541- Universal Access – Macbook Pro

The computer I use for this class is a Macbook Pro. As part of the operating system Apple computers come equipped with many universal access options within the the system preferences folder. options for modifications to the way the navigation and operation of the computer can be selected based on four tabs: Seeing, Hearing, Keyboard, and Mouse & Trackpad.

 

Users with a visual impairment can turn on a voice over option which will enable the computer to speak out all selected commands. The voice and speed of the voice over is all customizable. Users with a visual impairment can choose to use the zoom tool, which enables them to zoom in and out of all on screen areas, or they may choose to make adjustments to the colour and contrast of the display, depending on the characteristics of the visual impairment.

Users with a hearing impairment can select an option that flashes the screen when an alert sound occurs, they can change the audio from stereo to mono, and of course can adjust the volume of all audio outputs.

For users with certain physical disabilities such as motor control, the keyboard on this computer can be adjusted to modify input by putting a delay between when a key is pressed and when it is accepted. The user can also choose to disable the mouse and trackpad completely, controlling these tools via the keyboard only.

 

Directly from the Apple website:

 

Apple includes assistive technology in its products as standard features — at no additional cost. For example, iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac OS X include screen magnification and VoiceOver, a screen-access technology, for the blind and visually impaired. To assist those with cognitive and learning disabilities, every Mac includes an alternative, simplified user interface that rewards exploration and learning. And, for those who find it difficult to use a mouse, every Mac computer includes Mouse Keys, Slow Keys and Sticky Keys, which adapt the computer to the user’s needs and capabilities.

Reference:

http://www.apple.com/ca/accessibility/

541 – Obstacles to Technology Integration

The main challenge with integrating technology into any content area starts with access. I am fortunate enough to teach all my courses in a lab of computers and laptops which have enabled me to plan and implement technology based strategies in my content areas for several years. One of my main challenges has been ensuring that my instruction is content driven and not technology driven. Too often teachers fall into the trap of overusing technology to the point where it becomes distracting to students and actually hampers learning. However, for teachers who do not have consistent access to computers, integration in content areas becomes difficult to implement. Portable tablet labs and BYOD programs are beginning to alleviate some of the strain of access for all students in school, but it still remains a barrier to integration.

One challenge facing Language Arts teachers is the issue of plagiarism. Whether the written material is produced with the aid of technology or not, teachers must always be vigilant for work that is copied from another source. Plagiarism has become easier to accomplish using the internet by a simple process of copy and pasting, however the internet can also be a resource for teachers who suspect plagiarism. There are many web applications available for teachers to input phrases which then search the internet for a match. Related to this is an issue where students in classes where e-portfolios or notebooks are used could potentially access work done by other students on assignments given in previous semesters. This requires the teacher to carefully customize material and assignments on a regular basis.

It is easy for teachers to find reasons not to integrate technology in their classes by citing issues of access or security, however the benefit for students is potentially too great to find reasons not to integrate technology. Instead of find excuses not to adopt 21st century strategies teachers must find ways to make it happen. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology in the Classroom, “ The Internet and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) such as word processor, Web editors, presentation software, and email are regularly redefining the nature of literacy. To become fully literate in today’s world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of ICT. Therefore, literacy educators have a responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve.” (Robelyer and Doering, 2010)

Below is a link to a video I produced with Camtasia that addresses technology integration strategies and solutions for English Language Learners content area.
http://www.screencast.com/t/YsuJvGXciK

513 – Digital Story

The following is a digital story/documentary produced for Edtech 513 Mulitmedia. I have two sons, one 4 years old and the other 20. In this story I question what goes on in the mind of a child and how the events and images of childhood influence who they are in adulthood.

541- Content Areas

What is the relative advantage of using technology in the classroom to increase engagement, relevance and authenticity of major content courses? The obvious response to this question is that the lives of students outside of school is becoming more and more immersed in technology, therefore in order to increase relevance for students in school, educators must leverage technology. Technology in education has the power to connect the major areas of study in schools with each other and with the world around us. Through the use of technology students can see relevance in math as it applies to science, exploration and discovery. Students can connect the study of literature to history through the examination of primary sources and the subsequent ramifications for today’s society. “Today. thanks to the Internet, the classroom is a worldwide classroom in which networked technologies for literacy enable us to communicate with people around the world” (Roblyer, Doering 2010).

In language arts literacy has always been a focus of the curriculum, however the definition of literacy has evolved. Today, if language arts teachers are focusing on literacy, they must also include digital literacy. As technology changes students must be equipped to adapt to those changes; understanding how to interpret digital media and technology is a twenty first century life skill that is relevant in school and in life. Information is easily accessible by students today, however they must be given the tools to discern accuracy from bias, rumor, or blatant misinformation. Roblyer and Doering state that “students need instruction in processing the information and separating out bias and inaccuracies (intentional and otherwise)” (Roblyer, Doering 2010). In Language Arts, and in all curricular areas, technology motivates students to learn through immersive, media rich resources and interactivity which strike at the heart of educational objectives related to reading, writing, critical analysis, and problem solving.

Integrating Educational Technology into teaching lists 10 strategies for using technology to enhance teaching of reading, writing, and language skills.(Roblyer, Doering 2010 p. 284).

1. Electronic Publishing projects to encourage student writing
2. Electronic penpal activities to encourage student writing
3. Internet resources to engage students in literature
4. Online book clubs
5. Concept mapping software to help students plan their writing
6. Talking books to engage students in reading
7. Alternative formats for writing stories
8. Threaded discussions to motivate student writing
9. Blogs and fan fiction websites to motivate student writing
10. Tracking systems to motivate student reading

Roblyer and  Doering suggest that in order to motivate students, teachers need to tap into their  interests and engage students by presenting literature in a meaningful, relevant manner.  Some possible technology driven strategies could include networked literacy projects, interactive storybooks, student generated digital stories and videos, as well as writing in blogs and threaded discussions. One justification for this approach is to open up the potential audience pool for student writers to more than just one…the teacher. Through technology the perceived importance of student work is elevated through the increased audience potential. This approach lends professionalism to the process and the product and encourages the editing and revision process.

Technology integration in science and math is essential. Modern math education strives to prepare students for a highly technological society where workplace skills require advanced computational ability as well as finely tuned problem solving and logic based decision making.
Engaging students in math has traditionally been difficult due to a perceived lack of relevance; with technology, teachers can move toward a student centered approach that emphasizes real world relevance and demonstrates concrete examples of mathematical principles in everyday life.

Integrating Educational Technology into teaching lists 6 strategies for using technology to enhance teaching of mathematics.(Roblyer, Doering 2010 p. 320).

Using virtual manipulatives allows students to manipulate data in a virtual hands-on environment and provides concrete representation of abstract concepts. Using technology to foster mathematical problem solving gives students opportunities to apply knowledge in a constructivist environment, promoting deep understanding and educational impact. Computer based applications can generate visual representations of mathematical principles making concepts easier to visualize and understand. Through the use of spreadsheets and databases teachers can implement data driven curriculum which promotes experimentation with data and a cause and effect type analysis. Technology also has the inherent capability to motivate skills building practice for students to master basic computational skills and through communication based applications students can now access the knowledge and skills of professionals world wide or collaborate with other students on a global platform.

Science and technology are often viewed as one in the same. The National Science Education Standards differentiates the two by stating that “…the goal of science is to understand the natural world, and the goal of technology is to make modifications in the world to meet human needs.” (NRC, 1996) Technology integration into science supports student learning through providing authentic experimentation, inquiry, and access to information and tools. Making science authentic involves connecting inquiry to students’ lives. Technological resources provide a platform for authentic scientific inquiry and discovery at all phases of exploration. Data collection, storage and analysis is enhanced through technology. Visualization and manipulation in virtual environments makes the impossible, possible. Communication with experts and students around the globe is made possible through the integration of technology in the science classroom.

“The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as  citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an independent world. (NCSS, 1994) No other school based discipline has the potential to harness technology in a more relevant, poignant manner. Students of social sciences can now gain immediate, knowledge of world events in a media based environment. Students can use the Internet to mine information in a quest to locate relevant, accurate primary sources in the creation of artifacts that represent learning.  Students can communicate directly with students and experts across the globe, gaining a sense of social empathy and understanding of other cultures and in turn a rich appreciation of our own. “Not only is there more to learn about the world than ever before, but the information is changing constantly and dramatically. Fortunately, the same technology that created this more complex world also can help teach about it” (Roblyer, Doering 2010).

Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching lists 10 strategies for using technology in Social Studies Instruction (Roblyer, Doering 2010 p. 351).

1. Adventure Learning
2. Virtual Field Trips
3. Geocaching
4. Live through History- simulated immersion experiences
5. Webquest activites to learn history of political actions
6. Apply geospatial technologies to study the connection between the Earth and people.
7. Stock Market simulations
8. Electronic storytelling to recreate history
9. Real time collaboration
10 Digital media creation through the use of cameras

Technology in music and visual art instruction has allowed students to express themselves in a highly professional, creative environment, as well as enabling students to access, view, and analysis art from around the world and throughout history. Visual Arts now encompasses many highly technical mediums such as digital photography, media arts, 2D and 3D animation, while music instruction now includes computer assisted music composition. Music teachers can now rewrite or arrange compositions for performance easily using music notation software, which allows student parts to be altered to compensate for range or technical ability or even to alter the tonal center for the entire piece. An instructor of music history can now use technology to instantly access music files as examples and information on composers and musicians while making connections to the political and social standards of the period.
Music directors for high school musicals can sequence parts for performers to utilize in home practice or, in some cases, sequence the entire musical score for accompaniment of a performance. This allows predictability for rehearsal and a guarantee of a polished performance by the pit orchestra.  Music directors can also use sequencing software to supplement performance material giving the final product a professional edge that engages and motivates students.

Technology integration in education has many benefits for students in specific content areas, however the true power of technology in education is in connecting each of the disciplines to each other and to the world in which we live.

References:

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

National Research Council (1996) National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

National Council for the Social Studies. (1994). Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum standards for social studies. Silver SPrings, MD; Author.

541 – Multimedia in the classroom

Here is a link to the video blog on Youtube

Here is the text of the video:

This week’s learning log entry topic is to discuss the benefits of using multimedia in the classroom, and appropriately the media chosen to discuss this topic is video.
The concept of multimedia in classroom instruction is not a new one. Teachers have been finding ways to deliver information and facilitate learning using multiple strategies since the early 1900’s. Today, however digital media has made it possible for teachers and students to learn in ways not possible as little as 15 years ago.

Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching lists some of the many benefits of the use of video for example as being

the ability to demonstrate procedures

the development of student created presentations

video lectures – which is gaining traction today in the Flipped classroom concept spearheaded by such organizations as the Khan Academy.

student video portfolios

video simulation and problem solving simulations

documentation of school activities

Visual literacy instructions

teaching video production

real time communication, collaboration, and presentation through the use of such services as Skype.

As I stated earlier the ability for teachers and students to access digital video has changed dramatically over the last 2 decades. Personally I was using video production in the classroom in the early 90’s when students produced their work using large format VHS cameras and editing linearly using two vcr’s. The final product was crude and unpolished, however even with that limited technology the benefits for students was obvious.

Students producing video documentaries were forced to think about storytelling as well as research and interview techniques to teach their audience about their topic. As we all know one of the best measurements of learning is whether or not you can teach it to someone else. A unit I developed focuses in on the abstract concept of metaphor as discussed in a TED talk by James Geary found in my list of video resources. As part of this unit students grouped themselves in specific areas of interest chosen from the TED talk and created short documentaries that included research, experiments, interviews and good storytelling. Here is a short taste of some of their work.

Other forms of successful multi media instruction are the use of podcasts and the creation of visual representations of concepts in literature. I have students in my ninth grade language arts class create podcasts as part of a unit of instruction in Shakespeare’s A Mid Summer Nights Dream, where students record themselves performing scenes and creating the mood and atmosphere of the scene through the development of a soundtrack. Students practice and record the language of shakespeare which requires an analysis of the ideas within the dialogue. My students have created presentations where they are asked to find images that represent concepts within short stories and explain the metaphor presented, which calls on higher level cognitive strategies such as analysis and synthesis.

When teachers use multimedia in the classroom it is clear that students are more engaged, however careful considerations must also be made not to over stimulate the learner. According to e-learning and the science of instruction by clark and meyer adding extraneous elements to multimedia learning material that do not support educational objectives can actually damage the learning process. Graphics and sounds that are not related to the educational objectives of the presentation are nothing more than distracting. Spicing up a lesson by adding extraneous elements damages the process. Another  psychological theory is that the human brain can only upload a finite amount of information at a time. Too much information can lead to cognitive overload. The brain processes information through visual and aural channels, therefore multimedia strategies that present information on the separate channels are found to be successful. However studies have also shown that redundancy by using text and animations or narration and sound effects overloads the channels and impairs learning.

Using multimedia technology to enhance learning is clearly becoming more and more a necessary part of education. It is one way of increasing engagement, deepening impact through increased relevance and also supporting the variety of ways that people learn.

References:

1. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

2. Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

513 – Coherence Analysis

  1. What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria?

The coherence principle in multimedia learning suggests that presentations must contain elements that are logical and consistent with the objectives of the presentation and that extraneous images, audio, or animation detracts from learning. “In short, according to the coherence principle, you should avoid adding any material that does not support the instructional goals.”(Clark & Mayer, 2008) The theory is that unnecessary audio or visual material may overload cognitive channels and decrease comprehension by the learner. Although, “Mayer listed positive results for eliminating extraneous materials in thirteen out of fourteen experiments…”(Clark & Mayer, 2008), it is still unclear how the coherence principle effects learners with extensive prior knowledge on a subject or learners within a long term instructional program. It is within this context that the Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer Enhanced learning recommends educators should “…identify techniques for presentation of verbal and visual information that minimizes working memory load and promotes meaningful learning.”(Moreno & Mayer, 1999)

  1. Describe and/or include one example of successful and one example of unsuccessful attempts to apply the Coherence Principle in actual instruction and training you have experienced, especially as it might be implemented in PowerPoint-based instruction and training. Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook.

Many times, in an effort to increase interest or emotional arousal in a presentation, instructional designers will introduce extraneous multimedia elements in order to increase perceived level of excitement or engagement. Arousal theory is “the idea that entertaining and interesting embedded effects cause learners to become more emotionally aroused and therefore work harder to learn the material.”(Clark & Mayer, 2008) Unconsciously, this is the principle I have seen applied many times by students in my Media Arts classes who, after creating a presentation rich with interesting visuals and informative content, resort to overlaying the latest hip-hop hit that is appealing to the group, but irrelevant to the project. Student developers are hoping to appeal to the viewer’s musical aesthetic in order to engage their interest in the presentation, thereby reducing the likelihood of any meaningful learning. Alternatively, I have seen many examples of Media Arts students adhering to the coherence principle in the creation of nonverbal narratives, which use music to support the story through establishing the mood and atmosphere of the conflict and the emotional elements of character. Through the careful selection of music one can enhance the visual impact of the narrative and the overall impact of the presentation.

  1. Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings.

Cognitive, Redundancy, and Modality Principles are related to each other and the Coherence Principle through their relationship to how people learn and the limitations of human perception. All of the theories revolve around the limitations of cognitive input and deal with sight, sound, and our ability to synthesize a finite amount of information at any given time. The above principles all relate to the organization of learning materials in such a way as to avoid overloading cognitive channels and designing educational materials to manipulate and maximize sensory input for learning.

  1. Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook.

As far back as 1913 John Dewey wrote in his paper Internet and effort in education, that “…interest cannot be added to an otherwise boring lesson like some kind of seasoning.”(Dewey, 1913). If the lesson is uninteresting, one must look to the material itself and in fact the introduction of unnecessary visuals or sound will have the opposite effect, distracting the learner and interfering with their ability to make sense of the given material. These negative learning results are amplified for students who have trouble processing information. Psychologically, it is suggested that learning materials that are streamlined to present in a coherent, uncluttered, and simplified manner, without the addition of supplemental material, are more likely to be understood and retained because the learning process stems from the students cognitive efforts to “fill in the gaps” and make sense of the material. Students given too much information on a topic, especially if it delivered in simultaneous cognitive channels, will not retain the information due to cognitive overload.

 

  1. What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion. Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they?

It could be argued that the coherence principle simplifies the learning process and does not consider the cognitive capabilities of the advanced student. It is clear that there are limitations to cognitive input no matter how much previous knowledge a student has, however does the inclusion of examples that involve the application of the learning principles in real life situations qualify as extraneous? The text suggests that adding extraneous words to add technical depth to information such as providing extended examples of the learning principle at work may distract from the learning objectives. This may be applied to the learner who is new to the material, but can this be true with experienced students of the material? I would contest that providing real life applications of the learning material within a presentation would assist with the cognitive process of “making sense” of the material. In my experience providing contextual examples of concepts reinforces understanding and increases retention.

References:

 

1. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

 

2. Dewey, J. (1913). Internet and effort in education. Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

 

3. Mayer, R.E.,  & Moreno, R. (2000). A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning. Wake Forest University.

541 – Voicethread Blog Entry

The following blog entry can be found as an audio source in the following Voicethread

The Internet and Learning

As education evolves further into the 21st century the list of reasons why, and evidence for using the Internet in education is steadily growing. It is no coincidence that educational resources for Internet use is expanding while the capabilities and ease of access increases and the cost of hardware and software declines. For many schools the only reason there has not been consistent use of the Internet has been prohibitive costs and lack of access for all classes. Today the cost of equipment for schools has dramatically reduced and implementation of “Bring Your Own Devices” programs have alleviated the equal access issue.

Today the only real arguments against harnessing the power of the Internet for education are access to inappropriate material, safety and privacy issues, Internet fraud, computer viruses, and copyright or plagiarism issues. Although all of these issues can have serious consequences for students, to ignore the capabilities of the Internet for gathering information, sharing resources, engaging students, communication, solving problems, building artifacts, and exploration is a dis-service to students and does not prepare them for life in the world outside of school.

One of the fastest growing categories of Internet use in education is distance education. The use of the Internet in post secondary distance programs has been common for some time now, however distance programs in K-12 institutions are becoming more commonplace. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, fifth edition,“Thanks to distance technologies such as broadcast systems and the Internet, learning has escaped the physical boundaries of the classroom and the school, and students and teachers have become part of a virtual classroom they share with counterparts around the world.”(Roblyer, Doring 2010) Schools and classes right down to Kindergarten are accessing the Internet to mine resources, material, and experts from around the world, as well as collaborating and communicating with other virtual classrooms, increasing global awareness.

As part of this audio blog post we are required to outline some of the ways in which we use the INternet in our classrooms. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways in which I utilize the Internet in my classrooms.

I utilize Internet extensively in all my classes to increase engagement, deepen relevance and impact. My classes are centered around the philosophy that technology is a rich tool that must be used to break down the walls of the traditional classroom in order to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century world.
All of my classes utilize Wikispaces to act as the hub of all information on assignments, assessment, calender of events and due dates, resources such as down-loadable assignments, external links, embedded video, images, and widgets. I requires each student in all of my classes to create their own wiki and invite me to become a member of that site. I then records the URL of each student and can access my students’ virtual notebook at anytime from any location to assess and provide feedback for students. My students often communicate through the Wikispaces account with me asking questions or requesting reevaluation of assignments. Parents are sent an email early in the semester which contains the URL of their son or daughters site so that they may actively participate in their child’s education.
In Media Arts, Language Arts, and Photography I strive to engage student to discover and utilize productive and safe online practices. My lessons often include strategies for assimilating and evaluating online content for relevancy and reliability while encouraging students to use best practices of netiquette. In Language Arts, students extensively utilize a class blog for
the purposes of inquiry, collaboration, and discussion. This process includes instruction on the importance of quality responses to posts that include supplemental information, possess questions, and stimulates further discussion. All of my Language Arts students are required to establish and share a gmail account with me. This process allows students to collaborate with each other in pairs, small groups and as an entire class on projects in Google documents and create collaborative presentations in Google presentations. Through the gmail accounts list I can share documents and presentations with my students and students can share their work with me for assessment and revision.
Students in my Language Arts classes create high quality projects that solidify and demonstrate learning through the development of podcasts in a variety of units such as the study of Shakespeare and documentary video production when analyzing the power of metaphor.
The use of technology in my Media Arts class is the cornerstone for instruction, exploration, discovery, and creation. In Media Arts students engage in film analysis that requires students to be able to discern quality from the overwhelming amount of trivial online video content. This process then leads to the creation of their own quality online content. Students create their own online portfolio which houses resources and showcases projects. Many student video projects are uploaded to Youtube and embedded on their personal e-portfolio for viewing and assessment. Students in Media Arts collaborate using web 2.0 tools for script development and pre-production.
In Photography students often look to the world wide web for examples of exemplary work through sites such as National Geographic or directly from the sites of professional photographers. Students create their own online digital portfolio that includes digital slide shows of their assignments, multimedia photojournalism projects, written reflection on the work of professionals, resources and links. My photography class also harnesses the power of mobile technology in a unit which requires students to travel to locations given on a Google map and record images and audio clips that capture the essence of each location, edit the files and upload to the class website. For assessment purposes I often utilize online rubric creation websites  to establish evaluative benchmarks for students.

References:
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

541 – Social Networking and the Walled Garden

The concept of walled gardens is not unique to the Internet and can be extended to include many examples through history where rules are made to protect us from ourselves. Censorship, in the guise of protection, is evident throughout history when governments or religious organizations have controlled the flow of information or eliminated the expression of perceived subversive ideas, usually with the intent of suppressing dissent.

Opponents for a free and open Internet in schools would argue that the potential is too great  for students misusing the capabilities of the web, inadvertently exposing themselves to victimization from Internet predators, or simply viewing inappropriate material. I would agree that the potential is there, however the question is, does this negative potential outweigh the potential impact for learning? In my opinion the potential benefit of an open and freely accessible Internet is greater than the risks. Students must be educated on Internet safety; they must be made aware of the dangers, how to protect themselves, and careful, age appropriate monitoring of their online behavior should be in place. Given these circumstances students can safely harness the potential of the web for learning.

One of the most common areas of restriction in “walled gardens” is social networks. Through the media, the public has been inundated with stories of situations where young people and adults have been exploited by cyber criminals found in social media websites such as Facebook, or Twitter. There is no doubt that these situations occur and sometimes with terrible consequences, however it all once again comes down to education and supervision. Restricting student access to social media in school translates, in the minds of students, to another example of how school life is not a reflection of real life. Using social media to connect students “both face to face and virtually, from a variety of backgrounds to work together to solve a common problem” (Cofino, 2009) has global impact, builds empathy, and creates cultural awareness that could not be achieved any other way.

As Jose Picardo states in an article titled: Microblogging: making the case for social networking in education, “More and more people, not just our students, are becoming aware of the power of belonging to a network: each individual member contributes a small part, so that the resulting body of knowledge is much greater than that which any individual member could have amassed on their own. This is why the social internet has become so successful: groups of people have clumped together forming networks, generally because of some sort of affinity or shared interest, and have started communicating and passing on information that matters to them” (Picardo, 2010). Blocking students from this type of opportunity in schools, when it is readily available everywhere else, seems counterproductive.

Schools should reflect the world we live in today. And we live in a social world. We need to teach students how to be effective collaborators in that world, how to interact with people around them, how to be engaged, informed twenty-first-century citizens. (Smith, 2007)

References:
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Smith, Fran. (2007) Edutopia.org. How to Use Social Networking Technology for Learning. Retreived March 6, 2012 from: http://www.edutopia.org/how-use-social-networking-technology

Cofino, Kim. (2009) Always Learning. How to Connect Your Students Globally. Retrieved March 6, 2012 from: http://kimcofino.com/blog/2009/10/04/how-to-connect-your-students-globally/

Picardo, Jose.(2010) Technology and Education Box of Tricks. Microblogging: Making the Case for Social Networking in Education. Retrieved March 6, 2012 from: http://www.boxoftricks.net/2010/02/microblogging-making-the-case-for-social-networking-in-education/

513 – Podcast

My podcast series will provide adult learners with weekly lessons on how to play the saxophone. The concept I have in mind would be targeting adults who always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, but don’t have time to take private lessons. The series start with an historical introduction to the instrument and the basics of putting it together, where to place the fingers and how to form the embouchure. With the podcast learners would be able to listen, pause, and playback segments with the goal of familiarizing the student and allowing them to produce a sound after the first episode. The podcast format will allow me to provide examples of what it should sound like for the learner to use as reference.

Subsequent episodes of the podcast would teach and demonstrate specific techniques of how to play the instrument, how and what to practice, and provide suggestions for artists and recordings to go to that demonstrate great technique and sound.

I have worked with music files and recording a great deal in the past, but had no idea you could create a podcast, host it in dropbox and have it subscribe-able in itunes. This technique has some real potential for my classroom instruction. Currently I have students create podcasts on a variety of topics but we were uploading them to their student website; this way we can collect and maintain a class set of podcasts hosted on itunes that we can all subscribe to…awesome!

541 – Spreadsheets and Data Bases in Education

“Software tools are increasingly popular, in part because they address both productivity and instructional needs and in part because they can support both directed or constructivist learning activities.” (Roblyer, Doring, 2008) It is the versatility and simplicity of  spreadsheet and data base software that makes it particularly useful in an educational setting.

Spreadsheets and Databases have been around almost since the beginning of the personal computer and have been two thirds of the big three in terms of productivity applications on computers the third being word processing. These three applications were developed to make the creation of documents and storage and retrieval of data more efficient. The relative advantage to the use of these applications in educations starts with their ability to save time, contain and display a large amount of information and continues to their ability to quickly see the results of  variables to a result. Spreadsheets and databases can contain information that can be used by students to analyze a problem or issue and instantly see the results of a change to that data. Data bases and spreadsheets  can reveal answers to students through the study of data and their differences. This inquiry based approach to spreadsheets and databases encourages the hypothesis, investigation, conclusion approach to learning.

Reference

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.