Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Power Point is Evil

I thought that the author, Edward Tufte, had some good arguments about Power Point, and I agree with many of them. However, I don't think that the problem is Power Point, itself, but rather how we use it. I agree that all the silent reading material, in combination with the speaker, is an overload of information in a short period of time. I have often felt in class (NOT in 554) that the teacher gave too much information on the slide and while talking at the same time. I am not a good multitasker. This kind of presentation of information makes me want to zone out, and I find myself not paying attention to the important information that they are trying to give to me. I think that if Power Point was used to just highlight the important stuff, in a few sentances or words with supportive pictures, then people like me wouldn't have to ask the teacher to go back to the last slide.

Educational Technology Blog

I revisited the iLearn Technology blog, which is a great blog for teachers to use to help them integrate technology. The first post I read about described Bemused which is a website for the Birmingham museum and art gallery. On the website, students can do activities, quizzes about the museum, watch videos about the museum, and create their own art and post it in an online gallery. Whats great about this website, is that it gives more information in a "kid" friendly manner to students who are planning on going to the museum. I go to museums every summer for the arts camp that I teach at, and most of the exhibits are not engaging for students (unless its the Natural History Museum). In the past we have done scavenger hunts and other engaging activities that get the kids involved in the museum, instead of just walking around and not really looking at the art. I think that a website like Bemused, can get kids excited about going to see the museum, and it can extend what they have learned from the museum. It's a great resource for teachers.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Five Reasons to Allows Students to Use Cell Phones in Class

I thought that this post brought up a lot of valid points as to why students should be allowed to use their cell phones in class. I think that one of the most important points is that when we consider the real world, or preparing our students for future jobs, there isn't a job where the use of a cell phone can't be handy. I know for myself I have used my phone many times to look up information to answer questions, or define vocabulary on the spot, or find an address/phone number for a field trip. I also liked the point about collaboration. Smart phones allow for collaboration to happen at students fingertips. If they are fluent in one form of communication, such as texting, or video chatting, why shouldn't students use these skills to increase collaboration in school projects. Cell phones are also "free technology" supplied by the students. Students can take notes, read and receive e-mail and documents, and watch videos for a flipped classroom on their cell phones. I also think it is important to "go with the flow" of technology use among our students rather than trying to fight it. As teachers, we can get more students involved academically by engaging them through avenues that they are comfortable with, and for many students, this is through their phones.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Digital Storytelling

For my digital storytelling project, I used Photo Story3. It was confusing at first, especially because I was unsure of how to eliminate the black backgrounds behind each picture and how to type over the pictures. I also had difficulty with recording, and Steve had to help me do it. It took some playing around with the program, specifically with picture effects and colors for text to make it look the way I wanted it to. I am really happy with the end result and I enjoyed putting the project together. I will definitely use this program again in the future for lessons and personal use. I think that I would be awesome to create an "All About Me" Photo Story to show my students on the first day of school. It could also be good for reviewing expectations and rules of the classroom.

My digital storytelling project is titled, "NASA: A Brief History and Resulting Benefits". I chose this topic because I plan on using it for my integrated unit plan. I plan on having students watch the video as an introduction to the unit and then they will complete two research projects. The first project will be on one of the space missions, and the other one will be on technology or an invention that has come from the research done by NASA. They will be specifically reading a publication by NASA called "Spinoff" to complete the second project.