Friday, May 30, 2008

My Daily Bookmarks 05/31/2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Daily Bookmarks 05/17/2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Daily Bookmarks 05/15/2008

Organization 101: Texting and Google Calendar

I just noticed a CNN article from yesterday titled, "Texting May Help Teens Remember Meds." Texting is often blamed as a distraction in education. This article clearly shows a great use of texting that is helpful for students. Why aren't we using text messaging more as a way to organize our children? Many of the students in my school have cell phones with text messaging plans. How can we effectively use this tool to help kids.

One way that I have started to use this technology to keep myself organized is to send myself text messages from my Google Calendar. To use your text message enabled mobile phone with your Google Calendar you must register it with Google. Check out these simple instructions on how to register your mobile phone for your Google Calendar. Once you have registered your mobile phone you can use it as a reminder for events in your calendar. Standard text charges will apply. Check with your carrier for text charges.

When I add an event now I can choose "SMS" as an option (see below). This will make my Google Calendar send me a text message at a given interval prior to the event occuring (in this example I chose 30 minutes). I do this for important meetings, events and more. It has really helped me with organization and being punctual with meetings and important events (like Mom's birthday). Let me know in the comments any further ways you might see this technlogy being helpful for teachers and students.

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Image Attribution:
Image: 'Abe uses technology'

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Daily Bookmarks 05/10/2008

Another Unforeseen Casualty to NCLB: CS211

Over the past three years I have taught CS211, "Technology In Education," at Saint Joseph's College in Standish, Maine. I just found out earlier this week that this course will no longer be offered to students at SJC. It was explained to me that this was due to new requirements under NCLB that would not allow time for students to take this course. I take this news with mixed emotions.

This course has traditionally been offered to Elementary Education majors at SJC. I developed the course based on some great feedback from readers of David Warlick's blog, 2¢ Worth. I emailed David in October of 2005 asking him what he thought pre-service teachers should learn about technology before entering the classroom. David graciously pushed this to his blog and the feedback from his readers was tremendous (Thank you David, your devotion to education is truly outstanding).

When I first took this course on I was really surprised by my students. I figured these were students who were well versed in technology use. I had read about these "digital natives" and figured they would be ready to fly with technology in their classrooms. I was amazed to find out that many of them felt that technology didn't belong in the classroom at all.

Over the years of teaching this course I realized that these students only understand how to use technology in social ways. They have beautifully designed Facebook pages, use IM and texting regularly, and email is easy. They have never had good modeling of technology use in the classroom by most of their k-12 teachers and college professors so their idea of good teaching does not include technology. The great teachers they remember from their educational past were not integrators of technology.

The loss of this course scares me for our future teachers and the impact that will be felt by their future students. The hard part is that philosophically I believe this course should not exist. Their college professors should be teaching them about the tools and resources I used in my class. Unfortunately, the Education Department at SJC is not really prepared to take this on. Sadly, I don't think that this is terribly different from most teacher preparation programs. I have offered to provide professional development within the Education Department to look at some of the pieces of CS211 and how they could be incorporated into the other courses taken by Elementary Education majors at SJC. I have yet to see if the college will take me up on that offer.

How will these future teachers learn how to use technology to improve student learning? How will they prepare their students for their future and not our past?

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Image Attribution:
Image: 'Empty Class Room'

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Daily Bookmarks 05/02/2008

May 1 - RSS Day

RSS Awareness Day

Today is RSS Day. I use RSS feeds daily to read news, blogs, listen to podcasts, catch up on what web sites people I know are bookmarking and more.

I use Bloglines, Google Reader, and iGoogle as RSS feed aggregators to pull in my subscriptions and iTunes for podcasts.

If you are new to RSS feeds I would encourage you to watch RSS in Plain English by The Common Craft Show.

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