Sunday, December 2, 2012

Final Report on PLN

Final Report on my PLN
     Honestly, trying to figure out how to customize a PLN for me was little difficult. I tried using a few sites that Dr. Strange suggested, but nothing really worked for me. That is, until I figured out that my computer was keeping track of what websites I visited and how often I was on those sites. I then figured out how to create a PLN that works for me. On Safari, you can choose twelve sites to have listed at all times. For me, this was the perfect PLN. I have the websites I use the most in one convenient location. Any other websites that I find, I simply Bookmark and place into the appropriate folders that I have already set up. On my PLN, I have the following sites as my main pages:

piggy race
  1. Blogger
  2. Google
  3. USA Online
  4. Pinterest
  5. Facebook
  6. Twitter
  7. Delicious
  8. Skype
  9. YouTube
  10. Gary's Social Media Count
  11. The New York Times
  12. South Alabama
My PLN helps me stay organized and help me get to these websites quickly. I'll admit that I didn't understand how beneficial a PLN could be at first, but now I really appreciate having it set up. I am very excited to keep working on and improving my PLN. I know that my PLN will be extremely beneficial to me as a student and future teacher!

Comments for Teacher in November

Mary Worrell

Comment 3.1

     The first post I commented on Mary Worrell's blog was titled, Slippery Slopes. Worrell was discussing the article, MPAA: you can infringe copyright just by embedding a video. After summarizing what the article reports, Worrell asks the questions, "How often do you embed videos on your Facebook profile? On your blogs? On your Twitter feed? How often do your students do it?" These questions made me think how often I see embedded material in every day life. I know I have seen at least ten videos on Facebook that were posted within twenty-four hours. Also, every time I go to any of my classmates' blogs, I see videos from video hosting tools. In Worrell's post, she states that the ease of sharing the videos is what makes these tools so useful and convenient for users. I agree with Worrell because it is incredibly easy for users to embed videos, which is beneficial to human kind in my opinion. Video hosting tools help make sharing information simple, which helps humans become life long learners. Therefore, it is a cause for concern that the Internet is constantly being challenged, particularly with embedded information. As Worrell states, "...a decision to view embedded content in this way could have far more reaching consequences than intended." By considering embedded content as online piracy, we would be limiting our information and knowledge. We would be essentially holding ourselves back from reaching our full potential. 

Comment 3.2

     The second post I commented on was titled, The Importance of Teaching Brainstorming. I was interested to see a teacher's perspective on brainstorming. Sure, I remember my elementary teachers' explaining how to brainstorm, but that was the end of it. When it came time to assign a paper, I was always told what to write about. I never was pushed to come up with my own topics until college. After reading Worrell's post, I was excited that Worrell understands the importance of assign papers to her students that they have to brainstorm and come up with a topic without her assistance. I think that it is crucial for students to learn how to think on their own without being spoon-fed by a teacher. I also believe that students tend to put more effort into papers that they are able to have some control over. If the topic is one that the student is interested in, they will research the topic more in depth and plan out the paper ahead of time. I commented on Worrell's post that the best papers I have written were on topics that I was allowed to choose, and I thanked her for sharing the importance of brainstorming with other bloggers.

Blog Post #13

Comments for Kids in November

Comment 3.1

In my first assigned C4K for the month of November a young girl named Seanan had written a reflection of the month of October on her experiences in the classroom.  She shared several stories about her projects and assignments given in class, as well as some of the experiments that the class had partook in during the month.  Seanan told a story about Monster Bash, which is a festival during the Halloween week that many of the students look forward to all year.  At the Bash they had a chocolate fountain, games, and had a costume parade that students were judged in (that was Seanan's favorite part of the Monster Bash).  During English class Seanan was assigned to write a scary story that related to Halloween.  Lastly, she shared that a project they completed during October was of historical theme.  Seanan chose to complete a project about the thirteen colonies.  My comments on Seanan's blog post were brief.  I told her how much I enjoyed reading her blog, and the fact that she was using her blog to educate others all over the world is very important.  I also said that I was jealous of her class' ability to use a blog in the first place and to keep listening to Mr. Spicer; from a teacher like him she can learn a great deal.

13 colonies

“One hundred percent of the shots you don’t take don’t go in”.
                 Wayne Gretzky

Comment 3.2

The last comment for the month came from Kayla Waite.  Kayla is a tenth grade student who is a part of Jamie Lynn Martin's English class at Baldwin County High School.  Ms. Martin is somewhat of a local celebrity her in EDM310.  Kayla's post was a reflection on a reading she was assigned, and created a post about a feeling that could be related with to a character in the assigned work.  Alienation was the topic of her post.  Throughout the post Kayla used some of her own life experiences to draw a picture of the struggle the protagonist was enduring.  I left Kayla comments on her blog post pertaining to the feeling of alienation.  She seemed innately in-touch with the feelings that many adolescent teens endure throughout their high school career.  I gave her substantive and reliable advice that said to keep your head up and keep looking forward to college.  

 These are my last C4K comments from EDM 310. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading student blogs from all over the world. I have seen how much potential students do have and how creative students can be. I never thought that students would be able to blog as well as they do, or would be able to create videos that they were able to post online. I will incorporate blogging in my classroom when I begin teaching, because it does seem like the students enjoy being able to blog and receive feedback from visitors around the globe. I have learned that blogging will help my students become lifelong learners and networked students, both of which will help them become successful adults in the future. Thank you to Dr. Strange for assigning the students of EDM 310 C4K each week, and thank you to all the teachers who have encouraged their students to post blogs. To all the student bloggers that I have read, great work and keep blogging!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Progress on Final Project

My team and I have been working vigorously for about 2 weeks now assembling the pieces of our final project.  We have met in and out of the classroom through the past week to ensure a clean cut final project.  Our idea is to come to the present time as a class (like EDM310) about the current technology use and how they were probably just as confused about things as the student beginning EDM310.  We will try to provide some insight about the class we are attending, and how to succeed.  I am excited about the finished product.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Post #12

Creating a Path of Your Own


1. Create a Path account from any mobile device. This must be done from an Android or Apple mobile device; both have applications and capability to run the program.
2. Include links to your blog,twitter, and email.
3. Use your populated accounts from your social media networks to follow and contribute to professional and recreational paths.
4. Remember to keep it professional!
5. Be sure to include Path to your PLN.

This assignment is to ensure that students are incorporating their ideas into the mobile media culture of today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blog Post #11

Farther.... Nay, Much Farther Than Any Eye Can See

For over 10 years now Mrs. Kathy Cassidy has been using networking media as a tool in her First Grade classroom.  At that time the only facet she was utilizing was her class blog.  This manifestation grew as the time progressed as she even had to replace her original blog with a blog usable today!  This blog allows Mrs. Cassidy to share the work of her students with the parents, her peers, and even the rest of the world.  For instance, a post from three weeks ago includes a Skype conversation her class had with another class fro B.C. about the custom of Halloween (that sounds like fun).  She also posts videos, projects, readings, and almost anything they do in the classroom to the blog and  a Youtube channel .  In the video, Little Kids.. Big Potential, Kathy uses the classroom to describe those activities they would complete throughout Grade one.  She embraces technology in the classroom by not making students "power down" when they arrive int he classroom, as she states in her interview with Dr. John Strange.  Embraced by her students, their parents, and the administration she has developed a myriad of technological learning experiences for her students.    Giving these little kids the potential to go farther and do more than other children in the traditional classroom.

Cassidy's class
                                                                                                     Picture courtesy of Cassidy's blog

Friday, November 9, 2012

Comments for Teachers in October

     Educational Abolitionist

For the month of October I was assigned Mr. Joe Bower's blog entitled for the love of learning.  There you will find an abundance of quips yet highly academic for-thoughts on the education plateau of the 21st century.  This is where I found the letter from Bill Ayers to President Obama after he won the election urging him to put education on his "reflective agenda".  A hearty feel of Americanism seeps from the lines of text Bower writes himself.  On the first lines you see under his picture he states:

I am Joe Bower and I teach in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. I wish to challenge 'traditional' 
schooling while exploring more progressive forms of education. I intend on using 
this blog to uproot some of the most deeply rooted myths that continue to distract people from 
a love for learning. 
And I am going to have fun doing it!

             Comment 2.1


This was the first post I was assigned from Bower's blog.  He titled the post What won't we do for High Scores?.  At the front of the post he placed the cartoon you see above pointing out the crude and unusual lengths teachers and schools are going to for higher grades on standardized tests.  The point is that teachers are placed between this "rock and a hard place".  They must choose to educate their classroom in their own personal way in fear of job loss because of failure on a state test.  Bower lays down 3 simple facts:

"Put enough pressure on teachers to get high scores...

Convince parents that high test scores are the ultimate achievement...

Push children to grade grub their way to high scores..."

Where will I place my focus as I shape young minds?  As we scream to abolish standardized tests and pray that our educational system reverts to it's former glory, Bower challenges these educators to realize the path we are going down when making decisions.  As an aspiring educator I feel as though, however cliche it may seem, I will be that iconoclastic educator that defies the administration.  The teacher that cares nothing about the rules or regulations, but i keep my job.... How outlandish it may seem; I hope I am some form of that.  
In my comments on Mr. Bower's post I reflected on what was stated above but in a slightly more reserved, academic demeanor.  I talked about the reality of educational financialization along with the decay of public educational policy.  I also included an interesting piece from the Huffington Post that spoke about the torture of standardized testing and the asphyxiating affect it is having on the student's ability to learn.   

             Comment 2.2

After the election.  I wasn't surprised to be reading a blog post about the world's most tuned in event in history.  According to Network World Obama's post-tweet was the most viewed tweet in history.  So, again I was not surprised to be reading some type of reflection or biased remark on how the election turned out.  I was again surprised to read the second post I was assigned from Bower.  A funny caption was included that sums up the feelings of many American educators, which was tagged at the center of his post.  As if it were the heartbeat of this body of text. 

The post spoke of the mandates that Obama's policies lack, but the core of educational conservatives (even Fox News) supported Obama as the lesser of two evils.  My favorite quote from the post was "Mitt Romney could have been trusted to carry on and intensify Obama's current education policies, but only Obama can be trusted to be courageous enough to rethink his first term of cancerous education policies."  Cancerous.  Bower's last words spoke of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his extraordinary will to change what was broken.

I read the comments left by other viewers and all were on another level of political knowledge than I was currently at.  Set back by some of these thought my comments on the post were substantive and bifurcated.  While I believe myself to be a Republican it is hard to argue with the facts at hand.  The country, no matter the President, must turn it's focus to a set of core principles.  I spoke of the quandary I have been in since reading all of the blogs, tweets, articles, videos, etc. about the commercialization of a six billion dollar industry, also known as education.  Titans of finance who seek to privatize deals with schools to provide a higher education to the acolytes.   

A letter to the President. From Bill Ayers.

This was written by Bill Ayers is an American elementary education theorist and a retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This open letter first appeared here.

by Bill Ayers

Dear President Obama: Congratulations!

I’m sure this is a moment you want to savor, a time to take a deep breath, get some rest, hydrate, regain your balance, and take a long walk in the sunshine. It might be as well a good time to reflect, rethink, recharge, and perhaps reignite. I sincerely hope that it is, and I urge you to put education on your reflective agenda.

The landscape of “educational reform” is currently littered with rubble and ruin and wreckage on all sides. Sadly, your administration has contributed significantly to the mounting catastrophe. You’re not alone: The toxic materials have been assembled as a bipartisan endeavor over many years, and the efforts of the last several administrations are now organized into a coherent push mobilized and led by a merry band of billionaires including Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Sam Walton, and Eli Broad.

Whether inept or clueless or malevolent—who’s to say?—these titans have worked relentlessly to take up all the available space, preaching, persuading, promoting, and, when all else fails, spreading around massive amounts of cash to promote their particular brand of school change as common sense. You and Secretary Arne Duncan—endorsed in your efforts by Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, and a host of reactionary politicians and pundits—now bear a major responsibility for that agenda.

The three most trumpeted and simultaneously most destructive aspects of the united “school reform” agenda are these: turning over public assets and spaces to private management; dismantling and opposing any independent, collective voice of teachers; and reducing education to a single narrow metric that claims to recognize an educated person through a test score. While there’s absolutely no substantive proof that this approach improves schooling for children, it chugs along unfazed—fact-free, faith-based reform at its core, resting firmly on rank ideology rather than any evidence whatsoever.

The three pillars of this agenda are nested in a seductive but wholly inaccurate metaphor: Education is a commodity like any other—a car or a refrigerator, a box of bolts or a screwdriver—that is bought and sold in the marketplace. Within this controlling metaphor the schoolhouse is assumed to be a business run by a CEO, with teachers as workers and students as the raw material bumping along the assembly line while information is incrementally stuffed into their little up-turned heads.

It’s rather easy to begin to think that “downsizing” the least productive units, “outsourcing” and “privatizing” a space that was once public, is a natural event. Teaching toward a simple standardized measure and relentlessly applying state-administered (but privately developed and quite profitable) tests to determine the “outcomes” (winners and losers) becomes a rational proxy for learning; “zero tolerance” for student misbehavior turns out to be a stand-in for child development or justice; and a range of sanctions on students, teachers, and schools—but never on lawmakers, foundations, corporations, or high officials (they call it “accountability")—is logical and level-headed.

I urge you to resist these policies and reject the dominant metaphor as wrong in the sense of inaccurate as well as wrong in the sense of immoral. 

Education is a fundamental human right, not a product. In a free society education is based on a common faith in the incalculable value of every human being; it’s constructed on the principle that the fullest development of all is the condition for the full development of each, and, conversely, that the fullest development of each is the condition for the full development of all. Further, while schooling in every totalitarian society on earth foregrounds obedience and conformity, education in a democracy emphasizes initiative, courage, imagination, and entrepreneurship in order to encourage students to develop minds of their own. 

When the aim of education and the sole measure of success is competitive, learning becomes exclusively selfish, and there is no obvious social motive to pursue it. People are turned against one another as every difference becomes a potential deficit. Getting ahead is the primary goal in such places, and mutual assistance, which can be so natural in other human affairs, is severely restricted or banned. It’s no wonder that cheating scandals are rampant in our country and fraudulent claims are commonplace.

Race to the Top is but one example of incentivizing bad behavior and backward ideas about education as the Secretary of Education begins to look and act like a program officer for some charity rather than the leading educator for all children: It’s one state against another, this school against that one, and my second grade in fierce competition with the second grade across the hall.

You have opposed privatizing social security, pointing out the terrible risks the market would impose on seniors if the voucher plan were ever adopted. And yet you’ve supported—in effect—putting the most endangered young people at risk through a similar scheme. We need to expand, deepen, and fortify the public space, especially for the most vulnerable, not turn it over to private managers. The current gold rush of for-profit colleges gobbling up student loans is but one cautionary tale.

You’ve said that you defend working people and their right to organize and yet you have publicly and noisily maligned teachers and their unions on several occasions. You need to consider that good working conditions are good teaching conditions, and that good teaching conditions are good learning conditions. We can’t have the best learning conditions if teachers are forced away from the table, or if the teaching corps is reduced to a team of short-termers and school tourists.

You have declared your support for a deep and rich curriculum for all students regardless of circumstance or background, and yet your policies rely on a relentless regimen of standardized testing, and test scores as the sole measure of progress.

You should certainly pause and reconsider. What’s done is done, but you can demonstrate wisdom and true leadership if you pull back now and correct these dreadful mistakes.

In a vibrant democracy, whatever the most privileged parents want for their children must serve as a minimum standard for what we as a community want for all of our children. Arne Duncan attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (as did our three sons); you sent your kids to Lab, and so did your friend Rahm Emanuel. There students found small classes, abundant resources, and opportunities to experiment and explore, ask questions and pursue answers to the far limits, and a minimum of time-out for standardized testing. They found, as well, a respected and unionized teacher corps, people who were committed to a life-long career in teaching and who were encouraged to work cooperatively for their mutual benefit (and who never would settle for being judged, assessed, rewarded, or punished based on student test scores).

Good enough for you, good enough for the privileged, then it must be good enough for the kids in public schools everywhere—a standard to be aspired to and worked toward. Any other ideal for our schools, in the words of John Dewey who founded the school you chose for your daughters, “is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy.”


William Ayers

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comments for Kids in October

As I had done for the month of October, I have compiled the works and comments left during the Comments for Kids assignment in EDM310.  Here I have paraphrased the articles left by children, but also the comments I had left for them.

Comment 2.1

Clare and the USHRS Blog

we the peopleClare is part of a collaborative classroom made up of students from all over the world.  The student body is comprised solely of students who may never even come into contact with each other, but are required to collaborate on all assigned work through the use of multimedia devices.  I really enjoyed her interest piece, From the Mouth of Babes, which explored the thought of what exactly "Liberty" means to individuals.  Clare and her co-writer described with vivid literary devices how they approached the individuals they asked about liberty.  The most important group she said she had asked was a second grade group from her hometown.  She said they gave the most honest answers full of child-like ambiguity, with no regard for political finesse.  

In my comments I applauded her on a well written piece and that it was a nice change of pace from reading a younger field of works.  Also, I posed a question to her asking if she would mind if I asked my field experience class the same questions she approached her audience with.  She kindly obliged, but the instructor was not too keen on a collaboration from my end and thought it best to stick with her own gathered materials.

Comment 2.2

In the second post I was assigned during October, a young lady named Chloe had written and recorded a wonderful story.  Chloe is in year four at North Petherton Primary School in the UK.  She read her story about two siblings who went on an adventure while being chased by an old man.  On their adventure Chloe uses vivid detail to describe the surroundings of our main characters.  Throughout the story Chloe also uses key literary devices like personification and allusions to give the reader a very good grasp of the nature of the story.  In the end the main characters find themselves safe in the arms of their older sister, and the nasty old man finds himself behind bars.  If you would like to her Chloe tell her story Click Here!

kids playing

 I was very surprised at the imagery Chloe was able to use in her story at such a young age.  My comment on her post reflected such amazement.  I commended her on the beauty that I could see through her descriptive words such as: Poppy and Harry's aesthetic features, the purple flowers in the woods, and the gruesome characteristics of the farmer who chased them.  It was an exceptional use of vocabulary, and I would have been proud of any student who used language to that degree.  I ended my comment with praise for her concluding the story with the incarceration of the bad farmer. 

Comment 2.3

Josh was the third student I was assigned for the month of October.  His class was assigned to create a blog post pertaining to the reading they were currently doing in class, The Outsiders.  Josh chose to create a character analysis on Ponyboy.  It was spot on!  He mentioned the relationship Ponyboy had with the main character, and why exactly they had become friends.  Also, he mentioned the past conflicts Ponyboy had with other characters in the book that shaped him as a dynamic character.  Many quotes supported Josh's analysis of the character, which he included on his blog.  It was one of the better blogs I had read since starting this project in August.

I actually let Josh know that I had enjoyed his blog more than most of my other assigned students.  I commented that his exemplary use of critical analysis skills were key in the analysis of The Outsiders and the character of Ponyboy.  Lastly, his use of quotes were exactly what was needed to show a reader how dynamic the character truly is.

Comment 2.4

Eyes on Ireland

During the month of October both Dr. Vitulli and Sontoli were far away in a country many would call Ireland.  Here they were participating in a convention on using visual arts in the classroom.  They created a special blog to account for the day to day activities they would be doing while at the convention.  Included in this blog was an introduction to each Dr., and a small rundown of how their first couple of days would hopefully progress.  I also used the comments left previously to conclude that they would be giving their presentation from the University of Alabama the day that I posted. 

I congratulated them on making it across the pond and told them how excited and proud I was to be part of the University they were representing.  In their post I also saw that they were able to see some of Kevin Abousch's visual art.  He is a famous artist from Ireland who takes many photographs for celebrities, and his most famous work can be seen in the airport they had arrived at in Ireland.  I have seen his work many times before, as many of you have and didn't realize it.  

Comment 2.5

My final student assigned this month was Aspen, and she is attending Mr. Boylen's class in Iowa.  Aspen wrote a story about a trip she went on with her family when she was a younger girl.  The story tells us that her mother planned to surprise her cousin who lives in Colorado.  To do this she needed Aspen to keep it a secret.  So, her mother woke her up very early in the morning and they family got on the train and headed toward CO.  When they arrived the cousin's boyfriend picked them up and took them to where her cousin worked.  Another part of the plan was to send Aspen to the register with something and check-out; Aspen executed this perfectly.  After the cousin realized her family was visiting they became tourists and visited everything there was to see around their cousin's house.  At the end of the visit the family was very emotional, and Aspen said that she couldn't wait to see her cousin again during the holidays.

garden of the gods

I commented hesitantly on her post.  I wrote about some of the same places I had visited when I went to Colorado.  Although, she had several grammatical issues, as well as spelling mistakes; I really enjoyed reading her story about visiting her cousin.  She had a real connection with her cousin, and this was abundantly apparent throughout the text.  Lastly, her extended vocabulary and use of tough literary devices aided breaking up the monotony of reading a longer post.  She did a superb job.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

A world where grades will be left behind...

During USA Today's 30th Anniversary they have interviewed some of the world's greatest visionaries.  In one particular interview a man named Sebastian Thrun, most well known for his work at Google, has taken the center stage.  He is asked a battery of questions regarding the path of education in the next 30 years, and his response is surprising.  Thrun explains his work at Udacity, the education company he founded in January after teaching a free online artificial-intelligence course that drew more than 160,000 students.  He goes on to say that he has no crystal ball that can tell him the future of education, but he can say that it is ready for an overhaul.  The abilities that the internet gives an educator, as well as a student, has almost no boundaries.  An era of financially feasible (possibly free) higher level education and progression of web-based classroom is speeding this way, and Thrun and colleagues are at the helm. 

"In this version of education, learning will be free and available to anyone who wants it while operating like a whimsical playground: No one is late for class, failure is not an option, and a lesson looks something like Angry Birds, the physics-based puzzle game that has been downloaded more than 1 billion times."

I do believe that the field of education, from a professional standpoint, is on the forefront of radical change.  After reading that Thrun taught to over 160,000 students in one classroom sitting I pondered on my value to a profession that has that capability.  Since I am a education major and will not be finishing my degree for 2 more years, I have no experience or formal education that would merit anyone paying any attention to me.  So, I sit in a conundrum.  Of course I do realize the importance of engaging in social interaction is a reason brick-and-mortar schools are still around.  How long until I am no longer needed as a teacher after I have finally become one after 20 years of education?  I was asked to reflect upon the article, but instead find myself reflecting on a career choice.    

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Smartboard Project 14

Blog Post #10

          Adventures in Pencil Integration


I believe the cartoon is a spin-off of the PC and Mac commercials made very popular by Apple.  The cartoon depicts the use of a Papermate No. 2 pencil as outdated and a broken scheme.  While on the other hand, the technologically savvy hipster individuals write with multimedia instead of pencils.  The hipster being a person who only buys expensive counter-cultural products, such as a Ticonderoga.  Now that the use of pencils is becoming obsolete, the pencil will become an object used when speaking of history instead of a tool for education.

                        John Spencer's Relocatable Retaliation in Retrospect

A life without using a pencil, a pen, or paper.  This is what Spencer is depicting in his novella-like blog with witty rhetoric and humorous puns.  I chose to reflect on his very first blog from January 2010 titled will we fall behind ?  He introduces the fear that trying new things in school must be put behind us.  Mr. Spencer uses the fact that slate and chalk, paper and pencil, and other devices are put by the wayside to allow more advanced forms of exchange of ideas to take place.  For example, Tom (the protagonist of his post) is in conversation with a colleague about the use of paper and pencil usage in the curriculum.  The fear is that these students have been using slate and chalk for years, and with the introduction of paper and pencil the transition would be too much for the teacher and children to handle.  So, delaying the advancement of tools in the classroom has become an issue.  When will the transition be made to prepare the students for what they will experience on a professional level?  That is the message John Spencer is relaying to educators and the point in which he practices in his classroom everyday.

                                                     Don't teach your kids this stuff.                                                                                                    Please?

Empowerment.  Why does the profession of teaching even exist?  Probably a thousand answers to that question, but reflecting on this post by Dr. Scott McLeod I would say that empowering a child to succeed in a world where knowledge is power.  McLeod uses a poetic structure to explain that if teachers do not allow students to learn about the latest technology then they will NOT be prepared for the world after they graduate. To understand exactly where McLeod is coming from there is a small biography available to readers.  I pose a similar stance on the use of technology in and out of the classroom.  Allowing students to use every type of technology I can get my hands on and teaching them how to properly utilize it is one of the most important professional goals I have set for my classroom.  I honestly believe that if students are not empowered by the things they learn in my classroom, then I have failed.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog Post #9

Mr. McClung's World 

Volume 4 Post (2011-2012)

For over four years now Mr. Joe McClung has kept interesting blog about his classroom during his first years to teaching.  In this blog post he recaps what he has learned in the past year during his fourth year of teaching.  In his latest blog post he gives us two tips on which to focus on: you gotta dance with you you brought to the dance and challenging yourself.  In Joe's first tip he explains that you should always remember that having fun in your classroom is more important then the reflection of your peer's. In his second tip he explains that as a teacher you should never stop learning new things and expanding the creativity of your students.  His goal is to never become lazy and maintaining his will to present his class with exciting material. 

fun childrenEvery part of his 4th post rings true to my desire to become a elementary teach, and always remembering that having fun in the classroom is my prime objective.  I remember too many experiences as a learner sitting in a desk unfocused in class because my teacher did not want to have fun, and thought that learning shouldn't be fun either.  To a certain degree, I will always remember that the children in the classroom are much more important then gaining the satisfaction of my peers; simply because I'm here to make an impression on the children's lives, not on my peers'.

Volume 3 Post

Mr. McClung is back, well technically he wrote this before the post above.  Nevertheless!!  An equally beguiling post defining the lessons he learned in his third year as an educator.  This post gives us four tips to remember as we enter our careers as guides of academia including:

      1. Know Who Your Boss Is

Many times I remember feeling as though I was not the important part of the classroom.  Instead, the teacher was too worried about the principal's reactions to her teaching or the organization she was displaying.  He reminds us to always remember that we chose this profession to make an impact on the lives of our students and not on the lives of our administration.

       2. Don't Expect Others to be as Excited About Change as You Are

As an educator we must always remember that the children's point of view is just as important as our own.  We may see a child in the corner on Facebook mumbling to themselves in emotional tone, but they may see a nerdy person in the front of the class with freakish interpersonal skills. 

      3. Don't be Afraid to be an Outsider

the outsiders cast
He lines this topic up with the last one and says that since we will be facing waters outside of the mainstream we can possibly become an outsider.  Embrace it!  It is much more important to be proud of the work you are doing with the students than the social life you have with the other teachers.  Don't be afraid to play your music too loud, to be immature, to eat lunch with the students rather than the faculty, or connect technologically with your students.

         4. Don't Touch The Keyboard

This is a term Joe picked up from his mentor in the faculty who worked for an airline training center.   He applies the principle to his classroom by allowing the student to struggle on their own in the beginning because it will allow them to excel in the endgame.  Resist the urge to do the work for the student, and instead allow them the opportunity to fail so that they can learn to complete the task correctly on their own. 

          5. Don't Get Comfortable

                       "The biggest fear a teacher should have is becoming comfortable" 

As Mr. McClung moved into his second year teaching at a new school he felt it was much easier to complete his teaching duties.  He felt comfortable in his new groove and complacency was beginning to set in.  To combat this new stagnant feeling he found himself joining clubs he would never have before and enjoying activities that were alien to him.  We must be "movers and shakers" in our schools and challenge ourselves everyday to benefit ourselves and our student body.   

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Project #10 Personal Learning Network

First Progress Report

As I let the moral of this class begin to sink in, I have began to create a method of keeping track of all the information I will like to use as a future educator.  The easiest, most productive way I have found to do so is through Symbaloo.  Although, it is not enough to simply create a foundation for this structure of knowledge.  I have started to create a host of different multimedia experts, highly advanced educators, technology field icons, expanding websites, and many other facets of education.  The great thing about using a PLN is no matter how big or small the need is to follow the publisher, every thing has a place.  I use the Twitter feeds and blogs from teachers I have been assigned through my EDM310 class to provide a base for my professional attache'.  Then, I have assembled several types of networking websites, such as Delicious and Edmodo, to expand myself to the ideas and skills of peers.  I know that my PLN will change daily and I am ready to utilize the infinite knowledge of the world.

image of symbaloo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Post #8

....How We Dream

Dr. Richard Miller, from Rutgers University, delivers a lecture about the changes occurring in human communication.  He explains the beginning of his fascination as a child with written prose, even describing himself as "a person of the book".  Dr. Miller has since been teaching for 16 years at Rutgers, and during his time there he has witnessed the fundamental and incremental affects the web has levied on restrictions for gathering, displaying, editing, or even processing information.

                                                        Timeline of Internet History

I was born in 1986, and from the use of this timeline you can see that the infinite use of the web is beginning to be realized.  Two decades have almost passed and the use of the internet has grown exponentially from 5,000 users to over 3 billion.  Among those new users is my parents generation, my generation, and my children's generation.  We are all growing side-by-side with the use of technology that is connecting the globe.  That is bleeding over into every aspect of our personal, academic, and professional lives.  Even five years ago a person could certainly have gone through life without ever needing to touch a computer.  That has changed.

I am challenged now by students who are not even born yet.  How can I be a guide for children when I can't see the digital path?  This class has opened my eyes to a world beyond recreational computer use.  I can collaborate with peers from across the globe in the blink of an eye.  Through programs like Symbaloo, MindMeister, UTorrent, Blogger, diigo, Vimeo, dotSUB, etc. I can help students become an educated digital citizen.  I will know the tools that students need to become successful in the classroom whether it's with multimedia or with a pencil.

Carly Pugh's Blog Post

When I arrived on Carly's blog I immediately noticed how colorful it was (so, I had to adjust mine accordingly for the sake of competitiveness).  Dr. Miller spoke a great deal about the differences between a written text and its digital predecessor.  She followed the topic set forth by Miller by using multimedia as a tool of academic expression.  The first thing that came to mind was my ability to stay focused and energetic about reading the material on Carly's page.  It is not one-dimensional, it is multidimensional.  I am directed to webpage, after video, after blog that is all part of a collaborative essence.  She inspired me to think differently and diversify!

EDM 310 is Different

learning road
Former students in EDM 310 have published two videos that speak to the general class makeup.  In the Chipper Series a student has chosen procrastination as the flag pole for her war against learning to educate herself.  The student of tomorrow faces a road that is full of "learning" potholes.  Those places are going to be filled with knowledge they receive from their own accord and not from the teacher at the front of the classroom.  I would like to be part of a community inspired video project that celebrates the benefit technology gives to schools, businesses, parks, libraries, museums, gardens, etc.

            The Death of Education            -into-                 The Dawn of Learning

The U.S. Dept of Commerce ranked education below coal mining in a study done for technology intensiveness.  As an educator technology is no longer a choice, it has unveiled a new environment.  These children live in a different space now, and that space is ideal for learning.  My generation and the ones before me have been born into an era of testing, testing, and more testing so that we can learn to access the information that only we have the capability to possess.  That is the argument made in Learn to Change.  Information has a different model than what we are used to seeing, and children need to be taught how to synthesize, adapt, discover, collaborate with it, problem solve with it, and not memorizing a literacy.  I couldn't agree more with the speakers, and the belief that this system of educating our children must slowly fade away to something much bolder and brighter than anything before.

Scavenger Hunt

1.  I used Makebeliefescomix to create my own comic strip.  There is no embed code so you must go to the webpage it was created at.  This tool is used for educators all over the world (you can even write in other languages) to throw a fun spin on a lesson they may be creating or even something they can put on their classroom wall to show proper etiquette.

2.  I found a very useful site for younger students to create animated movies.  The site is called Kerpoof and you are able to create scenes of selected backgrounds and characters.  You can control what and when they say things.  Also, you can even control the environment around your characters.  Go to this link to watch my video!

3.  I created a poll using Polldaddy.  It was free and very simple to use.  Take my poll now!

October Mixtape

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comment For Teachers #2

Comment 2.1

In this first post Mrs. Kathleen Morris brought to light the possible "Death of PowerPoint", and whether or not it is still a viable source of presentation in the classroom.  Discussed throughout the post was the students  inability to use utilize the programs correctly and in reflection a tiring use of PowerPoint was occurring.  She then outlines her beliefs on the subject and gives several examples of people who are ridiculing PPT but also individuals who are still saying that with proper usage the tool is effective.  Then through an example in her own classroom Mrs. Morris had given a project to:

  • Research the natural disaster.
  • Create a model or representation of their natural disaster.
  • Create a PowerPoint to inform the audience about the disaster.
  • Present the PowerPoint using speaking notes, and present their model.

  • She had noticed that the students had developed a poor habit using PPT.  The students were more interested in adding effects and colors than collecting and relaying the information to the viewers.  Set out to correct this Mrs. Morris and her partner edited the assignment and instructed the students to:

    • Begin by dividing their topic into sub categories and work out theoverview of their presentation.
    • Research by using books and credible internet sources.
    • Use resources that they understand, put the information in their own words and include a reference section in their PowerPoint.
    • Create a PowerPoint that focusses on using text that was no more than titles/key words.
    • Source, attribute and use Creative Commons images.
    • Create speaking notes to support their presentation.
    • Engage and teach the audience by presenting their model of the natural disaster.
    This change affected the presentation of all the students and both Morris and her partner were pleased with the results.  Well thought out construction of all parts of the assignment were noted and the students learned several aspects of gathering information and then presenting it to a group of classmates.  

    My comments on Mrs. Morris' post were intuitive and substantive.  I addressed the hope that PPT will survive and that through proper usage it can flourish in this time of booming media technology.  I stated that  several other very interesting forms of presentation like SlideRocket, Prezi, 280 Slides, Empressr,  or even Google Earth do exist, but many students are unaware or unable to utilize these programs.  Any student or professional armed with the ability to properly present information is an asset to any career they choose.  It all starts in the classroom, and she is doing a great job of teaching these students how they can be valuable and successful in years to follow.

    Comment 2.2

    In Mrs. Morris' second post this month, Internet Safety Tips for Students, she gives educators several tips on safety when it comes to internet security in the classroom from a student's perspective.  She shared several tips that every classroom guide can use when tasked with an assignment that requires the use of the internet.  Morris alluded several times to the studies done by Susan McLean, a retired police officer and cyber safety expert, about the risks and dangers children face as a digital citizen.  Among these tips between both Morris and McLean were: 

    Child safety

  • Always ask an adult if you’re unsure of anything when you are online.
  • Don’t sign up for sites that are 13+ if you are not old enough (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc).
  • Remember YAPPY (the personal information you should not share online) – Your full name, address, phone number, passwords, your plans. 
  • Don’t add people as online friends unless you know them in real life or have parent permission. Never arrange to meet an online friend without talking to a parent.
  • Remember that you cannot believe everything you read on the internet and you can’t trust everything online friends tell you.
  • Choose sensible names for usernames, email addresses etc. 
  • Talk to your parents about what you’re doing online and let them know when you’re going on the internet.
  • Know what cyber bullying is and tell someone if you think it’s happening to you. Cyber bullying is when someone picks on you, annoys, embarrasses, or threatens you over and over again using technology, such as the internet or a phone.
  • Protect your digital footprint: don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want all your friends, family, teachers and future employers to see.
  • Treat others online the way you’d like to be treated.

  • All of these tips are extremely valuable, but I particularly felt that the third tip she shared is the most important one.  I will keep these tips close at hand when I have my own classroom, and hopefully the students will remember these rules throughout their digital citizenship.

    My comments for this blog post were short and sweet.  I thanked her for the great tips she shared for students using the internet, as well as the videos that were aired on public television in the UK to prevent these cyber crimes.  To watch one of the videos, click here.  I also commented on my hopes to see a post in the future geared towards parent's and teacher's roles in cyber protection.