Friday, July 27, 2007

Apple and Blogger

I learned something new this morning about Blogger and Apple. When I put my podcast on a blog post I wanted to create a direct link. I thought there must be a link button somewhere, but search as I might I could not find one. I right clicked on the words and created a link, but it did not work when I checked it. Thank you Jeff for the tip on how to create a direct link. There is a button for it, but not when you are using Apple’s Safari. I decided to try Firefox and sure enough there were all of the options I was missing in Safari like bold etc. My guess is that some of those glitches will be worked out over time as Apple gains more market share and there are more Apple users.

Two Peas in a Pod

My daughter and I had fun making the podcast together. We used Garage Band on our IMac computer. Garage Band makes it very simple to create a podcast. When you first open Garage Band one of the options is to create a new podcast. After a click you are ready to create. It sets you up with voice tracks and music/sound effects tracks. It was quite simple to record our voices – just click the record button. We then went through the lists of music and sound effects and dragged some up. It was easy to shorten a track – with Apple it is apple T and then delete the newly divided section. Before I sent the file to Podomatic, I exported the file to ITunes. In doing that formattingit shrank the file size significantly. Katie is quite impressed with hearing her voice over the internet. We did type out our script as we thought of it so parts sound a bit robotic - mostly my parts. Katie was an anchor for her school video news so she has a good announcing voice with lots of inflection by now. I would make that part of the lesson for students. I am curious what percentage of the time teachers have their students read a “script” rather than just improvise for podcasts. ????

Penpal Podcast

For several years now students in my class have had pen pals. My sister teaches in Pennsylvania – 450 miles way. Students write email letters to each other and then at the end of the year by writing a regular letter on paper and can exchange email addresses and postal addresses so they may remain pen pals. Students only use first names over the internet for security. Podcasts now seem like a natural extension of this activity. Students could record a brief podcast that might include a greeting and some information about themselves. I would not allow students toinclude a picture for security. For that matter, students could use a blog or wiki together. They might just share information about themselves, but they could also do projects together. If both classes have a common subject such as planets or states they could research information, share ideas, and even collaborate on a report/project together. Both classes could complete community service projects and then blog about their experiences. I feel like I am starting to think more out of the box for uses of these tools. Permission would be essential, though I already get parents’ permission before initiating email pen pals.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

David's Podcast

My older daughter and I created a Podcast. It is meant to be a sample of what I could do with my class. It would be an audio news cast of what was happening in our classroom. I created it using garage band which was not difficult. I then exported it to ITunes which shrank the file size from over 20 mb to under 2 mb. I then used Podmatic to post it. Thanks Jeff for the suggestion of Podmatic. It is an easy-to-use free service. The link below will take you to the Podcast. Enjoy-
Click HERE for the podcast


Well I am burning the midnight oil while watching The Tonight Show. Michael Moore, the film maker was on and was talking about his new movie Sicko. He talked about how someone was assessed a bill of $66,000 from an insurance company. A video on UTube that mentioned Moore was what helped get the bill changed to $500. Moore knows how to use the media, which now includes the networked community. People are looking out for other people and are truly creating a community. You Tube videos also were the source of the questions for a recent Democratic debate. It allowed “common everyday” people to participate in the debate. Again, proof of connectivism, as is the degree to which teens stay connected with text messages, My Sapce etc. Just today I was on the internet looking for reviews of vacuum cleaners. On one of the sights there was a blog about vacuum cleaners. Now that blog has become a part of my vocabulary, blogs seem to be popping up everywhere.
PS: I just looked on the internet to check on the spelling of “Sicko”.” It took me to Michael Moore’s page. There, among other things, were blogs.
(I am trying out the label for this post.)

Friday, July 20, 2007


Siemans talks about making sure what we do in school has a relevance. I try to relate to students how what we are learning might relate to them now or later in life. Last summer I participated in a state summer institute on ITC literacy and e-portfolios. Part of our mission was to create sample school guidelines, assessments and portfolios. We used part of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills for the ICT Literacy component. To do this we worked collaboratively in groups face-to-face and later, after the institute, using Moodle. We were able to add to our work, comment on those changes, and eventually agree on a finished sample. In the past I have had students do research on planets, or ocean plants/animals. I wonder if students could do this using networked learning by either being able to add notes/information to an individual’s notes, or to work together as a class on several planets/animals. As a student finds pertinent information or has ideas, she/he could add it directly. Would this work better in the form of a wiki or blog? Maybe a blog if one student is working on one item, and wiki if the class is working on several items together.??
e-portfolios are a way that can add to the relevance of work. This could possibly be a more collabative project as well.

Metacognition and Changing Change

I have always included this statement when teaching science: “Scientists think.” I agree with Siemans that information/knowledge is not static. I had not heard of the terms hard/soft knowledge, but it makes sense. I agree Pluto is a good example. It is now not considered a planet because of a shift in definition (which was arrived at collectively). It could very easily “become” a planet again in the near future. I also like his idea that new knowledge (technology) “…does not wash away previous knowledge, but rather is the fertile top layers of soil.” Pluto is still there and is still larger than asteroids (planetoids), and can be considered a moon. All of our readings refer to Wikipedia as an outstanding example of collaborative work of knowledge. I love the idea in Richardson of having a district or school wiki that becomes a way to share and exchange lesson plans and ideas. One teacher could add ideas to another’s lesson. The adding and changing would be a major difference from just a repository of lessons.
One other thought on libraries relates to Siemans’ thought on how it’s more important to know where and who more than what and why. What did we do before the internet? I don’t think any one person should be expected to know it all. We should be working collaboratively (connectivism).

Go to School 2

When our technology teacher comes back from vacation I will be contacting her about School 2.0, and the Karl Fisch video. She is not only receptive to new ideas, but is on our district’s technology oversight committee. I am thinking that as I work toward a cert. as a technology teacher, I should sit in on some of their meetings. The Fisch viedeo, School 2.0, for 21st century and our readings in Siemans seem to dovetail nicely. As I looked over School 2.0 and some of your comments, I thought about how many libraries haven’t changed much, just like many classrooms. Libraries/media centers should be a hub for just that- media. Paper books are just one important component to that mix. The only major media exposure students receive from the library is learning how to search, mainly using the electronic card catalog. I teach at the elementary level. Do you think that libraries at higher levels have changed more to incorporate new areas of technology? We still seem to be compartmentalized in many ways. Art happens in art class. Technology happens in the lab. Books happen in the library. There have been changes. The computer lab can come in to the classroom. In our school’s model, the technology teacher is a collaborative partner with the teacher. Together we work on projects. It is very far from a “drop off” special. It is funny how slow schools, and teachers, can be in accepting new ideas. Siemans talks about how we printed hard copies of our first emails, and how movies/videos were first thought to be inferior, and now they are an art form. Politics are certainly accepting and utilizing blogs and wikis readily. Richardson makes this point which was recently reinforced by a NPR story on the same topic. Apparently the democratic candidates are headed in this direction to a greater degree than republicans. What a way to end!

Quickie Wikis and Blogs

Well, I certainly have a better understanding of wikis and blogs. Though they are different, they make much more sense to me to think of them as quick ways to make a web page. I remember my apprehension about first using the internet. It is now second nature to use it. I remember how cumbersome it was to make my first home web page. Last week I created my first blog in a few minutes. I need to strive to have as little apprehension about new technology as my students have. Richardson talks about how the read/write web may/will make the differences between teacher and learner more acute. I even see this with cell phones. Teenagers know their way through all of the menus, while some of us are happy to be able to dial. Emailing and text messaging are considered as fun (and necessary) communications with friends, compared to my youth of “having” to write letters. Another point from Richardson that I find interesting is that wikis, while meaning quick, also have this component: “To write in a wiki is to write in a living organism.” I think this component will emerge for us as this course continues. I am slightly encouraged that I may not be too far behind the times. My MS Word dictionary doesn’t recognize the words wiki and blog. Yes, they just turned red.

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Time

Here it is, my first blog. I have updated my personal information. I will make more posts later. I am getting my feet wet right now.