Blogging in the middle school classroom

Finally, I created class blogs using classpress.com.  It was an excellent learning experience.  Our students are so…. knowledgeable because they have used FaceBook and MySpace, I don’t have to tell them much.  However, I did find that I had to make rules for classroom use and visiting video sites, etc.   I created a contract that the students had to sign.  It went over very well.

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Back with more

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to post to my blog. I’ve taken a graduate networking class since my last post. It was perhaps one of the most useful classes that I’ve taken so far. I did a long report on the advantages and disadvantages of Bluetooth. One of my friends recently bought a new Acura with Bluetooth capabilities. She said, she was going to have to go buy a Bluetooth cell phone. Hee, hee!! Goes to show how little the average citizen knows about Bluetooth. Bluetooth is simply a short range wireless network. It was a satisfying experience to be able to educate my friend as I know that she’s a person who uses e-mail sparingly and uses the Internet to make hotel and travel arrangements. The problem with being older is that, unless you use a computer for employment or are a person who is naturally inquisitive about the latest and greatest technologies, you can’t possibly keep up with the ever changing technology. It makes me so glad that I’m in graduate school and never seem to stop learning.

I’m now taking a statistics course. But it has a new twist. It’s geared toward the everyday use of statistics in standardized testing. I took a statistics course in another graduate program that was all mathematics. We never used it to actually interpret test scores, which is what we use statistics for in education. If you haven’t explored using EXCEL with statistics, DO! It’s great!!

I’ll add more later, after I’ve struggled through the statistics course. Learning is not always fun, but having learned it fun. That’s why I’ll never look at students as our customers using the business model of education. Customer satisfaction is NOT guaranteed in education.

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A Podcast Review

I found a great educational podcasting site at Education Podcasting Network. This site is a compilation of podcasts subscribed to and contributed to by educators dedicated to using technology. I listened to a podcast by James Basore, a Senior Instructional Designer at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California. Mr. Basore has just recently begun podcasting.  He is creating a podcast diary of setting up Moodle. He has found that the online discussion community has been a tremendous help with his Moodle self-education.

Mr. Basore goes on to describe his endeavors to setup a video lecture hall on a limited budget in which speakers can present and record their lectures both as podcasts and as videos as easily as if they were using PowerPoint, etc. He plans to broadcast further podcasts to the community at large and to call upon the online discussion community to help with the development of this new lab at Golden Gate.  Mr. Basore’s podcast is a great example of how to use social network at all levels of education.

In researching this posting further, I found some other obvious uses for podcasting in education. ESL educators are embracing podcasting with open arms. They can use podcasts to prepare lessons for students in advance to address their individual needs. As most educators know, English as a Second Language classrooms often have students that speak a variety of languages. A teacher can create lessons in several languages or modify an English lesson for each student and podcast it for delivery at school or at home. An excellent site for reviewing podcasting in the ESL classroom is compiled at the ESL Podcasting Project Information.

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Faith in the American Spirit

Using Technology to Address StudentsI know that my blogs are often negative about the direction that education is headed in America due to “No Child Left Behind” and the over-emphasis of standardized testing.  However, I am also hopeful that the pendulum will turn and educators will get back to the business of educating.  I believe the answer to reaching our students is to address their learning styles through computers and technology.  I have great faith in the American spirit as long as we keep our freedom to make choices.

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Stupid in America video

Are the students getting stupider in America?  My husband is a professor of chemistry.  Over the past four years, the averages on his test have gone down markedly.  The only common thread that he can find is “No Child Left Behind” and the over-emphasis on standardized testing.  Please view the following video to see what you think.   .

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G-Cast podcasting example

Check this site out to hear my podcast from G-Cast audio.

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Is keyboarding a dead skill

KeyboardOur school is constantly trying to find ways to cut costs. We are planning two new middle schools that should be occupied by Fall 2008. We have gravitated from desktops to laptops on carts. As anyone trained on a keyboarder will tell you, laptops are not easy to type on. Further, the arms are in an uncomfortable position and usually at table height rather than four to six inches lower than a table. When our IT team got together to discuss this problem, we were told that laptops will at some point in the future be replaced by hand-held computers that the students will text-message on. Now I know that I may be a little old-fashioned, but I visual the future generation of carpal tunnel sufferers. My question is this, can we or should be totally eliminate a keyboard attached to a computer??

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