Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My EDM 310 Blog Assignments are Now Complete

This note is for my fellow classmates in Ms. Averitt's class. I had a great time learning and interacting with you all during our time in this class. I made many great connections and even came out of it with a new friend! Thank you all for making this class memorable!

What I Learned in EDM 310

I have to say this class was a surprise to me. I came into the class on the first day thinking "Oh great, another computer class..." I thought that I had learned everything about a computer that I would ever need to know, but was I ever proved wrong! In the class I learned how to create blogs, use iGoogle, create an iGoogle homepage, use excel to make spreadsheets for my future classroom, use power point in the classroom, and interact with teachers from around the world!

I am so happy that this class exceeded my expectations. Now I feel ready and capable of providing my students with the educational technology that they need. This class helped expand my computer skills greatly and I would not change anything at this point.

ACCESS Lab Visit

This is a picture of me standing behind the desk in the access lab at Foley High School. The desk is black and has a projector sitting on the right side of it. I am wearing a bright green shirt and the classroom is painted white.For this assignment Jessica and I visited the ACCESS lab located at Foley High School in Baldwin County Alabama. The ACCESS lab at Foley High was not up and running yet, but all of the equipment was set up and will be ready for use by this coming Fall semester. The lab had many important features such as two flat screen televisions in the front and back of the classroom, a smart board set up in the front and a projector that is used along with the smart board. The classroom is also capable of facilitating 32 students at a time.

ACCESS stands for Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide. The ACCESS lab is a distance learning program that allows students to "access" classes that are not offered at their current school. This gives students a larger variety of class choices. ACCESS works by locating schools throughout the state who offer different courses than those offered at the current school. The course that a student would take in the ACCESS lab is going to be taught by a teach from a different school. The student will actually become a member of the class in the other school and will be able to communicate with the teacher virtually. I know that if the ACCESS lab had been used when I was in high school it would have made a great difference in how I scheduled my classes!

This is a picture of the access classroom. The picture is taken from the back of the room and faces the front. The desk is located to the left, the smart board is in the middle of the room, and the flat screen television is located to the right. There are four rows of desks capable of fitting thirty two students.

Another way that the ACCESS lab is being used at Foley High School is to lower the dropout rate. There is a poster in the room which I have a pictured below. It states "Linking Leaders for Dropout Prevention". Students today love technology, so giving them the technology they love in an educational way is very important. The ACCESS lab can be a great escape from the traditional classroom setting. I believe that ACCESS would be a great way to motivate students to stay in school.

This is a picture of the poster board found in the classroom. It is red and and has high school students pictured around the poster. In large letters the poster says Community Action, Linking Leaders for dropout prevention.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Edutopia Podcasts

For this assignment I was asked to watch two video podcasts found in Edutopia on iTunes. The first video podcast I watched was "The Edible Schoolyard" which was done by students at Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkely, California. This classroom is actually an outdoor classroom where students spend their first period planting, harvesting, and eating what they grow from their organic "edible" schoolyard! Their outdoor classroom is adjacent to their indoor kitchen area where they also learn social studies, math, science, and life. The teachers use every part of their environment to teach. I feel like I can relate to this somewhat because I come from a farming family. We only grow fruits and vegetables and I absolutely love having access to fresh vegetables anytime I need them. I also love watching them grow. I thought this podcast was amazing and would love to be able to incorporate something like this into my classroom as well.

The next podcast I listened to was "A Night in the Global Village" by Heifer Ranch for sharing and learning. The program is designed to let kids walk in someone elses shoes and focuses on hunger and poverty. They also raise and then donate livestock to poverty stricken countries. The ranch simulates living conditions that would be found in a country with poverty such as Thailand. The living areas are actually categorized into different countries. I think this is an amazing way to make students aware of what is happening in the world around them. It also lets them know how lucky they are to have what they have. This would be an awesome experience for anyone, not just children.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pros and Cons of Blogging

For this assignment I chose Jessica's blog. We worked on our podcast together and share the same views on most of the topics we have been assigned. I agree with her pros and cons about classroom blogging and her ideas about some of the blog assignments we have completed throughout this semester. This semester was my first experience with blogs and I have had mixed emotions about them, but the more familiar I got with using blogs the more I realized how they can benefit the classroom.
I believe that blogs can play a positive roll in the classroom in many ways. Students today are very tech savvy so using blogs in the classroom can be a valuable way of gaining their attention. Students can easily look up missed homework assignments if they are absent. They can access links to educational websites and access skill building exercises for certain subjects. They can also keep up with their classmates using their classroom blog.
Although there are many pros to having a classroom blog, there are also many cons. Some students may not have access to a computer when they go home so the blog would be of no use to them. Also, a blog may not interest some students so they would never check it. There is also the problem of privacy. Some parents may be against having a classroom blog so that would be a tough obstacle to overcome.
Overall the pros and cons of blogging are clear to see. The cons may be a little hard to overcome, but I think the outcome of having a classroom blog would be a great addition to any classroom.

Monday, April 13, 2009

EDM Podcasts

The first podcast I listened to was Facebook: It's in class! But can it be useful in class? I listened to this one because this is close to the topic that my group was assigned. The first thing I noticed were the uh and ums. I could also hear them laughing when they messed up. I could hear what sounded like papers moving in the background which was a little distracting. I did like that they joked about facebook and made it a little more personal. The next one I listened to was titled How Technology is used in the College of Education. I thought they started off great but I could tell that they were probably reading the information straight from the paper. They gave examples of how to use technology which was nice.

The next podacst I listened to was about Burpback Education. While listening to this one I had to turn the volume up very high to hear what was being said. They started off loud but trailed off towards the end of their sentences. I liked that they talked about why they wanted to teach the certain grade levels that they chose. I liked that they also gave examples of burpback education and how to avoid them. However, they talked very fast so it was hard to catch everything that was being said. The last podcast I listened to was What I learned from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. This was one of the podcasts done in our class so I had to turn the volume up to the max to hear it, but that could not be helped. I like how they started the podcast but they also spoke very fast.

I was unable to listen to my podcast because it said error every time I clicked on it. I would say that after I listened to others I would have done ours a little differently. We were reading directly from the paper also so I'm sure that people could tell. Other than that I think all the podcasts were pretty good, especially since this was the first time for most of us. I think with a little more practice we can all make great podcasts. This assignment was a great start and we can only learn from our mistakes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Conversation with Mr. C!

For this assignment I was able to contact Mr. C’s fifth grade class located in Noel, Missouri. I think his blog is pretty much amazing, especially since this is the second time I have written about it! I asked him a few questions about using blogs in the classroom and his response was much more than I expected! I am sure everyone else will love it too, so check it out! I have posted our conversation and the link to his answers below.

Samantha said...

Mr. C,

I absolutely love your classroom blog! I am a junior at the University of South Alabama majoring in Social Science Education. I am doing a project that requires me to make an electronic contact with a teacher from another state. If you don't mind I would love to ask you a few questions about your blog!

Samantha Mason

Wm Chamberlain said...

Of course I am willing to answer your questions. You can leave them on the blog, or you can email me at wmchamberlain@gmail.com.

Sam said...

Thanks so much!

I was just wondering what it is like to use a blog in the classroom? How do your students use it? Do your students like having a class blog? What made you decide to create a class blog? Are their parents able to check the blog? In what ways do you think your class benefits from having this kind of technology in the classroom?

Thanks Again!
Samantha Mason

Wm Chamberlain said...

I turned your questions into a blog post. If what I did doesn't work, let me know.


Mr. C

Sam said...

I want to thank you and your class so much! The information was great and the way you chose to answer the questions was awesome! I plan to use this type of technology in my future classroom as well and I think your blog will be an excellent building block!

Thanks Again!
Samantha Mason

Monday, April 6, 2009

Maine Podcasts

For this assignment I was asked to listen to two podcasts. Both podcasts were made by the Maine Department of Education and the woman talking in them is Judy Chandler. The first podcast is titled Mathematics with Technology. Some teachers erase technology from their math classrooms for many reasons such as not enough time, need to get to the end of the book, or they just do not believe in it. However, technology is essential in students learning math. Technology was actually included as one of the six critical principals in having a quality math education. Their are many tools in technology that engage students.

The second podcast is titled Thinking Mathematically. In most math settings they learn example by example in the text book. Some students are unable to learn by this. They can memorize formulas but they still may not know how to use them. Mathematics takes thinking. I believe technology can be an outstanding way for kids to connect with math. I was always horrible in math. I hated going to class, doing the work that I did not understand, and no matter how many times the teacher showed me how to do the equation I still never fully understood it. I wish my teachers would have used some sort of technology in my math classes. Maybe I could have made a better connection than I did using the examples in the book.