C & I 335
There are many different tools one can use to generate data for the Internet. I would love to learn how to use one single program to make all my web pages easily. Depending on where I am and what kind of page I am making I use different software. Netscape Composer at home on my Mac, Microsoft Word 2000 at school on the PC, raw html whenever I get really frustrated and occasionally BBEdit when I become really, really frustrated and ask my husband for help. All of these programs have great features and annoying features. None of them do what I want all of the time. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for a beginner to try to convey information with these technologies.webfolio
I'd also like to become better at managing large amounts of information. I hope to put the school newspaper on the Internet soon, but we have such a hard time keeping track of files in the newspaper lab that converting to html and linking everything seems like a nightmare. Organization and a good naming convention are the keys, but I would also like to experiment with some of the pre-made newspaper Internet sites.
Information is very important to journalists; it is the lifeblood of the profession. Conveying information through text on the Internet is easy to do and can reach a wide audience. Conveying information in other ways, such as audio files is more difficult to do. I originally planned on incorporating video and broadcast into the portfolio. Unfortunately, this is something we cover at the end of the semester and it is simply a topic we haven't had time to talk about yet in class. Because of our school's firewall, installing the audio-streaming software wasn’t as easy as I though it would be. I need to convince the Instructional Technology Department Head to install a server outside of the firewall for my student’s radio. I will need to learn how to work with audio files so that the quality is high enough for easy listening, but the file size is small enough for quick downloads. Eventually I would like to see a Lake Park radio station on the web. There are several teachers and students who would be interested in the project.
Communication technologies:What have you learned about communication tools? What additional features or tools do you feel you need to learn?
C & I 335
Webboard is the most amazing tool. I love being able to have meaningful conversations about relevant topics with other classmates (while sitting on my couch, in my pajamas, drinking tea and eating caramels… and doing the laundry… don't you just love multitasking?) But seriously, this class would be very lonely and dry if it weren't for the responses and faces on webboard. We praise, encourage, sometimes disagree and rebuke, but always respect and teach each other. Since we decide when we want to respond and to whom we probably have better responses than if we were sitting in a classroom for four hours every Thursday. I loved figuring out all of the trick of webboard- just tonight I need to know how to search to find all my responses for the latest ePortfolio update. I'd like to know if there are similar tools out there that I might be able to use in my own classes.webfolio
The webfolio project is very one-sided. I have provided information and my e-mail address, but no way to interact with the users of my site. I need to use different communication tools to make my site more interactive. Perhaps I could add a place for users to add webfolio links or chat with other webfolio teachers and students. I will need to learn how to add these elements to my site.
Curriculum: What have you learned about curriculum, teaching, and learning?
C & I 335
Because we work with teachers from so many different backgrounds our class discussions made me think about technology and its uses across the subjects and grade levels. There are many connections between different students. I loved seeing everyone's Webquests… a teaching tool that can be used in all grades and subjects.webfolio
As learners the C & I 335 class we worked well together to solve many different problems. Whether it be the ever-daunting posting of the webboard picture or Paul's excellent crash-course in open source, it was great to see cooperative learning in action. So often cooperative learning is just a bunch of students dividing up a large task into smaller sections. In this class I felt that we were teaching, enlightening and learning together as a class.
I am very glad that this class gave me the opportunity to devote the time and resources to creating the webfolio project. This is exactly the kind of project I want to give to my students and it will help me create a student-centered classroom. I learned that I need to set more definite deadlines for my students to avoid the last-minute crunch. It is also important to tell the students right off the bat that there will be computer problems and lost data. When they know it is part of working with technology they are less likely to get upset when things go wrong.
I was extremely surprised to find very few high school student portfolios on the Internet. Many teachers use portfolios in the their classes already, so publishing on the web seems like a natural extension. I hope to find more.
Policy: Briefly discuss what you have learned about legalities, special needs, and computer ethics surrounding computer use in the classroom.
C & I 355
What is the purpose of the policy? That is the most important thing to keep in mind with any decision that will effect others. Do we put computers in the schools so all students can use them? Then they need to be accessible by all students, even if that requires special monitors, voice recognition software or wheel chair friendly computer labs. Do we give students server space to promote the views of the school to give them a way to express themselves? Answer that question and the school view's about monitoring web pages content become clear.webfolio
It was a good thing that I started the webfolio project with just one student. With all the problems he ran into trying to use the school’s computer systems I know I would have abandoned the project months ago if I was dealing with an entire class of computer problems.
My school is very concerned about computer security. They are running a security system called Visual CASEL that allows the administrator to give specific rights and access to users. This means that unless a users has been given specific rights to a software program, they can’t use it.
To complete the webfolio project, my students need to access to software that the majority of students do not need to use. Adobe PageMaker 6.5 is available in the Journalism office, but no where else. I installed PageMaker on my classroom computer so my student could work on page design during class. Unfortunately, he did not have access rights to use the program, and since the software wasn’t recognized by the security system as a user program it wasn't even possible to give him those rights.
To solve this problem, I logged in and my student worked on his project while logged in as me. While working on the classroom computer and logged in as a teacher, my student had access to my e-mail, all of my saved files including assignments and test, student schedules and personal information and every student's personal network file where all classwork is saved. I trusted my student, but at the same time realized the irony of the security system: it is only as strong as the humans who use it. Why "secure" the system to the point where people can’t use it? I guess the most secure computer is the one that is off, but that doesn’t help me teach or my students learn.
Control of the school web page is also an important issue at my school. If anyone in the building make a web page, in order for it to be posted on the school web server it must be submitted to the Instructional Technology department head. He is the only person that has access to the server. Since I have access to the CTER server, I figured this wouldn't be a problem for me, I could just ftp to CTER. The only problem is that there are no ftp programs on the computers in the district. I was told that they are a security hazard. To get around this problem, I installed WS_FTP in my own network file without the knowledge of the technology staff. Hopefully is will stay there without being deleted. One of the great hopes of the Internet is that it will increase communication and the flow of ideas. When an entire school’s contribution to the Internet is funneled through one person the pace of communication is slowed. I understand that it is important for the district to have secured computer systems, but not at the sacrifice of access.
Evaluation: What have you learned about evaluation of web pages, software, student work with technology, or technology-based curricula?
C & I 355
To me, thinking about how we evaluate technology was one of the most important features of this class. From my responses, I have realized that my school district does not spend enough time evaluating what we are doing- whether it is policy, budgets, access, lessons, integration or staff development. Quite a list! It looks like I have full plate with evaluation issues. Because we don't fully reflect on what we are doing and why, there are many problems that could be easily solved.webfolio
The webfolio is a compilation of the student's work, so how I evaluate the class work effects the webfolio. Because this is a project-based class, my students have a great deal of freedom and responsibility. There are strict deadlines that need to be met, but the process of creating is largely in their hands. Let going of control requires a great deal of trust in my students. There is usually a point in every newspaper deadline where I worry that they won't get it done, but they always pull through. I use self-evaluation on all major assignments in my class and I am always amazed by the responses I receive. They are always very accurate and thoughtful. I also let my advanced journalism students assign their work different point values and then grade themselves. Though I sometimes make changes they know best what took the most time and effort (or should have!)
I'm not sure I will keep the webfolio rubric the way it is. Marty suggested that I seek student input in the development of the rubric- I think I'll try that for next semester.
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