Accidentes Geográficos

Friday, July 2, 2010

Reflections after Post # 11

When I attended the i-pod class from the district, we ran into several glitches that were time-consuming. Updating to the new i-tune version took forever. Then some computers had additional issues. Downloading the apps wasn't quick either. Like any type of technology, time and version upgrades were also factors. In the SBISD apps list, I found information that was already not valid, like a youtube that had already been removed by the user. It was not easy (not obvious to me), to replace my old i-tunes icon on the computer for the new one. But I got through it although it took time (again, my two left feet). The classroom is not immune to these unforseen down times.

Favorite tools: I liked Wordle and digital story. I think I would use both for students to work on habitats. Wordle to create a list of vocabulary words and a digital story to show their understanding of a specific habitat including flora, fauna and the climactic conditions that make the combination possible.

Transfomed thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom:
Technology is an instrument for apps that we use in our daily lives for work or for personal use. Issues like battery life, internet access, viruses, response time, compatibility between versions upgrades and prior versions, slow response time, time out, error conditions, they are all glitches that we have to live with. It can easily frustrate the newbie. It is the cost of technology. Yes, we will have times when it won't be available for one reason or another, but there will be many more times when things will run smoothly and it will save us time through the use of a different learning modality.

For instance, when someone thinks understanding of an app has set in, a revised version without the look and feel of the old one appears. The floppy disks, the diskettes, the large, bulky computers are all history. Digital has replaced analog. Digital has replaced traditional film negatives. And we continue to evolve and adapt as we have done over the centuries. This is an important message for our students. Exposing them to the i-pod/i-pad/Apple and the Dell laptops is no longer a nice to do, but a must do.

Unexpected outcomes from this program:
While working on the individual items, I kept being remined of the article "The Most Daring Education Reform of All" (Diana Senechal, Spring 2010 issue - American Educator) which covered in depth and found it very enlightening. The author warns against the danger of throwing out the old to replace it with the new, "While some of these ideas, taken in moderation, have the potential to enhance a curriculum, reformers have often carried them to extremes, forsaking intellectual study in the name of 'real life'."

As teachers, it is our responsibility to develop many skills like the ones in 11Tools while continuing to develop problem solving, task analysis, evaluating and sythesizing skills. Over the decades, there have been several movements to transform education. We are currently going through the 21st century movement driven in great part by the advancement in technology. But it is up to the teachers in the classrooms to assess the need for technology as opposed to paper/pencil/brain work in a given subject/assignment.

In some cases, the technology is an integral part, and in others, it may be a distractor. It is not an easy task to discern sometimes what to choose. When all is said and done, it boils down to being able to create a in an informed manner. It will take time, but I think it can and needs to be done. Just like applications we learned a year, two years, a decade ago and are now obsolete, the same will be experienced by todays' students. The important skill here is getting them used to the ever changing environment (technology and otherwise) and creating a thinking population that can take what they learned and extrapolate from it into the new. The key is not quantity, but quality and depth of teaching. Technology is here to stay and will either help or hinder any learning, depending on how it is used.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"11 Tools" Post #11 - digital citizenship

When using any type of technology, students need to be aware of certain rules and procedures to follow.

1. The most important one for me to convey to students would be, as would be for anything else including supplies and textbooks, respect for the equipment. Treat the equipment carefully as if it was your own. Return it to the place where you got it from and make sure you place it exactly the way you found it. I would have the students share times when someone took something of theirs and returned it broken or lost it. How did they feel about it? I would ask questions like, how much do you think this cost to replace? Do you think it could be replaced if there was no more money? Who would it end up affecting? I would have them put together a rule that they think they can live with to insure the equipment is used carefully.

2. Information posted may not always be accurate or true. I would ask students for ways to check out their source. (Look at more than one source. Compare to published information if needed.) Why is this important? To be able to make informed decisions. I

3. Be authentic. Like any written form, it is OK to read and learn from it and even model the style. Great artists modelled each other (the modernists, the cubists, etc.), but do not copy verbatim other people's work. You can paraphrase or quote. But copying and taking credit for others work is not only plagiarism, it is lso illegal. I will ask them what they think could happen to them and how do people find out if they did plagiarize. They will become aware that there are apps to detect plagiarism and laws in place.

And I have one more item that I feel is necessary to discuss with the students.

4. Safety. Be careful what you post. Be careful who you grant access to your information. It is important how you word what you write. Good manners are important no matter what the media. I would elicit examples from students of what they would think would be inapropriate to post for public access and what are the dangers they see. We would then create a chart so that they are constantly reminded of what is and what is not appropriate and the reasoning behind.

"11 Tools" Post #10

I attended a district session on i-pods conducted an Apple rep. I enjoyed downloading an app for a museum site that offered many printable forms and information about course material. The map and weather apps are also very neat. I typed in our school address and used my fingertips to zoom in and zoom out. For weather, I checked out the current weather in Bordeaux, France and in Panama, Rep. of Panama. I can see students tying in temperature in different cities/countries to their location on earth (latitute and longitude). The i-pod is much smaller than a laptop and fits easily in the student's palm. Fingertip versus keyboard. Mmmmm.

One app I found would serve the students well for vocabulary and spelling, was Hangman. I liked the comments I read on this app.

The email app is a nice feature. I was wowed by the ease of use, zooming in and out on a friend's one. If extensive text is not going to be written, it would definitely be a very good app. I checked out a few comments by users. I found they mostly use i-pods for mail, music, and games. But then, games can have an educational objective tied to them. My son uses his mostly for music and prefers his laptop for other applications. Must be because of the size of the screen.

In the classroom I would include apps in social studies (states and capitals, identifying landforms), math (working with shapes, apps for specific skills like addition, subtraction) and grammar constructs (identifying certain parts of speech, and access/reading of good writing). I can see all kinds of special ed uses, especially with pictures and menu screens.

Possible issues I would have with the use of technology would be the easy way students can cut and copy information (plagiarizing), the ability of the i-pod to only display on the projector movies and slideshows, and the current inability to project the i-pod screen itself to show the navigation process.

"11 Tools" Post #9 Jing & Skype

How the screencast could help students and how you might have students use Jing.

When I look at all the new and improved technology that is out there for free, I think back to The Jetsons and instant visual communication from the home and the car (skymobile). I wish the writers of that show had thought up some episodes inside the classroom. I think screencast is a very good tool to help students capture images to add to their work. It reminds me of the camera feature in ActivInspire. It surely beats printing out an image and then scanning it to a jpeg file to import into a document, very time-consuming steps that I had myself gone through in the past. So glad technology keeps improving.

Skype with students and sharing across the district, the state, the nation, or the world!

I believe that Skype can help students from different schools, districts, states, countries to communicate and share in their learning. My son is working on a project at the University of Texas retrofitting the telescope at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas, and he doesn't have to actually go to the site or be face to face for meetings. Technology makes this all possible.

My husband teaches a globalization class at the university level. This is an online class where a number of professors in different universities and different countries co-teach. The students are also from different universities in different countries. The course was created both in English and Spanish and there were students from 9 countries signed up spanning several time zones all the way to the Phillipines, Europe, North and South America. Videos were created, synchonous and asynchronous communication was included.

As the technology improves and the communication becomes more available, students will have the opportunity to engage in conversation, presentations, and research even outside of the classroom walls without leaving the classroom. This reminds me of the ad where students in Middle America teleconference with students in a classroom across the world. I can't even remember what the ad is about. I was in awe of how far technology has been able to take us.

I have watched my son communicate with a friend of his that was studying in Japan at least 3 or so years ago. It was real time and reminds me of the newest version of the i-phones that just came out. I think the only thing you have to be aware of is the lighting and the directionality of the camera. Having a headset was also important for clarity.

In the case of our students, I would like for them to be able to communicate through Skype with students of other countries to discuss things like specific types of habitats or fauna abroad. One issue to be considered is the other group's accessibility to the technology and internet availability.

"11 Tools" Post #8

Videos can be used to introduce or summarize a concept in the classroom. It helps with visualization (tie words with pictures) and is one more learning modality for the student. Some students need to have more exposure from all angles to a concept in order to retain the information.

1. I chose this video in youtube because it addresses landforms at a higher vocabulary level in Spanish so that the students can be, if not necessarily remember verbatim, at least exposed. Over time, meaning should set in.

2. From Discovery Learning, this video about George Washington Carver reinforces the student's L2 vocabulalry. Mr. Carver is part of the list of famous people in the social studies curriculum. Through him, some facts about plants and soil rotation (science) is introduced as well as how peanut became another cash crop after cotton. While we study and discuss Mr. Carver in L1(Spanish) during social studies , the L2(English) vocabulary enrichment takes place during language arts. The study of this character is a criss-crosses severa subjects (social studies, science, and language arts).

PhotoStory - Math in stories