Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 19

This is my last official blog. I found learning about assistive technology interesting today. I liked the demonstration of Kurzweil and intellitools interesting. I can see how these technologies might help many students, not just those with documented disabilities. Some learners are more oral, and they would find the oral reading of text very helpful. I think as the price of Kurzweil and other assistive technologies comes down, and the more available it can be to all students, the better. The more inclusive we can be as educators, and the more we can offer a variety of learning modes to each student, the more effective we can be as teachers.

However, as our instructor pointed out, students still have to perform on high-stakes tests which are not offered in alternate modes. So, on the one hand, the trend in education is "accountability" through single, tradition verbal/logical tests, and on the other hand, we are encouraged to promote learning through a variety of modes. Hmmmmm. There is definitely a disconnect here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18

Today we discussed a variety of topics relating to technology in the news. There are so many issues regarding freedom vs. protection of citizens. Of course, I want us to have free access to the internet and a free exchange of ideas. However, there are so many issues regarding safety, especially for kids: cyberbullying, Myspace, e-mail. Unscrupulous people can find our children's physical location through their URL. That's so scary. Education is the key. What's really scary is how little education our kids are getting because so many teachers and parents are uneducated about technology. I know how hard it is to learn new technology, but I feel as a parent and an educator, I am obligated to do so.

On the other hand, there are people who have been arrested in Egypt for expressing their political views on their blogs. People should be able to express their views openly. That's the beauty and benefit of the internet. As long as the person is not directly harming someone, he should be able to express his ideas. We read an article about a 14 year old girl here in the U.S. who attempted to videotape a town board meeting, but was prohibited from doing so. Why? If that is a public meeting, shouldn't she be able to put it on her website so others can view and hear it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 17, 2007

Today's emerging technology presentations were interesting. I am really looking forward to playing with Inspiration tomorrow. I have used it a little bit, but I'd like to become more adept at using this software. I think it's very useful for my students because many of them are visual learners.

On another topic, I am interested in learning about podcasting. I have to admit I have never downloaded a podcast. Perhaps I will do so this week! I have a question about podcasting. How does podcast differ from on-line radio? Do they both use the same technology?

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16

Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments! Preparing the PowerPoint presentation for today was not quite as challenging as doing the first one last week. After I completed my research and wrote my basic information, I only needed two hours (instead of four last week) to format the slides, choose the background, do the animation, etc. Thanks to Rachel, who posted some web sites with info on apa documentation, I figured out how to do my Bibliography in apa form. That was easy! I am now feeling more comfortable with blogging, using PowerPoint, using Blackboard, and just generally trying things technological.
I was so excited to learn about various emerging technologies from my peers today. You all did such great work. I was particularly taken with the digital storytelling presentation that Cindy did. Wow--the creative possibilities of that medium are endless! I think I will take the digital storytelling class next summer. I was so excited just to be able to follow and understand most of the presentations. I am very pleased to understand terms such as "open source" and "closed source" programs. Professor Luch, you are converting me slowly away from being a techno-phobe.

Friday, July 13, 2007

July 13

Today, I am feeling a little more confident, but I am definitely still challenged.

I am concerned about citations for my PowerPoint about Blackboard. Which stuff do I need to cite? How do I use the apa format in general? How do I use the apa format in a PowerPoint presentation? I am going to read Rachel's blog because I understand she has a link there to information about apa citations.

I am working on learning more about Blackboard for my Powerpoint presentation on an emerging technology. I have been using Blackboard for about three years, and each year I have done a little bit more. I am confident in using Blackboard as an on-line bulletin board, but other functions are more challenging, and I am learning more about how to use these. This project is a good opportunity for me to learn more functions.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

July 12, 2007

I still feel like a fish out of water posting on my blog, furling, doing powerpoint, doing a webquest, designing a website. However, I am forcing myself to do these tasks anyway. When I am lost, I just ask. Even though I have had to ask the same question three or four times, I am determined to keep at these tasks until I learn them and don't have to ask how to do them each time. I can't expect myself to be comfortable with emerging technology, but I can expect myself to keep trying, keep learning, and do the best I can.
Today we worked on designing our websites. I didn't get beyond a very basic website, but I did do it. I am fortunate because DCC where I teach has websites for all the faculty. I just have to find out how to modify mine. I hope to do that over the next week.
I do have a question. We will be doing a PowerPoint on Emerging Technology for Monday, I believe. I am not sure which emerging technology I should learn about. Does anyone have suggestions?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11, 2007

It's day three of our course. Again, I am feeling challenged, but hopefully not overwhelmed. We are now going to do a webquest. If I can access the set of lessons I created last semester for my English 91 students to respond to and write about a poem, I will revise that into a webquest, where they can search for information about the particular author and poem. Doing the structure of the webquest and finding the sites will be a challenge, but I think I can do this. It will be a bigger challenge for me to format the webquest onto powerpoint.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thoughts on July 10, 2007

Today was our second day of class. I am feeling quite challenged by learning to "blog" and "furl." I am definitely out of my comfort zone, but I think it is good for me to experience this feeling. It reminds me how my students must feel when they struggle to understand the concepts I am presenting to them. I appreciate our professor's patience and understanding a great deal! I was excited to read so many interesting articles on the web today. I am glad we learned to "furl" these, as I usually have trouble remembering where to find good stuff. Furling seems like a good way of organizing electronic material. One of the most useful websites I found was a great resource on grammar and composition, where my students can go for additional information on a specific topic such as run-on sentences or outlining. One of my goals for this summer was to make better use of my blackboard courses, and one way I think I will do this is by adding links to my blackboard pages for my students' use.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Future Education

Here is a quote and my responses from 2020Visions. 2020Visions.pdf ( The context is a retiring teacher is looking back at her career and talking about herself as a teacher in 2025:

"My world and my role today as a teacher is
very different from what you describe. I’ve
been trained as a facilitator of information and
critical thinking, I rarely lecture."

I also see myself as a facilitator of information and critical thinking. I also rarely lecture in the classroom. I believe in preparing before class, structuring a lesson, and then getting students started to work individually, in pairs, in groups, etc.

"And, the Internet is for me not just a collection of facts,
but a living organism of ideas and experimental
opportunity. Knowledge and understanding are
derived from countless exchanges of information
and collaborative explorations of concepts and
experiments involving sources around the globe"

Use of technology is where I am much less adept. Though I can research on the internet and screen information effectively, and though I have used some basic technology in the classroom, I have not used technology and the internet as much and as effectively as I would like in the classroom. That's why I am taking this class.