Friday, July 23, 2010

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The RSS feed Link

My Podcast

This is a short podcast discussing the types, advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Using Technology in the Classroom

Technology is everywhere we look, and in most things we do these days. This is a critical reason that as educators we must include technology in our lessons to promote engagement, motivation and to familiarize our students with the many benefits it has to offer. This may have some challenges for educators not accustomed to using technology, but is very worthwhile for the success of our students. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce there are undeniable results in the area of student achievement when technology is introduced and used properly.
The benefits of using technology in the classroom are immense. Students are more motivated and engaged in learning when technology is involved. In their article about the success of reading instruction when using technology, Helen Kim and Michael Kamil state, “Computers offer engaging, interactive activities for general and targeted practice. They give immediate corrective feedback, and some programs provide incentives for progress to higher levels of difficulty. Teachers can also use programs to track student progress.” There is also evidence that at risk and special needs students also benefit greatly from the use of technology. In her article “The Pros and Cons Technology in the Classroom”, Andrea Hermitt writes: “In special needs classrooms, each student is able to go at his or her own pace with the help of technology. This allows the students get individual instruction directly from the computer, which allows the teacher to accomplish more while feeling less stretched.”
Although there are many benefits of using technology when teaching, there are also some drawbacks. As teachers we must also be sure to be the most efficient and successful with our instruction that includes technology. In other words, we need to make sure to get ‘the biggest bang for our buck’ with our students . One trap that many teachers fall into is relying too much on the technology when they have it. They tend to go faster than they students can process information. In the article “Student Perceptions of Technology in the classroom: the good, the bad and the ugly” Gabie Smith states, “The “bad” side of technology use in the classroom became evident when students described ways in which faculty members are ineffective in their use of technology. One surprisingly common response was that faculty members “speed up” or go too fast when using computer-enhanced technology (such as power-point presentations or internet resources). In fact, 36.8 % of the responses to this survey item mentioned faculty speeding up the pace of their teaching.” Smith also goes on to state that some teachers “hide behind the technology” in order to not interact with students. Technology is a tool to assist good instruction, but there is not replacement for a good, knowledgeable teacher. One last drawback is that technology can be very expensive. In our current economic conditions schools are struggling to find the funding for expensive software programs, applications, and hardware.
There are many different types of technology that are available for use. These can include computers, software programs, and access to the internet, distance learning opportunities, SMART boards, and even Ipods. Reading books to kids can even be done using technology now through the use of an Elmo. The possibilities are endless, and are constantly changing. It is for this reason that as educators we must also stay abreast of the new advancements. New things are novel to students, and are therefore more engaging and interesting. As a teacher this is something I am always striving for, as it is one of the most difficult parts of our job.

When you look at what our number one goal in education is, student achievement and success, it becomes evident through research that the use of technology is a wonderful tool to reach our goal. Although there are some challenges that go along with technology for some, the benefits outweigh the cons. As a teacher, I am very glad I have these tools to use.

Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom:

Blackwell, K. (2010). The Importance of teaching technology to teachers. Retrieved from
Hermitt, A. (2010). Pros and cons technology in the classroom. Retrieved from on June 20, 2010.
Kim, H, & Kamil, M. (n.d.). Successful uses of computer technology for reading instruction . Retrieved from on June 20, 2010.
Picardo, J. (Producer). (2008). Top ten tips for using technology in the classroom . [Web]. Retrieved from
Smith, G. (n.d.). Student perceptions of technology in the classroom: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Retrieved from on June 20, 2010.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thing 23- The Summary

Wow! Three months ago I thought finishing this project was going to be a daunting task. I was wrong. I have learned more about the new web 2.0 tools than I could ever have imagined. This project required a lot of work, but the learning was well worth it. My favorite was the one I put off to the very end...Photostory! I am in love with Photostory! I am now more confident and apt to search for things on the internet, and on BLOGS! Never before would I have looked at reading blogs a learning experience, but now I do. The only suggestion I would have to improve upon the program would be to add is a great tool that I learned about from other classmates! Depending on the where and when, I would for sure do this again if offered as a different unit. If I had to sum up this project in one word it would be Immense. Immense, because it was a big project. Imemense, because I learned so much. Immense, because the possibilites are endless for me as a librarian with these tools!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thing 22- Nings

To be honest, I had a hard time getting into Nings. I think the idea is great though! A social networking site that is organized into interest groups! The Ning in education was my favorite, because I felt it to be the most visually appealing. This site offers discussion forums, a place to share videos and photos of events, groups based on your personal needs, and an activity feed. I also liked this Ning because it seems to be more current, and has a great deal of members. The more members, the more people you have to share ideas with. This is compared to the Texas Librarians Ning which seemed to have very few members, and had not been updated in a while.

Thing 20- You Tube and Teacher Tube

Using video sharing sites is a great tool for teachers and librarians to be knowledgeable on. We are constantly looking for ways to make our lessons more appealing to studetns, and what better way than to show them video!! This is also a great tool for teachers, as contrary to popular belief....we don't know everything :-) This is a great way for us to learn new things, contributing the educational goal of lifelong learning. You Tube has so many video files, it is truley amazing what you can find. When searching on You Tube I looked up Library 2.0 and found a video on the 23 things!!! Here it is:

Teacher Tube also has great resources, and the beauty is...they are meant for the classroom. I looked up Ancient Rome, since that is a coming SS objective for 3rd grade and found many videos. A downfall that I found was that it seemed to be VERY slow! I searched for quite a while, and only managed to view 1 video.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thing 19- Twitter and amMap

The two web 2.0 award winners I enjoyed exploring the most were Twitter and amMap. Twitter is a great communication tool that alerts followers when a status update has occured. This makes it easy for the people who want to know about you, as they dont have to go to a computer and look you up. Updates are sent directly to phones. As a teacher or librarian the benefits of using Twitter would be communication to parents. They could easily be alerted of upcoming assignements, events, fun little tid bits of information, and reminders.

amMap is a great free mapping tool! It offers information such as population size, flight routes, a zoom tool and timelines. It is also interactive and a country is highlighted when you scroll over it. As a teacher this is a great tool to use when discussing ancient civilizations, heritage projects, geography and the location of just about anything! A librarian can use this to show the where the setting of a book happens, to help with research, or to give more information about an author.

Thing 18- google docs

The online productivity tool I chose to look at was Google docs (mainly because my hubby is picky about what I download!). This is a GREAT tool! Never again will it's users have to worry about losing their documents to a failed computer....they are safe in their account on the web. The program is very user friendly. I uploaded a word document with ease, and was able to begin the process of keeping my documents organized in folders. I also love the fact that there is a way to chat with others while working on the same document together. This is a great feature to limit getting off task! It is completely compatible with Microsoft, meaning any work we have done previously can be uploaded and kept in this account. I remember in class Dr. Bishop making the prediction that these types of tools are going to be very valuable in education due to the rising cost of the Microsoft products. I can now see why!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thing 17- Rollyo

Rollyo is an excellent tool for teachers or librarians! What a great way to make sure you students are not wandering around aimlesly on the internet. I created a Rollyo for Planet Research to use with elementary students. Enjoy!

Thing 16- Wikis

Wiki's are great! They seem to be everywhere now, which is amazing to me since before August I had not ever heard of them. They are a great way to collaborate and share ideas with fellow teachers. My campus has a wiki that we use to share resources and great lesson ideas, as does our Campus Lead Teacher group. I could see this being a great resource to use over the summer as a teacher. Teachers can collaborate and plan with eachother, while being able to do it on their own time. I would also love to set up a persoanl wiki to plan a family reunion for this summer!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thing 15- Library 2.0

I read the Wikipedia article and the "Away from Icebergs" article about library 2.0. What I got from these articles is confirmation for what I have been learning about, and coming to believe from class. The librarian is no longer a woman who sits behind a counter and checks out books, or reads a picture book to kids every two weeks. Librarians today have to be 'digital natives'. We have to know how to get our patrons to the most accurate and effective information, that is most likely not in a book we have on our shelves. We have to positively impact our students' achievements by helping to teach them how to correctly find and evaluate information, when there is so much out there.

I also found the video, "A vision of students today" very powerful. It is so true, that so much of what I learned in the past is simply just 'book smarts', and have no bearing in the real world. As a 'Librarian 2.0' I am hoping to not do this with my students. It is one of my goals to not only help my patrons learn what they need to for class, but at the same time help them learn information retrieval skills and other skills that will benefit them outside of the classroom.

thing 14- Technorati

Technorati is a great tool if you are looking for information in blogs. There are millions of blogs out there and just like searching the internet, you can be bombarding with information to sift through. Technorati uses the process of tagging to simplify this. I think as a librarian this can be very valuable. Part of being a librarian is finding accurate information, and keeping up to date on literacy and technology. Following blogs is a great way to do both of these. A downside of Technorati was that as I was working with it, many of its features were not working properly. I will have to go back and check these features again later to see how they work. Tagging is a very simple step that can make retrieval of information much easier. To be honest, I am not one that has really been a 'tagger', I just didn't see the point. After learning about it though, I can see how simple it is to tag something, and what a tremendous time saver it can be later.

Thing 13- Delicious

I found delicious to be not so delicious at first. It was confusing to me but after the tutorials, I realized it is for people who have many bookmarks (I dont have many yet, but as classes continue I am sure I will). Once I got the process started it seemed easier. I did figure out how to share with people (I think), but you have to know their usernames and add them one at a time. I could see social bookmarking being used as a great tool in research. You can bookmark your sites and those who you want to locate those resources can find them more quickly and accurately. Teachers and librarians can use Delicious for research projects with older students, to share information about a topic with older students (studetns always seem more engaged when they can get on computers and find the information themselves). Teachers and librarians can also use this as a professional resource to share information with other collegues. I have added a few SmartBoard sites to mine, that I am sure my third grade team will love!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

thing 12- Commenting

Wow! I never knew what an impact commenting had on blogging. It makes sense, why blog if you dont feel that anyone is reading it? One of the comments I found very true was in the "10 Techniques to get more comments on your Blog" article. The author says to be humble in your posts. I totally agree with him, while some blogs it is important to know how intelligent the author is....I dont want to read something simply to read someone bragging about themsleves. I also found it interesting that only 9% of people actually comment on blogs, that is crazy! The comment from the same article about interacting with comments left also seemed very important to me. I think the purpose of commenting is to start discussions. If you dont comment back, the discussion ends with your reader. This is also discussed in the Blue Skunks Blog.."comments on commenting".

One of the blogs that I commented on outside of our program was the blog for Layla Grace Marsh. I have been following her story, a heartbreaking one at best. This is truly a blog that makes you want to hug your families a little more every day. I simply commented my condolences, prayers and thanks for sharing their story. The other blog I commented on was the blog for Julie Powell (the movie Julie and Juilia). I love to cook, so I found this blog very interesting. My post was in response to a post about her actually liking Rachel Ray (not one of my personal favorites), I tried to be positive and tell her a bit of pep is a good thing sometimes.

Thing 11- library thing

I found this thing to be quite simple. I spend so much time every year trying to keep my classroom library organized, and accounted for....this will make that much more simple! In my library thing page I added several Patricia Polacco books(she is my favorite children's author), a nonfiction book, some Magic Tree House books, and a few books that I tagged as grown up books that belong in my personal library.

The site has a bunch of cool groups depending on what you like to read. The groups that got my attention were the book talk group and the historical fiction group. I could see these two groups being what I will go to most, and there are many members in each to share ideas and comments. I also liked the projects section. This has resources that are really valuable, for example the Name that Book site.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thing 10- Image

This thing was alot of fun. I think my favorite was the wordle, because I could see being able to use it in class with getting big ideas and details. Examples would be ancient civilizations and characteristics of them, or math concepts, or a character in a books traits. I created a wordle, a custom sign generator, and a happy face generator all about my baby boy because he is about to turn 1!!! I also found Glitter Words that can be fun, but not sure how they would benefit you in the classroom, except for getting kids attention on a power point.
Wordle: Connor's Wordle

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thing 9 - Useful Library related blogs

I have found that searching for blogs is a big task....there are so many out there to weed through. The search site for the edublogs award winners was by far my favorite! I found the best resources sharing blogs my favorite. There was a cool free technology blog that had a ton to offer( and I was able to add it to my RSS account), including mapping activities, I also enjoyed a blog called "Jane's E learning Pick of the Day". The site I found the most distracting was the Syndic8 site. This site had very small print, and alot of it. It was a challenge looking for information to use, and did not have much visual appeal.

Free Technology Resources for Teachers

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thing 8- RSS Feeds

Wow! What a cool tool these are! RSS feeds are a great time saver....its like one stop shopping. A teacher or librarian could use these in school to keep up with what is going on in the education realm, while keeping up with current events and personal interests all at the same time. Just thinking about how much time this will save me during this course is amazing...being able to see everyone's posts that I am following all in one simple!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thing 7- The world of Google

I have to admit, I am a HUGE google fan! I just think it is so user friendly, and it looks pretty too :-) One of my favorite Google aps is Google Earth. It is so cool to think that you can see something as tiny as a house from space! It is a wonderful tool, and has done a tone for geography instruction (not that I do much of that in the 3rd grade). I think Google Scholar will also come in handy during the course of grad school!

To be honest, I dont see a huge need for some of the other tools...but maybe that is because I already have my favorites with those. The calendar just seems like an extra step, especially if you are using outlook already. I also think there are better photo sharing sites. Flickr is great, and I also really enjoy Shutterfly. I like Shutterfly because you can send your pictures to Target to be printed, and you have the flexiblity to add your pics to a cute website. We have one if you would like to see our little one :-))

Thing 6- Mash ups

I have to be honest, I hadn't ever heard of mash ups before. I think they are a cool idea, but are one of those ideas that seems so simple you think to yourself.."why didn't I think of that!" I really like the mash up bookr. It would be neat to have the kids write a class story and illustrate it with pictures from Flickr. You could also create a Flickr account, and create an online scrapbook of your year in the library; People could add commments, you could add pictures and use the Bookr feature to explain the events and pictures.

Thing 5 - Using Flickr

Flickr is a great photosharing website! It is great that you have the ability to use some pictures from Flickr's creative commons for free! I love the way you can join groups (where you share commonalities with others, and can share pics or info based on these commonalities). I also love that you can map where pictures were taken! This is a great tool if you are wanting to show your class something and need to give them some perspective on where it happened. I also learned that a Tag is when you identify a picture to fit in a certain group.

Librarians use Flickr to share ideas, have author and book discussions, and disperse information to other libraries(including public libraries) about their program. Here is a picture that I found. I was thinking of using it in a lesson about a hero we study, Jane Addams.

Monday, January 25, 2010

" Thing 2"

I guess I have not ever really thought about the habits or routines of a person who is a succesful lifelong learner. I just assumed it was something that came naturally to some, and maybe it does. From viewing the 7 1/2 steps of a successful learner I learned that I am already doing some of the steps :-) yay! I feel that I am probably the most successful with habit 1- having an end in mind. I am very goal oriented, and it helps me to know where I need or want to end up when working on a helps me feel accomplished and productive when I complete steps. The hardest habit for me is most likely habit 3- viewing challenges as a learning experience and not a problem. Sometimes when life gets crazy it is hard not to get overwhelmed. In the moment I tend to get frustrated instead of stopping to think..."what can I learn from this?"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thing 3

So many people in my family have asked me to start blogging so they could keep up with Connor (my 10 month old). I have always been to intimidated to try, but after starting one for this project I realize how easy it really is to blog! (although, the instructions pages REALLY helped!!)

Thing 3- part 2

Making the Avatar was so fun. It was like shopping without having to worry about what size you wear! I placed myself in the kitchen, with a baby because when I am home that is where I am spending a good deal of time.

And so it begins....

I am super excited about learning all of the web 2.0 tools! They will be a great help to me in my current classroom, and in my future library :-)