Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summary

WoW! I have finally done it, lol! I started, I went out of town, I had a family emergency, I had to work, I almost didn't finish, but I did it! I have learned so much about the Internet and all it has to offer. I thought I knew, but I didn't know everything there was available to us. I am so glad to have taken this course and finished it. My goal was to finish and learn something new. Boy, did I ever learn some new things, lol. There is so much to use that I don't know where to start, or how to even present this information to my team members in the fall. I guess I will just have to try a little at a time and go from there. Eventually, all teachers will be aware of Web 2.0 anyway. My favorite discovery was learning more about Flikr and Online Image generators. It took me some time to play with different sites, but I eventually figured it out and got what I wanted. I just loved learning about what all I could do with my pictures online. This course has made me more technologically aware of what is out there and available for teachers to use in the classroom. I don't think it stops here either. I knew there was new technology out there that needed to be used, but I didn't really know how to use it with my students. I only knew Promethean Boards and traditional school programs like Word, PowerPoint, etc. I also knew how to use various educational websites through another staff development that I took last summer. This technology has taken computers to a whole other level.
I was surprised by the suggestions to register for social networking sites such as, MySpace and facebook. I know that it is frowned upon on by many for the bad press it gets. I think that this course made me more aware of other ways it can be used with teachers, students, and parents. I discovered some other great networking sites through Ning, like Classroom 2.0. I really think that this course should be completed by all teachers in our district, or at least by representatives from each school. I would definitely be one of the firsts to sign up for another discovery course. This was so much fun and enlightening! I have gotten so many great ideas to motivate students and make learning fun from this course. I really enjoyed reading other teachers' blogs and being able to learn from them. I was even able to work at home in my pajamas comfortably, lol. It was great! I will definitely use del.icio.us and RSS feeds more often and add more to My Yahoo! page. As I have mentioned before, I have learned so much that has caused me to "think outside of the box". I will be doing a lot more with computers and advocating technology to my team members. I will try to collaborate with R. Brown, who also took this course, to educate others in our school about possible uses of this technology. I will look into using more websites in the computer lab and in the classroom. Hopefully, after this course, more websites will be unblocked for usage. It is difficult to get started if there are too many limitations in school. Take a look at the video I posted from You Tube on "A Vision of Students Today" It will make you think...

Thing # 23

Now that video was cute! My daughter just had to come over and see what I was doing because it had Disney characters in it, lol. Our "23 Things" blog was based on another Learning 2.0 program designed by Helene Blowers. I discovered that many school districts are doing the same thing as I did some research on Learning 2.0. It's great to know that teachers around the world are updating themselves on today's technology. Times are definitely changing and soon all teachers will be required to take this course. I am very happy to have been one of the firsts in my district to do it! =)

The Learning 2.0 program was designed by Helene Blowers, PLCMC Technology Director, with the support and assistance of several staff and is loosely based upon Stephen Abram's article, 43 Things I (or You) might want to do this year (Information Outlook - Feb 2006) and the website 43Things.

The design of this online program was completely built on Web 2.0 technologies that are freely available on the Internet. These sites include: Blogger, Flickr, Odeo, YouTube, PBWiki & Bloglines.

It is important that all teachers and students understand copyright laws. We are now in the age of cut and paste. Plagiarism is too tempting for many of our students and teachers alike. It was mentioned in the Learning 2.0 blog that many times we are "faced with declining budgets and little time". If we are going to join the age of Web 2.0, then we should definitely educate "the ethics of information gathering and sharing". C, CC, and PD should be everyday acronyms in use.

Thing # 22

The podcast I chose was the audible version of The Essential 55 by Ron Clark. I really loved this book and enjoyed listening to him speak at our district convocation a couple of years ago. He is very motivating and entertaining. I have read the whole book, but I think I would love to actually hear him read it to me in his own animated voice. This would bring the book to life! I found this podcast through Learn Out Loud. I tried out the others also. I really liked podcastdirectory. It was more organized and made more sense to me. I also liked the The Educational Podcast Network directory because it let me browse through a lot of titles to find those related to elementary school. I could even post a podcast that involves me or my students to share with others. This is definitely a useful site that I could use in the future also.

Thing # 21

I knew this would be fun! I saw the word Animoto and thought, "what am I getting into?" Is this some foreign Japanese website? I immediately thought this would be a great way to showcase some of the photos from my trip to Baltimore with my daughter. I have so many to share with family and friends. This would be a creative and fun way to email them. As I was doing this, I realized that I could have done this with all the photos from my class field trip to the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science last year. This would be neat to share with the students and their parents. I could also use this to showcase photos of the students throughout the school year. It would be like a video yearbook online! I waited forever to see the final product and in the end it was well worth it. I think students and parents would really appreciate something like this. I am so excited about trying this tool in my classroom next year!


Thing # 20

I love You Tube! I am so glad to finally have gotten to this point! I have been working so hard to get through all the stuff I didn't know and now I seem to be breezing right through the stuff I do know. =) I could be on You Tube for hours. There are so many interesting videos to find on just about any topic. You can find television clips you may have missed, or even your favorite television commercials. There are endless possibilities! I chose a video on Barak Obama because I think he is probably going to be our next president. I like what he had to say. There are lots of good videos with him on this site. It is always interesting to read the comments people write about the videos. You are also given links to similar videos to view. You tube is great!
Of course, there is bad press about the videos that you don't want to see. Just explore and look for videos that do interest you. I could find many interesting videos to use in my classroom on this site, but unfortunately, there are too many videos that should not be be available to students. If there were a way to filter this site for school use, You Tube would be a great classroom tool. Right now, I like to use PowerMediaPlus. It seems to be a great site to use and is student friendly. The school district gave training through Library Services a couple of years ago on this. I also discovered Teacher Tube while playing with this part of 23 things. It might be worth putting on my del.icio.us account.


Thing # 19

I am now a member of Kiddnation, 23thingsters, and classroom 2.0. I have always heard about Kiddnation on the radio because I listen to Kidd Kraddick every morning. This was my opportunity to check it out and see what all the talk is about. It's funny how if I got a request on Classroom 2.0 and I could also see the same request on Kiddnation. They are obviously both affiliated with Ning. I found these sites to be just as interesting as the ones I already know. However, I have come to realize that I am starting to have too many pages and it's getting to be too much work to keep up with them. For newcomers, I would register to just one or two of your favorite social networking sites and stick to those. Overall, I think I could find some uses for a social network at school. It could be used either within the district among employees or within the school among students and teachers. It would be an online community just for the school. I would have to play around with the idea some more to be sure this would work out.

Thing # 18

I have both Myspace and facebook but they are both kept private. I have been a member of both for several years. They are great to use when you move around a lot like I do. It helps me to keep up with family and friends and know more about what's going on with them these days. I also can share photos and update them on what's happening with me. Much like other homepages, you can add widgets, applications, upload photos, make collages and generate images, add feeds, you name it and it can be done. MySpace has evolved a lot over the years as it has become more popular in our culture. Our students our becoming addicted to it and using it at earlier and earlier ages! This is the main reason I keep it private to friends and family only. After reading several blogs about this topic, I think that it may be useful for teachers in the upper grades to create one for students to view. It would help them to connect with the students on a more personal level at home. They could comment on what's going on in the classroom. After all, it is what they know and if a teacher understands what they know that it is even better! There are many possibilities for this in the classroom that are untouched due to bad media about it. MySpace is not all that bad and only becomes bad when you don't know how to use it properly or know it's true intention.