The Best Laid Plans..

I was excited. I had some great plans for my eighth grade English class next year. These included a blog for assignments that would allow students to practice their writing and become reporters of current events, school functions, etc. I was mapping out my Moodle. I was continuing to be an innovator for educators in my building.

Those all came crashing down when my schedule for next year was placed on my desk. My familiar schedule has been uprooted. My plans are now on hold. Where I once was planning for two different classes, I now have 5, with three of those being new curriculum to me.

How am I supposed to juggle 5 classes to prep for along with being the tech person in our building? Maintain the Web site? Professionally develop teachers?

I know the mantra for teachers these days is “do more with less”, but how am I expected to do more work with less time? less pay?

For some reason, this change is hard for me to understand right now.

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Are iPads Good for Kids?

As I have been researching our attempt to entertain our toddler on a 12 hour road trip to the beach this summer, along with a separate trip to North Carolina on an airplane (with a connecting flight), I continue to feel that the iPad is going to be the best portable device for to keep us from having that child on the plane that passengers would love to see be on the gvernment no-fly list.

I then remembered a television segment I saw on TV that talked about the enhanced Nook with apps and Web service. Trying to save money wherever I can, I remembered that a refurbished Nook was on Woot! hoping I could still snag the deal.

I can across this blog post written by Woot staff asking if iPads were good for kids or are we doing this a disservice? It got me to think about our purchase a little more and if we were finding the best route to occupy our child during our trips. The comments also make me to continue to think about iPads and how they can be great for children’s use, especially if they have disabilities, as it can open up new worlds for them.

So, as I continue my quest for the best technology to keep a toddler happy, what are you thoughts about the underlying question.. virtual learning versus real-world learning for kids as young as 1?

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I recently started to use my Twitter account. I started one two years ago but never understood how networked I could get. My friends don’t do it, there really wasn’t a reason for me to.

Now that I have a phone with Internet, I realized how many connections I could make, even with people I had never met. These relationships I have made with new moms have been invaluable.

In addition to them, I have also found many resources for teaching. One that I really love, @TeacherLingo, is an “Educational community of teacher blogs, message boards, lesson plans and other teaching resources.” They tweet links to blogs, boards, etc. It is such a great profile to follow that sends me many resources for me to check out without me having to use much of my time having to find them.

This morning’s tweet is about PhotoCollect, a site where multiple people can upload photos to one place. You can find out more about PhotoCollect here.

Oh, and give @TeacherLingo a follow… it is worth it!

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Did A Little Bird Tell You?

I chose to create a Little Bird Tale about adjectives since I teach English. This site allows for students to draw and upload pictures, record their voices, and share their tales with others. It is simple to use, however, I did find a drawback. If finding Creative Commons pictures, there is a certain size the picture much be in order for it to up load. 600 X 420 is the size. I had some troubles finding pictures that would fit the size, unless I resized them ahead of time.

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As far as learning spaces are concerned and Little Bird Tales, this program could easily support blended learning. It combines technology, writing, and the content that you choose to use with it, such as science.

I am currently working with a fourth grade teacher to incorporate Little Bird Tales into her plans. Students are learning about rocks and writing stories about them. They are then going to use Little Bird Tales to compose their stories, instead of using the construction paper and marker method. Collaboration? Definitely!

Little bird tales is also accessible at home. The use of this technology can extend beyond the classroom. After all, isn’t that our goal as teachers? As education evolves, we need to work together as educators to create our environment around inquiry and to solve these problems together by sharing our knowledge with audiences. We can do this through technology!

Other technologies such as dimdim, Jing, and sliderocket provide collaborative tools for a “classroom without walls” idea. dim dim is a video conferencing tool, sliderocket is an online presentation tool, and Jing is a screen capture tool. I have used Jing in the past to eliminate technology questions by providing brief, professional development to answer simple tech questions, such as how to attach a file to an e-mail.

Global collaboration with these tools breaks down the walls in education and creates new learning spaces, either within the same room or collaboration throughout the world.

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Moving to 2.0

I chose to use Prezi to create a new presentation of my digital citizenship unit that I teach to sixth, seventh, and eighth grade computer students. My presentation is just one day of the four-day unit. I used to use Notebook 10 software that created slides. I liked Prezi because I can automatically embed a You Tube video within the presentaion instead of having to access it externally from the presentation. One downfall of Prezi is that there is no way to link to external Web sites.

Click to find out more about why I chose Prezi.

Click to check out my Digital Citizenship presentation.

After learning the basics of Prezi, I realized there are many ways to present material, beyond the basic PowerPoint presentation, or even the basic Prezi presentation. Some of these include:

Math is Not Linear

Sweet Recipe to Solving Problems

As you can see from these presentations, thinking in layers, groups, and creative ideas is best!

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In the year 2025..

As I think about what education will look like in the year 2025, I can’t help but think of the children whom will be graduating in the year 2025. Currently, they are approximately 4 years old. My niece is almost three. She will be in high school then. Already she steals my sister’s iPhone for hours on end doing apps, looking through pictures, and answering the phone for her. What will her classrooms look like in high school?!?

A concept came to my mind that has been restated over and over to us educators.. a classroom without walls. Technology in 2025 is going to make it even easier to be unrestricted. However, the hardest thing is going to be newly educated teachers entering the field and adapting to the new way of instructing. However, will we even be needed to instruct? I don’t think so. The title of teacher will be gone. It will now be educational guidance.

Books will be obsolete. Paper and pens will be obsolete. Everything will be done on a handheld device, say the 10th generation iPad. The issue I have is that currently not all students across the nation have internet access in their home. Free internet access is going to have to be provided by the United States in order to stay in competition with other countries.

The biggest issue with curriculum in the future is going to be copyright. Sure, there are e-books available, but creating a course that doesn’t have a textbook restriction is going to be the route educators take.

While technology continues to develop and help connect us around the world, there is still one issue: keeping education developing as fast as the developing technology. SMART Boards have been around for years, yet there are thousands of classrooms around the country that still use textbooks printed in the late 90’s. However, those of us who have a SMART Board in the classroom know how engaging it can be for instruction.

Pondering about the Rethinking Education article, there are several ideas to keep in mind when looking into the future of education:

1. Technology allows for customization and interaction in a classroom.

2. As technology is integrated we need to keep in mind equity, citizenship and social cohesion, diversity, and broader horizons.

3. The gains of technology in the classroom would be engagement, less competition and more collaboration, customization, digital citizenship and responsibility, as well as less peer culture.

Keeping these in mind, education in 2025 is, I feel, still going to be playing catch-up with technology… unfortunately.

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What do I foresee?

Hello, everyone! My name is Lindsey Storm, and I am currently an eighth grade grammar and 6-8 technology teacher at St. Anthony Grade School in Effingham, Illinois. I am also the part-time software coordinator for St. Anthony Grade School and St. Anthony High School in Effingham.

I would have to say that it is weird teaching at the same school that I attended. Even my principal is still at the helm! My classroom is right next door to my first grade teacher. Crazy!

I love my schedule. It gives me quite the variety each day. I teach three classes in the morning and the rest of the time I create professional development, update software and the schools’ Web site, and provide on-site technology troubleshooting. Each day brings something new!

This is my 6th class of the CTER program at UIUC. I am really excited about this class and the discussions and readings that have already taken place. Even though I have learned so much in the program, I am looking forward to earning my master’s degree!

Outside of school and grad school, I devote my time to my husband Adam and our 7 month old son, Connor. I also wake up each morning sharing a pillow with our 50 lb. pup, Wrigley.

My greatest hope for technology in education would be a seamless transition from home to school. Education and learning shouldn’t stop at 3 PM.

My greatest fear for technology in education would be no financial support to continue to integration of technology and education as other countries continue to surpass the United States educationally.

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