Friday, December 11, 2009

Second Life Learning?? No Way!!

Lately there has been a lot of dicussion amoung the educational community about using virtual worlds and second lifes to teach students in the classroom. Honestly though after doing a bit of research on the topic I am not a big fan of this possible advancement. The only benifit I truly see in adding this to classrooms is that it will possibly engage odler students more since the learning is in online computer game form instead of texbook reading and such. (yes we are in a more technilogical world and are dealing with a more tech savy generation but there are other ways to use tehcnology in the classroom).
There are a few reasons behind my frowning upon virtual world learning:
1) From the small amount of research I did I didn't find anything done in the virtual classroom that could not be done in the real life classroom. You can still perform experiments, go to art museums, watch movies, and simulate events within the classroom. Sure some of it may take some creative thinking but the students will surely benifit from it. Probably even more since it is hands on activities that can be physically intereacted with.
The only exception would be Google Earth. This is an amazing resource for teachers to use and can defiently give students a better picutre of what they are learning about (almost like being there). Other cirtual worlds however all look virtual and fake so I do not see how it is like being there.
2.) Though most people are saying that a virtual world will help with communitcation and collaboration skills I surely do not. I feel that virtual worlds will actually hinder communication skills! Students will start becoming more accostumed to talking with people via computer and not learn how to talk with people face to face or over the phone. hate to break it to you but I-interviewing for a future job is not going to be through a virtual office! Thus I think that virtual worlds are actually hindering face to face communication.
3.) Lastly I think that there are still way to many dangerous poeple and sites out there that can be easily found by students in their spare time. Though you as an educator might not use any of the risker sites there is nothing stopping students from finding them on their own; espeically if you have already provided them with the tools on how to start a virtual life. (Yes students will likely do this on their own anyways but you have increased the likelyhood by already introducing them to virutal worlds - saying that they are good). I just feel that there are way to many risks still before we as educators can take this giant step.

Now I am not against second life in the classroom 100%. If done with a more mature group of students (about highschool age) every once in a while it might be alright to incorporate it as a variety piece. As for doing a lot of teaching through the virtual world..... I say NO WAY!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Softwware

While exploring online for some educational software to use in my future classroom I kept coming across a classroom management software called LanSchool.
Here is the URL for the official software website:

For those that don't know this software helps teachers with classroom management when there is work done on computers. It mainly allows the teacher to observe the students' work on the computers, block certain websites, as well as allowing students to interact with their peers and teacher while working on the computer. Their main website provides some simple but great information about their software and how to use it.

The only downside to this program is that it does cost some money. A couple hundred for the year was the average pricing (but it depended on how it was being used and the number of classrooms using it). There is a 30 day trail that teachers can use if they so choose. Overall though for the quality of the program the price was not horrible (but then again I did not compare it to other similar software).

I also found some reviews about poeple who used the software and all of them were positive; there was not one negative comment on this sotfware :)

I guess the only question that I have is if these kinds of software are truly helpful in the classroom? I have never heard of these kinds of software before and they sound interesting, but do they really work?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ning Site!!!

This is probably one of my favorite sites/discoveries thus far in my computers in ed class. It is a social networking site called Ning and it is free! It was simple to get started and really simple to personalize.

But what can a teacher use this for? It can be made into an interactive teaching site for the classroom, a place where students can interact with the teacher (great for sick days) while creating a place that is a safer than a facebook or myspace. Also it is a great site that parents can easily be updated with! I encourage all teachers to look into this site :)

Here is the link in case you want to preview a sample

Friday, October 9, 2009

Commenting link

here is a comment that I made on a fellow blogger's page about using different resources for paper writing. ... h-process/%&evalbase64_decode_SERVERHTTP_REFERER.+&%/comment-page-1/#comment-1940

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Current news!

So I know this isn't exactly related to technology but I was wondering about what peoples thoughts were about the president's push for longer school years?

personally I have mixed feelings about this topic and i was wondering what others of you out there are thinking about it?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First impressions

So it is a few weeks into my online course and there is a mix of different thoughts and feelings that I have about the class. First off let me sat that material that the professor is interesting. For instance tonight I learned about Wiki textbooks that can be created and a portable library (essentially) called Kindle. I think that our culture is becoming a paperless one whether we like it or not. Are there any teachers that have used these technologies in their classroom? Have they been successful? (just curious). Overall the course has been more in depth and informative than i first expected it to be.
Though it is nice to not waste time going to and from a physical class every week, i feel that I would grasp the information (especially the readings) better than I am currently online. I guess I am a learned that has to incorporate an event into the learning new knowledge process. Also on the subject of the readings, I think I would learn more from them if the discussion questions incorporated them somehow.
The lecture podcasts on the otherhand are good. What a great way for teachers to record lessons, especially is a student is sick for a period of time, the teacher is able though podcasts to keep them up to speed. Are there any grade school teachers that have used podcasts before in their classroom? Just curious.
Though there are ups and downs the class overall has sparked my interest in technology and has given me quality information and ideas that I take with me when I enter the school as a teacher :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

- Welcome -

hey everyone!
Welcome to my blog! Join me as I learn about a variety of different technologies that can be incorporated into a teacher's curriculum. Hopefully my learning experience will also be a learning experience for those of you who read it (and maybe spark some ideas or get some neat tips). Enjoy!!