First, I would like to say that I really like the idea of a scrapblog! I love to scrapbook so I was extremely excited to do it online. I thought that it would go a lot faster but now…I don’t think that it would really save me anytime from doing it by hand. I think that part of this had to do with the fact that there was so much writing that had to be incorporated into this project. Where as a usual scrapbook is composed of mainly pictures and very little writing. But the hardest part that I had with the process was getting my curser to select the right box and then getting it to move to the correct spot. I don’t know if it was because I was using the mouse pad on my labtop…maybe next time I should use my actual mouse. But I was getting extremely frustrated! Then I would get the textbox in the right spot and then try to click on it to edit it and it would move it again!
I actually forgot that my very first problem was at the very beginning when it wanted me to chose pictures to incorporate into my blog. I thought that I would be able to go to google and select the ones that I wanted! But that was not one of the available programs to use. Then I couldn’t remember my flicker password. So I added finding all of the pictures I want from Google, then I downloaded them to my desktop and then added them to the scrapblog that way! I know that in reality you would be using pictures that you had on your computer so you wouldn’t have to go through all the hassle. I also didn’t like that the computer made the scrapblog for you. I wanted to create it myself. So it actually took me more time because I had to delete certain stickers and art work and change the pictures. This became confusing because I didn’t know what pictures I had already used! I think that it would have been easier for all of the stickers and backgrounds that I received with the theme to be placed in the tool bar and then start from the very beginning by myself!
Also when I got to the end I wanted to add more stickers! The program gave me 150 free credits to buy different sticker sets but I couldn’t figure out how it worked! So I didn’t get to buy anymore. Also a lot of the packages were a lot more than 150 credits! So although the scrapblog can be free you can only use the stickers that are given in that theme.
But on the positive side I think that there are many uses for them in the classroom! I think that if students were asked to do reports and present them to the classroom this would be a fun and creative way to do so! It would get the students using a new technology and they could see how things that are done by hand can also be done online! I also think that it would be very handy as a teacher! Teacher could create these instead of powerpoints, they could present projects using a scrapblog, and they could create a scrapbook with the class about a certain topic! By making a scrapblog open to the public students could always go back and look and what had been discussed! If a teacher did not have a personal website to place documents, such as powerpoint, using scrapblogs instead would be extremely useful to the students! I also think that at the beginning of the year it would be fun for each student to make a scrapblog about his or her self and present it to the class! This would allow the teacher and the students to get to know their peers on a different level!
So I wrote all of this and then went to the Literacy Blog and realized this was not what I was supposed to write about as I thought…So I apologize for that. Now on to what we are supposed to write for this blog!
When I first came to class this semester, I believed that literacy was reading, writing, and speaking. But through many readings and the project I have found that my definition is only partially right. Reading, writing, and speaking is one aspect of literacy but the introduction of computers altered the definition of literacy. In order to be literate you have to be able to use a computer and understand how the strategies that have been used with books and printed material can also be applied to literacy on the computer. I had to use many types of literacy while doing this project online. I first had to be able to research my topic, environmental literacy. This was a big task because I had to figure out which websites were reliable and then I had to sift through all of the information to find the main points. Both of these skills are part of literacy. The web is overwhelming and anyone can make a website so students have to understand exactly what they are looking for and know how to choose the right website. After I found all of my information I had to compile it into short paragraphs to put in my scrapblog. This is another literacy skill because I have to take what I have found in my research and reduce it to the main points to explain to my classmates. This is a hard take for students because they want to put everything that they have found. When skimming readings students need to figure out what are the main points that they need to share with others. The final aspect of literacy that I saw while doing this project was when I first got into the program. There was a quick tour of how to use the program. This was actually difficult for me because little boxes showed up next to the icons and told me how I could use that icon with my scrapblog. But they did not show me how to use it. So I had to take the words and then put that into action once I got started on the blog. It took me a few tries with the icons but if I would not have had the tour I would have been lost. This is once again another literacy skill. A student has to be able to read directions and then put them in action. As I am writing this blog I am amazed at how many examples of literacy I came up with that were used while making this project. The topic was obviously environmental literacy but in order to complete this project I had to use many aspects of literacy!
From this experience I have learned many things. The number one idea is not to be afraid of technology! Just try new things and it will amaze you! After finishing this scrapblog I came up with many ways that they could be used in the classroom! I am even going to make one for another one of my college classes to show my classmates the biography of a mathematician. When I think back to elementary school literacy I just remember books, books, and more books! But with the Internet this idea can change. There are so many ways that reading and writing strategies can be taught using the Internet. There are also many different ways that information can be shown to the students. We as teachers no longer have to stand at the front and lecture because we can use technology to help and enhance our lessons. Books can still be used, and probably always will be, but the information in the books can be presented with technology. When a person thinks of a scrapbook they usually think of a book that has pictures of a person live all organized with a cute theme. But with this project I have shown how you can use a scrapbook to present materials to a class. There were pictures in my scrapblog but they just told the story of the paragraph that was on the page. I am a visual learner so having a picture represent an idea is an amazing concept to me! Like I said before traditional literacy was a book paper and pencil but technology has opened up new doors to change the definition of literacy and how materials are presented in the classroom. We still use the same ideas that traditional literacy had but technology is used to present it! Technology has allowed students to express themselves in unique ways! My new definition of literacy is the ability of a person to comprehend what they are reading, writing, speaking, viewing and listening. Technology is also part of literacy so all strategies that apply to printed works also have to be used with the computer! To be literate you have to be able to use a computer correctly!
Effective literacy instruction is difficult because most classrooms have students at all different reading levels. So a lesson has to encompass all levels of learners in a classroom. So literacy has to presented in simple terms but also in challenging terms for the students that are struggling in your classroom. I have seen first hand that when students get bored their behaviors turn for the worst. In my concept map, I talked about how students need to be introduced to literacy from day one! The main idea in my concept maps was always to have books for the children to explore with. But never once did I mention technology. In this day and age, students now not only need to have books surrounding them but they also need to be introduced to technology. Technology is being incorporated into more and more classrooms each day so when students come to the class they also need to have some skills with the computer and the teacher can facilitate the rest!
I am now working in a 2nd grade classroom and I have not seen them work with computers yet so I am not sure of their skills. I think that first students would need to understand what a scrapbook is and how they are made in real life. Students then need to know the basics of computers. For this specific technology, students have to know where and how to get pictures to incorporate into the classroom. If they have to browse the web this could be quite difficult. If students brought in their own pictures to scan it would go a lot quicker. Students need to be familiar with creating textboxes and places information that they want to present in it. They also need to know how to move objects around so that each page in the scrapblog looks neat, clean, and goes with the theme. I don’t think that this technology would work the best with 2nd graders because there is so much background knowledge with computers that they have to have. I think that upper elementary could handle a project using this program. I think that it would be fun to create a scrapblog with my second graders. If I had a computer and a projector in the classroom this would be an easy way to show students new technology. We could make a scrapblog to inform the school of a topic we just learned. Students could brainstorm the main ideas and what pictures could represent this. Then the teacher could bring the internet up and show them how to find the pictures they have requested and then how to download them onto the website. The each table to tell the teacher how they want their page to look and the teacher could format it! I really think that this would be a great exercise. For my literacy lesson I am going to work with the students on poetry. So it might be fun to compile of their poems and make a scarpblog for them!
As for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing they would need all of these. They would really need to be able to listen and follow directions! The directions are also written on the computer for them so they need to be able to view the directions and then put them in action. In order to find information to place in their scarpblogs they need to be able to read the research that is done on their topic and then place that information neatly in the scarpblog. I feel as though all of these strategies would need to be developed as a class before each students creates their own blog! This could be done with the example I gave above! Doing a whole class scrapblog!