Final learning log post!

What have I learned this past semester (8 weeks)?  Plenty.  

I hadn’t ever considered creating a classroom blog or page.  Well, no I take that back.  I had considered it.  But never seriously considered it.  Why?  Because I was afraid of creating a digital space could be considered as infringing on the privacy of my students and I hated the idea of leaving a digital footprint.  I would have thought that a classroom page would be considered a thing that parents would freak out over if I ever posted about what students were working on in class, pictures, etc.  I guess I’m paranoid.  But the way I see it now, having a properly maintained page or blog is a positive thing.  It reaches out to the community.  It shows parents what we are doing in class and shows how technology can be used in a positive way.

I was also concurrently taking Library Administration this fall and one thing that kept coming up in class was advocacy.  As librarians we have to take our futures into our own hands and show how effective and important we are to the students, teachers, and community.  Having something like a blog could be a simple and amazing way to show stakeholders what makes our program so vital to the school.  It is also a place where students can show their work.  

I’m also thankful to have found more technology that I can use in the classroom/library.  I had never heard of Voicethread, Screencasts, or half of the digital storytelling tools we examined in this class.  I had only ever heard of Photostory – seriously, that’s all.  I had heard talk of wikis but never actually saw one.  It’s pretty cool now to think that I have the ability to create whole pages were students could collaborate on projects, effectively taking their level of Bloom’s from the most basic recognizing  and interpreting up to comparing, hypothesizing, and constructing.  In one assignment, their digital literacy could be increased, their imaginations stretched, and their ability to work with others tested and grown.  How cool is that?  

I’ve also been considering how my lack of digital footprint could be a serious negative.  As a future librarian I will have to have a certain level of technology understanding and how can I show that if I don’t have a digital footprint?  I’ve since googled myself and found my blog (here) and my Twitter account.  I haven’t found much else yet but maybe I need to branch out and try searching my name in Yahoo and other sites.  Or maybe I just need to keep up with my accounts that I have started and build myself a technology base that show my proficiency and dedication to digital growth even if one can’t find me through a search.  I’ll just have to post a collection of my digital sites and spaces maybe on a professional page such as LinkedIn or maybe actually create my own page like where my footprint can be followed.  

Either way, I will be able to show that I am growing, learning, and taking on new technology.  And that I understand where our future is headed and am preparing myself for that future.  


Module 4 learning log post

As I was sitting here thinking of what I would post in my final learning log, I was also scouring my educational blogs looking for some inspiration (hey, it’s been a rough week).  I found this article:

The article is called “Create Media Sandboxes for your Family and Classroom”.  This article really jumped out at me because it discusses how, if we are to encourage digital literacy in our homes and classrooms, we must create ‘sandboxes’ for our kids and students to play around with technology – learn, play, promote, and grow.  I hadn’t heard the term sandbox being used to describe such a place in the digital sense but it seemed so appropriate when I thought about it.  The poster, a father and Sunday school teacher, says “If we don’t play with media, we’re not going to get comfortable communicating with it and we’re certainly not going to master its use for learning inside and outside the classroom”.  

To “play with media” he refers to creating Youtube, Vimeo, and Google accounts to build channels for his students and kids to create and post videos.  He encourages using iApps of various sorts (which I’m not really familiar with since I don’t have an iPad) to let kids “mess around in the digital sphere” and learn about the various types of digital media that is out there.  

I also was reminded of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy from this past module.  Bloom’s Digital talks about taking the baby steps in digital literacy through social bookmarking, searching/googling and moving up toward blog journaling, followed by uploading, sharing, editing and more.  This article discusses using different apps to encourage kids’ interest and keep them moving forward in their pursuit of technology.  

This was a refreshing article that I thought really brought a real-world approach to encouraging digital learning.  

Module 4 learning log – post #1

As I was reading through the article Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, the following fact jumped out at me:

“Under the Obama administration, education has become an urgent priority driven by two
clear goals:
• We will raise the proportion of college graduates from where it now stands (around
41 percent) so that 60 percent of our population holds a two-year or four-year degree by 2020.
• We will close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready
to succeed in college and careers”  (pg. ix).

I am left wondering, how exactly is this going to happen with all the talk from politicians about cutting education funding?  From all of the major players in the upcoming election cycle, education seems to be at best a second thought and at worst an example of the issues with government regulation.  It seems as if everyone wants to cut education funding.  Yet, there are reports such as this U.S. Department of Education report, Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report From the Study of School-Level Expenditures which states,

“Within districts that had both Title I and non-Title I schools, more than 40 percent of Title I schools had lower personnel expenditures per pupil than did non-Title I schools at the same school grade level. Similarly, more than one-third of higher-poverty schools had lower per-pupil personnel expenditures than lower-poverty schools in their districts. In addition, between 39 to 47 percent of Title I districts had lower per-pupil expenditures in their Title I schools than in their non-Title I schools at the same grade level.”

Full report below:

So my question is, how much more are we going to cut?  If we are so willing to divide up resources unequally and cut funding more, then our schools are going to suffer even more than they already do.  How are the goals above ever going to be met?  We can’t raise our two-year and four-year degree numbers if we are continuously flushing primary and secondary education down the toilet.  It isn’t possible!

I think we need to be spending more on education, not less.  And we need more options – more charter schools, smaller classes with solid teachers, better resources, and simply more attention to our children’s education at home.

Module 3 learning log post – a small rant

I’ve only been on Twitter few a short while but I have already had THREE porn sites follow me.  At first they look normal, nice profile pic, a few average (innocent) tweets, but then I click on the profile and BAM there’s a link to ‘gangbang581’ and ‘naturallove324′.  Make me freakin’ vomit.  Anyway, after blocking these super special followers, I have had to sit back and really think about this.  I do not, do not, DO NOT want anybody from my professional world to check to see who is following me and find that I am followed by porn sites.  Now granted, I am not following them but still.  This makes me really uncomfortable.  And more than a little angry.  I don’t want my digital footprint to be muddy tracks.  Even if they are not entirely within the scope of my control.  😦

Module 3 learning log – thoughts on cursive in this digital world

My son, who is 10, complained this morning because he doesn’t understand why we have to learn cursive.  He said that it looks like “meaningless spaghetti”.  Mentioning the print letters on his Facebook page, in books, and the Yahoo page in front of me during our conversation, he said it didn’t make sense to learn another script that we don’t ever use.  I agreed – it doesn’t make much sense because cursive is becoming pretty obsolete.  Unless we are signing official documents, when do we ever use cursive in our daily lives?  

Once upon a time our correspondences to family, friends, and so on were in cursive while our books and newspapers were in print.  But those days of writing hand-written letters are mostly gone.  Can anyone argue otherwise?  The majority of our correspondences and communication are electronic in nature – text, email, social media like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and Myspace.  Unless one specifically chooses a cursive font for email (such as Blackadder or Edwardian Script) the default fonts will usually be Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Courier New – all print. 

It seems strange that in just my lifetime cursive has become almost obsolete.  Yet with the rise of email and now social media, it seems natural that cursive would be killed off.  It makes me wonder if, in my son’s lifetime, cursive will be extinct entirely.  With the future of digital technology will we even need hand-written signatures?  Passwords, codes, and maybe one day bio-technology will make it seem tedious and unnecessary to actually use your hand to sign a document. 

Any thoughts from this blogs followers???

Module 3 Learning Log – Goodreads

I enjoyed Goodreads so much I went and applied for Librarian status!  And I got it!!!  I’m now a Librarian on Goodreads!  Hooray for me!  Ahem, okay, excitement is over.  For a moment, at least.

I would use Goodreads as part of my Librarianship at a school to review and recommend books for students and teachers alike.  I think Goodreads would also be a great conversation starter.  “So Student, I just read this really great book.  It’s called XXXXXX.  Have you heard of it?  I put it on my Goodreads shelf along with other books that are similar.  If you like this book, you might like some of the others I’ve picked.  Go check it out and tell me what you think.”

Goodreads could be used as a project for English class, extra credit assignment, or as part of a reading promotion activity.  Having students create their own shelves, read, and rate/review books could be fun.  It would be interesting to see how kids read according to their interests and see what they have to say about the books they’ve read.  I could have a reading promotion contest to see how many books students could read and review/rate within a period of time.  Or maybe have a book club in which students review and recommend books to their peers through their shelves.  They could promote a book a week or a book a month through TV news, morning announcements, or on the school’s library website.  These could be fun projects to do with students that wouldn’t involve lots of time or money (esp. if the books they read they get through libraries – school & public).  Parents could get involved as well.  They could create their own shelves and recommendations.

Even just having a link to the librarian’s bookshelf on the school or library website would be important for the intrinsic reading promotion it would have.

I’m sure with enough time I could think of more to do with Goodreads.  For now though, if you would like more information, check out the button on my blog page or click on the link below.  I have several shelves to look through – Read, To Read, Favorites, Currently Reading, and one on European History as part of a unit of study.  The European History bookshelf is books that I would be great supplements to curriculum or perfect for students to find additional information on their own.  Or maybe just read more about a time period, place, person, or event in Europe’s history that interests them.