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!