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Getting Started: Goals for Spring I 2010


Ready for a productive, busy nine weeks of academic and professional growth.


Here we are at the beginning of a new semester, and as always it is a fresh start and a new opportunity to learn and grow both as a professional and human being.

So let's address a few basic questions: What are some of your personal or professional goals in EDUC 515 this semester. What would you like to be able to accomplish at the end of this class that you could not do at the beginning? What technologies might you be able to utilize to "teach digitally"? As technology continues to change profoundly how we live and work, what might be the implications for education? Or to be more specific, the implications for teachers? Students? What do you think?

Take a few minutes here as we begin to gather your thoughts and to brainstorm on a plan for progress in this class. Your final posted blogsite entry should be at least three of four paragraphs.


Two "thumbs up" on the first day of class!


Steve Lara
My goals in EDUC 515 are to learn more ideas on how to use technology to become a more effective teacher. I already had some ideas on how to do this from previous classes, but I want to learn a variety of teaching techniques because our students do not all learn the same way so I must provide a variety of instruction techniques to reach the maximum number of students. I want to learn better ways to find free internet video and audio to make stimulating presentations and even games that teach the California standard curriculum in a way that students will want to learn. I want more experience with finding educationally useful media by learning how to use I tunes and other programs to help me find the video that will capture student imaginations.
I want to learn how to use the program Audacity, something I know nothing about, and other programs to improve my ability to make video lessons that my students will enjoy learning from, and that teach the California standards for each grade level I may teach. Kids usually find math and history to be particularly boring because they associate such lessons with reading textbooks. I want to learn how to make students associate those subjects with playing computer games that are fun and interesting and even teach the California standards without the kids even knowing they are learning. This way kids won’t associate learning with monotony.
To teach digitally I want to use websites that allow me to make online educational puzzle games that teach vocabulary and math. I would present the website to the class connecting my laptop to a document camera projector so the whole class can play the same game with me as a referee. I would also make my own movie presentations that teach the California standards using movie clips of famous movies from the internet with my own narration. I would use popular current movies that some of the children have seen to improve the connection with their own experiences.
As children learn new technology then teachers should use that same technology to teach them as a way of connecting something students associate with fun to learning. The implications are that teachers must keep up with new technologies the kids use. Modern children play lots of video games so I like the idea of using well designed video games to teach them the California content standards for curriculum in a fun and memorable way. The fun will motivate kids to want to play and the video game experience will make it memorable. I can see games that teach math and almost any subject for that matter by relating the subject to a game story problem the player must solve to win the game.

As I set sail into EDUC 512 I have optimism about the tools I will learn to use for both personal and professional growth. I wish the current technology “revolution” had started when I was younger, when I had all the time in the world to learn how it all worked and how to use it. Now that it’s all so cutting edge and en vogue I’ve had little time to train myself in its functions. For a long while I’ve desired to catch-up and learn what it seems so many already know. Even though I’ve had experience setting up computers, replacing harddrives, DVD drives, and upgrading RAM memory and software, I know very little about blogs, wikis, podcasts, or voice threads. It’s amazing how one can be knowledgeable in certain technological areas yet so ignorant in others. In this course I’m enthusiastic to learn about these things which will increase my personal knowledge and at the same time will help me grow professionally by providing opportunities to experiment with the possibilities for using these tools in the classroom and sharing them with colleagues.
By the end of this class I would like to be able to understand how blogs function and how to navigate through them; I would like to learn how to create audio and video podcasts, how to upload them to a website, and learn specific ways they can be used to enhance student learning; and I want to understand the new and strange world of wiki’s—what they are, how they function, how I can use them with students, and their implications for the classroom.
Although these and others new tools can be utilized to "teach digitally" the question for me is not so much which ones are available, but rather when is it best to use them and how best should I use them? The fact is, technology is not always the best way to facilitate student learning, but it provides more color choices for the teacher’s palette.
As technology continues to change I think the implications for education will be unsettled until progress slows down and the educational world catches up. Because technology is evolving so rapidly no one knows how fast things will change or how fast the inventions of today will become obsolete tomorrow. As an example, within the last few years document cameras have emerged in every class room I have taught in as a substitute. Just as they have started to become mainstream, I’ve started to see many more Smartboards assembled. I think this relatively quick turnover is negative for teachers because it places heavy demands on them to stay current with technology use for the classroom at a time when administrations are pressuring teachers to incorporate technology instead of helping them realize that technology is another resource for helping students learn.
The implications of technology for students are smaller in one sense because they will only be taught the technology that is current and will not have to know “old” technology. One aspect that will be a plus for students learning technological skills will be that it will help them become more familiar with the technology movement in the world outside the classroom, which may help lead to more socially competent and connected citizens as well as instill a sense of global consciousness, which is good for everyone.
Hopefully, when I complete this course I will be one who can use my new technology skills to develop creative ways to help future students grow academically, socially, and or course, technologically.

My personal and professional goals for this class I am not sure. I hope to be able to learn as much as can about the different technologies so I can use them in the future when I teach and to help my own children in school. I want to be able to utilize and gain more knowledge about wiki’s and blog post for classroom use. Be able to use Skype without having difficultly and not getting frustrated as is learning about technology when it does not cooperate with me. I hope to accomplish and leave the class knowing that I did my best to learn. To be able to put to work all tools and anything and everything I will learn in class to my future teaching.
I hope to be able to use interactive websites, YouTube, eBooks, Skype, and other sites like these to help children learn. As technology continues, I think the biggest challenge is having educators keep up with technology, it being affordable for schools, and letting the school districts be more open to the ongoing growth of technology. For our students making sure that school is not the only place where they can have access to the technology, making it affordable for parents especially those in low income areas, or making sure the local libraries can accommodate for students.
With the ongoing growth of technology today companies need to be able to make it affordable for people not just wealthy people or schools. If they can make it affordable I think more schools and families would pay attention and be more open. Schools would be able to utilize more and have their educators be more update so they can help their students in their studies. Technology can make learning experiences more fun and helpful to students.

My goals for this class are simple, make myself a better teacher. To do this I think that I really need to learn different ways that I can incorporate technology into my classroom. Working at a low income school, where I know that most of the students are not going to have access to a computer or internet connection at home, I know that the technology that I do use has to be contained within the four walls of my classroom. I have a few of the basics that I need to integrate this technology. I have a few computers with internet access. I have a projector and a document camera. What I’m hoping to get out of this class is a way to creatively use what I have to the benefit of my students. I want to be able to use the things that I do have to experience and teach things that I haven’t been able to before. I want to not only teach my students with computers and technology, I want to teach my students about computers and technology. I remember that when I was in elementary school we learned about the different things that a computer could do. We were not just stuck at a computer doing drills or solving math problems. I was taught how to use paint and word. As I got older I was taught how to do different things with these programs, but because I had already been introduced to them, it was easier for me to learn new skills.
Things are changing so quickly. It’s frustrating sometimes that schools are not changing just as quickly. I mean why not assign a group of students to create a power point presentation? They will need to do it in college, why wait till then to learn. Now, I know I’m not going to have my first graders make a power point presentation, but why can’t I have them looking up information and reading about weather, or butterflies? I hope that by the end of this class I can learn about some age appropriate ways to use technology with my first graders.
As a teacher I would ideally love to have a class webpage that parents can look at to see what the class is doing and what specifically their child is learning about. I know that right now with the class that I’m teaching at the school where I’m teaching this might not be possible. This doesn’t mean that one day the situation won’t be different. For this reason I would like to build up a knowledge base. Information that I can refer back to if and when I am in the position to put up a class website and use the internet as a form of communication between myself and my students and their parents.

Although I may have limited experiences, I am aiming to be as technologically proficient as my classmates. My main goal in doing this Masters program is to become more knowledgeable with technology in general. I hope to learn different programs that will allow me to reach every student in my classroom and to meet his or her individual needs. As I reflect on my personal goals about life itself, my family, school and work, I feel a little overwhelmed. I think that at times, I am my own worst enemy because I demand and expect so much of myself. However, technology humbles me because I know so little about it.
I think that the first thing I need to ask myself is, what do my future students need to learn, and how can technology promote those learning goals? Well, this is the reason why I’m in this class. I am determined to learn as much as I can about technology to be able to keep my students engaged. Many of the classrooms within the OUHSD have Promethean boards and one of my many goals is to learn how to use it. I’ve seen what the Promethean board is capable of doing and it’s a powerful tool that can truly assist a teacher in enhancing the learning and achievement of students.
Before this class, I had never heard or knew what a blog was. One of my goals is to learn how to create my own blog and learn how to get the best use out of it. In addition, I think it will be a useful tool and a great experience for students. Posting their writing will develop self-confidence as well as a sense of fulfillment from publishing their work. Another goal is to learn how to create my own wiki and learn how to use it. I’m also really excited about learning how to use Facebook as well. I thought that Facebook was forbidden in the world of education, but now see how it can be a tool for creating on-line professional networks. Soon when people ask me if I have one and I’ll be able to answer was always “Of course I do!” Another one of my goals is to learn how to use Flickr. I enjoy taking pictures and would love to post pictures of fieldtrips, guest speakers, or special projects I might do with my students. From what I understand, I can also post my student’s work for everyone to see. Along with this goal I would also like to learn how to approach parents with a disclaimer. Prior to taking this class, I don’t really recall hearing the word podcasts so; I have decided to add this to my list of goals of things I want to learn. My mission is to learn what it is and find out if I can use this type of technology in my classroom. I’ve also heard about videoblogging and would really like to learn how to use this type of technology.
I have to say that my greatest goal is in this class is to have an open mind so that I can learn as much as I can about technology and most importantly figure out how I can incorporate this new knowledge in my class. I want technology to be a powerful instructional tool, not a drain or a burden.