Archive for January, 2009

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Google, Google, Google

January 28, 2009

 

 

 

I feel like all I have on my brain lately is google. Although we had an in class presentation on the many features of google almost a week ago I think I am still digesting it. As mentioned in my last post, igoogle was something that I was already a big fan of but google docs, forms, blogs, calendars were things I had not really given much thought too. I was familiar with them but I had never thought of any of them as educational tools. Google calendar is something that I think would be really beneficial to use with your class as it sets up a source of communication between teachers, students as well as parents. Having a calendar set up for your classroom will also help students become more organized as they will have a reminder that is easily accessible to them at all times of what the expectations are in their classroom each week. I think that it will be good for parents too because we often see a breakdown in communication between school and parents as students reach their middle years. I don’t think that it should be used as a way for parents to skip the communicating with their child step, but I do think it might help get both parties thinking about what is happening in the classroom and what their role is.  

I think that there is also a lot of room for google docs within the classroom and that it is a great tool that can be used for students to get together and work on peer editing. I also like the idea of being able to look at the progress of students work as it is happening (without collecting every student’s books), and to then be able to give feedback inside of the document, in a format that allows them to easily make changes to their work. Being able to easily add comments to my students work is something that I have recently become a big fan of. In my internship i found it difficult to mark students writing journals because I was constantly thinking how do you put a mark on a child’s creativity. The idea of simply given the child comments on what you think they did well, and how they can expand their ideas is much more appealing to me, and google docs would make this task much easier for me. I think that I could use blogs in this way as well by creating a dialogue between my students and myself by leaving them meaningful comments on their work. Blogs would also help students get a feeling of speaking to a larger audience, as well as allow them to connect with each other more through the school work. 

I’m positive the more that I look into Google Educational Tools the more ideas I will get. For now though I am also left thinking about what can I do as a classroom teacher to get my students more access to computers? In my internship there were four computers in every classroom. Students then needed to be fanned out throughout the school anytime you were doing lessons involving computers. Although this system work fairly well, there were still issues of double bookings of computers and students ending up with nowhere to go, and sometimes there were teachers who were unwilling to let any students into their rooms to use the computers. There is also the concern of classroom management and how to I manage my 25 students when they are in 6 or 7 different classrooms? I’m not sure how we get around some of these obstacles but I would be eager to hear what other peoples experiences have been in regards to access to technology in the classroom.

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i love igoogle!

January 27, 2009

igoogleIn the picture above is my igoogle page, or as I like to think of it the one-stop shop to fulfilling my online obsessive compulsive needs. I have had an igoogle page for quite some time now but with exploring it features being a tech task this week, I decided that it was time my page got a face-lift. Before I get into too much detail about that though I want to justify my heading of this post. I’ve already mentioned that my igoogle page allows me to deal with my OCD needs, and how it does this is by having my gmail, my hotmail, my facebook, my google reader, my google docs, the weather, and of course my countdown to Las Vegas! All of these things (plus many many more) at my disposal as soon as I open my browser, which saves me a lot of time because I literally feel the need to check them all about 40-50 times a day. 

The other thing that I personally really love about my igoogle page is it allows me to be an online pack rat! (I googled pack rat and that link is what I found) I love adding stuff to my igoogle page. I actually had more things on my page before this week, but when i realized I would be giving everyone a screenshot view of what my page looked like I cut back. I decided I really didn’t need things that I never look at like my horoscope, or old foxtrot comics. Reorganizing my page though did lead me to realize that I do have an excess amount of Psychology news feeds (I kept them all though, you can never be too informed) I have an application for everything it seems, I have news, technology, reuters oddly enough, daily photographs, my delicious, quotes, to-do lists, science news, and of course people.com news. I could go on but I think you get my point. 

I encourage everyone to create their own igoogle as it really is a excellent tool to help organize your online life, and clutter it up if you are so inclined! 

I’m also always looking for great new things to add to my igoogle page so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!

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Google Forms

January 23, 2009

I created my first google form today. The form is just a quick survey on the idea of people first language. 

I hope you can find some time to fill it out.

Here is the link:

 http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pYMGDKN7Rx1S4DwfuEioeXA.

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to reading the answers!

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Technology Background

January 21, 2009

As part of my ECMP 355 class our professor has asked that we blog briefly about what our technology background is. I must admit that I do not have a lot of formal education on technology but I have found that so far I am a pretty quick learner.

I did take computer science back in highschool, but that was an absolute disaster. I cannot remember a single thing about that class, I don’t think I even really know what it was about. I do know my way around microsoft word, excel, and powerpoint though. I was also pleasantly surprised at how much I really did know about delicious, the social bookmarking site. After listening to a professional explain it I realized I knew more than I thought. He did have a lot of good tips on how to better utilize it though.  For example the highlighting of text on the website that you are bookmarking, before you bookmark it, so that it pops into the description section. I definitly have been neglecting the descriptions of my bookmarks so far and like having this shortcut to make the process seem more appealing to me.

apple-macbook-screen

I am currently still trying to adjust to changing from a pc to a mac. I must say that I love macs though, I just often feel like I am not using mine to its full potential. Although I haven’t really spent any time on vista to compare, I’m sure that macs are better!

I don’t really remember much about technology being present in my classrooms over the years, and the fondest memories that I do have of tecnhology in the classroom consists of being allowed to play number munchers!

I still love this game!

I still love this game!

There were courses offered at my highschool to become more computer literate, I just never took them. I haven’t found myself struggling to much with technology yet in my life, but I am really looking forward to gaining more ways to use technology in the classroom and to share it with my students.

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First Post, First Class

January 19, 2009

So I’m Jen and this is my first blog and my first post. Now the reason that I started this blog is for my ECMP 355 class. In the class we were required to set up a blog and start building our self in the online world. We are responsible for keeping our own blog but also for following others educational blogs. I have really been enjoying reading some of the suggested blogs, but I must say that I am pretty nervous about keeping my own blog. I’m not much of a sharer but I am going to try my best. The idea of the blog being for educational purposes does ease my mind however because my initial thoughts about blogs was that they were a place for people to share more personal information than I am comfortable doing. 

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If only it was that easy!

 

Back to ECMP 355 though, last Wednesday was my first class and it was held using a tool called Elluminate. Although I have been in other online class this was my first experience with this tool. I really enjoyed the experience, even though I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had joined the class late, and then to make matters worse I joined the session a minute or two late as well, which unfortunately doesn’t surprise me. I did find Elluminate a bit overwhelming at first as well. There seemed to be a lot going on all at once, there was the chat box, people speaking, onscreen visuals to follow and occasionally we needed to be working in another window altogether. Once I kind of got into the swing of things though I really enjoyed the format. One thing that I did find that I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the way the chat box was sometimes being used. I found it useful to post questions without disrupting the class, however some of the time I found that the chat box was off topic and distracting to the information being presented to us. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the semester though and hopefully on becoming more comfortable and proficient with this whole blogging thing.