Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reflection Classroom 2.0

Classroom 2.0 is more or less a social website for educators to gather together, share thoughts, ideas, and build relationships with one another.  The thought and power behind a tool like this is brilliant because collaboration is a key thing to the evolving of education and education has to evolve to keep up with the changing needs of the students.  Allowing the teachers to collaborate and share or vent with one another brings reasonable solutions to problems and also allows the educators to communicate with others who can relate to their positions in education. This kind of social networking has been used in the public setting with our students and this is just another way for us to relate to our students on a different level and use a technological tool similar to what they use  in a productive way. I think this a great tool and is one that I will probably make myself a part of in the future.

Edu Techer

Edu Techer is a great resource that allows teachers to view links specific to their own areas of interest and for grade levels they want to look at. It has lists of live podcasts and conferences that teachers can listen in on in learn new ideas that would be great additions to the classroom. The website also provides blogs and testimonials from users that provides resources, new information, and advice that could really help in the classroom. So what does this mean for me as a teacher? It means that sites like this can provide me with whatever tool I will need to be successful in my classroom. If I am struggling with ideas for a lesson, or how to implement technology into a lesson I can go to this website and probably find a link or blog or podcast that is going to relate to what it is I am wanting help with. What an awesome too to have at our disposal.

Kan-ed Reflection

I think the website Kan-ed is a great resource for teachers in Kansas to be able to access and gain and share knowledge and resources.  There are so many great things that this site has to offer both new teachers and those that have been practicing in the field for years. I can not believe the amount of resources this site has to offer. You can scroll through pages of resources and hyper-links and find all sorts of information that could be used in the classroom or used as references and ideas for the lessons you are coming up with. Having a seemingly endless source of resources and tools at hand is a very comforting thing to me because I can learn and gain confidence through what all of these other educators have collaborated with together and placed on the internet for all the rest of us educators to use and learn from. What a great tool to have.  

Reflection #8:Learning in Hand Podcast #23: Collecting & Organizing Voice Memos

This week I checked back in with Tony Vincent and listened to his podcast on collecting and organizing voice memos. This episode was very similar to the last podcast I checked into on recording and posting podcasts via the iPod touch and in fact the steps in the process are very similar. The thing I liked about this was that keeping voice memos is less formal then making a podcast and doesn't require the user to set up an RSS feed or have pictures or video. It is just what it sounds, a voice memo.  These voice memos can be uploaded to iTunes and listened to on the work station by the teacher or other students but it has to be done either from the iPod or the exact workstation it was uploaded too. A simple solution to this problem is uploading the memo to Posterous just as we did in the podcast from the last reflection.  I feel that this could be a good tool for the teacher to use, especially if posterous is involved because the teacher can leave memos for the students to follow or serve as reminders for assignments without having to constantly do the reminding.  Once again, another unique concept and one I would like to look further into on my own.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reflection 7: Learning in Hand Podcast #21: Podcast from iPod touch

For my latest blog post I decided to go back to Tony Vincents website and listen in to a few more of his Learning in Hands Podcasts. I found the "Podcast from iPod touch" to be particularly interesting because of its relevance to what we recently did in class in creating our own podcasts via GarageBand on the Mac computers. To this point I thought that was the only one of few ways to do such a thing and was pleasantly surprised to find that you could do the same by using an Ipod touch and a website called Posterous. One key note that Tony made was that the Ipods do not come with built in mics so those would need to be purchased, unless you have the newest generation 32 or 64 bit version because the headphones have mics built in. With that said, you create the podcast the same way you would by recording whatever tid bit you want to and then you add the podcast to Posterous. The cool thing about Posterous is that it has privacy setting so that only certain people can see the podcast whether that be a teacher or certain people in a group. Whomever you choose the settings to allow to view it. I really like this feature because it creates a safe environment for the students to voice their opinions or to be able to create something and not worry about the judgment of their peers. This could be a great tool to use in the classroom because it is so easy to have the students make a podcast reflection over what was done in class, upload to Posterous and then the teacher can go through and review all of the uploads without having to sort through them and can listen to all of them through iTunes, not at just the computer they students were docked at. Another option would be the teacher using this as a tool to go over homework assignments or talk about the class and give them all a way to listen to what needs to be said through podcasts. This is the kind of technology I could really see being implemented in my classroom because it makes things easier on both the teacher and the student, and it is good change of pace from the usual type of school work. This is something I definitely want to try using in the future.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Podcast Reflection #6: Kicking it Up a Notch, Games in Education

For this podcast I decided to switch gears and visited the K12 Online Conference and found a podcast by Sylvia Martinez discussing the use of games in the classroom. She started out the podcast by discussing how games have been used to educate living mammals since the start of time and that schools were the relatively new phenomena on the block.  To explain this she highlighted animals such as lions who use games to teach their cubs survival skills. So, that made sense.  So games are a way that we naturally learn skills, but, as she highlighted in her podcast, they are not all skills that go along with classroom education.  So what is important and what is the right way to go about tackling the issue? Mrs. Martinez discusses about the use of COTS, Commercial Off the Shelf games, to add life lessons into the classroom lessons by using games that anyone can by.  One of the games she mentioned was a Sims City because it can highlight many real world situations to the kids.  She went on to say that with the game play, teacher lead discussion also needs to be present to make sure they are understand the educational purpose in the time spent with the game and not seeing it as just a fun alternative.  Lastly, she suggested game design. Allowing the students to design their own computer based games highlights many things they learn in the classroom and also implements teamwork and problem solving skills.  While I agree with much of what Mrs. Martinez discusses throughout her podcast I still remain somewhat skeptical to the idea of the COTS type games being used in the classroom.  When I was a student that would have been more of a distraction from the learning I was supposed to be doing then it would have been an aid to reinforce what I had learned.  Rather then games, I think I will stick to hands on reinforcement of my learning and recommend games to my students for out class time to help further stimulate the growth of an idea.