Day #8.1

Well, yesterday was actually day #8. I did get my calendar a bit off I guess. Oh well…

Tonight, I browsed through my classmate’s “Website of the Week” contributions and came across a few really cool websites. I’m not going to go into much detail right now because I want to get a move on with finishing up the reading for this week so I can start the “Creation” portion of Module #2.

I’ll have a more detailed post tomorrow evening

Day #7

If we’re going by the summer schedule of Monday – Thursday classes, then today would be day #7 right?

The past couple of nights have been devoted to work for the other class that I am taking during this summer session (CIS 651). However, I have done a little browsing of the ED 620 content and have made my contribution to the “Website of the Week.” I also began browsing my Twitter account more frequently.

The website that I contributed this week to the class is called Seashore (http://seashore.sourceforge.net). It is an open source basic image editing software for the Mac OS X operating system. I like it a lot for simple tasks. It will never replace Photoshop on my computer, but it is a nice alternative for certain things.

Here is a video that I found on YouTube that shows the application in action:

Tonight, I started browsing the Google resources/content that was presented to us in Ed 620. I have had a Google account for many years now, so I’m pretty familiar with all of the tools that are available. Out of the list that was presented to us (Google Scholar, Google for Educators, Google Docs, Google Presentations, Google Forms, Google Maps, and Google Reader), I am very familiar with all of the items except for Google Presentations.

So, I watched the video that was presented to us that shows Google Presentations in use. On the surface, it’s a free web-based version of PowerPoint. But, with the edition of Google Docs’ collaboration features, Google Presentations can be used as a wonderful classroom tool. I can visualize students working together on a presentation from home without the need to compile separate slides together from various files all into one. How great is that!?

It’s getting late, and it’s way too hot to sit here with my laptop any longer. RSS Feeds tomorrow…

Stay cool!

Day #4

So I took yesterday to catch up on some reading…

Today, I’m back at it. This time around, I searched through the “Website of the Week” discussion to see what types of websites that my peers shared this week.

One site that really stood out to me was Prezi. The site offers a brand new spin on the basic slide presentation that we are all so used to. To quote directly from the website:

“At Prezi, we’re all about helping people understand each other better. Presentations have not evolved much in the 50 years since the slide was invented, but Prezi is changing that. Prezi lets you bring your ideas into one space and see how they relate, helping you and your audience connect. Zoom out to see the big picture and zoom in to see details — a bit like web-based maps that have changed how we navigate through map books.”

This, to me, is quite revolutionary. To really grasp the big picture of what Prezi does, check out Prezi for Education.

Whenever I get a chance, I’m going to fool around with this new tool to see how it works and how I could adapt it to fit my own instructional style. I’m really excited about trying out Prezi. I’m thinking my first application will have something to do with my graduate assistantship at the Jefferson County History Center.

It’s been a good first week. See you on the flip side…

Day #2

Back to the grind.

ED 620 has been my focus since getting home from a long day serving at AmeriCorps. So far I quickly browsed some information regarding searching the internet (which I plan on spending some more time with in the next few days), read about PLNs (Personal Learning Networks), and posted to the class’ “Website of the Week” discussion board.

The internet search links provided to us are really great. Take a look at this detailed resource that offers some in-depth FAQs on the ins-and-outs of internet searches that most of us definitely overlook on a daily basis. As of now, I’ve only skimmed through the resource, but I have already learned about the importance of “Boolean Operators.” Also, the “Google for Educators” link that was provided is awesome! I definitely plan on taking the Google “lessons” provided on the website in order to better understand how to effectively utilize the search engine in/for the classroom.

As far as PLNs are concerned, I have started to actively maintain (and pay attention to) some online resources that I have developed in the past. First of all, I have a “professional” Twitter account (@n_pearce – feel free to follow me if you’d like) where I follow some “ed-tech gurus” that share various resources through their tweets. To be completely honest, I have not kept up with this much since I activated the account almost a year ago, but now is the time to start. Another thing that I really want to do while building my PLN is find some good educational blogs to follow. So if you know of any great ones out there that you can recommend, please leave a comment with a link. I’ll share any of my finds in the posts to come.

Last but not least, my “Website of the Week” is one of my favorite tools that I have ever used. This week’s selection is called Evernote.

Evernote Logo

It’s a multi-function tool, both web-based and accessible through standalone software, that helps me stay organized. I use it daily. To see some ways that I use it, take a look at my blog post that reviews the application (done for my coursework in ED 617). I still need to take the time to browse my classmates’ websites for this week, and will share any resources that stand out to me.

Stay classy…

Day #1

Ok, now that my introduction post is out of the way, I can get to the “meat and potatoes” portion of my blog: my daily commentary of work related to ED 620.

So far, all I can say is that I’m really looking forward to using unfamiliar technology to create valuable resources throughout the course. For instance, I am familiar with blogging, but I have never used WordPress before. I don’t know why! I really like it…a whole lot better than what I have experienced using (Blogger). Take a look at my two blogs already created with Blogger:

  • JCHC Blog – my documentation of work related to my graduate assistantship position at the Jefferson County History Center
  • PDE SAS Review – a blog set up for ED 617 as a critical review of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Ed’s “Standards Aligned System”

I’m not saying that Blogger is a bad tool.  It is a really good resource for the publication of information on the internet. I’m still going to be using it for my current blogs, but any new creations will probably be done through WordPress (or until I find something that I like even better).

I really like the user-friendly interface that this tool (WordPress) presents right from the get-go. This is a great change of pace from a lot of other publishing tools out there in cyber space. However, like most new things, it will take some time to master and really mold this into something that I am totally pleased with (I’m already in the process of coming up with a header graphic using Photoshop that I can upload and make this blog look more appealing – for your sake and mine). I’m guessing that documentation of my thoughts about WordPress will continue to be a pretty big topic throughout my blog posts for ED 620, so stay tuned!

WordPress aside, here are some of my first impressions about the course overall:

I am really pleased about is the positive feel of the course. All of the content on the D2L site is very well organized and the assignments seem very relevant and well-planned. Sometimes online coursework seems so meticulous and unrewarding, but my first impression of ED 620 is that this course is different. I’m the type of person that could spend all day on my computer discovering new web tools, resources, and features that can be used for academic, social, and recreational purposes. This course almost seems to give me an excuse to that exactly.

That’s all for now…

Introduction

Hello readers!

My name is Nathan Pearce. I am currently a graduate student at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. I am working on a M.Ed degree with a concentration in Technology. On top of that, I am also working on fulfilling the requirements to receive my ITS certification. In May 2010, I completed my undergraduate work from Clarion in secondary education (grades 7-12) social studies. To see my professional e-portfolio, click here.

Aside from school, I work as a graduate assistant for the Jefferson County History Center (JCHC) in Brookville, PA. There, I use my (sometimes very limited) knowledge of technology to help improve the quality of the interactions that take place between the organization and the people it connects to. So far, I have helped maintain the JCHC website, I have developed interactive videos for touch-screen exhibits, designed exhibit signage, incorporated and upkeep social media pages and html email newsletters, and am working on a graphic design project that will result in the manufacture and installation of eight full-color outdoor informational plaques detailing historic information of landmarks in Brookville through text and pictures. I try to document all of my major work and accomplishments at the JCHC on another blog. Feel free to check it out by clicking here!

Since my assistantship position is only available to me during the regular academic year, this summer I became a member of AmeriCorps through the local chapter (Keystone SMILES) in Knox, PA. I am currently working on the last portion of a 12-week term of service that has been very rewarding. So far, I have planned and instructed a 3-week summer school program affiliated with a local school district. Through my instructional efforts and the hard work and cooperation of the students, I am proud to say that all of the students selected for the program will be moving on to their regularly scheduled grade levels in the fall. More recently at AmeriCorps, I have been involved with the “Creative Arts” portion of the Keystone SMILES summer youth program. This means that I have had the opportunity to work with children of all ages, from pre-K to 8th grade, in a mentoring role, all while creating fun works of art with the kids.

Everything that I’ve written about above are things that I have done. Now, I want to tell you some things about me. I’m originally from the Erie County (PA) area, but I have been primarily located in Clarion ever since arriving at college in the fall of 2006 for my freshman year. One thing that I learned about myself through undergraduate work is that I really am happy with my decision to seek out a degree in education. I love working with students (of all ages), and I am really looking forward to my first teaching position (but not really looking forward to the job search). Aside from teaching, my other passion in life is music. I love to listen to it, I love to witness it live, and I love to play it. Personally, I play guitar, mandolin, and some banjo and piano (I also own a violin, harmonica, and a set of bagpipes – all of which I cannot really play). I find music to be one of the best ways to relieve stress, whether it’s belting out the chorus to your favorite song in your car on the way home from a long day at work or sitting around the house on a lazy day with guitar in hand.

For those music lovers out there…

I’m a huge Mumford & Sons fan (Most of you probably have never heard of them, but they are definitely worth checking out!). I discovered them last summer and have since become obsessed and have seen them twice in concert. Their music has become my regular online coursework soundtrack, playing through iTunes as I sit working on assignments at my computer. I thought that I’d share a little musical genius (at least in my opinion) with you all:

 

I guess this is the point where I talk about ED 620 “Internet Applications for K-12 Educators.” The main purpose of this particular blog is to fulfill requirements for this particular course. Hopefully, I will be able to get on here and post each day that I work on my coursework. I will document progress that I make, share discoveries that I stumble across, and hopefully be able to educate others as I gain knowledge myself. I hope you find this blog to be interesting; I’m certainly not a great writer, but I try my best to share my thoughts with others in an easy-to-manage way whenever I do write.

Until next time…