Tuesday, November 27, 2007

spunkicast - for podcasting

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

power point class

power point - can be interactive, just like a website - creative way of using power point.

difference between website and power point.
power point is local. so if you have no internet in your classroom, it's a great idea.
it is easier to use than Nvu.

it can be used as a webquest (can even click on links outside the program)
students can di their individual work. Students can learn what they missed from a class they did not attend. Solve a problem - students can choose a from different options to solve a problem.
with foreign language you can have pictures for students to recognize, and it can have sounds in it.

citations for texts or images used - at the bottom of the page or in another page people have to go to before exiting.

you can have your students create their power point presentation. it is a great way to review. they can create a game or tutorial for other people to work through, and you can put them in your website.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

comments on power point is evil

Honestly, I find it very funny and confusing that power point is being criticized for enabling people to do the very same thing I was always criticized for not being able to do in school - outlines.
Unless I got the whole thing wrong, the point of a powerpoint presentation is to outline or highlight the main points of something that was read, and it has to do with understanding main ideas and knowing how to summarize effectively.
it looks like what author really want to criticize is the bad use of power point. Using it in a way that hinders the message instead of delivering it. that might be what most people would criticize, but instead they they just say how evil power point is.
Again, I am not familiar with power point, but it seems to be a very rich program, filled with a number of different options, and misuse or overuse of those options can ruin the presentation. I think that might happen more often than not because people are just not used to the richness of it... and let's tell the truth people love to be extravagant, especially people that don't have access to the extravagance on a regular basis, and they often do it the first chance they have.
That's just human nature. Power point is not as evil as we are.

NPR thoughts

This is just a summary of the NPR report, so I don't forget it all by next week. The report questions the benefits or harms of power point at school settings. It asks whether or not this natural step of development in the world of technology is getting in the way of learning.
One teacher shows how that opened a million possibilities to the students and got them very engaged in school projects. The students can also use power point as a tool to organize and bring together data from so many different sources.
For teachers power point is harmful. It is only useful for the presenter who is disorganized, and it does intellectual harm to to the other presenters. It doesn't help the audience. Students will be led to only think about what points the can extract from a text they read instead of actually having a meaningful critical conversation about it.
I think the pros and cons are valid. But as it was pointed out during the report - power point is just a tool, and tools can usually be used both in good and bad ways. Usually overuse of anything is bad. SO I guess if one uses power point so often that he starts to see the world is points and bullets... maybe that is not a very good thing, because that is not really how the world works. But if someone uses it in a way that helps them and the audience who will be watching to understand the essence of the message and if that is done in an engaging way (I am not that familiar with power point, but I have seen pretty boring power point presentations), I can see how that would bring benefits.
It is true, it is more useful for the presenter than for the audience. But it doesn't mean it doesn't help the audience at all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

personal reflections

So I am supposed to be reflecting on what have I found useful or challenging; on hopes for the remainder of the semester; and I am supposed to figure out suggestions for the instructor. This latter part is the hard one. I am always a little hesitant to say that i am loving everything bc I have this feeling the instructor is hoping we give suggestions about how he/she can make things better, and I am not very critical unless I really don't like something.
But, ok, let's see...
Except for blogging, everything I have learned in this course is new to me, so I am loving it. My boyfriend Dean is a computer person, so whenever I ask him for help he just does the whole thing for me, and I happen to take it for granted. Now things have changed; because I know I will be graded on my assignments, whenever he takes the computer from my hands and tries to do anything, I complain that I need to learn to do it myself. Not always a peaceful dialogue, but definitely a new experience to me. People say I am a go-getter, but that is only true when I find no help - I was never one who'd try to learn something if someone else would do it for me, not even when I was a little girl.
The programs we have been working with, I have fallen in love with. To start with I had never heard of inspiration, and had always hoped there was a program that would make outlines easier - in other words I have always dreamed someone out there had come up with Inspiration. It was quite a pleasure to be introduced to it.
The last 3 projects we have worked on - website-making, photo-editing and movie-making are just fun experiences and things I was hoping to learn anyway. Not only they are great tools to use in my field, they are also things I can use on my personal life.
I have not made full use of the resources made available, but I have looked at them, and they are good source of help. Besides that, the readings have been useful to me. Some of them relate to other courses I am taking this semester, and that is great, because since I don't have a lot of knowledge on the american education system, having some sort of overdose of texts dealing with somewhat related subjects, helps me have some idea of how things are structured, what things are new, what issues are consider problematic, and thigns like that. And also I realize that some of things, like UDL are new to my classmates too, so I don't feel so much like a foreigner.
The one thing I am having a hard time with is the standard area of my choice. I am doing my masters in TESOL, and before Dean and I started talking about getting married, the american public schooI system was definitely not one of my priorities. But I had to pick one standard area, and did not find ESL, so I picked the K-4 English/language arts. Now I sort of regret it - teaching a foreign language is my real passion, whether it is English or whatever else. I have taught English to non-native speakers ever since I started learning English myself - I taught my brother when I came home from class, and that is what inspired me to teach at a school. But I would love to have the chance to work with Portuguese; trying to enable Dean to communicate with my family by November really opened my eyes to this area. I think teaching my own language can be a delightful experience.
I am not sure if at this point I can change my standard area, but I have been reading about the foreign language content for 9-12 grade. When I think foreign language thought, I think ESL as well as Portuguese.
I am looking forward to podcasting class, bc a Brazilian Portuguese pod cast is definitely one of my personal projects.
I have seen a Brazilian Podcast online. It was actually pretty exciting, but the instructor really struggled with his English. He had great ideas though. I have develop a few basic lessons, and I think they could probably be podcast material with some work.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More on Inquiry Based Learning

Standardized tests, both in the US and in Brazil,
seem to be an obstacle to IBL.
If we have to prepare students to a certain test,
and there's so much content to cover, will we be able to implement IBL techniques?
It is still not clear to me whether IBL is supposed to be used all the time.
I have been doing a lot of reading that talks about the obstacles that
standardized tests impose on meaningful learning. If those tests are so harmful,
why are they even around? Is it possible that they are reminiscent of
a time when they were actually useful tools and an efficient way of assessing student's
knowledge? After all the text does mention that times have changed.
Or are they simply a result of bad teaching philosophies?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"value added"

What is the "value added" for the uses of technology we have been discussing in class this semester? How do they (or don't they) fit with UDL?

there is so much valued added for the uses of the technology we have been discussing in class! According to Dexter's text, the notion of value added has to do with the fact that the focus is not the technology, that is that technology is not being used as an end , but as a mean to accomplish something - make learning more meaningful, give students and teachers more ways of working and learning.
Every technology we have learned and discussed in class has so much potential in it.
Starting with the blogging for instance, which right now is being used to do homework. The article about the teddy bears shows yet another great use of this technology.
Softwares like Inspiration make conceptual maps so much simpler and accessible. It is a great studying tool for students - for me for instance, I have used it to make outlines of texts I have to read. For teachers, it is really useful in preparing outlines for explanations, especially considering they can be done right in class, as the students watch your explanation.
Working with the gimp and learning how to make a website with NVu - well, I am not even sure where to start - it opens up so many possibilities for learnign when you have the web available. Students can have resources for their homework there, keep track of the class development, have their works posted, parents can keep track of their children's class. I am not even putting that much thought into it.
Unfortunately there will be students like me that need to go to a public internet place to work on the internet. That is actually a drawback that is constantly in my mind when I think about web resources for school kids. I don't know much about the situation of school kids in the U.S. , but most kids in Brazil do not have internet access at home - my aunt is a teacher, and she's been doing wonders of technology in her class, but she does teach at a "rich kid school" so to say, the place where she teaches is a very selective private schools that welcomes the wealthy farmers and merchants in that town. They all have fancy homes and computer and, now, internet - but that is not the reality of the majority of students, especially the public school ones.
I wonder if that is the case here in America. As much as this is a 1st world country, I think there is still a lot of people who have no home access to internet, including minorities. that would be my main concern about making online activities, or really any kind of homework that requires use of computer based technology, for public school students.
Webquests for instance - they would be great tools for inquiry based learning, if the student that doesn't have the tool at home, will have the computer available at school - let's say at the school library - and is able to go and use it. They are not that great an idea if students are left to themselves to figure out a way of getting to a computer somewhere else.
I guess that does go back to Dexter's eTIP about the availability of the resources. In the text she mentioned the teacher at school, but I believe it also has to do with teachers considering about the availability of material to the students. it could definitely ruin the whole point of an activity if part of my class would not be able to get it done without a considerable amount of extra effort.