Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blog Assignment #5

Apple Logo

Podcasts in the Classroom
After listening to the Eagle Nest Radio and reading the class blog, I have a few things to say.  First of all, I think it is a great idea to create a podcast in the classroom for your students.  I think it is a great way to get them involved in the learning process.  It can also be a great resource for studying, and the students will want to hear themselves and will learn while listening.  I love the way they made it sound like a radio show.  It makes listening and learning more fun.  The way they used sound effects and music to contribute made it sound more professional, as well.  I plan on doing an audio podcast for my project, and this gave me some great ideas. 

Some Benefits of Classroom Podcasts

In Joe Dale's video, he brings up many of the benefits of teachers and students using podcasts or "vodcasts" in the classroom.  He mentions that teachers can podcast lectures and information for students that have to miss school for whatever reason.  This is a great way to keep the student informed and caught up.  He also brings up the idea that students could create their own podcasts.  This is a great way to get kids involved, to get them working together, and to get them to learn the material in an exciting new way.  Dale also brings up the point that creating a podcast is a part of higher learning.  It makes children use the knowledge they have in a way that makes them have to extract it.  It really makes them think.  Also, with podcasts, parents can easily track what their children are doing at school.  It keeps them actively involved.  Podcasts are a great addition to classroom learning.

Getting Started 

Judy Scharf's article about podcasting is very helpful in many ways.  While working on my own podcast, I thought a lot of the tips she had were useful.  She also mentioned several ways to use them in the classroom.  She tells the reader to be sure that they give their students plenty of time to complete the projects.  In her article, Scharf also gives a list of topics that kids can use.  I love this list!  It's got so many fun and educational topics that I'm sure kids would love to choose from.  Overall, podcasts are a great way to get kids involved, interested, and active in their education.  Children will be proud of their finished products and will have fun in the process.    

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Assignment #4

To Teach, Or Not to Teach 

Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor at Iowa State University and the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study Of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE).  He was also a co-creator in the video we blogged about, "Did You Know?"  In his post, Dr. McLeod speaks about letting our kids use and learn about technology.  He brought up some very negative aspects of technology and one really great aspect of it.  This is the ability to get a job over others that don't know how to use technology.  

I have to say that he brings up an important issue.  How do we teach our kids about the tools they will have to know how to use to be successful when so much of it is garbage?  It's very difficult trying to use the Internet without something controversial popping up in the background.  Also, do we let our kids have a Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace when we know they will be distracted with it?  I think what we have to do is to educate our kids but teach them the right way to use technology.  Like anything else in this world, technology is corrupted.  We teach them morals that, hopefully, roll over into increasing technology.

Is an iSchool Plausible?

A high school senior came up with the idea and/or plan for every student to have an iPhone and to get their education through it.  This eliminates the need for things such as books, calculators, bookbags, etc...  He makes the point that it will bring down the cost of education significantly as well as give students the opportunity to learn in a more modern way.  A cheaper and more efficient way of schooling, what can be wrong with this?

I see the logic in a lot of his points and think much of it is brilliant.  I would not be surprised to see this happening one day.  However, there are aspects of school that can't really be taught over an iPhone.  What about socialization?  This method of educating is impersonal and takes away from the things that can be learned in the classroom setting.  Group exercises are harder to make happen, and accountability might be difficult.  This iSchool might create lazier children, and what happens when they lose their phone or break it?  I think it might be a little too soon for this idea, but I think it has potential.

The Lost Generation

This video was very interesting.  It started off very negative and hopeless and turned itself around, becoming very positive and hopeful.  I loved the way that it was done.  It was refreshing and quite surprising.  It confused me until I realized the approach that was being taken.  It reminded me of some very important things, as well.  We have to remember that money, a nice job, and material things cannot give us happiness.  They are only temporary.  We must value our family and our relationships, for they cannot be replaced.

Virtual Choirs

I am a huge fan of Eric Whitacre and have sung some of his work.  I really liked this use of technology.  As a singer in many choirs, I have some fond memories of meeting people from all over the country.  We form special relationships because we have a love for music and vocal performance in common.  I think this use of virtual choirs is an awesome way to bring people together from all over the world to create something beautiful and magical.  This is one way that technology is really changing the way we do things, and I like it.  I hope that other musicians will get the idea and it will spread over the musical world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

Pitcairn Islands map
Search Engines

Google Squared has the ability to provide students with information in a unique and helpful format.  It presents students with a table and gives them the information that they asked for and even more. This extra, well-organized information would help them if they were doing something like a research project.  Wolfram Alpha provides kids with more than enough information.  It gives you as much information as you ask for and then goes into detail.  It answers questions you probably didn't think to ask and makes tables and charts regarding that information.  Students can use this as a valuable source for facts and even copy and paste charts onto research projects.  

Before this assignment, I had never heard of Google Squared.  However, I had heard of Wolfram Alpha before.  I used it when I was in a math class to help me with my math homework.

After watching Dr. Strange's video, my thoughts on the "Did You Know?" video have changed.  Information can be thrown at one in many different ways.  Sometimes the way we perceive data is not actually the truth.  After hearing that English is spoken more than we thought in many other countries, we immediately find this unbelievable, but we are not thinking about population sizes.  Once we find out that extra information, it makes sense to us.  Statistics can be misleading.  I have learned, from this exercise, to think about outliers and unstated information when I hear statistics.  I have also learned that research using websites like Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha can help in the search for valuable and informative facts.

It says something really amazing about Steve Jobs that he can create a seemingly complicated computer and have a kid learn how to use it within seconds, but I think it says even more about the complexity of the human brain.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summary C4T #1

mayorcarvalho.pngAugmented Reality App
David Hopkins recently wrote a blog about an augmented reality app for the Iphone that can let the viewer browse historical pictures of various locations.  The viewer can see what happened in other times in their current location.  I think this is an innovative and interesting way to learn about a city's history.  It can be great for students and projects, and the avid historian will be sure to to enjoy it.  Getting students outside walking and taking pictures is a fun and unique way for them to learn what happened in a city's history and how it differs from the present day.

Twitter in the Classroom

I also read a post from David Hopkins about the use of Twitter in classroom as a way to get students involved and to educate them.  Nowadays, technology in the classroom is becoming more and more frequent, and teachers are now encouraging their students to use as much of it as they can.  They are preparing students for job scenarios where they will surely have to use what they know about technology.  Social-networking sites are becoming more education friendly for many reasons.  Students can follow and discuss with each other a school topic.  This way students are more inclined to be interested and involved in the school assignments and activities.  

Blog Assignment #3

School Supplies

A Vision Nobody Seems to Notice

In reaction to Michael Wesch's video, I have a few things to say.  First of all, I think that it was very unique and innovative how he used the walls, seats, chalkboards, and student notebooks to do the talking.  It reminds the viewer that we are talking about what a student has to do every day.  As to the statistics, they seem pretty accurate to the everyday student.  Students have to fit, on average, a 26 hour day into a 24 hour day, and this is just the average student.  

If I were to add anything into the video, I might go more into the financial demands of the average student.  I might also bring up the diversity of the classroom and mention how some students are facing language barriers and others have kids at home they need to take care of.  This could also lead to talking about the amount of work demanded from the teacher.  Some teachers assign ridiculous amounts of homework without taking into account the other demands on the students' schedules.  Overall, this vision is eye-opening and deserves to be noted.

What It's Really About
Having just read Kelly Hines' article, "It's Not About the Technology," I have a few things to say.  I think that she is making a valid point.  Sometimes, people think that technology should get all the credit, or they become blind to what goes on behind the scenes.  What really matters is the teaching behind the technology.  A good teacher can take technology and use it to it's full potential.  Without proper teaching, technology goes wasted.

She makes the point that teachers should always be learning.  They should teach but work and study like students.  Also, every kid deserves and has the ability to learn.  So, no teacher should stop working with each individual student until they do.  Another point she brings up is that technology doesn't make the teacher.  It is the teacher that can make the technology.  He or she is in charge of manipulating it.  Critical thinking and problem solving are vital to the learning experience and should not be forgotten in the hype of modern technological advances, as well.  It is the teacher's job to make technology useful to their students.

Modern Day Illiteracy

Today, technological literacy is becoming more and more important in education.  According to Karl Fisch, it is unacceptable to be a teacher that is technologically illiterate, in this day and age.  He makes a great point.  Technology is constantly expanding, and teachers need to know how to use those tools to prepare their students for jobs where they need to know how to use them.  Without a knowledge of these tools, how can we possibly hope to use them and teach them to others?

These days, students are using more and more technology in their lives.  They are a different breed.  For example, social networking has become a new and leading form of communication for young adults.  As teachers, we have to know how to communicate and inform in a way that kids can understand and use.  Technology isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so we need to be prepared to roll with the increasing technological punches. 


Presentation Project

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project #2

A wordle based on a short paragraph about Kathryn Buchanan

Blog Assignment #2

Harnessing Students Together

Vicki Davis and her video, "Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts," is very interesting.  Here, Ms. Davis tries to implement every form of technology into her curriculum.  This forces the young adults to learn how to learn in different and innovative ways.  Students work together to discover how to do new things and to do group projects.  They also get to connect with other students across the globe.

I have no problem with the use of computers in the classroom, as long as the curriculum is covered.  I just hope that students are reaching their full potential over the web if not on paper and through textbooks.  The thing I love the most about Ms. Davis's teaching technique  is that the students get the chance to work with kids their own age from all over the planet on something they have in common.  I think this could be an amazing experience for any student, and it is exciting to imagine how much more they could learn from each other.  This type of digital classroom has potential.

Making Room for Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson makes some really great points in his speech, "The Importance of Creativity."  He speaks of how important it is to incorporate the arts in education.  He also brings up the issue of being educated in a certain direction.  He says that kids are being educated in math, english, science, and history, but to what ends?  Are we educating our children to do what the world says they should do, or are we allowing them to use the gifts they are given to do what they want?  Who's to say they won't be successful?

I agree with Sir Robinson.  Children should be given equal opportunities in the classroom.  Some kids enjoy learning about history, while others can think best on the stage.  What makes one thing more important than the other?  Children should have more options as to what they pursue in their life.  You might say, "Well, don't they have those options?"  I raise the question.  Do they really?  If we are training and teaching our kids to be a certain type of person, than we are taking away those choices.  We aren't only taking away their creativity.  We are taking away their ability to be. 

Mr. Winkle's Nightmare

After watching the Youtube video Mr. Winkle Wakes, some interesting ideas were brought into my mind.  I think the video was raising the question of whether increasing technology is  a good thing or a bad thing.  It is especially pertinent in the field of education because we are dealing with children not job-seeking adults.  Is technology in schools beneficial or unnecessary in the classroom?  Here's what I think.

In my opinion, technology is very important for kids to know how to use, especially if they are pursuing a career that uses computers regularly.  In this day and age, it's hard to think of a career that doesn't.  However, I think that students should be required to take a class or classes specific to learning how to use a computer.  I don't think this class should overlap other subjects.  Computers can be distracting and ultimately irrelevant.  A computer cannot teach like a teacher can.  Call me old-fashioned, but computers can make the school experience cold and impersonal.  Every kid needs a knowledge of computer technology, but every kid also needs to know how to study and learn without relying on a computer.

Does Anyone Really Know?

In response to the Youtube video "Did You Know? 3.0," I have several things to say.  I found it extremely interesting and equally alarming at times.  It has a lot to say about humanity in general and the growth of technology all over the globe.  The video had a shocking effect on me, and I learned some statistics and facts that I had never heard before.  Overall, I liked it for several reasons, and I was discouraged for different reasons.

First of all, it does make the often disregarded point that our country, the United States, is not as "high and mighty" as it's reputation communicates.  The truth is that other countries are growing rapidly, and ours is falling deeper and deeper into debt.  Countries like Japan, China, and India are educating differently, and the intelligence of their children shows it.  They are incorporating the English language and creating new technologies.  On the other hand, one thing I disliked about the video was when it compared the human brain and race to increasing computer technology.  Believe me.  I am all about technology, but I find the idea of a computer being greater than the human race hard to grasp.  Honestly, I find it offensive.  Computers may be able to get you information, store records, and entertain you, but they are highly impersonal.  Do computers have emotion or feelings?  Do they have beliefs or original ideas?  Can you have a relationship with your computer?  Does it keep you warm at night?  

By saying all this, I am only making the point that you cannot create something that is beyond our understanding.  You can't replace a race with RAM.  You can't replace a human with a hard-drive.