Saturday, September 26, 2009

Inside the Cyber Studio: Jen Cuellar

Due to the popular response I've decided to issue two columns a week instead of one. I will post one at the beginning (monday/tuesday) of the week and then one at the end (friday). Otherwise, it would just take to long to get through all of them.
Keep in mind the questions might change from time to time (especially as technology changes), and I'm looking to provide other formats as well (audio/video).

I hope you all find this to be a fun/exciting journey as we get to learn a bit more about each other and why we love technology & education.

Jen Cuellar

  1. Where do you live? Elgin, IL
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? Going on 8 years
  3. What OS/platform do you use for work? Mac
  4. What is your favorite web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? There are so many great Web 2.0/21st Century tools out there, but I would have to say Google Apps is one of my favorites to use within the classroom. Google Apps provides my students with familiar tools to use as they create Docs, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Sites, and so much more. It's user friendly. And has been a great addition as a way for me to provide my students with some exposure to their future. What do I mean by that? Google helps me to make it easier for my students to collaborate and create not only among studetns within our own class, but with other students around the world. Thus exposing them to global learning without even realizing it; as well as critical thinking. I could go on and on about the benefits that Google could offer within the classroom setting, but I'll let you explore that and see for yourself.
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? The biggest misconception about technology, hmmm? I would have to say that a misconception would be believing that it will make all concerns/problems go away. Technology is a wonderful tool that should be used to help enhance student learning that provides them with a wide range of opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. We know that we do not all learn the same and as a results we should be able to show what we have learned in more than one way. Technology shouldn't be used as a replacement of students learning the basics and/or mechanics of everyday "non-technology" tools that they are needed to be life long learners.
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? The biggest hurdles I face as an educator that incorporates technology is a tough one to answer. I say that because I feel fortunate to be working in a district that has allowed me to try new innovative ideas with my students. Even as crazy as the idea may have sounded at the time.
    If I had to list any hurdles I would say time and availablity of access. I am sure these are hurdles that many educators face. Its hard to find the time to get it in and sometimes when you have the time, access is limited or not there.
    Would keyboarding exposure could?
  7. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? I would have to say my biggest success in technology integration would be the 2 VERY SUCCESSFUL Paperless Days that I put together for my students during the 2008-2009 school year. What an experience this was that I hope to create again this year. I wasn't so sure how it pan out but both days ran very smooth. And the learning that took place just among each other was amazing to see. Students worked collaboratively and cooperatively without any "he/she won't take turns", "I want to do this." They taught each other things, as well as to their parents. Yes, I did have the parents participate in the 2nd Paperless Day with their child. That has to be my biggest success story in technology integration.
  8. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? My biggest set-back in technology integration is that not all students coming in have the same exposure of just the basics. I say that would be my set-back because then we take time to demonstrate some of the basics and then allow for them to practice it. It is by no means a big set-back, but a small one that limits some of the integration that takes place. That is of course when it's students using the computers individually and not when integrating it whole group.
  9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? I think just seeing what others have done in technology integration and seeing ways that they have tied it in has been a great inspiration to me. Me seeing that, then gets my wheels turning with ideas and ways to do things differently than I have previously. Of course, keeping in mind what would benefit my students most and/or how would it benefit them.

    There are so many wonderful educators out there that are doing some amazing things that there would be no way to limit it to just one person or to one thing. So I thank everyone that takes that leap to try something "different" and then put it out there for all of us to see.
  10. Where do you see technology integration headed in the future? Oh gosh, technology is changing as I answer these questions. I could see more virtual learning, as many tutoring companies are providing online learning. The possibilities are endless as to where technology integration is heading. Although, I would have to say it is or could be endless as long as we have educators that are willing to push the envelope a little each time. Even if one is not as tech savvy as another, it doesn't matter. We encourage our students to take risks and say that its okay if a mistake is made. Then I think we can show them that in fact it is okay and that we will learn as we go. That's one of the great things with technology integration, what one might think is an error could turn into something great.
Next on Cyber Studio: Ana Maria Menezes

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