Sunday, December 11, 2011

Final Reflection

Blog Post #14

Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom

Technology and Education

In the video "Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom," Jose Picardo discusses ways that teachers can use technology in the classroom in order to enhance students' learning. In this blog post I will discuss Picardo's tips and provide my own opinions of each.

1. Use streaming video. I think this is a very important tool. I can remember in high school how I loved when the teacher would tell us that we were watching a movie or a video for the day. I believe that children are visual learners. If you are in an art class teaching about a dance, why not pull up a youtube video showing the actual dance? This will help students to engage in a particular subject being taught.

2. Use music. Music is a very resourceful tool in the classroom. How many students have you met that can recite word for word every song that is on the radio? This would be great to use as a tool for memorizing certain things, such as numbers or letters. If a student was learning a language such as Spanish, making a catchy song that included the names of each number would help a student to memorize those numbers.

3. Use videoconferencing. Skype and other videoconferencing tools are very new to me, but just in the short amount of time that I have used them, I have fell in love with all the possibilities of it. Teachers can use skype in order to talk to people in other states or countries, who have otherwise might not have been able to visit the classroom as a guest speaker.

4. Make your own interactive exercises. Students of all ages love to play games. Games make learning fun and by incorporating technology into it, you are combining the vest of both worlds.

5. Use interactive whiteboard more effectively. I have just learned to use the Smartboard this year and I think it is one of the coolest things ever. It is amazing how much the Smartboard can do and how it can make learning and teaching so interactive. I will definitely make the most out of my Smartboard if I am lucky enough to have one in my classroom. I am so enthusiastic about it and I know this enthusiasm will trickle down to my future students.

6. Create your own podcasts. We learned about podcasts earlier in the semester and after creating my own, I am more interested in them. I think podcasts are great for teachers to create because it allows children to study at home if teachers make them available online. They are actually able to hear the teacher's voice, and this may help them to gain a better understanding of the material being taught, just as if they were in the classroom.

7. Start a blog. logs are a great way for students and teachers to interact. Students may comment on something a teacher has written and share their ideas.

8. Use social networks. As Picardo stated in the video, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are very controversial when it comes to educational use, but I believe when used the right way, it can be very beneficial for both teachers and students.

9. Use internet tools. The internet is so broad that there is no limit to what can be done with it. Teachers all over the world use the internet for so many resources in the classroom and it is so helpful in allowing students to research and learn from others across the world.

10. Make the most of your pupils' gadgets. Just about every student in this day and age has a cell phone and an mp3 player. By providing material and lessons that can be viewed on these devices, it allows students to learn on devices that they are already familiar with.

Blog Post #13

My Teacher is an App

Computer and diploma

In the article, "My Teacher is an App," Stephanie Banchero discusses how online education has grown in the last few years. Now, students are able to attend school completely online, or at least take half of their course load online. According to Evergreen Educational Group "250,000 students are now enrolled in online virtual schools." Although many states are jumping on the virtual school bandwagon, many states are alarmed by the idea because it had been proven that students who are enrolled in online schools score significantly lower that students who attend traditional schools. However, many people like the idea of a virtual school, mainly students and parents, because it provides flexible hours and students can work and learn at their own pace. A student who excels in a particular subject can be enrolled in a grade level higher than the one he or she is currently in. Another advantage is that it saves many school districts a lot of money by having virtual schools.

However, Banchero also states the disadvantages to completely virtual schools. Students miss out on that one-on-one teacher-student time. Altough phone calls, emails, and video conferences are available, it is not the same as talking to a teacher and expressing thoughts and concerns in person. Also, the article points out that students who learn completely online lack the necessary interaction with other students and this may hinder the growth of their social skills.

My reaction to this article is one that is caught in the middle. Personally, I do not care for online classes. I am one who finds it more beneficial to be in a classroom where I can engage in what is being taught. It helps me to understand better, and to make better grades. However, I do see how attending an online school can be beneficial to many people. It allows students to make their own schedule, and to learn at a pace that is most beneficial to them. I think it is a necessary to have a happy medium. There are some schools that are both online and in the classroom, and I think that is the best option. It provides the best of both worlds and allows students to have time in person with their teacher, but to also work online when it is convenient for them. I think it is important, especially for K-12 students, to attend school so that they may interact with other students and build their social skills. These are important years for a child and if they spend all day looking at a computer screen, what are they really learning about the world around them? Some life experiences you cannot simply get from the computer. I think technology is very important in education, but just like Banchero stated in her article "...the computer can't do it alone."

Blog Post #11

Skype Interview with Mrs. Cassidy

Mrs. Cassidy is a very inspiring educator who has a love for children and technology and her goal every year is to teach her students how broad and exciting technology is. Her approach to using technology is very interesting and fun for students. Students are motivated by writing on their blogs because they are able to know how many people see and comment on their blog posts. This fact alone can really motivate a child to want to write more, knowing that they have an audience that is interested in what they have to say. Mrs. Cassidy explains that every child has different interests, and there are so many entry points into learning about technology.

Although many teachers are very excited about technological advances, many parents may not share in their excitement. There are many dangers out there when it comes to the internet, and parents may be weary of the fact that their child has access to this at the school. A very important thing that I would do is talk to all my parents at the beginning of the school year, and explain my program to them. I would make sure that they know exactly what their child is doing, and even explain to them that this is a great way to monitor their child's progress in the classroom. I will also have them sign, just so that I can protect myself as well as the students.

There are so many benefits to using technology in the classroom in order to enhance a student's learning. There are so many ways for students to use the internet to explore any topic or lesson, and there are also so many ways for the children to collaborate with others around the world and to even interact with children in other countries. The internet opens up a wide range of possibilities for these children and it opens doors to a whole new world for these students.

the world and the internet

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Skype Interview Project #14

Renea Peasant is a 5th grade teacher at Holloway Elementary School in Mobile, Al. She has been teaching for 11 years.

Blog Post #12

I started to think about a blog assignment that I could create for the EDM 310 students to complete. I often think about how much teachers give and give, and hardly ever received. I thought about all the teachers that I've ever had throughout my educational years, and so many of them have dedicated so much of their life and time to their students. They have inspired and gave me hope. I believe that it would be such a great gift to a teacher if a student wrote a letter to them an expressed how much they've inspired them and encouraged them to become a teacher. The assignment for this blog post is as follows:

1. Watch the Youtube video "Starfish an inspirational message for all teachers" I thought this video had such an inspiring message for all future teachers.

2. Think about a teacher in the past who has inspired you. Whether it was to become a teacher, to strive to do your best in school, or in any other aspect of your life. Write a letter explaining how they have inspired you and what are your future goals as a teacher. Also express how you would take what you have learned from this teacher and implement it into your own classroom

3. This part is completely optional but if you are still able to get in touch with the teacher, you may email the link of your blog to your teacher so that they may see the wonderful words you have written about them. I'm sure they will be delighted and it would be so awesome to see different comments that various teachers would leave on the different blog posts.

Here's my letter to my 2nd grade teacher...

Mrs. Strope,

It seems like ages ago when I was a shy little seven year old entering your 2nd grade class. Soon my nervousness turned into excitement as I looked forward to coming to your class every day. Now that I look back on my younger years, you were truly an inspiration to me and one of the best teachers that I've ever had. You were so patient with me and kind. When other teachers wrote me off as just a "talkative" student, you realized that I had so much potential and that I was a gifted student. I am so thankful for you taking the extra time to buy workbooks for me when I finished my classwork early, and even giving me treats when I completed a workbook. I didn't realize it then, but now I understand how much of a difference that made. It inspired me to work harder, because the rewards of my hard work would be that much greater. I'm sure you would be happy to know that I am now majoring in teaching at the University of South Alabama. I learned so much from teachers in my years of school, and in return I want to pass those things along to my future students. I want to be able to be a role model for them and to inspire them just as you've inspired me. I want to help every student that I can and inspire them to never give up. This is what I try to tell myself every day. Thank you so much for being the role model that I needed.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C4T #3

Dean Shareski

I had the pleasure of exploring the blog Dean Shareski, a Digital Learning Consultant in the Prarie South School Division ( Shareski's blog is entitled Ideas and Thoughts: Learning Stuff since 1964.

The first blog post I read was titled "Pimp My Slide" and in this post Shareski talked about how working together as a group and collaborating on a project could make it much better than just simply doing it by yourself. I related this to EDM 310 because on so many projects we have to work together in groups and often times, I may not know certain information but I may go to another group member for the answer.

The second blog post I read was titled "Don't Ask People What They Want." Shareski talked about how many people believe that parents, students and other taxpayers should be involved in the decision-making process of what happens in schools. But at the same time, many governments have the attitude that they should not ask citizens "what they want because they will tell you." Shareski quoted Steve Jobs when he talked about this. Shareski also discussed how some people often offer their input on topics that they do not fully understand. The bottom line that Shareski is trying to get across is that students, parents and other fellow taxpayers should be involved in the decisions that are being made for our schools, but as of now we should try our best to elect the right officials who will hopefully represent us in the best possible way and strive to make our schools better for us all.

Blog Post #10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

Let me start by saying that I always knew there was a difference between teachers and educators. Throughout my years in school and college, I have encountered examples of both and I know first hand the difference between the two. Many may disagree and say that teachers and educators are both the same, but after watching the video "Do You Teach or Do You Educate?", they will understand.

I can honestly say that I didn't always know that I wanted to be a teacher. Yes, I would play "school" when I was a child and teach lessons to my stuffed animals, but never did it occur to me that this would be my future career. Ever since I was little, I'd always wanted to be a nurse. That was my lifelong goal. However, when I got to college, reality set in and I realized it just wasn't for me. I happened to come across the education major when I was talking to a friend of mine who was majoring in secondary education. I was so enthralled in how she spoke about the career and how much she wanted to make a difference in the lives of every student she would come across. That conversation got me to thinking about it. I was at a crossroads in my life, I had just had a daughter and I was confused on what I actually wanted to do with my life. In retrospect, I think that this conversation was a sign of some sort. In the short amount of time that I'd talk to my friend, she'd sparked a fire in me that I never knew I had. From that day on, I realized that being a teacher was something that I REALLY wanted to do, I'd just never taken the time to explore all the possibilities. I can honestly say now that I am 100 percent sure that I want to be an educator and I can think of nothing else that I'd rather do.

I believe that many teachers leave college intending on making a difference in the lives of their students. However, this doesn't always happen for many. I've encountered so many teachers who seem like they hate their job and would rather be at home on the sofa watching soap operas. This is not the kind of teacher I want to be. Instead, I want to be an educator. One who inspires their students to reach their highest potential. I want my students to reach goals that they never dreamed possible. I believe that is what an educator should be. Someone who encourages a child when it seems as if no one else will. Of course, being an educator is about teaching subjects and lessons in the classroom, but a teacher should be so enthused about their career that they always take the extra mile. It is so important for educators to show their students the importance of life and finding your own way. So many teachers believe that their job stops when class ends, and that's not the case. I never want my ambition and my love for my future students to die. Hopefully, even after I've been teaching for 30 years, I want to have the same passion that I did on my very first day. I believe that to truly be an educator, you must be passionate about everything you do or say. You must lead by example and give students a reason to want to learn and explore. And when I become an educator, that is exactly what I intend on doing.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home!

I must be honest, at first I was a little caught off guard by the topic of Tom Johnson's blog post "Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home!" Were these two teachers really discussing the negative effects of students taking pencils home? It sort of disturbed me. However, after reading the post, I understood the argument that Johnson was trying to make. No matter what the problem, it is always important to offer solutions whether than arguing about who's right or who's wrong. Regardless of whether Javi or Johnson was right when it came to the fact of pencils influencing low test scores, Johnson offered positive ways that students could use pencils at home because after all, it was inevitable that some students would take the pencils home.

It seemed a bit silly to suggest that the idle use of pencils would influence low test scores, but hey, you can't argue with statistics, right? Johnson tries to explain to Javi that finding solutions to a problem is more important than simply focusing on the negative and trying to drill this into a child's head. I think it was important that Johnson got the parents involved, because after all, teacher's can't always be there. If they provoked positive learning and activities with their children using the pencil, then students would, in return, carry that mindset into the classroom and no longer think of the pencil as just a toy to scribble with.

Even though Johnson believe the statistics to be inaccurate, he still saw the problem and thought of ways to not only address the problem, but to solve it. I believe every teacher should find ways to implement this into their classroom. I can remember when I was in the 2nd grade and my teacher, Mrs. Strope, noticed that I would always finish my work early and as a result, I would begin talking to the other students and interrupt the completion of their own classwork. Instead of scolding me and writing me off as a talkative child, Mrs. Strope took the time to buy workbooks for me to complete on occasions when I finished my work earlier than the other students. When I'd complete an entire workbook, she'd give me a surprise. Because of this, she suggested to my parents that I get tested for the PACE program. I still remember that kind gesture all these years later. Instead of Mrs. Strope focusing on the negative and calling my parents to scold me about my talking in class, she noticed the problem and implemented solutions for it. I hope to do the same in my future classroom.

Pencil man

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Post #9

What I've Learned This Year

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr. McClung's first post about his experiences during his first year of teaching. As a future teacher, I've always been curious to know what a teacher's first year would be like, because personally, I am TERRIFIED of beginning my first year of teaching. However, Mr. McClung's blog post about his experiences eased my troubled mind just a tad bit. He talked about how no teacher is perfect, and how we shouldn't plan to be perfect. One thing I've learned from both my professors at South and Dr. McClung is that no matter how much we prepare and plan a lesson, 9 times out of 10 it will always change, so teachers should be flexible. McClung also brought out a great point about the fact that a teacher's teaching should be focused around the student, and that teacher's should also be able to listen to their student. I agree. While it is extremely important to impress administrators, it is more important to focus on your students so that you will provide the best education possible for them. Another thing that Mr. McClung mentioned that is stressed very heavily in EDM 310 is that teachers should be less afraid and more open-minded when it comes to technology. After taking EDM 310, I know this all too well. I have become increasingly aware over the semester of how important technology is and how it can transform the classroom and the effectiveness of teaching.

I also read Mr. McClung's second post after the 2009-2010 school year. Mr. McClung talked about how, this year, he'd moved to a larger school and had to change from teaching 6th to 8th grade. Mr. McClung had to adapt to a new environment and new students, but this experience taught him how important it is to be able to adapt and how change makes us better teachers. This really got me to thinking about my future career. I am so set on wanting to teach 2nd graders, that I never even really thought about the fact that I might end up teaching kindergarten or even 5th graders when I start teaching! This post really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to be able to adapt and to take any curve ball that is thrown my way. One point that Mr. McClung made that I thought was so cute and heartwarming was that he found a "school mom" at the middle school where he was teaching. When he talked about this, I could picture teachers who had previously taught me that would be considered a "school mom" by other teachers and it brought a smile to my face. I can only imagine how scary it can be to be a new teacher, and I thought this piece of advice from Mr. McClung would be very helpful for future teachers.

An ego can be one thing that can prevent us from being great teachers to our students and Mr. McClung made sure to tell readers to "check your ego at the door." Sometimes we have to go above and beyond to make a lesson interesting for students, even if that means making a complete fool of yourself. We have to show a love and passion for what it is that we're teaching because if we don't, why should the students? I thought that this was a great point to make because many new teachers may be concerned about doing things wrong when it comes to teaching. I believe there isn't necessarily a "wrong" way of teaching, as long as it benefits you and your students in a positive way and provides learning for your students. McClung also advised us not to be such control freaks, and to allow students to have a little independence. Mr. McClung also encouraged teachers to not lost sight of what's important, the STUDENTS, and that even after we think we know it all, there's still a lot more to learn.

chalkboard, pencil and apple

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream

I can honestly say, after watching Dr. Richard E. Miller's "This is How We Dream" video, that although I am familiar with writing with multimedia, I am not fully prepared to write with multimedia in the advanced way that Miller discusses. His ideas and plans are very in-depth and amazing, but it would take a great amount of time and skill to master. Miller discusses how we should write in such a way that not only do we include text in our writing, but we add sound and video to compose a document. He encourages us to share our work on the internet for everyone to see and to pull different resources, such as videos and sounds, from numerous websites and use them as tools to enhance our compositions. Writing has changed over many years, and it is no longer just putting words onto paper. It is about interacting with what we are writing about, and showing our words, rather than just telling. Miller talks about how writing was once just a solitary activity, but now we have different online tools that can help us to collaborate with others.

Teaching this new method of composing in the classroom would definitely be a challenge at first, especially for elementary students. For so many years, students have been traditionally taught through books, but now technology has become more and more popular in the classroom and books are no longer the only (and most effective) way of teaching material. I do think it is a good idea to expose students to this new way of multimedia writing because at an early age, it can expose them to the necessary uses of technology and how helpful multimedia can be in helping students to learn and compose.

Composing with multimedia, in my opinion, is so much more interactive and appealing to students rather than just reading words on a page. I believe that if you asked any student if they'd rather read about a certain period in history in their textbook or watch a movie about it, most would choose to watch the movie. This is because most students are visual and would gain more knowledge by watching material. It would be such an amazing thing to see students composing different types of work using prints and moving images and to see how they develop and grow by using these tools. I believe it would open up a whole new world for them. As long as the teacher is well equipped to teach this sort of writing and is enthused about it, the possibilities are endless.

Blog Post #12 by Carly Pugh

First I just want to say what a great and enthusiastic writer Carly is! When I was reading her post, I couldn't help but imagine that I was sitting right there with her listening to her talk. I think Carly's idea was so cool, and could be very motivating for future teachers in order to get them to start thinking about what are there goals and philosophies as a teacher? I know that as a student studying to become a teacher, I get so wrapped up in my classwork and classes, that I forget to sit back and think of what it will be like when I ACTUALLY become a teacher. What will be my purpose? What will I expect from my students? How will I go above and beyond in order to impact the lives of my students? These are the MOST important questions that should be asked, and we should start looking for the answers now. And I believed Carly hit the nail on the head with her blog post.

Carly came pretty close with meeting the requirements that Miller talks about in his "This is How We Dream" video. She discussed many topics without just her thoughts, but she shared videos that showed the ideas of others. Carly invited us into her world of thinking, and not only expressed how she felt about certain topics, but she SHOWED us also. I especially liked the video that she added at the end that asked the six questions. This really inspired me to ask myself these questions in my daily life, and if the answer was "no" to any of them, I should strive harder. Well done Carly!

The Chipper Series and EDM 310 for Dummies

Both The Chipper Series and EDM 310 for Dummies were such cute and funny videos that gave a little insight into what EDM 310 was all about. The most important messages from the video was that although EDM 310 can be a bit overwhelming at first, there is always a way to find help if you only look and ask for it. And idea for a video that I would like to participate in would be one that was a specific tutorial on how to use a tool that we use on a daily basis in EDM 310, such as Google Docs or Blogger. Although there are probably already thousands of tutorials out there, I think a tutorial from an EDM 310 student would give a fresh take on how to use these tools and would be very helpful to students.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

"Learn to Change, Change to Learn" discussed many different topics about the way students learn. The people in this video talked about how students no longer learn in the traditional way, and how they should now be learning skills that will be necessary in their future. It is not just about knowing facts, but also being able to use the tools necessary to find information. Students should have access to many resources such as different laboratories so that they can have hands on experience with different subjects that they are learning about. Students should be able to interpret information as well as networking and being able to develop their own personal learning environments. Students should be able to freely use their creativity and individuality in the classroom.

I agree so much with this video. Most students no longer learn in the traditional way. They are so involved in technology and use it on an everyday basis, that this is the way that they've begun to learn. One comment on the video that I read asked where were the student opinions? I thought this comment was very valid. Hearing these thoughts from the mouths of the students themselves would be so much more effective, instead of hearing teachers talk about what students think. So speaking as a student, I completely agree and I think it is absolutely necessary for the classrooms to evolve from the traditional methods to methods that would be more effective for students' learning and preparing them for the future.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Project #9b

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

In Randy Pausch's last lecture, he discusses his life and what he's achieved thus far and encourages his audience to pursue their goals and do everything in their power to reach them. Randy Pausch is such a remarkable teacher and human being. His lectures and life story are so inspiring and encourages me to be the best teacher I can be. He also encourages me to teach my students things that will better their education and that they can also use in their lives.

Randy Pausch begins his lecture by remembering his football coach who he said was hard on him in one particular practice and at the end of the practice, the assistant coach reminded him that it was for his own good that his coach was so hard on him. He taught him that when people stop telling you what you did wrong, then that means they have given up on you. I believe this is so true. It is so necessary for us as teachers to never give up on our students. Teachers, along with parents, are the guiding light for children and if we no longer have faith in them, who will? It is our responsibility to steer them in the right direction and if they make a mistake, we should teach them that mistakes are okay, as long as you learn from those mistakes and correct them in the future. I would not be the student, mother, and young woman that I am today if my teachers or parents had ever given up on me. I must remember that in my future career.

Pausch's most important piece of advice for us all would be to never give up. Of course, we've heard this so many times before. But coming from Pausch (knowing his terminally ill condition), it seemed to take on a whole new meaning. Pausch had been told by his doctors that he only had 3-6 month of a healthy life left. Many people in his position would just choose to give up on life, but Pausch continued on to lecture because it was truly his passion. He was such a leader and innovative in the classroom and implemented new techniques that had never been done before. Pausch knew how to inspire his students and to also have fun while doing so. I believe that is one of the most important aspects of being a teacher. You must know how to engage your students and make learning FUN for them. This is exactly what Randy Pausch did. I hope one day I can be half as great of a teacher as he was.

Lastly, Pausch's lecture makes me think about my own future goals and what I hope to accomplish in the future and what I have already accomplished thus far. What will my legacy be? I am young, and I still have my life ahead of me but as Randy Pausch so eloquently demonstrated, life can sometimes be shorter than we think so it is important for me to start working towards my goals now. I think my most important goal is to be a successful teacher who leaves a mark on my students. I don't want to be one of those teachers who students don't even remember once they graduate. I want to be an outstanding educator who goes the extra mile for my students, so when they graduate from high school and even college, they will remember me as their elementary school teacher who always pushed them to work harder and to do things that they never thought were possible.

Randy Pausch

Progress Report For PLN Project #10

I have created my Personal Learning Network (PLN) while enrolled in EDM 310. I organize all of my websites and blogs using Symbaloo. This program makes everything easy and so much fun, while right at my fingertips! On my Symbaloo I have links for my Gmail, EDM 310 class blog, the Mobile Register as well as CNN, Youtube, Twitter, Blogger, and Facebook. This tool is very useful to me now and I can only imagine how beneficial it will be in my future classroom by helping me to keep up with current events, as well as logging different websites that can be used to supplement my teaching.


C4T #2

I visited the blog of David Wees, a mathematics teacher at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. Wees's first blog post that I read titled "New Math Equals Trouble, Education Expert Says" was a rant about an article written by Michael Zwaagstra. Wees was particularly disturbed by the comments that Zwaagstra made attributing student's lack of understanding of math based on the fact that teachers did not correctly teach the "new math" and that students should know basic mathematical skills. Zwaagstra made many accusations without the necessary resources to back it up. Wees wrote that having a complete understanding of math was about knowing both basic computational skills, problem solving and understanding the subject as a whole. I agreed with Wees and commented that as a student, I believe it is important to be well-rounded and to know various aspects and skills in a subject, rather than just the basics.

In Wees's second post titled "Math of the Game Portal" and in this post Wees talked about a video game Portal , a game which used math in order to win. Wees discussed how he used algebraic equations, strategy, logic and puzzle solving in order to win each level of this game. I commented and expressed how wonderful this could be to use in a classroom because it would be fun and engaging for students, while also reinforcing necessary mathematical skills.
Portal Game

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student

After watching The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler, it caused me to learn a lot more about EDM 310 and why it is so important. I admit that when I first started EDM 310 I was so overwhelmed and often thought to myself, why is all of this technology talk so important? From my first day until now, I have learned TONS of new information that I would have maybe never known if I wouldn't have taken the class. I understand the advantages to being a networked student, and I realize that the skills I am learning now will last a lifetime and help me to become a technologically-literate and well informed teacher in the future.
Wendy Drexler

Wendy Drexler asks the question "Why does a networked student even need a teacher?" I can understand why many people would think that a networked student would have no need for teacher. The student finds all of the information on his own and creates his own personal learning environment that teaches him things that he needs to know. However, what good would all this information be if the student did not know how to correctly use and interpret it? There is such a large amount of information on the internet, some of which is useless and can often be misinterpreted. In order for the student to learn as much as he can from his network, he needs the necessary skills in order to use this information. That is where the teacher comes in. The teacher is a guide for the student, there to help him learn the skills necessary to make the most of his network. Even though it is left up to the student to create his own network and learn from it, the teacher is the key fact in helping him to create it.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

The 7th grader's personal learning environment is similar and different in many ways from the blog that students create in EDM 310. In the 7th grader's blog, both her personal and school information is located on the blog. However, on our blogs in EDM 310 only school-related information is posted. In EDM 310, we have different assignments and posts that are due every week, while the 7th grader can choose what to do each day. In my opinion, EDM 310 blogs are more structured, and while we have freedom to write our own opinions about different assignments and topics, every post is one that is assigned to us and that we must do by the due date. The 7th grader talks about how she contacts different teachers and people in the education field about different topics, which is similar to our C4T assignments. Overall, regardless of what type of PLE we create, they are all useful in helping students learn and develop a network that will help us in the future.

Project #8

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Project #9a

Blog Post #5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod is an associate professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is also the founder of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. Dr. McLeod's post "Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please?" is a tongue-in-cheek way of making fun of the old-fashioned parents who think technology is a bad source of information for children. I thought McLeod's post was both humorous and entertaining, but it also proved a point of how technology is so important and advanced, and that if parents and educators do not expose the youth to it today, they will not be prepared and have a "leg up" in the future. I completely agree with his thoughts and views. When I do become a teacher, I have every intention to incorporate technology into my classroom in any and every way possible.

The iSchool Initiative

Travis Allen was a 17-year-old high school student who came up with the idea of the "iSchool Initiative" which was a proposal to change our schools into a complete mobile learning system. Amazing, right? I was so impressed by how in depth and though out this plan was, considering it was created by a high school student. Allen's proposal consists of a complete mobile learning education, in where students and teacher's would use the Apple iTouch in order to communicate, complete classwork, and keep up with assignments. Students could use apps an tools such as the scientific and graphing calculator, email, chemical touch, and the U.S. Constitution. This information would be right in the palm of the student's hand, and would also give parents an opportunity to keep track of their student's progress. The iSchool Initiative would decrease our carbon footprint completely. All books and assignments would be on the iTouch, eliminating the need for paper and pencil.

Although Allen's idea is brilliant and very earth-friendly, I believe it would take several years for schools to even think about incorporating the iSchool Initiative into the curriculum. It has so many advantages, however, there are many schools who have teachers that do not even use technology in their classrooms yet. It would be a huge step to convert every part of the school's curriculum into a hand held mobile device. There will always be people who think the traditional ways are what have worked for students thus far, and that those traditional methods should remain as the foundation of what education is built on. The iSchool Initiative is a great idea and maybe some years down the road, it will be used internationally in every school and be available to every student.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

WOW! After watching this video, I was stunned by the outcome. How could people who have never met or rehearsed together sing this beautiful song with such grace and harmony? The video was very moving and showed that the possibilities of technology were endless. Who would have ever thought to create a virtual choir? Obviously Eric Whitacre! I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and felt inspired to think outside the box when it comes to ways of using technology.
Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir

Teaching in the 21st Century

Kevin Roberts's video "Teaching in the 21st Century" is a compilation of many ideas and thoughts that express how technology is changing the way that students learn, and therefore changing the way that teachers should teach. Teacher's a no longer providing the "what," but are now being focused on providing the "how" when it comes to teaching students. Robert's suggests that students are capable of finding information anywhere on the internet, but he makes a point that this information is useless if a student does not know how to correctly use and interpret it. Teachers should encourage their students to CREATE. This most important when it comes to learning because it encompasses so many different skills that will be most useful to a student.

Roberts ideas and views were so accurate in describing how students should learn in this technology-driven world. There are so many resources and so much information available to students that teachers are no longer the go-to source for finding information. I believe that it is now up to the teacher to show students how to use these resources to their fullest potential. As a future educator, this video caused me to look at teaching in the 21st century in a whole new way. Throughout this course, I've learned so much about technology and how it should be incorporated in the classroom. However, this video really caused me to think of the skills that I will have to show my students in order for technology to be useful to them now and in the future. What good would all this technology and abundance of information be if our students did not know how to correctly apply it to their lives? That's what teachers should focus on, and as a result this will produce a more capable and better prepared generation of learners.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Post #4

Eagle Nest Radio and Class Blog

First, let me start by saying that listening to this podcast, I would not have thought it was done by 3rd graders! Kudos to the little guys for doing such a great job and keeping me interested in what they had to say! Kids never cease to amaze me, and these sort of things are exactly the reason why I am looking forward to becoming a teacher!

Prior to this class, I hadn't listened to many podcasts so I did not know much about them or how to even make one. My idea of a podcast was listening to someone ramble on and on about a topic. It didn't interest me very much. However, after listening to the Eagle Nest Radio's podcast titled "All Roads lead to Rome," my thoughts have certainly changed. I loved how the students used different approaches to delivering the information. The podcast was very interesting, while also informative at the same time. They made it fun for the listener, and I think that's very important! This inspired me to try to think of a new and creative approach to delivering my group podcast. I also liked the music in the background, which made the podcast sound much better and easier to listen to. It also added to the theme of Rome and helped my mind to travel to the time period that the students were referring to. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast and look forward to incorporating some of their ideas into my group podcast.

third graders dressed up as ancient Romans

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

After watching "The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom" by Joe Dale, I learned so many techniques and ideas that I could use in my future classroom. I never realized how helpful and convenient podcasts could be. It is not only helpful to students to receive extra study materials for test, but podcasts can also be used for projects to help students interact with each other and think outside the box. It is not a traditional method that has been used in the classroom, but it is definitely an aspect of technology that should be implemented in every classroom curriculum!

Podcasting is also a great tool for the classroom because it is something students are familiar with and can relate to. Just think, how many students listen to the radio on a regular basis or own a ipod or mp3 player of some sort? I would say 90% of students. So why not implement podcasting in tue classroom as a way to connect with your students in their daily lives? I wish I would have had podcasts of my lessons available to me when I was in middle and high school. It would have been so helpful. Another important topic that was discussed in the video was the fact that students who have missed class because of an illness could have a way to interactively be a part of the class without physically being there. The process of creating and uploading a podcast is one that is simple and easy for students, and provides a new way of learning that is fun and memorable. Another great thing about podcasts is that it also allows parents and other family members to see what is being done in the classroom.

100 Ways to Use Your Ipod to Learn and Study Better

iPod Touch

After reading through the site and glancing at all the tutorials and information that was provided, I was a little overwhelmed at all the different tools that could be used on the iPod. I do own an iPod, but I honestly only use it for music purposes. I am definitely going to start to use it to it's full potential now, since I know all the academic tools that I can use. It can be very helpful for me in EDM 310 as well as my other classes.

I read one of the articles that was linked on the site, titled "Learning Podcasting" by Carolyn Wood. The site gives a quick overview of what a podcast is, how to create one, and what type of podcast can be created. There are many varieties of podcasts, and can be about anything from music to lectures on academic subjects. I learned something that I didn't know from reading the post: the word podcast came from the word "iPod" and "broadcasting" but a podcast can be created on any computer, not just an iPod. Creating a podcast is as simple as having a computer or mp3 device, a microphone, and the appropriate software to edit and convert the file! Also, podcasts range from simple recordings to more advanced and complex podcasts that are heard by hundreds of thousands of people. I learned so much that can be useful in creating my group podcast. The article gives overviews of the Audacity software and also how to turn your podcast into an RSS feed so that listeners can subscribe and be updated when new podcasts are available. This is such a phenomenon that I had no clue about, but it seems very interesting now and I am so excited to start on my podcast with my group to see what creative ideas we can come up with!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

C4T #1

Children's shoes

My teacher is from Auckland, New Zealand where she is the facilitator of the Manaiakalani cluster of schools. She is based at Pt England School where she has been for 17 years. On July 29, 2011 she posted Do Shoes Help Us Learn? In this blog she discussed how it used to be common when she was in primary school for her mom to send her off to school without any shoes. However, when she advanced to high school it was a normal part of her dress code. Regardless, she pondered whether she wore shoes or not, did it really affect her learning experience. In my response to her blog, I was very surprised at how different the kiwi tradition was from that of the United States. It would be so out of the ordinary to see a child not wearing shoes, yet alone a uniform. I commented that I think wearing a uniform (shoes included) did affect children's learning. They would not come to school focused on what to wear or if their classmates had the latest footwear. They would come prepared and ready to learn without any distractions.

My teacher's next blog entry on July 22, 2011 Teacher Dashboard + Google Apps for Education was about Google Docs and the Teacher Dashboard App. She discussed how Google Docs had become very important in the classroom as well as a Google app titled Teacher Dashboard. This application helped teachers to organize their students and their classrooms all online. I was very excited to read this blog because this semester is the first time I've ever used Google Docs and I find it to be a very necessary tool for me, even outside of my school work. I also commented that the Teacher Dashboard was very green because teacher's did not have to use paper when it came to organizing files for their students. It allowed a better connection between the student and teacher. Teacher Dashboard is also very convenient for teachers and is much less of a hassle.

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing: Paige Ellis's Blog Assignment #12
a student holding his paper with five eyes looking on it

Peer Editing has always been a topic that I've had trouble with. As a younger kid, it was always hard for me to critique myself, yet alone have my peers do it also. I was always afraid of failing, so I wanted everything that I wrote to be perfect. I would dread the days in class that we would have to peer edit. I would just cringe at every suggest or critique that my peers would make about my writing. Now that I am older, I've realized that peer editing is such a great tool that can be used in the classroom. It not only allows your peers to make suggestions on how to make your writing better so that you will do well in the future, but it can also allow the person that is editing to view examples of his/her classmate's work so that he/she may gain knowledge of certain writing techniques.

When I read my C4C Assignment #2, it wasn't very much I could critique. There were a few typos and run-on sentences, but I felt that the writer made her blog very personal and many people could relate. If I was to peer edit her blog, I would do so in an email because I feel as if the suggestions and critiques that I make should be kept private. I realize that, although I think peer editing is great now, some people may not feel the same way that I do. Certain people may feel embarrassed or become offended. Just so I could prevent a peer from feeling this way, I would choose to email. I believe the writer would be appreciative of this and once reading my suggestions, she would take the necessary steps to improve the mistakes in her writing.

It's Not About the Technology

I find Kelly Hines's post "It's Not about the Technology" to be a very refreshing take on the use of technology in the classroom. Hines believes that even though technology is very important in this fast-paced society that we live, it is not the be-all and end-all to teaching 21st century students. Hines believes that are four things teachers much recognize in order to impact and help their students move in the right direction. The four points are as follows: teachers must be learners; learning and teaching are not the same thing; technology is useless without good teaching; be a 21st century teacher without the technology.

I remember the second or third time meeting in EDM 310 class, Dr. Strange asked us did we think it was necessary for teachers to be technologically literate? One student answered that every should be technology literate, but not dependent. This goes back to what Kelly Hines said about the fact that technology is useless without good teaching. Technology has become such a huge part of our lives that many teachers depend entirely too much upon it. There is nothing wrong with presenting a lecture in a powerpoint presentation or slideshow, but what if the computer was to crash? Teachers should still know how to teach without solely relying on technology as a means to do so. Technology should be an accessory, not a necessity. I also feel as if teachers should be perpetual learners. You can never stop learning, and I believe there will never be a point in a person's life where they will know EVERYTHING. New ideas are being developed everyday and it should be the goal of every teacher to seek out new information that will be helpful in teaching his/her students.

Is it Okay to be a Technology Illiterate Teacher?

Karl Fisch writes numerous interesting points in his blog post "Is it Okay to be a Technology Illiterate Teacher? and gets many of us to thinking, is it really okay? Fisch talks about the fact that all of teachers today should have basic knowledge of technology and utilize it in the classroom. Fisch compares technological literacy to knowing how to read and write. I honestly thought to myself, is he really serious? Of course everyone knows that technology is advancing exponentially in today's world, but is it really as important as knowing how to read and write? I agree and disagree. I believe that in order for teachers to better prepare their students for life in the future, we should provide them with a basic understanding of different types of technology and its uses. Teachers should stress that the more knowledge that they have about it, the more successful they will be in getting a job.

Although almost all new teachers coming into the field are well versed in computers and technology, many who have been teaching for decades chose to stick to the fundamentals of teaching. Yes, I believe it is important for these teachers to at least know how to work a computer, but is it the end of the world if they don't? No. Students will still receive a great education from a teacher who is well qualified but doesn't chose to use all the bells and whistles. Just because an older teacher doesn't know all there is to know about technology, doesn't mean that his/her students are getting any less of an education. Technology is awesome, but having a great teacher who can motivate a student to learn whether its with the use of technology or not, is even better!
student overloaded by technology

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

My eyes could not stop staring at the numbers on the screen when I watched Gary Hayes Social Media Count. I mean wow! It is truly unreal. As a student in EDM 310 I am continuously being told how important technology and the media is, but to have it shown to me in that sort of way is truly an eyes opener. Every second, the number of items shared on Facebook, or the number of tweets being sent on Twitter, were tripling, even quadrupling. It is amazing how these social media outlets are such a global phenomenon and how it allows you to connect to so many people around the world.

Having Dr. Strange and Dr. Baggett as teachers this semester has really given me a new outlook on how I use the internet as a means of networking. Before, I only used Facebook and Twitter as a means of personal entertainment. However, in the last few weeks I've learned just how important it will be for my professional career in the future. There's so much to learn out there, and with the use of the internet, knowledge is right at my fingertips! If I had questions about a certain topic that I was teaching, I could use Twitter as a way to get an answer. I could gather all different ideas and opinions from people all around the world. It is absolutely amazing to me! These social media tools have opened new doors for teachers now and in the future, and will allow us to learn so many new ideas. And in return, we will be able to share that with our students.

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today

Michael Wesch's video "A Vision of Students Today" was very moving. Being a student, I could relate to it in so many ways. Many students are not focused, and simply waste their money on tuition paying for classes that, 50% of the time, they will not attend. Why is that? Because many students are bored and unmotivated by a professor sitting and lecturing them for one hour. When I first entered college, I was exactly that type of student. I had so much on my plate, and college was so overwhelming to me. I'd rather focus on things that I was interested in, rather than sit and listen to a teacher talk about something that I would not remember after I took the test anyway. Many students spend more time on the internet and watching TV than they do studying. Wesch shows a different point of view on students in the classroom. He gives them a voice and an opportunity to explain what they really think.

At the end of the video, Wesch suggests that technology may be the answer to these problems. I am sort of on the fence about this theory. I believe that students are much more interested in class when different kinds of technology are used, simply because it is something that the students of today are more familiar with and find more engaging. However, the students still have to be motivated to learn. This is, in part, up to the professors. This video can give different teachers and school staff and opportunity to evaluate what is really going on in the classroom. If they know these things, they should try new approaches in order to help to alleviate these problems. I am not saying it is their sole responsibility, but if many teachers know that there methods are ineffective, shouldn't they take the necessary steps in order to improve? I think so. Many professors should take their teaching and view it from the students point of view. Teach the material in a way that the students can relate to, and make it interactive. These issues are ones that will not change overnight, but I believe that it is a joint effort. I hope that in the future when I become a teacher, the beliefs and opinions of students like the ones in this video, will have changed and a new outlook on education will have been created.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blog Post #2

Did You Know

Did You Know?

My first response to Did You Know? by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod was complete and utter shock. All I could think to myself after watching the video was WOW. Technology has advanced so much in the last decade and is rapidly progressing. The statistics presented in this video are so amazing that they are hard for me to even believe. Technology has become the driving force of our world. It dictates our jobs, how we interact with people, and even our personal and romantic lives. The world we live in now is no resemblance at all to how it was when my mother was a child. My grandmother would not even know how to turn on a computer, yet alone Google something on the internet.

Technology has become so advanced that for people who are illiterate to it, they are having a much harder time carrying on their everyday life than they would have ten years ago. By the time my daughter is an adult, I cannot even imagine the possibilities of technology. It is evolving at such a rapid rate that a technological device that was created a month ago, will be out of date a year from now. Soon, technological devices will be able to accomplish more and have more capabilities than any human being.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

In Mr. Winkle Wakes, this video gives a different perspective on the changes technology has caused in the world. Mr. Winkle awakes from a 100 year nap where he discovers that technology has taken over hospitals and jobs. Everywhere he turns, he sees unfamiliar devices that he had never seen before. However, Mr. Winkle finds comfort when he returns to a school and finds that every thing is still the same. Teachers were still using traditional methods in order the teach the students.

I find that the video is both right and wrong in how it represents technology in the school. Yes, in a lot of classrooms teachers still use traditional methods, such as writing on a chalkboard and lecturing from a notebook. However, in many classrooms today, teachers are using technology more than ever in order to promote learning. Teachers use methods such a powerpoints, videos and even the advanced Smart Board technology. I believe that technology in the classroom provides a new and exciting method that allows students find interest in the subjects that are being taught. Although it may be looked down upon sometimes because it does not fit into the traditional way of teaching, it is still a very useful and effective tool in helping students to learn. In today's fast growing technological world, it is necessary for technology to be used in the classroom so students will be better prepared for the modern technology that is rapidly changing the world around us.

The Importance of Creativity
Sir Ken Robinson

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Ken Robinson moving discussion where he touched on many points that I had never even thought of or realized when it comes to education and creativity. He discusses how we live in a world that has a hierarchy when it comes to education. We put mathematics and language at the top of the list and teach our students that if you want to find a job and be successful in the real world, you have to excel in these particular subjects. Arts are at the bottom of this hierarchy and because of this, students begin to see arts as an unimportant component of education. As a consequence, children often suppress their creativity and originality because we have drilled into their heads the thought that they didn't need to study music because they'd never be a musician or that they didn't need to study dance because they wouldn't have a career as a dancer. However, over time the world has changed and these ideas are not as true as they once were.

Mr. Robinson also discusses the ways in which we view intelligence. People often have this simple minded view of how smart someone is by how well they excel academically. Mr. Robinson points out that intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct. One person's intelligence can not be compared to that of another. We are all intelligent in different ways. If I excel in academic subjects such as math and science, but my friend is one of the most talented young artists, does that mean I am "smarter" than her? The world has to open its mind to different possibilities and change the foundations of what we have built education on.

Mr. Robinson mentions Gillian Lynne in his discussion, who is one of the most successful choreographers of Broadway musicals. When Lynne was a child, teachers thought that she might have a condition such as ADD or ADHD because she could never sit still during class. However, Lynne's doctor realized that she was a dancer, and just needed an outlet for her to release her passion and creativity. This is so true of many students today. Children excel in so many different ways and for our education system to deem the areas they excel in as unimportant, can be crippling for that child in the future. This video reminds me so much of what we have been discussing in my EDU 301 class, Arts in the Elementary School. We talk about how it is important to incorporate arts into learning because it provides a new way for children to view subjects. It also allows them to utilize their creativity and to relate to the subject in a whole new way. If we provide students a new way of learning through the arts and allow them to express their originality and creativity, who knows what doors can be opened and how successful that child could be in the future.

Cecilia Gault

Cecilia Gault's article and video introduces several interesting points about students in the U.S. A lot of the time our country likes to think that we are the most advanced country in the world but in many ways, we are so behind. One of the reasons that I believe the students in the United States are falling behind is because we have a lazy lifestyle. Many kids today do not use the resources that are provided to us and we don't put in effort. Gault interviews Mr. Ken Robinson, who states that education should find a better balance between science and art and should also find better use of technology.

Robinson also mentions the three myths of creativity. I completely agree with this because personally, I was one of those students who thought that I was born with no creativity and that there was nothing I could do about it. I was so stuck in that mindset that I never put forth any effort when it came to subjects that required me to use my creativity and originality. However, Robinson suggests that creativity is in everyone and that people can be taught to be creative. When I do become a teacher, it will be important for me to challenge my students to unleash their creativity. There is no right or wrong when it comes to originality and students should understand that when they are young. I believe that when students become more comfortable with their own talents and what they are able to do, they will receive a more valuable education and be more open to learning.

Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts

Vicki Davis is an extraordinary teacher who sheds a new light on ways to learn in the classroom. In the video Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts, Davis uses technology to provide her students with a different perspective on how to learn. She allows students to use different technological software and pays close attention to each individual student and how they learn. Davis stresses that different students learn different ways. It is important for teachers to embrace this and try to mold their classroom to the needs and interests of their students. Davis points out that if there's only pencil and paper then every student will not learn.

Davis also makes a great point in the video when she says that many teachers feel "they must know it all to teach it." Davis believes this is not true and I agree. The world is changing so fast and it is completely impossible to know EVERYTHING! And why would us as teachers want to? Teaching should be a learning experience for both the teacher and the student. We may be able to teach a child the fundamentals of a subject, but in return a student can teach us so much about life and experiences that we may have never known. We never stop learning, so therefore we can never know it all!
girl sitting at computer typing


a Wordle which is an arrangement of words that I used in Blog Post #1 to tell about my life
Above is a Wordle that I created highlighting different words used to tell about my life in Blog Post #1.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blog Post #1

My name is Kayla Williams and I was born and raised in Mobile, Al. I am a southern girl who loves Mobile and all it has to offer and I plan to reside here when I complete school and start my career as a 2nd grade teacher. When i first entered into my freshman year of college, I attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After completing one and a half years there, I made the decision to move back home and transfer to the University of South Alabama. Fall 2011 is my third semester attending South Alabama and so far, I am enjoying the journey towards becoming a teacher.

I believe myself to be a very silly person and I love to have fun and just enjoy life. Sometimes school may become too stressful, but I always try to look at situations in a positive way. I enjoy singing, even tho I am very shy and reserved when it comes to singing in public. My biggest accomplishment in my life thus far and my greatest joy is being a mother. I have a 16 month old daughter named Morganne. She is the reason that I work so hard and strive to become successful. In fact, she is part of the reason that I chose elementary education as my major. I am thrilled every time I teach her something new and she understands. Just the other day, I asked her where her nose, eyes, ears, and mouth were and she pointed them all out to me without any hesitation. The same excitement I find in teaching new things to my daughter, I will find teaching to my students. Helping others is a passion of mine and I believe that teaching is one of the most respectable and rewarding careers that one could have.

Response to Randy Pausch on Time Management

Randy Pausch offered many interesting points on time management and setting goals that I had never thought of before. Personally, I have always been one to wait until the last minute to do assignments. However, as I progressed in college I realized that the more I procrastinated, the lousier my work was. Pausch reminded me that it was important to have a plan, and even if I changed things along the way, at least I still had a plan that was guiding me in the right direction. Pausch also listed important steps to follow when completing a task. One that I remembered most was that he said to complete the "ugliest" one first. I couldn't agree more. If you have a long list of things to do and you get the hardest tasks done first, it is much easier to complete the rest because the worst is already over.