Thursday, July 26, 2007

Final Reflection

Final Reflection:

The process of reflection has always been a difficult for me. Like many other people, the process of reflection is not naturally in my nature. I often focus on what I have to do, sparsely stopping to smell the roses. Of the more important things I think I have learned this semester is that reflection is not as cumbersome as I originally thought. The use of blogs really may be the easiest thing a person can do on any given day. Just a few lines of type, whether they relate to work, graduate school, or personal things allows a person to remember the little things we forget each day. To store that ten percent of your brain in one convenient, electronic place makes referencing it as simple as it was to write. The education value of blogs leads me to believe that in the near future blogging will be an everyday activity for all students grades 1- 12. Perhaps multiple times a day for each subject in the school day.
I am little embarrassed to admit that when I first registered for the course I did not know what authoring tools were. I did however look them up on google shortly before the class began. Again I learned that something that I perceived as difficult really was not. My notion of building websites was stuck in a time zone somewhere around 1996 when people had to manually write code for the site and pages. I do think of myself as a little foolish not to realize that new software has been developed in the last decade to make the process easy.
As I familiarized myself with what authoring tools I began to search out what authoring tool was available to me that was the easiest to use. Iweb what is included free on my laptop and is by far one of the easiest programs I have every worked with. Once I had built some practice websites, I began reading in great detail the Horton textbook for the course. I learned about e-learning and immediately began fascinated with it. Being an Industrial Arts person I love combing multiple forms of technology. Being a teacher I love the idea of taking two unrelated subjects and combining them. With e-learning I see an excellent opportunity to combing authoring tools with the machines of my woodshop. Having students document their woodshop projects on the Internet is an excellent way to harness e-learning and allow my students higher technological insight. While researching current use of educational technology I realized that this is the direction I want to take my department over the next five years.
It appears to me that certain topics will be popular for debate for a long time in education. These topic many of which I research for assignment one included blogging, multimedia, technology, charter schools, and student assessment. Student assessment is one that is particularly important to me as have mentioned many times on the discussion board that my school is implementing a digital portfolio graduation requirement. I do believe that the administration at my school has done a very good job updating our technology. I believe that we will have to install a LAN server to ensure that the school can hold students to account for this graduation requirement. I feel very lucky to be enrolled in this program at a time when technology in my district is being overhauled. I especially like having a group of peers to probe and questions as to what is taking place in their districts.
Assignment two, I was able to really organize how I believe an e- learning lesson unit should be. It appeared to be necessary to be as forthcoming as possible with our students in regards to the unit plan. By explaining what e-learning was and how students benefited we believe that would raise students’ interests. Building websites can appear complicated, buy placing all the necessary information in the proper order any student post third grade can use iWeb. One our main goals while designing our lesson plan was to have the students enjoy the lesson to the point they would want to create their own websites. That is why we included how to put audio tracks in our lesson. And finally to have any lesson grow and improve surveying the students seemed like the simplest way get valuable feedback.
All in all it is hard to some up a course in one blog entry. It always amazes me that at the beginning of course I feel capable and knowledgeable. That confidence quickly turns to panic after reading the syllabus for the first time. And finally the satisfaction of knowing that I learned a great deal in this ten-week course.

Monday, July 23, 2007

NECC Conference

It appears that there was a great deal of interesting material presented at the NECC conference this year. With so much innovation taking place in educational technology I bet everyone can find informative and applicably material for his or her classroom.
If there is one thing that will always amazes me about the Internet it would be youtube. I think the ability to easily communicate with video is most compelling reason to use the Internet daily. Once I saw youtube, I knew that in not too long of a time period there would be a teacher version. Teachertube allows educators to share educational video for purpose of effectively engaging students. I am sure that many teachers agree that when used appropriately, video is an excellent way to instruct students. Video allows teachers to show factual images that convey the exact message they want students to receive. I also think that if students are aware that the video is from teachertube, they may search out more information on their own.
Funny how with all this great communication, which can border on entertainment that companies, have now begun designing software to prevent employees from enjoying the Internet at work. According the Spectorsoft software company employees spend an estimated 45 minutes a day doing non-work related Internet searching a reading. I guess the temptation is too great for many of us. Knowing a couple people who spend the majority of their day on the Internet for non-work related material, they have told me similar stories. That they are not challenged by their job and believe that the Internet use is going undetected. One of them also just left their job I wonder if monitoring software such as that made by spectorsoft has anything to do with it.
On a more serious not, there are not many facets of education that are more important writing. Many students struggle to communicate their ideas effectively, and require substantial additional instruction to stay at pace with their classmates. is designed to allow students to practice their writing skills online after school has ended. offers guidance for the writing process, tips for topics, editor’s checklist, and an electronic portfolio to store and display student’s work. Websites like this represent the best of educational technology. Allowing all students to develop the basics has a beneficial ripple effect throughout the academic career.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Time to add more?

With assignemnt two basically wrapped up i would like to add a little more. My partner and i had i hard trying to think of the best thing to add as a supplimental to the project. Ryan had the idea to reate an example website to show what a students site should look like. At first it sounded like a meduim size, usefull addition. As usual it turned out to be quit a hastle. Putting the site together to meet the requirements took two full nights and i don't think it i my best work. Good thing it is extra for the assignemnt. Here is a link to the site.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trends in Technology Education

Technological Literacy

Of the many technological trends in education today, they all unite in an attempt help students become technologically literate. To be “Technological literate” is defined as being knowledgeable about what technology is, how it works, what purpose it can serve, and how it can be used efficiently and effectively to achieve specific goals. The first to use the term literate is this way E.D. Hirsch who coined the phrase “Cultural Literacy.” Hirsch used the term literate to describe a person with a sufficient knowledge base of cultural items making them able to function and communicate in modern society. Technology being such a driving force of America’s culture it is no surprise that now being technologically literate is very important. Modern workers rely heavily on computers, cell phones, fax machines, and PDAs to perform their daily tasks. It is often assumed that when an employee is hired that they have basic skill with working with these forms of technology.
Education must now face the call to guarantee that students entering the work force have these skills and the knowledge base to develop greater technological abilities. Institutions in general are slow to change and with the fast pace of technology education has worked hard to keep up. The National Department of Education and individual states have established standards to communicate what they believe students need to do to be technologically literate. Students who are Technologically Literate can:

1. Demonstrate a sound conceptual understanding of the nature of technology systems and view themselves as proficient user of the systems.

2. Understand and model positive, ethical us of technology in both social and personal contexts.

3. Use a variety of technology tools in effective ways to increase creative productivity.

4. Use communication tools to reach out to the world beyond the classroom and communicate ideas in a powerful ways.

5. Use technology effectively to access, evaluate, process, and synthesize information from a variety of resources.

6. Use Technology to identify and solve complex problems in real-world contexts.

It is noteworthy that all of the standards that qualify a student as being technologically literate are key skills that employers will expect young professional to have. Student based technology education will help students not only understand technology, but be able to use to apply their skills to practical work situations.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Assignment 2 Foreward

For assignment number two, we Ryan Ferber and Curt Banicki decided to prepare an encompassing lesson that includes a specific authoring tool, e- learning, with scientific lesson for a fourth grade science class. Do to the increased amounts of technology students experience in contemporary education we thought it be beneficial to explain the concept of e- learning, and a definition of what authoring tools are. Although they are may be complicated concepts, we agreed that fourth graders would not only comprehend them but also be able to determine at the end of the lesson whether e- learning added or inhibited their learning.
For our first lesson we decide to begin e- learning and authoring tools, hoping to engage the students. We also believe that since these concepts are intangible, students may require a great deal of repetition and further explanation to comprehend the assignment. During the lesson, the instructor should make sure that students demonstrate understanding of what e- learning is and what authoring tools are before moving on to what their science assignment entails. We felt that buy ending the lesson with what the scientific lesson will entail, would allow for reflection and student engagement.
Lesson two is designed to be a basic explanation of what iWeb and how a person uses it to create websites. Moving at a slow pace, students must pay attention and ask questions when a concept is not clear to them. Lesson three allows the students to work with the knowledge that they have acquired in the previous lessons. By taking baby steps we hope to make working the iWeb as enjoyable as possible. Follow the Power Point step by step students should be able to use the templates and enter basic information on the welcome page of their site.
We decided that by including other programs included in the iLife software package students might gain insight into bundled applications and how they work together. Also it is safe to assume that some percentage of the students would be familiar with iPhoto or iTunes and feel confident moving forward in an e- learning process. Lesson five is where the scientific component of the unit plan begins. Buy dividing the parts of the ocean into different web pages, we though this would help the students compartmentalize the different areas of the ocean. We also though that this would be an ideal time to let the students perform some independent research for the assignment.
Lesson six may be the most complicated of the whole unit plan. The Inspector menu of iWeb is the central nervous center of the website. The inspector menu allow you to control your website, link it to your files, and link it to other websites. In addition the students can control the text, color, and effects of their websites. The designers of iWeb have kept the program as simple as possible. The Inspector menu is where all the complicated facets of building a website are contained, and this is why we have dedicated an entire lesson to it. In order to keep students engaged and sell the fun aspect of building a website in lesson eight we decided it would be a good idea to include more media sources. Many students have iPods, are familiar with mp3 programs, and that including how to put songs on a website would peak student interest.
Lesson nine is an opportunity for students to showcase what they have put on their website. We believe that having the students make presentation will drive students to search out unique information and pictures for their websites. This is a good opportunity for student to practice public speaking.
Lesson ten consists of a survey that is designed to facilitate reflection, and classroom discussion on the students’ part, and also to help the teacher to refine the use of e- learning. We believe that using the findings of this survey may be helpful for other teachers considering new uses of educational technology.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Assignment 2

Already while working on assignment number two, my conception of the assignment has changed. I originally though it would be easy? Pretty ignorant of me I would have to say. To me the hardest part was coming up with the appropriate amount of material to present to the students. First of all teaching them what e- learning is and what authoring tool is to an elementary, middle, and high school students is dicey. That alone can take three, four, or five lessons. Than determining what material will be presented and then used for e- learning is even more complicated. We must also consider how many facets of the assignment students will perform while e- learning. How much is too much? My partner teaching fourth grade, how many facets of an assignment can they get done it ten lessons (Two Weeks)?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lan servers?

Reading through the Horton book, I am reminded of the fact my school does not have a large LAN server. We have no network for saving material and the school is planning to implement a graduation requirement for a digital portfolio. Some students will be working with imovie, as we are an Apple based school. Some will build websites to fulfill the requirement. It seems to me that in order to have this be a “ Requirement” the students are going to need a safe place to store word, PowerPoint, audio, photo and video files. I would like to know how man of classmates have LAN server like the one we need?