Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Project #13 Collaboration

For my group, Google Docs played a large role in how we communicated before we got together to film our videos.

For Project #15, I made a document with the lesson plan we were going to use and shared it with my partner. From there, she read it over and decided what she liked and didn't like, and we edited things out and put some new things in. As far as meeting up, we emailed each other through our Gmail accounts to establish the best dates for each of us. It helped to be able use Google Docs to collaborate. It cut down a lot of time when meeting because we already had our plan.

While working on Project #16, our contest video, we used Dropbox to gather pictures for the slideshow. We also each compiled a list of reliable sources as far as the facts went that we used. For this, we also used Google Docs. I was able to make a list of sources and share it with my partner. She was able to do the same with me. In my opinion, this helped us so much. We could get all of the "busy work" of our projects done so that when we met up, all we had to do was record our videos.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

C4K November

For November, the first blog I received was that of an 8th grader named Elizabeth. She is in Mr. Boylen's class. The latest blog post Elizabeth had was called "Summer of the Monkeys." She spoke about the subject of the book. According to Elizabeth, the book was hard for her to read because it started off slow. She said that she liked the book because the things that happened in it wouldn't happen in the real world. My comment to Elizabeth expressed how I have a hard time getting into books that start slow as well. With that being said, I told her that usually if you stick with it, they turn out to be really good. I also told her that it seemed like she was reading a fiction novel since the things happening wouldn't happen in reality. My favorite novels are those that are fiction, so I let her know that!
Napolean Bonaparte
The second blog that I was assigned to was of a girl named Abigail; she writes this blog about World History. In the most recent post, Abigail wrote about the wives of Napoleon Bonaparte post-divorce. Abigail shared that Napoleon hunted for a wife soon after the divorce because he was desperate for an heir. He wanted one woman, but she refused, so he moved on to the archduchess of Austria, Marie Louise. He eventually married her and had a son before being banished to the island of Elba after losing a war with the Allies. In my comment, I let Abigail know that she did a wonderful job on the post. It was very detailed and informative. I also told her that I was a history major and that European History was my favorite. I loved her post, so I told her to keep up the good work!

Final PLN Report

Since starting my PLN, I have discovered a few more great websites to use on Symbaloo. It helps to have my Symbaloo as my homepage so that I become acclimated to using it. I have separate pages for my personal sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and my education sites (Evernote, TeacherTube, etc.) I am happy to have learned about creating my Personal Learning Network. I feel that when working on projects, my PLN comes in handy. It's definitely become a great tool!

Comments for Teachers #4

iLearn Technology: A Blog by Kelly Tenkely

Title: 512 Path

In the first blog post I read of Ms. Tenkely, she wrote about something called 512 Paths to the White House. She found an interactive infographic that showed the different ways candidates could win the presidency. This was found on the New York Times website. Tenkely thought about different ways she could use this in the classroom: students can test out selecting a winner for swing states, explore the infographic as a discovery center, and use it as a class on an interactive whiteboard. In an upper level math course, students could use this to study statistics and probability. There are other features to teach students about the economies of different states, beliefs of each party, and about political advertising.

In my comment, I told Ms. Tenkely that I was an aspiring secondary educator in history. I thanked her for sharing such a great tool. I let her know that I was not invested in politics, but that I could use something like this in my class to get them interested in elections and politics.

The second blog post includes a video that talks about what we are preparing children for. In essence, we are preparing children for "the next step" instead of preparing them to live a meaningful life. Ms. Tenkely's questions: "when are we preparing kids for life? When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them? When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others? When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers? When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?" These questions are extremely relevant; teachers should teach their subject matter while instilling good values in their students as well. It doesn't matter if you are good at your job, you should still be a great citizen.

My comment to Ms. Tenkely agreed with her 100%. I shared my opinion that we aren't able to teach children how to live because we are too busy teaching them for tests. Teachers are not able to enjoy their career choice anymore because they have no freedom. They have a strict curriculum they have to follow. It takes away the enjoyment of the job. A quote from my comment: "Too many people graduate with bachelor’s degrees that are useless." So true, and so upsetting!

Project #16: 50th Anniversary Submission

Project #15: 1st Grade Math

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blog Post #13

Back to the Future and A Vision of Students Today
Computer screen
In these two videos, technology in today's society is discussed differently. In the first video, Back to the Future, you see that the teacher Brian Crosby teaches his students using a multitude of different types of technology. He shows that you can teach children from any background and bring them together using awesome techniques. Each student in his class is able to use their own laptop. This allows for each child to get the time that they need to learn; they are also allowed to each keep up their own blogs. These blogs talk about what they are learning and to share that with others.

The second video affected me a little more so than the first. Though the first video was quite interesting, the second video, A Vision of Students Today, made me think about my college life. I can agree with most of what was said. I've bought books that I've never used, spent more time on Facebook than doing research, and will be in debt until who knows when.

As an aspiring teacher, I hope that I never have to make my students endure this. I don't want to stick my students in a room and make them bored. I want them to be engaged, so they forget about Facebook. I want to have tools that we use daily and that are interactive, not just dusty books sitting around useless. Students should be submerged in what they are learning, and I want them to enjoy it.

Unfortunately, students in today's education system have to go through this. Classes are boring, and you don't learn anything. You only memorize things for the test and forget them later. Hopefully, I can change that. I want to actively teach and watch my children learn!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Final Project Progress Report

My partner and I are working on a video for USA's 50th Anniversary. We have been throwing around ideas and have thought about interviewing alumni; we plan on asking them how they feel the progress being made at South is making a positive effect on the students here and the community. I've contacted the Alumni Association and have been in contact with a few of them. We plan on taking pictures of the awesome new buildings and projects going on at South and use that in our video as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blog Post #12

As I am a secondary education major concentrating in History, I chose to talk about American government. Here are the instructions I would give my students: Think about our country's government. Read the article What is a Democracy? Do you feel that today's government and election process reflects the "one person, one vote" ideal of a democracy? Why, or why not?
We The People
My response is as follows: I think that today's government has strayed from the original thoughts of what a democracy is. In Greece, one person had one say so. Now, we have representatives that have the say so for us. I think that the Electoral College does not equally represent the people like it should. Today, if the majority of the votes swing Republican or Democrat, the winning party gets all of that state's electoral votes. In my opinion, it should be permitted in all states that electoral votes can be split, depending on how the vote goes in the state. I think that having "swing states" hurts the possibility of other states having much say at all. For example, this past election was already decided before Alaska's polls even closed. I think that the system we have today has definitely gone astray from democratic ideas, though I am not sure that we can do anything about that.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blog Post #11

Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom Technology

In the video I watched entitled First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class, the first graders talked about the different types of technology Ms. Cassidy used with them. They keep up blogs, much like we do in EDM310, though theirs are a lot simpler of course. They also have a class webpage in which they can find links to games and other educational things. In their "center time," they can get on a computer and go to reading pages or listening pages and work on their comprehension skills. The students make videos and also have a Wiki. They Skype other classrooms and experts to learn new things. Something that struck me as interesting was that they use Nintendo DS gaming systems to learn as well.

I am a secondary education major, so I will be teaching anywhere from 6th to 12th grade. In my classroom, I would love to keep up a webpage like that of Ms. Cassidy's. I think it is a great idea to do this, not only to provide links to your students for further learning, but to let absent students know what they missed. Blogging was new to me whenever I started EDM310, but I have come to really enjoy it. I think that providing students with ideas to start up blogs is a great idea; it can help them learn a lot more and also help them to reach out to other learners.

With the age I will be teaching, I realize that it will be very hard to keep them on track. The internet is huge, and students between the ages that I will be teaching can almost always find their way to trouble while using it. I hope to teach them about what is acceptable and expected while they use the internet. I will explain to them that it is something they should not take for granted because not all students have this type of access to knowledge.

I anticipate many benefits by using technology in my classroom. I think it will help me keep on track with my class. I can do this by using a webpage, like I said above, to keep students up to date on what we are doing. On this webpage, I could place a calendar to let students know what we will be doing in the days to come. Hopefully, I can teach my students that being ahead is way better than falling behind. I think technology will keep students attention much better than simple lectures and pencil/pen and paper!

Comments for Teachers #3

Karl Fisch: The Fischbowl

The teacher I was assigned to for this Comments for Teachers was Karl Fisch. He has been teaching for twenty three years in Colorado. In this post, Fisch spoke about how he felt towards political debates and presidential candidates. He did so in an unbiased manner, without putting either candidate down. Fisch said that a debate wasn't a good way to pick a president because it doesn't have anything to do with how they make decisions. For example, the candidates cannot use notes; Karl Fisch said that we would never want our president to make a decision without consulting advisers or notes. According to Fisch, the candidates need to stop trying to win and start having a real discussion.

The comment I left for Mr. Fisch told him that I agreed with him 100%. I informed Fisch that I usually stay out of politics because it tends to all boil down to lies. I feel that the candidates should stop trying to one up each other; they need to focus on what they are going to do for our country and how they are going to do it. Also, I told Mr. Fisch that I felt the media was having a time focusing on who "won" each debate. In my opinion, no one cares who "won" or who lost; if they cannot tell us what they will do to benefit our country, winning will not matter.

The second post I read from Mr. Fisch was entitled "Backwards!" In this post, he linked many different resources, from articles to videos, and spoke a little about each of them. These resources were not based on education at all, but after reading/watching them, Fisch questioned them in accordance to education. For example, one article was from teslamotors.com, and it was about how Tesla is trying to revolutionize cars and their dealerships. They want their stores to be different than other dealerships; they want them to function differently. Karl Fisch asks "Should our schools be intentionally different?" He also asks if we can even change our schools or if we are stuck with what we have.

In my comment to Fisch, I agreed with the questions he was asking regarding education. I informed him that I would soon be an educator and that I really hoped that our schools are capable of change. With that being said, I told Mr. Fisch that I knew change could not happen over night, but we are able to do it. It has to start with the individual teacher before it can progress any further. I expressed my concern that some teachers today keep us from moving forward because they refuse to learn about new technology, and they also refuse to vary their teaching strategies, regardless of whether or not the children are learning. I thanked Mr. Karl Fisch for posting this, and I let him know that the post was interestingly put together.

If you would like to check out Karl Fisch's blog, The Fisch Bowl, you can find the link here! I highly recommend it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comments for Kids: October Summary

I received a blog written by a 4th grader from New York. This student wrote about the similarities and differences in cats and dogs. They spoke about how dogs need a leash, but cats do not. Also, one of their similarities were that both animals need love! In my comment, I told them how much I loved reading their post and that they did a great job. It is awesome to see young children learning about blogs and how to create them!

My second C4K was from a blog written from a girl's school with grades between 10th and 12th. The author wrote about the pros and cons of outsourcing and insourcing when it comes to business. They spoke about how while outsourcing can save money, insourcing helps create jobs here in our country. I commented and agreed with them. I let them now that they did a great job being informative on both sides of the issue. I told them that I supported insourcing more because it helped our country while we are in such hard economic times. I asked them if they agreed that circulation of money through our government is more beneficial to us because that is how I feel. I hope to hear back from them soon!

Third, I received the blog of a little boy named Alex, who is in 5th grade. He wrote about a trip he took with his family to Scottsdale Resort in Texas. They stopped for food before going to the hotel; once they got there, they couldn't get into their room, so they had to get a locksmith. They had even more trouble inside because their shower didn't work! After the maintenance man came to check it out, they were moved to another room. I told Alex that he used great words to describe his trip, and I also told him that I hoped that was the last of their troubles! I asked Alex if Texas was the only place they visited before I let him know that he did a great job on his post.

Next, I was assigned to the blog of a second grader named John Robert; he is in Miss Mac's class in Birmingham, AL. His latest blog post was about sharks. In this post, he including a picture of a shark with the following question posted above: "Did you know that sharks can grow over 1900 teeth?" He also said that sharks had powerful jaws, and that he liked them. In my comment, I told John Robert that I couldn't imagine humans having so many teeth; we would all look silly! I told him that he did a great job on his post, and that is was really interesting!

The fifth blog I was assigned to was called Vitulli & Santoli: Eyes on Ireland. This blog is written by Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santolli while they are participating in the Ireland International Conference on Education. In the post I was given, they described the hotel in which they were staying. It was entitled "Home Away From Home." They spoke about the building being repurposed and how, upon inquiring, they learned that is used to be a school for female orphans. I commented and thanked them for sharing their journey with us; I also told them that I was happy to learn about the history of the building since I am a history major. I always find such things interesting!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Special Blog Assignment


In “A world where grades will be left behind,” Mary Beth Markelin talks about a type of education where “learning will be free and available to anyone who wants it.” In this world of schooling, failure is out of the question, and lesson plans would involve more game-like situations. She speaks with a man named Sebastian Thrun who said, “You want learning to be as much fun as it is to play a video game.”

Sebastian Thrun
Thrun founded an education company called Udacity after he taught a free online artificial intelligence course that had over 160,000 students enrolled. He loved this experience so much that he vowed to never teach in a classroom again. He compares his journey to two pills: one red, and one blue. The blue pill, if you take it, would lead you right back into a classroom where you can lecture your students. According to Thrun, the red pill, which he took, led him to “Wonderland.”

Through programs like Udacity, Thrun hopes to create online courses that are taught by great professors and would be offered (to anyone who would like to take them) for free. Today, technology allows teachers to personalize their way of educating. Not only is Thrun an example, but his friend Sal Kahn is as well. Kahn inspired the idea of “flipping classrooms,” which I blogged about earlier. There are northern charter schools that are advocating game playing lesson plans; in the west, some schools are hoping to make an online education “as affordable as a cellphone bill.”

Thrun calls grades “the failure of the education system;” he says they will not exist in his system. Instead of being graded on everything, a student will master a skill or a concept at their own pace. Exercises and quizzes will progressively get harder as the class goes along in order to help the student better grasp a concept. In a college classroom, you could be surrounded by hundreds of students; with Thrun’s system, you could be in the same class as hundreds of other students, but your education will only be catered to you.

Thrun compares his education ideas to movies and live theater. Movies did not completely replace live theater. Instead, movies were just another form of entertainment that would allow for more people to view them at a lesser price. Thrun's vision of the future: "a message of hope, of aspiration-- not of destruction."


No Grades
I love the idea of not using a grading system in the classroom. In my opinion, putting a grade on something can stress out the student to the point of just memorizing the material to get the grade, instead of actually comprehending anything. I want my students to be able to reiterate what they learned in my class years after leaving me! Understanding a concept or mastering a skill is much more important than graduating with "straight A's" in my opinion.

I also think that education being free, or close to it, opens up so many opportunities for everyone. Many people have to work to support themselves and/or a family, so they naturally do not have the time or money to put themselves through school. Creating a system with free education, or like stated above, education costing as much as a cellphone bill, would let more people get an education. More educated people would lead to a more educated country. You really cannot argue with that.

In my classroom, I plan to lecture as a last resort. I want to involve my students so that they make a memory while learning. If they can do that, they can better remember what they have learned. Because I will be teaching in a public school, grades will be required. Even with this being so, I do not want my students to hang on to just that. I want them to WANT to come to class everyday. If I can get students excited about learning, I believe the grades will improve themselves.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Post #10

Pencil Comparison

I feel that this cartoon is somewhat of a mockery of the PC/Mac comparison. "Hipsters" tend to follow the latest trends and fashions. Because Macs are the "in" thing now, they would naturally lean towards those. Even though Macs are expensive, because they are "cool," people want them. Of course, Macs are great computers, and Apple is a great company, but people don't always buy them for that reason!

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

In this blog post, John Spencer speaks about how he was reprimanded by his boss (the principle) for what seemed to be his children playing games in class. Spencer tries to explain to his boss that it was more than a game to the children, but he doesn't want to listen. Spencer even states that "...soldiers play games. Surgeons do simulations. It's part of their education." Even with this being said, the principle is avidly against games of any kind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and Mr. Spencer's stance on game playing in classrooms. He just wants to teach his students in ways that keep them engaged. I cannot blame him for that; in today's society, it is hard to compete with other technology to keep student's attention. In my opinion, Mr. Spencer should not have been criticized for trying to do that.

No, I Won't Address Pencil Bullying

The second post I read from John Spencer was about "pencil bullying." In this post, he speaks about a conversation he had with a district office representative about bullying. A child had written something about another child and posted it on a wall. The representative wanted Spencer to talk to his class about it, and let them know that there was a zero tolerance policy for bullying of any type. Spencer thought about this and decided against it. He says that we don't think about why a child bullies another; we just put up a no tolerance policy and expect it to fix things when it doesn't.

I agree with Mr. Spencer. I think that bullying is obviously not ideal, but it happens. We all know that, but (especially in schools) we try to completely eliminate it. We know this won't happen, but we fight it anyway. Spencer says that a chat about pencil etiquette in a classroom is not the answer to bullying; the only answer he came up with is love. This is an obvious answer, but in all seriousness would be the only solution to the bullying problem.

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?

I loved this post by Scott McLeod! It speaks volumes in such a small amount of words. I feel that the media has put out so many negative things about the internet that McLeod points out: porn, predators, cheating, etc. My mother was EXTREMELY against me using the internet when I lived at home. Because of this, I missed out on many opportunities to really dive into a subject for a project in class. In my opinion, knowing how to use technology will get you further ahead in life, and I believe that is what Scott McLeod is saying here.

After reading a little bit about Dr. McLeod, I learned that he is a co-creator in the Did You Know? video series. I loved learning about and watching these videos earlier in the year. They have great concepts and are so informational. Now, Dr. McLeod is the Director of Innovation in Iowa for the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Project #10: PLN

Progress Report #1


I have created my PLN using Symbaloo. I find that it was a little more user friendly than Netvibes. After adding websites that I use daily (including email, social networking, etc.), I discovered that Symbaloo has a page (called a Webmix) full of educational websites. This will obviously be beneficial to me when expanding my PLN and also in the future. Another aspect of Symbaloo that I like is that you can have multiple Webmixes and separate them into categories, like Education, News, etc. I can't wait to expand my Personal Learning Network using such a great tool!

After doing a little combing through the different things Symbaloo offers, I decided to see if I could find an app for it on my phone. I have an Android, and there is a great app for this tool. It will make it even easier to use this tool at all times!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog Post #9

Mr. Joe McClung's Blog

Stay Positive

Joe McClung is a teacher who, after each school year that he teaches, writes a blog post about what he feels he learned that year. In this post, I will talk about what Mr. McClung spoke about in two of his posts and also give a little feedback on how I feel about what was said!

Version 4 Post (2011-2012)

Here, Mr. McClung sums up his fourth year of teaching. He spends a small amount of time talking about how this year, instead of worrying about what his students thought of him, he worried more about what his PEERS thought. He worried about how they perceived him as an educator, and if they thought his teaching methods were well put together. Finally, McClung realized that he needed to "stay true to what has gotten [him] this far." It came to him that he needed to only think about the kids and if they were enjoying the subject he taught them. He isn't working for his peers, but for his students. Another major point that McClung makes is that we, as educators, can never become very comfortable with our subject/class. We need to stay on our feet and try to always be creative. If we get lazy with our lesson plans, the students we teach will get lazy with their work and will stop having fun.

McClung is a history teacher, like I am studying to become. I love that he tries to keep his students engaged in the subject he teaches so they do not become bored. I definitely agree that once a teacher becomes "lazy and too comfortable" things get boring. I hope to entertain my class while they learn, so that they will stay interested. As a future secondary educator, I know this will be hard. Teens tend to be hard to work with, but I hope I can do something that makes things interesting so I can grab and keep their attention!

What I've Learned This Year (2008-09)

I chose this post because it was written after Joe McClung's first year as a teacher; I thought it would be very interesting to read about what the year was like from a "first-timer," so to speak. Here, McClung spoke on a number of different things. First, he reminded us to make sure that our lessons are student centered. They are the ones we are teaching, so make sure they get it! Our job as teachers is to ensure our students are comprehending what they learn. If they aren't, we are doing something wrong. Second, lesson plans don't go as planned. We may work our hardest to get what we think are great lesson plans together for class; but McClung says don't be surprised or hurt if nothing goes according to THAT plan! No lesson is ever perfect, so don't stress out over it! Another huge point McClung made was that you need to communicate in the workplace in order to keep drama at a minimum. We need to build strong relationships with our students and fellow teachers; if we cannot communicate, that can't happen.

I think my favorite point made by Mr. McClung in this post was that we cannot set our expectations too high for our students. If we do this, and they don't meet those expectations, we will be upset. As educators, we need to avoid doing this period. We need to be there for our students if they mess up; they need someone to tell them that they can do it and that we are there to help. One of the reasons I wanted to become a teacher was so that I can make a difference in the lives of the children I teach. I want to listen to them and learn about them and who they are. Maybe, like Mr. McClung said, I am the only one who will listen to them. I hope as an educator I can not only keep learning about what I teach, but also keep learning about each and every one of my students. If I can't do that, then what am I here for?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Project 9B: Prezi

Blog Post #8


This is How We Dream: Dr. Richard Miller

In the set of videos I watched today (Part One and Part Two), Dr. Miller talks about how we no longer work in libraries with pen and paper. Today, we work on laptops or desktops with a multitude of programs at our fingertips. Books are written, published, put in libraries, and basically forgotten about. You can buy books online for virtual readers at such cheap prices, that print is almost useless. Due to technology, we are able to skip going to the library. All we have to do is press the power button on our computers, and we can basically find whatever we need. For example, Dr. Miller wrote an entire informative paper on the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings without stepping foot in a library. Today, we are able to do these things easily due to how far our world has come technologically.

Technology has also affected how we work together in groups. Collaboration is so much easier because we can simply video chat with each other, or email each other. There are many ways to communicate through the internet; this helps us get things done because our world is so busy on a day to day basis. The internet is limitless, and we need to learn that. Dr. Miller says that we put limitations on ourselves when in reality, we have no restrictions as to what we can do or discover. Dr. Richard Miller made his videos, put them on YouTube, and within three months, had 9,000 views. Had he published a book with the same ideas, there is no way he would have gotten the same reaction. Technology allows us to put our ideas into our culture and get almost instant feedback.

At this moment, I am not prepared to write with multimedia, but I feel that I am learning how everyday. By the time I become a teacher, I hope to have learned how to do this so that I can pass it on the my students. They will be able to do this, so that they can learn in new, fresh, creative ways!

Blog Post #12: Carly Pugh

I loved reading Carly's Blog Post #12! I can really tell that she worked hard on researching and gathering all of the videos together to get her point across. The Disability Means Possibility video was my favorite; I feel that we need to teach our students to think differently, especially when it comes to each other. In the short 45 seconds of this video, that is portrayed greatly. Another one of my favorite videos Carly shared was Creativity to the Rescue; I think that this video reminds us of the importance of creativity and that we need to embrace it!

Carly did a great job writing with multimedia in my opinion. I feel that she did awesome explaining everything she wanted to do through the videos that she found. Her class should be very interesting, and I know that she will keep her students having fun!

Creating Videos

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies are two videos created by EDM310 students about working hard. In The Chipper Series, a student speaks with Dr. Strange about how she feels that she doesn't have to do the work needed to pass the class. After quitting the class, and having many other problems, Chipper (the student) decides that school is really what she needs to pursue. She learns that procrastination isn't the way to go, and that she really needs to get her education. In EDM310 for Dummies, two women talk about the things that you will learn in EDM310 and how doing your work on time is important.

I think that I would like to create a video teaching students about responsibilities of a college student in any class. If we want to become professionals, we have to act like professionals. Maybe in the video, I could have dos and dont's of certain situations: interviews, classroom ettiquette, etc. I could also talk about how procrastination gets you nowhere but Stressville. I could brainstorm a few other tips as well, so that I could help aspiring college students make their way through skill as smoothly as possible!

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

I definitely agree with the arguments about schools in this video. One of the points I loved was that technology is not a choice. We have to deal with technology because it is so prevalent in our society. We need to embrace it and use it daily in our classroom. A second point that stood out to me was that applying standardized testing to our schools is foolish. I agree 100%. I loathe standardized testing and what it takes away from teaching and learning. Teachers are not allowed to be creative anymore because they have to make sure they teach what will be tested; it is unfair to the teacher and to the students that schools are this way today! Students should not be memorizing things for tests only to let that information slip out of their mind later. We have to teach our students to find information and evaluate it! Learning is not spitting back facts; learning is comprehension, and we have to get our schools back to that!

Web 2.0 Scavenger Hunt

2.) Prezi is an amazing tool that students and teachers can use to create interesting presentations for free/cheap. On this site, they offer different profile prices. For students and teachers, there are two different price packages. The first is free, and it comes with 500 MB of storage space, private Prezis (if you want them to be private), and you can make your own logo to use instead of Prezi’s logo. The second offers a little more for $4.92 a month; you get all of the features of the free package, but you get 2 GB of storage, Prezi desktop (used for offline editing), and 24 hour support. Great deals for such a great tool!

4.) Animoto is a cool video creation program; you can create a profile for free and produce 30 second videos, or you can pay for a subscription and create longer presentations. I created a profile and linked it to my Facebook; this way, I was able to use my pictures straight from there! It lets you rearrange pictures and add text slides as well. You can set the video to music too! Here is the video I created about the birth of my son, Bryson!

Try our video maker at Animoto.

5.) There is also a program to create polls on Web 2.0!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comments for Teachers #2

Dr. Strange's Strange Thoughts: a Blog by Dr. John Strange

Blog Post #1: Facts

Dr. John Strange is a professor of Professional Studies at the University of South Alabama. I have the pleasure of having him as my professor in EDM310. I was assigned to his blog for my second Comments For Teachers assignment. The first blog post of Dr. Strange's that I read was entitled "Facts." In this post, Dr. Strange expressed his opinions on the irrelevance of facts in education. He met someone in New Jersey on their Board of Education who was so happy that they were requiring children to learn specific dates in history (i.e. Civil War dates). Dr. Strange went on to say that we should be worrying about teaching children how to gather information and evidence in order to be able to answer a question. We should not be teaching them to simply spit out a date. Lastly, Dr. Strange talked about how students cannot find accurate facts online in fear that they aren't correct. You never know if something is a true fact or not, so why bother with making that a requirement?

In my comment, I totally agreed with Dr. Strange. I expressed to him that I was a history education major and would be dealing with facts for the rest of my career. Even with that so, I informed Dr. Strange that I felt that we should be teaching our students about concepts and deep thinking. We should not be telling them minuscule facts and expect them to memorize them for a test. I often talk about how teachers today are made to "teach a test." This is evidently so in schools today; you can pick up any student's test in any class and see that it is generally multiple choice, with factual questions. Why don't we challenge our students? Being challenged is what they need in order to use their brains the way they were meant to be used!

Blog Post #2: Lectures

In this blog post, Dr. Strange speaks about lectures and how today, they are being questioned as to their effectiveness. He provides information about a man named Jeffrey Young, who wrote about a couple of teachers at Kansas State University with conflicting views on lecturing. One was an anthropologist named Wesch, and he believed that we should find new ways of teaching. According to him, the goal in teaching is for the professor to form a bond with the student. The second, a physics professor named Sorenson, strongly believed in lecturing. He felt as though a professor had to lecture in a way that their students would become interested in the subject, like a salesman with a sales pitch. Dr. Strange spoke of a few pros and cons of lecturing. Some positives are that they are cost effective in relation to credit hours, and they can create interest in a subject. On the other hand, students do not have long attention spans, and lectures tend to be too long; because of this, the learning isn't effective.

In my comment, I agreed with Dr. Strange's post. I let him know that I felt that students have become used to "fast service." They don't get instant gratification learning from lectures because you actually have to study the material, instead of it clicking in your mind. I also told Dr. Strange that I would love to use different types of teaching methods once I graduate with my Secondary Education degree in history. I want to have projects in which students constructively work together and learn new things. Maybe I can even incorporate videos to help students learn better. I also hope to somehow use Google tools as well. I have learned so much about them in my EDM310 class, and I hope to pass those skills on to my students!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

C4K #1 Summary for September

Third Grade

Mr. Capp's Third Grade Math Class

My first C4K post was on a 3rd grade math class's blog. Mr. Capps keeps up the blog with all of the activities they do as a group. In this particular post, he talked about a game they called "Close to 100." The children were given a selection of one digit numbers. They were to choose two numbers to pair together to make a large number. For instance, if they had a 6 and a 1, they could make 61. They would choose among their other numbers to try to make something that would add to 61, and come as close to 100 as possible. This taught his students place value, along with addition and subtraction. The kids seemed to love this game, and it kept them very involved!
New Zealand

Charlee's Blog

The next C4K post I was assigned to was that of a young girl named Charlee. She goes to school in Auckland, New Zealand and is in her 5th year. She made a video about the gymnast Nadia Comaneci telling everyone a little about her. Charlee seemed very interested in the subject, and she did a great job on her video!

Project #8: Podcast

Blog Post #7


The Networked Student

For this blog post, we were to watch a video entitled Networked Student. In this video, the narrator speaks about a student who uses technology to learn new things and communicate with a multitude of people. They talk about how the specific tools used are not important, but the communication made is what matters. For example, the student in this video is learning about American Psychology. He creates a document sharing profile in which he can share what he finds about his subject while also being able to access information shared by others! In addition to sharing sites, the student researches different blogs to find more information; he can also subscribe to these blogs so he will be notified if anything new is published.

Another major point spoken about in this video is what the narrator called the student's Personal Learning Network (PLN). This consists of all of the different sources and tools that the student found and can use to learn about what they are interested in. Making connections through the tools they found in their PLN gives them new leaning opportunities. Another video I watched was made by a seventh grader, and she described her PLN. She talked about the different tools she was able to use to further her learning in science. Because she had these great learning tools, her class was able to be virtually paperless.

The question that weighs on anyone's mind when watching this is, "What about the teacher?" Despite the fact that the student can basically learn what they need without help, they do still need their teacher. Teachers help with guidance when it comes to any subject. Initially, the teacher will help the student build their network by introducing new tools they can use. A student can look to a teacher for ways to organize their work and also to help them distinguish between what is useful information and what isn't.

I find these ideas amazing, and I love that students are able to use this type of technology today. All too often we see students relying too heavily on teachers and becoming extremely dependent. As a future educator, I hope to teach my students how to become self-reliant. That is a skill that they will have to use not only in college, but in life as well. I feel that helping them create their own PLNs would be a great first step in doing that!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Blog Post #6

Notes on Randy Pausch's Last Lecture


After watching Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, I feel that I have learned many things. First of all, he was an amazing man and professor who achieved SUCH great things in the short time that he lived. In this blog post, I will be talking about the different teaching strategies that Dr. Pausch employed during his teaching career.

This lecture was given at Carnegie Mellon University, where Pausch started working in Computer Science in 1997. There, he taught a course called Building Virtual Worlds. In the first year of teaching this course, Randy Pausch learned something about how to be a better professor. He had a class of 50 students who were broken up into teams. They were given two weeks for the first assignment. According to Pausch, they came back to class having exceeded his expectations. He was baffled as to what to tell them to do next until a colleague told him to tell them to do BETTER! We have to constantly expect more from our students. If we lower our expectations, they will do the same and will not work to their potential! Randy Pausch's students came back after their next project and did better and better because he EXPECTED them to do so!

One of the things Pausch talked about that I loved was when he spoke about his football coach. His coach pushed him harder and harder during one practice. Pausch said on of his assistant coaches told him, "When you are screwing up, and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means that they gave up." We do not want to have our students feel that they have been given up on. We need to show them that we CARE, that we want them to succeed, even if it means pushing them harder!

Pausch also spoke about getting your students to be "self-reflective," which is also something that Dr. Strange wants us to work on in EDM310. He stated that as educators, teaching our students to be self-reflective is the best gift we can give them. Our students will not always have someone there to hold their hand through a project. We have to teach them to be self sufficient and in turn become self-reflective. We have to know what we can do better before we can become better. Our students need to be told the same!

Another subject Pausch spoke a great deal on was "brick walls." He said that there will always be a brick wall, or obstacle, somewhere keeping you from what you want to achieve. With that being said, Pausch also said that those brick walls are there to keep others away as well. You have to want to work hard and figure away around that problem before you can get where you want to be. We have to teach our students that if they want something bad enough, they have to show it and work for it! It will not come to them easily!

I loved this lecture by Randy Pausch. Before I came to EDM310, I had ever heard of him before. Since I have watched a few of his lectures, I can't believe that I haven't. He was such an eloquent speaker and had such great ideas to share. I only hope that one day I can be as great of a professor as he was!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Blog Post #5

Travis Allen's iSchool Initiative
iSchool Initiative
Travis Allen started a project called The iSchool Initiative when he was just 17. It started with a simple YouTube video outlining how schools today could better utilize technology. He explained how tools made by Apple could revolutionize the way we learn and teach today. Students could do away with paper, pencils, and books. Allen even had a diagram showing the costs between the two strategies. He also had a follow up YouTube video, in which he discussed the progress his program has made over the last three years. It is great to see that what he designed is something that people are interested in!
Travis Allen
I think that Travis Allen's ideas are amazing! I definitely feel that technology should be more integrated into our schools today. We have SO much new technology being pumped out of companies daily, but unfortunately, it doesn't make it to all of our schools. I feel that Allen's iSchool Initiative idea would help tremendously in getting our schools up to date. As an aspiring educator, I would love to be able to teach my classroom with these ideas!

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir
Virtual Choir
This video can be summed up in one word: amazing! This composer, Eric Whitacre, was able to bring people together using the internet like I have never seen before. He created a choir that sang together in perfect unison without even being in the same country. It is unbelievable to see that this can happen! This shows how far technology has brought our country, and many others. Please take a moment and view this video!

Teaching in the 21st Century
In this presentation, Kevin Roberts expresses his ideas on how teaching has changed up until the 21st century. I believe that Roberts wants us to focus on one thing while we teach in this century: engaging our students. It is something he reiterates quite a few times. Though we have this great technology, it has become a distraction to students, and to them, it is merely a form of entertainment. Because of this, I feel that some teachers are intimidated by it. If I am correct, Roberts may think this as well; we have to use this technology to engage our students and get them excited about a subject.

I think this presentation was spot on. I agree with Roberts on all of his stand points and ideas. Students need to be able to grasp information, and to do that, they have to analyze and understand. Once they can do that, they have genuinely learned about that information. As an educator, I hope to be able to use the information provided by Roberts to better my students. I hope this can teach them a more efficient way to learn and REMEMBER what they have learned!

Flipping My Classroom
Flipping the Classroom
As I watched the multiple videos about flipping classrooms, I became very interested in the idea. It seems to be an effective way to get students more involved with their work. Having them better prepared for their next class makes for extra learning time. I also think that moving the classroom around so that the teacher is the center of attention is a brilliant idea. All too often, we have the teacher at the front and the students in front of him/her. I hate this way of organizing desks; I feel that having the teacher in the center would cultivate learning much better than the other situation. I could definitely see myself using the technique of the Flipped Classroom. I feel that it is yet another way to get students to become better prepared and engaged. I believe this would be a great technique for myself as I am a secondary education major. Sometimes, middle/high school students need a different approach to learning, and I think this could really help!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Project #5: Presentation

Comments For Teachers #1

Quantum Progress: A Blog by John Burke

I was assigned to a blog by John Burke called "Quantam Progress." He teaches math and physics at a boarding school in Delaware. The first post I read was about a different teaching method he is using to get his students to dive deeper into a subject. Too often students skim through things and slide through a course without ever really doing work. Mr. Burke's idea made it so that his students could only achieve a high "A" if they put in the extra work and complete what he called "capstones" for 3 points each added to their grade (if they had a 90 and completed one capstone, they received a 93 in the course). These capstones were problems that were a little harder and took a little more work than normal, but if the student wanted a higher grade, leading to a higher GPA, they were to complete them.

In my comment, I commended Mr. Burke for making his students actually work for a better grade, instead of handing it to them. I explained to him that I loved the idea of the capstones and hope that it worked well for him. Lastly, because it wasn't stated in his about me section, I asked him what grade it was he taught at the boarding school. I am hoping to hear back from him because I would love to know what age his students are!

The second blog post of Mr. Burke's that I read dealt with problem solving in Algebra. He essentially said that simple problems in algebra have students stumped because they think they can only be done one way. His example was solving a system of equations with substitution. He said that students got caught up in the "legal" algebraic moves, instead of thinking about what would be a "smart" algebraic move.

I commented on Mr. Burke's post and agreed with him. Because we are caught up in teaching students strictly test material (whether that be state tests, or standardized tests), I feel that we are losing some of the creativity teachers once had. It used to be that teachers had the time to teach you different ways of solving a problem and different ways of looking at problems. I told Mr. Burke that today, it seems that students are caught up in ritual problems. They have a mindset that problems in a unit are all done exactly the same way, when this isn't always true. This is where John Burke's "legal vs. smart moves" come into play. Even if something is legal in Algebra doesn't always mean it is the smart way to go about solving the problem!

If you are interested in the math/science field, I strongly recommend that you check out Mr. Burke's blog! Click here if you would like to read it.

Blog Post #4

The first podcast that I read about and listened to was one about children learning to speak in Hebrew and also learning how to write a script. I was fascinated to learn that you have to use a word more than 70 times in the correct context before it becomes a natural word in your vocabulary! These children worked hard to learn Hebrew so that they could retell the story of Purim, a Jewish festival. After recording lines from each child (out of order), they learned how to take each of their lines and put them in order using a tool called Garageband and their SMART Board. This helped the children learn about editing, putting a script together, and also about working together as a team. If you would like to view that podcast yourself, feel free to click here.

The next podcast I read and listened to was about a first grade class creating mock interviews between the characters of the book Vacation Under the Volcano. Each child took turns between being the interviewer, Jack, and Annie. Listening to them on the podcast was great! You can really tell that they loved being involved in such a cool activity! The teacher did a wonderful job including everyone and teaching them to take turns among themselves. Being able to record and playback right there for the children helped them decide if they liked what they were hearing. If not, they could record again, and this helped with their oral fluency. It is so great to see technology help children become better readers! Click here if you are interested in listening to these wonderful children!

Finally, I read/listened to the podcast about the book Flat Stanley. These six year old children decided after reading the book, that they too would like to do something similar to what happened to Stanley. They would be "mailed" to a location of their choosing and learn about that place. The children were instructed to check out a library book about their destination. After learning all of this, in the podcast, they talked about the different places they went as "flat" children. It was fun to listen to how enthusiastic these children were about this project! They were so creative and had created imaginative stories. I love that projects like this encourage children to use their imagination and make original stories for all of us to listen to! Please take a moment, and click here to listen to their stories!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blog Post #3

Peer Review

While watching the peer editing videos (which if you are interested can be seen here and here), I learned a couple of great pieces of advice! My favorite thing that was reiterated many times was don't forget to compliment! I think that we get caught up in trying to find small mistakes throughout a blog or a paper, that we forget to tell our peer what they did good! Peer editing is not always about finding mistakes. We need to encourage our peers to write and let them know when they have done a good job! Positive reinforcement is a great tool that we, as future educators, must learn to use, so why not begin using it now?

Another thing I loved about this assignment was that we were given the option of writing about someone's mistakes in a blog or just emailing them privately. Personally, I am hard on grammar. It is just a pet peeve of mine! I feel that nitpicking in a blog post is a little much, so if I find grammatical errors, I like to tell the person that if they would like I can email them and let them know what I found. I feel that this lets the person know that you want to help them privately so that they can fix the issues on their own. Making these kind of decisions (private/public) is something that I will have to do daily as a teacher so getting a jump start on it is always great!

Technology in Special Education

I watched the video of the Special Education class using technology, and I found it amazing! The video can be seen here, and I strongly recommend seeing this! When I was in high school and even middle school, I loved volunteering in the Special Education program. So of course, I would see firsthand the issues that these students have communicating. Some of them, like those in the video, have speech problems and cannot get their point across. This tends to lead to frustration, and the problem snowballs until someone understands them.

I love that this teacher is showing how much computers, Ipods, and other types of technology helped her class. It is evident that it is working well for her and her students. Some things we take for granted, like being able to hold a conversation easily, is now easy for these students. I feel like this lessens the stress in a Special Education classroom. Technology helps the teacher better help her students! Also, I feel that introducing the students to technology will help them outside of school. If they can use this technology at home, it could better those relationships; it becomes a great skill to use in the outside world as well. We should always work to better our students and prepare them for the real world! There isn't a better way to do so than by using what is popular: new technology!

Apple Apps in the Classroom

Apple Logo
For my app choice, I went straight to mathematics. I loved math throughout school, and I feel like it is obviously a critical subject for children of all ages. I know that sometimes for Special Education students, it can be very hard to understand math. By using technology, we can teach them in different ways that are captivating and fun!

I chose an app called "Sushi Monster." In this app, you can learn basic arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The app itself is VERY colorful, and I am sure that will get a child's attention and keep it. The "monsters" that are used throughout the app are also colorful and funny shaped. You have to "feed" the monsters sushi by correctly completing a simple math problem. What I like most about this app is that whenever you have finished a round, you receive instant gratification. You get a trophy and stars for your great performance. By teaching children about math in a fun, exciting way, I think they will learn to love it!

Digital Smarts

I strongly recommend the digital smarts video if you are interested in getting your STUDENTS interested in computers! It can be seen by clicking here. In this video, Vicki Davis, a teacher in Georgia, is teaching her students how to use new technology and connect with the world. They blog and use virtual games to teach each other new things. They were even able to take a trip to the Middle East to meet students there and talk about what they were learning!

It is amazing to me that technology can bring such a diverse group of people together. My favorite word Ms. Davis used was "empowering." She is empowering her students every day by teaching them and even learning with them. Technology in this day and age is such a powerful tool and is becoming more so as we speak. It is SO important that we keep children informed and teach them how to use technology and how it can make such an impact on our lives!

Project #2: Wordle!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog Post #2

World Computer
Did You Know?

In the above video, Dr. Strange has gathered facts that show what a technologically advanced world we live in. Not only that, but said facts show that the technology is growing! People are learning more and more daily, which has to be happening to keep up with the new items, new jobs, and many other new things that come about! For example, in the video, you learn that jobs that will be in demand ten years from now do not even exist yet. That is amazing! In ten years (or less!) our society will change a great deal; this video, and the original (which can be seen here) prove that in mere minutes!

As future educators, we will be teaching children who will have jobs that aren't even around yet. We will be helping them learn how to solve problems that do not yet exist. We have to form that base education so that the child will be prepared to learn all about new technology! Things we have never seen or used before will be popular sooner than we know it, and the people we teach will be teaching us how they work! In order to be a good educator, you must know that learning is constant, especially in the world we live in today!

Mr. Winkle Wakes, by Matthew Needleman

In this video, Matthew Needleman shows Mr. Winkle waking up from a 100 year slumber. Of course, during those 100 years, the world around him has changed. So much technology has come about, and it makes Mr. Winkle miss the old days. Even the hospitals had changed, as Mr. Winkle visited there too. One place that he found the same was, unfortunately, a school. Even though there was a computer there, it was clearly unused and sat dusty in the back of the classroom while the teacher lectured in front.

Mr. Needleman makes an extremely valid point in his video. Even though we have tons and tons of great technology, it is going unused in classrooms! Children aren't being given the opportunity to learn with such great tools. Instead, they are missing out and have to (if they are able to) learn at home. We should be enriching their lives and minds with these great computers and other types of technology! Hopefully soon this can happen, and children can learn and experience so much more!

Sir Ken Robinson on the Importance of Creativity

Here, Sir Ken Robinson speaks on the education system and how it changes the creativity of our children for the worst. He essentially says that the institution of education is looking to make children ready for college, even if they aren't made for that. His example of Gillian Lynne, a famous choreography known for her work in the musical Cats, is amazing. Because she couldn't ever stop moving, Ms. Lynne's teachers thought she had a learning disability. They linked her creativity to a disability, and that is so unfortunate. Clearly, looking at where she is now, you can see that she definitely did not have a disability, she just learned differently than other children. Regrettably, situations like this happen daily.

In my opinion, schools today are teaching tests. Everything is based on standardized testing and good scores for the schools and/or the state. This leads to our children learning NOTHING. It is simply memorization for a test, then throwing the information out to put in new for the next test. We should, like Sir Robinson said, embrace a child's creativity, not waste it. We shouldn't teach a test... we should teach our children. Expanding their knowledge, and helping them learn whichever way they learn should be our main focus as educators. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk that Sir Robinson gave in the above video. It speaks volumes about how we should work with our children because after all, they are the future!

Glass, School, the Future, and Change!

In this last section, I watched two videos about future technology. One, which you can view here, was about using basically panes of glass as our computers. The creator of the video and idea(s), Corning, make walls of glass, dashboards of cars made of glass, and much more. It is so amazing to think that this could happen, and probably will happen sometime soon. In the video, you can also see children learning by using these glass components. The whole class can get involved and can visually learn! I love this idea because I myself am a visual learner. I have to SEE it to LEARN it, and many other children are this way. This future technology could change the world as we view it today. That would be amazing! No more boring lectures, or boring projects. We could make unbelievable things with this technology, and I can only hope that I see this happen in my lifetime.

The second video was created by Google, and it shows the awesome capabilities of the Google glasses (you can view that here). In the video, you can see the capabilities that these glasses have in and out of the elements. The speaker inside is wearing the glasses, and they work beautifully. What is even cooler is that skydivers and bike riders wore them as well. You can see how they hold up outside, and it is just like you are the one diving or riding. If these are the glasses of the future, they would be amazing! Imagine travel with these glasses! Learning about different places would be ever more exciting and right at your fingertips.

The possibilities that come from the different uses of glass are basically endless, as seen in these videos. They could change the workplace, schools, hospitals, everywhere! I would love to see this happen. To be able teach children with this type of technology would be great!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blog Post #1

About Me

My name is Brittany Leavitt, and I am 21 years old. I have lived in Mobile my entire life, so all of my family is here. I met my husband here at South three years ago. He and I were married in September of 2010, and we welcomed our son Bryson into the world on February 15, 2011. I am a full time student and a full time mom! I wouldn't change it for the world. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to teach. I have 5 brothers and sisters, and I can remember teaching them how to read and write while we were growing up. Teaching has always been a passion for me, and I can't wait to make it a career!

I have a few hobbies that I love. I am very much into scrapbooking! It's my favorite thing to do in what little down time I do have! I feel like pictures and keepsakes tell someone's life story, so it is important to me that I create a book of these things for my family! I also love music, reading, and surprisingly learning. I feel very accomplished when I learn new things. I love to be able to teach someone something new, and in order to do that, I have to always learn new things myself!

Randy Pausch

After watching Dr. Pausch's video, I think one thing stuck out to me the most. He talked about experience coming with time. Time is obviously very important in this day and age. You never know when something is going to happen, so you have to make the most of the time that you have. In that time, you have the opportunity to experience things that can make you wise.

I had never heard of Randy Pausch before this, but I did do a little reading on his life after watching the video. He was a great speaker! I can't believe I haven't heard of him before. It is sad that his life ended so early due to cancer! I would have loved to hear him in person. He seems to have been very inspiring.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Test Post Title

This is my First Post. I clicked the HTML button which I should always do in EDM310. I am now a blogger.