I live in a very rural, small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Not many people leave, and if they do, most come back. Everyone knows your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. When I decided to pursue a career in Physical Education, and also coach, I knew this is where I wanted to be! There is an abundant amount of community support, and athletics is one of the major focuses in the area. I work with another female PE teacher who is from out of town. We decided to put together a fitness program after school, for athletes during their off season, or just any student who wanted to participate.
We began by talking to our classes, and students we saw in the hallway, sent letters home, and talked to our supervisor to tell other teachers in the area. Then we decided to begin a facebook fan page, and a PWP. Making our information and ideas available to the public has allowed the community to become involved. There have been parents and other teachers trying to provide us with ideas to expand and fund our program to provide more opportunity to promoting an active lifestyle! I noticed we needed to utilize our supportive community to make a successful program. Twitter, facebook, PWP’s, letters home, and word of mouth have all made this possible!
Wikis have really grown in the past few years. I remember teachers/professors telling us not to use Wikipedia in our research, because anyone could edit the pages. After reading these articles, I have realized there are varieties of wikis, some being very educational. Like any website, you will need to do your research to validate sources and support your findings. These wikis are easy to use, simplistic, and can be private. I am on a Wellness Policy Committee, where we have one meeting a month, go through the policy, make changes, and get multiple e-mail of the same policy with a few changes. This is tedious and has begun to challenge us to keep track of what we have changed. I have made the suggestion to my supervisor that a wiki would be a good way to get everyone’s input and on the days when someone can’t make it, they can add their input in through the wiki. This would save a lot of time on his end, because he wouldn’t have to go through each e-mail, identify the modifications, and then change them for each of us on the committee.
I recently went to a professional development seminar at my school, where we went over a few apps that were placed on our new iPads. There were a lot of apps for the students to use as an educational tool. We had a few that were focused around organizing and collecting data for teachers. eClicker was one we used during the seminar to provide feedback to the speaker about the presentation. This would be valuable for the teacher to use to increase feedback on interests from students. Teacher’s Assistant Pro and Teacher Kit seem to be useful programs used on iPads and cell phones. A teacher can add a quick comment or describe the students behavior that day. This can also be sent to the parents and administrators which comes in handy and can be very convenient. Dropbox is a very helpful tool used for organization and file storage! It helps me keep files in order and keep track classes and sports information easier.
A few years ago I was invited to join LinkedIn by my real estate agent. There were a few instances where I used the site, because I didn’t think it was very user friendly. I found it hard to follow and boring! I think LinkedIn is definitely a more professional use of connecting to social media where Facebook has created a more laid back setting. Facebook tends to focus more on pictures and status updates, where LinkedIn is more informative, and can provide updates on current news articles. LinkedIn offers job opportunities and companies to follow, where as Facebook creates fan pages. LinkedIn could be very beneficial when looking for recruiting schools, or new job opportunities. I think Facebook is more beneficial in staying updated in the social world.
The Top 100 list did not surprise me especially with the social media tools. The students were introduced to twitter, facebook, and things like blogs in a social facet. Professors and teachers have began to put a spin on these as instructional tools instead of just using them just for social reasons. Twitter was number one, and this surprised me because I felt there were more useful tools that would be more beneficial to education than twitter. Recently my employer made all employees attend a technology professional developmental session. At the session they introduced dashboards we will be using and the importance of incorporating technology and tools like, dropbox, glogster, powerpoint, and wikispaces into our classrooms. There have been a group of teachers who are working together to figure out lessons and ways to make this happen. I will be able to use this list at our next meeting!
Web 2.0 has opened a lot of doors for education through convenience and accessibility. There are more options allowed for online education as well as tools we can use to enhance the educational process. Online schooling, blogs, presentations, projects, will all be more meaning full as we grow with our youth. The students I have now depend highly on technology and they find doing more hands on or visual instruction (prezi, videos, etc.) to be more beneficial to real life application than reading a textbook. Interaction between all consumers is made easy through Web 2.0, feedback and instruction can be found conveniently and through a simple blog. There are sites like Prezi that I have used to make learning more creative. Then there are sites like Little Bird Tales, that allow ELL students to have equal access to certain materials.
There are millions of apps and websites I have never heard of. LifeDev provided a list of online tools for things I never thought of using to organize my life with before. The first link I played with was Thinkfree. This would be a quick and reliable tool to use right after a game, or at practice when reviewing team and individual stats. Google Calendar is great to have because while I am in school or class and need to put something on my calendar, I can do this on the computer and it syncs directly to my phone. Remember the milk is an awesome on line to do list, that can be shared through facebook or uploads to the phone. Joe's Goals and Map My Run are two links I would like to introduce to my students and have them print out their goals, and progress. Vitalist is something I would like to personally use! My boyfriend and I decided we want to travel to every state across America. We will be able to track and set where we want to go. He is in the military, 1,000 miles away, so this way we can come up with a few ideas and share them with each other right through the site.
Today I spoke to a few of my softball players about the podcast I had created for my KIN-710 class. One player mentioned she had used this type of technology in her foundations of music class this semester, while another had only seen GarageBand on her home computer. I showed them some of the podcasts I had created and was able to send them a few of the inspirational ones! They all became excited and said they wanted to make this a daily ritual before practice or workouts. As a teacher I will not follow them on twitter, or facebook, so this is a way we can communicate using a valid, professional tool.
I plan on using twitter and facebook fan pages to recruit collegiate players. I also would like to create a fan page for fitness clubs or sports clinics, to keep everyone updated on the latest information. Pearltrees is a great resource for PE and Health lesson ideas and information. I have also already begun a fitness website on Weebly, to promote local runs, and community fitness and wellness.
Podcasting is a new concept to me! Before creating my own podcast, I had to do some extensive research! A few articles broke down the idea of using podcasts in education, and the concept of a podcast. The first article I read was by Doug Hoagland/ The Fresno Bee, and this explained why Professor Sailor uses podcasts in his classes. They are convenient and can be used to review material as many times as someone needs! This article was pretty basic and gave a base for me to continue my research as became familiar with podcast vocabulary.
The next article "Why iTeach with iPods", explains how we can use podcasts instead of writing papers. As I was reading this I immediately thought of the final exam review assignment I give my health students. They have a study guide that lists concepts and vocabulary they have learned about and need to gather detailed information about the concepts and turn this in. I think a podcast would motivate them more, reaches more learning styles, and is more convenient. It would allow them to read the information from their notes or text, speak it into the podcast, e-mail the audio to me, as well as have it saved on their computer so they can listen to it as many times as they want before the test day!
When reading the "Using Podcasts as Audio Learning Objects", I realized I use YouTube, "How To" videos all the time when trying to complete a project I have never attempted or am unsure how to complete. A podcast is another great tool to use for this! I have also found a few news/sports podcasts to use in my health class for current event articles. This has allowed the students to complete the assignment in a shorter time because they are able to listen and write instead of reading and then writing. I am going to continue to research more information on podcasts and use my human resources to help me as well!