Monday, August 27, 2007

Web 2.0 in my Classroom Part 1

As I am getting prepared for the first day of school with my students, Web 2.0 is constantly on my mind. I have thought a lot about going paperless in my classroom and utilizing Web 2.0, via google Docs, Blogs, wiki's, twitter, skype, podcasting, vcasts and more. A few questions have entered my mind in how I am going to truly utilize all these tools and get over certain barriers that I have seen we all encounter. For example, youtube is blocked in my district, but teacher tube is not. I decided if I need to show a video off youtube, I will grab the video using a fire fox add-on, using video download. Then I will take that video I want to present to my kids and post it on my class wiki if they want to watch it at home. I figured I will post all my videos via teachertube.

As for video in general there are some many cool appropriate videos out there about all kinds of things. I am hoping to enhance my teaching with these videos that will hopefully grab students' attention, and truly help them wrap their heads around all the information that they have to learn in a school year.

I would love for my students to create virtual portfolios, but there are some things that I think students need pencil and paper for. This year I am giving my students technology vocabulary. If I have them look up the words online, they will simply copy and paste the answers and never truly internalize the words. For this I think it is important for them to use pencil and paper. Hence, why I am going to have them bring a notebook and pencil to every class. I know that this defeats the purpose of truly utilizing the technology, but as a learner I needed to write things down to learn them. So my students will have online portfolios, but they will have a written journal that I will grade as well.

As for virtual portfolios, I help all my students that are 13 or older get Gmail accounts. I want to teach them how to use Google docs and other resource to create their portfolios. They can save their other items via the school network and server. My goal it to create a CD or DVD they can take with them to high school to showcase their work. In Philadelphia students apply to get into the better high schools and I want them to have those resource to help them get into those better schools. So the key is to have the students start their portfolios in 6th grade so they have them when they enter 8th grade and are applying for high schools.

Skype: I am excited about using Skype in the classroom, I am hoping schools that have Morpheus will skype with some of my classes so they can see him and interact with other students from all over the state. I would also like to setup meetings with other interesting people that my students can meet and ask questions too.

Questions I have for you...
Are there any good free sites that let students create portfolios online?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Getting deeper into it

Today I changed the name of my blog to Edtechnability, the same name as my wiki. I feel myself trying to gain an online identity, I read a lot of blogs by a lot of different people I have met or been introduced to virtually or in person over the last two months. Looking back, I feel I have changed a lot, but how do I express that to others, and share my thoughts and ideas? Utilizing Web 2.0 I have created my wiki, blog, one podcast, and other things specially for my student and staff web site. I think to myself, why does anyone want to know what I am doing, and am I wasting my time expressing myself on this blog and on my wiki. I guess the reason I feel this way, is that I don't get comments on my blog, and it makes me think I am being to shallow in my thoughts and ideas. I need to dig deeper and share truly new and exciting things that people will find interesting, and in return find me interesting, in which will allow me to cerate an online identity.

My Problem:
I love everything about technology and I feel as if I only float over the cool things and then I move onto something else. I feel as if I am a "jack of all trades, and a master of none". How can my passion be everything? I can't just settle on one thing, I have to want to know everything. I look at my job and realize why I might be this way. I teach K-8 Instructional technology, a full job in itself. I am also in charge of all the technology in my building which grows every year, I think we are up to 150 computers. On top of that I am also the main resource for teaching my teachers about technology and providing them in-services in integrating technology into their classrooms. I don't care who you are, even if you spend 12 hours a day, there is no way to do each of these jobs to my own expectations. I get totally overwhelmed, I do the best job I can do, but I feel as if I can do better. The question is how?

I got off on a tangent, but I think my online identity will come, I just need to let it come to me. I know a lot about technology, but the key to me has been the network, using resources like twitter where I can see into the lives of people doing the same thing as me, but that are truly embracing and sharing what they do. By reading blogs, and keeping up with the new technologies out there. Then I need to get used to sharing what I am doing and the ideas I have. I had a conversation with my Professor Dr. Swan from Chestnut Hill College, and he explained probably something he read in a book about technology being like getting onto a train. People will get on the train but all at different times, and the people who got on ahead of you will stay ahead of you, but you the key thing is that you got on the train and a lot of people will be getting on the train after you.

The Key:
I am on the train, I am going forward and I am going to share what I do, and how I do it for all to see. I might falter along the way, but that is how you learn. Web 2.0 is here and our students are using it, the question is are you? If your not maybe you should, in-order to understand who we are teaching.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Morpheus Fortuna

I have been talking about the idea of creating a stuffed animal that would go to different schools and spend a week there. I went to build-a-bear and wanted to get a ground hog, but I couldn’t find one. So I got a turtle and decided it would be a bog turtle, since the bog turtle is endangered and indigenous to Pennsylvania. So I went through the process of building the turtle. I actually had to put a heart and do a silly ritual, then I picked out clothes and everything. I then decided to call the turtle Morpheus Fortuna, and with that, Morpheus was born.

I created an e-mail address, wiki site, a blog and a flickr site for Morpheus all in his own name. These sites will be used by the different schools that Morpheus visits. Who knows what other sites or things the teachers that have Morpheus will use or do. The possibilities are endless and every classroom that gets Morpheus will be able to follow him and get a peek into different schools and lessons taught and the way they use web 2.0.

I decided to do my “beta” testing with fellow Keystones, since I know that they will utilize web 2.0 tools. I hope to get more people to sign up, right now I only have one person signed up. I decided I will give it a couple weeks with the Keystones and then I will open it up to other teachers through out the U.S.A and the world.

I am excited about this idea and hope that others will be able to learn through Morpheus. I am currently on vacation in Rehobeth DE and Morpheus is here with me. Hopefully, Morpheus will be able to participate in a variety of acitivities which I can showcase through his blog and wiki. Check back soon to see everything that Morpheus is up to and to sign up so that Morpheus can visit you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tag...I'm It

Looks like I have been tagged, I will really be reaching to find 8 people to tag, but I will see what I can come up with. I have major writing block for this blog, maybe its the kick in the pants I need to get things flowing.

Anyway, here are the rules:

  • Post these rules before you give your facts
  • List 8 random facts about yourself
  • At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
  • Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged
1. I have three year old daughter named Jori.
2. I was an All American in High School swimming.
3. I played the Tuba all through Middle and High school, now I try to play the guitar, not well.
4. I taught special education and computers my first two years in Leavenworth Kansas.
5. I am a Bicentennial baby.
6. I hold swimming records in schools around the state of Pennsylvania (I hold Upper Merion's 200 Free Pool Record and 200 Medley Relay Pool Record)
7. I am a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, I first remember watching games when I was four.
8. I love reality TV, I watch Big Brother and just got turned onto "I wanna be a super hero".

Tags coming!