Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Technology Review by Bob Hankel

Technology Review
By Bob Hankel

Webinar:  Science Notebooks with Google Apps
This webinar by Greg Bendis-Grab was a very good tool on how to utilize Google Applications for the modern science classroom.   There were so many uses demonstrated for Google docs in the science classroom it really got me excited about getting to use them.  The most popular use of Google docs was to have a collaborative effect  like how we used it in our classroom before.  For example the teacher can post an article and students can read it and comment on what they learned and also reflect about it.  They can also comment on each other's postings.  Since everyone is going to be reading it they spend more time to make sure everything is in order. 

Probably the most fascinating use of Google apps for the science classroom was performing a science experiment using Google Sheets.  According to Greg, "Using this app the students could have a common spreadsheet for their group for data collection purposes."  Then the students could all add to it whenever and wherever they wanted to, and didn't have to meet to do it.  All the groups in class could be linked to a common spreadsheet as well.  They could not only analyze their own data, but all the data from the class to compare as well.  They could also create graphs for their data, then graph it against the results of the entire class.  This also held the students more accountable to make sure they had accurate data since everyone was going to be seeing it and it was compared with everyone else's results.

I really liked how all of  the class documents can be organized with the "Collection" program on Google Apps.  This is like a digital file cabinet and keeps everything organized so it is easy to find.  The only downside of using Google as a Science Notebook was how it is a little harder to make drawings than a standard science notebook.  There is a drawing app on Google but it is a bit hard to manipulate.  The best fix would probably be to scan or take a picture of a drawing on paper and upload it to your Google document .  Overall, this webinar was very relevant to any science teacher and Google Apps are something that will help me to become a better science teacher.

TED: Jan Chipchase on our Mobile Phones
This video on TED is a talk given by Jan Chipchase who works for Nokia as a researcher  for new products.  He travels around the world in search of behavioral patterns that will inform the design of new products.   His discoveries and insights help to inspire the development for the next generations of products at Nokia.  It was very interesting to hear about how cell phones are used in different countries around the world and how the U.S. is not the only country where everyone has a mobile device.  "Almost half the people in the world (3 billion) have a mobile device of some kind, and that number is growing dramatically still."  Even in remote villages in Africa, the village "operator" will have a cell phone and manage calls for the entire village.  It has also created a huge job market in India for people who repair mobile devices.  "People in India don't just trade their phone in every 2 years or when it breaks for a new one, they go to a street vendor who specializes in fixing these devices."  A lot of times they are armed with only an instruction manual where the phone has been reverse engineered, a toothbrush to clean contacts, and a few spare parts.  It really shows how wasteful we are in the western word  by how many phones we dispose of each year. 

Watching this video was really eye opening on how technology is affecting everyone on this planet and how mobile phones have transformed everyone's lives.  Mobile phones globally are now one of the 3 most popular items people carry around with them along with keys and money.  In the next 2 years, a billion more people could have mobile devices.  To me that number is staggering.  Overall, I was amazed at how mobile devices have transformed communication globally.  Without the need for expensive land lines, nearly everyone on the globe can be connected wirelessly.  It is interesting to think of what will replace mobile phones and when.  Who knows, the mobile phone might just replace the keys and money.  After watching this video I was disappointed to notice that it was over 4 years old (Oct, 2007).  It still was a great video to watch.  I would be curious to see how things have transformed globally today and if his predictions have come true.

Unlock Literacy with iPads
Harmon, Jim.  Learning and Leading with Technology, Vol. 39 Number 8, June/July 2012 issue, pp 30-31.

This article was about how the author integrated iPads for everyday instruction in an English Language Arts classroom.  It started with one iPad being brought into the classroom and turned into a cart with 24 iPads on it where every student in class has one.  It seemed that every student was immediately engaged in using the iPad as a learning tool in ways the traditional classroom could not.  It was amazing to see actual results from a classroom where ipads were in use so much.  Students completed their writing assignments more quickly than with pen and paper.  Both the quality and quantity of their writing improved. Most importantly, students who struggled to complete their writing before, were now finishing them!  More students also passed the standardized Ohio Graduation Test than in previous years, which was one major knock on using technology like this.  One student summed up what many teachers are finding out, "A lot of students don't like actually sitting down and reading a textbook, but on an iPad , you can learn your lessons differently."  Due to the results shown, this article was very relevant for me and for any teacher who is contemplating integrating technology like iPads into their classroom more. Another good quote from the literature was, "No other pedagogical tool or technique in my experience engages students in a way that makes learning fun and leaves students feeling like they are in control of their own learning."

Application Review: Amazing Science! Easy Experiments That Make Science Exciting
This is an application for the iPad from Science and and includes several easy to do science experiments for the science classroom or at home.  I had to pay $.99 for this because I could not find any good free apps for science experiments.  These experiments are really good because they not only explain step by step how to do the experiments but they show how in a video presentation.  Also, most of the experiments can be performed with ordinary household items.  I performed a couple of the experiments with my son to test them out and he really enjoyed doing them.  I decided to watch the video ahead of time and then do the experiment but you can play the video and pause it at each step if you want.  There is an easy to follow menu on the app for all the experiments and there is a link to the website where you can access a lot more material to order if you wish.  Overall, this app is worth the $.99 I paid for it and will consider ordering additional experiments in the future.  The audience for this app is really anyone who enjoys doing science experiments but should be done with parental guidance.

Review of ISTE Website
This website seems to be a pretty good place to access a lot of information about technology in education and a great place to network with other professionals.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of links to their store where you have to buy educational products, with a discount if you are a member.  When I signed up for the membership I was tricked into purchasing a hard copy subscription to Leading and Learning with Technology for $50, when the online version is already free with the student membership.  All that aside, it does provide a lot of opportunity to go to conferences, read blogs, join social media, and watch webinars that could give great insight into how technology can help students learn more effectively and help teachers teach more effectively.  It seems that ISTE is really trying hard to reach policy makers on how important technology is to education.  

A good quote from the website is "ISTE’s advocacy efforts extend beyond giving technology to students. The impact of our work is to ensure that technology empowers educators to help more students achieve their full potential."

Additional Technology Review: Planbook
This is a great resource for teachers who want to simplify their lesson plans.  It is basically a web based lesson planning site that helps you create and organize your plans.  The best part of this is you can access from any location and you can easily share your lesson plans with colleagues, subs, or administrators if needed.  You can determine what they see and for how long.  It is very easy to use and the basic version is free.  It seems like you would probably want to order the premium version for $25 a year because you need this version to attach files, share with other people, export to MS word and PDF, and have access to common core standards.  Also, this software merges nicely with Google Apps.  I have never attempted to write a lesson plan the old fashioned way, but to me this seems like the way to go.

A good quote from the website is, "Now that I have a year's worth of plans saved, it is an easy copy paste, no more typing plans and attaching files and links, I have it all saved! Now I just tweak and make my plans better because I have the time to do that because of" Also, "I love PlanbookEdu because I can access my lesson plans and attached files from any computer. When I print out a week of lessons I can print my worksheets etc directly from my planbook which makes it so easy. It makes it so easy to organize my lessons!"

Technology Review

Sarah Bustamante

Conn, Cynthia. “Learning Connection: Managing and Maximizing a Class Set of ipads.” International Society for technology in Education. 39.8 (2012): 29 May 2012.

This article documented a pilot program with 5th graders at an Arizona Title I school where the class was granted a set of ipads.  Before using the ipads the students were required to create a care and use agreement where they recognized and set forth rules and regulations.  This process aided in establishing a sense of ownership among the students.

  • Professional development for the ipads were extremely beneficial
  •  ipads were much friendlier to use over laptops
  • Students thoroughly enjoyed the use of ipads- using them to complete schoolwork, (didn’t want to miss school for fear of missing out on using the iPads)
  • Students stayed on task while using iPads
  • Students of special needs were difficult to identify amongst their peers when using ipads as they were successfully able to use the ipads as well
  • Teachers became active facilitators- they were able to get immediate feedback from students success on apps and were informed about what areas of instruction needed more attention
  • Many apps provided differentiated instruction in that many included visual, interactive, and varying levels that challenged students
I found this to be an interesting article as it does show positive findings for intergrading technology in the classroom where each student regardless of their background or disability has an opportunity to be engaged and involved.  I also believe it is a wonderful way to encourage students to take what they have learned in the educational setting to apply to their use of technology at home.

Alan Kay shares a powerful idea about ideas

This TED Talk was about how to implement technology to help comprehend, teach, and display mathematics and science at a new level.  Kay’s reasoning is that by learning in a situated fashion students can learn in a visually understandable way.  Some of the ideas he presents build on activities implemented in the classroom and later analyzed and re-taught using technology.  He ends his presentation by promoting the use of laptops saying, “Children are the future we send to the future.” 


HeadSprout:  Improving Reading Comprehension Through Adaptive Online Instruction

This Webinar looks at reading comprehension through measurement and assessments.  Indications of comprehension include: following instructions, answering questions and retelling.  Reading comprehension is a requisite skill needed for all subject areas- not just language arts.  Headsprout is an online instruction tool to help build independent comprehension skills through adaptive instruction.  “Adaptive instruction personalizes the sequence, contents, and other instructional elements for each learner depending on the learner’s error patterns.”  Through 50 online lessons, students learn to comprehend through various strategies designed for grades 3-5.  Typically, fluency is stressed in schools, while many students struggle with comprehension. 

I am curious to learn more about this program.  In my reading perspective class (reading endorsement course), we learned about the NCLB- Reading First and its flaws.  Many of the claims were based on fallacy and few resources were considered when NCLB was passed.  In fact, the sources that were considered were those who were tied to corporations with the desire to push their product.  In turn, study after study revealed that fluency and phonics increased while comprehension was not improving through the Reading First Initiative. The findings through this Webinar were positive and I am definitely left with lingering curiosity about this program. 

App Review

Motion Math Wings
Motion Math Wings is a mathematics game that challenges its player to identify the greater amount between 2 different problems.  For beginners, the problems look like they do here (in the provided picture) where the visuals are represented using shapes.  In advanced problems you may see a multiplication equation across from visual shapes.  The engaging part is that the bird is flying at a steady pace and the player had to tilt the ipad to guide the direction of the bird to choose the greater amount.  Once reaching the island, the player receives their score along with rewards.
After downloading this App from last class, I found that this has become my kids’ favorite app on our ipad.  They quickly discovered it and are finding features I hadn’t known about.   What is beneficial about this game is that it provides visuals and several attempts at mastering a particular problem.  For example, if you were to fail the above problem, you would see the same one maybe 2-3 times more throughout your flight.  What my boys particularly loved about this app was that it provides nest building materials and new feathers for the bird as you go along and complete flights.  I have a feeling that I will be pressured to purchase the full version very soon.  The free app so far has been great! 

Chuck Dinsfriend
April 26, 2012

This BLOG introduces its readers to BYOD (Bring your own device).  Schools are implementing this solution as it cuts costs of purchasing the technology itself, maintenance, IT servicing, etc.  The successes lie in ensuring that Acceptable Use Policies be enforced and understood in the classroom and giving students login information of their own. 

The benefit that I see in this is that again, students are instructed how to use their device in a safe, educational setting where they can take this information home to implement on their own. 

Technology with Teaching

This site provides several tips and instruction on how to create an effective classroom website.  With examples and many links to other websites which provide additional information, I found that this was an excellent place to begin my research for what constitutes a quality site for parents, students, and colleagues to access and benefit from.  This will provide a great amount of information to drive my tech project in doing just that- creating a classroom page.  I am unsure of what kind of site I will create but this gives helpful tips such as what elements are important to include, design, functionality, organization, etc.  

Tech Review
Luis Cisneros

ISTE: Video Games: Harmful or Helpful?
This article gives insight on video games and student achievement in the classroom. There are two arguments in this article. Are video games helpful or are they harmful. It was an interesting article because I see student around campus always playing games on their phones. I don’t matter if they are playing at home or on the go. They are always interacting with technology. I would like to know more of how it can be harmful and what can educators or video game creators do to make them helpful.

TED TALK: Using tech to enable dreaming
Using technology to enhance the learning experience the main focus of the presenter in this TED Talk, she talks about children losing touch of reality because they are consumed with technology. She uses technology in a way that she can interact with reality but stay connected as well. The book that she created give real world topics and also lets children connect with other people from around the world. She is giving the book real world meaning as kids read the stories.  

Edweek, webinar: Clearing the Hurdles: Helping Low-Income Students Get Into College
Interesting webinar about low-income students and college, during this webinar the presenters gave statistics and charts that made their presentation more interesting. They also had more than one presenter to give different perspectives. Good webinar!

iPad app: Khan Academy iPad app
This is a cool app from Khan Academy. There are different videos and presentations that students and teacher can view. There are different subjects that are presented and discussed. From math to history, this app covers a lot of information. Khan Academy also has Talks and interview section that have student talk about use of Khan Academy in the classroom and how they have improved on their test scores. It also posts Interviews with the main stream media.

ISTE: Got a Student Who Hates School? Give Him an IPad
The article in ISTE talks about students that done care for school let alone being in school, and how the use of technology with trouble students has increase learning in the classroom. Engaging students is the main focus of this article and they do it by implementing tech tools

iPad app: Educreation IPad App
This is very interactive and fun app. You can take picture, record audio and also watch lessons from other educators that have made their lessons public. If you create a lesson you can send it to your Facebook page or twitter account and you can also present it to your class. You can either do it with the iPad, or simply login to your account and use the computer.

Andy Haugen Tech Review

Trade Journal: International Society for Technology in Education
Dan Brown, “Rural Districts Bolster choices with Online Learning.” Leading and Learning, March/April 2012, Vol. 39 Issue 6.

In this article Dan Brown discusses online courses at high schools located in and around Eugene, Oregon. Most of the schools have less than one thousand students in attendance. Many of these high schools have developed online courses that students can take. Many were skeptical about the program when it started but so far there have been some good results. The schools are offering online courses where a student is monitored during the day by a mentor at the school while they do the work. These programs are not limited to problem students which is commonly assumed online high school courses are for. Many students who participate in the online program are taking courses to make up credits in order to graduate but many are taking classes to further their education. For example, Spanish II is not offered at one of the schools and many students are taking the course online so they are better their chances of getting accepted to and attending a four year university right out of high school. Students get to take courses that might not otherwise be available to them and the school does not have to hire another instructor. Part of the reason the schools switched to online courses was because the cost was considerably less than having to hire a staff member in times of short budgets. There are problems however, since not all students qualify to take online courses through their high school and it really depends on the school they attend. Also, not all teachers are on board with the online course decisions and there are scheduling conflicts when students can do the course in the day.
I thought this was a good article and it will be interesting to see if online courses become more widespread down the road especially since they cost a lot less. There does need to be qualifications in order to be eligible for an online course and to monitor one. It is a good idea for students to experience a class from an outside source if the school does not offer it. I personally would not have been interested in online courses when I was in high school but if students can take them it will reach that many more students.

Ted Talk
Creator George Dyson
Title: George Dyson at the Birth of the Computer

The Ted Talk that I watched was by George Dyson on the development of the computer and the men who created it. This was an interesting presentation because I knew very little about the first computers and the author lays down the basis for how the entire technology craze started. He mentions that technology was inevitable and it was bound to be created and that those who were instrumental in building the first computers in the United States also were involved with creating the first atom bomb. The first computers were very primitive and the idea was that the computer was a mechanism that could have two ideas at once. The computers were very large, slow, on twenty four hours a day, and memory was stored in vacuum tubes. Dyson ends by noting how the men had the vision and knew what they wanted the computer to do but they just did not have the capability to get it where they wanted to go at the time.
I found this talk very good because as a society we do not often think anymore about what computers used to be like because today we know them as small, fast, and extremely capable. It is important to understand where technology was and how we made the advance we did because I believe it helps us better understand how we got to this point and what direction we can take the technology in whatever that next step is.

Creator Google and Oregon Department of Education
Title: Oregon Department of Education and Google Apps Education Edition Recorded Webinar.

This Webinar was put on by employees from Google and the Department of Education from Oregon. Oregon is the first state to open up to Google Apps education edition to all public schools across the state. Google and the Oregon Education Department have an agreement to work together. This is a big step for education because the apps include mail, sites, calendar, groups, and documents among others. It is a very important resource for schools to have and having used it at Pacific for a number of years it is highly valued by the school and students and used for multiple different subjects and classes. The goal is to help teachers manage students work better and for teachers and students to become more organized while offering a set of technologically advanced tools that allow for a unique and advanced learning perspective in the 21st century. The idea is that through these apps learning can be collaborative yet individual through things like Google Docs or site teachers have created. Another quality is that these apps are very safe and there are no advertisements which make for a more secure learning environment. Also, the school districts can save a lot of money if a switch is made to Google Apps because of all the tools in one place. However, schools are not required to sign up and receive Google Apps and there are many teachers who are not aware of the capabilities these apps can provide and some are against it. Finally, many schools do not have the proper broadband that complies with the apps so additional costs would occur.
I think Google Apps is a great tool. I had never used it before coming to Pacific but I thought it was more widespread at all schooling levels by now which is not the case yet. At my Westview high school placement all of the students use Google Apps. At Pacific I know Google Apps are heavily used by students and staff alike. I think it is something that every school should have, that does not mean every teacher has to use it but the tools really help students learn and in a different way through apps like Google Docs especially in this technologic age.

Educational Apps
Name: Constitution for Mac
Creator: Clint Bagwell Consulting.

This App is the Constitution of the U.S. in full and has other key information. There are biographies and other pertinent information about the time period when the document was written and would work well for any American Studies or government class. The App is free and has many companion Apps such as the Declaration of Independence for Mac which is free as well. It is a great source to brush up on details for both students and teachers alike.

Name: Simple States
Creator: Kidbitz Inc.
This App deals with Geography and is less than a dollar to purchase. It deals with U.S. basics such as capitals, state flags, and animals. There are games and quizzes and it can record the most common incorrect answers so those questions can be focused on to study. This App is probably best suited for those in grades 3-8 but could be useful at any level because most people both students and adults need a geography refresher and learn something new.

Resource, Organization, Blog, Other
Name: Social Studies for Kids
Accessed: 5-29-12
This is a great teacher and student resource to increase knowledge about history. This site encompasses a wide range of topics from timelines to cultures, to presidents, book reviews, war, and games. It covers multiple time periods and subjects areas and I am really impressed with everything it has to offer and the information could be useful not only at the high school level but in a K-12 setting. The down side is that there are some ads within the website.

ISTE Website
The ISTE website offers a vast array of technology resources for every style of teacher that could be implemented in the classroom. There are many good books and it is nice that a web archive exists for the Leading and Learning journal. They have many ways to connect with others such as through blogs, conferences, and webinars which can really increase knowledge and is a good social networking tool. I do not like the fact that even if you are a member at the basic level it costs a good sum to view a webinar. Considering that there are many good webinars out there to view for free it seems ISTE is limiting its audience. There is good information on what ISTE’s goals are and what their focus is but the website still feels vague in some areas especially under the “About us” tab. Overall, I think this webpage has some great tools for not only teachers but students, coaches, and parents and it just depends on what a person is looking for.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ann Marie Tech Review

My stack on delicious: 

Ann Marie Caplan
EDU 537: tech
May 28, 2012


For my trade article, I chose to review a recent article from ISTE’s Learning and Leading with Technology magazine called “Fostering Creativity and Innovation through Technology” by Sheena Vaidyanathan.  In this article, the author speaks about the challenge we have discussed in our classes since day one: the challenge of teaching our students about science, technology, engeneering and math, while still being innovative for the competitive world of the future.   The author, having taught visual arts in the elementary setting, gives multiple examples of programs available online that can encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom.  Examples of these resources include Google Sketch Up to create 3-D models, Inkscape to create graphics, Scratch to create their own video games, and Seahorse to edit bitmap images.    Many of these programs are available for free on the internet. 

The beauty of technology is it allows students to experiment without fear of doing something wrong or making a mistake.  Students may start out creating a copy of the project demonstrated by the teacher, but the end result will most likely be something completely different and a product of their own creativity.  In addition, many of the innovative programs available are user friendly and allow for mistakes to be easily corrected with a click of a button. 

Many programs that encourage creativity and innovation are widely available on the Internet at no cost.  Therefor, it is not only available to students using the infrastructure already in place at many schools, it is available at home for student who have access to the Internet.  Using these resources to further creativity and innovation in the areas of Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is going to better prepare our students for the future.   

2.     TED TALK
For my TED TALK review, I chose to play devil’s advocate a bit and watched Sherry Turkle’s: “Connected, but Alone?” evaluation of technology.  While she is a strong supporter of technology and all of it’s advances, she questions whether it is taking us in the right direction.  She speaks specifically about how technology has evolved to the point where we don’t have to interact with each other if we don’t want to.  With texting, e-mail, and the Internet, we can communicate with one another through an inanimate object (computer, ipad, phone, etc) rather than in a face-to-face situation.  I find this topic particularly interesting as I encourage my own kids to physically walk down the stairs to ask me a question rather than texting me from their room. 

Kids today, have grown up with computers, gaming devices, and fancy phones, and are far more adaptive to technological advances than we are as adults.   But, have they lost the basic art of communication?  This is a skill that is essential while in school, especially as we encourage students to think critically and work cooperatively in groups to develop a deeper meaning.  Sherry mentions two points in her talk that I found particularly interesting:
·       CONTROL:  technology gives us a false sense of control of a situation.  We can control how much interaction we have with another person, and we can determine whether or not we have to deal with them or not. 
·       ESCAPE:  we can escape uncomfortable situations by turning to our technology.  She specifically mentions the feeling of loneliness and how we can avoid that feeling by turning on a mobile device. 
·       ALONE:  technology gives us a safety-net so we don’t need to deal with being alone.  With twitter and Facebook giving us constant connections with anyone, we develop a habit of not having to cope with alone-ness.
The speaker is essentially looking at the psychological effects of technology on people in today’s society and how we need to make sure we are not traveling down the wrong technological super highway.

Sherry stresses that we have lost the art of communication, which is essential in daily interactions, especially with kids. Students who are connected to electronics at home, and have family members who are also connected, may not have the communication skills necessary to process through problems at school, communicate effectively with classmates about a project, or express their needs effectively when they are having problems.  While technology can advance us to new heights and take learning to a new dimension, it is important to stay connected to the basics of communication and help kids develop interpersonal skills that will benefit them as they grow into adults. 

The app I have chosen to review is Explain Everything for the iPad.  I first experienced this app at an Apple training program.  The app makes it possible to put together a presentation while recording voice, illustrating, adding pictures, etc.  While at the training, the Apple representative walked us through a process of using a picture of the rainforest, adding illustrations, and recording what we know about the topic.  After completing the presentation, it can be sent to YouTube, shared email, or saved in a picture file to be added to iMovie at a later date.  I could see this app being used in any educational setting both by teachers and students.  It could be a valuable teaching tool as it is easy and quick to use, and it could be a great tool for students to use to share what they have learned. 

For my webinar review, I searched a variety of sites including the ones on the blog.  I found it difficult to find a webinar that I could access for free and easily (I registered for one, but could not figure out how to view it).  I ended up finding a webinar on YouTube about the many ways to use Google Apps in the classroom.  The quality was a little difficult to see, and the presentation was not always fluid, but the presenter did provide a of the presentation at for future reference.  Some of the features are ones that we have already covered in class, but many were new to me.    The three features of Google Apps that I found most intriguing are the ability to translate letters to parents into different languages, using Google forms and spreadsheet to collect and collaborate science experiment results, and using Google forms to create formative and summative assessments for students.  The webinar provided lots of valuable information as well as opportunities to apply what was being taught in real time.  I would definitely consider referring back to this webinar or attending another webinar on this topic in the future, as there was a lot of valuable information that was shared. 

5.     PREZI
I chose to review PREZI as my free choice tech tool as I hope to use it for my tech project in the future.  I am intrigued by the ability to move around a presentation and take the viewer on a journey rather than just showing them slides with information with hopes that they are paying attention.  By keeping the information moving, so to speak, I would think the viewer would be captivated by the presentation and eager to see what comes next.  I could see this easily being used in the classroom to “spice up” content that is less than entertaining.  The Prezi can then be published to the Internet for viewing or can be downloaded to your computer.  The value of working on the presentation online is that you will always have access to it no matter what computer you are working from.  The site has four valuable YouTube videos giving brief tutorials for how to use the application as well as an in-depth manual of help topics.  Prezi is also connected to Facebook, Twitter, and Linkdin making it easy to share your presentation. 

My initial impression of the ISTE website is that there are lots of opportunities to buy things.  Beyond the initial purchase of the membership, just about everywhere I explored led me to something to purchase.  Aside from this small frustration, I found that the website does offer a lot of information for teachers and administrators.  After some digging, I found the area with information on webinars (the season pass is only $795!) though I was not able to get into the webinar archive, either because of my computer freezing or the site itself.  All in all, this is a site I may return to in the future, though I find it easier to navigate and collect information via the Internet itself.  

AarOn Bentz Tech Review

Technology Review

Delicious Stack

Application Review: Behavior Status:

                This app is a sort of behavioral check-in that can be used to document students’ behaviors throughout the day. The main menu after it is set up will be a list with all the names of the students in the class or group you want to document. From there the user can tap on a student’s name. From that point a stop light will show up and the user can change the stop light based on the student’s behavior. When a stop light has been changed, the user has the option to change the time of the incident and make a note of what happened. There is an option for an advanced organizer of behaviors, but that is not available in the free version. This app would be very helpful in a behavior classroom where the students have many different behaviors that must be documented in order to comply with IEP goals. This is a fairly new application (this is the first version released to the public), but is fairly well designed and is usable as it is now.

My Choice (Picasa):

                This technology resource is a great resource to use whenever you have the need to move photos from a phone or other device to your computer and ultimately a different technology. Using Picasa makes the necessity of having your pictures on your computer a thing of the past. This website uploads the photos onto an online holding space where you can then organize them however you want. These photos can then be accessed from any device online. Another great aspect of this technology is the ease of uploading your photos. When I first started using this resource I had pictures on my smart phone that I had to get onto my Personal Learning Environment. When I took a picture on my phone it gave me an option to upload it strait to my Picasa account. From there I was able to organize them online for further use. Regarding the PLE’s for this class, Picasa makes including a slideshow extremely easy. There is a button that will let you choose to input a premade slide show from Picasa.

                This article was about whether students in the digital age need to memorize facts or not. This is a, “point/counterpoint” article and gives opinions both supporting the memorization of facts and not supporting the memorization. It was very interesting to hear both sides of the argument and gave me a more in depth analysis of the issue. One side claimed that memorization was crucial to obtaining knowledge while the other side claimed that it is not the memorization of the facts, but the analysis of the facts that is the important aspect of learning. This is a very small article, how many of the “point/counterpoint” articles are structured, but it is able to explore the topic thoroughly given the typical structure of this type of article. The article only represents the opinions of two professionals in the field, so therefore will have a lot of bias that must be interpreted in order for this resource to be used properly in an essay, but will give a good amount of great information about the topic. 

                This Talk is about the journey of technology from its infancy to where it is today and the place it now holds in society.  The speaker in this edition talks thoroughly about the early technology and how impactful it was for our earliest ancestors, from being a species that could not defend or feed themselves with any amount of success to the species that dominated all other species. This first step was only with the introduction of very primitive technologies, such as stone tools and fire. The speaker then goes on the claim that we as humans could not survive without technology. This Talk is very insightful and a new way to think of technology. I believe this is a great source for proving the essentiality of technology and to show that we must keep up with technology in order to be effective.

                The TED Talks as a whole is a great source for teachers if your subject area is ever a source of one of their Talks. The people they have talk are experts in the field and present the information in incredibly clear and insightful messages. TED Talks needs to be considered as a source for topics that are covered in their Talks.

                This is a fairly good resource to have as a teacher if you can manage to get over the issues navigating the site. It is quite tough to get to what you want, and when you do get there it is often times difficult accessing information that is published, even if you are a member of the site and have paid the dues to get access. On the site (once it is located) there is an abundance of journal articles that apply to technology in the classroom. One aspect of the article database that was frustrating to me was the difficulty I had getting an article to download onto my computer. Once I found the article I wanted it put me through a few pointless pages until I finally got to the point where it would download. It even made me go through a purchasing process, even though the article was free to members. Another difficulty I had with the website was searching for an article based on keywords. I was not able to narrow down my search enough and ended up simply finding an article from the mass list that interested me and applied to my subject area. Overall, if the navigation and other issues can be overlooked this is a great resource, if and only I you put the money up for a membership.

                This Webinar is about the problems those who are disabled may confront with public technologies and what sorts of assistive technology there is for public computers. This Webinar applies to my teaching career because technology is becoming (has become already) part of the classroom and being in the field of Special Education finding assistive technology for computers is going to be a part of my job in the future. This webinar is structured as interviews with people that are involved in the field of assistive technology and will be very helpful for those who may have a need to implement assistive technology in the future. This video was uploaded to Youtube from Tech Soup Video In Dec. of 2011. All of the information within is still valid and applicable.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shane Robinson Tech Review

Shane Paul Robinson
Technology Review ED 537
International Society for Technology in Education
Teaching Your Students to Fail Better by Christian Long
Leading and Learning
Feb. 2012, Volume 39, Issue 5
Topic: Christian Long invites failure to be part of the students on-line learning process.
Introduction: Long proposes the question, "if you were to create a classroom from scratch for the benefit of school children what would be included? Long argues it should include not only a tolerance for failure but the encouragement thereof. The article is in line with the old adage nothing ventured nothing gained. Long believes students need to learn to, "adapt to the increasingly complex world  to become a modern learner, professional, and citizen." 
Intended Audience: Educators, school planners, educational futurist, and advocates for innovative learning communities
Christian Long’s key points verbatim:
  • The classroom can’t just be a showcase for technology.
  • Students must be the center of the program.
  • Adults must serve as mentors, sherpas, and allies.
  • Students must solve real problems that they come up with. 
Long's Quote: I didn’t want to speak about just the general concept of failure, but I wanted to celebrate the words of Samuel Beckett: "Fail, fail more. Fail better." And I wanted to do so with an eye toward empowering students to thrive. Christian Long 
Relevance:  The ISTE Leading and Learning article entitled Teach Your Students to Fail Better with Design Thinking tells of the importance of students learning in a technologically advancing world, “to be comfortable with failure.” The author of the article Christian Long argues, “Student’s need, agility, divergent thinking patterns, and an ability to test ideas in a messier way.”A paradigm shift is at hand in the evolution of learning for modern day students and teaching for that matter for teachers due to technological advances."

Ted-Ed Talks
Creator: Jon Bergmann
Title: Just How Small is an Atom?
Complete URL:
Date retrieved: May 26th, 2012

Topic: Size and density of an atom as illustrated through animation by award winning educator Jon Bergmann
Introduction: Just how small are atoms? Really, really, really small. This fast-paced animation from TED Ed uses metaphors (imagine a blueberry the size of a football stadium!) to give a visceral sense of just how small atoms are. Lesson by Jon Bergmann, animation by Cognitive Media.
Intended audience:  Middle school and high school science students
Key points: The atom is very, very, very small and the nucleus is incredibly dense.
Relevance: Ted-Ed talks are relevant for students and teachers alike in trying to grasp complex ideas.
Quotes: “If I filled the Earth with blueberries, I would have the same number as atoms in a grapefruit.” (Jon Bergmann)

Bergmann believes educators should ask one guiding question: What is best for my students in my classroom?

In 2009, I took a technology class at the University of Oregon with the aim of catching up on modern advances in technology. I hoped to learn the practical things I have learned throughout this class instead what I received was a brief history computer programming history and lifetimes worth of futurist theory. The class was rooted in the work of Ray Kurzweil who calls an inventor and futurist. Forbes magazine referred to Kurzweil as “the ultimate thinking machine.” When provided the opportunity to watch a ted-talks-technology I chose check out if anything was new in Kurzweil’s world. Kurzweils ted talk video was sort of a Kurzweil’s greatest hits in less than five minutes. In it Ray very briefly goes over his belief in a steady and predictable Law of Accelerating Returns in technological advancement, his stance on nanotechnology, and the growth and power of solar power. After covering his life’s work in less than five minutes he speaks of his newly constructed Singularity University which was founded in partnership with Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. is founded on the premise of being a, “new university that can leverage the power of exponential technologies to solve humanity’s grand challenges (, 2012).” Ted-talks in my opinion is a very user friendly and informative website that I will be sure to revisit in the future.

Youtube Webinar video: web page

According to a Youtube video entitled,  The Beginner’s Guide to Webinar  a webinar is an online seminar or workshop delivered over the internet. Gotowebinar is the most popular web site used to set up and utilize a webinar.  There is a host and attendees who register, sign in and then wait for the webinar to begin at a pre-arranged time. 
Youtube features a video of a Special Education Law and Discipline webinar hosted by two attorneys at law. David Nash an NJPSA Legal Consultant along with Teresa Moore from Rutgers Law School. 

David Nash co-presented with Teresa Moore on Special Education with the primary focus on discipline and some of the due process rules protecting students. They tried to work through the basics of the subject at hand via power point slide show.
Fortunately, the Youtube video showed the slide show so I could follow along. The goal of the presentation was to answer these four questions:
       Is there a significant change in placement?
      Did the incident involve weapon, drugs, or serious bodily injury? 
             Was the behavior a manifestation of disability
              Is the student a danger to himself or others.
The answers were just as hard hitting as the questions which is great for a candidate such as me to be exposed to so early on in my career. I thought it was very practical for the attendees of the webinar to be able to type in questions. The answers were prompt and to the point. I appreciate how this made the whole experience more interactive.  

App Review 

Baby ASL App 

May 25th, I took an Ipad to my workplace for the first time. My assumptions that the students I work with would treat it as a toy to be played with until they lost interest. I was wrong on both accounts. Initially, I sat down next to a student with traumatic brain injury and started looking at Baby Signs myself. My goal was to have this student who I will call AM develop her own interest in the Ipad as opposed to my shoving it front of her face. I felt this approach would be more authentic. As AM looked through magazines repeatedly, I browsed around the apps on the Ipad. After a few minutes AM’s eyes started wandering over to look at what I was viewing. Within five minutes she was insisting in her own way that she wanted to try. I opened the app Beautiful Planet HD for her and within seconds she figured out how to manipulate the pages to go forward and backwards. This feat was appreciated in amazement by the newly formed audience of instructional aides and the teacher. Interestingly, AM was very hungry and on the verge of what some call a meltdown. For the first time something distracted her from food long enough for her to be fed at the appropriate time without having a fit. Essentially, the Ipad competed with and beat out AM’s desire for food which is incredibly strong. After a while changed apps and had AM look at Baby Signs. This was not as engaging as the beautiful planet HD pictures but it was still holding her interest. We worked on Baby A.S.L. for the next twenty minutes until it was time for her to eat via G-tube.

The next opportunity I had to use the Ipad was in teaching two students general life skills. One student (I’ll call CD) is trying to learn his address. The premise is if he is lost he will need to be able to communicate his address or at least his street name to a police officer. After two months he has learned his street name but has a hard time speaking it in a clear manner. I had no idea how the Ipad was to help in this manner but I figured it was worth a shot none the less. As soon as I opened the Ipad, CD went straight to the Google Maps app.
I asked him to input his address as best as he could. We struggled at first as we had been originally given the wrong spelling of his address. Once I remedied this we placed it in the Google maps search bar and up came the location of his house. From there on I became the student as both of the students gave me a tutorial on how to use a Google Maps. They zoomed in and looked directly at their house. We did this one by one for the whole group. CD then pulled out his newly acquired Iphone and completed the same sequence on hi phone and place a little red pin in the location of his home address to save it, one more way in which CD could tell a police officer where he lives if he happens to get lost. To reward them for behaving well and participating I allowed them to play with the Drawing Pad app on the I pad which they had a blast with. It turned out that two of the four students I eventually ended up working with that hour owned I pads. It’s pretty cool how I ended up with four students in front of me as well. Two of the students were working independently on reading comprehension across the room. They worked extremely hard to finish their assignment as fast as they could in order to participate in working with the I pad.

Educational Apps
In exceptionality class we were charged with looking up technologically advanced devices that aid deaf people. I instantly went for the I pad, interestingly Aarron was the only one in the group wanting to use the I pad as well. I looked up three different free apps that a deaf person could use to help them in various circumstances.

Allows people to communicate when they are unable to speak. PhraseBoard was designed by a Registered Nurse experienced with clients who were unable to speak or for whom speaking was too taxing.
- Large “Yes” and “No” buttons allow for simple usage.
- Scrollable lists of having/feeling statements and want statements provide quick and easy communication.
- Custom messages input and saved by the user.
- Message bar reiterates statements chosen.

Pain page facilitates quick and easy expression of pain.
- Slider displays one to ten pain scale.
- Type
- Location
- Frequency / Duration
- Body illustration provides clarity.

The T2 Remote application takes advantage of a new breakthrough technology from Audibel that allows users to control their hearing aids with a simple touch on their iPhone and iPod touch. This avoids the need for any additional hardware. T2 discreetly and instantly classifies the tone signal from the iPhone or iPod touch and automatically adjusts the hearing aid to the desired setting.

American Sign Language App’s including Baby Signs and other generic ASL apps were already downloaded on the Ipad prior to class.

Author names: Elizabeth West, Phyllis Jones, and Sarah Semon
Title of article: Promoting community for online learners in special education.
Title of journal: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education
Date of publication: 2012
Volume of the journal: 28
Issue number of the journal: 3
Article Page numbers: “pp. 108-116”
Topic: Community for on-line learners
Introduction: The sense of community in an online environment may contribute to students’ success and satisfaction (Knapczyk, Chapman, Rodes, & Chung, 2001).
Intended audience: M.A.T. Candidates , Educators
Key Points: West, Jones, and Semon believe the key points drawn from their study are on-line communities should include but not be limited to: learner-centered activities, safe environment, communication, and a  supportive instructor.
Relevance: This journal article explains how an online community of graduate students can be created, fostered, and nurtured from start to finish.