Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mac vs. PC

This week it became apparent to some of us in the class that we may not be as technically savy as the others.  For one of our assignments this week, we had to create a Podcast using Garageband on the Macs in our computer lab.  A large percentage of my peers throught that this was silly, because they had already used or taught Garageband to their students.  To others, the Garageband program was newer to them, but
 they felt as if a few minutes playing around with it would be sufficient.  However, there were a few of us who had never really become acquainted with Mac computers and therefore had no idea what Garageband could do. 

As a PC person, I like the ability to use whatever hardware or software that I want and have it always work.  I don't want to restrict myself to specific (and expensive) items because they are the only thing that will work with a Mac.  The apple industry is a great industry (where great does not equal good, but big and powerful) that has come up with an excellent plan:  Create a good product, and then make sure that only your products can work with the first product.  Repeat.  A perfect example of this is the itune + ipod phenomenon.  I (wanting the best deal) bought an mp3 player a few years ago that could list all of my songs under all the same categories as an ipod can, and it also had FM radio capabilities.  (It was also cheaper, had a better warranty and the battery could be replaced withouth sending in the whole machine if it were to ever break).  I bought an itunes gift card and purchased many of my favourite albums. When I went to put them on my mp3 player, I quickly found out the problem: I would have to own an ipod to be able to play my itunes purchases.  Great!  Now what?  Since then, itunes and I are no longer friends.  It sits there on my PC and I revisit it only to listen to those few albums which I can't listen to anywhere else than right beside my computer. 

To get back to my original point, I have avoided Macs all my life, and this week I was forced to use one.  They weren't as bad as I had made them out to be in my mind all these years.  Ben and Nathan sat down with Sophia and I during Thursday's class to show us how to use the mouse, the aplications window (is it still a window on a Mac?) and how to use Garageband.  They did an excellent job and actually made me less scared to try something new.  Thanks guys!  However, this is the kind of thing that I wish we were taught IN our teacher and techonology class; HOW do you actually use technology?  It may be common knowledge to some, but it is not for others.

As a teacher, I may have to use one and I will gladly learn how.  The systems are set up well, and I think that everyone enjoys looking at cartoon pictures instead of words for every icon.  I will still never buy one myself...they don't need my money when they're over-charging everyone else in the world.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Second Post (First real one)

"Participants will produce a personal blog and use it to comment on aspects of educational technology...The task is to comment an ony ONE feature of each week's classes."

My topic for today...Powerpoint misuses:

For Tuesday's class, each student (in a small group) had to prepare the worst powerpoint presentation they could possibly make.  Each group was given a specific "fault", but were allowed to expand and use other faults.  My group was given the task of creating a presentation overwhelmed with bells and whistles, sounds and movement.  While presenting the topic, Yoda, titles moved around the screen, sentenses appeared and dissapeared, and sounds took over from the speaker.  All in all, it was a hilariously bad powerpoint, but it made a point.  What are we actually teaching our students when we use technology?  Are we just overwhelming them with extra, unnecessary bells and whistles or are we actually teaching them content? I'm not sure how many of my classmates remember that our presentation was about Yoda, and if they do, how many of them remember what facts I presented to them.  As teachers, we need to make sure that our subject area and our lesson does not get overrun by the use of technology for the sake of technology.

Death by powerpoint:


Thursday, January 6, 2011

First post

Hello all,
Welcome to my first blog ever.  Not sure how this will go, but we all have to start somewhere I guess. Our second assignment for the Teacher and Technology course at the U of M is to create a blog and to continue updating it throughout the term.