Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inside a Cyber Studio: Marama Stewart

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.

Marama Stewart
blog: http://maramastewart.com/

  1. Where do you live? Palmerston North, New Zealand
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? 4.5 years
  3. What OS/platform do you use for work? Mac
  4. What is your favorite Web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? Edublogs - I love the support and community that surrounds Edublogs users. I also enjoy that it is dedicated to educators and their students.
    Everything Google - fantastic Web2.0 environment to work with. It is easy to use and free!
    Flickr - Just makes managing my photos and blogs a lot easier. I also love the iPhoto extention.
    Delicious - helps me keep organised.
    Voicethread - Easy to use for my students and Me! I love anything that allows my student voices to be heard.
    Plus the fun stuff - RockYou.com, Supalogo.com, Clustr Maps, Voki.com and everything else I am yet to discover
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? That technology is expensive and that if it is free it is not safe for our students.
    With the emergence of Cloud Computing and Open-source there really no excuse for school not to be involved in 21st Century Learning. I get really angry when I see so called experts peddling their wares and expecting school to pay big bucks for their "products", "student learning environments" and "expertise", that create "safe environments". I do pay for certain Web2.0 apps, but only those that prove to be beneficial and worthy of my students (Voicethread, Edublogs and Flickr). Unfortunately, many schools have no idea that there are better alternatives that do not cost the earth and are in fact easier to use. As long as you take certain simple precautions and educate your students to be aware of the dangers, technology is perfectly safe for your student to use.
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? At the moment my biggest headache is the speed of lack thereof of our internet. The NZ government has pledged significant funds to fix this problems, so hopefully this will be fixed before I retire?
  7. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? My class blog - My students and their parents love it. It really allows parents to see inside our classroom and it keeps them informed on what their little people are learning and how they can help at home. I am also very pleased with the global connections we have been able to make through our blog. It is important for kids to understand that they are actually part of a community that extends beyond their front door.
  8. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? I guess when you share fantastic technology with other teachers, that will enhance learning for their students and make things easier for them, and the teacher ignores it or doesn't even bother to check it out.
  9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? My current school - Russell Street School, and a former colleague Nick Rate (Nick is an Apple Distinguished Educator).
  10. Where do you see technology integration headed in the future? I see it being very mobile and in the clouds!
  1. What is your favorite book? The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts. By Louis de Bernieres
  2. What is your favorite movie? Serenity
Next on Cyber Studio: Amber Rowland

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