Sunday, August 26, 2007

Informal Learning is where it's at!

After reading the last few pages of the Siemens' book on Web 2.0, really made me reflect on my own teaching methods and how I have integrated new advances of technology in the classroom. It made me realize, along with this entire class, that I need to make more of an effort to expose students to new technology and how to use technology in various ways further learning.

I really enjoyed the part of Siemens' book that touched on the power of "Informal Learning." Being adaptable, taking on new experiences, and staying updated and current is crucial for teachers in today's ever changing society. If do not mode how to be flexible and take risks in our classrooms then we selling our students short of the education they should be receiving.

In my mind holistic teaching and learning is the only path to take today in order to allow for growth the WHOLE child. Allowing learning to flow within the classroom, not only when learning about the newest way to integrate technology but in all areas of education, is probably the greatest gift and learning opportunity we can give our students today and in the future.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Group Collaborative Project

Well, I have really enjoyed doing the group collaborative project, although, I wish I could have communicated better through blogging with my partners. Unfortunately there are multiple steps to take in order for me to look and respond to others blog entries because we are located in China, but luckily my group members and I were able to correspond through emails. I'm sorry team that I haven't been responding to your blogs! I would if I could!

I also have learned a lot about wikis and how great this program will be to use in my classroom. When doing technology with my kids, I usually leave it up to the tech teacher, for the most part, but know I would definitely feel comfortable team teaching or teaching students myself about this program.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I thought chapter 5 in Blogs Wikis and Podcasts by Richardson was very informational both personally and professionally. So often I am questioning sources that I and my students get information from and this RSS feed would allow me to get valid, relevant and the most current sources information out on the web. Since a lot of information that we get from the web changes daily, it's extremely important for me to make sure that I'm giving my students information that is not dated and this program would help me reduce that chance of not getting information correct.

The only thing that scares me, like Richardson states at the end of the chapter, is all the emails and alerts I would have to search through. Also, teaching young students and making sure that information that my kids or I receive is relevant to them. Is there anyway to gather information from the RSS feed that is kid friendly or is this program basically geared towards more advanced learners?

This will, though, be a program that I will most definitely use for my own educational benefit.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

moodle vs. wiki

So at my school they are providing a workshop on Moodles. I am wondering if anyone has any views on which program, either a moodle or a wiki, would be better to use in a grade 3 classroom for a class newsletter that the kids would create every few weeks.

I know that a wiki would allow our class to archive each newsletter, which would be great, but I'm not sure if the Moodle program allows this. I heard that the Moodle program is more like a webpage.

I can't make the workshop due to another meeting, so I was wondering if any had ahny thoughts on the difference between these two programs?!


let the learning flow

While reading the Siemen's article, I realized that he makes a point about integration of new knowledge into organized structures that it so important for me to always remember as an educator. He states, "Do not force new knowledge into organizational structures. Let it exist for awhile. See what happens. Do not decide in advance" (Siemens, pg. 96).

For me, it brought me back to my first year of teaching, when I thought I had to plan all my lessons to a T. This is what they taught us in Univeristy. To plan accordinaly to ensure that the outcomes of your lessons/units were what you had decided before you even taught them.

Now I look back at this thinking and am so much more relaxed because,like Siemen's states, you need to let the process takes it's own course and see where it goes. Give students a structure and guidelines, but let the learning flow. Allow students to discover without you drawing it out on the board how they should go about learning new information.

"Real value exists int he knowledge patterns that emerge," writes Siemens and I totally agree (Siemen's, pg. 96). This makes me feel much more comfortable going into this school knowing that I'm going to integrate new technology into my classroom curriculum. Giving students the tools to discover and allowing them the freedom to let the learning take it's own course is extremely important. It not only makes learning more fun for the students, but takes a load of the teacher's shoulder's as well! In my mind, this is the most meaningful kind of education you can give kids today.

integration into Elementary Classroom

Well school has started and now it's time to put all this information that we've learned in this class to work! I have a lot of ideas, but I would love to know if anyone has integrated wikis, blogs, or podcasts into their elementary curriculum program and which program is the most kid friendly to start off with.

My ideas as of now are:

*creating a literacy wiki (connecting to our collaborative literacy wiki) where students write book recommendations
*wiki newsletter page, created by students every few weeks
*monthly podcasts on what's going on around school

If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know! I love to hear what works well and will be most meaningful to the kids!! I teach grade 3 so these programs can't get too complex. THanks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Web 2.0

I just began reading the section from Web 2.0 and from the first 20 pages I believe there are some really solid points about technology and how it's advancement is allowing us to become more aware of the people and world around us. I love how the internet and other technology is allowing people to understand more clearly what is going on in the world without having first-hand experiences.

Some people are not lucky enough to have the means to travel around the world and take in all the culture and knowledge that come from countries other than their own, and technology is allowing people to access more and more information to enhance their minds about the world.

I did have an issue with Siemen's comment when he stated, "Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we need to know today" (Siemens, pg 83). I know it's important to learn new innovative ways to help us learn how to use new information and technology, but can we live for and use what we know for today? If we're always looking forward to new technology that may be invented in the future, how can this help our children today? Exposing students to new technological advances is extremely important, and quite possibly I may have internalized this quote a bit much, but living for today is often forgotten in our fast paced society. Sometimes we need to sit down, relax and enjoy what we have, what we know and trust in our abilities to learn from prior experiences when new experiences come about.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

podcast uploaded !

Check out my walking tour of madison, WI below:


I'm loving designing a wiki page with my peers in this class and I know that I'll continue to add material throughout this school year and there after. It's so great to know that you can start a wiki that you can share information and others can add information that is new to you, which makes this such a great resource, especially for teachers!!

In my classroom, I'm going to have my students develop their own personal learning network that I'll link to our group literature wiki. Here they will write personal book recommendations, tying along nicely to our shared literature page. It will be great to have some student thought and input connected to our teacher literature wiki!!!

Richardson Reading

Blog Entry 7-5-07 (Richardson Reading)
I’m really enjoying reading Blogs, Wiki’s, Podcasts… by Will Richardson. I think this book has a lot of great tools and ideas that will help integrate communication through technology into our classroom this year. Maybe too many ideas making it hard to choose what would work best with the students in my class!!

I love his ideas of giving students the chance to go and explore wiki’s, blogging, etc. with minimal teacher guidance. Kids often times are much smarter and more adaptive than we tend to think and to let them learn from and with each other will only enhance their technological skills and help them become a more self-reliant learner in future learning experiences.

This year, I will have to remember to make sure to give students an outline, but allow them to explore and discover for themselves when it comes to filling in the details of that outline. Easier for me as the teacher and more fun and educational for the students! Exploration and self-discovery are beautiful concepts.

Virtual Learning Environments

Blog Entry 7-2-07 (Virtual Learning Environments)
Unfortunately our computer was not working at the time for the Elluminate session on VRL Environments. I did go the website and watched the YouTube Video on how to create a Second Life Account. I must say, I thought it is very interesting, but I’m a bit hesitant about this program.

Maybe I’m just not clear with all the possibilities and positives that come along with a creating a second life, but I’m not feeling the need to take part in this type of environment, nor have this be a part of the classroom.

I don’t understand why kids need a second life when they should be living and enjoying their own. With all the information and various games and what not on the computer these days, I don’t feel that kids and adults are giving enough time to enjoy the environment and people around them. I feel that sometimes kids, and adults for that matter, are getting so wrapped up in technology and are beginning to live lives succumbed to the computer rather that taking advantage of communicating with other people and being active human beings.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Well, I just completed my first podcast and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it! The Garage Band program I used was much more user friendly than I expected and I actually had fun doing it. Like most new programs that have been introduced to me in this class, I feel that podcasting can be integrated easily into classroom curriculum and be very beneficial for students now and in their future in regards to knowledge and communication with others.

In my last blog entry I wrote about the importance of learning and interacting with others face to face. I still stand my that, but I think it's also very important that students know and understand how to communicate and learn with and from others through various uses of technology. I totally agree with you Jeff how living in an international community where people and families are more transient than the average family makes the use of communication through technology that much more important for them to remain those close ties with family and friends. This is why I will make a valiant effort to use technology like podcasting in our classroom.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

social interaction the base of learning and knowledge

After reading the this weeks Siemens reading a couple of things really hit home for me as a person and educator. Siemens writes, "To know today means to be connected," (pg. 51). I agree almost 100% with this statement, but there is still a piece of me that struggles with communication through technology. Technology does keep us connected, but I strongly believe that nothing is more beneficial than personal, face to face communication and experience. Don't get me wrong, wiki's and other technological advances continue to enhance and bring forth and new way to communicate and gain knowledge, but we can't forget the importance of learning through social interaction and communication. In my eyes, face to face social interaction is the base of communication and knowledge, while technology is the enhancer.

Where did summer go?

I just wanted to thank the person who gave me a great link (21st Century Collaborative)on how to integrate wiki's into the classroom. Thanks!! There are so mnay ideas, It's going to be hard for me to choose which ones will be the best for our classroom this upcoming year.

Well, about one more week and it's back to Shanghai. I can't believe the summer is almost over and we start teaching in less than a month!! I can't complain because Madison has had unbelievable weather since we've been home and we've been able to get a lot accomplished. Thank goodness for the new information we're learning in this class or else I probably wouldn't have done anything for school until I absolutely had too. Thanks Jeff for keeping me on the ball!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Reflections of this weeks reading

This weeks reading really opened my eyes personally and professionally about the importance of staying up to date with technological knowledge in our world today. Exposing students to the unlimited options that technology and networking has to offer is crucial for their development as a person and learner and that means that I have to make sure to continue to be well informed about the new ways of learning and communicating with technology. I think, though, giving them the proper tools to help them find the most quality resources possible to become a more informed, in touch learner is crucial.

Reading this section (Learning section) from the article "The Theoretical Views of Knowing and Learning" also made me excited about all the endless possibilities of integrating networking as a form of communication and learning into our classroom environment. Kids learn best through exploration and communicating with their peers and networking through blogs and other technological tools is a great way for them to become a more a self-reliant learner. Networking is also a great way to develop a sense of community within the classroom and sharing that community feeling with others and I hope to do this some how, some way in our 3rd grade classroom next year! Any ideas, feel free to share!!!