Archive for February, 2009

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Tech Task #10

February 25, 2009

The object of this tech task was to sell yourself using only four pictures. I found this very difficult. Not because I wanted to use more than four pictures, but because I have a hard time with the idea of selling myself to someone. In the end though I decided to go with the very simple idea of I would not be who I was today without the people that I surround myself with. The people that are close to me make up my world. Who they are and the decisions they make greatly affects me and who I am right now, who I was in the past, and who I will be in the future. 

I used glogster for the project like many of my classmates, as it was something I had never tried before. It is a very user friendly program and allows you to use some great effects without much effort. I did get a little frustrated when I went to save my glog and I got timed out and had to start all over again. However that was my fault not glogster’s. My final product really doesn’t showcase what you can do with glogger but I again wanted to keep it simple.

I had troubles getting it to embed so it can be viewed at the following link: http://jhbest.glogster.com/ecmp-355

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Mastercard video

February 23, 2009

Posted below is my mastercard video for tech task #9. As I was uploading it this morning I was checking my google reader and realized that one of my classmates videos was really similar to mine. Check out Marcy’s blog to see it. I was really glad too see that I wasn’t alone in the world when it came to this problem with my dog. All the pictures in my video are unfortunately actually items that he has wrecked, it sure is a good thing he is cute! 

I made my video using imovie, which although I had used before, I found that I was pretty rusty, and that it provided its challenges. I’m also a little disappointed with the quality of the video after it uploaded, but it was my first crack at putting a video on youtube so hopefully next time goes smoother. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Mentoring Project

February 13, 2009

For my ECMP 355 class we are participating in a project where we are working collaboratively with practicing teachers and their classrooms. I have had a chance to connect with the three rooms that I am going to be working with. I thought I would share with you some of the things that I will be doing with these classrooms.

One of the teachers that I am working with is Chad Brannon and his grade 7 science class. Chad’s class has a wiki set up, on which I was able to send a message introducing myself a bit to the students. They also have just finished an large online project on the Body Systems. They will be starting a new unit on Genetics in a couple weeks that I will be getting a chance to be involved in. A colleague of mine,who will also be mentoring this class, and I are also hoping to get together and Skype into the class before then to get to know them a bit more.

Another teacher that I will be working with is Maura Moritz. She has an Elements of Composition class that I am starting to work with. The class has students from grade 9-12. The students have read the story “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune.” by Chris Crutcher and are now writing a collaborative essay on the writing style used in the story. I am working with three different student groups using google documents as a way for me to see their work and give feedback. It also allows them to share their work with each other.

Finally, I am working with Stephanie Attfield, who teaches 4 math classes and 1 pre-algebra class. We are still working on figuring out exactly what we are going to be doing but she has suggested looking at linking math skills with career opportunities. I am looking forward to see what we can develop.

I am really excited for all of these opportunities, and the chance to work with each one of these teachers. I am hoping that I will be able to contribute to their classes in a positive way and also that I will be able to take away some great ideas about how to successfully incorporate technology into the classroom. If you are one of the many teachers participating in this mentorship program thank you for this great learning and networking opportunity.

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The Power of Language

February 9, 2009

I have been doing a lot of readings for my classes lately and it has been making me think a lot about the power of our words. Two of the more powerful readings that got me started thinking this way are “Dude You’re A Fag”:Adolescent Masculinity and the Fag Discourse by CJ Pascoe and “Names Will Never Hurt Me” by Manju Varma-Joshi, Cynthia Baker, and Connie Tanaka. In one article the way the terms “fag” and “gay” are used is discussed, and in the other it looks more at the way racial terms are used and the effect that they have on the person that they are directed at. I think what struck me the most about these two articles is that in most cases we have see individuals who are not even aware of how powerful the terms that they are using are.

Language is the tool that we use to communicate with other and I think that we often take for granted the strength of our communication and how much our language is changing all the time, and not always for the best. The prime example of this is the term “gay.” It has gone from meaning happy or excited, to referring to a specific group of people, to being used as a way to express that something is stupid.

There has been a lot of attention to this idea in the media lately as well and you can see these ideas in the following videos:

These videos were sponsered by a website called Think before you speak. This is a great website for demonstrating how we have changed the meaning of words in our society and could be a good place to allow students to explore.

Another thing i thought about when I was reading this articles was that the language used in the articles left something to be desired. The way that most academic articles are written makes it very hard for the average individual to read. The language used in some of the articles makes the information in them less accessible to everyone, and I wonder why? Is it neccessary? Do academic articles need to take vocabulary to that level in order to be considered worthwhile?

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Jakob Trollback on TED

February 3, 2009

In class last week on of my classmates Mickey shared his thoughts on a TED video by Jakob Trollback on rethinking the music video (posted below)

Jakob Trollback: Rethinking the music video

If you watch the video you can see Jakob Trollback demonstrates how a music video can be powerful visualization of the lyrics and emotions (or expression) of the song and more than just an advertisement for the artist. I think that this would be an interesting video to introduce into the classroom as it is such a different concept than what our students are used to. I think that it would also be good to get the students thinking more actively about what types of music they are listening to and what messages the artists are trying to send them. It would be interesting to also incorporate some technology into this discussion by then challenging your students to create a new music video for one of their favorite songs that focuses more on emotion, lyrics, and beat of the music than the image of the artist.

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Games in Education – A k-12 online presentation

February 3, 2009

In my ECMP 355 class last week we were asked to go to the k-12 online conference website, watch a video from 2008 and then respond to what we had watched. I choose to watch a session about Games in Education by Sylvia Martinez. (found at the link below)

Games in Education

This video caught my attention early on throwing out ideas like “play is a child’s work” and that it is actually a major component when it comes to brain development. The session points out that these are not exactly new ideas but ideas that we seem to not really pay attention too in schools as we are often discouraging play in favor of “education“.

Another idea that caught my attention was the value of games that are designed to be educational. The presenter herself has been involved in the process of designing educational games, but still believes that 99% of these games are actually useless when it comes to educating our students.  She points out that many of the “educational games” that we use in the classroom actually function more like worksheets. I had never thought of it like that, but once I stepped back at looked at these games I realized that she was right, and that most of these games are glorified worksheets. Here I thought technology was helping me find new ways to engage students when really I was having them do the same old activities but in a shiny new paperless way. This video really made me realize that I need to do a lot more than have my students play games that drill and practice certain skills to be using technology effectively. One way to do this that stuck out in my mind was through the use of games that require your students to think, and then afterward reflecting in groups or as a whole on the experience, no more multiple choice games for me. I do still see the value in some of these educational games though because they often can work to engage some of those students who are just not finding the material very exciting at first. however I think that when they are used for too long, that is when they start losing their value to the student. The student can become disengaged and just mindlessly finish the task at hand without much care or thought because they have already answered 20 similair questions. I could go on about the ideas shared in the video but i think what was really important for me at the end was that it really got me evaluating how can I use technology in the classroom to the best of it abilities? I want to make sure that I am not simplying having my students on a computer playing a educational game for the sake of doing it and so that I can say I am incorporating technology into my classroom. I want to be able to take my students beyond that level and get them and myself thinking in new ways about both the subject at hand and how we can use technology to enhance our learning and understanding of it.

Below are a couple of the sites that I visited after watching the video that I found both fun and interesting to spend some time at:


http://linerider.com/play-line-rider-online

http://www.phunland.com/wiki/Download

http://www.seriousgames.org/index.html