Post #1: Getting excited about ECMP 355

Hello my name is Jeremy Black. I am in my 4th year of the K-5 BEAD program, and just interned at Thomson Community School. This is my last semester, and I’m really glad I am able to take this class as one of my electives.
Prior to entering the education program here at the UofR I was teaching in Japan for three years after having taken a BFA (also from the UofR) in Intermedia Visual Arts.

Outside of teaching and education my passions lie in photography and the visual arts. I have a photo-blog http://blackimoto.com/pixelpost that I regularly update. Please take a look and leave a comment.
I also love riding bicycles, and recently built up my own single-speed bicycle from an old Raleigh race frame I found.
I am also a self-confessed music nerd, and love talking about new music finds with other ‘nerds’.
I also got married this past summer to my main squeeze Yuki!

I consider myself fairly proficient with computers and the internet. I have used Adobe photoshop since highschool (I graduated in 1999, so yes, I am a ‘mature’ student) using it in conjunction with my First degree in Visual Arts. I am also used to using Adobe illustrator. I flirted with flash as well, but that has since totally been forgotten. I have used Final Cut Pro and iMovie for both personal and school related projects in the past, the last time being to make videos with my students in my internship. I have had my own website off and on since high school, and am familiar with basic html script. With my current website I am using the pixelpost program which I have tweaked a little bit (and am still doing). I have also used garageband for recording and editing audio, made podcasts with students, etc. I am also proficient with Nikon SLR’s and DSLR products, and shoot with a Nikon D200 body and a variety of fixed and zoom lenses.

I see technology as a wonderful tool that can be used in conjunction with well planned lessons, and as a resource for both students and teachers alike in the classroom. I worked with Gr. 3/4 students at Thomson Community School and while I was there we used a variety of technology to make lessons more engaging and relevant to students. Examples include using the speech tool in the mac to read passages to students that have reading disabilities; Making podcasts as a way to provide a visual equivalent of the assignment/scenario for students with language disabilities; Group presentations that culminate in students making their own podcasts that can be later watched by the whole class; Group research projects that become websites; A creative writing lesson that became a stop frame claymation video put into a podcast; using videos and resources on the net to supplement a lesson, or provide a relevant set, etc. I also maintained the class website during my internship period.

As much as I used technology in my lessons and classroom, I still am wary about becoming over-reliant on it. I don’t believe that every lesson needs a technological attribute and the reason for this is because there are many other relevant ways of getting across an idea without quickly ‘googleing it.’ All the students in my class, save one didn’t have a computer at home. Certainly I believe that students should have early and frequent exposure to computers to gain familiarity to them, but I don’t want them thinking that this is the only way to go about doing it. I would rather students see the potential and benefits of real physical communication between their community before they become too caught up with social networking.

I don’t have a problem with using certain web applications in the classrooms, among them blogging and youtube as these are both creative outlets. Bringing facebook into the classroom seems like a bad idea, based on what I see the majority of it’s users use it for.

I am looking forward to this class in the hopes that it will assuage many of my qualms about some kinds of technology (notably social networking sites) being used in the classroom. I also hope that I will be provided with many sources to use towards future lessons, as well as means in which to continue learning long after I have become an ‘actual’ teacher.

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