Thursday, December 1, 2011

Journal #10

Point/Counterpoint: Is the Digital Native a Myth?

Martinez, S., & Prensky, M. (2011). Point/counterpoint: Is the digital native a myth?. Learning & Leading, 39(3), Retrieved from

Summary: The article begins with the question: is the digital native a myth? It gives two viewpoints,
yes or no. In the yes portion of the article, the author discusses how "Digital Immigrant" and "Digital 
Native" are catchy phrases, but are they sufficient in defining the surge of technologically advanced 
adolescence and the lack of technologically savvy adults? Unfortunately, these catchy phrases do 
nothing for the actual computing process and how technology helps learners. Catchy phrases need 
not be confused with guiding principles in education. Students need to understand why adults think 
technology is important and make sure they are being active participants in the process. It is 
important to remember that both students and teachers are life-long learners. In the no portion of the 
article, the author discusses how it is pointless to discuss whether the digital native is a myth because 
it is just a term to describe young adults that were born in the digital age. It is however, an important 
term because it encompasses a huge reality of the 21st century and hold a lot of power in the digital 

Q1: Can using terms like "Digital Native" or "Digital Immigrant" have any negative connotations associated with it that can be harmful in a classroom?
A1: These terms are just catch phrases. They should be taken lightly as just a way to describe whether or not someone was born in the digital age or not. It is true that some may take this negatively but that is not its intent.

Q2: What power does technology hold in the classroom?
A2: It can be argued that technology holds the majority of the power in the classroom. Not only are blogs by teachers being posted, students are using technologically advance learning programs, using microsoft products for essays and assignments, teachers are using Docu-cam's and other devices for displaying information in front of the class. These are essential for a classroom and as we continue in the digital age, we will see more and more technology arising.

Journal #9

Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from

Summary: In this article, Lamb proceeds to redefine the meanings of the words "book" and "reading." She decided that a more appropriate definition for book, given the advancement in technology we are seeing, is: a published collection of related pages or screens. Reading she redefined as: the process of constructing meaning from symbols. She then explores five electronic reading devices (e-books, interactive storybooks, reference databases, hypertext and interactive fiction, and transmedia storytelling) which has given students many more options on how they would like to read. The major question of this article was whether or not technology-based reading enhanced or distracts students from the learning experience. The answer lies in whether or not the technology helps struggling readers with tools such as clarification of content, factors that contribute to the mood of the story or cues that lead readers to important events. The harm in these devices is that there can be too many "bells and whistles" that distract the reader and are really just eye candy instead of focusing on the content of the reading which is the part of the reading experiences that provides value to a learner. She stresses the importance of distinguishing fact from fiction which can be a problem in the e-realm. At the end of the day, children love e-books and it is up to the educators to adapt and use these tools to their advantage in the classroom. 

Q1: Do you think it is appropriate for child to be shying away from paper books and exploring the world of e-books?

A1: Regardless of whether there is negatives of e-books or not, they are here. Children are interested in technology and integrating this into an environment that can be used for learning and to an educators advantage is important. Educators need to find new ways to relate to their kids and get on board with e-reading.

Q2: What are some of the negative affects that may be seen in the classroom when it comes to e-reading?

A2: It is always a possibility with e-books that there may be too many distractions with all of the "apps" and cool tools that are a part of devices such as the Kindle. It is important to be aware that e-books can end up being another toy for a child if not directed toward the academic side of reading electronically. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Journal #8

Adaptive Technology

Communication (AAC) Alternative/Augmentative Communication (1 no/low tech, 2 high tech)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a term used to develop strategies in order to assist students with communication disabilities to participate at a higher level in activities that may involve interaction in a communicative way. There are different categories that an AAC device can fall under, a no/low tech device and a high tech device. These devices help students in their communication skills through both audio and visual assistance.

An example of a no/low tech AAC: Choice Boards
Choice boards are used by offering objects, pictures or symbols to communicate their preference of activities they wish to do, including subjects such as reading, writing, snack/leisure, daily living, and transition activities. This is used in classrooms by teachers who have students with communication difficulties. They can use these choice boards as a way for the student to communicate which activity they would like to do next in the classroom. This opens up the communication for the students to respond to teachers and better connect.

An example of a high tech AAC: Icon Speak and Mobile Talker

The icon speak and mobile talker is a device that uses picture icons in order to express what the student is trying to verbally say. For example, if a student needs a drink of water, they would click on the picture with a glass of water on it and the icon speak and mobile talker would say, "I need a glass of water please." This is used as a substitute for communication when a student has a disabilities that makes it difficult for them to orally communicate what they would like. There is a library of icons on the machine or the student can use their own and it has multiple voice libraries or they can record their own voice as well. This is a great way for the student to feel like they have a voice in the classroom even when it is sometimes difficult for them to communicate with others. 

Accessibility (1 hardware option, 2 software options)

In human-computer interaction, computer accessibility (also known as Accessible computing) refers to the accessibility of a computer system to all people, regardless of disability or severity of impairment. An input device can be used in order to enhance accessibility for special needs students by making it easier for them to input data into the computer (ie. using keyboards etc.)

An example of a hardware option: Braille Embosser 
A Braille Embosser is an impact printer that converts text from the computer into tactile Braille cells. Braille Embossers use braille translation software on a computer so that the document can be embossed. This is useful to students who are blind. This helps them to be able to function in a normal classroom using a computer just like everyone else, only they have access to the Braille Embosser which will help them to be able to print out what they were writing on the computer. This would be useful to have in special education classrooms, especially in high school as well as in school libraries and public libraries in order to give blind students access to a hardware option of accessibility in technology.

An example of a software option: Screen Magnifiers

A screen magnifier is a piece of software that allows a computer's graphical output to present enlarged screen content. It is a type of assistive technology that allows visually impaired students with functional vision participate in normal activities using a computer. For student that are visually impaired, this software can be such a great tool for them academically because it opens the door to being able to use the computer in ways they could not before due to the lack of sight. It is difficult enough to see a computer screen let alone have a disability that makes it even harder. This device can be used in the classroom so that students who are visually impaired can have access to the use of computers.

Another example of a software option: Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Optical Character Recognition, also known as OCR, is the mechanical or electronic translation of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. It is used to convert books and documents into electronic files. This type of software makes it possible for programs like the text-to-speech device that has been made famous by Stephen Hawking. Using Optical Character Recognition a student with disabilities can convert images into text which may help for someone who is visually impaired. These tools can be utilized in a classroom in order to help facilitate learning for someone who is visually impaired. 

For other AAC devices in Technology see:

Allison's Blog: I found that the "Theme Boards" you had were very similar to my posting on "Choice Boards" only instead of using graphics with choices for the activities these students would do, this showed themes using pictures of what subjects they would be discussing. These are great devices!

Ana's Blog:  I would have never thought that Sign Language could be a low-tech device for this assignment! Once you really think about how sign language uses visually transmitted patterns to convey the same message to someone with a hearing disability as the English language would to someone without that disability, it makes a lot of sense.

Journal #6

Google+ : The Complete Guide

Parr, B. (2011, July 16). Google+: The complete guide. Retrieved from

Summary: This article discussed the many features of Google+ and had an in depth explanation of its various tools and services it offers as a competitive social networking site to Facebook.  The author started by discussing many of the features including an overview of why people were choosing Google+ as opposed to Facebook. Some deemed it as a much cleaner way to selectively share data with others and having a much higher level of engagement. Some of the features of Google+ discussed in this article included Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Huddle (a group texting service), Circles (a friend management service) and Photos. He describes step-by-step exactly how to set up your profile and how to manage your account. At the end of the article, the author discusses what is next in regards to Google+. Be on the look out for a questions page (similar to Facebook questions) as well as Google+ games.

Q1. How could Google+ be a positive resource in the classroom?

A1. I think Google+ could potentially be a great resource in the classroom. It helps educators connect to each other and share resources and lesson plans, also a great way to get advice with tough academic issues. The only thing that teachers need to be aware of when using a site like this, is not to share too much personal information due to privacy issues, especially with students.

Educators- Google Plus is for You

Brogan, C. (2011, Sept 30). Educators- Google Plus is for you. Retrieved from

Summary: This article related Google+ back to education. He gave you examples on how to integrate this site into your classroom. He gave the idea to create a circle for your class and upload lesson plans, videos, interesting articles etc. Having students share documents, draw together on a collaborative whiteboard, or even check-in at locations for certain projects were some of the other ideas he discussed.

Q2. Is Google+ too technologically advanced for some classrooms?

A2. I have to say that the ideas that Brogan gave in his article seemed to be something aimed at a higher age group such as high school students. Google+ is definitely an advanced site and it would have to be explained in depth to students before teachers could implement it as a tool in their classes. This would take a lot of time, especially with students who may not have a computer at home or students with learning disabilities. It is a great idea to have Google+ as a resource, but these issues definitely have to be taken into account when deciding whether it is the best option to use between educators or to use it in teacher-student relationships. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Journal 7: My Personal Learning Network

A Personal Learning Network, also referred to as a PLN, is a way for learners to derive knowledge from people associated with a particular topic they plan on learning about through networking devices. Personal Learning Networks help students, teachers, and other learners grow in knowledge by sharing their current knowledge and resources with each other. In creating my PLN, I interacted with others related to education through sites like Twitter, Diigo, and a PLN site called, "The Educator's PLN." These resources will help me as a future teacher by creating an educational bridge between more experienced educators and myself, hopefully opening up the door to many useful resources that will help me to be a successful educator.

Twitter, an online social networking site, uses posts consisting of 140 characters or less to share resources, messages, and to connect with others. I have been using twitter as an educational tool to build connections with other educators and students interested in similar topics and to gain knowledge and resources from who I'm "following." I have also been using twitter to post interesting articles and links I think may be useful to my fellow classmates as well as other teachers out there. I chose to follow Carolgau, NMHS_Principal, Javafest, Farzindunning, and ChereeMcKean. All of these twitter users are educators interested in the advancement of technology in our education system. Most of them are also middle school teachers which is the grade level I am interested in. One of them is a Principal and I chose him because I wanted to see education from an administrators perspective. Twitter is not only a way to connect but it is a way to get active and participate by joining in on educational chats. My first chat occurred on October 27th at 8:30pm with #6thchat. This group is for 6th grade teachers who are looking for new ideas in the classroom, and to discuss various topics that reflect issues surrounding the 6th grade level. During my experience in the chat, these 6th grade teachers discussed many topics from books and helpful resources in regards to lesson plans for criteria in 6th grade to events happening at their schools to requests for qualified classroom and student teachers for grade 6. I found this chat to be a fantastic resource for 6th grade teachers! It was amazing how everyone seemed to know each other, even though it was just through a social networking site. They even welcomed new teachers via tweet into their chat.

Diigo is a social bookmarking website which allows people to bookmark and tag their favorite pages on websites. I am currently using Diigo to follow other Diigo users and view their tagged sites in hopes of building educational knowledge from their resources. I am following Angela Maiers because she has been a teacher for many years and specifically works in literacy for children. I thought she would be helpful with ELL students which I know I will have in my future classroom. I am following Christina Freitas because she did her undergrad in Psychology (just like me) and has her multiple subjects credential from USD. She is currently working on her master's in education and I thought she would have a lot of current information regarding education. I am following Nikki Robertson because she is passionate about new technologies and applying them to the classroom which will be useful once I become a teacher. I am following Tim Lauer because he is a Principal and like I had previously stated, it is nice to see what our administrators are putting out there into the social networking world and what resources they have to offer. Lastly, I am following Tom Whitby because he founded #edchat as well as The Educator's PLN so he is an amazing source of knowledge regarding education. On my Diigo site I tagged Building a PLN, The Educator's PLN, The Innovative Educator, PLN: Your Personal Learning Network made easy, and Personal Learning Networks are Virtual Lockers for Schoolkids. I bookmarked these sites with the PLN tag because they all shared ways in which to encompass your PLN into your educational plans for the classroom. They gave tips on starting your PLN, building it, and then helping it to grow.

I joined the Educator's PLN, a digital discussion forum aimed at supporting PLN's for educators. After doing so, I posted a badge for the website onto my blog. I did this so that my fellow students may click on my link and expand their PLN through my networking. On the Educator's PLN website, I read a blog post entitled, "iPod touch/ iPad Integration with School Administration Software" by Dov Emerson. This post discussed the idea of integrating the iPad with school management software and "Power School" in order to have easy access to student records, write reports, and input notes and observations quickly. Emerson talked about possibly creating an app for this. He had many people respond who liked the idea and gave feedback on how to go about doing this. I liked how Emerson integrated technology into a part of education that no one a couple years back would have ever thought possible. It's nice to see administration trying to find innovative ideas in technology relating to education.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Journal #4

“It’s in the Bag” (NETS-T 1,2&3)

Basham, J. D., Perry, E., & Meyer, H. (2011). It’s in the bag. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(2), 24-25. Retrieved from

Summary: This article discussed the concept of a digital backpack. A digital backpack is just that: a backpack filled with digital tools that your students can use in order to enhance their digital experience. There are three types of learning devices found in these backpacks: foundational technology, modular technology, and instructional support materials. Most teachers overlook the importance of instructional support materials, which in reality is deemed most important. The article goes on to discuss an example of using digital backpacks for elementary, middle school, and high school and gives a lesson plan for each level. The digital backpack provides a great method for engaging students across different content areas.

Q1. How would you use a digital backpack in your classroom?

A1. I would use a digital backpack in order to enhance the learning experience in the classroom. I really liked the example given in the article for elementary level students, where they took a field trip to the zoo with their digital backpacks. They were instructed to design a way in which to make the zoo more kid friendly. I think incorporating technology into fun and interesting lesson plans engages the kids and encourages them to learn how to use these devices.

Q2. How are you going to overcome technological obstacles when it comes to getting comfortable using digital tools inside a digital backpack?

A2. I would take my issues and concerns to my PLN on twitter and ask advice and seek to find resources that they may be willing to share that will increase my knowledge of how to use these tools. 

Journal #3

“Students Dig up Dirt to Learn about Internet Safety” (NETS-T 4)

Morehouse, J. (2011). Students dig up dirt to learn about internet safety. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(2), 34-35. Retrieved from

Summary: This article was about internet safety and how much of your personal information is easy access to the average web user. The author goes into detail of a lesson plan involving data mining. In this exercise, students try to “dig up dirt” on their teacher using the internet. Later, they select an individual (complete stranger) over a social networking site from another town and try to find out as much information as possible about them. Most students found way more information than expected. At the end of the lesson, the teacher had them sign into their Facebook accounts and showed them how to change their privacy settings. He gave them an option right then and there to change whatever they wanted, and everybody did. It was a great lesson on not realizing how much you are putting out there for the world to see when you use sites like Facebook.

Q1. How are you going to prevent your students from “digging up dirt” on your private life?

A1. It is student nature to try to dig up dirt on their teachers. They will try to find anything they possibly can that may come across as controversial or unexpected by a teacher. The important thing to note is that when you become a professional, all of your online social networks have to then become professional as well. Having a private Facebook that cannot be accessed by anyone who is not your “friend” is one way. For me, I am too skeptical of that. I have way to much faith in the technological skills of the students and feel that you should never put anything on the internet that you don’t expect your boss to see. That is my rule of thumb, whether it is “private” or not.

Q2. Would you ever implement a lesson plan about data mining?

A2. I found this lesson plan to be quite entertaining. It got the message across to the students in a way that they could understand and relate to. That is important when dealing with issues that don’t seem like a threat to the student. You want them to see it from an outside perspective looking in. This lesson does that. However, I am not quite sure I feel comfortable prying into innocent user’s Facebooks. I am old school like that.