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Tech Task 17: Itunes Podcasts

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The first pod cast that I viewed on Itunes was connected to Geek Brief TV, a video podcast presented by Cali Lewis about technology.  Geek Brief is a video pod cast with news about tech tools and toys.  The format is fast, fun, fresh and flirty.  Well in this description they sure got the fast part right.  I watched this pod cast 3 times just to get the basic amount of information processed into my brain.  Now naturally it was all a bit over my head in the first place, but it was very interesting.  This particular pod cast was about robotics research and showcased several ways that it is affecting our everyday lives, that most people are not even aware of.  For example when you purchase a new car that has technology built into it that beeps when you are about to back into something- that form of technology emerged from robotics research.  Irobot vacuums are now sweeping the nation, they clean your place without you having to lift a finger.  Not as many of these have sold as the company would have liked.  Apparently in Japan people are very interested in embracing technology, they view it as being very positive.  Whereas in the United States they are more skeptacle of new emerging technologies.   Cali mentioned Aaron Edsinger’s domo robot in this pod cast and it was very interesting (people.csail.mit.edu/edsinger/domo.htm).  Domo is a robot that looks like it was born in 1992.  Looked a little bit like Walle but taller- cute as a button, this robot was built to adapt to its environment.  A lot of the things that were discussed in this pod cast were well over my head, but very interesting to listen to.

The “fun” pod cast that I decided to watch and listen to was  Mandala Meditations, created by Kelly Dietrich under the subtitle of spirituality.  This was a strange pod cast because there was no talking- hence the meditation part.  It looked like a 3 min kaleidoscope that was continuously spinning and morphing along side of some relaxing guitar music.  It ended very quickly and I was expecting some explanation at the beginning, but it was cool to see a very opposing pod cast to the first one that I had viewed.

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Written by petermeg

November 22, 2008 at 7:25 pm

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Tech Task 12: K12 Online Conference

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Web 2.0 Tools to Amplify Elementary Students’ Creativity and Initiative– Presented by Jackie Gerstein (http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=277)

This presentation describes projects designed for students, ages 8 to 12, to use emerging technologies for engaging, thinking, learning, collaborating, creating, and innovating.

The idea of social constructivist learning was never directly mentioned in this presentation, but was certainly referenced to.  When students are creating their own websites and learning about links and how to connect everything that they love to learn about on one page is an amazing description of social constructivist learning.  Jackie has each student reflect and review websites to help prepare them for the future of web based learning in the classroom.  With the use of such tools as skype, linking, and playing with games she is helping the students to teach themselves and help each other with their learning. 

A project that she talked about in particular was one that had the students create their own avatars to make creative stories and create safe persona’s for themselves.  All of the students loved exploring with the games that led up to this, but some had struggles with the emerging technologies that they were not so familiar with.  They were very easy to give up when they felt frustrated, explained Jackie.  Jackie is the one who must facilitate and inspire the students to keep trying.  She often sits with students for a long while just showing them other ways of getting to what they want on a particular website.  This is important so that they do not give up.

I think that learning technologies at an elementary level will absolutely promote creativity and innovation in the classroom for many reasons.  As well as prepare young students for becoming 21st century learners.  They need these tools to survive and to have technology be a creative outlet for them.  I wish that I had that growing up, if I had, I would be much more prepared than I am now, and more importantly more comfortable.

Written by petermeg

November 21, 2008 at 9:39 pm

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Tech Task 18: My Future Classroom

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         roboteacherBefore I can tell you what my future classroom will look like, I can explain to you precisely what it WILL NOT look like.  There will not be desks in rows to ensure that students are not staring at the backs of one anothers home made haircuts.  I will not use the back of these rows to house children who believe that glue sticks are an alternative snack.  There will not be laminante posters surrounding these desks from 1979 that say “way to go!” with cats on them- whats up with those anyways?  I will not have a wicker basket on my desk that collects apples at the end of each day and determines which students get extra marks on their next report card.  I will not have a special piece of chalk that none of the students can touch because it was handed down to me by god himself.  I will not have an outrageous amount of red pens that determine mistakes on a students piece of personal work.  When a student asks how to do a math problem, I will not respond by saying; “like this, I showed you already, anyone else have a question”.  I will not have a drawer full of children’s confiscated items that houses Halloween candy and birthday gifts from years gone by.  I will not load children’s backpacks so full of homework that they need to get their spines re-aligned by the third grade.  I will not pick on the students that do not grasp something immediately in order to work on my insecurities.  I will not use detention as a way to remind students that they are bad seeds, and are nothing like their older brothers and sisters.  I will not have a computers class, where children learn typing skills, and are slapped on the wrist the second they begin exploring the vast, and precious world of the web.  I will not have eyes in the back of my head that inform me as soon as a student is using the calculator tool on their cell phone. 

                  I WILL NOT BE ADDICTED TO POWER

                                     I WILL NOT BE AFRAID OF CHANGE

                                                          I WILL NOT BE AFRAID TO SHARE IDEAS

                                                                             I WILL NOT BECOME MY STUDENTS WORST ENEMY

Instead I will be open2to the idea that change is the only thing that keeps us alive and creative.  I will be an educator that utilises technology in the classroom when it should be used and asks her students how it helps them learn.  I will reward students for growing as learners, not just for being “intelligent”.  I will learn and create with my students every day in new and challenging ways.  I will not give up on technology even when it seems frustrating or tedious. 

    

When it  comes to the future, there are three kinds of people:  those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”               -John M. Richardson-

 Those who make it happen make it wherever their lives may lead them.

 

Written by petermeg

November 20, 2008 at 5:31 am

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Why must everything be so black and white?

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I do not even know where to begin writing this, but here goes.  I commented on a link that Dean Shareski forewarded to me, that connected me to Will Richardsons blog. One of Will’s most resent comments features the use of paper in his life and more particularily in the classroom.  The way that his post and the comments that drizzled behind it were written felt a little pushy to me.  Now, it is true that the only reason that I have “copied and pasted” anything on the web, is because of Deans Education computers class and I am just beginning to learn about the posative things that technology can bring into our sudents lives, but I do not appreciate new ideas being pushed on me.  After I read Wills post I felt like I would be a bad teacher if I was to use too much paper in my first year as an educator.  I understand that is not what he was suggesting, I am only attempting to communicate the way that I feel.

  I am currently in my third year of five, in the arts education program at the University of Regina, and I have not yet even gone into a classroom to intern, so when I read Wills post I felt afraid, sad, and angry.  The sadness exploded from his comment concerning paperback novels and about how he is trying to cut back on them, as if anyone who STILL reads on paper is going straight to hell in a hand basket, and should serieously consider cutting back.. On account on how un-green it all is!!!  I would really love for someone to explain to me how to make art, or the roughdrafts that lead up to that masterpiece without the use of paper.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that beautiful art can be captured in a photograph or created with the help of technology- but what about process??  What are we stripping away from students when we denigh them of the tool that they are the most comfortable using (and in some cases that tool will most definatley be technology). 

And that is it, that is the aspect of technology that I have always been suspicious of, it must be black or white.  I have yet to see the grey area that real people live in.  I will not have my future students turn into the latest pieces of technology, continually conforming to the newest, latest program out there.  What about having a choice, what about creating a balanced way of looking at technology without it needing to be the end to all paper.  It is all so extreme.   

For the record, this is by no means a personal attack on Will.  I am very lucky to have stumbled across his blog, because with frustration I can be motivated to learn more and to grow in ways that may have never occured without this insight.  I thank him very much and look foreward to reading more on his blog.

Written by petermeg

November 18, 2008 at 6:08 am

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Tech Task 12: K12 Online Conference

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Travelling through the dark– Presented by Steven Kimmi (http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=276)
steven-kimmiThis presentation comments on the unstoppable world of technology and what it means to face the somewhat darker side of change, and plunge yourself into the darkness of learning something new instead of taking the easy way out as an educator. 
Kimmi claims that “we must go into the dark to make sense of this ever changing world”.  He responds to this metaphor on a personal level, and talks about needing to change the way he was teaching to suit his bright young grade five students.  His students were disengaged and his instruction lacked excitement, the students were not seeing the significance in what Kimmi was teaching them.  Because of this realization he decided to contact Brian Crosby to help him get his feet wet in the realm education technology.
 
One of the tools that Kimmi suggests to get started with the battle of technology and change is to begin blogging.  He has been blogging for almost a year and has still not integrated it into his classroom.  This is because as a new learner yourself you must master, to a certain degree, a subject prior to educating others on its values.  The use of blogging, video and pod casting were all mentioned in this presentation as ways to get started.
Kimmi says that pod castingis the easiest, besides blogging, to get into.  This is because it has been made so easy to explore and experience, for yourself and students.  He did a weekly spelling test via pod cast.  One of the ideas that I really found interesting was about creating a video with his grade five’s for math class that showcased everything that they were going to learn for the year.  This, as Dean Shareski would say, would create a stage for learning.
 
There were several things that I took out of this presentation; but the biggest was to really take the time to learn a new technology prior to exploring it with your class.  The next was to find a support group to help you while you are learning and to support others as you become more comfortable with technology.  Kimmi mentions Ted talks as a positive environment to be a part of on line and also teachers teaching teachers, a pod cast that is extremely motivating explains Kimmi.

Written by petermeg

November 18, 2008 at 5:04 am

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Tech Task 12: K12 Online Conference

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What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and h-songhaiThree Years Ago?– Presented by H. Songhai (http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=280

This presentation comments on the different ways that the tools of technology, that most students have access to, can help to be used inside and outside of the classroom to document learning and growth.

Using technology as proof and documentation of learning is a positive way for us, as educators, to look at the gizmo’s and various gadgets that students seem to be sneaking into the classroom.  In this particular presentation H. Songhai diffuses the idea of what it might look like if we incorperated social technology of our youth and culture into the walls of the classroom.  The word that I felt was the most repetitive was “proof”.  When I was in high school I did not document any of my learning on a piece of technology and I now can say that I do not have evidence of my career as a young student.  

Why is it important for students to have “proof” or documentation of their learning?  Because “proof” is what we are able to look back on and understand how much growth has taken place.  To understand the types and amounts of learning that has happened to us we must review our past as a means to get better at a particular subject and to feel proud of how far we have come.  Although it frightened me to hear Songhai say that he has not used paper in his classroom in over three years, I understand where he is coming from.  It is certainly a green approach, however I think that when children are writing out a creative story on paper compared to just typing it out on a blinding computer screen a different product is created.  In my own experience I am much more creative when I can write my ideas out on paper, staring at a harsh computer screen can quite often suck my creativity dry.  I understand that what he is commenting on are the frustrations that come with handing out paper to students that just winds up in the nearest garbage can, but won’t no paper at all anywhere in a school be the next step that follows?  It scares me to think that is what will end up happening, because it inevitably will. 

To finish on a positive note, this presentation taught me a lot about some of the different uses of social technologies that seem to be in the hands of almost every teenager.  I do not have a digital camera or an ipod and so it was very helpful to learn about how easy it is to capture learning everywhere and anywhere the wind may blow you.  Since beginning this class I have become addicted to my iGoogle page for several reasons.  These reasons were confirmed as being learning tools for many people, because on line you are able to view many different sources of learning simultaneously.  The learning that can take place on a blog, wiki or a pod cast is infinite and will never cease to grow.

Written by petermeg

November 10, 2008 at 12:51 am

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The Begining of the End

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At the end of the year we have to do a final project that can showcase some of the things that we have learned about throughout the semester.  Being that I had a really negative attitude about technology and some of its uses prior to this Education computers class, I want to display the positive knowledge that I have acquired while also explaining some of the scepticism’s that I still have about new technologies.  To do this I want to read Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to technology, and pull quotes and ideas from it to defend the negative grip that technology has on people.  To counterbalance this I will research some more of the positive sides of technology and then as an in class presentation I will rein-act a debate between the two sides of technology and open the class up to a discussion towards the end.

Dean wants me to explore making a video instead of preforming it in front of the class, which is fine.  Naturally he is encouraging all of us to use the aid of technology to pull together our final projects.  If anyone has any ideas or questions about this I encourage you to ask away 🙂

Written by petermeg

October 19, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized