Monday, December 12, 2011

Livescribe Smartpens

Differentiating with livescribe smartpens from December 10, 2011

Speaker: Peggy George

Special Guest: Aviva Dunsiger and Sue Glascoe

The topic covered in this Webinar was the Livescribe Smartpens. These pens are used in the classroom as a tool to help students in all subject areas but mostly Language Arts. The pens look and act like other smartboard pens. They differ in the fact that you can write on “paper” and then the pen will read back what was written. This is the pens audio option; this is an excellent part of the pens but it also seen as a fear by many people. The pen is also different because it is a portable computer. The pen has the software of that of a Smartphone or computer. The user can download apps for the pen. In the Webinar she talks about how she downloaded a Spanish dictionary app. This app models how to say the written English word in Spanish by saying it. It also will look up and give the definition of the word in Spanish. They also talk about the mathematics apps that are available for the pens.

These pens will impact teaching by allowing students to use the pens when they are stuck on how to say a word. Say the teacher wrote down the directions for that student and they can’t read them, the pen will read the directions for the student allowing for the student to figure out what to do on their own. The pen can also be used for telling stories that students have written down, keeping students work anonymous to the other students in the class. The pen can also be used in a literacy center, this will allow for the teacher to plan two centers that allow for more comprehensive task, that a teacher might have to explain. The applications allow for endless possibilities on when and where the pen can be used. You can download an app to help students in science making the boring subject more fun and hands on. Another aspect of the pen is the ability to connect it to your computer and download things for safe keeping. One thing I liked was pencast, this is where the recording of directions or stories are uploaded onto the class website and made available for students who were sick that day or they can be used for their homework.

I can use this tool in my future because I want to be a teacher. This pen would be a great asset to any classroom. The use of this tool are endless, it is hard to think of just a few examples of how I would use it in my classroom, because there are so many ideas going through my head. I would use it for capturing the directions or stories and posting them on the website for students who were sick or who are struggling. I would also use it for more hands on opportunities for the “boring” subjects such as mathematics and social studies. I like the idea of having the pen read some of the students work out loud, this would be good for the students who want to share but are too afraid to, after a while they can see that their peers enjoy their work and then they might be a little more comfortable to read it out loud in front of them.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tours in Second Life

Thinking that Second Life is just for fun and games. I am here to tell you that it can be used for much more. Second Life can also be very educational, there are tours that one can take to landmarks, countries, and cities with a search and a click. While in Second Life I took a tour called Real World Locations. It was based on national landmarks from around the world! I went to the Great Wall and the Gateway Arch all in one day. It was interesting to get to go to these places, when in reality I have never been to any of them. You can move about the landmarks and see them from all angles.

Do to these travelings that I had the pleasure in taking, I think that it would be fun for students to be able to do this. Say they are researching the Great Wall or Africa's Wilderness and the pictures they find on the internet or in books are only from one side or the same pictures over and over again. The students can get on Second Life and go to these places, walk around and experience them for themselves. This kind of usage will open many doors to students who may never get the chance to go see these landmarks.

I made my own tour on Second Life. At first I thought it was going to be rather hard and very time consuming, but it was the complete opposite. It was rather easy to find places and then bookmark them. Then you just had to go back through and give each location a description. The hardest part was thinking of a topic to do my tour on, I thought of other lessons I have taught and a Social Studies lesson dealing with memorable sights in the United States came to mind. I created my tour based on landmarks that we have here in the United States. My students would be able to travel to the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and even The Golden Gate Bridge. It was rather fun to think about using this tour in a classroom some day.

The first stop for my tour is The Statue of Liberty, the link to it in Second Life is The second stop in the tour is just a hop, skip, and jump away, it is the memorial for the World Trade Centers. The link for it in Second life is The third stop for the tour is The Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The link for it is The next stop on our tour is Mt. Rushmore. You may find it in Second Life by going to this address, We will now be going to the Golden Gate Bridge, you may go to it by this link, The last stop on our tour is the Grand Canyon. The link in Second Life is Have a fun time exploring these wonderful US landmarks!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flat Classroom Project

When we were told that we would be doing The Flat Classroom Project in this class, I was a little reserved because of the experience I had in my class last semester. I came with an open mind though because it seemed like it was much more put together and we would be able to do more things throughout the project.

We signed up as Expert Advisors. I chose to be an expert advisor to group 7 Google Takes Over the World. I made a message introducing myself to the students and other expert advisors in my group. There was a lot of responses and introductions given, which got me rather excited to do this project. The topic was rather interesting because of everything Google has faced in the past few years.

As time went on it was rather hard to help the students with their project. There was five expert advisors in my group, including me, so it was hard with my class and work schedule to sign on and the mistakes not have been corrected already. This was very frustrating because I was really excited to participate and help the students make the best project they could. The advice given by the other advisors was very helpful and hit the problems right on. Also a problem I encountered was that the students made very little mistakes and when they did their cooperating teacher fixed it or another expert advisor did. Towards the end of the project students started to wither away and not add much to their projects.

When the projects were finished and videos created, we were to sign up for judging. This part of Flat Classroom, I really enjoyed. It was cool to see the students' work in the finished product. The videos I watched ranged from very well done to students just doing it because they had to. I was rather surprised to see the skill that some students had when they created their videos. The group I judged was Web 2.0. The videos for this group were very interesting and they were so well done, I had trouble picking my top four videos because of the quality these students used in their videos. After I finished watching the videos in my group that I was to judge, I went through and watch other videos. It was amazing to see the time and thought that all the students put into their videos.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Second Life

You are probably thinking to yourself what the heck is second life. Well it is an interactive game where you decide your own destiny. You can create your own avatar, clothes, house, etc... It is like the Sims but you don't have to babysit your avatar 24/7. It is a great way to meet and interact with people online. It is very handy because you don't even have to leave your chair. Because of this I think that it will be very useful to use in the classroom as a tool to collaborate with one another. It is something new for students to use, it is a great and safe outlet for them to be sociable and themselves.

Moving around second life is a breeze. You can use the keyboard to do everything! Use the arrow keys to move around, use E to jump, C to crouch, or E and the up arrow at the same time to fly! Yes I said fly, it is the quickest way to get from point a to point b. In second life you also have the option to run, you have to go into your options to chose to run.

You can also take snapshots at the press of three keys. Shift, Ctrl, and s.
Then you have the option to save to your computer, inventory, or email. It is a fun and easy way to share what you are doing with your family and friends! The picture is of the fountain from my avatar's point of view. The one above is of me flying around!

NewBees, there is a whole island, Orientation Island Lionheart, dedicated to helping you understand the world of second life. There are many interactive instructions for you to do to further your knowledge of second life. I found them very useful in helping me understand everything that I can do in second life. It was very informative to go through the process of reading and doing everything.

Changing your appearance is as easy as snapping your fingers in the real world. You just have to go to your inventory and click on clothing, and then you can modify what you are currently wearing or you can completely change your clothes. You can also change anything else about your avatar. You can change hair style or even your hair color, the shape of your face, how tall you are, the size of your body, or you can even change your avatar to be a robot. In Second Life everything is left up to you. You can be as true to yourself or you can be as far from yourself as you want. The choices are unlimited. I chose a avatar and a preset clothing choice and changed it to what I wanted my avatar to look like. Here is the before shot, I have short blonde hair, a pink polka dotted dress on, tall, and rather skinny.

I made changes to my avatar to make it look more unrealistic to how I am in the real world. I chose an avatar already made. Her outfit looks like she is from the 17th century. I love this time period so this had a great impact on the why I chose this avatar. I made a few changes to this avatar though, I changed the eye color to blue, made the nose a little smaller, and also made the avatar shorter. These characteristics go along with what I look like in the real world. Other than that me and my avatar look very different!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gaming in Education

This was assignment was rather difficult for me. How could it possibly be hard to find a game to play for a hour. Well at first I couldn't even think of a game to use for this assignment it was rather difficult since I usually don't play video games or computer based games. I have a tendency to get addicted to a game and then I procrastinate on my homework so I decided to give up gaming all together. The second problem was when would I find the time to play a game for a hour when I have homework for my other classes. This was rather easy when I found the right game to play.

I chose to play The Sims Social on Facebook. I have played the Sims games once or twice in my teenage years, so it was rather new to me. The tutorial at the beginning was useful because it showed what you were suppose to do and how to move your Sim around. At first it took a little while to get into the game because you couldn't really do much because your Sim has very little money. This became less of a factor when I begin to get more into the game and the hour flew by.

Throughout the game you are trying to help your Sim build a their life. You can choose which way of life you want your Sim to have. Once you have gotten the hang of things you have to choose what your Sim does and how it does it. If you want your Sim to play a computer game you have to click the computer and then chose play game. There are many life lessons throughout this game,you have to practice to get good at something, you must take care of your things, spend your money wisely, and many more.

This game is just one example of the many that games can be educational and not just a way to past time. Using games in the classroom will bring a new perspective for students to use to learn the concept in which the teacher is trying to get a crossed. Though I hate to admit it there is even some thing that they can get from the war games. Their hand eye coordination will improve. There are many things that we can use games for, whether it be to past the time, improve hand eye coordination, learn times tables, or valuable life lessons, using games in the classroom will show students that the skills that they are learning today they can apply in their lives tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Twitter in the classroom useful or a distraction? I think that Twitter can be very useful for students if the teacher uses it correctly. Students can communicate with one another about the homework or about information they have found just by using the hashtag. They can join all sorts of social communities by following certain people or groups. This is beneficial for both teachers and students, they can get a wide variety of resources from Twitter regarding the topic they are researching.

Teachers can also use Twitter to stay in touch with the students and their parents. They can remind students of their homework. They can stay in touch with parents by tweeting about important dates, tests dates, and social activities. Teachers can also use Twitter to have students write a writing prompt. They have 140 characteristics to get to the point about a subject and give their point of view about the topic at hand.

Twitter can be more than just another social media network. It can enrich the lives of the students everyday. Whether it be with resources, new writing skills, or just connecting with someone outside their normal circle of friends. Twitter can open many doors and make a difference in the way we communicate in the classroom.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blogs in the Classroom

Having students blog about their ideas?!? Having the teacher have a classroom blog to stay in touch with parents and students outside the classroom?!? These ideas seem crazy but they are becoming more and more popular in the classrooms of today. Blogs are becoming a way of communication between the teacher and the parents of the students. It is a great way to make sure that the information gets home instead of lost between school or home. It is also a great way for parents to get involved in their students school work and stay involved instead of just going to parent-teacher conferences once a semester.

For the students it is a way for them to look to see what the homework for the night is and what is coming up in a certain subject. Blogs can also be used for students to express their ideas and also talk about what they have learned that day or week in school. Blogs are a great and inexpensive way for students to really share their feelings about the things they are learning about and also to get help or a simple reminder of what is expected of them.

Friday, September 23, 2011


How can we incorporate this new technology into our schools without spending a ton of money? I think that e-books are a great technology to let students have in the classroom. They are cheaper and way lighter than the normal textbooks we see students lugging around everywhere.They are the same textbooks just presented in a different way, on a tablet or e-reader. I have had some e-textbooks in my college courses but have heard that younger grades are beginning to allow them in their classrooms.

E-books can be both a positive and negatives aspect of using e-books. There is the knowing that they are way lighter than the everyday textbooks. They are cheaper and will take up less space because they are all found in one main source(the e-reader.) Some of the negatives are there are more distractions on the source than in a regular textbook. Also it has been said that the teacher may not know if the student is actually reading and not playing games. The last negative is that the student will be staring at a screen for a long period of time.

The negative with the students not staying on task can be said about anything they are doing. It is up to the teacher to walk around and make sure that they are staying on task. I also think that there is a way to read the e-readers without harsh lighting.

I think making the move to e-books is a great idea. There are many positives to them. They are cheaper, take up less room, and are way lighter. Students are already choosing e-books over regular textbooks for these reasons.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Skpye in the classroom?!?!

Skype is changing the way the world communicates. It is a fast and cheap way to talk to your family and friends across the world. I bet you are all thinking why not just pick up the phone and call response it is not the same. With Skype you can video call one another and chat with them, yes there are other video calling software out there like FaceTime. With FaceTime you can only talk with people who have other Apple software but with Skype you can talk to anyone no matter what computer, phone, or tablet they have. Now you are probably thinking what does this tangent have to do with Skype in the classroom.

As I said before Skype is a cheep and fast way to communicate with another person. This can come in handy when teaching in a classroom. What teacher doesn't love an inexpensive teaching method. There are many ways to include Skype in the classroom. One way is to communicate with another class in the United States. Say you are doing an unit about the New England States. You can call a classroom and ask students themselves about their state and what they think are defining characteristics about the state that they live in. Another way to utilize Skype is to call another country. You can call a class in the country that your unit is about and your students can get first hand information from students their age. You can have pen pals with students and talk to them face to face and through the old fashion "snail mail" way. There is many things that you can do to utilize Skype in your classroom.

Skype is a fun and interactive tool to use in the classroom. If done correctly it can have a tremendous impact on the way students learn and the knowledge they gain from the unit. It is an unique way for students to gain information about other cultures from the source itself.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Problem-Based Learning

In class we have been looking at PBL (project based learning.)PBL is where students work together or individual to figure out a problem using the material given to them, whether it be software, a problem, inventing something, or building something. Each group in our class had to create an example of a PBL, my group chose to do a breakfast invention. We decided to use a WebQuest, Google Form, wiki, and our students imaginations. This project was rather difficult because we had to think of ways to challenge our "students" but not make it to difficult. I think that creating a PBL for a class that you know well and their strengths and weaknesses will be much easier than creating one for an imaginary class.

I really enjoyed learning about PBLs in class. It was something I didn't know much about or how to implement it into a classroom. I plan on having some PBl activities in my classroom. They are a way for students to expand their horizons and push themselves to make something way outside the box!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Collaborative Tools

During this class I have learned a lot of new collaborative tools. The one that I enjoyed using most was Google Docs. I think that this is the coolest thing ever! I use it for almost all my group projects now. Most people have not heard of it so I have to explain to them what it is. I simply saw that it is a way for all of us to collaborate together on the project at the same time from the confides of our own homes. The own home part is usually what gets them all :). After that I just say it is like a regular word processing software. Google Docs has made those dreaded group projects ten times easier! :D

Another collaborative tool that I have heard of but don't use that often is Wikispaces. I believe that this collaboration tool will come in excellent use in my future. I will probably use it to keep parents involved in my classroom. It is a sure way to know that parents got the information and it wasn't lost in the back pack or thrown out. Most everyone has internet access now a days so having a classroom WIKI would not be difficult.

Two things that I thought I would never use in a classroom were Facebook and Twiiter. Most teachers frown upon these two things in the classroom, they say they are just eating away at their students brains. Well Dr. Z thinks differently! We made a Facebook group and talked about projects, problems, and any thing else that was related to the class. We all made a Twitter account to stay in touch with one another and to get our information out for our projects. We used Twitter to send the links for our surveys and just used the classes hashtag. This allowed everyone to find everyone's surveys. I thought that I would never ever get a Twitter account but now that I have one I love it!

I really enjoyed learning about collaboration tools because they are something we can use in our future and in our other classes now. These will be very helpful in every aspect in my life! :D

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Group PBL Learning Lesson

For our final project we were to explain a new technology to the class and use it in our lesson plan. The technology that my group chose was Google SketchUp. For our lesson students were asked to create a breakfast invention that made breakfast faster but have it still be healthy. I liked having the other students in the class actually go through and do the assignment and create their invention. We created a Wiki for the students to post their ideas, projects, blue prints, and collaborate with each other. It was a great learning experience, we could actually see problem-based learning in action with our own ideas.

I enjoyed doing the other groups projects as well. I learned about some new technologies that I didn't even know existed, like Artsonia this is a website where teachers are able to post their students art work and also their regular school work. Another technology I learned about is Edmodo this is a website that allows teachers to post their assignments on the internet and have their students post their assignments on the website also. This will allow for student's parents to be involved in their students school life as well.

When I become a teacher I will probably be using Project-Based Learning, so this experience was very helpful. Seeing how these technologies can be used in the classroom was also helpful and gave me lots of ideas. This project was very informative and helpful in a lot of aspects in the classroom!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Interactive Whiteboards and Flipcharts

In Classroom Computer Applications we had to make a flipchart lesson plan. We downloaded the software ActivInspire. This software allows you to create your own flipcharts to use with an interactive whiteboard in your classroom. It comes with many tools, clipart, and gadgets to help make your lesson fun and interactive for your students. There are many resources available to teachers at Promethean Planet website. My partner and I found a lot of nutrition lessons for all ages. The lessons are from other teachers who belong to Promethean Planet, and they have used the lessons in their classrooms.

The software is very easy to figure out for the most part. Colleen and I ran into some problems figuring out how to get the magnify glass to work. There are a lot of tutorial videos, maybe to many, that you can watch to help you figure the software out. As I stated before there are a lot of them so Colleen Googled our question and got the answer right away.

This activity was by far one of my favorites. It would have been cool to see it actually be used on an interactive whiteboard because I thought Colleen and I did a really good job on it. The activities were really easy to make with the software. The clicker question was a breeze due to it being in the software and you just have to click a few buttons and its done. I highly enjoyed this and even told my sister ( who is a teacher) about the software and she downloaded it and is now trying to use it in her classroom!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lincoln Elementary School

My Overall impression of Lincoln Elementary School, in Cedar Falls, Iowa was what a beautiful place for students and teachers to go to school. The environment was so welcoming and safe for students to express their ideas and participate in the class discussions. Teachers collaborated with each other to learn the new technologies and were very open to new ideas and to what each teacher brought to the table. It is a place were students want to go to school and learn. This was an awesome experience to see all these things in an elementary school.

Some technologies that were used in Lincoln Elementary School that I saw were so amazing, creative, and mind blowing how they used them in a classroom setting. At Lincoln we saw a first grade class use the Mimio-Boards. This was rather interesting, the students really enjoyed being involved in the lesson. They seemed to be more engaged in what was going on because they were able to participate more and actually see what was going on. There seemed to be a lot more that you can do with the Mimio-Board then in a traditional classroom. Another Technology that was used in the first grade classroom was a microphone. The teacher used a microphone when she was talking to the class. This was very unusual but after she talked about why she used one, I thought it was an ingenious idea. She uses it so that students can hear her in all parts of the room, she wont have to raise her voice, and it helps the students pay attention more. I think using a microphone in the classroom benefits both the teacher and the students. The teacher wont strain her voice and the students will be able to hear the teacher where ever they are in the room. Sixth Grade students used Google SketchUp in their mathematics class. They had to create a 3D structure using Google SketchUp. Their teacher didn't know everything about it and the students enjoyed this expect because they got the opportunity to teach their teacher something.

From visiting Lincoln Elementary school I will most definitely use some sort of interactive whiteboard in my classroom. Having one in a classroom just makes for an endless amount of possibilities for me as a teacher and my students to have. They will allow for many hands on activities and for students to be more involved in every lesson! Interactive whiteboards are amazing and the possibilities to use them are endless!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Global Learning

For Global Learning we were suppose to participate in The Flat Classroom Conference. The conference was held in Beijing, China this year. This is a really cool idea, students meet and create projects with other students who have different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and race. They must put all those differences aside and come together and create, pitch, and make their projects. I watched the first two sessions of the conference on the live streaming video. They talked about the different technologies that they were able to learn about and what the mission for this years conference was.
Unfortunately the feed did not work most of the time making it very difficult for me to continue participating in the conference. This project is a great way to get global learning involved in any classroom in any part of the world!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Introductory Preso Experience

For my introductory preso my partner Michael and I created a Prezi. I have used Prezi before but my partner had not, so I had to teach him how to use Prezi to complete our presentation. I think that Prezi is way better than PowerPoint. You can do a lot more with it, add different turns, zoom in and out, change levels, etc...but with PowerPoint you are stuck with the same square and boring transitions. Though I have already used Prezi, I still learned a lot about using Prezi. One thing that I learned was that you can have more than one person editing the Prezi at the same time and on different computers.

My partner dropped the class, so I don't think he took this project very seriously. I think my half of the project was good, but due to his lack of help the project wasn't as good as it could have been. I still learned a lot about using Prezi, I didn't know that you could share with other people and work on it at the same time.

During our presentation we introduced each other at the same time. If we were to do it again, I think that it would be more effective to introduce one person and then the other person. Also adding more pictures that have to do with me for my side and than adding more pictures that have to do with him on his side would have made the Prezi a lot more interesting for the rest of the class.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CCA Expectations

My expectations for this class are that I receive useful information to use in my future classroom. I want to know how to incorporate more technology for students to use in every subject instead of just having a half hour in the computer lab every other week to do research for some project they are working on. I also hope to learn about new technologies that are available to me as a future teacher for free!! I really want to learn more about SMARTboards. So far this class seems like it will provide me with these things. I am super excited to continue taking this class and using some of these technologies in my very own classroom!