Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All this tech., now what to do with it??

I have to truly say, I have already learned a wealth of info. in this 710 course. I'm used to our technology scholl P.D.'s being about how to attach a file to an e-mail, or how to use powerpoint. My school, like most now, are pushing for more technology use in schools. But, our school system, also like many, has a lot of teachers that have been there for 20-40 years (yes, 40!, and are still learning about e-mail capabilities. Now I am not throwing stones (I had trouble extracting my podcast for a few hours!), but this goes way beyond e-mail!
Now what to do with all of this. I work in a pre-k through 2 school, so I can't expect EXTENSIVE tech. use from my students. But again, if I can cooperate w/ the technology teacher at my school (integration, everyone likes that!), then we can teach the kids. And kids will learn what you teach them. There are also, however, some very economically challenged families in my town, and many cannot afford a computer, or the use of internet.
But, here's some things I could do.
1. Post pics on Flickr for parents and students- We take a lot of pics in class, and kids love to see themselves online, or in print. They could then show their families/friends what they did in class. That would also serve as a reminder to what they did, and may add to retention.
2. Keep an updated blog for parents- All teachers in our school have a website. However, it is very complicated to go in and update, and not a easily navigated program. Most of our teachers hate it! A blog, however, would be simpler, faster, and more current. Easier for me to post and update, and easier for parents/students to access.
3. Google docs- Spreadsheet program can be used to record fitness scores for President's Challenge and report to parents. Also good for gathering analyzing data for annual Professional Growth commitments. No more emptying wallet for Excel! :-)
4. Web 2.0- used as a resource for almost anything I want! I'm sure I will use this a lot instead of googling, and searching through countless websites.
To conclude, the use of all this tech. know-how I have gained thus far will be put to good use. I have some new outlooks and ideas that I will be sharing with teachers/administration in my district in the future. My .02.... thanks for reading! :-)

Web 2.0 findings...

Yet another valuable resource! Web 2.0 gives it to you straight... what's the best, and what's pretty darn good too! If i wanna know where the best place is to book a flight? Web 2.0. If I want to find a program that allows me to log my workouts? Web 2.0. If I want the best website to find out what my property is worth? Web 2.0. If I need ideas for a pre-school lesson plan? Web 2.o can direct me. It really helps take the guesswork out of looking for a great site for a particular reason. It will significantly cut down on the time it takes to search website and pick through them. I browsed a couple websites and I really liked Teamsnap. Teamsnap is a program designed for a coach (and I don't even coach yet!) It allows you to essentially run a team or number of teams-online. You can manage schedules, payments, refreshments, team e-mail groups, and even track when players can or can't be in attendance. There are so many options within this site, and I can't wait to explore it further! Maybe I'll try with my softball team this summer to get familiar with it??? Great site.... Web 2.0 will be an EXTREMELY valuable resource for me in the future!

Google docs....

Ok. So here is my first experience with google docs. I'm writing this blog in google docs, and hope to transfer it over to my blog.... we'll see if that works out or not. I like the fact of having this web-based program as opposed to work. On multiple occasions, I have written a document at home on MS Word 2007, and then e-amiled it to myself so I could continue to work on it during lunch at school, but the document wouldn't come up in MS word 2002. I'm assuming that if I try it using google docs, then Iwon't have that problem. I also love having the spreadsheet available through this site. Spreadsheets are used frequently, and it's nice to not have to shell out the cash for an expensive program from Mr. Gates. I use spreadsheets when inputting and reviewing data for fitness testing scores at times, as well as any data driven assessment/assignment. In our school system, teachers are required to conduct a PGC (professional growth committment) which are usually data driven, and this will assist in making the process more efficient and professional. I am still new to this, but I am excited about the possibilities google docs has to offer! :-)

Rss Assignment

Wow... that was pretty easy! (and I don't say that a lot about tech. activities! I created my google reader account, and subscribed to a number of different feeds. It really is as simple as cutting and pasting or a couple clicks! It's pretty cool to have all this info in one convenient spot. It's almost like another personalized "home" page. I like the idea of the news coming right to you, rather than searching for it. I just subscribed to local news in the town I live in, and the town I teach in. That way, when something new comes up... I'm on top of it pretty quickly. I think this will save a lot of time, and will benefit me in even more ways to come in the future. I have seen that little orange icon before, and now I understand what it means and can USE IT!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gotta see this dance contest....!!!

If you haven't seen this already, check it out! It's pretty hilarious! Good, clean dance-off fun!!:-)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interesting points/responses to 3 tech articles....

In the first article, "Neomillenial user experience design strategies", they hit the nail on the head in stating how the current generation is "hardwired". Everything seems to revolve and take place via technology. It's almost as if we are now completely reliant on computers/technology for EVERYTHING! There seems to be such a reliance now on them, it's almost scary!!! I really like the idea of teachers/administrators using weblogs as a communication tool as stated in this article. It can be a quicker, more efficient way to stay in touch w/ parents/community about what's going on in school/class, etc instead of constantly updating websetie pages. I think this is something I will attempt to get rolling in the future at my school.
In the third article, "Examining Social Software in Teacher Education", they hit a great point on how to educate students to use these websites in an APPROPRIATE way. Many people have no idea who sees their pictures and profiles. Many have lost jobs due to myspace, facebook, or youtube. I think that educators do need to educate students on the correct, safe and responsible way to utilize these sites, and the implications that may occur if not used correctly.
After reading the last article, "Social networking", I can appreciate the privacy features that they acknowledge that facebook has over myspace. I had a myspace account for years (along w/ 217 million other people!), and it's been so long since I checked it that I don't even remember my password for it. I couldn't see spending time on there to look at other peoples pictures as valuable to me. I then started a facebook a couple years back, but never had time or desire to actually utilize it. So it was dormant until last week. I didn't want to become active on facebook, as I see how it can consume people at times, and can at times, lead to drama if you are friends with the right people! But, after having the assignment I had to. I really went through all of the privacy/safety features and realized that it can be kept quite private. I was impressed with those options. A nice surprise....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Microblogging w/ twitter...

Everyone is talking about twitter. I had no idea what the heck it was until our assignment in KIN710 was to check it out and start tweeting. Honestly, I can say this is something that I probably won't continue w/ after this class. Now, I am saying this prematurely as I probably haven't discovered all of the possibilities of Twitter just yet. Time is an extremely precious thing. Time is something I always seem to have not enough of. Time is money. Time is so very scarce. And it takes TIME to turn on the computer, type in, log-in, and then see what my friends are doing. I just don't see the benefit of it just yet. Since I have started Tweeting, I have noticed that I just complain about "trying to get work done" or "not having enough TIME for anything". So people see me and probably think, what a cry-baby. And I'd like to think that I am not! LOL I just don't see the value in it yet, but maybe I'm slow. I'd rather spend time w/ people I love, my dog, or even do something for myself rather than complain and/or see what my freshman college roommate is doing on his lunch break. Now, I'm not knocking it just yet, these are just my first impressions of it. I am still new to it and my thoughts could change. I am glad I got to experience it though and learn about it. Now when people talk about it, I can chime in with experience. Just my .02.... thanks for reading! :-)


Originally uploaded by fx4pitrone
This here is a picture of some of my 2nd grade students on out climbing wall. I wanted to get a climbing wall since I got to this school 6 years ago. I spoke w/ the superintendent and she stated that they could not foot the bill for it, and I also needed approval from the Board of Ed. for liability and insurance reasons. I then prepared a presentation to the Board of Ed. about traverse climbing walls and their benefits. They liked what I had to say and granted approval with the condition that I would also install a covering system so people could not climb after school hours. So I wrote a mini-grant through our local PTA stating what I needed, why I needed it and what good it would do, and how much everything would cost including the matt covering system. I asked for enough for a 50' wall, (hoping for the best!) and got approval for a 25' due to cost. I then worked over the summer with a nearby teacher w/ decades of experience in climbing systems and we installed it ourselves. THe kids love it and it is now a huge asset to our program. I then got the art club to paint a mountain mural on the wall as well. Here is the pic....Thanks for reading!


Well I had my first experience with a photosharing website this week-Flickr. Some other forums I belong to use photobucket all the time and I never really used it or knew what it was all about. So, I signed up and it's pretty cool! I never thought of using it as a way to backup all of my photos. I've had my computer crash 3 times and have lost many many pics along the way. Now, i can upload the ones I do not want to lose and not worry about losing them again. I haven't had a lot of time to explore all of the options Flickr makes available quite yet. I am excited to invite family from different parts of the country to join and we can reconnect through pictures. I see them all once every 10 years or so (basically weddings or funerals), so it would be nice to see pics of them and their experiences as well as share mine with them. Flickr is a site I think I will use frequently.... Well that's my .02 on Flickr! :-)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday... 1st post

(This was written on Friday, and posted Sunday)
It's getting to that time of year, where everything is hectic for all in the school system. Time is short, and so are tempers at times. Everything feels rushed as the last day of school closes in. Weather is getting nice, and people are starting to plan their summers. Lets go outside!
I got the boot out of the gym today for 2 classes at the last minute. It happens sometimes, and I never complain or worry. The weather was nice so I took the kids outside. The 2 classes I took outside were good classes, so I did a parachute lesson with them (2nd and 1st grade). We worked on teamwork and listening skills through use of the parachute. We also increased our heart rates and talked about why (we so this a lot!) My normal lessons for the day were supposed to be throwing and catching. I decided not to do them outside today because it was very windy. The wind can greatly affect the children's ability to throw and catch, and can be discouraging. So, the wind, helped make my decision about doing a parachute lesson. It was nice to reward 2 well-behaved classes with a lesson they enjoy a lot as well! It all worked out ok.... :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First blog....

This is just a test... first attempt at blogging......