Friday, February 22, 2013

Chapter 6: Teaching with Educational Websites and Online Resources

Focus Question: What is information management and digital content?
Photo credit to Mayda Sanchez-Shingler on Flickr
Information management is the process of organizing, storing, and administering academic materials and curriculum resources. This includes bookmarking websites, file management and organization, and creating personal school websites. Digital content is academic information that is delivered using Internet technologies. This includes every type of media that is accessed using the Internet.

Tech Tool: Diigo 
Photo Credit to Carla Arena on Flickr
Diigo is an effective tool for saving and storing anything that is found on the Internet. As someone who prefers saving to files and file organization Diigo is a nice tool to utilize for quickly bookmarking and highlighting websites. The tutorial is short to learn the basics of Diigo but there are add-ons as well that can be used for the more advanced Diigo-er. Drawbacks to Diigo and other website file organizers are having to access the website for saved files and folders and the fact that anyone can access those saved files and folders if they are using your computer or laptop. I prefer to have a minimal amount of websites open at any given time and anything that I save to have an element of privacy. Diigo seems as though it could offer quite a bit, downloading add-ons and possibly upgrading to premium might help, but website organization is not how I prefer to save information, images, and movies found on the Internet. I like my pictures of cats in the cat file and my movies of....movies in the movies file.

Summary and Connection: 
Chapter 6 of Transforming Learning with New Technologies was a breath of fresh air after reading the drivel that was chapter 5. The chapter offered a great deal of useful information (e.g. how important Internet organization is and will be for a future educator), a wide variety of websites to discover (e.g.,, and student-to-expert communication websites) and explained just how useful social-bookmarking and teacher websites can be for the parents and students. Chapter 6 also had a great line that really explains the joy of teaching, "gaining new knowledge and communicating it to others". "Teaching with Educational Websites and Other Online Resources" was a very informative chapter and something that I was hoping most chapters would be similar to; educational information and how it can be utilized using technology. 

 Food For Blog:
  •  In 2002 five exabytes of information, which is equivalent to 37,000 libraries the size of the Library of Congress, was added to the Internet 
  •  Annually each individual in North America consumes 11,916 sheets of paper.
Seems to me that paper could be superfluous at this point but for some reason is still in use. At what point will we realized paper is better utilized in trees and information is better accessible in digital format. Can someone please inform the text book industry?

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chapter 5: Researching and Evaluating Internet Information

Focus Question: What pieces of information do students need to know about internet searching?
Photo Credit to on Flickr
There are many reliable search engines available but none so efficient as Google, or as useless as Bing. Google uses a system of ranking web pages by keywords, popularity, and cross-listing with other sites. Search resources can specifically provide age-appropriate information and valuable scholarly information for students of any grade level. Being able to evaluate web pages for authenticity or bias is also a very important responsibility that students need to be aware of.

Searching the internet involves three search strategies:
  1. Free Text
  2. Keyword/Exact Match
  3. Boolean (and/or/not)

Tech Tool: Librivox
Librivox is a website that offers thousands of free audio books read by volunteers across the world and podcasts that review and discuss book, poetry, and music. Being as the audio books are free and the readers are volunteers, which often means the quality is less than professional, there is really nothing to complain about. I have used this website in the past and have been able to download Russian Classics to help me fall asleep at night and been able to download children's books and fables for my little ones. Unfortunately, if you are searching for a specific author the name needs to be spelled correctly, which is difficult with Russian names, or else there will be no results. Browsing the catalog is fun and discovering that hard to find book is rewarding but the catalog is expansive so the search might take some time. Librivox is a good website that offers free audio books but there is room for improvement and I would assume more funding is probably needed.

Summary and Connection
Chapter 5 of Transforming Learning With New Technologies was comparably less interesting than the other four chapters of the text book. The information on how to properly search the Internet is very important and plagiarism is a very serious issue in schools today, both topics covered in the text, but most of the information was already known and the authors seemed they were just getting this information out of the way. Wikipedia is a great website for information and resources but college students must already know to take it's information with a grain of salt and to not use for research purposes. The chapter did have some useful information, specifically there lists of search engines/data bases and search resources for children but all in all the chapter seemed a little lacking.


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chapter 4: Integrating Technology and Creating Change

Focus Question: How can teachers use technology they already  have to promote successful learning?

Photo Credit to Eurleif on Flickr

Teachers must be prepared to utilize the technology they already have in their classroom. Whether those classrooms are up-to-date and the teacher and students have the ability to use high-speed WiFi on their personal, touch screen tablets or out-dated computers with pre-programmed, out-dated software all technologies should be used to its fullest abilities. Smart boards are very impressive but even a single computer connected to a digital projector can be beneficial to holding a student's attention. Personal computers with powerful processors and intense graphics are incredible but watching a short documentary on an old tube television and VCR then creating a group activity revoloved around the program that was watched could be just as engaging.

Tech Tool: Edutopia
Simply put, I was hugely impressed with Edutopia. The amount of extremely useful resources that are made available were staggering. The video An Introduction to a Project-Based learning was inspiring and intriguing and the the video Collaborative Learning Builds Deeper Understanding showed the many benefits to group work. The message board on teaching Social Studies was right up my alley and very interesting to read.  Just being able to watch extremely talented teachers do what they do best was great fun to watch. Edutopia was a wonderful website to visit with endless information and ideas on teaching and somewhere I could see myself visiting very often.

Summary and Connection:
Chapter Four of Transforming Learning With New Technologies by Maloy, R.W., Verock-­‐O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P had great information on how teachers can integrate technology into the classroom and their professional career. "Teacher Mindset" was an interesting subject that states how instructors must understand how technology can enable students to find success in the classroom and how technology should be seen as an essential tool to enhance the curriculum but not be totally controlled by it. Technology should been seen as seasoning to enhance the flavor of the lesson plan not as the main course. The text book asks, "What can teachers and students do with technology that can not be done with out it", and I believe our teaching method when partnered with technology should reflect this question. The text book has great information how technology can be utilized in the classroom to best present academic material and create interactive learning but also how technology can be used to complete administrative tasks (e.g. email, networking, grade and attendance record keeping).

How Technology Can Enhance a Student's Learning Experience 
  1. Amplify the learner's thinking and transcend the limitations of the mind.
  2. Engage and facilitate cognitive processing
  3. Serve as critical thinking devices
  4. Act as intellectual partners
  5. Engage learners in representing, manipulating, and reflecting on what they know, not reproducing what someone tells them.

Food For Blog: Students who do not have the same level of access to computers and high-speed internet as their peers in school will often times participate in class far less and fall far behind in terms of skills and competencies with technology. A chilling fact that will no doubt increase the gap between successful students who have the privilege of having permanent access to the latest advances in technology and those who do not and suffer academically for it.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chapter 3: Developing Lessons with Technology

Photo credit to Shannan Muskopf on Flickr
Focus Question: How can teachers evaluate and assess their students? For the majority of teachers, tests, quizzes, work sheets, and writing assignments are used to assess the performance of their students. In terms of tests there are norm-referenced tests, which compare a students performance to other students of the same demographic and criterion-referenced tests, which compare a student's performance to a set of specific objectives or standards. Within these parameters there are also standard-based assessments that measures a student's performance in terms of national, state, or local standards, almost always from standardized testing, and instructionally supportive assessment that involves the use of multiple forms of evaluation data, participation, timeliness of finished assignments, portfolios, and rubric completion and adherence to enable a teacher assess the progress of the students.

Tech Tool:
I have always been an advocate to end the unfair and biased use of standardized tests that are used throughout the country. FairTest is an advocacy group that works to do just that: "...end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial." The website is an unbelievable source for information on the disadvantages of using standardized tests and how harmful they could be to measure a students development and a teacher's assessment . The website explains just how to fight standardized tests and great information on why standardized tests are wrong and ineffective. The website offers many articles and newsletters that reference countless amounts of evidence that prove the abuses of using standardized tests to determine a student's progress a teacher's evaluation. FairTest states their mission perfectly, "We place special emphasis on eliminating the racial, class, gender, and cultural barriers to equal opportunity posed by standardized tests, and preventing their damage to the quality of education."

Summary and Connection:
Chapter three of Transforming Learning With New Technologies by Maloy, R.W., Verock-­‐O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P was nice break from the overload of information that the first two chapters provided. The chapter clearly stated what a lesson development was and what exactly goes in to creating a lesson plan. The chapter explained the many methods uses to evaluate a student's progress and development and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. the chapter was easy to read and straight to the point. I was pleased that the text appeared to sided with the belief that standardized tests were harmful if not at least ineffective. One statement the chapter made that stuck with me was that "teachers will teach how they were taught". It was interesting to think about how I can personally break away from the lecture dominated lessons I was taught with and bring more discussion and creative thinking into my teaching technique.

Food For Blog: