Sunday, October 21, 2007

Internet Safety - the final chapter

This week's focus in my online class was on internet safety. Since I already teach my students about internet safety, but I am always looking for new material, I really appreciated this focus. I saw many things that I hope to use in my classes. Now I just need to find the time to incorporate them!

This is the last week of the class, so I know it will be easy to lose my focus on all the things I've learned. I intend to use my blog as a way to keep reminding myself of all the great things I've learned. So I promise to visit here at least once a week, and post a blog about what new material I've incorporated into my classes that week.

Last week was interesting, because I had a test planned for my Intro to Computers students. I test them on computer vocabulary words, which is also what their homework involves. We happened to be focusing on the internet and associated words, and I've discovered (the hard way) how confusing the terminology is to many students. So I did something different, at the last minute, when I realized that they weren't getting it. We spend the entire period on the differences between the internet, the world wide web, web sites, web pages, web browsers, URLs and search engines. We talked about which are hardware and which are software; which pieces are on their computer and which aren't, and what each thing is composed of. By the end of the period, they really knew it, and the test results were much better than usual. I ended up doing the same thing with my more advanced classes as well, since I realized that they probably didn't understand the concepts as well as they might. It turned out to be a very rewarding day!!!

Stay tuned for future posting about what's going on in my classes. Until then, Go RED SOX!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Our assignment this week in my ReadWriteWeb class was to learn about podcasting and streaming video. I was overwhelmed by all the resources out there for us, and wished I had time to listen to and view more of them. I did listen to the Audio Learning Revolution podcast on LearnOutLoud.

One of the things that really jumped out at my while listening was their observation that most of the educators contributing to the podcast revolution are out of the classroom. This made total sense to me, since those of us still in the classroom are always so busy. That's probably the thing I like the least about teaching - there's just never enough time, and too many things to try to get done in too short a time. And I'm very quick worker, so it must be really tough for people who aren't.

I also liked what they said about how to best describe the time shifting aspect of podcasting: that you can get what you want, when you want it, and where you want it. That really works well for people who like to work at odd hours. It's also works well for working with people in other time zones. Many years ago, when I worked in the international headquarters at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) I found it a real challenge to do work with the people in Australia and Asia. Fortunately, we got email in 1980, which helped. All the technology we have available today must make it SO much easier.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I did a lot of reading this week for an online class I am taking through our district (one of the benefits of working for the 2nd largest school district in the country) and the focus this week was on WIKIs. I had previously used a WIKI created by someone else, but this is the first time I have thought seriously about creating my own. I have several ideas on how to use one as part of my job:
  • Use a WIKI to allow students in my room to work more cooperatively, which is a real challenge due to the setup of the room.
  • Use WIKIs to encourage more collaboration among my co-workers at school
  • Use WIKIs to improve interaction with the parents of my students
Unfortunately, many of the students in my school don't have computers or internet access at home, so we are limited in that regard. And we have a large Hispanic population (almost 50%), many of whose parents speak little or no English. Since my second language is French, not Spanish (I was almost born in France) I will need to figure out a way to better communicate with those parents as well.

As far as being concerned about either security or possible sabotage when using WIKIs, my readings this week convinced me that I can set up appropriate security if I decide we need it, and it appears that sabotage hasn't been much of a problem on WIKIs in general. Of course, since I've been successfully using an intranet or internet since 1980, I have a lot more faith in doing things that way. I do as much of my financial business as I possibly can on the internet, and I actually get upset when I have to write a check! And I do understand that this whole area can be intimidating to people who aren't as comfortable with the online world as I am.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Computer Science Education Day 2007 is Coming

I just found out that Dec 7 will be Computer Science Education Day. I plan to do something really special in my classes that day!

Yeah Red Sox and Patriots!!!

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I am an insane Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan!!! Of course, "insane" is an unneeded adjective when used to describe a Red Sox fan, because we are all insane!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Introduction to Blogging

Hi everybody! Although I have worked with computers for over 40 years, including email starting in 1980, this is my first blog entry ever.

I am currently a public middle school computer teacher, which is very different from anything I ever did before. I spent 30 years working in the technology industry, plus I've done several other things. I say that teaching is my 4th career, since I've done so many things. What amazes me is that, even after so many years working in several different careers, I found teaching to be the toughest job!

Stay tuned as I learn all about the wonderful world of blogging.