Monday, August 4, 2008

Journal 6

Marcovitz, D, & Son, J (August 2008). Point/Counterpoint-Is Educational Technology Shortening Student Attention Spans?. Learning and Leading, Retrieved August 4, 2008, from
This article was looking at two different viewpoints in answering the question of whether or not technology is shortening the attention spans of students. The first response of “yes” was given by David Marcovitz, who thinks that children have become accustomed to receiving everything, both educational material and tangible things, almost instantaneously. Marcovitz believes that students are no longer capable of being patient and that “deep thought and attention to important matters is what is absent in the fast-paced world of educational technology”. The other counterpoint to this response is made by John David Son who thinks that technology in education is teaching students to multitask easily. He feels as though learning through technology masks the fact that students are in school “doing work” when they feel as though they are actually having fun. Opposed to the traditional pen and pencil method of learning, Son felt that a class taking notes seemed “disengaged and disconnected...they were only on the receiving end of the information”. I think that the two authors brought up two very good arguments. Some children need to learn the lesson of patience an realize that in the “real world” there are lines to wait in, red tape to plow through and other speed bumps that will prevent you from getting to the finish line. On the other hand, I think that incorporating technology is a great way to tackle not so fun areas of the curriculum where teachers are begging for something fun for their students so that they will be engaged in the classroom.

What will my expectations be for technology use in the classroom?
-Even if a student claims that he or she can get their reading done, listen to their iPod and instant message simultaneously, I’m not allowing it. I think that there is something to be said for having the ability to focus on a task without distracting yourself with outside tools.

How will make my classroom environment harmonious while finding a balance between too much technology and not enough?
-I will combine a number of activities a day that challenge both their patience and let them test their creativity. My biggest fear is that I will contribute more to a population of young adults who are constantly “plugged in”. So what if they can download music and text all in one device. I want to make sure that they have the skills to communicate their thoughts effectively to their peers, future teachers, and family without having to “google” it. On the other hand, I don’t want my kids drool to gather on their desks. I think the internet has done wonders for learning and I will use it in my classroom, not abuse it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Journal 5

Soulé, Helen (August, 2008). Transforming School Communities. Learning and Leading, Retrieved August 1, 2008, from
In this article, the author, Helen Soulé, stresses the importance of communication throughout a district by teachers and staff. She describes this communication as the “effective glue holding the community together”. The critical components of this communication according to Soulé are: advocacy of the vision, networking to build formal and informal support, and collaboration with diverse external and internal constituencies. A way to implement these strategies with ease is to take advantage of the Web 2.0 tool that can easily give teachers the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers. A suggested way to reach staff within districts is to start a blog or podcast so that communication is accessible. At the State University of Iowa there has already been a tool implemented that gives school principals the opportunity to set up a blog for free. Another point the author made about effective communication was knowing where and when to use certain means of communication. There are certain tools to be used in order to reach certain audiences. In addition to knowing the best vehicle of communication to use, it is important that educators expose the parents to the tools they will be using right off the bat to avoid confusion later on in the year. Although some parents are hesitant about accessing information via the computer or internet, their hesitance may be counteracted by showing them all of the awesome possibilities of learning there are to be had.

What kinds of Web 2.0 tools will be most helpful in my classroom?
-I really like the idea of a class blog, where students will be able to answer their fellow peers’ questions and submit assignments online. I like the idea that it conserves paper and decreases the amount of extra work I would have to do by fixing errors that could have been prevented previously.

How will you be an advocate for effective digital communication?
-After taking this ed422 class I feel confident in posting new lessons and/or sharing my experiences on blogs or Wikis. If I come across a lesson that worked for my class and though that the students enjoyed I would be happy to post a video of this lesson on Teacher Tube or post how to do the directions on my blog.

Journal 3

I attended the second seminar of the Summer Institute and was unfortunately not impressed. I think that the speaker, Richard Reid had the ability to speak well in front of a large crowd; however he had difficulty making the purpose of his lecture known to the audience. The title of his presentation was: “RTI-innovations in Prevention and Intervention”, to begin the speaker never really defined what RTI was, or what the letters stood for. From what I understood from his lecture I can assume that RTI is an organization which works towards the goal of every child learning successfully. I would guess that organizations like RTI have come about due to the demands and requirements set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act, (NCLB). The purpose of his lecture, I think, was to encourage the actual implementation of programs into schools. Too often there are good ideas projected by teachers and faculty, while there are no useful tools to implement these ideas in the classrooms. Richard Reid’s PowerPoint was meant to map out the ways in which these ideas are implemented, but the excessive commentary and distracting images steered the audience way from the intended purpose of the lecture. The proposed path in order to see change in schools was: Vison+Skills+Incentives+Resources+Action Plan =Change. The speaker had slides provided for each of the steps on this path, but there were no real contextual examples being exemplified. Another suggested formula of implementation was: Exploration and Adaption, Installation, Initial Implementation, Full Implementation, Innovation, and finally Sustainability. In order for these steps to be taken towards improvement, all members of the educational community: students, parents, principals, superintendants, etc., must be active parts in the process.

How will I get my ideas “off the ground” when I am an actual teacher in the classroom?
-I know that I will develop different ideas and lessons for my classroom and students at my future school that I will want to implement and share with others. I think that an effective way to do this will be through creating a blog and /or wiki to gain knowledge about what other institutions and teachers are doing. I’m sure that the RTI organization or program is effective in doing this, but for some schools do not have the funds to hire people like Richard Reid and will have to find other ways in implementing a successful program.
Are the suggested plans of action presented by Richard Reid applicable to classrooms?
-I think so. I wish that I would have had an example of how his model works in the “real world” but it seems as though rich’s ideas would be effective in maintaining proficiency throughout multiple grade levels.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Web 2.0- Photo Sharing/Journal 4

After looking at the discussions about photo sharing I discovered many new ways to share your photos with family members and the public. Before reading these posts I had only been familiar with the Webshots website which is pretty limiting in terms of posting photos and sharing them with people you know. Animoto is a website that allows you to make your own video slideshow and add music to your pictures. Not only can you upload photos, but you can also add effects to them just like the tools in the imovie software. One teacher commented on this software program stating that her students had already been using Photobucket, a program similar to Webshots, and she found the students were not being creative enough. The website is free for small shows, but larger ones cost more. I think that this tool would be great to use in the classroom because my students would be able to add so much more to their presentations and photos in front of the class.

Saturday, July 26, 2008