Ms. Gamez's Blog

Bringing technology into the classroom!

Update 7/28 July 28, 2010

Filed under: Rain Forest Project Updates — MsGamez @ 12:19 pm

Ok, I’ve re-done almost the whole project. I made new buttons that were more useful and I think that I have successfully eliminated the redundancies. I wish I could have two HyperStudio stacks open at the same time. It would have made copying information and graphics from the old stack to the new stack much easier. Now that I’ve finished with the vocab review section I’m going to start on the Mystery Animal game section. This is going to be the fun part! If i have time before class on Thursday night I’m going to try to make a stack that explains where the rain forests of the world are.


Update 7/26 July 26, 2010

Filed under: Rain Forest Project Updates — MsGamez @ 8:58 pm

Chugging along. Everything seems to be coming together very well.

One issue that I am trying to work through is my navigation. I think that I have too many buttons. I’m going to try to cut down on some of the redundant buttons. We’ll see how this goes, I might be looking at some major changes.

One more issue that is confounding me is my lack of guidelines, but that is a PC issue not a design issue. Oh I wish I had guidelines.


Update- 7/25 July 25, 2010

Filed under: Rain Forest Project Updates — MsGamez @ 8:57 pm

So far, so good. I’m having fun creating my HyperStudio project. My only complaint thus far it that I wish that I had the smart guidelines that the Mac users have. It would make my life so much easier! Every time I change something I have to make sure that I am not moving it, and I have to make sure that it is lined up properly with the other things on the page. It’s kind of a pain. Other than that I’m happy with the way my project it turning out.


Digital Disconnect July 19, 2010

Filed under: Digital Disconnect — MsGamez @ 7:46 pm

Where to start, where to start. Well I think that the first thing that I have to say is that I can’t wait for the day that school administrators and the “higher ups” of the school decision making process realize how important it is for students to be getting basic instruction on how to use computers and the internet. I hope that they realize very quickly what a disservice towards students they are performing when they don’t include this knowledge in the grade level content standards. I also hope they realized that basic classes are only the bare minimum that students need and that they being to include classes beyond the basics as well.

Next, I will say that while I believe that the internet is a key instrument in learning, we also need to make students realize that it is not the only instrument needed for learning. In reading this article, and some of the quotes that they provided from students I came to realize that maybe students are relying too heavily on the internet for their information. I think that maybe the blame for this cannot be fully placed on the students. It seems to me that this is an issue of forbidden fruit being more appealing. When teacher restrict the ways in which students can use the internet, or prohibit internet use completely the students feel more compelled to use it. If teachers and students could work on a balance then maybe students wouldn’t feel as if they “would die” if they didn’t have the internet. I worry about the students who fall under the “Metaphor 2” group; those students who are using the internet as a shortcut to an easy way out of doing their homework.

When reading about the Metaphors I found that I, like many others, can apply more than one metaphor to my internet usage. As a student I think that my internet usage is a lot like “Metaphor 5: The Internet as a Virtual Locker, Backpack, and Notebook.” I have a folder in my e-mail account that I use specifically for e-mails that I have sent myself about school. Links ot pages that were good resources that I wanted to explore further, assignments that I was working on, and e-mails from classmates with useful information. Since I am a substitute teacher I am often working on a computer that is not mine so I have to e-mail myself any work that I may do while I am at work. I also found that I could relate to “Metaphor 1: The Internet as Virtual Textbook and Reference Library.” There are so many amazing sources of information out there just waiting for students to find them. The problem is there are also so many not so great sources of information that could have been written by any Joe-Shmo with a computer. This takes me back to the issue of including computer and internet classes in everyday curriculum, students are not going to know right off the bat how to conduct online research. This is why they need instruction and guidance.

Since I don’t have my own classroom yet, I don’t know yet how this issue is going to affect me and the way that I teach my class. My hopes are that, in taking these classes at APU, I will be better informed and better prepared in my classroom. I don’t see this problem being fixed throughout all schools any time soon, especially with budget cuts and decreased spending in schools. But I am optimistic that I will see some significant advancement. With the productions of the iPad textbook companies will find a way to make their text into digital formats. The cost of netbooks and notebooks are coming down and I can see in the future (maybe in a dream) every student with their own netbook doing research in the classroom.



Filed under: EDUC 524 — MsGamez @ 7:44 pm

Welcome to my blog! Here I will blog about my class EDUC 524, the official half-way point of my Master’s endeavor. Along with posting a few of my assignments I will also be documenting my victories and failures in trying to create an interactive rain forest vocabulary lesson in HyperStudio.  Here we go!


Let’s just be friends, I need MySpace March 8, 2010

Filed under: EDUC 515,Week 4 Assignments — MsGamez @ 5:48 pm

If you were to walk into a school cafeteria today, the scene might be somewhat different from what you would have seen, say five years ago. Today you see students on their cell phones, chatting over IM rather than face to face. Whereas before students would spend their lunch hour catching up with each other on the latest gossip, today they are checking their Facebook or MySpace page to get the latest news. Who’s dating who, who broke who’s heart, and what’s going on this weekend, can all be found online.

Along with all the latest gossip and news, you can also find the latest catfights and conflicts on these sites. Cyber bullies thrive on these sites, leaving mean spirited messages on other student’s pages, for everyone to see.

Do you think that the social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are causing more problems among students? Do they cause conflict between people where there might not have been conflict? Or do you think that these sites provide students with an outlet to their emotions? Explain your reasoning.


Then vs. Now- Compare and Contrast February 21, 2010

Filed under: Week One Assignments — MsGamez @ 7:39 pm

I teach at Larson Elementary School in Hueneme. The students that I teach are 100% English learners. They are, for the most part, the sons and daughters of field workers. Some of my students are recent arrivals to the United States, having lived here for less than 2 years. While they are not English natives, they are most definitely digital natives. With their talk of PSPs, DSs, xBoxes, Wiis and all the other forms of technology they have available to them, they are a student different from the student I was in their place all those years ago, and worlds apart from the students their parents were at their age.

I have a very distinct memory of my times in the computer lab at Adams Elementary in Santa Barbara. With our boxy Macs, and computers to spare, it was one of my favorite times. I can still go to my garage now and pull out mother’s day and Easter cards that I made for my mom on the paint program. I remember getting lost in the world of the Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego. I would go as far as to say that the times that I spent in that computer lab are what fueled my love of technology.

It saddens me now to take my students to the computer lab. Every time we go, I have to decide who will not get a computer because while I have 24 students, I only have 20 computers and, on a good day, only 18 that are working. The only program that they have available for use is Success Maker. I feel as if I’m doing a disservice to my students. I feel this way because I do think that my students think in a different way. I don’t think that the things that they are dealing with are all that different from the things that I dealt with when I was their age, but I do believe that the way in which they are going to handle and process these things is vastly different from the way that I would have handled and dealt with them.
I want so much more than my school has to offer for my students. I think that when a child comes up to you and says that they don’t want to play anymore games; it’s time to change the game. If they can spend “over 10,000 hours playing videogames” (Prensky, 2001) at home, then there is something wrong if my students get tired of “playing” on Success Maker when we are in the lab for less than half an hour. If they get tired after less than half an hour, how will they spend the effective “100 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 5 to 10 weeks” (Prensky, 2001)? This “game” has become boring for them. As Prensky says, “They must be real games, not just drill with eye-candy, combined creatively with real content.” Success maker is just drill. Where is their Carmen Sandiego? Where they can learn about geography while pretending to be government agents on the search for a mastermind criminal? Now that was fun and that was a game that I played with “sharply focused attention.”
So, do I think that my students are different from me at their age? Yes! But are they fundamentally and physiologically so? Maybe. I would say that if a person believes in evolution, then yes they are physiologically different. They would have to be. In the same way that the author states our brains had to be “reprogrammed to deal with the invention of written language” (Prensky, 2001), then it stands to reason that my student’s brains are also evolving and reprogramming to adapt to all the new digital media and technology that they are being exposed to. On the other hand if you look at the child him or herself, look at the fights or disagreements that they have with their parents, the problems with their brothers or sisters and the issues that they are facing at home, then no, these kids are just like me at their age. They are translating and reading to their parents who don’t speak English. But while I was reading papers that came home from school, they might be looking up websites, and googling information for their parents. They are also fighting with their older sister, I was fighting with my sister cause I read her diary, my students are fighting with their older sister because their read her texts. So, no, these kids aren’t all that different from me when I was their age, and yet they are totally different.