Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WiziQ & Global Cooperation

After exploring the WiziQ site http://www.wiziq.com/ I strongly believe that this tool could be used for any type of global cooperation project. The site offers virtual classes and tons of other unique possibilities. It encourages people to record and videotape themselves so they can share and learn information from other interesting people, such as teachers, professionals or even their own peers. I think that students could use such site to have group presentations regarding important topics that can motivate them and give them the opportunity to discuss and share their thoughts with their classmates and even with other students from around the world. An idea that comes to mind would be asking a group of students from different classes to share a little bit about themselves and their culture and then sending that video-clip around the world to another class. Students from all over the world could exchange ideas, information, discuss other exciting topics and promote cultural awareness.

Global Cooperation Programs

The two global cooperation programs that I explored were The Global Schoolhouse and Epals. Both of these sited offered a tremendous wide variety of activities that can helps 21st century students around the world get connected and experience meaningful learning activities, as well as develop multi-cultural understanding. The purpose of Global Schoolhouse was to prepare students to become productive learners and offer students and teachers the chance to be a part of project-based learning opportunities. In which students can explore a diverse range of cultural topics and subject areas. Their main goal is to "help teachers understand how to use the internet to support education and collaborative learning around the nation." Epals is also a safe and productive site which offers students of all ages and from all over the world the opportunity to work together. "It has been specifically designed for primary-secondary use and it’s based on the latest research for effective internet-based learning." The purpose of this site is to offer authentic learning experiences and pedagogical approaches in which people can learn to understand real world concepts. What I loved so much about this site was the fact that it promotes computer communication tools, cross cultural learning, class projects, and the chance to interact with other students worldwide. Since I am a Spanish teacher I believe I could make good use of this tool in my classes. For example I would love it if my students could interact with other Spanish speaking students from Spain or South America and discuss how they feel about learning a new language or a new culture. Perhaps they could discuss important traditions or other important global issues which may be affecting them or will affect future generations. I think it’s a great idea to give our students the opportunity to connect to other students or teachers globally and together experience the power of "collaborative learning!"
Check them out…

http://www.globalschoolnet.org//index.html & http://www.epals.com/

Friday, March 20, 2009

Using videos in the classroom.

One of the videos that really grabbed my attention was the Microsoft Word Spanish Tutorial. This video demonstrated how students could write a Spanish paper using Microsoft word. It shows what steps you need to make to insert certain letters, accent marks and up-side down punctuation. What I really liked about this site was the fact that the instructions were very clear and it showed viewers step by step what to do. As a Spanish teacher I constantly get students coming up to me asking me how to spell check their Spanish papers on Microsoft Word or how to add accents marks. Therefore I would absolutely suggest to my students to take a look at this tutorial which I believe could be really helpful to my Spanish students.... Check it out!!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Twitter in a classroom.

After reading several articles on what people think about “twitter.” I got a better understanding of how this social network works. In the article How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense by Clive Thompson he talks about the fact that twitter gives people the chance to get to know others just by reading their daily posts on what they are doing. He goes on by saying “monitoring the lives of total strangers is fun.” I guess in a way it gives you a better perspective of who your friends are, and what they are doing; people “begin to develop an almost telepathic awareness of the people most important to them.” I also got a chance to read articles on how educators can use this site to have students post links, questions and a chance to interact with other students. “This is a way to create a community of kids who then will write the longer pieces [like blog posts] for each other,” states Kati Ash in her article Educators test the Limits of Twitter Microblogging tool. In her article she explains how many teachers around the nation believe that twitter is constantly showing them new tools and better ways of doing things using technology. I personally believe that there exist a million ways educators could use twitter in their classroom. For example I would have my students communicate their reactions to the material we are studying in class, have them write updates on what they did during their weekend, share their thoughts on specific books or topics, share personal stories, as well as their studying techniques. I would also give the students the opportunity to get to know their classmates on a personal level as well as other kids around the nation (pen-pals). After reading several suggestions on how twitter could be incorporated in a classroom setting, I can’t wait to put their ideas into practice and see how well my kids could adjust to this network and make a good use of it.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reaction to tweets

Well I recently signed up for my twitter account, and so far I find it very similar to the social network of “facebook.” As I was searching around for people that I would share similar interests and ideas I came across very unique individuals. I notice that people post all sorts of “tweets,” some of which are very interesting and helpful and others not so much. People talk about absolutely everything, their careers, daily life routines, questions they might have, personal problems, etc. At first it was a little difficult to try to find people that use this social network for educational reasons, but I think I am getting the hang of it. I have actually found very interesting educators and I love reading their new posts and read what they have to say about certain topics that interest me. Can’t wait to continue searching and getting to know more people and learn something new from their “tweets”!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

RSS Feeds

After reading chapter five I learned a little bit more about what RSS Feeds are and how they serve as a great way to have access to new ideas and have access to useful information. I completely agree with the author when he states that “RSS is a technology that will change your life.” Well when I was searching for educational blogs, I found one that I really enjoyed and it definitely caught my attention. The blog talked about a technology teacher whose current job is to support other educators integrate technology in their classrooms, and promote “universal design for learning.” Most topics in her blog talked about technology, education, mission statements, and diverse instructions. The blog also offered a wide variety of resources, reading lists, and her favorite sites. I noticed that she also constantly posts new things she has learned from her own personal experience as well as what she has learned from co-workers and different workshops she has attended…well if you are interesting in checking out her blog, here it is, hope you enjoy it as much as i did.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Social Networking

I found this Spanish site and I thought it could be very useful for my students as well as myself. The site offers a wide variety of Spanish courses, many references which can help students study the Spanish language, it offers detail explanations and it gives students a chance to reflect on their own learning. I really liked the fact that this site can be helpful to every type of learner, whether you are a beginner or a fluent Spanish speaker. It also offers free Spanish videos, music, lesson plans, creative ideas, and active chat rooms...check it out.



A learner is like.....an USB flash drive!!

In today’s technological world I believe learners are like USB flash drives also known as "memory sticks." I think that now days students have the capacity to capture, restore and retrieve all types of information. If information is clearly organized learners can have the ability to make decisions and form connections which according to Siemens’ article "nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning, and the ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill." I completely agree with Siemens’ statement "How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized." I believe that learners are like an USB flash drive because there is always room for more information and eventually more room for knowledge to grow and expand. In a way I view their brain like a filing folder, which contains all these "documents" that can consists of ideas, valuable information, personal experiences, questions, etc. I think that students are able to capture information at all times and be able to either learn something new from it or make personal reflections which will help them evaluate it and from there, develop their personal academic/educational growth.

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, Retrieved January 27, 2009

The Changing Nature of Knowledge
Retrieved January 27, 2009.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Three ways I could use blogs in my class!

1. As a teacher I think communication is extremely important that’s why I believe that my students could use blogs to communicate their ideas, their questions or concerts with their peers as well as their teachers. For example I thought that Mrs. Burgos’ video was a great way to introduce herself to all of her students. I believe that it gave us the chance to get to know a little more about her and her expectations. I personally would love to have the opportunity to be able to communicate with my students in a similar way. For example I would love if during the summer I could create a video blog for my students to view and get to know me before classes would actually start. I would also like if they could share their reactions to my video or simply share something about them by creating their own personal video presentations.

2. Now days it is very common for kids all over the world to communicate with their peers using “myspace” or “facebook”, so it’s pretty clear that most kids are interested in today’s technological world. I think teachers could incorporate technology/blogs into their students’ daily school activities. For example as a 6th grade teacher I am aware of several book clubs that are taking place where I work and I think it would be wonderful if students could have the opportunity to communicate their reactions or feelings towards the book that they are reading. Students could share their opinions or talk about interesting facts they read. I actually have a little cousin who started her own blog based on a very well know book called “twilight.” Her blog talks about why she loves the book so much, how she and her friends can relate to the story and the characteres, all her friends share pictures and pretty much discuss their favorite parts of the entire book series.

3. At my school we have a blog called “parent portal” which gives parents the opportunity to check on their children’s school work. Every Friday teachers update their blogs and post new grades or new assignments that parents should be aware of. Teachers not only post their student grades on the parent portal but also attach helpful files/sites that can help parents know how they can assist their kids. In my case I post how I grade my students, my expectation as a Spanish teacher and I also have the Spanish curriculum, which explains each topic, what my students will be learning and when there will be any sort of assessments.