Monday, July 2, 2007

Blog #5

Online learning is very new to me. I will be taking my first online course in the fall. I enjoyed ETEC 524 (a web enhanced class) because of the face to face interaction with the professor so I'm not quite sure what to expect with this online course. I currently teach with the traditional classroom setting. After reading Chapter 5 from the textbook, I concluded that based on the research conducted, the impact distance education has for learning in an online environment is remarkable. I'm very excited about embarking on this new adventure for several reasons. First, I learn and work best independently. My preference is that of completing assignments by myself rather than with a group. With online learning you are surrounded by a virtual group of students each working independently, but they can easily add feedback and comments. Second, I prefer the time to think and process assignments, especially a writing task. I produce better work when given the assignment and expectations, then following a self-paced schedule for completing them. I enjoy working at home with email just a click away if I have any questions. Online learning will empower me through my motivation of wanting to succeed using this new venue available.

Online learning is a very popular trend in education due to the amount of technology available today. When searching for articles to include in my e-portfolio, I discovered numerous articles discussing online learning. As mentioned in the textbook, the articles cover every aspect from the changing roles of students and teachers to the advantages and disadvantages of learning online. I even found an article written in part by Dr. Wickersham titled, "Teaching Online: Three Perspectives, Three Approaches."

My first experience with eCollege has been through the ETEC 524 class. I am really impressed with all the capabilities it brings for online class enhancement. It was easy to access course information, notes, links, and assignments. This course management systems allows for many resources for the college professors with the ability of the dropbox, shared folders, gradebook and webliography. I look forward to other classes that use this format.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Blog #4

The information in Chapter 4 of the textbook was very interesting. I had never heard of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) especially a website, for example, devoted to primary source material. I will add this website to my list of online resources. It provides a virtual field trip for students needing to research archives without having to visit Washington, D.C.

I agree with the textbook on the subject of teaching the skills needed for students to access primary sources. It starts with the teacher in providing structure and direction while using the internet. I get frustrated at times when I can't find what I am looking for. Students need help in determining what questions to ask so that they can make good search decisions to find the needed information. When searching the NAIL archives, it is important for students to understand bias and subtleties. Students today want information to be handed to them with little thought required. The example from the textbook (searching for trail of tears instead of Indian removal) proves this point. It would be beneficial for teachers to give examples of how primary sources work.

Even with primary sources, students should evaluate the information found. The textbook suggests encouraging students to examine other sources, analyze their data, and access experts. By conversing with an expert, students gain a current base of information and can gain a better understanding of what they are learning. When students are interested, their learning becomes more meaningful.

How can I utilize primary sources to align with my educational technology philosophy? In my philosophy, I discuss the importance of a student centered learning environment. Accessing primary sources supports this learning theory. Once expectations are established, students take on the responsibility of gaining access to the information they are seeking. It also requires students to use higher order thinking skills when assessing the research. The teacher now takes on the role of facilitator.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blog #3

Technology Implementation and Integration

  • not using the technology enough to remember how to use it

  • managing/arranging time to incorporate into my curriculum

  • other colleagues embracing new resources and technology


  • excitement/motivation of students when presented with new technology

  • student learning will be more meaningful and hands-on

  • increased communication with parents/community

I am so excited about starting this coming school year. With all the wonderful technology tools that I have learned, I can't wait to start implementing them in my classroom. My worst fear is remembering from this class all the tools learned. My e-portfolio will help me to overcome this fear because it will be a continuous learning tool for me as I document examples/research and reflect on what I have learned. This class has sparked my interest to want to know more and stay up-to-date with emerging technologies. Another fear is analyzing my lesson plans to incorporate technology into my curriculum. I am already working on overcoming this fear because I now understand how technology is changing from what I thought technology in the classroom was and that I need to change with it. When students come into my classroom on the first day of school and see it's a computer lab, they automatically think, "It's internet surfing time." Won't they be surprised when the internet is used as a technology tool to aid in learning the objectives. The technology already available in my classroom is not just for me to use in teaching, but to share with my students to empower them to learn.

Information overload is the best way to describe what has been going on the past few weeks as far as the skills learned in class about technology. I never realized how much I did not know about technology. It's unbelievable and my hope is to use technology to communicate better with my students, parents, teachers, and the community. While reflecting on this past week, this question jumped out at me: How can someone expect to be informed of new technology if they are not taking the steps to acquire new information? That someone was me. I have discovered that I was falling into the traditional role of waiting for the information to come to me just like the example from the book where Alan November stated that the students were waiting for him to give them a problem. I relied on staff development from our Career and Technology department to inform me about technology. I can share with other teachers what I have learned and the impact it has had on me.

I like the topic from Chapter 3 in the textbook which describes creating a problem solving situation for the students to solve giving them responsibility for their learning. This shifting of control will work great in my classroom. For example, in my subject area there are many ways to complete a task in Microsoft Word: using the toolbars, menus, or keyboard shortcuts to name a few. I explain this to my students so that they can decide what way works best for them. A change I can make is letting the students demonstrate for the class the way they complete a task. This also falls under mentoring and Dr. Wickersham modeled this by having some of us teach a skill to the rest of the class and allowing time for questions and collaboration among peers. I believe everyone has something valuable to contribute.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blog #2

As a Career and Technology Business teacher, I have been truly impressed with all the information that I have learned so far in this class. I didn't know what to expect, and I'm glad I took this class first. The technology acquired will pave the way and enhance the learning in my other classes. I'm so excited about the many tools learned that I have shared them with family and friends. I believe part of the learning process is sharing with others! I will be setting up my eportfolio to showcase all that I have learned and accomplished.

Our first class activity helped me to think about my current technology skills. What do I really know about new and emerging technologies and what do I need to know to stay up-to-date and informed as a teacher? The interactive powerpoint was not an issue because part of my curriculum in business education is to teach my students these skills from powerpoint. The issue was the answer to the question above. Through the interactive powerpoint, I determined the skills that I need and want to gain from taking this class. I am now on the path to obtaining my technology goals.

In my interactive powerpoint, one skill I wanted to learn was about creating a blog. I didn't even know what one was before taking this class. It sounded interesting and I love to learn new things. The process was very simple, and I have had so much fun setting it up and customizing the page elements. I have even gone a step further by adding links, a welcome message in glitter, and a picture slideshow using, another resource learned in class.

As soon as we created our blog accounts, I wanted to check out other classmates' blogs. This would help me to get to know my classmates. First, I needed to know their blog address. Several students emailed the class with their information. Over the weekend, I was able to visit their blogs one by one. I checked several times before the next class day. Upon reading the course notes, I couldn't wait to create a bloglines account. The example of relating the bloglines account to an email system was easy to understand. Now, with my bloglines account set up, I can access everyone's blog from one location, and I can see when something new has been posted. This has been a great timesaving resource. I have also set up through an RSS feed the National Geographic website and CNN to update me with new information. As long as a website has an RSS feed, it can be added to your bloglines account.

This internet tool is used for social bookmarking of websites. With this account, you can access your favorite websites from any computer. It allows for many web resources to be shared with others through the use of a network. I like the idea of being able to tag or put into categories your websites for better organization. I also like having available websites that others have used or found to be helpful. In addition, this website could be used in place of search engines when you need fast and reliable information.

These activities have made a tremendous impact on my learning of new technology skills. Having a blog account is a great form of communication as learned from listening to the podcast with Tim Tyson. For the coming school year, I plan to set up a blog for my students and parents to access from school, home, and/or work. Furthermore, I can enhance not only my critical analysis of information on the internet but my students as well by using the website to evaluate other bookmarked websites before using the information to research a topic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blog #1

Many of us have been told throughout our lives that "we learn something new everyday." I believe learning is a continuous process of acquiring information. Someone who is information literate takes that acquired information a step further, applies it to a situation, and evaluates the source of the information. An easy way and perhaps the most popular is to acquire information from the internet, which has an abundance of resources. Can we rely on the information we receive from the internet? This is an important question that is often overlooked when searching for information. Here are some easy steps to pinpoint the validity of the information. First, you should break down the parts of a web address by looking at the domain name (.com or .org) and checking to see if there is a personal subdirectory that uses these symbols (~ and %). Next, you should check the relationships of the internal and external links on that website by using the link command from Then, an investigation of the author should be done because anyone can publish information on the internet. Last of all, you should determine the purpose of the information such as to sell products/services, advocate ideas, entertain or present information. This process is described in Alan November's book "Empowering Students with Technology."

I have been impressed with the whole process of searching for information on the internet. Activities in class made me realize that I didn't look at information objectively on the internet. We all use the internet in some way; therefore, the techniques I have learned are an invaluable tool. I plan to use them for my personal and educational use. My personal goal is to share with teachers, family and friends the importance of checking the validity of a website and to feel confidant in the information obtained. My educational goal is to teach my students the skills needed to search for reliable information.