Sunday, August 19, 2007


This class has really challenged me! Yet it has been one of the most rewarding classes I have ever taken. I think what I liked best about the Networking class is that we didn't just read about networking but we had to network. I have always been a hands on learner and although I am a bit slower when it comes to understanding all this new technology, I am excited about what I have learned to do: blogging, podcasting, and creating a wiki page with my class this year.
I think sometimes we avoid teaching with tools that we are not comfortable with. I feel better prepared to go back to school next week and use this technology with my students. I am ok with making mistakes and exploring together.
I have really enjoyed the collaboration project that I worked on with students in Australia, Canada, and other cities in New Hampshire without ever leaving my home. I am sad and relieved that the class is coming to an end. The workload was tough. I really put a lot of time into the class. That said, I feel that I have made some new friends who I could contact if I needed help. I am also blogging....who knew I would like putting my thoughts on the computer for others to read and comment on. The comments have all been positive and supportive.
The following paragraph from Siemen's book Knowing Knowledge talks about the change that is needed. The book talked about letting go of what we think we know and preparing for a rapid change.

A holistic, integral approach to thinking, learning, and knowledge is
required as our society grows in complexity. The opportunity for change is tremendous. Opportunities to restructure
organizations and society are rare. Yet periodically—in periods of
substantial social, technological, or ideological change—we have the
opportunity to remake our existence, to rewrite the inefficiencies of
antiquated modes of operation. With vision, foresight, and awareness
of change, we can move forward with a model that will serve humanity
well. We exist in such a time. If we are able to loose our faulty view of
control-in-advance and embrace an adaptive, flow-view of knowledge,
we have the capability to restructure our organizations to best serve our
learners, employees, and customers.

I am taking away so much from this class and I am anxious to share it with my colleagues.

Thanks to Jeff Utecht for doing such an amazing job teaching this class. He has opened my eyes and my beliefs in using new technology like wiki's in my class.

Laptops in the classroom

After searching the Internet for blogs or stories on how teachers are using laptops in the classroom, I came across an article about Technology in the classroom. There is a lot of good information in this article about how we need to use technology in the classroom. There are a lot of things that we can do but giving children the chance to use laptops in the classroom opens up a world of information that no one teacher could possibly know. I realize that it is expensive to have a laptop for every student but mobile laptop carts can solve that problem.
I found some information on an initiative that Maine had started to purchase a laptop for every seventh grader and continue to supply seventh graders with laptops. The only problem is the articles I found were written in 2002 and I couldn't find any current information. I do have two nieces who live in Maine and have just reached high school. They weren't given laptops so I think the initiative must not have been feasible. I don't think many school districts can afford to give students laptops nor should they have to.I believe that with technology changing as rapidly as it has that it would be extremely expensive for school districts to keep buying laptops or computers. By the time you order your computer it is almost obsolete. My laptop is only three years old and I found taking this class that it did not have many of the features that I needed.
However, classes should have the technology readily available and be using it on a daily basis.I think mobile laptop carts are one of the best alternatives.
Eventually I think that we will need to do away with a lot of textbooks and learn to use the Internet for the most current information. Maybe as we fade out some textbooks more money would be available to buy computers.

Just when you thought you've heard it all...

In searching for an article to read for my class on laptops I stumbled across this article on teachers being trained as cops and carrying a gun in school. This is what Nevada is considering doing. OH MY! What are they thinking?? I love teaching but if they asked me to train as a cop and carry a gun to school I would be looking for a new job in a second. I am sitting here with my mouth hung open in awe of the thought of this. Are things that bad in Nevada? Is violence or intimidation the way to turn things around?
This is a must read article if you are in education at any level.
Teachers carrying guns!
I will be interested in reading your comments after you read this article.


Let me start off by saying that I do not have a PDA. I can understand their uses and how some people need to stay connected all the time. I have a friend who has everything connected to her PDA so she never misses anything. I don't want to be that connected. I like coming home and finding a message on my answering machine. I like not being bothered if I am out shopping or in class. I like driving without the radio on sometimes just to enjoy the piece and quiet. I am not saying that if I was a Dr. or well, there is no or, I think Dr.s need to be connected all the time but right now I can't think of another profession that needs to be connected that long.
Let's take into consideration that I live in a very rural community and I am a teacher. The only thing I am connected to during the day are my students. I know we will be connecting during our class time but not through a PDA.
I enjoy getting on the internet and blogging but until just recently I didn't even do that on a daily basis. I must admit I am hooked on the internet but that is when I am home and not trying to do other things.
Because I am not from a big city nor have I ever lived in a big city my point of view is very skewed. I think if I lived in Boston or NYC and had more than an hour commute to get home I might find it necessary to use a PDA and my point of view might be very different. Our younger generations are growing up with this technology and find it a necessity. I must admit keeping everything organized and accessible in one location is an attractive feature. If you would like to learn more about PDA's I found this site to be very helpful.

Topic of Choice-Creating a new mission statement

Next week we return to our classrooms. At Alton Central School we have a new principal who has assigned us all with the task of rewriting our Mission Statement. It is clear to me that the mission statement needs to reflect the changes in our world and what we teach, the importance of technology, and the importance of teaching our students to identify the sources of what they read on the internet and to be safe. I was reading a blog on my RSS Reader and came across this:
Dare to Dream
On her blog she says,
"If anything has and is changing radically in our world it is this sense of place and as we struggle with how it forms and informs our world I need to struggle with school as place and it begins with our goals. Schools must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate .... it should be a place of performance, invention resourcefulness, and networking . It should be a space that encourages us to negotiate and explore new places and that is what technology enables." This phrase just sums it up for me. I hope to be able to share this with our team of teachers as we struggle to rewrite our Mission Statement.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Taking this class has helped me understand how to use the technology that is available in our school and how to create blogs and wiki's that I can use with the children as an alternate way of assessing to replace the boring paper and pencil days.
Currently we have a technology requirement that each grade level contributes to an individual portfolio. Second graders were required to have a minimum of two entries. They loved doing them! Since this was the first year it will be interesting to see how it evolves. I would love to look at how the students I had last year develop their portfolios.
We also use an online assessment called NWEA that allows children to take tests that have an enormous question base. If the student is answering the question correctly it jumps to a higher level question and the opposite also applies.
As a teacher the test scores are immediate and you can see where a child's strengths and weaknesses are. You can also see if all the children are weak in a certain area than you need to adjust your teaching.
I look forward to changing from traditional journaling in a book to creating blogs so the children can write their thoughts on their own blog page. I can already see how much better I am doing with connecting to different sites, it will be even more exciting to see the growth in the children.

Wiki Project

Below is a link to a collaborative wiki project that I have been working on with several other members of my class at PSU. I was probably the biggest skeptical when it comes to the usefulness and reliability of wiki's. That has changed! I just read through another wiki page that was created by another team in this class about how to use wiki's in the elementary grades. School starts next week and I now have a great reference page to start a blogging page in my classroom along with that I want to connect with another classroom to compare things like whether, culture, and schools.
Here is our wiki page on Touring Cities.
Here is the wiki page on using Wiki's in the classroom.
I can't wait to go back and read one of the other classmates wiki page on Web 2.0.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Science vs. artist Reading in Siemen's Knowing Knowledge

This is what Alan November was talking about in my earlier post. We can't discount or cut art out of schools. Taking this class and reading other blogs shows just how creative (or not) someone is. The blogs I like the best come from very creative people.

We need the voices of both the scientist and the artist. Neither one i s
necessarily better than the other. In some cases, a business may require
the metrics and method of a clearly-defined, scientific model. In other
cases (especially when pursuing innovation and creativity), they may
desire the beauty of learning created by the artist. Both, held i n balance
and for the appropriate task, are needed for learning and knowledge
sharing. (Siemen's Knowing Knowledge
This quote says it all about connectedness and networking!

We are all something, but none of us are everything.
Blaise Pascal109

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Web 2.0

I really didn't understand exactly what the term meant so I went out and googled it. The link below might help you as it did me. It is everything we have been using, wiki's, bloggin, Flickr and tags. I still have some holes in my understanding of what some of the technolgy is and does. I find myself thinking about the internet and logging on and searching for information whenever I get a free minute. The time I am on the internet flies by.
Here is a link that might help you to understand web 2.0 better. It helped me!

O'Rielly Web 2.0

Siemen's reading

In this week's reading I really felt that this phrase summed up what we are learning in this networking class. Knowing where to find the knowledge in the computer is what is essential. There is just too much information out there to try to remember everything. But knowing where to find the information is key.
"Filling a gap in our neural networks creates new pathways.
So what does this have to do with decentralized knowledge?
“Know where” is replacing “know what” and “know how.” The
rapid, continual knowledge flow cannot be contained and held in the
human mind. To survive, we extend ourselves through our networks:
computers, humans, databases, and still unfolding new tools.
Our co-workers no longer sit at a different desk. They sit in a different
I started reading "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman about two years ago and got through about half of it. It has been sitting in a bookcase since then. Everything I am learning seems to connect back to what is discussed in the book about being connected and what Jeff is teaching us. I especially like the sentence that are coworkers, in our case, teacher is in a different country. As soon as I am done with this class I am going back to finish that book.

The World is Flat

Alan November

I wanted to share with everyone this web site and podcast with Alan November. I was fortunate to hear Alan Novmeber at a conference and he was the one who opened up Skype to me and sneered my interest in the importance of teaching our children about really understanding the internet.

If you haven't bookmarked his page in RSS Reader I would recommend it. He travels all over the world and has some interesting podcasts of interviews.

The one I posted and listened to is Alan November's interview with Daniel Pink. It is about the importance of art and right brained thinking being as important as math and reading. I found it very interesting.

Alan Novmeber

Alan's Podcast with Daniel Pink

Rss Reader-Wiki's and the UN

What a surprise when I read that the United Nations was going to use Wiki pages to help staff in 80 countries share information and come to a consensus on decisions quickly.
I must admit I have had my doubts about wiki's but after working on a collaborative project and reading this on RSS Reader I am changing my mind on how useful wiki's can be.

How Wiki's are changing the way we communicate.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Podcast with just voice vs. Podcast with music

After several attempts to create a podcast, I finally succeeded in creating two that you can hear on my computer. I must admit podcasting is great if you are a public speaker and have something to say about a particular subject. However, to just sit and podcast for a class was very difficult. It is like talking to yourself but then letting everyone else listen.
Anyway, I created and did some minor edits to the first podcast and saved it because I wasn't sure that I could create one with music. Then I did it and after quite some time of trying to edit off the end of the music so you wouldn't hear voice I saved it as it was.
Because my computer is a bit older the voice comes out very soft so I went to my brother's and recorded at his house. There is a little background noise but I felt bad enough being at his house and asking them to leave the room that I didn't have the nerve to go back and ask them to stop talking altogether.
So please listen to my podcast and be kind on your comments since this is my first time podcasting.
I have tried Podomatic.


It is healthy to accept confusion as part of the
learning and knowledge processes. (Siemen's Knowing Knowledge)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wiki Collaborative Project

One of our assignments for class is to create a wiki page with students from our class and students from a class in Canada. It is going so smoothly that I am waiting for the ball to drop. We are feeding off each others ideas and creating what I think is a great page that reflects not only our collaboration but our distinct personalities. We are hoping to have a conversation on Skype on Wednesday night to put our final ideas into focus on where we want to go and what we need to clean up. Every time I log on someone has gone in and changed something on their page or a collaborative page. It has been interesting to watch and then it sparks new ideas for me. I am really enjoying the project. I am anxious to talk with everyone tomorrow to see where we want to go with this project.

Monday, August 6, 2007


This is my second time on Elluminate and I must say that I got so much more out of it. I think that being a moderator allowed us to use more of the tools. The depth of what you can do and share with a group of people is endless. I really enjoyed breaking out into small groups. I have never been to a workshop where you didn't break into small groups. You could take any topic and break it down and join the small group that interest you or be assigned to a small group. I am excited about going on to the K12 online conference to learn more about what is available on the Internet and to gather ways to use it in my classroom. I am certainly an infant when it comes to this and the funny thing is I thought I was pretty good on a computer. Well, I can type and search and use PowerPoint, excel and other tools that almost seem prehistoric to me now that I have taken this class. What an eye opener. I have never spent so much time on the computer and wanted more.
I think it is addicting. They will probably have a computer anonymous class eventually.

Bain Gym and pathways

As I read this week's assignment in Siemen's Knowing Knowledge book, I can't help but think of a class I just finished last week called Brain Gym. I originally took the class because I was interested in learning techniques to use in the classroom when the children have lost focus. Brain gym is a series of small exercises that help create pathways to both the right and left side of the brain.
Today I am reading and they are talking about network pathways and how knowledge is changing at such a rapid pace. Staying focused and alert and being able to simulate knowledge at such rapid pace is more important today then ever before I don't believe it is going to slow down but will continue to accelerate at light speed.
What I realized from the Brain Gym class is that we all need to stimulate the pathways that connect our brain so that we can absorb these changes and teach our students so that they are ready for knowledge that is changing everyday.
If you would like to read about Brain Gym log onto

Thursday, August 2, 2007


After reading a blog on another site it reminded me of Smartboards and that maybe there are some teachers out there that don't know what they are. If you are familiar than you know they are pretty cool. I was lucky to have one in my room when I taught fourth grade at another school. This past year I taught 2nd grade and wrote a grant with the technology director and the fourth grade teacher and purchased a Smartboard to be shared. You can hook up your laptop or any computer to the Smartboard and bring up an endless supply of interactive educational sites for the children to do some cool activities on. My favorite is math and there are so many sites that make learning fun and interesting without paper and pencil. The children are so engaged in the activities and they can't wait to go up and manipulate the board. My wish is that we will be able to purchase more boards so that they are permanently set up in teachers' rooms. I found it tedious to go gather the board, the projector, the cords, and a laptop with the program installed. When I taught fourth grade it was mounted on the wall and it was much easier to use. Currently our 6th Grade Science teacher has a smartboard mounted in his room and he uses it everyday. That is the ideal situation. Check out the Smartboard web site if you get a chance to see what these boards can do.

Cool Cat Teacher

I read this amazing blog on RSS reader with the best tips for starting the year off on the right foot. This teacher uses an amazing analogy about hydrangeas and students. I don't want to tell you what is in the blog this is a must read for all teachers new and old. I wish someone would have offered my some of these tips when I started teaching.