Wow, the end of the year certainly has come on strong for me. Especially since this is my first year teaching third grade in my school. In the upcoming weeks I will be taking numerous professional development courses and I look forward to sharing some of the new tidbits of edtech information I have learned. Also I would like to start sharing some of the resources I use in my lesson planning and implementation. One I can mentioned right now, on the fly, is Audacity and Podsafeaudio. I have been developing with my students an end of the year memory podcast, and their enthusiasm is through the roof. More details to come later…for now I am off to get some soft serve ice cream for the family!

Pretty cool video from the folks at Popular Mechanics. I wonder where this technology will be in 10 years?

Popular Mechanics Video

With the end of the school year fast approaching, I am finding myself bogged down with wrapping up projects I have begun with my students over the past few weeks. Hence the lack of updates. Also something pretty unimportant, but exciting for me, was that today I signed up for some summer time technology inservice classes. These classes range from “integration of technology into literacy centers” to “internet safety.” Chances for professional development are something I have craved all year with my school not receiving funding for any professional inservices due to budgetary problems.

Making a connection between technology, training, and sometimes the lack of training, I recall listening to an old episode of GEEK!ED! on which they mentioned the NY Times article (see a counterpoint article here), from a few weeks back, that highlighted a school district giving up on their laptop program. Supposedly this district did not feel that their laptop program was successful enough. Standardized test scores were not rising due to the program and students were misusing the laptops. Brought up by the Geek!ed! crew was the possibility that the teachers, who had students using these laptops, may have received limited training on how to integrate the laptops into their instruction. Possibly there is a need to look at the larger picture of instructional design, not just how to operate the “tool.” I can not recall who said it on the show, but in a clearly frustrated tone, it was mentioned that textbooks certainly aren’t raising scores across the nation so we might as well get rid of them. I am sure Harcourt would love that! Out of all of this, what does the American public see? They see “technology” as being a risky expenditure. I wonder if the NY Times has released an article recently highlighting schools who have been successful with their laptop programs.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

How about that new Microsoft Surface? Saw this first mentioned on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Check out the video, just imagine where this will be in 5-10 years. This could be a table in our room, a board on our wall, and a page in a notebook (digital paper fascinates me). For now the price certainly is too high for me to be putting one (or 20) on the end of the year acquisition form. I can just picture my baby boy in 10 years manipulating a digital puzzle on the back of a cereal box. One year ago I would have said 20 years…but the rate of product development and technological discovery surprises me more and more everyday!

SPECIAL THANKS

Goes out to Dean Shareski from Ideas and Thoughts. He was the first person to comment on my teeny blog, and his encouragement and support is truly appreciated! Thanks Dean!

I have to admit that I am new to the whole discussion on Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. I am not new however to the use of technological tools (I am the Google Generation). I was listening to an older episode of TechPodZone where the discussion led to the evolution of web tools in the classroom over the last few years. Wow, the rate of techvolution (technology evolution) is staggering! I know in my own teacher training the term “Web 2.0″ was never mentioned. The idea of “podcasting” or “blogging” with students… was never encouraged. Keep in mind that I only graduated from college 2 years ago, so in no way am I an authority for classroom instruction and practice. All I am is a teacher looking to my own peers for guidance, and hoping that my abilities can guide them as well. So this causes me to question. With those out there sharing the message of the read/write web, and web 2.0, how can teacher preparation programs keep up with the evolution of the classroom? I believe the drive towards test based initiatives will come to a head with the inquiry driven opportunities of open source technologies and multimedia art tools. How can I (we) overcome and evolve at the rate that industry is retooling and rebooting?

Along with the wonderful discussions and insights I hear from new and old shows on the TechPodZone, I have been reading through and viewing some of the sources from Karl Fisch’s blog, the Fischbowl. His “Did you know?” powerpoint, which has since evolved into numerous creative renditions, has been cited on numerous blogs, and I first heard about the slideshow from Will Richardson at a conference I attended recently. At this same conference, when Will geared his discussion to the use of social networking sites and the familiarity (or lack of) parents and adults have with these sites, I personally was afraid to raise my hand (my fellow teachers already pick on my age enough) when he asked how many people have participated in a social networking site. For the 500 or so people in the audience only 10 people raised their hand. To be honest I have a facebook account, a holdover from my college years. I do not update my facebook account very often, but sometimes I do check back and see where my fellow graduates are now (many in their 4th job since graduating). Just recently I signed up for teachade.com which seems so far to be a professional networking site that is more alive (in a collaborative face to name sort of way) than a traditional “click, submit, and wait” teacher resource drop website. I will have to experiment a little more with the site to see how effective and useful the resources are, but the interest groups and profiles are friendly features which can certainly open the door to collaboration. Time shall tell I guess, I just NEED to keep up with the times…

I have seen this video in numerous blogs and it really had a profound impact on me. The simplicity in the video’s design mixed with the power of the message provoke emotions that can be both unsettling as well as refreshing. A question I have is, how can some of the messages communicated in this video correlate with the technological opportunities within an elementary classroom? If anything, the “digital” interests of our students are clearly prevalent, and there is a richness that technological tools can provide only if used within the right context. A major area of focus, for technology integration, should be the continual availability of professional development and training. Without proper training and encouragement, the investment in technological tools for the classroom can go to waste. It is important to recognize that we are living in an age of self-learning, where sought after information is only a click way. How can we as educators guide and support each other, as life long learners, in connecting the “digital richness” technology provides with the pedagogical knowledge we already have?

Download: Posted by jsdt4 at TeacherTube.com.

    This blog has been created as a way for me to share my own personal insights, discoveries, and questions concerning emergent technologies and how they can be incorporated into today’s K-12 classrooms. Specifically, as an elementary school teacher myself, I seek to discover how the web 2.0 technologies of wikis, blogs, and podcasts can be integrated into elementary settings. Along with this I have an interest in virtual math manipulatives, interactive educational websites, streamed video content (from powermediaplus or united streaming), and the evaluation techniques necessary to seperate content rich technologies from those that can be labeled “edutainment”. Sometimes these “edutainment” websites, videos, or even games rely more on glitz than on educational content. Or in other terms, the “mission” gets disoriented in the “packaging”. Kathy Schrock provides numerous analysis tools for educators to evaluate the content and structure of websites. “The ABC’s of Website Evaluation” is a great article written by Kathy, and another resource of hers that is very useful is the teacher web evaluation form.