Thursday, December 1, 2011

Journal #9 (NETS 1)

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology,39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from

Summary: Annette Lamb’s article really focuses on how children are reading and accessing books in 2011. Picking up a printed book is not the only way for children to read and learn about the world around them. Ebooks are being read on ipods, ipads, other mobile devices and on computers. In relation to that, stories have additional content such as video, links to websites, audio clips and even video clips. This allows them to learn about much more than just what is on the page. There are apps with interactive stories and databases with a plethora of information on a particular subject. There are also books and stories that use multiple platforms to tell their stories, using social media, websites and other sources. With that, Ms. Lamb also talks about how all this information can be difficult for children to follow, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with too much information and lose track of what they are doing.

Question 1: How can teachers use these new digital reading devices in the classroom?

Answer 1: Teachers need to be sure that what they use in the classroom has the right information that allows for students to read, explore and discover without becoming too overwhelmed. It’s important that teachers supplement their curriculum with this technology with appropriate material for grade and/or reading level. It’s also the responsibility of teachers to be sure that the information is correct, especially if it is non-fiction.

Question 2: How can these devices help students learn in and outside of the classroom?

Answer 2: Students can have access to a world of books and information without having to be in the classroom. They can use apps or ebooks to learn about a historical event or a country. They can read but also watch film clips or hear primary source audio from the actual event. This can be a great way for them to be transformed and feel more immersed in the material.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology (NETS 2)

Augmentative and alternative communication: Other ways for students to express themselves  instead or in addition to oral communication.  These AAC systems can vary greatly depending on the student's specific needs. 

A low tech tool that can be used in the classroom is an eye gaze system. Students with motor impairments can use their gaze to communicate their interest with a particular item. This requires a teacher or an aid to constantly be aware of that student's eye signals. 

High tech tools for students with motor impairments include computerized eye gaze devices. The DynaVox EyeMax System is an example of one of those. Using their eyes, a student can write, read, and communicate with the teacher and other students. 

An input device for computers is typically a keyboard and mouse. Special needs students with limited motor, cognitive or visual control  can use devices that are adapted or replaced that meet their particular needs. 

For students with limited motor control, a traditional mouse is not appropriate. Instead, a head mouse can be used to control the cursor of the computer in the classroom. The student can use it to navigate and even draw. 

Those with visual impairments or blindness can use software to read what is on the computer screen. JAWS for Windows is a software that can be installed on a computer to read programs, websites and documents. It can be customized for specific needs of the student and also has braille output. 

I commented on Ali and Maricela's blogs. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network (NETS 5)

A Personal Learning Network (PLN) is a variety of resources online that an educator has access to in order to share information with others around the world. There are many topics and collaborative tools available so that the PLN can be organized for that specific educator's unique area of interest(s). Having a PLN as a student and soon as a teacher will help me learn many ideas to help me as I begin my teaching career. I can also share my experiences with other new teachers and have a support system. As I continue teaching over the years, my PLN will expand and become even more refined. Having access to a plethora of resources through my connections with others in the United States and internationally will help me continue to grow as a teacher. As education, technology, and other ideas change over time I will stay current with them and bring that knowledge, passion, and inspiration into the classroom. By using Twitter, Diigo and the Educator's PLN I have three great resources to begin building a PLN that will most certainly help me as I begin my career as a teacher and for many years to come.

Twitter is one of those websites I previously believed had no real benefit to my life. I never imagined that I would quickly change my mind and discover a whole community with so many people sharing information and supporting each other in education. Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher caught my eye at first because of her Twitter handle but after looking at her blog I found her extremely interesting. She is a mom and a teacher, something I very much admire. You can tell she is passionate about what she does and seems as though she will be someone who would have great Tweets about using technology in the classroom. Sheryl NussbaumBeach @snbeach is another person who has worked in a variety of jobs and with thousands of educators all over the world. It will be exciting to read what resources she will share about education. Heidi Echternacht @hechternacht is a kindergarten teacher with over 20 years of experience. My hope is to work as a kindergarten teacher and she could have some great classroom ideas that I could use in my own classroom. Lauren Pemberton @LNPG7 is a kindergarten teacher whose focus is on technology in the early childhood education classroom. I previously worked as a preschool teacher and always found it a challenge to utilize technology in my preschool classroom. I look forward to being inspired and learning about what has worked for her in the past and the direction that technology in the early childhood education is taking. Karen Bolotin @kbkonnected is a creative educator who works with students with emotional and behavioral special needs. My son has some particular emotional special needs that affect him at school and know that I will be dealing with a variety of children in the classroom, some possibly with their own behavioral and emotional needs. I love the thought of creative resources to help students of all different backgrounds.

On Monday, November 7th I participated in #kinderchat at 6 p.m. PST. I was very impressed by how much the people on #kinderchat seemed so knowledgeable and eager to help each other. There wasn't a specific topic that night, but there were a few things that people were discussing. Many people were asking for helpful iPad apps and I was surprised that so many people are using iPads in their kindergarten classrooms. There was also a debate about digital books versus print books in the classrooms which many seemed very passionate about. I was really excited when they started talking about Symbaloo and mentioned the #kinderchat webmix, which I had to check out right away. Reading all the tweets made me hopeful about my own teaching career and being able to use technology in the classroom, even with young children. I will definitely participate in #kinderchat again and am going to check out some other topics.

Never having heard of Diigo before we began using it, I was thrilled to find out that social bookmarking existed! What a great tool for teachers to use in their PLN to keep the websites they find valuable organized and to also share them with others. Having access to your bookmarks from any computer is something I wish I'd known about sooner because it's very frustrating to have a website bookmarked on one computer and being on another, only to forget what the URL is or how to find it. Being able to use Diigo to network with other educators is so easy. I just found it more difficult to find people to follow because many people seem to give less info about themselves than they do on Twitter. Cyndi Danner-Kuhn is an educator, a mom, and an artist from Kansas. I think someone who is into technology and is also creative will have some great bookmarks to check out. Wesley Fryer is an author but he has also worked as an elementary school teacher. He is also has a blog called where he chronicles his interests in collaboration with other educators and other topics like digital storytelling.Wesley's other interest in education reform seems like something I would like to learn a lot more about. Ann Oro is a math and computer teacher for K-8 grade students. Although I think I want to teach kindergarten or 1st grade, I find other areas of teaching very intriguing and would imagine Ann knows of many invaluable websites that she uses with her students. Alexis Krysten is a K-12 teacher who is also looking for ways to integrate technology in her own classroom. Even those that aren't technology gurus can have some great websites to share! Brian Crosby's classroom is a 1:1 laptop room where his students blog and get to use their computer every day as a part of their education. I can only imagine how much fun these students are having in Brian's classroom and really look forward to seeing the gems that he has found online for his own classroom that I can eventually use in mine.

The three websites I bookmarked were:
What Do School Tests Measure - A New York Times article where different educators debate on standardized testing in schools. It's interesting to read different people's viewpoints on this topic.
65+ iPad Apps Perfect For Elementary School - In my dream school, every one of my students will have an iPad and we would be using some of these apps.
The Incredible Art Department - Creative lesson plans for students of all ages to learn about art and artists.

The Educator's PLN
On The Educator's PLN I watched Twitter 102 for educators because I still feel very inexperienced with Twitter and thought it would be great to see what advice he has. He really went into detail and explained things, which is a big benefit for educators who are even more weary of using Twitter than I was. The way he integrated himself into the video was not just funny to watch, it was helpful. It made me even more enthused to follow more people on Twitter for my own PLN.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Journal #6 (NETS 3 & 5)

Parr, B. (2011, July 16). Google : The complete guide. Retrieved from

 Summary: This article by Ben Parr gives new users of Google+ or people interested in using it, an overview of what Google+ is all about. It seems to be geared more toward adults and professionals. Starting with a basic intro, he then goes into more detail about the features of Google+ using videos and simple explanations about this new social networking tool. Often comparing these to other popular websites like Twitter and Facebook, he breaks down exactly what circles, profiles, sparks, hangouts, and photos are and what people can do with them. The article also has quotes from Google+ users discussing why they believe that others should be using it too. The cheat sheet with shortcuts is a great reference for those who are still learning how to use it.

Question 1: Would Google+ be a useful tool for teachers to use? 
Answer 1: Yes, Google+ is a very useful tool for teachers because everything is much more easily organized. Using Circles, teachers can put people in different groups depending on their needs, like parents, co-workers, other educators, friends, and family. They can keep posts about their personal life completely separate from their work life. It allows teachers to network with other teachers and with Spark, they can share ideas, websites, and videos. Hangouts, the video chat feature, allows for up to 10 people to connect with each other. This is just another great way for people to communicate and share their experiences as teachers. It can also allow teachers to communicate with parents and students without having to actually be face to face. This free service is invaluable for teachers, especially since it is important to stay in touch with parents. With people's busy lives, this allows for that even if a parent can't physically be at a school to discuss their child. 

Brogan, C. (2011, Sept 30).Educators - google plus is for you. Retrieved from Although this is a short article, Chris Brogan discusses why Google+ is a great collaboration tool for teachers to use. He gives examples of how educators can use the features. With Circles, a teacher can post lesson plans or give more information for students to refer to later. They can choose who to share the information with, allowing only students to see it. With Hangouts, a teacher can invite guest speakers to speak or discuss educational topics. This article really only gives a very basic overview of how useful it is for teachers, but it could be a great way for a teacher to learn about Google+ and how they can use it to add to their classroom time with students.

Question 2: How do students of teachers using Google+ benefit from it?
Answer 2: In addition to classroom time, teachers who post information on lesson plans online can share even more resources to their students. This is great for students who learn in different ways, they can explore different websites, watch videos, and collaborate with other students on an almost any subject. This means that the teaching is not ending when the student steps outside of their classroom.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Journal #4 (NETS 2)

Basham, J. D., Perry, E., & Meyer, H. (2011). It's in the bag. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(2), 24-27. Retrieved from

Summary: This article is about digital backpacks and how they can be used for students of all ages and learning styles. Inside a durable backpack are three different things: foundation technology, modular technology and instructional support materials. Foundation technology are the laptops, net books or tablets and the software they contain. The modular technology are the tools that can also be used for specific learning activities like digital cameras and digital sound recorders. Instructional support materials have all the resources for the curriculum teachers can modify depending on their students's needs.

Students at the elementary, middle school and high school or above have used these digital backpacks in different settings. They were all successful in using them for learning activities even though they were different age groups and at different levels. The type of backpack that students use can vary in order to be adjusted for the different ages and needs.

Question 1: How can a digital backpack be used for special education students?

Answer 1: These digital backpacks can contain foundation technology that is easily utilized by a particular special education student. iPads that with appropriate apps could be used by students who have difficulties using a mouse. The modular technology in the backpack could be used with the help of an aid. Instructional support materials would be modified for students who have very specific learning needs and capabilities.

Question 2: How important is it for students to have access to digital backpacks?

Answer 2: It is vital for students in this fast moving technological time to have experience with a wide variety of tools in the classroom. In order to educate and prepare students for the real world where computers and technology are a part of every day lives at home and in the workplace. In order to be successful, learning how to use these tools (hardware and software) in different learning activities, they are prepared for a future where they will be using them in many different types of careers and jobs.

Journal #3 (NETS 4)

Morehouse, J. (2011). Students dig up dirt to learn about internet safety. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(2), 34-35. Retrieved from

Summary: In Mr. Morehouse's article he talks about how important it is for students to learn about Internet safety. He believes that many students have no idea what information they are sharing about themselves and their lives on the Internet. With many teenagers and society in general unaware of how much information about them is really out there, Mr. Morehouse wants to find a way to teach these students about how vulnerable they really are. 

He does this by a two part activity in the classroom. The first part he has the students search for him on the Internet and share what information they found. Then as a group they discuss this information and what is true, versus what isn't. Then students complete a project and presentation where the find someone who they don't know in another town and attempt to find as much information on them online through searches or data mine as it is called. They report their findings and what they learned when they present this to the class. After doing this, the students discuss their own presence online and how they can make sure they limit information being shared about them. The students and even their parents take away a lot from this hands-on activity.

Question 1: Why do students need to learn about Internet safety?

Answer 1: Students need to learn about Internet safety because the it has become a huge part of everyone's lives. It's easy to post personal information about yourself on social media and websites without even thinking about the consequences. Students need to realize how easy it is for others to find out about them. They also need to understand that what they write, post, or say on the Internet is not always private either. Future networking for college, employment and organizations could find this information and it could really have a huge effect if someone found something very negative or compromising.

Question 2: Why do teachers need to teach children about Internet safety?

Answer 2: Teachers should teach their students about Internet safety and behavior on the Internet because their parents might not have any computer or Internet background. They understand the importance of this knowledge especially in relation to the NETS standard. They can also implement lessons that are developmentally appropriate for their students' grade level. It is a teacher's responsibility to educate students on current issues in society and this is one of those.