Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blog Post #14

As assigned, I explored Jose Picardo's blog entitled Box of Tricks. Mr. Picardo is a foreign language teacher at a high school in England where he teaches Spanish and German. He is passionate about teaching and he incorporates technology whenever he can into his language lessons. Reading over his blog was very interesting. He gave some great sites that are valuable resources for teachers. I was particularly interested in the information he gives on making the use of interactive whiteboards more effective. I currently have one in my class, and I am always looking for new and inventive ways to use it. I especially enjoyed reading over his blog resource page entitled A-Z Resources for Education. It had some many great sites and ideas that I decided to add it to my PLN.
I also watched Mr. Picardo's video entitled Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom. In this video he gives tips to teachers on ways to get started and be more successful with using technology in the classroom. Mr. Picardo says to use streaming video and music to enhance your lessons. There are plenty of good videos out there readily available from YouTube and Teacher Tube, and he thinks each teacher should have an I tunes account. He also suggests using teleconferencing such as Skype to bring the outside world into your classroom. You could Skype with a classroom from another country or skype with a professional in the field your students are currently studying. Picardo also thinks teachers should create interactive exercises with sites such as Hot Potatoes, learn ways to use the interactive whiteboard more effectively by using sites such as Triptico, and create their own podcasts by using sites such as Garage Band. More of Picardo's suggestions include starting a classroom blog or wiki, making use of social networking sites, and using the numerous amount of free tools the internet has to offer. His last tip is to make the most of your students' gadgets, such as ipods and cell phones.
I think these tips are all great, and as a teacher I would love to start using them all. However, I think it can sometimes be overwhelming, so teachers just starting out with technology should start with one thing at a time. I think starting with "baby steps" will make things easier and teachers will not get overwhelmed. When teachers get overwhelmed, they sometimes go back to more comfortable way of doing things. I am glad I was introduced to Mr. Picardo's site. It gave me lots of new information and lots of new things to try in my own classroom.

Jose Picardo

Final Report on PLN

My Symbaloo

I have added some great new sites to my PLN. I have found several teachers's blogs that I have added to my site including Mrs. Yollis's site. I also went to a professional development workshop at my school and it happened to be about PLN's. The instructor shared numerous informative sites that are a must have for teachers. I also started another PLN for my for classroom website. I labeled it Student Resources, and found several sites that are safe for the students to use to create projects and do research. I know I am just getting started with technology, so I will always be finding and adding new sites to my PLN. However, I do feel that I have gotten off to a great start so far.

C4K Summary Post (covering November comments)

During the month of November, I had the pleasure of commenting on three different classroom blogs. They were all very interesting and I enjoyed reading and responding to them. The first blog was Mr. McClung's World which is a blog by a teacher named Mr. McClung who blogs about his teaching experiences in the classroom. The post I read from Mr. McClung was Lessons Learned. In this blog, Mr. McClung discussed three lessons he had learned from his recent teaching experiences and he shared those lessons. Lesson One was about a fundraiser that his school incorporated for the United Way. The school has different teacher competitions to raise money for this organization. This year students could use their donations to vote on a teacher to grow a beard and Mr. McClung had decided if he won, he would allow the students to choose his beard style. Lesson Two was about a normal day in class when a male student came in wearing a blue tutu and changed the whole demeanor of the classroom. Lastly, Lesson Three was about about the track team that Mr. McClung coaches. I told Mr. McClung that he seems to be a teacher that really enjoys his students and has a great relationship with them. I bet his students really enjoy going to his class, and he is certainly going to be one of those teachers that will make a difference in his students' lives.
The next blog I read and responded to was Mrs. Yollis's Classroom Blog. Mrs. Yollis is a third grade teacher with a great learning style. The post I read form her blog was Hip Hip Array and it was all about examples that she and her students came up with to explain multiplication. I told her class that their post was very informative, and I let my own third grade daughter watch the video that Mrs. Yollis's class had created about arrays. It was fun and my daughter enjoyed it. Mrs. Yollis is such an impressive teacher with a wonderful blog.
The last blog site I visited was Logan @ Pt. England School. This is a school in New Zealand and I read a blog by a student from Room 14 named Logan. His post which was Untitled was written about a school assembly with a space theme that he went to and the funny things that happened there. I told Logan that I liked to learn about space as well and that Star Wars was one of my favorite all time movies. Logan actually was the only student to ever comment back to me. He really appreciated my response to his blog.

Summary Post #4 for C4T

For my last two C4T assignments, I was assigned a blog called Art Viewer. This is the blog of a high school art teacher named John Burrow. Mr. Burrow uses his blog to showcase the art work of his students and the work is very impressive. The first blog post I read from Mr. Burrows was Still Life. This post was about an assignment that Mr. Burrows had given his Drawing II class. They had to use objects from the classroom to create and draw their own still-life. They were told to draw it like they saw it. He had thirty different student examples to view, and you could click on each one to view it larger and separately. They drawings were quite impressive, and I told him that his students had some real artistic talent. I also told him that I really enjoyed the sketches that had included a skateboard. Those were my favorites. I also told him that using a classroom blog to showcase his students' work was a great idea, and I told the students to keep up the great work.
The next blog post I read was The Finished Coke Bottle. Mr. Burrows displayed on his blog a beautifully realistic painting of of a Coke bottle with a lemon and a lime sitting next to it. The colors he used were so perfect and they were splashed in different spots on the painting. I told him that it was an interesting contrast of cool and warm colors and I really liked the texture of the Coke bottle and the lemon and lime. I also told Mr. Burrows that even though I was no artist, I could still appreciate good artwork and I really enjoyed this piece. What a fantastic use of a classroom blog!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Post #13

By Stephanie Banchero and Stephanie Simon

"My Teacher Is an App" is a very interesting article that was recently published in The Wall Street Journal. This article explains how education is radically changing for some school districts in our country. Traditional classrooms are being replaced with "cyber classrooms." Students are learning from the comfort of their own homes using their computers. "Nationwide, an estimated 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools, and more than two million students take at least one class online." The main states mentioned in the article with online schooling programs were Virginia, Idaho, Georgia, and Florida. Some of theses districts are running their own online schools, but others have hired technology driven corporations to run these online programs for profit. These programs are in the experimental stages and they seem to be "fueled by budget constraints within districts, parental dissatisfaction with schools, and the failure of even top performing students to keep up with their peers in other industrialized countries." 

Critics of these cyber classrooms quote test scores that show full-time online students are performing below that of the students in the traditional classrooms on standardized tests. Another complaint seems to be that online students sometimes have difficulty contacting the teachers of these online programs to get the extra assistance they may need. Teacher unions are also criticizing these programs for affecting teachers' jobs because an online high school teacher can supervise over 250 students where as a traditional classroom high school teacher can only handle about 150 students. There is also always the question of socialization. How is that occurring if the students are not personally interacting?

It seems that there are still lots of looming questions about the future of K-12 online education. I do not think you can just give a student a laptop and they will be able to guide themselves through their own educational journey. They still need a teacher or a parent to closely guide them. One of the teachers at the Georgia Cyber Academy even said, "Letting a child educate himself is not going to be a good educational experience." Computers can not do it alone. I do think technology needs to be a major part of our classroom, and it seems that the classrooms that they spoke of that were most successful were the blended ones. These classrooms were a combination of online learning and in-person instruction. This is where I feel the education system would be more successful, and that is the direction in which I think we should be headed.  

students on laptops in a classroom

Special Assignment #1 - Metaphors

A metaphor is a type of figurative language that is used in literature, history, and everyday life. The actual definition of a metaphor is "an implied comparison that is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common." Metaphors are especially beneficial when you are trying to "express the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar." They make concepts that are difficult to grasp more understandable and obtainable. That is why they are so often used to explain and describe.

The examples of metaphors used in literature are extremely numerous. One example that comes to mind is Emily Dickinson's metaphor for death in her famous poem, "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." Death is being personified and compared to a person who comes to pick you up when you are at your busiest. Death does not wait for us to finish our life. He comes when we least expect him.

"Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility."...

Another example of a metaphor used in literature would be the famous comparison that William Shakespeare used in his comical play, "As You Like It."  "All the world's a stage and men and women merely players.” In this metaphor the world is described as a stage, and the humans who reside in this world are described as the actors and actresses who perform on it. This is probably one of the most famous metaphors ever written! 

Metaphors have also been used throughout history. Many authors and politicians have tried to explain history through metaphors. "History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies" is a metaphor by American author Robert Penn Warren, and British author George Meredith said, "Memoirs are the backstairs of history." Prime Minister Winston Churchill tried to describe how easily the Nazis invaded Poland with this metaphor, "The Nazis invasion of Poland was food colouring entering a jar of clear water." Ronald Reagan tried to describe how the American people fight for freedom and independence in this metaphor, "We have been a bastion of freedom". 

Metaphors are also used in everyday life. We use them all the time and some of us may not even realize type of figurative language that we are even using. "Let me throw some light on the situation," "It's raining cats and dogs," and "She was the apple of my eye" are all metaphors we hear on a regular basis. Metaphors are used to teach like the ones that overflow from the Bible, and they are used to entertain like the ones we enjoy reading in literature. Metaphors are everywhere, and if you are really paying attention, you would see that we are truly surrounded by them. We have even seen metaphors in the many videos and blog posts that we have been assigned in EDM 310. Metaphors make life more comprehensible as well as enjoyable.

A metaphor from Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Project #15 - SMART Board Instruction Part 2

Mrs. Yollis's Classroom Blog

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Mrs. Yollis's Classroom Blog. It was very impressive! I just can't get over all the amazing things in which I found this third grade class involved. The blog contains so many interesting things that I added her blog and her wiki that instructs teachers how to get started with classroom blogs to my Symbaloo account. I feel certain that I will want to keep up with what Mrs. Yollis and her class are doing.
The first link on her page was Meet Mrs. Yollis. It told all about how she has been teaching for twenty five years, and she primarily teaches third grade but has taught fifth grade as well. She really enjoys teaching and that is surely evident just visiting her blog. She enjoys travelling the world with her husband, and she just recently received her Master's Degree in "Integrating Technology in the Classroom." She attended a Google workshop for teachers called Geo Teacher's Institute and she was involved in a project with Giant Travelling Maps through National Geographic. My favorite part of this link was the picture of Mrs. Yollis as a third grader. I'm sure her students enjoy seeing their teacher the same age as themselves.
The next link on her page is Meet the Bloggers and it is all about the students in Mrs. Yollis's class. She has twenty-two students and their school is located in a suburb of Los Angeles, California. A list of all the different activities that these students enjoy is on that page as well as a picture of her class.
The next link is called  How to Comment. Here Mrs. Yollis and her class made two videos. One explains in detail how to post a comment on the class blog. The other video has her students explain how to write a quality comment. The students did a great job with this project.
Mrs. Yollis's Website was the next link, and I just loved her fall inspired class page. She has a link to every subject she teaches with great sites to play games and get more information. She includes links to homework, projects, and even some sites for parents to peruse. This page is also so very impressive. I want to be Mrs. Yollis when I grow up or at least try to do all of this in my own classroom .
Next is the link called Learn HTML Code where she makes learning how to write in code very simple for beginners. She advises users to keep a copy of the code near your computer, so you will always have it when you need it.
Then she has a link called Time Zones of Friends where she has clocks for all the different schools in which they keep in contact from all over the world, and she has a link called Learn about California in which she made a video all about her state with a program called Photo Peach. She seems to make most of her videos with this program, so I added it to my own PLN.
Her next link is Learning to Shoot Great Digital Images where she and her students have created a video that gives step by step instructions on how to take great photos with a digital camera.
Mrs. Yollis's last link,Educational Blogging Resource for Teachers, is a wiki page that she made for teachers who want to use the same great technology she is using. It explains all about setting up a blog for your classroom. What a great idea!
If you check out the links on the side of her blog, you will find that Mrs. Yollis's class is also involved in Our World, Our Stories where they connect with other classrooms around the world and Yollis's 365 Project where her class takes picture of different things and they create interesting blog posts about them. What great practice for her students. Checking her Cluster Map, I found that she has had 75,679 visits and EDM 310 had only 51,308 visits. You can also see all the different well-deserved awards her blog has received in the three short years it has been around. I don't think I have ever seen a teacher do anything like this. I didn't realize this kind of thing was possible, but it makes me want to start the same type of thing for my own classroom. Thanks so much for bringing this great site to our attention.

I Love Blogging picture

Blog Post #12

Watch the following video entitled "The Times Are A Changing." Think about the images you have seen and the music that accompanies the video. Respond by writing two or more paragraphs following the requirements in Writing a Quality Blog Post about how education is changing regarding technology. What message is being sent to teachers? In your opinion, is education changing in a timely manner, or do you think advancements in the field of technology need to be moving faster as far as education is concerned?

The video entitled "The Times Are A Changing" depicts images of how students and classrooms have progressed through the years. They show students passing notes, and then they show students texting. They show the old classrooms with desks and the traditional chalkboard hanging in the front of the room,  and then they show classrooms with computers on the desks and a interactive white board at the front of the room. They use Bob Dylan's classic song "The Times Are A Changing" to accompany the video. It fits perfectly because education is definitely changing. Anyone can walk into a modern classroom and see that computers are slowly but surely becoming a requirement for students in this age of technology. I believe the message this video sends us is that teachers must embrace technology and incorporate it into their classrooms because technology is here and it is here to stay.
I think the problem here lies with how slowly technology is being incorporated into education. This problem has to do with inadequate funding for technology in the school systems and that veteran teachers are not willing to make changes to the way they teach. Budgets for technology must be increased and professional development must include technology. Curriculum and standards must be changed to include the various forms of technology. Lesson plans and course of studies should include some form of technology with each lesson. Administration must back these new techniques because the times, they are a changing. The video ends with a great inspirational quote from John Cotton Dana, and it says, "Who dares to teach must never cease to learn." I think that should be a teacher's mantra. We must always continue to learn if we want to be great teachers!

Students using computers

Check out this video called "The History of Technology in Education" about the advancements made in technology over the years in regards to education. It is really an advertisement for the company that makes the Smart Board, but it is interesting to see the changes through the years.

Progress Report on Final Project

top secret sign

Our final project will include Mary LaCoste, Angela Pitts, and Owen Gill, and we will be doing our final reflection on the ups and downs of EDM 310. We plan on utilizing the green screen to enhance the effect with some really cool videos and pictures of software programs we have utilized throughout the semester. We don’t want to give too much away because we don’t want our idea to be hijacked due to its awesome originality!! Stay tuned for more details!!

Skype Interview - Project #14

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Post #11

Mrs. Kathy Cassidy's Class

For Blog Post #11, I watched two videos about some really exciting things going on in Mrs. Kathy Cassidy's first grade classroom in a small town called Moose Jaw, SaskatchewanCanada. The first video was called Little Kids, Big Potential. This video was very impressive. This little class of first graders is accomplishing some really big things. You could tell when you were greeted at the door of the class and a sign said "College Graduating Class of 2025" that this class is destined for great futures. These students are writing on their personal blogs and commenting on others, working on their class webpage, and using Wikis to learn new vocabulary. They are making videos about what they are learning and skyping with professionals to learn about new concepts. Mrs. Cassidy is also having them bring in their Nintendo DS game systems to play a game called Nintendogs. The students learn problem solving from playing a game they absolutely love. This is truly the way school should be. I also watched a Skype interview with Mrs. Cassidy and Dr. Strange and his class. Mrs. Cassidy is embracing the world of technology. She says that what she is doing in her classroom seems perfectly normal for her first graders because they have never lived in a world without technology. Mrs. Cassidy is such a forward thinker. She has been using this type of technology in her classroom for over ten years now, and things seem to have been very successful. Her administration does not hinder her approach but they haven't pushed for this technology either. It seems she and the technology coordinator at her school are collaboratively adding technology into this first grade curriculum. I would love to see all classrooms run like this one. How sad is it when these first graders go to a second grade classroom next year, and there is no technology being used. We need more Mrs. Cassidy's in education.

First Grade Class Skypes

C4K Summary Post (covering October comments)

During the month of October, I had the pleasure of commenting on several classroom blogs. All of them proved to be very interesting. On October 2nd, I was assigned to Milika's blog. She is a student from Point England School in Auckland, New Zealand, and she had designed an avatar for her blog. She explained why she put certain details in her avatar. Her avatar carried a basketball because that is her favorite sport and she also included a puppy because she loves dogs. I told her that my avatar would have to carry a baseball because that's my favorite sport, and that I would include a cat with my avatar because that is my favorite animal. I told her she had done a great job and to keep up the good work with her blog. On October 2nd, I also had to submit my vote for the New Zealand flag on the same classroom blog. I voted for the traditional flag, and that flag actually won by a very small amount in the contest.

On October 9th, I visited another classroom blog from Point England School. This time I read about a group of children going on a field trip to meet their blogging buddies. Both groups of children had a great time, and they explained all the fun things they did like playing on the playground and having morning tea. I told them that my school has another type of Buddy Program. The 6th graders pair up with the 2nd graders to do crafts and play on the playground. However, I told them that we sure would like the idea of having morning tea together, and I asked it that was comparable to our morning snack time.

On October 16th, I visited two students' blogs. First, I was assigned to Cayleigh's blog. She had shared a science report about hair and its importance to the body. I told Cayleigh that she had done a good report and had included lots of interesting information. Then using the random selector, I was sent to Dalton's blog. He had written a science report on the esophagus. I told him that he had also done a good report and had included many interesting facts. He also included a picture of an esophagus, and I commented on how cool that was. I told both students that they were doing a great job with their blogs and to keep up the good work.

On October 23rd, I was assigned to comment on a student named Blake's blog from Mr. C's class. His post was about the reasons he liked to write. I told him that I liked to write as well. I also told him that his blog was very cool with the fiery background he chose and I liked the way he had added quotes from Michael Jordan on his blog as well as a picture. I told him to keep writing and keep learning and that he was doing a great job with technology.

My last post was on October 31st. It was from Room 9 at Point England School, and it was for a child named Zaphanta. She had created an interactive presentation using Hyperstudio of the Australian Outback. I told her that her presentation was very creative and that I really enjoyed the cool music she used. I also liked her animals and I learned that Australia is the 6th biggest country in the world. I told her that I was very impressed with her work and that she seems to know a lot about technology.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog Post #10

Joshua Bloom

I have been teaching altogether six years, and I became an education major because I love working with children. I get immense satisfaction when I "teach" a concept, and my students understand and internalize it. It is truly a great feeling. I don't think any other occupation besisdes teaching has that. You really can see the benefits of your job on a daily basis, and the rewards are numerous. 
To teach or educate? That is the question. Joshua Bloom's video certainly made "teaching" seem like a bad word. "Educate" explains much better what we as teachers are required to do. Some of the words he used to describe the work of educators were "illuminate, enlighten, inspire, and empower." These are very strong words, and they require a strong teacher to perform these actions. I know I am up for the challenge. Not only do my students see me as the teacher who teaches literature, but also as a role model to follow as a positive example. I am there when the students need to talk or need advice, and I am also there to guide them and show them the way when they seem lost. A teacher cannot get by with just teaching his or her subject matter. There are so many other ways you are needed, and I see that on a daily basis. I love being there for my students, and I know that I have chosen the right career for me. 

By John Spencer

John Spencer uses his metaphoric blog post to compare pencils with computers or technology. In Spencer's story, an administrator accuses this teacher of not being concerned with standardized tests scores. The standardized test scores of these low income kids are even lower for the ones who take home "pencils." The administrator seems to think that the "pencils" are only being used for entertainment and that they have no purpose or value. That seems to be how many teachers and administrators seem to feel about computers and the internet. Many educators don't seem to recognize the great value these technological tools have to offer our students. 
The administrator goes on to say that the parents of these students aren't comfortable using "pencils" themselves, but the teacher says that they can hold classes for the parents so they can learn the same skills as the students. The teacher is then asked how he will hold his students accountable. The administrator is worried that the students will waste valuable time playing Hang Man. That part really made me chuckle. Then the teacher tells Gertrude that the students might even join pen "pal networks" which are obviously social networking sites, and if they do these other activities, there is sure to be some learning taking place that we don't actually see. This is all a metaphor for teaching our students technology, and maybe administration isn't convinced that this kind of learning will improve these ridicules standardized test scores. But this kind of learning is definitely our students' future, and if we want them prepared for the job market and society, we better rethink our approach to technology and education. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Summary Post #3 for C4T

For my last two C4T assignments, I had a blog called Jenny's Learning Journey. This blog was created by a primary school teacher from Auckland, New Zealand named Jenny She. She loves teaching, blogging, and everything technology has to offer. The first blog post I read was Would Google+ Be Useful in the Classroom?. Ms. She had become interested in Google+ because she is real advocate of social networking sites. She became a member of Google+ and immediately saw the benefits this site had to offer teachers as well as students. She observed students in a "hang out" session which is where friends, family, colleagues, or classmates can "hang" together and talk back and forth. These particular students were having a study session. Ms. She thought this was an excellent idea. Students don't have to meet for these kinds of sessions anymore. They can all be together without leaving the comforts of their own home. She also had recently read an article that gave ten different ways Google+ could be used in a classroom. However, there was a professor who commented on this blog and reminded everyone that Google+ requires its members to be 18+, so maybe this could work for students at the university level. I told Ms. She that I had never heard about Google+, but I am a member of Facebook and it does sound very interesting. I checked her Profile page on Google+, and I also told her that I thought these "hang outs" would be great for study sessions as well as working on group projects.
The second blog post I read was entitled My First Experience with Google+. This post was all about Ms. She becoming a member of the new networking site Google+ and absolutely loving it. She immediately became a fan of its unique privacy settings. You can form "circles" with different groups of people, so every thing you post is only read by those in a particular "circle". You can talk about professional topics with your fellow teachers and talk about family topics with your family. Every friend you have doesn't read the same posts. I told Ms. She I thought that sounded like a great idea, and I was going to have to check out Google+ for myself. I thanked Ms. She for sharing this interesting information about this new social networking site.

Googl+ icons

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Post #9

By Joe McClung

Joe McClung is a teacher who has just finished his third year of teaching, and he blogs regularly on his blog site called "The Teacher's Desk." At the end of each school year, McClung does a special blog post reflecting on his previous school year. I chose to start this assignment by reading his first year's post. It seemed McClung had learned some very good lessons that first year of teaching. First he said he had learned to read a crowd. He made a very good point about teachers being so caught up with our own approach to teaching a lesson that we sometimes forget the most important thing which McClung says is checking for student comprehension. Teachers can sometimes get too involved with their lessons when they really need to let their students guide the lessons. He also learned to be flexible. As a teacher who has completed her sixth year of teaching, I can emphatically agree with that. So many situations present themselves on a daily basis in the classroom. Teachers are always having to change gears and go in different directions, and McClung says to do so with a smile on your face. I agree that a positive attitude always helps a teacher. Things don't always go the way you planned, but staying positive under pressure is always the best way to handle those unexpected things. McClung also says that communication is the best way to resolve any issue, and teachers should always be reasonable. I liked McClung's quote, "Pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again." That should be posted in every teacher's lounge. That should be our motto as teachers! He also learned to listen to and get to know his students better, and not to be afraid of technology. He said teaching is our job, but so many of us don't keep learning ourselves. We as teachers should always be ready to learn, grow, and improve ourselves. There is always room for improvement. All of these were great lessons to learn as a first year teacher, and I think McClung must have had a pretty successful first year. 


By Joe McClung

Now Joe McClung has completed three years of teaching and he is still reflecting on what he has learned. First he has learned to know your boss. He says sometimes teachers are jumping through hoops to impress administration or do things for other teachers, but we should always remember that our students are the ones who deserve our undivided attention. Keep your eyes on the prize! They are the reason we are doing this job anyway. He also learned to not expect other teachers to be as excited about change as he was. And this also goes along with what he learned about not letting yourself get comfortable. This is unfortunately very true. Some teachers just seem to be burned out. Maybe they have been doing this so long, they are tired, or maybe teaching just was never their true calling. I have seen it come from both directions, and either way it's sad. McClung says, "We cannot afford to be passive in education. We need to be the "movers" and the "shakers" and advocates of change in our schools." I took a class at South where the professor told us to recognize these kinds of teachers and stay away from them. They just bring everyone down. I myself have seen it so many times. It is very important that new teachers learn this lesson early. McClung also learned not to touch the keyboard which means we must let our students do the work themselves. We should not interfere with the learning process by jumping in too soon and helping the students. We should make them self-sufficient learners. McClung ends his post with this quote, "The teaching profession needs individuals that are passionate and willing to exceed the demands of the traditional 8-3 teaching this not an achievable goal?" I not only agree with Mr. McClung but also believe that it is an achievable goal. I think we have lots of great inspiring teachers out there. We just need more of them, and I believe with universities better preparing these teachers, we will hopefully start seeing more of them. McClung seems to be one of those great teachers.

Project #13 - SMART Board Instruction Part 1

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Post #8

Dr. Richard Miller is a professor in the Humanities Department at Rutgers University. He prepared this video because he believes that educators must change the way we teach writing because of the vast changes in society due to the fast-paced ever changing advancements of technology. Miller states that the future of printed materials, such as books, magazines, and newspapers, is in jeopardy. Libraries will eventually become a thing of the past. All the materials that students need for research will be found on the web. Paper and pencil will also become unnecessary. Writing documents with word processing programs will be replaced with documents that not only include text but also audio and video. Teachers will have to teach writing in a totally different way. Their approach to teaching writing will have to involve multimedia. They will be teaching students how to compose digitally in this age of technology.
Dr. Miller proves his point when he discusses the success of this video. His video received over 9,000 hits, was embedded in numerous blogs, and became a source of discussion for many interested viewers. He explained if he had only posted his views in text format, it would have taken years to receive as much attention, but because he used audio and video, people were naturally more responsive. Writing is headed in a direction where simple text documents will not be enough. People in the future will acquire their information by not only reading but also listening and watching. So the future of writing will inevitably change, and teachers need to be ready for this change.
Writing is very dear to my heart because I teach it to middle school students. I do understand that I will have to change my way of teaching it, and I am looking forward to the challenge. Using multimedia in our future writing projects is very exciting to me. Unfortunately, at this time, my school doesn’t have the resources to do this kind of teaching. We have a computer lab and the students go once a week, but to do this kind of teaching properly, each student needs a computer to use in each class. I can, however, still assign writing projects that include audio and video, but they will have to be done on the students’ home computers. The future of writing is going to be very interesting indeed.

“Blog Post #12” - by Carly Pugh

Carly Pugh’s EDM Blog Post #12 was very interesting. She obviously put a lot of time and effort into this post. Her blog post assignment required students to “create a You Tube playlist of ten videos that describe your teaching philosophy and relate to things you have learned in this class.” Then she also wanted students to respond to the question, “What could you do with them in your teaching environment?”.
Carly Pugh, like a good teacher who teaches by example, prepared her own blog post using these instructions. She included links to several short videos that helped describe her teaching philosophy. Some were inspirational, like “Disability Means Possibility” and “The Schools Children Deserve”. Others were focused on encouraging creativity, like “Think Different” and “Creativity to the Rescue”. Then there were some that were humorous, like “The Teacher’s Rap” and “Leave Your Mark”. I do think her blog post would have impressed Dr. Miller. This is what he was referring to concerning the future of writing. Including video and audio with text makes for a more interesting “read”. This is the kind of information that people are searching for. I think Carly Pugh did a great job with her assignment.

Teacher and Students Working on an ipad

“The Chipper Series” and “EDM 310 for Dummies” were two creative videos that highlight some of the main points we as students in EDM 310 encounter. “The Chipper Series” was a sarcastic video that demonstrates how serious you have to be to succeed in EDM 310. Poor Chipper could never seem to ever get things right, and Dr. Strange had an immense amount of patience for this poor student. Procrastination, constant excuses, and lack of time management skills are all examples of elements that will only hinder your performance in EDM 310 or life in general. “EDM 310 for Dummies” is another humorous video showing us that there is no easy way out of EDM 310. This magic book does not exist, so students in this class will have to do the research required themselves to figure out the different software and programs needed to be successful in this class. There is no easy fix. You have to be an independent learner and teach yourself sometimes.
I am sure there have been some really great videos made for the EDM 310. I would like to create a video using some of my students using technology in the classroom in response to Mr. Winkle Wakes. I think I could show that times are changing in the classroom, and though the change may not be as drastic as it should be, technology is being used in schools. You could also do a humorous video called “EDM 310 Intervention”. This video could have university students going into public school classrooms and teaching the teachers some of this technology we have learned. We could take away their paper and pencils and force them to use the various forms of technology to teach their students. I think that would be entertaining.

This video begins with some very disturbing information. In a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, our nation’s schools ranked 55th out of a total of 55 industries when rated by level of technology intensiveness. Schools came in last place in this study. The industry of coalmining was ahead of schools when it came to technology. That seems very scary to me. We need to change our way of looking at education.
Education must join the rest of world when it comes to technology. We are not giving our students what they need to succeed in life. Technology has changed the world, and we must become globally connected to order to teach what we need to teach. Technology has created a whole new environment, and it doesn’t help that most schools are scared to let it in. I particularly liked the comment about standardized testing. One educator on the video said that we are preparing our students for testing, but the future jobs that technology has invented do not require the “right answer vending machine approach”. Our students need to be creative thinkers, and all the preparation for testing that our schools are doing is not preparing our students for life after school. It seems that is process is taking too long. I know many people are scared of change, but the time has come. We cannot pretend that this technology does not exist or that it will just go away. It is here to stay and it needs to be embraced. We have to allow it into schools and prepare our students for the future.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Project #10 - Personal Learning Network (PLN or PLE)

    I chose Symbaloo as the progam to create my PLN or Personal Learning Network. I am currently using the top row for all of my personal sites including Gmail, Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook. Entertainment is on the left including movies and music, and all of my educational sites are on the right. There was an option when I started my account with Symbaloo to view an already formed site with different educational sites. It were called EDU. I did get some ideas for my professional sites for my own PLN from there. I also chose sites I use in my classroom regularly such as Scholastic, PBS Teachers, and Discovery Education. I also included Glogster and Google Scholar. I want to incorporate these sites into my lessons very soon. Of course, I am just getting started. My PLN is just a work in progress, but I do think this will be a useful tool having all of these valuable resources complied together in one organized location.

Project 9b (Instructional) Timetoast Timeline

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

      Randy Paush was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He gave an inspiring lecture at his university that he entitled, "My Childhood Dreams, Enabling the Dreams of Others, and Lessons Learned."This university lecture series was called "The Last Lecture," meaning speakers would give a lecture like it was to be their last. Unfortunately  for Mr. Paush, it really was. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and at the time of the lecture was only give three to six months to live. However, Mr. Paush did not want sympathy for his condition. He wanted everyone to understand that he was going to enjoy every day of life that was left to him. He had such a wonderful spirit about him. He had a beautiful way of thinking about his situation, and I think many people admire him for that. 
     Mr. Paush first focused on his childhood dreams. He talked about his happy childhood and loving parents. He showed that his strong will and determination, regardless of the constant "brick walls" put in front of him, had helped him accomplish all of his childhood dreams and then some. From his changing his occupation from professor to reporter in order to experience zero gravity, to winning huge stuffed animals from the fair, to working for Disney as an Imagineer, to learning some incredible things about himself from his coach on the football field, he never faltered in making his dreams a reality and learning from them. He had some great lessons from these experiences that he learned along the way. One in particular that I liked was, "If no one says anything anymore when you are still screwing up, then they have given up on you." Paush says to listen to your critics and take their advice because they obviously care enough to give their opinions. This is a great lesson to pass on to your students. I tell my own students when they are upset because I make them rewrite their essays or make corrections to their work, I constantly get, "Why are you making me do this?". I always tell them, " It's because I care." 
     The second part of Pausch's lecture was about enabling others' childhood dreams. Mr. Paush is obviously a great man who cared for others and truly wants to help people. He gave an example of helping one of his students obtain his dream of working on the Star Wars movies. However, he said he is all about efficiency, so he wanted to help more students than just one at a time. He then pioneered a course at his university called Building Virtual Worlds. It was a project-based course, and it was a huge success. This allowed fifty students a semester to live their dreams. Then he and another professor collaborated to create a two-year professional master's program called Dream Fulfillment Factory. This degree was so successful that they had companies such as EA Sports guaranteeing their graduates jobs. Mr. Paush also worked on numerous virtual reality projects but his "baby" was the Alice programs based on "The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland" which taught students how to write software. He calls "Alice" his legacy, and he feels blessed to be able to see that his legacy will go on. He gives a reference to Moses. He himself has seen the promise land, but he will not be able to go there. However, he is comforted by the fact that "millions of kids will have fun while learning something hard," and that is what he wants everyone to remember about all of his hard work in computer science. Isn't that a wonderful reason to be remembered? If all teachers could teach their students something difficult, and they had fun while doing it, then we could be more successful in education. I think technology is going to help us all make that possible in the very near future.
     The last part of Pausch's lecture was the life lessons he had learned. He gave some invaluable advice about helping others, caring for people, and listening to feedback. He said that life was all about having fun, and that loyalty is a two-way street.  Pausch said to apologize when you make mistakes, and don't complain, just work harder. He also said it was very important to focus on others, and he proceeded to bring in a birthday cake for his wife and lead the crowd in singing to her. That was very emotional. Pausch ended his lecture with an explanation of what he refers to as a "head fake" which is what he calls indirect learning. The first "head fake" was that the lecture he had given was not truly about how to achieve your dreams, but how to live your life. The next "head fake" was that his lecture really wasn't for the audience, but for his own three children. This may have been what he intended, however, I feel that everyone in that lecture hall as well as everyone who has watched this video will take something important away from Mr. Pausch's lecture. I think Mr. Pausch was a wonderful human being, and he will be dearly missed. I think he must have been an excellent teacher and all of his students must have affected by him. We definitely need more Randy Pausch's in the field of education!

Randy Pausch

C4T # 2 Summary Post

     For my last two C4T posts, I had the pleasure of being assigned our very own Dr. Strange's blog, "Dr. John Strange's Strange Thoughts." I found both of his posts very interesting and thought provoking. The first post I commented on was "I'm Scared." This post was about all the people out there that do not think children should be exposed to the internet because of the unknown lurking dangers. Dr. Strange thinks this notion of "being scared" of the internet is simply not justified. He believes that as parents and educators we should not hide the internet from our children, but instead teach them how to use to properly and safely. I thought Dr. Strange made a good point. I used to be one of those concerned parents, but now I realize just how important the internet is to our children's future. If we want our children to have equal standing with the rest of the world, we must teach them to safely navigate the internet because this is their future.
     The second post I commented on was "Understand Sarcasm and Satire or You Might Be Dangerously Irrelevant as an Educator." This post was about a surprisingly large portion of our EDM 310 class, 35%, missing the sarcasm in a post we were assigned to read and comment on by Dr. Scott McLeod entitled, "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please." The post was obviously sarcastic, but some of our fellow EDM 310 students could not recognize the literary elements of satire and sarcasm. Dr. Strange was very concerned by this fact, as well as Dr. McLeod who tweeted him about it. Dr. Strange voiced his concerns but treated it like a lesson. He defined the literary terms "sarcasm" and "satire" and reminded his students of the class motto, "I don't know. Let's find out." I had to agree with Dr. Strange. I was very surprised myself to see the number of students that missed the mark. I told Dr. Strange that I was currently teaching my middle school students those devices, and so I just knew my fellow university students had been exposed to them in either middle school and high school. I liked the way Dr. Strange handled things though. He brought it to their attention and then gave them the information they needed so they could learn from their mistake.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Blog Post #6

"The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler

     "The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler shows us as educators the direction that education is headed. The 21st century classroom will be so different from the classrooms we have had in the past or even today. Drexler shows a high school student who only attends class three days a week and two days online. Instead of sitting in a typical classroom with a textbook and a teacher lecturing , he works on a computer and uses websites, blogs, social networking sites, skype, itunesu, and Google Scholar to gather the information he needs to pretty much teach himself. He learns through a process called Connectiveism. He uses all the these informational sites as well as information that others before him have found, and he compiles all of this together to learn what he needs to know for his class. It is a very interesting concept and I do believe this is the future of education.
     "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" This was the question asked toward the end of the video. I was very pleased to hear the answer. Teachers will still be valuable resources in the 21st century. Who will teach this student how to properly access all of this information? Who will teach this student how to make sure his resources are credible? Who will teach this student to write well and help him when he comes to a dead end? Teachers can do all of these things. Even though education will be very different in the near future, teachers will be necessary. However, it will take lots of hard work from the teachers to learn how to teach in this new educational environment.  I, myself, know that I have lots of work ahead of me in learning all of this new technology, and I feel becoming comfortable with all of it is the key to my future success. Taking EDM 310 has already opened my eyes to the future of education, and I think that is a first step in the right direction.  

wordle image with all different kinds of PLN

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

     What an impressive video! I guess the possibilities are truly limitless teaching with technology. This student uses a PLE in school to work on all of her science assignments. She uses a program called Symbaloo to organize all of her different sites. The top row consists of all her personal sites, and the rest is devoted to her school sites. This student is using skype, blogs, glogsters, Goggle Docs, and this great system of keeping and collecting notes called Evernotes, to enhance her learning of science. She says in her video that she comes to class and looks on the science page to find out what assignments need to be done. She really enjoys the freedom of this personal learning system. She can express herself creatively while still completing all of her science work. What a great way to learn! I was just very impressed by all of this. I plan to use Symbaloo is put my PLN together. I like the idea of separating the personal and professional sites. Of course, my PLN is just a work in progress, but I can definitely takes some hints from this 7th grader. The teacher of this progressive science class is Randy Hollinger. I plan to do some research on him and his 21st century science class. 

C4K Summary Post (covering September comments)

The first blog that I commented on for our C4K assignment was for a student from Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand named Stephanie. She had written a report on her school's "Silly Sports Day." This was a fun day that all the students enjoyed where they played silly outdoor games. She was very proud of her team for winning the sponge race which was a relay where she and her fellow students had to move water from one bucket to another using only a sponge. I told her that she did a good job on writing her report and congratulated her and her team on winning the sponge race. I told her that I was very impressed with her blog and that I was learning how to blog myself.
My second comment was also to Stephanie. She had created a Google Docs presentation about Canada and their rugby team. She was very excited about the Rugby World Cup being played in her country of New Zealand last month, and each child in her class had to do a presentation about a different team that was playing in the Rugby World Cup. I told her she had done an excellent job on her presentation, and that I was also working on a Google Docs presentation for my class. I also wished her favorite rugby team luck in the upcoming game.
My last blog comment for September was to a student at St. Elmo School. Her name was Kayleigh, and she was part of Andy Capps's St. Elmo Explorers Blog. The students in Kayleigh's PACE class had done an assignment about their differences and similarities. They painted pictures of themselves and shared how they felt they were all different and similar on a video on their blog. Kayleigh felt she was similar to others because she was respectful, and she was different from others because she was adorable. I told her that I loved the colors she used in her painting. I also told her that I thought it was great to be respectful and that she was certainly adorable. I told her and all the students at St. Elmo to keep up all the good work.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Project 9a (Individual) Timetoast

Blog Post #5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?
Read Scott McLeod's post

     Just who is Scott McLeod? Dr. Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is one of the nation's leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues, and he founded the nation's only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. McLeod has worked with numerous corporate partners to move schools into the 21st century. He is the co-creator of a popular video series, Did You Know (Shift Happens), and he blogs regularly about technology leadership issues.
     Dr. McLeod's post, "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?", is a warning to all parents, educators, and administrators. He uses a sarcastic approach to challenge educators to use technology in their school's curriculum. McLeod tells educators not to worry about teaching students all the different forms of technology. However, he tells us that he will be teaching his students these things and because of this, they will have a leg up over students who were never exposed to technology. I believe that McLeod is correct. If we want these students to be prepared for our fast-paced, ever-changing technological world, we must use technology and all of its forms in the classroom. Many people perceive technology as harmful for kids, but if we teach them how to use it properly, I feel this kind of teaching can be successful. We as educators must prepare our students for the future and the technology that is our future.

The iSchool Initiative

     Travis Allen is a name I think we will be hearing for a long time when it comes to technology. He is an extremely bright guy with some great ideas. Mr. Allen proposes a program where all students and teachers use an iPhone in the classroom. They will all use downloadable apps created by Apple, and all of their textbooks will also be downloaded as well. The iPhone will replace books, pencils, and paper in the classroom. Allen says the iSchool Initiative will not only will reduce our wasting of precious natural resources, but also financially benefit school systems by saving $600 a student. 
     I personally think this sounds like a great program, but I would like to see some research on the schools who have adopted it. I know students are definitely ready for this kind of learning, but are we as teachers? School systems would need to introduce this program gradually while educating the teachers who are still hesitant to face their fears of technology. I was not born into this world of technology, so I can't imagine a classroom with no books, paper, or pencils. However, I know this is the direction in which we are headed and I'm prepared to do what I need to do to teach with technology. We as educators must embrace the fact that technology is our future, and we must be accepting of the fact that we are teaching a new generation of learners. I would enjoying teaching in a school where the iSchool Initiative was being used. 

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

     What beautiful music made by a musical ensemble of 185 voices from twelve different countries! They recorded Lux Aurumque in a very unusual way. They never met in a recording studio or even in the same room. They all used their own computers and Eric Whitacre, using just over two hundred tracks, put them all together and uploaded them to You Tube. This innovative idea really shows the power of the internet. It reminds us that we are so far from really realizing the power and true potential of this kind of technology. The internet never ceases to amaze me. 

The world connected to the internet

Teaching in the 21st Century

     After watching Kevin Roberts's video, "Teaching in the 21st Century," he asks you, "What does it mean to teach?". It really made me think because I want to be the very best teacher for my students. I want to make sure my lessons are engaging, I want to make a difference in my students' lives, and I want to them to internalize and be able to apply what I have taught them. I hope that all teachers want those same things for their students. The world is so quickly changing with all the technology that has been created, how do we keep up with it all? It can seem so overwhelming, but we must. Luckily, in the end of the video, Roberts does give us a few tips that I think all teachers can use. He advises us to start with some small piece of technology at first, and add that to your next lesson. He tells us to collaborate with others to see what has worked for them, and he tells us not to be afraid to take a risk when using technology in the classroom. I think all of these things can be easily implemented into your lessons. This makes it less intimidating when you think of it in these terms. Every teacher can do this.
    Kevin Roberts asks if teachers are still necessary since information is available to students immediately when using the internet. I think teachers are such valuable resources that we cannot do without them. Yes, students can find the facts and the information they need on the internet, and they can get the answers to their questions with the click of a button. So maybe they can gather information without the teacher, but a teacher helps them  to understand, apply, analyze, and evaluate that information. A teacher helps them to create something of their own using that information.  A perfect example was on the video. Roberts said that students can use Google, but who is teaching them how to use it. Teachers are still important tools in the classroom. Technology will always play a huge role in the modern classroom, but it will never replace the teacher. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog Post #4

Eagles' Nest Radio & Class Blog
Visit the Eagles' Nest Site

     The Eagles' Nest Radio and Class Blog was very impressive. This is a site set up by a third grade class. This class made podcasts of different lessons they have learned. The podcasts were about Ancient Rome, explorers, and sharks. They also did a podcast where they interviewed someone about sharks using Skype. Those are some very talented third graders. I especially enjoyed their background music and sound effects. The ocean noises in the background as they interviewed the different explorers was my favorite. The kids did an excellent job on the radio. They spoke well and gave lots of interesting information. This is a great idea and could be used in all the different grade levels. This allows the parents to hear what their children are learning. I would love to start a page like this at my own school, and maybe I can use some cool sound effects in my own podcast. 

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
Watch this video

     "The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom" is a video that shows teachers the advantages of using podcasting in the classroom. The creator of this video, Joe Dale, reminds us that as teachers we are teaching students who have never lived in a world without technology, so it would make sense to use that same technology to teach our students. Dale also says that students' creativity is allowed to flourish when they are allowed to podcast. One of the ways shown was using podcasts to record teachers' classroom lectures, so students who are absent do not miss out on the instruction. I absolutely love this idea. I always worry about my students who miss my class, and this would solve a lot of problems for the teacher and the student. Another way was to have students interview historical people using podcasts. This would be great for  a history or social studies class. I teach reading, and you could also interview famous authors or famous characters form literature using that same idea. The class could also do book talks and book reports through podcast. There is just so much you could do with podcasting in the classroom. The possibilities are truly endless.

Visit Langwitches

     Langwitches is a blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. This blog seems to be such a valuable resource for teachers trying to integrate technology into the classroom. There were so many great articles about ways to use several different forms of technology, but I paid particular attention to the ones that focused on podcasting. The first one that really grabbed my attention as  a reading teacher was allowing students to use podcasting to record chapter books. The students are involved in all aspects of this projects. They must make a script as well as record the podcast. Then the teacher would upload these podcasts to their class blog and to itunes. What a great idea. So many students are auditory learners. Listening to recordings of books on podcasts could certainly help with comprehension. There was another assignment about the literary aspect of point of view that was perfect for the class I'm currently teaching. Middle school students would read short stories and discuss point of view. Then they would record the story from another character's point of view to see how the story would change. Some students used podcasts and some also made powerpoints. It was a great lesson and there were examples of the students' stories to listen to. What a great way to teach literary skills. My students would really enjoy this. I also learned about Glogs, which are interactive posters that can include different types of media. Students can use images, audio, video, and text to do any type of report. There were some examples of these as well. Needless to say, I became a fan of this page. I will definitely be following Langwitches.  

ipod nano podcast

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Project #5 - Google Presentation

Blog Post #3

"It's Not About the Technology" by Kelly Hines
     Kelly Hines makes a great argument in her post about technology not being the answer to our schools' problems. She feels we must have great teachers who are ready to learn to better themselves. Without good teachers, all the technology in the world is not going to help our schools. I believe Kelly Hines is 100% correct. What she says is so true. As a teacher myself, I see these same problems in our schools. Some teachers get too comfortable and set in their ways. They're not willing to use the resources at their disposal. There is so much to learn as a teacher. I don't think learning ever stops. It's not just the students who learn in schools. I've only been teaching six years, but I feel I'm learning new things all the time. And as teachers we should know, if you teach it and the students didn't get, then we have to teach it in a different way. 
     Technology is definitely useless if there are not good teachers behind it. In one of the comments to Hines's post, someone said that technology may cause teaching to become a more competitive job market, and I believe that to be the case. The student teachers of today need to be well-trained in technology as well as their method classes. I think the universities are doing a better job of that. I hope the students graduating in the future will be ready for the challenge that teaching is, and the teachers who are not willing to change will soon be ready for retirement.

Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
     Karl Fisch uses some strong language to get his point across in this post written back in 2007. He believes very passionately that in this day and age, all teachers should be technology literate. All educators should achieve a certain standard of technology literacy, and if not the principals and the school system should be held accountable. Even universities should loose their right to teach education if they put out graduates that are not literate in the field of technology. It just seems inevitable. The world is becoming more technological every year. All people need to be comfortable with technology. 
     I have to agree with Fisch. He makes a very strong case. How can teachers educate children in the 21st century and not have these skills? I especially enjoyed his analogy of teachers not knowing technology being the same as teachers not being able to read and write thirty years ago. It certainly is a dilemma for our country, and it should not be acceptable. He also says teachers might have been able to get away with it five or ten years ago, but as the years go on, it will be impossible to not be literate in this age of technology. Older teachers will just have to break down and learn it, and the universities will just need to make sure they are offering classes similar to EDM 310, so students will be prepared for it in the classroom. 

Gary Hayes Social Media Count
     I was absolutely amazed at how quickly the numbers grew on Hayes's Social Media Count. I guess I never realized often people join all the social networking sites. The constant activity on sites like Facebook, iTunes, and Google is unbelievable. So many people from all over the world are connected by these sites. The world is definitively becoming smaller thanks to technology.
     As a teacher, we need be able to appreciate the statistics this site shows us. The great importance of these sites in undeniable. Teachers need to understand that value and embrace this technology. Many of our students will be using this technology and we should be not only aware of it, but able to use it. This is our world's future, and we as educators need to prepare our students for that future.

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
     Michael Wesch created a short video with a college level anthropology class that summarizes some of the characteristics of today's students. It shows how students learn currently and how they should be learning. It makes us question ourselves as educators. Are we giving students what they need to go out into the world and be successful? Standing up and writing information on a chalkboard is outdated. Technology is already what the students are using. We as teachers should harness that and turn it into learning. If we want our students to be successful, we must embrace technology and use it to teach our students.
     I think the video made some good points. Education needs to change because today's student has changed. Now teachers need to change the way we think of our students and our classroom. We need to be technologically literate so we can use that technology to engage our students. That is our future as educators. 

teacher's desk with a laptop on it

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summary Post #1 for C4T

For my first two C4T posts, I was assigned teacher Matthew Needleman's blog, "Creating Lifelong Learners." Mr. Needleman's latest post was an invaluable collection of links for teachers of First Day of School Activities. They included all sorts of great resources for teachers to access for new ideas of how to start the first day of school. There were preparation checklists, interest inventories, ice breakers, and games to play on the first day of school. My post included a "Thank you" to Mr. Needleman for sharing these great ideas with other teachers. I also told him that after teaching for six years like I have, it is so nice to have some fresh ideas at your disposal for the first day of school, which is such a critical day. Being well-prepared on your first day of school is a must for all teachers.

Mr. Needleman's next post was about a new version of Apple's movie editing software, Final Cut Pro X. He has been using the older version of this software for nearly ten years and highly recommends it to teachers interested in making movies. Mr. Needleman, despite mixed professional reviews, is excited about the new version of this software. He also shares a list of links to sites where teachers use and discuss the new software. I humbly admitted in my post that I had never used any movie-making software, but was in a highly progressive technology course that was teaching me all kinds of new things, and movie making was in my immediate future.

Here is the link if you would like to visit Matthew Needleman's Blog:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blog Post #2

Did You Know? 3.0
     This You Tube presentation by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod is about the rapidly changing technological advancements that we are currently facing in our world today. I have actually seen this video a few years ago, and we showed it to our middle school students at the school where I teach. The students and teachers that watched it were equally impressed. The statistics and percentages used in this presentation were very thought provoking.  I especially enjoyed the BG (Before Google) reference. My own children sometimes ask, "What did you poor people do before Google?" I think the power of technology can sometimes seem intimidating, but we must be prepared for it. This video sort of touches on the question Dr. Strange asked in the class survey, "Are you technologically literate?". And I feel after watching this video, none of us can afford not to be.   
     I think the thing that truly amazes me is that I was not born into this world of technology, and to see how quickly computers, phones, music, and technology have advanced is unbelievable. Computers, i pods, Google, and Facebook were not household names as they are today. As a society, we must prepare ourselves, especially our young people, to work, play, and live with this technology. If we don't, our country will be left behind the rest of the world.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
     In Matthew Needleman's video, "Mr. Winkle Wakes," Mr. Winkle wakes after one hundred years of sleep and finds the world a different place. He visits a place of business and a hospital and is bewildered by all the technology being used. People being kept alive by machines in hospitals, business people worlds apart talking to each other face to face using computers, people printing pictures and documents immediately with fax machine and copiers are just a few of the changes that confuse him. Then he visits to a school and finds that nothing has changed there over the one hundred years. He feels a sense of relief that things are the same in the schools.
     Mr. Needleman's video definitely makes a good point. Technology must be integrated into every classroom. How else will our young people be prepared for today's job market? I feel that technology may be slow in coming into our schools, but it's definitely there. I think classrooms have changed drastically in the last one hundred years. In the school in which I teach, each classroom has a Promethean Board and teachers are constantly being trained in new ways to use technology to teach our students. All students go to Computer Lab once a week and are required to make power points and movies and use programs such as Lego Robotics as part of their curriculum. We also have a Computer Club that competes in an annual Computer Fair at Faulkner University. Now I do realize that not all schools are as well funded as mine, but I feel even the Mobile Public Schools are working to bring more technology into the classroom. Sometimes I feel the technology is there, but the teachers are not trained to use it. Some teachers are too comfortable in their ways and not willing to change. I believe as younger teachers replace retired teachers, they will bring with them a wealth of knowledge in the field of technology. And then Mr. Winkle will be as confused and bewildered as he was in the hospital and place of business.  

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
     First and foremost, Sir Ken Robinson is absolutely hilarious. He is a wonderful speaker and I would really enjoy hearing more from him. Robinson believes that schools are killing students' creativity. He used specific examples of how school systems are doing this, and I believe he is right. He quoted van Gogh by saying, "All children are born artists." What a wonderful way to look at our students. Children are not scared to be wrong, and they will always take a chance, but schools end this creative expression at an early age. The school systems seem to decide what it important and creative in education. We put math, science, and language before the arts, and some school systems due to financial constraints have completely done away with the arts. 
     Robinson believes that creativity should be made just as important as literacy. He also makes a very good point about how educators should rethink the fundamental principals we are using to educate our children. Our current system of education is based on meeting the needs if industrialization. Our world has changed. How can we successfully prepare these children for adulthood and the work place when we don't even know what the world will be like when they are ready to go out and find a job? Robinson really gives you a lot to think about. I will definitely share the comment that he shared from Jonas Salk. If insects were all destroyed, all humankind would end, but if humans were all destroyed, the world would flourish. Our educational systems are stifling student creativity, and society needs to change their beliefs about education. 

Cecelia Gault Interviews Sir Ken Robinson

     The little Cecelia Gault's of the world would all be better off if the education systems could follow Sir Ken Robinson's advice. He says he believes that everyone is creative in some way and students can also be taught to be more creative. He also said that education could improve if curriculum were balanced between the arts and the sciences, there was a better use of technology in the classroom, and a closer connection between schools and their communities. Another comment that was very interesting to me was that intelligence is so diverse that no one can seem to agree exactly what it is. Intelligence is so many things.
     I believe that school systems are going to have to consider this and make these changes into policy to ensure children are receiving a quality education. As teachers we all know that students learn in different ways, so we have be diverse with our teaching methods. Teachers can also show their students the importance of the arts by bringing them into the classroom even if your particular school system doesn't have the funds to teach them. Teachers should also incorporate technology into the classrooms. There are many things we can do as teachers, but the educational systems of the world will have to change their view of education as well.
Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

     Vicki Davis is an inspiration to all teachers. Her school is in a very rural community, and she has successfully linked them to the rest of the world. She has found a way to effectively teach technology to all of her students without only using a piece of paper and a pencil which she thinks restricts her students' learning styles.  Mrs. Davis has taught her students to be thinkers. They work independently and collaboratively in her computer lab. 
     She blogs regularly at Cool Cat Teacher and has introduced her students to inventive programs like Digiteen and  the Flat Classroom Project. She has even taken her students to a conference in the Middle East to meet other students involved with one of their projects. If anyone thinks that technology is difficult to integrate into the classroom, they should watch this video. I personally like the way Mrs. Davis thinks that it's okay for your students to teach you, and it's okay to learn with your students. Teachers don't need to be afraid of technology. It is such a wonderful resource, and we should take advantage of all it has to offer.