Saturday, September 21, 2013

RSS in Education

I am familiar with RSS readers, and enjoy using The Old Reader personally, but I never really thought about using one in the classroom. I like the idea of having one spot that can be set up for students to go to where they can find safe, age appropriate content. This sure beats the old method of trying to bookmark each site that you want students to go to for research, or expect students to type in a long URL without making any errors, or follow instruction through several steps to get to the part of the site you want them to get to! I am particularly excited to try this out with my 1st graders when we get our classroom blog up and running. I think it'll be a great place for students to be able to check in and see new activity on their blog or on the classroom blog. Here is my screencast explaining several ways to use RSS in the elementary classroom:

I had never used a screencast tool before this assignment. I can see this being useful if posting a lesson or tutorial for students and parents to use at home! (I've always used the document camera to capture video clips for these purposes.) I think it would be helpful to show how to navigate to educational sites that we want students to use at home or resources available for parents on our district website which can be difficult for some to navigate.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Elements of Educational Technology

In this assignment, we looked at the ever changing definition of Educational Technology. I was surprised to see that there are 13 elements to Educational Technology. I was even more surprised that all of these elements related to good teaching practice. The two elements that stood out to me were learning and creating.

I think that it is a given that educators should be focused on student learning. However, looking back at my own education, many of my teachers had the mindset of "I taught it, it's your job to learn it." Their "teaching" entailed a lecture of some sort, students in their desks quietly taking notes, doing an assignment on that day's topic, and eventually taking a test on the unit before shifting to a new unit. If we didn't "learn" the material by the end of the unit, it was up to us to figure it out on our own because the teacher was moving on to the next topic. With technology, educators and students alike can truly focus on learning. With numerous resources, experiences, networks, and progress monitoring software available, the focus truly can be on learning at the student's pace, and teachers are able to provide a high level of individualized instruction.

Students have a number of opportunities to create and publish products to a worldwide audience now, too. Creating is the highest level of thinking on Bloom's Taxonomy, and is a great assessment tool. Assessment through the creation of a product lends itself to differentiation much more readily than the traditional paper and pencil assessment.

My thoughts on the elements of educational technology can be found here.

Friday, September 6, 2013


I have been teaching for 6 years, all of which have been in public schools in Southeastern Wisconsin. I began my career teaching 2nd grade in the district's enrichment program for students identified as "gifted and talented". Due to a change in the program, and subsequent budget cuts I have been assigned to teach 4th, 6th, and 8th grade. Last semester I had the opportunity to work as a K-5 math coach and am currently in my first week of teaching 1st grade!

I have been married for 4 years and have two daughters, ages 2 and 1. We enjoy disc golfing, fishing, and take many trips to local zoos as a family.

This is my second semester in the MET program at Boise State. I wanted to enroll in this program to find new ways to engage students, to give students an opportunity to take ownership in their education beyond the classroom walls, and to provide a variety of ways for students to share and improve upon their work with classmates and family.