Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Post #15

an axe as a teacher shaping his log students into wooden people
Re-Dreaming My Future Classroom

Looking back on my first blog post, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing about my dreams for my future classroom. I still plan on teaching a deaf classroom. I still pull inspiration from my own teachers. I still love math and English and still hate history and science. I still want a chalkboard with colored chalk. And I still can’t positively say what my classroom will be like. Although I wouldn’t change my post, I would definitely go back and add to it.

Throughout this semester, I have learned much more than I ever expected to learn through this class. I have learned some wonderful new technologies that I will certainly incorporate into my classroom. For instance, my class will have a blog and I hope that each student will be able to have their own blog as well. The one thing I still am not sure about is wiki’s. I honestly don’t know what a wiki is to be exact. Throughout the semester they were mentioned many times, however I never found out exactly what they are or how they work. I plan on doing some research and figuring that out really fast, because they sound very useful in the classroom.

One of my favorite parts of the class was learning about the assistive technologies. We learned mostly about technology used for blind students, which was quite fascinating. This also led to my searching and learning about technologies I could use to one day teach the deaf students. For example, I learned about CART, a system which is sort of like subtitles but in real time. I explored some more and found a lot of blog posts and Twitter accounts to follow which I wrote about here.

As I have said before, it is difficult to say what my classroom will look like, however I can easily say it will include a lot more technology and both independent and collaborative learning than it would have before this semester.

Looking Back On Lessons Learned

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Comments4Kids April Summary


For C4K #8 I was assigned Amber A's blog from Mr. Boylen’s Language Arts 8th grade class. On February 5th, Amber responded to her teacher’s questions: “What do you think as a student gain from blogging with students and others outside of the school? Is it worth the time? Why/why not?” She thinks that there is a lot to learn from others who you blog and interact with. You also have the chance to work with people you would not have talked to otherwise. Amber also says she has also gotten to know other people feel about certain things and also learned that she has a lot in common with other kids from around the world. I commented:

Hi Amber,

I think it is wonderful that you are blogging and getting so much out of it! I am currently a college student, and I just learned how to blog this semester. I have discovered just how wonderful it is. I agree with you that blogging allows you to connect with people you otherwise would not have been able to talk to. For instance, I would have never even known about you or your class without the power of technology. I have been able to interact with people from all over the world and have learned so much to prepare me for my future. What sort of things have you been able to learn through blogging?

Keep up the great work and never stop learning!

Katelyn Fleming

For the next assignment, I read Jasmine F's blog from Mrs. Geldes’ 4th grade class from Nebraska. Jasmine wrote about The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. She thought it was a great book with a great life lesson. She also said she would recommend the book to others because it was a great book. I commented:

Hey Jasmine,

I love Dr. Seuss, he is one of my favorite authors. The Sneetches is an amazing book! I am so glad that you understood the lesson Dr. Suess was writing about. It is always important to remember how you treat others and how you would feel is someone was treating you that way.

Oh! The Thinks That You Can Think is my favorite Dr. Suess book. Have you read it? Keep up the great work and I hope you keep reading and learning.

Katelyn Fleming

For my final C4K assignment, I commented on Gage's blog. Gage is a 4th grader in Mrs. Kathleen Morris and Ms. Kelly Jordan’s class at Leopold Primary School, Victoria, Australia. On March 27th, Gage created a post about himself. He likes to practice his writing, play football and cricket with his dad every week. He loves pasta with garlic bread and his favorite subject is Math. He also is “nine years old so far.” I love this statement. I will now on tell everyone I am ___ years old so far!  He then asked his readers what their favorite food is and what sport they play. I commented:

Hi Gage,

My name is Katelyn. I am a college student at the University of South Alabama in America. I think it is so cool that you are from Australia. I have always dreamed of travelling to Australia! My favorite food is baked potatoes and buffalo chicken. My favorite subject is math as well! I don’t play any sports, but would like to take up running.
Are you enjoying blogging?

Keep up the great work! Never stop learning.

Katelyn Fleming

Gage was the first kid all semester who actually commented me back! He wrote:

Dear Katelyn,

Thanks for your nice comment it was great and thanks for saying keep up the great work.

From Gage,

Project #16

Legion of Doom presents: Surviving EDM310! :) Hope you enjoy! And heed our advice!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Project #15

My fantastic group, the Legion of Doom, made this video for our Project #15. Our lesson is for mathematics, covering the addition and subtraction of single and double digit numbers! :)

Blog Post #14


David Streitfeld writes about an upcoming trend in the classroom in his article Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading. CourseSmart is software which allows for teachers to receive feedback on how students are reading. The program lets teachers see students’ engagement with the reading through digital textbooks. When the book is opened, what chapters are being read, and if students are taking notes as they read are all being measured. Millions of students and teachers are using CourseSmart textbooks generating all sorts of data. While this is a wonderful system, there are a few problems. For one, it is possible for students to take notes other than what is recorded, which can affect their scores. Also, there is always the possibility of technical difficulties. A few students reported concerns about their privacy, and constantly being “watched.” Students could also simply leave the book open to receive better scores. This is only the beginning for CourseSmart. The type of data that they collect is set to improve in the future. To retrieve data on more of what the student does. In any way, this program has allowed for teachers to use this data to adjust their courses to meet the students’ needs.

As a future teacher, I find this system incredible! Being able to see how students interact with the book. I think that there is a lot of work for CourseSmart in order to make their program the best, as with all technology at the start. I would love to use something like this in my classroom. I think that it will be very useful to help all students, especially the ones who are struggling. I would love to see CourseSmart in action!

As a current student, I think this system is awesome, however I have some reservations. Honestly, I am one of those students who crams the night before the test. I have fallen victim to the burp back education system. For most of my classes, I hardly look at the material outside of class. For some classes (most of my online classes), I haven’t even opened the book once which angers me greatly. Sometimes that book isn’t used or necessary because all of the material is given outside of the book. I am working on my study habits and trying to actually learn and retain the information. And perhaps CourseSmart could help some teachers understand that the book isn’t necessary or maybe it isn’t working. CourseSmart could change education forever.

If I could talk to a teacher who has/is using CourseSmart textbooks in their classroom, I would want to ask a few questions. How do you like the system? Has it changed the way you teach/use the textbook? Has the program been able to help your students? What sort of data do you receive? How easy is the program to use?

If I could talk to students who have/is using CourseSmart textbooks for their classes, I would want to ask a few questions. How do you like the system? Have you changed the way you study based on knowing your reading is being watched? Would you rather have this system in your classes or not? How have your grades been affected? Do you ever cheat the system?

If I were commenting on the article, I would say something like: Personally, I think this system is an incredible advancement. I feel as though there could be problems however, mainly with technological difficulties. Although, this is something that I would love to explore further and maybe even use something like this one day. As a student, I know that I would be busted for not doing my reading. As a future teacher, I would love to have this in one of my classrooms someday.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Comments4Teachers #4

For C4T #4, I was assigned the same teacher I was assigned previously for C4T #2, David Warlick and his blog 2cents Worth of Seeking the Sakabuku. For post #1, I read So What is Plagiarism? posted on April 2, 2013. This post was about an upcoming national summit to discuss and officially decide what plagiarism is exactly and produce “a practical set of recommendations for combating and dealing with plagiarism and fabrication.” The National Summit on Plagiarism and Fabrication was to begin on April 5. I thought this was an awesome idea that should have been done years ago. I spent most of my high school career trying to figure out how to please my teachers when writing my papers because no one could efficiently answer the many questions I had about plagiarism. I commented:

Hello David,

I think that is fantastic! All through high school, my teachers would try and mostly fail at trying to explain plagiarism. It is such a difficult question to answer. One of my teachers even made an extremely detailed PowerPoint and took up 3 days of our class time to explain plagiarism. At the end of our second paper he said he wanted to pull his hair out because many students still didn’t get it and had basically just copied almost the entire paper. I think an official decision needs to be made with legitimate suggestions and ways to explain it.

Thank you for your post. It would be great to have an update on what comes out of the summit.

You can find me on twitter @KatelynLFleming and on my class blog


Katelyn Fleming

Higher education for all?

For post two for this C4T, I read David’s post Too Many Universities? Too Many graduates? Too Much Debt? posted on April 22, 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Here David rambles more than he writes about how we have been programmed to go to college. Many think that if we don’t get a “quality education” via college, we will amount to nothing and have no job. This is something my friends and I discuss a lot and I really liked getting another opinion on the topic. I commented:

Hello David,

I think this is a very interesting thought. I am currently in college, and my friends and I have had this conversation many times. For years we were taught that if you didn't go to college, you wouldn't have a job. However, now I feel that because everyone goes to college, that a diploma and degree is increasingly becoming obsolete. In my experience, many hiring companies are looking for more field experience rather than a piece of paper that says you have passed so many classes.

Thank you for your post, I enjoyed reading it and contemplating it.

You can find me on twitter @KatelynLFleming and on my class blog


Katelyn Fleming

Final Report on PLN

working together to LEARN

Through the course of this semester, I have learned more than I ever expected. Among those many things, I learned about PLN’s. Personal Learning Networks are extremely important. PLN’s are something that everyone has but doesn’t realize it. Learning Networks are continually growing and honestly, kind of hard to keep up with and organize. This semester, I have tried to organize my PLN many times and I still haven’t figured it out. My PLN now includes so many different people, videos, and all sorts of information that I would never been able to find outside of this class. I am constantly learning more and adding to my PLN.

Project #13

To prepare for Project #15, Brelyn, Brandy, Rebecca and I communicated through e-mail, texts and a Google Hangout session. Here is a video of a part of our Hangout session. There was a 5 minute limit on the video however, so we couldn’t record our entire session. At first I couldn’t hear them and then they couldn’t hear me, but we quickly resolved that issue. I felt bad because my internet is so slow at my house lately that Google kept kicking me out of the session. So a lot of my communication with thr group was via e-mail and texts to find out what was going on.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Post #13

“Build schools that honor kids.”

scene from Back to the Future film

I think Brian Crosby has an incredible classroom shown in Back to the Future!First, I think it’s amazing that the kids are children of poverty where the English is their second language. Secondly, the different things that Brian Crosby is able to do with them are amazing. I love how with one subject matter (for example: the balloon) he was able to incorporate science, math, language arts, etc. I was truly amazed by the “high hopes” balloon video. I have never seen anything like that!

I really enjoyed that he included the “language intense” slide of things these students are learning because English isn’t their first language. However, all of the points are also applicable to native English speakers through blogging and engaging activities. As Mr. Crosby says, “We’ve taught kids, for a long time now, how to be taught.” However, now kids are learning to be learners. Instead of sitting back and going through “burp back education,” kids have to learn skills to use for their lifetime.

Blended Learning Cycle

One of the first things Mr. Paul Anderson says in Blended Learning Cycle is the power of question and power of learning. I thought this was just an amazing thought that the “power” of the question isn’t in the classroom. Throughout life students (even in ordinary life) are uncomfortable with questions. We shouldn’t ask questions, because what if it’s a stupid question? And if we are asked a question, we don’t want to answer it because what if we are wrong? I know that these are feelings I have often felt, even in college. I don’t want other students and professors to think I’m dumb, so questions are uncomfortable things. However, they are extremely important. My best friend, Annie’s young brother said something to the effect of “questions are stupid.” Annie responded with the best response, “But that’s the only way you will learn.”

Mr. Anderson has developed his own “Blended Learning Cycle” for his classroom. For convenience, he made an acronym for it. QUIVERS: Question, Investigation, Video, Elaboration, Review, Summary quiz. First, you must ask a question, this is also the hook to pull kids in and get their interest. Then the students can explore and learn about the subject through their own investigations, through lectures and teachings, and also from their textbooks. They then can build on this question to elaborate and expand. Finally, they are evaluated to ensure the proper goals were met.

I think this is a fantastic example of how the learning process should occur. This is definitely a process I will remember and try to implement into my classroom. Honestly, the question he presented in the video about the coin spinning on the mirror, I would like to investigate and answer myself, simply because he caught my interest. I do believe that is the most important step is gaining the interest of the students. I personally am more apt to learn if I care about the subject matter or am interested in the problem presented or if I can see the application to my life. This is how we get children to pay attention and learn.

Progress report on Final Project

connected learners

Honestly, my group isn’t as far along as I would like. As the semester winds down, I personally have had a very difficult time managing the many projects and assignments piled on for my classes. Add in being a bridesmaid and having to do most of the planning for the parties and such; but, that is just some personal venting that I will just have to manage and figure it all out. We have decided some of what we are planning to do for the final project. We definitely want to create the EDM310 help video. We discussed a little what we wanted to do for the video in the last mandatory class meeting. Since then, we have contacted each other via email. What I think would be a grand idea for the video would be about time management. I think this is one of the biggest problems students of EDM310 have. Honestly, the first time we met in class, I thought “there is no way we need to spend 9 hours a week on this one class.” I quickly found out that it was extremely true and had to learn fast how to manage my time. I found a nice schedule that I followed each week and has worked well for me, until about 3 weeks ago when I started getting lazy! And believe me, it isn’t easy getting back on schedule when you fall off. I think this would be a great and helpful video to the future students of EDM310.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12



Creating a blog post was a lot harder than I anticipated. When I first read the assignment, my mind exploded with all sorts of ideas! However, when I sat down and actually tried to write down my many ideas, I couldn’t figure out how to “assign” it. Either that or I couldn’t find anything legitimate to back up my ideas. Finally, I got an idea that I knew would have some sort of information to go along with it: Foreign Language.

As I’ve said many times throughout this semester, I plan on one day teaching a deaf classroom. In order to do that, I will have to learn a completely new language. I have always thought that everyone should learn a second language. Not only would it help daily interaction with the many immigrants here in the United States, it will also help with travelling, and it can even help you learn about yourself. Aside from that, it would be tons of fun to pretend you can’t speak English and listen to what others say about you (although, I’m not entirely sure that you would want to hear some of it.) Going along with my belief about foreign language, I tried very hard to master Spanish throughout high school. I was doing pretty well, and then just lost it all one year. Because I didn’t want to use up all my “elective” credits on Spanish, I gave up. Starting in the fall, I will begin learning ASL (American Sign Language) and this time I’m more dedicated than ever! :)

So that brings us to the assignment. As I said, I believe every person should learn a second language, but especially teachers. So I started there. I found a great post on discussing why people in general should learn a foreign language. Then, I found, on SMARTtech’s website about how the SMARTboard technology is being used by Disney in China to teach students English. Being a lover of anything and everything Disney, I flipped out! It’s amazing what they have been able to do using equipment we are being trained to use in everyday classrooms. That alone makes me want to learn all there is to know about the SMART technology!

Here is the assignment I created:

everyone should learn a different language
1) Read Why We Should Learn Other Languages by Owen Edwards.

2) Read SMART helps Disney teach English in China.

3) Write a post discussing why it is important for teachers to learn a second language. Also discuss ways you could incorporate a foreign language into your classroom routine in order to help the students learn a new language. In what ways could you use the SMART technology to further the students’ knowledge of the different worlds, cultures, customs, and languages? Follow the requirements in Writing A Quality Blog Post.

Teach By Example

Bonjour Gutentag Aloha Ni hao Annyong Hello

“Being bilingual is becoming more of a necessity than anything else. Being able to speak another language is a gift that a lot of people wish they had… Being able to be involved in other people's culture helps build good relationships and therefore as a teacher you can receive a lot of support.” This is a direct quote from a comment left on Owen Edwards post Why We Should Learn Other Languages. I really liked this comment, because she included how it can help teachers specifically. Learning a new language does help your personal relationships. You can communicate with a broader spectrum of people. Successful communication is extremely important for teachers specifically. It is also important as a teacher to have support in the school and community. More and more immigrants are coming to the U.S. and although the children you teach may speak English, their parents may not speak it well or even at all. Learning a second language can help you to communicate with all students and parents you may encounter as a teacher.

Also, young students are in their prime for learning, it is a lot easier for children to learn a second language than it is for us older learners. In the No Child Left Behind Act, foreign languages have taken a back seat to the “more important things.” However, if a teacher is bilingual, he/she can bring the language into the classroom through the “normal” subjects allowing students to expand their knowledge to other worlds and cultures. Also, the SMARTboard has so much to offer. I don’t even know a lot about the SMART technology that I can’t even tell you all the ways it can be used. However, I do know that it can be greatly used not only to teach the “normal” subjects, but also new languages. Through interactive games and other learning tools, the children are engaged and want to learn.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blog Post #11

Little kids... big potential

Little Kids… Big Potential

In the video Little Kids… Big Potential, Kathy Cassidy’s first grade students show us around their classroom. The children tell all about the tools they use and what sorts of awesome things they learn. I was truly amazed by how much Mrs. Cassidy is able to do with first graders. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, because I have a cousin in first grade who can use his iPad better than I can use my own. However, I have never seen an entire classroom use so many different tools at such a young age. I thought it was simply incredible!

I also loved being able to hear the students point of view. The majority of the videos and podcasts we have been introduced to this semester have been about the advantages of technology in a classroom from the teacher’s point of view. This was an interesting switch to hear what the kids thought about all the technology. I am so excited about the technology movement in the classroom. And I am extremely thrilled to be able to be a part of it!

Possibly my favorite part of the entire video, however, was the title. That sounds silly, but I love it. “Little kids… Big potential.” I really enjoy titles. Many of the books I have read, I read because of a title that caught my eye. My favorite thing about a work of art is looking at the name the artist chose to give it. As strange as it is, I love titles, period; but this title in particular. That’s because children, in my opinion, have the greatest potential in the world. Kids can literally grow up to be ANYTHING! If we teach them and bring them up right, these children can grow to be the most amazing anythings ever!

Mrs. Cassidy

Watching the Skype interview with Mrs. Cassidy was extremely helpful. As I said before, much of this semester I have learned how great technology is. Through watching this interview, I learned how to get started with technology in the classroom. I have learned so much this semester that I will carry on into my future. I know the different tools I can use and how to integrate them into my classroom, but I also need how to get started. I feel watching this interview was very helpful in learning how to do that.

C4T #3

Ideas and thoughts blog header

For this C4T assignment, I was to follow along with Dean Shareski’s blog, “Ideas and Thoughts.” The first post I read was I have the best job, posted on March 14th. In this blog post, Dean wrote about how his wife was jealous of his jobs because his calls “include lots of laughing, lost of encouragement and a bunch of new cool things you’re doing.” Dean goes around and teaches teachers and students about using technology in the classroom. With that, he does get a lot of praise, encouragement and good times. In his post, he discusses some of his recent travels. In one of them, he teaches 9 year olds how to make a green screen video. Towards the end of his post, Dean reminds everyone how great “thank you” is especially in the teaching field. I commented,

Hello Dean,
I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. In EDM310, we are learning how to use all sorts of technology in the classroom. I have to say, it has been the most interesting and enjoyable classes I have taken so far. Your job sounds pretty amazing and fun. I am getting ready to have to create a video using a green screen, any tips?
My favorite part of this post was about thanking teachers. Even outside of teaching, “thank you” is an incredible phrase that can change the whole day. However, it isn’t used as regularly as it should, especially in the field of teaching. I always try to remember to thank my teachers for every little thing they do. As a future teacher, I cannot describe how wonderful it is to receive thanks as well.
Thank you for this post, and for reminding everyone to thank those who taught them.
You can find me on twitter @KatelynLFleming and on my class blog
Katelyn Fleming

Two weeks later, I returned to Ideas and Thoughts. On March 21st, Dean posted Return to ECMP. Here he talks about reevaluation. He begins by talking about Bob Sprankle and how he invited his students back to reflect on their experience in class. Dean says, “I’ve said for a long time that if we really want to assess school we need to include evaluation and assessments that happen years after a course. It’s not always practical or feasible but I think it’s an idea we need to pursue, particularly if we think the notion of “lifelong learning” is a thing.” I absolutely love this idea! At the end of his post, he embedded a video of a Google Hangout between him and a few of his former students where he got to find out how his class affected his students. I couldn’t watch the entire video, because my internet kept going out and wouldn’t load the entire video. But of the parts I was able to watch, Dean mentions that everyone has to find their “niche” of technology, and what suits them and makes them decide that it is worth doing in a classroom. I commented,
Hello Dean,
I think this is an incredible idea! I agree that something like this should be done in most classes. It is important to know that the students are learning what we want them to learn and how it has effected them. I love that you were able to do this with your students. As you said, it would be awesome to do from a selfish point of view. I think as a future teacher, it would be fun to find out from my students what about my teaching and class stuck out to them.
I really enjoyed this post, and would love to do something like this in my future.
You can find me on twitter @KatelynLFleming and on my class blog
Katelyn Fleming

Comments4Kids March Summary

little boy on computer

For my C4K #5 assignment, I was assigned Chase S's blog from Mr. Boylen’s 8th grade Language Arts class in Iowa. The class’s assignment was to write a short story. On February 5th, Chase posted his story which started with himself getting ready for bed. He takes his medicine to help him sleep, but tonight they taste kind of funny. His stomach begins to hurt, but eventually he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he can’t see himself in the mirror. After a few minutes, he is again visible and he goes down for breakfast. He then goes to his friend Kyle’s house to go to the skate park. His parent’s cars aren’t in the driveway, so when he knocks on the door, Kyle answers it; he doesn’t see anyone and thinks it is a ditch n’ runner. You will have to read Chase’s story to learn the rest. I was truly amazed by Chase’s writing. It kind of caught me off guard how into the story I got. Usually with longer posts, I get distracted or have to take a break in the middle of reading, however this wasn’t the case, I was so intrigued I couldn’t stop reading. I can’t share my entire comment, because it would give away the ending to the story. In my comment, I told Chase about how great his story was and how he is an amazing writer. I also encouraged him to keep up the good work and also to keep writing, because he has great potential.

For my next assignment, I was to read Billy's blog from St. Andrew’s School. On March 18th, Billy posted about a simple way to solve the majority of the world’s problems. Sharing. The world is too greedy, Billy says, children in other parts of the world would kill to have our privileges. “People think that when you share you lose something, but really, you gain happiness, friendship, the feeling of acceptance and the satisfaction of helping others.” This is possibly one of my new favorite quotes! I commented,
Hello Billy,
Wow! This post is extremely inspirational. You are very right, people are very greedy. It is difficult for us to share with others. “People think that when you share you lose something, but really, you gain happiness, friendship, the feeling of acceptance and the satisfaction of helping others.” This is an incredible statement. I am going to pin it onto my bedroom wall where I can see it every morning and remind myself not to be greedy, instead to share with the world. Thank you for your post. I absolutely loved it. Keep up the great work! Never quit learning!
Katelyn Fleming

For my final C4K assignment of March, I was assigned "Rachel the Uber Awesome's" blog who posted a paper she had written about Drive Thrus in her hometown. She writes about the reasons Williston, Vermont doesn’t need to have fast food restaurants. They are already living without them, they cause obesity and health problems, and they are bad for the environment. I found her post extremely interesting. Mainly because I never knew there was a city in America without drive thrus. I commented,
Hello Rachel the Uber Awesome,
First of all, I love the name! Secondly, this is one of the best blog posts/papers I’ve read! I think it’s amazing that your county doesn’t have fast food restaurants! I am from Mobile, Alabama, a place where you can’t go one block without another fast food place being on the corner. Honestly, I wish we didn’t have them. Once they are there, they are almost impossible to avoid. It is so much more convenient and cheap, but it would be so much healthier to cook the same exact food yourself! All of your points are incredible and true. I have recently been on a health kick and want to do away with fast food in my life, but as I said, they are nearly impossible to avoid! Reading your post inspired me. I am truly impressed by the thought and hard work you put into this, because it shows. Keep up the awesome work, never stop learning and always let your voice be heard!
Katelyn the Fantastic

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Project #14 SMARTboard basics

Happy Easter everyone! :)
Here is my demonstration of the basic tools of the SMARTboard.

Project #11 Green Screen Project

Here is my first attempt at using a green screen! Special tribute to my favorite movie of all time!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blog Post #10

PaperMate and Ticonderoga

Mac verses PC mock cartoon using pencil brands. PC is cheap and unreliable, Mac is the most expensive purchase a hipster will make.

From 2006-2009, Apple created 66 ads called the “Get a Mac” series. This series featured a thin, handsome, young and hip actor as “Mac” and an awkward, hefty actor as “PC.” Throughout the commercials, the two would make jabs at each other through wit, sight gags, and one-liners. The cartoon above, also found here, is an obvious reference to this long running commercial series. The PC, or PaperMate here, cost less but is also unreliable. The Mac, or Ticonderoga, while expensive, John Spencer says only “hipsters” use them. Personally, I have always had a PC but longed for a Mac. I would always play with my friends’ and cousins’ Macs and love them. Then through this semester, I have learned new tricks on my computer and had to discover more about Macs. The more I have learned about the computers, I really enjoy my PC, and I don’t plan on “becoming” a Mac! That’s just my personal feelings.

I really like this cartoon because I feel like it’s somewhat true. While some of the programs and software on the Mac is better, they are often associated with hipsters. Also, the price, in my humble opinion, is kind of outrageous.

Playing Games

Pencil me in. The brand photo for Adventures in Pencil Integration

In Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?, John Spencer talks about how he got in trouble from his principal for “playing games” in class rather than “teaching.” Games are means by which true teaching can occur. So many children have difficulty learning from straight lecture. This reminded me of Randy Pausch’s last lecture where he talks about the “head fake.” The art of teaching involves using engaging and interesting ways to get the children to actually learn the information. From personal experience, the only time that I actually retained the material in any class was when I found it interesting. What’s more interesting than a game? I understand that some subjects can almost only be taught through straight lecture, but anytime it can be avoided, it should. Kids need to be involved, engaged and fascinated in order to truly learn. As Dr. Strange says, “No more burp-back education!”

As I explored his blog some more, I found one very interesting post. Capturing Reality caught my attention first because it was about taking pictures, which I LOVE! While trying to set up for a photo, Spencer’s daughter asks him, “Why do you have to capture it? Can’t this moment run free?” (Side note, kids always asks the best questions!) Spencer goes on to talk about a man who refuses to use cameras at all. That blew my mind! How can you not use a camera? Spencer writes their conversation about how cameras can affect the situation and memory. Paul the Preindustrial Poet says that he would rather live in the moment than “capture” it on a piece of technology. In the end, Paul makes a statement that it just isn’t for him. Spencer then asks himself and his audience an important question. He says, “It has me thinking that maybe we're doing a disservice to students when we teach tech criticism as good versus bad rather than asking, "What is best?" And perhaps we're doing a disservice to students when we teach, "What is best?" rather than "What is best for me in this current context?'” What an amazing thought. If instead of teaching them to ask what is good, bad or even best; ask what will work best in this situation for me and will get the job done. How great would it be to teach the kids to think for themselves and figure out what tech tools they need to use for different circumstances.

They Don’t Need It!

In Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?, Scott McLeod uses a sarcastic approach to discuss the different sides to teaching technology to students. For the first few moments of reading this post, I almost missed the sarcasm. Personally, I didn’t like his style of writing. I appreciated the sarcasm, but the broken, un-capitalized and limited punctuation style drove me kind of crazy. However, this isn’t of importance, the content is what truly matters.

A few of the arguments he presents, I can agree with. For instance, there is a ton of junk out there! Much of the time, I wonder if we should trust these kids with so much freedom. The entire world is open to them. But, then again, the entire world is open to them! Imagine what sort of amazing things students will be able to do! Technology is all around us and is closing in; there is no possible way to ignore it. The challenge is, not to teach kids about technology (I can guarantee most children can do more on a computer than most adults). It isn’t a question of how to operate it; it’s a question of how to use it! We need to focus on teaching our children and students how to use all the technology and massive amounts of information it comes with safely and effectively.

I thoroughly enjoyed his post, and absolutely love his sarcasm! What really amazes me, is how there are still some out there who think this way. Why should we include so much technology into teaching? What good will it do? Let me answer that, it will do a TON of good; just wait and see!

Side Note

This has nothing to do with the blog post assignment, but it happened this week and applies to EDM310 so I don’t know what to do with it, other than write about it here. While babysitting this week, the kids and I were watching Disney Channel, naturally. During one of the shows, a statement was made that really caught my attention. On the show ‘Jessie’, a young student asks her teacher, “Why do we need to know where Germany is? That’s the internet’s job.” The teacher on the show was very “old school” without even a projector of any sort. The class was looking at a map that was pulled down over the chalkboard (gasp!). Immediately when the character made this statement, I thought of EDM310. This is exactly what we learn about each week. The importance of memorizing and knowing facts and tidbits of information is fleeting. Instead, students are beginning to learn to create, process and THINK! Like I said, this has nothing to do anything, it is simply a side note, but I found it extremely interesting and had to share!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blog Post #9

Mr. McClung's World
Mr. McClung's World: Volume 4

Mr. McClung is a teacher who has posted lessons he learned from the year of teaching for the past four years. After his fourth year, Mr. McClung talks about only two themes: “you gotta dance with who you came to the dance with” and “challenge yourself.” In the first of these lessons, he discusses the effects he felt personally when stressing over what his peers thought of his teaching. By the end of the year, he says he has come to realize that this isn’t what he is about. He never before worried about what his peers thought about how he taught his classroom. Instead, one rule has gotten him this far, are the kids having fun? I think this is an incredible rule. I have said it in previous blog posts, but learning must be fun. If we as educators don’t believe this, the students never will. There have been many many classes that I have been FORCED to sit through and be bored out of my mind. I don’t want this to be my classroom. I want my students to love to be there, and enjoy learning and discovering the many things the world has to offer them.

Challenge yourself. Mr. McClung tells us how he became too familiar with the subject and the lesson plans and the teaching method. Eventually, he began to lose his creativity and he says himself, he wasn’t teaching well. However, by challenging himself and changing subjects in the year to come, he had to do a lot more work, but he can ensure the students are having fun and learning as much as possible. As a teacher, it is extremely important to keep variety throughout the years. This will not only help students learn, it will also help the teacher be best at what they do.

Both of these lessons are not only applicable to the classroom, but also to life. In life we don’t need to stress about what everyone else thinks of us. In addition, we constantly need to challenge ourselves. By challenging ourselves in life, we can work hard to learn new lessons, and we can avoid being lazy and lame. If we don’t challenge ourselves, who will?

At the bottom of this blog post there was a link to an "update". Apparently, after his third year at the same school, Mr. McClung was leaving Woodland to be an assistant principal at a new school! Many congratulations!

Mr. McClung’s World: Volume 2

After this blog post, I chose to read Mr. McClung’s “What I Learned This Year” post from the 09-10 school year. The first lesson he talks about here is adapting. He talks about how he had to teach a completely new subject (that he was uncomfortable with) to a new grade. I really enjoyed reading how through a little research and work he was able to make even history interesting and relevant. History has always been my least favorite subject, and honestly, I dread having to teach it one day. However, this gave me a little hope that through a little hard work, I will be able to make every subject enjoyable for my students. I also found it interesting that the last sentence of this section, “The lesson to learn from here is to never get too comfortable, change is good and ultimately it makes us better teachers,” is mimicked in his most recent post about challenging yourself.

His second lesson is something that I truly take to heart. All my life as a student, I have been taught by multiple teachers that only one answer and one opinion is right, theirs. I hate that! Not everything in life has one answer. I had one teacher in particular who would ask a question of “In your opinion….” and magically, my “opinion” would be wrong if it wasn’t what we had discussed in class. That is precisely the teacher I don’t want to become. Like Mr. McClung said, “I want my students to be independent thinkers and to only lean on me when they feel like they have hit a barrier.”

All of his lessons throughout this blog are extremely helpful in my opinion. I have never thought about having a “school mom” before and hadn’t thought about the possibility of becoming a control freak in my classroom. However, of the remaining lessons, “Don’t Lose Sight of What’s Important” really stuck out to me. His story about the “grown-ups” he worked with really reminded me of my last job. At the daycare where I worked, the other adults simply acted like middle schoolers. They would bicker and argue over petty things and talk about what you were doing behind your back and flat out lie to get you in trouble. Often times, it was extremely hard to focus on the children and ensure they were having fun and discovering new things because you were so infuriated at the teacher next door. So, I learned a lot from this blog post about what kind of teacher I want to be and how to accomplish it.

All in all, I really enjoyed Mr. McClung’s lessons and feel I have learned a lot that I will remember and reread before starting my first teaching job. I also plan on reading the rest of his posts to learn more lessons to help me in my future classroom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blog Post #8

Technology Changes Everything

Technology: even without it, we have to change the way we teach

When watching This Is How We Dream Part 1 and 2, I felt like a lot of what he was saying was old news. Then I realized, it’s not. This dramatic change from pencil and paper to computer generated EVERYTHING has only happened very recently. In fact, it still is going on. Dr. Miller begins by saying this is greatest change in human communication in history. With everything from brilliant ideas to people’s food choices being published online, everything lives on. It used to be that only those who you ate with or talked to daily knew what you ate, and only the most brilliant ideas MIGHT be read in a couple of years when it may or may not get published. Now, anyone can know instantly almost anything. Growing up without an abundance of technology or without Google, we only knew what our friends and family knew or what we were willing and dedicated enough to find for ourselves. Finding things on your own meant cracking a book, many trips to the library and asking many people many questions; nowadays, it is as easy as typing one word into Google. Information also can be changed or updated instantly, before, making one change to a published book or paper cost a lot of money, paper, ink and time.

Knowledge isn’t the only thing being affected, what we find can be so much more. Virtually everything online isn’t only text. Information includes pictures, sound, and video. With this, everything must be beautiful, compelling, or contain auditory details to capture audiences. The limits are only those which we place on ourselves. Almost anything is possible.

Dr. Miller also points directly at teachers. “Ideas don’t belong to us individually; they belong to us as a culture. We as educators must be in the business of sharing ideas freely.” Especially with this much technology at our fingertips, being able to share anything instantly, we need to share our ideas. We shouldn’t keep secrets; instead we should share our knowledge and finds with the world. With this we can push ideas into the culture and affect it greatly.

With technology, collaboration is also possible. Meeting in person isn’t always possible, and phone conversations aren’t always easy. Now there is Skype, Google Docs, Facebook, instant messaging, all sorts of devices at our disposal with which we can work together as teams to accomplish great things. Whether it be group projects for class, sharing ideas with coworkers, working with someone to publish an article, even catching up with friends, it has been made easier through the magic of technology.

Towards the end of the talk, before discussing the dream for his college, Dr. Miller talks about the work of Jonathan Harris. One that he mentions searches the web for blogs constantly and finds feelings posted by people around the world. This really caught my attention, mainly because it looked so cool on the video. After searching for maybe ten seconds, I found it. We Feel Fine is really cool. You can really find out what feelings people have posted. You can search by feeling, gender, age, weather, location and date. I had a lot of fun playing around with it. Fun fact: “No feelings found from people on March 6, 2013 from Mobile, Alabama, United States.” This site is so much fun and truly amazing!

YouTube Playlist

After reading Carly's post I was intrigued and inspired. I love this idea. I’ve watched a lot of videos throughout this class so far that I think “I want to remember that!” So why I haven’t made my own playlist beforehand, I have no idea! Then I watched the video she posted at the bottom, which is also the first video in her playlist. At first I was thinking, “YES! I am 100% in the moment and totally committed to all I do…. Okay, most of what I do. YES! I am naturally enthusiastic and excited about life! Do I approach life with the magic, vulnerability, and curiosity of a child? Yes… at least I try to.” Then came the tough questions. When I watched this video, I had been having a terrible day, full of a lot of stress, a lot of annoying friends and a lot of personal issues I won’t even go into (this is why I need a personal blog). Then the video asked, “Are you as honest as a child? Do you love unconditionally? If you fall down, do you get right back up?” The next thing I know, I’m crying! Aside from the assignment part of this, I looked at myself and the tough situation I was in, and honestly, I couldn’t answer those questions like I wish I could have.

So anyway, back to the assignment. When I first looked at the playlist… 57 VIDEOS!?! Are you kidding me??? But her blog post was so interesting I wanted to watch them all! Honestly, I didn’t watch all (several had been removed from YouTube or were private, and I skipped a few that didn’t interest me) but I did watch almost all. I don’t think there is enough room/time to write all my thoughts about each of these videos, but they all inspired me. Here are a few that really stood out for one reason or another. When I Grow Up was extremely thought provoking. No child says they want to grow up and “marry the wrong person” or “commit a crime.” However, many children turn out doing just that. We as teachers have a power to guide these children and can affect the way they turn out. Don't Laugh At Me made me cry again. It’s such a powerful song. Creativity to the Rescue was just so cute. You Can't Be My Teacher basically is what all of EDM310 is about. Sometimes these things don’t seem very important coming from Dr. Strange. It is easy to blow this class off as “busy work” but it is extremely important! In case anyone thinks it isn’t, try hearing it from a child; everything is more powerful when coming from a child!

Thank a Teacher made me not only think about my future as a teacher, it also made me think about my past teachers. I have already sent a few of my past teachers a lovely thank you via Facebook because of this video. Never Stop Learning is just purely inspirational. Goofy - Teachers Are People was an obvious favorite because of Disney! And finally, Leave Your Mark which is slightly morbid and dark, but it is inspiring to want to be more than just a grease spot on the chair.

It was interesting after writing this to go back and see which ones Carly highlighted in her blog post compared to which one I highlighted. It’s amazing how the same set of videos can speak different things to each viewer. Her assignment was completely brilliant! As Dr. Strange said in his comment, she definitely set the bar high. Now, I feel kind of intimidated for Blog Post #12. I think she completely embodied the hopes Dr. Miller talks about in his video. She is using technology to learn and bring together all sorts of ideas in an organized fashion! Not only is she learning and inspiring herself, she is also teaching and inspiring others, all through the power of technology. Many of these videos I never would have known about nor seen if she hadn’t posted about them. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the assignment for sure. I even passed a few of the videos onto my best friend to watch because they were that awesome!

EDM310 Help!

I think a lot of the trouble that my classmates and previous students have had with EDM310 isn’t necessarily the work (at least from what I have heard). A lot of the problems are with time management. Procrastination is a terrible “disease” sweeping over our nation. I think that a helpful video that should be made is about how to manage your time. Many procrastination and poor time management skills occur because they don’t know how to do it. There are also many cases where the person simply isn’t willing to give the time necessary to devote to class, and that is something that just can’t be helped. However, the ones who just don’t know how can be rescued. I think a fun video would be superhero themed “rescuing students from the pressures of time” by teaching them how to manage and organize themselves for EDM310.

School As We Know It

a cartoon of a child playing on his laptop on the front porch because his mother told him to play outside.
In Learn to Change, Change to Learn a fascinating statement was made. Schools must change. Technology is taking over the world. It can’t be ignored. One of the men said that by turning off these devices, we are turning off the children. It’s almost like these machines: computers, phones, iPads, iPods, etc, are extensions of the person. These kids can’t seem to function without these things. Students aren’t learning skills they need for life through “right answer vending machine approaches.” The jobs they are going to have will call on their artistic abilities, their ability to work in teams, understand context, and they will be expected to be multi-cultural, multi-lingual, etc. What better place to achieve these skills than on the internet? School isn’t the only place kids learn, they learn at home, in the community and yes, online. Instead of teaching facts, students need to be taught how to find information, validate it, communicate it, etc. This video is extremely powerful and in my opinion, it is very true. The world is changing, kids are changing, school systems must change to. This was the first time that it fully hit me that I will be working in the first complete educational change in history. This is the first time that “education” won’t be chalkboard, pencil and paper. And after this FULLY hit me, I had to take a step back and just take a breath, because that is the most amazing feeling, knowing you are going to be part of something so extreme and so astounding.

Scavenger Hunt

Wow! A scavenger hunt sounds like tons of fun! And it was actually! I found some great tools to use one day in my future classroom! First I read through what I was to find. I got extremely excited about making my own comic strip so I started there. I found Make Beliefs Comix! When I first started, I was going to make a comic for kids. 15 minutes in with hardly any comic and nothing that I liked, I started over. Then I looked at my clock. It was 11:56… I started working on this ridiculously long blog post at 6:00! How had it been 6 hours! I was barely tired (yawn….). So from that thought process, I created…
comic about working for 6 hours on this blog post
I had planned on doing my online midterm today… but I guess that will wait until tomorrow. Good thing it isn’t due for a couple of days. I just really got into this blog post and couldn’t stop! On to item number two. Since I’m all about creating things, I decided to find the tool to create a poll. I found Poll Everywhere. So, here is my poll… Feel free to text in your answer! Don’t ask where the last response came from… It’s past midnight and weird things happen in my brain, especially late at night.
text in poll I created asking how great my blog post is on a scale of pretty awesome to as a awesome as a possum holding a baby blossum
Now, for the final item on my scavenger hunt. I decided to find a social platform. I created an account with Edmodo. I feel like a social platform is a great tool to use in the classroom. Not only can the students connect with you and information be shared with the students, this is something the parents also get involved in. Parents can connect with the teacher and keep up to date on what is going on in the classroom.

And so ends a very long blog post. It was very enjoyable and I feel like I learned a lot!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

C4T #2

GTA and Googleplex? What's That?


For this C4T assignment, I looked at Eric Langhorst’s blog, Speaking of History…….. On December 9, 2012, Langhorst posted 2012 Google Teacher Academy - At the Googleplex Mountain View. This blog post was written while he was flying home to Kansas City from the 2012 Google Teacher Academy (GTA) in Mountain View. Eric discusses his experience at Googleplex. Through the weekend, he learned about tools, the Google culture and the GTA network. He discovered many new tools to use in his personal time and in his classroom. He also got to experience a piece of the Google culture. He says, “The campus is colorful, playful, visually appealing, accommodating the staff and quite honestly might be one of the most amazing places to work on the planet. We saw people riding bikes to get from one building to another part of the campus. People bringing their dogs to work and walking them on the grounds at lunch. Office buildings with bowling alleys, rooms for massages, heated Japanese toilets in the restrooms, tech help stations and every possible feature to help people focus on their job and being creative. It would truly be a great environment in which to work.” Lastly, he talks about the GTA network. Not only did he learn a lot of information, he also got to know a lot of people. They can keep in touch through the social media. He can continue great conversations with people from across the country. As he traveled home, he mentions multiple times how excited he is to get back to teaching and how his time at the GTA will make him a better teacher. I had never heard about the GTA or the Googleplex, and I started my comment with this. His post was extremely interesting. I also told him how incredible Googleplex sounds. Maybe one day I will be able to attend a GTA! Then, I thanked him for his post and left my twitter name and class blog address.

Snow Days

When I went back two weeks later, his newest post looked very interesting. Forget the snow, I'm presenting today anyway! was about a snow day. Eric Langhorst was supposed to present at the 2013 KCPT Education Conference in Kentucky. The event was cancelled because of a snow storm. Instead, he created a 50 minute video to make his presentation anyway. The presentation is about great sites and apps for teachers. The sites and apps he talks about are all located at this site. The video was very interesting and useful. I plan to explore and use many of them in my future classroom. I started my comment by saying I was currently a student at the University of South Alabama and taking an educational technology course! Some of the sites he mentioned in his presentation I have already been interoduced to through this course. I really enjoyed learning even more resources I can and will one day use in my own classroom. In fact, I used one of the sites When Send to send myself an email in a few months to remind me of this post and awesome sites. Again, I thanked him for his post and left my twitter name and class blog address.

I learned a lot from Eric Langhorst’s blog posts, especially the second one. Many of these sites I definitely see myself using in my own classroom one day. I think this would be a great addition to EDM310 in the future semesters!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Project #8

Lighting Their Fires
Video podcast with Brandy Douglas, Rebecca Lathem, and Brelyn Searcy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Project #9 PLN Progress Report

People work together to get things done.
My PLN is constantly growing, with every project, every blog post assignment, every required activity, and every encounter throughout the day. A lot of my online PLN so far has come from Project #10. While searching for new technology to use in my classroom, I found two new blogs which I now follow, Educational Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Visualising Ideas. Through this last blog, I discovered an entire list of books teachers should read, which I have also added to my PLN. I would say my PLN is coming along nicely. I have organized my virtual PLN on Symbaloo. I also have added Symbaloo’s EDU Tools webmix to my homepage. Along with this online PLN, I have many people in my life to help me along in my teaching career. Not only do I have my professors here at South, I also have my teachers from elementary and high school which I stay in touch with. I also have stayed in touch with a few teachers from the daycare I used to work at. Two of my cousins teach in elementary classrooms along with a couple of friends. They often encourage me and give me advice when discussing my future. I am very thankful for these people who help me along. I am also thankful for this class; otherwise I wouldn’t know many fundamental things I will need to know to run an excellent networked classroom.

Comments4Kids February Summary

The first page of Magen's newsletter about The Masque of the Red Death.
For my first C4K assignment, I commented on Magen's blog from Mrs. Miller’s Baldwin County High 10th grade English class. The class’s assignment was to create a newsletter. On February 8th, Magen posted her newsletter about The Masque of the Red Death. On the first page of her newsletter, Magen wrote about the author, Edgar Allen Poe. A summary of the work was found on page two. The story is about a dying kingdom and the selfish prince wanting to escape the disease. The prince locked himself and his closest friends away in the castle to have an endless party. On the final page, Magen talks about the themes of the story. The prince was trying to escape an inescapable death. Man is mortal; therefore they cannot hide from the inevitable. When I commented on her post, I was sure to add that I enjoy Edgar Allen Poe’s work and I loved that she posted about him. I told Magen how wonderful she did on her newsletter. The layout was great, and the pictures she chose were very intriguing. Then I questioned about the selfishness of Prince Prospero. Magen had stated that he was selfish and didn’t care about others, but he chose his best friends to be locked away to safety with him; therefore, he cared for those people. I then asked her how she would respond if something like that were to happen to her. I encouraged her to keep up the good work and told her that I enjoyed her post.

Prairie Dogs and Their Burrow children's book cover
For my second assignment, I commented on Vodrick's blog from Ms. Muhammad’s 4th grade class at Robbins Elementary from Prichard, Alabama. Vodrick was currently reading Prairie Dogs and Their Burrows. On December 21st, he wrote about different things he learned so far from this book. For instance, what prairie dogs eat and why they burrow. When I commented, I told him how I think prairie dogs are awesome. I also asked if he has learned anything else interesting about prairie dogs. I encouraged Vodrick to keep reading and learning and also keep up the great work on his blog.

Child's drawing of 9th birthday cake
For my third assignment, I commented on Lorenzo's blog from Miss Ouano’s Year 5 classroom from Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. The assignment for the class was to write about their weekend. On February 20th, Lorenzo posted about his cousin’s birthday party. I got really excited when I found out he was from New Zealand. I have always wanted to travel there and that was the first thing I told him when I commented on his blog. I told him I love birthdays and love chocolate mud cake which is what kind of cake they had eaten. He also had mentioned noodle buiscite. I have never had that, and asked Lorenzo what it was. I also encouraged him to keep up the good work on her blog. I thought it was really cool because I posted my comment on 2/21/13 at 8:05 pm. However, because they are in New Zealand, it showed up as 2/22/13 at 15:05. I just found that extremely cool.

I love Mom
For my fourth and final C4K I was assigned TriShawn’s blog from Mrs. Vannoy’s first grade class. However, TriShawn did not have any posts, so instead I commented on his classmate, Morgan's blog. Her blog post, on February 20th, was about her mom. She loves her mom and tells us that her mom is sweet. When commenting, I told Morgan that I loved my mom, too. My favorite thing about my mom is the way she hugs me. I then asked Morgan what her favorite thing about her mom was and encouraged her to keep up the great work.

Blog Post #7

Dr. Pausch and his family The Last Lecture: A novel by Dr. Randy Pausch

Watching and Reading

I was genuinely excited when I read the assignment for this week. This was going to be my fourth time watching The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, yet I was still excited to watch it again (even though I cry every time). When I had viewed it previously, I learned how to live my own life and thought of things I wanted to teach my own children one day. I had never thought about looking for things to use in my own classroom, which is exactly what this assignment was. I was also excited to watch it again, because since I watched it last I have gotten Randy Pausch's book about this lecture and have started to read it. I haven’t gotten very far, but the book gives a lot of insight into what he was thinking before, after and during the lecture. For instance, not even an hour before going on stage, Dr. Pausch was lying on his couch in his office sick, throwing up and in pain wondering if he would be able to even give the lecture. Also, while he was on stage right before the lecture began, he was getting his props ready and such; he also was going through deleting, editing and switching his slides around, minutes before he was to begin. The book is extremely interesting and also tear-jerking. I think that Dr. Pausch’s lecture should be taken to heart. Everything he talks about has some sort of practical lesson, whether it is something to apply to the way we live, the lessons we teach our children and students, or ways to teach. As I have said in a previous blog post, the idea of “enabling the childhood dreams of others” helped along the decision for me to become an elementary teacher.

Lessons I Learned

One of the hardest lessons I think Dr. Pausch talks about is becoming self-reflective. We need to find out how well we work with others. We must also change with the results so that we are easy to work with, because no matter what we do in life there will always be people we have to deal with. I will also remember, “When you’re screwing up and no one says anything, it means they’ve given up.” This is a lesson to look at both inwardly and outwardly. I don’t want others to give up on me, but I also don’t want to give up on others. I personally plan to put one of his “lessons” into practice with my future family. I do plan to let my kids paint their room if they so wish. I absolutely loved that his parents let him do this. I even watched the tour of his childhood room. This is a section of the book which Dr. Pausch goes into great detail about. I think it is important to allow kids to be creative and imaginative. However, it is also important to remember that he was in high school when he was allowed to paint his room; I don’t think I will give a four year old a tub of paint and let them go at it.

Lessons I Plan to Pass Along

There are many lessons Dr. Pausch talks about that can be used not only in everyday life but also in a classroom. For instance, the lesson he repeatedly mentions is the “head fake”. Kids can learn indirectly while having fun. “The best way to teach somebody something is to make them think they are learning something else.” This reminded me of Mr. Miyagi of “Karate Kid” teaching karate through other tasks. We as educators also need to remember that kids can do amazing things, we shouldn’t limit them. Dr. Pausch gives an excellent example, the first assignment he gave his class, they came back and he says they blew his mind. After talking to his mentor, Andy van Dam, he went back to his class and looked them in the eyes and said, “That was pretty good but I know you can do better.” A lot of the time we don’t know where the bar should be, and we only do students a disservice by placing it anywhere. They can be amazing; we have to help them get there.

Dr. Pausch reminds us that brick walls are there for a reason. They separate out the people who don’t want it bad enough. I think this is an important lesson to learn at an early age. There may be bumps along the road, but if you want something bad enough you may be able to work it out. We also need to remember that there is a good way and a bad way to say anything. There is a huge difference between “I don’t know!” and “Well, I don’t have much information, but I want to learn more.” Kind of like Dr. Strange’s motto: “I don’t know. Let's find out." It is helpful to think of better ways to put things, especially when dealing with children.

We also need to teach our children and students the “simple” lessons. For example, help others. Not only is it important to offer help, we must teach them that you can’t do everything alone, therefore, you must also ask for help. It seems our society is so used to taking the easy road and giving up when things get rough. Children and adults alike must remember not to give up. Instead of complaining, just work harder. It’s so easy to complain rather than do the work, and it’s a bad habit that is difficult to break. As teachers, we should help children break this habit early on. We also need to find the best in everybody, even if you have to wait for it, it is there.

Most importantly, we need to teach our kids to have fun. Perhaps we need to learn this from our kids instead. Children are the masters of fun. However, we need to teach them and remind them to have fun in everything they do. As Mary Poppins says, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun; you find the fun, and – SNAP! – the job’s a game!”

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Post #6

Connectivism and the Classroom

a color wheel of websites organized by type of site

In Networked Student, Wendy Drexler shows just how far the average classroom can go. In this example, the high school student only meets in class three times a week. The rest of the week he is learning on his own through the magic of the internet. He can find scholarly journals, blogs, articles, videos, practically any information on his subject. He collects all this information and saves the links online. Then he can start his own blog to reflect on this information. This is a pretty awesome setup for a classroom. The part that I found extremely important, and something that I hadn’t thought of, was that not only does one student learn from this hard work and searching, upcoming students can also learn from the information he has collected. Because all of what he has learned is online, other students can view it and they too can broaden their knowledge.

However, this setup begs the question, if he is learning online, why does he need a teacher? As shown through this video, a teacher is necessary for many reasons. Before he can begin his scavenger hunt through the plethora of information, he has to be taught how to do it. A teacher teaches the student where to begin, how to build his PLN, how to communicate properly, and which information is good and which is bad. The internet is full of great information. It is also full of a lot of false information. If a student is going to learn online, he first must know how to differentiate between the two.

I liked the last comment about what exactly the teacher does. She teaches “how to turn a web search into a scavenger hunt and get EXCITED when he finds that pearl of content.” A teacher not only teaches about the information, she also teaches how to be genuinely enthusiastic about learning! Imagine a student excited to learn something new, to find a great educational website. Amazing!

Personal Learning Environments and Networks

professional learning network: sure you don't have to have a PLN to be a great educator, but why would you close th door on the chance to be even better..

While watching Welcome to My PLE! by a 7th grade science student, I realized that she is learning a lot of information that I am now learning through EDM310. Before this class, I would have never been able to imagine an individual and independent learning setup in my 7th grade class. That just wasn’t something you did, in fact the computer and internet was barely allowed as a source for information in my classes.

The student made a comment during the video which stood out to me, probably because since I began my college career, I have found it to be extremely true. She said, “Because there is so much freedom, you have the inclination to be responsible.”Throughout my schooling days, it has been mandatory that you are in class, if you weren’t at school, your parents were called. You also were made to do your work. If you didn’t do an assignment it wasn’t simply a zero, the teacher would hound you for it even as a late assignment. Most of my teachers were even lenient in that there were many assignments I could have turned in the day before graduation and still gotten full credit. That completely changed when I graduated. No one really cared if I was in class, no one was going to call and check up on me. For that matter, they didn’t care if I did my work. If it wasn’t turned in by the assigned time, it was a zero. There was so much freedom. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “With freedom comes responsibility.” I had to make sure I was in class; I had to make sure I did my homework, and I had to study. No one was going to follow me around making sure it got done.

I also liked how the student mentions that the assignments look really cool when they are done; it’s neat and orderly, and fun to view. That is something I have also found true in EDM310. I don’t mind doing the assignments; in fact I enjoy doing them most of the time. Another thing I noticed in the video was the website she was using to organize all of her websites. It looked brilliant. After finding the site, I have decided to set up my own Symbaloo to organize my personal favorite sites and the sites I often use for school.

Project #10

Searching For A New Technology

searching for answers

When beginning this project, I had no idea where to even start. There have been so many things that I have learned through this class alone which I never knew existed beforehand. My first thought was that I want to teach the deaf, so there is a undoubtedly TON of information and technology that I don’t know about and will have to learn at some point. It was just a matter of how was I going to find these discoveries? Naturally I turned to Google first. I simply googled “technology to use in a deaf classroom.” Instantaneously there were more than four million pages of things I never would have known how to find otherwise. (Technology and the internet still amaze me!)

The first page took me to a really interesting article Accessibility - Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). CART is a tool which can “caption” anything being said for a deaf or hard of hearing person to read in real time. The captioning can be displayed onto little screens, for personal or small group use. It also can be shown on larger screens for an entire room to see, on a giant screen for big events, on the internet, or even broadcasted via satellite. CART was provided for the author of this article at a conference so that although she was deaf, she could be an active participant in the workshops.

The way that CART works, is as the words are being said, they are also being typed into a stenotype machine using shorthand the machine can decipher. The software translates the shorthand into words and the “captions” appear on the screen almost instantly. The author writes, “The process is so fast that there is hardly any lag time between what is said and what the deaf person is able to read.” Wireless CART services are provided through equipment called a StenoCast X7. The CART reporter’s computer is attached directly to the X7 device. Then there are small receivers which are plugged into the laptops or computers of the students. The students can now sit anywhere up to 300 feet away from the reporter and still receive the “captions.”

CART services are not difficult to get hold of. Some companies offer services locally and nationally. It is also possible to become a CART Services provider. Many of the reporters begin by developing court reporting skills, because the skills used for CART are very similar. This sounds absolutely amazing! This type of technology would work great in a classroom with one or a few deaf students. The problem with CART for a classroom setting is the teacher would also have to have a reporter to type what is being said. Although I’m not entirely sure how this would work in a classroom, I am very interested in learning more about CART and also think it would be really neat to become a reporter for one.

Finding Other Cool Things Along the Way

But I couldn’t stop there ; I wanted to go to all of those other Google pages too! So I continued on. The next page I found was a blog “Educational Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”. A teacher who has taught deaf education for 15 years was sharing her experiences and advice! How wonderful. After exploring her blog a little I found Technology: Where Do I Begin? (Part 1) where the author talks about almost everything a teacher needs to do and know about technology. Highly recommended to read! The first thing she talks about is developing a PLN and how to do it (gee, where have I heard this before?). She suggests many hashtags and names to follow on Twitter, one of which was #deafed. So I went over to my TweetDeck and set up a new column following #deafed. After exploring some of those tweets, I discovered yet another blog. Visualizing Ideas is a blog written by a teacher who teaches English as a FOREIGN language to deaf and hard of hearing students in Israel. Not only does she teach the deaf, she is teaching them a new language! I just think that is amazing. In one of her posts, Books Teachers Recommend to Other Teachers, she gives a list of books that all teachers should read. This list has already been added to my Pinterest board of books I want to read!

All of this to say, I still get amazed at how easy it is to find all sorts of information. Through one Google search, I have found a cool new piece of technology that I would love to learn to use, two new amazing blogs to follow, a new hashtag to follow on twitter, a list of books I will read to help me be a better teacher and expanded my PLN.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blog Post #5

Dreaming Up Schools

Dream bubble clouds

After exploring her blog, I found that Venspired by Krissy Venosdale is an excellent site to be used by teachers. I absolutely love her blog, in fact I subscribed to it by email already. I discovered a post that I believe every teacher and every future teacher should read, What's Not Written in Our Curriculum. In this post, Krissy basically says to do what you love and help students find their passion along the way. I also found a post which spoke directly to me, Day 3: Photography in the Classroom. This post called out to me because I love photography, so I began reading. Krissy introduces ten ways to incorporate photography in a classroom. I love this idea! The projects sound amazing and so much fun, allowing the students to play around with photography and get behind the camera.

In If I Built a School,Krissy talks about what her school would be like if she was able to build one from scratch. This is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever read! Throughout the post, you can sense her passion she has for learning. Her vision for what a school should be goes right along with mine. The feeling that kids wouldn’t be there by force, but because learning is so stinkin’ awesome they would want to be there, all the time. Being handed over a property and being told that I can build a school of my own there and that anything I say goes, is something that I have actually thought about beforehand. I can honestly say I wouldn’t even know where to begin. However, since we are only dreaming. I would want my school to be, in a word, EPIC. Everything would be colorful and give off a happy vibe. Much of the school I have created in my mind is almost the same as Krissy’s, a treehouse indoors, cafĂ© set up cafeteria, and different classes the kids chose themselves to take. The thing that I struck me as most special in Krissy’s imaginary school was the teachers’ parking spots. I absolutely love the idea of each teacher having “a sign decorated by a student that would tell them what they mean to them. So, it would be the first, and last, thing that teacher sees every single day throughout the school year.” That is just beautiful. I know that it would be my favorite part of everyday as a teacher. I also like the “grade levels” that she created. Each student “leveling up” based on their readiness, not their age. Reading this post made me want to go back to elementary school even more than usual. As long as I can go to her school!

Using Internet in a New Way

After watching and listening to Eric Whitaker's Virtual Choir and the NPR Interview, I couldn’t even describe my thoughts. This was the most amazing and cool thing I’d ever seen! I knew the internet brought people from across the globe together, but this was even better. I loved the way Eric Whitaker said it in the interview, “all of these individuals… alone in their rooms… brought together… so that we can BE ALONE TOGETHER.” Through this choir, not only was beautiful music made, but these people from all different countries were instantly connected. I could have never imagined something like this or thought it possible to create. This completely blew my mind and truly amazed me.

As far as Jennifer Chamber's blog post goes, I completely agree with the title. “I think I have become a Blogger.” I have wanted to start a blog for a long time, but never had the time or the knowhow. Through this class, however, I have learned not only how to blog but how much fun it is to get your ideas out into the world. I am currently compiling a list of ideas for my future personal blog.

Teaching: That's SO 20th Century

In Teaching in the 21st Century, Kevin Roberts presents the tough question all teachers and future teachers are asking themselves, “What does it mean to teach in the 21st century?” The role of teaching has drastically changed in the last decade. With the amount of technology in everyday life, students… actually anyone can have the answer to any question in their homes, hands, and pockets. Anything can be “googled” in a matter of seconds. If that is the case, what is the point of teaching facts, dates, theories, information, etc.? Kevin Roberts shows the different skills which need to be taught and the different questions which need to be asked. Instead of prohibiting the use of technology tools, we need to teach students the skills of how to use them correctly.

I personally believe that he is correct and this is the approach we as educators need to take in the classroom. This presentation brought up many homework questions and activities that I would love to use one day in my own classroom. We must ask students to use the technology available to find the answers, but ask them to also evaluate and analyze why the answer they find is correct. This abundance of technology also allows students to create for themselves, rather than just looking at what others have created. This “theory” will change the classroom forever.

Flipping Classrooms

Why I Flipped My Classroom taught me some very valuable information. I really enjoy the idea of flipping a classroom. After watching Katie Gimbar’s video and her FAQ videos, I would really like this to be the way my future classroom is set up. A lot of the questions she answered were questions I had while watching the original video which was extremely helpful. However, I am still a little skeptical of how this would work in a classroom which teaches multiple subjects. Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ and Ms. Munafo's Flipping the Classroom both presented the same information as Katie Gimbar’s video. This style of teaching is wonderful and what I would love to do one day.

After watching all of these videos, I decided I might as well explore the website they all were suggesting. I found that the Friday Institute website not only had an area for teachers, but also for undergraduates. The FIZZ program trains both teachers and undergrads to flip their classrooms. Both current teachers and students can apply and complete assignments to receive a certificate for teaching in a flipped classroom. This is a program that I am extremely interested in applying for in my future.

However, then I think about my future. What I am planning and would love to do is to teach the deaf. This approach is something that would not work in this type of classroom. If I instead end up in a “normal” elementary classroom, I will absolutely implement this teaching method. This is something that I will remember in the future and consider if it can be used in my classroom.