Thursday, December 8, 2011

Journal 10

Find the Truth about the Pacific Tree Octopus

Ferrell, Keith. "Find the Truth about the Pacific Tree Octopus." Learning and Leading. 39.1 (2011): n. page. Web. 8 Dec. 2011. <;.

Summary: This article was short and straight to the point. Even though the article was short it held a lot of information that many educators probably do not think of when teaching students how to navigate and search for content online. Keith describes a lesson plan that he conducted with his students. Instead of showing students the proper sites to look for content he instead gave the students two topics (“The Tree Octopus” and “All About Explorers.”) and then told each of the students to conduct research online of each topic and share their findings with one another. Immediately the students chose to open up Google as a search engine and began clicking on links that Google generated for their search term. When the students were finished with their findings and began sharing their information the findings were all so different! None of each others information was the same nor was it truthful. The students were all surprised with their findings and couldn't believe that the internet could lie to you! Once this assignment was complete Keith continued to teach his students how to properly look for reputable sources on line and to double check the sources before believing the information provided. I am sure that a lot of educators conduct assignments that require students to do research online. It is important for educators to teach students how to find reputable sources and to make sure their findings are in fact truthful. I was really impressed with this article.

Question 1: How can educators incorporate this lesson into their classroom?

Answer: Teachers can start any topic off by having students blindly research topics and then once they all have different findings teach them how to look for reputable sources just as Keith did before. You can have students work in groups or individually. I think this is the best way for educators to demonstrate that there are sites online that are not trust worthy. This will be a lesson students will keep with them for a life time.

Question 2: How can we help students find reputable sources for future assignments?

Answer: It would be helpful if educators could type up a list of reputable sources that provide research on various topics and then provide students with this list. It would be a great way for students to go home and book mark the various sites to their home computers. This would allow for all future research assignments to go smoothly and students will feel confident that they have accurate information!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Journal 8

Adaptive Technology


AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication): includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write. People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. (

No/Low Tech Tool: This is a type of communication device that uses a power source or no power source that is easy to use. An example of a low tech tool would be the GoTalk 9+ from Mayer-Johnson. The GoTalk 9+ includes nine minutes of recording memory with a 45 message capacity. This device would be helpful for students in a classroom that have difficulty with their verbal skills but understand what it is they are trying to say. The student would be able to choose from 45 different phrases on their device such as: "hello," "all done," Etc... This would allow for communication between students and educators.

High Tech Tool: Any communication system that requires a power source and extensive training to competently program and maintain the device. The Lightwriter SL40 is a great example of a high tech tool that can be used in classrooms. It allows users to type what they want to say into the device and the device will repeat what is typed. The user must know how to type and be comfortable using a device without pictures or pre-recorded phrases. There are multiple functions that can be altered to the device such as font, noise control, text size, word prediction, etc... The user would need to be taught how to use this device as it is not self explanatory. This would be helpful in the classroom with class discussion and student/teacher communication. The student would be able to speak for themselves with this device.


Adaptive Input Device (for students with special needs):  The typical way to enter information into a computer is though the use of a keyboard and a mouse. When an individual has a motor control and/or a visual disability, alternative input devices may be needed. There are a variety of alternative and adapted keyboards and mice available on the market. alternative devices allow the user to activate a computer using their mouth, eye movement, head, thumb, or feet. (

hardware option - HeadMouse - Another type of mouse is a head mouse that tracks a student's head movement to activate and control the computer application program. This device would be extremely helpful in the classroom when working with computers. For students who have difficulty with their fine motor skills would likely have issues operating a typical mouse. This device would allow for the student to be independent in the exercise and not have someone helping them with the mouse functions. The student will gain more confidence with the technology and become more involved with the assignment.

software option -Word Prediction Software- is designed to reduce the number of keystrokes an individual needs to type a word. For example, when the initial letter of a word is typed the program generates a list of possible words based on previous user history and the context of the sentence. If the desired word is displayed, the user only needs to type the number in front of the word to complete the word. This would be helpful in the classroom when working on writing assignments. The students would be able to compose his/her paper on the computer without having to exhaust themselves from the typing process. This would greatly improve writing skills. 

I commented on Angela's blog and Sam's blog for this assignment. 

Journal 5

Is Cursive Writing Worth Teaching?

Eilts, Sharon. "Is Cursive Writing Worth Teaching?." Learning and Leading. 39.2 (2011): n. page. Web. 29 Nov. 2011. <;.  

Summary: The article was a very interesting read. For a while now I have been thinking about this topic and wondering if cursive is still a large part of elementary curriculum. The article does a great job highlighting both arguments to the discussion. Leanne Potter holds the argument that students should in fact be taught cursive. She states that she has taken her students on multiple field trips to museums where historic documents are written in cursive. Students would not be able to understand the documents and read the cursive writing with out this educational practice. Leanne also recalls being at a museum once and over hearing a 6 year old say she can't wait to learn cursive! Leanne states that this is important because students still very much show interest in the topic and we should not take that away from them. Everyone has a unique signature and by not teaching our students this basic skill  the beauty of various cursive forms will be obsolete. Leanne also says that if students are not exposed to cursive writing they will have no interest in it later on in life and historic writings will be of no value to them. On the other hand Sharon Eilts has an opposing argument. She states that cursive writing has become obsolete and the mode in which students choose to write should not matter. Sharon states that with technology students can easily choose from hundreds of different scripts including cursive! Also as far as signatures go it is more commonly seen then not to have electronic signatures. Sharon feels we should spend time teaching our students other skills and not spend hours working on our cursive. Sharon feels we should move towards the future with technology and not be stuck in the past.

Question: How do you feel about teaching cursive in the classrooms?

Answer: I have to agree with both sides of the argument which would lead me to believe a good mixture of both should be incorporated into the classroom. I agree with Sharon that our students should not be spending hours in the classroom learning cursive but at the same time I do not feel it should be obsolete and never taught. Our students need to be well rounded and capable of having the skill in writing in cursive.

Question: How can we incorporate both views into the classroom?

Answer:  We can incorporate technology into the classroom and teach students how to use different scripts on the computer and if anything help them learn how to spell their name in cursive so that they have their own unique signature for life. Students may be able to find a cursive style they like on the computer and practice writing it on their paper. This would be a neat way for them to connect with technology and the paper.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Journal 9

Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe

Lamb, Annette. "Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe." Learning and Leading with Technology. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. <;.

This particular article presented many highlights that I had never really considered before. Since my childhood there has been many advances in the technological world in regards to reading tablets and other multimedia reading sources. The article by Annette Lamb goes into great detail about the advances in reading technology. First Annette discusses positives such that students are now downloading classroom texts or using e-readers instead of carrying around 40 pound backpacks. This is certainly a positive advancement. For years medical doctors are always talking about the harm of heavy backpacks and students. Annette then poses the question of what does it really mean to read a book? Her response was reading is the process of constructing meaning from symbols. This is an important statement to note because there is a lot of negative hype about digital books rather than paperback books. If a student can construct meaning from symbols presented then that is the definition of reading. There are also many features of e-books that one cannot accomplish with a basic paperback book such as: highlighting tools, dictionaries, digital book marks, font/size change, and note taking tools! Just as well many of these technological e-readers can pronounce words for the reader which will help advance reading skills. It is stated that struggling readers benefit from interactive readers. There are of course always negatives to any side of an argument. The negatives of interactive readers is that often readers can become lost/distracted in the reading from "eye candy" associated with the text. Another main point is that even though there are arrows directing the reader to move forward in the text, often students tend to go backwards and then there is no set path like a traditional book. I feel there needs to be a good combination of both traditional books as well as interactive readers. Educators need to recognize the needs of their students and then proceed from there. 

Question: Do you feel interactive readers should be the the sole source for future students?

Answer: I feel there needs to be a good mix of both traditional books as well as interactive readers. If students rely heavily on e-readers or interactive tools then they may not be comfortable with a traditional book and may even have difficulty staying focused. I agree that certain students would benefit from interactive readers especially if they have language difficulties. 

Question: How educators use interactive readers to help in the classroom?

Answer: Certain e-readers or interactive programs can track a students progress. This will help educators become familiar with the progress of each student and can then help them advance accordingly. These online assessments will help educators remain organized and will also know what level each student is at.

Journal 6 - Google+ -

"Google+: The Complete Guide"

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

Summary: I found this blog highly beneficial. Before taking this technology class I had always heard to buzz about Google+ but I had never taken the time or the interest to create my own account. I have had a Facebook for several years and the thought of having to "re-start" my social network with Google+ seemed a bit overwhelming. This blog has made the entire Google+ process seem very simple! There are a lot of aspects about Google+ that most users would be unaware of without reading this step by step guide. Perhaps the most intriguing feature of Google+ would be the "circles." I love the idea that you can set up who you choose to share information with. On Facebook there are privacy settings that allow you to prevent certain users from seeing content on you page but it is actually very confusing. Google+ makes it easy to set up circles which will help you manage who is able to see what on your page. I also really like the "hangout" feature that Google+ offers. Hangout makes chatting with your friends so easy! This video chat service makes it simple for individuals to come together and collaborate on projects, catch up, meet new people, etc. I love the feature that allows users on hangout the ability to watch Youtube videos together! This is a wonderful feature. Google+ is a much cleaner social network that appears much more professional than its competitors. After reading this blog article I have definitely been motivated to expand my Google+ account and start customizing it.

Question: How does the "spark" feature benefit classroom learning?
Answer: Sparks is a content recommendation engine that finds the most relevant and interesting articles and videos on almost any subject you can imagine. This can help students in the classroom find relevant articles to classroom discussion and further their knowledge on the subject. Students will also be able to share this information between each other and comment on what they find interesting.

"Educators-Google Plus is For You"

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

Summary: Chris Brogan helps educators see how simple and educational Google+ can be for classrooms. This article started off by helping educators see how easy it is to set up a Google+ account. It is advised that each student in the classroom start to add each other in "circles." These circles will allow students to share information between each other and only relevant content to the classroom discussions will be seen by the class. Brogan then  recommends that educators post lesson plans, share YouTube videos, photos, and more via links. This will then allow students to comment on these posts and get involved in classroom discussions. The collaboration between students will be present for the teacher to see as well as other classmates. This makes it easy for educators to see how the discussions are going. Probably the most beneficial for the students is the feature of "hangout." Students can set up video chats between classmates and get involved in class discussions. Brogan also suggests that special guests can be invited into the hangouts! This would be a great opportunity to get guest speakers from around the world into the classroom discussions!

Question: Do you agree that Google+ can be beneficial to a classroom?
Answer: Yes, I definitely agree that Google+ can be beneficial to a classroom. Especially after learning about the hangout feature. Often times it can be difficult for educators to schedule public speakers. Hangout on Google+ allows for a more convenient way to align schedules. I also feel it is a great way for educators to easily see classroom discussion between students.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Journal 4 – NETS-T # 2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

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

SUMMARY: This article was very interesting. I agree with the first part of the article where it states that many teachers want to incorporate technology into their classrooms. It is refreshing to hear that teachers are thinking outside of the box and are trying to engage their students with technology and trying to go bigger than just using a pen and a piece of paper. Technology I feel helps students become creative and it as well shapes them for their future. The idea that every student should have a “digital backpack” is interesting. The article explains that each backpack should include the following: Foundational Technology, Modular Technology, and Instructional Support Materials. Thankfully the article goes into detail and explains what each of these requirements entails. The foundational technology is simply the object that the student will use, for example, a laptop or a tablet to help support instructional content. Next modular technology would include, hardware, devices, and software chosen to meet specific instructional goals and desired outcomes… this could be for example a digital camcorder. Lastly the instructional support materials include things like curriculum resources that provide the structure, guidance, and specific information learners need to understand the content and finish the task. The importance of having a digital back pack is vast! Students will be able to do things hands on and see how it is done rather than just learning through a basic lecture. I am glad that more research like this is being done with our educational system. Improvement is always better!

QUESTION: How would incorporating a digital back pack in my classroom benefit the students?

ANSWER: The students would be able to experience lesson plans first hand rather than just hearing a lecture. Students would be able to be more creative with the specific topic and as well learn technology that will help them throughout life.

QUESTION: How would I be able to obtain digital back packs for a school that is not up to date?

ANSWER: Hopefully I could talk with the school that I work for and give different articles and support that shows students benefit with having technology incorporated into the classrooms. Maybe I could reach out to parents and see if they would be willing to help support their child’s learning with technology. Technology is a very important aspect of education and I hope that with time it will be included in every classroom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Journal 3 – NETS-T # 4; C: promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.

Students Dig Up Dirt to Learn about Internet Safety
Morehouse, J. (2011). Students dig up dirt to learn about internet safety. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(2), 34.

SUMMARY: I was blown away by this article. The truth is the majority of people who use social networking sites do not realize what kind of information they are putting out for the world to see. My goal is to teach elementary school students. I was thinking this would be a more suitable assignment for older students. I loved Jesse’s idea of choosing someone random online and then creating a presentation about this unknown person with the information you find about them by using basic search engines. I know that after reading this article I want to go through a lot of my own personal privacy settings on the social networks I am apart of. The problem is a lot of the privacy settings are complicated and not straight forward. I am sure I can look up a recommended privacy setting list as Jesse offered to his students. It is unfortunate that so many young adults/teenagers are using these social networking sites and are creating a negative internet image of them selves. If educators or parents can present this information to students early on it will help them create a better image of themselves for a lifetime. Being safe on the internet is important and this exercise is a wonderful way for students to connect to its importance.

QUESTION: How can I make myself more “private” on the internet?

ANSWER: I plan on using a basic search engine and searching for myself on the web. I want to see what kind of information is gathered by doing this. If I notice information that I do not wish to be on the internet maybe I can possible tweak my social network settings or account information related to different sites I may be apart of.

QUESTION: How can I get parents involved in internet safety with their children?

ANSWER: I feel that providing parents with the recommended privacy settings for different social networks is a great way for them to help their children in making sure they are safe on the internet. Encouraging parents to participate in this “digging up dirt” exercise will help them be more aware of their child’s internet image and can hopefully become positive role models themselves in providing the world with a positive internet image.