Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 3 - Current Technologies/Career Use

Since creating my very own blog, I have been running ideas in my head about how to incorporate the learnings from Kins 710 into my former (you never know when you'll need to return), current, and future careers.

Currently as a fitness instructor, setting up a blog for fitness instructors and those that take our classes would be a great networking tool. This would enable us to give feedback/ideas to each other. Although I'm linked to many instructors and members via Facebook, a blog would be geared to fitness as a main topic. Twitter would be a great motivation/maintenance tool by sending out tweets of reminders to incorporate fitness into your day, an encouraging thought, a class reminder, or a link to a quick, healthy receipe.

Formerly as a high school instructor/coach, blog as a journal versus a note pad and paper would be emensely handy. Not only would more students participate, but it would be easier to grade/comment! Although Facebook is too broad, a blog would also be nice to communicate with students the days lessons and encourage reflection/feedback as homework. Twitter homework reminders and important school function reminders. Google Docs is amazing for all necessary preparation needed that requires any pc documents - no flashdrive/email attachments needed. Bloglines/Google Reader would be great for those assignments that require an acquisition of internet research.

Future college fitness instructor would be able to incorporate all the above into the classes' daily needs. By being able to see how my former and current positions would benefit from the learned technology, the coming together of both worlds would be technologically amazing. I would be able to incorporate everything from Tweets to blogs to Google Docs to Bloglines/Google Reader into my career. Not only would this technology make teaching easier, it would make it more fun!

Week 3 - Web 2.0 Awards

Well, I already use/have tried some of the sites that got awards. Such as: Google Maps, Craigslist, MyHeritage, Zillow, Facebook, Google Earth, MySpace, and - thanks to this class - Google Docs, Twitter & Flickr.

Since I've already explored the above, I decided to check out the books' websites. I've been in need of suggestions for interesting books and was hoping to find something user friendly that allowed me to search for books that I didn't yet know I wanted to read. Lulu came the closest. It offered a category of Literature and Fiction books (what I was looking for) and sub-categorized it by Best-Seller. It also provided a nice description of the novel as well. The only downside was that the books are so recent my local library doesn't yet carry most of them.

Week 3 - Google Docs

I LOVE Google Docs! There are so many ways to incorporate it into teaching. You can post presentations that absent students may have missed so that it is their responsibility to get the information (presentation - post it to class blog); you can use it for grading (spreadsheet - able to access from anywhere); you can use it as a word doc (ie sample paper that is due or any pertinant information). It is like having all of your pc documents anywhere! No bringing along your flash drive or sending a doc via email just to save it to the computer your working on. Then to have to send it back and save it to the original computer. It is just fantastic!

You can find my presentation here! It is short (only 3 pgs), but you'll get to see my little man!

I did have trouble embedding the code into this post. Any suggestions?

Week 3 - RSS & Bloglines

I like the idea of information coming to me rather than me searching the endless world wide web for information. Since I don't frequent too many blogs, I did have trouble narrowing down what exactly I wanted to add.

Public access to my bloglines account is

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 2 - Social Networking

"At its bare essentials, a social network consists of three or more entities communicating and sharing information. This could take the form of a research coalition, a Girl Scout troop, a church, a university, or any number of other socially constructed relationships" (Morrison, 2008).

Looking at the bare essentials of a social network, Facebook falls along the same lines as a church group or health club. Many of those that I communicate with on Facebook are my 'Facebook friends'. Although I knew them in previous social settings, I currently don't see or communicate with them in any other format.

"[In the wake of t]he mass murder at Virginia Tech on 16 April 2007...students and peers notified each other via e-mail. [Other] students at other schools used Facebook to ascertain the status of their friends..." (Morrison, 2008).

Like those affected by the Virginia Tech mass murder, my circle of Facebook friends communicated tragedy by the same means. A dear friend of ours from high school was found murdered in SF last week. The acknowledgment of the tragic event, the consoling, the announcement of the memorial fund, the posting of memorable moments and pictures, and the invitation to the memorial, all took place on Facebook.

Week 2 - Editorial: Examining Social Software...

"Social software provides opportunities, both bad and good,
for our future teachers and for their students" (Ferdig, 2007).

Although I am definitely on board with social software and its appeal to bring the classroom into the new millennium, Ferdig's article implants the notion that teachers may need to approach the use of social software with caution.

"This particular student’s main Facebook page had a personal photo in a
very suggestive pose with two other scantily-clad students. The majority of
the photos in the gallery were taken with the student obviously under some
influence—some of the photos with the source of the influence in the student’s
hand" (Ferdig, 2007).

As a college professor, Ferdig probably did not feel liable to treat the findings on his student's Facebook page as something more than actions of a typical of a college student. He probably laughed at some of the photos and thought about his own silly college days. However, what if Ferdig was a K-12 teacher? What if that particular student was a 15 year-old in his 10th grade PE class? Would he have a different reaction? Would he be liable to forward this information to his parents, administration, and/or authorities?

Although social software is a great tool to relate to students, maintain contact with them, and even create assignments around, K-12 teachers need to proceed with caution. With that understood, teachers of all levels have the ability to socially connect with their students via social software. Thus having the ability to implement lessons in a forum socially desirable in this technological world.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 2 - Flickr

Just created account on Flickr (Kara's Flickr). Very similar to Photobucket (which I use periodically) and somewhat similar to Snapfish (which I use all of the time). Hope my tag worked! Here's my pic...

Week 2 - Neomillenial User Experience...

Readiness to Learn: As a person matures, his readiness to learn becomes oriented
increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles (Baird and Fisher, 2005).

This statement is a critical element in moving education into the technological age. Having taught high school, the fight to keep electronic devices out of the classroom is a losing battle. Why not incorporate them into the studies? High School students are somewhat defined by the electronics they own, the social networks they frequent, what they find (and place) on YouTube, etc. Why not embrace this technology and adapt to each student's "Readiness to Learn" and create an electronic learning environment?

For instance, some High School PE courses require keeping a journal regarding daily fitness and nutrition. Why not encourage each student to create a weblog instead? The desired outcome would be reached and, by incorporating technology thus appealing to his/her social role, more students would have a "Readiness to Learn" from this updated type of journaling.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 1 - Introduction and Blogging

Well, I guess I'm not just a 'lurker' now! I follow a few blogs but have never added any input of my own (unless you consider Facebook and MySpace). I'm excited (and a little nervous) to begin the Master's program. But, I'm looking forward to learning a great deal.

Happy Blogging!