Archive for the ‘Educational Technology’ category

Too much of a good thing? Overuse of technology in the classroom.

November 12, 2007

When academics gather to discuss teaching practices in the traditional classroom, not the on-line classroom, the topic of technology often comes up. Numerous research studies  have shown the benefits of technology in the classroom, and it is a well established tenant that instruction must be geared toward tomorrow. According to Lev Vygotsky, “Instruction must be oriented toward the future, not the past. The only good kind of instruction is that which marches ahead of development, and leads it; it must be aimed not so much at the ripe- -as the ripening functions” Lev Vygotsky, Thought and Language, 1997

What many teachers rarely discuss is the potential negatives of using technology in the classroom. One such negative is its overuse.  According to Pagnucci, Mauriello and Winner, when teachers of writing first introduce technology in the writing classroom, there is a “displacement” that takes place between the course content and the instruction of using the technology, whereas in traditional writing classrooms, teachers very rarely spend valuable class time explaining how to use pen and paper. They argue, “This reshaping displaces traditional writing activities with technology-based instruction, thus challenging the notion of what constitutes appropriate curricular content within the composition classroom. This curricular change necessitates political action on the part of technology-focused teachers, for instance the establishment of new types of teaching collaboratives and the rethinking of departmental policies.” Click here for more information.

“Reading Between the Code: The Teaching of HTML and the Displacement of Writing Instruction.” Computers & Composition, (December, 1999).

The message for teachers who choose to use technology in the classroom is clear — make sure the technology compliments the curriculum– not overpowers it. Additionally, teachers have to make the necessary changes in their class plans to adopt technology into their traditional curriculum. Failure to do so, according to these authors, will end up allowing the technology to overshadow the course goals.

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What is Photo Story 3? How Can It Be Used?

November 6, 2007

Photo Story3  is a Microsoft program that can be used to create video stories. With use of digital photos and other picture files, the user can create presentations in an exciting way! Features of the program include: zooming,  panning, cropping, voice recording, titles, and music. Importantly, you must have Windows Media Player 10 downloaded to use Photo Story 3 (FCPS Photo Story 3 Introduction and Tutorial). Click here to find out more about Photo Story 3.

“This program is helpful for teachers to create video stories about content area or for students to share what they have learned or experienced with others” (FCSP Photo Story 3 Introduction and Tutorial). The uses (for both teacher and student) are countless. Photo Story could be used by a teacher when preparing for a field trip to a museum. The teacher could create a video story including art that will be seen at the museum. They could show the presentation to students prior to the trip. This could be motivational for students and it could set the expectations of what is to be viewed. Students could also use Photo Story in order to share their Science Fair Projects. Using this program would enable students to share photos from the experiment phases, and it would allow them to record important ideas about the photos used.

Go to this site for created educational examples using Photo Story 3.

The Engaging and Motivating, Flickr

November 4, 2007

While planning and developing lessons, teachers sometimes find themselves struggling to make learning fun and engaging. As I read about Flickr in Will Richardson’s book,  I though about many ways that Flickr could be integrated into everyday classroom lessons and how motivational it would be for students.  Wikipedia defines Flickr as  a photo sharing website and web service suite, and an online community platform. As stated in Will Richardon’s book, “Flickr is a great tool for introducing students not only to digital images and publishing, but to the social conversations and collaborative learning opportunities that are now offered.”

Some of Flickr’s uses include: highlighting and conversing about current events, presenting and reflecting on class projects, increasing technology, typing, and map skills, and allows for opportunities to discuss field-trips and classroom speakers. Flickr could be used in various educational settings, ranging from the art room to math class.  Importantly, the annotation feature can be used in most of the educational settings. The annotation feature allows the user to add notes in a text form.

As with most technology tools, there are precautions to consider. For instance, members self-police the photos that are uploaded, so there is no guarantee of quality or appropriateness.  Teachers need to be aware of this prior to using Flickr and need to monitor student use appropriately.

When looking to increase student motivation and classroom participation, look no further than Flickr.

Keeping Your Wireless Secure

October 23, 2007

Whether a wireless computer is used for personal use and/or professional use ,  I’m sure that people do not want other individuals accessing their computer files or data. In the Technology and Learning magazine, it was noted that it is possible for people to use “personal wireless connections and use them as a source to send out spam or malicious software.” Therefore, I thought that I would share advice that they provided.

The magazine first advised changing the log-on user-name and password for the wireless router. In many cases, people do not do this and  keep the log-on set as the default. This makes it easy for people to access other networks. You can also use Firewalls in order to “decide who can communicate with your system”(Technology and Learning Magazine). Lastly, because hotspots are available in various places in order to provide Internet access, “you might want to forego doing online banking or shopping.” In the magazine, it was stated that, “this could be a draw for a bad guy with a sniffer, hardware or software that can intercept wireless signals” (Technology and Learning).

Click here for tips for securing your wireless and click here for more information about the topic.

Social Bookmarking

October 8, 2007

Have you ever saved a favorite website address on a disk and then forgot to take it with you when you needed it? Have you ever saved something to a hard drive, had your computer crash, and loose important web addresses? Last question. Have you ever been on a computer somewhere and found a very useful site, but wasn’t able to remember it at a later date? I can honestly answer yes to each of these questions. Therefore, when I learned about Social Bookmarking, I had to share the finding with everyone I knew. Social bookmarking is a service where you “can save links, annotate them with unique keywords, or tags to organize them with the world” (Will Richardson).  Click here to find the Who, What, How, and Why about Social Bookmarking. These are just a few reasons that I use Social Bookmarking.

Another reason includes sharing great sites with others. Often I have visited my college professor’s site and found very useful web addresses. With the use of tags, I have been able to connect to others that share the same sites and interest. What a great way to collaborate with others Professionally. “And in doing so, you’re creating your own community of researchers that is gathering relevant information for you” (Will Richardson).

Now that I have goteen you excited about Social Bookmarking, it’s time to choose a site to use. Here are some Social Bookmarking sites to get you started.

Where can information be found quickly? Wikipedia

October 7, 2007

How are people currently conducting research and/or finding information on particular subjects quickly?

Rather the topic being researched is something current or historical, many people are referring to Wikipedia, or Wikis. This is an online encyclopedia, but unlike other encyclopedias, it can be edited, added to, and/or deleted. It “houses more than 865,000 separate entries,” according to Will Richardson. It sounds like a great resource to use in the classroom with students. Not only can students use it to access information quickly, they can too edit information and insert their own post. For example, if a class is studying Historical St. Mary’s City, they can search for the topic and view what is posted. If information that they want to find is not posted, they can learn about it and then create and publish their own post.  “Like blogs, they could also post PowerPoint presentations, video and audio files, and spreadsheets” (Will Richardson). Refere to this site for examples of students and teachers entries.  

Will Richardson also provided school Wikis possibilities. They include: book reports, What I did this summer, brainstorming, poetry, notes from class, history of the school/community, and formula.

Sounds like a great classroom tool. I’m ready to start using it in the classroom. How about you?

Changes in Writing

October 7, 2007

When is the last time you bought stationary and a stamp, wrote a letter, and then sent the letter to someone through the mail? For me, it’s been a very long time. With the use of technology and the Internet, I can send emails in order to communicate in a much faster and more convenient way. For example,  I am  able to keep in touch with friends and relatives who live great distances away from me through email. On a positive note, this change in writing has helped me increase my communication with friends, family, and educators.

In the education world, writing is also changing with use of technology and the Internet. Teachers are using Blogs in order for students to communicate their ideas. Will Richardson says, “Students can write about personal reactions to topics covered in class, post links, write reflectively, and summarize on annotate readings.”  Instead of using the traditional paper and pencil for journaling and free writing, they can use Blogs to do so.   The possibilities truly are endless.  

This site is a great resource for teachers who are looking for ways to use technology with their students in order to improve writing skills.