This is Only the Beginning

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I have been introduced to blogging prior to this class, but not as in depth. This was the first time I created my own personal online blog using WordPress. It was cool to have the freedom to customize my own page and make it reflect who I am, though remembering to keep it more along the lines of being professional. After trial and error, I began to get the hang of how to upload blogs and comment on others along the way. I learned that adding visual media can enhance and draw a reader’s attention to a post and make it seem exciting and interesting. Blogging is a great way to express yourself and share ideas because essentially, it can be read from almost anyone with access to a computer. This is a great way to obtain social networking. Let’s face it, the job market is harsh out there and the competition is through the roof. It is so important that you let your voice be heard and find that special something that makes you stand out. You never know, one day you can be blogging about a certain topic or sharing an idea that catches the attention from a successful professional who can essentially be that key component to help you become a success as well. One truly doesn’t know until they take a chance and let their voice be heard.

 I think blogging is something that should most certainly be incorporated in an ELA class. It enables students to learn about technology by gaining online abilities and practicing writing skills at the same time. It’s a win/win situation. It can teach them to collaborate and expand their resources by reading other peoples thoughts and having the option to give feedback. Creating a blog is like making a personal portfolio in a sense because it is a reflection of your own persona. Blogging can also be good to use in lessons because teachers can use it as a tool for a discussion about various topics and have the students submit responses for the whole class to see.

After learning about blogging and what it has to offer, I think it is something I will want to continue beyond this class. For educational and career purposes, it can be something that future employers can view and explore. It can also be used as an example or template for my future students for when I have them set up their own blog. Though this is very well my last blog for ENG 307, it is only the beginning of many more blogs to come.

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Get Everyone Involved

In order to be able to connect with others, one must have access to the proper tools in getting their voice heard. The social media is great in this category and there are so many different ways of using it. For teachers, using social media can enable them to talk and remind their students of various works and topics that are mentioned earlier in class. In an article by Lucy Harper, she mentions how popular sites such as twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest can be used for educational purposes.

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

For example, a teacher can set up a class page on Facebook for all of his or her students to see. The teacher can post reminders or assignments online and can also receive any questions or comments regarding any work. Students can communicate and discuss various topics through this page which can then essentially turn into a class chat via social media. This can help parents to get more involved because it allows them to view the work that their child is supposed to be doing. The article also mentions how Twitter can be a quick and sufficient way for parents to be reminded that their child has an assignment due the very next day or needs to bring something in for a lesson. Since twitter only allows 140 characters, it is a simple and direct message that is too the point and can be very helpful for busy families. Websites like these permits extending communication among teachers, students, and parents. This can very well help the overall flow of the class and can help children to stay on task with homework and other projects or assignments. Instead of only having a class during the day, it can branch out after hours and benefit the lives of students. Staying up to date and talking and communicating with one another is only a click away and can save a lot of time and confusion in the long run.

For more info about the benefits of social media, check out this article http://edudemic.com/2013/04/improve-school-communication-using-social-media/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

It’s All Fun and Games…

Studying? Where’s the fun in that? If you are an individual who says they enjoy spending countless hours in the library studying their brains out for a big exam, then you are clearly not human. The stress, agony, and pressure can be very overwhelming at times. When I was at the library the other night, I kept finding myself dozing off in space, wishing there was a better way of going about this. Perhaps there can be.  With all the technology and programs that it has to offer, I feel like game based learning should not only be used for younger grade levels but also for high school.

As mentioned by Andrew Miller In an article in Edutopia, he states “Teachers are the designers of all the components of the learning environment for students, from the management to the assessment.” If teachers use technology and learn how to create their own review game for a particular lesson, it can be very helpful for students, not to mention enjoyable. Not everything can be all fun and games, but it can definitely add some color and livelihood to the curriculum. Educators need to branch out from traditional study guides that are pages in length and hard to follow along. If students are to play a game or interact in an activity, they can collaborate and work together as a team to compete and figure out answers to questions and so on… With the use of technology, Game based learning can also be helpful for students who are more visual because of its use of digital media. They can understand material better when they have something to look at. In the article, Game- Based Learning Units for the Everyday Teacher, it stresses how it allows the student to take a risk without being penalized. Since it is only for practice, it enables trial and error and being able to try over again until you get it right. It’s all fun and games until you get a bad test grade back, but if you play your cards right, you might come out on top of the class.

For more  about this, check out the full article:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/video-game-model-unit-andrew-miller

Personal Learning Networks

In class this week, we are being introduced to Personal Learning Networks and learning what the buzz is all about. From what I got so far, it seems like a great tool. It is an online network that allows teachers and colleagues to come together to discuss new ideas and skills that they use in the classroom. It enables teachers from all over the world to have a say of what may or may not work when trying to be an effective teacher. With just a click of a button, thousands of resources and materials are at the palm of your hand. It is easier to come across while trying to balance busy schedules. This can very well take the place of the traditional professional development and can be of greater use. Rather than having to set up a time and place, you can explore and view the sites at your own leisure.  It is fast and simple and is something that everyone should try out.

Since not all teachers are tech savvy, it is important that we spread the world and recommend others to give it a shot. With just a little time and effort in the beginning, it can make one’s life much easier and helpful for their career. It is a great way to go beyond your horizons and learn valuable information in the process from other individuals in the same field.

In the article Teaching Village, it explains the gist of what a Personal Learning Network is and how it has become the new age of technology and the teaching world. As Barbara Sakamoto mentions in the article, “The teachers in my Personal Learning Network are some of the best friends I’ll never meet.”  I very well see myself joining one of these in the near future and hope to converse with others and continue to learn and be inspired. For more information check out this article http://www.teachingvillage.org/2012/01/03/what-is-a-pln-anyway/

307.1 ENG Hit The Lights

When I first read that we were going to have to create a twenty minute radio show, my jaw nearly dropped. Right then and there I knew I was in way over my head. Being that we were assigned partners, it definitely helped. It allowed us to brainstorm and collaborate on different ideas of what we wanted to talk about. I am still not up to date on various technologies, especially when it comes to Mac’s so it was great that my partner knew a thing or two about it. The first thing that was tough was let alone listening and accepting my own voice. I was convinced that I sounded like a man. We wanted to create a show that people can relate and have an interest in, so we decided to broadcast about the blackout that happened on campus. Once our topic was figured out, everything started to fall into place. We had to be creative and not afraid to step out of our comfort zones. Our group was timid at first and dreaded talking out loud and recording. But once we warmed up to the idea, we had fun with it and made the best of the situation. We loosened up and had some good laughs throughout. But not everything is all fun and games.

Once we thought we were almost done, we unexpectedly ran into some technical difficulties. Go figure. This very well tested our patience and willingness to not give up. Everything just seemed to be going wrong and not in our favor. It was very time consuming and overwhelming. Even when we had all the materials in order and knew what we were going to say, putting it together piece by piece was very tedious and annoying for lack of better terms. But all in all, we came out on top and can proudly say that we accomplished out goal. Our show turned out to be better than we anticipated. It was a learning experience that I will never forget. Creating a radio show takes hard work but when you get to sit back and listen to your accomplishment, it makes it all worth it in the end.  Check it out!

https://soundcloud.com/jenpetrosino/hit-the-lights-radio-show

But Why?!

            We need to break the barrier between school and the real world. Schools need to focus not only on learning certain topics, but how to incorporate it and use it to our advantage. In order to see a change of attitude and have teachers make a switch into using technology in the class to help reach that goal, they need to be aware of WHY it is so stressed upon. You can’t expect someone to do something unless there’s a good explanation behind it. Technology is the future, better yet, right now and we should embrace it and take hold of it. In an article by Edutopia Staff, they explain the reasons of integrating technology in classes. It is stated, “In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.” All of these skills will help prepare students in the future as they start their journey into the work force. Technology these days is such a buzz and no matter where you are, someone is taking about it. We need to be aware that there is a good justification to this subject and that it can really make a difference in a student’s educational experience. So before you think negatively about technology, sit back and think about all the potentials that it holds. They possibilities are endless!
 
check out the article for additional information!              
http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

Not Just Any Table, But a Smart Table

             The smart table is one of the newest technologies out there for the classroom. It is a table that allows up to eight students to be interactive at the same time through multimedia interaction. It has touch screen, 360 degree rotation, can sync to the teachers smart board, and is even scratch and spill proof.  It allows students to come together and collaborate through media and work together while learning at the same time. Teachers can pick and choose what they will like to display on the table through its software.

It has yet to enter classrooms because it is still very new, but I think this is a very cool thing without a doubt. Being able to create a work station for students through technology and allowing them to discuss and work together is a very good skill to have. This can change the way a class functions by instead of the teacher being the center of attention, the students alone are in charge and work accordingly. This can help kids become more interested in various lessons because they have images and pictures to work with, rather than the basic pen and paper. This is another big step for schools and hopefully we will be seeing them in classrooms sooner than later. For more information and what the smart table can do, check out this link!

http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/02/04/smart-technologies-intros-collaborative-learning-center.aspx