Stop Animation Reflection

The tool that we promoted in our stop animation commercial is called “Nanny.” Like the name would suggest, Nanny is a program that can help watch over you and make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Nanny allows you to set up your own parameters on blocking yourself out of websites for a specified amount of time. This can be an extremely useful tool for those who find themselves spending way too much time on social media sites, or those who get easily distracted by wanting to play a computer game rather than finish their paper. I would definitely use Nanny when I know I am going to need to focus to get something done. I think it can be an extremely useful and practical tool for middle school, high school, and college students. Nanny would be a great tool for teachers to recommend to students and suggest to parents. Here is a picture of what comes up when you try to go to a website that has been blocked by Nanny: 

 

Many of the tools that other students in the class presented were also really interesting and things that I could see myself using. Pinterest is an app that I have already been using for several months now, and it such a great tool in generating ideas and finding resources. The possibilities on Pinterest are almost endless! Edmodo is something I haven’t used yet, but I have used a similar site called Moodle. These kinds of interactive class websites are definitely becoming more and more popular in the classroom. I think they are great because they imitate social media sites that students are using daily. Tools like Words with Friends and Jellynote may not be used as frequently in the classroom, but I think they would be great for certain lessons or areas of emphasis. Tools like these make learning more exciting and engaging, something that all students deserve. 

Making this stop animation video was a lot of fun! It definitely gave me a new appreciation for these kinds of videos and the people that spend countless hours making them – the final product takes much more work than it seems! We used almost 400 pictures which was way more than we originally thought we would use. Taking the pictures required lots of time and patience in figuring out how to get what we wanted. Stop animation is neat because it uses series of pictures to create the effect of a video. I think this is cool because it allows you to show change over time in a unique way. If I could do our video over again I would probably add more voice-over or even text-over to help explain what was happening in the video and the different features of the Nanny app. 

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Augmented Reality Reflection

As I learned in the horizon report, technology is increasingly becoming a part of schools and education. This mean teachers are learning about new things and discovering new ways to implement technologies into their classrooms. With this also comes the idea of augmented reality, which according to Ronald Azuma is “an environment that includes both virtual reality and real-world elements.” Basically it is bringing digital information to actual experiences, content, etc. Up until recently I had never actually heard the term ‘augmented reality,’ but looking back I can remember several instances where either myself or others around me have taken part in the usage of some type of augmented reality. For example, at the middle school where I am doing my teaching practicum, one of the teachers did a game using QR codes. Students had to scan the QR code in order for a question to pop up that they would then answer based on content already learned. It was a really cool way for students to be interactive and engaged! 

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One of the articles we read and the main thing that Jim discussed in his talk was ARIS (Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling). Jim made it obvious that the reason he really likes ARIS is because it is place-based, allowing the students to learn about content while actually moving around and/or locating themselves in the places where what they are learning about took place. I agree that this is a really cool way to better engage students and help them to better understand the content. I know I would prefer doing something like that way more than just listening to a lecture in a classroom, and I would definitely learn a lot more from participating in an activity where I got to go out into the real world. ARIS provides a neat opportunity for students to receive information while also critically thinking and figuring things out on their own. 

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I love the idea of augmented reality, but I am a little concerned as to how realistic it will be to actually be able to implement it in my future classroom. Since using it as an educational tool is still pretty new, I would probably have to create my own games/activities which makes me a little worried and overwhelmed. I know it can be done though, and I would certainly love to try. There also does seem to be several augmented reality apps that focus on directions or locating certain features of the area around you (including Wikitude and Acrossair). I’m sure there could be different ways to implement these kinds of apps into the classroom. Overall, I am intrigued by the idea of augmented reality and would love to explore it further to find out more about the different ways it can be used in the classroom. 

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Reflection: Visual Literacy/Arts in Education

One of the main takeaways I took from these articles/videos is that arts and visual literacy should be taught in school not as a separate subject but as an integrated part of the normal core subjects. In the 21st century, students need to learn how to use the right-side part of their brain just as much as the left-side. With the emergence of cameras, television, computers, etc. has also come the emergence of all different kinds of literacies, and it is important the students have the chance to grasp all of these literacies while at school. When using the arts in normal subjects, students are not only learning the content they need to learn but also other crucial skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. Integrating the arts allows students to approach content from a different perspective, and ultimately think about the content in a more meaningful and expressive way.

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I never went to an “arts integration” school or one that specifically focused on using the arts in education, but I definitely have had some experiences where teachers did use arts or arts-based assignments and projects to help teach the content. In my U.S. History class in high school, the teacher assigned a group project in which we had to discuss the culture of a certain decade (mine was the 1970s) through creating video clips, posters, powerpoints, and whatever else we wanted to symbolize the decade. One of the main requirements for the project was that we had to decorate the classroom with items representing our decade. This project took a lot of time and was a lot of work, but I remember feeling so accomplished and proud of our work, and I definitely remember so much of that content. If we had just learned about the culture of the 1970s through taking notes off a powerpoint, I would never have learned and retained as much as I did by completing this project.

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“Our wall for the 1970s decade project”

The photo blog is not necessarily challenging for me, but instead of thinking about what pictures I could be using while I am writing, I tend to write my whole reflection and then go back and see what pictures I could get to fit with what I wrote about. In the end I feel like this doesn’t really help me to learn the material better or think about what I am saying more because I am just adding pictures at the end. However, going back and looking at my reflections, I do really like having the pictures there. It helps me to remember the big concepts and have a better idea of the main points I was trying to make. Using “visual literacy” does not come across as naturally for me as it may for others. As an educator, I hope I can help all students realize the benefit of applying visual literacy on an every day basis. 

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“2013 K-12 Horizon Report” Reflection

This report examined the different facets of technology that are likely to have a big impact on K-12 education over the next 5 years. I thought it was extremely interesting and helpful to read this report, because it is obvious how much classrooms are already changing as a result of technology, and the change is bound to continue at an increasing rate. As the report mentions several times, the world in which our students are living is changing, so our approach to educating them needs to change as well. Technology provides so many different ways to do that, especially in that it makes things more open and accessible, and gives more opportunities for student choice and freedom. As a future middle school teacher, I hope that I keep my classroom open to all the possibilities provided by technology; I want my students to be able to learn in the best ways possible. 

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I definitely agree with all the trends discussed in this report. One that I have recently seen an example of is the trend that “as the cost of technology drops and school districts revise and open up their access policies, it is becoming more common for students to bring their own mobile devices.” The report mentions BYOD programs, or Bring Your Own Device, in which students are encouraged to bring their own device to school. The middle school that I am doing my teaching practicum at – Oconee County Middle School – just became a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) school this year. Students are allowed to have their phones, laptops, and other devices with them while at school. The use of the devices is still restricted to certain times, but many students bring different kinds of technologies with them to school every day, especially cell phones. This is completely different from when I was in grade school. I also strongly agree with the trend that “social media is changing the way people interact, presents ideas and information, and communicate.” I see evidence of this everyday in my observations of and conversations with family, friends, students, or educators. Social media is changing the way our world functions. 

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The challenges listed in the report are certainly evident, and they are problems that I am sure educators will be dealing with for awhile to come. I hope that these challenges are recognized on a more general level, and addressed by both schools and educators. Most of the challenges that the report discussed either had to do with teacher access to tools/skills or teacher willingness and openness to more non-traditional forms of schooling. I think the access to tools and resources will be a bigger challenge for me than having an open mind about how to educate. I would love to work in a school district in which professional development is highly valued so that I can always be learning about new technologies and about how to effectively implement them into my classroom. The report also mentions how there remains a gap between the vision and the actual tools for things such as differentiated instruction. I hope that I am able to find the resources and skills needed to fill that gap and provide my students with what they need. 

Video Reflection: “Digital Media – New Learners of the 21st Century”

http://video.pbs.org/video/1797357384/

1) Which project do you like the most or which project is the most impressive?  Why?

I really liked the project where the students walked around downtown Middleton learning about its history. I want to teach history, so this project especially stuck out to me. I would love to use this project in my future classroom. I would have enjoyed this project when I was in school because you are getting to learn about your own town and can therefore relate it to your own life. The use of the GPS is a really smart way to get the kids using Imagemedia while still being active. I also thought it was really cool how the students researched an actual issue in the town (parking space) and even talked to the city planner about it. This kind of learning is real and authentic. Not only were the students learning about the history of Middleton, but they were also learning about how the town functions now.

2) Do you think you need to sharpen your digital medial skills?  What are some challenges for you to use the digital media in your own learning/ teaching? 

I know that I have lots of room to learn more about digital media. I am not an expert with any sort of media, and the tools/resources are constantly changing so I know I am not up to date with latest trend. In my mind, I often still relate digital media only with fun and entertainment, and not with schools or learning. The problem here is that learning should be fun and entertaining! That is exactly why digital media can be such a beneficial resource in the classroom. I do think, though, that digital media should only be used at certain times and in certain ways. It is not always the appropriate tool to be using. This certainly presents a challenge in knowing when and in what ways to use digital media in order to most benefit your students. There also comes the question of how much media your students have access to, and this also can present challenges.

3) Do these projects remind you of some ideas you learned from your reading (meaningful learning with technology chapter 1)?  What are the ideas?  How did you see the connections?

One connection I made between the video and the reading involves the depth to which technology can be used in the classroom. The reading talked about learning with technology, an idea that the video definitely displays in multiple different ways. All of the projects involved students working with technology and digital media to accomplish a larger goal. While they were using the technology, they were learning all other kinds of content and skills. The projects also showed a wide variety of the different kinds of technologies that can be used. This reminded me that our definition of technology needs to be wide-ranging and flexible.  All of the projects also emphasized critical thinking and problem solving, which is an idea that the reading discussed as being extremely important when using technology.

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4) How do social networking sites or virtual communities broaden and/or otherwise change your students’ sense of community, and/or interaction with others? How do students communicate differently using technology than they might in person? What benefits do these digital tools offer, and what challenges might they present?

Social networking sites can allow students to interact with communities and people from anywhere in the world. These sites make students’ sense of community much larger and broader than they could have ever imagined without the use of the Internet or phones. Sometimes students may be more willing to talk or interact over technology because they are not actually seeing the person in real life. Over texting or e-mail, students have as much time as they want to think about their response and exactly what they want to say. In a classroom, this is really cool to help students open their eyes to the world and get a bigger picture of the realities around them. Students can learn about and “experience” another place without actually having to go there.

5) Did you have similar experiences or did you know any teachers/ schools doing similar things?  Describe your experiences or the teachers/ schools you know.  If you don’t, try to think about one think about one digital media project that you want to do with K-12 students or your friends.

Throughout my time in school, I have never done any projects that were this heavily based on using technology. I have used technology here and there for different things, but never as a basis for an entire project. Most of my experience with using technology for school has simply been the use of my computer to research information or maybe to make a video.

One digital media project that I have learned a little bit about in one my education classes and that I would love to do either with friends or in a classroom is digital storytelling. With digital storytelling, students can make or transfer pictures, and then record their voice reading a story that they have written. This would be such a fun way for students to practice writing, but also to make it come alive. 

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Shani, who participates in Chicago’s Digital Youth Network, claims that this experience has offered her “a voice,” while her peer Malcolm claims it helps him “stay out of trouble.” Can you identify other possible benefits this kind of afterschool programming might have for children?  How will the influences in after-school programs impact formal learning at school?

One of the obvious benefits for all students participating in this after school program is that they are learning how to use digital media that they may have otherwise never gotten the chance to learn how to use. Additionally, some of the students may know how to use the media but simply do not have access to it at home. This after school program provides a safe place where children can have access to the resources they need to pursue something they are interested in. Another benefit is that it brings children together. Working with digital media is fun and engaging, so students enjoy sharing their work and getting others involved with what they are doing. 

When learning how to use these digital medias, students are also learning lessons about problem solving and critical thinking. They are becoming better learners in general, so this will automatically be reflected in their normal schooling. 

“Meaningful Learning with Technology” – Chapter 1

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     The big takeaway that I took from this chapter is that students in the classroom should be learning with technology, not just from it. In other words, technology should not just be something that takes the place of a teacher in relaying information, but rather an additional tool that students use for learning in the classroom. In the chapter, they word it like this –  “If schools are to foster meaningful learning, then the ways that technologies are used in schools must change from technology-as-teacher to technology-as-partner in the learning process”(7). In some ways this idea seems really obvious, but I admit that I had never thought about it like this before. When thinking about using technology in the classroom, I generally thought about it as another way to present ideas or concepts to students. This chapter really opened my eyes to the much larger purpose and depth of technology.  I also often forget that technology is more than computers, phones, or other hardware. Technology can be anything that engages students in learning.

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        The discussion of the different organizations that have worked to develop guidelines for meaningful learning with technology was very interesting. I was surprised by the extensiveness and detail of the standards created by these organizations just because I never knew that anything like that existed! A common standard mentioned by all of them was critical thinking and problem solving skills. I think these skills are especially important in the classroom, because all other types of learning can better take place if students are constantly working towards mastering the skills of critical thinking and problem solving.  

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Learning Experiences Reflection

     When I hear the word “learn,” I immediately think of school. Learning, however, has taken place in many contexts over the course of my life – not just in school. Learning has occurred (and continues to occur) at my house, at church, at public places, the list could go on. My learning not only can be described by the places it has occurred but in the manner it has happened, including interactions with objects around me, discussions with people, and observation of my surroundings. Learning is a constant process, and I never stop learning.  

       Growing up, I learned the “basic skills of life” from my family. I have two very loving parents as well as two older sisters and a younger brother. Obviously, my parents have taught me much about what I know and what I believe. I have also learned a lot just from interacting with my family on a daily basis.

My Family 

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      I began going to school when I was 5 years old, and went to public schools all through grade school. Overall, I had a positive experience in school. I do not have any horror stories about hating school or my experiences there. For the most part, I enjoyed school. One experience that sticks out in my mind is when I took AP Biology in high school. Our teacher, Ms. Harrell, was not afraid to challenge us and force us to work outside what we thought we were capable of. At first, the whole class hated her and thought she was unfair. By the end of the semester, though, we realized how much we had actually learned in the class and how proud we were of everything we had accomplished. We knew our learning was meaningful and important, not just for the academics but for life. 

…..With Ms. Harrell

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      At school, I certainly learned academic knowledge, but also social skills. Constantly being around other people your age allows you to pick up on social cues and the “appropriate” way to act. So, my peers helped me learn in addition to my family and teachers.

       Since I started college, I think I have been more open to learn and more aware of my learning. This is because I have had more time to research and invest in my own interests. I can learn more about the things I love or am passionate about. Not only have I had more freedom in what I am learning, but also in how I am learning. Technology has definitely had a huge impact on this change in learning because it makes it more accessible and individualized. With technology now, I can look up whatever information I want and read about it, listen to audio about it, or even watch videos about it – mainly through my computer and my phone. I can have access to this information basically anywhere I want and anytime I want.

       The role of technology in my learning has definitely increased since I have been in college. I use my computer in a majority of my classes, and all of my teachers use online resources to communicate with us in one way or another. Since I use technology so much in my normal everyday life, it makes sense that I would use it in my learning opportunities as well. However, I still think ‘traditional’ learning with no technology is also very important. Learning is all about using different types of resources and perspectives. There is not a single “right way” to learn. Learning happens across all different contexts, spaces, and places. 

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