Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Running into problems...

So I have only been an intern for 2 days and I am already being a pest. Administration is not overly excited about this "wiki thing". I am now having to try and find my own forms and information about being on line. (I have printed off a bunch now and I have to make my own) My co-op is awesome and is going to back me 110% on this. I hope everything can get worked out as I was quite excited to give it a try.
I will keep you posted on how things are progressing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The real thing!

Well I am going into day 3 as an intern, day 2 with students. I have had a hard time trying to decide what kind of technology I would like to use in the classroom as a "mother page". I have been looking for a way to communicate with my students, and parents about what is going on in the classroom. I have been told how well blogs work for this, but since I have negative connotations with blogging (yes it is slowly changing since I am doing this for myself and not for a mark in class)I decided to try a wiki. This allows students to add to it if they would like. I can see who is changing or adding to the wiki and I can choose who is able to edit. I feel I have a lot of control over it, while still allowing students to add to it. I will give it a try, who knows what will happen... at least I will learn.
Check out the wiki and let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Envisioning my future classroom

Well if I had my way my future classroom would be the outdoors. Seriously, like the Outdoor School Program or Ecoquest program, this is the kind of learning I want my students to do, hands on experiential learning.
So far there is no such thing where student are outside all of the time, and whether we like it or not this is the digital age and all of our students are "connected". So with that I would learn to use technology in what every way would best compliment my classroom.
Now in real life I will probably spend my time in a "regular" classroom, if there is such a thing, each class is so unique. So I would pick and choose depending on my class. Blogging is not my favorite tool, I am not a big fan of doing it myself, but I can see the usefulness of it. Keeping the students connected as a class, a network which could allow for assessment in all different subjects as well as a great way of communication between students and teachers and students with students.
I really like the possibilities that wiki's present to the classroom. I like that they can be collaborative with in the classroom or the whole world. I also like that you can see how much a student has participated in a project. I think this is the hardest part about giving out group projects is determining who is pulling their weight or not. Giving credit where credit is due.
I can see myself using things like photo story, and VoiceThread in my classroom a lot. I really like how practical these application can be and how useful they can be through out multiple subjects. I can also see myself using them, and I can use them with ease. I think this would reflect on my students enjoyment of the project as well.
During this class I have seen some very useful applications for YouTube. I always thought they were for stupid videos or jokes, but there are some very useful things posted on this site. From science experiments, to good advice to follow, and presentations on useful information.
I see technology as something that is just there, it isn't so much of a chore as my parents may look at it. I have learnt that you got to try it out and be willing to experiment and most of all if it doesn't work the first time, then you can try it again. I can see myself using technology in my classroom a lot, especially if I am in a school where it is easy to come by. Last year during my pre-internship in a grade 4/5 I had set up hot lists and web hunts for my students. This way the students could learn the information, play with the information that they learnt, help each other out and most of all become more comfortable with searching the web for information. I had a lot of fun doing these projects, I know the students did as well. If I am comfortable using technology in my pre-internship I am sure that I will keep using it once I get into my own classroom.
I will use the technology as long as I find a use for it in my classroom and find that my students are engaged and enjoy the learning. I am excited to learn more about technology and see how it will work out for me in the classroom, where ever that may be.

New learning through a wiki

So as I continue to work on my collaborative wiki I learn to love and hate it. I like it because it is exciting to learn new things. I enjoy the prospect of using a wiki as a learning tool within my classroom. From using it as a collaboration with other teachers or as a way for students to collaborate together like in the teen life wiki project. A wiki is a useful way for teachers to explore the internet and different ways it could be used. It could be used as a classroom home page, updating due dates, up coming events or for showing off student work or field trips.
I found my wiki fairly easy to start with. It was easy to set up, find out how some things worked, like linking or making internal pages, took some playing around with but it didn't take me too long to get there. I have been adding pictures from Flickr and taught myself how to link the picture to the sight just the same as you would a word in the page itself. It makes the page look cleaner. I hope this is enough when it comes to giving credit where credit is due.
As for hating it, well it just might be the wiki spaces template that I have chosen. I don't feel you have a lot of creative freedom with it. The backdrop is pretty boring. I don't like that you can't change the font, or that you are limited to 4 different sizes of lettering. I don't like that I can't center the pictures once they are inserted into the page. I decided to try to insert a table today on the home page. This was a bigger project than I had anticipated. I couldn't delete the table, I think I have 2 or 3 extra tables on the page now because of how I was moving things around, and it kept recreating tables. So I have to do some more exploring with the tables.
The wiki is coming along though, and I am pretty happy with how it is turning out so far content wise. Kyle has added some really neat things that I had never seen before. The planet size comparison was a really neat slide show, I will definitely use that. We chose a pretty large topic which really makes the wiki feel unfinished (I know wiki's are never done), but almost needing more content before the due date unfinished. I know that we will keep adding to it over our internships, I hope it will evolve over time and more people will find this wiki and add to it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

System overload...

Ok, so we just finished the my online class tonight and wow what a great session. We had three teacher join us, Kathy Cassidy, Clarence Fisher, Darren Kuropatwa, to answer questions and give us advice. It was really relevant information and made me really excited to try some of these ideas in the classroom. For now I have to take a moment and let it all sink in, my head is still spinning thinking about all of the possibilities.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chicken teaching the Hen

So I am following in the steps of my Mother, I am going to be a teacher! I have spent my whole life in kindergarten and have the greatest respect for all kindergarten teachers, especially ones that stick with it for 30 years (like my Mom). Unlike my Mom I would rather not teach kindergarten, I always say I would rather have students who are more independent, again good thing for kindergarten teachers. Although when it comes right down to it that is the age group I have the most experience with as I have been in a kindergarten class just about as long as my Mom (visiting, field trip, helping out, etc.) I have learnt a lot during my education and can usually think of ways to adapt it to all grades, if need be. But computers and technology is proving to be a little bit tougher, especially when I think of kindergarten.
During this class I have been learning about new ways to integrate technology into teaching, whether it be to help the teacher or the classroom learning. When I get really excited about ideas I will go down stairs and show my Mom right away thinking I am passing on all of these great ideas, but a lot of them won't work for her or she won't work for them.
After I learnt about voicethread, I showed my Mom a clip about a boy explaining his artwork while his artwork was displayed. I thought this would be a neat way for her to use technology in kindergarten. There are usually lots of pictures done in kindergarten you wish you had an explanation for.
I also showed my Mom about blogs. I showed her a couple we were sent about grade one, and then showed her how to explore kindergarten blogs by going into Google and picking a search on blogs (just like you would on images).
I was also really excited to tell her all about Del.icio.us and social bookmarking. I thought this would come in really handy so she could find things at home and use them at school.
Most of the things I told her about we will just have to see. I think if she had me to help her out with the technical side of things she might be more willing to try them. But who knows I could have taught her something that she may use.
I am still on the look out for options for kindergarten teachers for integrating technology into their classroom. I am not saying my Mom doesn't have technology in her classroom, she does have a classroom website. But I would like to learn more. I think the biggest barriers for kindergarten is where they are developmentally. They can't read (directions), they may not have the motor control to move the mouse or keys to play games (but yes this is how they learn)and they also can't focus on one thing too long or they loose interest.
So if anyone can give me some good idea for integrating technology into the kindergarten classroom, I am all ears!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

digital citizenship....

Where do I belong when it comes to digital citizenship?
Well maybe I should start with the fact that my family didn't own a computer until 1995. Although I did have an Atari for as long as I can remember, and we did eventually move into Nintendo. But up until '95 I did everything by hand, and my parents convinced us that we should not really "play" or "explore" the computer because we did not want it to crash and loose everything. In high school I learned to use the internet. I even made a web page (by html, because that was the only way to do it back then), but this took a lot of time and I could never reproduce it. It wasn't until 2001 that my family got "online" and my really experience with computers and what they could do began. As soon as I could I got an MSN account so I could instant message people day and night. Emailing became my main source of communication for long distances (I still prefer to phone if I can), and anytime I wanted to know something I would "Google it". I bought my first cell phone in 2003, and recieved my first MP3 player this year. I borrow my families digital camera's because I don't own one yet.
I have been fast tracked into the digital world over the past 7 years. I feel I have adapted quite well, considering. But I don't rely on all things "technology", hey I made it 18 years before technology, so I still have old habits to fall back on.
This is where I know my ideals will clash with my students. Don't get me wrong computers are great and I do check my email and other things more than once a day, but I know how to live with out them. I believe there is a time and a place in which technology can, will or should be used. I know I will use it more in my classroom then it ever was used while I went to school and for better purposes than the Oregon Trail.
I have always been someone who looks up ideas, or information on the internet, but now I am finding ways that I can contribute. I believe it is about giving back to the teaching community. Chances are any idea I have for the classroom has come from someone else. The one thing I was always told was "there is no use re-inventing the wheel" when it came to designing lessons or coming up with ideas. Chances are someone else has already done it. Wiki's and blogs are a great way to give back and to spread and share ideas.
In a short 7 years I have come a long way in believing in the power of technology and how it can assist us in learning and teaching. Ideas, picture, music, software, whatever are to be shared to assist in that learning not to impede it. Although I won't rely on technology in the classroom I will use it as a powerful learning tool.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Take a moment...

Ok, so I have been reading through some of my classmates blogs about the importance of technology on our world today. Whether we need to tech our students how to print or just have them start typing. I think we are loosing site of the importance of technology on the world. Don't get me wrong technology is great, and very important to most of us, but if we want any of our students to be worldly we may want to approach it a different way.
I was sent this website a while ago, but I think it might do some good for some of us to look at it once and awhile. See if it changes some of your thinking.
For those interested there is also a book (yes in paper form) based of of this.

a wiki is easy

Well I just opened my very fist wiki space. I am really surprised at how easy it was. I am one of those that will try and put up a tent with out following the directions, it is just part of the fun to make mistakes. Needless to say I do the same when I play on the Internet. I like to just figure it out as I go along. I find I remember better that way and really when it comes to the Internet or computers you can almost always go back to fix it.
I chose to do a wiki on integration of technology through out the curriculum. I already had some ideas for this and that is partly why I chose to do it. But I am also really interested in ways that I can get students involved with technology. Chances are those students will know it better than me anyway.
As you can tell from previous blogs I have an interest in using these resources that are available to us, and seeing if it changes the way students approach their learning. I find by adding some form of technology to the an assignment I am allowing my students to have more creative ideas, and hopefully give them many different ways to complete the same assignment.
This past year while I was doing my pre internship in a grade 4/5 class I had to teach geometry. So as a culminating project I had my students make a Geometry Treasure hunt around the school. The students were in small groups and had to pick shapes from around the school and count steps to it. After they had found 4 or 5 different shapes they could get there treasure hunt looked at by a teacher. If everything was ok, they were able to take out the digital cameras and take pictures of the shapes they saw. They were then able to write/print out the directions and the pictures and send one of the other groups on their treasure hunt. The students loved it and I ended up making a book of all of the treasure hunts to leave in the classroom, as I had students who were asking to be able to do them all. I know this is just a small form of technology, but it is a simple way for students to become involved in their own learning as well as the learning of others.
I guess I am hoping to get lots of ideas from this wiki that I created. I am hoping there are more teachers like me who are wanting to incorporate more technology into their teaching.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Well I may have found a solution to my own problem (re: peer editing online). I was reading a post by Jo McLeay on global colaboration. She is hoping to start a English language arts collaboration with classrooms in other parts of the world. She is hoping to set up something on Ning, which is a social network. Now I am a little leary about social networks, but maybe this is just because I don't know enough about them. I think of facebook and myspaces a social networks, althought this one sounds like you can have a special group. Again I need to learn more. Jo also refered to a wiki that is very similar to her idea that is already up and running. A thousand and one flat world tales, this wiki can be used by students ages 11 and up. This wiki is currently being used by classrooms in Seoul, Korea, Denver, CO. and Hawaii. The idea behind this wiki is that students can post stories, they are edited by their peers (which includes the students from classrooms around the world), and they get graded on their story but also how well they can give useful feedback to their peers. It looks like everything is monitored by their teachers.
I would love to do something like this with my grade 7 class in the fall. I have already emailed my cooperative teacher to find out if this is something she would be interested in too, before I go too far with it.
But who know a little exploration of my RSS feeds would lead me to a solution for my own problem.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Making a Wiki

Well I can say that I am new to this assignment. I have never been involved in making a wiki before and I can honestly say I don't know when I would have looked at one (beyond wikipedia). I did get quite excited on Wednesday when we were talking about our assignment in which we make a collaborative wiki with a few people in our class as well as some from a masters class a Plymoth State university. We came up with some really neat ideas to possibly work on together. I am really intersted in looking at ways of introducing technology into certain subject with in K-8. Talking with Kyle on monday really got me thinking of different ways I could do this project. Kyle has made wiki's before which also makes me feel a little bit more comforatable as he would know what to do. I am sure I would catch on quickly it is just that safety factor when it comes to school work.
I myself am really intersted in science and would love to find neat ways to incorporate techology in my classroom.
I just thought I would post some sites that I have found that are relevant to technology with in a science classroom based on the evergreen curriculum.

Rube Golberg assignments- structure and design or forces and motion, machines and work

Ecological foot print- Sk resources, renewable resources, energy in our lives, Earth

I will keep adding to this as I find more pages.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Photo Story

Well for a class assignment we were asked to do some digital story telling. I descided to used Photo Story for this assignment. I am familiar with imovie and I thought this might be similar. It was and it wasn't. This application seems to be strictly for photos (which is something schools would have more of anyway), so it was different trying to edit it. I was able to navigate through it pretty easily, and it didn't take too long to complete it. I ran into a few problems though: creating blank, non-picture slides for a title or subtitles, so I had to go into paint and save what I wanted and add that to the story. Also when it came to recording I discovered that you couldn't narriate the entire story, you could only narriate one picture at a time. I had originally wanted narriation over some music, but that turned out to be difficult as I had to add my narriation as music, once I recorded it on the computers sound recorder. It is an interesting application and I could see where you could use in school or for familly photos. I will keep looking into how to solve the music and narriation problem.
But in the mean time check out what I have done so far!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Peer editing online

When I was first told about the possibility of peer editing online I was really excited about it. Since I am going into a grade 7 class for my internship I am really excited to try new and different techniques to get the students excited about their work. Dean had mentioned a site called FanFiction, so I checked it out to see if it would be something that might be possible to get my students involved with. I thought this would be a great idea based on the idea that some students may not be excited to just write for themselves, you or their classmates. By posting it online they may look at their ELA writing as something with a little more importance (or at least that is my hope). Unfortunately on that site you have to be 13 or older to sign up. I tried looking at a few more sites: Fiction Alley, Fiction Press, and My fandoms, but all of these sites have a age 13 or older restriction. So the search continues to see if there is any public peer editing tool out there for students who are under 13.