I have known I wanted to be a teacher from the first time I fully understood that one day I would be a grown up and have to actually have a job in early middle school. I am so passionate and excited to become a teacher. I continually think about what I want to be like as a teacher. Each education class I take sharpens and changes what I think a good teacher should be/do. The only other thing that matches my passion for education is my passion for books. The fact that I will have a job where I get to combine two of my greatest passions makes me incredibly happy.
I think one thing that gives me an edge is my commitment to being exceptional at whatever I do. I am not a person who likes to reach a certain level of proficiency and think that's good enough. I continually push myself to improve an grow. Being a teacher wouldn't be any different. I am committed to being a great teacher for my student and putting in the incredible amount of work that it takes to be the best I can be.
That being said, I am a very independent person, so if I have a problem, I will usually struggle with it for a while in an attempts to figure it out on my own. I have been working on asking for help and using my resources more than I would normally do. It is a growing process for me.
After graduating college, I plan to get a job probably somewhere close to my home in Overland Park, but I am open to teaching almost anywhere. During this time I want to become a more proficient teacher, applying what I have learned in my education classes to the "real world."
I love all of the different options technology provides for education. There are so many more ways to differentiate learning for all learning styles and special needs. I plan to use many of the resources I found in this class to enhance and adapt current novels or units. There are so many great ways students can demonstrate their knowledge of English outside writing papers (thought I do support paper-writing). Using different media forms, students who struggle to write can find a way to express their ideas on themes or characters without the struggle of writing a paper.
When I find a new resource or technology, I usually just play around with the program until I get a grasp of how it works. I am pretty fast at figuring out how different internet sites work. Once I get the basic grasp, I will read explanations or "how-tos" of more complex or in depth ways to use said resources.
I think all teachers should try to keep up with some current technology, even if they aren't fully immersed in the genre. To help my mom, I showed her different online lesson-planning sites. I also got her an Animoto account and explained how teachers were using twitter. I have started her slowly, which just a few things to incorporate. Next, I am going to teach her a few more resources that would work for her 1st graders. When I show her a site, I tell her about it generally, then I find examples of different ways elementary school teachers have used the site, so she concretely understands how others have used it.
For a detailed look at all of the technology I can use and the different ways I might use them in my classroom, read through the rest of my blogs!

Wow Moment

My wow moment came early in the semester. It was definitely from reading the first chapter in the Google Textbook (Retool Your School). Reading about how this one school fully jumped onto the technology train to redesign every aspect of their school was very interesting. But what was even better was the result! I was pleasantly surprised by how much they were able to turn around their school in just one year. This convinced me that I would integrate not only Google Docs into my classroom, but other forms of technology. I don’t believe I can use every tool covered in this class, but I have been paying attention to the ones that will be most helpful teaching English. This moment of realization and affected how I think about the technology I used in this class. I didn’t just do the project to get it done; I try to think about ways to apply it to my future classroom concretely. I know all the “notes” I took during the podcasts will be an invaluable resource when I begin to plan Units to teach both in school and when I am real teacher. 

Podcast Favorite

My favorite podcast was the Tech Chick Tips. Although there were many useful podcasts I really enjoyed, this was my favorite. I really like how they would preview many different educational resources. I found many, many useful sites by listening to these women. I also appreciated that their podcasts were usually under an hour. We are all busy people, and I don’t usually have more than an hour to sit and listen to podcasts, even if I am trying to do other work. They gave the information without being repetitive or lengthy. These two girls also had excellent rapport. It made it fun to listen to them presenting tools because they would go back and forth so much. The fact two people were talking together made it seem a lot more interactive, engaging, and fun. Scroll through my past podcasts to see all the wonderful resources I discovered with the Tech Chick Tips.

Semester Favorites

My favorite discovery of the semester (well, I used it once before the semester, but I mastered it during the semester) was Google Docs. This has been a great discovery personally (I use it for group project and even got my boss to switch to it for my job), and I know I will use it in my professional life. I am sure I will encourage or require my students to use these resources for group projects. This way, I can monitor their progress and see how the group is working together. In addition, if the district is set up to support this method, I would have my student submit all their papers and assignments online. This way I would reduce the amount of paper I use and decrease the risk of students forgetting assignments.
My other favorite site is Glogster. I have done A LOT of poster and project during my 6-12 days. It will be nice to give students a new way to present information with multimedia. This way, they aren’t crammed for space and it is much easier to make it visually appealing. I like how easily you can add borders, words, videos, and shapes without any of the messy cut and paste aspects of traditional posters. 


Challenge Based Learning

It's been a little while since I have done a reflection, but I am excited to talk about Challenge Based Learning. I know this concept has gone by a few different names over the years, but this is what it's called now. Basically, in class, students are presented with a problem and asked to come up with ways to solve it. So rather than just studying the effects of global warming, students would be challenged to figure out ways to fix it in their day lives. This means students would have to first research and understand at least one aspect of global warming so they can find ways to fix it. They are learning and doing at the same time.
Apple jumped on board and has the challenge based learning ideas on their website, though it is not an Apply concept. This kind of lesson planning fits closely with traditional lesson planning, just with a new twist. To use this kind of learning the experts say you must start with a big idea such as conservation, power, peace etc.. The next step is making this big deal local and personal; something the students can understand. These questions aren't meant to have correct answers; they are meant to make the students think.Then, based on the essential questions, teachers must challenge the students to generate concrete answers or solutions. Students then have to decide what information they need to know to answer the challenge. The questions they ask are called guiding questions.Since the challenge and questions should have been broad enough to allow for multiple answers, students or teams will present their solution to the challenge.

This way of thinking and teaching can be used in almost every subject.While pondering how this could be used in English, I wondered what it would look like for students to go through this process pretending they were a character in the book or play they read and use the reality of the story to guide their answers. Then to relate it specifically to them, they could compare it to the real world. This is a slightly different twist to the typical challenge based learning, but it is a way to teachers to use it without cutting too much from their curriculum. Apple's website has great resources and further explanations about Challenge Based Learning and wonder examples for teachers to us in their classrooms.


Podcast Reflection #12

I really enjoyed listening to this moving at the speed of creativity podcast 373. Wesley reflected on Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From. He talked in depth about creativity and collaboration. It is definitely worth a listen. I want to reflect more in depth on one specific issue he raised. Wesley said websites should to stop charging for information and articles online. He says information gate keeping just limits how what people can learn. It keeps the public uninformed, and this practice should be reformed.
I should warn you that I don’t have a definitive stance on this issue because I agree that it is a good idea, but I don’t think it is practical. As a student, I have almost unlimited access to information because K-State pays for subscriptions to all these online resources. I can find nearly anything I want with a few simple searches. I think this is essential for students and would be very beneficial to all people. Limiting the information someone has access to limits that person’s potential to make a difference in the world. This is why I do agree that people shouldn’t have to pay for information on the internet.
The problem with this is we live in a capitalist country and a largely capitalist world. We agree that whomever generates information owns that information. Before the internet, any research or articles had to be published in a book, journal or magazine, which people had to buy.  So why should the internet be any different? Researchers, authors, editors and the like need a way to earn a living. A good alternative to this would simply be to add advertising. However, many readers and publishers alike feel that real, legitimate sites shouldn’t have this advertising because it feels cheap. So, while I would like public access to all information, I think the way the world views information and ownership will have to change before any major changes can be made.
Here is a video Steven Johnson made that summarizes some of his ideas. 


Podcast Reflection #11 Reinventing Education

Watch this video first:
Okay, this isn't actually a podcast, its a video, and I thought it was awesome, and I would really like to use this program in my classroom. Although he didn’t detail how it works for English, I imagine the Kahn Company found a way. I loved this idea of flipping the classroom. I wonder why more people haven’t thought of it. Even the smartest kid or the fastest writers can’t keep up with everything a teacher says. And even if you could, it is nice to be able to re-listen and review. The only down side stems from the fact students can’t ask questions right away, but since when was lecturing interactive? Students can ask questions the next day in class or email their teacher. I particularly like how the program shows teachers where each students pauses, what they focus on, what problems they miss, how long they spend on a problem. That way a teacher can identify what problems a student has because sometimes a student doesn’t know why he or she is struggling. This is what Kahn calls humanizing education. This gives even students in large classes more one-on-one time with their teacher, since the teacher isn’t lecturing.
I particularly like how it allows students to pace themselves. I personally either was on the class level or ready to move on. If I could have continued working when others were either a head of or behind me, I could have learned or accomplished more. Some concepts are just harder to grasp for sometimes; this structure gives them that time. It doesn’t allow for the “swiss cheese” style learning that Kahn mentions. Students aren’t expected to master all the information, just 70-95 percent. Through this program, they do master it.
I also think it will be helpful for teachers with an incoming class to view their progress. The teacher will know before class starts where they might need more review, where the classes’ (and individuals’) strength lies. This will save teachers time getting a feel for this class (at least in this respect) and allow them to get into their subject matter quickly.
I am looking forward to more wide-spread use of this system, and I hope to see it in my classroom one day (soon).


Podcast Reflection #10

Tech Chick Tips 3/7
This episode of the Tech Chick Tips was short and sweet. They hit on several good resources to use in the classroom. They mentioned there are going to be a lot of changes to Wikispaces. They are adding the “extras” that teachers use the most. This means the sites will be even more teacher friendly. And they are now allowing college professors apply for free wikis that use to only be available for K-12 educators. (Or as the Tech Chicks pointed out, now these professors won’t have to lie or their application!)
The girls mentioned a cool alternative to Google Docs, Type With Me. It is the same concept—share the document and every can edit at the same time—but it doesn’t require a user name or password, like Google Docs does. It even has a “time slider” that allows viewers to see all the changes made to the document. You slide a bar and it shows all the edits and changes.
A neat resource made directly for teachers is an interactive Bloom’s Taxonomy Chart. It has each level, and in the level, it has different resources that support that level of learning. It’s a good place to go to when you need your class do move to more advanced assignments.
The other resource I thought was neat, especially as a future English teacher, was Weboworm. This site uses visuals and words to help students understand vocab words. They draw a picture and use the word in a sentence. At the bottom of the image, they give the definition, and below this they provide some history and the correct usage. These aren’t pithy little words; they could legitimately be used as high school vocabulary.


Classroom 2.0 Reflection

I was a bit unsure about having to manage another social media site, but this one seems like a good combination of worthwhile information. The parts I liked best were the discussion features, the groups and the shows/podcasts. I really like discussion forums because they allows for far more in depth questions and responses. On the site, someone could pose a question and anyone could respond or ask related questions. It is a place to ask very specific questions or pose theoretical idea and garner reactions. People ask anything from how to use a specific technology to what are good ways to reward effort for Kindergarteners. I learned a lot during my general search—including how more and more teachers were having students make movie trailers for novels (which I did and enjoyed during high school). The teachers gave examples of good ones and had recommendations about facilitating the endeavor.
When I explored the groups aspect of the website, I realized this was a great way to find specific discussions, instead of filtering through over 700 pages. This option lets you join a very specific group for a topic and ask questions. For example, there is a group for beginning Classroom 2.0 users. People ask more “beginner” questions about blogging or how to protect students when they do a lot of online work. I found this very helpful; I found better ways to use this website and learned a few things to mention during this blog!
The last aspect, that I am glad I finally found, is the podcast/show portion. I had looked before to do podcast reflections over them but was unsuccessful. It linked to their own podcasts and those of related sites, like The Future of Education and their archives of podcasts. As you can tell from my other entries, these podcasts are excellent ways to learn about new technology (I often multitask and clean my room, so they are doubly productive. I think it is very interesting that Classroom 2.0 has live shows. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to listen to their shows, but they seem like very productive and helpful ways to get instant access to information and ask questions to the people running the show.
All things considered, I think this website will be useful while I am in school learning, but will be even better once I know what issues I am facing in the classroom and need to seek answers.


EduTecher Reflections


Something I haven’t looked into very much yet is ESL students. One website I found on EduTecher was Breaking News English. This provides simple articles each day that provide very in-depth lesson plans for ESL students. It provides pre-reading activities that deal with ideas and words. It help student understand words that might be more difficult and understand them better. It will also help prepare them to understand the article. It then has worksheets ands activities to fill out during/after reading. It gives suggestions for discussions among students. Then it gives options for homework and extension. It can be the lesson plan for the day or part of the day. They also have many lessons that are based on themes. The style of the lesson is very similar for all the articles, but there are so many options it should be easy to vary or alter.
Another resource I had heard of but not explored is Books Should Be Free. It is an excellent resource to find classic books free. This can be an excellent resource for people who simply enjoy audiobooks or for people who don’t have time to read. In the classroom this could be extremely helpful for students who need some help reading—for whatever reason. The website is easy to navigate and downloading is simple. The only draw back is the books available are older, but they have “the classics” that are often read in high school. Probably most of the books would be too difficult to use with elementary or middle school kids—though there are some suitable books. And for a website giving away books, they have a large selection.
FunnelBrain is a website that allows students and teachers to create flashcards about any subject. These can be used for the obvious study methods—vocab words, plot details, characters. Anyone with an account has access to the note cards created by others, so you might just have to add a few to an existing deck, instead of creating all new ones. Students and teachers can also create quizzes either for practice or for real testing. The cool part is all of this website is all these resources can be shared with a study group. Study groups can create flashcards, quizzes, slideshows and blogs. It is a resource that encourages cooperative learning and preparation.

Podcast Reflections #9

I find the open-source conversation very interesting because I don’t know a lot about it, but I know that I probably won’t buy Microsoft Office anymore. There are so many great open source programs available. I just worry that they won’t be compatible with Macs and moving files from Macs to PCs. I occasionally have difficulties with Microsoft. I guess I will just have to do some exploring when that time comes. On the Driving Podcast, Steve Hargadon talks about the open source world he has created. He said schools are clamoring for free software and resources because Kansas’ debt is huge. One place they are turning is open source. He says many schools are reluctant to change from already existing software because they have something established. Schools that are using this type of software didn’t use the original version, so they aren’t replacing anything. Steve noticed a lack of support of teachers/schools using or looking to use this software. So he created resources to help. The website is http://wiki.k12opensource.com/. On this site, there is information from the basics (what is open source) to success stories and lessons to go along with the software. It is designed to be a community supporting each other using open source. There is also a discussion forum to ask questions and talk to other educators. They also have a blog where different resources are highlighted, the entries are old, but the website says they are working on it again.

Kan-Ed Reflection

When I arrived at the Kan-Ed site, I started playing around with NetTrekker. It is awesome. I took a “two birds, one stone” approach and searched for information for my Unit plan for my Middle Level Education class. I am doing a unit on mythology from different ancient cultures (Greek, Egyptian etc…) to tie with the Social Studies standards for 6th grade. When I searched Greek mythology, so many excellent resources came up. After deciphering the “readability code” I was able to instantly judge whether this would be appropriate for a 6th grade class. It was great to be able to see what was “teacher approved and “student approved.” It helped me sort through all the resources. I have already bookmarked some resources and will definitely be back to explore even more.
I then moved to Thinkfinity, and I repeated my same search. It brought up equally interesting results. I enjoyed how this website gave you entire lesson plans/ unit plans. I will definitely be able to incorporate these into my unit plans for school and when I am really teaching. This is a great resource for any looking for ideas for a lesson or help mapping out an entire unit.
Thinkfinity also had great professional development ideas broken down by grade level. I like how it didn’t lump “high school” all together. It had 9, 10, 11 and 12th grade. Sure, there is a lot of overlap, but Freshman and Seniors need different academic challenges and lessons. It has advice on everything from how to figure out what your students are really interested in to explanations of how online and print readings differ. Many of the resources will be helpful to new teachers looking for effective ways to talk to students.
There are so many great resources available on Kan-Ed. I don’t have time to look at all of them yet. But the website is definitely worth a visit.


Podcast Reflection #8

Tech Chick Tips: TVEA 2011 part 1
This podcast talked about a ton of useful resources the Tech Chicks learned about at a conference they attended. They were all really interesting, but not many of them were for Secondary kids or about English. However, I know many people will find them useful. They talked about several Google tools. I thought both were perfect for classrooms. The first is Google Art. It lets you tour many museums across the world. This would be great for schools that have cut their field trip money. It allows you to pretend like you are walking around the museum, instead of simply looking at different pieces of art. The program will then show you related pieces.
I called my sister the moment I heard about Google Body. She is in currently in anatomy and I knew how help this way to view muscular and skeletal systems would be to her, especially because she is considering going into medical fields. Some students are lucky enough to go on a Cadaver Field trip, but even at my very affluent high school, spaces were limited. So if a school can’t send all of their students to study cadavers, this would be perfect. (It’s also great for slightly squeamish students, like me. I can handle digital information, not real bodies!)
I am also very interested in the concept of video conferencing. But I have no idea how to set it up (or how I will use it yet—but that will come when I have a classroom and unit plans) Whirlidurb seems like a great place to start for Middle Level students. This program sets up a videoconference exactly for the students needs in the classroom. This is an excellent resource for experiential learning. Students will engage with the people they conference with and can learn from some one besides the teacher, which is refreshing to both students and teachers. They also help classes find all the resources necessary to do video conferencing. Sometimes, figuring out what you need is the hardest part. The company will schedule your conference and make sure you have everything necessary for the conference to move smoothly.
The most interesting thing they mentioned was Toontastic. It is an iPad application that allows students to make a video that tells a story. It sound so interesting because the emphasis is setting up a story with all the right elements, exposition, climax etc… Students can use their creativity to draw characters and settings (or pick them if they aren’t artistically inclined) and animate them by dragging them across the screen. The app has the student record the story while they are moving the character. This can be a great way to teach students how to build a story and could be used as a way to test if students read a novel—can they summarize the plot in the video? If my school has access to iPads, I would love to use this.

Podcast Reflection #7

Seedlings: 1/1/09
I enjoyed this podcast but it left me wanting a little bit more. On the one hand, it was interesting to hear about their personal journey as educators learning technology, but it didn’t really teach me that much. And it took up a lot of their show. I did like their geek of the week segment though. However, I wish they had gone into more depth about each of their materials. They did say that this one was short due to technical difficulties. There was one resource I thought would be very helpful to me right now, and a few I know I will enjoy more when I am actually teaching. The one I went to check out right away was copyrightconfusion.wikispaces.com. It provides a completely new level of clarity on how much fair usage teachers and students have in their classroom. From the front page of their website they say:
According to the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy...
Teachers can:
1. make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works and use them and keep them for educational use
2. create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded
3. share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded

Learners can:
4. use copyrighted works in creating new material
5. distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard

The website goes into more detail, expanding what is okay and what isn’t. I found the discussions on music and news clips very helpful. This website has helped me understand how I can best use resources legally. One of the podcasters mentioned seesmic.com. He said it was basically video twitter; it allowed you to have video conversations and form conversations. I went to check it out; only to discover it has changed into a place to compile Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare and Buzz. I was less excited about this. I only have a Twitter and a Facebook, and I am fully capable of managing both those separately. What would be nice was if Facebook integrated tweets. I will use the site for a week (if I remember) to see if I find it useful. I don’t think I will, but I will let you know.

All things considered, I might listen to this podcast again, but I found others more informational.


Animoto in my Classroom

Even though my use of Animoto is limited, I really enjoy working with it. Not only did it seem fun for personal use, I can think of any number of ways to use it in my classroom. It can be a wonderful teaching tool (see my 30-second example on my website, scroll to the bottom). It can see it working especially well for presentations on novels, either characters, theme, plot, symbols, etc... It can be a great primer for conversation. In the example I made, labeling each character as flat, round, static etc... can begin the conversation about why these characters have these labels.
The limited text and emphasis on visuals force the creator to rely on pictures to convey their meaning. Words can be used for clarification or staging, but not to explain every detail. This provides a great alternative to other presentation tools that allow text-only presentations.
The details available also allow for a more in-depth synthesis of student's project. They can reflect how the background and music adds to what they are presenting, adding a whole new level of teaching/learning.
This resource can become another way to assess student learning, outside of tests and essays. It will be more fun for students to create, and more fun to grade!

Podcast Reflection #6

I really liked this blog and was pleasantly surprised that Kevin Honeycutt was the guest because I like his Driving Podcast. I love the idea that these teams of teachers are going through information on the internet and tagging it; I don't know how many time I have been sifting through the internet for something I know exists somewhere. As a student, it is incredibly frustrating not to be able to the resources, picture, video or whatever that would make the assignment transform from good to great. And if I had any idea how to tag things, I would do it (in my abundant spare time ha ha). Basically, what these "tag teams" do is set certain days where they search the internet and add tags to content. The goal is to make information easy to access. Kevin said when people throw pictures or movies on the Internet without tags; they might as well throw them in the ocean. All the unnamed pictures just get lost in the shear amount of information available. 
What I really, really like from this podcast was the Art Snacks (note: you have to sign up for this blog and prove you are a real person) Kevin does. Basically, they are 10-15 min art videos that incorporate other contents. For example, students might draw a skeleton and the label the bones. They are drawing and learning anatomy! I haven't investigated to see if there content suitable for secondary students, but I would imagine something could be easily adapted to fit the needs of older students. I really enjoy finding alternate ways to teach (and possible test). Even thought I personally like writing essays a great deal, I know most students don't. It pushes and encourages me, as a future teacher, to be creative and to turn to the smart people around me for good ideas.   


Podcast Reflections #5

Driving Questions 2011: School as “Life Practice” with Ginger Lewman
Ginger had brought up a ton of great ideas in this podcast. She started off by saying how caught-up in their own lives middle schoolers can be. And as she said, they are kind of supposed to be that way, but they shouldn’t be so focused on their day to day life that they lose track of everything else. She gave the example of an extraordinary project her middle school class did. They drew a huge map of the world and made a dance to show the rise and fall of all the world’s civilizations. She presented the basic concept of the project and the students took control from there. They decided what they needed to learn to properly convey the world’s history, and they actually wanted to learn it. Then students were able to use their own unique gifts to help make the dance, participate, film and edit this huge project. It’s like she tricked them into learning (I mean this in a good way, of course). The other huge thing that stuck out to me was their schools Life Practice Model. The basic idea behind school is to prepare kids for the “real world” but how much do schools actually model this idea anymore. The work force has largely moved past the factor model that schools were based on, but schools are still stuck in this pattern. In the day-to-day activities of a classroom, this new model also gives students more control in the classroom. They have to power to start a chat to brainstorm ideas and share their working on a Google Doc with their teacher to receive guidance and support.
Ginger said student should learn the information they need in ways that will make them want to solve the worlds problems. I believe that everything students learn should be concretely cemented in real life. Whether it is a novel for English, or a Chemistry equation, students should know that this information can be useful to them in the real world. As Ginger said, “As a teacher, I shouldn’t be the source, I should be a resource.” It is critical that students understand the bigger picture of what they are learning. It isn’t all about getting the grades and moving on to the next level, it is about find ways to relate what you learn to the world as a whole.  

Podcast Reflection #4

Tech Chick Tips: Happy New Year 1/9
This was my first experience with the Tech Chick. They sure jammed a lot into 25 minutes. But I am going to focus on a few related aspects of what they said, which dealt with creativity. The mentioned a very interesting video: Steve Johnson made a video entitled “Where Good Ideas Come From” He explains the creative process in general. He explains how ideas mature slowly through time, and often it is two people coming together that brings an idea to full maturity. He didn’t speak directly about students in classrooms, but there is still a message there. Students spend so much time individually working to solve problems and do projects, they are missing the benefits of collaboration. I think there is a good and bad way to do group projects. Being the controlling type I am, I have had a lot of bad experiences in group projects. But I have had a few good ones. When I worked with people who were as invested and interested as I was, we came up with something better than either of us could have dreamed. I haven’t quite figured out a fool proof method for groups to work well together and I doubt there is one. But the key information from this video is the benefit of collaboration in general.
The girls also mention Chris Brogan’s website, 11 Free Resources About Creativity. He compiled articles dealing with the creative process, and there is a particularly helpful one about education.
More concrete creativity resources can be found on Vimeo Video’s School. As the Tech Chicks said, it is so easy to shoot video on a phone or iPod. But it isn’t as easy to do it well. This website teaches the basics about filming, lighting and editing.
The notes from the Tech Chick's podcast can be found here.

Podcast Reflection #3

Driving Questions: Kimberly Wright 3/29
Several things struck me during this podcast. The first of which was how behind her university was with their knowledge and education about technology. Sure, she has been teaching for 6 years, but I know there were still resources available. It seems like a huge oversight in her education. It is neat that information like this shows how much progress has been made in teaching future teachers to use technology, in such a short amount of time. But the more in depth we get into this class, the more I am astounded with the amount of resources available to use just in classrooms. And it is great that new teachers are learning this, but it isn’t enough. Entire buildings and districts need to learn how much is out there. I don’t imagine that will be easy, because this information needs to be given over a period of time, which takes times and money that isn’t always available. If many websites were explained a once it would be pretty difficult to remember and very overwhelming to technology-shy teachers. Instead hand-on workshops should be done throughout year, covering one or two resources at a time, so educators can master them before learning something new.
I liked Kimberly’s quote: “The way to bridge the testing gap between what administrators and students want is to use technology.” I believe this could be very true. Almost all students are “plugged in” and as educators we can’t expect them to ignore technology during school. It just isn’t feasible. Instead, with technology, we meet students on there level, making them comfortable. If they are confident about using technology and the internet, it will be easier and more fun for them to learn and do their assignments.

Fun With Text

Wordle and Tagxedo are just some of the fun, visually-appealing word collages that appear on my website. Aside from obviously making a website or classroom more fun, there are a variety of ways anyone could use this with their students, especially in English classes. These programs analyze word usage and make more frequently used words more prominent. When critically studying writing, analyzing what words were used and how often is imperative. Students could take a work (a passage from a novel, a poem whatever) and see how often an author used those words and the analyze why.
Students could also use it with their own work. If they wrote a poem they could put it in one of these programs and similarly analyze their word choice. They could also explain why they chose the shape they did (in Tagxedo) and how to applies/relates to their writing. These programs could enhance less interesting papers, poems or projects!
I could also use it with new vocab words. It would be easy to highlight which words are going to super important down to slightly important. It could help students focus their studies and know what words to cram last minutes. I could also use it as quick way to convey the main characters, setting, themes, motifs etc... of novels we are reading in class. Students could use this as a quick refresher, or they could make their own. Highlighting what aspects of the book they find the most important or interesting.


CDK’s Education Technology Place: The Reign of Technology

On Cydni Danner-Kuhn’s website I watched the two “Did you know?” videos. Some of the information on the videos was slightly jarring. For example, India has more honors students than America has students. Some of it was just interesting, like the first commercial text was sent in 1992. There were a lot of information I could guess, like the number of texts sent in a month by teenagers. Really, what this clip did was open my eyes to just how connected and advanced the world is. I, occasionally, am a fan of turning off my cell phone and going outside to read. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But I try to not fully immerse myself in every type of communication. I have a Facebook, and I get emails to my cell phone. But I don’t typically status update from my phone or use a lot of other social media. And I think I don’t always realize all the technology that is at my disposal. I often think that’s a good think, but sometimes I wonder what I am missing.

Reflection 1: Technology Bits, Bytes & NIbbles: The Great Technology Debate

I read two articles from the blog. One dealt with eBooks, the other with technology purging. And comparing the two is very interesting. The one about eBooks wondered if Kindles and iPads would extend or bridge the education gap. It is a very interesting point. I couldn’t read the entire article, but I believe that this will go one of two ways. If low-income students receive access to this technology, it could infinitely help them. eBooks are cheaper than normal books, meaning students can afford to buy more books. The books are stored digitally, giving families that don’t have room for a library, digital space to keep them. However, if it is left up to the students to acquire this technology, it will only benefit the wealthy students who can afford books in the first place. I readily believe that, if technology is given equally to all students and used well, the benefits can be beyond imagination. Opposing that, the other article shows a case where students benefited from going back to “1983 technology.” It says students unplugged from cell phones, the internet and video games. Most of the students reported liking and benefiting from the technology purge. They said it helped them focus on school and other pass times they had given up. The article then questioned if moving to a Web 2.0 school would really help students. Based on the study, that is a seemingly valid question. But in all reality, what these students gave up wouldn’t be the types of technology that would be useful in a classroom, and few supports of a tech-savy classroom would oppose students playing less video games. Though the technology of future classrooms is found on the internet, its purpose is different from being strictly social media. It is about being connected to share knowledge and ideas, not what movie you saw or who your latest crush is, like social media.