Friday, December 3, 2010

Final PLN Post

This semester, EDM 310 has really helped me improve my PLN. I am more organized, I procrastinate less than normal, and the quality of my work has improved. I thought it would be best to show you my PLN rather than to write about it, so I've created a short YouTube movie. It's less than a minute, but in the movie, I show my PLN and the many different sites I visit. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Final C4K Summary

C4K #8- ShawShaw24

screenshot of ShawShaw24's blog

I commented on a post by ShawShaw24, who is a very intelligent high school senior! Her post was basically about how students should be focused more on learning rather than on what their final grade will be. She also states that teachers should be more concerned with making sure their students know the material instead of constantly finding problems with the work they do. I commented and told ShawShaw24 that I thought this post, as well as other posts on her blog, was excellent. I also told her that I should take a page from her book and focus more on the quality of work I turn in instead of my final grade. I also decided to follow her blog. She has some very interesting thoughts!

C4K #9

Good Things Come Blog Screenshot

For my C4K #9, I commented on a blog by a group of 1st graders. They posted about a garden they had planted at school. They planted strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, corn, and lettuce. They also said they planted marigold flowers to keep the insects away. I told them I thought their garden was amazing and that strawberries were my favorite fruit.

C4K #10-Flat Olivia

Next I commented on a student's Flat Stanley project. I included the link to the Flat Stanley assignment so you could see other examples. The students create paper versions of themselves and send them around the world! I thought that was amazing. I commented on Flat Olivia. She had just left Westford, MA and was currently in Cape Cod. I told her Cape Cod sounded fun and I asked her what were some other places she planned on going.

C4K #11-Helena

Helena's blog banner

My last C4K was for a student named Helena. Helena's post described the setting of the book "By the Great Horn Spoon." Helena said the book is set a ship called the Lady Wilma. Almost everyone aboard the Lady Wilma has gold fever. Helena also said she cannot wait until she finishes the book so she can see what happens. I commented and Helena how far she had gotten with the book and I asked her if she was still enjoying it.

C4T #4 Summary

Screenshot of Paula White's blog logo

My 4th C4T was Mrs. Paula White. The 1st post of her's I commented on was about grouping students together. Mrs. White said that she wanted to group her students according to their achievements and not their abilities. She said that we are not capable of determining a child's abilities, we can only go by what they've done in life. I agree completely with Mrs. White. We do not know what our students can do and grouping them according to what we think they can do only marks them for failure. If we put all the students in one class who we believe are the least likely to succeed, they'll know what we think of them. They will begin to not believe in themselves and eventually give up trying to learn.

Paula White's next post was titled "Planting...or Uncovering Brilliance." Mrs. White and some of her colleagues had a discussion about whether educators plant brilliance or uncover their students' brilliance. I commented on Mrs. White's post and stated that I believe it's a combination of both. Educators uncover their student's brilliance but they also plant the necessary tools their students will need to succeed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blog Post #13

Alex homepage logo

Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

The Alabama Learning Exchange is a project of the Alabama Department of Education. They have designed this site to share the many different types of educational materials and information for parents, students, and educators. The resources included on this site are lesson plans, web links, and interactive activities. These resources are also connected to the AL Courses of Study by the National Board Certified Teachers.

There are 8 different options you can choose from the homepage of the ALEX site:

Courses of Study Link

This link allows you to search the course of study by grade level or keywords. First, you click on the subject. Then you click on the grade level and view the objectives for the course.

Web Links Link

This provides different links for teachers, administrators, and students. These links can be used as resources for lecture materials for teachers or essay materials for students.

Lesson Plans link

This link allows you to create lesson plans using your own personal account or use lesson plans that have already been created and stored in the ALEX database.

Search link

You can use this link to search the entire ALEX database.

Personal Workspace link

You can create your own account, or Personal Workspace. With your own personal workspace, you can store and submit lesson plans and teacher web pages.

Professional Learning link

With this link, you can learn more about ALEX training opportunities and search for grants. You can also find professional development opportunities and teaching/learning tools on this page.

Podcast Treasury Link

You can view podcasts from every subject on this page.

ALEXville Link

This link allows you to communicate with colleagues, stay up to date with ALEX news, and follow ALEX Professional Learning Communities.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Additional Assignment #5

Pencil Integrations logo

Just Teach Them to Solve for X

This post is basically a debate between the "new" and the "old" methods of teaching. One teacher is trying to get the other to stick with the basic teaching methods without using metaphors and pictures to teach the kids math. Math is a subject that very few people like and a subject that even fewer people understand. It's great to teach kids the importance of solving for 'x' and let them demonstrate some examples of how solving for 'x' can be used in real life situations.

Sketchy Portraits: 8th Grade Identity and Pencils

This post shows that he really understands the minds of a 14 year old. The student, William, did have a tiny bit of an attitude. I probably would have been a little angry myself if he would've said those things to me, but it was pretty funny. I often wonder why teachers get so worked up about things. Why was it even necessary for the teacher to even continue to pick with him? Why was she so determined to make William give her the answers she wanted to hear? Anyway, I digress. You can't really be a great teacher without first understanding how your students feel and how they see the world. Like he said, they want to be treated as adults and kids. Regardless of what the overly anxious teacher believes, I believe it's possible to do both at the same time.

He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils

These teachers at this school are out of control! How can you take pleasure in watching a child cry? Then they wonder why he has no respect for them or their class. I was also angered by some of the comments one of the teachers made. He states that the student interrupts him with stupid questions in his gym class. First, even though I sometimes wonder if this statement is true, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If this teacher believes asking questions in gym class is stupid, then perhaps he should find another career. Obviously being an educator is not his calling.

The Medium Shapes the Learning

This post was a little more difficult to decipher. I believe he is saying that people, not just teachers, tend to jump on the technological bandwagon. Whenever something new is produced, we decide we want to use it for our own purposes. We try to mold these new things to fit our life that goes against it's purpose. Not only do we use some new forms of technology against their purpose, we also deter our students away from the purpose of the material. I'm not sure if that was the intended message but that's the best guess I have.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blog Post #12

Watch this video by Sir Ken Robinson and share your opinions about this video. Do you agree/disagree with any of Sir Robinson's opinions?

We all know that I love Sir Ken Robinson's discussions. I think he's great! This video would also be great to watch along with Randy Pausch's Last Lecture because both videos encourage people to follow their dreams. Sir Robinson used Paul McCartney and Elvis as examples. He says that both McCartney and Elvis had teachers who believed that had no musical talent. What if they would have listened to their teachers? What would they have done with their lives without music? How would the music industry be affected without the influences of the Beatles and Elvis?

Also in this video, Sir Ken Robinson briefly discusses how California recently dispersed some of it's funds. California's jails received 3x times more money than their school systems! This always angers me when I think about it. Why was so much money needed for the prison system when it's apparent that America's education system needs all the money it can get? Our teachers are paid less than our basketball players! Some of America's schools are still using Windows ME while others still don't have computers! Yet, they would designate over $9 billion to a prison system? I know the guards and officers and kitchen staff need paychecks too. I also know that money is needed for maintanance on our jails, however, I feel if we are going to give $9 billion to them, there should be no school in America that's falling to pieces. Once when I was in high school, we had to miss a few days of classes because they found signs of asbestos in our school. I wonder if the county jail down the street from our school ever showed signs of asbestos...

This video was amazing! As always, Sir Ken Robinson makes you think and question behaviors and "epidemics" that are getting out of hand. One "epidemic" he discusses is the sudden increase in ADHD students in America. He has also discussed this is another video we've watched this semester called Changing Paradigms. I completely agree with his opinions about ADHD. I will not deny that some children do have a problem with paying attention but prescription drugs is not the solution. I do not believe that doctors are trying to prohibit creativity with these drugs, however, that is the effect they have. A 5 year old is not supposed to be calm and quiet and sit through a 7 hour school day. Why would you even want them to?

As always, Sir Ken Robinson was spectacular. I am currently watching all of his videos on YouTube. I'm even debating on purchasing one of his books.

Additional Assignment #4

Friday, November 12, 2010

Form Results

Textbook Survey Summary

I distributed a form to 20 of my classmates regarding the amount of money they spend on textbooks at South Alabama. I also asked my participants where they purchase their textbooks, the average amount they've spent on books since they've been at South, and if they sell their textbooks back to the bookstore. From this survey, I was able to gather a lot of information on the amount of money the average student spends on books. Since 85% of the participants were either Juniors or Seniors and 89% of them are full time students, I think it is safe to say that this survey gave me even more information about the average amount of money spent on books for full time students who've been at South Alabama for 3+ years.

The majority of the students (95%) who responded to my survey said that they buy their textbooks brand new every semester, spending anywhere from $200-$500. Out of the 20 responses from this survey, 16 students said they purchase their books from the USA Bookstore. 89% of the students who purchase new textbooks sell them back for approximately 26-50% of the price.

This survey also helped me determine which subjects students spend the most and least amount of money for on textbooks. I suspected that science would have been the most expensive book these students have purchased and that the social science courses would be the least expensive. 68% of the participants said that science books were the most expensive. I was correct with guessing the most expensive, however, the survey determined that the social sciences where not the least expensive books. The least expensive books are English books, with History running a close second.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Project #16 Progress Report

We haven't gotten very far with our final project. I have my partners for the project as well as some general ideas. For project #15, we wanted to do an RSAnimate. We eventually agreed to use Dillon's style for that project, so I'm hoping for project #16 we can do an RSAnimate. We've thrown a few ideas around. One of our ideas was to do an RSAnimate about obesity. We also discussed doing a massive "Teach Something" project. I like this idea, but again, nothing has been set in stone.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blog Post #11

I would definitely like to incorporate the use of blogs in my classroom. In this video, one of the students said that he received a comment from his sister and his mother. I like the idea of using the blog as a way for the parents to get involved. My students could use the blog as a sort of journal. My students could write about what we studied in class, what they've learned so far, and share their feelings about my class and the materials. Blogs are also a great way for students to stay in touch with me and each other. They could write on other students' blogs and set up study sessions and if they have any questions about homework assignments, they could always leave a comment for me.

Blogs are also great for peer reviews. I could let my students comment on other students' blogs weekly. They can comment on any mistakes they see in grammar and sentence structure. This type of feedback will hopefully help my students realize their mistakes and work on correcting their grammar and expanding their vocabulary. Students could also let the others know how well they're doing in the class. Of course, there will always be one student who wants to leave negative comments, but to prevent this I will make sure my students understand the rules of blogging. One of Ms. Cassidy's students tells us the number one rule of blogging, "Never say something bad cause you could hurt someone's feelings." I will make sure my students understand and abide by this rule.

It is clear from the video of her students that all of Ms. Cassidy's techniques work. Her students are very intelligent! They know how to use technology in ways I did not learn until my 3rd year of college (in EDM 310). Earlier this week, the question was raised about how to prepare your students for a future you cannot predict. I think Ms. Cassidy is preparing her students for our future. She may not know what it will be like, but her students will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to succeed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Additional Assignment #3

What do you think is the most important thing Sir Ken Robinson says in this presentation?

"How can we educate our children...given that we can't anticipate what the economy will look like?" I thought this question was the most important. Lately, we've been reading a lot of posts and watching a lot of videos about how our education system is failing us. I have disagreed with this statement so many times, and this video has just justified why I do. We have to give education the opportunity to catch up with all the technological advancements that are being made. How can we fault a professor for teaching us the only way they know how? How can we fault our professors' professors for educating their students for a future they cannot predict? The American educational system is trying to catch up with the times. I know it is taking awhile, but we will have to be patient. Or, if patience is not the option for you, try to contribute a few things to the system to speed up the process. Money isn't the only option. Try to contribute some ideas because complaints are not enough. The speakers we've been listening to these last few weeks have had some amazing ideas! Hopefully, our educational system will at least attempt to use some of them.

Is there anything you disagree with in this presentation?

I didn't find anything that I disagreed with in this video. Well, maybe one thing. There was a clip in the video that showed two guys moving a piano down a flight of stairs. One of the guys says, "I wish I would've listened in school." I feel sorry for people who feel this way about their jobs. Look on the bright side. Someone has to move the piano! And we haven't really discovered a way to move them safely without you. So, technically, those of us who own pianos see you as heroes.

How congruent are Sir Ken Robinson's positions with those which you are being taught in the College of Education. In other words, where is there agreement? Where is there disagreement?

It's very hard to point out the similarities and differences between Sir Ken Robinson's positions and the College of Education's. The COE improves daily. It tries to add different approaches to learning new material and the COE also tries to encourage our creativity. EDM 310 is the perfect example of the COE's efforts. We learn so much about technology and it's uses in the classroom just from this one class. So I believe Sir Ken Robinson's positions complement South AL's COE positions. I find very little opposition between the two.

What can you do to address the issues Sir Robinson raises?

One of the issues Sir Robinson raises is about the "epidemic" of ADHD. I completely agree with him about how ridiculous this has gotten. He says that we are making our kids take their pills to listen to boring stuff. Hopefully, when I become a teacher, my material will not be filled with boring material and my monotone voice. I want to get the students involved. I would like to increase their participation in the classroom and hopefully that will keep their attention. I'm not saying that I plan to annihilate Ritalin. I'm claiming that I will increase my students' interest in my lesson plans and hopefully, none of their parents will feel obligated to force them to pay attention.

What do you think of the presentation? If you had to do a presentation with others like this, what role on your team would you like most to play?

I loved this presentation. I also enjoy watching any video with Sir Ken Robinson. He is the best speaker that we have had to watch in EDM 310. If I had to do an RSAnimate presentation, I would like to be the idea generator. I want to come up with the witty remarks to place inside the thought bubbles.

SMART Board Jeopardy- Project #13

This is our SMART Board presentation project. My partner, Trieu Tran, and I decided to do a Jeopardy game using the planets.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teach Someone- Project #14

This is a video I made that shows you how to upload movies from Windows Movie Maker to YouTube and then embed that video to your blog. I decided to do this example because uploading and embedding were things I did not know how to do at the beginning of EDM 310. The sample movie that I created in this movie is located in the post below this one(just in case you wanted to watch it). Enjoy!

My Movie

This is not a real video. For my Teach Something project, I showed how to upload a video from Windows Movie Maker. This is the video I used as my sample video. It's just random pictures from Windows 7 and one of my favorite Fall Out Boy songs.

Blog Post #10

An Open Letter to Educators

I really enjoyed Morgan Bayda's opinions about education. The only thing I didn't really enjoy was Dan Brown's video. It had nothing to do with Dan Brown as a person or any of his opinions. I actually liked him. But for a minute, and I don't know why, I actually thought Dan Brown (one of my favorite authors on this planet) would be the speaker in this video. Again, I don't know why I believed he would make a video about education on YouTube, but I had high hopes.

Even though I enjoyed Morgan Bayda and Dan Brown's opinions, I did not necessarily agree with them. Dan Brown dropped out of school because he felt as if education was prohibiting him from learning. I could never do that. Even though most of my classes at South Alabama lack any attempts to really keep me entertained, I could never say that I don't learn anything. I understand that some classes are boring. I also understand that some people, like Brown and Bayda, feel as if our education system seems to place us in a position where we feel we cannot speak about topics in the class. This, however, is incorrect. Part of learning is making yourself work. No one should have to make it a grade requirement for you to do something. For example, Bayda states that they are scarcely encouraged to speak with other students on a topic. A teacher does not prohibit discussion. Sure, you may not be able to voice your opinion during their lecture, but no one is stopping you from approaching your classmates and setting up study groups. My professors actually encourage it. Teachers do not have to make communication a part of their curriculum, even though it would be fun and nice in a perfect world. But if communication is an essential part of how you learn, don't wait on the teacher to force you to do something. Take action!

Morgan Bayda's attitude towards education is understandable. Education can be boring and you may feel a little trapped. I know that in today's world, we think things should happen immediately with a push of a button. But we must realize that it takes time for things to change. Education has been around for hundreds of years. It'll definitely take time to change it. But from what I've experienced, education is trying to change for the better. And change is easier said than done. We can want our teachers and universities to do all these magnificent things, but the resources may not be available for sporadic changes. We must allow them time to build up their resources and funds to provide us with the tools that we believe can enhance our education. We also should not forget that some of the most brilliant inventors, doctors, and educators had to sit through boring lectures just like us with nothing more than a pencil and paper. Buttons and screens keep our attention, but without the passion to learn, we never will.

Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home

This was a very interesting blog. I like how he referred to tests as drill and kill. That's how they make me feel. I'm definitely going to continue to read some of his posts. The majority of his other writings are just as hilarious as this post.

Two Questions That Can Change Your Life

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

What is my sentence?

It took me a very long time to come up with a decent sentence but I finally have one. "She taught multiple generations of students how to succeed in life." I think this sentence is perfect for me. I not only want to teach materials that students come to school to learn, I also want to teach them how to succeed. All the math in the world will not be enough. I want my students to know that I care about their futures and I want to inspire them. I think my sentence encompasses all of those feelings.

Was I better today than yesterday?

Hopefully, I will always be better than yesterday. My main goal is to be better at everything than yesterday, not just EDM 310. Every week in this class, I try to get ahead in my work. But I often forget about other classes or obligations. Everyday, I will try to be better at every single part of my life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

C4K Summary- Comments 3-7

Christ Church's Earthquake

Ashin's blog

My 1st comment was for a student in Auckland, N.Z. named Ashin. Ashin discussed an earthquake that happened in his town on September 4, 2010. He said it caused much damage to property but no one died. I commented and stated that I was happy to hear that everyone was okay. I also asked Ashin if his school or home was damaged during the hurricane.


My 2nd comment was for harry6. He posted about a fete his school held in order to raise money for a playground. Harry6 said they eventually raised over $20,000. He said his favorite ride was called the jumping castles. I asked harry6 if he rode the bungee trampoline, which is another ride he says they had at the fete.


The next student's blog I commented on was named Alyssa. Alyssa said that sometimes she thinks about how things can be improved. She said that she believes school would improve if they allowed people to have classes outside. Alyssa also said that she knows it may be cheesy, but that's what she thinks about. I commented and told Alyssa that I didn't think the idea was cheesy at all. I told her that it would keep students awake if they didn't have to sit in a stuffy classroom all day.


Next, I commented on LuisA's blog. He wrote a riddle and asked everyone to try to solve it. His riddle was: "I am long. I can be green. I can not blink. What am I?" I asked Luis if he was referring to a snake. I also told Luis that I am terrified of snakes.


Rikimaru's picture

The last student's blog I visited was an 11th grader at Bryant High School named Rikimaru. Rikimaru had recently created the blog when I visited it, so there weren't that many posts. But Rikimaru did have an excellent picture of what appeared to be a set of guns on a ship. Rikimaru asked what we thought the picture should be titled. I commented and told him all of my ideas sound corny. I also asked what were some of the names he was thinking about naming the picture.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Skype Interview-Project #12

First, I would like to apologize for the quality. My internet connection is terrible so the audio kind of cuts in and out and the video may freeze. I am working on it. I may have to do the entire interview over. But this video is an interview with my best friend Timothy Simmons. I chose Tim because, honestly, his life is more interesting than anyone else I know! Tim has gone to many different places (I've been with him to a lot of those places) during his pursuit to stardom.

I know the video is atrocious, but I am currently working on it. I would hate to leave my intellectual trail full of garbage. I hope you enjoy my interview!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

C4T #3 Summary

Let Them Sing It for You

My 3rd teacher was Dianne Krauss. Her website is amazing. The first thing I commented on was her "Let Them Sing It for You" post. Mrs. Krauss finds digital sites and posts them daily to her blog. This one was my favorite! If you type in a sentence, it will sing it back to you using different musical clips. I told Mrs Krauss how much I loved this site and how fun it was. You guys should try it!

Teacher's Love Smart Boards blog

Teachers Love SMART Boards
Next, I commented on another of Mrs. Krauss' discoveries, which ironically was a site I visited during our Blog Post #8 assignment. This site gives tips and tutorials for SMART boards. I commented on her post and thanked her for posting this site. I also told her about our SMART board project that is due and how this site will help me complete it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blog Post #9

What I've Learned This Year by Mr. McClung

At the teacher's desk blog

In this post to "At the Teacher's Desk", Mr. McClung shares a little of what he's learned over his past year as a teacher. One lesson McClung shares that he's learned is about keeping his material student centered. Mr. McClung states that when he first started teaching, he was so focused on presenting students with the information that he did not try to make sure the students had a full understanding. A lot of teachers need to learn this lesson. I understand that teaching is your job and that you have to meet certain requirements, but at the same time you're supposed to make sure that your students can do the material you teach. What difference does it make that you went over the material if no student in your class can perform the tasks?

Another lesson Mr. McClung shared with us is one I wish that one of my current teachers would learn before the end of this semester. You may plan a perfect lecture, but it will never happen! Students get confused. I'm sorry that you want to stick to your syllabus but I was under the impression that it was tentative. There are certain things you have to teach us before we must move on to the next class, but I promise that if you slow down we won't get too far behind.

These are just a few of the lessons Mr. McClung shared in his blog post. However, these are the two that I felt where the most important. I've had loads of teachers in my life, some just starting and some who've been teaching since the invention of paper, and a lot of them really need to have a one-on-one session with Mr. McClung.

Short Movie- Project #11

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream

Richard Miller discusses how technology has changed the writing process and how the Internet has allowed us to communicate globally. Of course, these are changes that we all should have noticed by now, especially my fellow EDM 310 classmates. I'm not sure who Miller intended to aim this video presentation to. I find it very hard to believe that there are people now who are against writing and researching online. I'm sure we still have a few people who prefer the good old Dewey Decimal System, but even they have to admit that the Internet is so much easier. Not only can you find ANY category you are searching for, you can also find numerous sources on one topic. That type of research would take many hours (and even more cups of coffee) in a library.

Writing with multimedia is sort of a necessity now. Every English class I've taken at South that required me to write papers has required to me to write with multimedia. Instead of turning in a 5 page essay, we had to go online and post our papers to the teacher's site. We also had to submit our papers to a source that analyzed it for plagiarism. There was no way to avoid it! And my students will definitely know how to write using multimedia. I intend to teach 12th graders. Hopefully, by the time they've reached my class they'll know how to write with multimedia. If not, then that will have to be an addition to my syllabus. There's no way I can let those students leave my classroom for college without that knowledge.

The Chipper Series

First let me admit that I did not watch this video at the beginning of the semester. Now that this is off my chest, I can continue.
Chipper is hilarious! I'm starting to wonder if a student has tried to use this technique before! For all EDM 310 students out there who can see the future, please report back to the present. I believe you when you say your work is completed in December. I really do. Unfortunately, technology has not caught up with you yet, so Professor Strange needs to see a blog post in October! Nice try Chipper! Someone (not me because I am a horrible actress) should make another video with nothing but ridiculous excuses for not completing their work. I'd love to hear what people can come up with!

P.S.-Please turn in your work on time. It's honestly not easy when you do everything last minute. I've been there. And I still don't understand why we have an entire week to turn in work and I still manage to procrastinate. My goal is to break this habit before December. Until I've managed to stop being a procrastinator, I will use Chipper's excuse for any work not posted by it's due date.

EDM 310 For Dummies

I did watch this video at the beginning of the semester. It taught me to ask questions as soon as possible when there is something I do not understand. I have found myself very frustrated with EDM 310 at times, like with the Timetoast embed code. But all you have to do is ask for assistance and someone will help.
This video has made me think about the many different approaches I can take with our "Teach Something" project that is coming up. I'll probably create a video tutorial about a program I had the most trouble with at the beginning of the semester. Maybe this will help a future EDM 310 student, whether they are newbies or repeat offenders.

Why Smartboards Are A Dumb Initiative and Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards

Both posts describe Smartboards as an "expensive administrative cop-out" and "useless". Michael Staton and Bill Ferriter believe Smartboards are a waste of money because they do not make education easier, more fun, or less time consuming. Staton even states that there are other ways, such as projectors, that can be used in the classroom that are just as effective as Smartboards, but less expensive.
I found a Blog that completely disagrees with Staton and Ferriter, however, his blog does not comment on the expense of the Smartboard. The blog is called Getting SMARTER With Smartboards. It supports the use of Smartboards in classrooms by providing interesting tips and resources for teachers who do enjoy using a Smartboard in their classrooms.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Additional Assignment #2

Obviously I underestimate kids! The kids in these villages were very intelligent. I kind of assumed that kids who are fortunate enough to have access to technology would eventually learn to use different programs on the computer. I also assumed that kids who have never even been introduced to a keyboard, like some of the kids in the speaker's video clips, would need more help to figure out how to use one. But these kids not only figured it out on their own, they did it within a matter of hours! This proves that people who are motivated, even children, can teach themselves. I'm sure these kids did not just click the screen and the music started to download. It took time for them to learn how to use the computer, find a site that allowed them to download, and understand how to move the downloads from one computer to another. That took an extreme amount of patience. If you aren't motivated, you wouldn't sit there for hours attempting one task. You'd give up the minute it got too hard or too confusing.

I'm sure kids could learn many things without technology, but it increases their chance of success. Kids need something that can keep their attention. This is the role that technology plays. Kids, and adults, need to be interested in the material. No one will attempt to teach themselves something they don't even find appealing because they wouldn't be motivated to keep moving if any problems occur.

Questions and problems are also a great way to motivate someone. Again, if someone doesn't care about the topic in the first place, then no amount of technology or questions could capture their attention. But if I'm attempting something new and a problem arises, I don't sleep until the situation is resolved. For example, this past week had to complete a Timetoast. I could not get my embed code to post to blog properly. I spent hours trying to figure out the problem. Eventually, I had to do the entire assignment over so Timetoast would generate a different code. Why did I go through all that trouble over one assignment? 1) Because I don't want to fail this course. 2) I was motivated. If this had been an assignment for another class (I won't say which), I would've turned my computer off and went to bed. But I enjoy some of these assignments and I enjoy learning new things.

I do have a lot of teachers who play a very important role in my education. It is because of their concern that I succeed. It's sad that I am 21 years old and my teachers still remind me to complete certain assignments. But the fact that they even care enough to notice keeps me going. They are my motivation. My teachers are in the position I wish to be in within the next 5 years. I want to motivate my students as well. There is no set way to motivate a person. You have to know what's important to that individual. And when I become a teacher, I plan on doing just that. I will know what my students like and don't like. I will know what they want out of life. And once I have all that information, motivation will follow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture was very interesting. When he talked about his tumors, I felt really sorry for him. But after those push-ups all the pity disappeared. I loved how he kept the audience's attention with his presentation! Some speakers can use a presentation that will put you to sleep by slide #3, but this speaker kept me interested the entire time. He didn't just go through a rehearsed speech and read from a slide. Randy Pausch used his humor and real life stories to make sure you were paying attention.

Randy Pausch shared a lot with us about his childhood dreams. One of the funniest to me was that he wanted to be Captain Kirk. He actually got the chance to meet Shatner (which I thought was awesome). Pausch said that he and his class built a virtual model for Shatner of the ship from Star Trek. The picture he showed looked exactly like the real thing! That must have been an amazing experience for his class.

My favorite part of his lecture was probably a technique he uses to inspire his students. While Pausch is explaining how he achieved his dreams, he also says that there will be brick walls to get in your way. He said that he was never discouraged because brick walls get in your way to test you. They are only put there to stop the people who don't really want to achieve a dream. I think that statement is very true! If we all continue to push through things in life once they get hard, then we'll appreciate the success so much more. There are too many people today who are given things and they don't show any appreciation. Maybe if we all followed Pausch's example, we can achieve all of our dreams like he has achieved all of his dreams.

Another piece of his lecture that I found interesting was the "Hello World" video he showed. At first, it was kind of creepy. Actually, it was creepy all the way through. But it was spectacular! His students must have really hated leaving his classroom. Randy Pausch lets his students use their imagination to literally create worlds. And he isn't afraid to act like he's a kid again.

PLN Progress- Project #10

Before I started taking EDM 310, I never realized that I already had my own Personal Learning Network. Over the semester, EDM 310 has helped me realize my PLN's potential and help me develop ways to improve it. So far, my Personal Learning Network is steadily developing. I keep every website I need to visit in the favorites bar across Internet Explorer and my favorites in Firefox. I constantly check these sites for updates on assignments and the class blog. My PLN has already improved so much! It not only helps me to organize assignments for EDM 310, it also helps with my other classes at South, too. I've saved my professors' pages, as well as their homework pages, in my favorites as well. I can't wait to see what else I learn!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Timetoast Project 9a

C4T #2 Summary

Kathy Cassidy's blog

This time, I had the privilege of viewing Kathy Cassidy's blog. The post I was most interested in was "Room Two and the Forty Design." This post was about Ms. Cassidy redecorating her classroom every year. She states that this year she replaced the desks with tables and she added a coffee table and a sofa. I responded and told Ms. Cassidy that I loved her idea. I also asked if she's noticed a change in her student's behavior because of the change in the environment.

I also commented another teachers post to Ms. Cassidy's blog. She suggested that they add more natural items to their classroom, such as rocks and plants. I told her that I thought this was an excellent idea. I also suggested she allow the children to pick out different rocks and decorations they'd like in the room.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

Connectivism seems great! It teaches organizational skills and it also allows students to "teach" themselves. When I was younger, anytime I asked my mom a question, she would always say "Go look it up." I absolutely hated that response! But everything I've ever looked up and had to find on my own, I've never forgotten it. Connectivism seems to work the exact same way. Let the students find the information they need. The teacher should just be the guide.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

Before I watched this video, I never thought about what my PLE was like. I never even thought I had one! But after seeing the example of this student's PLE, I realized that mines is slightly similar. I have almost every website needed for EDM 310 saved to my favorites. At the beginning of the semester, I familiarized myself with the different websites and their uses. That way, when the time comes to use these sites, I will not be confused. The only major difference I noticed between my PLE and this student's PLE was that she seemed better organized than I am. I don't check the websites daily. I check them often though. I'm slightly jealous of all the students we've been watching lately. They're so much more prepared than I was at their age (and at my current age as well).

The Machine Is Changing Us

This was the exact message I sent my friend about this video: "OMG! He's out of his mind! A 33 minute video?!" Again, I judged before I even watched the video. Apparently, I have not learned as much as I've thought. I apologize for my behavior.

The speaker in this video was amazing! He was entertaining and very informative. He also caused me to think about a lot of the changes that have recently been made in my life because of technology. "We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." This quote describes us so well! We create a machine as a convenience to some and eventually, we make it a necessity for all to learn. We have these brilliant ideas and once we've worked out all the kinks, they become our lives. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's just an eye opener.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Summary Post for C4K #1

Noel Elementary's class blog

I commented on an 8th grade students blog named Ariana. Ariana is from Mexico and she moved to the US when she was 10 with her family. Ariana says that she enjoys sports, art, and science and she hopes that one day she will get a good job. I asked Ariana what type of job did she want. I also suggested that she become a science teacher since she mentioned it was her favorite subject.

Ariana also wrote a manifesto. She says that she wants to become a better learner and be more responsible and respectful. I told Ariana that everyone needs to have the same manifesto and that becoming a better student will help her succeed.

Blog Post #5

                               Eagle Nest Radio and Class Blog

Eagles' Nest Radio Blog

I thought these kids were adorable! I feel kind of bad knowing that a 3rd grader can do a podcast and I can't. I loved the sound effects too! I thought all of their posts were very informative and creative. Maybe my group should incorporate some sound effects in the background as well....


I think it's wonderful that the younger students are getting so much technological knowledge so young. You never know who these kids will grow up to be and you never know that what you're teaching could change their lives. Even though these are 6 years and 9 years, they still can go down the wrong path in life. To introduce them to things that will hold their attention and make them want to come to school is amazing.

I liked how this blogger said when she tells the parents what she'll be teaching, they try to switch the conversation over. Some parents even get upset! They don't want their kids around "the stuff" and they don't want them talking to people half way around the world. Why? Because thy don't understand. If the parents could see the students' work, like these podcasts, maybe it would change their minds. Hopefully, this teacher will include some examples in her next parent-teacher conference.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

The speaker brought some very interesting points to my attention. Podcasting is a great way to keep students up to date if they have to be out sick for extended periods of time. They can get their missed assignments and lectures. They can also see their classmates, if the teacher decides to let the students create a podcast for the one who is sick. That would be a fun assignment!

I'm not sure if I would consider myself a "millenial". I think that category should be changed to people born after 1995 or 2000. I was born in 1989 and half of the stuff we do in EDM 310 is brand new for me. I haven't spent the majority of my life around technology and neither has my brother, who was born in 1992. But I do have family members born in 2000 who could pass this class with ease.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Post #4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff by Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod is a professor in Education Administration at Iowa State University and the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education that focuses on technology needs of school administrators. I think Dr. McLeod's post was great. He made excellent points about the good and bad sides of technology. This was similar to the discussion between me and TeacherNZ from our Comments for Teachers assignment.

I agree with both McLeod and TeacherNZ. Our children should be introduced to technology at a young age. When they become teens and adults, they'll have assignments and projects that have to be completed online. There is no way around this, so why not prepare them yourself? To also better prepare them, we should teach our own kids the good and bad sides of technology and some general rules for using the internet. If we let the 1st time they use the internet be at a friend's sleepover party, of course they'll want to do things they shouldn't!  We should instill responsibility at young age (and the occasional Parent Blocker is a nice aid).

The iSchool Initiative

Wow! I learn something new about the iPhone everyday! I had no idea it could do all the things he showed in the video! Even though I still don't want one, it's a very nice phone.

I am absolutely against this student's suggestions! If I had to go to high school for four years, every single student after me should be forced to go as well! All those hours and hours of my life wasted in front of a book! I deserve justice! But seriously, this student must really hate going to school. He's mapped out an entire lesson plan. The idea is great, if you can learn that way. It's nice to have an application that has all the equations you need, but some people need a little more assistance than that.

I like how everyone has come up with these marvelous ways to include technology into the curriculum. It's wonderful, saves time and paper, and is very convenient. I like this student's idea. It has the perfect mixture of teachers and technology. The iPhone applications he showed are a great way to keep track of assignments and events. It also seems to be a great way to keep in touch with classmates and the teachers.

The Lost Generation

At first, I thought the speaker was a little dark. She really had no hope for the future. But whoever wrote this is a genius! To be able to read the exact same thing backwards and get the exact opposite message is pure genius!

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Okay. How did he get the voices to match perfectly? I have trouble doing that. This was one of the most creative things I've seen in a long time. He must have a lot of patience to compose an entire piece with hundreds of different voices. I would like to know how long it took him to compose this. If I figure it out, I'll post it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

Pitcairn Islands Map
I think Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha are excellent! I wish they would've been around for all the reports I had to do in high school and middle school. They both provide you with so much information without having to go to multiple sources. Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha will save so many people so much time. I'd never heard of either of them, but they sure will make reference pages obsolete.

I kind of thought the YouTube video "Did You Know" was just an exaggeration. I believed that India and China were much larger, but to actually see the numbers through Google Squared was all the proof I need. Of course I needed to see numbers (even if they were made up) to believe. I'm all about statistics.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blog Post #3

A Vision of Students Today

This video pretty much summed up my entire college experience, with a few exceptions. For example, the lady who says she reads 49% of her required readings and only 26% of it is relevant to her life. I may read 25% of my required reading, and only about 12% is relevant to my life. Most of the other students are in situations similar to mines. Someone said when they graduate, they'll be $20,000 in debt. I'll be about $40,000 in debt.

I think the video gave a very accurate description of your average college student. Most students probably work 15 hours or more per week, plus 15 hours of class which means about 45 hours of studying, plus 7 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, the remaining 86 hours are not spent productively.

My week may differ slightly in appearance. I work 40 hours, plus 15 hours of class, about 7 hours of sleep, 14 hours watching television (I have to get my weekly dose of Wipeout and Supernatural reruns), and about 50+ hours of studying. And sometimes (bless my heart), I attempt to have a social life. Every time I do, I get behind in one class!

It's Not About the Technology by Kelly Hines

Where have all these people been hiding?! Kelly Hines (and every other creator, author, etc. we've read/watched) has some amazing points. Why have I never seen any of these?! Maybe if I actually used my computer for something other than watching television and attempts at unveiling conspiracies, I could find posts like these.

I completely agree with Kelly Hines about how teaching and learning are not the same. Some teachers could actually care less whether you understood the material or not. They follow the syllabus and do only what they are paid to do, or so they think. I've even had teachers (At South AL) who will humiliate you in front of everyone for asking a simple question. Needless to say, I never raised my hand.

Kelly Hines also made another very interesting point. Technology is not the answer. For example, in my high school, we had computers in every classroom. They were expensive looking computers too. Did we receive a better education than other high schools because of those computers. NO! In fact, we weren't even allowed to use them! Which always made me question, "Why are they even in here?" If the schools would've stopped spending money on technology the teachers wouldn't/couldn't use, then maybe they could have provided us with some teachers who actually made sense when they talked!

Is It okay to Be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

I thought this post was interesting. It seems this has been a hot topic for awhile now. Again, I was watching Wipeout when this discussion started so I wouldn't know anything other than what I've recently watched. I like the idea behind Mr. Fisch's standards. However, I'm not sure that I completely agree.

I do agree that educators (and everyone else) should have a basic understanding of technology. It's a part of life. Get use to it. You can't go anywhere today and deal with an actual person. Even though I believe teachers need to know the basics, I don't believe they should "have their license questioned." At the time they received their degrees, there may not have been the different systems that we have now. To punish them for something they had no control over, without giving them the opportunity to learn, would be harsh and an injustice (dramatic, I know). First, these educators are trying to make a living. They have families to feed just like everyone else. They chose education because they wanted to help students. They wanted to educate. Why are we trying to get them fired? I could see if they were just handing out grades and not teaching. I know there is an exception to the rule, but the majority of "illiterate" teachers are much older. So they've had 25-30 years of TEACHING experience. They know the students. They know the changes we go through at certain ages, they've heard all the excuses, they've dealt with the most ridiculous parents. They have experience. They TEACH to a point where we can understand. I've had numerous of professors who were all about technology, and I never learned a thing! One of those classes was a Computer Science class at South! Again, I know there is an exception to every rule. All teachers who use technology are not the same. You learn in some classes, you don't in others. Technology will not solve the problem! You can throw all the technology in one school that you'd like, and at the end of the day, some students still won't get it! Computers have no heart! When you take too long to answer, the program kicks you out. When you answer a question incorrectly, the computer gives you the answer or moves to the next question. It does not know that it should stop and explain. Plus, those computer voices suck! They're creepy!

Teaching is not about showing me how to use an iPhone. First, I couldn't afford an iPhone if I saved 5 paychecks. Second, I'm probably the only person in America who doesn't want one. Third, I come to class to learn Calculus, not to spend 3 hours trying to get everyone's computer/phone/iPad to function properly or figure out why everyone's graph looks different. It's great that some classes use so much technology. It's interesting and it keeps your attention. But when I become an educator, I honestly want to be able to explain calculus and statistics to my students and see the look of understanding cross their faces. I don't want to just show them images of graphs. Half the experience comes from drawing the graph (wow I'm a nerd!). To question someone's ability to teach because of their lack of technological knowledge shouldn't be the point we focus on. The question should be redirected. If the teacher constantly has students who can not understand the material because of his or her lack of teaching, or if the teacher doesn't know how to teach, or if the teacher doesn't care enough about the students to help each individual, why were they given a license in the first place?

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

That's a lot of numbers. Are people sitting in front of a computer ALL day? We really need to get out more. The amount of text messages and emails sent in the 3 minutes I looked at the numbers were increasing so quickly, I don't even believe the computer was able to keep up. I wonder how he's keeping track of all this. How does his system know 112 iPads were sold or 57 hours of YouTube videos were uploaded in the 3 minutes I stared at the screen?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

C4T #1

A screenshot of TeacherNz's blog

TeacherNZ replied to a comment concerning Personal Learning Environments (PLE).The discussion is mainly concerning what age should students begin to construct their own PLE and whether or not institutions should restrict web access or have as much control over the creation of a child's PLE. Many of the responses seem to agree that the younger the kids are the better. One person even suggested starting as early as 5 years old. Another person suggests a method using a lego analogy.

I responded by commenting on whether or not children should have unrestricted web access. I do not agree that it should be unrestricted, but I do like the idea of putting more responsibility on the child. I also commented on the lego analogy used by Emma. This analogy uses lego blocks to build a house. The 1st step would be to give kids basic parts of the house, like the windows and doors. And as the child becomes older, the next steps allow them to alter the different parts of the house. I commented that this strategy allows children to use examples of others' PLE's and construct their own. It also allows them to change it's structure at any point. I agreed that it was the perfect way to start kids creating their PLE's at a younger age. TeacherNZ responded to my comments stating that it would be best to teach kids more responsibility at a younger age.

The next topic brought up in the comments was whether or not kids would become bored with technology. I replied that kids will never become bored with technology. It's constantly changing and by the time you learn how to do one thing, version 2.0 comes around and makes your knowledge of 1.0 obsolete.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blog Post #2

Did You Know? 3.0 by Karl Fisch

I was not expecting this video to be as interesting as it was! Some of the facts in the video were pretty amazing. I know that the United States is not the largest country, but to see how small our population is here compared to China and India was mind blowing.

The video also put some things into perspective for me. It makes me a little nervous that technology is taking over so quickly. I never thought about how much a computer would "know" in 20 years. It's always just been my way to watch videos or type a paper. I never really thought about all the knowledge that it possesses, let alone the knowledge one will possess in 2049!

Mr. Winkle Wakes by Mathew Needleman

This video was hilarious! I laughed the whole way through. Classic Rip Van Winkle! I think Mr. Winkle is a little dramatic. He should probably go back to sleep. And how did he get a job so fast in an office? It took me two months! Mr. Winkle should have been more appreciate of that job. And why was a 100+ year old man allowed to walk freely in an elementary school? Someone call the cops! But honestly, the video was great.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

When I first saw this video I thought, "Wow. 19 minutes..." Then I heard the speakers accent and I thought, "I'm going to be so confused." I thought he would get philosophical and I'd have to go to to keep up with him. But of course, I was absolutely incorrect. This video has taught me to never judge a person, topic, or a class (like EDM 310) before you get an understanding of what is actually going on. I thought EDM 310 was going to be posting blogs and watching boring videos about how to post to blogs. But so far, Professor John Strange, you have proven me wrong. I've enjoyed all of the videos we've watched this week. The speakers and creators get their points across in a very entertaining way. But it's not all about comedy. They actually make you think about the way educators are today. They've also made me think about the fact that I hope to never cause such an injustice to my students. Kudos, Strange. Kudos.

But on to the actual video. I agreed with the speaker at times. I do believe that our education system hinders a child's creativity. When children first begin kindergarten, they have the option of showing their creativity; however, the higher up we go, the more that option dwindles. And some teachers do offer the opportunity to write your own poems or stories and then share them with the class. But every child is not a poet. Some children express themselves through music, or as our speaker suggests, through dance. So when an educator decides that he or she wants to allow for a moment of "creativity", why limit which method can be used?

Even though I agree that students should be able to express their creativity, I also agree that they should have a structured education system. Believe it or not, some students enjoy math and reading. I was one of those students. I was very shy in school and I hated reading my poetry aloud or playing my violin in front of the class. I liked being in a math class learning how to do different equations. I was a nerd. And notice, I said WAS. I still am a nerd, however, I grew to the point where I liked expressing myself. But by the time I was mature enough to step out of my shell to do so, the teachers were cramming me back into it! Creativity should not be pushed aside or "forced" out of us. But math is also very important, as well as biology and economics. And these are things we HAVE to learn. I believe there should be a mixture. Allow students to sign up for the classes they feel they can express themselves in, but also keep core classes. The speaker states that dance is just as important math. I agree that some people feel that way. It may not be dance, but someone may believe that art is more important than anatomy. I believe that creativity is just as important as a structured learning system, however, I would rather have a doctor with a strong medical background than one who starred in "Hairspray." I believe we should allow students to pick what they want to take to express themselves, but do not make the Arts and Humanities more important than the Sciences. They should at least be equal.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

The way Vicki Davis uses technology in her classroom is amazing! It keeps her students' attention and it seems to be more effective than traditional learning. If a student has to sit in front of a book all day for 5 days a week, of course they're going to go to sleep! It's boring! But to actually put kids in front of a computer is amazing. It's especially great for students today who are use to technology. Sitting in front of a book all day may have been okay for Theodore Cleaver (Leave It to Beaver), but this is 2010! While you're sitting in front of the class lecturing about Hamlet, students are hiding their cell phones under the desk, texting a friend. Why not put that technology and the students' knowledge of technology to use?