Thursday, April 29, 2010

A new beginning

Yesterday was a hectic day. It was my last day of Finals, and I spent almost a week prior to said day, studying for the two particular Finals I had to take. And wasn't it just like me, I was calm up until the Finals, through them, and even after them as I drove home content that I'd done my best.

Then I got home. Suddenly, I'm so shaky I can hardly hold anything; the shakiness continues through my congratulatory dinner and only stops when I follow it up with some chocolate Pocky sticks. Go figure--chocolate seems to be able to cure me of just about anything, except being completely wired from the lack of stress I'm facing in my post-final hours.

Which is why I still find myself awake and thinking back on this semester. It hits me that although I am finished with my classes, one class has left me with a strangely-named blog and an even stranger desire to keep it going.

So here is the first post of my "new" blog--completely assignment free and 100% me. The updates will probably be slower in coming, but I can promise they'll be more interesting than my previous ones! Thanks to everyone who stuck by me throughout my "classroom" blog, and to everyone who will continue to read now that I have more freedom about what I'm writing! 


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tools of Choice


This week was out Finals preparation week. Our assignment was actually part of our Final, in which we created two projects out of three possible options. I chose to make a flyer and a newsletter.

So What?

Using tools that we’ve learned about over the course of this semester, we were asked to create two projects that we were to save as PDF’s, and then present in front of the class on the day of our Final. I used Google Docs to create mine.

I tried using templates, but every time I would save it the document would overlap the two pages of my work (for the newsletter), so I ended up doing everything by hand. I actually ended up learning more about formatting and decorating my work doing my Finals project than I did on the original Google Docs assignment.

Now What?

All-in-all I had a lot of fun creating my Final Projects. But this “lesson” was more focused on testing us to see what we learned over the semester, as opposed to teaching us about some new program that might help us in the future. I can’t really say how it will help me in the future in reference to my co-workers, except that it has broadened my understanding of Google Docs.

It has allowed me to think on how I’d approach this assignment as a teacher, however. I think asking students to create a poster or newsletter in response to a lesson I’ve taught, is a brilliant idea, and it allows them to express their ideas and thoughts creatively. It is also a good way to see how well they understand what you’ve taught them.


I haven’t seen Schoolhouse Rock since I was very little, so this video was fun to watch. I liked how they gave visual examples of everything they sang about, and I liked how the tune changed every once in a while so the song didn’t lose its appeal. I’m not sure how the video applies to our lesson this week, but it was interesting all the same.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Videos in the classroom

We actually learned this lesson along with the vid-cast and pod-cast one. In this assignment we have to find an educational video and save it onto our computers, then put it up on our UEN websites for everyone to see.

Now What?
This assignment is a good way to figure out how to identify safe and effective videos that will help our students learn specific lessons in the classroom. It is also a fun, attention-grabbing way to teach them concepts that they need to remember. As Doc Waters said, it is important not to show video-clips too often because the interest wanes, but an occasional video here and there is a good means of reinforcing what you are teaching.

I have known about places like YouTube for a long time, and have watched many videos there. But it never crossed my mind that people upload children’s educational videos there, too. It was fun going through them and choosing one for my assignment. I know that in the future, I’ll definitely use it as a tool for teaching in my classroom.

So what?
I have always been a supporter of alternate means of teaching, e.g. using a video to teach a concept, calling in a guest speaker to talk over a subject we are learning, or doing on a walk around the school grounds to teach a lesson. So learning that teachers all over the world are using sites like YouTube to get videos to use in their classrooms is not a surprise, and it is a big argument in support of my own ideas and feelings on the subject.

I don’t plan on being a completely ground-breaking teacher when it comes to technology in my classroom, but I refuse to depend on only paper, pencils, and oral skills to teach my students. I also hope that in the future my colleagues will be in full support of using technology like computers, videos, etc. in the classroom. Most teachers are, and it would be fun to trade ideas or plan lessons with the critique and understanding of my colleagues.

I liked the idea of technology allowing us to spend more time with our families, but overall, I didn’t understand the point of this video. Why are we being called the “Millennial Generation” rather than the “technological generation?” Why were kids the only ones interviewed? I was also a little offended when they started implying that the Middle Adult generation knows less about technology than ours does, and is less open to it. My mom is a graphic designer and my dad is in the Escalations department of a major computer company. They both own and know how to operate computers, cell phones, and many other advanced pieces of technology, and use them every day. I think Motorola needs to do a little more research on this subject, and then follow with being a little less prejudiced against the older generations. After all, we teenagers and young adults wouldn’t be where we are today without the so-called “technologically ignorant older generation”.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vidcasts and Podcasts

Podcasts and Vidcasts—something I think every American teenager and young adult know about. This week we’re learning how to create them, post them, and then use them in our classrooms.

In our assignment this week we are choosing one of these and then creating a 40-60 second educational presentation. My group chose to do a Vidcast on fire safety and we are in the process of “hiring” an “actor” to perform in it. After we film it, we will edit it, and then post it on YouTube for the general public to see. This is an intimidating prospect, considering I’ve never uploaded videos onto the internet before, and have never really had a desire to.

This will be good experience to have in the future, if one of my classes ever calls for a video presentation, though. Perhaps not such a public one, but one that I can show in classes to emphasize my argument or give an original way to present the information I want to share. I look forward to playing around more with possible vidcast opportunities in the future.

Technology in school seems to be an inevitable thing these days. Computers are an important part of our education, and the internet is becoming an invaluable tool for resource and quick searches on information. Children as young as Kindergarten are being taught to safely search the web for pictures and information on class projects or personal assignments. Sites like YouTube, DailyMotion, and Veoh are popular places to go to view both educational and non-educational videos.

In the future, I can see myself showing my classes appropriate videos from sites like these, as long as the content goes along with whatever lesson I am teaching. It would be a fun way to draw interest for an otherwise boring subject. Vidcasts could even be used in professional meetings, as long as they pertain to the information that is being shared

The video was interesting to watch, but probably not for the reasons intended. Out of all the reasons given for student bloging, very few actually seemed to apply to bloging alone. Most appeared to be aimed towards the internet and computers in general. Also, the children shown in the slide-show looked far too young to be bloging, and most looked like they were involved in playing games as opposed to doing any serious writing assignments. Suffice to say, I did not enjoy this video as much as I have the ones in the past.