Monday, July 30, 2012

Class on Friday

Class on Friday was fun; I enjoyed hearing about other resources that I could use in the classroom.  I liked Evernote a lot! I used it a little bit about a year ago but did not stick with it.  At the time I felt remembering to use it was more of a hassle, instead of it actually helping me.  Hearing about it on Friday has encouraged me to give it a shot again.  I liked that you could create a class Evernote! That could be a great way to post assignments, reminders, voice memos, etc. for the class to get access to any time.

I liked having my classmates present the topics rather than have a lecture set up.  It made the topics more interesting and it was a nice change.  My tool was Diigo.  I had never heard of it before, so it was interesting to learn about.  As of right now, I don't see Diigo being something I would use.  I almost feel I have a bookmarking system that works for me.  I feel I can get some of the same benefits from other sources.  I did like the idea of having access to your bookmarks wherever you are.  However, I typically am not in a situation where I don't have my computer but want something I have bookmarked.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Class at the Dude!

Creating my own website was a lot of fun! I did not realize it was so easy :D  I know I've been playing around with the idea of a class website (for what specifically, I don't know), and now I know it's not too hard.  Adding videos, and photos was really easy.  I have to admit, I did get a little off task when it came to choosing a template and default photo.  But, I found the perfect picture!

I really enjoyed having a past MACer share some of the ways he incorporated games into his lessons.  When he fist mentioned teaching parametric equations with a game, I could not think of a game that would work.  Then he mentioned "Angry Birds"......Of Course!! I thought it was really fun.  Some of the tools he used to come up with this lesson were really interesting.  He used Twitter.  I have decided not to succumb to Twitter.  Probably because I really don't have anything to tweet.  But, seeing it as a tool to pick the brains of teachers everywhere was very appealing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gaming is Learning!

         When I first saw the title of the James Paul Gee reading, I thought how is he going to connect video games to learning.  Since this class is about technology in the classroom, I don't know why I thought video games would be excluded.  So, I started reading with the image of a traditional educational computer game in my head.  Then I saw Halo. Hmm. Now I'm thinking, after about 2 pages in, this is going to be an interesting article.  I knew that my video game experience goes about as far as playing Gran Turismo 3 and some Wii games, and hearing about "World of War Craft" and "Zelda".  When Gee talks about learning "to play the game"; this really made a connection for me.  Everything has its own set of rules and ways of doing things, and the better one masters those rules the more successful they will be.  For example, getting into graduate school at the University of Michigan.  There are certain classes you take in undergrad, you write your essay in a way that makes you stand out, you make decisions about what to include in your resume and what not to include.  All of these decisions are made based on your understanding of "the game".  So, there are real life applications for how one approaches a game. 
          Incorporating the energy that video games elicit into the classroom I think would really make school more engaging.  In our education classes we are learning about creating a safe space for our students so they can share their ideas and take risks.  Video games do this automatically!  I know I don't like losing in a game, but I remember that all I have to do is hit "play again" and it's like it never happened.  That takes the pressure off.  As teachers maybe we can incorporate a "play again" atmosphere, or culture, where mistakes help you narrow down your options.  Could we take the game of school and make it more flexible and less intimidating?  
           Jane McGonigal talks about the energy around gaming.  Individuals who game are optimistic, more confident, and motivated.  I want all of my students to feel this way!  Her games are designed to put people in potentially real life situations and see how they adapt.  I especially like the game of living during an oil shortage.  When she mentioned that game, I immediately thought I would lose.  Then, I remembered it was a game and I was much more open to giving it a try.  Why was I so worried about losing? What would losing this game mean? Would it relate to my ability to survive in a "real" oil shortage?  These are questions I am not exactly sure how to answer, however, the answers could help us think about how are students approach failure.   

I'm excited to see how the culture of video games can be used in our classrooms. 

                                                            Is it safe to say he's just experienced an EPIC WIN?!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Soda Ban, Lesson Plan, Podcasts...Oh My!

      Class this week was a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed seeing the students from Scarlett!!! Their advice for teachers was much appreciated : )

          I really liked creating a lesson plan with other people in my discipline.  Thinking of a lesson plan on my own was fun, but I liked hearing how other people approached the topic.  In the world languages group, we decided to break up into groups based on our different languages.
          Our media specialist was very in tune with our group.  She was able to sense that we were trying to force a group lesson plan when we all seemed to struggle with agreeing on a particular format.  She helped us get to the point where we felt okay to break off according to language and come up with our own subgroup plans.  I think what ended up happening was each group took a current or past ban and used it as a base to discuss human rights and government involvement.

           Doing the podcasts was a lot of fun!! It's always fun hearing my recorded voice.  I especially loved hearing what other people said!  I am interested to see how podcasts can be used in the classroom.  I know iTunes U has a lot of great podcasts on certain subjects from various universities, but I wonder how teachers could incorporate podcasts into the classroom.  I initially thought of a class website that would house these files and students could use them to review material covered in class.  Maybe even the students could post a podcast discussing what they have learned during a particular unit.  I don't know, but I am excited to see how it will all play out!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Prohibición del refresco

        Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban the sale of soda in quantities over 16 oz., that is high in sugar, and in public areas such as sports arenas, fast food restaurants, and movie theaters.  Bloomberg wants to tackle the obesity problem by limiting the options consumers have; however, he does note that people still have the option to buy more if they choose.  So, the ban does not take away one's choice of how much pop they can drink, it just limits how much they can order for an individual drink.
       It was challenging for me to think of a lesson that incorporated this article for my Spanish class. But here is what I came up with!
      This lesson would adapt to the different levels of Spanish by increasing or decreasing the amount of discussion that occurs in Spanish.  In Spanish 1 and 2, the students can express some their thoughts in Spanish.  Whereas, in a Spanish 3 through to Spanish 5 I can discuss the content of the articles with the students in Spanish and the discussion will be all in Spanish.  I would start by giving the students an overview of the article and the issue that it targets.  We will talk about obesity, and the foods that are available in this country and how they contribute to the growing population of people considered obese.
I would then present some vocabulary that ties into the topic:
                    - Obese- obeso/obesa, gordo/gorda
                    - Westernization - la occidentalización
                    - Heart Disease - enfermedad cardíaca
                    - Government - el gobierno
                    - Soda - el refresco

Something along those lines.  I wanted to connect the topic of obesity to Latin America, so I found articles that discussed the increase in obesity in countries like Chile, Brazil, Colombia, etc.  Many of the researchers attributed this to the life style changes in these countries.  The new lifestyles resemble a western lifestyle; more sedentary, more processed foods, better economy, etc.  Some of these articles talk about what these governments and health organizations are doing to counter obesity.  One article I found was from the Washington Post:

I also have some pictures of McDonald's in Latin America:

Lima, Peru

                                                                 Santiago, Chile

Campinas, Brazil 

Another example of western influence is the partnership between Coca-Cola and the Peruvian soda Inca Kola.   

   This lesson could be at the tail end of unit that talks about food and help us look at modern concerns of food's impact on health.  So, these are some of the ideas that came to mind when thinking about the soda ban article.  I may even talk about ordering a burger from McDonald's when I was in Peru.

Monday, July 2, 2012

     When I first heard we were going to create blogs for this class, I was a little ambivalent.  I don't tweet, never had a myspace, and have used my Facebook less and less.  Posting things online makes me uneasy.  This weekend I wanted to take a break from school and started playing around with it.  I changed my background a bit, and added a profile pic.  This made blogging a bit more exciting.  So I'll give it a try :)!!!
     Technology is cool to me; for awhile I was responsible for keeping up with the specifics of current and potentially future Apple products as a sales specialist.  I am not naturally a "techie", but I do have a little bit more knowledge than when I started.  I basically say that now no one can up-sell me on a computer because I know about RAM, HD space, and processor speed. Yay!!! Also, I can't fix your computer; I wasn't a Genius (people typically respond with a disappointing "oh").
     Speaking of technology,  the Sheskey article discussed how technology can be used in a classroom setting outside of the typical Youtube video, article from the web, or song.  A digital camera was used to document student work.  I thought this was cool because students could see their work from a different perspective.  The teacher then showed the photos to the whole class.  I know for me, like many other people in the class, knowing that my work was going to be displayed for everyone (a high school classroom can feel like everyone) to see can be nerve wracking.  I would try really hard to make sure it looked good.  Someone in class mentioned how at this point the grade did not matter, it was what your peers thought that had more of an impact.  I think this is interesting because this is a moment where grades aren't driving motivation.
     The article on Bloomberg banning Coke sparked passionate conversation.  I liked how the teachers allowed us to talk about whatever we wanted.  It was as if the teachers knew that many of us had a burning desire to talk about the different issues related to the article :D.  I am excited to see what fun things I can do with technology that I wasn't aware of before this class.  Kids today grow up with technology and this class will hopefully help us keep up.

Guess: What product did John Pemberton invent in the late 19th century?