Santacross the Universe

Apr 21

Autism Blog

I think this is a really great example of iPad can be used to help to reach students and to help them express themselves. And you make a good point about how their home experiences are important too. If the parents can see (from their child’s experiences at school) that a form of technology is helpful, this may be something that can be carried out at home as well. Great points!

Autism Awareness Response

Hi!! I loved your post about how Autism can be supported in the classroom by different technological tools. After watching the video of Braden, I feel like I am falling so far behind the times with the technology today. I am not very familiar with all the different apps that there are now. It seems that there are really wonderful ones available to help students of all levels develop their skills. This made me curious and I looked up the different types of educational apps that are available…and there are thousands!! I need to get an updated phone and look into these new iPads…they really could be beneficial tools in the classroom as well! I think that it is also important how you mentioned that parents do not really get a break from helping their child develop. By providing motivational techniques like the iPad, parents may be better able to help their children during their child’s time off from school.

Apr 13


April is Autism Awareness Month

This is my last blog for our class, so I thought long and hard about what I should write.  I mentioned it to my roommate, and he pointed out the fact that April is Autism Awareness Month.  We, like many of you, are currently taking Inclusive Teaching in Education where we talk a lot about Autism, as it is so predominant nowadays.  As part of that class, we take a cue from classes like this and all do a presentation about technology in the classroom; the catch is that we need to discuss how such technology can be applied to the inclusive classroom in particular.  This is somewhat of a challenge because it is tough to predict the capabilities of students in such a diverse classroom, but when it came to the technology we chose, adaptability was a no-brainer.

My roommate (Kate) and I therefore did our presentation on the Apple i-Pad, and applications that are designed to cater to the needs of students with a wide array of disabilities.  Throughout our research we found a common thread from newspaper to newspaper about how many applications have been designed to help students with Autism, and have been extremely successful in this endeavor.  One such article, Apple i-Pad, iPod Touch might help people with autism take steps toward independence, talks about a particular teenager, Marc, and his success with the i-Pad despite his Autism.

What I would really like to hone in on now is how in our class we have discussed how technology can be used with our students in the classroom only.  For anyone who reads this blog I would like you to now consider the fact that our students’ home lives are equally, if not more, important to them and for us to consider.  The article about March points out how helpful the i-Pad and its apps are to him and his family in their everyday lives.  While we as teachers may have a student like Marc for a few hours per day, he is home much more of the time (think about the entire summer) and those are times that are ridiculously crucial to his development.  Having technology that expands his capabilities is outrageously beneficial, and is something that deserves to be celebrated during this Autism Awareness Month.

Apr 03

It’s an interesting point you bring about how much schools block on the internet.  While I do think it is extremely important for schools to protect students from things on the internet that are inappropriate, I think this matter could use some more discussion.  Even when they block things, some things can still get through, so I think it would be beneficial to teach students how to handle those kinds of situations, instead of just shielding them from it.  Plus sometimes websites and applications that if used properly could be really great learning tools are blocked in a blanket attempt to protect students from all inappropriate material.  It’s absolutely a tough subject because in order to allow some sites the school would need people to go through everything and unblock ones that were OK, which could be a big time commitment, which is a bit unrealistic.  But I do think that in order to really integrate technology into education this is something that will need to be revisited multiple times.  

Mar 30

It’s been such a long time…

I have to say that things are going wonderfully for my students and myself over at the middle school!  I am having such a great time teaching 7th grade math.  Right now we are preparing for the NJ ASK and sticking to the Connected Math as much as possible. 

Since this blog is for both my students and my technology class, I think it is appropriate to discuss what kinds of technology I’ve been using in my classroom over the past few weeks.  For one, I have been using the Smart Board every single day.  Unfortunately, my Smart Board does not entirely function correctly, however, as I cannot write directly on it or touch the screen to make anything work.  It is a definite disadvantage, as I have to use the camera for almost everything just like an overhead projector, writing on paper.  I have come to find that my students love this, though, and allowing one student per day or per problem to be the “camera person” has been really fun.  It is definitely a way to keep them active and engaged.

Along with the Smart Board I have also began to use the Smart Response clickers.  The clickers are absolutely awesome as I can use them to quickly assess my students’ responses to things such as Do Now’s.  They are still taking up an unnecessary amount of time in class, but I believe this is only because they have been used 4-5 times.  I think the students need to get into a routine with them (right, guys??) so they become quicker with using them!  I am still learning how to use them really well, too, so changes are being made slowly over time.

Lastly, I have also been using my classroom website to post assignments.  It has been mostly used for that, as well as for my students to contact me when they have questions on homework.  My only hope is that the students will begin using the forum for homework help MUCH MORE (cough, cough!!!!) because right now nobody is using it all.  I really wish I could make it mandatory in some way, but the school’s computers have the feature blocked!

This actually brings me to my concerns about how much is blocked on the school’s computers.  I agree with Richardson (2010) when he discusses blocking content and questions how, “Still, wouldn’t it be better to teach students how to deal with less-than-salient content that they see when they get home?” (p. 121).  While this is a noble claim, however, I do realize the extreme concern schools have when it comes to filtering what the students can bring up at school, because there definitely is content that is not appropriate.

Please feel free to weigh in on any of this discussion!

Mar 29

Why Santacross the Universe deserves the funding NPR just lost

In order to fully and fairly assess this bold claim we need to utilize a multi faceted and unbiased apprehension of the previous claim. Recent events have lead to NPR losing funding from several prestigious sponsors. In a time of media bias, hidden agendas, and no transparency in donations, one forum can act as a shining beacon of exemplary journalism. The unbiased reporting of facts by Professor Santacross creates an exemplary paradigm for how news ought to be. In a time of questionable journalism ethics, Santacross stands strong in the face of opposition. Events are reported as they happen with no bias or external influences, and in a time of fear mongering political pundits controlling the American perception “Santacross” is a sojourn of patriotic pride. In a time of questionable donations, opaque backings, and unknown alliances, “Santacross” has set the bar high for standards in journalism and reporting. In conclusion, the void of funding which has recently opened up as a result of improper behavior should be rectified. Misappropriation of funds can only be made right by redistributing them to worthy sources, and I can think of none more worthy than “STU”

-Post by Dan Kline, SCDC Campaign Assistant Director  3/29/11

Mar 06

Hi Amy

Hi Amy,
> I agree that the internet is such a big, powerful, and scary place,
> especially for our youth.  Just yesterday, my 12yr old sister posted her
> phone number on FB.  I was so shocked.  I went through her account (like
> one of the videos we watched for this class), and realized that I knew her
> name, picture, phone number, email address, zip code, family’s name/pics,
> her school name.  And to top it off, she had her account set up where
> friends-of-friends can see her page.  Geez, how much easier can it be for
> predators??
> I was wondering about the safety thing with blogging.  While I was looking
> at myWiki, I realized that the ‘Discussion’ tool could be used for a
> blog-like thread.  The Wiki’s can be restricted to invited users of the
> site.  That might be an idea for your class.
> We, as educators and parents (or parents to be) have a great feat.  I
> guess we have to get to work.  ;)
> Lydia

Mar 02

Keeping Kids Safe!

So I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted- but once this semester starts winding down I know I’ll be able to find more time to utilize this blog.  Life has gotten interesting for me in the past week- the maternity leave that I am taking over for (seventh grade math) is actually starting next week…three weeks early!  I am extremely excited to get into the classroom with the students and start using all of this technology.  I am fortunate enough to be in a classroom where I can actually use MacBooks with all of my students once in awhile!  I would love to get them blogging on here soon…especially blogging academically about current events or mathematics.

This week’s readings from my course have got me thinking about using the blog in a safe way, however.  There really always is a concern about the students’, and my own, safety and privacy when it comes to using social networking mediums in the classroom.  I believe talking about this with the students can open the lines of communication to discuss issues of safely using the Internet in general, however, which is a really great lesson to have with the students.  I feel that, from what I have seen, many students (especially at the middle school level) just kind of go about their days with using the Internet, never thinking about the serious repercussions they could face for not properly protecting themselves.  I think that without a doubt it is a lesson that they need to be formally taught, and just like anything else, they need to practice using the Internet safely in order to make certain habits (i.e. using password protection) more routine.

In addition, I think it is also the responsibility of educators to teach parents and guardians about how they can safeguard their children’s Internet usage at home.  While I think placing extreme filters does not do anyone any good, there are websites such as that offer parents ways to simply protect their children.  If parents educate themselves on how serious security is in the Internet world, then I believe their children will follow their examples and start to seriously “get it.”  My point here is- keeping the kids safe and secure does not stop when they leave the classroom!

Feb 20

Hey Amy,

I also have had the recent realization that I do not know nearly enough about computers and the internet. I have not had nearly enough practice in all the new technologies, and like you my interactions have been limited to email and Facebook, primarily. I think that it is crazy how fast technology is becoming a major part of society. Like you commented about Richardson’s thought about two blogs being created every minute, it is amazing to me to realize how important the internet has become in our daily lives. I am also looking forward to using my blog for this class as well as in my future classroom. I can’t wait to integrate technology into my classroom. I’m hoping that my students can teach me as much as I can teach them about the technology. I do not want to become too outdated with what is happening these days!!