Friday, November 18, 2011

Journal #9: "Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe" by Annette Lamb

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading With Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from

Summary: This article was very interesting to read, because I am the type of person that avoids reading. I only read for assignments, but after reading about the different advancements being made involving book reading I started to get pretty interested. Ever since I was young, I struggled with reading, because I would struggle with words. Just reading one page of a book, I usually stumble upon two to five words I am unfamiliar with. Picking up a dictionary really wasn't something I wanted to do; it involved me to get up and get the dictionary. Reading about the ebooks really fascinated me, because now readers have access to several tools with their Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. and I think reading would become much more than just writing words. Lamb was explaining that many authors who have published their books online, include other means of technology that relate to their book. I think reading would be so much more enjoyable with that visual piece. Also, Lamb said that users can highlight and enlarge text, bookmark exactly where they left off, and most importantly look up unknown or unfamiliar words with an online dictionary. Lamb's article excited about reading and the fact that because of technology reading can become so much more than just a linear piece. After reading this article, I have to say I want an iPad so much more, because of the online reading. I want to have access to look up words and highlight main ideas. I think that's why reading really turned me off; I just would get so distracted and lost. I think that because technology is enhancing reading it will become more of an experience for people that struggle or find reading to be boring. Thank you, Technology!

Question #1: By the time I become a teacher, what will reading be like?
Although, I don't have the exact answer to this, I believe that reading (because of technology) will involve a lot more people. Finding someone who doesn't enjoy reading will become harder and harder, because reading will be more than just sitting down and simply reading a book, it will become a dimensional and attention getting experience. It will involve several parts of the brain instead of just one or two. Students will be not only be hearing the story, but seeing it, analyzing it, thinking it, and much more. I can't even begin to imagine what reading will be like in next two some years. I'm excited.

 Question #2: How will digital reading affect the students and how they learn?
I think that because of the advancements that are going on today, children are able to learn quicker than they were before. Students will have some many more ways of accessing information and it will be a lot more involving for them. Children won't stop learning at school, they will come home and work on their parent's iPad and learn new words and stimulate their minds through online games. Technology has so much for us, the real question is how will you use it?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Journal #8: Adaptive Technology


AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) provides strategies that assists people with severe communication disabilities so that the individuals can participate more in social activities such as education, employment, and with interactions between others.

No/low Tech Tool:

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): this system uses pictures instead of words to help a child communicate. This is specifically designed for Autistic children, who have delays in their communication skills as well as children with communication deficits. PECS is mainly used for individuals who do not speak or limited speech capacity. In a classroom, PECS would be used to know what the child wants and needs. The student would give the picture of the item they want to the teacher, who then gave the item to them. PECS helps to eliminate the gap that is formed when students can not communicate. After the students understands the process it will be very beneficial to the student.

 High Tech Tool:

The BIGmack Communicator: is large scale buttons that assist students with speech and/or language disorders, who are blind or have low vision. or have mobility difficulties. The BIGmack allows the teacher to record a message up to 2 minutes that the student can listen to again and again by pushing the button. The BIGmack can be used with compatible toys or appliance with the cable that is usually included. When I went and observed a special education classroom, a student was using the BIGmack Communicator. She was immobile and the buttons could be attached to her wheelchair. She struggled with both fine and gross motor skills, so the buttons were near her head and she could then tap the button with her head or look in the direction of her choice. The teacher was assisting her and talking to her along the way. She was working on writing a prompt about what they had done that day in class.


Alternative input devices allows there to be other options for students who can't or struggle with using the keyboard and pointer (mouse).

Hardware Tool:

Joystick: which allows students to use their hand, chin, feet, etc. to control the cursor on the screen. I think this a fabulous tool to use if students are struggling with their fine motor skills and need a bigger device than just a mouse to control the cursor. There also joystick that can be operated by the mouth, which can allow lots of students to use the computer. These joysticks could replace mice for the computer to allow students to use the computer: explore websites and play games.

Software Tool:

Blooming Kids Software: this software is an online installation teaching tool that offers 37 individualized and growing educational programs. The program is designed to children with Autism or PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). Within the software there are three programs, "mouse training", "painting", and "wooden puzzles". Each program teaches the child to point, click, and drag. There is also a program called "Talking Machine" that helps children improve their communication skills. The program uses pictures and animations as well as voicing the item to help the child learn the word or phrase. This program can help a child become familiar with a computer as well as improving their communication, comprehension, problem-solving skills, as well as many others. In the classroom, this program will stimulate the student's mind and it also keeps track of the student's progress throughout the program and builds on it.

I commented on Angela's Blog and Emily's Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Journal #7- My Personal Learning Network

As a student and future teacher it is important for me to become a lifelong learner. Developing and adding to my PLN, Personal Learning Network will help me find resources and people that can continue to make me a lifelong learner. A Personal Learning Network is the technological make-up of how a person connects with people from all over the world. A PLN consents of verious websites and resources in which a person can find certain information about almost anything. It allows people to share as well as learn about all sorts of information without searching like crazy for it. Some of the tools I use in my PLN are Twitter, Facebook, iGooge, just recently Symbaloo, Google+, The Educator's PLN, and many others. My PLN will help me to continuously learn new things with technology and to say "up-to-date" with technology. In a world that is relaying more and more on technology I need to introduce and get my students familiar with technology; my PLN will be my resource and give me ideas to doing this.

Twitter is absolutely amazing! Twitter has allowed me to connect with students, teachers, and other people involved in education who share websites and links that are really beneficial for me as a future teacher! I now have a new thought in my mind every time I find a great website; I think, "Oh, man I have to tweet this!" I love sharing my resources! I follow a couple hashtags that I really enjoy going through and reading when I log in. I followed the New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) on Wednesday, November 2nd at 5pm.  The topic or question, in this case, was “How should a principal support a new teacher?” I was really excited about this question, because as a future teacher I will need to be involved with the school principal and hopefully they can help me learn the system and how the school operates on a daily basis. I even got involved and posted that I want the principal to support me by “actively checking up on my progress and giving me tips and constructive criticism to help me become a better teacher.” One person actually liked my comment! I really enjoyed following this chat and I got more information about principals and what types there are. For example, I learned that instructional leaders are the kinds of principals to actively observe and evaluate the teachers and classrooms. They are the ones that love learning and facilitate the school. I wish I could go on and on about the chat because I really enjoyed being a part of it! Some Twitter users I am following are Joan Young (@flourishingkids), Lisa Dabbs (@teachingwthsoul), Dean Mantz (@dmantz7), Karla Medina (@KarlaJayMedina), Krista Sargent (@kristasargent). Joan, Lisa, and Dean are all educators and have shared lots of interesting websites as well as their opinions on important school matters. Lisa is the creator of the New Teacher Chat and I was able to explore the website she created ( I ended up bookmarking it, because she not only posted the day and time the chat takes place, but also earlier posts dating all the way back to early 2010. Karla Medina (@KarlaJayMedina) and Krista Sargent (@kristasargent) are both students in our Education 422 class who have definitely shared lots of helpful websites that I bookmarked for future use! The people I am following encourage me to get more involved with Twitter and to not only use their resources but to share what I find interesting and helpful!

I really enjoy using Diigo. It makes it super easy to bookmark websites that I don’t want to forget about, lets me highlight important information within a website page, and look at other bookmarks other users are creating! I am learning through every program and several online resources that it is not only important to get something from them, but to also contribute to the community. I am following Angela Mairs, Rich Kiker, Ms Davis, Sarah Victory, and Sherilyn Crawford. They all have some kind of relation to education and help me expand my usage of technology. Ms Davis, for example, is a math teacher and I really enjoy looking at the different websites that she bookmarked pertaining to mathematics. Rich Kiker also provides lots of online notes and resources that I can use as a teacher! From a person I follow on Twitter I found a website, and it is for teachers that want their students to create their own blog. It specifically mentioned that it is for elementary and middle school teachers and since that is where I’d like to work, I had to bookmark it and tag PLN! I can’t wait to start using it! Another website that I bookmarked and tagged was This website is very similar to Facebook and looks a lot like it too, but it is created specifically for teachers and their classes. I thought it was very neat, because it is not only safe but can help create a community in the classroom. This program can replace Moodles such as Learningpoint and create a more interactive atmosphere! Of course, the New Teacher Chat website created by Lisa Dabbs is also bookmarked, because it is a great way for me to read past chats that I might have missed or what to look back to for websites and resources. There was also a website I found through Rich that provides templates for Cornell Notes that can be printed for teachers. Talk about an easy way to help students learn good note taking! Diigo is an amazing resource and I can’t wait to expand my PLN even more and find other websites that I will use in the future!

I joined The Educator’s PLN, The personal learning network for educators. It’s a great website to connect with educators and allow them to share videos, websites, blog posts, and even chat. I found a blog called, “‘What’s Love Got to do With it?’ Ask your Students” and it was written and posted by Lisa Mims. The post was very insightful about how school can sometimes be the only positive thing in kids’ lives. Also, students that act out and have poor behavioral skills may be enduring some really hard times at home. After talking about his 2nd grade boy that was struggling and connected with a teacher that showed him love instead of strictly disciplining him, Lisa went on to say that students need to be told that they matter. Sometimes teachers are the ones who provide a safe haven from the rest of the students’ lives and we need to understand that sometimes what kids really need is love! I commented to her post and thanked her for sharing this amazing story. It’s a great thing to keep in mind and I definitely will; my future students matter to me and to the world!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Journal #6: Google+

"Google+: The Complete Guide"

Parr, B. (2011, July 16). Google : the complete guide. Retrieved from

Summary: The article begins by simply explaining what Google+ is. I found it interesting that Ben Parr made the point to say that he is not trying to pitch Google+ to us, instead he selected eight followers who  explained why they had chose Google+. The responses included Google+ is more "grown-up", it looks clean and organized, Google+ doesn't have the distracting games and apps that Facebook offers, and a follower even said that Google+ is Facebook and Twitter's baby. After reading these responses the social network seems a lot appealing to me. I like the way Google+ uses social grouping. Through Facebook I can group my friends together, by going through all my friends and labeling them. The task of simply grouping friends has become a long and tedious task with Facebook. Google+ has the Circles and it's an easy task of dragging and dropping friends into specific Circles. I also think that it was brilliant of Google+ creators to make it so that users can post specific content to certain Circles; that way your boss doesn't see the pictures of the party you just had. Another feature that I find very beneficial that there is an option to "mute" certain stories that come up on the Google+ news feed. So many times my news feed is clogged with stories that don't really interest me and I have no way of hiding them without completely deleting that friend from view. Even better Google+ has the feature called "Hangouts". You have the option to video chat with an individual or a whole Circle. Talk about beneficial; this could be used for group projects, group discussions and meetings! Google+ has definitely taken a big step from Facebook and Twitter; it just may be their new and improved baby in the social networking world.

Question: How would Google+ be helpful in my classroom?
Well, Google+ definitely has lots to offer. First off, the students can all form a Circle strictly for my class, we can have class discussions within the program. I can have the students interact using the program and create group projects that the students do together. They can use that program to communicate and to create the project at home, at school, or anywhere they are with a computer. It also provides an easy way for students to get in touch with me as well as allow me to monitor their activity online. The real question is: Why wouldn't I use it!?

"Educators-Google Plus is For You"

Brogan, C. (2011, September 30). Educators - google plus is for you. Retrieved from

Summary: Chris Brogan begins by instructing to make Circles on your Google+ account. An interesting thing I hadn't realized was that you can "publish" a specific Circle to the people in it so they can then add each other! What an easy way to make sure that my students are all in each others Circles. Chris then explained that I can share things such as lesson plans, YouTube videos, links, photos, etc. to Circles of my choice. From reading the article by Parr I already knew that I could do that and I think it's brilliant! Similar to Facebook, Google+ allows users to comment on others' posts and I could make sure that my students are interacting with others on the site. I already read about Hangouts, but something that I hadn't realized is Google+ allows users to not only video chat, but also share documents and draw collaboratively on a white board. Although, Brogan touched on some features that Parr had already mentioned I learned some more interesting features that Google+ offers!

Question: Do I agree with Chris about Google+ being a good resource for teachers?
I definitely do! Students can interact a whole new way now! I love that Google+ offers so much more than Twitter and Facebook. Also it doesn't have that somewhat dangerous reputation that Facebook and MySpace have. It offers so much more than just games and status updates. Google+ can allow group projects to be a lot easier for students and teachers! I haven't even begun using it and I'm already in love!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Journal #4: "It's In the Bag," by James Basham, Ernest Perry, and Helen Meyer

Basham, J., Perry, E., & Meyer, H. (2011). It's in the bag. Learning and Leading With Technology, 39(2), 24. Retrieved from

Summary: The article begins by bringing the fact that schools and teachers want to teach the basics' as well as digital age skills. I really like how schools and teachers are somewhat willing, it seems, to want to integrate technology into their lessons. It will definitely benefit the students, so that they can use technology to their advantage. The authors went on to explain what a digital backpack is and that there are designed backpacks for specific projects or lessons. The article provided a lot of information on what the digital backpack would contain and what it provides to the students. Each backpack contains foundational technology, modular technology, and instructional support materials. The authors then went on to further explaining each piece. Foundational technology is simply the actual piece of technology itself, a laptop, for example. The modular technology is all the software or apps that go with or are apart of the piece. Teachers can then add or remove certain software depending on the objectives of the lesson. Instructional support materials are the actual curriculum resources or the structure pieces of the lesson.They gave some examples of what teachers have put in the digital backpack for this section; they were documents, podcasts, videos, and content-based apps. I found the next part really interesting. They experimented with the digital backpacks in certain grade levels. It definitely can support their opinion on the digital backpacks, because instead of simply saying what they think will benefit students, they test it; it becomes more real that way. I really enjoyed reading about how elementary children used technology to figure how a zoo can become more kid-friendly! I think that incorporating a small project like that into the curriculum is super fun and not that complicated to do. I know that with that age group, though there would need to be lots of instruction. This article was very eye-opening and interesting; I had never thought technology could be strategically organized into a classroom!

Question #1: What other ways could I have elementary school students use technology?
I remember actually having to do a project in middle school that had to do with a book we were reading. We had the option to make a commercial that related to the book and I jumped at the opportunity. I had a lot of fun doing it and it got my dad and I do spend some time together! (He helped me with the whole video making process). I think that I could use this in an elementary school setting, because of how advanced technology has gotten. The students could make a short video or commercial that relates to a piece of literature or even do a video book report. I think the most important thing is to just get the students familiar with it and to have a good experience with it!

Question #2: How can a digital backpack help me as a teacher?
Well I definitely think that the digital backpack is very organized and with help me keep my lessons structured. I know that as a teacher organizational skills are very important and the backpack will help me maintain the organization while teaching the students digital age skills. It can also help me stay on the topic of the lesson and not get off topic. I can just put the apps or software that pertain to the topic in the backpack. I think it's a great tool and resource for teachers!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Journal #3: "Students Dig up Dirt to Learn About Internet Safety" by Jesse Morehouse

Morehouse, J. (2011). Students dig up dirt to learn about internet safety. Learning and Leading With Technology, 39(2), 34. Retrieved from

Summary: I found this article to be very interesting; it definitely caught my interest. I liked how the teacher is actually showing the students just how easy it is to find so much information online, about almost anyone. It's one thing to just tell the students and inform them about internet safety and it's a totally different thing to actually have them discover it on their own. Like Jesse had said it becomes real for the students and they walk away from the project knowing that people are able to access all sorts of information about them. Technology safety is so important for students to learn! I learned it the hard way and it could have ended a lot worse than it did. I was obsessed with AIM when I was attending middle school, because I didn't really fit in at school. I would go into chatrooms and meet random people and friend them. I would talk to them almost everyday. I would get a feeling of friendship and popularity, because my friends list was so long. My parents ended up finding out; they deleted my account, blocked the program on my computer, and refused to let me use AIM or any other chatting program. I know that for many teens their story didn't end there. In a world that is growing more and more around technology, I want to make sure that as a teacher I express this importance to my students. I would love to have an exercise like what Jesse does with his students. Maybe I could set up a day where the students go online and try to find as much information about me as they can and then we can debrief from it and the students will then understand just how easy it is to access. Learning is experiencing and as a teacher I want to make sure that my students fully understand why safety is important.

Question #1: Why is internet safety so important for students to know?
Well, first of all there are lots of creepers out there in the world, who sadly what to kidnap young children. The students need to know to protect themselves from potential threats that are usually unknown. Also, because technology is becoming a part of the world's daily routine, students need to know what kind of information they shouldn't be putting out there. It not only puts them in danger but can potentially ruin their chances of getting a job.

Question #2: What kinds of programs should the students be cautious with?
As a teacher I would have my students use privacy settings for Facebook, Twitter, AIM, any other instant messaging they are using, Skype, and any programs that the students may be putting too much information in. I would discuss what kinds of areas in a profile they should leave blank or generalize. The students, especially at a young age should learn that people can easily find out a lot of information.  The way they can protect themselves, is to not put so much specific details into their profile.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Technology Self Assessment: School 2.0

NETS-T 1 Using School 2.0 I explored a website that was about a worldwide project for students. Teachers from all over the world were making a music video together. This exercise promoted creativity with technology for the students and allowed them to have a virtual experience with other students.

I chose to explore the NETS-T 1, which is "Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity". I picked this specific module, because as a teacher I really want to be able to aid the students with their creativity in technology. I think that's a big part of what education is!
One of the resources that I explored was a website called "Rock Our World". Teachers from all over the world are incorporating music and videos into their lessons. The specific video I watched was a collaboration of schools from all over the world that were singing a song. The song was super inspirational and it was amazing to watch children from all over the world singing together in this video! The website also mentioned that the students are involved in video chats with each other. I think that having the students interact with others from other ends of the world is an awesome experience and gives the children a new idea of friendship. The video shows children from Australia, Peru, China, Canada, the US, and several other countries. I guess as adult, who sees a lot of conflict between different cultures, live styles, and peoples, it's extremely encouraging to see these children singing a song together. It gives hope and connects our world! I really liked looking at this website and it gave me ideas of how I can incorporate creativity in technology in my classroom. I think my future students would really enjoy to have connections with other students from other parts of the world through technology!