Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"re-inventing the wheel"

I know that NOT re-inventing the wheel is easy, convenient and fast but it can also be good to start from scratch. I am learning this in teaching these computer courses this year. I know that I have lots of available resources and for the most part I am using them to the fullest extent, but I am also very much aware of the fact that for me to learn - even if it's along with the students - that I need to start from scratch and be my own teacher first. I need to do this in order to troubleshoot, and understand my own students frustrations. Any of the new programs (for me) that I am teaching come with a whole set of issues and confusions that I am well aware that I must encounter first on my own before setting foot inside my classroom to teach it. Many times people come unprepared to face challenges but I have been trying to meet mine with a bag-full of knowledge and experience. This is not to say that since I do re-invent the wheel, that I think it is a bad thing if you do not re-invent the wheel.

For example, take a web-based resource such as central-i-school; a wonderful resource that has many valuable, easy to use and incorporate lesson and unit plans that are ready for use at the click of a mouse. I use it, and I know many other teachers that use it. This is not to say that we cannot make our own lessons and units for our subjects/classes, but that not re-inventing the wheel can be a beneficial learning tool for you and your students. If you allow the chance to have more ideas for lessons that can incorporate different learning strategies, instructional strategies, vocabulary, etc. then you are enriching the students experience. No one can believe that their way is the best and only way to reach the students - because we know from reading various books and articles that students do learn better when it is varied, not always the same year to year, unit to unit and lesson to lesson. Allowing others ideas to be utilized is not a weakness but an inner strength to say 'I do not know it all, and I am willing to recieve the help to make my students learn and succeed more'.

I encourage you all to try new ideas, whether it be your own, a colleagues, a parents, a students or any other way you may recieve this idea. This is what being a life-long learner is all about!

Monday, December 03, 2007

more YouTube

Check out this Youtube video

It is about a teacher out in Newfoundland and Labrador who is teaching a music class over the internet. an "e-class". VERY COOL! watch it and see what he does, what he thinks of it and why he thinks it should be done.....


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Issues resolved and how to be successful

I always know that once I put my mind to it that I can accomplish anything. In speaking of this, I have figured out what my issues were with my program of frustrations. I did my research, contacted my resources and we have finally found the answers. It makes me happy to have figured out the issues. It may not have been super quick but they are figured out!

Ensuring students feel successful when working with technology will help them learn new things much better than continuously failing and being frustrated with it. Now that theses issues have been worked through, the students will feel successful and begin to understand that not all computer programs are straight forward and that there is a lot of troubleshooting that will have to be dealt with. But by giving them the right tools, and learning along with them, it shows that every person needs to deal with it, it is normal to encounter problems and if you work together as a collective, then a lot more can be accomplished.

Asking for help when confused or frustrated is the best learning tool you will ever use. Sharing your own knowledge and learning from others is how the world works. If we can teach our students these fundamental abilities then they will go far.

Friday, November 23, 2007

UGH! Issues!!!!

I am new at teaching computers this year, and I am finding my way through the best I can. Except on days such as today.....

Today in my IP 10 class:
We are working on MS Access, learning databases - queries, forms, tables, etc. and my students are having a very difficult time getting their heads around what it all means, how to enter info. properly and just generally how to troubleshoot issues.
BUT I am also having the same difficulties along with them. Their frustrations are my frustrations, even more likely. I feel as though I should be able to work through it all and be successful, making them successful. I am having issues with printing; where their information is being saved; what view they are typing it all in; and generally just the students own frustrations!

It is not only those technologically illiterate people that have issues with computers, teaching with computers and all of it, but those of us that are beginners, or even intermediate teachers in this area. I know my issues are not just happening or have only happened to me, but the frustrations you feel in a computer lab with students looking at you for answers when you are flabergasted and are not sure where to go from that point, it makes it hard to push forward in that assignment. I have done all assignments I give them on my own before hand, ensuring I can play through all the "bugs" before I give them the assignment, but once they start doing the assignment, then there are more issues than successes! Following directions may be part of it, but definitally not all of it.

I know this is a rant but I wanted to put it out there as a "I know how you feel..." for those of us that still struggle from time to time with certain programs, assignments and issues dealing with computers and technology.

It will all be fine. It will get figured out. And until that time I will push forward, laughing at the situation because I truly believe that if you cannot find a bright side to a situation, then there is only darkess in your life and you will forever not crawl out of that hole.

So good luck and happy troubleshooting to those that are on my level or having my kind of day I experienced today!
Remember to always smile and laugh at yourself - it will make you feel better!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Take a look at Gary Ball's blog post. it is a comment on another person's blog, but his commentary is insightful for us "techies":
What a wonderful post! I totally agree. I agree that it would work well with your own children. I also agree with knowing that corporate emails and web history is never fully hidden and can be viewed by practically anyone, so it is a good thing to be conscience of what your putting out there.

What do you think?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why we should teach USING technology

I was playing around on YouTube tonight, and did I ever find what sums up what we are here to do as teachers in todays society....
This relates directly to my last few blogs, and I plan to make sure all my staff sees this video.
Maybe if all teachers can see the relevance, then they will not be so reluctant to be part of it...


A few videos...

A couple things for you to ponder - For those who have seen this at any meetings or at any other time, I appologize for being repetitive.
As for those who have never seen? Check it out.

an interesting video.....
The Web is Us/ing us.

For those of you who feel this way....I do not blame you.....
Learn the Book - humorous video (Medieval Helpdesk)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What should we move towards?

Technology education is typically left up to a select few who have an interest in it. But the idea behind this whole system is to encourage and help build abilities and skills in technology so our classroom teaching can be integrated with technology. This will allow our students the chance to succeed in the society they are soon to enter, which is exremely technology based. The areas of the work force that do not require much technology are likely in the future going to be moving towards integrating technology.

Therefore, we need to start the students off at a young age to develop skills in computers and technology so that once they get to middle years and high school, they will have a strong basis to build from and the depth of technology teaching can be done in a variety of specific areas and not just an overview of a couple areas. Students could learn from programs that would specifically apply to them and their job futures.

I know it's a heafty task but I believe that this is where we as a society and as a school system need to move towards. I think that if we could accomplish even a fraction of these things that our students will have a much more higher rate of success after graduation by recieving the higher wages, better jobs and leading happier, more fulfilled lives.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Digital video, Digital image makers, etc.

Today my IP 10's were given time to browse many of the image manipulation, image building and video applications that are free on the internet. They found slideshows and music players and many other interesting items that they are able to use and create different things to input on their websites. The personal use of these applications was appealing to them as well. Being able to have time to check out a variety of tools available on the web was a novel thing for them and they had not been able to do much of that in previous years (or so they tell me!), which made them really excited to be allowed the time to play around and create some neat items in which they can be used for things not only in computer class. Presentations, home use and portfolios are just a few other things that these applications can be used for.

Some of the websites they explored today were: Image chef, Animoto, Flickr, Flixin, Image generator, and Slide, just to name a few.

Teaching the students to use them properly and safely is key. So let them explore, but make sure to set down ground rules first!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I am glad to see some people have taken the time to check out this blog. Posting comments can help both me and you, so I really encourage you to do that as often as you can.

On another note:
Kids these days seem so much more technologically literate than we are. Even myself being as up to date as I am, I still find students figuring out answers to questions that I have no clue how to answer! My IP10 class is making websites and there have been a few times that I have been shown up by a couple of my technical students :-) which is great! I am glad to see them excelling beyond my own abilities. That is what it's all about!

If we can allow them to utilize and grow with the technology that is out there, then I believe they will be much more successful in the future when they enter the workforce, start their own business, or wherever they may go after high school.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Internet Search Engines

The other day I was observing my students trying to research for a report in computer class, and noticed that their instantaneous response to searching for information was Google. It was as though that was "the all mighty", as though there were no other search engine that they could utilize and find credible information from!

The thing about Google - I mean don't get me wrong, I use it, too - is that the first ones highest up on the list of websites when you look up something is typically a company that has paid lots of money in order to be the top one on the list! Therefore, not making it the most credible but the most looked at because of money contributed to the company Google!

So lets encourage our students to look beyond Google, not forget it, but have more search engines available for their uses.

More Search Engines:

They are not limited to these of course, and if you have your own you use then please post a comment on here to add to my list.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The beginning...

Hello everyone!

This is going to be a beginning of a beautiful partnership. We will work together by composing, compiling and sharing information. I will be the medium between technology and you. Feel free to ask questions and post comments.

"No question is a stupid question"