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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

inquiry based learning thoughts

At first I was going to write an outline of IBL, just like we did in an assignment for UDL, but I figured it would just be too many postings about the same thing. Besides, not having internet at home was delaying my life.
So I just used Inspiration for my outline, and the blog will just contain my thoughts and the reply to the assigned question.

As I read the text I thought that both UDL and Inquiry-based learning seem great approaches, and also seem to take much more preparation on the teacher's side to make sure everything will work properly. i wonder how a teacher could possibly apply both approaches in the same classroom.

I actually wonder if inquiry-based learning is meant to be done on a 100% basis, or if it is just for a certain part of the day, or certain parts of the content of each discipline. It sounds like it is a lot of work, and time-consuming work, to be done all the time. Good-bye co-mingling.
What I liked the most about the teacher's role in this IBL is that the teacher asks many Why? How do you know? and What is the evidence? type of questions. I do believe that children in general, not only in school should learn to ask themselves these questions as dealing with any learning experience in life.

When I tutor my little brother I often ask him these type of questions, because I believe that that is what will make him successful both in school and in life, I believe asking those questions makes mastering the content easier, because you understand it and understand how to get to it. I guess that brings me back to the point of IBL.

I am trying to remember if this inquiry based learning as a student. I believe so, to a certain extent. Not in Science though. Science has always been, pretty much just paper and pen and formula memorization... Which as fun sometimes, because it was a lot like a mind game. Some other times it was just boring and confusing. Considering I haven't heard the interview on the website yet, I am not sure what is the span of inquiry based learning, and if what I remember is it or just something close to it.
I do remember though, that when I was in elementary school I had teachers who did not want us to memorize stuff, because "it is more important to understand than to memorize" they'd say. But in the end, I ended the term without knowing the facts. I specifically remember ending the year without knowing how to name the states in my country. I was quite upset about it. According to the text, IBL is not some sort of excuse not to accumulate knowledge, it just places the emphasis on the developing of investigative skills, but it also consider important to learn the facts.

Today I teach adults at a language learning center. Teaching adults to speak English is sometimes really tough, some times extremely rewarding, but it does include a lot of work trying to make your students see they CAN actually learn (teaching my boyfriend to speak Portuguese is not that different I guess). Our methodology is based on making everything as easy as possible, but I do try to make my classes as inquisitive as possible, because my goal is that my students will be able to function in a language-speaking setting, even when the words or structures used are unknown to them. I try to ask questions that leads them to realize how to find the meaning of things and not only how to get by for that specific lesson. For instance, when explaining the meaning of a certain line, I try to ask questions that lead them to think what caused that character to say that, go deep in that situation and talk about the matter being talked about in the story, not only learn that line. I think that has a lot to do with Inquiry-based learning.

Quoting the text "Ultimately, the importance of inquiry learning is that students learn how to continue learning. This is something they can take with them throughout life -- beyond parental help and security, beyond a textbook, beyond the time of a master teacher, beyond school -- to a time when they will often be alone in their learning." (http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/index_sub2.html)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

standard for content area.

The standard I have decided to focus on is language arts K-4.

I am actually gong for my Masters in TESOL. Since I found no TESOL in the content area page, I figured Language arts would be the closest one, since we're dealing essentially with English language learning.

Currently I do not teach school children, but EL adults, in an ESL language course. I did teach Children EFL in Brazil for a little while. Most children in a continental-sized portuguese speaking country (as it is the case with most children in a continental-sized english speaking country) do not really take seriously the task of learning another language. I wonder if that is the case with children in multi-language East-coast. But being an au pair I had the opportunity to see first graders bringing home site words and little reading projects, which inspired my choice of K-4.

I think that at grades K-4, visual learning is actually not only something to consider when thinking about kids who are mainly visual learners. Every children at that age can greatly benefit from visual learning techiniques. Looking at objects and learning their names for instance, learning the sound of the letters and seeing the letters in the word and how their sound changes. Maybe that's the whole concept behind sight words.

As I browse through the resources webistes provided, a lot of uses for digital imagery seem to pop up and I am trying to figure out which ones are more linked with visual learning.

I believe young learners can benefit from digital imagery when the have a chance to complete sentences with words or phrases. I saw a website that talks about a Flash poetry tools - it looks like this is a program that allows students to match words provided by the program to form a small poem. I thought that was a great idea. I remember having my students doing that with pieces of paper in an EFL class.
This helps the students make up their own sentences as they can quickly visualize what is being done.

I have also used a similar technique to identify grammar and structure mistakes. A sentence is put up on the screen with a mistake in it - the stundents must identify the mistake and correct it.

Another idea I got from the web resources was the concept of digital story telling, which helps the students visualize the story they just read, organize the idea in their minds and present it in a way that makes sense to others, more immediately to the rest of the class.

With Inspiration visual learning can be aided as a way of simply showing the students how ideas link to each other, how words link to concrete objects, how concepts link to images.

There is a number of different things that can be done. The possibilities are just endless.

Copyright.... words or phrases

It says in a few articles we've read for the copyright activity that words or small phrases are not copyrightable.
I wonder if that means one can't patent them. I think so.
I would love to say that to Paris Hilton.

My brother could probably patent the phrase "sue me!" and I'd had to quote him a lot, so he would not sue me.

"Whatever" , that should probably be credited to Shania Twain. at least that's the first time i heard that in song, so I guess she could. But "whatever"(S.Twain)


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

GIMP - the massacre

ok, now I did it! I figured out the whole nine yards - so I can do layers, change images sizes, and even save it in the right format to preserve the layers (well, yes, this part took a little help from miss Cerino).
Now I just have to remember that before I post the image here I have to change it into jpeg again.
Here's the pic - me and the love of my life - isn't photo editing a ticket to the land of dreams? (someone should tell Renee Zellweger that I have had a crush on him before she even dreamed of it)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

talking about webdesign

Proximity - when things are similar , group them together

Alignment - keep margins clean (justified text is actually not the best way to read) unify and organize the page

Repetition - of visual elements - using a theme that repeats throughout he website - Ex. a particular font. it is critical in a multipage document.

Contrast - pick a title font (serif) and a different one for your text body (sans-serif) - it frwas out eyes into it. they cannot be similar

technology portfolio's Dos and DON'Ts

Navigable - clear
text color/background color
links embedded in text
personal - personality

too busy
hard to figure out what is going on or where to go
vertical text

Monday, September 17, 2007

the GIMP part 2

still trying to figure out how to work with gimp... i cut the bottom of the image here on paint brush - easy way out.

on image 2, i added a text box. that was so complicated too. ONce I had the text tool selected I went to tool options , under dialogs i could edit the text.

still haven't figured out how to save that image in multiple layers...

Sunday, September 16, 2007


This was tough.... I thought photoshop was too large for my laptop, so download GIMP. Just that I could not figure out how to change the size of the images.... so there I am floating in the air, beside Dean's accident (he hit the stone curb and actually took a piece off of it).
There wasn't a help section - well, at least I did not find it.... and my live-help is always in bed my the time I get to homework.
I did a bad job saving the whole thing - besides the fact that it did not save in layers, I forgot to make a copy of the original picture... Now our chipped off curb has he and I miniatured in it.
Argh... I need some more practice with this thing.

The image is shown much smaller than what i wish it would show. I wonder if i had made 4 separate pictures they would be showing larger.
I outlined the UDL text in 4 separate sections -
picked the main topics from each - with a small description when necessary. At first I was worried about how to fit so much info in a conceptual map... but a conceptual map really is just about the main ideas. I skipped a whole section of the text acutally for I did not think that any of what was said would actually be a good fit for a conceptual map.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

teddy bears go blogging

I hope it is ok to post things other than what it was requested in class. I found it could be a useful way to write down my remarks on the texts I read, so this posting will contain notes on teddy bears go blogging.

the text was written by Brenda Sherry, a second grade teacher in Canada. She narrates her experience with using technology with her class, through the introduction of the blogging to replace the email in a project called the Teddy Bear Project, in which students of different classes in different countries exchange teddy bears and report their experiences.

It was interesting to note how she describes the way she discovered and explored new features of the the blog and its usefulness to her students. The use of the new media made possible many different and interesting activities, and it motivated the students for a number of reasons, which Sherry considered a successful enterprise. one of the reasons she points out is that "the focus was on the communication, rather than the technology."

This experience narrated by Sherry exemplifies the principles set on Sara Dexter's text "eTIPS" - just to mention the first 2 eTIPs, technology was used to serve the educational outcome and to add value to the educational goal. It added value indeed, it got not only the students involved, but also parents and relatives, and it became more than just a classroom assignment, the students
kept the blog going even during vacation. I wonder if the teacher got paid overtime for editing the comments ;-).

a response to the Dexter's eTIPs article.

The author proposes to give principles for implementing and using educational technology in a classroom setting.

I have always been taught and trained to teach in a multimedia language-classroom setting and never really questioned why that technology was used there, since it is just part of the program and the methodology.

I was used to the pre-made package of multi-media tools to be used in class and at home, something that was probably planned by the headquarters of the school taking into consideration the classroom principles described in this text.

It was interesting to see how the technology implementation, in regular grade schools, needs to be actually thought of at first, both by teachers and school administrators, so hat they can figure out how to use the educational technologies available in a way that favors the educational goals for the students.

She mentions how there are 2 levels of principles: classroom and school. The classroom principles regards how the teacher will use the technology to implement classroom activities and the school-wide principles regard how this technology is to be made available for the teacher at the school.

So the school principles have to do with the technology available to help a teacher determine what technology is feasible to be implemented in his/her classroom.

I understand that the main idea behind these principles is to allow teachers to understand how educational technology can be used in class, what is the point of it, and then they, as a group, could be better prepared to evaluate and choose which would be the best technologies to acquire for the school and which of them to use in the classroom depending on the purpose of each lesson.

The first 2 classroom level principles, “learning outcomes drive the selection of technology” and “technology use provides added value to learning” are 2 things teachers should have in mind when choosing the technologies to be obtained by the school and used in class. Technologies should be chosen taking into consideration whether or not it fits the purpose of the specific outcomes desired and based on how much value it adds to the learning process in classroom.

But it was the last principle that brought something interesting to my attention. “Technology assists in the assessment of the learning outcomes” points out that the teachers can take advantage of the technologies to collect the information about the students' achievements. It makes it so much easier if done right.

The interesting thing is the benefit it brings to the students who, having to make the information available to the teacher to assess their progress, become familiar with something that will be useful to them throughout their academic or professional lives. Isn't true that in our world today we are surrounded by the need to use technological means to properly adapt to our professions – and so many people are computer illiterates. Giving the students these opportunity is just a very good way of training them to use those means that will be so important later.

The school level principles though seem to be the key to it all. Teachers might be aware of what they were supposed to make use of the technologies for, but if the school doesn't offer the technological environment necessary, nothing can ever done. But I thought the last eTIP to be the one that will set everything into motion and keep it going.

The first principle “ready access to supported technology is provided” makes sure that the media is available, and that there is competent support in case a problem should arise. Teachers should make sure they know how available technology is, how easy or complex it is to be accessed for a class, and what kind of tech support they have and consider all of that when trying to decide if it is really worth the trouble programming such activity with the students.

The second eTIP regards training the teachers in the technologies themselves. For the teacher to be able to assess the classroom eTIPs, should he/she be familiar with the technology? That's the point made in the text by eTIP#2. Schools should provide teachers with proper training and familiarity with the technologies available, so they will not only know how to operate the system, but also be able to figure out which technology would add value or be appropriate to the learning outcome.

The third one says “teachers reflect, discuss, and provide feedback about the role and support for educational technology”. Well, shouldn't the reflection, dicsussion and feedback be in the beginning of the process to determine how it should start, and throughout it all to figure out how to keep doing things or make changes? It involves teachers getting together as a group and discussing, debating and eventually getting to a consensus of which technologies are best for which grade levels and lessons, what should the school do about it, whether or not to change some structures, what kind of help to get. It really is the more global one.

When the last section of the text has questions related to each of the eTIPs given on the first part of the text, such questions could well be part of the reflection of the body of teachers in a school pointed out on school eTIP6.

They are a great guide for any individual teacher, but if they are not taken to the group, I believe there's little that only one teacher can do. Maybe make figure out how to make use of whatever technology is already available at school in the best way possible, but that would be it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

new pic - MARY KAY!!!

sure, why not to download a pic of something I am trying to sell? someone might actually see it.

MARY KAY SATIN HANDS PAMPERING SET! if I sell 6 of these I can get my business started. So anyone that come here feel free to shop or refer it to friends.... how can I get more publicity to this thing?here's the ebay link to it: (i just learned how to put real links here !!!!)


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

MD400 pictures

Since this laptop is literally brand new and I have no pics in here I just had my baby send me a couple of his choice.... guess I should have mentioned to him it was for a school assignment. hope he doesn't get mad at me. Well at least he did not send the couple of pics he took of me modeling.
Anyway these 2 pics were taken at my old apt, we had just gotten home from church on some given Sunday between October and December. I remember that bc I have orange rubber bands on my braces. i hate thinking of my old apt though, bc my roommate just left without any warning. so these are sort of bittersweet memories.
btw, I love those earings...