My Blogger Panel

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm sure I had quite a different experience with the collaboration assignment as I wasn't able to make it to class. I found it interesting that I was still able to participate with out actually talking to the other students. It gave me some pretty good insight into the idea that if a student was going to be out of town, or was otherwise unable to attend school, if they had access to a computer with internet, they could still participate in classwork. Even in a class like mathematics, the teacher could have a technology day and run the notes/lesson through the computer and the absent student could ask questions, or work problems and be able to get feed back right away.
On a more text based idea, (like a Literature or Composition class) I would use a Google doc to allow students to work collaboratively on stories or something like that. I think the Google docs are great tools to allow students to learn from each other.

While perusing Derek's blog I noticed a particular post about an HP Touch Screen Computer. The listed uses immediately made my synapses fire and think about how I could twist this to a math bend (I'm getting really good at doing this!). What I came up with is using Geometer's Sketchpad in concert with the touch screen to give the students MORE tactile interaction with it (actually getting to pull the figure around with your fingers, lots more fun than a mouse) as well as making it into a notes/homework repository. The students could (similarly to the Tablet PC) do all their homework on the computer and e-mail it to the teacher so *GASP* its legible! (They can convert it to text and send a copy of the 'hand written' so the teacher knows its their work.)

Reading multiple postings of Tiffany's blog I can really tell how excited she gets about Second Life. Due to my computer's limitations I haven't gotten to play with it very well, but I can think up a couple uses for it. For example, I've heard students constantly whining about 'when are we going to use this?' in relation to math. Imagine if I had a boundless net work of people who could get me individuals around the world who know exactly how different branches of mathematics can be applied to everyday life and work. I could then arrange for them to get on Second Life and meet with me and my students during class time (and maybe outside of class time as an extra credit incentive too) to discuss these things. It would give the students a much broader scope of what could be done with math, and maybe even get some of them interested in doing more with it. (It would also spark an interest in technology, I'm sure.)
Reading through Sarah L's blog and what she mentions about how blogs can be used in the classroom (as well as what she's mentioned in class) have made me think about how I could use blogs in my future classrooms. I think it would be a great place to put up further explanations of the day's lessons as well as linking to scanned notes and other useful sites. It would also be an additional way for students to get in touch with me if they're working on homework and get stuck (sorry, parents aren't always great at helping with math homework). Plus it would be a way to get the students more interested in learning.
I can just see it now, me telling students all the usual things on the first day of school, then adding that I have a blog that will give further insight into the day's lesson, list homework, and that kind of thing. I'm sure they would all just stare at me in shock, not sure if they can believe that an adult could be so cool. :D Okay, I'm pushing it a bit, but I'm sure some students will think its nifty.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sarah D.'s blog about Cell Phones in the classroom made me remember when I was observing and interning in high school math classrooms and the most common excuse for having their cell phone out in class was that they needed the calculator. I always thought it was a kind of tricky way for the kids to try to use their phone in class.
I can see however, that in the future, cell phones, especially ones like the iPhone will be an asset to learning. This does however give the students more chances to cheat on tests (its easier to send other students the answers when they have something like a cell phone available). If a way can be found to limit this availability, then I think cell phones will have a place in the classroom.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I had to chuckle a little when I read Regine's blog about being overwhelmed by all the passwords and sites we're supposed to cover. I tend to agree with her a little. So many passwords are required and of course you don't want to use the same one because if somebody figures it out they can get at everything. When I searched the web through Google for ideas to help remember passwords (as opposed to just writing them down) I came across an article on the Apple page about choosing good passwords and what to do if you just have too many to remember. It talks about encrypting or locking up your passwords to keep them safe, if you don't want to run the risk of forgetting your password or having someone get at that particular account. Good thing to look at for this day and age.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I was very intrigued by Lois' blog about talking to her niece about technology. Seeing the how surprised the younger generations can be by the non-digital natives' use of technology is a little bit surprising. As I read, I was nodding my head to all of the things Lois mentioned her niece did because I do a lot of the same thing. (Often all at once too!) It made me think about the fact that Digital Natives are considered anyone born after 1985 and Digital Immigrants are people born before 1985. So where does that leave poor people like me, who were born IN 1985? There are times when I consider myself a digital native, but there are times when I stare at something technological in complete and utter dismay.
I have often thought about this fact and have decided that the people born in 1985 must be something like a swinging door. We can go into one room that is filled with computers and technology, but we can also go into the room filled with papers and pens and older things. I think my bedroom is kind of like that. I have a desk top, a laptop, webcam, optic mouse, etc. But I also have tons of books and loose paper. I prefer to look on the internet and find my information for papers, but then I'll print it off and use a high lighter on it (this is also easier on my eyes).
I guess I've kind of got the best of both worlds. I know how to multi-task and I can figure out just about any technology, but I can also disconnect and turn off all the technology and just relax. Makes me feel a little better about technically being left out of the digital immigrant/digital native label.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So, we just presented our lesson. It could have gone better. As it is we did pretty good. I hope everyone knows how to make videos based off our presentation. We have the outlines for them, and will be giving them some videos to help them recall how to do this. Its a relief to have it done and only need to do the wikibook entry and grade our assignments.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wow. These past couple weeks I've felt like I was going to overload. Thankfully, my manager is back at work as is another coworker. Thank heavens since the Holiday shopping season is starting to pick up. For those of you who don't remember *cough*DRZ*cough* I work at Barnes and Noble. I have the lovely joy of making tired shoppers their coffee.
Speaking of work, a few weeks ago we went to a program on BNinside called E-planner. Instead of each department's binder full of papers detailing changes and the like, its electronic. So all you have to do is pop over to a terminal, log in, and you have your information for your department right there. Very handy. Especially as certain planners would get left by the hand sink and garbage can and get *STUFF* all over them through out the course of a month (they're monthly planners). I also imagine that this makes it easier to update. Corporate can just go in and update things (like a teacher updates WebCT) and there you are. Less emails. Much easier. Ah, the things technology improves.

(In case anyone was wondering, I MUCH prefer the paper planners. Easier to find what I need)

Monday, November 5, 2007

So, I was looking over my Technology in Education class's current assignment. I noticed that we're supposed to be discussing whether or not our class is a successful digital community. And it made me wonder if THIS class is a successful digital community. Granted we do a lot with technology, but are we really a community? I'd be interested to see what the rest of the class thinks. Especially since I know the other class has a lot more discussion and interaction as part of the class. Digital interaction for EIT is more optional, I think.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An improvement on my last post

Using a blog as a newsletter for far flung friends and relatives. Gotta love the new technologies. (Features more pictures of my niece.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wonderful Technology

Even though e-mail and digital cameras aren't new technology, they still can do wonderful things. :D

These are pictures of my niece Grace RuthAnn Nixt. She was born at 9:15 PM on October 19.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ISTE paper


1. Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:

A. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.

B. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

Using things like youtube and digital video are great for creativity and innovation. I've seen some students come up with great videos made with regular camcorders. I can only imagine what they could do with the newer technology available.

C. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.

D. identify trends and forecast possibilities.

2. Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

A. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.

B. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

C. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.

This is the type of thing I'd like to see used more often in class. Things like Skype are great for this.

D. contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

3. Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

A. plan strategies to guide inquiry.

B. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

C. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

D. process data and report results.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision-Making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

A. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.

B. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

Using some of the newer technologies available to tie research into learning with things like mPower is a great example of this.

C. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

D. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

5. Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:

A. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.

B. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.

C. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.

D. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

Seeing student properly use technologies such as blogs or even groups on facebook and being appropirate about it is a great example of this.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:

A. understand and use technology systems.

B. select and use applications effectively and productively.

C. troubleshoot systems and applications.

Anyone ever have students (or peers) younger than they come and fix a problem or tell you that something went wrong, but they figured it out? This is something I've been able to do myself, and its great when I can repeat the process.

D. transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I've actually enjoyed some discussions about the new technologies available like blogging and podcasting in Technology in Education. Last Thursday (and the one previous) we were discussing articles and the subject of blogging and podcasting came up in some of the discussions. A lot of the class members (especially those who are already educators) seemed very against blogging because of the lack of security in that the net is wide open. Others (myself included) spoke up about security measures, like using initials instead of names and maybe setting the security settings to prohibit certain users from commenting. A lot of people mentioned on the matter of podcasting that if it was available of their classes and there was no attendance grade they would skip class and just listen to the podcast later. I thought this was interesting because, yes, in some classes, there really isn't much difference, BUT in a class like EIT, or TiE, there's a need to be there, to participate in the discussion.
I think that its rather interesting how many people immediately think of technology as being something to make life easier. To have us not needing to do as much work. So, here's a question for consideration, Has all of this advanced technology made us lazy? (Please note, I think the easiest way to answer this question (especially from a math perspective)...look at how many students will use a calculator to add up numbers or figure out percentages.)

Mathgrad Podcasts

The podcast I found was from It has a lot of interesting podcasts on real life applications for mathematics. The first one that I listened to was The Famous Monty Hall Problem. It discussed the statistics of the game "Lets Make a Deal." It was interesting to listen to because it clearly explained a concept that many people have problems grasping. I really think that these podcasts are going to give me some really great ideas for my theme's requirements and how to use the technology. (The page doesn't actually list the episode, but there are several options including ipod and RSS feeds to listen to it.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Connections everywhere

Its amazing how much I can reference either this class directly, or something I found out about because of this class. Today, I ended up discussing a blog post about NCLB which I'd read with a classmate before our Calculus class. I thought it was pretty funny. Also, a lot of what got mentioned in my Technology in Education class could be related to this class. I guess it makes sense.
So much stuff is going on, getting a laptop and learning all the new technology and things that go with it. It was very interesting hearing about everyone's opinions on technology in education and what they would like changed, or at least their experiences with it.
The other day I had another classmate mention that an assignment was to 'disconnect' for a day. The idea is to not use the computer, cell phone, ipods, etc. for a whole day (when it can be avoided). I find it interesting because she mentioned that to get the full effect, she was going to do it on a day when she wasn't usually using computers for class or work. Its to really get a feel for how much we rely on technology. I had a related incident where my fiance noticed a gentleman walking down the street in a state of undress while my fiance was on the bus. No one else noticed it and he commented that they all had cellphones or ipods in use. Too much technology is bad for the observation skills, useful though it may be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I have finally joined the queue in getting a laptop. I am playing around with it, getting familiarized with it and I shall have to get it set up for UNI's wireless tomorrow so I can start using it. Funnily enough, it was Dr. Z's son, Chris, who sold me the laptop. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blog to look at.

I found the Math Mojo Chronicles while searching for blogs related to my theme. My theme is based off technological applications for math and jobs requiring mathematical backgrounds. In short, the application of twenty first century skills in relation to mathematics. The Math Mojo Chronicles discusses mathematics in many aspects, what lead me to it was the blog titled getting kids to love mathematics. Its interesting and I hope it will give me many good ideas for how to integrate technology in mathematics along with links to other information regarding the same.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So, I just read the two blogs 2 c worth and Stager to go. I was very intrigued by the comparison to Starbucks and Education drawn by Stager. This is an incredibly valid point, especially as I look at it. You know why?
I am a Barnes and Noble Cafe barista. Barnes and Noble Cafes proudly serve...Starbucks coffee. I experience all these things that were being talked about in that blog. Certain things have changed to improve speed of service and to increase the number of dollars pulled in each day. As a Mathematics Education major I can also see how changing things to work around things such as NCLB have compromised the (if you will) espresso creation and barista/customer rapport of schools that is education and teacher/student relationship. By being forced to teach to the test teachers are loosing some of that valuable bonding and might as well be robots or digital images on a computer screen.
2 Cents worth was interesting in that I've seen how many people will spout things as facts and when I ask them where they heard it, the answer often is 'The Internet'. I despair of the future if everything is just googled and then stated, not researched, not looked at carefully to see if the information or informer is a valid source. We were always told in school when we began to use the internet to look for certain things to make sure the source is valid. I hope they continue to do so, because in the future, yes our children will have been using computers for most of their lives, but they will not inherently know how to check for valid sources.
As an educator these two blogs really hit home. Its not often I go on such things resembling tirades. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So, I was watching the PPT Presentation by Bebell, and I couldn't help but keep thinking, "this would be really useful for my other technology class." The one to one ratio vs shared laptops is a great way to illustrate how learning with technology has improved since computers first came into the classroom. Its great to see how students do better when they get to use their own computers and are more likely to spend time on the computer for school work than other things if they have their own. Its an amazing thing to see.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Issues with having a computer that is 'just enough'

So, I have previously downloaded Second Life onto my computer, but due to the basic graphics card I have on it, I've not been able to get it to run well. The images don't show up well and its very slow to run. Not quite sure what to do about it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Star Trekkin

Talking about digital natives and digital immigrants reminds me of one of the Star Trek movie (I think its the fourth one) with the whales where the crew of the Enterprise go back in time to get a pair of humpback whales. Its the scene where they're trying to get the plastic for the tank and Scotty starts talking to the computer and the guy hands him the mouse, so he starts talking into it. Here's the quote from :
[faced with a 20th century computer]
Scotty: Computer. Computer?
[Bones hands him a mouse and he speaks into it]
Scotty: Hello, computer.
Dr. Nichols: Just use the keyboard.
Scotty: Keyboard. How quaint.
I think its an amusing commentary on how sometimes technology gets too advanced like the kid who doesn't know how to dial a rotary phone. And mind you, this movie was put into theaters in 1986. A year after I was born. It still applies today.


I found this article on robots this afternoon. Its rather interesting how in the past robots were portrayed in science fiction as being humanoid or at least mimicking living organisms. There was Data from Star Trek, C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars (among others), not to mention Transformers, K9 from Doctor Who (there's that reference again), Johnny 5 from Short Circuit and many others that featured in various programs and movies. But now we see robots in forms such as large arms or other parts of the body that are used in factories to mass produce products as well as the robots constructed for deep sea and space explorations. There are even robot toys like robopup and robokitty. Not to mention the cleaning robots that are being marketed now. Many people thought robots that were self directing would never exist. Maybe we won't have robots like Data (more appropriately named androids), but who knows? Technology will never cease to astound me.

Doctor Who?

I have found it rather odd how over half the time, either when reading for class or having a discussion in class, I've been able to find a connection to that wonderful show, Doctor Who. When searching for emerging technology, I pondered whether or not the sonic screwdriver would ever come to be. And then, in the second week's discussion about how to share information, I was reminded of the episode "The Long Game." It has an interesting way to share news and information. For those of you who are not fans of the Doctor, I apologize. I fear I may have many more mentions of him in the future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Starting Up

Getting into the groove of having to blog for class. A little strange. Something I should have anticipated. I know how much Dr. Z likes these things.

Second week of class going pretty good. Emerging Instructional Technology is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Not too bad of a way to spend three hours on a Tuesday night. I need to make sure I don't get too stream of consciousness-y on here. Well...maybe.