Ashley Macejka's ISTC 501 Site

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iKids and Web 2.0 July 14, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 8:47 pm

When I first heard the term “Web 2.0 Tool” in class 3 days ago, my first response was “What the heck is Web 2.0?”  After having the term explained and looking up some examples I can honestly say that I am a Web 2.0 Tools addict!  Not a day goes by where I am not using them for some reason or another.  I use them on my laptop and my phone.  Some of the ones that I use most frequently: blogger, twitter, twitdroyd, youtube, pandora, goggles, facebook, waze, layar, gotv, yumondo, signalmap, googlemaps, delicious, familyfeud, prezi, etc.  In many ways, these technologies have made my life a little more efficient.  One of the biggest ways that they have accomplished this is through various social networking tools like facebook and twitter.  My family and most of my friends live out of state so it can be a real challenge to keep in touch as much as I would like to.  Social networking tools make this a lot easier.  I may not have a half hour to talk to my sister on the phone, but I can quickly pop by her facebook page and see what she’s up to or leave her a message.

Of course, there is also a down side to these tools.  They can be very distracting.  More than once I have found myself wasting away the minutes (or hours…eek!) on facebook when I was supposed to be doing school work.  But I say the good far outweighs the not-quite-so-good!

I intend to use technology and particularly Web 2.0 technologies as often as I can think of uses for them.  Too often teachers expect their students to meet them in terms of instruction but that is largely ineffective.  In order for students to get the most out of school, they need to feel challenged and motivated.  The best way to do this is to use things that they enjoy and are familiar with.  When I was in elementary/middle school, television was the big “educational frontier” in the classroom so teachers tried to find ways to integrate videos into their lessons whenever possible because they knew that it would be of interest to us.  When I was in high school, computers were still pretty new in the classroom setting (there was no Wikipedia, Facebook, or even Google) so many teachers tried to find ways to use this new medium.  I knew that I enjoyed the use of these things when I was in school, so why wouldn’t I do the same thing for my students?

I liked the DyKnow Vision idea discussed in “Connecting to the 21st-Century Student,” but I know that there are many more ways to utilize Web 2.0 technologies as well.  I know that I will use YouTube, Wikipedia,blogs, and Prezi often but I also am loving some of the new technologies I have been introduced to such as animoto, glogster, bubble.us, and Xtranormal to name a few.

I cannot even begin to imagine where technology will be in 5-10 years from now but I know that it will be incredible.  I imagine that most schools will be equipped with individual laptops for every student, SmartBoards in every classroom, and a much more global perspective on education.  Students will have the capabilities to research and complete school assignments in a way that they never have before.  In a history class, students will be able to take a real-time virtual tour through the city of Rome rather than just looking at some pictures or reading about it in some book. In a biology class, students can will be able to watch a real life surgery and talk with the doctors or nurses as (or after) they do the surgery.  In an English class, students will be able to read textbooks via hand-held devices that allow them to highlight important passages or instantly look up vocabulary words.  The possibilities are endless and they won’t be disappointing!

I imagine that in 5-10 years from now I will be trying my best to do the same thing I am trying to do now which is utilizing EVERY resource that is available to me.  Chances are good that it will take me a lot longer to learn these technologies than it will my students 😀

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Ashley’s Learning Theory Assignment: Differentiation

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 6:45 pm

Web 2.0 Technologies Used: Glogster, Animoto

 

My Technology Integration Beliefs and Experiences July 13, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 10:05 pm

I might be showing my age here, or perhaps just the fact that my school was pretty under-equipped, but I did not have much experience with technology in the classroom prior to college.  The first time that I can remember technology being a part of my education was in Mr. Corn’s US History courses in 9th and 10th grades.  Although he did not have the equipment available in the classroom, he was constantly trying to find way to get us to use technology through projects and assignments.  I remember one assignment where we had to make group videos that dealt with the Salem Witch Trials.  Since video cameras were unavailable through the school, he made sure to assign groups in such a way that someone in each group had access to a camcorder.  It was really exciting to be able to put a presentation together in such a fresh, new way and it allowed us the freedom to do things that we would not have been able to do with an in class presentation. (For the record, our video was a sort of recreation of the “Burn the Witch” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail using Legos!)

Obviously, technology in the classroom has come a long way since then.  Nearly every classroom in America is equipped with a computer, overhead projector, and a television at the very least.  In college, I was able to experience technology integrated with classroom instruction in a way that I had not before and the experiences have been largely positive.  I have had English (writing) classes where we were able to post our stories and writings on online discussion boards allowing us to give and receive instant feedback from fellow classmates.  I have had International Relations classes where we were found epals from foreign countries that we corresponded with on a daily basis to help us gain global perspectives on national and world issues and current events.  I have had math classes where teachers used SmartBoards to help teach algebraic equations making it easier for students to see (and frankly, more interesting to watch).

The only negative experience that I can think of in regards to technology would be the use… and mostly abuse… of PowerPoints.  I think that often times, teachers can use PowerPoint as a crutch in regards to lectures when they spend the duration of the lesson simply reading directly off of the presentations.  When teachers do this, not only is it boring for students but it also forces the lesson to follow a predetermined course of instruction and deters students from asking questions.

By and large, I think that the use of technology in the classroom has been incredibly productive and is likely to grow even more so.  The world is advancing technologically and so are our students… it stands to reason that we should advance right along with them.

 

Prezi Presentation by Sara and Ashley

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 3:05 pm
 

My Technobiography

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 12:38 am

I remember when I was a kid and the internet first started becoming available for the “Average American Family.”  I was one of the first student’s in my class to have the internet in my house as my dad needed it for work.  It is amazing to me today to see how far technology has come in the last 20 years: Cell phones went from being a foot long to fitting in the palm of your hand; TV’s are flat enough to hang on your wall and no longer require antennas or 5lb remote controls to work properly; school assignments have moved from being handwritten perfectly and precisely to being types with the help of spell check and word counts; and nearly everyone has access to a computer.

It has been both terrifying and exciting to witness these changes and try desperately to keep up.  It seems as though every time I finally learn a new software or technology, it changes and I am forced to learn something new.  I suppose you could say that I have a psychological aversion to change with these new technologies at first, but then I experience them and I can’t imagine life without them.  I’ve gone from a kid who sat down to a computer 2 days a month when it was my turn to play my “Fun House” game on a floppy disk to using satellite radio, e-mail and Facebook, DVR, my Droid phone, MMORPG’s and more on a daily basis.

I am curious to see how different my technobiography will be in another 20 years from now, but I imagine that I will be just as amazed by all the changes then as I am now.

 

Instructional Technology Defined July 12, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 11:57 pm

Instructional technology is the use of various resources (usually electronic) to help people learn.  Instructional technology is not just limited to the use of computers or to students in a classroom.  Businesses often use instructional technology as well, as I experienced firsthand when I was a travel agent.  A lot of my profession revolved around the use of the internet to book client trips and research prices and destinations.  I also had to use a variation of technologies to keep up with the changing market and was responsible for helping others learn to use these new technologies and software programs as well.

Clark said, “Media are merely vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition.”  It seems to me that Clark is suggesting that what really matters in education is the teacher and what they decide to teach rather than how they choose to teach it.  While I agree that these facets are important, I hesitate to say that the “what” is more important than the “how.”  When we consider education’s movement towards differentiation, the “how” is paramount in helping students successfully learn content in a way that works for them.  Media is an important tool in the “how” aspect as it encompasses so many different learning styles be it auditory, visual, or hands on.

But that’s just my opinion 😀