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Archive for September 2008

Tech Task #7: Yearnings and Learnings

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Years ago when I was taking vocal lessons and singing a lot, I read a book (just for kicks :)) called Vocal Resonance.  This book was entirely unnecessary for me to read, however it was summer time, lessons had ceased and I was craving more information about the ways that I could improve and strengthen my already neatly trained voice.  Now this book was ridiculous, and I mean that.  There was a 45 page section on tongue placement while singing on the vowel “E”.  Crazy ?  Yes, but I loved every minute of that learning process.  In particular I loved the fact that at 16 years old I was motivating myself to want to read that for my own personal educational process.  The point that Iam attempting to make is that no one asked me to read this book, and in fact when I told my voice teacher about it the following year she said that she wouldn’t even read a book like that, that it contained information that was not necessary for someone at my level.  Well I just grinned when she told me this,because I felt so proud of myself for going beyond what was expected  of me.

  As people of all shapes and sizes, we are always searching to become better at the things that we love, and that is precisely what I did that summer.  But, what I have realized now is that after reading that book, I gained some knowledge for myself most certainly, however what has proved to be more important is the amount of times that I have helped others with their music since I had read that book.  To me learning is all about intention.  I always try to ask myself before learning something new what my intention behind that learning is.

Without question I learn best when I have motivated myself to want more knowledge on a particular subject, and I think that many people operate the same way.  I quite enjoy reading books about inspiration, spirituality (not to be confused whith any particular religion), and all of the arts.  I seem to be facinated by the arts and have never learned something new about this particulat subject that I havent already put back out to the world.  That is the best thing about learning, any speck of knowledge that you pick up will follow you wherever you go.  Knowledge has only the potential to grow, and remains to be a force that can never be stopped.

I have just recently began to implement checking out new information on the computer as a resource for myself.  I enjoy learning in a hands on environmentand I have yet to have enough experiences with that being fused with technology.  However I look foreword to find more of what I love to learn via computer so that I can become more technologically savvy.  I must admit that my learning network right now is very small.  I enjoy reading books,and having hands on experiences with real people, but I look forword to expansion of my learning network in the near future.

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Written by petermeg

September 27, 2008 at 9:05 pm

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Tech Task 5: Google Earth

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When I was in grade 11 I almost failed a map test of Canada.  Anyone who knows me well knows that Iam directionally challenged.   I get lost at least once a day, in Moose Jaw the town that I grew up in, and according to most people should know pretty well.  It is ridiculous to think that I will some day teach small children I know, but for years I have come to the understanding that I need to learn more about geography and the many interesting places of the world.  These are all reasons that I choose to check out “Google Earth” as my Google Educational Tool for this assignment.  I think that this is one tool that I will certainly need to utilize a lot in my classroom even after my spacial awareness improves. 

 When I decided to check the site out about a week ago I dove head first into it and felt myself quickly becoming frustrated because everything looked so simple, yet I couldn’t seem to get in and out of components of the site with great ease.  Naturally I stepped back and decided to look closer at all of the things that Google Earth had to offer and began my journey across the universe.  I learned that there are five easy, cool, amazing things that any one (maybe even a monkey) could do right off the bat when checking out this fabulous Google educational tool.  You can view an image of your very own house or school, you can go on a tour of the world (no big deal), you can get driving directions from one place to the next and follow the route (this option would be ideal for me when driving just about anywhere), you can check out other awesome locations and features created by Google earth users, and you can view a 3D image of any place !!!  Pretty amazing to start out with I thought, plus there is so much more. 

Google earth is totally free, however there is a newer version of the site that has heightened features that are really exciting.  There is sooooo much that I still feel like I need to explore where Google earth is concerned, and I am jacked up to do so.  I find it difficult to believe that I had never checked it out prior to this assignment.  I have a little sister who is ten years younger than me who said that she uses Google Earth nearly every single day in her class, and with good reason I suppose.  I think that it is a fabulous resource that would be good for any and every teacher out there weather they be directionally challenged like myself or not.

Written by petermeg

September 23, 2008 at 4:08 am

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My Igoogle page

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Written by petermeg

September 15, 2008 at 12:44 am

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Tech Task 4: You Tube is Totally Tubular

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I am not as familiar with the world of you tube as most of the people my age I’m sure, so I decided to use it in all of the research that I’m doing for school as a visual aid to my learning.  This weekend I used the resource of you tube to gather information about the Astor Place Riot.  I am writing a paper on the subject for one of my theatre classes this semester.  A lot of the readings and articles that I found on the riot were pretty heavy and I found that watching a couple of documentaries on the subject really gave me a break from all of the reading, it was awesome.  I am very much a visual learner and so it also helped to clarify a lot of the research that I was taking in, in other words it fine tuned everything for me.  I am also reading the crucible, a play by Arther Miller, for a script analysis class.  Now our job in this class for the next three weeks is to simply read the Crucible over and over and over again.  I looked everywhere in Moose Jaw for the video last week so that I could understand it in a little bit better and uncover another layer of Millers work, but no dice, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  You tube has many different productions and versions of this play being performed at various schools universities, as well as some professional performances, and watching some of the different takes on characters and plot was very clarifying for me.  God bless you tube!!  I would have never thought to look there if it wasn’t for this assignment in our Ecomp class. 

There are many ways one could utilize you tube in a classroom with many different types of learners.  What really stuck out to me while I was on the site was the fact that you can get many takes on one singular event, opinion, song – etc.  This valuable for many reasons; when a student is struggling with something because the teacher may only have one idea or shred of information on the subject that teacher could turn to you tube as a secondary resource to help that student out.  Now it is important to keep in mind that anyone can post something on you tube and so you must be open and objective when viewing a video, but also skilled at weeding out the quality from a lot of the less legit information.  Also one must understand that what may not be valuable to one person may be very valuable to the next, so it is important not to discount information for the sake of disliking it. 

The other thing that I appreciated and loved about you tube was how easy the site was to operate.  You tube is all about connecting one idea to many ideas, to showcase lots of different takes on one thing.  Although this can also be distracting while it leads you to information that may not pertain to what you are trying to learn about, overall it an extremely helpful, creative visual aid for all walks of life.  I loved the fact that each new topic that you plug into the you tube search engine will always give you the URL of the video that you are viewing.  This is amazing because you can add these video links to you delicious account and or save them for later viewing.

Written by petermeg

September 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm

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Question ???

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I just have a few questions concerning our last on line class.  In our assigned “tech task two”, what does it mean by add our class bookmarks ??  What bookmarks do we have ?  Are they on the learning.prairiesouth.ca website ?  And how do we add rss feeds from classmates ??  By checking out their blogs ?  I understand that these are simple questions but I’m just a little confused and the sound was cutting in and out of my computer the whole time our second session was taking place.  If anyone can help answer my questions I would sure appreciate that 🙂  Oh and also (to Dean specifically) how will you know that we have done all of these things, do we send you the website adress ?

Written by petermeg

September 11, 2008 at 5:59 am

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Tech Task 2: Me and Technology

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It’s like I’m a 67 year old trapped in a 23 year old body.  I do not feel connected to technology in any way shape or form.  It is as if I didn’t grow up with it all of my life the way that I did.  This puts me in an awkward position as a young person going into the field of education.  There seem to be so many positive ways to use technology in the classroom and I wish that I could feel comfortable utilizing them with my future students.  In my own experience technology has, in some ways, taken away the idea of communicating face to face with one another.  Being that nearly half of what we say to a person can be read in our body language we cannot possibly be sharing information online with one another to our fullest potential.  When I was 17 I went up to Calgary to visit a friend and ended up staying there for over a year.  One of the very first things that I noticed about the people in a larger city was that technology was even more apparent than it was in my home town of Moose Jaw.  When I would walk down the streets to get to work every day and smile at people I noticed that they would rarely even look at me.  I made them feel uncomfortable because I was looking at them clear in the eye.  I’m sure that technology can and is in many cases a productive and positive medium that has been immersed throughout thousands of different cultures, but I cant help but wonder what it is doing to us on a much deeper unseen level.  Now if you are an extroverted person this way of communicating might be ideal- however if you find yourself to be more introverted, you may eventually become so socially awkward that your confidence will crumble at the signs of a face to face encounter with another human being.  I understand that my views on the subject are biased and need to open up a great deal. But I also think that as educators and people we must create a balance between hands on, personal interactive learning and the technical side of education today. 

I am so scared at the thought of all of my students using “smart boards” in the place of books and chalk boards, but like I stated earlier this is because I am not sure how to use most of this technology myself.  I think that in the case of students connecting with other students from all around the world it is fabulous.  I understand that that there are a lot of positive aspects to technology, however it makes me nervous to think that sooo much information can be in any ones hands.  Face book, as an example, is an addictive, exciting and somewhat controlling site that has just recently swept over the nation.  I think that it is a burden as well as a blessing, because for teachers and students to be able to access really personal information about one another can create biases within the walls of the classroom.  Text messaging is another new addiction that has taken the place of making a phone call to someone that is close to you.  Why call them or pop over to their place to hang out when it is easier, faster and less personalto text.  I use texting a lot myself, but I would never text in a classroom, because it would be far too distracting.  The thing about cell phones is that if you ban them from the classroom it will only encourage students to use them even more.  So the answer is not to make cells disappear, but rather to make them useful in the classroom by making examples out of them.  I think that you tube is a great resource for students and teachers alike in the fact that a great deal of learning can be done in a more interactive fashion on line.  All of these new facets of learning can potentially help students find valid information in a flash if used appropriately.

There are a lot of things that I hope to learn from this class.  It always seems so difficult for me to understand what seems to be so obvieous to the average person, and so I hope that the pace of the class doesn’t become to quick for me.  I felt a little stressed out after the first class.  When I went on to the websites that we learned about to better understand them I felt confused and lost.  I hope that each week things become a bit easier for me to understand, and I hope that when this class is all said and done I will feel comfortable using these websites as resources to aid my schoolwork for the next three years and eventually my teaching.

Written by petermeg

September 10, 2008 at 11:50 pm

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A Little Nervous

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Well well, I must admit that Iam a little nervous to go online tonight and not be with everyone face to face in the classroom.  My brother bought me a headset with a microphone for my birthday this past weekend, but Im not even sure how to plug it in- sad I know.  Heres hoping that everything goes well.

Written by petermeg

September 10, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized