Monday, January 23, 2012

In the Clouds

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          title="Wordle: Algae Research"><img
          alt="Wordle: Algae Research"
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This week has truly been a challenge for me. Somehow I opened another blog account with a different email and then clicked the box that kept me logged in. I was able to find my original account, but not able to access it for any updates. It took a great deal of time and moving back and forth through the screens and using different passwords, but I finally figured out what happened. Although this has been a very challenging week, I can say without a doubt it has also been very rewarding in the fact that I feel more confident using technology.

As I was browsing around the cloud educational sites I was looking something I could use now in my classroom. I found Collaborize Classroom:Online Education Technology for Teachers and Students, . This site allowed me to set-up classes and communicate assignments. This site also allows communication between students, teachers and parents. I see how students could use this for group projects or to discuss ideas. This site could be used for students absent or days missed because of whether delays. I joined the site and looked around, but I did not actually take this back to my classroom. This site works much like the Edmodo site. Once again this technology leaves me wishing all of my students had access to technology so I could effectively implement this into my classroom.

Another site I found Algae-Fuel-Research-Oilage-Blog, I choose this site because of my involvement with the LEADERS program and alternative energy. I am extremely interested in the research being done with algae. My Biology II class is going to begin to do a project with algae and I want them to learn various means of gathering data. I think reading the most current work being completed by scientist in different parts of the world and throughout various industries helps our students to realize the magnitude of the need and work that goes into changing our world.

The third site I am sharing is Free Gradebook for Teachers -LearnBoost
Although I am using a web-based gradebook through TPS, I wanted to see a if another site would offer a more flexible method of recording and maintaining attendance and grades. I set-up two classes and added on assignment. I would have to use it more to see if I would recommend using it on a regular basis. I am giving OGT work now in my classes and I do not want to add a grade everyday in the TPS system, but I do want to add a grade for the quarter. I am going to use this site to keep track of the student work, instead of using paper and pencil. I will let you know what I think of the product in about 6 weeks.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I found this week's assignment very challenging; however, I feel becoming familiar with using clouds and bookmarking would be a great time saver for teachers and students. The use of Clouds in the classroom would allow us to save material in the library when we are there using the computers and then access the material later at another computer. The students can begin word documents and save them. They can also work on documents in groups without having to start over or copy and paste materials into another document. I think teachers and students would benefit by using bookmarking because we could go instantly to the site of interest, instead of searching for the information. The use of tagging would allow us to group our work into catagories so it is easier to find.

I feel this is a huge step in the right direction to use technology, but we all know if you don't use it you loose it. Therefore, I am going to incorporate these techniques into my research and lesson planning.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blogging & Twittering

This class has forced my hand at setting up a Blog and Twitter account. I have been extremely unaware of the use of types of accounts. I was also completely unaware of the number of people using this form of technology to communicate.

Blogging has most definitely taken me by surprise. I had no idea of the number of people using a Blog to communicate about such a wide variety of topics. I used a blog site set-up for one of my other classes and we posted a couple of communications within the blog; however, I have learned we did not use it to its' full potential. I spent some time moving through Blogger's Choice Awards and found very interesting material that could be useful to me for school, my classes and RCIA classes at church. I found the nature of the blogs that I checked to be interesting, intellectual and believable. The2009 Horizon Report K12 Edition metioned the use of communition tools merging use by the public within that year 2009. Blogging is another tool that allows people to communicate information and opinions, but in a more detail method than twitter. Using a blog in education can be extremely useful. Teachers and students can communicate ideas and ask and answer questions. In the state of Ohio legislature is looking for a method of communicating with students during days they are not able to attend because of bad weather. Using a blog such as Edmodo can give students assignments and display grades. Students can also communicate with each other for group work or to help each other.  I have actually set-up an Edmodo account for all my classes, but I do not utilize it because so many of my students do not have access to a computer. I have also learned that TPS administration does not want teachers using any social network until they can make rules for the useres.

Setting up a Twitter account and beginning to use the account has actually been fun. I had only heard about different stars making comments on Twitter and I wondered what the real purpose of this form of communication was really accomplishing. I learned that Twitter is about communicating what is going on in my life at the moment or maybe extending an opinion to someone that I may be following. The 2010 Horizon Report K12 Ediction metioned how the collaboration between the media and social networks such as Twitter. I also check the Twitter Counter. I was amased that all twitts are being counted and even estamated for one day in the future. It is an instant method of delivering a message to followers as David Pogue mentioned in Pogue's Posts. I choose to follow Bill Nye, Science News, Dr. Lambert and a cohort in the LEADERS program. I checked everyday to see if I received a response. I am actually excited to communicate with my cohort from LEADERS because we are partners in delivering professional development. This type of communication can be used in the same fashion for my students. Using Twitter in education can be an asset by asking and answering questions quickly and instantly.