Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Xtranormal Video

Check out this video I made for my Secondary Teaching Methods course!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cell Phones in the Classroom

I will admit, at the beginning of this course, I was a huge skeptic of cell phones in the classroom.  When I graduated high school in 2005, we had a strict no cell phone policy, that was seldom enforced and even less seldom followed.  Now that this course has continued, I do see the importance of using technology in the classroom, and part of that technology would be cell phones.

After reading the article, 5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class,  I see more and more points that I'm coming around to, and that I'm seeing as valid.  For one, we want to prepare kids to be in the real world and to use technology, and smart phones are as much a part of our modern world as an iPad or a computer.  They need to know fast and easy ways to access information, and so many of them are already using their cell phones to access information via social media or just plain google--so why shouldn't they have more tools through their cellphone to succeed?

Teaching kids to be responsible with their use of technology is important.  As I read for our previous class, a lesson plan was developed to explore self-expression and identity online.  The cell phone is the quickest and most accessible way that kids are interacting and expressing themselves and creating an online identity.

One aspect of the article I wasn't so crazy about was that with tightened budgets, cell phones are a means of technology at student's fingertips.  Well tightening budgets can apply to the budgets of parents at home, so unless all students are provided cell phones, or given the opportunity to take one on loan, I don't think a cell phone could ever be a required piece of technology in the classroom.

Overall, I've warmed up to a cell phone in the classroom!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Powerpoint IS Evil

Reading the article titled “PowerPoint is Evil” helped to reiterate how much I continually dreaded PowerPoint presentations in high school, college, and today.  Quite frankly, I’ve never been crazy about the process of putting together a PowerPoint presentation for hours, only to have a 5 to 10 minute presentation to show for it.  It never really struck home for me and I have always thought there were more interesting and exciting ways to present information.

When listening to the NPR debate about PowerPoint, I can see both sides.  Is it odd that I think creating a presentation through PowerPoint may be more appropriate for a young class just learning technology?  The example that the kindergarten teacher gave made perfect sense to me.  In order for the students to further connect to the content, they wanted to create, and PowerPoint is fairly user friendly for students that age who are just learning technology.  However, I think that as students get older, there are so many more fun, innovative and exciting ways to present.  I almost see PowerPoint as becoming antiquated.  I think the point that it helps the presenter, not necessarily the audience, is very true.  I can’t genuinely think back to a PowerPoint presentation that “blew my socks off” if you will, but I can think of other visual projects and presentations that did.  I don’t know if I will use PowerPoint in my classroom, especially with more exciting presentation mediums such as Prezi or creating digital stories.

Self-Exploration & Identity on the Internet

I looked at the lesson plan for a high school curriculum about self-expression and identity online.  At first glance, I thought this was a great lesson that all students (likely starting even younger than high school) should learn, because I think these ideas go back to online bullying and some of the issues schools currently face in that perspective. 

The goal of this unit is basically to make teens aware of the web identity they are creating and the impact of this identity.  The discussions involved defining key words such as avatar, persona, and what it means to be “real” or “fake.”  I think making teens aware that their online identities directly represent who they are when they are offline, is important.  They need to be aware that they are accountable and responsible for their actions while behind the computer screen.

I think this is a great lesson to teach kids of all ages, and I am glad that this is available online because I think it can be difficult for some people to approach.  Often, I think teachers think it is important for parents to regulate their children’s online activity, and while I agree with that, a lot of what does go on while online, is then discussed and perpetuated in the classroom.  It’s important to be aware as teachers that this can come back into the classroom, and that we can help make the online community our students interact in a bit safer and better for all involved.

Fried Technology, revisited!

I went back to look at Fried Technology and see the new blogs that were up.  Amy, the blog’s creator posted about Google Video and creating your own channel for your school.  I think for a flipped classroom, it would be awesome to create your own channel for your individual class.  I could definitely see myself using a Google Video channel for my classroom as a place to share other media as well.  I think it is a really innovative idea and keeps all of the content in one place.

I also loved her next post on the page about how kids aren’t afraid of technology.  I don’t think this could be more accurate!  Yesterday evening, I babysat for my friend’s one and a half year old, Peyton.  Peyton was not satisfied with just watching Mickey’s Playhouse on the TV, so she turned on the iPad and selected the Disney app and put an episode on there, also!  It was so cool to see her navigate through the iPad and know exactly which icon to look for!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Digital Story: Anne Sexton reads "Her Kind"

For our Digital Storytelling project, I wanted to make something that I could possibly use in the future when I am teaching.  Since my goal is to be a high school English teacher, I picked one of my favorite poems which I had heard the audio read by the poet, Anne Sexton.  I think the process of listening to poetry is powerful, and read by the poet, it is even more helpful to understand how the poem is to be read--the pauses, the emphasis on certain words, it is all important to analyzing the meaning.

I hope you enjoy my story!