Monday, July 30, 2012

Digital Story: My First Foray

I aimed to create a story about ocean conservation measures, the components of ocean conservation, and why it is needed and what can be done.  It is intended to be followed by a WebQuest where students would research specific legislation, regulation, and measures such as the Clean Water Act, Marine Sanctuaries, Obama's Ocean Conservation policy as well as what is being done locally and regionally and what they can do individually.  Learning about public policy can be a bit dry so I tried to ignite some kind of interest in it through the digital story.

There are quite a few things I would do differently to improve upon this digital story or to keep in mind when creating a new one.  I would lessen the amount of words on a few slides or adjust/lengthen the amount of time that slide is viewed so it can be thoroughly read.  I would organize the pictures differently and perhaps make the story flow better and have more cohesion.  Possibly, even make it more of a story with a kind of before this legislation or action by people this is what an area looked like followed by after shots.  I also used a song most people know and because I have the song myself though it would probably be better suited in a lesson on stewardship.  The song "Song for the Ocean" by Kristin Hoffmann would probably be better though maybe not elicit as much emotion as the song chosen.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Presentation: Learning How to use Prezi

I designed this presentation to take up a whole class period.  During the presentation there will be several, for at least every bubble, opportunities for demonstrations, activities, pair share, and class discussions on examples and thinking through processes.  If I were to use this as a sort of Flipped Lesson I would have the students answer questions and participate in a discussion board on the class website as well as add the activities I would do in class.  I would also narrate the presentation if it were to be viewed outside of class, but since it is for in class I decided I did not have to as I would be going through it with the students and leading a class discussions through the images and text.  I purposely left content out so that the students would have to use their knowledge to apply it to each image/section.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mobile Learning Post:

I chose to read through 5 Reasons To Allow Students To Use Cellphones in Class ( to hear one side of the discussion as I don't have an opinion on using cellphones in school.  Originally, I was against the use of cellphones because it can be a distraction.  But I have also learned, just like with the Power Point Is Evil article previously posted about, it is not the item that is bad or a distraction it is the person using it.  As cellphones and many types of technology will be second nature to students as they become adults it is important to teach them to use it responsibly, effectively, and efficiently.  We are preparing students for the real world in many facets of their lives so it only makes sense to extend the learning to the technology realm of their lives.  I thought it was a great point the author brought up about setting a double standard of how teacher observers take notes on their mobile devices, but students aren't allowed to.  One concern I would have is the use of cellphones may highlight the difference between those students who have it and those who don't.  I think that is something that needs to be addressed, perhaps there could be a few classroom ones for those students, but that still points out haves and have nots.  I also believe if schools are to allow the use of cellphones there needs to be a detailed protocol for use with detailed and strictly enforced rules.  This would include how to manage student use of the device and making sure they are paying attention.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

CommonSense Media's Digital Literacy and Citizen Classroom Curriculum Lesson Plan Summary:

The lesson I chose to read through was Strategic Searching for grades 9-12.  I initially chose this lesson because I thought it would be beneficial for students in a science class as well as to learn the skills for all content areas and for future reference.  As science involves a great deal of research I though the lesson would be apt.  In the lesson students not only learn strategies to help them research and find information, but also why it is important as well as they are able to practically apply these strategies in an activity.  My initial reasoning for choosing the article wasn't a perfect fit because the lesson regards informal online searching rather than academic searching which may use a whole different set of strategies however, all searching has to start somewhere so the lesson would definately be beneficial as it teaches effective and efficient searching.  The lesson teaches a skill that 21st century learners should master and come to use almost instinctually given the amount of tiime spent on computers.  The activity really connects the material in instruction to demonstrable skills while showing the relevance of the skill to their everyday and academic life.  The lesson could be taken further in a following lesson to support science research by applying the strategies and building from the strategies learned.
Latest Twitter Posting Response:

Astronaut Joseph M. Acaba as well as the Johnson Space Center have posted video footage from the International Space Station capturing images of the Colorado wildfires.  Yes, they can be seen from space at
"PowerPoint is Evil" by E. Tuften Response:

PowerPoint is not evil just like money or human nature is not inherently evil.  It is the misuse of an object that can be evil.  The article reviews the merits, rather lack of merits for using PowerPoint and puts the blame on the technology.  I believe the author is ascribing to much power to the PowerPoint and no or minimal responsibility to the user.  The only mention of the user  and how the user needs to use caution and discretion with PowerPoint comes in the last paragraph which really should have been in the intro and then use the rest of the points made to support it.  PowerPoint is or should be used as a guide or outline for a presentation so having bullet points makes sense.  It keeps the presenter on target and tells the audience what is going on.  To his point that bullet points make the audience followers: they are followers, they are following the presentation.  If they didn't need to follow along then they wouldn't need the presentation.  To his point regarding education, PowerPoint was not designed as the sole medium for reading texts and writing papers.  If a teacher is using it that way then the onus of blame is on the teacher.  Perhaps, in the future students will have to perform sales pitches at work and will need to know how to do it so learning it in the classroom is beneficial as long as the teacher is able to convey the differentiation between writing a paper and giving a presentation.  The example of survival rates used to describe how ineffective PowerPoint is, is weak.  To get a straightforward table create one and insert it, you don't have to use their templates.  Also, the presenter should not be hindered by PowerPoint to interact with the audience and to keep them energized and not bored.  In summation, I found the article to be a weak argument against PowerPoint.  It is not the tools, but how we use the tools.  Sometimes you have to be resourceful and not always use the tools the way they were intended.