"One Minute How To" Podcasting

I did a search on Podcast Pickle for various podcasts that I thought could be helpful to me as an educator. I was surprised how interested I became in the "one minute how to" section for educators. I felt that many of the podcasts listed here, such as: "how to write a haiku", "how to write a 100 word story", "how to write a poem", and "how to write a funny song" were wonderful tutorials that could easily be used in a classroom. Although I never thought of using podcasts in my own classroom I feel these "one minute how to's" would be a fantastic way to mix things up in an English or writing class. Students could listen to the speaker's suggestions then give the task a try themselves.

The "how to" podcasts cover such a variety of topics I could never listen to them all. However I did feel that students could be assigned to create a "one minute how to" podcast of their own to post on this website. Every student is good as something and this could be a great motivator to show student how to do a self-examination to decide what their good at, use their words to explain in succinctly, and record it in a good oral speaking voice. This assignment could be used across the curriculum and even across grade levels.

Using Skype for Global Communication

Skype is a virtual communication application that allows users to exchange communication instantly through text of video. It allows users to use instant messaging, video conferencing, file transferring for free. It is possible to also make telephone calls through your computer to a land line phone using Skype for a fee.

Since video conferencing and messages consisting of text are free this is an amazing opportunity for teachers and students to connect with other students and classrooms around the world. This could lead to opportunities for having penpals online or through mail along with individual or whole class video conferences. Students from other schools can have a lot to offer and share with other students whether they're from the same country or other countries.

Since I am hoping to one day have a bilingual classroom of my own I would love to use Skype to connect with students and teachers from various Hispanic countries. My goal with this would be to further my students' biculturism and bilingualism while also learning more about their and their classmate's native cultures from first hand sources.

Global Cooperation

I researched both Epals and the Center for Interactive Learning and Cooperation (CILC). I felt that both of these websites were good tools to use in a classroom

I feel that penpals have made their ways out of the typical classroom now-a-days and epals is an easy and quick way to bring that back. With epals the message is sent and received instantly within the same state, another state, or another country. There is no worry of lost mail and responses not being received for weeks. I love that having epals gives students a purpose for writing and encourages them to learn more about what other students are like their same age, living in a different place at the same time. Although it is difficult to facilitate, I wish there were some way a person could confirm they they actually were a teacher in order to make sure you really are connecting with another group of students. I think Epals could easily lend itself to video conferencing with other classrooms from around the world, perhaps even to practice a language students are learning.

On the other hand I wasn't as excited about CILC. Although I think it could be a fantastic place for educators to come together to work together on a professional level or to collaborate between their classes, I didn't feel as though this would be as useful for me personally. As usual I felt like the connection with other educators for ideas and tips is always beneficial, but I felt like it was more like "help wanted ads" on-line for specific forms and aspects of collaboration. If I had my own classroom I'm sure I would enjoy this website more because I might actually be able to participate in something like this with my class or use it as a form of extra credit during writing assignments. As a Science teacher I didn't feel like I would be able to currently use their services.

Using Videos in the Classroom

I frequently use videos in the classroom in order to show my students science concepts or to just interest them in a topic. I frequently use edvideos.com to show small clips during science.

When thinking about transitioning to the regular classroom I have already begun to wonder how I will be able to incorporate videos about topics such as Math or English. Using Teachertube.com I was actually able to find a Math video, called "Permieter Rap" that I would definitely use in my own classroom. This video is of a teacher doing a rap about perimeter and area. I think this song would be a memorable learning experience for my students and would also give them a change of pace from listening to me drone on about perimeter means add and area means multiply. I think teachertube.com has become one of my newest favorite resources.

Microblogging in Education

After using Twitter for over a short time I have already thought of some ways that I could incorporate this new (to me) form of technology within my own classroom. One main way I could see myself using microblogging is to have students write the first thing that comes to mind when they arrive to the classroom in the morning. My hope would be to find out current information of what's going on in the lives of my students or their feelings as we start a new school day.
As a future bilingual teacher I enjoyed reading about the 12-second video clip alternatives to text-based microblogging for ESL students. I liked the ideas the author gave to use video clips in so many different ways. My favorite idea was the "12 Second Learning Diary" where students would record what they learned in class that day. I liked the idea of using spoken language with the ESL students since it gives them time to talk and use the English language without having to talk for a long time. Within my own classroom I could imagine having a little area with curtains surrounding it with a webcam. This area would serve as a "recording studio" and would be more private for the students, hopefully creating a more relaxed atmosphere.

Another article I found was called "Transitioning to Web 2.0". This article is one of the major reason I would love to have a classroom set of computers. I would LOVE for my students to be able to use all of these avenues of technology regularly. The author of this article uses Twitter and podcasting within her own classroom for a variety of purposes. One idea that I really liked was using Twitter to communicate with her classmates by creating similar usernames for each student to make it easier to follow each other. This was one topic I was wondering about when trying to figure out how to use Twitter within my own classroom. Although the author doesn't mention it directly in this blog RSS feed would be another great tool to keep track of the students' posts.

"Tweet Tweet"

Well Twitter is turning out to be a very enjoyable experience. Let's just say it's gets more enjoyable the more you use it, the more people you follow, and the more common interests you have with the people you "Tweet" with. I have met some great educators on Twitter.com and have enjoyed checking my account multiple times daily to see what new ideas they have written about.
I feel that by networking with the "right people" (and by that I mean other educators with similar interests) I could really benefit from this Twitter experience. I have been involved in conversations with many educators from Buffalo which has been fun even though we do not teach the same subjects or grade levels. I like that I can ask questions or put ideas "out there" for others to answer or comment about. I feel that I have already met some very influential people that really enjoy what they do and could be a great resource for me.
At the same time I was appalled at some of the posts I saw today when searching for a particular grade level. I would like to meet teachers that I could connect with if I get this new position and couldn't believe the language I saw some of them using and the topics they chose to write about.
One thing I wish I saw more of on this site was bilingual teachers. I know there aren't too many of us, but I would love to connect with others that have the same passion that I do.
I am looking forward to networking more with individuals that love teaching and could share ideas that would be useful to me in my own classroom.

Culture Project????

So while waiting VERY impatiently to hear about this potential job, I have been trying to get as much grad work done as possible (so that if I get the job I won't get too stressed out).

I would like to begin working on my final project for a culture class but the assignment is pretty much open to anything that has to do with culture and I have NO ideas! I met with the professor and he pretty much reiterated that the assignment is open to pretty much topic and format.

I would love for the project to be interesting to me, without making it harder on me than necessary, and possibly even be able to use it in the future. Does anyone have ANY suggestions?

Interesting Educational Blog

So I have been trying to get ahead and I am now waiting to continue with Mod 6 about using microblogging and more specifically "Twitter". Although I have signed up for the website I am at a total loss for how to "make it work".

While searching around for blogs to add to my blogroll I came across a blog called "The Tech-Savvy Teacher". Since I added this website to my blogroll I haven't had any interest to go back and see what's new on this website...until today. The first post I see on the page is called "Getting Twitter..." Right away this caught my attention since I don't understand what to do with my Twitter account. Reading this blog didn't make me understand Twitter much better but it DID rouse my interest more in learning about it since it talks about all of the organizations, etc. that use Twitter to pass along new information. I couldn't believe that I can use Twitter to find out about new laws, etc.

Now I am very excited to learn how this resource works and hopefully find a way to incorporate it into my classroom or at least my list of resources as an educator!

A Learner Is Like A....


I was very interested while reading Siemens' (2005) article and listening to his audio called "The Changing Nature of Knowledge" (2009). When I first began reading the article I thought at first of thinking of a learner as a "tower of blocks". After thinking about it further I didn't think this analogy was sufficient and didn't encompass enough of my thoughts of the learner. After continuing to think about my description of a learner I was thinking about a chocolate candy with a gooey carmel inside. Although I liked this analogy I still didn't feel that this showed something that could be molded and changed as today's learner is.
Eventually, I decided on thinking of the learner as a tye-dye marshmallow Peep candy. Now to explain my reasoning... A Peep is soft marshmallow on the inside and thousands of tiny grains of sugar on the outside. I feel that each of those grains of sugar stands for the abundant knowledge of a learner. I thought of these thousands of grains of sugar when I read Siemens (2005) where we wrote that "learning...can reside outside of ourselves..." just as those grains of sugar are on the outside of a Peep. Siemens (2005) continued to say that learners have "room to grow". This quote made me think of putting a marshmallow in the microwave and how it it enlarges just as a learners knowledge grows and expands. The last part of this analogy that I included was to make the Peep tye-dye. I felt that these various colors would signify that "learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions" (Siemens, 2005). I felt each section of color would show this diversity of each individual learner, especially since no two Peeps would be colored exactly the same.

Ways To Use Blogs in the Classroom

After reading Chapters 1-3 of our textbook I was amazed at the different ways Blogs and the Internet as a whole could be integrated into EVERYTHING done in the classroom. Reading this made me feel like I wanted to start apply for every grant possible in order to get a classroom set of laptops for my students. After the book referred to how blogs could be used to meet all 12 of the ELA standards I was furiously taking notes about how to apply this in a classroom setting (which I've recently interviewed for!!!!)

Thinking ahead to having a classroom of 30 students of my own (instead of 450 students) I think that I would:

1) Read articles on-line on topics that interest them and make reactions, reflections, and summarize what they read.
- This allows students to choose something they are interested in will make them more likely to complete the assignment and creates interest in them to know more about a topic.
- By asking students to write about what they read covers to major aspects of the ELA standards (reading/writing) as well as requiring them to think.
2) Create an on-line book club where students could reflect and ask questions about what they read.
- I think this would be great for students to post their thoughts, reflections, favorite parts, and questions they might have. Allowing classmates to respond to each other keeps the teacher from just "giving the answer" when students ask questions. In this way students are interacting with one another and "teaching" each other.
3) Connect with a classroom in another part of the country or world (electronic penpals)
- I think writing is such as important part of life that any way we can promote writing and encourage students to write for pleasure (as well as school assignments) will give them practice and get them excited about the various purposes and audiences used in writing.
- Helping students to connect with other students from around the world allows them to practice their writing skills while also helping them to be more open to making new friends, learning about new cultures, and experiencing new avenues of communication.