Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Smore" Learning

Smore.... Well the first thing I think about is the marshmallow, gooey, chocolate, crunchy dessert item strategically melted over a camp fire from a stick.... But today's post is related to learning another EASY Web 2.0 tool.
When I say easy I really mean it. I have been using more interactive tools that I have never heard of, this one included and they are all very simple. They allow for buttons to add what you want (i.e. photos, text, buttons, links, webpages, etc.) and give you layouts to follow (which also can be rearranged to your liking).

Once I chose my Web 2.0 tool I was going to create a newsletter about I also had to choose what tool I was going to use to create that newsletter. I will admit that the name had captivated me at first and it was also first choice on the list. I went with Smore and I am happy with my decision. It works much like Weebly and is a drop & drag website. You can add any items and rearrange them to create flow through your newsletter.

Integrating this tool into the classroom would make current events, personal interests and any subject fun. By allowing the students to create their own newsletter or poster it sparks imagination and creativity while integrating Digital literacy with Literacy. I hope to integrate this tool into my classroom some day. I look forward to exploring it more and creating some new posts of my own.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blogging, Podcasting & Oral Histories

This week my time was dedicated to blogging, podcasting & oral histories. At first I was not sure what to expect or what I was going to learn. So here it is, ironically I sit here and blog about it...


Blogging I had heard of multiple times via, internet, radio, tv shows (specifically food network) and my current education class. I always knew it was something people did or do on a regular basis some more frequent than others. However, I never realized how much I actually do too!  Before when I had a Facebook, that's blogging, Twitter which I don't have but have accessed is blogging, Plurk which I have recently encountered is blogging. Who knew?!  And here we do this on a daily, hourly basis as grown adults catching up with old college or high school friends, finding the trendiest stores and looking for sales or as children (students) who also connect with people, gossip and follow their person of interest in the music or movie world. We are all Blogging, or micro blogging when social media is involved. Micro blogging is the same concept but you are limited to the amount of characters you can post. Most of us somewhere are always posting out thoughts, concerns or ideas. Even when most of us are at work, in school or going about our daily business Blogging is in the palm of our hands. As most of us have cell phones and now mostly Smart Phones, all of us can access these sites via mobile apps.
Although only 8% of us 12 million post blogs and 39% of us read them, the numbers have increased over 70 million since 2003. The main uses of Blogging are:

  • Daily Chatter - using microblogging to answer its original question and purpose: "what are you doing?” The answer generates reports regarding routines and other episodes of daily life. 
  • Conversations - threading conversations between fellow microbloggers, allowed by the addition of @ to one’s micropost 
  • Sharing information - Sharing URLs to relevant resources enhanced by short comments. It can be seen as a user-driven or user-rated exchange of Hyperlinks. 
  • Reporting News – providing information on recent event
As Blogging quickly becomes the future in publishing and non publishing. Most blogs are categorized as online journals. Some post to just write and have a creative out look other blog to be heard and others blog to get feedback from others as well. Teachers who blog are always sharing ideas and gaining new ones by sharing with others around the world. Blogs have found their way into classrooms and are making headway with most. Although there are teachers who are still not keen on the idea and are hesitant to introduce it to their classrooms. As many feel blogging engages students and allows those who normally would not participate as much have a voice. The world is comfortable behind the use of words they can type and not always speak. In my research I came across an article that peaked my interest. I am not in a classroom teaching yet however I feel I would attempt to introduce blogging into the classroom. 

Click on the photo to learn 5 reasons blogging should be in the classroom. 

Pod-casting :

Pod casting is not new to me however I believe it has make a run at the future and changed since I have used it last. For me 5 years ago as my senior year and last semester as an undergraduate student I took an IT (informational technology) course to fill my schedule to remain full time. I was utterly baffled and slightly uncomfortable when the information was first thrown at me. I was a math major not a technology major and I had not seen or heard of most of the new tools we were using. Luckily I was paired with a peer who was also a Childhood Education major but a technology major as well. We worked well together and she helped me where the technology barrier was new for me. As a final project we were to create a pod cast. We chose to record using Audacity. I actually enjoyed the assignment and we scored a perfect grade. Although I have not used it since I would be interested to try again and create something for the classroom. That being said pod-casting is quickly being used in classrooms in all subjects. After reviewing the KQED Video I found myself in Awe! Monina Salazar who was unsure at first has introduced pod-casting and uses it in all subjects for major projects. She has also realized that most of the children already know how to use the technology better and faster than she ever could.
Monina Salazar explains that pod-casting allows the students to add:
  • Sound- place & time
  • Music- creates mood
  • Voice- which provides info
Pod casting doesn't necessarily only involve recording your voice or sounds over a Web 2.0 tool but the old school way of reading and writing and yes arithmetic. Mrs. Salazar expresses that before reaching the recording and pod casting stage she first works with her students write paragraphs on the topic at hand. This involves note taking, reading and researching before they can create their final project. This is a prime example of integrating the 3 R's and the 4 C's in the 21st Century. 

Oral History:

This is a topic I was most unsure of. I have heard of Oral History, my first thought is history that is told orally. In this I found that I am not wrong but not right either. Oral history is the oldest form of preserving moments, memories, voices and events of the past. This was done with old type tape recorders; but what does this mean as we move towards the digital age and the future of the 21st century? 

Now with technology virtually at our fingertips, how will oral history change? My answer is that it won't. It only becomes easier to preserve information we choose. Although this creates a question for teachers, professors and anyone giving a presentation, as to how or if they will document themselves and add it to the virtual library we call the internet. 

As an aspiring teacher and absolutely camera shy I am not sure I would want to document all of my lessons, lectures or classroom teachings. As I do not fear my credibility as a teacher or that I am doing something wrong but if we choose to add that information for the world to see we will forever be under review. Either stating something we don't personally agree with or a comment that is just through discussion with students; these ideas can always be made to make someone look bad.

 As one article stated that no matter whether we record ourselves through every lecture that we will not be mocked or documented by students and camera phones. There is always a way that information can be made to make us feel insecure or create an uneasy feeling of self. One teacher stated that he always records his lectures but edits or keeps them in his personal file of videos for personal use. Information seems to show at the moment that most lectures are being recorded in more colleges but not many are made for public viewing just yet. 

As a Graduate student and still utterly responsible for attendance and accountability I am still uncomfortable with the online setting of class lectures. I feel this will only become more prevalent as time goes on however, I feel that it will eliminate some costs as far as education but I do not think it will improve learning and grades at this point. What if a student chooses not to attend but the information is available for then at their leisure. They should have to attend the live taping in order to have access to the recorded version. 

Oral History in the Digital Age still has some road to cover, I plan on keeping up with information and contributing where I can. Technology has paved the way for the future in more ways than we have ever thought of. Where will teaching and technology be in 10 years? 20 years? 100 years? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Web 2.0 & Beyond

Web 2.0 is still a new term for me and I believe it will always be. Web 2.0 is the technology we use today, everyday and available to us at all times. It is more dynamic and used to collaborate and revise posts, videos, articles or foot marks others have already created. One of the first Web 2.0 sites is Wikipedia. It is an open networking site that allows anyone at anytime to update and create new information with just a few clicks. I am still new to blogging and pod casting along with video casting. I have heard these terms before but they never meant much to me before. After researching and continuing to use new technology they are becoming more familiar to me. Web 2.0 is described as the "shift to online space that is globally coauthored in real time, spaces that are collaborative, peer-viewed, updated and revised."

The more I research and explore this Web 2.0 that surrounds me I realize that I use more of it then I originally thought. And some I would like to learn to use and start my journey using them as an educator. I use Pintrest frequently as I pin things of interest to me. Specifically, new healthy recipes, work out routines, clothing, quotes, football and baseball items and gluten free options. Voicethread is still new to me but I plan on using it for my class this semester. Some that I have never heard of but will look into using as I biuld my portfolio as an educator are Edcanvas, LiveBinders and Storybird. 5 Free is a website that can elaborate on these new tools. I think you should check them out!

Through out the articles I browsed and read through I found some very interesting information on what some schools have been doing and trying to move toward in the name of Technology and Web 2.0. The first one that I thought was interesting was from the site TeachersFirst. The article outlines an Elementary School that creates a school wide, home wide Web 2.0 program where students, teachers and families can be an integrative part of the modeling and learning.  Each grade learns a new tool and each year they carry over the old tool and learn new ones. As students advance more tools are available and they are not only limited to learning just one. They have students available for helping younger grades or peers and they also use peer-tutors for those who need more assistance. The thing I found most interesting is that they do not require the teachers to learn more than the tool they are teaching the students. I think that teachers should be experts on the tool they are teaching at their grade level, however I feel they should learn more, maybe the tool a grade above and below their grade and maybe one other of interest or a tool close to the one they are teaching to pair things or explore and relate. * If you click on the website about under TeachersFirst you can view the bubble map they outline with each grade and the tools used.*

Educational Responsibility This was an article I found to be most interesting. It describes different types of classrooms and a model they've been implementing across three schools, however it's what they state in the article that I feel is of great importance not only to internet and technology but to social media, cell phones and Web 2.0. They discuss a Flat Class and a Virtual Class. Both models use technology mediums and collaboration on the internet and through Web 2.0. The major difference is a Virtual Classroom has students meeting and interacting much like an online class but have never met. Unlike a flat classroom. They promote the use of learning through Blogs, Networking and Skype. I think this model is interesting. I believe it could be a great model or a bad model depending how well it is implemented and used by the teachers, students and schools. For the generations that are much younger and born in to this world of technology I feel this is a model that will soon be adopted by many more. The facts I found that are interesting are the reviews and comments by the students who are participating in this model and that they are "teaching digital responsibility."
The idea of digital responsibility is something all students and children should be taught in and out of the home. Regardless of the assignment or the use of cell phones information can be taken and transposed in a mere second. They need to know what is write or wrong and how it can be used effectively.

Here are a few comments from the article of the students describing their thoughts:

There are plenty of new skill sets at work and one of them is necessary in every facet of life: Being an effective communicator. These students are speaking, writing, and collaborating with people they have never met. "Everything that I have learned in class," says David Loomis, junior at MBAPCHS, "will help me use technology in a responsible way that can promote my creative ideas." In higher education and the work force, this skill is necessary. Michelle Morgan, a senior at Burlington High School states, "For example, I would create my personal learning network or PLN on ideas for college, tips and such, on swimming and diving, and other miscellaneous subjects that interest me." This type of learning is allowing students to create learning communities in which they have the ability to share common interests. Students must learn not only to be an effective communicator, but an efficient, responsible one. This class is accomplishing both. Principal Patrick Larkin comments, "I am amazed at how little the students actually know about connecting with others for educational purposes. They use social networking solely for socializing. It has been great to see the lightbulb start to go on in regards to them seeing these tools as a resource."

I have learned a great deal of information by just doing some research on the news, views and workings of Web 2.0. I will continue my explorations especially on the new sites I have found and hope they will be of great use, maybe not now but definitely in the future.

Literacy Lesson- Activity Builder 101

All this week I have dedicated time, effort and lessons into the learning's of SMARTboards. I have realized that there is a lot more to the SMARTboard Notebook 11 then what I have previously been exposed to. The amount of new and intriguing things are unbelievable. I can hide words and reveal them and I can use the new feature Activity Builder for sorting activities in every different lesson or subject. Yet these lessons are slightly more time consuming than most, however once they are done they can be tweaked and not need to be completely rebuilt or made.

As a task assigned to me, I created a lesson with the Activity Builder in the SMARTboard Notebook 11. Using the builder I was able to use shopping carts and recycling bins to accept or reject the proper word endings. Each cart is matched with a word ending (-it, -at, -ap), the words that do not match at all get recycled for another time. 

I enjoyed creating this lesson, although it did take some time to figure out why I could not get it to work. Which I realized I was not properly linking the accepted and rejected items to the proper place. I had originally tried to do this lesson with the popping balloons and have a check mark when correct and an x when wrong however that did not work and I could not figure it out properly and only found myself extremely frustrated. So I opted for a less extensive approach for this lesson. I will continue to play with Notebook 11 to optimize my lessons and creations for my classroom.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

SMARTtechnologies in the Classroom

After reading the resources on SMART technologies it is clear that there is more to the SMARTboard world then what I believe we see first hand. I have also noticed this after last weeks training.  Most teachers use the board as a traditional white board with out the marker mess and easy to jump from board to computer use. However, we can integrate so much into a lesson by using a SMARTboard in each and every subject not just discussion and lecturing like more students and classrooms are used to.

With SMART technologies the classroom will forever be changed for the greater of the future. We as teachers can create basic lessons and examples, notes and photos to elaborate lessons and questions for reflection with the answers already on the page but not visible to the students. This cuts down on time and writeing on a board you are only going to erase. SMARTboard allows us to write, create and capture for future use. This can be especially useful to high school teachers who teach multiple classes in a day with the same material. And this can of great use for elementary teachers when needed to review and reflect from the previous day or you run out of time.

Information I thought was useful from the articles from SMART Technologies. The first article was useful with the information that we can cater to all learning styles, we can be hands on and interactive along with visual and auditory. Not only can we cater to all learning styles but we can be in any environment as well as create it. Also, by integrating SMART technologies into a classroom we can help and aid to the special disabilities in the classroom with enlarged print, audio devices and they can participate by use of touching the board and being interactive.

These are two charts I felt to add to my beliefs and learning:

Article two discussed more uses for the teachers. When using a SMARTboard we can write, create and save all in the same place. We can create lessons before, during or after a class. Changing information or adding to it is as simple as pulling a photo from the internet or writing more after the students have helped give information. It's also easy to use and provides a creative out look for teachers and students. Article three was eye opening for me. As an elementary teacher I have seen many lessons and creative ways to integrate a SMARTboard into a classroom. However, this article gave me more resources and ideas then I could ever think of and for EVERY subject (even art and music). I never thought to go on a virtual field trip back to the Civil War and give the students a hands on experience or walk through an art museum. I learn new things every day. 

Although I am not teaching just yet, the other resources have provided a wealth of knowledge I could never repay. SMARTboard is something of the past and the future. Even though it has been here for years it is a technology that will only continue to grow with time and expand our learning as teacher and to our students. I have joined Smart Revolution Ning. I receive updates and emails frequently about seminars and new technologies and lessons others have posted. YouTube is also a god send in most cases. I use YouTube for various things such as craft projects, music and bowling tutuorials, however I never thought to use it for SMARTboards. I have watched mulitple videos now and have learned from the basics to advanced graphics and designs a SMARTboard can do. Google+ is something i am also no familiar with but starting to explore and love. There is so much out there we just need to get our hands on the right information and bring it to the classroom.

This week has been an eye opening week as far as what can and can't be done, although I didn't learn much a SMARTboard cannot do just yet. I look forward to exploring the additional resources and hopefully blogging about some resources I have found on my own.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SMARTboard Training

This was not my first rodeo with SMARTboard, however I felt I learned a lot in the new Notebook and was able to experience the session with new eyes. As an undergrad I also attended the SMARTboard training with Dr. Smirnova; this was a few years ago when the boards were new to me. As I sat in the class and participated in the lecture I felt SMARTboard Technologies had updated quite a few things and added new features that would allow my students to be interested and interact during a lesson.

I have to say my favorite part was doing the magic messages by reveal. We used an example with a microscope and a flashlight. However, I tried to do a 3 layer effect where we would be able to find the butterfly under the microscope but I could not figure out the layering effect, I was able to hid the butterfly with a block of background color but I could not get the layers right to reveal with the microscope. This was frustrating and I was determined to figure it out, unfortunately I was not able too. This made me realize how much time I wasted on something that would be great but precious lesson planning minutes were wasted on something so small.

This is where I start to become conflicted with time and technology. We have the tools to create extremely interactive and time consuming lessons but how much time are we wasting on the actual details then on the material? Yes once it's done it is done and just needs to be tweaked but how much actual time should be used verses what is wasted?

Here I have attached a document of what we worked on:

Slide 1: just getting used to what is available

slide 2: recreating a math lesson

Slide 3: recreating items then moving them to recreate the photo

Slide 4 &5:
Revealing magic words or imagaes

Friday, February 7, 2014


This was my first go around with Wordle. I had tried before and my Java wasn't working (and still isn't) on my home computer. So  I gave it a shot at work because I wanted to make one for my website and possibly post it on my group project.

This is what I came up with so far :)


Monday, February 3, 2014

Learning Something New Everyday

Well today would mark week 2. I met online with my group on WizIQ and it went well. Using sites and forums that we can all be on together has made somethings much easier. However, there are still issues with echo or my internet kicking me out of the chat, but Google Doc's is an amazing invention. Being able to all edit a document and it get's saved immediately and allows all group members to be on at the same time. It eliminates tons of emails and avoids having the wrong documents when needed.

This class continues to be a challenge because it is online. But I am still learning and I feel confident by the end of this 15 weeks I will have learned a wealth of knowledge I didn't have 15 weeks before!