Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Anyway, welcome to all the new Fall 2009 23 Thingers! You will love the course! I hope my blog might inspire and give you ideas about your assignments, some of which may have changed a little bit since I took the course, mind you! Also, let me know if you have questions that a fellow-former-previous course-taker could answer, for what that's worth!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It's hard to know where to start! This course has broadened my knowledge and increased my skill level in using the Internet as an educational tool in a very measurable way. It's has been that experience from the Disney movie Alladin entitled "A Whole New World" for me. I am already using many of these toold for my Interpreter course that I teach for UGA now! See my WIKI for the course! THAT HAS BEEN VERY REWARDING INDEED! I can see that I will continue to use and expand my knowledge of the Web 2.0 tools available in the future, and I am excited that I feel equipped to do just that now, thanks to this course.
I recently told the Director of PL here that I genuinely felt that the course should be a requirement for all teachers in the District! Maybe that is a bit unrealistic, but it is my feeling. I have learned more than I ever thought possible (and yes, my brain is a bit on overdrive right now due to all of this) at my age. But I also realized that I have to start using the tools in order to get more comfortable with them. I've tried a few tools that really didn't have an immediate impact on me, and others that I loved! I loved the Animoto tool, and Edmodo seems to be a very useful tool. My favorite was the xtranormal tool to create the avatar movies. I discovered new facets of Google Docs that I had not ever used, and this was fascinating as well.
Thank you for this wonderful course! I have bragged about it to many. I will admit, however, that it is interesting...the more involved you get with Web 2.0 tools, the less others around you completely understand about them, so you have to have patience. They just don't seem to get that this is where we are currently at, not some futuristic dream or fantasy. I find now and have reached the definite conclusion that the Web 2.0 tools AUGMENT our connections (do you remember I was pondering that question at the beginning of the course???) to the world and to our community, they do NOT replace them. They enrich the connections among us. I wish everyone saw it that way. They don't. I don't think they threaten the "humnanness" of personal contact, they only lead to a deepening relationship, if used effectively. They certainly enhance the learning experience for students now well started off into the 21st century. I hope I can be a life-long learner of these things and stay current up until....! thanks again to all involved!
Now, another lullaby from YouTube, this time a Yiddish one, again from duratrub:
And finally, a Russian one...from duratrub as well:
First, courtesy of LiveTyping:
I have explored Animoto and created this 30 second slideshow- click HERE to view What fun and how easy is that! I want to create one for my students with a quick story in Spanish so they can practice.
Next, I created a quiz in Spanish Grammar for Interpreters">Advanced Spanish grammar for Interpreters using Quizlet.
I also explored Lessonwriter and My Tadalists I am keeping a good taglist in my Diigo dashboard labeled "Web 2.0 Tools" so I won't forget where these things are on the Web. A lot of them I want to explore later. There is so much that you can use in any kind of training/learning exercise that it will make a "regular old" lecture seem dull to me I am afraid. I remember that I used to feel pretty "hip" just knowing how to create and use a PowerPoint (I think my wife had to convince me and show me how to use that!).
So here are some things I created thanks to this Thing:
First, here is the Google doc (it's a PowerPoint Presentation) that I published:
And my "All About Me"
And here is a Spanish pronoun quiz if you dare (only two questions..no fear!):
My pageflakes page is public temporarily (I realized that some of the flakes are not for public view in the long run. I had a bit of trouble understanding how to copy the page that Caroline had created, so I just started with a blank page (or at least I think with my 1st page tab) and edited, removed, and added flakes to the page. I really like this, and have done this before with Google.
By the way, I used Jing to capture the image of my pageflakes page you see here. (I'm kind of excited I figured out how to do that, sure, BUT MORE EXCITED THAT I THOUGHT ABOUT DOING THAT...know what I'm trying to say????) I really think I will create a new page for my interpreters' course! I can put various links and media, and notes, etc. to supplement the in-class activities.
As to uses, I think it would be great to "theme" a page and have students be able to go there and do research in a more directed manner, that is, with some bit of direction that the instructor has preliminarily "filtered" for them.
Subscribe Free Add to my Page
Well...that sure was fun (and a bit of an adventure)! I got my podcast recorded with my brand new MacBook laptop in Garage Band. That was a challenge that now I am glad I took. A stretch, as the course says. You see, I knew exactly how to use voice recorder and then my installed program to convert the sound file to an mp3 file. I had done this before to create an online course using a company named ScribeStudio (no link listed, sadly, because they went out of business May 1 of this year). So the main thing would be the uploading of the mp3 file to GCast. But I really want to learn about this new laptop! So, off I went tonight to do it! I had to do all kinds of using the help videos and help search to finally discover that you have to send your created podcast to your ITunes library for it to be in mp3 format and uploadable to GCast. It worked like a charm then, and now I know how to do this! Hooray. The podcast itself is about my work at the PDC. I think I forgot to write a description of it.
I can see podcasts being a great tool for recording lectures that you want to make available to learners to summarize a lesson OR maybe even hear an entire lesson from home. I will definitely be able to use podcasts to add to my PL websites in teaching Spanish to Educators, and also for Family Engagement segments. I will research more to see what other ideas I can discover.
From ignorance (see my post on Thing 18)...to bliss!
Friday, June 5, 2009
In this feed fro my Google Reader, I discovered a very cool Spanish verb conjugation (I know, I know, to many people that would be a torture site!) site I have embedded now into my Interpreter Wiki. this will be a very useful tool even for the native speakers of Spanish that I teach.
I also discovered a neat tool, called Sketchcast that I plan also to use in that same site after I create a sketch with it.
Artistically speaking, I like a site I saw in my Reader called Glogster, and I created this "glog", which is basically a collage of a few pictures of my middle son, Adam, from a baby in the hospital nursery unit until his senior picture at college! Just playing for now, but here it is:
The students could be given an assignment to collect pictures that represented key terms in a unit or chapter (as in a Spanish textbook), then have classmates guess the words they are seeing in each picture!
Apple Store deal! I made the switch! I crossed the river...I converted....I went to the other side....PC to Mac!
So last weekend I did it! I bought one! I am excited! It is being shipped to me, but the IPod Touch has already arrived. You buy it and they send you a rebate for $229!!! I really haven't tried out the IPod Touch yet! I am weird that way...
I am spending the waiting time (a bit long in my opinion) watching video clips from the Apple Store about switching form PC to Mac, and also about the features of my new laptop! Learning a lot ahead of time which should make the transitional shock less frustrating I hope!
I will keep you posted!
I explored all of the links, and found an older style German language lessons podcast that I put the feeder for on my Google Reader, as well as a very good and modern Mandarin Chinese lessons podcast.
I can easily imagine students being able to have podcasts of practical language lessons to supplement their textbooks, and also I imagine that eventually textbooks will automatically have podcast support like they presently have CDs and online support for the texts. How exciting! Is this reality already, I wonder? Since I am no longer in the classroom...hmmmm.
A funny story I have to share...I went to the "Coffee Break Spanish" podcast on the Grazr on the 23 Things wiki page of Thing 18 and listened to it a bit (a random lesson). I had thought maybe I would use it or refer to it for my professional learning activities as I train teachers here for the District! Good idea, right? Well...the lessons were great, BUT I heard a language I did not understand along with beautiful Spanish. In just a few seconds I realized it WAS English, but all the speakers were from Scotland!!! Their accents (though amazingly easy on the ears) made the English instructions and explanations probably harder for the people here to understand than the Spanish! LOL! Don't you love it?
Last night I went back to my ITunes Store on my laptop at home, and downloaded a podcast of Spanish Medical Terminology to use with that course I teach for UGA as well!
I am actually looking forward to creating my own podcast in Thing 19.
I can see immediately how these are new tools that we can use to make learning more productive (not to mention fun) for today's techno-savvy students. Now, MY challenge is with ADULT education. These learners may or may not be so techno-savvy! Ha! So onward rides this Don Quijote toward the windmills perhaps, but I continue to make that impossible dream possible, I hope! I am enthusiastic about these things enriching my life from now on! If my 87 year-old Dad can love email, be on Facebook, and enjoy getting a new laptop, like he does, then I can sure move forward and stretch my techno-comfort-zone (TCZ-a Scott King original term)a bit!
Friday, May 22, 2009
My Twitter ID = scottkingnc
My Plurk ID = scottyking
Hey, guess what? I created an Interpreters' Ning at:
I really need to work on it, but I can use it for interpreters that I train everywhere. It is exciting!
Created another one for medical interpreting:
I've started using the Plurk account (www.plurk.com/scottyking), very slowly at first, but I have a few Kansas friends already, thanks to a "shoutout" from Caroline today!
Now, on to the reflections:
* What was your first impression of Classroom 2.0? My first impression was that it was huge (# of members unbelievable) and overwhelming, but as I explored more, I saw that you can narrow down considerably your needs and interests fairly rapidly!
* Was it what you expected? How did it differ from your expectations? Was more than I had imagined was "out there"!
* Did you find any discussions or resources of value? -Well, yes...I just bought an IPod Touch as it came free with the new MacBook I bought, and so I found a discussion about how the IPod Touch could be used in the classroom helpful to orient me to the new "gadget" I have!
* Would you benefit from participating in a Ning related to your professional practices? Yes, I have already started to benefit from joining the ning! I found a great textbook!
* Were you able to find a ning at this site related to what you teach? If so, did you check it out? - Also, here I struck gold! Foreign Language Resources abound! as in this discussion
* How could participating in a social network such as a Ning improve your instructional practices? I created a Ning for a class I teach for UGA. It's for Medical Interpreters. It should aid in the presentation and feedback from these adult learners, and mainly to gleen from their personal expereinces. I want to assign them topics to research and post to the network.
* For those of you who teach older students (middle school and above), would you consider creating a Ning for your classroom? Do you have any ideas for how you could use it? Definitely I can use this for adult learners!!!
* What is your past experience with microblogging and sites like Twitter and Plurk? None whatsoever!
* Given the testimonials above from others who use microblogs as a part of their PLN, could you identify with any of their reasons? Yes, I thought the need for finding quick answers to questions very valuable...like instant research without all the work!
* Could you see microblogging becoming a component of your PLN? Why or why not? It already has!
* For those of you who teach older students (middle school and above), would you consider using a private microblog community such as Shout'emor Edmodo in your classroom? How could you use it? I hope to start using Edomodo, and have it set up now, and I am exploring it furtther!
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Now, on to the task!
* What were your feelings on social networking before you took this course? Were you active in any form of social networking before you took this course? If so, was it personal or professional? I really had no exposure except to Diigo, and that through Caroline here at the PDC, to social networking. I had heard of MySpace, and didn't like what I had heard! I was not active at all in any of this. That certainly changed just before I took the course. Facebook was and is my "Rock of Gibraltar", where I first discovered what this was all about!
* If you've never gotten involved in social networking for professional purposes, had you ever considered using web-based tools as means of networking with other educators before? NO, I had never heard of this except just bits and pieces from people who seemed to be able to do that through "magic" ! Hahaha! I never imagined I could learn how to do the same thing. Now I am realizing just how useful it could have been as a classroom teacher!
* Regarding PLNs (Personal/Professional Learning Networks), what are your initial thoughts about them? I am amazed at them. They seem to take a lot of time, though! How do you decide when to plurk or tweet and when to stay quiet/ Is it considered rude to not tweet or plurk for a few days? My questions are many. But I love the PLN concept. I would have loved to have set up a PLN with Spanish teachers across the world. Wow...such an opportunity to grow your art and style in teaching. Is this what it felt like when they first came out with radio, then TV, then tape recordings, etc.?
* Looking at your own professional practices, do you think building your own PLN could benefit you? Why or why not? I will try. What does it hurt to try? :) I can see that ideas about interpreting, family engagement, and serving at a District-wide level from others doing the same would potentially encourage me a great deal to stay open to new ideas! I don't want to grow stale in my profession!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
However, I do see how you can have great assignments on LibraryThing and discover more interesting books about a topic. It looks like it is a very useful tool, and just as soon as the "xtranormal" novelty wears off (plus slideshows and YouTube help videos), I will revisit Librarything! :) Smiles!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. -George Bernard Shaw
I just discovered a great site with medical animation videos from the University of Pennsylvania that will help with my Medical Spanish Interpreter's class with UGA! It's a Medical Animation Library ...really cool!
Also a hometown video from jamestown NC...my school is in it and more...
VIDEO OF SCOTT'S HOMETOWN
And, now, another thing that came through my reader. I just created the video below using xtranormal :
You just type in your script (can have two animated people in there if you choose!) and create their actions, facila expressions, etc. You like? I think it's pretty cool! I am already starting to incorporate the idea as a way to enliven my Professional Learning Activity that I am developing for Interpreter Training here at BCS. I will work more on this but so far I have the following:
Monday, May 18, 2009
There is a lot of potential to supplement your lessons here, and also to provide additional remediation in your subject material. Let's say in Spanish class:
I am just amazed that all of that is out there! Of course... I see theses and think to myself (I confess) "I can do better"! So I need to start creating videos in these topics and put them on YouTube I suppose. And I did see that there were a lot of pitfalls to just jumping into searching for videos without filtering! Even words like "Spanish" yielding some bad things at times. I am interested in redaing and seeing what others found!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Then comes reality. Not disillusion, but simply being overwhelmed. I wanted to put a voicethread on everything!
So, I created a voicethread to go on a family blog I created...with some old photographs of family...and my comments about the photos. In checking it, there are some issues with the audio...I am suspecting that it was my home interenet DSL on my laptop which seems to regularly go out briefly and back on. So, I am trying to fix that before posting it.
I am also working on a voicethread to send out for interpreters in the School District and other locations. I will post that here as soon as I have completed it.
In comparing the slideshow options...I just like the idea of being able to make comments in the voicethread option. This seems to fit best for instruction and "distance" training.
By the way, a success story...briefly, I teach a Cont.Ed. class for UGA...I created a wiki for the students www.interpreter.wikispaces.com which not only gave them a great source of communicating with each other and me, but also served me well when I needed a substitute to come in and teach/guide the class...I wrote all of my lesson plans and activities for the day I would be gone on a page of the wiki (see the link to the left side of the page). This made a hugely positive impression on the Administration of UGA! Hooray!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Oh my gosh! Thanks a lot, Caroline! I am spending hours with this assignment...love it!
I explored a lot of these (and am still exploring them! I created two "word art" pieces using Wordle.
This was just an idea...kind of (well, really is...) a religious theme...I just wondered what would happen when I put in all the text from the "Welcome to Our Quaker Meeting" brochure. Neat, huh?
I also created a photo of my Dad and my middle son using BeFunky...and of Jeremy, my oldest son:
As to Educational Implications:
(A) Wordle can be used to take a play and see if common words (and thus, themes) "pop-out" for students.
(B) In the Foreign Language class, dialogs could be used to create a "Wordle", then students (with the original dialog in front of them) have to use the Wordle to recreate conversations using the words before them!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Update! What happened to my slideshow? It was on here I know...? I will seek technical help? Or maybe I just can't see it from the school computer? Ah, yes, I think that is it!!! Never mind! Learn something every day!
The Life in a Family (No, that wording is intentional...think about the fact that there is life that we experience in the family)
Photo Sources: Coming soon I promise!!!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I love reading about all the origins of the "holidays". (British style with period after the quotation marks?). Religious history is a natural subject for a Quaker as well...seems a good fit for a small sect within Christianity.
So, that's what occupied my time of late!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
A "family" of fellow abolitionists...notice Frederick Douglas in center...
A "Fake Family" (From "Our Town" at Lionheart
Theatre (Norcross GS) Backstage April 2009
I am the dad, Editor Webb.
This is a picture posted by crowolf
Now how's that for an unusual family...they are the Granchio family
Read a little more about them at that link. Wonder if they were "engaged" with their children's education, "clawing" their way through the red tape of homeschooling? Yi
A family a world away...
And another family in another world away back in the 60s!
Can you tell I like vintage pictures? They have always made me sentimental and nostalgic. All these people lived day-to-day routines like I do, and these photos are about all we have left of that life of theirs.
I think I see now that Flickr can be used to make poignant presentations, ones that hit an emotional nerve with the audience...that "move them". This may be the actor in me speaking, but I love the idea. I think I understand now how to respect the law and yet use images effectively.
Another type of family
Flickr CC Image
Right, an image by dhammza
that I found here.
Here's a link to a Sri Lanka Kandian family
Now here's another interesting "plastic" family...yum!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
- Have you noticed the CC logo on any websites you visit? Did you wonder what it meant? I actually have never noticed the "CC" logo but will now!
- Do you think CC will impact the way students learn and create projects? How? I think it should certainly offer them the opportunity to use materials created by others, I just hope that they will not become "lazy" in the habit of pulling out others' work that is not in Creative Commens
- Do you use digital images, audio or video clips from the web in your teaching (or professional practice)? I mainly have used "Clip Art" photos. I have presumed that they were perfectly OK to use in presentations. Am I wrong?
- Do you ever share content on the web? Yes! For example, see www.medicalspanish.scribestudio.com (use the username = email@example.com; and the password = guest
- Who owns your teaching materials? I do.
- What are some potential negatives for using CC? I am still thinking about this question...!
Consider the "Best Practices for Fair Use in Media Education" and reflect upon them. Feel free to use any of the prompts below to guide your response. I want to list these questions here soI can refer back to them easily in the future. Since I am not a classroom teacher at present, I found it difficult to respond. The issues have emerged since I left the high school classroom for sure.
- What has been your experience with students using copyright protected media in the past?
- Given what you know now, would this affect how you ask your students to gather media for projects?
- How do you think these new guidelines will impact the way students create projects?
- How might these new guidelines affect media that you use for professional purposes? I now can be more confident and als o more careful about pulling images off the Internet and inserting them into presentations to parents, although I really ahven't done that a great deal. I am hoping to learn more about getting the flicker photos to look good, now that I have discovered flickr!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Update note: As I edit this, I must interject and pose this thought: The most important facet/component of a wiki is what I now have determined is its PERSONALITY!!! The personality consists of :
(1) How well the wiki is introducing itself (why does it exist?)
(2) How "neat" and "catchy" is its "dress" (appearance/attire appropriate for the occasion...whether jeans and a T-shirt or a formal tuxedo...just "catch my eye")
(3) Its easiness to be around (i.e., how easy you can navigate the links and components, how friendly and "listening" it seems...is there a sense of "the group"?); and
(4) Can it maintain my interest/"friendship" or "loyalty" by being unusual and helpful (not just another book report format), i.e., is it engaging after the "honeymoon" is over? Is there a depth of "personality" and character or is it "shallow"?
With this concept in mind... I think I may rethink my own wiki real soon!
My Thing 8 poses this question on my sandbox wiki--- See Beam Me Up, Scotty!
Now, on to what I had written for Thing 7 Task 1:
The wikis I have explored are :
The Holocaust Wiki Project
Schools in the Past and
The Flat Classroom Project
I seem to have chosen well, for I saw a significant variety of styles and complexities by viewing these three wikis. Let me start with "Schools in the Past". It was a very basic, "no thrills" wiki for younger children who interviewed older relatives and neighbors to ask about how schools had changed and then summarized and/or quoted them on the wiki. I admit I had fun glancing over them, but the organization and "stream of consciousness" style with which they appeared on the wiki didn't "catch" my interest too much. There was very little information on the wiki itself about the goals and objectives/learning outcomes or Essential Questions of the project. Perhaps this wasn't the goal of the teacher at the start. I also was distracted by the errors of grammar and spelling, but I think that creating the wiki was the goal of the teacher and not presentation to a larger audience. Interesting, because what attracted me to explore the wiki was the subject matter and the enormous potential for great detail and exploration, but it (this wiki) just didn't seem to fulfill my expectations (probably too high for that grade level, I grant you!) for the topic.
As to the Holocaust Wiki Project, it was moving emotionally, but not quite so moving from a technological point of view. There were no real clear (they may be there, but these are my first reactions and reflections as an outsider "glancing in" on a wiki) objectives...although the teacher made it clear that students would examine the personal struggles and questions they faced...that seemed measurable to me. The wiki I though was hard to "move around in"... causing me to lose some interest in it except that I was very persistent in doing so. There were a few pictures.
The students wrote, but mistakes were abundant! Made me wonder why they did not use Spell-Check on their work. The research background and links were great once I figured out how to get to them. Overall, a great "start" to a use of a wiki...moving in the right direction, but somehow not quite there yet...seemed to me more like they just "published" a flat book report or history project with little "wiki personality"...does that make sense to anyone besides me?
The other wiki brought me to see the "personality" of a wiki that inspired me to pursue the idea.
The Flat Classroom Project has a bit of it all...in fact....quite a lot of work went into creating and maintaining it (something I am not so sure I saw in the previous two wikis). Of course, it was started back in 2006. But there are video clips, abundant links, clearly stated project goals and Essential Questions, and from the minute you click on the wiki site...you are engaged with the personality (there I go again!) of the wiki itself!!! I can see that a higher standard (probably because the instructor was more knowledgeable about wikis) "introduces" the wiki, the materials and links to the left are well-organized (and there are many!)...and the purpose is clearly defined.
The spaces for each school across the world that was participating were fun to skim read, and overall "things" just seemed to "fall into place".
Those are my impressions!
Did create a wiki for me ... just for fun...it's Scottys (come visit me?)
Will create another on Sandbox soon I understand...
More to follow very soon...!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I really LOVE the fact that when I am teaching a class (adult ed) elsewhere---like I recently did for a UGA Cont. Ed. seminar one Saturday---I used their computer and Smartboard, simply went online and loged in to my dashboard on Diigo, and there were my bookmarks! It was so very convenient. In fact, it saved me from feeling like I needed to drag my own laptop to class (well, that along with my Google docs page where I now store all my PowerPoint presentations and other handouts/docs!).
Hey, check out my bookmarks at http://www.diigo.com/user/scottking
There are some interesting ones there I think!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The feeds come in, some fast and furious...did anyone else get the feed for the Weather Channel! Ha! I went on this morning and there were 100+ feeds...seems they update the site for my Lilburn location (and no doubt every other location) about every 20 minutes!!! That is a lot!
It was very funny! And do I really want to clcik and see last Monday's weather prediction! LOL!
I did discover a great feed for European news...I added that. I also found a couple more personal interest feeds for my faith group...we're relatively small and scattered, and many are using blogs to communicate and stay in touch. It will be much easier for me to just sit back and wait for updates! Hooray!
I visited a few of your blogs as well, as directed to do so, and it was fun. Of course, a few haven't caught up yet or have left the course perhaps (???)...so that was disappointing.
Still learning...still reflecting...
Am I ready for Thing 6? I think it's about Diigo, and I am already "into" that one, hanks to Caroline here at the PDC. Time to check that out now!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I read from the blog Langwitches the blog which I thought would relate to my Thing 2 post..."Don't Believe Everything You See Online". Some very interesting techniques about how to teach that not everything online is true because it exists there. Some interesting links used to share ideas about the topic. I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to get to those...so I copied and pasted some, and then ended up just typing in urls I saw. It worked.
and I quote:
5. Arte/Scienza (From “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci”)What? Interest in both the arts and sciences and interdisciplinary work that combines themThe Murder: High school courses are most often strictly defined as an “Art” or a “Science”, and they never mingle; interdisciplinary courses at this level are rare. In college, an undergraduate usually receives a either Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, though there is more flexibility here than in high school. Scientists and artists have their own professional domains which almost never overlap.
The whole article is great...this #5 so made me think of a play I saw at St. Louis's Webster University Conservatory of Theatre by Steve Martin (yes, the comedian!) called "Picasso at the Lapin Agile"....exactly addressing science and art meeting. I wish I had read this blog article before I saw that play! The play was great, by the way! See more info at "Picasso at the Lapin Agile"
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I have read some blogs before...and even commented on a few...but I have a new appreciation for Blogs after this lesson. Blogging seems to encompass a huge variety of styles and purposes. - It seems to allow a great deal of people to have a voice that otherwise would not.
- It seems to also allow some people who apparently have a great deal of time on their hands to
vent and get their true feelings out without fear. It seems to take the place of paying a good
psychologist or psychiatrist!
- It fosters ideas and discussion, and connects people from all over who would not be able to
connect "humanly- in person" otherwise.
- It is a tool used for those already connected to enhance their relationship...whether teacher
and student, teacher and teacher, student and student, colleague and colleague, etc.
So, in many cases, this genre can be used to substitute for personal contact. But in most cases I observed, the connection was indeed increased via blogging. The blogs I selected were great...I probably most needed the one on how to change my PowerPoint presentations... but I enjoyed reading Vicki Davis's blog the most. I tend to like controversy although I like keeping "everybody happy". And as a parent, I sure know how I appreciate my children's cell phones (now they are older and that's even more important).
Reading a blog is both fascinating and frustrating, and more challenging than "live" conversation. Why? To me it forces one to LISTEN to others! By that, I mean that you can't just "tune out" others. Everyone gets a turn to speak. Some do dominate, but everyone can interject their thoughts! Reading comments can make you smile, laugh, get upset, or respond immediately with your own "two cents", but it does force you to listen to others or you are not up to speed. Were that true during person-to-person conversations (especially group conversations...remember your last family gathering????), how refreshing that would be. But also time-consuming!
Reading a blog seems to be very similar to reading a People Magazine or other current events magazine and being able to say something about each thing as you read! I also noticed that it was easier for me to learn some things (like in the PowerPoint conversation referenced above) in that format because of the style. I like the shortened style of blogs for learning! Chapters in books seem to have encouraged lengthy discourse! Authors feel like the bigger the book, the more value it has! The best blogs I saw in this Thing 2 exercise were the opposite of that...they were briefer and packed full of thoughtful words. Of course, I did notice the tendency to do exactly what I am doing...reflect perhaps a bit too much. Blogs and the comments seemed to encourage a bit of rambling in some cases!
Commenting and writing differ in technique and rules apparently. They seem to be at a midway formality between emails and formal letters. Yes, there is a literacy level expected in blogging that I was unaware of before examining these blogs. It seems that one loses credibility if ones doesn't follow the cues of the blogger as to expectations of formality. How different from texting!
In commenting, some people just feel compelled to comment when they should basically "shut up" and follow a while (what I call "seasoning" their thoughts first before interjecting them)...others offered great additions and reflections that truly affected and even altered my first "gut reactions" to the original blog.
One caution I note...and still pose the question: How do you know that the commenter has really researched and is speaking knowledgeably about the topic?
You can't (but neither can you know that about an author)...so it's important that we teach our students that comments are just that...comments...not necessarily well-researched facts more often seem in books.
As educators, how can we start to use blogs to communicate with parents? There are dangers and benefits. Choosing words wisely still seems to be a skill we need to emphasize no matter how they are delivered. But blogs seem to be like calling hundreds (maybe thousands!) of people on the phone for a "chat" at the same time! And at times, everyone talks back at one time! But also seems to give you hundreds of new ears to hear those talking at you. Just a middle-aged guy's observation.
I see blogging as offering us new connections. They extend my world. They broaden my potential circle of friends and human connections. Many people write a lot better than they speak. Know what I mean? But some do not. They may never blog or comment. I think I'll pick up the phone now and call a friend!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Today my computer at my desk just quit behaving normally! Not a great start for this course. But I remain optimistic that I can do it! I'll take all the encouragement you can give me....
Maybe Thing 24 will be that you can hardly stand it if someone takes away Things 1-23!!!!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
That has been my day here today...lots to contemplate! I'm going to search for a blog about this!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
- Consider the ways in which Web 2.0 tools might change (or have already changed) your professional practice. Just amazingly exciting what Web 2.0 offers the language teacher. Before (way back in my early years as student and teacher) all we had were slides, movies, and albums... maybe penpals who could write and weeks later (plus postage!) you might get a letter back. Now, students can hear live (without the annoyance of short-wave radio connections at night) radio broadcasts, chat with students in their new language, connect with authentic and up-to-date cultural aspects of people who speak the language, etc.! The ideas seem limitless! This is what I want to learn more about in the course!
- Since I am not in the classroom, I will start changing gears and think about ways to engage families using Web 2.0 (as BCS Family Engagement Specialist-Latino Families), and also for my Spanish class training I lead for the District, and the Translation/Interpeting aspect of my job.
- How might you be able to use these new tools to to engage today's "digital learners? I can envision parents being able to access critical information by logging on to their computers at home and to a Wikispace...all current events and important news from the schools is liste in Spanish nd English...tere are links to forms that need to be completed by a certain date, and ways to schedule conferences...all in their own language. I envision that they can link to a translation page...create a message to the teacher or to the school, click and the message is translated for them and an avatar appears, speaking aloud the message and they can send that to the teacher or to the school! I think I cn do this now once I learn the "things" better! I can see new strategies to use the "Lee y Serás" course we have in place now, but offer it with Web-2 technologies.
- Why would you want to? What better way to make a language "have life" for students and not just be an academic exercise! I remember when the "oral proficiency movement" dominated all the trends and standards in FL or L2 methodology. So now I think "Web-2 proficiency" ought to take over!
I hope to learn a lot more about how to use the internet as a teaching tool through this course!
Much more to follow in the upcoming months...