Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meaningful Learning

This section taught us more about a form of technology that has been proven to be a good resource in teaching students of all levels. In school systems now frequently use programs that allow the student to give immediate feedback. The teacher projects a graph on the board of a math problem, and each student has a clicker and decides if the answer is A, B, C, or D. Some of these programs even have PDAs with keyboards that the student can give a short response.  These programs can be confidential,  perfect for a shy student. Digital rubrics help grade more clearly and be easier to use while grading students writing, larger high schools have the ability to use tablets, some take tests on them. This is easy to grade and manage for the teacher.  Technology is updating the way we take assignments, tests, and projects.

                I have learned a lot from this course and have enjoyed every second of it.  The programs learned in this class are all beneficial in teaching any age group, the most useful programs in my opinion are Prezi, Blogger, Google sites, and Wordle. Wordle doesn’t fit in with my other choices it is used with the younger age groups to get them familiar with technology and learning in a creative way. Google sites is a free way to put up a class website and is simple to use. Blogger just happens to be useful no matter how you use it, and Prezi takes place of a Powerpoint presentation. Any combination of these programs will make for a great futuristic lesson in a school system.  This class has kept me pretty busy these last few weeks, and am looking forward to implementing these impressive new programs in the near future.

Friday, August 3, 2012

TEKS- Technology Applications

Texas Essential Knowledge for Technology Applications, for this post assume I am referring to grades sixth through eighth. In middle school it is very important to introduce technology as much as possible, In physical education for this age group there are many instances to integrate technology. There are four strands mentioned in TEKS:
  • Foundations, In this stage students are to learn the basic functions of software applications and hardware components. An example would be knowing how to use a computer and how to use basic programs like Microsoft Word.

  • Information Acquisition, This stage is where students evaluate their ability to gain knowledge from computer based programs.

  • Solving Problems, unlike the other stages this stage uses a combination of the other stages to fix problems they come across, If a kid is writing a paper on Physical activity then he realizes that it was suppose to be in a PowerPoint, he needs the knowledge to transfer the words from a program to the other.

  • Communication, A student needs to know how to communicate information, something as simple as an email or other programs that make slideshows, multimedia presentations, and documents.
In my opinion, I think the most important Strand determined by the Texas Essential Knowledge for Technology Application is Information Acquisition. Information acquisition is needed in most education fields if not all of them,  It teaches a student to learn for himself instead of being force feed the information. Think of it this way, If a teacher said “put together a video presentation about Basketball” the student could then decide for himself how he was going to do it, and what he was going to do he could choose something as simple as windows movie maker or something more complex such as Final Cut Pro. It doesn’t matter what program the student uses, as long as he makes it about basketball, This way the student learns by himself. Information Acquisition helps the student in the long run, thought it takes longer to think up a project on your own it will prepare them for high school and college.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Visualizing Technologies

Visualizing technology is needed in the education process. Schools in the United States don’t use programs that visualize their projects as much as they should. when I was in High School I was very involved in Theater Technology and Production, we used Google Sketchup to build the set before we truly built it on the stage, this program saved us time and money and when it came down to buying materials and making it safe for the actors to perform on. Throughout high school the most used program was Photoshop, it was used for all the fliers and posters. Technology is constantly evolving, especially in the education field. 20 years ago technology in schools was mediocre at best, over time schools started to bring in simple programs like Microsoft Word in early 2000’s. Now in 2012 we have computer labs in schools with daily use, each equipped with the latest software for students to express themselves with. What will Technology be like in 2020?
 Think of it like an engineering student, If he learns just by reading or even watching videos he will not get a good grasp on the subject If he used some sort of CAD software he would learn engineering faster with more confidence in his abilities. In an art degree a student can learn great by drawing over and over but a huge part of the modern art field is digital, Photoshop can be very helpful in this field for a number of reasons: 1) Paintings are faster in Photoshop, 2) Fixing a mistake in Photoshop is simple, you can erase a layer instead of the entire project, 3) It is easier to make copies or send to friends in Photoshop. No matter where you go in the education field programs that visualize your projects and thoughts will always be better than old fashioned pencil and paper

Thursday, July 26, 2012


     Podcasting has been around for a wile, although its been available to us for a wile it has only been popular the last few years. Podcasting is a free/cheap way for people to get information across, either in audio or video formats. The main reason podcasting is a success is how it is utilized in the education community. As an example, If you go on itunes most of the podcasts are an online lecture from different professors around the world, great for both the students and people wanting to learn for free. Podcasting is great because anyone can download it to their laptop, mp3 player, or evan their phone. You can listen to it while you drive to work or studying for a test. My opinion is that it is better listening to a lecture than reading over the chapter in the book, podcasting makes that possible anytime anywhere.
     Podcasting is very different from web 2.0 and very alike in other ways. In web 2.0, information is gathered in one place from anyone who goes to the site. Podcasts are made by one source and are not edited by others. Both web 2.0 and podcasting are designed to give the public information, though podcasting has been proven to be more accurate based on the huge amount of professors recorded lectures. Itunes podcast library and wikipedia have alot in common: spread of information, unlimited facts, easy to use.  But the main reason wikipedia is used more than podcasts is the time it takes to find an answer, with podcasting a student would have to watch/listen to the whole clip(which could take ten minutes) a student could find the answer right away on Wikipedia, everyone knows wikipedia is not very accurate but most pages have a work sited section, this is very helpful if a student is trying to find a starting point for a project.
     My entire life I have liked to learn things more than anything, when I first learned about podcasts a few years ago I watched an entire semester worth of MIT's computer programming class and recently I have gone through  Oxfords business lectures. Each week i drive a little over 200 miles, I cant buy enough music to keep me occupied and the radio commercials bug me too much, so I listen to tons of podcasts from Itunes   University podcast section during my travel, I hook my ipod to my cars audio. I don't use my Ipod for anything other than a "DVR" and podcasting. I use my phone for music, though podcasts are able to be put on any device Itunes has revolutionized podcasting, making it time consuming to try and download it to a device other than an Ipod. I use podcasting all the time.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Web 2.0 Applications

     Web 2.0 applications in todays society is common, For an example. A&M Commerce along with many other colleges use them to teach their online classes. It's like an online class room, group work is the same as if they were in the same room, the only down fall is limiting physical interaction between the students. If you look at Web 2.0 as any site that takes everyones input, It could be Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter. Web 2.0 is growing more and more popular in todays society, web site designers are realizing they don't have to do as much work if they switch from 1.0 to 2.0 they count on others to fill in the pages for them. In the future, web 2.0 will be used more in the k-12 schools, high schools are just now starting to use sites like these to implement their schooling, its just a matter of time before middle school follows in their foot steps.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Copy Right, Fair Use & Online Safety

     Copyright, In a school setting it is usually fine to break curtain copy right laws. There really is not a standing set of rules, but courtesy and ethics is involved. If a teacher makes a powerpoint for an astronomy class and uses a clipart of the constellation, it would be fine as long as it was used in the class room. On the other hand, if a teacher used the same gif for a banner in the cafeteria for a star party on friday, That would be wrong. A teacher can use a small music file in a presentation, but the theater teacher could not use it for a musical. In this case ethics makes sense. When I was in high-school we watched documentaries in history, as long as these videos were about the lesson we were learning that day it was ok. If a teacher wants to put on a movie that doesn't relate to the class as a reward there are ways to do that legally, there are permits that one can purchase from the publisher to play to a public audience.
     Fair Use and Online Safety, This one is kind of tricky. This one just takes common sense, When you are online don't post things like your address, ways to find you, and personal information with strangers. It is safe to use sites like blogs and Facebook, just don't give personal information on public networks, when someone starts asking for phone numbers, addresses, or a stranger asking to meet up with you, say no and if your a kid tell your parent/teacher. Cyber bullying can be just as wrong as physical bullying, but is more preventable than physical bullying. One example can be Facebook, If someone persists on making fun of you on Facebook  after you tell them to stop, simply de-friend them, problem solved. If it becomes a problem that cant be solved by the kid, he should tell an adult either a parent or teacher.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mapping Information Activity

     Before this activity I thought I was an expert at researching, especially after 12 college credits in english. I knew about searching with quotes, I frequently used +/- but never knew about  using country codes, that will come in handy when writing about other cultures such as writing a paper about England, it makes more sense to get information from them rather then from an American website. These tools greatly reduce the amount of time needed to research for a paper or project. Without these shortcuts a student could still write a good paper but could have missed out on information, along with taking twice the amount of time needed to make a good paper. While I was working on this assignment I found something useful, Google's advanced search does allot of these shortcuts If you know what the terms mean, so even if a student can't remember what they have learned about internet shortcuts they can be reminded by using advanced search.
     After taking this Mapping Information Activity I think my habits will change, I found that Ask.com is a faster place to look for common questions. While there are many other search engines Google and ask.com are the only ones I would be willing to use on a project, though the others seem useful I can't compare it to these too. Yahoo is a very common search engine, over the years yahoo has degraded their system, and is now just an out of date Google. Search engines like Excite and Go spend too much time throwing adds in the users face making it annoying to do searches with them. Hotbot, I'm not exactly sure what this browser is used for but I am liking it. Whatever I search it seems to find the sites I like most at the top? I think I will be using this browser in the future.
     This activity has taught me allot, The main thing I can take out of this activity is that I should be more open to using different browsers, not just Google. Browsers are made differently, though Google is the most known and the most advanced, other browsers have an objective. As an example Ask.com is used for frequently asked questions, Ask uses 100s of people whose job is to link up websites with questions. Go.com and yahoo are mainly used by travelers, they seem to have the best searches for hotel, rent a car, and flight rates. I want to spend more time with Hotbot.com, I still can't figure out what its primarily used for. This lesson has taught me more about browsing and how to make it more convenient.