Ms. Powers’ Blog

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Carrying On with Web 2.0 April 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 6:56 am

 

As our course draws to a close, I am feeling a sense of relief (I have my weekends and afternoons to myself again!) but am also feeling more confident in this new world of Web 2.0. I actually feel a little ignorant that there was this whole world out there that I was completely unaware of until I took the course. Now, Web 2.0 seems to be everywhere I look!

 

At the start of the course, I was completely overwhelmed by all that we were learning and could not get my head around how I could ever possibly implement any of this in my classroom. Since then, I found comfort in the knowledge that I have gained and feel that I am knowledgeable enough to be able to access and implement the various applications effectively.

 

One thing that I am really excited about is the idea of blogging in my classroom. I am excited that our collaborative project may actually come to fruition. I think I can actually take it one step further and have students blogging with former colleagues’ students from around the world. I have to admit that, initially, I really did not like blogging; I had “Blog Block.” But now, I feel more comfortable blogging and responding to other people’s blogs. I like blogging in the sense that I do not have to think about the technical aspects of writing and in that sense; it is more of a creative process for me than anything else.

 

I am happy and excited to move into the next phase of learning about and integrating Web 2.0 into my classroom. We’ll see how I do with all of it, but I think I have plenty of resources that I can access if I should need any advice or guidance through the process.

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New Kindle 2 Enrages Some April 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 11:40 am

I recently read an article posted on LD Online entitled, Bias Against Blind Book Lovers. I was intrigued by this article because it not only pertains to the blind population, but also to individuals with disabilities. When I first read about this new read-aloud feature, I thought of my students with disabilities, particularly those who experience difficulty with reading comprehension. Many of my students struggle with understanding what they read. So with many of them I have started reading books aloud to them and using read-alouds for vocabulary development and teaching reading comprehension skills. Since I began doing this, I have noticed a dramatic difference in their understanding of text.

Having said that I understand that people eventually need to learn to understand what they read, not just what is read to them; I understand that comprehension across settings is a life skill. However, in looking at the anticipated text-2-speech software that the Kindle 2 was advertising, it was very encouraging in the world of assistive technology. In the United States, students with disabilities currently have access to any book that has been published and is in The Library of Congress. But, what about our kids who live in Manila? If they could access books using Kindle 2, it would make the written world that much more accessible. Would it not?

 

Idol 2.0 April 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 12:11 pm

The other day a colleague and I had an activity in our classroom, something that we felt needed to be documented and shared with the world; our very own “Idol”. I know what you’re thinking…but it was a hard-earned reward for my lovely and hard-working Learning Support kids. The event spared no cost and was even complete with our very own (and very convincing) judges: Simon, Paula, and Randy. I know many of you would probably pay money to see such an event, but being the conscientious professional that I am, I must observe confidentiality laws. The actual reason that I am blogging about this isn’t about the activity itself, but what skills I was able to apply. After videotaping our highly entertaining experience, my colleague asked what we should do with the video footage. It suddenly occurred to me, Blip TV! I know, I know…I am an absolute technological genius. But really, it felt good to be able to apply something that I had learned as a way of enriching my teaching. So twelve hours later, I have successfully downloaded six of the coolest contestants that the Idol world will never see. Anyway, so there you have it….my Eureka! moment. One class away from the finish line.

 

Keep on blogging in the free world March 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 10:38 am

I enjoyed Alan’s post about his friend using his blog to send a message to the public. Apparently he had gone to a national museum with approximately 20 students and 4 adults and was not permitted to enter the museum; evidently in the fine print it indicates that tours won’t be given on Sundays. Since he was clearly upset about this news, he chose to exercise his right to freedom of speech.

Blogging can serve many purposes. Over the break, I spent my holiday traveling around Bohol and Cabilao Island with friends and former colleagues from Alaska. While on a “riverboat cruise” we stopped to watch some traditional Filipino dances. As I watched, I began thinking about the parallels/ contrasts between native cultures.

Since I will be teaching grade two next year and my friend is teaching grade three in Alaska, I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the Alaskan native culture to the Filipino culture and also the many cultural backgrounds of my students. What better way to do this but through blogging or a wiki with videos uploaded to Teacher Tube???

 

Games Improve Risk-Taking??? March 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 11:14 am

When the idea of using games in education was raised today, I became more engaged…NOT enraged. The idea is to use games as a way to motivate students. I work with a population of students who are reluctant to take risks in their learning. Understandably so…many of them have experienced a great deal of failure and lack confidence in their own strengths and what they to offer in the academic realm. I have used games in my own teaching. With all that we know about emotional intelligence and the impact it has upon learning, I am sold….to a degree. There has to be a certain amount of learning involved before I am willing to use it in my classroom. Learning in my classroom may look a little different than it does in a traditional classroom; learning in my room incorporates social skills, team-building activities, study skills, self-regulation of pro-social behaviors, and all of the other more traditional subjects.

I read a transcript from an interview with Jerry Chaffin, Ph.D. He was discussing his own work in developing and implementing assistive technology in his classroom. He explained that although many of his students were identified as students with behavior disorders, they, in fact, were students with very severe reading disabilities. In response to their diverse needs, he developed several academic games ranging from “skill and-drill” to phonics/phonemic awareness activities.  He noted that once he began addressing the root of the behaviors, he found a dramatic decrease in inappropriate behaviors.

I whole-heartedly agree with this approach to teaching; people and children are complex individuals and there are often many layers that we must “peel-away” before we can get to heart of the problem. So, if we utilize things that are familiar to our kids (like video games) to motivate and engage them in their learning, I believe they can be of great value to us as educators.

 

Aims for Course February 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 6:48 am

Aims for the Course

After two sessions of this course, I believe I am beginning to understand that which I would like to gain from this course.  First of all, I feel like I have only begun to scratch the surface in my research and understanding of all that is available to me as an educator at ISM. I would like to learn more about: teaching research skills on web 2.0; differentiation using technology; and the programs/ applications that are available to me at ISM. I believe that in order to improve student learning, I will need to be able to interact with applications like Google Earth, Flickr, Ning, and You Tube. I think that You Tube is a great resource that can be utilized to provide engaging, age and school-appropriate demonstrations for abstract or complex concepts. In order to improve my own learning, I hope to learn more about RSS feeds and to research ideas for incorporating ICT into the classroom.

 

Web 2.0

Filed under: Uncategorized — powers3280 @ 6:46 am

Does Web 2.0 change teaching and learning?

I believe that Web 2.0 has and will continue to affect how we teach and how our students learn.  Having worked with children ages 5-10, I have utilized information technology and Web 2.0 on a very basic level. However, I believe that there are and will be more opportunities to utilize it to improve my instruction. As a learning support teacher, many of my students experience difficulty with handwriting and written language. I am learning through my research that there are many applications available that enable students to share their knowledge bearing in mind their individual learning styles and/ or preferences. Next year as a grade two teacher, I hope to use Skype in the classroom to share learning experiences with a grade two class in Alaska. I also look forward to experimenting with podcasts and hope to create podcasts with my class to report out on each week’s learning.