Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Journal 10:Exploring History in Plantation Letters

Oliver, K., & Lee, J. (2011). Exploring history in plantation letters. Learning and Leading With Technology, 38(6), Retrieved from

This article connects social studies with technology! There has recently been a turning point in teaching history by the use of scanning documents to use as primary resources. The article uses the Cameron Family papers as an example. The Cameron Family (plantation owners) regularly communicated by mail with their family, friends, and business associates regarding their plantation affairs in Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina. Because their letters were so detailed, they have been key in explaining the Antebellum plantation life of the time. As of today, over 100 letters have been scanned and tagged for public use. The scanned letters are easily accessible, and can be browsed easily by search. The original document is scanned, and then another copy is transcribed for easier reading. On this site, a "Ning" is also available for teachers with lesson plans that can be shared!

The entire goal of this project is for students to be able to have historical primary documents with the use of new technology tools. This particular resource that the Cameron Family papers are on also has a structured way of teaching history with primary documents. The teaching model is called SCIM-C, meaning:

  • Summarizing
  • Contextualizing
  • Inferring
  • Monitoring
  • Corroborating
There are videos on the social studies Ning that put this learning model in action too! This new interactive "Ning" gives many important resource tools for using historical documents, and hopefully this kind of learning model will be used in all subject areas in the future!

What's the big deal with primary resources if they are translated into easier reads?

Students that are exposed to primary resources get to see the "real life" artifact even though they would read the summarized version. By seeing the true artifact, students are given a better understanding of the historical time period they are studying, and are better able to visualize what they are learning about!

What is a "Ning?"

A Ning in simply an online platform for people to create their own social networks. Ning can be used to create a fan site, a social network, a mini social network site (you can join any of the other networks created) and whatever is in your imagination. A Ning can be used for anything!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journal 9:Harness Technology to Meet Your Students' Diverse Learning Needs

Schad, L. (2011). Harness technology to meet your student's diverse learning needs . Learning & Leading With Technology, 38(6), Retrieved from

Schad writes a simple yet informative article on the importance of using technology to teach. He has come up with a simple learning model to help students who were assessed in different areas, who did not produce passing scores. His model includes incorporating technology in the classroom to enhance learning. He uses Web 2.0 tools to teach in his "5 E" Model. The 5 E's are: Engage the learner, Explore the concept, Explain the concept, Elaborate on the concept, and Evaluate students' understanding. Some examples of using technology as a tool for enhancing comprehension is communication via digital posters, VoiceThreads, wikis, blogs, and connecting through video conferencing to exchange ideas.

Schad also points out that it is important to engage students inside and outside of the school walls. By incorporating more technology in the classroom, students can access these learning modules outside of the classroom, and are now taking learning into their own hands. His main goal is to use technology correctly, for the students to LEARN! If we use technology as an example for students, then they will use it to their benefit and hopefully into the "real" world.

What if students can't access these outside of the classroom due to financial burden?

There will always be students who fit under this category. Even if student's cannot access these things outside of the classroom, they are still experiencing them inside the classroom, giving them the opportunity to learn through technology. If technology is just used, then students will have a better opportunity to learn through it.

How will teachers know how to use these new technology tools?

Schad suggests that there is a master technology teacher to come into schools and help teachers understand the new technology. Some teachers may not be open to using technology because it is very foreign and might seem difficult, but if the right technology is taught in a simple way, then teachers would understand that using technology would actually make their life easier!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Journal 8: Should Schools Be Held Responsible For Cyberbullying?

Bogacz, R, & Gordillo, M. (2011, March/April). Point/counterpoint: Should Schools be Held Responsible for Cyberbullying?. Learning & Leading , 38(6), Retrieved from

There are basically two very good arguments for why cyberbullying should and should not be the school's responsibility. In this article the argument for having schools being held responsible is basically that schools administrators, parents and law enforcement should all be held accountable together as one to help prevent and control cyberbullying. Even if the bullying is off campus, it still effects the school environment, and therefore it effects the school and the school should be involved. The argument pro school involvement also suggested that parents be very in tune with what their children are doing and to even go to lengths such as to check their phones, be their "friend" on social networking sites, and to also have their passwords to their various accounts.

The argument against having schools being involved was very simple, yet powerful. It basically said that we must look at the root of the problem of bullying, which is lack of love. Children need to be loved, and supported at home and that alone is the best vaccine against bullying. I thought this was very true, and that a school's involvement could only go so far as to monitor the bullying, but inevitably it the bullying could happen either way. Love is the answer!!

How do we pass on all this love anyways?

I think that the author of the article was very valid in saying that the root of the problem is lack of love. But it's not so simple that all of a sudden when I child is loved they are perfect and that bullying is out of their range. Love can also be spread in many different ways (like love of sports, music, dance, etc.). If love is the answer then we all need to spread it as much as we can and we need to especially start at a young age with our children!

If a school does get involved, how would you feel about monitoring that as an educator?

I understand that cyberbullying is something that has recently evolved in the past couple of years. I think that as an educator you can do the best possible to try and monitor it, but its a pretty hard load to carry. All you can do as an educator is try to promote a comfortable learning environment, and to make your classroom comfortable and bonded together as one.

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network

My Personal Learning Network consists of many valuable resources that sort of confused me at first, but now that I am getting the hang of them it actually makes my life a lot easier. I use skype, Twitter, Diigo, Facebook, and blogging to get resources from other educators. Mind you I have just begun, so my posts are minimal. I am still in the stage of just browsing what other people can offer. As I browse others' opinions and resources, it gives me a better understanding what what I enjoy, feel, and would like to use during my educational journey.

When we had the assignment to sign up for Twitter, and our professor, Jeff Heil stated that Twitter was the single most informative educational social network he has, I honestly sort of didn't believe him. I was (and still kind of am) under the impression that Twitter was just for celebrities to talk about things they are doing all day long, and people who are bored just follow them during their daily routine. I thought Twitter was just another form of Facebook, just 140 characters long. Just another place to shout out your business!

With this mindset, it was hard for me to want to participate in an educational chat. I participated in Socal Media Club Education Connection (#smcedu) at 12:30pm, 4/11/11, and found their views on trying to create a news model for the US with higher technology incredibly honorable. Although they are small voices just tweeting about this subject, they had some pretty powerful things to say in 140 characters or less! The chat made me realize that "The news will never make the kind of money entertainment makes." Their words were powerful and made me feel like I was participating in something way bigger than me. I guess Twitter isn't so bad after all! I am now following a few friends, but mostly other people in my class on Twitter. I have still kept my following in Twitter limited because I am new to who I really want to follow. It's still hard for me to follow people on Twitter because I feel strange "following" someone that I have never met, but hopefully I will get more acquainted with Twitter and become followers of many!

Diigo as a networking use was kind of odd to me at first too. I thought it was just a really cool way to save pages that you like so you don't always have to be on your computer's "bookmarks" to find them. Little did I know that there is yet ANOTHER place where people are tagging things, following each other, and sharing information. I tagged a really cool website where someone posted his "Top 10 Educational Videos" (and I also followed him), I tagged random educator's blogs that stood out to me (Cool Cat Teacher, Teacher's Teaching Teachers), and lastly I tagged a People to People International Youtube channel (because of my obsession with everything international). I am networking on Diigo by following these people with the same interests as me, with hopes that I can share some of my information to them also. These things stood out to me, and they also link to other resources...creating my PLN one step at a time.

Finally, I joined the Educator's PLN. I watched an AMAZING video that someone posted about reading vs. understanding. I found it so amazing I will also post it here. If you're anyone interested in 10 minutes of wow, just watch this! Simple, to the point, and powerful.

Okay, okay, Professor Heil I get it. I am starting to understand the great uses of technology and sharing of information. I thought this video was so awesome it made me want to make one myself, and to also explore what other ideas are in educator's heads. I'm excited to see what my PLN can do for me, and what I can do for my PLN!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Journal 6: Grow Your Personal Learning Network

Warlick, D. (2009). Grow your personal learning networks. Learning and Leading with Technology, 36(6).

David Warlick outlines the uses and the different kinds of Personal Learning Networks in his article. He separates the three different kinds of PLN's into these groups: personally maintained synchronous connections, personally and socially maintained semisynchronous connections, and dynamically maintained asynchronous connections. Those sound pretty fancy, but he gives a logical explanation for each. Personally maintained synchronous connections are those who you use to answer questions, solve problems and accomplish goals. He compared this type of network with going to a meeting at work, except you can attend in your pajamas, and you don't have to see anyone else so you aren't biased. Personally and socially maintained semisynchronous connections are basically connections you make when you post something on facebook or twitter, having something to say without necessarily having a time limit on the answer. These PLN's are the ones you casually look at while you may be doing something else. Examples of these are Twitter, and Google docs. Dynamically maintained asynchronous connections are the ones that deal not with individuals (as the previous two), but with information that we consider useful. With this PLN you should be able to put all of the things that you find useful (for me, like travel blogs, cheap airline tickets, and vacation spots) all in one thing called a "RSS Aggregator." Then, to wrap this whole thing into one, big, information sending and receiving PLN, you can send these useful tips to other people in your other two personal networks. You save the information, and then you can share it with whomever you please, whether it be personal feeds or professional feeds (if you are a PLN network, you probably have many PLN's that you work with). It all comes together as a big information sharing melting pot that you can use to expand your knowledge, and share it with others! Pretty cool if you ask me!

When creating your PLN, where do you even start?

When creating a Personal Learning Network, you should start by understanding what kind of communication, or ideas, or information you would like to have, because PLN's can vary and get pretty confusing when you start mixing ideas, etc. Things like Twitter would be a good way to start because you can find people with your same interests easily, and you can enter specific chats easily. Once you find these people, and the information you would like to have, you can go further and get their blog feeds, and begin RSS feeds too.

You mentioned in the article that you should be careful with what kind of PLN's you enter into because you can become biased to subjects. How would you suggest thinking otherwise?

I think that when you enter specific PLN's you should be careful to believe everything that is presented to you. It's always smart to maybe enter into a PLN once in a while that has the opposite view or approach that you are using, to broaden your mind, and give you a different perspective.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Journal 5: Get Your Students Moving

Fish , B. (2011). Get your students moving. Learning and Leading, 34(6), Retrieved from

In "Get Your Students Moving," Betty Fish gives many examples of how she got her students to participate in physical activity, while in the classroom. She states that students shouldn't be just restricted to moving around doing activity during Physical Education (PE), and that getting students moving also promotes healthy learning which students consider fun. One of the activities she explains was one used for her Heart Adventure Challenge. She had the students pretend to be blood flowing through the heart, and to produce a commercial for the whole school to educate them on keeping the heart healthy. Another activity she outlined was one where she had simple relays for students to participate in, with simple learning objectives like putting numbers in order. This activity was short, let student's be active, and also sparked student interest because it was a race. Fish also used Skype to video chat with an Olympic athlete, giving students an example of live communication. The students really enjoyed this, and they would ask to Skype with the same athlete to see how she was doing! Overall, Fish stresses the importance of getting your students to move around while educating them!

What about the students who can't physically move around?

Fish gave students different tasks for her activities. The tasks weren't all limited to physical activity. Students were given tasks like creating, presenting, etc. If a student can't be physically active to the level as other students, they can still participate by doing other activities within the activity. By being active, it is not limited to physical activity, Fish just wanted to give her readers different resources to teach children how to move in different aspects.

By giving students freedom to "move around," do they perform negatively in the other not so fun activities?

I think students would just look forward to the "moving around" activities. Different teaching styles should always be welcomed, and I think that in any activity there is room to "move around." I think a teacher should just be open minded to trying new innovative teaching methods, and to always think of how a lesson could improve and promote the most learning it can!