Monday, July 28, 2008

Final entry - Thing 23

This was a great way to take a class. Self paced, but with a clear deadline. I like that I will be able to go back over many of the things I learned about this fall when I am back in school. I got lots of new ideas, learned about many tools available on the web and had some fun.

The idea that will stick with me will be that we have the power to use these tools to improve education if we are willing to jump in and try them. In addition, we have to take the lead in helping teachers use tools that will improve their instruction also.

I appreciated quick feedback on blog comments. I think the instructors did an awesome job of keeping up with all of us! Thanks.

Thing 22

ebooks and audiobooks.

I enjoyed exploring the sites and finding out what else is out there. I hadn't seen IMSLP before and was interested in how music teachers might be able to use music scores online that are part of the public domain. I also thought the classics on WPL would be useful for language arts students. Often students want to read book assignments at home and come to the library to check them out. We never have enough copies. It would be great to have links on the library webpage directly to the books being assigned. That way kiddos could read them at home!

there is another website worth noting and passing along called It is only for the disabled (primarily visually impaired) but offers a great service. They provide files that can be loaded into special tools that allow the reader to enlarge the print, interact with the text and write in comments and do some other things I haven't explored. They get around copyright issues by only being available for a specific population. If you want to use the site you have to have a referral from a special educator or a psychologist. It's worth checking out if you have a student in your program that might be able to use it.

Chapter 4

Years ago, when technology first hit the classrooms, the idea came about that educators would move from the front of the room to the "guide on the side". For the most part that didn't happen, and teachers continued to do most of their instruction in the same way they always have - teacher directed. Web 2.0 tools have the power to change that. ONe of the key components of Web 2.0 is that applications allow for far more interaction between teacher and student AND between students. Chapter 4 gave example after example of teachers using tools where students are actively involved in the process of learning. Wiki's, podcasts, blogs.... all of these are tools teachers are beginning to use in ways that require students to interact with the teacher and each other. This allows the teacher to get something started, provide framework and evaluation, but begin to be the "guide on the side" we dreamed of all those years ago. This represents a huge shift in how we teach. Good. It needs to happen. THe tools may change, but once we endorse this shift, we'll be able to adapt.

ONe of the things I really apprectiated about this chapter is the links to the teacher projects described.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thing 21 (Week 9)

I don't think I've mastered the podcasts world yet. I have a PC without iTunes (for the moment) and ran into some glitches. I really wanted to look at the TechSavvyGirlz site, but I kept getting hung up with the Dell. I will try it on a MAC or a PC in better shape the next chance I get. I did manage to subscribe to the Library of Congress webcasts and there were some interesting stories. I also downloaded an aggregate called WinPodder and Subscribed to Coffee Break Spanish through that site. It's done by someone with an Irish accent - interesting.

If I had to give myself a grade on this thing _ I'd say a "C". I think I'll have to rely on my cohorts to direct me to some good podcasts. :)

Chapter 9

There were a lot of lofty ideas in this chapter, some of which won't happen because of funding, resistance from the masses of educators, and the status quo. On the other hand, the chapter points out something very important. The way we teach and the way kids learn are becoming more and more out of sync. Kids have grown up with visual imput, massive amounts of data and intereactive electonic enviroments and we're still asking them to copy down notes off the board.

I wish I knew the answer. It makes me think that this generation of home schooled children with parents who are utilizing online tools, are probably faring better than the masses. I looked in the front and Chapter 4 offers some hope with success stories. I'll be reading that one next.

Thing 20, Week 9

I've been playing with Youtube this summer quite a bit because we've been taking short videos and posting them for family to see. Here's one of Aunt Books (Suzanne M) sliding down Flattop earlier in the summer. (This one is added as a link - the next is embedded)

Here's another one I found about school libraries.

Teachertube was having trouble loading so I played on Youtube. It's addicting and fun. Kids LOVE it and I know it's blocked. Bandwidth and wasting time are both issues.

Things I love about both Teachertube and YOutube - excellent graphics, easy to find options (post, share, comment, etc) The coolest thing is that you can add comments. This makes them interactive (a key component of web 2.0 stuff) The viewer is active, not passive. All of these things would liven up our websites!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chapter 7

Online Safety and Security - huge issues.

The more I learn about this issue, the more I can understand how some people want to just walk away from computers all together. All of our information is out there and the "bad guys" are figuring out what to do with it all. In otherwords, there are those out there who have way more information about all of us and are in the process of figuring out how to use it. Meanwhile, the "good guys" are trying to figure out how to prevent that. Just who the "bad" guys/gals and the "good" guys/gals are is also unclear. Does that give you confidence???? Of course not.

The bottom line is be aware what you put online. It's not really private, even when it says it is. Excellent resource for all of this.

An interesting comment in the chapter is about responsibility and children. Parents think schools are responsible for teaching this and schools think parents should be more responsible. The answer is, we all have to have a go at it. The more we can help parents, the more we help the kids.

I was also interested in the idea that we need to revisit our AUPs and to add a code of ethics. I found the suggested code to be wordy and lofty, but I like the idea.

Be safe....