Friday, May 16, 2008

When Technology & Student Collide

Here is my final presentation for ED451 Audio Visual Class.
It's been a pleasure to be in the class =)

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Philosophy of Transferring Knowledge

I could sit here and tell you that I want to teach because my mom was a teacher. Or that I've had a long generation of teachers in my family. I could sit here and tell you I want to do it because teachers get 3 months of paid vacation time (June, July, August) or that I've always wanted to be one since I was a child. But to tell you the truth if I chose to tell you those things I'd be a very good liar. It would be a crime to give you THOSE reasons why I want to, with sincere fervor to become an educator.

There are so many things happening in the world that every day essentially is history in the making. Teaching like drawing, like conducting lab experiments, like computing math equation is a real occupation. And sure, everyone can be a teacher...BUT not everyone can study well enough in the field to be very good at it. Therein lies the difference. I would gladly fall victim to that difference if it means I am able to harness able, capable minds into the world.

I chose to teach history because its like clay. It's multi-faceted. You can mold it to teach math, science, and hey even religion! You can use it to make students more aware of the box they reside in, allow them to be concerned with those who've occupied that box as well as make ready the same box for use in the future. It's a study of people and things...EVOLVING...changing...revolutionizing. For some people studying history is knowing it...for me teaching history allows me to become part of it. This is the message I want to convey to my students who probably have never had the chance to look at the world & its events with a more open mind, with a more meaningful passionate desire to know more and BE more.

I'm sure you've heard it before. People saying they want to teach because they want to make a difference in the world. Heck, I bet I've relinquished that philosophy a million times in many of my academic essays. But now in my senior year, ready to be launched as a fresh, new out of the box educator...I can say that I no longer want to make a difference. I want to make sure I create, build, facilitate, real-live CHANGE. I want to be a mode of transportation between the history that existed years ago and the history that continues to propel us today. My philosophy of teaching does not only encompass making a difference, but exemplifies BEING the difference. I firmly believe if we have to start somewhere it might as well be in the confines of the four corners of my intellect & the intellect of those I teach. Because then maybe we have a bigger chance against the odds of students not succeeding, of students becoming inactive participants of society who really do not know any better.

My philosophy is to transfer knowledge the best way possible. To teach & to learn unlike anyone else has done before.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Look at the Tricks in the Bag

MOODLE off the bat is every ED451 Audio Visual student's best friend. It acts like the holy bible of this course which students carry in their online briefcase ready, waiting and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Through it technologically literate students can have access to the class course schedule, assignment deadlines, and helpful lesson supplements which are organized and updated by the professor. It easily, LITERALLY brings the classroom outside of the campus and allows for active interaction between the professor and the students. MOODLE became one of the most important tools of trade in my quest to becoming more tech-savvy this semester. Instead of being handed a dingy, black and white syllabus (like in my other classes) I was given a living, breathing creature that surpasses any textbook I have ever encountered. MOODLE was this creature which very well paved in its every essence the successes I garnered in this course.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks

FIREFOX is probably making its way to be one of the most comfortable web browser available on the information highway today. Equivocal maybe even to your favorite pair of denim jeans. FIREFOX is acts like a window to the web, that like it's fiery name, possesses fierce accessibility and reliability for every techie's viewing pleasure. It's wonderful TAB function is every multi-tasker's dream and it supports most platforms on the web. I never hesitate to use this browser every time I do research on the internet for my 18 credit workload, or when I feel the need to surf up a storm checking email, designing websites, searching for new, hip lesson plans or simply for checking the time in New York City. This browser is pivotal and will continue to be a constant during my academic career.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks

NICENETdespite its name is a internet classroom assistant that left much to be desired. Essentially, Nicenet is was a tool that we were supposed to use to communciate with our assigned group regarding group projects and assignments. It was suppose to build bridges between communication gaps within our group's myriad of contradicting schedules. It was however, a one hit wonder for our group whose members preferred face to face conversing during the early part of this course. Nicenet offered us a place to post up our thoughts and ideas on our first lesson plan to ALL our group members with just one click of a button. It's user-ability however, did not last throughout the semester and Nicenet slowly faded away in the background while other communication tools took centerstage in class.

Rating: 2 out of 5 point&clicks

DEL.ICIO.US is the motherlode of online social bookmarking. It served to very well be THE course's most undeniable tool. Simply put, if a Delicious list ran for homecoming queen in our class, I believe with certainty that it would win hands down. Gone are the days where students can't find a place to store all their favorite sites for future reference. With this tool, websites are placed into a platform which users can continuously, indefinitely build a list of favorite websites and have easy access to it online. Not only can they do this, but through an ingenious tactic users are able to share their delicious findings and surf up other people's lists as well. While most people hit up the fine folks at Google to search for whatever lies under the sun..I search proudly through delicious. As a future educator, it's not only important to look for information that everyone has but more explicitedly for information that everything thinks is cool & "happenin'". DEL.ICIO.US is the answer to up your cool points, happenin' teacher.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks

GOOGLE SUITE (gmail, interactive docs, Blogger, Google Pages)is a powerhouse of online tools that will appease any techie's thirst for communicating ideas & sending messages across the great divide that is the internet. Gmail, alone is an email provider that holds an indefinite amount of email, serves as a wonderful cherry on top. While the interactive docs brings collaboration to the next level by allowing different online authors to edit documents online. And if that doesnt toot your horn you can always write a blog on Blogger, an easy to use weblog utility or create your own webpage using Google Pages. It was a pleasure to use these tools this semester while I completed group work and posted up materials for others to view on the internet. Be pleased to find these four tools have been added to this future educator's bag of tricks.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks

iGOOGLE which is one of many of Google's concoctions is an easy-to-access, easy-to-setup start up page that is able to host "gadgets" that feature anything, and everything on the internet. It centralizes on the concept of "one stop shop" where users can display their favorite sites, information, even email within the scope of their homepage. This tool also features themes which users can personalize and create each tabbed page to their own liking through pictures and the changing the theme of the page's online environment. For on the go students such as moi iGoogle (which I made my homepage) is the one place where I can check everything all at once which essentially cuts my internet time in half & gives me more time to focus on other homework for example.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks

JING which is a software that enables users to record screencasts is a newcomer to my bag of tricks this semester. It however, like any of your handy dandy tools, it proved to be one of the most useful especially in creating tutorials for explaining how one can use and navigate through a website. It takes the pressure of having to explain how to navigate through a website or introducing a new piece of software in the flesh and allows you to pre-record the tutorial ahead of time. This way any technical difficulties during presentation time is alleviated and allows you to seamlessly present tutorials in a timely, productive fashion. I duly hope Jing will continue to remain a freeware for the general internet public as it will be instrumental to many of my teaching endeavors in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks

FLOCK is a web browser that is also another newcomer tool welcomed into my bag of tricks this semester. It is in every essence a hyped up version of FireFox and features a more technical interface than its competition. This browser caters to all the users needs and includes access to blogs, pictures, search engines, social networks BUILT INTO the browser itself. If you thought iGoogle or Page Flakes brought you "one stop shop", FLOCK takes it to the next level giving you accessibility to your online content within the confines of your internet browser. If students of tech are into trying something new, or advancing to the next level of web browsing then Flock is tool of choice. It was certainly a tool I will continue to explore and use in my teaching in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5 point&clicks



Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mastering Multimedia

The process of creating a multimedia lesson plan was nothing short of labor of love for me. I grew up in a tech savvy world, where clicking a mouse, snapping a picture with a digicam, and creating movies on the pc have become innate tasks for me. I am no stranger to designing websites because I have been fuddling with hypertext markup language (html) and designing cascading style sheets (css) since middle school. I would spend long afternoons gazing into a page filled with code to a website I created from scratch. So, imagine to my delight when I discovered that my assignment for the week was to do the things that I did for fun. Deciding on content was a walk in the park because early on our class had plenty of time to brainstorm for a lesson plan topic. Of course, since I am a future educator of history I just had to incorporate a lesson which featured a topic I old very near and dear to my heart --the African Slave Trade.

Creating a lesson plan using the ASSURE plan the second time around took one sitting because I had already laid out the framework for my lesson during the brainstorm hour. I had decided to use a video (created by me) on the four functions of the Slave Trade, a digital camera for creating tableaus (free frame pictures of scenes), the video editing software "iMovie" or the pc version Windows Movie Maker to create picture slideshow stories, a computer & projector as a way to present the slideshows to the class, and an accompanying lesson website to supplement the entire endeavor, to span the scope of all the multimedia tools used in the lesson. Truthfully, the lesson that I had concocted was very ambitious however, I believed it would work out pretty well.

The standard that fits my multimedia lesson from the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS*T) is part IV A under Assessment and Evaluation. It is to use technology resources to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning (2002). Students learn the material and gather knowledge from watching the video that I had created and developing their own versions of the stages of the African Slave Trade.

Translating the lesson plan into a website was a breeze, while trying to enhance the look & style of the website was another story. One night I tried vigorously to "hack" googlepages in order to fulfill my desire to change my website template background however, by the end of the night I just resorted to using one of their own templates so that the scripts on my website would not go haywire, which then would impair my students from accessing the website itself. I figured my slide picture presentation in the home page was enough to do creativity any justice.

Integrating multimedia into a lesson plan is a process that should help aid educators and not make the process more complex. As a future educator, I believe that if I had not become well-versed in using multimedia tools when I was younger that it would be a challenge for me to include multimedia into my future lessons. It is imperative for all teachers, incoming or present, to become aware of the technology that is right under their fingertips. There are plenty of tools out there that are user-friendly, that are easy to use and the word that teachers all over the world like to hear -- FREE! It's all about taking the initiative to seek out these tools for use in the classroom.

I duly enjoyed creating my multimedia lesson plan, as well as designing a website for it. Before I would design websites for fun and for dispersing information to my classmates (like lecture notes for a history class). But now i have learned to integrate my teaching lesson plans and making them come alive using multimedia tools as well as technology tools.

Works Cited

National Educational Technology Standards Project. (2002). Curriculum and Content Area Standards: NESTS for Teachers. Retrieved November 10, 2007.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Impossible Made Possible

Appreciating one's own capabilities is a hard concept to grasp for some individuals. A body that's able to move, sway, push a couple million buttons, lift a coffee mug or turn pages of a book with ease. Ever wondered if something hindered you from accomplishing those small, what seems like insignificant life tasks, how difficult it would be. If you could see people singing yet could not hear a note reverberate in the four corners of your mind. If you were confined to a chair, arms & limbs unable to move. How would you get around? How would you go to school to get an education? Or better yet, how would you go to the bathroom? That's what it probably would feel ounce of the life inside... a disabled individual.

And like human nature, resilient and true..that something...that block that hinders, is nothing but another obstacle that is surmountable in this day in age because of something called assistive/adaptive technology. Amazing man-made tools to help those short of a few steps..go the extra mile.

Educators in the twenty-first century have alot riding on their belt. Not only do they have to mold brains equipt for the hard knocked life, they ALSO have to mold their own thinking caps to evolve into witty, in-the-now tech savvy persons. They have to do this because they will have students in their class who need all the help that they can get & then some.

As an aspiring educator, I believe that assistive/adaptive technology will take great importance in my future classroom. I was a child that was born into the digital age & I believe that technology is the key..if not the best key to help students with disabilities with their academic & life experiences. In preparing lesson plans for these students special emphasis needs to be taken to account of each of the student's capabilities & what technology is needed, if not already given, to make sure that the student will be able but also challenged to fulfill the lesson's tasks. A particular lesson, in my opinion will be a success if the disabled student is treated as an equal to the other students regardless of capability. If this equilibrium is acquired then the use of assistive/adaptive technologies will provide an enriching experience for both the teacher and the student.

A double dose of creativity will be needed for a lesson that includes assistive/adaptive technology. Especially if each technology that each student is using is different and unique to his or her own disability. What is needed, in my opinion is a lesson that will appeal to the masses, a lesson that is relateable, yet teaches something garnered from the common ground. Maybe a simple lesson like learning how to send an email message can be skewed into a simple computer format and be accessible to all students, disabled & not, through a computer. Teachers can add activities that allow the students who are disabled feel like that they are one & the same with students who are not disabled.

It was interesting to witness a musician student being able to play music using A/A Technology. A musician myself, I understand the passion and dedication it takes to learn and to progress in playing an instrument. Being able to actually accomplish that feat with capable limbs, fingers, and arms is a challenge in of itself, but to do it without those body parts practically seems somewhat closing in on impossible. The music student in the video certainly proved all skepticism wrong. With A/A technology anything is possible.

And I guess, that's the best message that A/A technology instigates...that is that what disabled students thought was impossible 20 or 30 years ago is now possible. A wish forever granted. A means to a road to becoming self-sufficient. Something that disabled students who want to get the most out of their academic careers want more of. For they already appreciate, grasp the scope of what they are capable of..of what their slight push of a button, slight sway of the nose can do. It's their inch closer to being normal..of a belonging to a world that sometimes does not listen. Assistive/adaptive technology gives disabled students just that..a way to communicate, to see, to hear, to others do.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hi blogger!

Hi! I'm Patti =)

Yay blogger!

Here's the link to my delicious site: