Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Mr. Chamberlain responded that I should write a blog post about it, so here goes nothing!
*Spoiler alert: I am a very wordy person and could not cut down on the length of this blog post despite my effort!
First off, I would like everyone to visit EdCamp LA's wiki page. I never really set much store by wikis but this one is a prime example of what a wiki should be: simple, easy-to-use, and yet, full of information.
When you scroll down, you will see a link that says "schedule" that you will click on.
The first thing I want to mention is Tiff the Mighty Little Librarian's presentation on storytelling. If you click on "Tiff" it will take you to a page with notes on her presentation about Digital Storytelling. I recently watched Deanna Nunn, a student of EDM310's video about her family using Animoto, which was one of the things that Tiff shared to use to tell a story digitally. Of the programs Tiff advocates, my favorites were MixBook, Prezi, and Storybird. Projects discussed not listed on the wiki are Jing screen capture and Comic Life animated posters. Look them up! Also, you should see Tiff's Library Makeover and vote for her school to win more money to make even more transformations and additions to their library!
I found this presentation to be my favorite. I am studying Secondary Education and English. I'm a huge book nerd and anyone who read my Blog Post #12 probably wonders if I have read any literature written in this century. But, that's a different topic for a different day.
As I stated in that blog post, I just want to make everyone love literature and reading as much as I do!
I think I can do a better job of reaching students by reaching them on their level. The best of intentions can not bring forth accomplishment if they are unrealistic. I have accepted the fact that there will be football players and primadonnas who will never be reached no matter how hard I try, but that doesn't mean I won't try!
I plan on using the above programs because kids need to feel like they're teacher is trying. I was telling my cousin Chloe who is in high school about all these things and her response was sadness, because none of her teachers try to incorporate any technology into her classes, exciting and flashy or no. It seems like some teachers don't try to make things exciting for both those lagging behind and those far ahead of the rest of the class. I know this is a challenge but I do believe that something with cool graphics and music that tells a story or just keeps their attention from straying to things that do actually interest them is always a good idea. I am currently investigating and doing trial runs on the programs I learned about and I hope they are helpful to others!
Secondly, I would like to mention Miss Valerie Burton. I applaud teachers of her like who are not afforded the best technology a parish can offer but find a way to incoporate technology and become a "tech-literate" educator. It would definitely be easiest to make no changes and continue on a route of technological ignorance. I think it takes dedication and a teacher who cares about her students to strive to achieve her literacy.
In her presentation, "10 Tools That I Can't Live Without" she informed us of how she has gone through a process of trial-and-error, processes of elimination to find her most useful, productive, and results-yielding programs to use. If you revert back to the schedule on the EdCampLA wiki, select VRB Tools and it will take you to her presentation. She also has links to her many media mediums as well if you would like to find out more about her!
It was really helpful to hear her many stories about all the programs and sites she has used and how she found the best ones. It is encouraging to hear that there are teachers out there who keep pushing and keep trying until they find the resources to support their vision. If you would like to know more about some useful technology and how to maximize its usefulness, her presentation is one that you should view.
What I learned from EdCampLA was that I have chosen the right profession for many reasons. The first is that the teachers at this conference all shared their knowledge in a very positive, collaborative, and innovative way and that is something that I would like to achieve! The second is that it takes passion and determination to get to a place where you are teaching in a way that yields the most and best results. I am prepared to take a few cues from Joe Dirt and keep on keepin' on! Lastly, because it sure can be fun!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Take a look at what our students/your classmates are thinking:
Just to name a few...
Kim Summers' Blog Post #8 : Using technology to go beyond the typical school/class newspaper!
I found this cool website that might not be the perfect fit for this but its a good start!
Paige Ellis' Blog Post #8 : "What are some other ways to be creative by using video? What came to my mind first and foremost, is the truth that acting is not a talent of mine. I do however, enjoy other aspects that a video presentation requires, especially on the creative side. Many ideas have swirled in my mind, but my favorite is the Ambush Makeover! Imagine a teacher, tired and bored with the same ‘ole routine, but not knowing how to change or even where to start. Her students want to help her, for they are bored and unengaged in the classroom. With pure emotion and conviction, a student, tweets for help. Much happens in between, but the outcome is a 21st century teacher ready to bring new life into her former stale, uninspiring classroom."
Elizabeth Brooks' Blog Post #8: Using Stop animation videos to teach Critical Moments in History. Here's a website I found that has lots of great ideas for short animated films.
Krissy Menicucci: "I think an interesting video to make would be on the importance of coming to the lab for help. In the video a student could be at home trying to do their work and not be able to complete the assignment because they are unsure of what they are required to do. Then the student goes to the lab and a lab assistant helps them and explains the steps in the assignment to them. Going to the lab has helped me and I feel if other people saw how helpful the lab assistants can be they would probably go more often."
thi took this class I did not understand why I, a PE major, would have to take it. I th
Dr. Strange on Brad Goldman's Blog Post #8: EDM310 for Rednecks?
Podcast by Carey Dekle, Alana Escobio, Elizabeth Brooks and Lucinda Prescott:This group went above and beyond to incorporate real-life elements of a newscast using multimedia to achieve their podcast. Great teamwork and innovation!
Caileigh McCulloch's Blog Post #8: How to Stay Ahead in EDM310?
Try this to-do homepage! It's like having your own proverbial "drawing board" to keep up with on the internet.
Josh Milne's Blog Post #8: "I think I could definitely do a video kind of like the Chipper Series, but based more along the lines of physical education. The first time I took this class I did not understand why I, a PE major, would have to take it. I thought that teaching PE doesn't have anything to do with computers and technology. This class has made me understand that technology can be incorporated into the teaching of anything. But having the preconceived notion that I wouldn't gain anything from this class has held me back in my previous attempts at taking it. So I think a video on how the uses of technology learned in EDM310 can be applied to a PE curriculum."
Kashondra Rudolph's Blog Post #8 : "If I had to come up with ideas for my own video, I would find a homeless person on the streets, who desire education but lacks resources. I will pay their tuition for EDM310 and give them a copy of EDM310 for dummies, for an entire semester. At the end of the semester, I would write a summary on how well the homeless person did in EDM 310, using the book and its resources for help. This idea will compare an average student with an homeless person, and determine how well anyone can actually learn."
Regina Sawyer's Blog Post #8 :"An idea that comes to my mind in creating a video would be an "Old school/New school" approach. The old tired looking teacher presenting material the same old way, students are inattentive, and classroom management and organization are nonexistent. Then the New School practice comes into place where students are engaged, teacher are facilitators. The classroom environment is a pleasant atmosphere to be in because organization is upheld due to the convenience of technology and the elimination of paperwork. Classroom management is optimal because students are controlling their own learning. This is my vision at this point for a video."
I think this image is a good representation of this idea. Can we break away completely from the classic and traditional "old school classroom" like the one pictured? Or is it best to keep somethings the way they are while adding elements that can possibly do a better job of keeping our students engaged? The article that goes along with this image presents a very good argument!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
For project #10, you will have to create your own Personal Learning Network!
Holy cow, what does this mean?!
First off, I highly recommend that you follow Dr. Strange's instructions in the instruction manual and come see us in the lab if you have questions.
Second, it is more effective to test and try out what things are effective in helping you learn and keep up with...stuff..before you have to do your blog post on it. That way, you aren't throwing a PLE or PLN together at the last minute to have something to blog about. (Not that any of you would ever do that, of course ;) )
Second, Symbaloo is about the coolest thing a person could have to start a PLN and to actually keep up with it. You can add just about any website you want to your symbaloo "home page" and track any blogs you are following, etc. And its colorful; it looks like skittles. So, that's always a plus.
BUT, although Symbaloo is great because it keeps all the stuff you need in one place and it eleminates that annoying thing where you have five browsers open and a million tabs up, there are other websites to look into as well. And pretty cool ones I might add!
1) Stumbleupon is the coolest thing since sliced ham. Or bread. Both, even. If you are one of those people who likes to find things that are out of the ordinary, you will be just as enamored with it as I am. You can add all of your interests, and then press the stumble button until a page loads that you really really enjoy and then you like it and it's yours forever. It saves it to your favorites, where you can store all kinds of educational videos, blogs to read, website databases, cool photography, free stuff, etc. I always wanted to know where to find cool, nerdy stuff on the internet and now I am satisfied. I have said too much already..didn't want to give too much away so you would have to check it out yourself!
4)Google Reader...I highly recommend exploring Google and all the things it has to offer. What did we do before Google? And the cloud thing?
5) Tweetdeck is something that you have, I think, been encouraged to look into by Dr. Strange. If you do not have this, I recommend that you do. It is one page that you can organize with columns and such to keep with all of your social networky stuff like Twitter, Facebook, etc. simultaneously.
6) ALEX: Alabama Learning Exchange is a great way to track available lesson plans, podcasts, and more! Be sure to check it out!
Because there's no reason you can't do EDM310 stuff wherever you go. We can't assist you as easily as we can in the lab, but it can still work for you. Why shouldn't you be able to blog from the doc
(*Disclaimer: I have an Android phone, so I do not know if these are available to all phones, especially older phones, and also Iphones.)
Blogger once had an app that was incognito but I recently found it!!
Spellchecker (which can help with proofing and editing your blog posts)
Groupme (could be great for group projects- group message forum)
Google Earth Blog
Come visit us in the lab! :)
I leave you with something really cool I found on Stumbleupon just to brighten your day!
Happiest Sheep in the World
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I am also using my TweetDeck often to keep up with my multiple accounts (like Facebook and Twitter) at the same time. Some new things I have discovered that you may have noticed on my blog are:
My Grooveshark Widget
My wibiya Toolbar
**For instructions on how to use any of these things, see my Final Project: Carly, Chelsea and Kristen's Final Project
This is my favorite music website because they have literally everything and it is all free! I don't have to download stuff because I do not have time for all that, I can just add it to a playlist and keep up with it. I have different playlists for different moods actually. If you have a smart phone you can download the app and try it out for a little while and then I think it's like $8.95 a month which is actually cheaper than Napster, I believe. I wanted to enhance my blog with this!
Music is important to me.
Recently my friend was talking about being restless and I told her how music helped me through so many sleepless nights, inspired me to act like a grown up and be brave, brought back memories without reducing me to tears, reminded me that I was not alone, and just brought me joy. This seemed to do the same for her. It was a relief to see her so much calmer again.
Can anyone really define the power of music?
I want you to think this week about what music has done for you.
As a teacher, I think I can use music to teach poetry, meter, rhythm, rhyme, things like that. But I would like to play soft music without words to calm my students while doing class work or maybe a test. I think it soothes nerves and lets out inspiration we may otherwise hold back.
My widget by Grooveshark came out of this. I felt the need to share this with viewers of my blog.
Go to www.wibiya.com to get and customize your own for free! You can customize what websites or features you would like to use. If you need any help, you know how and where to reach me!
Imagine a book nerd having all sorts of books to show off to the world that they have read, want to read, or are reading. They are able to participate in open discussions, talk about the edition of the book they are reading, write descriptions, and many other things. As a teacher, you could also have a class shelfari to keep a record of what your class has read and let them write their own descriptions or reviews. You could even encourage them to do their own (extra credit?) to keep up with Accelereated Reader books as well as class readings. I could see students who get readings confused easily being able to immediately record their recollections, impressions, and a general overview of the book and keep up with it. It is also available on most smart phones, iPods, as well as iPads.
Would you like to view my shelf?: http://www.shelfari.com/o1515079450/shelf
I spend hours on this website. I find the coolest things. I have found amazing photography website, sites for resources in education, sites about different countries, sites with poetry and graphics (these were my favorite!)
You can follow this link to view my favorites that I have been acquiring over a few days! This site is pretty self-explanatory as far as usage goes, but I would love to answer any questions you may have. As far as its use in a classroom, I guess its more enjoyable than academic; but if your kids are goofing off on the internet, they could find a lot more use out of this than, say, facebook.
Here are some links you can check out that are from stumbleupon:
To me, my PLN is the sum of all the things that help me learn and keep up with what I'm learning but that also enhance that, like the Grooveshark Widget. I have also used Evernote a few times and like it quite a bit, as well as Tweetdeck, Glogster, and Symbaloo.
You can find us here: Digital Native Classroom
Our objective in creating the blog was to guide teachers, future teachers, administration, and students on using blogs in the classroom. Teachers just getting started with blogging can learn from some of our posts, their students can use our instructions to complete assignments, future teachers can weigh this idea, and administration might be more convinced to support blogging. The posts on our blog:
-Talk about iMovie, our experiences with it, supply links to Anthony Capps' instructional videos
-Define Personal Learning Environment
-Show examples of how well blogs are being implemented in some classrooms
-Direct bloggers' attention to Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
-Give examples and directions for Glogster Interactive Poster Pages
-Discuss programs and resources to enhance your blog
-Provide some helpful HTML on creating alt and title modifiers and creating a button
-Has links to some blogs that we learned from that might help get them started blogging!
We started off with a few ideas and as we thought about all the things we had needed to know about our class blogs and the things we learned, it became clear what things we should share! I hope you will share our blog with anyone who needs it or can benefit because that is why we made it: collaboration. Thanks guys!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
But....Who is ALEX? Where is ALEX from? What does ALEX do? Why do I even care?
ALEX is new to the State of Alabama and its Department of Education. ALEX stands for Alabama Learning Exchange. Important assets of ALEX: Courses of Study, Web Links, Lesson Plans, Search engines, Personal Workspace, Professional Learning, Podcast Tresury, and Alexville.
Also, ALEX is so impressive that it was the recipient of the Digital Education Achievement Award two years in a row (2008-2009). The relevance of ALEX depends on what you are looking for. It has pretty much everything but let's look at it's fine qualities.
It's color-coordinated! And each one of the components I listed above has its own picture/button to take you to its separate page and I found this to be so organized and easy to use. This page is simple, clear, and uncluttered.
The Course of Study is useful because you can look up the subject you will be teaching, then the grade level, and everything you need to know is right before your eyes. I was very relieved at this because I searched for Alabama Course of Study in the past and had to download it as a PDF, if I remember correctly. ALEX has the course of study in a charted, easier to read form. Thank God.
ALEX's Web Resources are also useful. There are web resources like "Online Projects and Collaboration" for teachers, "Technology Funding" for Administrators, "Reference/Information Literacy" for students, as well as buttons to recommend or search for a web resource, among many other things. There are lots of links under the web resources and these are just a few!
What about Lesson Plans? How about search by subject and grade level and see what you think. I think this could help with making sure that you're lesson plans are age appropriate; you can use theirs or compare your own alongside them just to double check.
ALEX's "Personal Workspace" allows you to create a username and login so that you can add lesson plans and teacher web pages that you can keep track of or save for later use. You don't have to worry about bookmarks or anything; you can manage it all in this simple workspace.
Something I personally found to be very cool was the Podcast Treasury, Gallery 360. It has podcasts on various content areas, lists top downloads, gives helpful links, and features an "Alabama Showcase". Under the "links" section, I noticed that ALEX has a page on iTunes U!
How will ALEX help me in the future? What will ALEX mean to me as an educator?!
I especially liked that it was easy to navigate because this can save alot of time. I can also not only use the lesson plans and supplement my own with them, but I can use the Personal Workspace to plan it all out.
I also love the Podcast Treasury. It gave me so many ideas and I actually listened to one of them on "How to Write a Haiku" by Mrs. Hinds' Fourth Grade Class at Deer Valley Elementary. It got me thinking about Podcasts for own students. I then followed another link back on the Gallery 360 Alabama Podcast Treasury Page that informed me of the iChallenge Podcast Competition. The theme is Bullying. This actually took me back to my previous Blog Post #12 where one of the components was inspiring and motivating students. I believe it is important to spark discussion and deep thinking on important subjects in students, especially teenagers so that they can decide their stance on something themselves before someone tells them what to think. A subject like Bullying would be a good start since I think we would all agree that bullying is never ever a good thing. I think it also happens more than we realize. By getting kids to make a podcast about it, to really think on how it affects them, if they are doing this, and how they can stop the cycle of abuse, it could make a HUGE difference. It could mean one less kid shoved in a locker, harrassed on Facebook, or teased because of their weight. I think this is very important.
Now that I have stepped down off my soapbox, I would like to point out that ALEX's Gallery 360 has links to help with the production of a Podcast. I could not only assign my students a Podcast, but the instructions are right in front of their noses, hard to miss. They can follow the links "Create Your Own Podcast" and "How to Create a Podcast Submission" to get instructions on what ALEX might expect if they really wanted to win the contest. I might also offer an incentive as their wonderful and supportive teacher. :)
I would also offer these videos to my students (and you of course) to inspire thoughts on the topic of bullying.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
1. Why did you miss the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, or, if you "hit the nail on the head", why do you think you understood the metaphor and why do you think that others in the class missed the metaphor?
2. What metaphors have you encountered since I asked you to create a log of them?
3. What other things can we do as educators to help our students to understand and to use metaphors?
4. Why do we use metaphors?
I think I missed the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post because I was interpreting it too literally. The thing is that we have so many things to read and post and comment on that a person could get burnt out and start just going through the motions. At times I am overwhlemed and the word "blog" becomes an obscene and offensive one! It's easy to get the mentality of "let me just get this over with" and not pay close attention. When you're smart and know alot of big words this burn-out can be easy to hide and no one may ever know just how sick of blogs you may be...
People use metaphors all the time. Sometimes you can't just outright say what you want to, and sometimes it's fun to see if people will pay close enough attention or are smart enough to get your hidden meaning. I have noticed that me and my friends use a lot of metaphors because someone once told one of us that "it's not gossiping if no names are named." This statement is almost completely false but we still do it satirically just for fun. For instance we call people we don't like to mention in public by random nicknames, like the things they have done to us (i.e. the air freshener thief) or even types of animals. My ex-boyfriend is known as "the donkey". Sometimes people even use metaphors to avoid hurting your feelings.
As an educator, I think it is important to convey a few things...
1) Metaphors are not always a good thing. I once had a friend who was very vague with everything he said to the point that half of it was complete nonsense to me. Make sure that your metaphor is a valid one and that it's not so far out in left field that no one will understand you.
2) To discern meaning through metaphors because people don't always say what they mean. I personally believe that in most instances in life, say what you mean and mean what you say. It may be better to hurt someone's feelings by telling the truth than by hiding something and hurting them worse later. That being said, there are some people that will never accept blame or guilt and using a metaphor could really soften the blow. You don't have to completely spell things out sometimes. Letting it be vague enough for them to interpret what you have to say however they want to see it might be doing them a favor, whether they see it that way or not.
3) That this is important because you can't always take someone for their word. If you can discern a metaphor, you can discern a lot of things. When you can see that someone means something entirely different than what they are actually saying, that raises a lot of important questions. Like...what are their real intentions?
4) Sometimes it's more creative to use hidden meaning. Some of the reasons we're still talking about writers from hundred of years ago today is because they are an enigma. Being able to look at a piece of text and discern hidden meaning can make you smarter and also a more patient or discerning reader.
Monday, April 18, 2011
The song is "Time Won't Let Me Go" by The Bravery
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Mrs. Cassidy's Class uses their blog to communicate with other classrooms, educators, institutions, family and friends, and even within their class as well as their school. They are learning how to
It's so cute to hear them brag about the comments they have gotten from family (who are probably equally as proud), and even people they have never met. The feedback they get helps them to improve their writing and build their confidence. When you post a picture they drew on the walls of the classroom or in the school hallway, they may never hear the comments that are said about it. And when they get posted on the fridge at home, they stay there for a while before being put into a box and packed away. But when their work is posted directly to the blog, they can know what a good job they have done. They need to hear that. I think we all do. The things they post online will be there for them to look back at in the future and see how cute they were. :)
They are also learning not to post bad things. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all! So many people get into wars on facebook or post mean things on websites or blogs because they haven't been told this. There are stories on the news all the time about kids who harass, tease, or lie about other people on the internet and these actions leading to terrible things. An example needs to be set! Thank you, Mrs. Cassidy, for doing so. I can't say that because they are being taught this that they will refrain from libel but maybe if it is instilled in them this young, it will always be with them. Maybe they will think twice before hurting a fellow student's feelings or reputation. I'm not saying boys don't ever do this, but everyone knows that sometimes teenage girls can be very catty and mean to each other.
They are also learning about safety. People always tell you to use good judgement but they don't tell you how or what that is. This includes things like telling the students to use their first name, and not their last name. There is more to it than this but this is a good start. No one wants to tell them more than they need to know and spoil their innocence.
The webpage is really cool. I like that she has helpful sites for the students to access. If they need extra help with, say, math, she has easy to find resources for her youngsters to use to study or reinforce what they are learning.
Not only do they see what goes on their blog, but they are learning to make comparisons. They can compare their blog to others of their same age/grade! How cool is that? To see ways others enhance their blog, at such a young age?
They also have wikis on things like traditions, rituals, and the alphabet. They even make videos, Skype with other classrooms and even experts who otherwise they would never be exposed to. These things allow for a level of knowledge that is not limited to books, limited funds or resources, the confines of their community, etc. They can collaborate with and learn from whoever will reply back to their request and is willing to help out.
They are limited only by their imaginations! They can try being whoever they want!
They are also using Nintendo DS and the Nintendogs game. They already like playing with these portable game consoles and Nintendogs is an easy game on their level. They can practice reading and problem solving while learning to share. A fun game and a shiny toy all the kids want to play with! They learn to share and learn together. :)
But Google Presentation is a very similar software offered by Google that allows you to not only create, but share, publish, or embed straight from your email. This eliminates a few steps that can take anywhere from ten mins to an hour depending on your luck and internet connection. I thought this would be great knowledge to share. So, if you have not mastered the art of Google Presentations, I would like to teach you a few basic helpful tips!
Here is my project:
The song is "Dayligh" by Matt & Kim and is also one of my favorites!
This is my presentation that I created as a model:
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
But I was laying around being completely unproductive in my pajamas eating wheaties when I decided I should probably do Blog Post #10 as it was currently unfinished due to my overflow of inspiration and creativity and genius, due to my ever-present and overwhelming A.D.D. The thought struck me that I could not resist. I had been looking over the blog posts left for the semester a couple of days prior to this, and noticed that this Blog Post, #12, was one that was completely of my own design! You can imagine my fit of joy followed by a fit of self-loathing for being so darned indecisive. But, I digress.
I was inspired to add random but somehow related videos to Blog Post #10, and found such an array of enticing and inspiring choices that I could not pick just a couple and simply had to share them. You're welcome. :D
So, here is my assignment. I won't take all day getting to it. For this assignment, we are to brainstorm an assignment that we feel is a good enough idea that Dr. Strange himself should have assigned it. The things we have done and learned this semester have been wonderful, but as we are learning in this class, with technology, there is always more! I like being able to think for myself, and would definitely let my own students do this.
The instructions for my assignment that I believe Dr. Strange should have suggested are as follows:
At this point in the semester and everyone's journey as a future educator, we should all be thinking about our philosophies as teachers. We have watched some really great videos this semester and taken full advantage of YouTube. I would like for you to create a YouTube playlist with videos that:
1). describe the kind of teacher you would like to be
2).show ways you can motivate your students
3). offer tips on classroom management.
4). offer tutorials on programs you have learned about in this class that you like so much you would like to use (podcast, iPods, PLN's, etc.)
5). are on topics related to your field of study; for example, if you are going to be an English Teacher, include videos about Shakespeare, poetry, novels, things of that nature.
6). describe what a good teacher is and what a bad teacher is
7). ways to improve modern education as we know it
8). have been used in other blog posts from this semester. It could be a video you had to write about or one posted on the blog of a fellow classmate, teacher, or classroom's blog.
9). center around creativity.
10). advocate challenging, motivating, encouraging, and supporting students (but still maintaining professionalism)
Your YouTube Playlist needs to be published, and needs to be titled with your name, and EDM310 Blogpost. You do not need to include all of these topics, but you need to include at least 5, and your playlist needs to have a MINIMUM of ten videos. I would then like you to explain how these videos describe your teaching philosophy and relate to things you have learned in this class. Also, what could you do with them in your teaching environment?
I even created my own playlist because good teachers teach by example. :)
In my playlist, there a few that are inspirational because, in a perfect classroom students actually have to think. I want them to feel that inspiration, and know where to find it, what to do with it. For example, what things inspire us most? What things have come out of small sources of inspiration?
I know this sounds a little too simple, but the video Think Different explains how those who dared to try new things, embrace new ideas, use their voice, etc. have made a difference and changed history. I know it's a long shot, but someone needs to push kids and make them think, what if they were the next Steve Jobs or Einstein or Arnold Schwartzenegger the Governator, even? You don't have to think big, just think different.
I believe the next few selections are about diversity, acceptance, inclusion, celebrating differences, and empathy. Because, in the words of old school Sesame Street, we all sing with the same voice, the same song! Though we may not notice our similarities, do we not all share our hope for humanity and invested interest in the common good? To sum this up perfectly watch the super short video titled, disability means possibility. I think this would be a great video to show to your class and then ask them to write briefly about how they could change their perception or their peers' perception of people who are different from us.
The next few videos are on creativity. This is very important to me because, by my very nature, I am a writer. I soak in new things and search for more new things constantly to talk about or write about. The video Creativity to the Rescue examines what would happen if children were allowed to think about how the world around them could be and should be and not explicitly told this. I would love to have an English classroom where students were encouraged to imagine themselves as characters and their own lives as autobiographies or bestsellers and think outside the box about what major plot point could happen next. The assignment I am dying to give my students would be to re-imagine and re-write the ending of a famous story or novel. Think of the possibilities!
This is what our students deserve!
I also added videos with tips on student teaching and that satire the daily activities in the classroom. Who doesn't want to be prepared for what hoops and hurdles lie looming ahead?
Even with all the obstacles and red tape, I think that I can make my classroom entertaining. Although I am the stereotypical English teacher in love with all things Jane Austen, obsessed with Victorian and also American literature, I am also creative at finding ways to make these things interesting. The only way to accomplish this is to reach them on levels they know and understand. The traditional practices of assigning readings and essays and book reports are in the past. Allowing them to find their own resources, form their own opinions, read educational blogs on related topics, and write in their own blog, would be much more effective, I believe. Also, videos, podcasts, audio books, and things like that would also be great projects. I just want everyone to love Mr. Darcy and Little Dorrit and Tom Sawyer as much as I do. I also added videos on my favorite writers, like Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald and many others.
Visuals are a great help, in my opinion. Not everyone loves to read as much as I and some others do, maybe it takes getting them interested in the story and the characters, and then the words that paint that picture. Modern technology can assist in the education and growth of our youth, and there is more out there available than videos. I think they could be very useful when combined with blogs and podcasts and other things.Videos alone are not an answer to our problems, but they can make us think: what other seemingly simple things can we employ to help us? To keep the attention of our digital learners?
After spilling all of my thoughts, I leave you with this:
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I like that he uses his blog as a tool for educating his 8th grade history class but also, the reader feels included. When you go to his blog, you don't feel like it is exclusively aimed at those involved with his class, his school, or his community. He uses his blog to assist his students but also to show the different uses for a class blog to those thinking of following his example.
The way Mr. McClung's blog is set up is very user-friendly, which is important when keeping in mind that it is aimed for the use of 8th graders. Also their parents and family members are more likely to keep up with it to see what their students are learning because they can easily navigate the different posts and tabs, etc. I also like that the posts are very visual and organized by date. The images that accompany the posts are all striking and make the reader want to know more. This seems like it would accomplish its job of keep 8th grade digital natives engaged and interested. Another thing is that it is easy to keep up with. Past assignments and posts can be easily filed to check back at later. The tabs at the top of the page add easy accessibility to exactly what you are looking for without having to search or scroll all the way down the page.
The things that I know how to do with my own class blog are more limited than Mr. McClung's seems to be but I hope that by the end of the term I will be more advanced and will be thinking of even better uses.
Things I do not know how to do with my blog: The "drop shots" and the photo sharing programs, and I am also not that proficient at the html code thing but I am getting there and hope to one day have a very impressive blog that I can one day use as a resume when it comes time for me to apply for a job as a teacher. :)
Mr. McClung's students make use of his blog to broadcast what they are learning. They can post pictures, videos, etc. as evidence of their progress or they can publish their opinions, speak up about what they want to learn and speak out about how they feel about it. His students can also keep up with the comments they are receiving on his blog wall.
Not only can his students interact with his blog, but outsiders can as well. I have heard of school websites that had an exclusive blog that users had to sign in to get to and was aimed at only those who were a part of that school district. Mr. McClung's blog is one that is aimed at the rest of the world being available to his students to learn from. Users can leave them a comment, donate, watch the videos, listen to the music his class is listening to, online chat with Mr. McClung about his class or their projects, and much more! It is easy to get involved and learn things that you can apply to your own blog. Parents can easily keep track of what their students have submitted and commented, and so can administrators, for grading purposes.
His 8th grade blog differs from other blogs because he equally balances between assignments and extracurricular things like their projects with Susan G. Komen for the cure. He also thanked our class for our participation and involvement with his blog! I actually felt like we were really involved! Thank you to Mr. McClung and your class for allowing us to be involved with your learning!
Friday, April 1, 2011
Morgan Bayda is a teacher in Saskatchewan who writes openly about her philosophy on education and her experiences as a teacher. In her blog post she talks about Dan Brown and his decision to drop out of school because "his schooling was interfering with his education" and how this is a direct example of how schools in North America are still using the same "model of schooling" that was created long ago by the "dominant classes".
To start off, watching the video first sets one up to understand Morgan's arguments and laments.
I agree with the questions Dan Brown brings up like..
"What does it mean to receive an education?"
And his arguments like the one about the value of information are very thought provoking. Only kings were in possession of the holy chalice known as knowledge, a right peasants and those less elite were excluded from. Information, knowledge, and education were bargaining chips, assets that kept the less fortunate in the dark and under the crushing and degrading heel of the powerful and the enlightened. To hoard knowledge and information was to stay in power, in control, and on top of the world.
As time went on, the value of information progressively plummeted as it was made available to those of "lesser status", thus limiting the value of information even further. Information went from being highly exclusive to simply being limited, available to those with enough resources to afford it. Enter the internet and the advent of information changed radically. Even the most remote and less connected of learners have access to information that can change their fate. The revolution that happened in information was when it became entirely free to everyone. Education, however, has not seemed to have taken advantage of this, and, well, really has not changed. Adopting a few new assets like Blackboard and SmartBoard alone are not the answer if students are still not engaged, interacting, communicating, interacting with their expanding world, and synthesizing this now free information. Dan Brown talks about the "scribbling down" and "memorization" of facts that made up most of his college courses, then makes the statement that "society no longer cares about facts." Facts are free! Anyone with a computer can find facts. "Education isn't about teaching facts" he says. Well, I happen to agree. I am tired of being bombarded with information that I have to download into my brain. In a perfect world, education would consist of..
Media and Technological resources
And not facts.
The most real statement for me was when he said: "We are in the midst of a very real revolution, and if institutional education refuses to adapt to the information age, it will die, and it should die."
I never really thought about it, but, when studying history in the past, higher education was something attained by those with money and titles. An education was valuable because very few people were fortunate to have much of one. When you think about it, the institute of education is still based on the same principles of the past, and does not accommodate everyone. Morgan alludes to this by contrasting classrooms with relevant learning and those that do not make use of this. Some things she advocates to facilitate learning I agree with, like:
I have also found that digital forums like this and many others have changed the way I research. Not only do I save time, but I am more open to researching and finding out new things and finding sources for assignments because I know I can find exactly what I am looking for.
2. Adventures in Pencil Integration: Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home
As a future English teacher and lover of Literature, I compare things to literary terms. I see the literary elements in the most surprising of things. This, however, is not surprising. One expects to find something akin to decent literature in a blog. I thought that was sort of, well....the point.
Anyway, we have been learning about not only the use of technology in education, but much more than that! How lovely it is too finally see the contrast actually materialize.
Do you know what those are?
You hold them in your hand, connect them to paper, what comes out is not quite as exciting as a pen or a crayon?
BUT, thinking back to my younger days, they gave us pencils because they had erasers. We had free range to experiment with our letters and numbers and 'rithmetic and such because whatever we got wrong we could start all over. I, however, used mine to go around the room erasing everything I could get my hands on because apparently that was more fun to me than the alphabet. So that eraser thing may or may not be the pencil's strong suit. Depending on whether the child has problems following instructions or not...
But, in educator John T. Spencer's blog , he talks about pencils. He gives his students pencils to take home and is met with arguments from almighty administration that range anywhere from the pencils negatively affecting test scores to the children's low-income status to how what the students do with these pencils can be accurately measured. I like that Spencer not only does what he feels is right, but has the foresight and understanding of his students to know how to make counter-arguments to defend his philosophy. He knows why he has chosen to do what he has, and doesn't let heat from faculty alter his view. He also sees that just because no one knows what the students are using the pencils for at home (to play hangman, draw a masterpiece, write a story, to practice their bubbling for "drill-and-kill" tests), it is not standard anymore. Just like kids aren't the score they make on a standardized test. We should let them decide what simple things mean to them, how they can make use of them, what move to make next. A pencil is a good start because what real loss can we experience with something that costs less than a quarter? Think about all the creative minds that stand to gain from such basic freedom...
Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
This week I have been keeping up with the class blog of Room 8 of Melville Intermediate School in New Zealand. Their teacher is...and they are grade..
Some of the projects posted on the blog chronicle the students learning experiences with new cultures, music, art,...
The students follow a class blog of the Vonsklid School in Denmark. They posted things like a presentation that compared and contrasted their two different countries and cultures. They noticed that one of their favorite school-yard games, handball, is the national sport of Denmark. The game is played a bit differently in both countries but they posted a video demonstrating how they play the game.
They also hosted a school from Japan as part of a cultural exchange program and put together a traditional ceremony for them. I would love to be the type of teacher that advocates this kind of interaction between different cultures and learning experiences through being part of such an event. There is no better way to experience another culture than through first-hand experience! I can remember my summer in Europe as a student-ambassador in high school and, being the nerd that I am, realizing that I was experiencing "the ultimate head-fake" as the late professor Randy Pausch would say. I was learning but in such a real, up-close way, and through such interaction with the world around me that I was immersed. I didn't even know I was learning until I was asked for my journal or to answer questions or things like that.
So this week I had to comment on Room 8's class blog. I commented on the video on handball. To me, this was also an "ultimate head fake". This school posts videos, pictures, etc. of tons of their projects so these kids are becoming familiar with the use and creation of such things. They also already enjoy handball. To combine technology and a familiar aspect of what you are learning is sheer genius! The kids seem to be having fun playing handball and thinking about the other school in Denmark, and how they might play the game. Do they even notice that they are learning to make social comparisons? I commented on how great it was that were following the class blog of the Vonsklid school in Denmark and how much I would have enjoyed such an assignment in my younger days. I pointed out how, back then we used to have to write letters to students from other cultures. I bet some of you reading this can remember having pen pals and being so impatient for their letters to come in the mail to your school. I asked how many of them still wrote letters and then moved on to talk more about our different cultures before concluding with a thank you for the experiences they have shared in their blog. I think I would still like to follow Class 8 of Melville Intermediate School's Blog even though my assignment to comment on their blog and keep up with what they are learning is now accomplished for this week. I would like to keep learning with them and I pray their knowledge of the world grow because they may one day be the very ones who can change it. :)
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Link to Tiffany's blog: Tiffany's Blog
Link to the Team/Event's Website to sign up to participate or to donate: Team Web Page
We used a program called Screenr to capture video of our Skype interview. It was an easy to use program but only allowed us to capture 5 minutes at a time so we had to do the interview in three parts:
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I agree with his point that we have to remember our audience, read our crowd, and let the anxiety of impressing the older, more seasoned teachers be more of an added bonus instead of a focus. After all, they are not the ones who are spending hours under our instruction. They are not the target of our lesson plans, efforts, and skill assessment. They are not neccesssarily our future...at least not as much as our children.
He goes on to talk about being flexible, mentioning that he had his own way he wanted things done, as we all do, and had to realize that things don't always pan out like we expect.
"NO LESSON IS EVER PERFECT. THE LESSON YOU TEACH AND THE ONE YOU PLAN ARE ALWAYS DIFFERENT."
This is something that we, as future educators, will have to keep in mind, whatever our subject or grade level. Just because you put in the effort does not mean it will work out. You can't try to control the outcome too much, you have to take in feedback and re-tailor your efforts to the abilities of your students, their demographic, your time allotted etc. If there is anything I have learned from the classroom I spent time in, it is to be realistic. Just because your lesson plan seems fool-proof, does not mean that it will work. He advises to stay positive when this happens, to work around your mistakes and learn from them and to "always keep a smile on your face!" Stay calm! They can sense your fear!!
He talks next about establishing good communication skills in order to also establish a "good rapport" with your fellow teachers. This, to me, is one of the most intimmidating. There are always going to be older, more seasoned teachers who think they know everything (and possibly do, I'm not disputing that..) and act like it. Talking to them with a tone of respect while still not allowing them to also sense your fear, to me, will be hard. I sometimes find it hard taking advice from others; my toes feel a little stepped on when someone tries to give advice without being asked. I know people mean well but it's hard to determine when they do and when they're just being a know-it-all.
Also, being reasonable is another piece of advice he gives. I can remember being in high school and having absolutely no confidence in myself, much less my academic abilities. It was that one or two teacher(s) who did not let me give up on myself, feel pity, make excuses, and sell myself short that helped me get an A in their class when I really did not expect to. It makes me think of the part of Dr. Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" video where he talked about the coach that kept critiquing him, and he said that when people stop pushing you to try even harder, they have stopped caring. I can see how it would be difficult to maintain a good balance between this and having too high expectations for your students. Some will meet your expectations and then some, whereas others may not. If our goals are too high, as Mr. McClung points out, we set them up for disappointment. As I am very tender-hearted, I don't think I could stand seeing a student disappointed. I know I would be right there, telling them to keep trying until they would succeed, while still waiting in the wings to step in if needed.
He goes on from there to talk about technology in the classroom. Something we are all becoming quite familiar with in EDM310! Before, I might not really have considered incorporating technology into my English class, being a "tech-literate" teacher, but now...I am already starting to develop my own ideas for lesson plans using some of the technologies we are learning about!
In order to reach your students, you have to listen to them. I can't imagine doing anything without listening to other people. My mom has always been one of the best listeners I know and shown, by her example, that a caring person pays attention to what other people are saying. I can't imagine being a teacher who takes complete charge without letting my students have a say, talk about what they are reading, and speak up if they feel like they are in over their head. The modern student in today's "microwave society", as Mr. McClung terms it, is used to communicating; whether it be through texting, facebook, email, or Skype, their opinions get heard. Not allowing them that right would be crippling. They need to know that they are relevant and that their education is relevant to them as well.
His last admonition is that we never stop learning, as educators. Just because we are the sources of knowledge, does not mean that we know everything. I certainly don't think I ever will know everything. There is always something to learn. There is always room to grow. I believe that we are never actually at our absolute best; we can always get better. Just because we achieve our goals does not mean that we have achieved perfection. There is always room for improvement.
Here is an image Mr. McClung shared on his blog that inspired me:
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Does anyone else find it sad that books don't seem that important anymore? You can buy a kindle or a nook and then purchase them for a third of what you would pay for them in the store. You can buy them used for very cheap. You can find "bootleg" copies to download on the internet. You can download them as a PDF document.
Whatever happened to appreciating a book for its clever or striking cover art, that synopsis on the back or the inside cover that won you over, or the crisp yet gentle feel of paper against your fingers when you turn the page?
We don't write things down anymore, we type them. We don't scour the library for resources as much, we try Google (via Google Scholar) first. The good thing, however, is that if you take that information out (by download) it is still there, whereas, in a library, the book you are looking for may have already been checked out by someone else and completely useless to you.
We work, play, learn, teach, write, and publish with our computer devices. I do not think I was prepared to write with multimedia before taking this class. I honestly never gave it much thought. Writing and creating are important to me but I never really thought about how an approach to multimedia, but also a knowledge and appreciation of it, could help me. The truth of the matter is that we live in a world that appreciates and looks for that which is quick and efficient, simple and easy to process. By being able to write and publish with multimedia, writing can be viewed in real time, can be published in real time, and can be cited and read and commented on all over the world in real time. As a future English teacher, I can see myself encouraging my students to have their own blogs, to keep up with a journal with entries they would be proud enough of to publish in their blog, to make Glogster posters of stories they are learning about, to find and embed videos related to given topics, to read how other bloggers feel about what they are also reading about. I think my students will already have some knowledge of these things beforehand, and giving them these outlets certainly couldn't hurt. If they are already collaborating with similar things in their free time, why not engage them by allowing them, encouraging them, to use them to better understand and find interest in what I am teaching?
2. "The Chipper Series" and "EDM310 for Dummies"
The primary messages of these two mini movies made by former students of EDM310 is something that can help alot of students taking this class. Procrastination, stubborn-ness, resistance to changing your own way of thinking, thinking outside the box to keep from doing assignments, were all things that fictional student "Chipper" demonstrated in the "Chipper" Series. Chipper thought that her methods worked based on past performance, but, in actuality, they had only helped her get by. She was not willing to follow the rules and did not want to put in the effort to succeed at whatever she was doing, and it only pushed her back further in life until she finally had a change of heart. The message of these movies seemed, to me, like they were saying that a student might as well use this class to get on the right track and learn how to manage time, follow instructions, organize, and take advantage of opportunities that are offered (if they don't already do these things) because they are all skills that will help in the future. "Chippper" was resistant to these ideas until she realized that without them, all her attempts would keep failing because she didn't put forth the initiative. The students in EDM310 let the confusion and endless assignments get to them before realizing that they needed to accept and embrace the concepts needed to survive this class.
3. "Learn to Change, Change to Learn"
In the opening of the video, many problems are presented with modern schooling. Kids are used to communicating through email, text, and instant message, which are either banned by most schools or not incorporated into the atmosphere in general. They are not reached on a level they understand. Their world is full of creativity and access, both of which seem to be an after-thought in most classrooms. When they are on their own, even on-the-go, they are still learning with their smart phones and iPods and iPads and laptops. They are learning more things through these mediums than they, and most of us, probably realize.
For those of you reading this who own a smart phone, you can probably relate.
For example, how many times a day do you hear something, see it in a store, on a billboard, at work, or just in your environment, and then pull out your Droid, iPhone, or Blackberry, etc. and look it up? How many apps do you have that involve stocks, trivia, news, world facts, or reading?....
Used to, kids only knew what they learned in school, read in books, heard around the community, etc. Now they can access anything they are interested in at point of their day and no matter where they are at. We have to be the bridge. We have to be the filters that show them how to interpret data, how to make use of it, how to separate truth from fiction, and where to look for these things.
Another thing...students are used to having access, to being connected or linked to the rest of the world. As the experts, teachers and professionals in this video point out, sealing students off in a classroom harms more than it helps. They need to feel like school is a community, not a place.
I also watched Learning to Change, Changing to Learn: Student Voices. This video was kind of the reverse. The students gave their opinions on technology and usage, and how they feel about the connections and resources it offers. Some enjoy it for keeping contact with others, some enjoy listening to music, texting, gaming, and also, surfing the web on their phone. Others like collaborating and creating music and games. One of the students in the video said that he thought technology made for better learners because it allowed for the creative process of looking at your resources and thinking about your final project and evaluating both to determine the steps of said process.
4. The Secret Powers of Time by Philip Zimbardo and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by David Pink.
Philip Zimbardo says that there are two different perspectives on the past, two on the present, and two on the future. To me, it goes like this: you can live in the past or appreciate the good times you had, you can live in the moment, whether you are "hedonistic" or just reluctant to plan, or you can look to the future, whether you are worrying about it or working to make things better.
What does this have to do with education?
Philip Zimbardo says that we are born present-oriented and education serves as a function for taking "present-oriented little beasts" and turning them into future or past oriented individuals.
He also uses this to explain why there are so many students dropping out in our country. Children of minority backgrounds and lower socioeconomic standing are more likely to drop out, and also, boys are too. Why boys? Because the average male, according to statistics, has spent 10,000 hours playing video games by the time he is 21. This means that their social, emotional, and interpersonal skills become underdeveloped, and the fact that the world that they are concentrating their focus on is of their own creation leads them to lose interest in school easily. The basics, reading, writing, and arithmetic, are not enough to keep their attention. With little to no active interest or control in what they are learning, they are either not learning the curriculum, or refusing to.
It seems like a lot of people are driven for success, whether it is something to look back on, to live in the moment for, or to look forward to. But, it also seems like alot of people are driven by success outside of education. Education is, to some, just a way to get to a place where they can make a lot of money and fit into the lifestyle they want. Success seems to be defined as having more than others, making more money, having more friends, earning more degrees. It's less about how you feel about yourself and more about how others see you.
This is a summary of the responses we received:
Here is the video of our presentation: