Tuesday, January 19, 2010

YouTube, Improper Use in Middle School

Teaching 6th and 7th graders proper internet usage is of course one of my top priorities as a technology educator yet I find myself still pondering wether my school should allow students access to Youtube. Currently e have access and it is one of the many reasons I took this particular position. Open technology, Yeah!

Recently we have implemented a new eportfolio system at my school district called Mahara. With it comes the ability to download videos and post comments on a wall similar to facebook. A dream come true, yet as I have used it to grade projects in the past few months, I am absolutely appalled at some of the content students are williing to put on their school eportfolio profiles. Do they not hear us? Do they not care? It has gotten to the point where my school is strongly considering removing youtube access. We teach young adults and they make their own choices, after we teach them proper internet usage, how can we help them make the proper decisions about proper content? How do we get our student to see that we teach proper content for a reason and thay thier choices will have the negative side effect of having filters put in place?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Distance Learning

I am sometimes amazed at how far technology has actually taken us. For me, I could not have gotten my masters degree without distance learning. I finished my M.ed and never even saw the campus. It is amazing the relationships you can build just by using online tools such as blogs, wikis, or educational tools such as moodle or blackboard. I even had one teacher teach the entire class via a wiki (Thank you Jeff Utecht) and it was amazing. We got to chat when needed, see revisions in real time and all of our projects were listed with clear directions. With email being more relevant than telephone we were able to use that medium as well. Skype was also very helpful. When I took the class, we had arranged times to talk on skype to touch base and have questions answered. I am a true believer in distance education and wonder how well it would work out for say, middle school students. What traits would they need be good distant learners? Just a thought..

Friday, September 25, 2009

Teaching 21st Century Skills

This week I have found myself pondering/wondering the best way to teach 21st century skills to students.. How does one go about introducing the true concept of online collaboration through blogging and social networking to 7th grade students?
My students will create their own blog sites next week via Mahara.. Should I give them guided discussion topics?? How does a teacher go about teaching 7th graders that the world is flat. I have looked at many excerpts from The World if Flat by Thomas Friedman but have not been able to see how to incorporate it into my curriculum. I quess I am asking for a starting point if anyone has any ideas??

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Project Based Learning Reinvented

Well as blogging time comes and goes, my love of reading and the web 2.0 movement has remained the same. I just can't get enough. With that said I just had to say how amazing , Reinventing Project Based Learning by Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss is. What an enlightening book to teachers young and old. I highly recommend it. I think project based learning is truly authentic and helps our students to "own" their learning. Something that I think becomes more and more important as we try to teach 21st century skills. I also had to give Kudos to two bloggers I have been following since I was introduced to web 2.0. blogging and readers. Ms. Vicki Davis "Cool Cat Teacher" has an amazing blog about teaching and PBL and is always willing to share. As well as a very wonderful professor and international educator that I had the pleasure of taking a class with through Plymouth State University (the one class that truly opened my eyes to web 2.0 and all of it's many tools and rewards) Mr. Jeff Utecht. He updates his blog frequently and is always sharing not only his work experience and passion but also other cool pieces of information regarding PBL,web 2.0 and technology. To my delight and surprise, I have just past page 14 and they are both mentioned for their wonderful work on blogs and PBL. I wonder if they knew when they started blogging that all of their sharing and communicating would land them on the 14th page of a great book (that is so far, there may be more :) Kudos to both of them!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Desire versus Reality

I find that I have left the web 2.0 arena for a while. 2 things have caused my short departure. The first is my last class for my M.O.E in computer technology education, Research and Design, a very time consuming class indeed. The most time consuming class I have ever taken actually.

The second is my first full time teaching position. I am teaching computer technology but I am not. I have a lab and computers that are sometimes slower than dial up. I can barely teach microsoft products due to constraints, much less rant and rave and open up student's worlds to web 2.0 concepts and tools. I find it utterly depressing that with limited equipment and filters and firewalls blocking access to most of what is fun and exciting about web 2.0 +, I find myself wondering,, why bother? I wonder if any of my fellow bloggers have had or have this issue? I miss my twitter and my blogs and tinkering around with all new web 2.0 gizmo's and gadgets but to be honest, It is depressing to take part yet not be able to teach what your know or are learning. I wonder how many other's find themselves waning from their blogs or the web movements because of school constraints. I'm a first year teacher and I am certainly not going to be able to change the minds of the powers that be, those with tenure, those who have already set up the policies and procedures. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. So for those of you who have followed my blog, I thank you. I will try to continue to post more and to champion the cause as best as I can, but I can't help but wonder if any other computer educators find themselves in the same boat? Are you shying away from web 2.0 because you cannot teach the concepts at your school? I am thrilled to be able to teach the students any technology that I can, but knowing that I cannot bring my students into the 21st century get's a little discouraging sometimes. Just my two cents, or one long rant.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Loving Chunk It!

Just had to give a huge thanks to the maker's of Chunk IT, by tiger logic. What a great time saver and amazing tool. For those of us finishing up our Master's Degree or looking for great content. This tool is a real time saver. Instead of having to wander around endless links, the Chunk It extension for Firefox is a saving grace. It really does all of the parsing work for you. Each URL and even PDF's are 'chunked' in the left hand panel which helps you to determine whether or not a web site really is worth while or is what you are looking for. Thank you Tiger Logic, on my last assignment, you saved me more time than I can imagine. Give it a try! It's a great tool.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Technology Jobs Do Exist

Well if finally happened, after many interviews and masters classes and what appeared to be a road never ending. I have landed a job at a Computer Technology Integrator/Teacher within 25 minutes of my home. I find this opportunity very exciting as the concepts are cutting edge. Work with a team of teachers, review their curriculum and help them to integrate technology with combined lesson plans and their own support system (me). Patience and persistence has paid off and I am finally a "real" teacher with my own school and classroom, I can finally participate in blogland and feel like I am contributing true ideas I see in the classroom instead of as a substitute teacher and graduate student. Can you tell how excited I am. I hope I am still this excited a year from now :)) I wan't to take a minute to extend my thanks to Jeff Utecht who opened my eyes to web 2.0 and technology integration, it was one of the major reasons I was hired. Thanks Jeff, for everything!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thinking Maps - A great tool for Educators and Students

I just finished reading the book "Student Successes with Thinking Maps". Wow, what a powerful tool they can be in education. While not technology, thinking maps help students to visualize their thought processes. By using these maps we are able to mimic the brains own processes. How unique and different theses processes can be for each individual is quite amazing as is the ability to reflect which is so very important to the learning process. I believe that once we reflect on how we have come to conclusions and reflect on how we got to these conclusions is when we are really learning. The thinking maps as a visual and common language is what all students and teachers need. They help to bridge the gaps in thought processes and communication, making it possible for teachers to reach more students as they are now have a common language to use leading to less problems with miscommunication as well as the ability to reach more students effectively. A great book and worth while read for any educator. You can also check out their website here.
Check out this great audio clip I found on teaching students how to learn by David Hyerle.

Monday, June 30, 2008

ScreenCast-Uses in Education

Well just when I was all set to stream my 8 minute demo to NECC UnPlugged, I realized I was not available in the time slot I reserved with the two hour delay from NH to TX. So I had an idea. I recored my speed demo with camtasia and uploaded it to, before I knew it I had a valid link to add to the NECC UnPlugged page where people can still view my presentation. Yeh. Both software applications are easy to use, and in case you never heard of Grazr, a great manager for feeds and the like, feel free to check out my screencast.

I would love thoughts and opinions, I left blog land for a bit, a think I got discouraged with the amount of feedback I was getting, please share the love, take a minute to leave a post.