Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Technology Administrators??

To experience the full potential of blogging we have several tasks in our class. The first task is obviously maintaining our own blog. Then we are to follow our classmates blogs as well as some other blogs relevant to what we are studying. As I was reading through a few of these blogs there was an interesting post about whether or not we need Technology Administrators. Feel free to read the post as it is very interesting. Being new to a fairly large school district my first thought was "we have a technology administrator?" I have no clue who that would be! We have tech support but I don't feel all those working for tech support fall under the title technology administrator. Part of being a technology administrator is overseeing instructional computer systems. If our district has one I feel as though they are letting teachers down a little bit. So the question is do we need them or not? I feel if a district knows their technology administrator and he/she is working towards improving the district with evident results then yes why not keep them. However, if a district has no idea who their their technology administrator is then I bet they aren't doing the job they should be doing then why keep them? My mission tomorrow at school is to figure out who our technology administrator is and if we even have one, I encourage you to do the same. Then think about whether your school could do with or without them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Home schooling?

I had a mother at the school I used to teach at decide when to pull her children out to home school them. She usually pulled them if she didn't like the teacher. I support those that would like to home school their kids if they do it correctly. When I got her kids they were a grade level behind in reading and slightly below grade level in everything else. I spend the next year with one and two years with the other catching them up just to have them pulled again. I discovered that this mom had a blog and decided to check it out. It is one that I frequently visit to see how she educates them. Technology didn't even exist. I asked the kids how often they use the computer at home and their response was maybe once a week! They were writing letters during "writing" time and I was thinking why don't you throw in e-mail every once-in-a-while?

So how much technology does a student that gets home schooled use? In a previous post I made the comment "Where are the parents?" One of my followers made a good point in stating that maybe the parents don't know how to use technology either. What if that parent is one that educates their kids at home??? I think a home school situation is an awesome situation to be utilizing technology. I recently watched a video on YouTube "Learning to Change-Changing to Learn" that addressed standards and No Child Left Behind. Standards and NCLB are all that teachers focus on, but at home that's not the case. Some schools hold a Back To School Night to inform parents about the upcoming year. A situation like this would be a great way to get parents involved with a new form of technology as well. One idea I have for next year is to put a Wiki page on my classroom website to help parents and get them networking as well! Another idea would be to hold a class focusing on some type of application that anyone in the public could attend, I know my parents would have appreciated a class!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Computers and Internet

My first discussion topic for one of my questions was to write about myself and how I use technology. I made the comment that when I'm teaching social studies it's hard for me to say a computer is a want and not a need. In my life I feel as though it's a need, not just for the internet but for the Microsoft Word components as well. I type much faster than I write and for someone who doesn't draw very well I can make a nice clean circle! Is it a need though?? The definition of a need for second graders is something you need to live/survive. Another definition from Longman Online Dictionary is "to have to have something or someone, because you cannot do something without them, or because you cannot continue or cannot exist without them". Can we exist without computers???? One could argue that they did so many years ago and we can do it again. Can you imagine life without computers??? I can't! Think about how much slower everything would take. Right now it takes me two minutes to check my bank account online and make sure it's balance (that's if I haven't made any mistakes:)) Before online backing it would take me a lot longer because first of all I had to wait every month to get the statement. We can also think about the number of trees computers save us from chopping down. Who needs to write a letter to someone when you can e-mail them!

My professor asked a really good question in response to my discussion topic, is the internet a right or a privilege? My response was: I think if you are the one paying for the internet service it is a right, but if you aren't paying for the service then it's a privilege. I think some people go into libraries and abuse their right to be on the internet by acting inappropriately with kids around. I also think someone could argue their 1st amendment rights and say that the internet is a right for them. I think this question is a great discussion question and I'm sure lots of people have their own opinion on the topic.

Articles you may want to read about this issue:

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

What a world!

As I am reading the book Disrupting Class for Instructional Technology a lot of ideas flood my brain for my classroom for next year. I was hired right before school started and coming into a new district I had to learn an all new curriculum as well as a new report card that went along with the student learning expectations. While I was trying to catch up and learn everything technology was not a priority, unfortunately. I didn't have my website up all year and my kids had 60 minutes total of computer time each week if we were lucky! 30 minutes of that time was taking our weekly reading assessment and the other 30 minutes was working on type to learn. Next year my hope is to step it up in the technology department as much as I can for 2nd graders.

It is mentioned in the book several times "that people in the United States have spent billions of dollars putting computers into U.S. Schools, it has resulted in little change in how students learn." As an elementary teacher I would like to address this statement. The first point I would like to make is in order for teachers to focus more on technology the standards have to also focus more on technology. Right now a second grader has only one expectation on their report card under technology which is knowing how to shut down a computer. As a teacher when you look at just one expectation under technology and 15 or more under reading and math, what does the system think we are going to spend more time on???? With the Iowa Core Curriculum I believe that will change and maybe we will have a chance to do more than just shut down a computer. I know that is not an excuse not to incorporate more technology across curriculum but there are other factors that stop us. I have a small room that barely fits the 26 desks I have for each student. We only have room for one computer in our classroom and it sit in an open closet. The students rotate turns during work time after their work is done. But with 26 kids and not being able to get on until they are finished with their work doesn't give them much time to use it throughout the year. Of course with people spending "billions of dollars on computer" I bet your thinking why don't you use the computer lab??? I would if I could get the time in there. With 13 classes all needing the computer lab its a fight to see who signs up first. 2nd graders also need more time then the older kids because they are still trying to manage a computer.

I would also like to take the time and ask where are the parents???? Why is everything solely on the shoulders of a teacher??? Yes it's my job to educate them in the best possible way for them to learn and I do just that. I also think that it's the parents job to continue helping their child grow at home. Maybe the parent should allow their child more time on the computer to explore all it has to offer as well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adobe Connect

My first post for my class is talking about my experience with Adobe Connect. Our class signed in with cameras and all to discuss the latest reading. When I think about 13 or so of us all being able to see and talk to each other it's pretty amazing. I didn't even know you could chat face to face with that many people so considering the situation it worked better than I had expected. Of course there were a few issues like delayed responses, talk buttons not working, and lots of people with ideas to express. I know there was a time when some could hear me but others couldn't and that may have been my fault as well. With a laptop I'm not sure how well my voice gets picked up by the microphone. I think with more practice we will get better and at least work out the little kinks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My New Blog

A blog is one of many things I will be trying out as a I pursue my master's degree in Instructional Technology. I've read many blogs before but haven't actually started one up myself because I use Facebook. Another requirement for this particular class that I am in now is to also sign up for Twitter. Twitter was the one thing that I had never wanted to be a part of. I don't know why anyone would want to know what someone is doing 24/7. I always thought that those who tweeted just didn't have anything better to do. Well I guess now I am one of those individuals..we'll see how it goes. The direction for my blog is unclear at the moment, but I do know that I will be posting information and reflections about my current classes. You may be on a two year journey with me through grad school for sure!