Cognitive Surplus

April 2, 2014

I’m not entirely sure if I can completely buy into Skirky’s arguments surrounding cognitive surplus and it’s ability to create large scale change. I think the main part that’s making me kind of hesitant is the inclusion of “large scale”. It may be large scale based on the fact of pure numbers, like who’s actually consuming these different types of media, but I’m just not sure how sharing a youtube video or editing a wikipedia page in your spare time can actually cause a LARGE scale change within the community? I understand the fact that young people are now straying from watching TV all day, choosing instead to create youtube videos, share certain websites, pictures,etc, transfer thoughts and ideas via the internet, which is obviously a better avenue to allow for change, I’m just not sure how “large” of a change it can actually create? 

Blog Post #9

November 5, 2012

In this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly common for students to be more “tech savvy” then their teachers. With access to technologies from an early age, students are coming to school with computer knowledge, making it so that teachers are no longer having to focus on teaching the fundamentals. This being said, not all students are educated on the idea of peripherals, or tools that are associated with computers, such as printers, flash drives, etc. In my classroom, I would have students create an assignment at home, and then transfer it to a flash drive, then bring it to class to present. I definitely feel like flash drives are an important tool to utilize. Most students are able to work printers, but I would also have them print out slideshows or notes, that way they’re able to follow along in class. As far as non-computer audio-visual tools, I would definitely incorporate video cameras into my lesson plan, because I know that as a student I thoroughly enjoyed making videos, seeing as it was an interesting way to do assignments.

For my web based resource review, I chose the website “Fourth Grade Friends”, which was not only a visually stimulating site, but it also provided many resources that I found helpful. There were various links to websites providing free lesson plans, worksheets, and lessons. In addition to education related topics, there were also links to websites dedicated to decorating a classroom, which I definitely found interesting. I really like the fact that it’s just a collection of shared ideas and tools that anyone can use. Instead of selfishly keeping ideas to yourself, this website is primarily used for sharing these ideas with the goal of bettering education.

There are various links providing themed lesson plans for holidays or special occasions, which I thought was cute. It’s definitely important to me to make things fun and interesting, so those links were very helpful. This blog was created by a fourth teacher, whose goal was to help spread helpful information to other teachers, and she also has a Pinterest account, which is very cool. Pinterest is becoming a more popular tool among teachers, providing another source for transfered information. Overall, I think that the creator of this blog site put in a lot of effort to make sure other teachers could utilize the same sources. I thought it was very cute and appealing, definitely something I would use.

Although I would primarily be interested in teaching something along the lines of 4th grade reading or language arts, which isn’t really related to excel, I’m sure I could find a way to incorporate the program into my lesson plans. Seeing as it’s a helpful tool that many people use in the real world, I would want my students to be educated on how to use it. Seeing as right now I’ve never used excel, I think in the future, more students will be skilled in using the program. As a teacher, I could obviously use excel to organize test scores or grades, but as far as using it directly with my students, I’m not quite sure I’d use it in a reading setting.

I’m fairly familiar with the powerpoint program, seeing as growing up it was always incorporated into my schoolwork, however, this weeks assignments allowed me to use the powerpoint on my mac, which I never really used before. Prior to this assignment, I had never really used animation on powerpoint. I’d always just used it for the simple slides and transition aspect. I didn’t really like the idea of Jing, even though I feel like it’s a helpful tool. I just felt awkward trying to talk to a computer instead of a group setting. I can see how it’s useful though for teachers, so in that aspect I think it’s pretty cool.


Blog Post 8

October 30, 2012

In my opinion, there are multiple advantages and disadvantages to utilizing presentation software in a K-12 classroom. On one hand, power point can be very easily created by the teacher, as well as students, providing a simple way to transfer information. On that same token though, power point presentations can be very boring and students are easily put to sleep. Also, there are a handful of students who don’t respond well to that type of visual learning, so the efforts made by the teacher would be useless. In an older classroom setting, I feel like power points would be less effective than with younger students, seeing as they’ve been more exposed to it.

Growing up, I went to schools that had computer labs and pretty decent access to technological tools. We were always encouraged to play computer games, such as FCAT explorer and other websites to better improve our knowledge. As I progressed to high school, a few of my teachers had smart boards, which is probably the furthest we got technology wise. Most assignments were given with the assumption that everyone had computer access at home, which was mostly true. I feel as years go on, we become more and more technologically advanced, so by the time I’d be teaching, I’d assume that more students would have access to such things. However, I would never want a student to feel embarrassed or lost because of a lack of technology at home. I would make sure to incorporate technology, but also assist students without access.

I think an issue relating to education technology would be the funding and actual uses for it in a classroom setting. When I was in elementary school, we fundraised for a computer lab, which we barely even used. The same goes for high school, where we had a mac lab, full of around 30 brand new mac desktops, that nobody got to use. I definitely think that technology is beneficial in an educational setting, but is it really working? There has to be some way for teachers and schools as a whole to incorporate technology that not only is affordable and useful, but also something that would interest and actually serve a purpose with the students.

Blog Post #7

October 23, 2012

Growing up, I was introduced to the Powerpoint program very early on. My teachers used it to present class lessons, from which we took notes, and then it wasn’t before long that I was creating my own powerpoint presentations for the class. I believe that powerpoint is a very useful tool, especially when it comes to delivering a lesson plan. As a teacher, I would utilize the aspects of powerpoint such as transitions and animations, especially clip art, to make my presentations more exciting and intriguing for the students. I’m aware that everybody learns in certain ways, so by providing visuals, and audio on my powerpoint, I would be able to target all areas of student learning. I also think it’s interesting how you can embed youtube videos into the sides. Seeing as youtube has become a place for educational videos to be exchanged, it would be no problem at all including those. I would also in turn have my students utilizing powerpoint, by creating slideshows and class projects to present to their peers. Although many students are afraid to present in front of the class, it’s an important tool to have for the real working world.

Adaptive technologies are essentially programs that are made for people who need assistance with learning, or people with disabilities. This type of technology makes it easier for the person to accomplish things, simply by changing the methods used to get there. For example, my grandpa is blind. You might think that with a lack of vision it’d be difficult for him to use technology, but because of adaptive technology programs, he has a computer, phone, and TV that can talk to him, all of which are voice activated. These devices provide him with the same opportunities as people with their sight, they just go about helping him in a different way. I personally don’t have any experience using these types of technologies, but I have witnessed him using them, and they seem very helpful.

Prior to the web page assignment, I had no experience with that type of thing. I mean, I’ve had my fair share of blogs, and I’ve dabbled in social networking sights, but I had never actually created something for other people to seriously reference. I thought it was really cool how you could add modules and get creative, seeing as I like the things I make to look visually appealing. Although I thought the concept was really cool, I felt as if the design were really basic. I would have liked to see more complicated aspects or something with a little bit more substance. Seeing as it was a free program though, I think it was definitely a cool tool to use, and I would definitely utilize it in the classroom.

Blog Post #6

October 16, 2012

As a teacher, I feel like there are both positive and negative aspects to teaching a course online. As far as accessability goes, I feel like maintaining a course online would be more flexible than teaching an actual “in class” lesson. Not only is it easier for the teacher of the course, but also for the students. Many adults choose to go back to school later in life, and with juggling jobs and kids, the online availability is convenient. However, it’s very true that when students choose to take online courses, they end up having to teach themselves a lot of the information. A negative for maintaing the course would be the fact that it’s difficult as a teacher to connect with students, since you’re not getting that in class interaction. 

Technology is definitely something that I was raised with, as well as something we will continue to use for many years to come. As a teacher, I feel like technology is definitely useful to incorporate into education, seeing as it’s a part of our future, as well as our children’s future. There are so many websites and technological tools available on the internet that are available to improve the quality of teaching that’s being produced, so I think that as a teacher, there are many things I could pick up from the internet to use in my classroom. 

From the wiki assignment, I learned what a wiki actually was. Prior to that day, I had never even heard the term before, so that was new to me. I thought it was cool how we had the opportunity to create our own evaluation form, although it seemed a little confusing at first. I feel like as a group, we worked really well together and got the job done, even though it may have taken a little longer than expected. I enjoyed writing the little group paper at the end, because I felt like it really represented what we wanted to get across. In the future I’m not really sure if I would utilize wiki’s but I can see why someone else would. 

Post #5

October 9, 2012

Prezi is an online presentation website, which provides students the opportunity to collaborate on slideshows, as well as create aesthetically pleasing projects. I was required to use this tool in my high school class, and I found it to be very helpful and also very entertaining. Instead of creating a boring, tedious, powerpoint slideshow, which has been done a million times, prezi allows students to create a “visual road map”, which is then linked through various transitions. With the option of changing colors, adding pictures and videos, as well as different connecting tools, Prezi is a fun way to create a slideshow. I feel like students of any age could utilize this helpful tool, as well as teachers to present lesson plans or ideas.

I would most definitely use Prezi as a teacher because of the options that are provided. I also feel like students would respond more to the prezi slideshows as opposed to a powerpoint presentation. I really like the idea that it’s possible to share and collaborate on Prezi’s which could definitely come in handy. You also have the option of viewing other people’s presentations, which aids in the sharing of ideas and thoughts. Overall, I definitely think that Prezi is a program I would use and incorporate into my teaching.

I do think that web 2.0 is useful in K-12 education, although probably more so in the older grades, compared to elementary education. It puts an interesting spin on education, as well as a different approach to learning. With sharing options and video tools, web 2.0 is a helpful tool that could be incorporated in all grades. I think that google docs is a helpful tool for all grades, seeing as computer labs are prevalent in schools.

I didn’t really learn much from the webhunt, however I did find the journal tool very helpful. I didn’t realize that there was an aspect to google where you could research real journals, as actual resources. I found that most of the websites I was already accustomed with, so it wasn’t very new to me. I do think that utilizing web hunts in a classroom settings is a good idea, because many students might not be familiar with the internet, or how to search for things.

Blog Post #4

October 2, 2012

I would definitely utilize web-based resources to support student learning in the classroom. Websites such as Skype, or a sharing type deal, would definitely be useful to students. The fact that they’d be able to communicate outside of the classroom, could open many doors and essentially provide a bigger window of learning. I read about the distance education, and I totally supported the idea of chat rooms and message boards. Considering many students are already accustomed to using these versions of technology, it wouldn’t be much of an adjustment. 

The internet has become one of the sole sources for student research, as libraries and text books have slowly faded away. I definitely think that the internet is a source that students should take full advantage of, but students need to be made aware of copyrighting and sourcing other people’s work. As far as research goes, there are plenty of websites that aren’t very credible sources. Wikipedia would be a prime example. Although it provides a hearty amount of information, it’s not always correct. If the website is an actual credited site, than I believe students should take advantage of it. 

As a student, I’ve had a lot of experience with research and sourcing. I distinctly remember in middle school being taught to use actual sources, and not random websites for my information. We used a school database that was somehow connected to the library to research factual sources. We were even instructed to use certain search engines, instead of google, to make sure that our sources were correct. As far as evaluating sources go, I normally look at the website as a whole to determine if it’s really credible. 

This past week was my first time working with and even using the inspiration program. I believe that as a teacher, this program is a positive tool, that could take a lot of stress away from creating lesson plans or activities. The fact that it’s so easy to understand, and has a visually appealing aspect proves that the program could be used by anyone, either student or teacher. I did however wish that there would have been more options, or something to jazz it up a bit. Overall, I would say that my experience was very positive. 

Blog Post 3

September 25, 2012

The website I chose to critique was a 4th grade reading comprehension website, that was very    aesthetically pleasing. The use of colors was very age appropriate and consistent. As well as the colors, the creators of this website also took into account the use of graphics and fonts. Although the colors were appropriate, the layout was a little strange. The page extended for a long time, which was tedious. The focus was obvious, as the stories were showcased right on the home page. I think that the page, overall, had a nice layout and was very nicely put together.

I believe that open content for teachers is a great teaching tool, because there should be no limit to what can be learned. It’s convenient for teachers to be able to share lesson plans and work together to achieve student success. Although these sources are convenient, it’s hard to tell whether or not they’re reliable sources. Seeing as anybody has access to this material, it’s very possible that it could be tampered with. I believe however, that the benefits out way the costs. I would use open content in my classroom.

I learned a lot from this weeks assignment because Microsoft word is a program i use frequently. It’ll definitely come in handy, knowing how to make worksheets and newsletters, especially in a classroom settings. I was unaware on how to move clip art, so i’m glad that I learned how to do that. I also learned how to make borders and align text. Although it may seem like a trivial task, it was nice to learn that.


Blog Post #2

September 17, 2012

As a student, I’ve been using Microsoft Word for as long as I can remember. From an early age, I was taught to type all of my papers and assignments in the program, and it was frequently utilized at my school.  I was on the newspaper staff at my high school, and we constantly used Microsoft Word to compose our stories and entries. As far as teachers go, I’ve witnessed my teachers using the program for various things, such as test creation, essay prompts, and homework assignments. As a teacher, I would use Microsoft Office for handouts, newsletters, tests and other fun activities. It’s truly a useful tool. 

From very early on in my schooling, I was taught to always give credit where credit is due. If I was writing a paper, I was expected to use Sons of Citation to properly cite my sources used. As far as pictures go however, I never was really forced to include citations until I joined the newspaper staff, where it was a necessity. For my students, I’d make sure to stress the importance of citing other peoples work and the negative aspects of copyrighting. If it’s taught early, than it’s more likely to stick.

I’m already fairly familiar with Microsoft Office, seeing as I’ve been using it for so long, but I did learn how to properly move clip art around, which made me feel a little stupid. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had problems with getting the clip art to actually go where I want it to, but today I discovered that you can bring it to the front of the text and move it around as you like. I liked learning new things on Microsoft, and I’d definitely want to teach my students how to master the program, seeing as it’s very useful for a lot of situations. 

Blog Post 1

September 10, 2012

I believe that computers are the future of education. Not only are students being brought up in a technological world, they will some day have to enter the work force, which has become even more computer based. With teachers infusing computers into a students educational experience, they are able to cover more ground and utilize interesting educational tools from other teachers. Being able to access educational games and activities, students are more likely to provide the teacher with positive responses. That being said, it is definitely the teacher’s responsibility to make sure that they are up to date and accurate with their technology skills. If used incorrectly, the technology aspect of teaching could go to waste. I really agreed with the section about learning styles and formatting computer lessons around the various aspects of learning. If a child is struggling to learn something on the computer, it should be the teacher’s responsibility to make sure that all of the students are flourishing.

If I were to eventually become an elementary or middle school reading teacher, I would definitely use the aspect of Kindles or computers in my classroom to not only provide students with the textual material, but educational games as well. Seeing as reading is a necessity to prosper in this country, I would make it my mission to make sure all of my students had all the necessary materials needed to succeed. Although Kindles are expensive, the idea of actual hand held books has diminished, and seeing how the publishing world has taken note of the technological way of doing things, the educational world should too. In this class, I hope to really master how to accomplish simple tasks on the computer, as well as more complex tasks that I could teach my students.

I agree that many children of today are “digital natives”, but there’s a large portion of children who don’t have the same computer or technology access, which creates a gap in learning. I would probably say that I grew up in the “digital native” period, where I was exposed to computers at an early age. With computer labs at school and the family computer at home, it wasn’t long before I figured out how to adequately use and prosper with technology. Although my parents are fairly technologically savvy, the same can’t be said for my grandparents, who would probably be referred to as “digital immigrants”. When it comes to my previous teachers using technology, many of them would ask other students for help, or request student tech aids. Most of my teachers would use outdated technological sources, such as VCR’s because that was what they were accustomed to using. I’m assuming that eventually, I too will become a digital immigrant, as I age and the technology our children are exposed to alters and expands.