Thursday, May 28, 2009

Utilizing Technology in Teaching

After learning and experimenting with several types of technology, I know there are several I would like to incorporate in my classroom preparation or teaching. I definitely will utilize Doc Sharing and many of the things it offers. I love the presentation setup with notes right there with the presentation. I definitely will use this when I work with other educators in professional development or presentations at conferences I attend. The forms, spreadsheets, etc. are handy as well, and the fact that I can send among department members or colleagues in other states for review is great.

I like widgets. I had no clue what they were before, but they can liven up whatever it is you are doing or provide, in my case, quick access to YouTube for something I want students to watch.

What I'm still struggling with, but definitely want to use, is the podcasting. For my students struggling with timing or remembering routines, I can provide the music and cuing for them to use on their own time for practice. My more advanced students can improve their cuing by listening and practicing. My ESL students can be provided with test questions that they could listen to as many times as necessary so that instead of failing exams because their language skills are poor, they could take the time they need to understand what is being asked.

In classes where I have a few students needing specialized testing or a make-up exam, the podcast would be excellent to give the verbal instructions and even questions so that I can focus on the larger group, but still have the few individuals are well taken care of.

While I can bring up YouTube videos, I am anxious to add the video portion to the podcasting. It has a lot of possibilities and while I like for my dance students to aim high, most are no where near that level seen on YouTube, nor does it necessarily focus on what I am trying to teach. However, particular footwork with music and verbal instructions could be shown so that one student having difficulty with a step could go review on his own and repeat and repeat until he has it down. Watching a skill and repeating can be utilized with any activity, not just dance.

Additionally, students can watch themselves and do self-assessments of their skills. Set up a rubric and verbally on the video podcast ask if certain things are occurring.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Google Docs

I just finished trying out a number of different document creations on the Google Docs. That is really something practical that all of us can probably use immediately. I tried out the form. I think if I worked with that some more, I could use it for a committee I'm on. What I really liked was the presentation set up. You can set up the slides for a power point, pull in picture, draw, add text or titles and move them where you'd like. It's easy to use and has a lot of capabilities. And if you are presenting somewhere, you can send the presentation so that should there be any technical difficulties, the presentation is also on another computer as well as your own.

I tried sending my practice form. I'm hoping it went to some of you. Otherwise, it is somewhere out there in cyberspace. I just pulled any picture down to try it out so the bag pipe players really have nothing to do with PE Standards Revision.

The Goggle Reader is Neat!

After posting several RSS feeds onto the Bloglines, I switched to Google Reader.  That is neat!  Wow!  I got carried away when I typed in dance.  So many different possibilities.  And with all the classwork and school, I have hardly kept up with what is going on on-island, let alone the world so now I can easily contact the local paper and television station as well as ABC or FOX and do a little catch up.

I can see the possibility of providing students with particular feeds to information you want them to watch or read after school hours.  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Neomillennial User

Students have definitely changed as have their expectations and learning styles. Today's youth start at a very young age utilzing technology and the features that keep their interest. They want to be actively involved and can through many of the social networking technologies and they can move at their own pace rather than a pace set for them. The idea of learning by sharing of information with a group through social networking technologies has great potential. This also changes the way we teach and the way lessons are designed.

Once again, student safety is an issue. However, providers are beginning to address these issues and hopefully will provide some of the help we need in education to be able to take advantage of current technological advances.

Social Software

In the Editorial: Examing Social Software in Teacher Education, numerous ideas were mentioned on uses of social software. What I found particularly of interest and concern, if that not only do we research and best practices on how to utilize these technologies, but student safety during their use. For many teachers, keeping up with all the technology or even catching up is is difficult. Students today easily utilize the technology and continue to forge ahead. It can be frustrating whe n sites are blocked at schools, but perhaps that is our window of time to get some of these things in place. And if you learn to utilize the technology well enough then you can screen what you do bring into the classroom.

Examining Social Software in Teacher Education

The editorial, Examining Social Software in Teacher Education, while discussing the use of social networking softwares, indicates that research is needed on how to utilize these technologies for teaching, learning, and social networking while keeping students safe. Students utilize many of these social networking innovations and oftentimes are more saavy than the teachers. As we struggle to stay up to date, or even to try to catch up, students forge ahead. While it is often frustrating to not be able to access various sites at school, perhaps it provides educators a window of time to find ways to safely utilize the technology that is available, teach young people appropriate use of sites, particularly in regard to pictures, vulgarity, and other inappropriate postings. We have to move faster in this area than we are going!
Using Podcasts as Audio Learning Objects brought out some excellent points regarding use in schools and the fact that it has instant application for education. Our reading scores here definitely indicate that it isn't something that students do a lot. Utilizing podcasts can help prevent students from not learning information because they can't read it. And certainly, many people don't want to sit for hours and read information that isn't for enjoyment or their own choice.

Producing educational podcasts definitely goes beyond just talking into the microphone. Interesting, all the variables for assuring that the podcast is able to keep the attention of the listener and assure there is retention. A lot to consider to do it well and assure there is a learning objective and educational value.

Of course, podcasting can have a place in education, but it needs to be utilized properly and as an enhancement to classroom learning.
The History to Go: Why iTeach with iPods was quite interesting. Among the challenges, it was mentioned that a lot of time needed to be spent guiding students through the basics to achieve the outcome desired. I'm sure that is frustrating as I struggle to try to understand what I'm suppose to do with all these new forms of getting and receiving information, but it seems that the positive of that is the change of the classroom environment. If students are spending more time in exchange of information prior to class, then class can go into greater depth in the subject and utilize higher order thinking skills.

Though the group wasn't large, it was interesting to hear that a student listening to herself on the iPod was able to learn better organizational skill for her writing and improve some of her writing problems. I

At a minimum, I believe I could use the iPod to provide kids with music to practice various dances at home. And as my skills at Podcasting become better, I could provide the cues for specific routines with music so that students could practice and more advanced students could improve their ability at cuing dance.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Need to figure out how to use Entourage. Can't send when it pops up.