Sunday, December 4, 2011

Final Project

Blog Assignment 14


Jose Picardo's website, Box of Tricks is full of information and resources available to teachers. The list of links that he has available is of websites that he reads regularly. It is quite a long list, but each one has something useful on it. He also has a list of resources that is full of websites, programs, etc. Some of the programs he listed are programs that we have used in EDM310 and several others were suggested for download at the beginning of the semester.
The video of his "Top 10 Tips for Teachers" listed several things that we have already used this semester. The one thing that he mentioned that we never really talked about was using music in the classroom. Kids love music and they respond to it very well. I think that is something to definitely consider and I'm sure that I will be adding his website to my PLN!

Final Report on PLN

My PLN is officially a work in progress indefinitely. The reason I say that is because it has become such a useful tool that I think I will always have it. Not only have I used it for EDM310, but I used it for my other classes as well. For instance, I had a research paper due in my Sociology class and in order to keep all of my research separate and organized, I used my PLN. I have gained so many valuable resources from EDM310 and they will all remain in my PLN. I hope to be able to use PLN's in my classroom one day because I think that my students will not only benefit from them, but they will respond to them very well. It will help them take more control of heir own education.

C4K November


In the month of November I visited the blogs of a few students.One of which was Evan at Pt. England School. His blog was actually a video that he made that was animated and narrated. It was about visiting the pool that is a few blocks away from his school. I commented and told him that his blog was very cool and that the animations he made was not something that I could have done. It so awesome to see what kids are capable of.
The blog I visited that stands out the most in my head was called "The Age of Exploration". It is a high school class blog of History students. Since I plan on teaching History, this site amazed me. The blog I was assigned to read was by Jack and it was called History + Technology =Better Learning. The blog was about Jack's experience in his class and how technology has impacted him in this specific class. I commented and told him that I loved what they were doing. I asked him specifically if he preferred this classroom method as opposed to a traditional lecture style. He commented back to me and said that ".... learning with technology isby far the best way to learn history, as well as any subject."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

C4T John Mikulski


For the month of November I had the pleasure of following the blog of John Mikulski called Classroom in the Cloud. The first post I read was instructions on how to make a pop screen that would help with hissing and popping noises in podcasts. This screen could be made from common household items and I was blown away by it. In EDM310, we visit all kinds of sites and blogs. This was the first post I have seen of this nature. I commented back letting him know how interesting I thought the post was and how helpful I thought it would be.
The second post I read was about creating a classroom library. He posted his answers to a survey on the topic. I commented back and let him know how much I enjoyed the post because it was something I had never considered before, but I felt that it would be a valuable resource to my students. People think that so much of History is fact based and that is true. However, if you ask 3 different historians "What was the cause of WWI?" You might get 3 different answers. There is a lot in history that can be left up to your own interpretation or evaluation of the material and facts. I want to provide my students with as many opportunities as possible to find those answers themselves and not take everything I say as an absolute. A classroom library is just one way to do that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Special Assignment

comic strip

Why We Use Metaphors
Metaphors are used everywhere and are a part of daily life. Whether a person knows that they use them or not, they do. We are constantly using something "familiar" to explain something "unfamiliar". This comparative nature helps us understand concepts and ideas that could otherwise be lost to us. I think they are more commonly introduced and used in Literature/English. Metaphors are used here because the written language needs more depth to be able to really understand what the author is saying. Without facial expressions, body language, dialect, and tone it is a little more difficult to get the whole idea. Irony, personification, and allusion are a few other tools used in Literature. Metaphors can also be used in History in order to get a better grasp of the situation or topic. We use metaphors in EDM310 also to gain a deeper understanding of the topic we are discussing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Assignment 13

cat comic

E-Media Fast
This was actually much easier than I thought it would be, but it was still miserable. I work a whole lot and I can't keep my phone on me while at work. This made that piece of the puzzle very easy. I did check my phone from time to time to make sure I didn't miss a call regarding my son. This is the only time I allowed myself to break the rule I also warned people ahead of time not to even bother with calling/texting me. I don't really watch TV anyway, so that wan't an issue. I turned the radio in my car off and put a piece of tape over the power button.
 It made me wonder what my parents did to be constantly available in case of emergencies? What did people do if they broke down in their car and were far away from help? How did people entertain themselves? Like I said earlier, this was an easy assignment for me, but I did NOT like it at all. I felt very out of place and out of touch. This is kind of strange to me because when I was growing up, technology was not available the way it is now. We didn't have cell phones or computers. It's hard for me to even remember what it was like before I became so attached to my technology.
This was an interesting assignment, but I won't be doing it again unless I am forced to do so.

Project 15

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Project 14 Skype Interview Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 2 part interview with Shannon West.

Project 14 Skype Interview

This is Part 1 of a 2 part interview with Shannon West. She is a mother of 6 children, 2 of which are still in Elementary School. The interview was designed to get a parental perspective of technology in the classroom.

Final Project Progress Report

mystery spyglass

My final group is myself, Jonathan Giles, and Isaac Evans. I don't want to give away too much information about our wonderful project, so I will explain as much as I can and leave the rest as a mystery. Basically, we are going to collect data about the current use of technology in schools in our area. How we are going to collect the data and how we will present it will remain a mystery until the final project is due. I think it will be an eye-opening experience and the information will be helpful to future EDMers!

Blog Assignment 12


The assignment that I think Dr. Strange should have created is a 2 part assignment. The first  post would be at the beginning of the semester, maybe even the very first blog post. The second would be at the end of the semester.
Assignment Part 1(first blog post):
Congratulations! You just graduated and got your first REAL job as a teacher. List 3 ways that you plan to implement technology in your classroom.

This is hard for me to complete because I have too much knowledge in my head now. I'm sure that it would have been something ridiculous about having a computer and a smartboard in my class. That might have been as far as I got..... seriously. I had NO idea what was available or being done already. I have constantly asked myself throughout the semester "How will this assignment benefit me?", and "How can I use this in my classroom?". Now onto part 2 where I have many more interesting things to say.

Assignment Part 2 (near the end of the semester):
Congratulations! You just graduated and got your first REAL job as a teacher. List 3-5 ways that you plan to implement technology in your classroom. Before you start tell us what grade and/or subject you are teaching.

I teach  History to 11th graders and this is how I will implement technology in my class.

1. The very first thing that I would do is create a class website that gives students access to all of the information they need: homework assignments, additional resources for help, a way to communicate with me directly, and a section for parent information.

2. I would also create a class blog that will become a portfolio of our work. I also want students to have their own blogs where they have all of their work in one place and the dog can't eat it.

3. My students will have a monthly current events assignment. They will have to find current articles online and blog about their opinions on these topics. They will also be assigned another student blog to follow and leave comments for discussion.

4. Before every test, I will give my student an opportunity to earn extra credit by blogging about a fantastic question that I have posed to them. Examples: You are President Franklin Roosevelt. What would you have changed about the "New Deal"? or Why is the Declaration of Independence so important and what does it mean to you? These are not fact based questions, they are thought based. I want my student to know the information well enough to be able to think for themselves. I would encourage the use of outside resources as long as proper credit is given.

5. I want to have a large scale, year long project that will all be done online and would encourage the participation of other students from other schools, or in other parts of the world. One idea that I have is a mock Presidential election. I also like the idea of creating a children's book or short movie based on one event in History.

6. I think that textbooks serve a purpose, but I also think that there is no problem with outside sources. I will use any information I can find that will enhance the learning experience for my students such as online videos and podcasts.

I think that this assignment will be entertaining and full of self-discovery! It also puts EDMers in the mind frame of how to take action and use what we have learned.

C4K Mrs. Yollis

kids in circle

Mrs. Yollis' Class Blog
During this semester, we have visited many class blogs. I have honestly been impressed by all of them. Mrs. Yollis' blog is by far my favorite. It took me over an hour to explore the whole thing because it is so in depth. I would get caught reading something and just continue down the page. Across the top there are several different pages to click on. There is a page that introduces Mrs. Yollis and tells you about who she is. There is also a page that talks about the students and what they like to do.There are also a few instructional tabs that will show you how to leave a comment, learning html code, and how to shoot great digital images. There are two tabs that I found very interesting. The first was Educational Blogging Resources for Teachers. This site has a lot of good information for teachers and how to blog. I have added it to my list of goodies (PLN), to help me in the future. The other tab that I liked was a link to Mrs. Yollis' Class Website. Not only is there a blog, but a website as well. They both seem to serve two distinctively different purposes. The blog is to share and interact (and learn of course). The website is for students and parents to keep up with homework, play games, and stay connected and engaged. Mrs. Yollis has got to be the busiest teacher ever!
The main section of the blog page is all about what they are doing in class. I am amazed at how engaged these  students are. They are connecting with students from Australia via Skype and other parts of the world as well. They are learning so much from each other, I'm sure. They also had a family blogging month and they were getting messages from their loved ones from all over the place.
The right hand column shows all of the projects that they are doing or have already done. I love the "Photo a day" project. A picture is posted and information is given, then questions are asked about what is in the picture. This is encouraging learning and asking for involvement. Then there is the map which shows that they have had 75,679 visitors. EDM310 has had 48,860 visitors. HUGE difference. Also, you get to see all of the awards that the blog has won and I counted 4. I can't even begin to imagine the time it takes to keep this going, but Mrs. Yollis has got to have 4 hands and the smartest students in the state of California!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

world and puzzle pieces

First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class and Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy
First of all, I have to say that I am amazed at what these 1st graders are doing. Not only are they learning how to use technology in the classroom in an incredible way, but they can also tell they story behind what they are doing. They can articulate very well how to do the specific assignments they have been given.
In Ms. Cassidy's Skype Interview, she explains different techniques she has used in her classroom. I believe that all of them are relevant and useful, but there are three that stick out in my mind. The first is, of course, a class blog. A class blog is probably the first step in bringing technology into a classroom. It shows children basic skills that will stay with them forever. It is also a great way to allow parents to be more involved in their children's learning experience. The second thing is using wikis. I never knew what wikis were before starting EDM, but I love the way Ms. Cassidy uses them. It gets so many people involved and things like the "tradition" wiki her class did can teach valuable lessons. I also loved the online portfolio of work. Students can look back at their work from the entire year and be proud of their accomplishments and growth. Parents can see what their children are doing. It was cute to see all of the misspelled words and incomplete sentences. That might sound silly, but I guarantee that by the end of the year they will not have nearly as many mistakes. It's all a part of the learning process and it can't be thrown in the garbage never to be seen again. I love it!
The only problem that I see with this method of teaching is getting administration to support the effort. Ms. Cassidy said that she has had some principals that have agreed and some that have been indifferent. I know that indifference has still allowed her to continue on her path, but if she doesn't have FULL support, then it will never leak over into other classrooms. She said that there was another teacher at her school that also used technology in different ways and that is great, but how many teachers aren't using it? That leaves so many classrooms and hundreds of students that are not really getting all they can out of their education. It's sad to me.
There are so many benefits to teaching this way that it is hard to see why there isn't 100% or near 100% compliance across the board. Teaching with technology enhances the learning objectives by getting children more involved in their own education. Ms Cassidy said that her students are more than happy to "not power down" when they come to school because it is a part of life for them. Stepping into a classroom without technology is like shedding part of who they are. Collaboration, socialization, feedback, and outside involvement gives them a better sense of who they are and where they fit into the world. This will help them become well-rounded individuals and more adjusted to the world around them. That is priceless at such a young age.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

brain and thought

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?
This video, "Do You Teach or Do You Educate?" gives an interesting perspective on the difference between teaching and educating. I definitely want to be an educator as opposed to a teacher. I am a Secondary Education major and my area of study in Social Science/History. So many people think that History is boring because it is a series of dates, events, and people. To some degree this is true because this is the way that many teachers are teaching it. The ONLY reason that the facts (dates, people, etc) are important is to give a point of reference for what I think is the more important focus of history. I want my students to think about the outcomes of these things and how things might have been different if ONE thing was changed. For instance, how would WWI have been different if the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand had never happened? Or, how would the Civil War have played out if the North had grown agriculturally and the South had grown as the industrial capital of the United States? To answer these questions, students need to understand the true events and THINK about the social, political, and economic implications at an age appropriate level of course.
This is just one example of how I plan to educate as opposed to teaching. I also want my students to be excited about the information. I had a great example of how to do this. My mom had a Master's in History and instead of talking to 4th and 5th graders about the history of Mobile, she did walking tours of downtown Mobile. She would take them to the source and "show and tell". She LOVED history and knew facts that you couldn't find in a history book. She would tell little stories about people and places that gave you a deeper understanding about who or what was really happening. This was before the internet and to get information like that she really had to dig and research and read. She went above and beyond to get kids excited and involved in the stories she was telling. I want to become as immersed as she did.
As great as this sounds, I don't see the world through rose-colored glasses. I know that to teach this way, I still have a curriculum and standards to follow. This has always been my fear of teaching and I have mentioned it in previous blogs. In EDM310, I am becoming more comfortable with the balance that I will need to have. Being introduced to people like Rafe Esquith, Richard Miller, Scott McLeod, and Sir Ken Robinson has given me a lot of direction and I am determined to have the best of both worlds!

Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take The Pencil's Home
"Don't Let Them Take the Pencil's Home" illustrates how all too often, teachers get so wrapped up in the problem that they forget about the solutions that can fix the problem. Mr. Johnson does this in a brilliant little anecdote where two teachers are talking about the use of pencils. One is focused on the fact that the pencils could be used for things non-educational, like hang-man. The other is focused on how to solve the problem. My favorite part was when one asked, "How do you hold them accountable at home?" and the other responded, "I don't...". She went on to explain that they are probably learning things that we aren't aware of while they are playing hang-man. The reason I found this part so interesting is because I think there is a correlation with what we have talked abut in EDM310 before. Many people are against the idea of technology in the classroom because they think that students will use the technology for non-educational purposes. On the outside, some activities might appear to serve no true purpose. For instance, what is the purpose of Twitter and Facebook? Socialization, communication, collaboration, sharing thoughts and ideas, working through problems, researching, reading about pop culture and who's who.... all with their peers? That's crazy! What could they possibly learn from their peers? The answer is A LOT! All of the things mentioned above HAVE to be learned if we want to produce successful adults. The difference is, they are doing it differently than the generations before them. There is nothing wrong with that. We (the adults) have to change our way of thinking to fit into their world, not the other way around.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

C4T 3 Jennifer Brokofsky

math symbols

In the month of October, I followed a Math teacher by the name of Jennifer Brokofsky. Her blog is titled "A Work In Progress". Driving to Mathematical Success-Gradual Release of Responsibilty was the first post of hers that I read. This was interesting to me because she talked about the current method of teaching math and how the transition between "showing" and "doing" needs to be more drawn out. Her main reasoning behind this is because children are missing important concepts that will inhibit the learning process later. I commented that I agreed and that I was living proof that this situation occurs. I was never good at math and never really understood it until I was a junior in high school. The only reason I got it then was because I had a teacher that recognized that I missed those basic skills and cared enough to get me back on track.
The second post I read was called Creating Mathland. This was another great post that was about creating a math immersion type of situation in the classroom. This technique is used with foreign languages and many people believe that it could be beneficial in a math environment as well. I commented back that I thought it was a great idea and could be done. In fact, what other areas could this be done in? History? Literature? We know that many things are learned from the environment. By creating an environment that is immersed with the appropriate subject, the learning objectives would be enriched greatly.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Assignment 9

What I've Learned This Year (2008-09)

In this blog post, Mr. McClung gives an account of the things that he has learned from his first year of teaching. There were several things that he mentioned. The first that sticks out in my mind is learning to teach for student comprehension as opposed to assessment by superiors. This is one of my personal fears of becoming a teacher and I think it is important to learn the difference and find a balance early in my career. He seems to have found that balance and cares deeply for his students and the quality of education that he is providing them with.
Another point that I found interesting was being flexible. This is easier said than done, especially in the field of education. Everything is so planned and organized. Anything can throw a wrench in those plans and change that "oh-so-perfect lesson plan" into a constant work in progress. His advice was not to freak out when it happens and in fact anticipate those changes.
The last thing I will mention is because it is so important in EDM310 and the fact that he states it here proves the point. He learned not to be afraid of technology. WOW! A first year teacher making this statement..... What does this tell us? It tells us that the rumors are all true. Technology is important and can enhance the learning environment.

What I've Learned This Year (2009-10)
In this blog post, Mr. McClung goes through another self evaluation and blogs about what he has learned in his second year of teaching. The first thing he mentioned was learning how to adapt. As teachers, we will be called to wear many different hats. He was put in a position where he had to teach history, which he had never taught before. He found that teaching science (his forte) and history were very different and he had ot adapt to fit the call of duty.
Another thing that he learned was to find a "school mom". I think this is a brilliant piece of advice. Everyone needs a mom close by to help you get through the rough days. Having someone close to you that has more experience than you is essential. We don't know it all!
The last thing that I will mention that Mr. McClung learned was to "check his ego at the door". Teaching is one job that requires a passionate attitude. Your students will read you like a book and if you aren't excited about the information, how can you expect them to be excited? He wasn't afraid to make himself look like an idiot if it meant that his students would mirror his enthusiasm. More importantly, they got more out of his class because of his enthusiasm.

My Reaction to Mr. McClung's Blog
I think that self evaluation or reflection is an important trait to develop. Not just for teachers, but everyone. Being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses will serve you better in your professional and personal life and you will be able to go farther with both. With that being said, Mr. McClung did an amazing job putting his blog together. It was a genuine and honest account and it was clear that his motive was purely for becoming a better teacher. It's hard to admit to our shortcomings sometimes. It's even harder to admit them to an audience. The key to self reflection is coming up with solutions that will make things better and Mr. McClung did just that. I know that his blog was for him (as the exercise of self evaluation should always be), but I couldn't help but reading it as advice to future teachers as well. My experience will be different from his but I enjoyed reading it because I know that I will have my own frustrations, issues, and growing pains in my first few years. Now I know that I won't be the only one!

Project 13: Part 1 SMART Board Instruction

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Assignment 8

child and laptop

This is How We Dream
 In This is How We Dream part 1, Mr. Miller explains how he wrote an entire paper about the Virginia Tech massacre without ever stepping foot in a library and delivered a speech on the topic. Years ago, this would not have been possible. This is part of the incremental change, as well as collaboration. Collaboration gives us the ability to combine and share ideas immediately, which adds depth to our ideas. The fundamental changes that he talks about in This is How We Dream part 2, are about the way that we write, publish,and distribute information. Using multimedia makes information immediate and more interesting by adding sound and visuals that were not possible years ago.
I agree with Mr. Miller's video, however, I am an avid reader and still enjoy books of the tangible variety. Ever since I was a child, there was something about the feel and smell of the pages that allured me. I love ink on my fingertips. I am a "nerd", and I am okay with that. With that being said, I have found myself recently opting for digital versions of books for convenience sake. I believe that eventually, those fond sensations of childhood will become memories of the past and I will tell my  grandchildren "When I was a child....". I also keep up with current events in mostly digital formats. This is mainly because it is immediate and changes as events change. I am able to stay more up to date this way.
Dr Strange asked: "Are you prepared to write with multimedia?". The answer is, no. Not yet at least. I still have much to learn about how to do it and do it well. I believe in doing everything in the best way possible. I don't want to put my name on anything that isn't top notch and publish it on the internet. I know basics that I have learned in EDM310, but even after this semester is over I have to continue the process. I have to keep learning as technology changes. I do know that I am eager and willing to learn because I believe that it is the future and more importantly, the BEST way to write. I also want to make this change and continue to learn how to use technology for my future students. I want them to learn how to be able to do this as early as possible. If I can't teach them then I will be doing them a serious disservice. This is part of my job as a teacher in this generation, plain and simple.
My feelings being as they are, I was shocked to read the comments to his video on youtube. Some people are completely against the idea and many of those are people that are in the academic world. I suppose that these are the people that do not understand technology and might be afraid of what it will do to their careers and where they fit into the puzzle. Like it or not, it is the future. Instead of focusing on what will happen if they do follow suit, they should be considering what will happen if they don't. Embrace it and learn it or be left behind and I will be applying for your job in a few years.

Carly's Post
I absolutely love what Carly did in her post. Instead of just listing each video and why it was important or relevant to her, she built her post (words) around the videos and put the links directly in. I was able to clearly read and understand what she was saying and click on the links to reinforce her ideas. I think she came as close as possible to Mr. Miller's ideas of writing with multi-media.
I like the idea of the assignment for several reasons. First, is because I am all about being put in situations where I am able to dig for information and think for myself. I have said this a million times and I am gong to say it again. The most effective way to learn anything is through self discovery and this is the next reason why I like this assignment. It challenges the student to think about the kind of teacher they want to be and gives them an opportunity to find other sources of information that will reinforce those thoughts and ideas. And the last reason is because it's just fun. School doesn't have to be boring, does it? Why can't we have a little fun along the way?
Overall, it was a great assignment and Carly did a wonderful job putting it together.

EDM310 for Dummies
This video was strange to me when I first watched it at the beginning of the semester because I was unaware of the extreme amount of frustration that EDM310 was going to cause me. Now, I laugh as I watch it because I think that was what I looked like in weeks 2-4. In fact, I might have actually thrown my computer and screamed at it. It's a fun video that illustrates my feelings at that time very well. The greatest thing about it is that all I had to do was relax. All of the information I needed was right in front of me and the rest was just a Google click away.
This would have been a fun video to be a part of and it was a clever idea. I think it would be interesting to create another video that illustrates the same idea in a different way. "A Love Note to Future EDMers" or "Future Strangeonians" that would contain do's and dont's in a comical way. It would be something that could be left behind for future "EDMers" to remind them to relax and have fun. This is a HARD course, but once you stop freaking out so much you can really get so much out of it.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
I agree with all of the arguments made in this video. The arguments made here have been made in several other videos that we have watched from the beginning of the semester. The bottom line is that technology has changed children's lives completely. The way they think, communicate, gather information, and the way they process ideas in their personal lives have changed drastically from the previous generation. Why have we not pushed more for technological resources in their classrooms? This is what they are comfortable with and familiar with. I encourage everyone to watch Learn to Change, Change to Learn: Student Voices. This video explains different ways that young kids are using technology in their lives and it is an eye opening video.
One of the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher is because I am fascinated with what children have to say. Take a room of 14 year old children and ask them a question that you think might be above their level and see what kind of answers you get. In order to appreciate what they have to say, remember that they do not have as much life experience as you. If you can do this I promise you will be amazed. Children have voices and amazing things to say. The technology that they use everyday and love so much has caused them to be much more in tune with what is going on in the world than I ever thought about being at that age. In some ways, I think that I have more to learn from them than they do from me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blog Assignment 7


The first time I was introduced to Randy Pausch was about 3 years ago. I was e-mailed a link to his video on youtube, The Last Lecture.To say that I was moved and inspired is an understatement. As he introduces himself in the beginning, you learn that he is dying and has been given just a few months to live. He has a smile on his face, he is making jokes, and he is trying to impart some of his wisdom onto other people. This is not what I expected from a man who just said that he is dying.
The theme of his lecture was "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". Dr. Pausch explained several of his childhood dreams and how they came true or were re-stated after reality set in (i.e. being an NFL player). He spoke of his work as a professor and how he helped others to accomplish their childhood dreams. Of all the things on his list, helping others was the most rewarding to him. Dr. Pausch was well respected by his peers, colleagues, and students before this video ever went viral. Now he has reached millions of people.
I could say many things about Dr. Pausch's last lecture. I could speak of his accomplishments, his professional nature, etc. However, the greatest thing I got from the lecture was what he liked to call a "head fake". Years ago when I finished watching the video, I immediately started to evaluate my life and take my own personal inventory. I didn't sit and ponder the real content of the video at all. As I finished watching it for this assignment, again I didn't think about content, only how I wanted to live my life. Apparently, this is a technique that he enjoyed using with his students and it worked on me....TWICE!
When I decided to become a teacher it was because I wanted to impact someone's life in a selfless way. I hope that I have more than one opportunity to do this, but if I just made a difference in the life of one child, I would be happy. Dr. Pausch made me realize that the impact that I will have on one person will have a ripple effect on others. Indirectly it will happen and his entire life is testament to this. Just read the comments on his youtube video. He has deeply touched the lives of people that he never met personally. He was an amazing man with incredible principles and he has left a legacy behind.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Project 9b Instructional Timetoast

Project 10 PLN update

symbaloo PLN

I still have a lot of work to do on my PLN. I chose to use Symbaloo for my PLN because when I investigated both options provided, it seemed to be more user friendly. I also investigated the PLN's of other people and most of those were on Symbaloo. At the moment, I have created links for almost all of the websites and blogs that we have been introduced to in EDM310. I hope to continue adding more that I find on my own as I continue to grow my PLN.

Friday, October 7, 2011

C4T 2 Jerrid Kruse

light bulb with paper people around it

Mr. Kruse has an amazing blog and a lot to say. The first blog post I read was on 9/25 and it was basically a warning about creativity. He explained that by using all of these wonderful forms of technology, important learning objectives might be missed. The student may become so involved in the project and how it is being done, that they are missing the point of the project. I commented back that I agreed. It is important that teachers are aware of this before they begin a project and remind students of the right direction.
The second post on 11/9 was about a STEM council that was created of less than 25% educators. The other 75% were business leaders. I'm not going to lie, I had never heard of this term and had to research to find out what it was all about. What I discovered is that there is a lot of buzz around this subject. STEM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The idea is a way to address the increasing demand for jobs requiring strong foundations in these areas. There are STEM councils being created in several states. I think it would be ignorant for anyone to deny the importance of these councils. Their purpose is correct and accurate. I agree with Mr. Kruse, however, in his anger over the way they are being put together. The ratio of 25%-75% sends a very loud message that education of the children is not at the center of the councils created. A council created with business objectives would not have a 75% council of educators. There is a serious disconnect that leaves me wondering what the true purpose is.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

C4K Summary

children in classroom with laptops

For the month of September I had the pleasure of reading and posting on several young students' blogs. I was generally impressed with their abilities to create and effectively use a blog. Most of them talked about general things going on in their lives like school work, siblings, sports, etc. My posts in response to them were just trying to encourage them to continue their blogs and keep their positive attitudes. Their classroom blogs were really awesome. It gave information about what they were doing in class, which I think would be especially beneficial to parents. The one blog that sticks out to me the most is the video from last week about differences and similarities. The students made self portraits and stated why they were different and similar. My favorite part was the bloopers at the end. It showed that they had fun while they were doing it and it wasn't just work.
I am enjoying this series of assignments because it illustrates different ways that blogs can be used in a learning environment and gives me ideas for how I can use one in my own classroom.

Blog Post 6

globe with children around it

The Networked Student
The idea of a "Networked Student" sounds great to me. I think that there are many pros and cons to the idea and not all can be listed here. Let me first explain a few ways that I think this idea will benefit children and increase their learning experience. The idea gives children the freedom to learn in the way that best fits them. For instance, currently there are 20-30 students in one classroom. All of them have different skill levels, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. How in the world can a teacher give an assignment to all of them, ONE way to complete the assignment, and expect it to result in the same learning objectives? It is a proven fact that some people are visual learners, some are auditory, and some learn through action or "doing". This will give them the ability to learn in a way that will maximize the learning objectives for THEM, not for completion in a grade book. Another benefit is that it opens the door to more resources than they could ever find in a textbook. A textbook is the exact same thing in a different form. The only difference is that the collaboration of information gathered is by an author, publishing company, editor, etc. In a way, the student is collecting information and creating their own textbook from which to learn and they are doing it on a broader, more up to date scale. Information changes so fast and becomes obsolete before many textbooks are ever printed. This insures that the student is getting the most current information available. The last benefit that I can see to this is that it also gives children access to information that fits into their "belief window". A belief window is the information that they are given that fits into their current social, moral, and ethical belief systems. A child, especially younger children, do not accept information well that is contradictory to that belief window.  This could be considered a bad thing as well. However, it is my personal belief that you first meet a child where they are comfortable and then slowly begin to push that belief window open a little at a time until you have a well rounded, open-minded individual. This is part of a self-discovery process and the best way to learn.
Some of the cons to the Networked Student are really all logistics. How do you convince administration to allow it? How do you convince parents that it is a good thing? I think that it would have to be a transition, especially for students. You can't take a group of students that have been taught to sit quietly, take notes, regurgitate information, and then ask them to take control of their education. It would be culture shock, confusion, and chaos. I believe that it is possible and beneficial to all parties involved, but would require a great deal of planning and a lot of growing pains.
This is definitely something that I am ready for, although I still have much to learn. As I was watching the video I thought that it would be interesting to take a sixth grade Social Studies class and have them do exactly what was mentioned in the video. Use all of the information collected to create an online textbook with proper credits and citations, of course. Just like a hard copy book. The only difference would be that it would contain audio clips, video clips, direct links, group interaction, forums, shared ideas, etc. This would prove to all of the nay-sayers that it is indeed possible. The next year, the information would be updated and changed by the new class so that it was always accurate and up to date. Perhaps I will make that my mission!

Wendy Drexler's Blog
I enjoyed Ms. Drexler's blog. The explanation about the networked student seems to be a few years old. I would be interested to see if she tried it and what the results were. I can only imagine what an undertaking it would have been. I think it would have been well worth it in the end. I think that we are still a long way away from this experience being the norm, as I said earlier it will require a transition period. This is the way, however, that education should be moving and there is no time like the present to start.
On the right hand column of her blog it had links to several up to date websites that were full of information about technology in the classroom. One article I read was about a school system that is currently evaluating their social media policies. The biggest problem they said they were facing is getting everyone to agree on the specifics. It was a great article and it is good to see that people are at least trying to get on board. Here is the link:

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment
I just can't say this enough. I am constantly amazed at what kids are capable of. This 7th grader has a PLN that puts mine to shame. I am also afraid to admit that she seems to have much more command of her own education than I do. SHE'S ONLY 12? I think that I do a great job of controlling my learning experience until I see something like this. I wish more people would take time to learn about current educational trends and could see exactly what kids are capable of and what is currently available to them. The resources they are using are helpful and appropriate. I had a biology professor that told me, "You have no idea how good you've got it. When I was in college if we wanted access to another book at a library at a different University, we had to write a letter requesting it. Then we had to wait for it to be mailed to our University library. Then we only had access to it for a few days and it couldn't leave the library." I didn't feel sorry for him because I imagined what the generation before him had to do. Horse and buggy, perhaps. I'm not really sure. Each generation has access to more information and better resources that the one before. It's nothing to be bitter about or afraid of. It's something to embrace and encourage.

Project 8 Podcast

EDM 310 - Podcast - Rafe Esquith's "There Are No Shortcuts" - Ch 1,2,12, and epilogue by Isaac Evans - EDM 310

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Assignment 5

man and question mark

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff!
I agree with Dr. McLeod 100%! I also loved the sarcasm in his post. I understand how parents and teachers might be apprehensive or even afraid to allow their children access to the internet. The problem is that they do not understand the internet and the wealth of resources available to the kids. You only have a reason to fear it if you do not understand it. It is the future and by denying children the opportunity to use technology, they are also denying them the opportunity to get better jobs, be more competitive and make more money. Plain and simple.
Dr. McLeod seems to be a leader and advocate for technology and education reform. He uses a lot of sarcasm in his posts to get his point across which I thoroughly enjoy. I think that his approach is real, refreshing, and all about common sense. I am now a follower of See, even his website has a hint of sarcasm. I love it!

The iSchool Initiative
I didn't realize how uninformed I was about what is already available in regards to technology and the classroom. WOW! I am blown away. I agree with everything Travis said, especially about the cost reduction in the public school system. Teachers are losing their jobs everyday causing class sizes to swell to unmanageable numbers. The administrative costs associated with education keep rising as well. Art and music programs are being cut. This is a solution to all of the problems. I'm sure that it won't come without it's own set of problems and issues that will have to be worked out, but it is a step in the right direction instead of inaction or ridiculous budget cuts. It reminds me of the old saying: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result." Things just have to change!

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
AMAZING! I think I've officially seen it all! This choir was completely virtual, yet it sounded as clear as if I had been in the same room. The performance itself was spectacular, but trying to imagine the logistics behind it is just mind-boggling. How would you even begin to put together a performance like that? And if something of this magnitude could be put together on the internet and thrown on youtube, what else awaits to be done? I never would have thought something like that would be possible. It kind of makes my "my sentence video" look like a box of tinker toys. Absolutely brilliant! I'm still in shock. This is definitely a video that I will have to share with others.

Teaching In the 21st Century
I have asked myself this question since beginning this class. With technology so available, what will my students need me for? Afterall, they will have access to all of the answers for any question they will ever have. I came up with an answer similar to that of Kevin Roberts. They will need me to be a filter. They will need me to point them in the right direction, teach them how to validate information, process information, and utilize it at the appropriate time. I think many people fear technological advancement because they are unable to see where they will fit into the picture. Teachers are invaluable.
Facts and dates, formulas and equations aren't cutting it anymore. I am a huge believer in complete curriculum change. If students don't know how to use the information given to them, it is pointless to have them memorize it for a test. For example, in EDM310 I am not asked to take tests, or memorize information. I am asked to take action. I am asked to think. I have been supplied with a host of information that I never would have stumbled across on my own. Then I am asked to process it, analyze it, and think about it. In turn I can see a path of how to use this information in the future to help me be a better teacher. Learning through self-discovery is more effective than anything else, in my opinion. Has someone ever told you not to do something because they think it's a bad idea, but you do it anyway? We all have. We have to learn for ourselves. Again, nothing is more powerful than self-discovery. This is how I see education in the 21st century and this is how I would like to run my classroom.

Project 9a Timetoast

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Assignment 4

microphones on podcast image

Eagle Nest Radio
The one thing I have become accustomed to in EDM310 is total shock at what a group of children can accomplish. In this podcast a group of third graders are doing things that I never would have thought they were capable of. The topic they were discussing was age appropriate and would be useful to other third graders as a learning tool. Kids love to learn from other kids. Perhaps it is because they don't feel so intimidated, but podcasts are a great way to allow that learning process to develop.
I loved the fact that they had "mood" music in the background and that is something that I would consider doing in my podcast. They also used inflection in their voices which made it more interesting. The tempo and rhythm of the podcast changed as each different topic was discussed, just like watching the evening news. It is so impressive what this group of students have done and podcasts are something I feel like I could really incorporate in my classroom.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
There were many benefits of podcasting discussed in this article and video. I think one of the most important is that children are encouraged to think for themselves and engage in a higher system of learning. A podcasting assignment is more than just a research paper. It involves more of the senses and therefore requires more creativity, preparation, and thought. Students will also learn more from each other and important interaction and communication skills that will carry them through life regardless of what career they choose.
Another important key to podcasting is that it allows the parents to be more involved in their child's school experience. As a mother myself, I want to know everything I possibly can about what my child is doing during the day. Unfortunately, it's impossible for teachers to give that kind of information on a consistent basis. This would give parents one more way to be involved. There is so much talk now about reforming education but very little of that talk ever speaks about the fact that parents are not as involved as they used to be. Some parents seem to think that sending their kids to school is a free babysitting service so they can go to work. Podcasting provides an easy solution to being more involved.

The Education Podcast Network
This website provides invaluable information on how to podcast and also serves as a directory of podcasts for a wide range of educational purposes. From this site, I learned how easy podcasting really is and how if used correctly it can be a continued source of information. As I said earlier, parental involvement is a child's education is incredibly important. Podcast feeds can be updated every time new content is added. This could be a way for teachers to let parents know what is going on in the classroom, what assignments are due and many other things. It could be considered like a mass voice mail message sent out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog Assignment 3

pen and paper

Peer Editing
I found the information in this section of the manual very helpful. I am not a critic and I try to look for the positive side of everything. Constructive criticism is a great tool to be able to improve your personal skills, and I need a lot of work in being able to critique honestly. I looked for such things in the C4C Assignment this week and couldn't find anything other than positive things to say. I will continue working on this throughout the semester though. If I do find something that could use a little help, I would probably send it in a private e-mail. I was raised to "Praise in public and punish in private." That is not to say that punishment and critique/editing are the same things, however if I am able to say what I need to say, that's all that matters. The platform I use is just a choice.

It's Not About the Technology
This blog says everything I have ever wanted to say about the technology in the classroom debate. I agree completely that technology has a place in the classroom, but it does not stand alone. Teachers have to be more willing to be life long learners themselves if they plan on creating them in a classroom. This includes staying on top of all of the current trends, tools, and resources available. Technology is not going to be the saving grace in a classroom. Teachers still have a prominent and viable place.
All technology has a specific purpose. Learning and teaching how to use it effectively will produce the best outcomes especially when it is reinforced with newer ways of teaching or even traditional ways. Creating well-rounded individuals that are able to think for themselves is the goal and there is more than one path to get there.

Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
Mr. Fisch makes several valid point in his blog. The one that stands out to me the most is the comparison he made to being able to read and write in the 20th century vs. the 21st century. If someone was unable to read and write in the 20th century it was still possible to be successful. However, that changed in the 21st century. Being able to use and understand technology today is similar. In order to be successful, you have to use it. That was not the case 20 or more years ago.
Embracing technology is not something to question. It is a fact of life in this day and age. For just a moment he pointed out that technology is not the only way, but it is a very useful tool. When combined with other forms of learning, it's results are exponential.

Social Media Count
It's almost impossible to conceive that different forms of social media are growing so rapidly. In the same respect, it is almost impossible to conceive how this is going to impact my career as a teacher. I know that my classroom will look very different from the one I was used to when I was in school. I also know that in order to be a successful teacher, I will have to use these tools in.
Until EDM310 I had not considered how much technology would impact my career. I have always taken my technology in small doses and steered clear of some of it completely. I hope that by the end of this semester, the picture will become more clear to me.

The Vision of Students Today
This video by Michael Wesch is one that I can definitely relate to. As a student, I see and feel this everyday. The message that I think it should send to professors and University Presidents is that they are losing their students. Not physically, but mentally they are losing them. By not engaging students where they are, they are not teaching to the best of their abilities and in many cases wasting time. Students should have to work hard to make good grades but if they are not interested or being challenged then they will forget everything they have been taught.
The students are doing the right thing by embracing technology and using it. Afterall, they will need it in their future careers. This is a fact of life for them. Educators are doing themselves and their students an injustice by not following suit.