Monday, April 23, 2012

Will this be my last blog? Nah!  This blogging thing is not nearly as alien as I thought it was prior to this class. I can see how blogging will be beneficial as a teacher. I wish some of my past teachers would have used class blogs to keep students up to date on classroom happenings.
Anyway, on to Week 8.
Security is a really important issue in education and in our personal lives. In our personal lives these days we trust our computers to store so much of our important information. We keep financial information, house hold bills, budgets, family photos, home videos, music, and so much more on our computers. It is scary to think that one mouse click could take it all away. Use to it took a house fire of natural disaster to cause such a loss. Given the amount of technology that we use in our classrooms these days security is definitely an important issue. When I was in elementary school the closest thing that we had to a computer lab was a small, hastily constructed room with one computer in the corner of the seventh grade classroom. We could access the room if we behaved well enough to earn the privilege. We were allowed to spend 15 minutes at a time playing Lemonade Stand or some other game. Not much learning took place that I can recall. Now, my son’s is in first grade and already has access to and uses a more advanced computer lab than I used in during my first trip to college. Student information, grades, lessons, and other important educational documents our now stored in electronic format. Without the appropriate level of security all of this information is at risk of being lost or misused.
I am not teaching yet so I do not use a school computer lab at this time. I do use a computer daily in my current vocation as a social service worker and security is a constant concern. I have access to several state systems that contain sensitive information. It is important that I am able to navigate these systems without the fear of someone’s sensitive personal information falling into the hands of unauthorized individuals. Our network managed by the Kentucky Office of Technology who are on constant guard against malicious software and viruses. The only issue that we seem to have to deal with regular is phishing attempts. Some of which are very hard to distinguish from legitimate emails. Usually our tech team warns us before it becomes an issue but occasionally some one will fall victim to the phishing attempts before the tech team becomes aware.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 7

This is your brain your brain…
This is your brain after reading about the brain for 3 hours…

The human brain is an amazing organ and I really do enjoy learning about it. However, I kind of felt like I overloaded this week with all of the brain info that I consumed. There was a ton of really interesting articles on the Dana Foundation website and I spent an un-proportionately large amount of my available study time this week browsing the website, reading, and watching webcasts. I particularly liked the webcast featuring Martha Denckla, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Jerome Kagan, Ph.D., Emeritus professor, Harvard University discussion childhood brain disorders. There was a lot of interesting topics raised during the discussion. Perhaps one of the most interesting subjects was about pharmaceutical treatments vs. other non-pharmaceutical treatments for ADHD.
After a week free of technology explorations it felt good to be back online learning about useful tech resources that I will be able to use in my classroom. I was aware of and can see it being useful as I integrate more and more technology into my classroom. I was not aware of I thought it was a neat concept and would make for some interesting classroom assignments. However, when I explored the map on the website I soon realized that there was no photos posted from the area in which I live. I guess if I decided to use it in my classroom I would be a pioneer of sorts. As for the rest of the tech explorations,  they were as informative as ever. I will definitely use the talking calculators and the site in my classroom. The writing for math wiki was interesting and I like the concept of using a wiki to increase learning and awareness of writing in mathematics.
The assignment for choosing a web 2.0 tool or educational software was a difficult one for me. I am not teaching yet but have discovered several technology resources during this semester that I plan on using in my classroom. One that came to mind was the virtual manipulatives website that we explored during one of our tech explorations this year. I plan on teaching elementary special education when I  begin my teaching career and manipulatives are very helpful when working with students with learning disabilities. This website will definitely be part of my teaching tool box when I start teaching.    

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week Six

Monday, April 2, 2012

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this week’s assignments were very informative.  Broken record! That is a cliché that should be obsolete. It could be replaced with “scratched compact disc”. No wait…what am I saying music is all digital now. Anyway…back to this week’s assignment. This week was all about online communication tools. 

There are many types of online communication tools. Some that seem commonplace to me and some that I was pretty much unaware of. 

Email is such a part of my everyday life that I could not imagine life without it. It seems like a large portion of my day is spent reading and sending emails. I don’t remember snail mail taking up some much of my life. It seems like I used to go to the mailbox, grab the mail, sort it, throw a large portion in the trash unopened, and then keep the bills. With email it seems like a constant receiving and sending of relevant and irrelevant messages even after all the spam has been filtered out.  

Chat is another communication tool with which I am fairly familiar. I personally do not like chat rooms because it seems like they were created for people with ADD. I mean I like my conversations to be focused and orderly which is seemingly difficult to accomplish within a chat room. My experiences with chat seem to all go about the same. It starts out simple enough with a question or comment posted, then a few quick relevant responses, then a few irrelevant responses, then a couple of “come view my photos” posts, then a few more relevant and irrelevant posts, then an “earn $5000 a month from home” post, and finally everyone is either mad, confused, or off viewing someone’s photos. I guess the chat is a good communication tool when you have the appropriate safeguards in place and a moderator that keeps things focused.

Blogs and Wikis have been covered well in earlier assignments and have became part of my vocabulary. I like blogging for an effective means of expressing opinions and posting information. I will definitely have a class blog when I start teaching.  Wikis will also be part of my teaching tools as well. I like the idea of having students contribute to Wikis as an ongoing class project.

The online communication tool that I had not really considered as a communication tool was virtual worlds. After this weeks reading and assignments I now understand how this can be used. I have watched my son on Club Penguin and would not let him chat while he was on there out of fear that some weirdo was on the other end. But I can see that if used appropriately it would be a fun way to communicate. 

Again, not to sound like a “scratched CD”, but this week’s tech explorations were probably the most informative piece of the assignment. I was really impressed with the various “tubes”. Studenttube, teachertube, and youtube education will all be a part of my teaching toolbox.  As will the math dictionary for kids. will be really useful in creating a class website and will help me spice up my presentations if I can use it without causing motion sickness as the site warned. was probably the tech exploration that I learned the most from. I was not aware that this kind of resource was out there. With all of the craze over social networking it only seems logical that I should create a social network for my class. It seems like everyone is already used to communicating in this context so it would be natural and unforced. I think that setting up an online community for my classroom will be a great way to keep students and parents apprised on important classroom events. 

This week has been yet another interesting and informative experience.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


This week’s assignments have been very informative which seems to be trend with this class. I continue to find new resources which I was not aware of that I will be able to use in my classroom. Of course, I will have to wait until I actually have a classroom before I will be able to use them. The technology explorations this week were very interesting. I really enjoyed tinkering with the tools on the website. I had some fun with the text to speech trial by typing in some of the silly, sometimes gibberish, statements that my three year old makes. I thought it was particularly funny to hear the serious, computer generated, voice say “poop nugget”. I guess when you share a home with two little boys your sense of humor reverts to childlike state. I also found the and sites to be useful. I am not sure that I will be able to use these in the elementary special education classroom where I plan on teaching someday but I can see how they would be beneficial for collaboration and online lessons. One of the resources from the tech explorations that I do plan on using is I can imagine that an assignment where students are aloud to use their own photos to create a comic in which they are the main character will be fun and entertaining. I enjoyed exploring and found several interesting videos while I was there. I have previously visited this site at the coaxing of a friend who had suggested that I check out the Sir Ken Robinson video. This website offers so many interesting and informative talks that would be great to use in a variety of classroom settings. I plan on keeping this site in mind and visiting it frequently for my own entertainment and for using to motivate and inform students. There was so much information in this week’s assignments that will benefit me when I begin teaching.
I am not teaching so in order to complete the PowerPoint assignment I took advantage of the nearest captive audience that I could find that met the criteria of “any school-aged child”. Of course, this was my seven year old son who is in the 1st grade. The content of my presentation was based on a series of assignments that he has been working on over the past week which involved learning the months. I created a simple 12 slide PowerPoint presentation with each slide representing a different month. Each slide contained a calendar of the month with some added photos and clip-art of related subjects. I also added a text box on each slide with “quick facts” for each month. I was proud of the fact that I was able to incorporate some audio clips to the presentation. I wanted to do more with the presentation but time would not permit. I was able to figure out how to add a brief audio clip of frosty the snowman to the December slide which my son enjoyed. If I were going to redo this presentation and had more time I would try to add some animation and attempt to create an interactive calendar on each slide. It would be cool to have a calendar that my son could actually navigate through and click on icons that would key informative animation or audio.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 2 Blog

This week’s lesson was very informative which seems to be a trend with the material from this class. I guess that my eyes have never truly been opened to all of the technological resources out there and to how they can benefit in the realm of education. I think that it is common for many of us to take technology for granted as we go through our cozy lives without realizing how much technology we use on a daily basis. We have so many things that we use to make our lives easier that we sometimes fail to recognize them. I think it is much the same with educational technology we have a seemingly endless reservoir of resources to use in our classrooms to make learning more successful if we do not fail to look for and implement them in our classrooms.
With that being said this week’s assignment gave me several new resources that I was not aware of that I will use in my classroom. First, the discussion and material on Wikis illustrated how, even in the most rural area, students can have a truly global learning experience. Vicki Davis is an inspiration for any teacher looking to enhance student learning by implementing technology in the classroom. She made a statement about “turning the classroom upside down” referencing the importance of letting students be more involved in the learning experience which I thought was a very good point. Students that have more input in the learning experience become empowered and our more successful in the classroom. I like the idea of a more student centered classroom.
Another part of this week’s assignment that stood out to me was the Monty Python clip. I used to be quite a fan of Monty Python earlier in my life and it was fun to revisit those days if only briefly while watching the clip. Sadly, the piece spoke volumes about the state of our modern society. I think that we become far too focused on things putting them before people in the order of importance.
The information on spreadsheets and data bases form this week’s assignment was beneficial. I use spreadsheets frequently in my work and also use data bases. However, I have never really considered how they could be used in the classroom other than as organizational tools for teachers. It was good to see that educators are using these tools as part of student assignments as well as it helps them to develop some higher order thinking skills. During my web search of databases and spreadsheets in the classroom I found that there are numerous ideas for creating lesson plans that implement the use of these tools. One website that I found really informative was This website has many ideas for using spreadsheets and databases in the K-12 classroom. I found this website very helpful as I plan on teaching special education in the elementary or middle school areas.
The entire lesson for this week was helpful and I will implement many of the ideas and resources in my classroom when I begin teaching.

Week 3 Blog.

This week’s assignments focused on the use of Word Processors and Desk Top Publishing software in the classroom. To me these tools have more obvious, yet no more useful, applications within education than some of the earlier tools that we have discussed so far in this class. Word processing tools have been around for a long time. I can still remember using a machine that appeared to be an electric typewriter that was referred to as a "word processor". I can remember the using the word processor to complete school projects and thinking about how much better it was to use this device than it was using a standard typewriter. I could input the material in its entirety into the machine, save it, and make needed corrections and additions before letting the machine print out the document. I could have never imagined the advancements that have now occurred with word processing software and programs. I have become so dependent up on this technology that I often question whether or not I can write anything by hand at this point. This weeks assignments helped me to explore a little more thoroughly the tools and accessories available in current word processing technology. I have felt like I have been fairly proficient with using the Microsoft Word tools to create high quality written documents but now that I have done a little further exploration I realize that there is so much more available to assist me with my writing. The text explorations that we have completed for this week were also very informative and insightful.  I can see many applications for most of these resources within my classroom the text to speech applications will be beneficial with working with speech and visually impaired students or with students with dyslexia. I really like the idea of using the Powertalk application from to allow students to create stories and present them to the class.
I am not teaching so the assignment for reviewing the newsletter and etc was a difficult one. The only time that I use anything like this is at church for creating schedules for nursery workers. I usually assist my wife with creating a word document that just lists the individual nursery worker with the dates that they cover the nursery out to the side. We post this in the church and a copy is given to the workers.  For the purpose of this assignment I used Micro Soft Office Publisher to create a calendar from the existing document for the current month.  The nursery schedule is pictured to the right. 
This week's assignments were informative and will be beneficial to me as I begin my career as a teacher.