Saturday, January 26, 2008

Week 2 - ED566E.1

For this week's class, we discussed different online databases. I am generally successful when searching through ERIC for articles, and I always choose full text to narrow the search to what I can find online. However, I do not want to limit my students to what I like to use, but rather, through this class, I'm learning what is out there and what is available. In my last class, "Administration of the School Library Media Center, we had a database project through which we evaluated a variety of different databases. One of my favorites for kids and teachers is "Facts for Learning." The "Facts for Learning" database offers teacher tools for instructional purposes, and students tools for independent searching. There is also a calendar with links to who was born on that day and what happened on that day in history. This could be incorporated into the classroom as a daily activity for a class. Articles are available from W0rld Almanac for Kids (also in Spanish) and Weekly Reader. Teacher created materials to integrate into topical teaching is also available through a tab near the top of the page.

In class this week, we also utilized a chat tool and Wimba Live Classroom. I think this hands on practice was especially beneficial as we were able to understand the tools that may be available for our students and how to utilize them best with students. Like others mentioned in class, I think there are some students who would be more willing to offer information by typing than they might by raising their hand.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The World Is Flat Blog Response Question

How many of the flatteners have affected your life? If you could add a flattener, what would it be?

As I personally feel that all actions have a reaction, I feel comfortable stating that all of the “flatteners” listed in The World Is Flat have relevance to my life and everyone else’s. I feel enlightened after reading about each of the flatteners and the literal chain reaction they have had on our lives, technologically speaking, but also economically, academically, socially, and emotionally. The “flatteners” have changed the way we do business and communicate. They have brought us closer together than ever before.
While the Web was being posted to in the early 1990’s, it was not until the late 1990’s that I, personally, felt its effects. Prior to that, research was conducted with books and was extremely limited. The internet and “the new age of connectivity” opened up a new world to research to the point that people now research mundane issues simply because they can. Whereas before, one might ruminate about what year it was when Jim Henson created the Muppets, now John Do can find that answer with just a few keystrokes.
Similarly, why leave your home when you can complete all of your holiday shopping in your pajamas. Which could be bad for retailers…or it could be good. It all depends on how you look at it. There is always a cost benefit ratio to be devised. UPS benefits from more deliveries, the cashier does not benefit from more deliveries as her hours of personalized service will likely be cut.
Technology, like shopping in your pj’s, has its pros and cons. Some people feel more stressed because they are constantly available, via cell phone, or email. Some people feel soothed being more reachable. Personally, I find it best to exert the control to not feel obligated to answer my phone or check my email sometimes. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it has to control us. Technology is a tool that we have the power to manipulate, don’t let the opposite be true.
The flattener I would like to add, which has been addressed to some extent in these chapters, is the shrinking of electronics. Technology is getting greater, and tinier. Take for example, the Ipod, which led directly to the Ipod nano, and the even smaller Ipod shuffle. There is an Ipod video, but I fear we won’t be able to make out what’s on the screen soon.

Unit 2 - ED 668c

Well, I've just finished reading Chapter 3 of "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms." This chapter helps the reader understand a blog and its educational applications as well as how to set one up through this very server, Blogger. My experience with blogging is not very vast, but waaayy back in 2003, I set up a personal blog when these were new, or at least to me. It was utilized more as a personal journaling, and I realized how dangerous this could be very quickly. As Richardson (2006) states, " Public writing demands discretion, especially in an educational setting." In the age of MySpace and Facebook, individuals feel the need to post anything and everything about themselves and it can be detrimental both personally and professionally. I feel that weblogs can be an incredible tool for communication when used appropriately. Additionally, I have established a blog for the students in my class to respond to different topics, but I do recognize that not all students and parents have the resources to engage in a blog communication. "Although you can use blogs even if students don't have outside access to the Web, the possibilities for their use are much greater if they do" (Richardson, 2006). Interest has waned in our class website's blogging capability since the start of the school year, but I feel responsible for this for not adding new topics with great frequency, or discussing the blog in class as much as I could. I hope to improve in this arena and pique student interest. Though I did ask for last names not to be attached to comment posts, some were, and I want to reiterate this to parents to protect the privacy and identitiy of students in the class. I feel the implications for blogging in the library atmosphere are unlimited with responses to book questions and incorporation for "Reading Olympics" selections. Similiarly, students could suggest additions to the collection based on popular reads or topics for research.

Week 1 - ED566E.1

Well, I've just begun my spring semester at Arcadia, and I'm really excited about the two courses I'm currently taking and the way they dovetail so nicely. One is Technology for the School Librarian, and the other is Using Technology in the Design of Global Collaborations. Both are instrumental in guiding my understanding of how to incorporate new, and existing technologies, into my classroom practice as well as future applications in the school library media center. At this past Thursday's class, we discussed different topics for reflective writing in response to articles and self directed, problem based learning. I'm really looking forward to this self directed learning as I feel this will futher enhance my understanding of blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other applications in the classroom. The more I understand, the better I can communicate the implications of these tools to students and administrators. I've begun to search for articles to use and have found many relevant to my interests. I feel that taking these two classes simultaneously will really help to further my understanding and this course specifically will help me to make these applications realistic for the school library media center.