Allisonjohnson2's Blog

{February 26, 2010}   My Essential Learnings

I am already using iMovie, iTunes, flipcam, and iPods with the peercasting that we are doing.  I have a Promethean ActivBoard that I love.  I have ActivExpression voters.  I use Snopes almost everyday.

In this class, I have learned about MANY websites that I have already started using and have passed on to my colleagues.  I love Diigo because we can share these things with each other in one spot.  I love technology and I think it is very fun to bring these things to the other teachers in my building.  Today, the language arts teachers were using things they made on Wordle to have their students color in the verbs blue and the nouns red.  This great to a discussion about some words being both a noun and a verb.  It’s so fun when the kids notice something like that.  Yesterday, during the after school program, I allowed the students to use their cell phone calculators.  They thought that was very cool.

Glogster is a neat tool.  I will be sharing that one with my colleagues.  I love how Mendeley helps with referencing.  I will definitely be using ScreenJelly to teach inservices.  I could use Wallwisher in my Title I classroom, as well as Visuwords.  I have already told others about the latter.  I have already used Doodle to plan our yearly get-together with the female teachers.  It was so easy to use and I got feedback right away.  SO much faster than putting a sheet in the lounge.

This class was just a wealth of information to use and help my school enter into the 21st century.


{February 23, 2010}   My Technology Rich Classroom

In her article, Classroom Audio Enhancement, Nancy Knowlton said, “The two most information-intensive experiences that humans have are seeing and hearing. These two senses represent the means by which most of us absorb the majority of information we encounter…”

Currently, I am using the following: projector, Promethean ActivBoard, ActivExpressions (Classroom Response systems), Digital Camera, Flip Video camera, iPods, and student computers.

I use my ActivBoard with my math students, with the  The website that goes along with their math book.  I use it to reteach, preteach, and check for understanding.  They love doing this.  We use the ActivExpressions with this website also.  They like to see who can get it the fastest sometimes.  It is also neat how it will graph the results of the poll for you and then they can see graphing as well.

We just got the flipcam and iPods this year, through our competitive grant option.  We are in phase 1 of using those right now.  We video the students saying their vocabulary words and definitions from science and social class.  I enter those clips into iMovie along with slides that have the type on them.  After it is all put together, I transfer them onto the iPods and the students have been watching and listening to these in study hall and during the extended day program.  Their test scores have gone up since they started using these.

I also have 3 student computers in my room, so they can use these to research, do homework, and play educational games.  They are mostly used during language arts classes and during the extended day program.

I am very happy with the technology I have right now.

Students love their ipods and MP3 Players.  They will be more apt to listen to something educational if it is played on a source that they are familiar with and love using.

According to The Education Podcast Network:

  • Podcasting is essentially radio programming that can be produced with a standard computer, microphone, free software, and a web site for posting your programming.
  • Podcasting can be listened to with any computer connected to the Internet and able to play standard MP3 audio files.

We have to keep up with the times.  We have to keep our students engaged and one way of doing that is keeping up with our changing world in technology.

According to Resourcing the Curriculum:

“Creating a podcast allows students to share learning experiences. It provides them with a world-wide audience that makes learning meaningful and assessment authentic. Teachers can use the technology to provide additional and revision material to students to download and review at a time that suits them. The flexibility that such time-shifting offers makes podcasting a valuable educational tool.”

Another way to use podcasts for your classroom is this, according to Online Learning Studio:

All of the programs within our online learning environment are designed to support the professional development of:

  • leaders
  • leadership teams
  • teachers
  • educators
Courses are suitable for independent study or for use with in-service training and development programmes in schools, colleges and other learning communties.
Some podcasts that look good to use in the classroom:

Mathematics of Sharing

Surface Area and Models

Mysterious Number Problems

I just listened to the other teachers at first and told the students the same thing they were telling them.  “Don’t use Wikipedia because it can be created by anyone and could be all made up information.”  I am so glad to be cleared up on this issue.  Yes, anyone can create, add, and edit the entries.  However, if incorrect information is submitted, it is easy to contest it and change it to correct information.  Wikipedia is also much better than printed encyclopedias because it is up to date information.  I will now be encouraging my students to use Wikipedia.  They are supposed to be using more than one source as well, so cross-referencing will be done that way.  If I hear any teachers continuing to tell this to their students, I will let them know what I have learned.

CNN says — “The stereotypical library is dying — and it’s taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it.  Books are being pushed aside for digital learning centers and gaming areas. “Loud rooms” that promote public discourse and group projects are taking over the bookish quiet. Hipster staffers who blog, chat on Twitter and care little about the Dewey Decimal System are edging out old-school librarians.  And that’s just the surface.”  CNN also says “But the goal of the library remains the same: To be a free place where people can access and share information.  ‘The library building isn’t a warehouse for books,’ said Helene Blowers, digital strategy director at the Columbus [Ohio] Metropolitan Library. ‘It’s a community gathering center.’

Seth Godin says — (Speaking about librarians)  “What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.”

Around 40 librarians gathered at the new Darien Library, on March 26, 2009, to discuss the challenges facing libraries.  “So, while some librarians may be haunted by the spectre of library obsolescence, this summit was one step in discussing and mapping out what the future of libraries may look like: a nod to our past, fulfilling a critical role educating an informed citizenry, and a look toward the future, advocating for users for free and open access to information, regardless of content or format.”

I feel naive that I hadn’t thought of this before.  I am good friends with our librarian so I started to worry for her.  After reading these articles, I feel better knowing that we will still need librarians to teach patrons how to use the technology and to facilitate the libraries still.  Also to update them and the things they are doing now will still need to be done with libraries of the future.  It will still be a “community gathering center” and we will need our librarians just as much to lead us.

{January 28, 2010}   21st Century Skills

We were able to take part in a competitive grant this summer.  The winner was our librarian with a “21st Century Library” idea.  She was able to purchase Kindles with this grant and do a little makeover in one side of the library to add more space between tables and put in a reading area and a sound proof room.  The room can be used for recording as well as listening.  The group that I was in also received a grant.  Our idea was peercasting.  This is using iPods and Flipcams to video tutoring sessions or group projects or study aides and then sync them onto our iPods which are stored in the library.  We are still working on the check out process.  It is just in our beginning stage but it is really exciting to see the kids so into it.

Whenever we learn something new in Ed 521, I am so excited to tell the other teachers so we can use it with our kids.  There is a quote from one of Craig’s links: “…how in God’s name can we talk seriously about 21st Century skills for kids if we’re not talking 21st Century skills for educators first?”  Urgents: 21st Century Skills for Teachers (and Others) First This is so important.  We, as teachers, have to learn all of these skills so we can TEACH our students.

Another of his links states: “Corporations are constantly organizing and reorganizing in search of the most up to date, innovative and efficient methods of doing business.”  This should tell us that we need to teach our students how to use what we’ve got out there now, so they have a foundation of knowledge of technology.  They will be more marketable when applying for jobs in the workforce.

One more says: “As little as we know about the future for which we are preparing our students, it is clear that it will be a place that is governed by information. Accessing, processing, building with, and communicating that information is how we will all make our livings.”

{January 25, 2010}   E-books vs Traditional Texts

I always find myself printing off a document so I can highlight and I am a concrete sequential person, so I like to have a hard copy.  I figured I would be in favor of traditional texts, even at the end of this research, because of this.  However, I feel that I have ended up on favoring the e-books after my research!  The lower cost and saving paper were big issues to me.  Also, you can highlight with an e-book, as well as add notes and cut and paste.  The space issue is huge.  The Kindle carries 200 books in a size smaller than one paper book and if you have more than that, they can be saved somewhere else.  The one thing that holds a drawback for me is the energy need.  A paper book won’t freeze or die.  However, in the tech age we live in now, we should be used to keeping things charged up.  Some neat components to e-books are: referencing, searching, and letter resizing.  Some people use the con that you can’t sell back an e-book.  They must remember that the cost of e-books are initially lower than texts.  I think at the start of everything new I, like many people, am a little apprehensive.  When I think back to when I thought I would never take part in Facebook, it’s funny now because I don’t like going a day without checking it.  It’s something we should try out and see if we enjoy it and save a few trees in the process.


et cetera