Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Journal 4

I chose to investigate Google Earth on the classroom 2.0 site. Google Earth is “Google Earth is a proprietary virtual globe program that was originally called Earth Viewer, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004. It maps the earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It is available under three different licenses: Google Earth, a free version with limited functionality; Google Earth Plus ($20 per year), which includes additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($400 per year), which is intended for commercial use.[1]
The product, renamed Google Earth in 2006, is currently available for use on personal computers running Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, or Vista, Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above, Linux (released on June 12, 2006), and FreeBSD. Google Earth is also available as a browser plugin (released on June 02, 2008) for Firefox, IE6, or IE7. In addition to releasing an updated Keyhole based client, Google also added the imagery from the Earth database to their web based mapping software. The release of Google Earth in mid 2006 to the public caused a more than tenfold increase in media coverage on virtual globes between 2006 and 2007,[2] driving public interest in geospatial technologies and applications.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Earth)

I was very excited to see that google earth can be used in some great lessons and can actually be stretched to touch on all of the content areas. Some of these teachers have great, very creative ideas on how to incorporate great technological tools into the classroom. I learned that google earth can be used mainly for science and math lesson because of the content of the site. Using the ruler tool allows students to measure distances. There is an option to view the longitude and latitude of visited areas on the globe. Teachers can even set up a route for their students to follow and add links to each point the student stops on so that students can view movies about a destination or read information about an area, from a completely different site. There are endless tools and options that can easily turn google earth into countless lessons in any classroom. It’s amazing!
Something that was funny to me was that most of the discussion on this tool was given by male teachers. This completely follows with the idea that men prefer to teach science and math and women prefer other subjects. This lets me know that as a female teacher I need to be sure to put equal emphasis on science and math just as the other subjects.

Journal 5

Vantage Upgrades MY Access! School Edition
According to the article MY Access has been updated and now has a special school version which meets state standards for all 50 states. This online writing program seems like it would be a huge help to both teachers and students. The program was designed to help students with their writing skills. It even has tools like MY Tutor and MY Editor to help multilingual/ELL students with their writing skills. MY Access allows students to enter their own work and check to see if their writing is up to par with current standards for their grade. The site can even give a score to a students writing, which helps teachers figure out who needs help with their writing to bring it up to the state standards. Much of what the article portrays of the program seems like it would be a great tool for teachers and students. I chose to visit the site and this is a great tool for teachers who are interested in their students meeting the standards for testing. The program really focus’ on testing material and the markers students need to meet in order to do well on state tests. It is a very test based program which is understandable today because teachers are forced to “prepare” their students to pass the state mandated tests. But I feel that until a teacher has taught multiple lessons on writing and has taken steps to personally connect with their students about writing, this site would be very impersonal and not give students a good feel for writing and all of the creative places writing can take a students mind.

Question 1: Why would a site like this be valuable for a teacher?
A site like this could be very valuable for a teacher to help their students practice their writing skills before testing dates. Using the site properly could also help a teacher better communicate with their ELL students about writing skills.
Question 2: Does a site like this allow teachers to become overly test driven?
Using a site like this could allow a teacher to focus too much on test results and how their students could meet those expectations. However, if a teacher uses this site to aid their lessons and not lead their lessons the site could be a valuable aid.
Source:
Dave Nagel, "Vantage Upgrades MY Access! School Edition," T.H.E. Journal, 7/30/2008, http://www.thejournal.com/articles/23025

Journal 6

Do Students Respect Intellectual Property?

This article discusses how teachers are becoming more and more aware of how in or out of touch they are with copyright laws/guidelines. It also discusses how aware teachers are of their student’s point of view and knowledge of copyright issues. One teacher created a project for her student strictly based on copyright laws/guidelines and found that most students are very na├»ve on the rules they should be following but when she required the rules to be followed and made it a part of their grade, students do respond positively and remember what they learn when they are required to apply rules. Another teacher realized that she had not even been introduced to the proper copyright guidelines and worried that some of the work she used in her classroom was violating the rules she had learned about. I related to this article because of the copyright assignment I completed in class. The issues were similar and made me realize that if I teach my students and show them how important it is to really follow the guidelines, they will listen and follow the lines set.
Question 1: Why do you think copyright has been a growing issue recently?
These days’ copyright issues have to be followed very carefully because of all the technology being used. People have access to much more information, images and music online today than they did in the past. Because they have access to it people do not think about violating rules or laws, even though they may be. Teachers need to be careful of what they use and know their rights so they can always be sure to use and demonstrate proper copyright usage for their students.
Question 2: Why is it important to teach students about copyright guidelines?
It is important to teach students about these guidelines because they need to know the guidelines and how they should follow them properly. With all of the technology being used in and out of the classroom today students have to be just as careful with following copyright guidelines as teachers do.

Sources:
Tammy Morris is a technology staff development
coordinator with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough
School District in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Jennifer Janesko is a teacher and the IT coordinator
at the Dresden International School in
Dresden, Germany.

Copyright © 2008, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved.