Thursday, December 8, 2011

Journal #10 Is Cursive Writing Worth Teaching?

Potte, L., & Eilts, S. (2011). Is cursive writing worth teaching?. Retrieved from

The article, "Is Cursive Writing Worth Teaching" discusses a contraversy between educators concerning the use of cursive and whether or not it is useful to students. Lee Anne Potter believes that cursive writing should remain in the curriculum at schools. She talks about a 6-year-old girl and her excitement to learn cursive and her idea that cursive is a "milestone to growing up." Potter believes that there is beaty in script writing and that learning cursive is an artistic skill. She emphazises the personality of hand-writing, that it refects attributes of the writer. Potter says that when you learn how yo write cursive, you learn how to read it. She believes that this skill is important because of the history of script writing in important documents such as The Constitution. Without the ability to read or write cursive, Potter believes that a portion of our collective past as Americans will "literally be inaccessable" to our future generations.
On the contrary, Sharon Eilts believes that cursive writing serves virtually no purpose in education. She makes a point that the ac of communication should be the focus in school, not necessarily the writing tool. Unlike Potter, Eilts says that some older skills should be laid to rest. She says, "fountain pens are novelty items." She talks about the time that she spent learning the loops and lifts of cursive and realizes that that time could have been spent mastering a more important skill. Eilts recognizes the beauty of cursive, but also recognizes modern education and cursive has no longer has a place in modern education. Because Eilts is a specal education teacher, she understands that not all students have the same capabilities. She mentions that some students are literally unable to write, and should not be penalized for that.

Q: How do you feel about cursive writing being taught in schools?
A: I chose this article specifically because I have wondered to myself on several occasionals what the benefit was to learning cursive. I too believe that cursive was a waste of time that could have been spent learning an alternative skill. Potter argues that a part of history will literally be unaccessable. That is laughable. Technology is so advanced even today, I cant imagine that future generations will be unable to learn about the constutution and other such scripts because they didnt learn cursive! I understand that she finds a creative aspect in script, and I do as well, but we can say the same about a persons handwriting. No ones writing style is the same, so I can argue that hand-writing itself is teaching creativity. In addition, cursive was never taught to be a creative thing, I recall tracing loops and turns in a book, with the assistance of dotted lines, no creativity about it, but rather, uniformity.

Q: What are the differences in education between the two writing article?
A: Lee Anne Potter is the director of education and volunteer programs at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. Sharon Eilts teaches Middle School Special Education. She provides local assessment and training in technology in education. She is "an Adobe Education Leader, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Teacher, HP Teacher Mentor, and Intel Teach to the Future Master Teacher."

Journal #9 Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from

The article, "Reading Redefined for a Transmedia World" describes alternative ways of reading and learning with the use of modern technology. There are plenty of ways that technology has advanced throughout the years, offering new ways to read books in the classroom. Some examples of alternative ways of reading that the article describes are e-books, interactive stroybooks, reference databases, hypertexts and interactive fiction, and transmedia storytelling. The most recent form of reading is the coming of e-books. E-books are offered through different devices such as iPads, Nooks, Kindles, and the like. The advantage to using an E-book is that the content is the same as a book, however e-books also offer tools like highlighters, bookmarks, dictionaries, and note-taking tools. They also have the ability to hold multiple books at a time. The advantage to using such a device in as a student is the light-weight component as opposed to carrying heavy books around school all day. 
Interactive storybooks are another alternative way to read typically used by children. A voice reads aloud and highlights words as the story progresses.
Reference Databases are typically used by older students for research. It allows an individual to search through a library of books and articles digitally.
Transmedia Storytelling, in addition to the story, offers an array of tools to extend one's understanding of the story such as maps, graphs, videos, games, etc. This is beneficial when exploring the different intellegences a student utilizes when learning.

Q: What do professionals say about Transmedia Reading in the classroom?
A: Teachers should explore alternative ways to teach their students through Transmedia Reading. They emphasize that this does not mean that teachers should neglect their old curriculum, rather, integrate the use of modern technology. The article discusses different teachers and the ways that they teach their students through TR. They find that students progress better with different opportunities to learn.

Q: What is the difference between nontraditional fiction and nonfiction? What are the complications between the two?
A: Traditional fiction is not factual. It is imaginary and made up. On the contrary, Nonfiction is factual and true information. The problem bwteen fiction and nonfiction is the common occurence of a readers inability to distinguish the difference between the two. Some books apply both fiction and nonfictional aspects. For example, the book, "Space Headz" that was mentioned in the acticle.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Journal #8 Adaptive Technology

The iPad has quickly proved itself to be utilized as a useful tool for students with disabilities. The iPad offers many beneficial “applications” that can be used as tools in the classroom. One particular way that the iPad has integrated technology is by improving communication through the use of visual schedules. 
A visual schedule is a series of pictures that outlines daily events that should be expected. For example, one might create a visual schedule with pictures like a bus and a schoolhouse to indicate that they will be going to school that day. Visual schedules have proven to be beneficial to those mainly in the Autistic spectrum because individuals with Autism become familiar with routine and tend to behave better when they know what to expect during the day. With the advance of the iPad, this type of communication is even easier than ever before.
Another way individuals with Autism can benefit from the use pictures is by communicating how they are feeling, what they want, etc.  With paper pictures, the user is limited as to what exactly they can communicate. However, with the iPad, individuals are now offered a wider selection of pictures to choose from. For example, my brother used to use the visual aides in form of paper to communicate with the family. These paper pictures were protection by lamination, but that did not stop them from getting lost or damaged. Now, all my brother needs is the iPad itself to let us know what he wants.
Home isn’t the only place that those with disabilities can utilize the iPad. It can be used as a tool in the classroom as well. The iPad offers a great selection of books, where students can easily navigate through the pages and zoom in or out based on preference. The iPad has children’s books and story telling applications that can read out loud to the student if they are unable to read! In addition, the iPad offers applications that assist students spelling, handwriting, and literacy.
Reading is not the only way that this device can be utilized in the classroom. The applications offered are virtually limitless. There are varieties of math applications, language applications science applications, and art applications.
Music applications particularly can be a very beneficial tool to individuals with Autism. A common interest throughout the Autistic spectrum is music, which include beats, sounds, and rhythm.
The iPad also offers many applications that include fun games and activities. Some can be used in the classroom, or simply for entertainment purposes.
I have gone over many of the benefits to individuals with disabilities using the iPad not only in the home but also in the classroom. These benefits have been recognized and therefore financial assistance is made available through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA), meaning that if a student falls under the category of IDEA, they may qualify for a free iPad provided by the government.

NETS-T Mind Map

NETS-T 3 Using an online source, I was able to navigate through a mind-mapping website that allowed me to outline the assignments I've done and which NETS-T were fulfilled in a creative way.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Excel Crossword

NETS-T 1, 2, 3

I created a crossword puzzle that allowed me to navigate through Excel and understand the different tools that it has to offer in my future classroom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Journal #6

Parr, B. (2011, July 16). Google+: The complete guide. Retrieved from
The article, "Google+: The complete Guide" first introduces the reader to what Google+ is and later offers step by step instruction on how to use the neworks tools to your benefit. The article also answers the question, "Why would anyone want to use Google+?" Google+ can be considered a social media rival to Facebook and an improvement from their previous attempts to dip into the social media world: GoogleBuzz and GoogleWave. However, it does have many features that Facebook does not like Sparks, Hangouts, Circles, and Huddles. Some reasons that people seem to favor Google+ in comparison to Facebook is that it has an overall "cleaner" look to it. One reviewer mentioned that distractions like games on Facebook are not available with Google+.  Another reviewer thought that it was a more adult way of being involved in Social Networking. Google+ also gives users the opportunity to sync other socail sits to their profile like Twitter, Facebook, Linked, or even a personal website or blog. Another benefit to using Google+ is the amazing privacy features. Photos and videos are automatically private after an upload until the user changes the settings. Circles offer users the opportunity to limit what is being shown to certain people linked to their profile and all profiles are automatically private.

Q: What is a "Circle?"
A: A circle is a feature on Google+ that allows you to separate users into different categories. For example, you may have a family circle, a friend circle, and a business circle. This feature is so important because it allows for the user to limit the content of their page to certain groups of people. You may not want someone from work to see what you may be showing your friends, which allows for more opportunity and less stress in sharing information.

Q: Can you "like" things using Google+ like you can with Facebook?
A: Similar to Facebook, Google+ offer a "+1 button" that they are trying to push. The +1 button gives users the chance to express interest in any subject without actually writing a comment about it.

Brogan, C. (2011, Sept 30). Educators – Google Plus is for you. Retrieved from
The article, "Educators - Google Plus is for you" was very useful as a future educator. Using the circles feature on Google+, an educator may separate their classes, offering specific information to each one. To share class content, you simply click on the "share this circle" button. Using the stream feature, similar to a status update on Facebook, an educator can post lessons for each class that can be easily accessible to students. And a way for teachers to know that their students have read the material is by "checking in" to the assignment. Another way that students can communicate with each other and their teachers better is by engaging in online chats or "hangouts."

Q: How does a "hangout" work?
A: First, you create a "hangout," then type in your name and then simply invite people to join. When the computer notices that someone is talking into the microphone, the attention is then on that person, so everyone involved in the chat can see that person speaking. However, one limitation to these online chats is that it only has a ten person capacity, so it cannot include an entire class. The article also suggested to invite special guests to chats.

Q: How does Google+ help a classroom?
A: Google+ has many features that can benefit a class in different ways. If a student is to miss class, they can simply check into the circle and observe the teachers feed to check for any assignments they missed that day. Students are also connected to each other, so it a good place to create a forum where they can discuss any difficulties or interests they have in class.