Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blog Assignment #13

A Vision Of Students Today

The video, A Vision Of Students Today demonstrated things that I see every single day of my life. I am one of those students. I sit in classes full of people, half of which are asleep, and the rest of them are completely checked out. I see plenty of people on Facebook and Pinterest, but not many working on class work. I've often been guilty of this. I am also the student who pays close to 600 dollars per semester on textbooks that I only open occasionally and end up selling back at a fraction of the price after finals. I get about 6 hours of sleep each night. I study at work because I work almost every night. I know that I spend more time online then I do doing anything else. Technology can save us, but only if the system we are in is willing to change. If our schools embrace technology, maybe our education will be more useful to us in real life.

Back To The Future With Brian Crosby

In Back To The Future, Mr. Crosby's class is engaging in learning. They are having so much fun and they are sharing that fun with other schools all over the world. Kids WANT to be in this class! I hope that I can make my classroom so much fun that my students don't even realize that they are learning.

I liked the point that Mr. Crosby made in this video about learning vs being taught. As students, from the time that we first started school when we were about five years old, we have learned how to be taught. We have learned that if we want to be in a class, we must sit quietly, raise our hands, write notes, and read the textbook. Now we face the challenge of learning on our own! We must make the transition from being taught, to actively searching for knowledge on our own through our own curiosity and use of resources. This transition would have been a lot easier when we were kids.

I plan to teach high school so this is crucial. High schoolers don't care about anything. The challenge is to make them care about school. Make them want to learn more.

Final Reflection

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blog Assignment #12

Create An Assignment!

Based on the technology tools we have learned about in EDM 310, what are some tools or websites that you believe could be used in your area of speciality?
Explain why you would use these tools.
Give examples of how these tools would be used.


Why YouTube? Well, I plan to teach History/Social Studies and I believe that YouTube and other video sharing tools, like Vimeo, would be very useful in this subject. At my high school, it was a trend just catching on to create fun video projects for the area of history we were studying. Often these video projects were students acting out an elaborate drama on subjects such as, The American Civil War, The French Revolution, and The American Revolution. We also used these in our Government and Economics classes. They were an entertaining way to get into the stories and work together. My fondest memory is of one particularly entertaining group of boys whose colorful adaptation of the American Revolutionary war involved Molly Pitcher in drag and a little too much fake blood. But it was a wonderful way to top of the chapter, and I guarantee anyone from my graduating class still remembers it, and remembers who Molly Pitcher or Nathan Hale were.

Unfortunately I couldn't get my hands on the above mentioned video because it is no longer on YouTube, but I did find this one and I thought it was pretty good!


Wordle is a fun and easy tool that can be used to create exciting images out of text! We have use Wordle before in EDM and I quite like it. It is so easy too. All you have to know how to do is copy and paste, and do a screen shot. From there it's just having fun and playing around with all of the settings. In Wordle, you can manipulate the shape and color of your text and you can choose which words are prominent and which are small. This site enables you to turn an ordinary paragraph into a fun eye-catching work of art. This would be a fun go-to tool for students to include in presentations and even papers. Below is an example of a Wordle that I created about the American Revolutionary War!

There are so many amazing tools that we have learned about this semester that it was very hard for me to decide which ones to include, but these are definitely my favorites so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Blog Assignment #11

First Graders In Ms. Cassidy's Class and Skype Interview With Ms. Cassidy

The video Little Kids...Big Potential was wonderful! The video takes us inside Ms. Cassidy's first grade classroom and gives us a look at all of the ways in which Ms. Cassidy's young students are utilizing technology in their education. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much these first graders are able to understand and use technology to learn. They are really having fun with it and they seem very engaged which is extremely important. All of the children in Ms. Cassidy's class also seem so well behaved and mature. I'm sure that the daily experience of using and sharing computers and the Nintendo DS is helping with that.

In the Skype interview between Dr. Strange and Ms. Cassidy, she describes her classroom a little more in depth for us. She discusses the way that her kids use their class blog to connect to website which they can use in their daily learning and the way that they use their own personal blog. I am glad that Ms. Cassidy addressed the issue of being the teacher of an elementary class which uses the internet and how she "endeavors to protect the identity of her students." That will, of course always be an issue (as it should be) with parents. Parents should be somewhat hesitant to let their children, especially small children, use the internet because it can be a potentially dangerous thing. However, people like Ms. Cassidy are demonstrating that it can also be an extremely valuable tool and when used properly, can open so many doors for students.

Ms. Cassidy also explains how her classroom runs on a rotation of activities. Some students will use the computers, or practice reading with her or with the resource instructor. So each subject (such as reading) is approached in a multitude of ways. That is great because not every child learns the same way.

I plan to teach history/social studies at the middle school or high school level so I will definitely be using technology in my classroom. I can see my class using blogs and various presentation tools to collaborate on projects and papers. I can see how technology can be distracting, but for the most part I think it will be useful.

Blog Assignment #9

Mr. McClung's reflection post detail his experiences as an educator following each school year. In Mr. McClung's Version 4 Post (2011-2012) he decides to keep it short and simple and focuses on only two topics which he titles, "You Gotta Dance With The One You Came To Dance With", and "Challenge Yourself."

In this post McClung describes how he has never really cared what his fellow teachers thought of him, but rather, has only been concerned with whether or not his students were enjoying themselves. I think this is a great mentality to have as a teacher. After all the students are the most important aspect of education. But I did think it was great that Mr. McClung also admitted that he had become bored. He was referring back to previous lesson plans and he says his "creativity started to slowly vanish." Because of this he jumped at the opportunity to teach a new class at a new grade level.

I know that as a teacher this is something I will struggle with. I like to be comfortable and I don't care for change. I would definitely be hard for me to leave a grade I was comfortable with and start over in a new one. But I do recognize how extremely important it is for the teacher to stay enthusiastic about the subject matter because if they aren't, then why would the students be? They are watching for an example and it is our job as teachers to give them a good one. One that is excited about learning something new every day.

Next, I chose to read Mr. McClung's What I've Learned This Year (2008-2009). It is probably obvious why I chose this one. I wanted to know how he described his first year of teaching! The first year of solo teaching is a daunting thing to imagine and I was curious.

In this post, McClung lists the first thing he learned as "Read The Crowd." I think he makes an excellent point when he says, "In order to be effective you have to be able to let your audience drive your instruction." As a teacher, one has to pay close attention to the audience (the students). It doesn't matter in the slightest if you spent three days of meticulous work on the lecture you plan to give, if all of your students are sound asleep. I think it is far better to be in front of the room rambling off the cuff about the subject if your students are engaging in the conversation with you.

The next point that I liked was, "Be Reasonable." Here McClung discusses the idea of expectations. It is important as teachers to never set our expectations for our students TOO HIGH. When the expectation is too high to be met, the students get discouraged and give up. I know this to be true because as a student I find myself here quite a bit. Now, there is a difference between setting an unreachable expectation and constantly raising the bar. We should always try to employ the tactic Mr. Randy Pausch mentions in his last lecture. Set the goal and when the students meet it, praise them, but make it clear that they can do even better. And then raise the bar a little higher. I like this method. It encourages hard work. It does not discourage, demotivate, or frustrate.

Of course I appreciated Mr. McClung's mention of embracing technology. After all, that's why were here right?
The last point that struck me was "Never Stop Learning." As I mentioned before, it is important for us to set the example of being excited about learning in order to motivate our students. It is also incredible important to our usefulness as teachers. The inventory of our knowledge can never grow stale. We should always be informed. Sometimes we gain more knowledge form our students than they do from us. And that is okay.

Blog Assignment #8

This Is How We Dream

In Richard Miller's video series, This Is How We Dream, he discusses the growing world of technology and all of its many incredible uses in education. Technology is being introduced into the classroom now more than ever. In EDM we have learned the many technological tools that are accessible to us. We can collaborate on projects without leaving our homes, we can communicate with educators and other students all over the world with one click, and, just as Mr. Miller says in his part 1 video, we can gather an entire project worth of information without ever setting foot inside a library. Personally, I am a little old fashioned. While I embrace the idea of using technology and the internet in these positive ways, I still feel it is important for students to know how to use a book or magazine as a source as well. I also happen to love libraries. Overall, I think this video series was very informative.

Carly Pugh Blog Post #12

Carly's blog post was wonderful! I love the way she communicated her ideas and admitted that they are often scattered. I think her idea to create a YouTube playlist was brilliant. I think YouTube can be a powerful learning tool, especially for visual learners like myself. I enjoy reading, but I often find it hard to sit down with a textbook and read for hours. Though I may absorb some of the information, much of it is lost on me when my mind wanders, as it always does. The videos Carly chose were fantastic. She did a great job of combining humor with serious and sincere topic like diversity and bullying. I found the whole thing entertaining and educational, so I would say she succeeded in creating a very effective assignment for herself.

EDM 310 Is Different

In the Chipper Series, Chipper is a student who struggles with procrastination. The video chronicles her many misadventures as she fails to abide by deadlines and standards. Chipper decides to create her own school where her students can do their work at their own pace without any due dates or supervision. This kind of school sounds ideal, however, most people wouldn't feel motivated to do the work at all if no one was checking up on them. Chipper eventually learns the value of hard work and responsibility and decides to return to graduate school. I thought Jamie Lynn Miller did a great job on this video.

I loved the video EDM 310 For Dummies. I can definitely relate to their frustrations. And I actually wish that there was a book like that for us to reference. It would definitely make life easier. I would buy this book. I think that should be Dr. Strange's next project. And make it iPad and Kindle friendly of course.

I think if I had to create a video for this class, it would be one that decodes all of the "EDM speak" and gives helpful suggestions for overcoming each maddening assignment. Suggestions that only first hand experience could provide. I would also include a user-friendly Mac handbook because I did not know how much I would be using a Mac in this class, and being a PC person, I tend to get lost and frustrated fast.

Learn To Change, Change To Learn

In the video, Learn To Change, Change To Learn, several educators discuss the revolution of learning that we are currently experiencing. They talk about how children are constantly collecting data and creating through their use of cell phones and social media. They are doing most of their learning through these media, yet these things are banned from schools. I think this video perfectly echos the message of EDM 310. We are learning to integrate technology into the classroom not because it is fun, but because it is absolutely necessary! Technology is what the children of today use. They learn how to use it early. So why not harness this inevitable knowledge of technology?

Scavenger Hunt

For my scavenger hunt in Web 2.0 Tools, I chose numbers 2,3 and 4. The tool used in number 2 is called Prezi. It is an exciting presentation tool that is very cool. Everyone can use Prezi publicly for free. By using the public Prezi you get core features and 100 MB of storage space. From there, you can move up to the "Enjoy" or "Pro" packages. The Enjoy package is $4.92 per month or $59 annually. The Pro package is $13.25 per month or $159 annually. Prezi offers great deals for students and teachers! The Enjoy Edu package is totally free! This comes with 500 MB of storage and enables you to create private presentations. The Pro Edu package for students and teachers is only $4.92 per month and comes with 2 GB of storage space and enables you to create private presentations, work offline, and much more. This is a great tool to take advantage of as a teacher.

For number 3 I had to find a tool to make my own comic strip. The tool is called Make Believe Comics! This was a lot of fun.

Lastly, I chose PhotoPeach. PhotoPeach is a photo sharing program that has very useful classroom features. With PhotoPeach, teachers are able to create multiple student accounts without the students needing to provide email addresses. Teachers can also organize students into groups for photo projects and view and share their finished work with parents and other teachers. Photo projects can be customized with music of your choice and stored in unlimited album space. The best part is, students' photos are never visible on the net through PhotoPeach. If your'e like me and love photography as much as I do, a site like this would be a blast to use in the classroom!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blog Assignment #6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

What can I say about Randy Pausch? What an amazing person. I will admit that at several points during this video, I teared up. When Randy Pausch gave this inspirational lecture, he was dying of liver cancer. He had just learned that he only had a few more months to live. As the video begins, Pausch stresses that he is "not in denial," but that he simply realizes that there are things that are much more important. He also encourages his audience not to pity him and follows this command with a few push ups and a lot of humor.

In this lecture, Randy Pausch discusses three points:
1.Childhood Dreams
2.Enabling the dreams of others
3.Lessons learned.

Pausch grew up in the 1960's, which he describes as "an easy time to dream." Pausch lists a few of his childhood dreams which include, playing in the NFL, authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, and being a Disney Imagineer. While Pausch did not accomplish all of his childhood dreams, he learned from all of his attempts. He explains, "experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." I think this statement is profound. He is absolutely right. When we don't get what we wanted, we are upset and disheartened, but we learn and we grow. He describes his repeated encounters with brick walls throughout his life. These brick walls, he explains, seem impossible to defeat at the time, but they help you realize how bad you really want something. They also separate the people who are willing to work harder to achieve the goal, and the people who aren't.

In his second point, Pausch discusses enabling others to achieve their dreams. I thought this point was wonderful because, as educators, we are in the business of helping people make their dreams come true. Teachers help their students gain the skills they need to become exactly what they want to be. I think this is one of the things that attracts me to a career in education. Pausch mentions watching his students get excited about something and have fun while they are learning, sometimes without them even realizing that they are learning. This is exactly why I want to teach. That gratification is worth all of it.

Tigger or Eeyore?
The majority of this lecture was focused on lessons learned. Pausch discusses his many wonderful life experiences as well as his failures, but it is things he learned from all of it that struck me the most. In addition to learning to help others, he also learned about what is important. Things like, letting your children paint on the walls of their bedrooms, and always having fun. Pausch says, "I don't know how not to have fun!" Even in the final months of his life, he knew how to laugh and find joy in everything. He explains how valuable it is to hold on to your child-like wonder. I find this to be incredibly true. It is healthy to be silly. Silliness will be a must in my classroom. Pausch explains the value of earnestness, honesty, willingness to apologize when you are wrong, and gratitude for the things you have. He encourages everyone to listen to feedback instead of being defensive about it, and never complain. Instead, work harder.
I thoroughly enjoyed the full hour of this video. There is so much truth in Randy Pausch's lecture. I think this video is a must for every student and I plan to watch more of Pausch's lectures in the future.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Final Report On PLN

My PLN is still small, but it has proven very useful recently. I have added many new tiles to it and I am still finding things to add. It is very convenient to have everything I need all together in one place where I can easily and quickly access it. I was even able to add a tile for the USA home page! The Symbaloo program is a dream for people like myself who love organization. I know I will continue to use my PLN after this class.

Last C4T

I am following Eric Langhorst's blog, Speaking of History. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr Langhorst's posts. I recently read one of his older posts from August entitled, My Six Goals For the 2012/2013 School Year. In this post, he lists six goals which he hopes to achieve throughout the new school year. I loved this post because I identified so much with it. In my comment I explained that I am also a list maker. Checklists specifically. I think that it is tremendously helpful when you have a lot to accomplish, to write it all down in front of you. I also like the satisfaction of crossing something off of my checklist. Mr Langhorst also hopes to reduce the amount of paper used in his classroom, and share more of his class material online for student and parent access. I thought these goals were great because they echo some of the goals of EDM 310.

I am so happy that I was assigned to this blog. The first post I was assigned to comment on was Watching The Curiosity Rover Landing With Friends On Twitter. I enjoyed this post because I thought that Mr Langhorst's explanation of his experience was so interesting. I was intrigued by his observation that during the Rover landing, his Twitter feed was buzzing while Facebook was silent. I commented that I felt like this was further evidence that Twitter is being used, not just as another social media toy, but as a learning tool.
I cannot wait to read more posts by Eric Langhorst in the future.

Project #13 Interacting Through Technology

For Project 13, my group and I decided to use Skype and Google Docs to collaborate. We were able to communicate away from school and share source material that we had found. I use Skype regularly with my sister who lives in Florida, but this is the first time I have ever used it for a class. I have to say, it is very convenient! We used the Screenr program to record the conversation and post it to our blogs. We also used Google Docs to share files with the group and the class.

Project #13 Using Skype

Project #15 Smart Board Lesson

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

C4T Summary #4

Speaking of History...
In Eric Langhorst's blog Speaking of History, his most recent post, Watching The Curiosity Rover Landing With Friends On Twitter is about his experience with Twitter the night of the Rover landing. On the night of November 5th NASA's rover Curiosity touched down on Mars as countless people watched in wonder. In his post Langhorst describes how he watched his Twitter feed blow up with tweets about the rover landing. People were using the hashtag #NASAsocial and sharing everything including links to videos and website about the rover. Langhorst says that the experience was like "watching it with a group of friends at a local bar" and describes it as being both fun and educational.

Langhorst discusses how not everyone "gets" Twitter and includes his own father in this. He thinks that it is okay that not everyone gets it because it would likely become a less productive tool if everyone did. I agree with him. I did not have a Twitter until I started this class and I honestly never intended to have one. I didn't see the point because I already had Facebook. Once I started to actively use my Twitter account on a regular basis, I understood the appeal.

In my comment I shared how I feel that Twitter is the superior social media forum right now because Facebook has been "dumbed down" so much. When I say this, I don't mean that Facebook users are dumb (I still have my Facebook). But it is obvious to anyone that has had Facebook since the beginning, that the sight has become much more "user friendly." Perhaps too user friendly. I have heard many people say that it has simply gone the way of Myspace. Anyone who was previously a Myspace user will understand what I mean. When Facebook first went public, it was confusing. It was much more complicated to use and not very many people had an account. Now, Twitter has replaced that. While Twitter is hugely popular, it is still confusing and undesirable to many people.

Langhorst says in his post that a follower of his tweeted about how, during the landing, his Facebook feed was silent. He describes it as "crickets" while his Twitter feed was "a party." Mr Langhorst believes that Twitter (at least for now) is something different and that we are using this sharing tool in a much better way. I agree with him. Mr Langhorst and all of his friends experienced a piece of history together that night.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blog Post #10

Papermate vs Ticonderoga

Mr Spencer's Adventures In Pencil Integration cartoon is hilarious. I'm a big fan of the Mac vs PC commercials so I appreciate the reference. I like how he identifies Ticonderoga as "the most expensive purchase a hipster will ever make." I think a Ticonderoga pencil is definitely the Mac of pencils. It is expensive but quality. Papermate is cheaper, but needs to be replaced more often. I'm sad to say that I am a Papermate. With few exceptions, I tend to buy the cheaper thing and regret it later because it breaks or something. I know I should spend the extra money for better quality but that is easier said than done when one is a broke college student.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

In John Spencer's blog Adventures In Pencil Integration, he creates a commentary on the changing educational model by focusing on 1897 industrial America in which "society is growing more urban, more industrial, more fragmented." In his post Why Were Your Kids Playing Games he creates a dialogue between the main character, Tom Johnson and the Principal of the school. In this story the principal hears that Mr Johnson's class has been playing games and he is not happy. The principal feels that Johnson's attempt to connect games to learning is "a stretch" and it goes against his "no games period" policy. The principal makes reference to the "Drill and Skill Consulting Group" and states that their main objective is to make sure the students pass the rote memorization test.

This definitely sounds like the problem we face with today's education system. There is more to school than just memorizing information from a book, and I think that is what Mr Spencer is saying. Unfortunately this is problem that many new teachers face. We want to be creative and engage our students but there are regulations and requirement that must be met at every school. The trick is somehow finding the balance between doing what is required and creating a fun classroom environment. I also loved how Spencer made a reference to "buzz word bingo" because I enjoyed that video and blog post by Brian Nichols very much when I watched it in my first C4T!

I also read Mr Spencer's post The Con Academy. In this post Mr Johnson and the principal are invited to a meeting with a man named Sam who is trying to sell them his new learning system which he has incorrectly labeled "flipping your classroom." Sam is a sleazy salesman type who's system is merely a set of worksheets for students to complete. His intention is that each student should work through these worksheets independently of each other with no help from a teacher. Mr Johnson suggests an alternative idea in which students use their pencils instead to work collaboratively and even develop their own math problems for which they find solutions together. The salesman dismisses this idea. He is convinced that students don't work enough. Mr Johnson believes that by giving his students the knowledge they need and the freedom to collaborate on work, he doesn't need to watch over each one of them at all times, but Sam believes that this is a problem and the only solution is to give the students this system of strict busy work.

I liked this post because it demonstrates opposing views in the education system and how Spencer feels about constructing his classroom. This blog is very insightful!

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

Dr Scott McLeod's post Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? from his blog Dangerously Irrelevant, is utterly sarcastic. He is basically saying, don't expose your children to technology because it is dangerous. Then at the conclusion, he again stresses not teaching technology, because he is teaching it to his students and he is curious as to who will have the advantage in a decade or two. McLeod is clearly expressing his support of technology in education and simultaneously poking fun at the backward thinking teachers and parents who are against it. I think it is wonderful.

At my high school, we were not allowed to have any form of technology with us while on campus. No cell phone, no iPod, no laptop. Even if you were working on a web based project or couldn't hand write notes because of an injury, no laptops in class. So we did not experience the full advantage of having technology in our classes. That is why this class has been so eye opening for me. I am really learning how useful it all can be and I fully intend to incorporate technology into my own classroom someday.

Dr McLeod is right, technologically proficient students will indeed have an advantage in the future. If parents are concerned about their children's use of the web, it gives them all the more reason to get involved in their kid's lives. Watch what they are doing and how they are using this stuff to broaden their education! It could help parents just as much.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

C4T Summary #2

In Mr. Dean Shareski's blog post on October 15, 2012 Random Thoughts From #Learning2 he discusses the Learning 2.012 Conference in Beijing, China. At this annual conference, educators from all over the world gather. They all have something in common. They are working to become connected educators. The format of the conference was one of hands on communication and activity. Shareski mentions that there were several "mini key-notes" who each spoke for five to ten minutes on various subjects. That sounds so much better than listening to one long, droning speech for an hour. The conference featured many international teachers, who are leading the way in connectivism. I liked that he mentioned those teachers who admitted to being out of there comfort zone with technology and how, through conversations at the conference were able to see the importance of becoming connected.

The conference was held at the Western Academy of Beijing. This school sounds amazing and I am jealous that I don't go there! Shareski describes the atrium area of the school as being a relaxing and peaceful learning environment. How could it not be with a river running through the middle of it? I would love to visit this school.
Shareski writes about the media used at the conference. The attendees were encouraged to share all the pictures they took at the conference via Instagram. They were able to view over 200 submitted photos by using a common hashtag, #learning2. They also had a professional photographer, but they were able to add this personal touch by using a sharing application like Instagram.

In my comment I said what a wonderful idea I think that was! I told him how I use Instagram almost every day and I am always linking photos I take from Instagram to my Twitter and Facebook. I have heard of this common hashtag method being used at events before and I think it is so smart. It is a great way to see what everyone in attendance experienced. Plus it is a ton of fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blog Assignment #7

The Networked Student

Wendy Drexler's video The Networked Student explained the beauty of "connectivism." Connectivism is the technique that we use in EDM 310. In the video, Drexler explains that with connectivism, the tools are not as important as the connections made possible by them. Student learn to self teach through technology. Through the use of blogs, wikis, podcasts, Youtube and sharing media like Skype and Google reader, we are able to expand our learning far beyond what a text book could cover.

In this video, a high school student is given an assignment for his Psychology class that can be on any topic. His teacher rarely lectures and he has no textbook. He does all of his research through the internet and supplements his learning with blogs, sharing media, and podcasts which keep him connected to information sources he needs. This shocked me, until I realized that this is what our class does every week.

I think this type of learning is wonderful, but I do feel that it would be a challenge for middle school and high school students. This type of learning requires a lot of responsibility and initiative. Things that may be challenging for some students. However, if successful, this technique would keep students engaged. I feel that this would require more regular in class meetings during which the teacher could address any problems with the assignment or use of technology, and also help students learn to balance the work load. A class like this can become overwhelming fast so it is important that the students know that they are not totally on their own.

So does the Networked Student need a teacher? I believe so. Perhaps the older the student, the less they will need a teacher. I can see how implementing this approach in an elementary school setting would require much more involvement by the teacher. While I am sure that elementary students are fully capable of using today's technology and learning on their own through the internet, younger children will still need a teacher's guidance more than older children.

In the video Drexler explains that with this learning technique, teachers are necessary to show their students how to take advantage of networks, sources and, learning opportunities. They are to offer guidance when students are stuck and instruct students on how to communicate properly and ask for help from experts. It is also important that teachers get excited when their students succeed in finding the knowledge they need through their own research and hard work, and strive to arm students with knowledge they can take with them outside of the classroom. An advantage to this method, is that it will most definitely be more interesting for students than the standard text book and lecture standard. I believe that is why Networked Learning is becoming so successful.

Welcome To My PLE

I loved the video Welcome To My PLE! This 7th grader's personal learning environment was very impressive. Her use of Networked Learning is so wonderful and it makes me wish that I had learned more of this in high school! I will definitely be using her video as a guide in the future.

Project #8 Group Podcast

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Sentence Video

Blog Assignment #5

The iSchool Initiative

I was very impressed by Travis Allen's video The iSchool Initiative. Allen made several great points in his video and it definitely made me think. Allen believes that the current education system is broken and that his initiative will help move education out of its slump and into a updated, greener future. In this presentation, Allen discusses the ways in which the iTouch interface can be utilized in the classroom. He gives a list of useful apps that include basic things like Email, Recorder, and Scientific Calculator. He also provides more complex apps like Chemical Touch, WorldWiki, Star Walk and more. In his video, Allen describes how these apps could be used in classroom settings. The Email app would provide a paperless way to share assignments between teachers and students and the Recorder would enable students to record lectures for future use.
I totally agreed with the point Allen made about the amount of money that could be saved by schools and students. To think, Allen's initiative could save up to $600 per student. And it would only cost about $150 per student to make it all possible. Plus there is the added bonus of the positive environmental impact of increasing technology and decreasing the amount of paper in and out.
In Travis Allen's video Zeitgeist Young Minds Entry Allen discusses the ways in which his iSchool Initiative is revolutionizing the education world. I think Allen is spot on when he says that we need to "better prepare youth for the digital world they were born into." The fact is, children are surrounded by technology. Technology that they will learn how to use anyway, and that they enjoy using. So why not embrace this technology and put it to good use? Isn't it better for children to be using the amazing technology at their access to broaden and enhance their education, than to just let them waste it on Facebook?

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir was absolutely breathtaking. I'm a huge music fan and I know a lot of musicians so it is just fascinating to me to imagine how much work must have gone into this project. To think, 185 people who have never met each other and never practiced together, brought together through the internet into a gorgeous super-choir. Amazing!

Teaching In The 21st Century

In Teaching In The 21st Century Keving Roberts makes excellent points about teaching in today's world. His first point is one that I hadn't really thought about. Teachers are no longer the source of information, they are the filter. Students can now gain information from anywhere anytime they want. So it is our job as educators to teach students how to interpret and use the limitless knowledge of today responsibly. We should think of the resources the internet provides as a beneficial tool. I liked Robert's example assignment about having the student answer a question using ANY resource they choose, but they must justify and explain their answer and their resource. I think that is great! It gives the student room to think and explore the options for themselves. This way they can search and find out much more than just the answer to their assigned question. Roberts explains that, any lesson you teach must be relevant, challenging and engaging. This is true for any lesson in any subject. If lessons do not meet these three standards than they will not help the student in any way.

Many people think that this kind of learning cannot work in the classroom because children will be too preoccupied by the fun technology and too tempted to use their iPads, laptops etc. for noneducational things. Roberts makes an excellent point when he says that the tools "provide temptation but they are not the source of negative behavior." As long as students are taught to use these tools responsibly there will be no problem. In order to accomplish this, Roberts explains, we should realize that these tools are no longer simply for entertainment, but rather a source of relevant and engaging learning.

Flipping The Classroom

In the videos, Why I Flipped My Classroom, Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ- Flipping the Classroom, and Flipping the Classroom- 4th Grade STEM, three teachers explain how they flipped their classes. In a flipped class, students are required to watch videos made by their teacher at home and do practice assignments and come to class the next day prepared to discuss the practice material and apply the lesson in class. This enables teachers to spend more time helping the students with what they have learned. In this way, the class can be divided into groups based on the level at which they understand and can apply the material.

This technique is wonderful for several reasons. From a teacher's perspective, it would be so much better to be able to work individually, at a comfortable pace, with students who are struggling in a subject. It would also enable teachers to keep those more advanced students challenged. From a student's perspective, I can say that these types of classes are much more engaging. I have taken a few classes now in which I was expected to do a reading/practice assignment, or watch videos or presentations before class and be ready to work on that assigned material in class. I like it that way. Yes it is more responsibility, but I think it so helpful to be able to assess the lesson and figure out what questions I have and then be able to ask those questions and practice the difficult problems in class where the teacher and classmates can help. In high school, I was often in the struggling student group in certain subjects and it was difficult to sit through a lecture and be totally lost until I could get individual help from teachers and tutors. In other subjects I was the one who was bored and needed a challenge. Being able to work ahead would have been great.
I would definitely use this approach in my teaching. Not only would it be much more helpful to the students, but it would also make me feel like a much more effective educator. Not to mention it would be fun!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summary for C4T #1

The Evolution of Education

In Brian Nichols' post Are You Playing Buzzword Bingo?, he discusses the use of "buzzwords." Many leaders use these buzzwords in their speeches. Buzzwords are words that are meant to catch our attention for a moment and stick in our memory. They are shiny and sound good, but they are actually shallow and meaningless.

In my comment I expressed how appropriate I thought this post was considering all of the media attention surrounding the presidential election. I think that politicians often hide behind "buzzwords" that they rarely back up with any real action, as if they are just going by a script.

I liked this post because he is absolutely right. Buzzwords distract us and this is the reason why so many reform initiatives fail. Actions matter more than words, especially for leaders. This post really made me think. I don't want to be sold by someone who just says all the right things but can't back them up.

Blog Assignment #4


I visited Ms. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's blog, Langwitches and was so impressed. This blog is so fun and interesting. I chose to read about and listen to Podcasting With First Grade and the Flat Stanley Podcast. I enjoyed this podcast so much! I chose this because I was familiar with the story and thought it was so fun. Ms Tolisano's class had recently read the book Flat Stanley by Jim Brown. In this story, Stanley is accidentally flattened and then goes on an adventure through the mail. In Ms Tolisano's class' story, they become flattened by the smart board in their classroom and ask their teacher to mail them around the world. It was so fun to hear each student contribute to the podcast. My favorites were the girl who went to Alabama and the girl who went to London. They were all so expressive and believable! This project really inspired me. This would be such a fun project to do with any class. It is fun for small children, but it would also be a great way to get older students interested in subjects like History, Science and foreign languages. I think this project would really foster creativity in those areas.

In Mr. Joe Dale's video Podcasting in The Classroom, he discusses the benefits of podcasting for students. I love the idea of all lectures and class sessions being made available through a class podcast. This enables students to stay caught up when they are absent. This approach really takes the pressure off of teachers, students, and parents. With podcasting, parents wouldn't have to worry so much about their child falling behind in class and suffering a poor grade because of it. This would also be useful for students when preparing for tests. It is hard for elementary school students to take notes so being able to listen to the lectures over again would be wonderful. In this way, parents would also be able to stay involved in their children's education by listening along.
I thought it was awesome to hear some of the students talk about how podcasting and project based learning keeps them interested in school work and how one girl listens to her class podcasts in the car with her parents. Of course an obvious perk to this method is that it encourages children at an early age to self teach, work well with their peers, and be responsible for their own assignments.

At my church their are many families with babies and small children, so they provide a podcast of each week's sermon on the church website. Because of this, anyone who isn't able to make it to the service can still be involved and keep their families involved. I have used the church podcast myself so I know how beneficial it is.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Assignment #3

What Is Peer Editing?
The What Is Peer Editing? video was very helpful, although I preferred the Peer Edit With Perfection tutorial because I like how it listed everything out in order and gave examples. Both pointed out the important steps of peer editing. The first point that the video stresses is that compliments are key. Always start off by telling the person your'e reviewing what you liked about their work. Be positive! Next are, suggestions and corrections. Suggestions is the part when you, obviously, make suggestions to your peer on some ways to improve their writing. Corrections is just the tedious part when you correct any spelling and grammar errors.

I think this tutorial is a very useful tool. I was happy that both the videos and Paige Ellis' blog discussed the conflict of correcting someone's writing in a public comment versus a private message. It is always difficult for me to make any criticisms in public comments, no matter how positive. I am always tempted to be overly sweet and not at all critical or constructive and that isn't helpful.

I absolutely loved the Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes video. Those kids are hilarious! They all depicted their characters so well and I was totally able to pick up on each "mistake". I think "Off Task Oliver" was my favorite. I hope I don't ever come across as a "Mean Margaret"!

Technology In Special Education
I thought that the Technology In Special Education video was wonderful because special education is a field that I am considering going into. I am so interested in working with children that have special needs such as learning disabilities, hearing loss, and possibly even autism.
It was awesome to see how this teacher was able to connect with and engage her students through there own personal technology. Some of them could not have interacted with her or their classmates at all without computers. Being able to make these students feel like part of the group instead of excluded from it is so important. I cannot even imagine the feeling of being able to make a difference in the lives of special education students like these.

How The iPad Works With Academics For Autism
This video was amazing. In the video How the iPad Works With Academics For Autism Braden, an 8 year old autistic boy is using the iPad to practice writing, recognizing and reading words, and counting. The iPad is useful for Braden because it gives him instant feedback and he enjoys the fast, direct interaction it provides. Something like this is so useful in the education of autistic children and can be useful in the education of all children from a very young age.
While browsing the iTunes library of apps I found one that I thought was awesome. Because I have taken some sign language and I love the idea of working with children with hearing loss or communication difficulties, the Sign 4 Me- Signed English Translator was my favorite. This app offers a library of over 11,000 words and a fully animated avatar to sign each one. This would be so useful in helping students to practice signing. This app can be found under the Special Education Seeing and Hearing section on iTunes.
Also because I am a total biology nerd, I found the Science360 app to be very fun. It includes high resolution images and video, weekly updates, and scientific discovery news via an app news feed. I would like to have this app just for fun so I really think students would enjoy it. It would be visually dynamic enough to really engage a special education class.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
Wow Vicki Davis is awesome. I think it is just wonderful how she is teaching her students to interact with the whole world through technology. I actually envy these kids for getting this kind of education while still in high school. I wish that my high school had had this kind of class. I agree with what Mrs Davis says at the beginning of the video. If a class is only pen and paper, then only certain types of students are going to succeed. She is right! Some students just don't learn that way. I thought it was so great to watch all of her students working together to figure things out and collaborating on projects. I also loved that she admitted that she is still learning too and that her students actually teach her things, as well as teaching each other. That is a great classroom energy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog Assignment #2

Did You Know?

I think that it is safe to say that Dr. Strange's Did You Know video blew my mind. I was astounded by the numbers. 25% of the population of India with the highest IQ's outnumbers the whole United States population? That is shocking! The fact that China is expected to become the number one English speaking country in the world, and has more people that are currently learning English than are in the entire US really surprised me. I knew that India and China were much more advanced than us, but I had no idea. I admit, I am a little ashamed. Our country is so prosperous. How are we this far behind?

Of course I know how totally surrounded we are by technology. I, like most people now, am I plugged into all sorts of social media (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest etc...) and they are all immediately accessible to me at any moment by simply turning on my Android smart phone. However, the number that were brought to my attention were fascinating. 1,097,220 YouTube videos are watched and 1,393,519 Google searches are made every minute! 11,453,577 SMS messages were sent every minute. I know I'm a "textaholic" but, wow. I definitely feel more aware of how advancing technology will affect my career as an educator. It is somewhat intimidating.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

I enjoyed the sarcasm of this video. In Mr. Winkle Wakes Rip Van Winkle awakes from his hundred year sleep to find the world entirely changed. He is shocked and frightened by what he finds. After seeing so much change, he feels ill and goes to a hospital. Here he is amazed to find machines keeping people alive and doing things he never would have thought were possible. He decides that the hospital is not going to help him so he leaves. He then makes his way to a school where he finally finds some comfort. He sees that this school is exactly the way he left it a hundred years ago. Students are still learning the same subjects the same way. They sit in rows and listen to their teachers lecture on. Even the computer in the back of the room is dusty and clearly unused.

The message of this video is not a good one. The fact that school is so stagnate is a sad fact that needs to change. By opening up the class room to more advanced forms of technology, we can finally expose children to learning about their world in many different ways. This is certainly something that my generation of future educators should be thinking about.

The Importance of Creativity

I thoroughly enjoyed Sir Ken Robinson's video The Importance Of Creativity. I thought he made so many awesome points. I completely agree with him that creativity should be nurtured in children. School should provide a creative outlet in every subject. It is called an outlet for a reason. Because it is in all of us and it needs a chance to come out.

I loved what he said about children not being afraid to be wrong. He's right! When we are children we are much more daring because we haven't been convinced that it is wrong yet. We are educated out of our creativity and become "disembodied", as Robinson put it. The education system needs a major makeover. We are no longer training our children to aid in industrialism, so why are we still educating them that way? That hierarchy is irrelevant now. Math first, then humanities and then art? This is why, unfortunately, school art programs often get cut.

I consider myself to be a pretty artistic person by nature, but I will admit that since starting college three years ago, I have lost nearly all of my creative energy. And I do in part blame school. As an educator I hope to teach an age group that still has a passion for creativity. I want to teach the way I enjoyed learning. By doing. By getting my hands dirty and having fun. I was fortunate enough to have a few teachers in my high school who understood the importance of this and I plan to educate my students the same way. Because some children are like Gillian Lynn. They can't sit still because they were meant to move.

A Day Made of Glass

A Day Made of Glass was an incredible video. The world is already so technologically advanced that it is hard to imagine it being more. The technology in this video has a familiar aspect because we are getting closer to it, but yet it is still so foreign. It is like something out of a movie or a science fiction novel.

I think the ideas about medical technology were the most amazing. Technology of this grade could be so beneficial to medicine. I thought that the children each having his or her own tablet to use in the classroom was wonderful and could already be an option to learning. I would definitely enjoy playing with all of those cool boards and the dinosaur simulations. I am a little slow when it comes to technology so it may take me some time to stop being so old-fashion and catch up to my students!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blog Assignment 1

About Me

My name is Meghan Lindsey Brewer, but most people call me Meg. I was born and raised in the Mobile, Alabama area. I love Mobile and I love living in the south. I hope to move around and travel after graduation.
I graduated from Faith Academy in 2010 and have attended the University of South Alabama ever since. I am still figuring out what I want to be in life but I hope to find a career in the elementary education field. I love children and I would love to have a job where I get to help them learn and discover. I want to be the cool teacher.

I am an only child, although I am fortunate enough to have a best friend who is closer to me than a sister. She and her husband now live in Orlando. My parents, like many, are divorced and I try to split my time between them. My mom and I are very close. She is the best mom in the world. She always has my back. She encouraged me to pursue education. My whole family is in Mobile which is why I hope to settle down somewhere in Alabama. I also have a wonderful boyfriend of nearly two years. He is a senior at USA and will be graduating next semester with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. He plays bass in several local bands and we both enjoy supporting the local music community.

When I'm not at school or work I also enjoy reading, taking pictures, spending time with my roommate and boyfriend, finding fun things in the area to do and see, spending time in my church community, and cooking. I love a house full of people to cook for and laugh with.

Randy Pausch On Time Management

I thought Randy Pausch had many great points in the video. I liked that he encourages people to question, "why am I doing this?" "what is the goal?" These are really helpful when making your plans. I also like that he says that everyone should have a plan even if you have to change it later. It doesn't matter, just have a plan. The bit about "doing the right things vs. doing things right" was my favorite. His quote "it doesn't matter how well you polish the underside of the banister" made total sense. He means, don't waste time doing something that you think is going to benefit you but that is actually completely pointless. Choose wisely what you spend your time on.

Thursday, August 23, 2012