Wednesday, February 6, 2008

School Blog

I just started a school elective for my school to begin their own blog. They are just in the planning stages. Does anyone have any "beware of" advice of what to tell them or not to tell them?


Saturday, December 1, 2007


You can find my screencast at:

I actually liked making this. I used the Camtasia program to make this. They provided many programs to walk you through each step. I chose to make my video about creating a blogger account because it was one of the more simplier assignments and I was able to complete the task without messing up my other blogs.



I chose Teachers Teaching Teaching on the Edutech Talk page, for the educational technology blog I wanted to listen and respond to. You can find it at:
Episode 79 was a collaboration of many teachers and students that are using Youthwiki . They have formed a partnership in discussing “culture”. Many social studies classes are on the wiki to write about their culture and reflect on the culture of the other students. From what I listened to, they were giving suggestions of possible discussion topics. I gained much from this discussion. We reflect often in this class how we can use technology to bring the world closer together. That is a desirable goal, but how do you go about doing that? For this teaching community, they set the task of defining culture in a community or a larger area.

Once students knew what culture was, they could post a definition of what their culture involved. Students could go into the wiki to look at all regional communities. It gave many teachers an opportunity to speak to their kids about the customs of their homes and the homes of kids from around the world.

Students from Virginia saw that a class of Alaskan students listed hunting as being important to them. Alaskan students wrote they often miss school to hunt. The Virginian students thought that was odd. The teacher then asked the kids "When do people miss the most school here?" After some discussion, the kids realized that attendance is low, in their own school, the first day of hunting season. What could have been a difference in customs, was actually a similarity.

This leads me to a point from Woddy Woodgate, a teacher in Alaska. He told the other educators that he wants his students to share culture without giving up their own culture. He went on to say he feels you gain less from the experience if you look for differences first. If students are looking for the differences in their cultures, they not going to see that we are all essentially the same.

Imagine a collaboration between students from schools in geographically different areas. Which will bring more of relationship: realizing that they both play soccer after school and fight with their sister, or a culture change such as the role of the family in society? I think we as educators separate cultures by their differences instead of seeing what we all share. As one of the students on the podcast said "We have so much we can learn from each other."


Sunday, November 25, 2007

First Podcast

Below is my first podcast. It is a review of class assignments and news for my sixth graders. I used this to explain a project that is due for Bible class; a listing of spelling and vocabulary to be learned for the week and I ended with a literature game "Guess the Novel". I hope to do this often, if not weekly. Right now my parents check Schoolnotes site for updates, but I like that I can expand on what I am asking of the kids.

Enjoy my attempt at podcasting.



Who Said?

I listened, this week, to “Who Said” a literature game in podcast form. . The host, Amy, reads a passage from any classical literature text and you must guess the character, novel and author.

What gives this podcast life and makes it so enjoyable, is the host’s personal takes on the passage she is reading from. When a listener writes that a character sounds like a mother calling her children in; Amy adds her own memories of being called in by her parents. Amy enjoys what she is reading.

Every podcast follows the same order: she tells them the answer from the last episode, reads off those that emailed with the correct answer and discusses the passage with her own insights or information from the author. Amy then reads the next passage for the listeners to guess. Another variation I heard was when a listener, from Australia, sent in her own mp3 of a passage. Amy was then one of the guessers.

I loved listening to these episodes. The host has the personality of your favorite literature teacher. She is kind, friendly and makes you feel part of the discussion. I do need to say that of the six passages I heard, I did not get a one right. Even with my losses, I made notes of the novels and looked forward to each new episode. Amy celebrated not only those that guessed correctly, but those that tried. Along with the podcast is a discussion board of hints from Amy and other listeners. This discussion board was updated after each episode to include what the correct answer was and anything that was discussed.

I find this idea for a podcast to be fantastic. I teach sixth grade literature. This game would be an asset to my students. They would love to be part of a game where they can guess and be rewarded for knowing their literature. Having a discussion board where students can receive hints or discuss it together would keep them engaged and provide support. As the teacher, I would enjoy picking passages from the class library. It would keep my students involved and talking about class. I plan to use this in some form in the near future.

“Who Said?” is a great podcast for those that think they know literature or like hearing literature read to them.

PSU Podcast

This week I listened to an Educational Technology podcast to gain insight into current classroom technology. I went to for the podcast “What Works in Educational Technology for May 7” a podcast that encourages Penn State faculty to create podcasts in their classrooms. I found this podcast encouraging for those of us new to podcasting. Two people were interviewed extensively, Carla Zembal Saul, a professor that successfully created a podcast for her courses that gained nation-wide acclaim, and Chris Millet, the manger of advanced learning projects, the man that can is encouraging PSU staff to create their own podcasts.

Carla set up a podcast for her students on the decrease in honeybee colonies or "Colony Collapse Disorder". The podcasts were student-created interviews of experts on this problem. When asked her reason for assigning a podcast as her assessment she explained that she wanted her students to work to solve a current problem. She felt that students should create content by meeting with experts. Carla felt that making her “Honeybee Podcasts” would give the students the opportunity to share the problem with the world while also helping them to reach a higher understanding.

With her success in podcasting, Carla was asked to give advice to those starting out in podcasting. What she said, I feel sums up the feelings of many educators new to this process, “Don’t let the technology intimidate you.” That statement spoke to me. I know what I want to get out of making a podcast and I have plenty I could say to my students; but, the thought of creating my podcast is held up by my fear of the process of making and publishing it. In this class we have received many ideas for using a podcast or screen capture. These ideas are only stopped by our concerns of making and publishing what we have created. I know that once we make a few podcasts and get the hang of it, we will be confident in what we have produced. Am I the only one that has ideas for dynamite podcasts, but am fretting that I won’t be able to get them out there?

This is a fantastic podcast for those timid of jumping in. They recommend making a discussion board of those new to podcasting. It will open you up new ideas and solutions to technical problems. I hope that as my school moves into the podcast pool, we can create such a support group.
Have a great week!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Flickr pictures

You can view my pictures at:

They are mostly pictures from trips I've taken.