Monday, August 20, 2007

Final Reflection

This will be be my last post for the class and I just wanted to review what I've learned and will be taking with me when I leave this class. Blogs; from an education stand point these are awesome. Especially for soon to be teachers because the resources out there from other teachers is astounding. RSS; Wow that sums up really what RSS is because getting the web to search for you saves time. Photostory3 or digital story telling is truly amazing, and I think the kids will think the same. It will engage and motivate them in a creative way. Wiki; I never understood what they were until this class and they are excellent. My wiki that I started has no content yet I just got it going so I could see how it all works, but I think I'm going to build it around the arts, lesson plans and links etc. Social Bookmarking I didn't really get into it or like it, but once I explained it to my wife she loved it. Shes keeps telling me it's addicting finding old friends on facebook and finding out what they are doing now etc. She loves it, i'm still not very crazy about it. I just about forgot about Flicker. The greatest sight on the internet I will be using this tons in and out of the classroom.
Now in thinking about my classroom design it will probably look something like this. One wall will be a wooden jungle gym with varying levels going all the way to the roof. There will be 12-15 spots or levels each one will have enough room on it for a pillow and a student. Below the jungle gym there will be a small library with a couple of hundred books. That will be my reading area. Students especially boys will read more if they are not in a standard desk so if they can climb up and find a perch to sit in and read I think it will work better than a traditional reading corner.
Second wall will be my media wall lined with as many computers as I can find. One per students hopefully, but more likely 10. A row of ten computers and then over top of the monitors there will be a projector screen from my computer and any other media needed such as a TV/DVD combo, CD players, speakers etc.
Third wall will be my arts wall with musical instruments such as guitars, drums, microphones etc for the kids. In a perfect set up it would be raised on a little stage so we could really have fun with the drama portion of things. This will be lots fun busting out a jam in the middle of third period. I'm sure the noise will piss off a few teachers, but it will be fun never the less.
Fourth wall will be student lockers with my resources above them. This last wall will also have a door and windows to the outside. So once I get yelled at for busting a jam we can all run outside and laugh. In the middle of the room there will be big round tables with enough chairs for all my students. No-desks, not even one for me. I just need a little podium so I present to the class but that's it. There is my perfect classroom, this might change but as for today this is it.
Last subject I wanted to talk about was the simple miss take I made with Dean's wiki. Dean has been pushing for us to embed our video's into our blogs so they just fire right up once you click on them. It's a good idea, but I was on Dean's wiki watching a video he had on wiki's made easy or something similar to that. I watched the video and when it finished up popped a bunch of other video's "UTube" connected with Dean's theme of Wiki's. Most of the other videos were fine, but one of them was of a young girl 12 or 13 dancing to a song called Wiki. This is where the problem occurred because here I am looking in one corner of the screen and there is a picture of my university professor and in the middle of his wiki page there is a hugely inappropriate video going on. I was shocked and disgusted, and alot of parents will make that same mistake that I did and it could turn out horrible. So all I'm saying is I'm going to stick to linking them for now because at least if I was on UTube's site and this video was playing there, it would have no direct link to Dean. But because you could see the images and Dean's opening page it was a problem. Anyway I think I've rambled on enough everyone have a great summer and I'm keeping all your links so we will hopefully be able to help each other when we get into our classrooms. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed Student.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

More Digital

More things I have bookmarked in my mind to talk about from Dean's powerpoint presentation are the fact that we have to teach kids to be responsible digital citizens. To learn to find more than one source to make something true, to not leave any personal information out on the web and even to stay on top of technology advances that are really out there to make our lives easier(or that's what I'm finding with blogs, rss etc.). Also that it would be nice to have more open source software that have the abilities to keep up with microsoft etc. Firefox seems to run way better on most machines than windows explorer. I think the comment was "share everything" and it makes sense especially from a learning perspective. The best comment of all was that in the future we will get 15 minutes of anonymous instead of 15 minutes of fame. This really does hit the nail on the head because with everybody publishing on the web their own movies and videos, and collaborating with wiki's blog's and rss feeds we will all be famous. Well famous enough for the world to see and read about us, learn from us and move farther forward and faster than without us. If this isn't fame I don't know what is and it is truly awesome. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student

Digital Life vs. Life Digital

This was a very interesting article, but it's very hard to predict what will happen in the future. I'm talking about the new Mac phones that are supposed to change the way we view the net on our cell phones. I have worked with both pc's and mac's and there are definite positives and negatives to each. Pc's seem to have more tech problems, but have such a wide range of software you deal with the headache. Mac's on the other hand have very few operating issues, but have limited amounts of software (which they are getting better) to play with. Anyway I found the article cool and like I said it will be interesting to see it play out. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student

Monday, August 6, 2007

copyright overview

The four part(Part one, two, three, four) copy right infringement video was good but a little too Michael Morre stylish or preachy documentary-ish then I like , but it made a few points that stand out. Obviously copyright infringement is important and we have to be careful that our kids know these rules as well. The fact that we can build on existing work as long as it is properly cited makes sense.
The controlled creativity aspect only relates to people that sign something away other wise we as a whole have the ability to create freely anything we want. The terrorist war over copyrights I agree is completely about money and nothing else, but I always attend that if the product is good people will still pay to have it. When I played in a band we always had our music on our website in MP3 format, which doesn't sound as good and defined as wave files or CD quality but it was free, so if you liked it then you could go out and buy it. If it's a question of right or wrong I don't know the answer, but I do know that open source software should rule. There is no reason we should have to pay the crazy amounts of money for software while hardware keeps getting cheaper and cheaper. And finally is it in our hands to instill change in this matter, well I leave with a quote I got from another band I worked with momentarily, "Talk minus action equals a good dinner party. Which kind of says it all, if you believe something is wrong stand and yell against it because it will just keep going on and on with no one to stop it otherwise. I think I'm getting a little too preachy now so I better go to bed. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student.

other videos

The videos under Digital citizenship are excellent. Think before you post is one of the best video's I've seen in a long time on what can truly happen and continue to happen long after you want it to.
The anti-bullying campaign was excellent also. Those number's are disturbing because it's things like this that we as teachers sometimes overlook or just plain miss. Along with everything else we have to be able to see bullying in the classroom and playground and effectively deal with it. There is no reason any child should feel not welcome or safe with in the boundaries of school and beyond.
My daughter was bullied when we moved to a south end school in the city. I thought we where moving her away from the problem purchasing a home in a nicer area, but we where introduced to a whole new style of bullying. Not only physical while she was at school, but cyber bullying while she was at home on media like MSN and websites built by the other kids. I did what I could but the principle felt he was in control over the situation and he was not. Anyway it's important that we listen to kids make sure that their environment(s) are all safe. These videos really show kids and teacher's that this should be a high priority.

wiki while you work

YEH HAA! The more I learn about wiki's the more I like them. I just made my first one today and although there is no real information on it it's just amazing to me how easy it was to make, to edit, to add comments, and change info. Mark Wagner's utube movie introduction really helped with moving through making my first wiki, pain free. Which I really like, thanks Mark. Beyond the fact that Mark showed me step by step how to get a wiki up and going is beyond what else was said in his video. He talks about using wiki's straight across the grade levels which is huge for me who has always been looking towards the lower grades. He also shows how all teachers and or all students contribute and corroborate together. Awesome awesome awesome. Hmwiki and Techtips are awesome helping tools and I think that even if a lot of old schoolteachers looked at implementing this stuff it's not as hard as it looks. His wife gave a good shot in the arm for Firefox which I like to hear because it is my web browser by choice.
If you could handle the chirping of the birds which for some reason bugged me Dave (i can't remember his last name) had some great ideas for high school students that cuts down on plagiarism and makes teachers partners with students in the learning process.

Most of all There was WIKI-MAN(you know who you are) which I thought was the greatest song ever....NOT, but in a fun way, absolutely. I really liked the heavy metal umlaut wikipedia post that showed that when vandals arrived and started corrupting the page it was in some cases under a minute to get the site returned to it's regular state. This means lots to us as future teachers because we can hopefully avoid any of these vulgar situations and or use them to talk to the kids about digital vandalism. I like also the fact that heavy metal umlaut won't be found in encyclopedia Britannica.

Lastly I don't know if I've missed something on one of Dean's videos called "perros wiki wiki", but that teenage girl dancing in front of the camera for 3 minutes seemed what we are all trying to keep our children and students away from. Maybe there was a message I missed or I'm taking this out of context, but I thought it was very distasteful and extremely inappropriate. I have a 13 year old daughter and maybe this is why I am even posting something about this and not just dismissing it. This should be removed immediately.

Brian 3rd yr Ed student


I'm a little behind in the class, but I should be caught up by tomorrow which is our Tuesday session. I looking forward to this because finally I have the night off and can attend the whole session. I also want to tell everybody about the best and worst vacation I've every taken, but I can't find my USB (A) cord to download my pictures so I have to wait until I unpack it tomorrow.
Anyway on to some serious business about RSS's. I have just recently finished reading the chapter on RSS's and once again I am star struck on how cool this is. Simplifing a search is going to save huge amounts of time, but also keep up to date with things that are not even education related. For example I'm a huge hockey fan, but especially during the year there are times when trades and things happen and not aware of for many days because I can't keep visiting team websites. This way the info is brought to me with one place to check for all my teams and there are RSS links for CFL, NFL and probably other sports that I don't care about. I was explaining this to my brother how RSS's works and he was lost just like me, but about 40 minutes later he called me up and had a reader and was loving it just like me.
OK I know what your thinking lame Blog if you don't relate it to education since this is the reason most of us are here. Here I go..... what if we introduced parents to RSS's and then sent school websites, wiki's, blogs and everything else right to them directly. WOW talk about collaboration with parents they would know everything from expectations to assignment dates all by opening their reader. Making parents then aware of email addresses and wiki's abilities and you should be able to talk with parents more often then two parent/teacher conferences a year. More communication equals less problems and all this would take would maybe be a in-service night at the beginning of the year to show parents how RSS works(for those that don't already know) and your laughing all the way to the bank. Very cool. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wikis reflection

Wikis are amazing!!! From an educational stand point these are amazing and more I learn about them the more I like. Name something else that gives a sense of responsibility and ownership to the students. And if this wasn't enough it gives them editorial control in an open, collaborative and the democratic process of gaining knowledge. Holy crap Wiki's are amazing!( I promise not to use amazing any more in this post).
More specifically making a Wiki out of a students research paper, it could be on any subject, but the example in the book is global warming. After entering it onto Wikipedia for example the entire class could monitor and watch what happens to the information. Then even discuss it as a class to critically analyze those modifications. Talk about teachable moments and learning that would be coming out of their eye balls.
Another way of using Wikis is using them as a debate tool for students. I like chocolate and you like vanilla. Then let the students debate research and collaborate what they believe. Once again you can see the potential to truly engage students because the are working and learning as a community with the teacher only guiding. WOW Heres an example of a wiki that a six grader poroduced with this idea in mind.
And finally using it among teachers to post lesson plans. This could be wonderful especially for some older teachers who could learn and see how easy it is to use new aspects of technology in their teaching when the would have been frightened to before. I'm sure everyone can read in my words the excitement that wikis potential are for in the classroom. Visit teacherlounge and see a great way to collaborate with other teachers
Absolutely Wikis will be used in my classroom and with the admin software out there you should be able to make sure there is no offensive material used or at least monitor who posted it and deal with it accordingly. I like Wikis a lot.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

digital story telling

The real nice thing about digital story telling is that it reaches every student. It allows them all to be heard and allows them to tell a story they are passionate about. Or allows them to show off their wild side or any side they wish to show. And then talk about hitting the multiple intelligences and the diversity in the classroom, this helps.
From the session that I came in late to the other day I took in one thing stronger than the other,and that was that the ear connects 20,000 fibers to the brain while the eye connects 1,000,000 fibers to the brain. Talk about engaging and reaching kids in a super exciting way. Wesley also talked about how we must prepare students for the new media centered world and that now students are not just consumers of info. but active creators. And it makes sense because kids can easiliy create movies powerpoints etc and post on the web for potentially millions of viewers. It also says alot to me, because I have to admit that before I joined this class I didn't know that a wiki was produced by everybody. I have used tons of sources from wikiepedia in many of my classes and just plain never knew how it was made. The other positives of specifically digital story telling is a quote from Wesley again that said it connects to any student in any subject. And that works well for the board office types that maybe don't see the aspect of technology integration as useful in the classroom. And lastly that after now just producing my first movie on photostory and having worked on Mac's version I realize both are easy and will be tons of fun for all students regardless of age and ability. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

text reflection 2

Hi everyone. I'm back. As i get through more and more of this class I keep trying to think of ways of integrating this with children in the lower grades. Mainly because I'm in the K-5 program and my focus within this program has been grade three. Then in chapter two they talk about scaffolding in early blogging and a light bulb came on. If, as the teacher, we provide interesting and relevant sites filled with information, which we will have to find a head of time. Then get the kids to view the sites and write a blog about the information. Then the teacher could go through the blogs presenting some blogs to the rest of the class. This is an inside track to "Teachable Moments" so the kids can see how the collaboration works. Because you can physically talk about what someone wrote and then you can start the kids into writing comments directly on the blog. And or talk to the kids about relevant info. and that the info. is not always correct. You could also focus on security aspects that I have talked about in past blogs also. This list is endless...building one step at a time and working onward from there.
The second point I want to talk about at any time in this process you can get a hold of and recruit an audience for the kids to write /read to. Such as professional athletes, musicians, scientists etc. immediately you can see how engaged the children will be if their not talking to their teacher about a specific topic that the teacher may or may not know anything about. Or talking and collaborating with a person in the field. WOW talk about getting kids invested and interested.
Lastly validating information. I know I touched on this even in this blog, but it's an important part of teaching young kids how to use the web. is where you can go to check who registered the domain name on a specific site. Some people may want to remain anonymous but through this site you can find who registered the site and then search out info on the person to determine the validity of the information. is another useful site to see the validity of the blogger. It shows how many other bloggers have liked to the blog itself. The number used in the text is 100 or more hits and the information should be considered correct. These are all helpful tools especially for little grades. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student

Friday, July 20, 2007

text reflection 1

Hi everyone. I wrote this a few days ago on paper but didn't get a chance to post it because I was skydiving in Alberta for the last few days. Anyway as I've been reading the book I'm happy that there are lot of commonalities between the text and the videos that we looked at earlier. Or at least a lot of the things I got from those videos are being talked about again in the text. Some of these comments were made in my first blog, on how a teachers role is changing from the "know all " to the "guide all" and this change is exciting. How weblogs are the connection to anyone around the world puts more investment in the students and the (positive) responses will invest a child even more. Wikis being a collaboration on the web of information, which I didn't know only a couple of weeks ago. And my thoughts on digital portfolios is being reinstalled throughout the beginning chapters of the text.
I think the most compelling part is that of security. If we as teachers, talk to parents about posting on the web, creating wikis, weblogs and podcasts. And that all this information is going to be there for them to look at and browse at during their leisure. We have to make sure that there is no question in anybodies mind about security or the lack there of. I personally like the idea of giving the students an individual number so it seperates all the kids. Then at your first parent teacher conference you can give the respective parent their childs number and say to them that the entire class will be posting only as a number So if only the parent and the teacher know what number corresponds to what child then that solves a couple of problems. Firstly personal identity because no one will no the identity of the student. And secondly parents can go and look at their child's work and look at the rest of the class. providing some valuable comparisons to the parent. And in my experience lots of parents want to see how their child compares to others in the class.
I want to end with a quote I found in the first chapter that further emphasizes that the role of teachers is changing. "...people, especially young people, continue to learn-and to adopt new media- but institutions, and those who run them, are much slower to change their ways" [W. Richardson pg7 (Rheingold, 2004)]. This is compared to a gap that is widening between education and schooling, but I think we can take the new technologies partnered with our new ways of teaching and start minimizing that gap if not closing all together. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Video reviews

In signing up and taking this class(ecmp455) I wanted more technology knowledge and to be able to integrate it into my classroom (when I get one). David Weinberger really hit home with a lot of points on a different world starting up and that we as future teachers are going to have a different role then the traditional one. In other words we are not the keepers of the information, we are only a guide to the information. And this process of giving up the reins and giving the kids the controls is going to be difficult and exciting all at the same time.
Bernie Dodge was helpful with his information on the creation of webquests. His Quest Garden and his website ( are equally helpful. This takes a lot of prep work, but then you just let the kids go. Awesome way to ensure security by building it before hand and knowing where the students are going.
Stephen Heppell talked greatly about peer to peer collaboration and the idea of students helping students. Once again the kids are constructing their learning and building on each others knowledge. He had some excellent ideas on classroom design that really got me thinking. I've always had the idea in the back of my head that in my classroom I really wouldn't need a desk. They are big and would probably be empty other then a few pens and a piece of chalk, so then why have one taking up so much room. Stephen talks about classroom design like me, from outside the box, and thinking of how to better engage students. And that also moves the teacher away from that traditional authoritative role.
Will Richardson had some great information in his presentation he talking about, as did some others, giving up the reins in the classroom over to the children. Some interesting statistics were that the 1 billionth web user just hit the web. Now this was back in 2005 but never the less how it could be a sixty year old grandmother in central Africa or it could be a six year old in Russia. That was very cool. So with a billion users he went on to say on the read/write web it is just as important find resources as to find good creditable resources This will be our new job as educators to ensure that the resources are creditable. One other statistic that hit home with me was his "Shift Happens" that showed that with in 5 yrs computers will be running faster than the human brain. Wow Wow Wow.
Ken Robinson was interesting because he talked about in these changing times we have to be prepared to try different things out and that all the time those things may or may not work. So his message was be prepared to be wrong. And this goes against traditional roles of a teacher because in my day teachers where never wrong. He also spoke of digital portfolios and I think this is the best idea going. Even if you had to scan everything including physical writing and stories and so forth you would have a digital record of development. Super easy for assessment, reporting and parent teacher conferences. Then if every teachers does this throughout the childs education it could even be used as a keep sake for the parents AWESOME
Deneen Frazier Bowen was completely and totally annoying and there was more then one time I just about turned her off and went on to the next presentation. But I'm glad I didn't because her message was great even though she showed in an bad way. The aspect of diversity in the classroom and I know this has been hammered in us as future teachers , but once again technology can reach people that traditional teachers can not. And it speaks volumes when she talked about school district being proud of their 95% percent success rate, but what about the other 5%????? Are we just supposed to be happy that the majority are getting what they need or do we have to figure out what works for the minority. The later has to be our focus. As with the military saying about "no man left" behind I truly believe that no child can be left behind and we have to be vigilant about this. Support. Guide. Challenge. Words to teach by.
Metiri Group presentation by Cheryl Lemke was excellent also. The "fast forward" software is WOW! The program effectively activates proper portions of the brain to marginalize certain minor learning difficulties. This is truly amazing it takes about 90 min/day, but if you could get a dyslexic child to correct their problem it's well worth the time and effort. Other ideas she had was something called visual or virtual mapping. In other words instead of drawing out a story board with pen and paper you draw it out in word. you could teach the kids very easily how to use dialogs boxes arrows and lines and then even import graphics etc. COOL The "WISE" program gives two distinct paths to a problem. You then split your class up and get each group to research their specific path. Then you bring them all back together and debate the information collected. This would bring out so many teachable moments I can't even count them all. It further goes on to working with misconceptions about the net, about the info etc. Metiri Group has some very cool tools for the classroom.
Monica Beglau has a good program(emints), but $45,000 start up cost would scare most school boards away. And we as teachers can't afford that by our selves. Leslie Fisher had some interesting tid-bits about digital photography and especially about editing those photos once you have them. And finally Brent Williams scare the crap out of me when he talked about security of information on the web and that anything you do over a wireless network can be seen by others extremely easily. All in all the NECC conference is something I would like to go to when I become a teacher to impliment the technology into the classroom.
Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed Student.