Monday, December 10, 2012

Final report on PLN

Through the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the end of fall semester, it appears I accidentally omitted posting my final report on my PLN. I have continued to utilize Symbaloo as a way to save websites I have found useful and believe will be resourceful to me in the future. Using my iPhone, I downloaded a free Symbaloo app to my phone to ensure faster, easier access to my account. I have relied on this app many times throughout this semester of EDM310. Although I would recommend Symbaloo to other students as a way to maintain their PLNs, I prefer to use apps and bookmarking on my phone to retrieve and keep record of helpful sites.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Final Reflection

Project #13

My group and I communicated several different ways in regards to completing Projects #14 and #15. The majority of our discussions were done by way of text, as this was the most convenient for all three of us. We attempted to have a group chat using Google Chat, but were unsuccessful. There was not a way, that we could find, to include everyone in the chat at the same time. Once we discovered this, I created a Google Doc and added the other two members of my group so we could exchange ideas in relation to the projects. I believe Google Docs is a good tool to use for class collaborations, however, when used to communicate with other people at the same time, it is not ideal. It was difficult to differentiate between who was saying what, and when each person was saying it. There were several times that all three of us would be trying to type in the same place at the same time. Also, my group shared videos and photos with eacch other using our Gmail accounts. We were able to complete these projects by using different forms of technology and by meeting in the computer lab.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

C4T #4 Summary

School’s out Friday – coming to you from Laos this week!
For my final C4T assignment, I was required to follow the blog of instructor Jenny Luca. The first post I commented on is titled "School's out Friday- coming to you from Laos this week". Ms. Luca wrote this post while in Thailand on a school trip. One thing she did on this trip that I thought was pretty neat was maintaining a blog to write and show photos of what the students were doing everyday. As a parent, I would appreciate something like this to be done if my child was visiting another country. There is an obvious difference in the progress of technology in Thailand compared to America, and Ms. Luca noted several of these. During their stay, Ms. Luca and the students had to go five days without the use of the internet. I told Ms. Luca that I could not imagine what it would be like to go almost a week without using a computer or some form of the internet. I also found it interesting that most restaurants in Thailand offer some form of WiFi for tourists, although the majority of population there are just now discovering the internet and new technology.

School's out Friday- Parking Ticket
In Jenny Luca's blog post "School's out Friday" she provides a short, thought provoking video that includes a surprise ending. In this video, several people return to their vehicles and see, what appears to be, a traffic citation. Immediately, the recipients become angered and begin to plea their case. Near the end of the video, the demeanor of each person changes when he or she realizes the "traffic citation" is actually an envelope with money in it. I thanked Ms. Luca for sharing this video and commented that I found it amazing how fast a person's attitude can change when he or she predicts a positive outcome rather than a negative one. Jumping to negative conclusions in situations is something that I am guilty of doing, but I hope to change that.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blog Post #13

Back to the Future
Hot Air Balloon
Although we were not assigned to create a blog post regarding the video "Back to the Future", I wanted to share with readers what I gained from viewing it. Brian Crosby is a teacher at Agres Elementary School in Nevada and teaches fourth through sixth graders. The neat thing about his school and teaching method is that he gets to teach the same students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. In three years, a teacher can learn a lot about a child's learning method and level of understanding. In his video, Mr. Crosby demonstrates a project his class worked on involving hot air balloons. Through this experiment, the students were able to use many different forms of technology. His students created blogs to post pictures and text as the project unfolded, as well as, created Wiki pages in which they discussed the factors involved in the outcome of the project. They created Flicker accounts to share photos and wrote stories from the perspective of the balloon. Mr. Crosby's students extended their use of technology by creating book covers with free online software, and requesting "High Hopes" for the future from students and the general public. There were also several additional ways in which Mr. Crosby integrated technology throughout this project. I think it is amazing how one teacher used so many of resources for one project, and was able to help his students connect with others and learn on their own.

A Vision of Students Today
The video "A Vision of Students Today" was created by Michael Wesch and two hundred students at Kansas State University. For this project, the students and Mr. Wesch collaborated using Google Docs and made 367 edits throughout the process. The students were originally asked "What is it like being a student today?", and from their answers they created this video to help their voices be heard. The setting of this video is inside an average college classroom, with over a hundred students sitting at their desks and facing a chalkboard. Although no one speaks, each student's message can be understood by reading the hand written, or typed, message on the paper or laptop he or she presents.

A Vision of Students Today
It is pretty amazing to watch a video in which students, like myself, are able to express how they really feel about sitting in a classroom with hundreds of students they do not know. The importance of how students feel about learning and what interests them the most seems to be a lost topic. I feel that, as an educator, one could teach more efficiently if he or she knew what the students related to best. Students today are surrounded by unlimited internet usage, high definition videos and games, virtual reality, social media, smartphones, and much more. It is not reasonable to expect a student from today's generation to have the "drive" to learn and explore, when he or she goes into a classroom everyday that imitates one from the 1960's. I believe this video and the message it portrays is very powerful. Starting in Kindergarten, many educators are teaching students the same way educators have been teaching students for many years. Unfortunately, most of this learning will be invalid and will not prepare students for the future world. I hope the voices of students, like the ones from Kansas State University, are recognized by society and, as a result, the old fashioned way of teaching and learning becomes extinct.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Project #15 Smart Board Part 2

Project #16

C4K #4 Summary

Keith
I was assigned to post on the blog of a fifth grader named Keith. In Keith's post "October Reflections" he gave a summary of things he had done at school in the month of October. In his class, the students created and shared scary stories and had a Halloween party. His favorite thing about the Halloween party was using something called Monster Foam. He also wrote about reading a book called "The One and Only Ivan" and later discussing it with another classroom using Google hangout. I left a comment on Keith's post introducing myself and letting him know that I was impressed with his interest in reading. I also told him that I enjoyed reading his post and especially liked the Robert Frost quote he chose to add to his blog. After reading how much Keith enjoyed using Google hangout to have a group discussion with another classroom, I believe I will use the same tool for my own classroom in the future.

Emily
Emily is a tenth grade English student at Baldwin County High. From reading some of her blog posts, I gathered that she had been reading a book that involved bullying. I chose to comment on her post from November 13, 2012. In this post, Emily relates one of the book's character, Melinda, to teenagers in today's time. She believes bullying continues to get worse over time and states that "more and more people kill themselves each day". I agree with Emily that bullying has gotten worse and is a major problem in schools across the country. Emily identified that everyone comes from a different lifestyle and family, and this can make a huge impact on how a person thinks or acts. I hope there are more teens who think like Emily and understand that it is not fair to judge a person before getting to know him or her.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Progress Report on Final Project

Numbers
My group and I have decided to create a Smart Board lesson that targets first graders. We have chosen to focus on the objective of extending the number sequence and identifying numbers. Through texts and emails we have brainstormed different ideas for this project. In the following week, my group will be collaborating more frequently to finalize the details of this project and complete it. Once we have created the lesson, I plan to show it to my own first grader because I know he will give me honest feedback.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Post #12

The blog post that should have been assigned

Pinterest is a website that is used to share ideas, photos, videos, and more. Many people use it to express their personal opinions and interests, but I believe it would be a useful tool for the classroom. To get a better understanding of Pinterest, watch this video "Pinterest for Teachers" created by middle school teacher Nicole DesJardins. After viewing Ms. DesJardins' Pinterest overview, explore some of the links provided on Five-Minute Film Festival: Pinterest for Teaching and Learning, a blog posted on the Edutopia website. There are plenty of resources provided to help individuals understand Pinterest and how it can be used in the classroom. I also recommend visiting the links below to gain more insight of how educators can benefit from utilizing Pinterest.
The Best Guides to Figuring Out Pinterest
Pinterest for Educators?
16 Ways Teachers are Using Pinterest
Pinterest and Education

Pin it
Now that you have educated yourself on the possibilities of Pinterest, it's time to have a little fun! Think about what you would like to teach the most. What field are you majoring in? What age group will you be teaching? Join Pinterest now and create a Pinterest board that you could use in your classroom. Write at least one paragraph to explain how you would use Pinterest in your classroom. Be sure to include a link to the Pinterest board you created, and tell readers why you chose the topics or pictures you pinned.

Another resourceful site I found while researching Pinterest is Learnist. Learnist is described as being a "Pinterest for Education". It is relatively new and is still in "test" mode. Watch the video "Introducing Learnist" and compose a paragraph that briefly describes Learnist. State whether or not you think Learnist will evolve into a must-have for educators. Would you use it as part of your PLN?

I completed my own blog post assignment!

Pinterest
Pinterest is an "online pinboard" that is used to share pictures, interests, and ideas. In my opinion, Pinterest is an essential tool for an educator in this generation. There are a number of ways to use Pinterest in a classroom, regardless of the grade or subject one teaches. I am a double major in Secondary Education and English. I hope to teach middle school or high school English once I graduate from the University of South Alabama. When I teach an English class, I would like to use Pinterest to create boards that provide students with online sources to the topics we are learning. Students would be required to maintain their own Pinterest boards specifically designed for my class. As an example, I created a Pinterest board that includes five of the most common books high school students are required to read. For each book, I "pinned" various pictures that are linked to videos, quotes, books, and other information that relates to each topic. With more time, I would explore each book and author a little deeper and provide additional links for students to understand the topics better. Students would be able to view my page, "repin" links, discover what others have shared in regards to the topic, and independently research information to share with classmates. Teachers could benefit from using Pinterest in the classroom because it allows students to collaborate with other students, engages them in online learning, requires them to express themselves, and opens communication between them and their instructor.

Learnist
Learnist is a social media site that was launched in May of 2012 by the social learning company "Grockit". Teachers and students are able to create boards, much like Pinterest, on a subject in which they are interested in. As a Learnist user one can share videos, lesson plans, images, blogs, and plenty more. Farb Nivi, the creator of Learnist, said "Recently we've been trying to apply technology to help instruct learning, when instead we should've been using technology to help people learn from each other" in his Learnist introduction video. I agree with Mr. Nivi's statement and believe this idea is what provides the backbone of Learnist. Instructors and students are encouraged and provoked to rely and reach out to others who share the same curiosities when utilizing Learnist. I believe Learnist will continue to gain popularity in the educational field and become a necessity among educators. I will continue to watch this site and add it to my PLN as I feel I can benefit from it as a future teacher.

Monday, November 12, 2012

C4T #3

I'm Excited About The Future!
I was assigned to read and comment on the blog of an educator named Jeff Utecht. His post titled "I'm Excited About The Future!" is the first post I chose to read. In his blog, Mr. Utecht discusses his trip to Ethiopia and his findings in regards to technology available there. He provides various statistics that demonstrate how quickly the use of technology is increasing. Ethiopian population seems to be skipping some of the "traditional" forms of technology and progressing to more current forms instead. For example, most people get mobile phones instead of requesting a land line phone. I introduced myself to Mr. Utecht and told him that I am learning the importance of technology at the University of South Alabama. There was a quote from an Ethiopian newspaper Mr. Utecht shared in his blog post that stood out to me. The quote described technology service as being a "necessity" instead of a "luxury" in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, not all countries think this way.

Being Comfortable Being a Beginner
In Mr. Utecht's blog post "Being Comfortable Being a Beginner", he shares the frustration he encountered while trying to figure out the recent changes made by Google. There were several issues he could not find a solution to. He admits he is once again a "beginner" in a field he had previously believed himself to be knowledgeable in. From his defeat, Mr. Utecht was reminded of a valuable lesson; "You have to be comfortable always being a beginner". He continues his post by explaining other areas of his life in which he had "mastered" only to figure out he will never actually master anything. As time goes by, things are constantly changing. Mr. Utecht's advice is to accept the changes and be comfortable being a beginner in all situations. I really liked how Mr. Utecht shared his personal experience and showed how he learned from it. Changes happen daily and it can sometimes be difficult and frustrating to start over. It is important to embrace the changes and be okay with being a beginner.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

C4K Summary #3

Vitulli & Santoli: Eyes on Ireland
As a special C4K assignment I read 2. More St. Patrick's: The National Induction Programme for Teachers, a post from the Vitulli & Santolli: Eyes on Ireland blog. Two instructors, Vitulli and Santoli, took a trip to Ireland and created this blog to share their adventure with others. In the post I read, they shared some neat information they learned about the school system in Ireland. They learned that new teachers in Ireland are given a probationary license and can not be a fully licensed teacher until they have completed the three year probationary requirements. Some of these requirements include attending professional development workshops, completing a set number of hours teaching, and creating a portfolio. I commented that I think the three year probationary period sounds like a good idea. I believe after three years a person would know if he or she really wants to be a teacher, and a supervisor would know if that person would make a good employee. It is interesting to learn how different countries manage education and school systems.

Mya
This week I was assigned to read a recent post of a student named Mya from the Hopping for History! blog page. The post I chose to comment on is titled "The Flag That Survived the War". In her post, Mya explains the history and symbolism of the American flag. She provides detail of what the stripes, stars, and even colors of the flag stand for. I complimented her for being so informative in her post. I also told her it was neat to learn that flags were not always made of cloth. Creating a blog post to share what a student has learned from research is a good alternative to the usual form of writing reports with pencil and paper.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blog Post #11

Ms. Cassidy's Class

Ms. Cassidy's Class
Ms. Kathy Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. In her video, First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class, she gives viewers a look inside her classroom and demonstrates how technology is incorporated there. The students in her class learn by use of smartboards, laptops, video and digital cameras, and other forms of technology. By blogging, the children learn to improve their writing, communicate with classmates, and express themselves. They love to receive comments from others on their pictures and blog posts. The video also shows that Ms. Cassidy has created a class webpage in which her students can find links to different educational sites. Another tool her students frequently use is Skype. They enjoy communicating with students their age that attend different schools, as well as having discussions with professionals of various fields. Dr. Strange had a Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy in which she explained her technology techniques and beliefs. Ms. Cassidy has been using technology in her classroom for ten years and believes being a "technologically literate" teacher is a must.

I do not object to the use of any of the technology tools Ms. Cassidy uses in her classroom. It is really neat that the students are learning how to do so many things at such a young age. When I teach, I think I will require each of my students to create and maintain a blog. Also, using Skype is a valuable tool that I would use in my classroom for students to gain additional research information and to communicate with others. I feel it is important to maintain a student's interest in learning and self gratification. Ms. Cassidy has provided numerous ways to keep students involved and I am interested in learning more about technology potential for classrooms.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

A world where grades will be left behind

Red Pill, Blue Pill
In the article “A world where grades will be left behind”, Mary Beth Marklien shares the ideas and thoughts of Professor Sebastian Thrun, also known as the vice president of Google. Mr. Thrun is responsible for founding the education company known as Udacity. He believes that learning should “be as much fun as it is to play a video game”. Earlier this year, Mr. Thrun decided to leave behind his Stanford classroom with twenty students for a much larger audience, the thousands of people who desire free online learning. The article goes on to explain that most critics agree that the industry of education is “stuck in the last century and in dire need of an overhaul”. Sebastian Thrun is one of many who are trying to change the way our society thinks and acts when it comes to technology based learning. According to his vision, grades will become a thing of the past as students move at their own pace to grasp a concept or master a certain skill. I found Mr. Thrun’s analogy of live theater versus film making and “brick and mortar” schools versus online courses very thought provoking. He points out that the new way of entertainment did not replace the old form, just as online learning will not replace the style of teaching in the classroom. According to him, both online classes and today’s films can reach a greater audience at a lower price.

In high school I absolutely could not stand Government class, however, I do remember one quote our teacher explained to us, "There's no such thing as a free lunch". What that means is, although one person may get to eat for free, someone had to pay for the meal. It's hard to imagine that the "star professors from around the world" would be willing to share their knowledge with out being rewarded monetarily. I do believe that our world should take a step, or a few steps, forward when it comes to technology and learning, but I'm not sure it will come at a low price in thirty years. I'm afraid to think of what groceries will cost in thirty years, much less an education. Costs aside, instructors should be incorporating as much online usage and up to date technology into their teaching as possible. In my opinion, this is the best way to prepare students for the types of jobs that will be encounter in the future.

Project #11

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Post #10

I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga.

I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga.

The above cartoon, I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga., was created by Instructor John T. Spencer. To be honest, I did not understand the meaning of the comic and did not see the humor in it at first. However, after reading the comments on his blog post and doing some research on Google, the message made sense. It appears I may have been sheltered through life when it comes to the pencil department. Unbeknownst to me, Ticonderoga is a brand of a somewhat pricey, yet dependable and better quality pencil. Papermate is a less expensive brand of pencil, but has a few more flaws that Ticonderoga. After reading reviews of the two brands, the difference that stood out to me most was the quality of their erasers. Ticonderoga has erasers that are soft and rarely smear. In contrast, Papermate erasers are hard and can create smearing when used; however, pencil top erasers can be bought to compensate for this imperfection. This cartoon is not just about two brands of pencils though. It seems that during the time Mr. Spencer created this comic, there were several commercials being produced and airing that addressed the contrast of owning a PC versus owning an iMac. The commercial Get a Mac ad with Gisele Bundchen is a comical thirty second clip that promotes iMac and the use of the built in iMovie program. Similar to the PC vs iMac commercials, Mr. Spencer is summing up the differences of two brands in just a few words. Although Papermate is cheaper, it is more likely to need additional erasers or to be replaced more often. The message of Mr. Spencer's cartoon is that sometimes it is best to splurge on an item that is known for it's superior quality. In the long run, spending more money up front, may result in spending less in the future.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?
In the blog post Why Were Your Kids Playing Games Mr. Spencer reenacts a scenario involving himself and the principal of the school in which he teaches. The principal is upset after noticing that Mr. Spencer has allowed his class to play games. Mr. Spencer tries to explain to the principal that the games are educational and good for the children, but he is reminded that games are not allowed at this school. By the end of Mr. Spencer's post, readers understand that he will continue to incorporate games into his teaching regardless of his supervisor's distaste. In my opinion, students are more interested in learning if the person teaching presents the subject in a fun way. Playing educational games is not only a great teaching tool, but it also promotes socialization between classmates.

When a Child Hates Pencils
I viewed several posts on Mr. Spencer's page and found one labeled "When a Child Hates Pencils" pretty interesting. Mr. Spencer had a student in his class who, on the first day in class, chewed up and broke his pencil. After looking into the student's background, Mr. Spencer found out that the boy had spent the last three years being either bribed to write well, or punished because he didn't. Instead of using his pencil as a learning tool, the student saw his pencil as a form of hard work. The principal at Mr. Spencer's school suggested that the student not be given a pencil until he had matured and proved that he was ready to use a pencil correctly. Mr. Spencer did not agree with this idea and gave the student a brand new pencil the next day. He told the boy he could use the pencil to create poetry, draw a picture, write a story, or "whatever". As a result, the student wrote a poem about wanting to fly and then created an origami flying dragon from the paper. By Mr. Spencer approaching the student openly and differently than any other teacher had in the past, it opened many doors to the student's desire to express his creativity. I like the way Mr. Spencer handled this situation and believe that all teachers should find a way to connect with their students so that they are more willing to show their true potential.

Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?
Scott McLeod's blog post Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please? is an interesting, yet controversial post regarding children and their access to technology. Mr. McLeod begins his post by addressing parents, teachers, administrators, and board members. He gives negative feedback regarding the use of the internet by students and the lack of safety and privacy they have. While reading this post, I felt Mr. McLeod was completely against the use of internet in a classroom and preferred pen and paper over computers. However, Mr. McLeod concludes his post by stating that he is allowing his kids to explore the possibilities of today's technology. It becomes obvious after reading the complete post that Mr. McLeod was being sarcastic in his description of the "evil" forms of technology that students have available to them. The approach he took to convey the message of technology was very different, but refreshing at the same time.

Scott McLeod is the founding director of CASTLE, or Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. CASTLE is devoted to the technological needs of school administrators. He has written a book titled "What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media" and helped to create the video "Did you Know? (Shift Happens)". In his lifetime, Mr. McLeod has received many honors and awards for his work with technology leadership.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog Post #9

What I Learned This Year (2010-2011)

The blog post What I Learned This Year (2010-2011) was written by instructor Mr. Joe McClung. In this post, Mr McClung explains that he just completed his third year of teaching and second year at that particular school. During this year he experienced several "firsts", such as first year to be head coach, first time being a computer applications teacher, and his first cross country coaching experience. He takes time to reflect over his past year and tells readers a few things he has learned. The first topic Mr. McClung discusses is knowing who your boss is. It is easy to get distracted in the workplace and care too much about what other people think. This kind of attitude can make even a good teacher lose focus on why he or she is teaching in the first place, for the children. An important quote he said is "Our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered around pleasing adults". I agree with this comment. Mr. McClung also stresses that even though there are people who are not supportive about change and new ideas, it's okay. Teachers should not let the pessimists bring them down. He goes on to say that taking a stand for oneself and not conforming to others can often make a person become an "outsider". It is important for teachers to be happy with themselves, even if it means not "fitting in" with other faculty. A teacher's main focus should always be his or her students. My favorite part of Mr. McClung's blog post is titled "Don't Touch the Keyboard". Mr. McClung had another teacher, Mrs. Barron, tell him of a previous experience she had as tech support trainer at an airline. A very important concept Mrs. Barron was taught regarding training a new employee was for her to never touch the keyboard. This allowed the employee to figure out the problem alone. Sometimes it is easy to get frustrated when another person can not figure something out. It is natural instinct for people to become impatient, take charge, and solve the problem themselves. The best thing to do as an educator is to sit back, not "touch the keyboard", and let the student find a solution. Finally, Mr. McClung suggests that teachers not get too "comfortable" with their teaching routine. Instead of easing by with the same lessons and assignments for several years, it is good for a teacher to discover fresh ideas, join new groups, and try different teaching styles. When a teacher is not motivated, neither will the students be. I enjoyed reading this post and have gained some great advice to use in the future when I am teaching.

Mr. McClung's World


What I Learned This Year- Volume 4

In the blog post What I Learned this Year-Volume 4, Mr. Joe McClung addresses two important things he learned from his fourth year of teaching. Similar to his third year blog post, Mr. McClung became concerned with how other people perceived him as a teacher. He knew his students accepted him, but he became distracted with how his peers felt about him. He finally came to the conclusion that he shouldn't worry about if his peers approved of his way of teaching. Mr. McClung states that the most important question he should ask himself is "Are the kids having fun?". He realizes that the happiness of his students has contributed to his own happiness more than pleasing his peers. This seems to be a recurring issue that Mr. McClung struggles with each year as a new teacher. I can see why it could be hard balancing the two as a new teacher, pleasing students and pleasing other teachers. Ultimately, teachers should be more concerned with why they became a teacher in the first place, to teach, and not overwhelm themselves with making other faculty members happy. In Mr. McClung's third year post he briefly explored the idea of challenging oneself. He again addresses the same topic in this blog post. Throughout the year, Mr. McClung noticed that many of the things he was doing were repetitive from previous years. In his opinion, he was beginning to lack creativity and not teaching as well as before. Luckily for him, Mr. McClung has been given the opportunity to teach two different classes in the following year. Although it will be somewhat challenging to learn the new material and create new lesson plans, he is looking forward to it as it will be something fresh for him, as well as beneficial for his students. He concludes his post by letting readers know he is going to get out of the "funk" he has been in and become a better teacher. This is a very positive attitude to have and hopefully he can accomplish his goal. Even thought the blog post was brief, Mr. McClung gave good pointers for handling a judgmental crowd of peers and for changing up one's routine. I believe teachers can benefit from Mr. McClung's experience and honest suggestions.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

PLN Project #10 Progress Report



The tool I chose to keep track of my PLN is Symbaloo. I really like the layout and think it is easy to use. From one screen I can access any of my favorite sites with just a click. I have added a few widgets and sites to my webmix and will be adding more. A neat thing I discovered while visiting this site is that I am able to create my own "tiles" and add them to my webmix. So far I have added my EDM310 blog and the EDM310 class blog. This is a great way to organize my PLN.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

C4K #2 Summary

Ellnas954
The first blog post I was assigned to read for C4K was for a student named Ellnas954. This student is in fourth grade and attends school in New York. The post I commented on is titled "Cats & Dogs". Ellnas954 explains the differences and similarities between cats and dogs. I commented that I could tell the he/she really enjoyed the topic and had done some research to create the post. According to Ellnas954's post, both animals sleep at least twelve hours a day. I told the student I was aware that both animals like to sleep, but I was surprised they sleep that much. This was the most recent post I could find for Ellnas954, and it was dated March 4, 2012.

John0011
The second student I was assigned to was a high school student named John0011. I really enjoyed his post "A New Type of Learning". John0011 blogs about the importance of students learning for themselves. He explains that it is a "gratifying experience" to figure something out yourself. In John0011's US History class, the students practice this method from day one. I introduced myself to John001 and expressed that I am taking a class that encourages technology in the classroom. Like John0011, I believe students should do some learning on their own. Not only will a student be more likely to remember what and how they figured a problem out, but he or she can gain self gratification from the experience.

Tak
Tak is a student in Surrey and is in grade 6. His blog is titled "My Epic Learning Journey". He likes to write stories and is interested in learning more about medieval European times and ancient civilizations. I visited a part of his blog called "My Writing" and was able to view a short story he has written. The post I commented on is "About Me". Tak's favorite subjects are the Language Arts and Social Studies. I told Tak a little about me and that Language Arts is also my favorite subject. He also mentioned that he likes to create comic strips. I thought it was really neat that someone his age was interested in writing stories and creating comics.

Ryan
Finally, Ryan is a student in Mrs. Peterson's English 7 class. I read her post "I Believe in Getting Up" and was impressed. Ryan describes a trip she took over the summer in which she learned how to water ski. She did not believe she would be able to get up on the skis as she had failed in the past. To her surprise, Ryan was able to balance herself and water ski for the first time, with some encouragement from her friend. Her story was very descriptive and, most importantly, she learned a great lesson from the experience. Ryan learned to never give up, despite the obstacles in the way. She went even further to say she will be attempting to shalom ski next year. After telling Ryan who I am, I told her that I have never been successful at skiing. I also let her know I was impressed that she had taken such an important concept from her ski trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

C4T #2

For C4T #2 I was given instructions to read and comment on the blog of an instructor named Michael. The first blog I chose to comment on was one titled "Why Save PBS?". The post is simply an image that gives information regarding the benefits of the PBS channel. A fact that I found interesting is that "children who watched Sesame Street in preschool spend more time reading for fun in high school and obtain higher grades in English, Math, and Science". It seems coincidental to me, but according to statistics, Big Bird and Elmo have more of an influence on kids than I was aware of. I commented that I enjoyed the shows on PBS as a child and felt that they should continue to provide educational material to children today. The second blog post I commented on is titled Before We Flip Classrooms, Let's Rethink What We're Flipping To. This post was mainly a link to an article that argued the idea of instructionism and constructionism in teaching. I was able to relate to the article since I have just recently learned about the concept of flipped classrooms in EDM310. Also, the article mentioned MOOCs, or massive open online courses. I recently learned about MOOCs from a blog of the last instructor I was assigned to. This article was very interesting and I thanked Michael for posting it.

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream

In the video This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2 Richard Miller of Rutgers University describes how technology is changing and how it affects writing. In the beginning of the video, Mr. Miller tells how he grew up learning the old fashion way, with pen and books. He realizes that times have changed and so has the way in which individuals gain knowledge and communicate. According to him, now is "the time to be engaged in the work of literacy". Throughout the video Mr. Miller discusses two kinds of change, incremental and fundamental.

Dreams
Today, an individual's work space usually consists of a laptop and the desktop on the laptop, as opposed to pen and paper. There is little need for a library with the abundant access one has to information on the internet. This is described by Mr. Miller as an incremental change. He explains to listeners that he was asked to compose an article regarding the Virginia Tech killings. Surprisingly, he was able to complete the task without having to go a library or leave his computer. The article was published and could be viewed online or received in print. Mr. Miller makes the point that the article that was printed and mailed out to members would probably be thrown away after time. However, the article online will always be available from a website. By using the internet, people are able to freely share information and collect it as well. As the video continues, Mr. Miller states that incremental changes also includes the ability to collaborate using technology such as images, film, and live footage.

In Part 2 of Richard Miller's video, he states that he predicts there will be a time in the near future in which students will not compose with word processors, but with digital composing material. He continues to explain what fundamental changes he expects to happen. In Mr. Miller's opinion, using the web to share and communicate is the best way to "push ideas into culture". I do agree with this thought. As he pointed out, it could take two years to get a written document published and distributed. Using the internet, information is available immediately and worldwide. Writing with multimedia seems like it would be difficult and confusing, but I am interested in finding out what all is involved. I believe students deserve to have teachers that stay up to date with technology and can efficiently incorporate it into their teaching.

Blog Post #12 by Carly Pugh

Carly Pugh, a former EDM310 student, posted a blog post in which she created an assignment for students that she believed Dr. Strange should use for his class. She suggested students be required to create a YouTube playlist that encompassed his or her own teaching philosophy and gave a reflection of what had been learned in class. Ten suggestions of what each playlist should include were given, but students would only be required to cover five of the topics. I really liked how Carly not only composed an assignment for her blog, but she did the assignment as well. I completely agree with her that "good teachers teach by example". I think this is very similar to what Dr. Miller foresees for writing with multimedia. Instead of writing a long summary about herself, her teaching beliefs, and her interests, Carly created a fun, informative, and personalized playlist. Making a video playlist is not only more interesting than reading a printout, but it is also accessible to a broader audience.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies

The student produced video The Chipper Series takes viewers through the career ups and downs of a character named Chipper. At the beginning of the video, Chipper has several excuses of why she doesn't have to turn her work in on time and why she doesn't need to go to school. She feels that as long as she is doing her work, it shouldn't matter if it's turned in on time or not. According to Chipper, she's not being taught because her instructor is making her do all the work. Chipper quits school and attempts many different professions such as a teacher, waitress, nanny, and garbage collector. None of the jobs seem to work out for her and she has plenty of excuses as to why they don't. In the end of the video, Chipper has a "change of heart" and decides to go back to school. The video EDM310 for Dummies shows two students that are fed up with EDM310. They think it's too difficult and state that the class is making them crazy. After getting a copy of EDM310 for Dummies, the students are actually enjoying the class and understand what they are doing. I enjoyed these videos. I believe both of these videos show that even though EDM310 can seem overwhelming at times, the abilities learned in this class are worth knowing and are useful for everyday life. By figuring out how to complete assignments on their own, the students are more likely to learn and remember how to complete the task again. If I were to create a video for this class, I would like to show the difference between students being taught by old ways of pen and paper and students being taught using today's technology. I think it's important to bring awareness of how valuable using up to date technology is in classrooms today.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

Learn to Change, Change to Learn is a short, but eye opening video about education and technology. I was surprised to hear that out of fifty five industries, education ranked the lowest in regards to the level of IT intensiveness. The educator in the video pointed out that coal mining was shockingly ranked higher. Students today are more stimulated away from school than at school. As mentioned in the video, social communication via the internet, such as email, is blocked in most schools. One comment that stood out to me was that a "turned off device is potentially a turned off child". Without use of technology in classrooms, students are less likely to stay intrigued and curious to learn. The educators in this video believe that school systems are not preparing students for jobs of their future and that it is "economically foolish" to continue to use the same standards for teaching. I do agree with most of the points made in this video and feel classrooms and teachers need to adapt to technology changes. The main concern I have, however, is the lack of privacy a student might have if he or she is allowed to have access to social networking at school. If there are ways to protect a student's privacy, then allowing social networking and internet use in the classroom seems more ideal.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

I found a really neat website for teachers called Edmondo on Discovery Education's WEB 2.0 Tools site. This site is used for communication between teachers, students, and parents. I created an account and signed in as a teacher so I could learn more about it. In my opinion, the website is very similar to Facebook, but is only used for educational purposes. A teacher can post notes, alerts, assignments, quizzes, and polls to be viewed by the classroom. There is also a calendar option to add events and send reminders to students and parents. If a teacher has more than one class, he or she can create "groups" to separate the classes. Additionally, a teacher has the option to create a library on his or her page to share favorite books or to suggest books the students are to read. The thing I like best about Edmondo is that teachers can post grades for each student. Both students and parents are able to log into the website from any computer and view the grades. This would be a very useful communication tool for a classroom.

A good website for creating videos is Animoto. It provides different priced packages depending on your needs. One can create videos up to thirty seconds long for free, while unlimited full-length videos with access to over one thousand licensed music tracks cost $20.75 a month. Animoto has the capability to link to a users Facebook account, if desired, and upload videos and pictures that have been previously posted. After creating an account, I logged in and viewed a video tutorial that was provided to help walk me through making a video. I like that this video tool allows a user to upload his or her own music and include it in the video. This website would be very useful for making instructional videos for or sharing photos and videos with a classroom.

The following poll was created at Poll Everywhere.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blog Post #7

The Networked Student

The Networked Student is a video that was made by Wendy Drexler's high school students to explain the principles of connectivism and networked learning. This five minute video demonstrates how a 21st century student studying American Psychology could create his own personal learning environment using many different web applications and social networks. Although the students focused on a psychology topic for this video, they made it a point to let viewers know this approach can be used in any subject. In this video, the "networked student" is in control of his own learning and is able to make important connections. A networked student is one who becomes an active member of a learning network and, as a result, builds his or her own learning path.

Connectivism
The networked student in this video begins his learning by using Google Scholar and other search engines to find valid information about his topic. He is able to post his findings to social networks so that others can read the information and give their responses. For varied opinions, he searches the internet for blogs posted by others regarding his topic. He is able to comment on the blogs he finds and subscribe to them. By doing this, the networked student is making more information and opinions available to him. After compiling his research and building his knowledge base, the student can create his own blog to provide others with what he has found out. He can continue his learning by listening to podcasts and lectures on his MP3 player. The student finds a documentary with reference to his topic and is able to email the director of the film. As a result, he is able to use Skype to have a video conference with the director. An important point made in this video is that it never hurts to ask. The director of the film could have easily ignored or denied communication with the student, but he wasn't afraid to ask. The networked student can then use the interview to create a voice thread or upload a video. By using many different network tools for his research, the student has provided learning opportunities for others as well as gained more knowledge himself. He has also been able to communicate with a variety of people and receive additional information that might not have been available to him without social networking.

One may think that if a student is allowed to engage in his own learning, there would be no need for a teacher. This video answers the question "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?". Having a teacher to offer guidance and to help a student determine the creditably of different sources is essential. It is also vital for a teacher to show students the correct way to communicate and ask questions respectfully while networking. Also, a teacher helps students organize the information they have found. A networked student is able to gain self gratification because he learns on his own, but he wouldn't be able to create his network or be introduced to the learning opportunities without the aid of a teacher.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

Personal Learning Network
The video A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Enviroment walks viewers through the personal learning environment of a 7th grade science student. The student checks her science agenda when she gets to class to see what work is required for the day. She is able to decide what she should do and work at her own pace. Several network tools are introduced throughout the video such as Google Docs, bookmarking, notes, blogs, digital posters, and Skype. She demonstrates how she does research for a project or report using these tools. The student chooses when and how to do her work, which teaches her responsibility. My personal learning network is similar to the 7th grade student in this video. In this class, I am required to continuously check my assignments on the website and use some of the same networking tools to complete my work. There have been instances in which I did not understand how to do a task required and have had to use Google to help me gain a better insight and get the job done. I am not familiar with all the tools she used in the video, but I'm sure I will know more of them by the end of this semester. It does make me uncomfortable to communicate with people I don't know on the internet, but I can see how this is something I am going to have to get over. The 7th grader in the video emailed a scientist in Australia and one in America. This is an excellent way to get a professional perspective. Like the student in this video, it is up to me to be responsible and get my work done on time.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blog Post #6

Randy Pausch continued to give inspirational speeches months before he took his last breath. In Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, he gives listeners an insight to his life, his childhood dreams, the ways he achieved his goals, and the lessons that he learned along the way. Mr. Pausch begins his lecture by identifying the “elephant” in the room. He lets the audience know he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is not expected to live much longer. It was very encouraging to see that despite his condition, he continued to remain in high spirits and kept everyone laughing. His positive energy was contagious, and it was obvious he believed in the message he was giving.

Pausch tells viewers several of his childhood dreams and how he accomplished them. First, he shows a video of himself satisfying his dream of being in zero gravity. The comment that stuck out to me most during his description was that when a person wants something, he or she needs to have something to bring to the table. Not only is this useful information when attempting to fulfill childhood dreams, but this is something to remember when applying for a job, asking permission to do something, and much more. The second dream Mr. Pausch had as a child was to play in the NFL. Although he never played in the NFL, he did play football in school and learned many valuable lessons from his coach. His football coach, Coach Graham, stressed the teaching and learning of fundamentals. His theory was that the “fancy stuff won’t work” without fundamentals. After a day of being pushed hard and challenged at practice, Pausch was told that when someone is bothering and pushing him to do something, it meant that person had not given up on him. This is a very optimistic way to look at life and the people we encounter. It can be very discouraging to continue to do things for a person who is persistent in wanting more. It is best to keep in mind that most people aren’t going to push someone do something they don’t believe he or she can’t handle. Other childhood dreams Mr. Pausch fulfilled were to “be” Captain Kirk (actually met him), win big stuffed animals, and be a Disney Imagineer. One important statement made to Pausch while he was attempting to get on board with Disney was that if you “wait long enough, people will impress you”. Not everything happens when someone wants it to, but it’s essential that a person remain patient and never give up on a good thing.

Randy Pausch
A question Randy Pausch asked himself and encouraged others to ask was “How can I enable Childhood Dreams?”. He went a step further and not only answered this question, but acted upon it. Mr. Pausch created a “Virtual Worlds” course. The first class consisted of fifty students whose majors varied. He was blown away by how great the students’ first project was that he didn’t know what he should request of them next. With a little advice from a mentor, Pausch went into the classroom, told the students they did good, but they could do better. Every project after the first seemed to be better than the last. This concept is very useful in the classroom. An instructor should always give encouragement, but challenge students to strive to improve. The program has continued to grow over the years and is the only one like it in America. Knowing that death was approaching, Pausch acknowledged that he needed to turn his program over to trusting hands. He stated in his lecture that it is smart to find someone “better than you” to give responsibility to. This shows how completely humble Randy Pausch was. His concern was not about recognition for what he had done, but how what he had done could get better. I believe this mind set sometimes gets lost with the stress of being an educator. As an educator, I hope to thrive from the success of my students rather than awarding myself for “making it” through a lesson.

The two topics that stood out most to me in Randy Pausch’s lecture were the importance of “brick walls” and “head fakes”. Pausch experienced a brick wall when he was attempting to become a Disney Imagineer. He sent letters to Disney expressing his desire to work with them, but in return received rejection letters. Instead of being discouraged, Pausch saw it as an opportunity to try harder. He realized that “brick walls” are put in our way to show us how badly we want something. One of Pausch’s closing points was that brick walls let us show our dedication. This is something instructors should express to students more frequently. Too often children fail and think they will always fail. Educators should be a constructive influence on students’ accomplishments and let them know that by going above and beyond they can achieve their goals and be a great influence to others. Randy Pausch used the term “head fake” frequently. In his opinion, what people learn indirectly is considered a “head fake”, and most of a person’s knowledge comes from this. According to Pausch, the best gift an educator can give to a student is to have them be self reflective. I completely agree with Mr. Pausch on this theory. If a student can figure something out on his or her own and gain a personal perspective from a lesson, then the teacher has done well.

Overall, Pausch gave many practical ideas that can be used in the classroom and in everyday life. He believed that every person has a good side, you just have to be patient and find it. In a classroom of at least twenty there are many personalities. Some kids will shine with their brilliance, some with their obedience, but it will take some time to find out what valuable talents your children truly possess. Mr. Pausch ends his lecture by giving away two head fakes from what he’s just said. The first is that people should live their life the right way and their dreams will come true. The second “head fake” gave me chill bumps. Pausch says that the whole speech was for his children. This man knew he was about to leave earth and his family, but still remained positive and wanted his children to understand his way of thinking. This is how all educators should think; selfish less, not selfishly.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

C4K Summary #1

Alarzae
The first student's blog I was assigned to was Alarze. She is a Year 5 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. The first thing I noticed about her blog was the creative and colorful background. After reading that she loves to draw, I'm almost convinced she drew the background herself. The most recent post Alarzae had made was a keynote presentation about a great javelin thrower. I left a comment on Alarzae's post in which I introduced myself and told her where I go to school. I expressed to her how amazed I am that she knows so much more about blogging than I do. She is already learning things in the 5th grade that I don't know how to do.

Sione
Sione's blog was the second blog I commented on. Sione attends the same school and is in the same grade as Alarzae, but is in a different class. I was impressed with his blogging ability and creativity as well. He had recently posted a comment about an activity he had participated in at school. His teacher, Mr. Marks, had the class pair up with one other person, and then they were tied up so that they had limited use of their hands or legs. This was to give the children an idea of what it's like to be a Paralympic athlete. I told Sione that I enjoyed the detail in his story and that it sounded like he had a fun day at school. Sione appeared to be very artistic as well. In my opinion, both of these students are doing a great job with their blogs.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Post #5

The iSchool Initiative and Zeitgeist Young Mind’s Entry
I enjoyed Travis Allen’s video The iSchool Inituative. It’s pretty amazing to see that there are youth in today’s society that are concerned with the future of technology and teaching. In his video, Travis demonstrates the advantages of using the latest technology in classrooms. With the nation being under financial stress it is important to find ways to reduce the amount of money spent and find cheaper solutions to teaching and learning. This video introduces alternative ways to teach lessons and communicate with students using a phone or computer. There are already many apps and programs available today that benefit students and teachers. A few that Travis mentioned are US constitutions, Graphing Calculator, StarWalk, and Scientific Calculator.

iSchool Initiative
Integrating technology into today’s classrooms is a must if instructors want to stimulate students’ interest and prepare them for a technological world we do not know. According to Travis Allen, a student could save $600 a year if the iSchool initiative was implemented. In the future, interactive apps could be available to students and parents including school agendas, lunch menus, homework and due dates. Not only would everyone’s wallet benefit from the iSchool initiative, but the environment would be better off too. I believe that schools need to stay technologically “up to date” and incorporate ideas from Travis’ iSchool Initiative. Unfortunately, I think getting started would not be cheap. The vision he has for schools would be idealistic if money up front was not an issue. Not every school can afford to put a computer in each student’s hands. Even if every child in America had the newest iMac in their classroom, not every child would have the same access to the internet when they are at home. Regardless, even the smallest step towards teaching children to use technology efficiently and effectively in the classroom is very important. Hopefully there will be a day when all classrooms have the latest technology within their reach.

Virtual Choir
Virtual Choir
Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir is very impressive. The “virtual choir” consists of 185 people, none of which have ever met each other. They are all recorded singing the song 'Lux Aurumque'. When everyone’s voices are put together, a perfect harmony is created. I enjoyed seeing how different the singers are and how each person is recording from a different setting. Some performers sang from a bedroom, while others appeared to be in a musical room. I’m sure the video took a long time to compose, but was well worth it as it shows the world the possibilities of technology today.

Teaching in the 21st Century
In Teaching in the 21st Century, Kevin Roberts provides viewers with his opinion of what it means to teach in the 21st century. He expresses that today’s adolescents are able to share and obtain information by way of Facebook, blogs, cell phones, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, and much more. For this reason, teachers in this century have to find ways to use these tools to engage learning instead of using them for pure entertainment. I found Mr. Robert’s perspective of teachers no longer being the “source” of information to students, but instead a “filter”, to be enlightening. Students can find out anything they need to know through social networking and/or search engines on the internet. It is important for teachers to “rethink” the tools used for teaching and the way information is presented.

Flipped Clasroom
I had no idea what to expect when I saw that I had to watch three videos about flipping a classroom. In Kate Gimbar’s Why I Flipped My Classroom, Ms. Gimbar stated that she felt like she was teaching to the middle of the classroom. As a result, higher level students were not being challenged and struggling students were not receiving enough “effective remediation”. She flipped her classroom so that she was in the middle of the classroom and could teach to everyone equally. Lectures were given through the internet and could be paused and replayed. This type of teaching allowed students to work at their own pace while engaging and challenging them. Ms. Gimbar found that ninety percent of class time was spent on application and only ten percent was spent on delivery after flipping her classroom.

Flipped Classroom
Dr Lodge McCammon is responsible for the idea of flipping classrooms. In his video Dr. Lodge McCammon’s FIZZ- Flipping the Classroom, he provides viewers with a few benefits of his idea. Lecturing in today’s classroom is not engaging to students and is therefore inefficient. However, a video lecture not only creates more classroom time, but it is more interesting to students and is more likely to retain their attention. Another instructor, Ms. Munafo, explains how she flipped her classroom in the video Flipping the Classroom- 4th Grade STEM. Students are able to gain direct instruction at home the night before a class. This allows them to prepare any questions they have or topics they want to discuss. I think this is a very useful idea to be used in a classroom. Students are able to express their creativity, learn at their own pace, and discover the latest forms of technology. Ms. Munafo makes a good point when she says that teachers are preparing children for jobs that may not even exist yet. By challenging students at a young age, it will help prepare them to take on whatever the world may give them in the future

My Sentence Video

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

C4T #1

Global Transmedia MOOCs
I was assigned to read the blog posts of Howard Rheingold. The first blog post I read was Global Transmedia MOOCs. Mr. Rheingold acknowledged the creators of two online photography classes available at Coventry University. The two classes are called Phonar and Picbod. He also showed an interview with Jonathan Shaw, one of the creators. These online classes have reached thousands of students all over, and continue to reach more. I started off my comment to Mr. Rheingold by introducing myself and providing a link to my blog. I informed him that I had not heard of Phonar or Picbod until reading this blog, and that I found the interview with Mr. Shaw to be very interesting. After hearing the interview and reading the blog I wanted to read more about the classes and the creators' accomplishments. His blog caught my attention and I enjoyed it.

The 'Presence Project'
The second blog I read by Mr. Rheingold was The 'Presence' Project and the 'Be Here Now' Box: Digita Media and Family Attention. This blog discusses how much attention is given to digital media in today's society. Statistics prove that people are starting to ignore lectures, run into things, and sometimes even fall flat on their face because they are succumbed to their phone or other digital media device. In Mr. Rheingold's words, we have a need for "attention literacy." Fortunately, some are aware of this need and are trying to find ways to bring attention to it. Kyle Williams and Emily Goligoski created a tool kit called the "Be Here Now Box" that is used to help families do something about digital media attention. The box contains wooden meters used to activate and deactivate the internet, a template that provides a family agreement of "internet allowance", a card with ideas for young adults to use during "offline time", and a kit for making a musical instrument from a pencil and soldering tool. I commented that I felt this would be a helpful tool for families who are having trouble competing with digital media. I admitted that I am sometimes guilty of letting my phone get more attention than it should, and hoped that the 'Be Here Now' box would be good start to making more people aware of this issue.