Wednesday, December 14, 2011


 My journey through this class has been one of much growth and reflection.  It's crazy to think that this is a Learning and Technology course, when I reflect on what I got out of it.  Yes I did learn, but not only in the context that I had thought I would be when signing up for the class.  And this is a good thing...a great thing!  From the technology standpoint, I have been introduced into various vehicles to do some pretty neat things.  Each and every tool that I have learned about will be a valuable resource for me in my teaching and education endeavors.  From the learning standpoint, I was able to take ownership of my learning, which made it so powerful.  I learned through trial and error, figuring out what I liked and didn't like, forcing myself to be one step outside of my comfort zone, and being challenged to break any preconceived notions.  In addition, I learned a great deal about myself.  Between finding my passion and the whole piece on Dan Pink, I found myself lost in the awe of it.  For me, those two parts of the class had the most impact, as it forced me to stop and really think about who I am and what I'm doing.  It was definitely a breath of fresh air.  When you bundle learning and technology together, that is a powerful phrase.  I have recognized more than ever, the power to technology in one's quest to learn.  It is the way the times are going, and yes I do miss the smell and turning of a page in a book, or speaking to a live body on the phone, but we cannot miss out on this opportunity to take advantages of all these resources.  So I really do feel that as an educator it is important to find ways to use technology within your classroom and more than just in a word processing format.  We need to allow our students to delve into it head first and to get their hands dirty---with monitoring and expectations of course!  But this is how they are going to learn and what they need to learn to be able to be a member of our ever changing society.  So my challenge to myself is to continue using and exploring the tools that we have been introduced to over the course of the semester, and truly make them my own.

In my attempts to be high tech, I needed to revert to some low tech...

Here you go..I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

EC&I 831 Introduction to Connected Learning

The recording of the Introduction to Connected Learning was great to watch and listen to now.  I think it is more beneficial now than it would have been at the beginning of our course.  It is cool to see how that a class halfway around the world is quite similar to ours here in San Diego.  Though methods may be slightly different, the end result is the same.  It is also reassuring to see his students have the same concerns with creating their PLN as we all did in the beginning of the course as well.  Blogs, Twitter...Yikes! Ha.  I also appreciated how he took the time to explain the openness of the course.  This has been something I have been struggling with since watching the recording of Social Media, Networked Learning and Digital Identity.  I had issues with the idea of open education in the sense of who is paying and who is not, but ultimately getting the same information and time.
I like the point he makes about Twitter.  He shares that its not always about what happens during the chat, since a lot of times there is much repetition and lack of depth, but rather the connections that are made for the future.  It gives you the basis to extend your resources and get more information in the future.  Lastly he addresses the idea of sharing. Sharing is what we do as educators.  Sharing things is not giving things away but rather paying things forward.  This is a great concept and makes me much more excited about the idea of an open education.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One step closer in my pursuit

After completing an extensive application, I finally went in for an interview this past Friday, and now I need to wait until mid-January to attend a mandatory training session.  I have decided that I wanted to spend time volunteering with some sort of organization.  I spent time going through what seemed as an endless list of organizations, but finally found one that seemed to suit me--ARTS: A Reason To Survive.  This organization encompasses all my passions: children, social justice, and art.  Thanks to this class, I was able to hone in on these passions.  The selfish side of me is thinking that I am going to benefit from volunteering because I will be able to spend time with children and do arts myself.  So needless to say I am excited for my training in January.   I cannot wait to get involved spending time doing what I love. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Observation: Innovation Middle

Innovation Middle, or iMiddle as all the cool people call it, is a STEM magnet school.  Currently the school only serves grades seven and eight.  The school's curriculum functions around the concept of one laptop per child.  Each student is assigned a laptop to which they are responsible for and required to bring it to each class.  The school has wireless internet for students to access while on campus and prepaid AT&T 3G for off campus use. 

What I have observed:
1.  Each student is required to bring their laptop charged to every class.  Part of their homework to to charge their computer.  If they come to class too many times without their laptop charged or come without their laptop, they get lunch detention.
2.  Students put projects together via powerpoint, word, prezi, and glogster.
3.  Active Engaged is used for review.  I have seen it used in two forms.  The first being the questions with the choices are posted on the Promethean Board while the corresponding letters are on the student laptops.  The students choose a letter and the responses are graphed so that there can be immediate feedback.  The second way is through individual pacing.  Questions and responses are posted on student computers.  Students are able to answer in their own time and only can move to the next question after choosing the correct answer.  While all this is happening, each students progress is sent to the teachers computer.  With both these uses, the program puts everything into an spreadsheet.  It breaks up results in multiple formats so that the teacher may analyze data in various ways.
4.  Document camera proves to be invaluable, especially in a science classroom.  It makes what is going on up front accessible to all students in the classroom.  Students are able to easily see from any place in the room.
5.  All resources for students are posted on moodle.
6.  Students are able to keep track of their grades via the internet.
7.  Teachers are able to monitor students via their computer.  Each student screen is displayed on their computer screen.  They can even send messages and take control.
8.  In some classrooms, teachers are using the idea of a flipped classroom.  They create videos that teach students the content for homework.  The teaching is taking place at home.  They are then using the time in the classroom to spend time answering questions and working individually with students.

I definitely think that it is amazing that every student is able to have a laptop.  I am pretty sure my family didn't even have a computer in the house when I was their age.  I am glad that students are being exposed to technology at a much younger age as it is an invaluable tool.  The unfortunate thing I notice is the time it takes to set up the laptops.  In my opinion so much time is wasted because teachers are waiting for laptops to be turned on or to join the Active Engage session.  In addition technology is great when it is working, but there are times when it does not run smoothly.  In some cases, teachers become so dependent on the use of technology that they do not have contingency plans or know what to do when technology fails.  However, the capabilities of what teachers and students can do because of the accessibility of technology is impressive.  It sure beats going to the computer lab and practicing typing on the computers with the green screens and floppy disk.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Disruptive Innovation

So I am trying this whole blogging thing from my phone since I do not have my laptop with me. Lets see how this goes....

In my own words disruptive innovation is when there is a prexisting concept, vehicle, company, etc., and a new one comes in and is more accessible. For me, more accessible would be the word that describes the disruptor. The disruptee, thing which is being disrupted, can sometimes be for an elite group of people while the disruptor, the thing which is doing the disrupting, is for the general public. For example, a college or university is a disruptee because not everyone can afford it or get in. A community college would be its disruptor because it is cheaper and accepts a much broader audience. Another example would be blockbuster and redbox. Blockbuster would be the disruptee and redbox would be the disruptor. Redbox is cheap, at convenient locations (such as a grocery store where you need to go anyway) and for anyone who wants to rent. On the other hand blockbuster was for members and rental prices were higher.

So this is my nutshell understanding of disruptive innovation. And I must say though blogging on my phone is convenient, it would not be my first choice. Oh! Come to think of it, smartphones could be the disruptor of laptops!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Going beyond the lurking....

So I finally was able to go beyond my lurking of the educational chats on twitter.  Up until this point I have been an observer, rather than in there tweeting away.  I am still not at the point of being completely confident--definitely still trying to keep up and figure out how to figure out what I want to say in 140 characters.  In today's #ntchat, I actually found myself laughing at myself because I would read and reread a tweet when there were abbreviations.  Took me longer to get what people were saying than I had hoped.  Definitely entertaining.  It was nice and comforting to see Annie present in the chat too.  Today's topic was about principals and their roles with their staff.  I found it hard to think of things because I personally have not had much more than a surface level relationship with the principals at the schools that I have been assigned to in my learning to be a teacher endeavor.  However, I tried to think back on the principals I have had as a student, along with what I personally would like out of an administration teacher relationship.  All in all, things were said that I hope I remember to take into consideration when I get a teaching job. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Beyond Innovation Week

I took a much needed trip to see friends from college and camp (yes I went to summer camp...just think Parent Trap) this weekend.  I have not seen one of them since I graduated a little over 2 years ago.  It was way too long!  This great reunion with my forever friends led me to Boston.  What I loved the most was just being able to hang out as though no time has passed.  It is so refreshing to be surrounded by people who just get you, but also aren't afraid to keep you accountable.  Other than a lovely time with friends, wandering aimlessly through the city (I do know my way around the city, so its not as though I got lost), and a freak snow storm, I READ!  That is one thing and possibly the only thing about being in airports and on airplanes.  It's the opportunity for me to read.  As I sat in the terminal in Boston waiting for my first flight, I perused the kindle store and ended up purchasing three books...all under $5 total.  That's a steal if you ask me.  I thought I was being overzealous after I made the purchase, but I proved myself wrong as I ended up somewhere in the third book before falling asleep on my second flight.  So I guess its a good thing I got three.  I must admit I do have a problem when it comes to purchasing books.  I noticed when in a bookstore I cannot just buy one book.  So if I am not prepared to spend money on more than one book, I need to restrain myself and not get anything.  It's all or nothing.  Ha.  And having a kindle makes purchasing a book so much easier.  I just have to push a button and not see the immediate exchange of money.  So I guess the moral of the story is that I need to travel more so that I will read more. Wouldn't that be great?!