Saturday, September 29, 2007

Willow School's Podcast

After listening to the great podcast by Willow School's 5th grade class at I looked around on their schools home page and discovered several of their teachers use blogs. One teacher from the fifth grade has not updated her blog since May of 07. Another third grade teacher has not updated her blog since Nov of 06 and started it in Aug of 05. That made me start thinking about the possibility of how hard it is to find time to keep my class blog, I am starting, up to date. It also made me realize how behind the times I might be if the third grade class started using blogs in 05. I was looking around early today to see if I could find a podcast on blogging in the classroom and have not had very good luck yet so if any one runs into a podcast about setting up blogs in a classroom that we have not already listen to for our class, please let me know.

One podcast I did find talked about the general ups and downs of on-line learning from the point of view of several college students. You can find this 4 minute blog at you will need to scroll down the page to see the play button.

Later in my search I found this it's a YouTube video about setting a blogger account up in under two minutes.

Next finding is a 17 minute interview with Cal State's Director of Academic Technology Research. The last two minutes she talks about blogging.

When I have more time I plan on going back to to listen to more podcasts about blogging.

Jonathan Harris at TED

I just finished watching Jonathan Harris at TED about his web secret stories. This man has the most amazing brain (not as amazing as my husbands). He tells about three computer programs he has created to visually see what is important to people on the web. I recommend watching it at It is 17 minutes long but well worth it. To learn more about Jonathan Harris, go to his blog like site at

From his site "At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what's on our blogs, what's in our hearts, what's in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life."

Jonathan Harris worked with Sepandar Kamvar on a project called We Feel Fine. Sep Kamvar is a Consulting Assistant Professor of Computational Mathematics and Engineering at Stanford University. His site has a list of his credits, most of which I did not understand. I think these two men ate their Wheaties growing up.

Photo at

Monday, September 24, 2007

Web 2.0

Just read Web 2.0 A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning? By Bryan Alexander. To start off with I liked how the article explained what web 2.0 is or is not. Including items like social bookmarking, wiki pages, collaborative writing, blogging, blog and RSS search services--where users can create micro content about micro content.

A few places I plan on checking out when I have time: (would not open at school) (blocked at my school)

I liked how in the article it talked about several of the ways web 2.0 could be valuable to higher education. For me, this is key, if I am to spend time learning about a new technology I need to know how to implement it in my classroom or if it is worth implementing in my classroom.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Looking at a fellow classmate's blog at that was talking about gaming. The idea of gaming and education is new to me. When I was young, we did not use any electronic games for educational purposes in school. I know they exist, but gaming is out of my comfort zone.

For more info go to skip down to 5. Games and academia and 6. Games, consoles and game-based PCs as learning technology. It is interesting to note that the article is from 2002.

Here's a quote from the article "For example, the scenario could be modified into that of an online database-oriented game. The pupils would then work online in conjunction with pupils from other schools, acquiring database searching, information acquisition, network communication, and information analysis skills in order to complete the game."

These skills are some of the same skills that are discussed at the International Society for Technology in Education at that we are suppose to be teaching our students. ISTE lists many technology skills that students show learn to be successful in their lives. Many education games could help students learn these necessary technology skills.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Update on Blogging at my school

Well, I have sad apparently limits how many new accounts can be made...meaning when I tried to have my second class of the day make their gmail account, we kept getting a message that said you already have an account; please try signing in. So I could not have two of my three classes do their first blog yesterday. I encouraged students to start their gmail account at home if they could (a number of them do not have Internet at home). Today I told the students we would put the idea on the back burner for now and moved on to our research of a new technology project instead. Late in the day I tried google again and it appeared like it was going to let me sign-up for an account. So the only thing I can think of is that google has a limit on how many can be made in one day to the same ip address. So my sad news continues because I will not have an update for the class on how blogging went by Tuesday.

I had some students use their yahoo accounts to make their blog, however they could not comment on another student's blog without a gmail account.

Photo at

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Social Networking

This weeks reading on social networking was very timely since I have been thinking about how to approach blogging with my students. I want to expose my students to a number of newer technologies, but feel that I need to be extremely careful to set-up some ground rules to their usage. This week I will be working on writing up a list of procedures/rules about our classroom usage of a blog. I am also thinking about setting up a wiki, too. When reading in the article about how many schools do not allow social networking I realize that I need to read our Internet contract the students signed in 8th grade more closely. I have not read it in a few years and need to see if it says anything about social networking tools.

Commenting on experience

I just made my first comment on a blog that was not part of our class. The article was about what we are not teaching in computer education. See my comment at

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My list of blogs to watch

I went searching for other teachers that are using blogs and came up with many to choose from. As this semester goes I will be focusing in on how to better use blogs in my class with my students and how to teach them to use blogs appropriately. The following are several blogs that I am going to watch.
Weekly webcast:
An Arapahoe High School Teacher:
Discourse about Learning, Teaching and Technology blog:
Alfred Thompson, Computer Science Teacher:
Teachers using Technology

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Second Life and Twitter

Well I just signed up for twitter and Second Life. My name in twitter is Rad Techno and in Second Life it is Rad Sella. I am not sure what I am doing in either, but I am sure it will come to me. I have decided not to start a My Space page. In my staff meeting this past Wed., my boss was warning everyone that across the country there have been several teachers fired over their my space page content. She said that if there was a doubt about a my space page in our school, that we would be put on administrative leave until it was figured out if the content was appropriate or not. The administration brought up the fact that students have been known to put teachers' faces on the bodies of other people doing inappropriate things. I decided that I should not even take the risk. If I can say to my students I don't have a page, then hopefully the temptation for including me on one of theirs will be less.

Friday, September 7, 2007

1:1 Computing

This week's topic for class is the idea of giving each student their own personal laptop to use. Damian Bebell discusses the research done at an elementary school where they compared rooms with 1:1 laptop use to rooms with shared chart laptops. I found a few of their findings interesting. Bebell said that the use of the computer at home increased, which doesn't surprise me, due to the fact that if students are more comfortable with a computer they will use the computer more, however I was surprised to hear that students used their computer more for school-related tasks. In fact that was where the biggest raise in usage was. That really got my attention. I am for anything that would increase students doing school work at home. There was not as much of an increase in the engagement numbers. I knew students would be more engaged when using their own computer, but I thought the numbers would be higher. I see much higher engagement in my classroom when we do activities on the computer versus other activities. One interesting comment about Special Education students was from a teacher who was part of the experiment; she said that Special Ed students were more on the same playing field. I see that quite a bit in my collaborative period. I teach one period each semester with a special education teacher. We co-teach so that we can offer the class to a wider variety of students. I really do encourage all students to take computer classes in high school, and all students can do it.

In the 1:1 Stories Project blog, it talks about the digital natives and their need to e-learn with a computer, and that hands on learning helps them take more ownership in their learning. I agree with the blog that students need to see the real life application of knowledge so that they feel more engaged in their learning, which a computer can provide. No matter what career most students go into, they will need computer skills or have to do their entire job on a computer. It is important for students and adults to keep learning new skills all their lives. Computers are one big way that is going to happen. We need to keep finding ways to let this happen in all types of classrooms.

In class we discussed the $100 laptop project. I wanted to know more, so I looked it up and found this site that describes what it is all about.

Photo at

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Horizon Report and Marc Prensky

In The Horizon Report 2007, the use of mobile phones in the classroom has a projected time for adoption of two to three years. I find this funny (and not in the ha ha way) that mobile phones will be used in the classroom in two years. My school is just coming up with tighter restrictions on the use of cell phones in the building, so it is hard for me to believe that in two years the feeling about cell phones will make an 180 degree turn. I realize that the article is talking more about colleges, but high schools should be looking at the emerging technologies just like colleges. We are supposed to be preparing students for college and should be looking at ways to incorporate more technology into the classroom at every level. There will definitely have to be different guidelines for the use of technology in my classroom, compared to a college classroom, just because of the age of the students.

In the Engage Me or Enrage Me article by Marc Prensky, I found no helpful information. I realize he is just trying to point out the problem schools are facing, but I would have appreciated more about how to work with the new type of student rather than just telling me about them. I am sure he has written other articles on the subject, but so far everything I have read from him has had the attitude that all teachers are slacking in their job and that they must not want to educate students if they don’t use a game to teach the lesson. As for his Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants article, I found his definition of each group of people interesting. I do believe that there is a difference in the two sets of people. I do want to help my students learn in the manner that is best for them, however, when they go to work they will also find that many of their bosses and co-workers are going to be digital immigrants and there is a need for understanding how to work with a person who might be less technologically savvy. The articles did get me thinking about how I could change my copyright lesson that I will be teaching soon to my Intro Computers II class to make it more interactive and more technology based.
So I went to the web and found the following links that I will be using to incorporate more technology in my Paraphrasing and Reference Citing lessons.

I am going to have my students start at:
After that we will go to the following link and work on lesson 6:

Photo at

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Family Video

Watch the video to see what my husband did today with the kids so I could work on my school work. Thanks Cory.

Cory at Hartman

Emily at Hartman

Uploading these video's took way too long. If someone knows of a way to speed up the process let me know.