Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flat Classroom Project

So I just finished up judging my videos and can say that some of these students really used a lot of creativity when developing their videos. It was great to see such great end results, especially since I was having a lot of frustration and problems when it came to communicating with the students that i was an expert advisor for. There were of course those videos that you could tell were just thrown together, btu then there were those videos that you could tell the students really put a lot of effort forward to develop.

Overall being an expert advisor and judge has shown me that students can collaborate with others from around the world if they use their tools effectively. The way that the directors developed the project really were beneficial. Wikis are great because they can edited by multiple people. Also, people don't have to be on at the same time in order to do such things on them. I also really like the nings, because they are unique and can be used to teach each other about themselves as well as communicate other items. Some of the students used them to show their videos. The one thing about doing this on the ning that I saw as a problem was when a student I was judging had his privacy setting to high for me to get in and judge his video. He really could have had an awesome video, but I never got the opportunity to view this. Although having your privacy setting high can be a very good thing, when it came to this it hindered him. All his time and effort he may have put into this video went down the drain. Also, my e-mail attempts as well as Julie Lindsay and Suzie Nestico never received any replies.

In the end, I believe that this project is the future. Outsourcing is becoming more and more common these days and therefore what could be more beneficial than for students to work with others from around the world. It is great to see such a project developed and I am looking forward to the future of education.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The World is....FLAT???

So way back in the day the world was said to be flat. People believed you would sail to the end of the ocean and fall right off of it. Today we know better than this, but begin to use the same term again in a different way. The Flat Classroom Project is one that brings people from all around the world together to collaborate on a wiki and create a video on something that has to do with technology, hence bringing the world together and seemingly "flat." I was an expert advisor for this project and now am currently a judge.

The videos that I am judging come from students all around the world. They are all centered around one theme ( Globalization and Outsourcing) and had very different and unique videos. The thing about judging these projects is that you can really tell who has worked on their videos and really collaborated versus who has not. It is amazing to see high schoolers from all around the world work together so well and produce some truly amazing and unique videos. I had a hard time narrowing it down to my ultimate favorite video from the top 4 that I had selected, because my top 4 videos were all so different. I really liked each of them for a very different reason. When it came down to it, using the rubric is what really made my final decision.

This project is very unique and I can see it becoming something that will be more common in the future. It is important to try and get people from all around the world to collaborate in the classrooms, because that is the way our world is becoming. The topic I judged was particularly relevant, because our world is becoming more globalized and outsourcing is becoming more and more common. Students need to try and build these skills early on in order to be more effective and efficient in the future. I really enjoyed judging this project and am looking forward to what the world has to offer our students in the future when it comes to projects such as this!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

S-K-Y-P-E...What does that spell?..SKYPE! :)

So I just finished coaching cheerleading (hence my title lol) and was just doing a little homework when I decided to log into my igoogle for a break. I decided to look at the professional blogs since I hadn't in a few days. I started reading over some and Dr. Z Reflects caught my eye yet again. It was talking about Skype, and I personally LOVE using it. ( Yes I just yelled love at you, because that is how much I love it lol) I always talk to other people and when discussing my future classroom, I tell people that I would love to incorporate Skype into my future classroom. Dr. Z's blog informed me that Skype is creating a something called Skype in the Classroom. Ta Da!! I can see this being very beneficial since it will be a place where you can find other classrooms who are wanting to Skype with other classrooms. Since I really do not know that many people in that many other parts of the country/world who teach, this will be amazingly beneficial. I am looking forward to hearing more from Dr. Z as well as looking into it more next semester when I will be student teaching. Hopefully, they will be further along with it then. Yay SKYPE :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Keyboarding Skills

When students are growing up in today's world, they are learning many different things than we did. They are beginning to learn information and show information in many different ways as well. One skill that is becoming more and more important in today's world, is keyboarding. I know when I was in school we did a little bit with keyboarding in middle school, and then when we entered high school we could sign up for it as a class. I remember we started at square 1 with the home row and that was in high school. When is the appropriate time to actually teach kids to learn this valuable skill? Is there a such thing as teaching them to early?

Dr. Z writes a little about this issue in his blog,
Dr. Z Reflects. He discusses working with a group of great 4th grade students in an amazing teacher, Amy Lockhart's classroom at Price Lab. (I have had many opportunities to work with these same students and also have had the privilege of having Amy Lockhart as my very own teacher.) These two worked together and collected information on their findings. The students learned how to keyboard in a different way than I grew up. Instead of learning the home row, they learned using three word phrases that helped them to remember different fingers positions and what keys for them to push. The information that they collected showed that the younger students in the class were quicker than that of the students who were older and the students who had a background in music caught on quicker. The students overall improved 36% on their keyboarding fluency.

This is very interesting to see and makes me wonder whether this is a best way of teaching keyboarding. Does it work better just for younger students, or would adults learning to type benefit from it as well? Should students who are younger begin to develop these skills, or is 4th grade the perfect age to start to implement keyboarding skills into their classes? Are there other methods out there that would be even more beneficial? I would love to hear how others out there learned to keyboard and if they have any answers to my questions. Also, I found a game online that can be fun and help you to perfect your keyboarding skills. Happy typing! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Second Life Landmarks

For my Emergining Instructional Technologies course we were to go out and find different areas on Second Life (SL) that had to do with a topic of our choice. I choose to look into different ancient civilizations because not only are they interesting to learn about, but it is something that I actually didn't know a whole lot about. I found this to be my opportunity to learn a little more and see what SL had to offer on the subject.

Apollonian Empire
This is a place where you can role play and ride a chariot. There are people there sometimes telling you about the Apollonian Empire. You can view the place itself which has some artwork like they did as well as purchase outfits.

The Hittite Empire
The Hittite Empire was over by the Mediterranean Sea and in this place you can find a little information about it but mostly you can shop clothing that they had then. It is beneficial as well not to purchase the clothing, but instead just view it and see how interesting and how similar some of it is in relation to what some people wear today.

Museum Island
This is a really neat place, because you can view items in a museum fashion. There are things to do with many civilizations. There are signs pointing you to different areas such as the Temple Ruins and Trojan Columns. There is also a place right when you enter that you can teleport to anything you really want to go to, although you can continue to walk through and find the signs.

Artwork Gallery and Mall

This is a place to view and purchase items from ancient civilization. There is artwork as well as clothing to be purchased. There is also some role-playing that typically takes place here as well.

ROMA the Roman Market
Right when you enter this place, they discuss some rules and general information about the place. You can go around and click on the different signs and they will give you some more detailed information about what is on them. You can purchase the items (which is the main purpose from what I can tell) but it is informational as well which is beneficial for educational purposes.

Blues in the Night
This place is a place to have parties. Tonight there was a costume party going on where you could dance and the best costume received a prize. The costumes tonight were of ancient civilizations such as Rome, Greece, and Egypt.

Four Directions World Bazaar
This place had different paintings and art pieces from different civilizations and times such as Egyptian and classical times. There also was a hot air balloon that you could go in when I was there.

Minoan Empire
This place is a non combat role-play area. You can walk around and live the life of a Minoan empire. They provide you with some information about the culture immediately when you read the rules. You do not have to actually role-play, but you can be visitor and view something as close to the Minoan empire as we can get today.

Egyptian Emporium
This place has statues and pyramids like that of ancient Egypt. They also have animals such as camels like they did. There is an ancient boat that you can ride on and have people steer you to another island.

The Nubian Empire
This place has clothing like that of the Nubian empire that yo u can get for free. There are also pictures and such of what people may have looked like then. The walls are really neat and look like that time period as well.

There were many ancient civilizations that have previously existed and these are only a few of them. Second Life had some things that I liked, and somethings that I didn't. A lot of them were more or so for selling purposes, but you could turn them into educational. A lot of the role-playing sites that I visited were combat and if I were to use them in the classroom I would prefer them to be a little more educational and not so much the violent aspect, even though was was a big part of the history and the falling out of many of these such civilizations.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What does it take to be a Passionate Teacher??/

I was going through many of the blogs, but none of them popped out to me as much as Angela Maiers blog titled Get Ready for a Passion-Driven Conversation. She has wrote a couple of books and has also been researching and speaking out about the importance of passion when it comes to teaching. There are many people question what it takes to be a great teacher, and many different professors and articles state that the teacher has to be passionate about educating. Many teachers say they want to be a teacher because they enjoy working with children, but a great teacher has a passion for working with children.
Is there a common meaning behind the word, or does it mean something different to everyone? Can it be taught? What is it really? These are a few questions taht Angela states in her blog a long with many others when it comes to talking about passion. She provides many links for people to go out and look at and decide for themselves.
To me being passionate about teaching is that it is one of the only things in life that makes me truly happy. I have grown up working with children who were younger than me. My mother is a para professional and I have been going down to her room and working with students since I was in Middle school. I would go down during study halls and now I too sub as a paraprofessional. I also have worked at a daycare, lifeguard, swimming lesson instructor, tutor, religion teacher, been a big sister through the Big Brother/Big Sister program, and coached softball and cheerleading. I can honestly say that nothing is more satisfying to me than seeing a student have that "ah ha I got it" moment. I love seeing the progress and the steps that a student takes to get to where they are. I want to do anything that I can to help a student progress and keep progressing. To me, these ideas and many more are some of the ideas that lie behind passion in education.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Technology in the Classroom

So I didn't realize that we are to be posting blogs all the time. I guess I didn't read everything correctly, and I have some catching up to do! I was reading some of my professional blogs today and Two of them really caught my eye. One was on Dr. Z Reflects and the other was the Langwitches Blog. It was interesting, because they were both pertaining basically to the same thing, which is using Social Technologies in the classroom.

In Dr. Z Reflects it was interesting to see the difference between social media and social networking. I never really thought about it and kind of threw them into the same pot. Dr. Z explains the difference and the fact that they can be combined into one category, which is social technologies. I know I am pry not the only person who ever thought this way, and Dr. Z does a good job explaining the difference. All these social technologies are related. I know that on Facebook many people use this social network to post information from social media such as Youtube and blogs.

In the Langwitches blog the blogger was discussing the fact that if we are going to prepare the students of today for the future, we need to understand how to use different social technologies ourselves. We often talk about how technology is the future, but yet many of the classrooms of today do not reflect that. Some say that it is because we can't afford many things, and others say it is because teachers may not know how to implement them. The thing is there are many web 2.0 products out there for us to use for free. Also, I believe that professional development days are a perfect opportunity to get teachers learning about these web 2.0 products.

The classrooms of today are different than those of the past, and the ones of the future are going to be extremely different than the ones of today. Education needs to be changing along with them, and implementing social technologies into the classroom is a step in the right direction, in my opinion. I look forward to learning more, so I can help prepare my future students to succeed in an ever changing world!

Friday, September 24, 2010

21st Century Classroom?

We are living in the 21st century, but are our classrooms "living" in it with us? Many things are going on out on the internet that we should be embracing, but many schools are doing just the opposite and blocking everything from the students. Dr. Z Reflects and Angela Maiers Educational Services blogs discuss these issues, but from opposite perspectives.

Dr. Z Reflects had a posting about a school who got rid of internet filters. They are now allowing students to take responsibility in what they are doing. They also are allowing them to be open to the 21st century world around them while they are preparing themselves to enter it after graduation. This is all taking place in a Wisconsin, which is not very far from us.

On the oposite end, Angela Maiers Educational Services had a video on hers that discussed this same topic, but the video was based on a middle school principal who is completely against these 21st century tools, but in the video he is discussing Facebook. He believes that parents should ban their kids from it because of cyber bullying issues. Even though he is working to prevent the cyber bullying from occurring, he is going about it in the wrong way. The person who created this video, which is also on youtube, had some text to go along with it which really made sense. If we are going to ban our kids from Facebook because of cyber bullying, why don't we ban them from recess, and the lunch room. That is where a lot of bullying occurs. We don't do this, though and it is not realistic. Neither is banning them from Facebook. Teaching students how these tools should be used and about bullying in general are topics that should just be discussed. Schools should have motivational speakers come for assemblies and bullying should be discussed in the classroom itself. Teaching isn't all about content, but teaching students to be respectful citizens and human beings as well.

I think that some teachers don't view their students as being capable to make decisions. If we gard them and shelter them from the world around us, then we are not doing any good for them. We need to open them up to the world around them and teach them about being responsible in using the tools. These blogs really got me thinking about these issues as well as other items they dicussed. I especially like how these two had relatable topics and yet they were different. I have been viewing others, but these two seemed to have information that jumped right out at me. I am looking for to continuing my blogging experience and learning more about educational technologies!