Monday, April 18, 2011

Journal #9-Teaching Green (NETS-T III, V)

Waters, J.K. (2011, April). Teaching Green. THE Journal, 38(4), 13-14.

This article is all about "Teaching Green", which basically means being green about learning about how to be green. Got it? Ever see one of those messages within a signature in an e-mail saying, "Think green, think before your print"? It helps. That's at work, and I'm an adult, so what it on the internet to help children grasp the understanding of "thinking green"? Teaching green, that's how.

Classroom Earth, A Walk in the Woods, EEK, The Ecological Footprint Quiz, Power Up, and the US EPA Teaching Center are just two of many on-line resources that help teachers teach kids how to "be green".

While Classroom Earth sounds interesting and helpful with it's "How to Teach about the Environment" page, what sounds like more fun to me (even as an adult), is A Walk in the Woods. A Walk in the Woods provides a nature experience for children who navigate through this page who may not have the option to actually walk through the woods. I'm talking about those children who live in busy cities who only experience foliage and agriculture through the Gardening Section at Home Deopt. The site can be listened to in both English and Spanish and can be made personal by providing a sort of "scrapbook" of what they encountered during their trip. So cool!

I've heard of The Ecological Footprints Quiz, but never took it. This article prompted me to do so. My Personal Footprint. Now, I'm not that proud of my footprint, but I'm doing better than most in our area. This is a great tool for teachers to use inside the classroom, to get children to realize that they do make a difference when they recycle, eat organically, turn off the electricity when they leave a room, etc. The biggest thing our children, and really our country, needs is for them to be present and aware of how they can effect the world.

Last, but not least, PowerUp is a game that shows children what the furture could be like if pollution overtakes the world. My only concern about this game is exactly that, it's a game. While a child may go to The Ecological Footprints Quiz and then PowerUp immediately after, the effect of the Quiz was just overpowered by how much fun PowerUp is and could be. This isn't a game, this is our world, and while we may be able to enjoy it now, our future generations may actually end up "playing". Dum dum duuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmm!


1. What is one way a teacher of yours promoted "Being Green"?
I remember being in 4th grade, I believe, and my teaching talking to us about "Recycle, Reduce, Reuse" and asking us to recycle throughout the year. It's crazy how things become a habit and I wasn't even conscious of the fact that I was recycling that whole year in 4th grade. Children adapt.

2. Do teachers really need to use technology to teach about the eco-system?
Need? No. Should? Yes. Before you know it, children are going to surpass our understanding of technology. If we don't keep up, the children are going to become bored. It's not necessary to use technology, in a sense, but then again it is.

Journal #8-Looking Forward: The Role of Technology in Tomorrow's Schools (NETS-T III)

Niederhauser, Dale. (2010). Looking forward the role of technology in tomorrow. Learning and Leading, 35, 28-29.

So, apparently, there is an actual method in which people decide what are the most promising and interesting forms of technology to use in the classroom. This method is called the Delphi method. This method is a series of questionnaires based on the results of the previous questionnaires, and it only stops upon definite concensus. This methos has been known to "predict the future". The "Horizon Report" uses a modified Delphi method which helps them to report on the most promising gadgets to use in higher education.

While many gadgets we use today have more than likely been on the "Horizon Report", the ones that are there at this point in time sounds quite impressive. It is obvious when I say that access to a computer is vital to education, working, and even home environments (pay bills, get directions, input a budget on an Excel sheet, etc.), but think about a time when the computer was just on the "Horizon Report". Can't think of it? Me either. Now, companies are taking the computer a step further. As opposed to humans responding to the computer, prompts, to click here, to click there, certain companies are building upon the idea that computers should respond to humans. Computer/human interaction is on the horizon. The idea that human facial features, change in voice, posture, and even gestures could generate a response from the computer, is not necessarily a new thought, just a new thought for the computer. Think about it, we have this technology for video games, the Wii, Playstation Move, interacting with technology, not just using it. Also, there are already computers out there that will turn on only by voice activation. If your voice does not belong to that computer, it will not turn on, a great security measure in my opinion. This makes me think about times when I've been studying, and I KNOW my face has shown that I do NOT comprehend what I am reading on the screen. To think that a computer may react to that, is mind blowing.

Even geared more toward education, Microsoft is developing something called Surface. Surface, I envision, is something like you see in movies, with super heroes who design their cars/suits/homes using something like this. Surface is a touchscreen tabletop device used to share ideas on the same workspace. Now, instead of teachers calling someone to the blackboard or whiteboard, this may be viewed as a more interesting and fun way to interact in the classroom. Kids may actually want to step up to the Surface!

It sounds as if the world is getting ready to integrate computers from being a technological assisting device, to something that is more natural and fluid, just another part of our culture.


1. Other than the computer, what are a few tehcnological items you think are beneficial in the classroom?
I would LOVE to get my hands on an iPad. Going into Speech Therapy, I am determined to get access to and use several iPads in my classroom.

2. What is another every day item that has been turned into a source of technology?
First it was paper and a pen into a computer, then it was music into an MP3 player (iPod), then it was books. My favorite are the books though. I have a Nook and am in love.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Journal #7- My Personal Learning Network (NETS-T I, II, III, IV)

A Personal Learning Network, or PLN, can be defined as a person or community online who contributes positively to your knowledge and skill of your interest. In this case, and in this class, it would be education, technology and teaching. My PLN is a combination of things. My main focus, however, are on people that may help assist me while I grow as a teacher with similar teaching styles, beliefs, and ideas I see may be helpful in my future classroom. I used several tools in order to broaden my PLN including Twitter, Diigo, and Google Groups to name a few. I am loving Diigo!! I love that I can search for something in Diigo and choose by which method I would like to search, such as looking for different educators (special education, SLP, and technology in education) that suggest different links, tools and teaching methods. These things get my wheels churning and lead to different ideas that I may not have thoughts of otherwise.

  • Going on the Speech Language Pathology path, I thought it would be beneficial to add several special education forums, as well as SLPs and SLPAs to get an idea of what kind of lessons they are presenting in their classroom today. I "Listened in" to Twitter Chat #Elemchat on Saturday, March 19th at 6pm PST, 9pm EST. This was quite the appropriate discussion forum. The subject of the chat was, "What is digital citizenship and how do we encourage and develop it in the elementary classroom?" I had no idea what digital citizenship was, and to be honest, they kept suggesting that they define it, but no one did so I had to take it upon myself. From what I understood, it is the teaching of technology in the classrooms and more importantly, getting other teachers, faculty, and parents to enourage the use of technology in the classroom. Many of the participants were discussing how they incorporated technology into their classroom with the help of students and their parents. Several of the teachers brought up a couple sites they were fond of, and Intrigued, I decided to google these sites and found that they were very similar to what we use at CSUSM as our Moodle/Cougar Courses. These sites are for students to view assignments, calendars, communicate with classmates. However, these sites are also able to be viewed by parents and other teachers. Had I not participated in this chat, I am not sure I would have learned about these sites which I am already trying to think of how to incoroporate into my future class lesson plans. These teachers also mentioned the burden of the school district blocking and one teacher suggested they use Ning as their "venue", which I recognized as part of my PLN assignment.

  • While using Diigo, I have already added 5 groups to my account. A few dealing with special education, one dealing specifically with speech language pathology, one on educaton in general and then one with technology in education. There were several education blogs that were presented to this class, and while I chose 5 to bookmark, I think the three that I am most likely to follow are: Cool Cat Teach Blog, This Week in Education, and Adventures in Educational Blogging. These ones seem more "bloggish" to me. I can tell they are real people and the blogs don't read as if they are articles. Real people, concerned about education as well as hopeful that their ideas may be implemented into classrooms. 

  • While I already belonged to Classroom 2.0, an article I found interesting was entitled, "Should teachers and students be 'friends' on social networking sites?" I think most people lean toward the side that says, "", and that is exactly where I stand. Social networking sites are for those to communicate with friends and be able to be themselves. Even in the article, one person suggests that if teachers become "friends" with their students, they should be prepared to wear their educator hats. To me, this is matter-of-fact, there should never be blurred lines, and teachers becoming friends with students is just inapproriate. The article tried to defend the action saying that perhaps this social networking site is a good form of communication from teacher to student, if the student has been missing from class and has an assignment due soon....e-mail them! I'm sorry, but in my opinion, it's not appropriate for a teacher to be a friend of a current student. End. Of. Discussion.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Journal #6-Grow Your Personal Learning Network (NETS-T II & III)

Warlick, D. (2009). Growing your personal learning network. Learning & Leading, 36(6).

Prior to reading this article, my knowledge of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), was very little. I really thought that the extent of it was Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. What I failed to realize was that even before the internet, just as David Warlick mentioned, PLNs have always been. Umm...duh, Nikki...just, duh! Where did we get our information from before? Family members, friends, television ads, radio stations/hosts, co-workers, that guy that works at that one place, etc.

"Back in the day", people would get ideas from others just on a chance that something relevant may come up in conversation and/or brainstorm. However, now information is at our fingertips and in this era we are able to join PLNs such as Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Delicious, and different blogs pertaining to the subject of your preference.

Warlick points out three different categories of PLNs, Personally maintained synchronous connections, Personally and socially maintained semi synchronous connections, and Dynamically maintained asynchronous connections. The first two mentioned can be used both professionally as well as personally. Personally maintained synchronous connections are text messages, Skype, iChat, etc. These can be used for either long distance relationships or for conference meetings/communication. Personally and socially maintained semi synchronous connections are the social networks that can also be used interchangeably such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google Documents. These are referred to as semi synchronous because they are not instantaneous, one person may leave a comment, and someone else can comment on it weeks later. Dynamically maintained asynchronous connections are those that are strictly used for work related research, ideas, and communication about anything related. Such forums might be Diigo, Delicious, and certain associations.

Regardless of the category associated with, it is unavoidable in this day and age, to be connected with any sort of Personal Learning Network.


1. What are a few PLNs that you had prior to this class and did not realize?
I had a MySpace and Friendster before (no longer existing) and have a Facebook now. I even set up a Facebook for the company I work with in order to get in contact with our end user, but I still didn't realize that I was participating in a PLN.

2. What category of PLN is probably more commonly used?
Personally maintained synchronous connections are probably the most commonly used PLN. Text messaging alone has made a huge shift in our culture. Video chats and instant messaging are also evolving in our culture quickly as well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Journal #5-Point/Counterpoint: Should Schools Be Held Accountable for Cyberbullying? (NETS-T IV)

Bogacz, R., & Gordillo, M.G. (2011). Point/counterpoint: should schools be held responsible for cyberbullying?. Retrieved from

This is a GREAT article. Bogacz brings up both sides to why teachers, parents, school administrators and students should and should not intervene when it comes to cyberbullying.

For being held responsible:
  • Teachers: Teachers should be held not only responsible, but should keep an open eye and ear to children who voice being bullied via internet and cellphones. It is the teacher's job to know the law and know what enforcements they need to apply to get the situation resolved.
  • Parents: Parents should hold all the control to what their children are doing on social networking sites as well as their cellphones. Proper punishment (such as removing a certain social networking site) should be enforced if the priviledge is abused.
  • School administrators: School administrators should also be held responsible when it comes to the laws of bullying in general as well as be able to involve law enforcement if necessary.
  • Students: Students should be made aware as to what constitutes as bullying and cyberbullying in this case. Bogacz mentions that most of the time peers do not want to involve themselves for fear that the bullying may turn to them, but this never helps the victim and/or the situation.
Gordillo counters the points above by mentioning that many of the schools simply do not have enough time and/or teachers and administrators after dealing with all of the students that already have behavioral problems. Gordillo mentions that it is up to the parents to show that each of their children is loved. This will assist in preventing any child from feeling as if they need to act out. He also suggests that schools can be of assistance, but the first place children should be learning their behavior from is from their own home environment.


1. How can teachers assist with cyberbullying?
Teachers can first being by being knowledgable in the area of bullying. They can also bring the situation to the surface and address it to the students as well as be aware of when they may need to involve the principal for further investigation.

2. How can cyberbullying be prevented?
Gordillo suggests that by each child receiving love and education from their parents and/or family members will lead to non-behavioral issues at school.

Journal #4-It's Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet: A Conversation with Meg Ormiston (NETS-T I, V)

Schaffhauser, D. (2010, December 1). It's time to trust teachers with the internet: a conversation with meg ormiston. Retrieved from

Meg Ormiston has been a curriculum coach, a school board member, and a grant stimulator among other things. In this conversation with Ormiston, she is determined to be the one to stick up for the teachers that seem to be forced into incorporating technology into the classroom, only to be slapped down by restrictions of the use of internet.  A question Schaffhauser asks is about the blocking of social networking sites. Ormiston does mention that teachers should filter the sites they use, but does bring up a fantastic point that as teachers and parents we need to teach students about making the right choices in how to navigate through the internet to find the proper information they are looking for. According to Ormiston, the problem can sometimes be the bandwidth that the schools have on their computers, as well as the spyware used to protect the computer from viruses that often prevent teachers and students from certain sites. Schaffhauser asks Ormiston what can be done by educators and administrators to which the answer is very discouraging. Ormiston mentions that it is up to teachers and their time outside of school in order to investigate their sites they would like to visit at their own homes because of the restrictions at school. Teachers are unsure as to what step to take after they have deemed the site "age appropriate", take it to the administration office and then wait for the "no" response they have been so accustom to hearing. Ormiston suggests that even though teachers may become discouraged that teachers keep trying as well as getting the school systems to use some sort of tiered approach. Allow the teacher access to the websites and have them filter through what should be deemed "age appropriate". They are teaching our children, why should they not be the one to guide them in the area of technology as well?


1. How are students learning how to navigate through the internet?
As of right now it seems as if it is a trial-error sort of thing. Unfortunately, with the use of firewalls and spyware, even teachers are unable to filter what students are able to view while at school.

2. What is Ormiston's suggestion for teachers?
Keep trying. Making the effort to go home and research the sites on their own time and then submitting them to the administrators.

Journal #2-Enhance Your Twitter Experience/Join the Flock (NET-S II/III)

Miller, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(8), Retrieved from

Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock!. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(8), Retrieved from

Having been one of those people who was very reluctant to join Twitter, even when it was a required assignment, reading "Enahnce Your Twitter Experience" at least assisted in other ways I may use it. I am still not quite fond of Twitter, but Miller explains many ways one may be able to utilize this tool. As a teacher, following other teachers in order to get assignment ideas and such, it one major advantage to using Twitter. Another great reason for using Twitter is the hashtag tool. The hashtag tool allows those to follow a specific tweet from someone on their network to someone else who may not be in their following and/or a follower. Miller also plugs a few organizational tools (, in which to manage your tweets, friends and tags/those who have tagged you and translate languages.

Furthermore, while reading "Join the Flock!" by Ferguson goes on to explain how one can most optimally use Twitter with a few simple steps. The first step of course involves signing up, followed by creating a list of people to follow. This can be referred to as a PLN (Personal Learning Network) which can be built easily by finding one great source and seeing who their following is and/or who they are following. Ferguson admits that even if someone joins, the do not necessarily have to contribute; one can just take the knowledge and suggestions. However, adding to the stream of Twitter is highly appreciated by all. She also mentions the hashtags which is mentioned by Miller above.

I would like to hear more about how I may best utilize Twitter other than the organization tools. I’m still feeling a little “eh” about it. :)


1. What is one way that can enhance your experience with Twitter?
One may use an organizational tool such as This will assist with organizing one's following, tweets, photos, etc.

2. What is a quick way for one to build their PLN?
Hashtags are a great way to follow new people. Once someone has at least one or two people they are following, they can often get great referrals by the hashtags their "friend" has tagged.