EDM 310 Class Blog

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Response to Mr. William Chamberlain

The EDM310 staff along with our professor Dr. John Strange and Dr. Paige Baggett took a trip to New Orleans on Saturday, June 9.  Mr. William Chamberlain, whom many of us are following on Twitter, was unable to attend, so Dr. Strange sent out a tweet for the staff to let him know what we learned about at EdCamp LA that we would like to use in the future.  I responded that there was no way that I could possibly simplify my response into 140 characters.  Little did he know, I'm a talker, and therefore, a writer, since it's ok for me to be wordy and repetitive and highly opinionated, because, hey, it's "art".  It is nigh on impossible for me to just say "what I learned was.."; I feel the constant need to share the details like how I learned it, why I think its important, who shared this knowledge, etc.
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!


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They lead to a couple of my own.

    First, it is great you found affirmation for becoming a teacher. It is a difficult job whose rewards are definitely not monetary and often not even respect from the community. We need passionate people that care about students and you definitely sound like you fit the bill.

    Second, when you talked to your cousin Chloe and she felt sadness for not being able to use these tools it reminded me of a thought you might find useful. Teachers typically fall into one of two categories: the good student or the lousy student.

    The "good student" teacher loves school because it was easy for them. They excelled there and found a lot of self worth because of it. They teach like they were taught because it worked for them (and if it worked for them it must be what works best for everyone.)

    The "lousy student" teacher had a horrible experience in school. They didn't learn the same way as the other, more successful kids did. They struggled to survive and usually did not like school. At some point as an adult they realized that school could be better for kids like them and they made a commitment to creating a learning environment that is more successful for those students. (You will often find these teachers working in special education.)

    If you want to really learn how to teach to all students, find a "lousy student" teacher to emulate. They are (usually) amazing educators that have a lot to teach us. By the way, I am a "good student" teacher that has reformed my ways. :)

  2. Mr. Chamberlain,
    Thank you for the praise and the insight! I am learning to store all the information and advice that those currently in the field have to share. Every bit helps in mentally preparing myself for what lies ahead!

    I know there are so many students out there like Chloe who are very bright and it's the bright, well-behaved ones that seem to make some teachers' day but they just don't know how to challenge them because maybe they were the lousy student who couldn't have imagined being any more challenged than they already were.

    You are very right in what you said about the "lousy student" teachers and the "good student" teachers. I thought back to a lot of teachers I had had over the years and could definitely visualize this for a lot of them.
    Lucky for me, I have been both. I think this will help me alot because I know what it's like to struggle and just wish someone could notice how hard you're trying, and I also know what it's like to be at the head of the class and be bored waiting for the rest of the class to be on the same page. Because of this, it's easy for me to sympathize with both ends of the spectrum.

    It is always good to hear from good teachers and find out what I have to look forward to in my career! Thanks for sharing! :)