Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Journal #10: "Bloggers Beat: Sure, You're Resilient, But Should You Have to Be?" (NETS-T 5)

Fingal, D. (2012, May). Bloggers beat: Sure, you're resilient, but should you have to be?. Retrieved from 

Summary: In the article, “Bloggers Beat: Sure, You’re Resilient, But Should You Have to Be?”, by Diana Fingal, a few valid points and concerns are discussed. Fingal addresses the faults and drawbacks of classroom technology, which she highlights as technology being “clunky” or slow. Fingal emphasizes that teachers have been conditioned to deal with these technologically aggravating issues, and adopt new qualities such as patience, persistence, and resilience. Bill Ferriter has started this discussion among teachers and their mutual exasperations, which has only encouraged other educators to take note and look up to their superiors for some change in the system. Near the end of the article, Fingal highlights the importance of speaking up about this prominent problem; she states that speaking up and making others aware of these issues is the only way that change can take place.

Question #1: How would you address the problem if you were the teacher?

Answer #1: Well, I definitely agree that as a teacher you have to be constantly constructing back-up plans all the time for your students in case the unexpected happens. This is something that is very important for being a teacher in today’s world, especially with technology as we have seen. Just like the article stated, it is very important to raise awareness of these issues and I would hope that as a prospective teacher, I would inform and encourage my colleagues to speak up.

Question #2: How would you raise awareness about the issue?

Answer #2: I would most likely communicate with my colleagues during our weekly meetings and bring up the issue to the forefront of the table. I would also encourage my colleagues to inform and communicate with our superiors, in hopes that change would occur if we spoke up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Journal #9: First Graders with iPads? (NETS-T 4)

Getting, S., & Swainey , K. (2012). First graders with iPads?. Learning and Leading with Technology ,40(1), 24-27. Retrieved from Retrieved from

Summary: This article, “First Graders with iPads?” discusses the effort made by teachers in Minnesota to utilize iPads in the curriculum with their first grade students. The first author addresses the idea that iPads are quite expensive and brought to light that the purchase of such an expensive device for a young child is sane. The authors addressed valuable questions and concerns, but they ultimately argued that the use of the iPads within the curriculum were beneficial. They stated that the function of the iPads in the classroom was greatly influential by increasing the “time on task” (TOT) by 20% for the year. This means that the students were able to maintain attention on tasks, and that it increased by 20% (which is quite a lot). This article was enlightening and fascinating to read; it shows exactly the direction in which our society is going towards the world of technology.

Question #1: As a prospective first grade teacher, would you implement iPads into the classroom curriculum?

Answer#1: I am not one-hundred percent certain as to whether or not I would use iPads in my classroom with such a young group of children. I truly believe that at that age, children need to be interacting with one another and engaging in play. It is important that children have avenues to release their energy and employ their minds in physical activities. If I were to use iPads in my instruction, it would be very seldom.

Question #2: If schools have the money, do you believe that they should adopt the use of technology into their curriculum?

Answer#2: I believe that schools should most definitely adopt technology into their curriculum if they have the resources available to them. With the way that our society is advancing (especially in academics), I believe that utilizing technology is a great benefit. Some students may learn differently than others, and adopting technological resources could reshape the way students learn and absorb information. I believe that curriculums should implement the use of technology but not be solely based on it; this way, every student’s learning style can be addressed. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Journal #8: Adaptive Technology (NETS-T 4)


Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC, is a type of communication that utilizes assistive technology to help those with disabilities and speech impairments use to communicate. AAC attends to those who are in need of assistance with communication and truly strives to present the best communication possibilities for these individuals. AAC substitutes natural speech or communication by utilizing other communication systems such as sign language or more importantly, technological tools.

       High Tech Tool for AAC: The technological tool that I researched for the high tech tool was a product called DynaVox M3. This product provides recorded speech that is created for communicators of all ages and physical abilities. This tool allows for students to be an effective communicator within the classroom, enabling them to communicate with their teachers and classmates at a higher functioning level. It is especially designed for people with limited or no literacy skills that need to practice successful communication in order to build their literacy skills. This tool can be used for students to communicate their sentences or thoughts to their classmates, allowing them to take part in classroom activities.

           Low Tech Tool for AAC: For the low tech tool, I decided to take a deeper look at the “Easy Push Talking Pocket.” This tool is very easy and low on the technology scale. It consists of two parts: the voice-over feature, which is a single voice output with ten seconds of recording time and a pocket, which is designed to hold the device. This device allows for students to share their messages by recording them by the push of a single button. To use this device in the classroom, students could attach it to receptive boards, books and even more to actively participate in the class.


            An input device for people with special needs is any device that aids mentally or physically handicapped people to input information into a technological device, like a computer through the use of something like a keyboard. 

Software Option: A great example of a software input device in a keyboard that is on the screen of the computer. This is an effective keyboard that aids students who have restricted mobility and a lack of motor skills when attempting to use a regular keyboard. This virtual keyboard may also be a great influence in increasing the rate at which a student typically types, providing them with the ability to work on assignments in a timely manner.

Hardware Option: An example of a hardware input device is called the Alva Refreshable Braille display, which is a piece of hardware that supplies Braille output from a computer for those who are visually impaired. This hardware delivers the same amount of adequate information as a normal keyboard, but it requires less reaching and hand motions. This is a resource that would be useful in the classroom for students who are visually impaired, allowing them to complete the same computer-based assignments as their peers. 

Follow my peers to learn more about other Adaptive Technology resources at the links provided below! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Journal #7: My Personal Learning Network

A Personal Learning Network, or PLN, is a resource used in one’s professional world to utilize accessible resources; it is a collection of online tools that create a network in which many educators from around the world share their ideas, communicate about educational tools, and manage their professional development. PLN’s allow for educators from all around the world, new and experienced, to connect online and discuss teaching techniques. A PLN can be made up of websites such as Twitter, Diigo, Blogger, and Edmodo. It is through these websites that I am learning to build my own network, advancing my development in the professional world. These sites and many more, will aid me in building my network with their contributions of valuable, educational tools. These available resources will help me to share and receive new ideas for my career in the field of education. Overall, this is a great network that will only advance and benefit education in our society today!

I do not really like Twitter, and I was not a big fan of it until recently. However, I have found it to be valuable with the resources it has given me. Having created it for my technology class for educators, I truly believe that it will be of aid to me when I start my student teaching and more importantly, when I begin teaching in my professional life. I recently have started following, Ed Week Teacher, and 21st Century Teacher. Thus far they have offered some enlightening ideas for me to take notes on! Twitter will allow me to receive information and ideas from those that I am currently following. I am following many of my peers who will go through the credential program with me at Cal State San Marcos, and I know that this will be a great support system and place of reference when I have questions.

I participated in #edchat on Thursday, August 2nd at 9 am. I thought following the chat was very interesting and informative. There was an array of people with different expertise who were participating in the chat. One woman posted an article about technology and ipads in the classroom that I found to be very fascinating; I found it to be so fascinating that I commented on her tweet. So many people were posting resources through articles and websites in response to questions or even asking their own questions. It was all very cool.

Diigo is a wonderful resource for educators because it allows educators to truly build their PLN and stay connected to the educational system through the world wide web. Diigo allows me, as a prospective educator, to find resources through tags that I am interested in, and to delve even further into specific educational topics that I can benefit from learning about. One of the advantages about Diigo is that I am able to follow others, which allows me to expand my knowledge in the field. I am currently following professor Heil and some of the followers that he has in his Diigo network. I am following Joel Garcia, Tom Whitby, Susan Glasset, David Warlick, and Tim Heck. I found their profiles to be interesting and the information that they tagged to be very relevant to me as a future educator. These people have experience in the field, and lead the way for an abundance of resources to help me in my career. By following these few, I was able to find more people to follow and expand my PLN, that is forever growing. I also found groups that I was interested in that I chose to follow. The websites that I chose to bookmark were sites that related heavily to building one’s PLN. Two of the three websites discussed how to advance your PLN, and the other website is an educational news website that comes out with the latest information in the educational system. These are all sites that will be very helpful to me on my journey to be an educator.

The digital discussion forum that I decided to join was Classroom 2.0. The video that I watched/listened to was Classroom 2.0 LIVE! This video was really interesting because the topic was Symbaloo Edu, which I have had some experience with. The guest, Pam, was discussing how to be involved in the world of technology. She introduced the idea of Symbaloo and what it means to the other educators. She summarized the idea of Symbaloo really well by saying that it was essentially a mapping of your mind in the world of technology; a digital source that maps out where you have been by showing all your resources. I really enjoyed listening to this video and what the women had to say. They explained everything thoroughly and made the chat enlightening, allowing me to see Symbaloo in a new light.

Journal #6: Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and Five Alternatives) (NETS-T 2 & NETS-T 5)

Journal #6: “Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (And Five Alternatives)
Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives). Retrieved from

In this article, John Spencer addresses the idea that homework is not essential for students to learn material. Spencer is an educator who has not given homework for the last four years of his teaching career; he states that homework can be more harmful than it can be beneficial. He gives the readers ten reasons as to why children should not have homework. He emphasizes that children are busy individuals and do not need to be occupied with school work when they leave school; they need to be active and interact with one another, whether it be through play or extracurricular activities. He also says that homework can demotivate students from school work because it is seen as just a chore rather than learning material. Some parents might also be too busy to help their child with homework, and it becomes a sense of managing the child rather than helping the child learn. Near the end of the article, Spencer gives us five alternatives to homework that he has come up with. This article was very interesting and refreshing to read; it provides a new stance on a topic that has brought many questions over the last few years.

Alternatives to Homework
1.     Have your students engage in a cultural experience within their neighborhood/town and write down how they felt and what they experienced.
2.     Give your students projects where they are passionate about and truly interested in the topic; let them chose a topic that they wish to explore on the Internet and bring the results to class to share.
3.     Have your students volunteer at a place of interest to them (animal shelter, nursing home, food bank, etc.) Let them explore topics and fields of interest.
4.     Encourage your students to have journals in class, where they have free range of things they can write about.
5.     Have students help their parent(s) make a meal for the family. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Journal #5: "Point/Counterpoint: Are Computer Labs Obsolete?" (NETS-T 3)

Parker, J. (2012). Point/counterpoint: Are computer labs obsolete?. Learning and Leading with Technology , 40(1), 12-16. Retrieved from

Summary: This article, titled “Point/Counterpoint: Are Computer Labs Obsolete?” is one that really caught my eye while I was looking at the online articles; it looked very interesting and as though it might pertain to my Ed 422 course in some way. Jessica Parker and Tim Telep, the authors, emphasize both sides of the argument while making note of many valid points for each side. The “Yes” side of the argument discusses the idea that computer labs are old “relics” that do not allow for collaboration and creativity to take place. Parker and Telep make note that there needs to be a shift in the relationship that we have with educational technology; it need to be “revolutionized.” The “No” argument focuses on the idea of lab instruction that is focused on the NETS, while allowing for the use of technology to further the content goals. They also highlight that computer labs offer an array of different learning opportunities that allow for educators to model how important technology is to their students. When instruction is given through the use of technology, in a computer lab, from a teacher who is passionate and knowledgeable in the topic, students are able to acquire valuable knowledge. 

Question #1: Could I see myself incorporating the use of computer labs into my daily instruction as a teacher?

Answer #1: I could most definitely see myself using the computer lab with my students. I am not positive that I could give my full instruction in the computer lab, but I do like the idea of incorporating the computer lab experience to continue my students’ education with technology.

Question #2: Do you believe that the use of technology can be revolutionized in the educational system?

Answer #2: I already believe that this is beginning to happen. Teachers across the world have started to incorporate modern technology to create a relationship with their students in the classroom, teaching the importance of being “tech-savvy.” This has been a huge step and I believe that it will only continue to become more relevant as the years go on in the educational system. 

Journal #4: "Join the Flock" and "Enhance Your Twitter Experience" (NETS-T 4 & 5)

Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock!. Learning and leading with Technology , 37(8), 12-15. Retrieved from

Summary: This journal article, “Join the Flock,” advocates for building a PLN (Professional Learning Network) through the use of the social network called, Twitter. Ferguson addresses the ways in which educators can build such networks to form a community where they interact with one another, discussing lesson plans and even talking about the average day in the classroom. Ferguson demonstrates that twitter can be a great resource for educators and it allows for everyone to participate, even if they aren’t actively doing so. More introverted individuals can view discussions and posts while receiving the benefit of this PLN. Twitter is a readily available source that can allow for educational ideas to flow while educators develop a sense of community amongst themselves. I found this article to be informative and a wonderful resource for educators who want to build a true sense of community within the schooling system. This article advocates for using the modern social networks to transform them into educational learning networks, where educators and those alike can voice their opinions and hold educational forums.

Question #1: Could I see myself using Twitter in my educational career?
Answer #1: Before taking this class, I really had no interest in Twitter. However, after reviewing some of the benefits of Twitter and how to navigate it through the web, I would say that I would like to use this resource. I would like to be able to communicate and share ideas/opinions with people who have the same interests as I do and build a network that way.

McClintock, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience .Learning and Leading with Technology , 37(8), 14-17. Retrieved from

Summary: In the article named “Enhance Your Twitter Experience,” Shannon McClintock demonstrates how one can organize their twitter by sorting through the mass of tweets that are on the web. The twitter account can be set up in an array of ways, utilizing some very interesting tools that can be of aid when setting up one’s preferences. Certain tweets can be separated and put into different columns, depending on the number of interests and groups that you that you might have. This article also highlights the importance of using hash tags to organize your own twitter. These hash tags are a way for you to correspond in the twitter community by making note of topics and things that you find of interest in your tweets. Depending on the tweet, others could chose to follow you and join in on the conversation that might be taking place. The more followers that one might have, the bigger the Professional Learning Network might be. It is a great web-source and allows for many educators to benefit from it.

Question #2: As a future educator, would I advocate for other educators to use Twitter?
Answer #2: I think that any resource that is available to you, is one that should be utilized. Twitter is one resource that is easy to organize and navigate so that you can get the full benefits of being part of a community. I would definitely advocate for the use of Twitter to my colleagues because there is such a large educational dialogue that exists on the “twitter scene.”