Thursday, July 16

The things I'll do for a grade

Over the course of this class I have learned to use jing a screen capture video program. My first try at this is located here. I have also tried my hand at uploading video to youtube. If you can stomach it click here for the link. But wait there is more. Podcasting is another web service I have tried. I have posted this to teachertube. Follow this link to find it.

Thursday, July 2

Photosharing

How could I use photo sharing in the classroom? At first I thought I would not use it, why because I have power point and any picture I would use I could have on my power point presentation. Not only would I have the picture but I would have a place for notes, could print that out, and give it to the students. But wait, Picasa has dropped onto my lap(top) what can I do with it? Use pictures with notes? sure Because it has a place for tags and comments. Wow just like a power point presentation. I realized that everything I have been doing on my wiki and blog has to do with documenting places I have been and their contribution to history. Well I can’t see the whole world so why not let the world help me out. The people of the world can post their pictures and I can borrow them as required. And guess what I save time by not having to print them out. They are on the World Wide Web. Second bonus, they do not take up space on my hard drive like a power point presentation would.
Most kids I have seen have cell phones with some kind of web access. Now I realize homework is homework, but just think what the resourceful student would do—on the bus ride home access the web, look at the pictures take in what needs to be done and voila one assignment done. I know some of you are thing yeah right when Hell freezes over, but guess what I have been to Hell when it was frozen over; Hell Norway that is.

Sunday, June 28

Two points on Hagadon

Steve Hargadon makes six valid points when it come to social networking. I would like to comment on two of these. Hargadon’s points that I want to discuss are “you really don’t know what social networking sites you create will take off of succeed” and a network must fulfill some compelling need(s).”
The first one I would like to discuss is must fulfill some need. As with any new concept or idea for people to want to use it must fulfill a need. The social networking site is no different. The major question that I would have is why would I want to use this? As an educator I can think of many needs that would be fulfilled. It is a ready source for finding missed assignments, a place to discuss points in an impersonal manner and a link to the World Wide Web making research much easier. But how does it fulfill the needs of the student. In some ways it fulfills the same needs as the teacher, but is that enough? How can you really know if you have met their needs?
Which brings us to the second point how do you know if your site will succeed? You really don’t know what will succeed or not but in a society where “failure is free” it does not hurt to try it out. Like the old adage nothing ventured, nothing gained. The same holds true for the use of social networks in the classroom. How do you know what will succeed? Does a teacher invest the time to attempt a network that may or may not fulfill the needs of his/her students? The only way to find out whether or not it will work is to try it. The teacher must think of this way if it fails no biggie, but if it succeeds then it was well worth the trouble.
A good teacher finds the common denominator between his class and the information and learning objectives he wants to project. When it comes to web 2.0 and social networking sites more questions seem to be asked than answered, but if the heart is in it, go for it because you never know what will succeed.

Social network Yahoo 360

Social networks Yahoo 360
Yahoo 360 began as a social networking site in March 2005. This service offered blogs, photo sharing and social networking. Its aim was to connect worldwide users over 18 years of age. According to tech Crunch, Yahoo 360 could not keep up with sites like myspace and facebook or blogging sites like wordpress. It does however remain popular with the Vietnamese culture. In Vietnam it is being renamed Yahoo 360plus.
Although Yahoo 360 did not gain the popularity of other social networks it did have many of the same features as other social networking sites, it lost popularity because of the lack of support. Yahoo marketed it as a beta program. It later quit offering support for it clients. Now it is due to close in July 09.
Facebook is an example of one SN that I would use. The reason for this is because it is mostly used as a network. A means for friends to keep in contact. A type of SN that I would not use would be a networking sight—one used to meet strangers with like interest.
According to cnet.com yahoo has tried other social networking sight but none has taken off. Who really knows why but as Steve Hargadon says they may fail “since you really don't know how people are going to react to what you have to offer when what you are offering is a chance for them to participate.”
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10252314-93.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/29/the-walking-dead-yahoo-360-officially-closes-again/
http://www.stevehargadon.com/2009/01/some-things-ive-learned-about-building.html

Friday, June 26

Social Networking in Education

At first I did not think Social networking sights would be useful in the classroom. I have since changed my mind. After researching the uses of ning I discovered that it is not just a networking sight for friends to keep in touch. Ning has many different networking categories. The category I chose to look at was Students of History. In this particular forum it has some of the same basic concepts as what I am attempting to do in my wiki space. It has pictures of people’s visits to historical places. Although this particular group did not have much more than pictures it did have a discussion forum where people could debate various topics.
As a teacher, I think incorporating pictures with real life anecdotes about what was learned at a historical site will engage the student more than just reading it from a book. I also liked the forum. A forum can be used not only as a method to debate; it can also be used to introduce a new topic. A teacher can see what the student already know about a given topic. With this knowledge the teacher can tailor the classroom lessons and discussions to the students needs.
One major benefit might be getting a student so engrossed in a particular subject or place that since the computer is already going doing follow up research on that topic. Other benefits are the direct links to wikis and chats.
Although I believe in the concept of using wikis and social network sites to further education, I am still skeptical. Homework is still homework. Whether the assignment is done on a computer, or a book and pencil and paper, the basic question still lies “how do you get students to complete their homework?” I would love to say that the students will be so engaged they will not want to stop, but I am not that na├»ve. When it comes to wikis, social networking, chat rooms, etc I think these are all good tools for the teacher but if the tools go unused or not used at all are they really any good? A mechanic may have all the right tools but the car remains broken until the mechanic chooses to use them. How do we get students to choose to use these new tools for educational purposes?
http://historystudents.ning.com/
http://www.classroom20.com/

Tuesday, June 23

Wiki in the Classroom
Although I have an initial reluctance to use wikis in the classroom, if used properly I can see them as a useful tool. According to Wikipedia a wiki is a “web sight that uses wiki software ease the creation and editing any number of interlinked web pages...” I have begun a wiki to use in my history classes. It is broken down into three sections: Arizona history, United States history, and World history. The purpose of this wiki is to show that history is more about the fascinating art, architecture, ideas and concepts.

The way I chose to do is to show the magnificent history I have seen in my travel. Learning by interacting with history has been one of the greatest thrills of my life; it was also a great influence on my becoming a history teacher.
My expectation for classroom use would be for anyone, but primarily my students to document historical places and tell what they learned. I would expect them to not only document what they learned firsthand from their visit, but also do some follow up research. One example in my wiki is my visit to the Coliseum in Rome. I chose this one because it was not only a good example of architecture; it also is a good representation of the Romans way of life. The battles—man against man, man against beast, and battle recreations. The coliseum was the equivalent of our movie and Broadway theatres.

As you can see if people would contribute to this wiki in the way I intend it would be a very useful tool in presenting history. If the student would use it would also be a fun way to do research and document the research. Visit at http://calshistoryspace.wikispaces.com/.

Thursday, June 11

Comparing Learning Models

I recently took a class in classroom management, though I did not realize it at the time I was being conditioned to respond to certain stimulus—A student acts out my job is to stop the misbehavior following a set process. Oh wait this is about the students, let me start over. In the class I learned a lot about processes one is Fred Jones “Say, See, Do” in this model the student learns one step at a time. (Jones, Jones, & Jones, 2000) The teacher says it, the student sees the process, then is expected to perform the process. This sure sounds a lot like Skinner or Pavolov. In this model we are conditioning the student to respond a certain way. Harry Wong also is a behaviorist He calls his process procedures but the routine is the same. (Wong & Wong, 2005) Practice the procedure until it becomes so ingrained into the student that not thought is no longer required.
If the behaviorist model is about say, see, do until it becomes so ingrained into one’s psyche that it can be done without thought the cognitive model is concerned with how the brain functions. In other words what stimulates learning. In this model teachers are encouraged to “provide them with choices in the curriculum and ensure their learning environment reflects a sense of freedom” (Pearson Education Inc, 2005) In this model the idea is to allow the student the freedom to learn and progress at their own pace. The teacher is there to provide support and to give them the resources to succeed.
The question now becomes is any one model superior to another. The answer has to be no. Both models are needed in the classroom. For example I would use the behaviorist model at the beginning of the school year. Class these are the expected behaviors prior to class you will sharpen pencils, have books ready, etc. The teacher would have the students model each until it is just habit not thought required. But if the teacher’s mission is to facilitate learning then the cognitive model takes over. How do I stimulate the brain to want to learn. If I were to use the cognitive model of learning I would have to make the lesson relevant to the student. For example as a history teacher I would stimulate an artist by showing how an artist influenced history. Or show pictures of historical events, anything that would stimulate a desire to learn.
The question remains unanswered is one model superior to another? I say no each is needed to accomplish the overall objective which is to get student to learn in the least stressful environment possible.

Works Cited
Jones, F. H., Jones, P., & Jones, J. (2000). Tools for Teaching. Santa Cruz: Fredric H. Jones and Associates, Inc.
Pearson Education Inc. (2005). Learning and the Brain. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishig.
Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2005). The First Days of School. Mt View: Harry K. Wong.