Pop Culture: Tech Task the 7th

16 03 2010

I know what you’re thinking….pop culture, pop culture, pop culture.  Everyone is always talking about this pop culture.  What is it?  Aren’t we all sick of talking about it yet?  Why is Morgan bringing this up?

Even though you’re sick of hearing that phrase, take a look at my, Jill and Laura’s digital story called Pop Culture, created using a standard sample set of slides for our 7th Tech Task this semester in ECMP 355.  I promise it’ll be pop culture like you’ve never seen it before!

And yes, you are right, we are feeling altogether too clever for coming up with the title.  You can shake your finger at us if you want to.


Tech Task #4: Fun With Turtles on Photostory3

28 01 2010

Digital storytelling is something that really appeals to me. I am such a visual person, and a well done slide show, stop-motion, or video can really pack a powerful message. In our ECMP355 class, we were challenged to create a digital story using any digital storytelling tool we wanted.

Jill, Laura and I decided to create a short story for fun about how Clarence the turtle’s good friend Benny helps him to come out of his shell and join the world (yup, we are meant for Early Childhood Education), by asking for help from all of his good friends on Twitter.

Hope you enjoy it!

(note: We used the annotation tool on You Tube to add some extra photo credits to our video, but they seem to only show up if you watch the video in full screen.)

Sharing, Trust and the Future : Tech Task #3

22 01 2010
View more documents from Alec Couros.
    I’ll use this blog to comment on what I found to be the most compelling parts of the presentation Dr. Couros gave to our ECMP 355 class today called “Rethinking Teaching and Learning in a Networked Reality”.  Check out the slideshare above!
      Thoughts, thoughts, and more thoughts:

        Slide 14

        Slide 25

        Slide 56

        Slide 58

        Probably what seems the most interesting and revolutionary to me right now in terms of technology and education are the many types of incredibly helpful social networking options available online.  Adults are always insisting that children need to learn to share.  continue reading…

        Michael Wesch on “The Digital Writing On The Wall”: Tech Task #2

        13 01 2010

        I was struck very powerfully by Michael Wesch‘s talk at the University of Regina this week.  Listening and engaging in the discussion of  our digital footprints and the expansion of the classroom beyond its four walls made me realize how deeply my own life is embedded in media and technology.

        Here is a a link to a video recording of Dr. Wesch’s presentation: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3929554

        Some points that were very key for me:

        • Wesch reflected on how the presence of media and technologies in the classroom change the landscape of teaching.  I got almost an eerie feeling when I realized that he is right, that there really is something in the air, that the digital footprints of millions of people are sort of floating around the room.  In this case does it really make any sense not to embrace the connectivity of the internet in classrooms?  He made a point that I also discussed a little bit in my last post; that teachers have a responsibility to help students gain a much deeper media literacy so they are able to navigate all of these vast and expanding media in positive ways.  It is no longer really a question of should I integrate more meaningful technologies into my everyday classroom practice?, but rather, how?

        •  I believe his message about people’s awareness of what media really are in our lives is important.  Wesch stated that “media are not just tools, that they actually mediate and change our relationships”.  The use of number-driven statistics changed the way a small Indonesian community lived, built and organized their houses, and even mediated the names they used (for a census).  This fact really interested me:  Before introducing a new tool of record keeping through the census Wesch conducted in this Indonesian village, the names of the people in the village were not specific “names” as we would call them.  One person could be called brother, father, and son, because the naming system was descriptive of the relationships between people.  The “number talk” driven census created the necessity for people to essentially make up “names” as we know them.  The introduction of a new tool then actually changed (or could have) the weight of a person’s name, from being relational to individual.  I found this to be a perfect example of how media are not just tools, but can change the state of our living.

        It is important for students to realize the effect media has on their lifestyle.  Not just with commercials, music videos, and video games, but communication tools like Facebook, instant messaging and texting.  The fact that you can “talk” to someone without making any sort of verbal or visual contact with them has huge implications on the relationships we have.  Boundaries between people change.  Even the word “friend” does not necessarily have the same meaning that it did twenty years ago.

        •  Taking students “from knowledgeable to knowledgeable” reminds me of a quote I love by Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  No one could probably emphasize this enough.  Without helping students to realize that all knowledge is constructed and that they absolutely must be active constructors of that knowledge in order to understand it, they are being filled with knowledge, rather than becoming a part of it.  I really think using a variety of technologies in classrooms is a valuable way to connect children to and involve them in the construction of knowledge and relationships.  Obviously it is important that they learn to evaluate the information they find on the internet and in various forms of media, and start to think critically about how they will respond to it.

        This dynamic lecture was a wonderful start to my explorations into technology and classrooms through this class.  It has begun a process of “rethinking” for me, and I’m sure for many others as well.

        Technology and Me: Tech Task #1

        13 01 2010

        Welcome!  For some information about me, please visit the Who I Am page.

        And so begins this exploration into technology and its many uses within the classroom.  When I was a child, I used to think that technology was a burden.  It was the enemy of the great outdoors which I loved so dearly.   I found it scary.  I can remember looking at a picture in a National Geographic of the first personalized hovercraft built and feeling a teary sense of dread.  I was young, and felt certain that this meant that in no time everyone in the world would be driving hovercrafts and the world would suddenly turn futuristic, like in so many of those movies I had seen.  I certainly did not understand then that it is not only the hovercrafts and robot vacuum cleaners of the world that count as technology, but rather every tool of convenience and communication that we use.  Well, it’s been a few years and I think I can safely say that I’ve warmed up to technology in a big way.  I still get to ride my bike in stead of helicopters and robot flowers haven’t taken over my front lawn, so I’m feeling good.

        When I was in elementary school the top of my computer education was All The Right Type.  That’s not to say I didn’t love it!  But that is basically where it stopped.  In high school, I wouldn’t say that the landscape of my computer education really changed, but that outside of school through my friends I became more of a technological junkie (in the loosest terms possible).  I went on msn while I did my homework, learned how to edit photos and create collages on the computer, and began getting most of my research information from the internet.

        Now I am at a place where I have opened my eyes to the enormous possibilities of using and becoming familiar with many types of technologies in daily classroom life.  As Michael Wesch suggests, technology can be the bridge that leads to discoveries and types of social and technological literacy outside of the classroom walls.  I have seen six year olds keep blogs and comment on the blogs of others, use a cell phone to send text messages, and look up their favourite videos on the internet.  There is room for technology at every level of education.  The use of computer technologies does not mean the death of the books and papers of our lives, but rather provides opportunities to add to and deeply enrich the learning children experience.

        I also believe that it is our responsibility as teachers to help children become technologically literate.  Not preparing them technologically really means that we are not preparing them at all for the world that they are growing up into.  Students will need to know how to use the internet for research, how to decide whether a website is valid or not, and how to be safe while using the internet.  There is no stopping the internet from connecting to their lives, so why not embrace it and help them to use it in a positive way?

        Neil Postman said that “Every technology is both a blessing and a burden” (Technopoly, 1993).  In some cases I find this to be true.  While You Tube has provided a way for children to become engaged in a whole new mode of communication through video media, it can also be a base from which young students can end up viewing inappropriate things that children should not be allowed to see.  But the internet has never been an entirely wholesome place to start with.  While Facebook, Myspace, and mobile phones can be a positive way for people to connect, some complain that these are new methods of communication that children can use to bully each other out of the sight of adults, and that they can be used in potentially destructive ways.  Digital communication is also changing the way we speak, write and think…changing the language we use every day.  This is not a bad thing, but it should be recognized that it changes the landscape of all modes of communication both in and outside of schools.

        From this course (Introduction to Computers in the Classroom) I hope to gain a solid understanding of some basic ways I can use technology within any classroom.  I am interested in learning what teachers of young children are doing anywhere in the world to use technology in revolutionary and curriculum-enhancing ways.  I hope that my instructor can help each of us make some connections with teachers who are using technologies this way.  I would also like to learn better ways of navigating the internet and some tools that I can use in my own learning to become a better researcher and collaborator.

        I suppose I could also offer to learn how to write shorter blog posts!  I love to experiment with technology and can hardly wait to learn how to do this in a more efficient and useful way.