Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wise Up about Wiki

Paula White's video about how wiki spaces can be used in the classroom to promote learning was extremely informative! She talked about the numerous ways that students could post their thoughts and questions about subjects covered in class as well as subjects that interested them. Parallel Play or Collaboration showed several pages that Mrs. White and her students had created on a very wide range of topics. I learned from this video that these Wiki pages can be used for entertainment, education, questions, critiquing, and almost any topic under the sun! Mrs. White's knowledge of such resources is very impressive and these tools can benefit teachers and students alike.

Because the video was blurry I was very glad that access to Mrs. White's
supporting wiki, WikiThink, was available. Her site offered a ton of information about Wiki's, how they work, and the possibilities they offer. I can connect with this video because many times I have tried to use a new type of technology and felt kind of overwhelmed because I didn't know what all I could do. Mrs. White offered so many possibilities with Wiki that it would almost be hard to find topics to blog about or ideas. Often times one person can come up with a problem or solution that no other person could come up with and I think Wiki is a good site to truly collaborate the voices of several people into one page.

In my own classroom I hope to offer students access to the pages of others and opportunities to create their own pages to share what they've learned, what they are passionate about, and questions they have. I always feel hindered with technology since I will be working with such a young age group but I think that my students will become excited about what they are sharing and learning if they can use Wiki pages since this is often viewed as a grown up tool. It could also be fun for students to work with their parents to create pages or responses on Wiki so that students can not only build on their knowledge but so that parents can have a sense of involvement and a knowledge of what their child is learning. Wiki as well as many other parallel play and collaboration sites have so many possibilities and potential. I hope to share these aspects with others and learn from other teachers as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'll Get You Digital Learners! & Your Little Blogs Too!!

This video provided so many useful tools that it was kind of overwhelming! The video was about some children and a librarian who needed help doing various things that all had to do with sharing or gathering information online. The Wizard of Apps in my opinion offered all the helpful tools that anyone could ever ask for but was a little bit boring. If it wasn't for the slide show that corresponded to the video I would have been completely lost. The new tools workshop is a very helpful idea as well that made the ideas in the video a little easier to grasp since it provided access to the apps discussed. I guess that my most significant take away would be that when you're gathering, sharing, or organizing information from the web you should never be overwhelmed because the best tools are definitely out there, you just have to know where to look.

I loved the idea of a parody of the Wizard of Oz to make a movie about all the applications available for students to use while learning but I felt that the video was entirely too long. I found that I looked forward to the "wizard" portion of the movie and really dreaded the "slide show" portion because the film was so long. In fact, this is the only video that we have watched in this class that I didn't enjoy. I actually noticed that I had to force myself to pay attention through much of it where I hadn't ever had to do that with previous videos in this class. I think the information presented in the video was extremely important and the Wizard of Oz theme was was an excellent idea. I just feel that maybe the information could have been cut down a little to keep the viewer engaged.

I hope that in my own classroom I can present my students with tools, widgets, and applications to help them get as much out of technology as possible. My students will be very very young and I'm not sure that I can offer them as much help as older children because they won't have as many problems with presenting information and filtering through information online but I hope to offer help with everything I can. Classroom blogs are a great way to share helpful sites and tools with parents as well as students. I will try to keep my classroom blog and personal teacher site always up to date with the latest tools and tips to keep even young children safe and their experiences online effective ones. If these lessons can be learned at an early age they can be built upon over a lifetime.

Digital footprints have recently been an interest of mine because I knew so little about them in the past. I picked the site
Pipl that was introduced in the video to check out and work on a little. I searched myself as well as some of my friends. I found that the site went much deeper than a simple Google search and turned up some things that were very interesting. I'm happy to report that I found a clean digital footprint under my personal search and even happier that I had the opportunity to learn more about how everything done online and all the personal information given can show up somewhere so everyone needs to be careful.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Digital Everything!

The DigiTeen video explained how teenagers all over the world can learn, share knowledge and inform others about the digital world. The video clips covered everything from teens making their own videos to talk about the dangers of shopping online to informative clips about the dangers of driving and texting to teens talking about what they learned. Students created wiki characters to interact with each other, interviewed classmates about what they had learned, and created videos to share information about how pictures are stolen online. The video not only taught me about some issues that I didn't know about but it also showed me a world where teens can exchange information. I think Digital Citizenship by Digital Teenagers is an awesome idea who's possibilities are endless!

I'm sad to say that I have never experienced anything like this personally. I feel both lucky and unlucky because the digital world can enhance education so much by presenting knowledge in tons of new ways but I'm also glad I didn't have to worry about things such as cyber bullying or online predators because by the time I had access to these things I was already pretty old. I think that being a digital citizen can teach children not only about academic subjects, but about dangers and advantages of learning online. It is important in today's world for students to be able to use technology not only for entertainment but to learn, explore, share and communicate with others. Digiteens can share so much and learn so much at the same time!

I hope to implement he ideas from this video into my own classroom as much as possible. This could be difficult since I will be working with very early aged students who probably won't have to knowledge to do most of the things that the students in the video did but technology can be implemented anywhere. I hope that I can teach my students at an early age that they can use the digital world to learn anything they want to know. I also want to teach them the correct ways to find information and how to be safe when doing anything online. I thought the video offered great ideas and insight into the world of technology and all the possibilities for today's teen.

Loving Learning

This video taught me about the various ways that students can learn and engage in learning by doing the things they love. Project learning was not only the video's title but also a theme in which educators and getting student involved and excited about ideas and concepts. I learned from watching the video that the more students feel involved in what they are learning the more information they will retain. Everything from building robots to designing blueprints to doing scientific experiments was used to show children of all ages that the things they learn in class can be used later in life and can often be used in ways that are interesting and fascinating. Every child interviewed was very excited about what they were learning.

When I was in 4th grade we were able to do many projects about things we were learning. This is just one of the many reasons that 4th grade was by far my favorite grade. My teacher was truly concerned not only about our educations but about every student she had as an individual. I knew even as a 9 year old that she wanted us to enjoy what we were learning as well as build knowledge. We created our own volcanoes, made robots, traveled to Hawaii (in our imaginations), created crystals, and tons of other things! The excitement that the students in the video had for their projects and educations didn't come as a surprise to me at all because I knew first hand what a drastic difference project learning could do to a child's attitude.

Hands on activities and project learning are something that have always been very important to me as a future teacher but even more so now that I've got a glimpse of how they've effected students around the world. I want to implement as many projects into my own classroom as possible. This will be easy to do since I hope to be a kindergarten teacher and my students will need a lot of activity time anyway. I feel that true learning will only happen when a child is excited about a lesson and the best way to do that is to get their minds working on a project.

Greatest Gift! :)

The Greatest Gift of all to me!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stereortype Slaves

I chose to view and comment a video by a student named Alix titled: Slaves of Stereotypes? The Modern World and Gender. This video was about the ways that stereotypes affect us everyday. Stereotypes not only shape the ways that we view others but they sometimes confine us to how we present ourselves. The video was excellent in my opinion! Alix used good music, graphics, and words to convey the message in a way that wasn't too flashy but still caught my attention. I could tell that the video idea as well as production took some major thought and work.

I can understand why Alix felt that this message was so important because too often I find myself judging others based on stereotypes. I wish that I didn't do this but I know that in our society it is so easy to do. I also find that I make decisions on what I wear, eat, listen to, and say based on stereotypes that I do or do not want to be associated with. I feel that Alix's video would be and excellent video for middle school or high school age students to get them thinking about stepping out of stereotypical boundaries in their schools as well as in their adult lives. This would be a good video to show to adults as well.

I hope that in my own classroom I can encourage my students to look outside the box of stereotypes and focus more on who a person is rather than which catagories they fall into. Learning lessons like this can help students throughout their entire lives. I would love to use this video in my classroom although it would be tough for most elementary school students to follow. I hope my students always feel that they are learning in a judgement free zone in my classroom and that thinking beyond things such as stereotypes is what will help them learn the most.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Leading His School, Family, and Friends: Luis

Luis is a high school student who uses his knowledge of technology to interact with and help others. His parents were born in Mexico and don't speak English so he is also able to use his capabilities to help them do all kinds of things that they might not be able to do without him. He also works with his fellow students to create movies and various projects for school. Luis realizes that he knows about things that not everyone else does and he has a passion for sharing his knowledge and ideas with everyone around him. He showed that he could lead in many situations and help others succeed along with him.

I can relate to this video because I am a first generation college student just a Luis hopes to be. It is very important to me, as well as anyone who has a skill that their parents do not, that I teach my parents everything I can. Obviously Luis is able to share much more with his family, but even simple things like telling my parents what I learned in school to showing my dad how to find clips of his favorite sports team are huge to parents and their children. I also thought that it was great that Luis used his love of YouTube and knowledge of making video clips to interact with and entertain his younger brother. He seemed to be able to implement a little technology into everything he did.

Its extemely important for parents such as Luis' to feel that they are a part of their children's education. Newsleters, conferences, and home visits are ideas that I feel will help the parents of my future students not only feel better connected but also learn some things as well. I will also try to let children such as Luis express their creativity with technology as well as their drive to share with others in my classroom. I also thought it was interesting that Luis got to travel to share some of his ideas as well and I hope to provide opportunites such as this for my students whenever possible.