a program that backs up data, but as you can see, I am one of the ones that he would consider "stupid." I need to make sure I get that completely done - before it's too late.

My favorite "brilliant thing" is "put kids in touch with the world." When I read this, I immediately thought of all the students in lower-income school districts who may never get outside of their neighborhood. The internet and programs in the classroom that access it can be a wonderful "window" for those students. The things they can see and learn via technology are so numerous and exciting.

I also looked at the list, New Classroom Rules by Education Innovation. I could not pick just one that I liked because I loved the whole list. I loved how they took the rules of the non-technological classroom and enhanced them to include all the things our students can do today and how they can interact with each other and the world via technology. This is another list I would print out and post in my classroom! Well, when we get to that point in time when it is permissable for all the rules to apply!

At The Teacher's Desk is Super-helpful!

crayons in a square glass container and colored pencils in a cream-colored bucket
At the Teacher's Desk is a collaborative professional blog that teachers use to share their ideas, accomplishments, solutions, questions, and so much more. It's a place that teachers can use to bounce stuff off each other or to tell the world about something exciting they've added to their technological regimen. There are links to just about everything digital or technical on the Web that you might want to reference for yourself after reading one of their blogs. You can access a variety of blog pages, see pictures, and view videos of what these teachers and their students are doing. For the technological classroom, a blog like this one is like hitting pay dirt.

I read a selection of blog posts including It is Time to Stop Looking at my Classroom and Start Looking at the School Community, How Do I Know I am Not Just Being Selfish, and Robert Burns Haunts Me by William Chamberland. I also read Using Technology for Effective Communication by Jarrod Lamshed and Pencils and Crayons to be Banned in Schools by teachernz. Mr. Chamberland wrote in his blogs about moving his encouragement of technological use and teaching to a broader audience than just his classroom, being concerned that he may be forcing his love of technology onto those not ready for it, and how the loss of electricity has very real consequences for a technology-imbued class. Jarrod Lamshed gave tips for integrating Facebook, twitter, and even his own personal cell phone number into communications with his student's parents. I liked the tongue-in-cheek attitude of teachernz's Pencils and Crayons piece. The variety of the blogs at this site are interesting and helpful, especially for a teacher very interested in using the various techniques in his or her own classroom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dr. Michael Wesch Makes Us Think

photo is of a woman holding a fake eye ball which contains a web cam. the eye ball and her hand is in focus while her face is blurred in the background
Dr. Michael Wesch, of Kansas State University, is at it again! I first saw his video, A Vision of Students Today, on YouTube a couple of months ago. It was very interesting. Today, I watched another of his videos, The Machine is (Changing) Us: You Tube and the Politics of Authenticity, and this one makes you THINK! Dr. Wesch discussed various ways that our culture, over the years and today, influences who we are and how we perceive ourselves. Something that jumped out at me is how media influences who we are and how we connect to others - in contrast, it brings us closer together while also allowing us to distance ourselves from each other.

So, what makes me scratch my head and think about this so hard? It presents some tricky questions for me - Is media in its myriad of forms good or bad for us? Is it okay to put yourself out there to try to connect with others even though they may not be seeing the "real" you? Is it possible to show your true self while not actually, personally interacting with others? I have no easy answers, being so new to the world of online media. I am torn, however, as a college student and prospective teacher, but I think that media will triumph over personal interaction. The trend of "putting yourself out there" is massive and moving at a high rate of speed. It does so many things, from creating an outlet for self-expression to allowing us to educate and be educated. While there are most certainly pros and cons to any venture, I think that the whirlwind of media in our society has its pros and I am just a little scared that the cons will be trampled into insignificance. How soon before we don't care what the cons are as long as we are being seen and heard by the nameless horde?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Why, Oh Why, Should We Blog?

first picture is the blue and white Facebook logo, second picture is an iGoogle logo that has Mario throwing a ball of fire, third picture is the Blogger.com logo

One of the continuing lessons of my Educational Media class is that Blogging, i.e. posting your own or your student's work to the Internet, is a good idea - a good habit to get into in the teaching profession. It is a good idea for many reasons, and for each person, those reasons may vary. I think the main reason it is important for students to post their work is that the work gets perused and commented on by others. I think feedback is very important to any professional.

There are numerous ways that one can post their work to the Internet. Currently, in my class, I have used Blogger.com for both a personal and professional blog. I have also used iGoogle to create a web page that reflects my interest in physical education. My future students could use this page to do a variety of things, from playing a game to finding out the latest stats on their favorite team. Additionally, I have created a Personal Learning Network using various components of the Internet, including Facebook and Physical Education websites.

I think it is also important for students to post their work to the Internet because this allows them to become more familiar and comfortable with the Internet and all the avenues it offers. The more technologically savvy a teacher is, the more creative and varied her teaching may be. The Internet offers endless possibilities for teachers and students alike.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mike and Meal Worms

photo includes a brown meal worm on the left, a yellow pupa in the middle, and a black beetle on the right
My KidsComments assignment this week was to read about meal worms, which is a post by blogger Mike R. in Mrs. Goerend's sixth grade class. Mike told about how meal worms eat oatmeal and have two eyes, six legs and are light brown with brown lines on their backs. More information than I thought I'd ever need to know about meal worms, let me say! Mike also said that meal worms go from meal worm to pupa to beetle, which is a life cycle like a frog's. I told Mike that I'd much rather hear about meal worms than spiders! I love to hear that kids are learning about all kinds of science and are engaged in the lesson.