Saturday, February 18, 2012

Soical Media Networking

I found this week’s assignment an extension of week three and I was very glad I had the opportunity to go back to Diigo and explore the different groups available to join. I actually joined two groups the week we looked at Diigo bookmarking. I joined Diigo in Education and Collaborize Classroom week three of our assignments. I was not sure what to expect from joining the group. I get an email daily with updates on education. I find the emails very easy to sift through, because each update has a brief description of the article/news. If I find the article of interest I can then read it and if not I can move on or delete the entire email. Collaborize Classroom is a site that allows teachers, administration, guardians and students to communicate. This week I joined Edutopia because many of the videos we watched in this class were from Edutopia. I thought this may be a good source for research in technology and science education. WeAreTeachers is the final group I joined. This group has many opportunities for lessons and for applying for grants.  

The social media groups I explored are valuable to young and old alike. As adults social media groups allow for communication of ideas for learning and to pass along new information on content and technology. Teachers and parents can communicate about student progress. Young people are able to continue discussions from class and they can also do group projects. I can think of many positive uses for social media in the classroom. Students can keep track of assignments, groups can work outside the classroom, parents can communicate with teachers and administrators and this is only the beginning of social media use. It can only think of a couple of negative issues to overcome in the use of social media. First, not every student has access to technology; therefore the mandatory use of technology cannot be implemented. Second, student and adult communication would need to be monitored to be sure no bullying or poor choice discussions are occurring.

At this time in my life I would probably spend my time in a social network with professional appeal, such as Edmodo or Collaborize Classroom. I have very little spare time and I try to accomplish as much as I can with as few steps. Using an educational social network could help me with lesson planning and research. Another advantage to using an educational site would benefit my students.  Right now the only drawback is that all my students do not have access to technology so I cannot use the site to present and track lessons or have students do work together outside the classroom.

I have found this assignment to be very helpful and I will continue to use Diigo in Education for daily updates in education.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I found the exploration of games, simulations and virtual reality to be a fun and educational assignment. As an educator I feel these three venues of technology could be extremely useful not only as skill builders, but also as content builders that promote project based learning (Horizon Report, 2011).

I checked Channel4Learning, . This is a science site for users between the ages of 11 - 14. I checked out two of the games in this site. The first game was about fashion. The user created a player then went out to shop realizing the need for money to purchase items and also learning about the fashion industry, textiles and details of each product. I think this would be an interesting method of presenting foundation information for young people interested in fashion. This game will enables the user to experience some different aspects of the fashion industry. The second game was all about energy. The game started the same way with creating a player. I like this game much more because there was audio and literary interaction. The game tracked use of human and industrial energy, along with using various types of energy. This game does promote content building as mentioned in The Horizon 2011 K12 Edition.

The site I explored for simulation was Walking with Dinosaurs. I first played the game as a visitor. I was able to incubate a dinosaur and then create an environment and feed the dinosaur to grow into an adult. I found the game to be for very young users. I then checked the tab that has clips from videos produce by BBC.  This section of the site was very insightful. I have shown Walking with Dinosaurs to my students and it would have been an effective use of time, if I could have shown short clips and then have a discussion with my students. Also this site has new productions that I would be able to show without cost. I can see were these clips could be used to help students work of projects.

I visited three different virtual reality sites. The first site was Gaia, . I was first able to create a virtual person, which I enjoyed creating. Then there were many options to click on and investigate. I only opened a couple of the choices and the screens were very complicated to use; therefore I did not investigate this site any further. The choices were concentrated around daily issues teen might face. The second site I visited was Virtual Cell , . I really wanted to investigate this site because I am a life science high school teacher. However, after registering with this site I was not able to log on. I found the site Geology Explorer and it is made by the same designers as Virtual Cell. I found this site to be very instructional. I took a quiz at the beginning and was given goals at different sections of the scenario. At one point I logged out and then went back to the site. I was able to pick-up at the same point at which I left. I would have my students use this site for independent study. The only problem I found with the site is it did not give any feedback to the quiz or choices made when attempting to complete goals set-up in the site. In a report prepared by Strangeman and Hall, several authors reported that although they could see that the users were having fun with virtual reality, they could not find evidence of learning by the users. I cannot disagree more with the authors. I would have to believe those findings are based on the time of the research from 1992 - 2002. Technology has certainly made tremendous growth since then and content learning as been included in virtual reality.

Although I do not have the technology to explore augmented reality, I did find the videos very interesting to watch. Reading a story to young children certainly looks and with glasses with will feel very different than the traditional bedtime story. I always wonder how people come up with all of these ideas, but with the push for STEM and project learning I think the sky/space is the limit.


Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Haywood, K., (2011). The NMC Horizon Report:2011 K-12 Edition.
           Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report:K-12            
          Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon  
          Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Strangeman, N. & Hall, T., Virtual Reality/Simulations. National Center on Accessing the General

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Open Content and Ethics

Until this week I was not aware of open content. The idea of open content is really quite interesting and as reported in the Horizon Report K12 (2011),  the ability to tweak material to fit personal needs is a huge step forward for education. I know for myself without exception I use materials that are not exactly what I would like to use in the classroom. I believe if teachers could personalize the material being used the students would benefit. I find the material in a text that is not covered is disruptive to the cognitive process. Also if open content is used in the classroom teachers and students alike would have the most current information at a minimal cost.

Although I like the idea of having the ability to alter someones work, if I were an author I am not sure I would be able to agree with idea. In science for example, if some text is removed then it is possible that the meaning or credibility of the material could be changed. With the meaning being changed and still having my name attached could make it appear as though I was giving false information. Open content for teachers and being able to personalize material can be very effective; however an author could feel any altering of the material could relay incorrect information.

I understand the concept of open content; but as I think of people sharing their creative ideas in whatever area they are interested in I cannot understand why they would want someone else to change it. I know others have great ideas to add or critique work and for that very reason it is good Creative Commons allows authors of creative works to determine the type of creative protection they want to tag to their work.

The use of ebooks is very popular and the Horizon Report (2011), suggests that the next step to go along with the ebooks will be interactive capabilities. As an educator I think interactive possibilities with ebooks would be beneficial to students. I demonstrate dissection to my students through interactive technology and it is effective in giving my students experience of what to expect when they do a hands-on dissection.

I think we have all experienced researching a topic and having to jump through several hoops before being able to access academic material. It is very frustrating and then when you finally find something and do not bookmark it, then trying to get the information back can be just as frustrating as finding it the first time. Karen Coyle reported in the New York Times (March 16, 2010), C-Span the network that reports on the government has released all the videos the general public. Cornell University released restrictions on files held by the university for use not only for students, but also for the general public (May 18, 2009 internetarchives). I do not understand why there are such tight restrictions on accessing academic information and the release of such restrictions would encourage the general public to look for more research based information.

The concept of open content, ebooks for reading and interaction and the ability to tag the work with the creative protection desired is very controversal and in my opinion will fill the courts with undue activity. I do believe the concepts are here to stay and to keep up with technology and current information educators should learn how to manipulate their way through the process.


Coyle, K., (March 16, 2010) New York Times

Creative Commons.

Internetarchives. (May 18, 209)

Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Haywood, K., (2011). The NMC Horizon Report:2011 K-12 Edition.
Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon
Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.