Remonzer’s Weblog

everything that I am learning in EDUC 628

Fish tank, planter, litter box… April 27, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 7:36 pm
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I finished reading High Tech Heretic today.  Although, I am not happy with Stoll’s suggestion that “[T]eachers are an unnecessary appendix at …cyberschool.”  and that teachers will be basically be eliminated by electronic classrooms, I am glad that I read this book because it does clearly communicate ideas/problems/issues that should be given consideration as drawbacks that could arise in cyber communication and more directly, in a teaching-learning environment.  Stoll does a good job of pointing out in detail red flags as he sees them and according to specific studies that he cites.  I agree with some of what the book says, mildly disagree with parts, and totally disagree with others.  However, I haven’t taken the time to find sources to back up my point of view so all I have is my opinion.

 One matter that I disagree with is the notion that distance education equals a third-rate education.  I have taken several distance education courses and can’t recall being disappointed with any of them.  One or two met early in the morning when I was barely awake and / or late in the evening when I could barely stay awake, but other than that personal problem, I learned and felt prepared to advance to the next level. 

 Another area of conflict for me is in the proposition that electronic classrooms don’t develop any real sense of community.  I don’t think this idea is valid.  Even if I don’t see my classmates, I still feel like we have a common goal and most of us are working to help each other interpret course material.  The fact is we may be too far from each other in terms of physical distance to help if we lock our keys up in the car on a rainy day, but we can commiserate in our blogs when we write again.  Some of my classmates and I, people whom I have never met in person, regularly IM each other.  We may never have lunch together, go shopping or do any of that stuff, but we may also never do that in a face-to-face class either.   I actually look forward to signing on and reading new comments and postings.  This has become a regular part of my day and something that I look forward to.  When I see familiar names and read about similar struggles and triumphs, I feel that I am part of a community. 

 I sort of agree with his take on software.  It is aggravating to load a program only to find that parts are not working properly and one must ask someone or go online to figure out how to correct the problem.  Sometimes, an enormous amount of time is spent in this job and time is precious.  But, what can one do, except spend the time to figure out the problem, which creates stress often in a time when folks have almost reached their limit anyway.  I don’t even want to discuss crashes.  To this, though, I fall back on the line that nothing is perfect and there will always be some type of problem to overcome.  We have come a long way from DOS. 

 I also get aggravated with the constant upgrades and costs of new computers, software, and user fees.  Granted, computers have gone down a bunch in price, but it is hard to keep up with new processors and the latest technology.  F’rinstance, right now, I am trying to figure out Blu-ray and whether I need it or how long it is going to be before I need it.  Also, how much is that going to cost?

 His idea that we have too many bells and whistles on everything is near to my heart.  To quote Stoll, “I am particularly incensed at the clutter of unnecessary features added to common household appliances.”  Every time I buy a new appliance, I try to find the machine that is most energy efficient and does the work for which it is designed with a minimum of gadgets so that I can 1) easily operate it and 2) spend a minimum amount of money.  Eliminating all the extras is another time-consuming task. 

 Admittedly, there are features of my computer that I have yet to fully explore and I am afraid they will be obsolete before I do have the time to play with them!

 There’s more that I could say about High Tech Heretic and will in a day or two, but for now I am going to go and contemplate what I can do with my old computer.  A fish tank is a good idea.  I’m leaning more toward a planter, though.  Or, I do have four cats and only one litter box…

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Last of the Index of CR20 plus ¡Pod for Educators April 25, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 11:50 pm
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I am coming to the end of the indexing of CR20 and will soon get down to the nitty gritty of the final project for EDUC 628.  This week, I visited FAQ, Photos, Videos, and Invite. 

 FAQ is just what it sounds like – a sort of quick stop for the most important information.  Headings include Hosts or Greeters, Introduction to Web 2.0 in Education, Guide to Standardized Tagging for Forum Posts, Good Links, FAQ, and How to Start.  This page also comes with a search bar.

 Like MySpace, Facebook, and other SNS, members have a special page dedicated entirely to photos.  This page includes links to pages labeled My Photos, All Albums, My Albums, and My Favorites.  Photos are a nice way to share your life or parts of it with other people.   Videos of important events are nice to share, too, which is probably the reason for this tab on CR20.  Again, special links to My Videos and My Favorites are on this page.

 Last, but not least, is the Invite tab.  Here, one enters the email address of someone he or she wishes to invite to join CR20.  Addresses may be imported from web address books like yahoo or web address book applications like Microsoft Outlook.

 I also joined another ning, this week – ¡Pod Educators and its mantra is: Educational podcasters reaching the ¡Pod generation.  Lately, I have developed a keen interest in creating podcasts and using them to teach my students.  Anyone else interested in the same idea would very likely find this ning motivating and useful because members have such a wide range of skills from beginners and beyond.  This evening, I have been following a discussion about transforming PowerPoint presentations into screencasts using Camtasia Studio.  The project started in audacity.  I don’t have access to Camtasia, but would like to try this venture someday. 

 

CR20 Resources Wiki April 23, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 1:50 pm
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 Got a little downtime here today at school as the majority of the population is in downtown Inez trying to get a glimpse of Senator John McCain.  Yep, that’s right.  For some reason he is visiting Inez, pop. 600. 

 Anyway, I thought that I would take advantage of the time and blog about my recent visit to the Resources Wiki on Classroom 2.0, which will heretofore be known as CR20 in all future posts.  As I have come to expect from my new favorite SNS, the wiki has all kinds of neat stuff such as notices of upcoming workshops.  It appears the first CR20 live workshop was held in San Francisco, California in February of 2008.  I like the fact that producers of the workshops try to always have a track for beginners. 

 As an aside, there is something else that I have discovered that I really like about CR20 and that is the diversity of its members.  Honestly, in the beginning, I thought that this would be a place where I would be behind the other members. But, after lurking around for a bit, I have found that there are many beginners just like me who are interested in collaborating with other educators finding their way in this new wonderland called 2.0.  Of course, as usual, there are always those who are ahead of others and some of them are way, way ahead.  But, that is okay, they are blazing ground.

 Back to the Resources Wiki.  There is a live workshop coming up on May 8 and 9 from Phoenix, Arizona, which will include discussions about Introduction to Web 2.0, blogs, RSS, streaming video, wiki use, lightning speed demos, and social networking.  Other workshops are planned through September.  One must register for these events in order to attend.

 The Resources Wiki also provides a link to the following: 

Classroom 2.0 LIVE Conversations are community-scheduled opportunities to talk on specific topics with other members of the Classroom 2.0 using one of the online voice/video/sharing programs. 

One may host these events as well as attend.  A schedule of approaching events may also be found on the wiki.

 

Finally, members of CR20 are encouraged to edit the wiki as deemed necessary for the betterment of all educators who are interested in helping “[E]ach other integrate and use technology in the classroom in practical ways”.  There is even a “notify me” tab at the top of the pages to receive notification of any (one may select the pages for notification) or all changes made to wiki pages. 

 

            Onto FAQ, Photos, Video, and Invite tabs next. 

 

The Adventure continues April 20, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 9:47 pm
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Update on Classroom 2.0 or, more familiarly, CR20. Today, I added a blog to my home page, which was kind of cool because I knew how to create one and did not experience any of the anxiety that I had when creating the first one nearly eight months ago.

Additionally, I checked out the Forum. This is an interesting place to visit because you can start a discussion on any subject that your heart desires or join countless others already in progress. Specific headings include:

  • Book Discussions,
  • Conferences and Workshops
  • First Time Postings
  • Help or Feedback Needed
  • News or Noteworthy
  • Off-Topic or Just for Fun
  • Philosophy / Pedagogy
  • Reviews of Software Tools and Services
  • Site Announcements
  • Site Features Discussion
  • Success Stories
  • Uncategorized.

I found this link about Twitter under the Review of Software Tools and Services heading. It boasts of having 58 Twitter apps in one location. Some of you scanning Twitter for the ethnography might find it useful. I would bet that almost anyone researching anything could find something useful at CR20.

I was going to report on the Resources Wiki, but am running out of steam and need to be fresh to start CATS testing tomorrow. I will try to catch up tomorrow evening.

 

“News” from Classroom 2.0

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 3:51 pm
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Okay, as pledged last blog, I have visited the tab labeled News on Classroom 2.0.  The first thing that I noticed when I clicked on News was that the article of the day was Web 2.0 in Education: Thursday November 28, 2007.  So, I began to look around to see if more current material was available.  And, after three tries, I found an April 20, 2008 article entitled Schools need Web 2.0. from the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

As an aside, a section of this article (quoted in part below) is pertinent to our current discussion of relevant professional development for teachers:

 What are some of the implications for our schools?

1) Make information technology an integral and essential part of the education of St. Paul schoolchildren using resources already available. Internet use is an essential part of education, commerce, information access, and community.

2) Evaluate and implement educational changes that help students effectively and efficiently peruse, scan, evaluate, select, digest, retain, retrieve, articulate, and apply information on the Web.

3) Provide in-school training for teachers and students. Be open to using students as mentors to teachers for some of the tools, while teachers mentor students on how make use of those tools as effective learning instruments. Find collaborative ways for faculty, administrators, and students to learn new tools.

4) Provide after-school Internet access to students and parents-making maximum use of already existing resources. According to the 2006 Minnesota Internet Study, released in April 2007 by the Center for Rural Policy and Development, more than 30% of our metropolitan population is being left out. 29% of the people in our metro area do not own a computer, and 33% lack Internet connectivity.

I clicked on more links on News and most of them led to other places on the ning that can be accessed from other directions, as well.  After viewing this heading –

Got News?

Want to let us know some news about Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in the classroom? Send an email to news@classroom20.com.  – I have come to believe that members of Classroom 2.0 are in charge of keeping News up-to-date and if no one has anything fresh to post, it remains in an in-progress state.

 

 

Green Schools and A.P. 2.0 April 17, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 8:17 pm
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 Recently, I joined two new groups on Classroom 2.0, which are called Green Schools on Classroom 2.0 and A.P.  2.0. 

 I think I made it just in time to do a timely lesson using resources from Green Schools as I learned that Environmental Education Week is April 13-19.  I am thinking about trying to put a lesson together for tomorrow.  If not, I can always come back to this site because it is replete with resources and ideas for fitting environmental education topics into nearly any lesson plan.  At the moment, the group only has eight members including me.  I have some environmentally-friendly teacher friends whom I think will be interested in this classroom, too, and I plan to ask whether they want to join.  Anyone interested in checking out this site can click here: Education Reporting, Inc ::.  Green Schools seems especially well suited to science teachers because there are lots of science projects and many involve the use of digital technology.  I am planning to do an Earth Day lesson with my students on April 22 and will be returning to this spot in search of ideas.

The other group that I joined is named A.P. 2.0 and it has a grand total of three members, including me.  Nonetheless, I think it is good for AP teachers to colloborate. From what I can tell, the other two members of this site teach Environmental Science.  My hope is that membership will increase and a few more language teachers will join.  One may visit this group at:   AP 2.0 – Classroom 2.0.

In total, Classroom 2.0 has 7,472 members.  Tomorrow, I am going to check out the News tab, which bills itself as:  Classroom 2.0  Web 2.0 in the Classroom – A Daily Summary of News and Notables

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Please stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…the final project …Classroom 2.0 Groups… April 13, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 12:54 pm
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I have decided that the best way to tackle the final project is to investigate one feature of Classroom 2.0 at a time. This week I have been working on the Groups feature of which there are tons. The one that I am trying to navigate today is referred to as Project “Developing Digital Skills @ School” and the focus is on ICT. Teachers & students learn how to deal with the computer. DigiSkills teachers design, share, compare and enhance teaching methods and materials.

I feel like a kid with a new toy because there are so many people to communicate with about so many topics related to online education all over the world. Currently, I am trying to narrow the list down to high school teachers who teach English, Spanish or other languages , and ESL.

The possibility to attend meetings with live webcasting is available in this SNS as well as numerous discussions in chat rooms, wikis, blogs…. One can search for help with tools simply by clicking on a link denoting the tool of interest. These links may lead to virtual classrooms, helpful posts or discussions. Virtual classrooms are open for all members to attend or create courses. In fact, a teacher can create a Ning Network for their own class.

One of the discussions going on today made me think of using something like this with CATS testing. Introduction to the discussion begins this way, “I recently began to create video review podcasts using Camtasia Studio to assist my students to review for standardized tests. The success was amazing as the students were eagerly “plugging in” to study by using their ipods.” Most educators are stretching themselves to the limit in Kentucky right now trying to prepare for CATS testing. Primarily, our focus is on teaching multiple choice test taking strategies and answering open response items. I don’t know of any teachers using podcasts right now to prepare students.

Another teacher is looking for someone to collaborate with on a VoiceThread and made this post, “Is anyone interested in doing some type of collaborative voicethread project with students at our school? I would like the project to be very simple for starters – one that doesn’t require a whole lot of background knowlege building.

I started a voicethread project about “Your favorite tree.” The idea is to have students take a picture of their favorite tree and then write a little reflection that will be used as narration. Let me know if you might be interested in this or if you want to work on some other type of simple project in voicethread.”

Another person is trying to create a discussion with the following lead, “Using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom is very important. Which one do you use most and what can you recommend to the group?” We, students in Nate’s class, are old experts with Web 2.0 tools and could probably add a lot to this discussion ;).

I am going to join at least three groups before I start writing the ethnography. But, it is going to be hard to narrow them down.