Monday, April 15, 2013

Podcasting in the Classroom


              Podcasting is very important to educators and learners in today's world.  Podcasting is a type of digital media that can be accessed with the use of a computer or any online device.  It is a series of episodes of the radio, a video, and PDF.  For this particular module this week, I have chosen to view the "ESL Pod" Podcast.  In this website, there are many podcasts and transcripts for English as a Second Language learners.  I chose to listen to this particular podcast because I am studying in school to become an English as a Second Language teacher, and this podcast website interests me the most from the others.  I selected the podcast episode, English Cafe 393  from this ESL podcasting website.  During this episode, the speaker discusses about a series on famous American movies.  For a specific example of how he discusses he movie, he would talk about the movie, "The Manchurian Candidate" and described the movie to his listeners as a "thriller".  After saying the word thriller, he would then spell the word slowly for the listener and then describe what the term means.  He did this method of teaching English words and told the story of the movie in great detail.  I thought this method of a lesson would be great for ESL leaners because it is engaging to the listener, new vocabulary learning occurs, and this use of podcasting is a great way to include a digital tool in the classroom. I also think it is interesting and great that this podcast can be accessed through the use of iTunes too.  The use of podcasting is very interesting and important to be as a learner and a future ESL educator.  I will most likely be using podcasting in my future classroom with ESL teaching!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Other Projects Available Through the ePals Program

         The ePals site is a great resource for educators and it is a global community where learners connect.  On this site, an educator can find a classroom, join a project, start a project, teaching resources, and learning centers. Some projects that I found interesting though the ePals program, include: Global Citizens, Science, and Smithsonian on ePals.  These projects were interesting to me because I enjoy learning about the world and science, everything that surrounds us in the world we live in today!  With the Global Citizens project, there are a few resources that are helpful to educators to use in the classroom.  These resources under this project include: articles, activities, games and quizzes, videos, discussions, and galleries.  I especially enjoyed viewing the "videos" section because it discusses important global issues or important days that we should know about.  This section really caught my attention.  Also, to use in the classroom with this project, students and educators can collaborate together to play the games on the site and quizzes that have to do with the project of Global Citizens.
       The Science project and Smithsonian on ePals are also very interesting to me because they involve the same resources of: articles, activities, games and quizzes, videos, discussions, and galleries like the other project but in a different way and about a different topics of Science and Smithsonian exhibit information.  I am very interested in learning about Science and History, and I hope to engage my students in many of these subjects' activities in the classroom.  These projects is a great way to use it's resources in the classroom with students.  There is also an online field trip section on the Smithsonian project that is very interesting to view.  There are great engaging activities and important information that helps an educator guide their lessons in a powerful way!

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Photo Story Creation!


      I have created a photo story creation about a trip to London, England. Here is a link to my photo story about London, England: My Photo Story I will most likely be using this technology tool of creating a photo story in my classroom when I am an educator.  I would like to use this creative tool because it is fun and interactive for students to create a story and make a movie out of it with words to add to each picture.  In my example of a trip to London, England I chose to use the template of a scrapbook as my movie montage.  I want the audience to feel as if they are taking a tour to London, England for the first time by viewing this video.  I hope my students in my classroom someday will be as creative and can work in groups with their classmates to create stories based on any content material that they are learning during that particular school year/curriculum.  It is a great way to engage students in their learning. This tool would be a fun project for the students to work in the classroom and outside of the classroom!  I think this tool is great for children and educators to use for education.

Voice Threads By My Fellow Classmates


         I have viewed two of my classmates' voice threads as if I were their student in their classroom.  I viewed the following voice threads: Erin Puntoriero's Voice Thread on: Mexico and Ying Li's Voice Thread on: Princesses.  I thought all of my classmates did a great job on their voice thread, but these two stood out to me the most.  I really liked the way Erin compiled her voice thread together in a very helpful and organized manner.  Her instructions and the media (video and photo use) helped her students navigate and participate fully in this assignment.  I think this is a wonderful way to incorporate the use of voice thread technology into the classroom and the topic Erin chose was great to discuss.  I also think that an educator can make and fulfill the learning objectives that come with this voice thread assignment with their students, and Erin did a great job and doing so.  I believe that the appropriate age group for this voice thread assignment about Mexico would be for middle school-aged students or higher grades.  The other voice thread I enjoyed viewing and acting as a student in her classroom is with Ying's voice thread about princesses.  I think this voice thread was clear with the instructions she gave and very informative about how to use voice thread for the first time.  I think this topic would be great for younger students in a classroom, elementary aged students (grades K-2), just because it was very simple with the idea of disney princesses.  Overall, I think Ying and Erin did a well-done job on both of their voice threads and they will both be useful in the classroom someday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

An example of digital storytelling

       I have created an example of digital storytelling by calling my digital story: Colorful Seasons by Kayla Douglas For the learning objectives that could be met, by using this tool, students will be able to use digital technology through making a story using technology tools.  With the use of the computer and being creative with making up their own stories, students will be able to independently or collaboratively make a story using their imagination and sharing it with other classmates.  If I were to use this technology tool in my own classroom, the objectives for the students would be: Students will be able to actively participate using digital technology tools to create a story.  Students will be able to use other resources to help them create their digital story by using a book they have read in class or by using their own pictures from home, by using "family" as a topic of choice.  I would most likely leave the topic up to the students, or take a vote on what we would create our digital stories based on and narrow the choices to a common theme or topic.

Let's Explore Digital Storytelling

   Photo from flickr  

       Digital storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories.  A great resource website that describes digital storytelling is called, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling.  This site has helped me learn more about digital storytelling and why it is useful in education.  I also encountered digital storytelling in my undergraduate classes in an education technology class that I took.  According to the resource website, "other terms used to describe this practice, such as digital documentaries , computer-based narratives, digital essays, electronic memoirs, interactive storytelling, etc." are helpful to new educators who are willing to learn about digital storytelling and using it in the classroom.  From a personal point of view, I really enjoyed working on a digital storytelling project with a partner in my undergraduate classes at SUNY Cortland and it helped us share a story to students in a technological and innovative way.  Digital storytelling is a great interactive tool to use as an educational resource because it connects educators with their students in a new digital way with storytelling and keeping up with technology.
        Most of the digital stories last anywhere from two minutes to ten minutes in length of time.  This particular resource, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling is an excellent source of information for educators because it also includes educational materials such as: lesson plans, evaluation and assessment, copyright and educational fair use, digital storytelling workshop resources, and digital storytelling E-books.  I wanted to explore these resources myself, so I viewed each one and they led to me to some informational links that would help with my teaching.  They were very useful guides to help use digital storytelling in the classroom in different ways!  I really enjoyed using this resource website and I will most likely be using this source in my classroom with my students in the future.  It is important that we keep up with technology in the classrooms everyday and connect with our students in a digital manner.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Curfew

      Serious games are important to know and understand when it comes to L2 learning.  The definition of serious games is they they are games that are simulations of real-world events or processes designed for the purpose of solving a problem.  They are also known as "games for change".  I chose to view and play the game called, The Curfew.  I personally played this game once, and I tried to access the entire game.  It is really interactive and neat to play.  I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery of the main part of the game.  Each person in the game had their own story to tell, which was really interesting.  My language learning objectives for this game would be important to use in the classroom.  These objectives would include the following: The student will be able to access the internet at their home computer or a computer outside of the classroom.  They will listen and click on the various prompts on the site of this game and carefully pay attention to the games' rules and objective to solve it.  The student will be able to earn points for their hard work throughout the game and are able to save the game and go back to it at a later time, if they do not finish the mission.  In order to assess these learning objectives, it is important for me as the educator to assign the students to play these serious games, choose a game and if they are able to write up a one-page reflection about the game.  The reflection can include their thoughts/feelings about the game and this is a great way to assess the learning objectives that were mentioned above.  It is very important to consider if the student found the game to fun and engaging.  Personally, I really enjoyed playing this game and it was very interesting how it involves the player throughout the entire game and it felt very real.

Gamification is Educational

      Before completing this week's module, I was not aware of the term, gamification.  Gamification is a term used where it involves the use of "game design thinking" to the non-game applications online with the use of a computer.  Gamification is Educational and useful to Language LearningThis is a great way to keep our students engaged and have fun with game-like ideas to use in the classroom.  Gamification can also play an important role with language learning and/or second language development.  Keeping the students well-engaged with their learning helps them focus more on the "having fun" then tedious "busy work" with language learning.  It is a way for students to be interactive with learning new terms and become more explorative with game design thinking.  These games are a great way to increase a student's higher-level thinking skills and with their problem solving abilities.  I looked and played two games from Larry Ferlazzo's blog post and list of games.  The two I chose to discuss in my post here are the following games: The Sound Factory and Polleke's Blue Room.  I personally played these games a couple of times and tried to master the first level.  However, I had a little difficulty with mastering the level.  It is very important to also read the instructions carefully before you start playing the game.  I wanted to try two of these games instead of just one, in order to see if there were any differences between the two or similarities.  I found both of them interesting!

       My language learning objectives for these games are very important to discuss in this particular post.  First, I would tell my students to go to the website, and I would provide them with the link to the specific websites of the games.  It is also good to give the student(s) various choices for them to choose from.  Then, I will ask the student to read the instructions to the game before playing the actual game in order to understand what to expect, while they play the game.  It is also important for the students to write down any questions they might have in their class notebook about the game.  It would be great if there was a vocabulary sheet that the student can begin to make as they play the game and then after playing the game, they can look up the word's meaning.  These questions can be brought back to me as the educator to help them with any difficulty they might have with the game.  It is also important to have the student remember what game they play and to have feedback about the game by reflecting about it afterwards.  This reflection can be written or typed after they play the game, and this part of the assignment can help with the second language learning.  It is the most important aspect of this activity for the student to be actively engaged throughout it's entirety.  By playing these games and looking at the specific sentences and words, the student will become actively engaged in the gaming activity.  It is a fun and interactive way to help with the student's learning.

      The role/activity of the educator is to help guide the students' learning in this particular activity.  As the educator, it is important to be available for the students to answer any questions they might have about the activity.  Also, it is important to monitor the activity of the students' work on the games and the internet itself.  Making sure the students are safe with the computer-use and helping them every step of the way is very important with the guidance we provide as the educator.  I would most definitely would like to use a "walk through" step-by-step instructional part of helping the students understand the games and how to play them.  I think using images for the games is important because visual images helps students learn in an engaging and stimulating way.  Images are pleasing to the eye and will capture the students' attention during this activity.  I would like to make sure the objectives are met properly and to the best possible ways they can be met.  It is important to know and comprehend this knowledge of using interactive games educationally with our students.


Monday, February 25, 2013

The Importance of Microblogging in Education: Twitter

     For this week's module 6: Microblogging in Education: Twitter, I have learned a lot about why it is important and there are many ways to use microblogging in the classroom.  I chose two relevant articles  about the potential for microblogging in education.  The first article I chose to read was called, 6 Best Twitter Tips Every Teacher Should Know About and the second article I chose to read was called, Great Twitter Tools for Your Professional Development.  I also would like to address my own thoughts  on how I might use microblogs for my own professional development with teaching.
     The first article, 6 Best Twitter Tips Every Teacher Should Know About gave some great examples of 6 different ways a person can practice using Twitter.  These tips included the following: 1.) Maintain Visibility, 2.) Rally Up Support, 3.) Show Your Fans Some Twitter Love, 4.) Share Unique Content, 5.) Tweet What You See When and Where You See it, and 6.) Be as Concise as Possible in Your Wording and and Length.  I found it also interesting that there is a high percentage of 57% of all retweets that included a link within them.  These tips are helpful and I feel more knowledgeable with knowing these various tips and I will keep them in mind in the near future with teaching in my own classroom someday.

     The second article, Great Twitter Tools for Your Professional Development is another article that I found to be the most interesting on the list of great articles.  This article discusses the use of Twitter and that it is a great social networking tool that has the potential in education as well.  It can reach it's potential by: using the series of posts on the site that include web tools and by providing good tips for educators to use in their teaching.  This article also includes a list of 7 twitter tools such as: TwitTV, You Twit, and Tweet in Sight (to name a few out of the 7 tips).  Out of the 7 twitter tools, I really enjoyed viewing, YouTwit.  This twitter tool is a great site where a viewer can look at the trending videos via YouTube.  I will most likely be using these twitter tools in my professional development of education and within the classroom someday.

        Overall, after reading these articles about microblogging in education, with the use of Twitter, I would like to use what I learned today and apply it to my own ideas of microblogging and combine the two to use in the classroom.  I think microblogging is fun and I agree that it has the potential of being educational.  Especially in today's society with the use of technology and the students are aware of Twitter.  Why don't we make microblogging fun and interesting in the classroom and with our students?  My own thoughts on this idea of microblogging is that it is a creative and social way to connect with our students, as well as with our colleagues in professional development.  It is a way for us to stay connected and keep up with educational technology and using the web tools that are given to us through a multitude of great sites and figuring out the steps on our own.  Creating a Twitter account was simple and I am excited to use it and follow the many different educators that are around the country!  Together we can build a social networking community through the use of microblogging.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Joining a Social Networking Group

   Out of the list of social networking groups that were options to choose from, I chose to discuss the two Yahoo groups that related to ESL Teachers and Spanish teachers.  Both sites are called, EVOnline 2002 (Electronic Village Online) and Maestrosdeespanol (For Spanish Teachers).  These two groups caught my attention the most out of the others because I am currently trying to become an ESL teacher and I already have a Spanish degree from my undergraduate level of college, so both of them were very important to me.  I looked at both of them and the style is interesting because a person can post a question or a statement under the messages section.  For the EVOnline 2002 group, I thought it was interesting that the participants in the group gather together throughout the year and every Sunday in "Learning 2gether discussions", in order to discuss and learn about new technological tools to use to form online communities.  This group seemed like a very hands-on approach.  The other Yahoo group was the Maestrosdeespanol.  This group is great for Spanish teachers and it was created originally as a place to host files for sharing.  Also, it is useful to view because a person can download any document through this site under the "Files" section.  This group is also teacher friendly and it is similarly designed to the site I mentioned above with the inclusion of a message section, where people can ask questions.  Some responses that I read were very interesting to see!  It never hurts to be "speak up" (type) online and ask a question.

Continuous Learning and Keeping Up With Technology

      A learner is like a set of blocks that a person keeps building higher and higher.  Learning is constructive and rapidly changes everyday.  A learner must keep up with new technology in order to build their learning and grow new knowledge within themselves as an individual.  I watched two videos out of the list that was given to us in our LAI 590 course.  The two videos I chose were: The Changing Nature of Knowledge and The Impact of Social Software on Learning.  I also read the article titled, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, by: George Siemens.  Altogether, the three of these resources really helped me realize how technology and social networking helps us develop new learning and that it is a continuous process.  As individuals, we must stay connected to one another via technology through social networking sites, blogs, wikis, etc. in order to develop new knowledge together to grow as individuals in a cognitive way.  We must stay connected with each other by being active participants in technology and socially.  

     From the videos and the article I completely agree with the author and his statements about the "Connectivism Theory".  From the article, Siemens stated, "Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments. These theories, however, were developed in a time when learning was not impacted through technology."  I found this beginning quote to be very interesting because it draws the reader's attention on how one would like to learn more about these three theories as they continue to read through the entire article.  However, these three theories were developed during the time when technology was not yet fully developed.  Now, technology is rapidly growing, which can be supported when Siemens stated, "Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn."  It really has grown and developed in a rapid and changing way.  In addition to the article, the two videos that I watched also supported this idea of the "Connectivism Theory" and why it is important in today's society with learning.  The first video that I watched called, The Changing Nature of Knowledge represented an overview of how technology in today's society is constantly growing and changing.  With the nature of knowledge, learning grows and develops.  He used an example of talking about the first time he used a computer and how it is completely different than the computer he has today, and the types of technology we use on a daily basis.  He also discusses the notion of bringing together knowledge and connectivism.  He states in this video, “There are two components: 1.) Internal Neural Network and 2.) External Network.  The first is how the mind creates learning neutrally in a network.  The second component is more learner controlled and the connections the learner makes with other individuals. 
       The other video, The Impact of Social Software on Learning, Siemens discusses how technology correlates with making connections with other individuals.  As learners, we must always stay updated with the latest technology and learn new concepts everyday by forming networks with one another.  He also includes examples of what types of technology we can use to connect with one another such as, Facebook and Myspace.  Also, as learners in today's society, we enjoy conversations with one another and dialoging.  Talking to one another helps us grow in knowledge and understanding.  Technology is continuous and fast paced, so we must keep up with it and socially interact with our past, current, and new "friends or other individuals", in order to stay connected!  I really enjoyed reading the article by Siemens and viewing the two videos on this topic!

Monday, February 11, 2013

An Interesting Edublogger Post: International Book Giving Day

       A post from my list of edublogger posts that I found most interesting is from the blog Nerdy Book Club.  The specific post was called, "Celebrate International Book Giving Day" by: Amy Broadmoore.  
The post can be found at: "Celebrate International Book Giving Day".  I really enjoyed reading this post and chose this post to discuss on my own blog because it was very engaging to me.  I found it to be the most interesting out of the other recent blog posts from the other sites on my edublogger because it was related to reading and the use of books.  I find books to be one of the most powerful sources in education with our students.  I also was unaware of this International Book Giving day and it sounds like a wonderful day.  The author of this post was also very helpful with giving tips on how to donate and give gently used books to places where children are able to read them and reuse them.  It was a very thoughtful idea, whomever originated this idea and day!  I also liked the one nonprofit organization that the author of this post mentions as one of her five tips on how to give old books a new home for children.  The organization was called, Books for Africa, this is where people can send gently used books to Africa for readers there.  I thought this was another wonderful idea!  I also thought giving gently used books to hospitals or waiting areas was a great idea because there are not enough books for children, just magazines which are usually not intended for young readers.  The only exception to a magazine that was educational and was intended for children was the Highlights magazine.  I am not certain if those still exist in waiting rooms today.  If more people donate children's books that are gently used to waiting rooms and hospitals, then more children will be reading.  Children will also want to read more books because they become more interested in them.  Let's give our gently used books to children out there who are interested in reading.  By giving away gently used books to places where children can learn, grow, and succeed with their reading.  Let's educate and engage our students with this idea! International Book Giving Day is on February 14th.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Engaging Our Students By Teaching With Technology

        Technology is most commonly used by students in today's society and they are the children of the 21st Century.  We as future educators must find every possible way to engage our students and immerse them in technology within the classroom everyday.  There is a wide array of ways that a teacher can utilize technology in the classroom.  It is important for teachers to listen to their students and take the time to implement technology use in the classroom and incorporate content areas with the use of blogs, wikis, web quests, online quizzes, class polls, and homework assignments on the computer.  I have viewed a couple of great videos that discuss great ways in which an educator can teach their students with the use of technology, because these students already use technology in their everyday life with the use of computers, cell phones, iPods, and other digital devices.
      One video, Pay Attention has caught my attention because it discusses the various ways that teachers can use technology with their students in the classroom.  It begins its statement by including a list of all the different learners and emphasizes the "digital learners" as a main focus throughout the video.  It includes the percentages of how much technology is used by students today.  I really liked how this video included Bloom's Taxonomy terminology with the examples of: create, evaluate, analyze, and more.  It is also important to understand that the students we teach are ones who were born into a digital world where technology is consumed on a daily basis and that is why we must incorporate it in our teaching.  With the use of technology, students will become better engaged and more interested in what he or she is learning.  Teachers are highly recommended to using the following in their lessons: blogs, wikis, web quests, reflection, and the use of cellphones.  I was thinking to myself, "why cellphones" but then the video answered my question.  Students use cellphones on a daily basis and it is important to incorporate cellphone usage in the classroom but in an educational and safe way.  It is our job as educators to keep our students engaged and listen to them in every possible way.  We must help our students succeed in school and want to succeed in every way.    

      Another video, A Vision of K-12 Students Today also caught my attention based on the use of technology in the classroom.  This video was slightly similar to the previous video I chose to discuss because it also stressed the importance of teaching with the use of technology in the classroom, in order to keep students fully engaged and use tools that they already know how to use outside of school.  The video discusses how students already use technology such as: video games, computers, watching TV, blogs, and iPods for entertainment at home because they are 21st century learners.  We as future educators must emphasize this use of technology and incorporate it into our teaching methods and various lessons.  Not enough teachers use technology in the classroom, and this video helps them realize why we must use it everyday, in order to keep the students engaged and successful in their learning.  This video also includes information from Bloom's Taxonomy, which helps educators realize why it is important to make these terms as goals for successful teaching.  It must be the most important goal as a teacher to fully get students engaged and actively participating electronically and using the technological advances they use on a daily basis outside of school and bringing them into the classroom.  

     Overall, I think technology should be used in the classroom with students today and I will most likely incorporate the use of technology in my classroom and engage my students to the best of my ability!  I hope continue to learn more about technology and how I can use it in my lessons in my own classroom someday.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My First Blog

This is my first time ever using a blog, however I am familiar with the term, "blog".  I think this technology tool is very interesting and is useful in the classroom.  It is important for us future educators to "keep up with technology" because we live in a society that there are so many technological advances that are used among the young population.  One way that I would use blogs with my own students is with an online journal entry that a student can participate in writing about a book that he or she reads outside of school.  This blog can be represented in a literacy teaching way!  Here the students can post a blog of what book they are reading and any recommendations that they may have for other students in the class.  This would help strengthen a student's ability to practice using a blog and other students in the class are able to comment on the individual posts.  This is represent a wonderful example of social learning as viewed from the textbook.  Blogs are fun and interactive for students to participate in, as well as being educational for school.  Another way that I would use blogs with my students is creating a blog that I can post a letter to the parents and keep the parents up to date with what is going on in the classroom.  This blog may also be used as a source for parents to see what assignments I would assign to their children and when they are due (Ex: Agenda-type).  I will most likely use a blog in my classroom and I think it is a fun and interactive way to keep students and their families engaged and updated with technology.  I also think it is beneficial to their education and their learning inside and outside the classroom.  One link I would use from my field that includes the learning standards with the use of blogs would be found at: NYS Standards for all subjects including ESL.