Monday, February 22, 2010

Week 4 Student Comments

I posted a comment on "The Wizard of Apps" Posted by lsmith. My second comment was on "The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening" Posted by Nay.

Internet Etiquette

I watched the video Digiteens:Digital Citizenship by Digital Teenagers. This film is about Internet etiquette and safety created by teenagers. I thought the information that was presented was helpful and insightful. I was shocked by the Driving while texting segment. I was surprised that driving while texting was responsible for more deaths than driving under the influence. I never realized that there is actual protocol for using the Internet.

I knew that some children lied about their ages when using social media networks, such as Facebook, but I had no idea that there were so many children doing it. I liked the last segment or project the best. I knew there were risk that had to do with the Internet and identity theft but I did not realize that this could affect our children. I am aware of shopping on the Internet but it is not something that I do myself. I was blown away to hear that 9 year olds are shopping on the Internet and have had their identity or their parents identities stolen from them. I did not realize that there is a great need to educate children and adults about proper use of the Internet.

I realized that I am also very uneducated about digital citizenship and what it involves. This is an area that I definitely need to spend some time learning more about. I had never heard of the term digital citizenship before this assignment. There seems to be some concern about when, where, and who should be responsible for teaching it to our children. I feel that as teachers we should make sure that our students know how to safely use the technology that we are working with in our classroom. My eyes are being opened to all of the wonderful teaching tools of technology but at the same time I want to know that I am safe and so are my students.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What is project learning?

One of my assignment was to watch the Project Learning: An overview video for my t4t class during week 4. This video is from the Edutopia The George Lucas Education Foundation website. Their goal is to improve education in our public school systems. Project learning encourage student learning through using what they have learned in real-life situations and projects.

I think this is a great concept to use with junior high, middle school, and high school students. I feel that the students need to have the basics before they can build on them with these kinds of projects. The students choose what they want to learn about and then complete a project based on this knowledge. Everything in project learning revolves around the student. The students are responsible for their learning and completion of assignments and project. They become their own managers and directors of their learning and projects. This is great for the over achievers but what about the average student. I am a procrastinator, by nature, and I can see where I might not do so good in the project learning environment.

When I was in school, we did not have these type of activities or group projects. The closest I ever got, was doing a research project that only used the books in the library and encyclopedias. There was no computer or Internet to use at that time. Your best help was the library, parents, and teacher. Not much room for individual creativity in education during this time. As a matter of fact, it was discouraged instead of encouraging it. Not at all like it is today.

I think this would be great to incorporate into my classroom. I want to teach junior high, middle school, or high school science. I think these types of project are a great way to see what the students have learned by using them in real-life circumstances. There was one question that kept going my through my mind while watching this video. So I am going to close this with some food for thought. What if the student has no desire to learn or for that matter are only in class because they are forced to be there? How would this type of learner fair in the project learning environment?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Changing a lightbulb

Creative Commons

In my t4t class we are learning about visual literacy. To help learn this we are making a story in 5 photos. One of the example stories we looked at was The Great Pumpkin. Our assignment is to tell a story in 5 photos while honoring copyright laws. We could get photos from Compfight and or Flickrstorm to find images. I decided to tell how to change a lightbulb for my story in 5 photos.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Introducing my little sweetheart

I did my voice thread project on our Chihuahua Bambi. The assignment was to use voice thread to create a project with voice and picture media. I chose to tell about Bambi because she is my pride and joy. You can check it out on voice thread or you can watch it from here. The next part of the assignment was to include my project on my blog page. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This weeks student blogs

My wife and I were checking out a classroom, site that we learned about from one of the previous videos that we watched for our t4t class, for a school in New Zealand. I chose the story Indiana Jones in Space. I like outer space and I am a fan of Indiana Jones so of course I had to read this once I read the title. I loved how they incorporated Jones into outer space. Great job with a creative story line.

For my second one for this week I went back to the Fireside Book Club website. I chose a student review for the book Shoeless Joe and me. I found his reveiw was very thorough and could tell that he enjoyed reading this book.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Human Trafficking: Myth or Fact

I was asked to select a video, from the International School of the Americas in San Antonio, view it and make a comment on it. I chose a video presentation that talks about a subject that the average person does not want to admit could really exist on the world.

I knew this was happening but did not realize how unaware and educated the general population is about this topic. My wife was taking a Humanities class, a couple of years ago, and they were discussing this topic in it. She came home one day and told me about a remark made by one of the male students in the class. He had made the comment that there was no such thing as human trafficking and forcing someone to be a sex slave. His theory was that a female could not be forced to participate in sexually activities if she really did not want to. HELLO ! There are so many things wrong with this statement that I would not even know where to begin. It made us realize how ignorant society, as a whole, is still about this subject.

I love that our young people are taking the lead and stepping out to the plate to educate the world about serious issue facing the world we live in today. With the help of today's technology students are discovering new ways to have their voices heard and express themselves. We need to educate people so that this can not continue to happen while we look the other way. These video presentations are a great way of doing this.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Youth Tech Wizard

Luis is a senior in high school and plans to be the first member in his family to attend college. He is the subject of week 3's Digital Generation Project Youth Portrait for this week. I feel this is a great goal and it is also one that I can relate to. I am the first member of my family to attend college but I did not start until I was in my 40's.

Luis helps his parents and the community to understand technology and helps teach understand for them. Luis is in 4 advance placement classes and participates in two types of technological programs. One of the programs has to do with teaching high school students to use the computer and other types of technology to become producers. One aspect of this has allowed him to travel to Chili and be one of the presenters in a technology production program. This is really cool to have done at only age 18. What a wonderful life experience.

Luis also participates in a Lego Robotics program that partners high school student mentors with students from a local elementary school. The students create Lego robotics and then enter them in competitions. This helps both set of students develop team work, character skills, and learn new technology.

Everything in Luis' life is centered around technology. He use it to help the community and connect and interact with family and friends. His mother loves to watch soap operas on the computer. These skills also help him to be better in science and math. He also learns valuable skills such as media, technology, and engineering usages.

I am not sure that either type of these technology would be easy to put into an elementary classroom. I can see where you might use this in science classrooms. I liked the Lego website and plan on spending more time on it to see the different ways they can incorporate robotics into my classroom.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


We are introduced to Nafiza in “Digital Youth Portrait: Nafiza”. She is a young lady who starts her day with technology. Her cell phone is her alarm clock and her i-pod goes with her everywhere. She uses one form of technology or another throughout her day as she does different projects. I sometimes wonder if all this technology is helping our children or hurting them. We have younger and younger children doing things that were being done by older people. I have to ask, is this technology causing our children to think they are more grown-up than they are?

There was a time when communication was limited to letters, wire (telegraph), ham radio, telephone, and long distance telephone calls were handled through the operator. And then there were car phones and mobile phones. Then along came the pager. Cell phones came next. Somewhere in all this confusion computers advanced and the Internet, the World Wide Web, came along and grew and grew and is still growing. I do like the possibilities that technology offers. Children around the world learning about each other, more or less, face to face. I am curious as to how far technology will have progressed in 30 years or so.

I think that the way the world is today; our children need every resource that can be made available to them. As educators we need to keep on top of the newest technology so that we may show the students how to use it and maybe use it properly. We are the guardians charged with educating them and preparing them to be vital and productive citizens. To keep up with our students, we will have to continually learn about and use technology and even then I am sure there will still be plenty that our students teach us.

Education in New Zealand

I watched the video "A Peek For A Week" inside a kiwi junior classroom. The student's ages range from 5 years old to 8 years old. This video shows a day in a class in New Zealand. I was surprised by how much technology was a major component it every lesson taught during the day. Technology was not just used by the teacher; her students used it also. There is even one activity where these students help teach new technology to the other teachers in their school.

The most advanced piece of technology in our school was the copy machine, when I was in grade school. I would have loved to have had this type of learning environment when I was a child. I had teacher based lessons and in this video the learning is child based. The students are the teachers for their peers, as well as being guided by the teacher. I love this concept because we may not always be able,as teacher, to make the connect for our students and usually there peers can.

One piece of equipment that I had never seen was a white board. I was intrigued by how much the students used it to do class work. I also liked how the students were able to do most of their assignments with the Internet and the white board. I thought it was neat that they are writing a story online with another class in a different city in New Zealand. I saw several different use of technology that I look forward to using in my class some day.

Tag Back

I had never heard of tagging as it relates to computers. I can see that placing tags on items can help in finding a specific item. The thing I liked was, that you could use so many tags that you could not help but to find what you are looking for. With tagging you can use several tags for one item. This allows for a vast variety of cross references. Before tagging, if you are like me, you would write the URL on a piece of paper and hope you did not lose the paper; which I usually managed to do. All in all, tagging looks like a great way to manage your information whether it is pictures or data or whatever.

I can’t even guess how many times I have stumbled onto a site I really liked and did not save it in my favorites, only to find out that I could not remember how to get back to it later. I would get so frustrated and want to throw the computer out of the window. It was not the computers fault, but mine for not saving it my favorites. I like the idea of being able to find something even if you have to go at it from a different direction. I like the way it keeps track of how many times a tag is used and that it draws associations to make the tag clouds, which is called folksonomies.

Chris Betcher’s video is a good introduction to tagging and folksonomy. I think it would neat to have my students go through and tag several appropriate sites that could or would be helpful in the classroom. Sites that might help in understanding a concept or that might enhance a lesson. This way the student will have contributed to the class and maybe boost his or her self-esteem.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Student blogs

We were asked to do constructive comments on students blogs as part of the assignments for week 2. Yea, I am behind. We were to comment on 2 of our t4t peer's posting.

We were also asked to find 2 student's blogs that we could comment on for the rest of our class. This was the harder ones for me to do. You have to be so careful what you say and I did not want to say or use the wrong words.