Blasting Off……

Hmmmm, my final post before I blast off  back to the real world and I am not sure what to say. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning………..

My views on the digital/cyber world and technology

Those that have been reading and following my blog would be aware of my views regarding this topic and are probably wondering if my stance has changed in any way over the course of the unit?

Over the past few days I have made comments on my classmates blogs in reference to my views on technology. In particular please see Rom’s blog to read my thoughts.

Basically I am still anti-technology, however there are different levels of my views. I embrace technology if the change is positive and enhances our learning and everyday lives, however I am against technology that contributes to waste (physical and time) and possible health problems. Also, the snapshot of Web 3.0 given to us by Mark, really disturbs me with the privacy issues that could arise. I am also against all the virtual worlds and people relying on mobile devices that will control a large portion of their lives. Living in a virtual world considerably reduces a persons connection to the real world and I can foresee major problems with this.

Also, you can see that people now are so obsessed with their technology, especially phones, they cannot have a holiday without their mobile devices. When a person takes a holiday they should leave behind all that they needed the holiday from and that is their mobile phone, laptop, etc. It is bizarre when people are updating their Facebook constantly while on holiday, that is not a holiday! Take photos, video, etc and show everyone when you get back. Tell them about all the good and bad experiences when you get back. Then you would have had a relaxing time.

Everyone laughs at my mobile phone, but hey that is what it is, a phone! When phones started to become everything but a phone that is when the beginning of the lack of personal contact began and why people have their faces constantly glued to them!

What do I see as positive with technology? Globalisation has been the winner as technology evolves. We are able to connect to parts of the world we may never have known existed before which is fantastic for those who may never have the opportunity of travel.

There have been some wonderful discoveries in science and medicine through technological advancement and in the future we will see more of these great breakthroughs.

Technology is of great benefit in education, if used correctly and responsibly. Technology should never replace traditional pedagogy and educators need to be aware of this when developing their lessons. It needs to remain a tool only.

I particularly liked Mary’s comment when she compared the two levels of technology we experienced with from our incursion and excursion. Both are using technology, however one had a more balanced pedagogy. It is great that students can have an education with the level of technology available to them at an educational institution such as the one we visited, however is that beneficial to them? What if a student was suddenly removed from that environment after being there for a number of years, and placed in an educational environment where there was little or no technology. Would that student still learn at their same level? Would they know how to do their school work without any technology? It brings me back to learning basic skills. A number of shop assistants are from the generation where maths was taught with assistance of calculators and other devices and they do not know how to give back change unless the register works it out for them.

My interaction with technology and Web 2.0? As I have explained before I love to use my laptop for typing as I learnt to touch type on a manual typewriter in the mid 1970’s. I have embraced this technology. I don’t have any issues using a computer as I consider myself a mechanical, rather than creative person. I like structure. Word, Excel and PowerPoint and databases are applications I can use without instruction.

What I find difficult are the creative Web 2.0 tools, such as a numbers of the ones we have been introduced to in this course and ones I had to learn when at University previously such as Photoshop, Premier, Dreamweaver, etc. Learning to use this blog on my own has been a nightmare for me, very time consuming and frustrating. I am having the same experience with the Wiki.

I think I have said enough on my views with technology, etc. I will move onto another topic for my final reflection……………

The Unit and did I learn anything?

As I have said before I welcome any learning however technology units are also very difficult for me but I do my best and that is all we can do.

The unit was full of information, a lot of it very new to me and others in the class. It was a case of information overload, and I am sure others in my class will agree!

Mark was great, however I feel the unit could have been structured to be more hands on when talking about some of the tools and applications. Yes, we did have a lab session but I feel it should have been a more lab/lesson style with Mark instructing and demonstrating to the whole class as one. This would have been more beneficial than us having to cope with tools we are unfamiliar with. Previously when learning digital technologies that is how it was structured and I found it more engaging and motivated me. I realise though, we had a lot to cover and it may not have been practical, however that is my view on the unit.

Some of the tools I liked for future teaching are;

  • Interactive applications such as Vokis, Digital Storytelling
  • Discussion boards and blogs
  • Folksonomies

The next section will be all about blogging…………………..

What did I think about doing this blog? You read my comments at the beginning and they haven’t changed. I wasn’t happy about doing it and still not. Mark, I hope that doesn’t  drop my mark from a possible credit to a pass or worse from a pass to a fail!

I do know the benefits of using a blog in the classroom and will use them if I need to however I found it time consuming and frustrating. So far to this point in this post I have spent over 12 hours! Yes 12 hours and I still haven’t finished as this is my final post I will need to check the whole blog for spelling and grammar and add anything else I need to ensure I receive a passable grade. I will then have to read my classmates blogs and make comments on them. Once all that is done (probably sometime early hours of Sunday morning) I then have to get onto my Wiki which will take all my waking hours (there won’t be ANY sleeping hours this weekend) to do and still won’t be completed in time!

I realise if I was blogging with my students I would most likely use a more simple one such as Kidblog and I wouldn’t be writing as much, plus I wouldn’t be getting assessed on it!

Some of you may be aware this is my second attempt at the blog as I tried to do my blog in a kind of ‘alternative’ style, however that ‘voice’ wasn’t working so I changed to this one. I am not sure what  my ‘public voice’ style is supposed to be, all I have done is write what comes out of the connection between my fingers and my brain! As I can type very quickly my fingers sometimes get ahead of my brain and the confusion starts! Tiredness is also a factor!

Hmmmmm, feedback from my peers and Mark???? Sniffle, sniffle, sob, sob, my peers don’t seem to love me that much as I don’t have a lot of comments from different people. I seem to have the same people comment each time. I have read everyone’s blogs which takes a lot of time, and tried to comment on them all, even if it has only been once or twice.

If I assign a blog as an assessment in my teaching I would stipulate the students are required to comment on 2 blogs each week, however the blogs would have to be different ones each week and not just the one’s of their friends. That way the student is reading all the blogs in the class which would be beneficial in understanding other people’s perspectives. They may even find the kids in their class they don’t really like, or know much about, have something to say that may change their view on that child. It may promote better interpersonal relationships within the class. It could even help with bullying issues if children know how others think and feel.

I have found the blogging experience interesting as you find out how others think and write. In a primary school environment children see each others written work and have open discussion, however when you are a student at a tertiary level you engage in discussion during tutorials but never get to read their essays, etc as when we get older we are more reluctant to share written work amongst our peers unless it is required for assessment, therefore seeing the writing styles of my peers has been fascinating.

The look of someone’s blog and how they have customised it also gives an another insight into their personality. All the blogs are so different, yet they are all great. The style and look of everyone’s blogs matched everyone’s personality, from how I know each person. There were two blogs however that I was surprised with. Both great blogs but totally different to how I imagined each would be represented.

Each blog has given me ideas to use in my future teaching. I hope everyone leaves them as public and doesn’t delete their blog so we can refer to them if need be.

I found there were some things I couldn’t do with my blog. Madison has her delicious embedded into her blog, however I cannot get mine into my blog, even though I followed the instructions and there is a delicious widget with WordPress. That is one to the disadvantages of blogging. What you can do with it depends on what one you use. I also wanted to add the revolving earth, however with WordPress they only allow the maps or a button that takes you to the revolving earth website and that is not what I wanted.

I used the WordPress forum a lot for help and I mean a lot! The responses were very quick and the answers provided helped me a lot. Great job WordPress forum! The latest was the ZooBurst storybook at the end of this post. I couldn’t embed it into the blog no matter what I did so after about and hour or so I contacted WordPress through the forum. I received responses immediately and after 3 or 4 instant messages the problem was fixed. One of the members converted the code for me so I could embed. Very hi tech stuff, way above my head!

I wanted to do a Storybird like others have so I could show I could do one but after about an hour (see what I mean by some technology being time consuming) I couldn’t figure out how to make a book (Word, etc no problem but anything creative???????) so I checked cooltoolsforschools and found ZooBurst listed and had a go at a 3D book. Mark, please don’t assess  me on my story, it is a shocker! Definitely no aspirations to become a story writer! The book took me about 2 hours to do! They don’t have a lot of images for aliens, etc so it is pretty basic and my story writing is not great! It is cut off so to read it you need to click on the icon that says shows enter full screen mode, after you have pressed the play arrow. Read like a real book, start with clicking the exclamation marks above the characters from the left.

I was also wondering with the photos I included, the ones of my phone, etc, if they will come up when someone searches for images of phones, etc. That will be bizarre! They will think they have gone back in time! :)

All the sources of images used in my blog, except my personal ones, can be found by clicking on the image which will bring you to the site they came from. Some of the sites have information relating to the topic of my post where the image has been included. All the animated images at the beginning of each post came from tagged.com. Tagged is a social network site I belong to and members make tags for other members to use freely however they choose. I have asked permission from some of the designers and they are okay for me to use them. I have even designed a tag for anyone on the site to use. The alien ship blasting off at the top of this page is from a website with free animated gifs.

Finally, we were supposed to write only 200 words each post, however once I started writing sometimes I couldn’t stop. I don’t think any of my posts are 200 words. This one so far is over 2000 words! I find it easier to write 2000 words on a blog than to write 2000 words in an essay so maybe that is an idea for teaching? Students who find it difficult to write a formal essay may find the blogging platform less intimidating and easier to express their views? I also found you can become too obsessed with the blog and add too much to it. I suppose I tried to do a lot to prove to myself I could do some of the applications, even if they took me hours or days to do!

I think I should end here. I still have to check for errors, make any final changes and read my peers blogs! It will be a loooooooooooooooooooong night and day!

Purple Alien is blasting off now. She is leaving the cyber world and re-entering the real world. Hope to see you there! Take care and it was fun blogging with all the Out of this World Bloggers in this world……..

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