A bit about me ...

I am a Professor of Professional Studies at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am responsible for the design and development of the technology instruction taken by juniors and seniors in the College of Education. I have been teaching for over 40 years. In 1972 I became Dean of the College of Professional and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts/Boston and served in that capacity until 1979 when I was named Vice President of the Council for the Advancement of Experiential Learning. I came to "South" in 1988 to develop a program in multimedia.

This blog is an example for my students in EDM 310, the technology course all Education majors must take.

... and what this blog is about.
I have a class blog every semester. You can take a look at my Spring 2009 Class Blog if you wish. From there you can connect to the blog sites maintained by all my students and to previous EDM 310 blogs. In this exercise I am asking students to create another blog in which they discuss six or more "teaching tools" or teaching attitudes they intend to apply in their classrooms when they begin their professional career. I have done the same in this blog as an example for my students.

In this blog you will find a discussion, and sometimes examples or links to examples, of these Teaching Tools: Blogs, Google Presentations, Google Documents, Google Forms, Google Spreadsheets, Picasa, and Podcasts.

Links to these examples can be found to your left, immediately under my picture.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Google Documents

I am a commited user of Google's Documents. There are four major "tools" available:

  • Word Processor
  • Presentation Creator
  • Form Builder
  • Spreadsheet (which is also a Data Base as are all spreadsheets

Why are these tools so valuable?

  • They are Free!
  • They allow for a collaborative effort which also produces a record of who did what when.
  • Documents and presentations are available to online audiences if desired
  • Chat (and in some cases audio and video) are available to "distant" participants
  • Can't lose document (stored on Google's server)
  • Accessible anywhere there is an internet connection without need for an application other than a browser

If Google's tool set is not a part of your instructional tool set you should try them. I think you will find them enormously useful and beneficial.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Don't Know....Let's Find Out!

I love to learn and I want my students to love to learn. One way I try to accomplish that objective is to model the excitement that comes from learning. And that is perfectly OK to say "I don't know." because we can then say "Let's find out!"

Reader/Writers or Listener/Watchers?

In 1995 I published an article predicting that books would be replaced by silver discs by 2010. How wrong I was. Books have been (or are rapidly being" replaced by "The Cloud." At a later date I will elaborate on this new "Strange Prediction." Here I would like to summarize my 1995 belief that a new world was emerging in which a "listening/watching" culture was replacing a "reading/writing" one. The number of readers, and time spent reading was decreasing rapidly then (and still is). And many were wring there hands over such a calamity. I felt that it was not reading/writing that was the concern, but whether the new generation f listeners/watchers could be moved from being consumers of the new media to producers/authors/directors of audio and video products. Podcasts are an excellent tool in that effort!


This is the first semester in which I have used podcasts as a teaching tool. Podcasts are easily done. They are inexpensive to do. They are fun. And they are one way to turn our "listening/watching" students into creators/authors of the media they prefer to the books and written materials of the "reading/writing" culture of which I am a part. I discuss the contrast between "listening/watching" and reading/writing" cultures elsewhere in this blog.
Back to podcasts. My students this semester have created 29 podcasts on a variety of subjects dealing with educational technologies and other educational issues. I call the podcast series It's Time for Technology Talk: Conversations with Future Teachers. You can subscribe to the podcasts through iTunes or on the special blog devoted to the EDM 310 Fall08 Podcasts.

No "Burp Back" Education!

I am a vigorous opponent of "burp back" education. Yet it is endemic in our school systems, including our universities. Find some information that you think students should "know," force it down them through lectures, readings, or even videos, give them a a true/false or multiple choice quiz of these facts that they "should" know, and ignore the fact that we have excellent evidence that people forget information (and skills) they do not use in just about the same amount of time that it takes them to learn those facts or skills!
Today we have almost reached the place where we have "all information in all places at all times." (Gutenberg II, 1978). Our task as teachers, it seems to me , is not to teach and test for information but rather to teach students how to ask questions, describe things or events, compare and contrast, what they describe, and make arguments for and against a variety of propositions. In learning these intellectual skills they will, of course, have to use facts (which are easily accessible from a multitude of sources. Throw out the easily graded tests and quizzes, the regurgitation of facts and concentrate on projects and activties that teach students to THINK!

Blogs as Teaching Tools

I believe blogs are a very important teaching tool. They have many uses including: providing a space for: links to students' work, links to important blogs, web sites, audio and video materials, or documents (including those in .pdf format); a summary of class assignments; support materials for students; presentations done in Google Presentation or other presentation software (including PowerPont).

Student blogs provide space for students to write reports that are public, post pictures or presentations that are useful in the class, and create links to materials that they are worth sharing.

Blogs have other positive attributes:

  • They are free!

  • They provide for comments from others and those comments can be monitored before they appear if that is desired. Comments can also be removed by either the sender or the recipient.

  • They can be private, public, or limited to a specific audience.

  • They can be accessed anywhere in he world where there is internet access.

Many examples exist of blogs used in all grade levels of types of educatinal institutions. Search using Google's specialized Google Blog search engine or consult the sites recommended by my students.

To access the blogs of my students, go first to EDM310 Class Blog Fall 08 (my class blog). You will find the appropriate links to student blogs on the right side of the class blog.