Thursday, June 25, 2009

Philosophy of Education

So, after many computer problems, and lots of procrastination, I finished my philosophy of education video. I had a difficult time deciding what I needed to say and how to articulate my beliefs, but it finally came together. I had to learn how to use a movie program, which was quite a challenge in itself. I believe I came up with an acceptable statement and made myself clear in my beliefs. It was quite the experience, but I feel I came out of it with a more clear vision of my philosophy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My personal IEP

IEP Reflection

For my Individualized Education Plan requirement in Education 632 at the University of Alaska, Southeast, I chose to learn the Windows Movie Maker program. Having never used the program before this class, I was quite unsure as to how to proceed, but dove right in and attempted to find my way around. It was sometimes frustrating, but when I was able to figure out the complexities of it, the feeling of accomplishment was exhilarating.
I began using the program for my philosophy video, but had difficulty with the computer so I gave it up for awhile. Needing to complete the second semester of the class by creating a digital story, I attempted to use movie maker again. The help topics aided my attempts to build my knowledge of the program, yet were somewhat difficult to navigate and I was unable to find the answers to all of my questions. The inability to find the answers I searched for caused me to revisit the program and attempt to figure out the program by trial and error. The most difficult aspect of the program, for me, was attempting to have an audio track and narration simultaneously. Again, through trial and error, I was able to discern the correct way to achieve my goal. A revised version of my digital story is available here.
As for using this program in the classroom, I believe it could be a very effective tool for learning by having students create projects and present them to their classmates. In this manner students will deepen their understanding of a topic, and aid their fellow students learn about what they have discovered. Many students will also learn how to use technology in their learning, not only by creating something, but also in doing research through knowing what a viable website to gather information is. I can see myself using this program in future classrooms as a way to motivate students to learn.

Lesson Plans

Monday, June 22, 2009

Digital Story--Refuge Rock

I chose an historical event that occurred on Kodiak Island as the basis for my digital story. This event is fairly well known among Alaskan historians, but for others it is obscure. This short video provides a synopsis on the events. I found this an effective way to increase my knowledge of both the event and using technology. This digital story could be used in the classroom as a way to inform students of the events in Kodiak Island history, as well as the nature of the Russian "invasion" of Alaska regarding their treatment of native peoples.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sven Haakanson, a local Alutiiq and renowned archeologist, regarding the incident at Refuge Rock and the archeological excavations taking place on the rock. The actual location of the rock was unknown until approximately 2002. The rock is located on the southwestern side of Kodiak Island, near the present day village of Old Harbor. I believe this is an important piece of history that can provide a different perspective of the arrival of the Russians to Alaska. I hope this story provokes thought among those who choose to view it.

Refuge Rock digital story
Story map

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Professional Online Community

I chose to join as a way to grow professionally and learn about issues related to education, nationally and statewide. This site offers many opportunities to learn about what is happening in the world of education through its forums, online chats, an e-newsletter and other various mediums. It is hard to pinpoint a specific portion of this site that has been most helpful since it has such a variety of ways to disseminate information to professional educators. The forums and chats are a great way to ask questions and get answers from those who have experience in the field. The e-newsletter and magazine are wonderful for their scope of information they provive regarding current trends in education and controversies relating to changes in policies and practices. I have found this site to be extremely helpful and would recommend it to others in the education world.

Thursday, March 19, 2009 This is the site for the National Archives and Records Administration. It provides documents, historic photos, and much more. It also has a section for teachers and has lesson plans and other information to aid teachers in using documents. This site is provided by the Yale University law school and contains a vast array of documents in law, history and diplomacy. It is useful to history teachers in the amount and variety of primary documents available for use, either in lessons or to direct students to for research. The Library of Congress website provides many useful resources, including lesson plans and resources, primary documents, music, films and much more. It also contains links to other resources for use in the classroom.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Assistive Technologies for Reading
by Ted S. Hasselbring and Margaret E. Bausch

This article discusses the use of technology to help students with learning disabilities read at grade-level. The authors suggest assistive technologies work in two ways, to offer reading support and reading intervention. This assistance provides a lifeline for students with learning disabilities and helps students feel successful in their learning. The two programs the authors focus on offer support which provides students with disabilities to become independent when reading grade-level material. The first program is text-reader software, called Read and Write Gold, and is in use by Kentucky's public schools. This software takes text and converts it to speech, which is customizable by individual students. It also provides writing assistance to lessen the labor involved in composing and editing a piece of written work by reading back portions of text when directed by the student. The second program, READ 180, is designed for older students and provides reading intervention by individualizing instruction based on the users abilities. It provides background knowledge for text, comprehension aid, and vocabulary instruction. While these tools are useful, it is still vital for educators to provide instruction in order for students to achieve positive results.

  • Assistive technologies act as a life-line for students with learning disabilities.
  • Learning disabilities interfere with students' abilities in grasping principles of literacy.
  • Reading support and intervention through computer based application aid students.
  • Classroom teachers must learn to quide and support students with disabilities in using computerized applications to ensure their academic success.
  • Teachers must provide excellent instruction as technology is simply a tool.

Assistive technologies are an excellent tool to aid students with learning disabilities. While the article focused on reading and comprehension, there are many more areas of instruction that assistive technoloy is useful. As educators, it is imperitive that we use every possible means to assist our students in their learning. We should be constantly on the lookout for tools to aid our students and guide them to success in their education. It is my hope that as technology advances, the ability to aid students with learning disabilities increases and becomes an integral part of their education.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Overdominance of Computers

by Lowell W. Monke

In this article, the author discusses the debate regarding computers as effective learning tools. While not completely dismissing the need for computers in education, he asserts the need to prepare students to be able to handle the power of high-tech tools wisely. In order to prepare students, they need to have strong inner resouces, such as good moral judgment and empathy. They need inner strength and life experience to balance the power of high-tech instruments. Without strong inner resources, students could use technology to destroy others sense of self and work with a only a few keystrokes. Balancing technology with real world experience is critical to helping students develop as ethical adults.

  • Ethical disciple is necessary to help students know how to flex their technical muscle.
  • Balance between the digital world and the real world is vital to create ethical adults.
  • Technology can create distance from the living world.
  • Students should learn how to examine technology's role in human affairs.
  • Schools must help students to develop their humanity, outside of the digital world.

Digital technology is a wonderful tool to assist teachers in educating students, but it must be balanced with contact to the living world. Too much technology distances students from the real world, and it is contact with others and the living world that helps to create compassionate, ethical adults. With the high-tech world constantly changing, and arising ethical situations, students need to understand what effect technology can have on humanity and the world. Teaching students to be ethical adults is a very important part of education, and as educators, we must take that role very seriously.