Thursday, May 5, 2011

iMovie PSA (NETS-T 3)

I created a short public service announcement video about my alma mater, CSUSM:

video

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Journal 9 "Teaching Green"

Waters, J.K. (2011). Teaching green. the Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/04/06/teaching-green.aspx

John K. Waters composed an article with a goldmine of environmental websites for students and teachers.  For the younger students, websites A Walk in the Woods and EEK (Environmental Education for Kids) will teach them about what it is like to live in a green environment (for the urban dwellers), as well as provide an abundance of environmental information for research project assignments they may have.  EEK is like an e-magazine for young students as well as students in high school.

High school students can also learn more about their personal "ecological footprint" when they take the Ecololgical Footprint Quiz (on the website with the same name).  An ecological footprint goes beyond the carbon footprint, as it includes your housing footprint and goods/services footprint, too.  This quiz is a great item to add to a high school environmental lesson plan.

Teachers can find several lesson plans, environmental background information, and class activities for all age groups on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Teaching Center website.  How awesome is that?

Should teachers incorporate environmental issues into their lesson plans?
Absolutely!  We live in an age of environmental endangerment, and all teachers can help remedy our future with the implementation of envrionmental education in the classroom. 

How can busy teachers incorporate environmental issues into their lesson plans?
I think the more appropriate question is "How can they not?"  The websites listed in John K. Waters' article are great places to gain useful information and lesson plans.  It wouldn't take alot of time out of the other important parts of daily curriculum to plant a seed in the minds of your students.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Journal 8 "Point/Counterpoint: Should Schools be Held Responsible for Cyberbullying?"

Bogacz, R., & Gomez Gordillo, M. (2011). Point/counterpoint: should schools be held responsible for cyberbullying?. Learning and Leading, 38(6), Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/issues/Point_Counterpoint_Should_Schools_Be_Held_Responsible_for_Cyberbullying.aspx

This point/counterpoint article does not present two polar opposite views of cyberbullying.  The cyberbullying views from Renee Bogacz and Miguel Gomez Gordillo are more aligned than I expected.  The underlying point Bogacz and Gordillo both make is the importance of school administration, teachers, parents, and students to work together against cyberbullying.  However, I agree more with the points Bogacz makes with regard to schools taking a active role in the fight against cyberbullying.  Gordillo's perspective is unsettling in that he believes it is okay for schools to play a passive role in the arena of cyberbullying.  I agree with his ideals that all families should love and care for their children from birth, and spend most of their time together.  But those are the ideals.  Realistically, we live in a broken society and many children grow up in dysfunctional families where, unfortunately, love doesn't abound and one or both parents are not always present, loving, and/or supportive.  I would like to ask Mr. Gordillo the following questions: Aren't we, as a society, and especially as a school community, ideally supposed to be inclusive and responsible for the children in our care?  If you witnessed a student on the school playground bullying another student would you turn your back on the situation?  No, of course not!  You would immediately become involved and responsible for the quickest resolve possible.  In addition, you would feel responsible for preventing any further bullying from occuring.  Cyberbullying is no different than in-person bullying.  Activism and accepting responsibility is much more effective than passivism and turning away from responsibility.

Journal 7 "My Personal Learning Network"

I am truly excited about the creation of my PLN (Personal Learning Network). It is my personally selected community of professionals whom I can share information with digitally at any time. There are so many professionals online who are always ready, willing, and able to help you expand your field of knowledge. I feel like I've tapped into a goldmine!
I created my PLN by using Twitter, Diigo, and Classroom 2.0. These are social networking sites used often by professionals as a way to share ideas and enhance your professional journey.

On Twitter, I am following a few classmates who are in the same process of building their own PLNs. Many of my classmates are pursuing a career in education, like me, so adding them to my PLN allows me to gain not only from my experiences, but from theirs as well. I also found a handful of educators who have tagged various education sites with hints, tips, and great ideas that are now within my reach. Equally exciting to me are the people I added in my network who are SLPs (speech language pathologists), which is the profession I am pursuing. These are SLPeeps, OnSpecEd, ASHAweb, RCSLT, and kidslanguage.

I followed a chat in Twitter: "How can Web 2.0 tools (including blogs) be used effectively with elementary students?" on #elemchat 4/9/11 where a question was posed, "What is your favorite Web 2.0 tool used in the classroom?" Within the 20 minutes I followed, I was introduced to quite a few tools I had not yet heard of. I was intrigued. Here are a few: Kidlblog.org, Glogster, Tagxedo, Voicethread, ReadWriteThink, Voki, StoryBird, Blabberize. I saved the discussion so I can look into these tools later. Some comments on these tools in the discussion: "My D.O. blocks Glogster," "Voicethread is easier than typing," "ReadWriteThink has great activities for kids," "Voki is good for kids who struggle with writing," "My 2nd graders love StoryBird!" The comments that stood out most for me were about blogging: "Blogging for an audience really makes a difference," "Blogging allows quiet students to be heard," "My shyest student is my most enthusiastic blogger." What a powerful tool!

In Diigo I added a few educators to my PLN who have an impressive compilation of resources. I wanted to add them because they've been doing this for a long time, and I'm sure I will benefit from what they have to share. These are Nicole Lakusta, Natalie Lafferty, Samantha Fecich, David Warlick, Dave Truss, and Jeff Heil. I also added a few people who specifically laid out the best process for you to create your own PLN. These are The Educator's PLN, Building a PLN, and PLN Yourself! I tagged all of these PLN so I can learn the best way to fine-tune my PLN.

I joined Classroom 2.0, a digital discussion forum, and watched a very interesting video: "Recording audio in Audacity - Technical glossary." It was a short introductory to a sound editing program, Audacity, that is available at audacity.sourceforge.net as a free download. (There are more in-depth tutorials available on their website.) With Audacity, you can easily record, edit, and fine tune your work for publication. (Great for creating audio podcasts.) The recording appears as a waveform and timeline. You can add and/or delete whole sections, or move them around. You can also save your tracks for future editing. Exporting the file as an MP3 works best, but you need to first download and install the special plug-in. I think I'm going to have some fun with this!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Journal 6 "Grow Your Personal Learning Network"

Warlick, D. (2009). Grow your personal learning network. Learning and Leading
http://istelearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Grow-Your-PLN.pdf

David Warlick explains the three different types of PLNs (Personal Learning Network). 
1.  Synchronous connections are personally maintained networks of people we contact regularly for their input on professional and/or personal issues.  These groups of people have grown due to the removal of traditional barriers such as geography, background, language, and culture.
2.  Semisynchronous connections are personally and socially maintained networks with a "nearly now" time that replaces Real Time.  In other words, you can post a topical question and receive responses from people in a position to be very helpful.
3.  Asynchronous connections are dynamically maintained networks that connect you with valuable sources rather than people.  The primary tool for this is RSS Aggregator such as Google Reader, Netvibes, or Pageflakes.  Using an aggregator is like placing a customized order into a social media network.

Are PLNs worthwhile? 
Yes.  We are surrounded by innovative technology.  Tapping into this area of network technology is an invaluable tool.  Using a PLN can only enrich your teaching experience.

How much time should I spend using a PLN?
The choice is yours.  Use it to your level of comfort.  You will most likely discover that the more you use it, the more you'll want to use it.