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I'm a student at University of South Alabama Majoring in Health Education.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blog #3 EDM 310

Media Literacy is Creating

I love watching Ms. Cassidy's class explore through the use of technology. I thought that it was great to see kids using various forms of technology in the classroom. I also liked how Ms. Cassidy sets the tone early in regards to commenting on blogs. Meaning that if a kid sees something unfamiliar he or she has to stop and think critically about and question it instead of disregarding it. One can also see that Miss Cassidy is teaching her kids how to use computers appropriately and ethically by establishing a solid set of ground rules. An example of this was when her student referred to always being helpful and not saying anything mean when posting a comment so that you wont hurt anyone's feelings. She is obviously giving her students a good set of tools to be able to think critically about what is on the internet and and to use it appropriately.

Through watching this video it made me realize that it's OK to plant "technology seed" early and in small doses. I don't think technology is a good replacement of the human/social interaction that kids will always benefit from, but they do need to be technologically literate in order to be successful and to be able to think critically about the information presented with on a regular basis.

Little Kids, BIG Potential

Seeing what the kids are learning in Ms. Cassidy's class was amazing. However, being able to see how they are learning was even better. I liked this movie because it shows how technology can be used to enhance a lesson and make it exciting. Ms. Cassidy's classroom was literally buzzing with excitement and the kids were having fun and learning at the same time. It was neat to see the unique ways that she was able to use technology to make learning exciting for her students.

This video was also a wake up call for me. These first graders are more technologically literate than I am. If want to be an effective teacher I'm going to have to get on the ball and stay on it! Do they have a series of tutorials available on the net that I can view when I'm having difficulties my EDM 310 class? If put forth enough effort I will hopefully catch up to them though by the end of the semester. To tell you the truth, as embarrassing as it may seem, I had no idea what a wiki was until I watched this video! Now I'm really excited about using this form of technology to my advantage and have realized what a great tool it will be to use in my future classroom! This is proof that you can learn from children and how important it is to never stop learning!!! I also think its neat that these kids have an audience that is supportive of their learning. I think this is an important aspect of the learning process that will increase their self esteem and give them confidence in their new skills.

I-Phone Used by 1 Year Old

I suppose what I saw on this video didn't really surprise me. If any child is exposed to a form of technology they will learn how to use it no matter how young they are. The implications for future teachers regarding this issue are that they must be prepared to teach in a way that includes some forms of technology in order to effectively reach their students. Due to the high amount of exposure to technology and the media from such a young age, it's going to be important to implement technology in the class room in some way, shape, or form.

Podcast Review

I haven't ever listened to a podcast before now. Ive heard about them but haven't ever downloaded any to my i-pod. I'm upset that I didn't do this sooner. When exploring the different forms of podcasts on the i tunes website I was amazed at how many free podcasts are available to students and educators. For example, I'm taking anatomy next semester and I found multiple free lectures that I will be able to download to my i-pod thus making me better prepared for the class, FOR FREE!!! YES!!! The magical word that every college student loves...FREE!!! I proceeded to browse elsewhere and found other podcasts that I will be able to use for future classes and even found some that relate to my hobbies as well. I know I sound a little mellow dramatic about this but I'm actually pretty excited. I want to teach high school and this will be a GREAT tool to use in the classroom. You could most definitely create your own podcast using audacity and post it or you could find an interesting interview or lecture from a different teacher or expert and have your students listen to it and respond to it. This is going to be great, this is one form of technology that I will use in my classroom.

For this assignment I listened to David Warlick's conversation with Chris Lehman (podcast #92), Mac Break Weekly (#168), Kidcast (#1&#4), Smart Board Lessons Podcast (Timmy's tips 1 & 2), and This Week in Photography (#5). Some held my attention and some almost put me to sleep. I loved the fact that I could fast forward and rewind segments that I wanted to listen to more closely or skip. I also found it very interesting that one could record a podcast virtually anywhere ie. at a coffee shop in Canada or at a conference in the Northeast. This fact alone adds a more personal feel to the podcast. I ended up listening to forty five minutes of This Week in Photography and it was great to listen to experts speak on something that I'm interested in, I got a lot of useful info. on low light photography. I can't wait to try out some of the techniques that were discussed. I also visited their blog site which I will be perusing more of in the near future and may be posting some of my photos on it. Overall, I was very impressed with the podcasts that I listened to accept Mac Break Weekly, I was lost and didn't really understand the subject matter of their podcast but, the commentators were very entertaining to say the least.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blog #2 EDM 310

Michael Welsh: A Vision of Students Today

The ideas that Michael Wesch depicted in his video, "A vision of Students today" were not too far off from my college experience today in 2009 or unfortunately when I entered college in '97. There were both similarities and differences between my college experiences both past and present that can be compared to what I witnessed in Wesch's video. Like my early college experience, there was no use of technology in the classroom, the presentation tools consisted of an overhead projector if you were lucky or a chalkboard. Similar to my present college experience, students bring computers to lectures but they aren't taking notes, rarely does an instructor know my name and I like the students in the video, spend a lot of time online. One of the differences with my present college experience, is that the majority of my instructors use e-companion which is a technological tool and power point presentations. However, like in the movie, the majority have not used technology as a tool to bring students closer together in order to create a learning community, to make presentations more fascinating, or to enhance class assignments etc.

To be quite honest, I don't know what I would add to this video. The video was well put together and got the point across that it wanted to make. I believe that technology is needed in the classroom to enhance subjects being taught and to better reach students etc. I personally can learn in the boring environment that was depicted in the film because that is what I have been exposed to throughout my past educational experiences. I am accustomed to chalkboards, boring power points, and overhead projectors. However, things are changing and I am adapting to these changes in order to be able to reach my future students in an effective manner. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for other educators to catch on to this trend.

Kelly Hines: It's Not About the Technology

I agree with Hines and think that there need to be changes in the mindsets of teachers throughout the educational system; and that technology in the classroom is only as effective as the teacher whom teaches it. Technology is a powerful and effective tool for teaching students whein it is not being used for, as Hines states, just word processing and video games. I also liked what she had to say about teachers being lifelong learners in order to be teachers that will have impact. With the implications of where technology is heading in the classroom, teachers will not be able to become stagnant in their subject area or technology if they want to be successful.

Being a health education major, I have conflicting ideas on how much technology should be used presented to students. On one hand, I like technology and think it enhances the learning experience for today's student that has been raised around different forms of media and technology since they were infants and toddlers (ie. Baby Einstein videos, Sesame street, and interactive Leap Frog learning toys to name just a few). Today's student has been strongly stimulated by the media from very young ages. Due to this fact we need to accommodate to the growing population and adjust our teaching practices through the use of technology. However on the other hand, when do we as teachers draw the line and expect our students become intellectually stimulated without the use of a glowing rectangle?

Fisch: Is it OK to be a technologically illiterate teacher?

I agree with Fisch and think that it is not OK to be a technologically illiterate teacher. However, he did not define the requirements of what it takes to be technologically literate and by observing how quickly technology is changing I may be technologically illiterate by the end of my EDM 310 class and my skills will be out of date...Let's hope that doesn't happen! Some people consider themselves technologically literate if they can send an email or set up a pay pal account. I'm assuming that Fisch means "literate" in terms of setting up blog spots and social networking etc. I agree with Fisch in regards to the fact that teachers need to become technologically literate. If teachers are technologically literate they can facilitate wider learning opportunities for their students while preparing them for a future that will revolve around technology.

As Fisch states in his post "If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write." Sorry, this sweeping statement is a little extreme for me to take. If a teacher has been successful, produced test scores, helped children get into great universities with the academic base he or she has built for them without the use of copious amounts of technology then I think they are doing well. This was also a very broad statement that does not take into consideration the workload that teachers already have; especially the teachers that work with at-risk youth and in communities where there are more issues that kids face than an average middle class person will face in his or her lifetime. Change needs to happen, YES it does; and technology needs to be introduced in the classroom more now than it ever has in the past. However, it is not the question of teachers not being willing to change; it is a question of whether or not they have the opportunity, resources and support to do so.

Gary's Social Media Count

Wow!!! I had somewhat of an idea that internet usage rates were astronomical but I had no idea how astronomical they were! However, when reality kicks in after the mysticism of the ever increasing numbers vanishes and logic sets in. The numbers are huge yes, but how did Gary arrive at these figures (I suppose I overlooked that part)? This was my only question. However, when the only question is set aside, if these numbers are legitimate, this has some serious implications for present and future educators.

Through looking at the figures on Gary's website any future educator should take a step back and think critically about what this means for his or her future students. When I did this it made me think of ways that I could implement technology in my classroom. Obviously, if students are spending increasing amounts of time using technology outside of class it would be more than effective to bring the technology into the classroom that they are using. I also thought about how important it will be to implement this technology but also teach students to take a critical look at the media and try and teach them about how to deal with the constant images/messages they are being faced with. What implications does this constant exposure to media have for our future students I wonder and how are we going to deal with this in the class room?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blog #1 EDM 310

Mr. Winkle Wakes

After viewing "Mr. Winkle Wakes" by Mathew Needlemen I was impressed with his creativity and alarmed at the issue he portrays in his film. Needlemen took the the classic tale we know as Rip Van Winkle and used it to show how schools today are lacking in the area of technology. In Neeldmen's movie, Mr. Winkle wakes from his slumber to find a world that is fast paced and full of new technology; these dramatic changes leave him both scared and confused. He then proceeds to seek solace in a local school where things are still the same as they were 100 years ago before he went to sleep. The students were sitting in rows being preached to upon the "three r's" and there was only one computer at the back of the room that collected dust. Furthermore, the students were cut off from the outside world thus making the atmosphere even more inviting for Mr. Winkle.

I enjoyed how Needlemen showed the strong contrast between what is going on in today's workplace versus the type education that students are receiving in today's classroom. This fact alone sends a powerful message to both future and present educators. If we are to make our students successful we must make it a priority to implement technology in the classroom in a world that is growing smaller by the second. In the film, seeing the one computer in the classroom made me think of the classrooms in disadvantaged communities that have very little or no access to technology. This fact alone forced me think of ways I could possibly stretch limited means and resources in order to make my future students successful in our fast paced society. I wonder if it is possible to accomplish this goal with limited resources and what schools in disadvantaged areas do to make this possible?

Did You Know? 3.0

I enjoyed watching "Do You Know"(DKY) and like "Mr. Winkle Wakes" it shows you how our society revolves around technology and will continue to do so. Through the use of statistics DYK shows how fast everything is changing in today's society due to advances in technology and increased communication. DYK not only shows the changes in technology but it does a great job at showing the alarmingly fast pace at which these changes occur. DYK also shows how we as Americans are potentially falling behind and need to step our game if we are going to continue to be competitive on a global level.

Did You Know was both enlightening and disturbing. I found it enlightening because I had no idea that there were 200 million people on myspace thus being enough to populate a country the size of Brazil! Also, 31 billion searches on Google in a month? DYK made me think about how it is important to incorporate technology in the classroom because our students will be needing these skills to be successful. It is evident that technology is making the world smaller and bringing different cultures closer together. The statistic above in regards to myspace, shows that it is evident that the internet can be a powerful tool in the realm of social networking thus promoting a global society. However, on the downside, it made me think about how the internet and technology can be used in ways that are not ethical. How are we as educators going to create a student community of internet users that will use computers in an ethical manner? Also, in this fast paced age of information that was demonstrated in DYK, how am I as an educator supposed to teach my students to look critically at and cope with the information that they are bombarded with on a daily basis?

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson's lecture was amazing. The idea that creativity is being hampered by the school system is completely true. From the first day of kindergarden we are taught to color within the lines and to conform perfectly into the mold that the system sets fourth. Creativity isn't celebrated, it's looked down upon or even laughed at. It's not valued as much as it should be and it leaves students feeling inadequete becuase they don't have the ideal skills to fit the mold that was created by the educational system that Robinson refers to in his lecture. Our Socieity is ever changing. Robinson brings up the point that we can't predict what is going to happen five years from now but we are expected to equip our students with the skills that they will need. In my opinion if the world is ever changing and we need to learn to adapt to constant change, wouldn't a creative mind prove to be beneficial? Shouldn't creativity be celebrated instead of shunned when this is the case?

This lecture was extremely interesting. The fact that Robinson stated that most education systems were invented to feed industrialization shed light upon why creativity is hampered in today's education system. It is evident that math, science, and English are closer to the top of the academic hierarchy and are viewed as being more important than music or art. This is obviously bad and I don't agree with this in the least. However, when it comes to fostering creativity in the classroom under the harsh standards that are set fourth by today's education system it will prove to be a challenge for many teachers. The creativity dance will be a difficult dance to dance when we have academic standards to meet and will suffer the consequences by not doing so. Today, we have to teach kids how to take standardized tests and to stay in the lines when they fill in the bubbles with their perfectly sharpened #2 pencils. Where does this leave room for creativity? This makes me wonder what I will do in my classroom to create a safe environment where kids are willing to take chances, be able to express themselves freely, and as Robinson states, "won't be prepared to be wrong thus being able to come up with something original". It also makes me wonder how I'm supposed to do this while teaching my students to take a standardized test where so much depends on having the correct answers.

Vikki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

This video really made me excited to get out into the classroom and start shaking things up! I loved how Davis' main idea was to turn the classroom upside down and really work on creative levels that are customized to each group of students she teaches. I strongly agree with the fact that she emphasized that only certain students will succeed with pencils and paper. This statement alone proves that it is crucial for teachers to implement technology into their classrooms in order to reach all of their students effectively. Also, she connected a group of students in rural Georgia with different students around the world, this is amazing. I am in complete awe of the fact that she connected a group of students in a rural community to students of different cultures from around world. The exposure to different cultures in combination with the forms of technology that Davis' students are receiving will have a profound impact on their future.

In this video it was evident that Davis made learning fun for her students and that they wanted to be in her classroom. More importantly, one can tell that she is really passionate about what she does. The video on a whole made me excited to get into the classroom and start to shake things up. I loved the way she had the students learn a new skill and present it to the class, this makes perfect sense thus giving the students more confidence in themselves and their abilities. Through watching this video it made me wonder how long she has been a teacher and how long it took her to get such a dynamic program in place. I aspire to do great things in the classroom someday, hopefully I can hone in on my technological skills to serve my students as well as Vikki Davis serves hers.