Friday, July 29, 2011

Revisiting Setting the Stage

After re-reading my initial post on Setting the Stage, I realize that even though I have two digital natives (children)- they really don't know as much about Web2.0 as I thought they did!  While most digital natives aren't afraid to use technology, they really need us as educators to help show them how much Web2.0 can enhance their experiences...whether it be through the classroom and education or through their personal lives.  I found myself actually showing my college-age daughter (who is home for a few weeks) some tools that I think will help her in college! 

In my initial post I proclaimed that I didn't feel prepared to help students learn to use Web Tools, and found that for some tools I explored I was "technologically literate", but for some I was not.  Nonetheless, I find that I now have the confidence to effectively implement Web Tools so that students can be successful 21st Century learners, collaborators, communicators and creative problem solvers!

This is one of the most useful classes I have taken and I appreciate all the discussion and sharing that my colleagues in this class have offered, and have realized that this PLC I have begun to develop is going to be one of my bigggest resources and assets for my continued professional growth.  Thanks everyone!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week 7 Final Project!

Okay... I made a wiki!  (It's called sgmsscience...check it out here).  I really like what I have learned from creating it and I am hopeful that I will be able to convince my administration and IT people that our students should be able to have logins and passwords for the wiki.  My project is on Current Events using CNN Student News.  My wiki is designed to get students familiar with what wiki's are and then the wiki outlines what my expectations are for the weekly Current Events for science class.  I also created a teacher resource folder so I can collaborate with my colleagues and have a common, easily accessible place to get resources.  I may actually transfer that folder to Google docs and encourage all of my colleagues to get a gmail account (if they don't already have one), so I can share what I have learned from my Web2.0 class.  This class has been so valuable, I feel that it is only a first step for me... I am going to dive deeper into Google next week with a GPS class (and arcgis). 

Even if by chance my wiki doesn't work out for students, I will definately be using my Current Events in the class all year.  Most of my Web2.0 work will most likely be involved with Google Earth, Google docs, GoogleMaps and, so I am feeling so much more confident in what I can do so that I have an even more developed student-centered classroom!

I couldn't have learned nearly as much about Web2.0 tools on my own, and have really valued what I have gained through the design of this course and feel priveledged to have had the opportunity to collaborate with a very talented group of teachers.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 6 Explorations

Since I finished the end of last year getting excited about doing Current Events in my science classes, I want to really get that going at the beginning of this year.  I decided to revisit wikis and blogs to better decide how I want students to respond and discuss these current events with each other each week.... I am most comfortable with blogs, but know that what I want to create for my final project will work best with wiki's!  It's going to be interesting!  wikispaces, pbworks, or using Google docs?  Hmmm...

Reflection: D2L Discussion

I REALLY enjoyed the discussion format of D2L. It is obvious that everyone has learned a great deal about Web 2.0 Tools and that all of us are excited to bring various new tools into our classrooms.  I must say that I appreciate the format of small group discussions that we were broken into and I personally think that many were expressing thoughts and getting feedback in a much richer way than in the blogging (maybe because we are all novice "bloggers" maybe?)  I just found it easier to be more involved with responding to many more comments and questions more quickly than trying to get to each blog!   

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tool Exploration: Google Earth and Virtual Tours

TOOL EXPLORATION:  Google Earth and Virtual Tours
Well… I have to say, I spent most of the week dedicated to Google Earth because this is something that I have been interested in and already “dabble” with during  my classes.  There is so much to Google Earth that I am glad that this class is really forcing me to dig in and try to get straight in my mind what I want to expand on with this program!  Since I teach mainly earth science, this is a great and powerful tool and resource for our curriculum.  I have found that students who have used Google Earth are getting the opportunity to explore geography and social studies virtually, and have “traveled” to many places around the globe but have not spent much time exploring their own state!!! So I use the following Google Earth Exercise for Montana (called “MontanaView”) that I was introduced to during another science class I took... MontanaView  (once here, click on Google Earth). You could also explore the other links on this page...many great resources!
I spent a considerable amount of time working with ArcExplorer  which is a Java Edition for Education.  This link is  and you can also find a link for GIS in Education on this site.   All are very good for a variety of science, social studies, math and other curricular areas! 

Week 5: Blogs & Wikis Reflection

Week 5: Blogs and Wikis Reflection
I watched the presentation “Shiny Objects, Classroom Practice and Professional Growth”  by Eric twice!  It was so interesting and informative that I watched more than the pgs.5-17 that he mentioned specifically.  I especially like the idea of Mandatory participation since it does ensure that ALL classmates participate in the dialogue…not just part of the class.  Posting twice seems to be a manageable requirement while also making sure that students read, think and respond to others posts and thoughts.    I liked everything that Dale Basler is doing… BaslerCast and Lab Out Loud, and Eric was right….so much time spent looking at what great things are getting done using Blogs and Wiki’s.  I was interested in looking at Delores Bende’s e-portfolios because I have been toying with the idea of e-portfolios for about 5 years now… what I had had in mind was completely different than what she is doing… and I have a LONG way to go to incorporate an e-portfolio that profiles all of my student’s work  (Online…blogs, comments, student reflections online, etc.)… but I like it!!!  I also thought that the D2L reading on “Create a Classroom” by Brunsell and Horejsi will be a good resource for me to bring discussion forward about the policies we have for blogging.
I really like the flexibility of wiki’s and spent a considerable amount of time exploring!  In Brunsell and Horejsi’s “wiki-wiki”, the “history” function of the wiki platform is very appealing to me to keep track of postings (dates and times, and contributions by each group member, etc.) The wiki “codeblue” is a great resource for 6th grade, and I am linking this to my teacher web page as a resource!   I played in the “sandbox” and investigated  Wetpaint.  I am finding that I am wanting it all and am trying to be very careful about recording in my “journal” what I am signing up for!  Whew… so, so much J.