<![CDATA[Maggie Phillips - Electronic Portfolio - Blog]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 00:43:23 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[ITEC 7445 Thoughts and Reflection...]]>Wed, 02 May 2012 23:55:19 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/itec-7445-thoughts-and-reflection      Multimedia and Web Design for Education has been a course full of powerful learning experiences! Prior to taking this course, I honestly, put very little thought into the design principals of web based resources. I never thought about the insanely minute details that factor in to every single web design project. What type of text should be used? What colors are most visually appealing? How does layout impact readability? In learning about these design principals, through the ADDIE model, I have developed a new appreciation for all individuals involved in designing and building internet websites and resources. It takes a lot of thought and planning, but it makes such a difference! Through this course, I also learned about techniques that can be used to make digital content available to a diverse group of users. As an educator, knowing ways to increase accessibility to web based resources is incredibly valuable.
      One of the coolest components of this class was applying all of our learning in one expansive project. The Multimedia/WebQuest project required us to take all of our learning (design principles, multimedia resources, content knowledge, etc.) and apply it in a meaningful learning task. Taking all of these resources out of isolation and actually using them to build a WebQuest was a great way to enhance the learning experience. Not only was this a fantastic way to apply our course learning, it was relevant to our classrooms. We walked away from this learning experience with resources that can be used to enhance student learning. I’m incredibly excited that my students will directly benefit from this learning experience. I look forward to building more WebQuests in the future!
      In conclusion, this semester has offered many great opportunities to learn, grow, and step outside of my comfort zone. I am truly thankful for all of the knowledge and skills I gained through this course.

<![CDATA[Evaluating Equitable Access and Bridging the Gap]]>Sun, 22 Apr 2012 16:12:45 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/evaluating-equitable-access-and-bridging-the-gap          There is no question about the importance of technology in education… it’s a necessity. Not only does technology positively enhance student learning, it is becoming the foundation of global communication and exchange. As teachers, we have a responsibility to ensure that our students are prepared to succeed in a technology-dependent society. Equitable access to digital tools and resources is a vital component of developing twenty-first century learners. We must ensure that all students, regardless of all factors, have equal access to the available technology resources.
            Equitable access can be evaluated in two ways, the actual possession of resources and the ability to utilize these resources to their maximum potential. In schools across the United States, the actual possession of technology resources is the challenge. They do not have funding to support advanced technology in all schools. Sometimes, this means that lower performing schools do not have the same resources as higher performing schools. Elsewhere, the funding for technology is higher in at-risk schools, meaning that these schools have a more developed library of technology resources. In other schools, the technology is readily available, but access to these resources is not equal. While the resources are there, the students do not have the opportunity to utilize the technology to enhance learning.
         As previously stated, a school’s possession of technology resources does not necessarily mean that all students have equitable access. I work in an elementary school that has two laptop carts, a full computer lab, a set of iPads, 50+ Promethean Boards, and 3-4 computers in every classroom. Without question, my school has access to a vast library of technology. Unfortunately, not all students have equal access to these resources. Without going into specifics, the reality is that in some of the classrooms, technology is being maximized…while in others, it’s not being touched. Some students have the opportunity to utilize technology…some do not. For some teachers, technology is foreign, it’s different, and it represents a change which makes them feel uncomfortable. Part of ensuring equitable access needs to come in the form of professional development. Teachers need to be familiar with and comfortable utilizing these resources. We must prepare our teachers to be leaders in twenty-first century classrooms, ready to meet the needs of our technology dependent society. By teaching, guiding, and coaching our teachers, we can begin to bridge the gap in technology access.  
            The discussion of equitable access can go in a variety of different directions. For example, we could look at the access to technology within a school, whether the students have actual the opportunity to use available resources. Or, we could look at student populations. Do at-risk students have access to the same technology tools and resources that students in higher achieving schools do? Do students with special needs have technology accommodations and modifications to ensure that they can access these resources?  We could look at the factors that contribute to the digital divide. Is it because of a teacher’s fear or lack of technology training that prevents equal access? Is it that the value of technology as a tool to enhance student learning has not been appropriately established? Equitable access is a huge, multifaceted topic. To begin to address this, we must first acknowledge it. There is a digital divide. Ensuring equitable access is challenging, but it is vital!

<![CDATA[Culturally Aware Global Learners??? ]]>Sun, 15 Apr 2012 02:20:28 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/culturally-aware-global-learners          Are we preparing our students to be global leaders with a respect and awareness of cultural differences and diversity? Many would argue that we are not. The reality is that public education puts a great interest in measuring student success by evaluating academic achievement. This success is usually determined by students understanding of state specific standards. When reviewing the elementary level standards of most states, there is little, if any, mention of learning about or being exposed to different cultures. The state of Georgia, with the Georgia Performance Standards is a prime example of this trend. The most cultural awareness comes when students study the holidays celebrated in different cultures or review an isolated historical event from other civilizations.  It is an unfortunate situation when a student can tell you about all of the historical figures significant to the state of Georgia but cannot name former presidents or any world leaders. Or, when students know about all the habitats in the state of Georgia, but have no idea what states boarder Georgia or what lies beyond the United States. Without teachers that consciously expand upon and enhance the standards-based learning experiences, students can leave elementary school with a very limited awareness of diversity. Technology is an amazing way for teachers to broaden and deepen student awareness on every level.
                Gone are the days of learning about a culture by reading about it in a textbook. The internet has opened the doors to exploring the world in new and ever changing ways. In today’s classroom, students have access to more resources and information than ever before. Now, with the few clicks of a mouse, students can virtually visit cultures of the past and present. Students can explore ancient documents as if they had traveled back in time and can travel the world as if they were really there. Through a variety of national and international e-pen pal programs, students can engage in digital communication (text, audio, or video) with individuals across the globe, people that are different than themselves. As teachers, we have a responsibility to our students. We must open our minds to the diversity around us (domestically and abroad) and seek out learning experiences that will help our students develop a cultural awareness and sensitivity. The technology available through the World Wide Web is an amazing way to facilitate learning experiences that heighten the cultural sense of our students and expose them to people, places, things, and ideas that are different than what they have previously learned about or experienced.
                Last year, I had the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy. Aside from being the highlight of my entire teaching career, it was one of the most eye opening learning experiences of my life. One of the first things that Ron Clark said was that he was not preparing his students to be successful Georgia leaders. He explained that he was preparing his students to be the next global leaders. That resonated deeply within me. Clark has it right. We need to be preparing students to compete for jobs on a global scale. With technology changing at astonishing rates, it is highly likely that future jobs will be internationally competitive. Digital communication and interaction is going to make it possible to conduct business from anywhere in the world. Clark is preparing his students to lead the future. While he has the funding and resources to prepare his global leaders through first-hand international experiences, in the public school setting, we have to think more creatively. We have to think about how we, as educators, can harness the power of the internet to engage students in learning experiences that result in a deeper, global understanding. We can no longer simply allow students to learn about economics in other countries through a textbook…we have to take them there (virtually) and allow them to make significant economic decisions based on the cultural needs of an area. We can no longer teach about the humanitarian crises abroad by sharing an article, we need to engage students in meaningful experiences that allow them to become sensitive and empathetic to the needs of others. We need to facilitate learning experiences that debunk stereotypes and reduce prejudices. With the power of technology, we can do these things without leaving the walls of the classroom. Technology has the power to help develop the next global leaders… we have the find a way to make that happen!

<![CDATA[Teaching Internet Safety is Not an Option! ]]>Sat, 14 Apr 2012 21:24:34 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/teaching-internet-safety-is-not-an-option               Without a doubt, the internet is an amazing world of knowledge! The internet opens doors to learning that might not be otherwise possible. And, for our students, the internet proves to be a great place to explore and learn new things! With a few clicks of a mouse, students can explore history, visit new places, or research current trends. There is no question that our students can gain a vast amount of new knowledge through the internet. Unfortunately, not everything on the internet is appropriate or child-friendly. Teaching our children how to safely and appropriately harness the potential of the internet is an incredibly important task.
                With the emergence of the internet as a platform for the sharing of information, comes a need to thoroughly teach children about internet safety and to prepare them to appropriately utilize this resource. Students need to know how to safely search for information, how to evaluate the validity of resources, how to handle online interactions with others, and how to generally “stay safe” on the internet.  I view this as a vital component of preparing my students to be technologically savvy learners. Most teachers are fabulous at teaching state mandated standards. But, I think teaching internet safety and appropriate usage is more of a challenge, especially at the elementary school level. The internet is ever changing, and there are endless “what if” and “if…then…” situations that children need to be aware of and prepared for encountering.  I think as teachers, we must talk about the potential internet hazards and how to handle them, share engaging resources that support and facilitate internet safety, and monitor student usage closely. In researching, I found several resources that could be used to help prepare younger students to be safe connoisseurs of the internet.  The first is NetSmartz Kids, which has animated videos, games, and safe internet tips specifically designed for children. It’s interactive, engaging, and will provide students important information in a fun way. The FBI also has a great section for children’s safety, with the internet being an important component. It has an interactive comic strip, important safety tips, and other interactive features to keep children safe. Finally, I found a more blog-type resource, SafeKids, which addresses internet safety for elementary, middle, and high school aged students. Everything from cyber bullying to netiquette is included on this site. This is one that is great for parents, teachers, and students.  Ultimately, all these resources have one goal, to help students safely and appropriately use the amazing resources of the internet.    

We must prepare our students to be active, safe, and healthy users of the World Wide Web!

<![CDATA[Jing Jing...]]>Wed, 28 Mar 2012 01:13:58 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/jing-jingThrough my course work, I have discovered yet another awesome technology resource... JING! Jing allows users to record images and videos seen on their computer screen and instantly share them with others. While Jing does require a download (which can present a problem if you are trying to use it on a school district issued computer), it is remarkably easy to use. Once downloaded, Jing displays as a tiny sun image in the top corner of the desktop. By simply clicking on the sun’s rays, you can designate the section of the screen you wish to record. From there, with a few clicks of the mouse, you are recording the contents of your screen (and if you want, you can record your voice too!)  

I think Jing is an all around awesome resource. But, as an educator, I see it as being especially helpful. Jing could be used in the classroom for everything from oral reading fluency to providing commentary and feedback on written documents. It could also be used to enhance specific learning experience for students. Many times, there are step by step directions that I must give my students before beginning a technology-based project. For example, when creating a PhotoStory, I must go through the process of locating photographs, adding audio, and adding text. With Jing, instead of showing each student the necessary steps, I could record my screen, along with my verbal directions, and allow students to watch the recording (either whole group or individually). This would provide the directions effectively (visually and verbally) and ultimately maximize learning time. Another cool way to use Jing, would be to allow students to record their process for writing or problem solving. Students could document how they solved a problem or their ideas for writing on the computer, record them, and share instantly with the teacher or other students. Not only is this putting the technology into the hands of the kids, it would provide very valuable perspective into student learning and processing. Another way that Jing could be used in the classroom is to let the students create technology tutorials. This would allow students to share their learning with a larger audience and possibly help others learn a new technology trick. Again, this puts the technology in the hands of students for powerful learning experiences. 

Jing definitely provides an awesome and unique perspective on instant communication. Check out my first Screencast at http://screencast.com/t/rnRDigdcigJy

<![CDATA[Discovering SlideShare ]]>Mon, 26 Mar 2012 00:08:28 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/discovering-slideshare Wow…how did I not know about slideshare? This is an amazing resource for publishing and sharing presentations! With SlideShare, users create a free account and can begin uploading PowerPoint, Keynote, or PDF presentations immediately. The presentations can be made public, for sharing, or private for limited access. It’s incredibly simple to navigate and the content is uploaded quickly, making it quite efficient. Not only is it an awesome resource for sharing projects, but it’s a great way to locate presentations created by others.

As I was exploring the vast library of presentations on SlideShare, I came across some very interesting, very humorous, and very insightful presentations. One really interesting and informative presentation I encountered was titled, “Did You Know That?” In this presentation, the author shared numerous, little-known facts about a variety of subjects. Who knew that elephants can’t jump? That all polar bears are left handed? That a duck’s quack doesn’t echo? Did you know that the body’s strongest muscle is the tongue? All of these quite interesting facts came from that presentation…lots of learning! The funniest presentation I discovered was “Funny Interview Answers,” which shared absolutely hilarious responses to a variety of interview questions. Reviewing this project was a welcomed escape from my grad school work! Finally, I came across a quite informative presentation on the History of Mathematics. In this presentation, the author shares the vast historical roots of mathematics. I learned a lot about the base-ten and base-twenty numeration system from this presentation. In browsing SlideShare, I realized that not only does it have a wealth of resources focused on specific topics; it has a wide variety of resources (covering so many different topics and subjects.)

I think SlideShare is going to be a great resource to use in the classroom. First, I can see this website as being a great place to locate content specific presentations. I am always looking out for websites that have presentations that can be used to enhance student learning. Whether finding a presentation to use in a lesson or finding a presentation that students can access for independent research, this could definitely be used to enrich instruction. I can see SlideShare being used to locate, review, and share professional development presentations. Educators have the ability to instantly access a vast array of presentations focused on specific learning topics. Not only is this convenient, but it offers a variety of topics and information. I also think this would be a great way for students to share their learning with others. My third graders frequently create PowerPoint presentations to share their learning. With SlideShare, they can upload their work (with privacy settings) and share with other students, the teacher, or their parents. It provides a platform for true communication of knowledge and sharing.

Excited to discover this awesome Web 2.0 tool and can’t wait to use it in the classroom!!! Check out my first SlideShare project, Exploring Glogster.

<![CDATA[Life Made Simple with Google Docs]]>Sat, 24 Mar 2012 02:06:36 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/life-made-simple-with-google-docs If there is one Web 2.0 resource that I could not live without, it would definitely be Google Docs!  This amazing, and completely free tool functions as a word processor that allows for simultaneous collaboration among users. In Google Docs, a user creates a document and has the opportunity to share that document with others, who can freely interact with the document (add elements, edit, revise, delete, etc.) at the same time. I find Google Docs very easy to use and incredibly convenient. Leave it to Google to create the most popular, free, Web 2.0 word processor…I would expect nothing less.

Google Docs has been very helpful to me as a student and as a teacher. As a student, I use Google Docs to generate the majority of my text-based documents for assignments, projects, and blog posts. Being able to access these documents from any computer at any time has been a major convenience. More importantly, however, I have been able to use Google Docs to collaborate with fellow students. Whether it is engaging in collaborative research projects or developing/maintaining coursework calendars, having the option to simultaneously update the document has been so helpful. As a student, this is one of very few web-based tools that has been helpful individually and collaboratively. In addition, Google Docs has been helpful to me professionally. One way I have used Google Docs is to create a grade level spreadsheet of students and their quarterly benchmark assessments. My team members and I can access this spreadsheet from any location, on any device, at any time. We have also created documents with lists of resources (like links to FlipCharts and PowerPoints) that are constantly being expanded and edited. It promotes collaboration by allowing us to share/pool our resources. Again, the ability to simultaneously update has proven to be invaluable with these practices.

One of my technology goals this year is to engage students in collaborative editing of writing. With Google Docs being so easy to use, I felt that this would be the best resource for the task. For the past several months, my students have been exploring collaborative editing through Google Docs. While the content and quality of their editing and revisions isn’t of the highest caliber, it reflects their growing comfort with this web tool. I look forward to further expanding the usage of this resource with students.

<![CDATA[Classroom 2.0 and Beyond]]>Sat, 24 Mar 2012 01:39:44 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/classroom-20-and-beyond Social Media is a rapidly growing component of educational technology. The number of connections being built among educators and students, on social networking websites catering to education, is increasing at an astonishing rate.  As a frequent user of Twitter and Facebook, I was excited to learn about another networking site, designed specifically for educators, Classroom 2.0. This website hosts over 45,000 users from across the globe with a focus on educational technology. Not only was this site very secure (it required account approval), it was easy to navigate and user friendly. In browsing the discussion forums, I came across many topics of interest. In one discussion, I read the dialogue between users about Interactive White Boards. The debate focused on which device, Promethean or Smart, was more effective and efficient. I found that every participant contributed a valid point and an interesting perspective. Sometimes, on discussion forums, users encounter irrelevant, emotion-filled comments. This was the complete opposite. Users were engaged in productive and meaningful discussions. I was definitely impressed by the quality of the collaboration and ideas exchange. As a teacher, I see this as being a great resource for professional learning. Not only is it a place to gather and share ideas, users can browse topics of interest for learning. Classroom 2.0 provides a safe place for educators to unite in collaborative practices related to educational technology.

Edmodo is another social media site that I have been using recently. Like Classroom 2.0, Edmodo is designed for education. Edmodo, unlike Classroom 2.0, unites students and teachers on a safe platform for communication. For the students, I have found that this is a far better use of social media than Facebook or Twitter. Because this is a more secure platform, and it allows teachers to control content, it seems like a great way to connect students and teachers beyond the classroom walls. As more of my students begin to join Edmodo, the interest and excitement with this social networking site seems to be growing. I think usage of this site will continue to expand, and I look forward to a time when using Edmodo is a common practice for all students.

<![CDATA[Video Sharing...It's a Wonderful Thing!]]>Sun, 18 Mar 2012 01:14:51 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/video-sharingits-a-wonderful-thing Video sharing is an amazing concept! With a few clicks of a mouse, individuals have access to a constantly expanding database of videos. With numerous video sharing sites, like YouTube and TeacherTube, users can sort through videos quickly and easily and can pull out specific segments.  As a teacher, I find the concept of video sharing especially valuable. I use video clips on a daily basis to enhance lessons and to increase engagement. One challenge that I frequently face is that I find meaningful video clips on sites that are blocked by the school network. I often have to download the video, save it to a secondary device, and reload it on the computer. Not only is this process lengthy, it is not always successful. For this reason, I primarily use the smaller video clip databases of TeacherTube and United Streaming.

Zamzar is a revolutionary website that allows you to convert files online, for free! Not only is it a free resource, it doesn't require users to download any software. The discovery of this awesome site is certainly going to help me bring more of these YouTube videos to the classroom. I have now successfully converted a video using this program (and it was really easy!!) The timing of finding Zamzar is impeccable! On Friday, we went on a field trip to the Vulcan Rock Quarry in Kennesaw, Georgia. The students got to venture into the giant pit as we explored mining, aggregates, and excavation. We actually had to leave the facility slightly because they were planning a large explosion in the excavation process. Because no visitors could be on the premises when the actually detonation occurred, the students only got to see the set up and preparation. They were all disappointed about not getting to see the actual explosion. When we returned to the school, I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a video clip of the rock excavation explosion. I knew there would be video clips on YouTube, but with such restricted usage, I was unable to access it at school. So, I have now converted this YouTube clip, using Zamzar and will be able to show it to the students on Monday. Thankful for the perfect timing of this resource!!

Check out the video that my students will see. It's an underwater rock excavation explosion. Unfortunately, because I don’t have WeeblyPro, I can’t actually embed the video clip here… but I can link it! Enjoy!

<![CDATA[Exploration: Podcasts]]>Sat, 17 Mar 2012 20:44:17 GMThttp://maggielphillips.weebly.com/blog/exploration-podcastsPodcasts are an amazing form of informative digital media. With vast diversity in topics and perspectives, podcasts present focused, content specific information to a wide range of users.  Users can access these audio and video podcasts online to listen to/view immediately or to download onto other device (iPod, MP3, etc). The process of locating and accessing podcasts is very simple, with many websites and programs being devoted to hosting podcast databases.

I must admit that, until this course, I have not accessed podcasts related to education. While I tend to enjoy researching instructional strategies, techniques, and ideas, I have not yet used podcasts as a source for teaching information or perspective. In the past, I have accessed podcasts prepared and released by my church. These podcasts, released weekly, reinforce that which is taught on Sunday and offer additional thoughts and perspectives. Through this assignment, my eyes have been opened to the extensive educational podcasts that are available. 

I started my survey of educational podcasts through the Learn Out Loud website. This website is designed for podcasts that can “teach something.” Initially, I came across a podcast titled Tech Teachers Podcast (perfect for someone studying Instructional Technology, right!?) Unfortunately, I found this podcast to be disjointed (lots of unrelated information) presented by two people that seemed unprepared. While at times, they offered interesting insight, I kept wishing that I could just read the information. The presenters were spent time verbally stalling and often talked in circles. Next, I decided to explore NPR’s Education Podcast. Here I found more relevant and useful information presented in a clear and coherent manner. Because I enjoyed this podcast so much, I subscribed to the feed using iTunes. Now, I will be able to access these podcasts quickly and easily each week, straight from my iPod or iPad. 

I am very excited to begin subscribing to educational podcasts that will entertain me when reading isn’t an option!