Sunday, October 28, 2012

1st PLN Project #10 Progress Report

For my PLN, I chose to use Symbaloo. I like Symbaloo a lot because of the layout. You can color code the tiles in order to easily keep different topics separate. I have my social networking sites, Netflix, and other enertaiment sites such as these across the top. I have several resources from Scholastic in the bottom left-hand corner. In the bottom right-hand corner I have several educators' blogs. I plan to add more resources to help me in my future teaching career. I think Symbaloo will help me keep all of my education resources organized throughout my career as a teacher. Through blogs I will be able to learn from teachers with more experience than me.

Project #12 Book Trailer

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog Post #9

Mr. McClung - What I Learned This Year

At the end of each school year, Joe McClung writes a blog post detailing what he learned during the year about himself as a teacher and how he can better his teaching skills. I think this is a really great idea because he can watch himself grow as a teacher as well as pinpoint how to be even better.

The first of these posts that I read was his reflection for the 2011-2012 school year. He gave two main points in his post, "You gotta dance with who you brought to the dance," and, "Challenge yourself." For the first one, he talked about how he fell into the trap of worrying about what other teachers thought of his methods of teaching more and more throughout the year. He goes on to say that after some thought he realized that it does not matter what the other teachers think of him as long as the kids are having fun and learning along the way. For the second point, he talked about how he had become too comfortable with his ways. He had always taught the same subjects each year, and he was using the same lesson plans each year. He found himself not being as effective of a teacher because of this. Luckily, the subjects he teaches are now different for the 2012-2013 school year, so he was forced to think of fresh ideas.

I think I am really going to have to try hard not to fall into the trap of worrying about what other teachers think of me. I have been sort of bad about worrying about such things my whole life. However, I am gaining more and more confidence in my teaching ability with every class I complete in college, so hopefully this will not be a problem. Like Mr. McClung says, as long as the kids are enjoying the lessons and learning from them, it does not matter what other teachers think. I think the second point he made is super important. Students can tell if a teacher does not care about what he or she is teaching. If the teacher is not enthusiastic about learning, how can the students be expected to be excited about the class? I believe that changing things up and challenging yourself can keep the teaching profession fresh and exciting.

The second post that I read from Mr. McClung is from the 2008-2009 school year. This was his very first year as a teacher, and he seemed to learn a whole lot throughout the year. First, he talked about reading the crowd, or making sure that students are comprehending a lesson. He says he learned that not only is the delivery of a lesson important, but also student comprehension. It is so important for lessons to be student centered. The next thing he learned is to always be flexible with lessons. Any time you plan something for kids, you need to expect for it to not always go as planned, and that is okay. Reflect on the situation and what could have made it better, and try again next time.

Next, he talked about how communication with both students and other teachers is a crucial skill to develop. Fourth, he talks about being reasonable when setting goals for students. Sometimes they will reach the goal successfully, and sometimes they will not. However, no matter what the outcome, they still need encouragement to try again. After this, he talks a bit about not being afraid of technology. I think EDM 310 is definitely helping me with this one! Next he emphasizes the importance of listening to your students. It is important for teachers to care about what is going on in students' lives. Finally, he mentions that we should never stop learning.

This post contains fabulous advice for first year teachers. As a teacher, I want to know my students. I want my students to know that I expect their best from them, but at the same time I don't expect perfection. Their is no such thing as a perfect student, and I think teachers often forget this like Mr. McClung says in his post. Like I mentioned earlier, teachers need to focus on what is important--that students are learning and comprehending. Students need to know that their teacher cares about them. This will create trust and a comfortable teaching and learning environment.

An important decision I have made this year is to stay positive

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blog Post #8

macbook pro

This Is How We Dream

In Dr. Richard E. Miller's lecture, This Is How We Dream, he discusses how writing has changed with technology. First, he points out that pencil and paper are not the most popular materials used for writing anymore. Instead, people use word processing programs on computers. This opens the door to research being done on the internet instead of in a library. Next, he talks about how collaboration through technology is now possible and about composing documents through videos. Other resources for composing documents include iTunes U and educational productions. Not only have the ways we write and compose changed, but also where and how documents are published, that is, through the internet. This allows information to be pushed to many more people than through print alone. Finally, he talks about composing with the web itself.

I find Dr. Miller's thoughts very interesting to think about. It is hard for someone like myself, who has grown up with traditional writing styles, to imagine composing a paper for school without text. It is such a foreign concept to me in fact, that I had to watch the lecture a second time to make sure I was understanding it correctly. However, just because it is a new concept does not make it wrong by any means! In fact, I think this method of composing can make students think deeper into topics. Not only do they have to research and discover what the topic is, they also have to string together different forms of media to make a valid point. This means they have to choose which pieces of media to use very wisely. Therefore, I think this style of composing is genius.

I think I am definitely prepared to write with multimedia. I understand the concept and purpose of it, and I think with a little practice I could write in this new way. Furthermore, I think my students will also be able to do this (probably with even more ease than I ever could!). Children adapt to new technology pretty easily. I can see this being successful in elementary school beginning in about third grade. These students are just beginning to write longer pieces, and they don't know any different than writing with multimedia. It would probably come across as second nature to them! It is exciting to think about the possibilities for the future of education!

Carly Pugh's Post

After reading Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12, I am truly inspired. In her post, Carly described an assignment which she believed should have been assigned in EDM 310. The assignment is to make a playlist on Youtube that illustrates the student's teaching philosophy. She created a list of ten categories of videos, at least five of which would have to be represented on the playlist. Finally, the student would describe how the videos describe their teaching philosophy as well as what the student could use the videos for and how they relate to what they learned in EDM 310. As the last part of the post, she gave an example of what the completed post should look like.

I can definitely see how close Carly came to composing like Dr. Miller talked about. She not only used words to write her posts, but she also left plenty of content to be explained by videos throughout. She did not write about the videos and include the link. She simply let the videos speak for themselves. I thought this made the post interesting because I was not only reading her thoughts, but also watching them. This goes back to the point I made earlier about this type of composing making students think harder. Not only did Carly come up with her own teaching philosophy, but she also searched for and applied videos to illustrate her thoughts. She had to evaluate many videos then decide which ones fit the situation best.

EDM for Dummies & The Chipper Series

EDM for Dummies is a commercial that students in EDM310 created, advertising a book called EDM for Dummies. The book contains helpful instructions on how to work the different websites used in EDM310 including Twitter, Google Docs, and Delicious. The Chipper Series is about a lazy student in EDM310 who always wants to get out of assignments, and do things the easy way out. This continues throughout her life as she tries to establish a career. She finally figures out that she will have to put effort into life, and returns to school.

I think the main message of these two videos is that quality work in EDM310 does not come with ease. The more you put into assignments, the better your grade will be. I think the message extends beyond EDM310 as well, especially in "The Chipper Series." If you only give half of the effort you are capable of in your career and other areas of life, you will also get results that are only half as good as what they could be. Basically, most things good in life don't come easy. You can try to do things the easy way, but it probably won't work out, and you will end up back where you started, just like Chipper.

An idea for a video that I came up with is showing the positive outcomes of working hard in EDM310, and how assignments seem less confusing as the course goes on. I could show a teacher who is completely technologically illiterate and how frustrating this is for the teacher. The teacher could say, "If only I had worked harder in EDM310 and not taken the easy way out!" I could then show the teacher dreaming what life as a teacher would be like with the skills that she should have learned in EDM310.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
discusses the importance of technology in education. The speakers point out that kids live in a very enriching environment with all of the technology they encounter. Yet, most of this enriching technology that kids can learn from is banned in schools. Using more technology in schools could create a community system rather than the current classroom system. Jobs that students today will have one day will entail more than just cut and dry, right and wrong answers. Jobs will require critical thinking beyond what standardized tests can capture. Students need to know how to find, validate, and use information properly.

I think this video makes some great points. The world as we know it is changing very rapidly, and that means that education should also. Why should we ignore all of the technology out there when students need to know how to use it effectively, and they are excited to learn this way? To me, it makes sense to teach in the most engaging manner, and technology is just that. No matter how much schools try to fight it, technology is here, expanding rapidly, and not going away anytime soon. In short, I think we as teachers need to embrace technology and the endless potential it presents to the educational world.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

#3 Comic Strip


Animoto is a powerful video tool. As an educator, I can use this tool to make exciting lessons. Making videos for use in the classroom is made easy through three simple steps: choose pictures, choose music, and share your video. That's right, no complicated steps in between! Animoto makes your photos and music into a professional looking video. This is done through cinematic technology much like a director and editor would put together a major film. You can also add text to explain important concepts, as well as choose pictures to be featured for a longer time than others. Your video can be customized even more by choosing from one of the many themes offered. I know, I know, you are probably thinking that a program as great as this must be expensive to use, but think again! Educators can apply for a free account for use in the classroom! I know that I will definitely be taking advantage of this website when I begin teaching!

#5 Poll

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

C4T #2

zinio logo

The first post I commented on by Dianne Krause is very short, sweet, and to the point. Basically, it just has a link to Zinio, which is a mobile reader. On this website you can subscribe to the digital version of tons of different magazines. You can read them on iPhones, iPads, laptops, and desktop computers. Digital magazines are special because they can include interactive features like videos and live links to other resources.

As always, I began my comment by introducing myself. I told her that I had never heard of Zinio before reading her post, so I went to the link she provided and looked around. I told her my thoughts on how this changes magazines for the better in a lot of ways with all of the interactive elements available. I also let her know that I thought it would be a great resource for teachers to use for educational magazines in their classrooms. Finally, I thanked her for introducing me to this wonderful resource.

The second post I read is also by Dianne Krause. This one is a link to a presentation on Prezi that explains the National Educational Technology Standards in an easy to understand way for kids. The presentation features seven actions for kids to accomplish when using technology. These actions are "make it," "say it," "share it," "find it," "solve it," "protect it," and "use it." I really like the design of the presentation and how it flows. It is done in an entertaining way that will keep the attention of kids.

For my comment, I only briefly introduced myself since I already did on the other comment I wrote to her. Next, I thanked her for sharing the presentation in her blog. I told her that I think that kids will enjoy the presentation and be able to understand it. I also mentioned how it is also good for teachers to watch too to get a clearer understanding of the standards. Finally, I said how I think that this video reminds both teachers and kids that learning can be fun and interesting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

September C4K

apple with school supplies

The first post that I commented on is by Anthony Capps about his third grade class in Gulf Shores. It is about an activity that the class completed with their math teacher, Mrs. Cutter. The class was studying data, so they were paired with a partner to create a poll about where their classmates like to eat. Each pair created a chart to display the data they collected, and a picture of each of these is included in the post. Some of the questions polled include eating outside versus inside, eating at a restaurant versus at home, and fast food versus "sit-down" food.

I began my comment to the class by introducing myself and providing the links to both the class blog as well as my own blog. I went on to tell the class that the questions they came up with are great, and how I would like to answer each of them myself. Finally, I wrote an answer for each pair's question.

The next post I commented on is also by Anthony Capps about his third grade class. However, this time the post was about a Language Arts "Write to Read" activity. The students were to answer a question asked in a previous post about their reading assignment. Anthony began with a disclaimer paragraph for the parents. He said that most of the students did not have time to finish their post due to time, but he still wanted to post them for progress tracking purposes later in the year. He went on to suggest that parents find one area of improvement to discuss with their child. The rest of the post is the students' answers to the question.

I began my comment by introducing myself once again since it had been a couple of weeks since my first comment. I then told the class that I enjoyed reading their work, and they did a great job describing the character's feelings about the situation from the story. I let them know that their posts were great, especially for the very first post of the year. Finally, I told them that I am looking forward to reading more of their posts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blog Post 7

Social media logos around the word connectivity

The Networked Student

Watching The Networked student by Wendy Drexler really got me thinking about the way students are taught in today's world. This video presents the idea of connectivsim, which is using social media to establish a learning network. Instead of learning information from the teacher, students are expected to use technology to build a knowledge base for the particular subject on their own. They can do this by using Google Scholar to find peer reviewed articles, reading blogs on the subject, listening to educational podcasts, interacting with professors and other professionals from around the world, and much more. When valuable information is found, the student can post it on his social bookmarking site. The student can also use the social bookmarking site to discover additional sources of information that other people have found. Once the student has built up his knowledge base, he is ready to create his own blog on which he will express his own opinions on the subject for the world to see. Finally, the student uses all of the information he has learned to create a project. This project can be many different formats including, but not limited to, a video, a wiki, or a voice thread.

Naturally, you might want to know what the point of having a teacher for a class like this would be. Well, much like in EDM 310, the teacher is more of a guide for the students instead of the only source of knowledge. The teacher instructs the students on how to decide if a source is credible or not. She teaches the polite way to ask experts for help. She can clear up any confusion the student may have. As you can see, teachers are still a necessary component in the learning process for connectivism.

I personally think that this is a great method of teaching and learning. No longer does a student receive his information from only one source (the teacher) in one main way (through lectures). Rather, the student can find different perspectives and opinions on topics and use these to form his own opinion. Another benefit is that students can choose which types of resources he learns the best from. One student may learn best from reading numerous articles on a topic while another might learn better from listening to podcasts. Still, another student may learn best from watching videos. With this style of teaching and learning, all of these preferences can be accommodated whereas with a lecture, only those students who learn best from listening are benefited. Another advantage of this teaching and learning style is that the students can return to information at any time during the course to review. With a lecture, if a student misses something while taking notes, they are just out of luck unless a friend wrote it down.


A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

I must say, I was very impressed with what I saw in A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment. This video walks you through the tools used in a 7th grade science class. Each day, students log onto their class blog (much like we do in EDM 310) to see what they will be doing in class that day. Sometimes the students have an assignment to complete or a video to watch, and other times they have the freedom to choose what to get started on. They use a social bookmarking site to keep everything for class organized and together. Like we do in EDM 310, students have a blog for the class to post reflections and other assignments on. Students are expected to conduct research and present the information in a project such as a glogster, a virtual poster. A glogster can include text, graphics, and videos. After completing a project, students interact with scientists from around the world, and get them to review their work. This is sort of like our Comments for Teachers assignment.

I thought it was very exciting to hear a middle school student being enthusiastic about science class. This approach to learning seems so much more fun and interesting than the lecture style classes I was taught in middle school. I think teachers would be smart to take advantage of all of the new technology out there!

As I pointed out earlier, EDM 310 seems to be very similar if not identical to the class presented in the video. Like the student in the video said, I also enjoy having the freedom to complete whichever assignments I want whenever I want to do them. However, with freedom definitely comes responsibility, and that is a wonderful skill to teach to students! They will learn quickly that time wasted in class means more work at home!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blog Post 6

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Watching Randy Pausch's Last Lecture was so inspiring! Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon who had cancer in his liver. He gave one last lecture on Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. He talked about each of his childhood dreams including being in zero gravity and becoming a Disney Imagineer, and how he went about achieving each of them. He then discussed how he enabled the dreams of others. Finally, he talked about lessons he learned as well as advice on how others can achieve their dreams and enable the dreams of others.

Throughout the lecture, there is a ton of great teaching advice built in. In the section of the lecture about enabling the dreams of others, Randy tells the story of a course he created at Carnegie-Mellon about building virtual worlds. It is a project based course for which students must complete a group project every two weeks. The groups change for each project. This is how students earn a Masters of Entertainment Technology two year professional degree. He emphasizes that there is no book learning in the course. To me, this seems to be an extremely effective method of teaching. Students will remember more from actually doing something instead of reading a book and memorizing facts for a test. Project based learning allows students to learn along the way and apply everything they have learned to create a finished product. In my opinion, this not only forces the students to learn the material really well, but also to learn and remember it better. As a bonus, students in Randy's classes loved what they were doing! This reminds us that learning does not have to be a chore, but rather, it can also be enjoyable.

Something that Randy did at the end of the course each semester is have students rate each other as far as contributions to the groups and easiness to work with. He then compiled each students score into a bar graph so they could see how they stacked up against each other. I think that a peer rating such as this would have far more impact on students than a teacher simply telling them they need to contribute more. This encourages self reflection, and students need to be able to do this. I think it is important for students to understand that not every single thing they do is their best work, and there is always room for improvement.

Since the course and masters program took off so successfully, it was decided to start educating kids and getting them excited about computer programming at a younger age. An Alice in Wonderland themed program was developed in order to create what Randy called a "head fake" to teach these skills to a younger crowd. The idea behind head fakes is to disguise learning with fun. I am a huge supporter of this, and I hope to incorporate this into my teaching as much as possible.

Throughout the lecture, Randy discussed running into brick walls when trying to achieve something in life. He says that these brick walls, "are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." This is great advice for teachers as well as for students. Things are not always going to go the way you hope or plan, but as the old saying says, "where there's a will, there's a way." This is something else that I think is important to instill in students not only for academics, but also for all other areas of life as well.

A piece of advice in the lecture that I found to be fantastic is to always appreciate corrections when you mess something up, because as soon as someone stops giving you corrections, it means they have given up on you. As a future teacher, I am setting a goal right now to never give up on a student. As soon as Randy said this, it made perfect sense. Especially as an elementary teacher, the kids I will be teaching will be receiving some of their first tastes of education from me, and I sure would not want to be someone who makes them think they do not have potential to be successful.

Finally, Randy gave some great advice at the end of his lecture. He first says to be good at something and work hard. I think this is great advice for teachers. Every day as a teacher is not going to be sunshine and rainbows, but I do believe that working hard at anything makes it more worthwhile and enjoyable in the long run. Next, he said, "find the best in everybody, no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it." This is of utmost importance for teachers in regards to their students. Every student is good at something, the teacher just has to figure out what that something is. Finally, he said to, "be prepared: 'luck' is where preparation meets opportunity." To me, this means that you need to prepare yourself to reach your desired goal by working really hard for it. Then when opportunity comes along, all you have to do is wait for it to happen. If it doesn't happen the first try, prepare some more and try again.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching this lecture. I gained some great insight into teaching as well as life in general. I hope to incorporate his advice and great attitude in my classroom one day.