Monday, June 29, 2009


Is it really or has it just been misused and become a scapegoat...

Upon its conception, Wikipedia was introduced as a free on-line encyclopedia designed for the masses by the masses as a compliation of collaborative opinions on specific subjects. This in itself is cause for alarm.
Recently a Cal Tech graduate student, Virgil Griffith, developed a search tool, the wikipedia scanner, that can trace IP addresses of those who make changes. Other than this, there are no fact/spin checks available. Many of the authors are the interested parties themselves who try to manipulate the information in order to provide a more favorable slant.
James Wales, Wiki Founder, is aware of the situation and of the new scanner and chooses to make no comments at present time.
If used the way it was designed, as a source of information, not cold hard facts, it still serves a purpose. Most of the edits are not critical, but I still would not use it as a primary source of my information.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The use iPods in the classroom today offers unlimited possibilities for administrators and teachers. But the real benefits are for the students. An example could be a student who might miss a day or be struggling with a concept; they can watch a video a number of times on the iPod to help them fully understand the missed content. It also promotes interactive learning and more effective studying, by engaging students passion for electronics and gadgets, in addition to being cool and fun. They are finding ways to spend more of their idle time studying, thus freeing up moretime to have fun.
Doing my research for this article, I came across the following which I found very informative and I hope you will, too. 100 ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better can be found at 100 ways.

Duke iPod First-Year Experience discusses Duke University's distribution of over 1600 Apple iPods devices to first-year students in August of 2004. At least 15 fall courses and 33 spring courses incorporated iPod use. Foreign languages and music courses first, then other social sciences and humanities courses were added. These courses reported increased frequency and depth of student interactions. 60% of first-year students used the iPods recording feature as their most used feature for academic purposes. The article goes on to present the benefits and barriers with academic use. Most of the research findings were conducted during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 academic years. I am still trying to find a more current update.Duke Link however will lead you to the initial study summary.


-Dr. Christie's
website is an amazing resource for teachers. It provides information on Dr. Christie's 40 years of experience as an educator as well as providing resources for K-12 teachers on technology uses in their classrooms. Extensive links are provided on a number of topics. I selected Rubrics for my discussion.
The Rubrics Page explains how rubrics are used by students to guide them in completion of their project and by teachers to evaluate the completed project. Links are provided by other educators and additional links to other online resources. One such
link explains in detail what a rubrics grid is, its benefits and its advantages. Used as a tool for students to improve their end product, therefore increasing learning and for teachers to increase the quality of their direct instruction and the ability for use in multiple disciplines. I can certainly see the value in this site as a resource for any teacher.


Randy Pausch was a husband, father and professor at MIT until the time of his death from pancreatic cancer at age 47(June 25, 2008). His last lecture,
Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreamsshould be required viewing for every student at USA, not just Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. As an academician, he lived his life as he taught his students, with fun. I have often said of my profession, when it ceases to be fun, I will no longer continue and this lecture just cemented this in my brain.

Dr. Pausch advocated so many teaching methods which he demonstrated so well, that it is hard to be specific, but I will try. In reality his teaching methods could be considered "life lessons". His "Brick Wall" method, simply stated, relates to perseverance. He gave numerous examples of how this method influenced his life and his never give up attitude in teaching his students.

Another "head fake" technique demonstrated how he would have his students get directly involved in an activity and actually end up indirectly learning the outcome he had intended. He was so good at it, that he published a book on the subject. In his last lecture he drove this point home in his last two "head fakes", one, how to lead your life and two, leading by example, a message for his kids.

At the time of his death, he was recognized as one of America's "Top 100 Most Influential People", cited by Charles Osgood and Katie Couric on national TV, and viewed by hundreds of thousands on You Tube, with almost ten thousand making comments.

He truly is an example of how we should all strive to live our lives each day, you never know who you will be indirectly influencing......

Saturday, June 27, 2009


FISCHBOWL WOW #2 is my attempt to comment on Kark Fisch's blog "Is it ok to be techologically illiterate" which was given the award as "Most Influential Blog of 2007" by The Edublog Awards 2007. Karl Fisch is a teacher and technology education specialist at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Mr. Fisch summarizes his feelings quite well in seven very concise standards. His final standard suggests that we should stop being so nice to teachers that continue to ignore technology, that we do not have the morale right to just sit there, while others jeopardize the future of our youngsters. It is no longer acceptable to be proud of technological ignorance, it is not an end all, but rather an indispensable tool to help us all teach, learn and grow. And in order to teach it, you have to do it by experiencing and exploring along with your kids.
Either we jump on the band wagon and demonstrate to our kids our enthusiasm to learn with them and communicate using technology or we will be preparing them to be successful in 'an age that no longer exists'.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


After listening to the podcasts from Dr. Strange's Spring 2009 EDM 310 class, several suggestions come to mind which are not meant to be critical but rather helpful to future podcasters.
While the podcasts were all very informative, some seem to ramble. There was one in particular that seemed well organized and from this I gleamed several important points. Organization is the key: 1) Introduction of subject matter, the speaker and the participants, 2) Well thought out questions shared with speaker beforehand and 3) Of course, highly knowledgeable speaker. The questions should be divided evenly with one person designated as the moderator to keep the tempo moving. Spontaneity should be encouraged but also the conversations must be kept on track. The interviewers must speak clearly and in an inviting tone of voice.
Maybe some suggestions as to interview tactics would be helpful. Enough said, it was a great learning experience.

Chameleon vs. Lions

Before I say anything, let me applaud these students on their work and technology skills. Obviously they are way ahead of me and the thought of trying to teach them scares me to death! Either I am technology challenged or computer illiterate or maybe both, but we will consider this just another challenge in my "life long" learning process as Mr. Lamshed has so noted.
That said, I was amazed at their productions. In Chameleon, I was never able to get the sound, but the message came through quite clear and the thought process behind their video struck me as so mature for 6th graders. The Lions video was most creative with their choice of music as well as the presentation of their subject matter.
In either case, to be effective with these students, it is imperative to stay ahead of the game(technology), capture the students interest and be able to create an environment where they think learning is fun, their challenges doable and their accomplishments are appreciated.
Realistically, being able to do video podcasts is cutting edge, but as I read in a past educator's blog, it is important not to get bogged down. Perhaps it is better to take just one forward thinking idea and do it well, then build on it as time allows and technological skills improve.
The availability of international education links surfacing almost daily enables us to communicate with classrooms around the globe, thus allowing the possibility to fine tune, improve and expand on subject matter at will.

Friday, June 19, 2009


After viewing and reviewing several of the suggested Podcasts, I found myself getting bogged down and overwhelmed. I can see the importance of each venue and actually before it was all said and done, found myself exploring other areas outside of the education arena. I see now how it provides additional resources for students and teachers to explore, connect and collaborate with other classrooms all over the world, perhaps in an even more specialized setting.
One of the podcasts actually compared the pros and cons of video podcasts as opposed to audio podcasts, which I found very interesting. Video seems to be preferred when emotional reactions, body language or visual models are needed. It was also noted that it is more expensive, harder to edit and time consuming. Basically it all seemed to boil down to which media best fits the message. That being said, video podcasts may not be the natural progression to audio. The audiences experience, method of viewing and classroom environment all play a role.
Personally, I found the video podcasts easier to follow and felt the more technical program podcasts might have been better understood if an illustration were provided.
The Smartboard Lessons podcast proved to be very helpful in that in addition to each session, additional links were provided on such topics as surveying multiple classrooms, photosharing websites and even mention to Google Docs spreadsheets.
It would be virtually impossible to include all the links I visited in this blog, but this did prove to be a very important learning experience for me. Just jumping in and learning to swim sums it all up for me. Thank you, Dr. Strange.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Being Inspired - Part 1 by Jarrod Lamshed

Mr. Jarrod Lamshed is a teacher in Australia blogging, communicatingMay4th,with other teachers and students across the continents. His enthusiasm is as contagious as is his relentless efforts to learn from other teachers and their student's experiences, thus inspiring him to continue his efforts in his "lifelong learning". In doing so, these students and his own students will continue their "lifelong learning" as well, communicating with others around the world.
Mr. J refers you to 3 links: Mr. Webb in New Zealand, Mr. Chamberlain in Missouri,USA, and Mr. McClung also in Missouri, USA.
Mr. Webb and Mr. J blogged along the lines of the cultural aspects of learning and differences in the classroom. Students were able to share and get feedback. Being able to look at what other students were doing and to realize that their work was just as important to others.
Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. J are actually reading HOLES by Louis Sachar and collaborating with each other and each other's students. The students were asked to comment on specific reflective questions. Their answers are quite profound in that they are building the groundwork for their future ideals without actually knowing it.
Mr. McClung also used blogging in his communications concerning school life with Mr. J . Thus cementing the realization of a school with no walls.

Students Making Decisions for the Biome Project

Mr. Chamberlain's evolution from teacher to facilitator is most evident is his class's Biome Project blog. The blog on May 12, 2009, Biome Project emphasizes this through recorded videos of his class students. They are asked to make choices on note taking strategies, biomes of choice and last, but not least, how they felt about being given these choices. Mr. C's students actually got it! And if they didn't, they figured it out themselves, how intuitive.
For me, this is opening up a whole new world of educational teaching/learning strategies. I am just trying to absorb the changes education has made since my departure 30 years ago.
Is it possible to catch up? I guess only time will tell, no pun intended.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Comments on Mr. McClung's 5-27-09 Blog

Mr. McClung's blog can be found at this link,Transformation. He reminded me of a friend, years ago, who also taught elementary school and I always wondered why he loved it so. I see now he had many of the same qualities as Mr. McClung. He was extremely flexible and listening to his students was his top priority. I also believe he would have embraced technology, if available, with as much enthusiasm.
I enjoyed reading about Mr. McClung's growth and look forward to reading more of his earlier blogs. In addition, I feel that Dr. Strange's teaching techniques are very similar, especially when it concerns his more "mature" students!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Appropriately named, but could be subtitled Shifthappens.

I definitely am in agreement with Dr. Fisch in that access to education can and should grow exponentially or our society will be left behind. The idea of putting a computer in the hands of every child is right on. Fortunately, my grandchildren are being exposed to computers on a daily basis. Computers are a way of life for them as opposed to me. All I need do is go back one generation and remember my mother 's struggle learning to type on an archaic electric typewriter and me now, just trying to keep up!

My Space and Facebook have really come to the forefront and made us all realize the exponential characteristics of the internet. At some point I do get a little concerned about this, and the potential for inappropriate use, but refuse to bury my head in the sand. We must look to the future, embrace change and move forward encouragaing our policy makers to do the same.

Education must start early and move a warp speed.

ACCESS Distance Learning has come full circle.

ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide) was created to provide classroom courses with certified teachers by way of technology to all high schools in the State of Alabama. Courses include advanced placement, elective and other specialized courses that students may not have access to in rural and low income schools with limited offerings. Available to students in grades 9-12 in public high schools and in some cases state correctional facilities.

Students best suited for this curriculum are computer literate, capable of independent learning and can communicate effectively in writing. Courses are provided in three ways: 1) Web-based (asynchronous) that do not need to be taught in "real time" with multi-media content and an e-teacher to assign, grade and communicate online, 2) Interactive video conferencing (synchronous) is taught at a designated time using two-way audio and video instruction, thus enabling face to face communication, and 3) Blended courses which utilize a combination of both.

For the ACCESS Distance learning website click the link icon ACCESS Learning

ALEX - Where it all begins.

The Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) is absolutely amazing. I wish it had been available years ago when I was first in education. The opportunities for teachers, administrators, as well as students to have access to such a wealth of information is invaluable. Content standards for courses of study are presented by subject and grade level. And lessons plans, again presented by subject and/or grade level, can be created, researched and even submitted for approval. Professional development learning is also provided to those who wish to take advantage of the resources at their fingertips.

The web site ( is easy to maneuver and is divided into eight major categories including but not limited to a personal workspace to actually prepare lesson plans and keep close at hand other professional websites in an organized manner. It must be noted that once you create an account, it has to be accessed at least once during a six month period or it will be closed. Teachers, especially new graduates, should put this at the top of their favorite's list. Just click on this link ALEX.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


On June 2nd, our road trip began. Our mission was to hit as many food channel restaurants as possible between Fairhope, Al. and Memphis, Tn. by way of Clarksdale, Ms. So far we have been quite successful. We have eaten a wide variety of foods from frog legs to filet mignon.
It has been a challenge for me to 1)figure out my assignments and 2)keep up with my classroom postings.
If any of you have suggestions as to restaurants in Memphis, please don't hesitate to let me know, I will be checking my Blog daily.


Hello fellow students! I am excited to be back in the education arena after almost 20years and yes, the challenge is me. I have been selling real estate in Baldwin and Mobile counties for the last 15 years. Now that the market has slowed a bit, I have decided to go back to school and renew my teacher certification.
Little did I know how much education has changed. This is my first class and probably the pivotal one in deciding whether or not to continue. I chose USA for it's fine reputation as well as diverse educational curriculum.
Not only do I enjoy people but horses, too. I have been riding the same Tennessee Walking horse the last ten years and we have become great partners. In addition, my husband and I enjoy traveling as much as possible.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My First Post

I am now published worldwide, with classmates.