Reflections

I had a great time being in this course. Looking back at my first post, I notice that I mention “closing the digital divide” as one of the main things that I’d like to see done. I think after taking this class, I will be a lot more comfortable in how I approach that divide. Learning about the myriads of different platforms we can use in the classroom not only helped me grow as a teacher, but as a technology user. I now feel confident when using apps or different types of programming that I initially did not feel comfortable with using.

I think the class overall was great. I really enjoyed the structure of each class: come in and talk for a little, then hear a lecture about a specific useful app, program, or piece of technology that can be utilized, until finally we go to our respected computers and get to work. I would definitely recommend going about future classes in this format. Also, I think the 3 hour time slot worked perfectly for a class like this.

All in all, I learned so much in this class. I feel much more comfortable using iBook Author now, as well as using screen casting to further my education career. The biggest thing I’ve learned, though, is using this blog posting website. I can definitely see myself in the future wanting to use something like this again and, because of this class, I will know how to blog correctly (and make it look so clean, with the featured picture and all).

Thanks Peter for a great class! I look forward to running into you either on campus or downtown. Take it easy, everyone!

Photo by  abdullah.khan2012, entitled “Technology”

Blended Learning

For my hypothetical “blended learning” lesson, I figured it would be essential for my students to understand how to do research while writing a long research paper for me. The learning objective would not only be to know how to type in “keywords,” or be able to simply find what they are looking for–rather, the learning objective will be for my students to fully understand the scope that the entire research process covers. They will learn what the best research tools are, the most efficient way to conduct research, and how to distinguish between “good” articles and “bad” articles.

For this hypothetical assignment, I would make a serious of “how to” videos that show how to conduct proper research. These videos will most probably be very similar to the screen casting video I made that shows how to use the UP researching websites. In addition to showing this particular video, I will giving my students videos on how to pick the correct “keywords” when conducting research, as well as a video about the difference between academic journals and journals that are not considered to be academic.

This assignment will help my students become more familiar with computer usage in regards to doing research. It will also be important because when they have to do research for other classes, they can simply refer back to all of the videos I would have made.

Picture done by Colette Cassinelli, entitled “Learning”

The Place’s Alexander Supertramp Ventured

I made a customized map showing all the places that Alexander Supertramp went as he ventured across the USA. I would use this as an actual lesson in the class I am hypothetically teaching. I think this program would be extremely useful for students that learn more through visuals, rather than me just talking directly to them. The benefits of using “My Maps” is that there can be a wide range of media included into each map: a picture, description, or even a video. This application has many uses– it can teach kids about the March to Washington, or where in the West settlers migrated to, or outline wars from a specific ancient dynasty. There are an endless amount of uses for “My Maps”.

I will definitely keep using this app. Out of all the things I’ve learned in this class, this is what I’ll take home the most. I think “My Maps” is essential to use when going on road trips or any big trip abroad. As for teaching, I think “My Maps” is a perfect way to show students the history of movement. It simply shows the entire world, which encompasses all that we ever learned from. However, this app will not help Astronomers. That is the only downside…Maybe in a couple hundred years Google will have a “My Maps” that is compatible with the universe? Just a thought.

Featured Image by: Christiano Mere, entitled “Alexander Supertramp

Newsflash: Oldschool Authors Preferred Writing About the Devil Than God. Wonder Where They Ended Up, Eh?

I would have my students use Ngram to write about trends in literature pertaining to the use of God and the Devil. They would have to differentiate between actual religious texts and literature and make assumptions on the time period based on what they find. I really like this website because it shows somewhat perfectly what was written during a certain specific time period. I am free to incorporate history in the lesson due to time being such an important thing while using Ngram. This will also help the student’s research skills immensely–for they will have to interpret information based off of the graph that Ngram shows.

One thing I do not like about Ngram is how cluttered it is when looking at the books used in the graph. I wish there was a better way to sort through each book presented. I think that a better algorithm would help student’s research immensely. Other than that, I think it is a fantastic tool for seeing what words were used during certain specific times, as well as seeing how popular they were.

I find it absolutely fascinating that the word “devil” appears more in the 19th century than the word “god”. I am not surprised by it, but still fascinated. I think if a student had little knowledge of the literature being put out during the 19th century, they would be shocked by this fact. This is why Ngram is a great tool. It combines academic research and purely satisfying facts–the kind of satisfaction one gets when mindlessly reading Wikipedia.

I hope that one day the program will be updated so that more-than-three-word-phrases can be looked at. That should be a pretty easy thing to do, right? If that were the case, then everyone would be able to be a linguist! We’d be able to look at phrases and see where they were from and how much they were used. I think it is necessary for Ngram to develop an algorithm that would allow us to do this.

**The website is not allowing me to add a picture to featured image**

Screen-Recording-English-Paper-Research-Absolutely-Wild-Fun-Tyme!

I did my screencasting assignment on showing how to do research from the UP databases. At first I wanted to do multiple videos, however that desire quickly changed. I realized how scattered that would be because doing research on the internet involves going back and forth to certain websites. So I decided to just make one long video that comes out to be roughly around 3 minutes. After a few takes, I realized how awkward I seemed to be while just being a voice while talking over a website. This was just something I had to get used to. Quicktime makes it incredibly easy due to its user-friendly-ness, so that helped out a lot.

I have learned that there is so much use in screencasting. I feel that I would have understood how to do research at UP if I just saw a ten minute video online on how to use the databases rather than going to an hour and a half class on how to research. Also, when trying to find my “embedded” code in order to put the video on this blog, I went to different videos on YouTube to see where the code was. The multiple advertisements I saw while searching for the code seemed to be all screencasted. It was here when I realized just how much everyone uses this tool. I think this is an immensely useful tool to use. I would definitely encourage teachers to know how to use screencasting because they can convey things to students via video in a much more applicable way than talking.

Here is my screencast video about doing research at UP!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Ktyoxmj1o&w=560&h=315]

Featured Image is called “Typewriter” by Charlene N Simmons

How to Satisfy Hunger by Looking at Pictures!

How does a human fulfill their hunger by looking at pictures? By looking at pictures of New Orleans cuisine of course! For this task, I pretended that I was collecting data for a presentation on New Orleans food and all that jazz (HA, get it? Jazz! Right). Anyway, I wanted to get pictures first so I went on the Flickr/creative commons search engine and started typing away. My first search was “red beans and rice” where I found a plethora of pictures that fit what I needed. Then, I searched “gumbo” and something strange happened: pictures of the food gumbo did not come up, but rather the word “gumbo” written in graffiti on random dilapidated walls. I had a hard time sifting through these, or finding an option to allow me to narrow my search result. Anyway, after enough scrolling I found an adequate picture of gumbo.

I put all of the pictures I was going to use for my hypothetical presentation on OneNote. And boy oh boy, the frustration of inept user friendliness in anything Microsoft shone through it–at least it is consistent with all other Microsoft  designs. I did not understand the purpose of such an app. Am I to take my life notes on it? Take school notes? I appreciate its function to take in pictures and how easy it is to write under them (which is how I sourced all the pictures I used), but I just don’t see its necessity when planning such projects.

I really enjoyed the internet archive search bar. I think that will be incredibly useful to students who need to find information that may be outdated or thought to be off the internet. In my opinion, all of the tools in the “digital hygiene” section are great and they are able to teach students how to properly do research. If a student is able to master all of these techniques (as well as cite the original author properly) then they will undoubtedly be able to conduct research on a project/paper that they need to complete.

All in all, I liked this exercise because it forced me to surf search engines that I would have never gone on before. I love the “digital hygiene” and think that all of the links in it are essential in teaching digital literacy.

Picture: “Char-grilled Oysters” by Robert Kawasaki

Task 1: What do I want to learn about edtech?

Technology is going to have a greater impact on education more and more as the years roll by. It is imperative for a teacher to have the knowledge to use devices/gadgets/websites/apps to better prepare their students for life after school. This is why I feel it necessary to learn the basics and beyond about technology in the classroom. First off,  I think it is essential to close the digital divide. In the two classrooms I have worked in (3rd grade and 6th grade), there have been students who had the latest version of a new phone and students who had obsolete versions of phones. To close the digital divide would not necessitate having a fundraiser to get every student on the newest, most updated form of technology, but rather to find a compatible system/app that works on all versions of their technology. For example, I would love how to show students how to use their cell phones as word processors. Since they (the 6th graders) are on their phone any chance they can get, it would behoove them to have homework where they need to write a few paragraphs using their phones. It is counterproductive to try to get students off their phone as much as possible because they are going to be on them no matter what. I believe it is crucial to find some way to use their personal technology (phone) as a method of learning in school.

I’d also like to explore the realms of collaborating digitally. My former 6th graders would have benefited immensely if they had to make a video on a YouTube channel where they spoke about the ancient Romans, teaching the class through their project. What are some different types of platforms on the web that students can use in order to teach the class about something (other than a PowerPoint)? Also, through learning about different types of platforms, I’d like to talk about “sharing” these projects with the student’s classmates. I am not too keen in online sharing and I think that would be essential to a student project.

I think (as of right now, at least) that the two most important modes of technologies in the classroom would be 1) utilizing the phone and 2) using technology for group projects. I look forward to seeing what other people think are the most important uses of technology in the classroom!