Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Post 5

I have heard of podcasts before, but I have never really known the many ways it could be used for educational purposes.  It makes sense for us to teach our students through technology since thats what they are most familiar with.  The most beneficial part of podcasts would have to be the fact that students who are ill, have access to information that would otherwise be unattainable.  I have never been one to stay home from school, even when I was sick.  I know that if I would have had it going through school, it would have definitely gotten used.  I've had an iPod for a few years now, but I had no idea how I could use it to help me study.  I am just in awe over how many study-aid programs are out there.  I had heard of a few, but for the most part, I knew nothing about any of them.  I just wish there was a way for students to learn about these programs so they could be put to use.  Oh wait, there is.  As soon as teachers start educating their students about these study-aid programs   they will be able to use them in their everyday lives.  The podcasts from Eagles' Nest Radio  & Class Blog are amazing.  I wish that I had had a chance to do something like this.  It was very obvious that the students were very enthusiastic about their parts in the podcasts.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Additional Assignment 1

In Google Squared, I searched Disney Pixar Movies, Teen Shopping Stores and USA Universities.  In WolframAlpha, I  searched for how many hairs were in the human head (90,000 to 150,000), and how many stars were visible to the human eye (7×10^22).  Google squared is a great tool to compare certain items.  If it fits in a category, then you can find it on Google squared. WolframAlpha can be a wonderful tool for those searching for statistical, scientific, or computational values.  Although, one should not expect to find opinions, just facts-which is great if using it to find information to back up your research paper.  I have never heard of Google squared or WolframAlpha before.  But I am ecstatic about both of them! On top of the fact that I can find educational facts, I now have two sites that can help me answer the 999 off-the-wall questions I have every day.  Once I watched the video and researched the populations of India, China, and the U.S., I realized that although China and India is presented to be a smarter and more literate country, they also have a larger population.  If 100% of U.S. citizens could read and only 30% of Indian citizens could read, then they would still have a greater number of literate people than the U.S.  With that said, there is somewhat of a stigma when it comes to the competency of American students.  It is rare to hear that U.S. students scored better than students from other countries.  Stupid in America talks about how Belgian students scored much higher on the same test, than American students. How smart are American High School students? from the blog, Under the Lobster Scope, stated "only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, only 43% of students knew which ocean was on the east coast of the US. And only 27% knew what the two houses of Congress were." Study compares American students with other countries', an article from NY Times, said "The bad news is that students in Singapore and several other Asian countries significantly outperform American students, even those in high-achieving states like Massachusetts, the study found."  Those are just a few examples of those who believe that we are not as smart as the rest of the world.  Statistics of populations, test scores, school curriculum, etc. should all be taken in to account when looking at this argument.  There is still the possibility all of these articles have inflated the truth and left out valuable facts that wouldn't support there argument.  I honestly believe that something  must be wrong or it wouldn't be an issue.  I can't speak for the rest of the country, or even the rest of my school system, but I can say that my high school experience was a joke.  I made A's all through out high school without even looking at a book.  Many foreign exchange students laughed at our curriculum and said we were all stupid if we couldn't make A's, let alone pass.  So I do believe that we are behind to an extent, but it just might be a little exaggerated.

When reading the food for thought article, I was amazed.  I am not sure if my grandmother could use one, but the fact that an illiterate six year old can use it just shows that pretty much anyone can use technology now.  It's no longer enough to know how to use technology, now we are to the point that everyone must understand technology and use it as a tool for the "bigger picture".

Blog Post 4

1. Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?

Dr. Mcleod's satirical outlook wasn't very far from the truth.  His attempt to over exaggerate the views of anti-technology educators, in my opinion, failed.  As crazy as it sounds, teachers do still view basic uses of technology (such as cell phones) as useless, or even in some cases "evil".  Technology is not there to corrupt the minds of our students but to expose them to educational possibilities otherwise unattainable.  Keeping our children away from technology won't keep them "safe", unless your idea of safe, is ensuring the fact that they will be educationally crippled forever- not only in their careers, but also in their day to day lives.  The use of blogs and communicating with students outside of their classroom allows them to hear opinions of students from all over the world.  Students will have the opportunity to see points of view that might not have been discussed inside the classroom, and bring them back to the classroom for the rest of the students to learn from.   

Mr. Mcleod is the director of  CASTLE which is a group that focuses on the technological needs of educators.  He has won many awards for his efforts to use technology in the learning atmosphere.  Hopefully more institutions will begin putting an emphasis on the use of technology in (and out) the classroom.

The video made by the Georgia high schooler was promising.  He  showed how the iTouch could be used in replacement of paper, pencils, and books.  Maps, charts, etc. will all be on the iTouch which will lower the costs schools will need to spend in the classroom.  The application I found that I would benefit from the most was the Homework App.  EDM 310 is the first class in which I have had the opportunity to keep track of my homework and deadlines online.  This video reminded me of the first blogger teacher I was assigned to, The Thinking Chick.  Dr Galloway recently read an article that discussed what education will be like in 10 years.  The article predicted that paper, pens, and books will be nonexistent, and that learning will begin to take place outside of the classroom.  The iSchool is just proof that we are already able make this happen.

Such a simple message. Such a big impact.  With technology we can make a difference, and we will. Technology will not be the corruption of mankind.  It will not ruin our lives, or make us believe that technology, money and work are more important than family.  What technology will do, is help us change the future. With technology we will be able to make an impact, just like it was used to do so in this video.

If throughout my blog, I have not gotten point (with technology anything is possible) across, then watch this video.  I am not a musically inclined person, so singing along with someone would be difficult.  I'm sure getting  multiple people to sing together is difficult.  Directing an entire choir, while in different parts of the world, to sing together is impossible! Or so you would think.  It is possible to manage an entire choir with out even being face-to-face with them.  Through technology something as difficult as directing a choir has been made possible.  I am looking forward to seeing how else we will use the internet to our advantage in the future.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Project 5 Google Presentation

Blog Post 3

A Vision of Students Today

This video just proves the point that with technology not only can you have more learning tools, but also you can reach a varied audience. Most of the students in the video spent more of their life using their technological gadgets and spending time outside of the classroom.  This is how I spend most of my time, along with all of my friends.  If students spend the majority of their time outside the classroom, and using technology, then isn't this the way that we should teach them.  Many pupils have problems understanding concepts that are written in black and white right there on the board.  If we move the learning outside of the classroom and use technology to get the message across, then students would understand what their professors are talking about, instead of spending the majority of the class period on Facebook.
Teachers MUST continue their learning.  This doesn't mean learning a new technique, every time the class is issued a new book.  Teachers must be aggressive in their learning, in order to be truly successful educators.  Teachers should never say, "I don't know why they don't get it, I've taught it a hundred times". Do you know what I would say to that teacher? "How many different ways did you approach it?" If students don't understand the concept the first ninety nine times they were taught, what makes you think they will get it on the hundredth time?  Everyone learns differently.  It is the teachers job to get through to their students, no matter how they learn, or how many approaches the teacher must take in order for the student to understand.  The student who has learned to concentrate on learning rather than grades is the students who will go far in life.  
It is most definitely not acceptable for a teacher to be technologically illiterate.  Some teachers still don't allow students to have laptops in class (even though this is preparing them for their careers). How many jobs do you know that prefer a handwritten proposal as opposed to a typed one? But that's beside the point.  When STI came out, teachers were outraged because they were forced to take roll and post grades online.  This was their idea of technology taking over.  I don't know if I have ever had a teacher who knew the possibilities out there for students and teachers alike, if only they were to embrace technology. On top of the fact that they need to embrace it, they need to actively seek out new ways to use it.  When I was a freshman in high school, I might have known my way around AIM, Myspace and Wikipedia, but I had no idea of the ways I could use technology for my benefit or how it could enrich my learning experience.  If the teachers don't know how to use technology as a useful learning tool, then students will never have the opportunity to learn about it or use it.
It is amazing to know how much technology has and is impacting our lives at this very moment, yet some teachers still won't use it for their benefit.  All of these sites and tools are there for them to use, but either they have no idea it's out there (because they have refused to be a perpetual learner, actively searching for useful teaching tools), or they simply don't think that their students will benefit any more from technology, than they will from sitting at a desk and watching their teachers write on a blackboard.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Project 3 C4T-1 Summary

I have recently read a few posts from Daneah Galloway's blog The Thinking Chick.  First of all let me just start out by saying that it is refreshing to know that here are many teachers out there that aren't anti-technology and are open to the possibilities we have when we embrace technology.  

Daneah recently read "21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020."  She reflected on how far we have come in such a short time.  She couldn't believe that VCRs have become outdated, when just 10 years ago the idea of playing DVDs instead of tapes was insane.  She also thought the fact that land lines are becoming a thing of the past is amazing.  I thoroughly enjoyed her reflection on "21 Things...", and how she longed for these things to become obsolete before 2020. Paper, desks, schools (or at least our idea of them today) are all believed to be outdated within the next 10 years.  

I couldn't have agreed more with Ms. Galloway.  At first I thought the idea of paper, desks, and schools being outdated within the next ten years was absurd.   Once I read "21 Things...", I was convinced that the only way for us to truly teach our children, was to get rid of those things.  The article stated that schools will be nothing more than a "homebase", where students and teachers will meet before they go into the community to learn by experience.  The idea of learning through experience is finally overshadowing the practice of learning through repetition. Once teaching techniques move away from the archaic ways of memorizing and reciting, we will be able to finally teach skills, not facts.

The Thinking Chick Also blogged about her Facebook workshop with children at her school.  She taught them about the dangers of Facebook, privacy on the internet and cyber-bullying.  Her students were shocked at the amount of people who had lost their jobs, been evicted from their apartments, and rejected by universities because of information they had put on the internet and Facebook.  She went on to tell her students that she was in no way against Facebook. Ms. Galloway told them about a teacher who started a Facebook group concerned with the banning of plastic bags in Thailand.  His group grew to over 7,000 members and because of the public awareness the group had created, over 1,000 people attended his rally. She posted a paper that one of her students had written.  The paper was then tweeted by her husband, and re-tweeted by others, and before she knew it, she had teachers all over the world asking for permission to share her story in class.  She proved that one can get their message out to the masses if they use it for networking with people all over the world.

People need to know how dangerous Facebook can be, but more importantly, people need to know how amazing Facebook can be.  Thousands of statuses, notes, events, comments, posts and videos are viewed everyday. If people use the resources that are readily available to them, they will have the potential to make an impact not only on our hometown, high school, or college networks, but also on the entire human race. We now have the power to send a public message to anyone on earth-free of charge!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blog Post 2

1.  Did You Know? 3.0
It is amazing to know that "we are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist". I can't even begin to imagine the fact that the information that I will learn in college will be outdated within three years of my graduation. I think that this shows us how critically important it is for us to constantly be looking for new ways to use technology for our advantage.  Not only will we be able to better prepare our students for their future careers, but also technology will be our way of connecting with our student.  I have basically had the same experience in a class room for my entire educational career, but hopefully by the time I become a teacher, the world of education will be ready fro the change that it has needed for some time now.The change that has been taking place in all aspects of life besides education.

2.  Mr. Winkle Wakes
I can't believe that until recently I did not even see how much the schools have been left behind. The whole world has changed while schools are still set in their archaic methods.  The only way to move improve is to move forward, and that is the one thing that the schools have not done.  Technology can teach us much more than a book with a few hundred pages.  When my mom was in high school, algebra was her last math credit she needed in order to graduate.  Just a few years ago, when I was in high school, algebra was the first math class I took.  So the world of education is changing in the way that they are getting information to students at a younger age, but just imagine the possibilities if they would incorporate technology into the learning atmosphere.

3.  The Importance of Creativity
I could not agree with Ken Robinson more. The standardized tests in America are ruining our schools. Our teachers are teaching to the tests and that is it. My grandmother was a gifted teacher for 35 years. She had the freedom to teach about astronauts and Egyptian rituals by letting her students attend NASA space camps and mummify chickens.  Lectures will never surpass the possibilities we can have when we educate through experience and technology. I wish that all teachers had the freedom and drive to do the same. I have loved art and dance for many years but I quit dance early on in high school because it was supposed to look better on my college applications to have extra math and science classes above and beyond what was required. Because I was always wanting to take more honors classes in order to improve my GPA, I never had the chance to take an art class. Once schools put more of an emphasis on arts of all kinds, our future leaders will not only have the ability to do things unimaginable, but they will also have the creativity that will allow them to surpass anything that their math and science classes have taught them. Without creativity and imagination, our technology would not be where it is today; but just imagine how far we could go if our creative tendencies were able to flourish in schools instead of ceasing to exist. People may say you are very talented, but you should be a doctor.  I think that the purpose of educators is to motivate students to pursue their dreams no matter what they may be.

4.  Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts 
You can only do so much with pencil and paper, you can only get through to so many students when you use these tools.  It is a relief to know that I don't need to know everything before I teach it.  Once I think about it, it makes sense. If a teacher knows everything, they are simply going to spurt out facts to the student. If the teacher gives the students just a tid bit information, it gives them the opportunity to learn together.  When students have the opportunity to contribute to their own learning experience, only then will they truly benefit from their educational experiences.