Thursday, August 7, 2008


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Journal #6 Writing Aloud

Moses, A. (8/6/08). Writing Aloud: Staging Plays for Active Learning. Edutopia, Retrieved 8/7/08, from

This article talks about a group of middle school students in the D.C. area who are rehearsing a play they wrote about three channel surfing friends who get sucked into a television set and witness racial discrimination. The purpose of this type of education is to emphasis the importance of arts learning. With emphasis on teaching to the test it puts the arts on the back burner when this is shown to be a extremely effective teaching tool. Students who write plays know how to construct a plot, write dialogue, and perform. Students are able to rehearse to each other to get peer feedback. When students read their work aloud they are able to hear if it makes sense and where corrections need to be made. Also if a student knows their words will be read aloud by other students it gives them more incentive to do a good job since it reflects directly on them. The problem with playwriting is that these is little time to fit this in a normal school day so similar programs are extra curricular activities. The article states that many local theaters participate in educational outreach programs like this. The article also offers links and ideas for playwright lesson plans.
Q: Where does this leave the English language learners?
A: I think this could be an extremely beneficial activity for English language learners. They will not only be pratcing their language arts skills but speaking with and in front of native English speakers. This can help English language learners hear English and allow peer-to-peer teaching. Also students can act out racial discrimination giving other students the opportunity to feel what it’s like to be on the receiving end of discrimination.
Q: How can technology be used in this learning environment?
A: Performing arts also give students a chance to learn new technology such a video editing. Students can embed this in a classroom blog or if this is not an on campus activity they could use it to make a persuasive argument to the governing board regarding policy change of performing arts. This would give students a chance to hone their debate skills, give them a glimps of local politics. If it worked in their favor they would know they can be the change they want to see in their community.

Journal 5: Over Coming Technological Barriers

Boss, Susie (8/6/08). Overcoming Technological Barriers. Edutopia, from

This article by Susie Boss talks about many of the barriers teachers face with using technology in the classroom she gives a list of some possible solutions.
1. Innovate tools you already have. Teachers can use technology they already have in the classroom such as Microsoft Office and Web browsers this helps have connections between tools the class already has.
2. Seek Out Free, Easy-to-Use Digital Resources. These things can be collaborative documents or projects such as google docs or photo sharing. These programs are available on the web for free and help students work collaboratively together.
3. Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown. Some suggestions to get teachers to overcome their fear of technology is to give teachers time during the day to work together on programs. Teachers can work in small groups to work together and share ideas. This helps build study groups and buddy systems to support one another with the learning process.
4. Start With Small, Fast Projects That Enhance Learning. These are things like Internet games and learning activities based on classroom lesson plans. These are small projects that can be used as the foundation of computer literacy.
5. Learn With your Students. Don’t be afraid to try new things in the classroom. Professional development can be embedded into the classroom curriculum. Ask for student feed back this is the best way to see what works and what doesn’t or where modifications can be made.
Q: Why is there still so much resistance?
A: I’m not sure if it’s resistance or lack of time. Teachers seem overwhelmed with lack of funding and constant testing standards. Many teacher are not allowed to bring in supplemental material even if they found extra time in the day. I think we are on the verge of educational reform and I hope to see technology included in that.
Q: In what ways has this class enabled me to over come technological barriers in the classroom?
A: This class has been useful primarily by exposing me to so many free resources. The Socialbookmarking will be key to my lesson designs. I wish that professional development of this level could exist in every school. That seems to be a problem in many district is the quality of professional development. Even if there was a site or grade level representative to attend classes like ed 422 the outcome would be amazing. This class has made me excited in new ways for teaching with technology.

Classroom Newsletter

Read this document on Scribd: Classroom Newsletter

Journal 1

Shifflet, Rene (June/July 08). Extreme Makeover: Updating Classroom Activities for the 21st Century. 35, from

Extreme Makeover is the perfect title for this article. So many classrooms are not utilizing the great interactive and collaborative ways students can learn using technology. Many teachers are scared to use technology in their classroom beyond power point presentations. I think this is due to fear of the unknown. Many teacher already have a multitude of after school commitments and keeping up on technology is not high on the to do list if your afraid of cell phones. The good thing is that many young teachers will be coming into teaching with in the next several years. These teachers will be people who grew up in the technological age and are not scared to use technology in their classroom. Collaborative projects such as google docs are a great way for students to work together that allows them some independent thinking. So many times in class students are not given an opportunity to think they are canisters to deposit information. Not only can students work together to plan their document they can share it with peers and family at home or school. I think this creates pride and ownership in student work.
Q: How do we get more teachers to use technology in the classroom?
A: With current budget cuts I think its hard to do anything extra but a good way would be to find a technological literate teacher to take on the role of finding and distributing technology information. With programs such as Zoho available I think more teachers would be inclined to use this in the classroom. Once the element of fear is gone then there is less resistance to change. This can lead to a deeper interest in finding more ways to use technology in the classroom.

Mader, Jerod (June/July 08). Blogging Right Along. 35, from

Blogging Right Along is the perfect example of how technology can be used effectively in the classroom. This not only requires the student to be involved in the class but re-explaining concepts on the blog will help students get a better understanding of class materials. A classroom blog can be useful also for the student who is having trouble. Reading concepts in students own words sometimes is all it takes to really understand.
Q: Can you make this a requirement?
A: I’m not sure how teachers in a public school system could make this a requirement. With most days full of curriculum targeted toward testing it leaves little time for students to share usually the one computer in class or make trips to the computer lab. It is not safe to assume that each student has access to Internet at home. Once again good education comes down to the have and have-nots. It is those that have resources to supplement education that have the opportunity to excel. The difficulty of making this a requirement might be presumptuous of me since I have not been in the classroom yet. None the less I see blogging as a great educational tool.