Thursday, April 25, 2013


As we near the end of this semester it's important we take the time to reflect--not only for this class--but in all things in life. You said last week something to the extent of, "students learn a lot through reflection," and it came off as unintentionally poignant. Maybe we take too little time to reflect in education. Everybody's always in a hurry: to get grades, to get diplomas, to get jobs--it's easy to forget that we're actually here to learn in the wake of a great paper chase.

As far as the class is concerned: on the whole I was satiated with the whole experience. I had my queries with the textbook (which I lamented about in my very first blog post), but it was still readable. My only issue with the discussion posts is that we switched formats midway through the semester which left caused me some confusion. Though, I don't see this as being a problem for future classes since we know have canvas.

The rest of the assignments were fine. As somebody who is not "technocentric," I did find the number of different web-type tools we used a little daunting. Although we met weekly I felt this class had an incredible pace. My favorite assignment was the webquest and my least favorite was the powerpoint, only because I have a phobia of speaking in public.

The only thing I would do different in this class as a teacher is focus more on the different educational theories and how each could incorporate technology. Personally, it's one of my favorite areas of study pertaining to education.

Referring back to the syllabus, I enjoyed how you managed to apply TIM (technology/information management). I feel the way relates to the general education outcomes was just right. My only critique would be adding a little more GSR-esque assignments, or use it in some of the aforementioned ones.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons
(Winston Churchill waving goodbye to a crowd--I found it somewhat fitting)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chapter XI

The idea of portfolio's for teachers long pre-dates the use of computers. In fact, many occupations outside of education also implement portfolios for the purpose of showcasing somebody or something. Nowadays, with nearly everything being done online from applications to even business meetings, it only makes sense that teachers put their portfolios into electronic form.

There are many reasons why a teacher might want to showcase their portfolio online in lieu of the traditional (and increasingly archaic) route. For one, an online portfolio is accessible by everyone at anytime. No longer would you have to hull around hundreds of papers and binders. You can send your potential employer a simple web address and they can view it at their convenience. It will also save your employers time as more than one persons can view it simultaneously  such as on recruitment websites. Online portfolios can also be organized much easier than the traditional file-and-binder route that most teachers use. Online portfolios can be compartmentalized into easy-to-digest tabs and can also be interactive at the same time. They can also be kept up to date unlike with traditional portfolios.

Lastly, with education inevitably going the way of technology-driven, an online portfolio will demonstrate that you are on board for this change. You will more diverse and in turn more marketable to whatever position you apply to by being competent in technology.


Showcase your skill with an electronic portfolio. (n.d.). Learn NC. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter X

For my journal entry I chose to respond to "Robert's 'This I Believe' Essay Lesson." The story focuses on a teacher trying to assist students who desperately need help with their writing skills. Robert concocts the idea to give them an essay assignment pertaining to core values and personal philosophies -- based off a famous radio show from the 1950s. He hopes that by letting the students choose their topic that he will light their interests towards writing as a whole. The response question reads: how would you propose Robert integrate technology into the "This I Believe" essay project in ways that will promote learning success for all students?

First off, I think it's a loaded question. It would be nice to think that there would be any way to promote learning success for all students through any median, including technology. But I daresay say it's impossible to try and bridge every gap. There are no perfect teachers -- nor perfect students for that matter.

Now, considering his resources  I would have the students write the essays on the computers he has access to. Once they are done they are to save them and find a partner that they can evaluate. In this peer evaluation the students will critique each other. During this time Robert should be walking around and keeping a watchful eye on students. Then, using the projector Robert will choose a few students' essays to show to the entire class and then ask the class what they think needs improving. Robert will guide them along the way and make suggestions, but never flat out tell them what's wrong. Instead, he'll let the students figure it out.

Hopefully this lesson will teach the students as a whole and will save a lot of time. The idea is that Robert will use students to teach themselves. Although, I find this a good way to learn writing, it's important to keep in mind that the students will not have these types of resources on the test (most likely). Maybe some good old-fashioned simple essay writing would also be needed to help the students prepare.


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O,RE, Edwards, S. A. & Woolf, B. P. (2010) Transforming Learning With New Technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chapter IX

     For my journal post I watched "7 degrees of connectedness" by Rodd Lucier. The video begins with Rodd leading us down a somber street in his hometown in Canada. The video is basically a series of interviews he does with his peers concerning the subject of using technology to become better educators. The first tool that is outlined is Twitter, which Lucier describes as a "tribe" of like-minded people he follows. Since he can control who he follows  he chose to follow fellow educators and over time began to interact with them. I personally don't have a Twitter but I can relate in my experience with Facebook. I use Facebook to add people I don't know but find interesting, which is technically against the rules. I have poets, musicians, debaters  and even some celebrities on my friends list. I have interacted with a few of these people and now have contacts around the globe. I could apply the same concept to education -- I could add the best educators in the world to my friend's list and every time I log in to Facebook I can be exposed to some of the greatest thinkers of this age.

     The next topic that's covered is Podcasts and how one of his acquaintances got involved in creating them. He describes starting out listening to teacher podcasts and his journey to becoming a popular podcaster himself. One thing that is stressed is the idea that everybody has a voice and podcasts can be a medium to project that voice to the masses. I personally have never really been into podcasts but they have an almost cult-like following. They're convenient because you can listen to them virtually everywhere, including you car, and I can see this being useful as a tool teachers can use to get through to students who simply don't have much time on their hands.

     The overall theme of the video is connectedness. In education, this concept is quite obviously opening new doors. Now with the rapid sharing of ideas and concepts, I believe we can move and improve education at a much faster rate than ever before.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chapter VIII - Alternative Blog Post

For my chapter eight blog post I chose to write about David Warlick's blog 2 Cents Worth. I read the first post which was a piece on Gary Stager, a very prominent educator. In the article, Warlick goes over Stager's presentation at a recent education conference and lists some of his points. To my surprise, I found myself agreeing with Stager on almost all points.

One of the Stager quotations noted in the article read, "School should work with the tech of the day." The blogger then points out the poignant question of "why do we think education should be cheap?" The thought raises some questions to me:

Why are we not spending more on education?

Why are the worst schools the least funded? Shouldn't they get more funding since they are in obvious need of it?

Why are schools so behind in adapting technology?

The quotation also brought to mind an old mantra I heard once, probably uttered by some dreadlocked hippie wearing a 'legalize it' shirt. It went something like this: it will be a great day when schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

The last part of the article moved me the most. In the very last lines Warlick writes, "What an amazing learning opportunity that surprise avails any teacher – wasted in this case, because she thought her classroom was about teaching, not about learning." I think far too many teachers don't take this advice to heart. They're focused so much on teaching they actually forget that they are there for the students and not vice-versa.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chapter VII - Alternative Blog Post

I chose the game FreeRice which was shown to the class by Olivia. It's a neat little non-profit website that will generously donate ten grains of rice for every question you answer correctly on their site. FreeRice runs off advertisement money they received form sponsors   They offer a multitude of subjects that participants may answer questions in with a variety of different difficulty levels.

As an English teacher I would implement this game (particularly the grammar portion) for students to use in addition to classroom learning. This could aid in reinforcing concepts that I have already taught and might encourage students to continue their education outside of the classroom. I could assign homework with the guidelines that each students shows me a 'receipt' of a pre-set number of rice grains donated. I feel this will be a more entertaining homework assignment than the usual vocab worksheet most teachers might assign. The vocabulary portion could also be used, but I feel would be less helpful because it is much more ambiguous than grammatical concepts. I plan to teach high school but I think this would work better when used with younger children. All the while, I still think anybody could pull something from this great website.

I particularly like the fact that this website serves two ultimate purposes: to educate and to end world hunger. While students are working on their grammar or vocabulary  they can know that their work is actually contributing to help somebody in need.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter VI

Focus Question: How might educational websites provide interactive and engaging learning experiences for students?

Interactivity in itself implies that not only the website itself will communicate with students but that the opposite is also possible: that students can interact back with the website. For an educational website to be engaging, teachers must ask no further than how can I make my classroom engaging? For the same techniques can also be applied online. Relevance is quite an obvious answer. If the information is kept up-to-date and relevant to the students life, they'll be able to grasp it better. The idea is not to barrage and belittle students with tons of information, but to present it as simple concepts with references to things they can wholly understand. The best teachers I had in high school were the ones that were the simplest.

Tech Tool: Interactive Online Field Trip: The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-D'Arc

This tech tool focuses on an interactive website that allows students to take a virtual tour of one of the earliest cave paintings ever found. This was one of the few times I've come across the concept of "virtual field-trips" and I have to say that I'm definitely an advocate. This site is a great example of an experience that could only be possible via the internet. Of course, I realize there is no replacement for actually being there and experiencing something like that in person -- this is probably the closest most of us will ever get.


The chapter goes over the concept of social bookmarking which I've experienced somewhat in class already. Delicious is an example of a social bookmarking site that we've implemented in class. Trends on the internet these days seem to be going the way of social everything. Now we have social bookmarks, social documents, social videos, even entire hard-drives that can be stored entirely online. It's quite a voluminous concept to imagine that we're nearly impervious when  it comes to storing information nowadays. With information stored entirely online, what could possibly delete it? Short of a complete website wipe (which is improbable seeing as they have backups) it seems impossible.

Next, webquests are discussed which I touched on briefly in the tech tool section. The idea is relatively new but I advocate it completely. However, I can only hope that schools never replace real live field trips with virtual ones in the name of saving money. Nothing could ever replicate actually being there.

Videoconferencing is another concept I was introduced to. I've never actually used it in the classroom but the concept seems intriguing. The idea that I could have my students have a live chat with students from another country is awe-inspiring.