Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Final Thoughts

I know that our class is basically over but I had an epiphany today while I was in the middle of teaching, amazing how random thoughts come to your head at the most unique times! First I have to say today I realized how much technology has changed. We were making marshmallow snowmen today(it was cooking) and when the kids are done we always take pictures so they put them in their cookbook. Well I have been missing my camera charger for a month, finally found it last week and have no lost my camera. To improvise I took pictures with my iPhone, which takes amazing pictures. Well I had set my phone down and the kids were all amazed by it and two of my little boys even managed to switch the camera to front mode and ask if they could take a picture of themselves. Thank goodness I didn't take my ipad out too because that would have created pandemonium. I also realized how much technology has changed when I was sitting in our Winter Music Concert this afternoon and looked back to see almost half the audience using their iPhone to take pictures and record videos. Amazing how one tool can change the way we do everything. After thinking of all this technology and how it's changed I realized something about this class. I've really enjoyed it and I have learned a lot from it. There is stuff from this class that I would have learned, but it would have taken me much longer on my own. I've also gotten a TON of resources and now I know who I can talk to (Jeff) if I ever need help with technology stuff. I guess I feel like it doesn't show that I've learned things. I realized I wish I could have a camera on me at all times so I could document how I use these tools daily. The other part of my epiphany is that I have decided I am going to really try and keep building my PLN. It's going to be brutal, I already know, but I am going to slowly make myself use more of the tools that I haven't as much. I think part of the reason that I haven't used all the tools is because I have not had time. I didn't realize how insane my life this past semester has been until yesterday when I realized that I FINALLY have nothing that needs to be done next week. Which is a miracle because my house has been trashed since the wedding and I can't wait till I can spend a whole week cleaning. I think that part of the reason I haven't used a lot of the tools is because I don't have the time, I was planning a Wedding for the first two months, got married the third, dealt with holidays, subbed for so many classes I can't keep track, which in turn led to me getting sick so many times I can't keep track and was doing four graduate classes, all on top of the normal everyday crap you have to do. I look back and wonder how I even slept during the past three/four months. Being able to look back now and see how busy I was I realize that doing all these tools was just not a top priority, which is why now that I will have more time I am going to try and use them. I have also decided that I am going to try and write a blog for just me, to kinda get me into the whole idea of blogging. I'm not going to lie, I don't really enjoy blogging, it takes a lot of freaking time and like I said I just didn't have any.So to get into the routine I'm going to try and do a weekly blog, still deciding the topic. I think I may do one of the different projects that I do each week. That way it's something that I love/ I can show my mom and sisters. I think one of my first posts will be my awesome gift wrapping that I've been doing (which I got from pinterest, so I'm double excited because I finally did something from the site!!!yay!). I am also going to make a headboard from some ideas I found on pinterest. Maybe my blog will be about the ideas that I get from pinterest! When I do create my blog I will post it so you know and if you want can follow me. I'm hoping by getting myself into the rhythm of writing a blog it will be easier and then I can start one for my classroom ideas/questions.

I know that to show our learning we were supposed to active in the online tools throughout the semester but I don't think that's the best way to show learning. It's like with my kids in my class. I don't want them to do problems or writing just by copying and doing what I say. That doesn't mean they learned anything. I know they have learned when were out on the playground and come up to me to say they noticed a pattern on the jungle gym or that they have distinguished what kind of plants are in the flower box. When they can take learning from the classroom and apply it to other parts of their life I know they have learned. I think that it is successful to say that I have learned from this class. I have taken learning from this class and applied it to other aspects of my life. More importantly, I'm willing taking what I have learned and I am going to continue on learning. I am going to keep expanding my horizons and build on top of the foundation that was created in this class. I'm happy because I've gotten to that point that we hope all our students get to, the place where they take what we taught and continue on their own. I know this is so random but I just thought it would be good to share. I know I haven't been the biggest advocate for some of the tools we have learned but I'm willing to keep trying. I want to expand my PLN and so that's what I'm going to do!

P.S. Thank you Jeff for everything that you have taught us. It was an awesome class and by far one of my favorites that I have had at USD. I hope you keep teaching it because it has a lot of important information for other teachers to learn. Also I LOVE the apps you told me to put on my ipad, and my husband thinks Songify is the greatest thing on Earth. I don't even know how many songs he has made!

Oh and also....

EC&I Review

Instead of creating two separate blogs about the classes I watched, I decided to combine the two entries into one blog for easier reading... enjoy!

Class One

In order to make up a few of our classes I participated/read/watched (not sure what you would call it since it’s so many different things) in the first class of the EC&I class that they held. While watching this class it was clear to see a lot of the similarities. They are expected to participate in activities like us (their class also has a twitter hashtag).  I think on of the biggest differences was the way in which they come to class, virtually. I still find the way they use the Internet fascinating. I’ve participated in online classes before but never like this. They are able to listen, talk, view slides and even raise their hands (this part is still mind-blowing to me). I learned that this is an MOOC or Massive Open Online Course, and is the new type of pedagogy that many classes are developing. Very fitting for the concept of technology and learning! I think on of the coolest things is being able to go back and view the whole class again, even who was participating in the class. This class was a basic intro into their semester and what they would be doing. They actually learned a lot of the same tools we did, twitter, diigo, and Google docs. They also have a collaborative Google doc in which they post notes about each class and even links to the different highlights/tools for each session. I think this class is very interesting because it’s based on the idea of technology and I like how they are learning by doing, in the sense that their class literally went virtual. I would love to see the student’s reviews about the class and how they felt they learned and how they felt about a digital classroom.

Class Two

I decided that I would go in chronological order for the classes on EC&1, so the next class I watched was class #2. This class was interesting too in the sense that it was very similar to that of class one. I guess that would be expected at the beginning of a semester when you are just getting started. This class was different in the fact that there are students who are taking it for credit and others who aren’t. I guess this shows how our times are changing and how we can find learning in fields that we enjoy (it actually made me think of the class I had watched earlier on, kind of foreshadowing). This class had the basics, intro of the students, overview of the basic tools and expectations. I thought the part about blogging was very interesting. I feel that it went into the different aspects of blogging and gave views that may normally be looked over. It’s interesting because they talk about using a lot of Google tools but this class was about using wordpress, another blogging site. After the lecture I decided to look at this website and it looks interesting from the front home page (it was snowing on the homepage, it was cool). It looks very similar to that of blogger but maybe a little more style. May be something to look at if you hadn’t and are enjoying blogging! Besides these tools, they discussed twitter and tweet deck. They also talked about delicious as a tool for social bookmarking, similar to Diigo. A lot of this class was also focused on the idea of social networking and the importance. I think it was kind of to get everyone into the mindset of participating and it showed a lot of how social networking is changing the world and the way we do things. I felt like this class was very similar to ours and they obviously use a lot of the same tools. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

EC&1 831, My Original....

So for those of you reading this blog, sorry this post is so late. I watched/listened to the lecture Social Media, Networked Learning and Digital Identity (EC&1 381) more than a month ago. I wrote a whole wonderful response about it and even commented on my fellow classmates blogs about it. Apparently this particular post did not make it to my blog. I am both angry and sad because I cannot find my original response ANYWHERE!!!! I have checked all the computers/devices I may have written it on and it is nowhere to be found. So I have created a new one instead and will continue to search for the original (I really needed the cloud a few months ago!) Anyways….

Our assignment was to watch/listen to one of the lectures for a technology class very similar to ours. The neat thing about this class is that it is all-virtual. I have taken many online classes, I’m actually in one this semester, and I have to say none are as cool as this class. I love that it really is like an actual lecture but from the comfort of your own home. Many online classes that I have taken tend to be a post that you read and follow the directions than move on the next week. This class is interesting because it is live and provides the slides as well as the professor. It also has the interactive content of being in a normal classroom setting. I ended up choosing the lecture about social media and digital learning. I had decided to choose this lecture because I realized how important social media has become and I wanted to see how it relates to learning. It is no surprise that I tend to not enjoy social media so I wanted to see if this class had other ideas of how to use it. The teacher, Dr. Alec Couros really discussed the idea of social media. I think one thing that I really took away from this lecture is that social media doesn’t necessarily mean just Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Couros pointed out the idea that Google is the new business card. This means that part of being successful is having a positive image/presence on the web. I think this is the next most important thing to take away from this lecture: what you put out there stays out there! It’s funny because you hear it so often that once something is online it is next to impossible to make it disappear. It’s important that we really make sure we take this to heart. The Internet can do wonderful things for our lives but it can also do bad things. I think as an educator you really have to be cautious of what you put on the Internet. In the lecture Dr. Couros discusses a teacher who was suspended from teaching because of a picture of her drinking wine, ON VACTION! As an educator it is important to be sure you are always putting your best foot forward. I think the other very interesting thing that I took away from this lecture was the idea of learning/college.  Within the lecture it is discussed how universities are almost obsolete. The Internet has basically become the way to learn. People used to attend a college for content, degrees, social life, and support. Let's face it the only thing that an actual university has the that Internet doesn't is a degree, and pretty soon that will be gone! The Internet has change not only the business world but the educational world as well. By being an active part of the Internet we can be more successful in life. According to this lecture it is important to be a part of this digital community but just make sure you are only putting positive content out there! I'm still iffy about the whole social media idea. I understand the benefits and why it is useful but part of me feels that it is very invasive and time consuming. So many things are turning digital but I don't want to give up my life to feel like I need to belong to an online one. I will take what I learned from this lecture and remember what was said. 

Stay posted, I will be posting my other reactions/ideas to the other EC&I classes that I have watched!

Final Assignment

So for the final assignment we are supposed to create a video blog about the tools that we use and how to use it. If you know me it is easy to understand that my favorite tool to use is Pinterest. I did a short video showing how I use Pinterest using the Jing screencapture- which is also a tool that I learned during class! I think one of the most important things to know about Pinterest is that it isnt' just a site with a TON of pictures. It's sort of a leaping off point for the whole web. I am a completely visual person and I tend to look at things and if the visual peeks my interest then I will delve in deeper. This is probably why I am addicted to Pinterest! I am to find ideas that visually stimulate me then go on from there. I've found wonderful websites and blogs all from Pinterest pictures. It's also important to note that you can share your pinterest photos via facebook or twitter. Pinterest is great because it creates this forum for all these ideas and allows you to create vision boards for all aspects of your classroom and life! Pinterest has become a tool that I love to use and actually find useful for me. It's provided wonderful ideas for my classroom as well as my house. I have used many ideas all ready and look forward to using more that I find! Enjoy the video:

(Sorry that it's a link, I tried to embed it and it wouldn't then I tried to upload to Youtube and it wouldn't so the link is the best I could do!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

What I have learned!

So first of all sorry that I didn't make it to last night's class, I was very upset. I was looking forward to the tech panel and how teachers are using technology in the class. Unfortunately I have been battling the stomach flu since Friday (pretty sure I got something on Thursday, I spent the morning at a preschool and the rest of the day at different government offices changing my name). Anyways I decided to go to school last night with the motto that I was going to make it through both my classes. Halfway during my first class I realized that was not going to happen. I left at the break to go home and was decided to try and video chat to still get the info. Well while I was driving home I got carsick (while driving... how is that even possible?) and barely made it up into my house from my garage. I did think of everyone while I slept (or what my trying to sleep was) on my bathroom floor all last night. Yesterday I  was also in the middle of writing a blog about one of the tools that I have come to use when I got sick. I decided that I wanted to show everyone one of the tools that I have learned to use and love it, and it's not Pinterest. I decided to write about Prezi. I realized that I have come to love Prezi. I have come to use Prezi instead of actual power point. I realized how boring power point is when I had to make a power point for my action research article. I opened PP and realized that it is so blah. I also realized how much I hate boring power points. That would probably be while I don't listen to really boring looking PowerPoint's, probably why I never pay attention to my Tuesday class. I know judging a book by it's cover is bad but why make a dull presentation when it can be exciting? Prezi has become one of my new tools to use. It really appeals to my artistic side I can make the themes change and fit my needs. I can also make fun and interesting graphics. It is definitely a more exciting tool to use than PowerPoint. I also love because it appeals to my practical side. I tend to forget things (like flash drives) so I love that I can access my presentations from any computer! It is also awesome that it is free for teachers. If you haven't used it yet, I suggest that you do!

Here are the three Prezi's that I have made, feel free to look at them, not super exciting but I'm very happy with how they turned out.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A WONDERful experience

Today I visited an amazing preschool up in Ventura County, called WONDER. My mom is actually the one who created this preschool. She is the head of all child development within the Conejo Valley Unified School District, she also obviously is in charge of this preschool program. I was super excited to finally get to see the kids at the school because I have been helping her with plans and ideas for what seems like forever. The preschool is fairly new, it launched last Spring. It has definitely grown a lot since then! There are currently 3 classes with two more opening in this coming Spring. The class I visited today was the 4 year-old group. There were 10 students today, which is their small class. They are all very smart and very friendly so I got to talk to a few before I observed them with their technology. One thing I should mention about WONDER is that it is very different from our traditional school model, even though it is technically part of the public school system. The whole basis of WONDER is exploration. It is a very hands on class that allows students to develop their own knowledge and learning. The classes are very inquiry-based and very student centered. The kids get to choose what activities they want to do and are able to explore all the resources in AND outside the classroom. The classes take place both in and outdoors. The students have so many places to explore and discover around them. I intended on my visit focusing on the iPads that the kids use(which I did) but I noticed the other technology around the room as well. The first thing that really caught my eye was one of the tables with little bits of plastic and metal on it. Upon closer look I realized it was a digital camera that had been taken apart. Apparently the kids decided to take all the pieces of the camera apart and sort them. They had started the process of putting it back together. This was one of the centers that the kids were currently working on. They had also been working on their photography this morning, that's right, I said photography! This class of 4 year olds has their own digital camera that THEY use, not the teacher, to take photos of projects they are working on. They have been documenting a pumpkin they have. Very cute! Not only are these kids documenting learning with photos they also edit their own pictures! They use the two desktop computers they have to edit their photos they take. It's incredible! While talking to their teacher Kari, she said she showed them how to edit the photos but the kids all work together to decide what to do. She doesn't tell them anything, she just let's them figure it out. This is also her way of working with the iPads. Currently they have 4 and are just starting to implement them. Carrie has been downloading and testing out all different apps to determine which ones are the best. Most of the apps today dealt with counting, matching, rhyming, writing, and patterns. The kids were able to maneuver these apps with little issues. The cool thing about these apps is that most were able to talk to the kids so they didn't need much adult help. This way Kari is able to observe and assess the students. These apps do a wonderful job at providing quick and efficient assessments. Even I was able to watch the students and understand what the " standard" was and assess if they were able to get the concept. The other great thing is that the iPads provided variety for minds that tend to get bored quickly. After playing with a certain app for a while the kids were able to go to the home screen and choose a new game. Kari has been doing a great job on letting the kids explore the iPads. She is very patient with them and gives them ideas of what to do, but always let's them explore and discover for themselves which is the most important part of WONDER. Overall I had such an awesome time watching the kids. It was amazing to see what their class gets to do. I think I really enjoyed it too because not only was it incorporating technology but this class was definitely a step towards the more student centered model that we need! I also enjoyed it because this preschool is now at the site of my elementary school, so whenever I go back I get to relive memories of my own childhood. Overall very productive day of observing and gaining wonderful ideas. And just FYI, I went with my theme of the day and did this whole post using my own iPad, even the pictures!

Monday, November 28, 2011


So as I was catching up on publishing my posts I realized something, I'm very torn with how I feel about this class. I LOVE this class because it's fun and I actually learn things that are useful in my life unlike a few other classes I am taking right now. Despite how much I love what we are learning to use and do I am having a hard time with showing how much I am learning. I love technology and think its amazing what we can do now with it. I mean for my birthday last Monday I got an ipad and am very happy about it. I can't wait to get my new iPhone and in general love technology a lot. My husband looks at me like I'm crazy because I can tell him more about the video games and T.V.'s he looks at than the sales people. I  do like technology and I use it. I just realized I use it to supplement my life, not make it my life. I think that's why I am having such a hard time showing what I am learning. I have learned so much from this class and I actually use a lot of it, not everything because as I stated in my twitter post, some of it I just don't like. It doesn't mean I don't get the tool and the purpose. I think I just tend to go towards what works for me. I have a hard time with posting blogs all the time and posting articles and sharing tweets. This partly because these are things that I have to make part of my day and frankly I just don't want to. I don't use tools to post articles in files because I either bookmark the page to read later or I just read it on my phone. And truthfully I'd rather read the paper and magazines, which make it a challenge to post it to diigo. I could but that would mean finding the article online which just takes forever while I can just rip it out and pin it on my actual bulletin board. I love reading actual magazines still because I'm tactile and like to feel the pages, plus it hurts my eyes if I read too much on my computer. I'm still pretty old school with the magazines and newspapers. I just get more inspired by having the real thing. I also have an issue with blogging and twitter because again, it's forcing myself to do it. I'd rather talk to actual people about these things then send it off into the Internet universe. I understand the use of posting and sharing your thoughts to the world but I tend to get more from actual conversations. I like being able to sit there and discuss something in real time and show people what I'm talking about. I think part of this is I express myself with using my hands and using things around me. I think my biggest obstacle is that I'm extremely right-brained. I think in different terms than most people and I express myself through different means that just writing. I love to write but it's just one of the ways that I can express myself. Which is why I have a hard time expressing my learning. I think that the Internet and these technology tools are still very left-brained. They are very logical and very simple, there are some that are more right-brained but for most things its very left. It's still very structured and follows our current learning model. I believe that is why I'm having such a hard time. I think that I am also having a hard time because we have been given so much to do and are expected to use it right away. It takes a while for change, especially to change to having a complete virtual presence. I stated earlier that I love technology, but I use it how I want to. I don't want technology to be my life. It is something that is supplemental to my life. I like being able to not have to be online everyday. I'd much rather be outside or painting or doing something more productive and enjoyable for me. I think technology is a very important part of life and plays a big part in learning now, but it's not the only way to learn. I learn through many different means, and technology isn't the main one. Technology is my way to supplement what I want to learn and discover more about things I love. I think learning is when you explore something and you discover new things and apply it to your life. I've been doing that. I use the tools that I find purposeful in my life, but I also remember these other tools we've been taught. I take this knowledge and I share it with people I know. I share what we've learned and explain how you use them and why you would, so they can use these tools. I don't do much of it online though. I physically show them what to do and how to do it. I think that this has helped me learn too. Just because I'm not using it doesn't mean I didn't learn it. I was able to learn it and teach it to someone else. So I'm having a hard time with this class. I love what we learn and think it's great to have a bag full of tools to use, I just think that I shouldn't have to use every tool to prove that I am learning and growing. I am, and I know I am, I just have to find a way to show to everyone else.