Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Post #15

My Future Classroom: Re-evaluated
In my first blog post I envisioned a classroom where using technology meant using PowerPoint to give lectures and show cool videos of experiments from YouTube. After my semester in EDM 310 I’m cringing just typing that out. I will definitely be implementing blogging as part of my class. I know my blog for EDM 310 has helped me improve my writing skills and has forced me to dig a deeper to form my own opinions of the topics and technology we’ve encountered. Thanks to this class I no longer plan on using PowerPoint presentations AT ALL to give lectures. I really liked the flipped and blended classroom methods discussed in previous blog posts. Both methods help to free up class time for demonstrations and allows the students more time to ask questions and have open discussion. I would really like to have the resources to implement a similar version of Paul Anderson’s QUIVERS method. Understanding science, especially in middle school and into high school, is not easily done by just simply memorizing a few definitions and formulas. Mr. Anderson’s method helps create an environment where students have to prove they not only know what they’re talking about, but also that they actually understand the knowledge they’re receiving.

Looking back at my first blog post in EDM 310, I have definitely changed what I picture my future classroom will look like. My love and, thankfully, my understanding of technology have only grown with this class. I still stand by my previous images of a classroom where technology is present and incorporated into my lessons. However, EDM 310 has shown me WHAT technology to use and HOW to incorporate those into my classroom effectively.

Final Reflection Video

C4K for April
C4K #9
For my 9th C4K I was read and commented on Tania's blog. In her blog post Nebraska Nature, Tania shared some interesting facts about her state. She also provided information on the different state symbol's of Nebraska. Tania asked readers to leave comments about their state's symbols and other interesting facts.

Hi Tania, I’m a college student at the University of Alabama studying to become a teacher. However, I was born and raised in Ocean Springs, Mississippi so I’d like to share some facts about Mississippi with you. Our state fossil is the prehistoric whale. The state insect is the honey bee. Our state stone is petrified wood. Our state land mammal is also the white-tailed deer, but we also have a water mammal, the bottle nose dolphin. I have seen quite a few white-tailed deer. My uncle actually rescued a baby doe and raised her as if she was a family pet. I’m from the coastal area of Mississippi so I love going to the beach and hanging out on our barrier islands. One of my favorite inventions came from Biloxi where I was born! It’s Barq’s root beer. We also have the longest man-made beach in the world. Thanks for sharing some of your state facts and keep on blogging!!

C4K #10
My last C4K assignment was to read and comment on Riley's blog. Riley is a 4KJ student in Victoria, Australia. I believe Riley and his classmates were just starting a new term so I commented on his Welcome To My Blog post.

Hi Riley,
I'm a college student at the University of South Alabama, in the United States. I love horses, though I've never actually gone horse-back riding. Great post and keep up the good work!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Project #13
Using Collaborative Tools

For project 15 Jamie and I used Google Docs and Google Chat to collaborate. We created and shared an outline of our lesson in Google Docs. We both downloaded SMARTnotebook and created our separate pages for the lesson. Then we shared our saved lesson pages with each other via email. Later we added comments on the Google Docs and added our pages together. I really like the convenience of Google Docs and it definitely helped make the collaboration process go smoothly.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Final Report on Project #9
The organized OCD person inside of me loves using Symbaloo to keep all of my new resources and links to teachers' blogs in one place. It's great to have everything in one web and you can even create webs based on subject. I've followed more teachers on Twitter. I've added fellow classmates as friends on Facebook and will continue to communicate and collaborate in the future with them. There really is no end to a PLN. My has grown since beginning this course and will continue to grow for years to come.

Blog Post #14

Teachers Know If You've Done the E-Reading

Are college students actually reading their text books? Well at Texas A&M professors are getting answers to this million dollar question. With the help of new technology from CourseSmart, faculty at Texas A&M and eight other colleges are tracking students’ reading habits with digital textbooks. CourseSmart creates an evaluation for each individual student and sends it to the instructor. Now professors are able to see how their students’ study habits compare with their grades.

As a future educator I think this technology would be very helpful. I would be able to see if and when my students are opening their textbooks to do a reading assignments or study for a test. Since the program sends evaluations for individual students I would be able to see which of my students need help adjusting their studying habits.

As a student I think CourseSmart would definitely help make me open my textbooks and read them on a regular basis. I will admit I have a tendency to by the required textbooks for a class and either never open it, or I only open it when I’m cramming for a test. I’ve also taken several courses where the professor had a required textbook but quizzes and test where solely based off of their lectures. I think this program would be great to help professors evaluate whether or not they’re students need to buy a $100 book in order to pass their class.

Questions I have for the teacher of the class:
Will students be graded based on their reading reports?
Is the information helping you adjust your class instruction?

Questions I have for the students:
Does this program force you to open your textbooks more?
Do you take hand written notes when you read, or do you use the e-readers highlighter and note program?
Do any of you cheat the system and simply open the book and thumb through the pages?

My comment would be that although I think it’s great to see a read-out of your students’ book usage, I think it’s pretty obvious when students aren’t reading based on their grades. The program seems like a waste of college funds in my opinion. Why spend money on a program that tells professors what they should already realize when they grade assignments and tests. Either your struggling students aren’t reading their books or they are.

Project #15

Project #16

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog Post #13

Brian Crosby

This week we were asked to view Brian Crosby's TED Talk- Back to the Future. In Mr. Crosby's talk he addresses how today's curriculum is too narrow and doesn't allow room for students to imagine the possibilities. He says this system doesn't allow for schema and students find it hard to imagine what could be when they don't know what is. He goes on to describe how a typical science objective is taught in his class. He describes how he uses technology such as blogs, wikis, flickr, and skype to expand his class's learning experience. really enjoyed Mr. Crosby's talk. He's found a great balance between hands-on, in class learning and expanding that knowledge with the help of technology. My favorite part of this video was my realization that Mr. Crosby is also giving his student's a Mr. Miyagi wax-on, wax-off lesson and they don't even realize it. Not only is he teaching the benchmark, he's helping his students learn about new technology and improve their English speaking and writing skills.

Paul Anderson

In Paul Anderson's podcast, Learning Cycle, he describes how he flipped his classroom. He has taken a few different approaches and blended them together to create his blended learning cycle, QUIVERS.

QUestion- Mr. Anderson begins each cycle with a hook question in order to grab student's attention and jump start their interest.
Investigate- At this point, students use the Internet and other resources to do some of their own research.
Video- Mr. Anderson includes his own podcast for students to watch and review on their own time, freeing up class time to answer questions and review concepts.
Elaboration- Here the students go in more depth with research and understanding what they've learned from the past steps.
Review- Anderson meets with students to insure they understand what they're learning about.
Summary Quiz- Students take a quiz on what they've covered in the cycle only after they've passed the review meeting with Mr. Anderson.

Being a Secondary/Science major, I really like Mr. Anderson's QUIVERS method. Science is definitely not a subject that is easily memorized and burped back. In his video, Mr. Anderson mentions his belief that you've fully learned something when you can explain, teach it to someone else. I completely agree with this and the set up of QUIVERS creates the adequate learning environment for students to achieve that level of understanding. I will definitely be keeping this video in mind when I begin teaching.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Progress Report on Final Project
Our group, January, has held one in-person meeting to discuss and decide how we would split task for our final project. We plan to make a video tutorial on how to navigate through setting up a blog on blogger. We plan on recording the finished product on Tuesday.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12

This week we've been assigned the task of creating our own blog post assignment geared toward our own areas of specialty. Being a fan of blogs before taking EDM 310, I've been dying to do a blog post incorporating a very popular topic in the blogging community: Five Things Friday. For those who don't know about five things Fridays, you post five things, topics, blurbs, or random thoughts on your blog every Friday. However, since my area of specialty is science and EDM 310 is a technology class my five things will not be random blurbs, but will be related to technology I'd like to use in my classroom as well as examples of what my future Five Things Fridays posts may consist of.

 photo tumblr_inline_mkkcx53aWH1qz4rgp_zpsd3473468.gifInstructions

1. View some examples of blogs containing Five Things Friday posts. Feel free to Google and find other examples if you'd like!
Life As Lexa- She's a fellow education major studying at Mississippi State and her Five Things Friday posts were my inspiration for the assignment.
The Polished Teacher
The Brown-Bag Teacher
2. Find and share FIVE subject related topics in a Five Things Friday blog post.
*Your post must be related to the subject matter at head. For example, you can choose to find Five interesting science experiments to talk about, five science questions you'd like to bring up in class discussion, or you could write about five current events happening in out in the field.
3. Be sure to include pictures and links to any resources you used.

Five Things Fridays

1. Google Earth
I've always been obsessed with traveling around the world and seeing new places. However, being a college student I don't have the financial means to make my dream a reality so I've settled with cyber-backpacking with the help of Google Earth. But the great thing about Google Earth is that you're not limited to just Earth! The application actually includes the option to switch between the Earth, Sky, Mars, and the Moon. I'm taking Astronomy right now and have been having a blast searching for the stars and nebula we've been discussing in class. And there are tons of extra links and picture included so your cyber-field trip is basically never ending, much like the Universe.

2. PhET Interactive Simulations- University of Colorado at Boulder
My high school physics teacher actually introduced me to the PhET simulations. He frequently used their simulations to help explain difficult topics. There are several different categories of simulations to choose from and each category contains fun and interactive learning experiences. These simulations definitely helped me grasp the concept at hand and I will definitely be sharing them with my future students.

3. Staying Informed
New discoveries and scientific breakthroughs are happening 24/7, 365 days a year. In order to keep somewhat up-to-date on events, discoveries, and breakthroughs I like to use twitter. I follow tweets from NASA, National Geographic, and the Smithsonian. I've actually created a separate profile where I've only followed science related tweets so that the updates and information is nicely organized together in one place. I'm really excited to share daily Galaxy pictures posted by @dailygalaxy and other interesting topic related tweets with students. If you're not a fan of Twitter, sites such as Science News For Kids, Discovery Kids, and National Geographic Kids are equally as good and student friendly.

4. Did you know?
Starfish(sea stars) have no heart. Maybe that's why the Crown of Thorns Sea Star is causing major problems in The Great Barrier Reef. Check out the video below about reef destruction caused by the Crown of Thorns Sea Stars!

5. Fun Photo
Here's a photo taken by the Hubble space telescope of a star nursery. Here new stars are beginning to form from dense, compact pockets of interstellar gas called evaporating gaseous globules(EGGs)in the Eagle nebula.
Gas Pillars in the Eagle Nebula (M16): Pillars of Creation in a Star-Forming Region

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blog Post #11
Mrs. Cassidy
In Mrs. Cassidy's video Little Kids, Big Potential she gives viewers a peek into how her first graders are using the Internet and technology in class. Throughout the video the students show how they're using laptops, SMARTboards, blogs, and wikis to expand there learning and improve their writing skills. I think it is amazing how computer proficient Mrs. Cassidy's first graders are. It is wonderful that they are getting the opportunity to start using helpful tools like wikis and skyping experts at such a young age.
I really hope that I am lucky enough to be in a school that isn't afraid of today's technology. I definitely would love to have my students have a class blog. It is a great way for the student's to track what they've learned during my class and see how they've improved throughout the year. I also liked that Mrs. Cassidy had a class verbiage. A class web page would be great for communicating with students after school is out. By posting links that I've found to it, I can be sure my students are finding safe and informative information. In her Skype interview with Dr. Strange Mrs. Cassidy mentioned that teachers need to change their way of teaching because the world has changed. I know that students today LOVE technology, I'm one of them, and that if I refuse to embrace that fact then I'm only hurting my students. I agree with Mrs. Cassidy, we have to take advantage of the tools and technology around us in order to keep from handicapping our students. I know it won't always be a walk in the park and there's bound to be a few speed bumps, but that's life and there's usually a lesson to be learned in the process.

C4T #3

For my third C4T I was assigned Jennifer Brokofsky. She is an Instruction Consultant with Saskatoon Public Schools. The first post I read was titled Reading in Mathematics? Absolutely!. In it Mrs. Brokofsky writes about the need to make connections between reading and mathematics. She writes that since both subjects strengthen thinking, it only makes sense that teachers use the same/similar strategies and teaching methods to strengthen thinking and understanding in math that are used in
teaching reading. I commented that I have always struggled with word problems in math. Her comparison chart was very helpful and definitely had me rethinking how I approached reading in math.

The second post I left a comment on was titled Subitizing-A Fundamental Skill For Primary Mathematicians. Mrs. Brokofsky explains that Subitizing is "the ability to instantly see how many in a small collection of items without counting." For example, when you roll a dice and know that it has landed on five without having to count each individual dot. Mrs. Brokofsky writes that subitizing is a fundamental skill for supporting student's understanding of number and ability to perform number operations. I commented that I had never realized how often I subitize in my life and was unaware there was a technical term for the skill. Although I'm not a math education major I found her post interesting and agreed that it is a skill that we should continue to teach.

C4K March
My fifth C4K assignment was to comment on Spencer's blog post titled Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. His class had just finished Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Here My Cry. He wrote that the novel was a little hard to follow,but he became more captivated after reading further.

Hey Spencer,
I’m a college student at the University of South Alabama studying to be a teacher. Have you read any other works by Mildred Taylor? This is a good post but make sure you don’t forget to add necessary punctuation so you don’t have any run-on sentences.
Paula McKinney

He also replied to my comment stating he hasn't read any other novels by Mrs. Taylor. He also said that he too noticed the run-ons in his post and figured someone would catch them.

The next comment I left was for Austin. Austin's post was titled Life 101. The post was about a game that mirrored the board game Life. Austin and his classmates traveled to different stations in their gym learning about salaries, taxes, and the effects certain money choices have on life. My comment to him is below:
Hi Austin,
My name is Paula, and I’m a student at the University of South Alabama. I really liked that you made sure to explain how the game worked and defined some terms as well. When writing a blog, it’s important to give a small summary to give potential readers a better understanding of what your assignment or activity was. I think it’s great you’re getting to learn how to make smart financial decisions. Speaking from experience, you will definitely appreciate the chance to practice making decisions with saving and spending money. Keep up the great blogging!

In my seventh C4K I commented on Jabezv's blog post Why do we have Easter eggs? He is a7th year student in Auckland, New Zealand. He wrote that we have Easter eggs as a representation of Jesus's resurrection. The egg's shell represents the sealed tomb and breaking the egg represents his resurrection.

 Hi Jabezv, My name is Paula McKinney and I'm a college student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I have always wondered why we had Easter eggs but never knew the meaning behind them. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

In my 8th C4K I read Laycee's post Intro. to Russian Students. She wrote a little bit about herself and her interests, including that she had never been out of the United States. She also wants to be a nurse in the Navy.

Hi Laycee, my name is Paula and I'm a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I too have never been out of the country but I have always wanted to travel to the United Kingdom. I think it's great that Algebra is your favorite subject, not many people like math class. Keep up the great blog!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Post #9

Reflections on Reflections
Reflection Nebula

This week we were sent to Mr. Joe McClung's blog posts reflecting on what he has learned during each of his four years of teaching.
1st Year(08-09) 2nd Year(09-10) 3rd Year(10-11) 4th Year(11-12)I decided to review Mr. McClung's first year reflection as well as his fourth year reflection.

In his very first reflection, Mr. McClung's main topics include keeping the focus on making sure he's helping his students and changing a few human tendancies. He points out that he learned to switch his focus from worrying about what his superiors were going to think, to making sure he didn’t lose touch with the important people, his students. It’s the kids that matter. We are only human and therefore cannot be perfect. Mr. McClung learned that if a lesson or activity didn’t go how he originally planned it, don’t fret and try to carry on and make the situation better. Since we are human and make mistakes, there will most likely be “we have a failure to communicate” moments with fellow teachers and administrators. Mr. McClung points out that communication is a key tool for building good relationships with other teachers. He also states that you have to remember reality when it comes to setting goals and expectations for students. It’s great to have faith and want your students to succeed, but by having expectations that are impossible to achieve you may, unintentionally, send the wrong message. Mr. McClung also includes a reflection on not letting technology frighten you. As with all skills, it takes practice. He also writes that we need to listen to our students. You can’t really expect to teach/have an impact on someone’s life without knowing at least a little about them. Lastly he reminds readers that if we expect our students to learn and want to learn more, we as teachers must also continue to learn.
Though his fourth reflection contains fewer topics, the message is very similar. Again he reflects on keeping the focus on students. He believes that as long as he makes sure that students are having fun and learning, the need to please his fellow teachers shouldn’t get in the way. I think his last point in the fourth reflection is probably one of the most important messages to all teachers; don’t get too stuck in the same routine. This was his third year teaching the same subject and he found that relying too heavily on past lessons made his current ones ineffective.

I feel that every topic Mr. McClung brought up in his reflections is one to remember. I especially like his reminders to keep the focus on your students. I mean what is the point of a teacher who cares more about what his/her peers think about their work over if she’s actually conveying lessons and knowledge to students? We are here to help educate future generations. If that means leaving my technology comfort zone in order to benefit my students I’m all for it. Mr. McClung’s reflection on never ceasing to learn is one I always agreed with. There are new discoveries every minute of the day, and thanks to technology it’s much easier to find these. We live in a time when learning new knowledge can be achieved in a matter of seconds thanks to the internet. So why stop learning? Our knowledge and understanding is changing constantly with time. Therefore, we as teachers will also have to expand our own knowledge and understanding if we wish to be successful.

Project #12

Book Trailer for Jan Brett's Town Mouse Country Mouse

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Dr. Randy Pausch was quite an inspiration and for anyone unaware of his story I urge you to take a few minutes to find a few videos and do a little research. He is just one of the many people who were taken too soon. However, he still lives on thanks to his family, friends, students who share his message still.

In Dr. Pausch's Last Lecture he discusses several methods he used while teaching and the lessons he learned while finding these methods. A few that stuck out the most to me included:
-Having fun
-Refusing to give up
-Teaching indirectly
Having fun was, in my opinion, one of the most important points made by Dr. Pausch in his lecture. I think some of the greatest moments in my educational journey have been in classes with teachers/professors who knew how to make class fun and interesting. I hope to create a classroom where learning is fun, not boring or pointless to students. It breaks my heart to listen to my younger family members' answers when I ask what they're learning about in school and they say "nothing." I only wish to be the teacher who's students can't wait to tell their parents what they've learned, and how much fun they have in the process.

In many of our assignments the method of indirect learning keeps reappearing. Dr. Pausch gives an example of how playing football, or any team sport, is "head fake" learning. Players are learning the sport, sure, but they're also learning other lessons that they may not be aware of. I think this is a great method that all teachers should practice. Indirect learning pairs well with having fun. We learn from experience and by using indirect learning and fun students can learn multiple skills and lessons and not even be aware. It's great to know you'd not only be teaching them whatever subject you teach, but also skills they can use the rest of their lives.

Dr. Pausch speaks about many of the brick walls he faced while trying to fulfill his dreams. Life's brick walls are only there to keep out the people who don't truly want whatever is behind them. Dr. Pausch's message of never giving up is one that I will definitely be using in my classroom: for myself and my students. There will definitely be plenty of days when I want to walk away from my students. There will surely be days when the world seems to be against me. But I must remember that these obstacles are simply lifes brick walls and it's just making sure I'm giving 100%. I believe the never give up attitude e Dr. Pausch conveyed should be shared with more students. Too many students simply stop in their educational journey because life places a few brick walls in front of them. These students need teachers who are willing to help them find the right tools to knock those walls down, brick by brick.

Dr. Pausch's Last Lecture is filled with so much love and wisdom. It's impossible to watch and not be moved. It should continue to be shared so that he can continue to be an inspiration for future generations.

PLN Progress Report
I'm not sure it's been clear until now, but I've been creating a Personal Learning Network my entire life. However, I've only just begun to utilize all the connections and tools since taking this class. I've had a Twitter and Pinterest account for several years now, but have just started using them to expand my PLN on a more professional level. After adding many of the teachers introduced in EDM 310 materials to my newsfeed, I've already found several more educators to add just from their retweets. It's definitely a work in progress, but my PLN is growing and will continue to grow.

C4K Summary For February

C4K #1 first C4K was for Bethany's blog for her IB world history class. Her post was about the historical fiction book she chose for a project. She chose Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer. She wrote a brief description about the book and she hoped to get an insight into the life of a young Princess Elizabeth. Here is the comment I left for her: "Hey Bethany, My name is Paula McKinney and I’m a student from EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. The Tudors are, in my opinion, one of the most interesting families in European history. Historical fiction is a great way to learn about events and people throughout history. However, because it is fictional be sure to do other research in order to see where the facts end and the author’s creativity takes over. Overall, great job! I’m very interested in seeing what you learn. Sincerely, Paula McKinney."

C4K #2
My second C4K was for Carlos. Carlos is a student in Mr. Sapia's class and hates homework. He makes the point in his post that homework can be frustrating if you have problems and have no way to ask a teacher for help. Here is the comment I left- "Hi Carlos, I’m a college student at the University of South Alabama studying to become a science teacher. Homework is usually given to help students to further their understanding of what they’ve learned in class that day. I would have to agree with you that it can be frustrating to be stuck on a problem and have no way to ask your teacher for assistance. However, we are very lucky to live in a world where technology is so available to us. Have you ever tried to email a teacher with a question about a homework assignment? It’s much easier to get in touch with teachers after school thanks to technology. But even if you’re unable to contact them, I’m certain that they will understand if you ask for help the next time you are in class. Great post!"

C4K #3
For my third C4K assignment I commented on Jennifer's blog. Jennifer is a 6 year student in Auckland, New Zealand. I commented on her story about Waitangi Day, a holiday in New Zealand celebrated much like our Fourth of July. "Hi Jennifer, my name is Paula and I'm a college student in the United States. I really like the colorful pictures throughout your blog. I'm not sure what Waitangi Day is but it sounds exciting. Continue the great work!"

C4K #4
My last C4K assignment was for Tammy Jo. She is a 10th grader in Mrs. Martin's English class. The blog post I commented on was about self expression. In it Tammy wrote about how she expresses her feelings through singing. I commented saying:"Hi Tammy Jo. I'm a  student at South Alabama and was assigned your blog to comment on. I too prefer to use music to express my feelings. Music has always helped me express how I'm feeling when my own voice and words seemed to fail. I played the clarinet for 10 years and I'm still amazed at the affect music has on my emotions. Why do you think music has so much influence on our emotions? Great post and keep up the good work."

Project #8

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10

Finding the Right Tools

After graduation I hope to teach high school biology. Thanks to today's technology, learning in science classes is continuously changing. I think the best tool to keep my class up-to-date with this never ending changes are my fellow science teachers. A great site to find these people, see their work, and suggestions would be through the National Science Teachers Association. Just exploring the site for a few minutes I found a tab linking to hundreds of resources for science teachers. It's always handy to have different examples and questions for students that you may not have originally thought of. It's probably safe to say that hundreds of heads are better than just one. some students science concepts, usually, take time and repetition to learn. But, looking at tables and figures in textbooks can become quite boring after a few hours. Therefore, I searched for fun science games in Google. One site that caught my eye and came up in several forums was SheppardsSoftware. This site has some great fun and interactive games to help learning be entertaining for students. They have games for almost every subject and grade level from preschool through twelfth grade. I will definitely send students here for a helpful study aid.

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student

Connectivism is the theory that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties. Have you ever wished you could decide what materials were covered in a class lecture? Wendy Drexler’s video “Networked Student” shares how students are expanding their education through connectivism. According to the video, connectivism is the theory that learning occurs as part of a social network of many connections and ties. In classrooms around the country students are using the internet and social networks to do their own research and talk with experts, essentially teaching themselves.

However, like I did, you’re probably wondering why the student even needs a teacher if they’re just learning from other sources and people. Drexler’s video addresses this very question and explains she is there to help student’s navigate and survive the massive treasure hunt that awaits them on the internet. She is their North Star. She teaches them how to find information, how to decipher a reliable source from an unreliable one, and how to understand and interpret their findings.

I have to say that originally I was a bit skeptical of this method, especially for students in middle school. However, I realized that more and more of my own college courses have begun to move to a format a few steps from connectivism. I think it’s a great idea but I’m not sure I would be comfortable using it every day in my classroom. In my opinion this would be a great way to approach for students to use connectivism for a project. By giving them the power to research a topic on their own, they’re receiving an individualized education. They can find examples and materials that may be different from those of another student’s. I think it is an extremely fascinating and innovative way to keep students interested in class material.

7th Grader’s Personal Learning Environment

In Mrs. Drexler’s video depicts a seventh grader’s personal learning environment (PLE). In the video the student shows how she uses her PLE to keep class research and assignments neat and organized in one location thanks to Symbaloo. My PLE (PLN) is not nearly as large but it’s getting there. I’m also hoping to get more proficient at using my Symbaloo account to keep my PLN organized.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Sentence Video

Blog Post #5


Krissy Venosdale is an innovated gifted education teacher living in Missouri. She uses her blog, Venspired, to reflect on her teaching and discuss the people who help inspire her. In her blog post If I Built A School Mrs. Venosdale describes the amazing playground for learning she would create if given the chance to build a school. She dreams of building a school where students and learning can thrive. It would be as school where students don't have to fit a certain model or standard. It's cozy, free, and open atmosphere would help to inspire students and teachers. If I had the means to build my own school it would be very similar to Mrs. Venosdale's. Every class would be equipped with latest and greatest technology for students and teachers to use. I would do away with standardized testing and create a school focused on learning and comphrehenending instead of "burp-back" education. It would be a place where students can't wait to show up and are ready to explore and learn new things, places, and ideas.

Virtual Choir

In Jennifer Chamber's post she shared a video of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir that is absolutely breathtaking and awe-inspiring . The video is a compilation of about 2,000 indiviudal recordings to create the one masterpiece. Through the video hundreds of people who have never meet brought their voices together to make a beautiful rendition of 'Lux Aurumque.' In the NPR interview with the composer Eric Whitacre, talks about how the video shows a wonderfully pure and positive view of technology usage. I would agree that technology tends to get a bad name and is often discussed in a negative light. However, the video in my opinion brings about a positive light on the subject of technology connecting people globally. I think the video definitely opened my eyes. I know I've talked about the ablity to use technology and social media to help collaborate with teachers around the world but this video puts that into perspective. It really was only an idea, a possibility before the video. Now, it is real. I can really work with teachers around the world with a click of my mouse.

21st Century Teaching

In Teaching in the 21st Century (John Strange version) Kevin Roberts presents ideas about education in today's society. From the video I would say that Mr. Roberts sees teaching and teachers changing from giving facts and information and moving to showing how and where students can find this information on their own. He knows that today's students are able to google and ransack the web on their own to find answers but wonders if someone shown them how to check the credibility. We continue to create new technology but our students are too often pushed away from using it because they will possibly cheat or use technology in a negative way. But what if we gave them the opportunity to actually their phones, twitter accounts, and so on to connect to a bigger world and greater range of knowledge outside of their own classes, teachers, and community? Roberts sees teaching changing to engage students with the help of technology instead of just keeping them entertained. I think that change will eventually happen throughout education. We're teaching a generation that has lived most, if not all, of their lives with technology, social media, and gadgets that connect them to knowledge all the time and use these frequently. We have to provide them with an environment where they learn to use technology to positively affect their lives and add creations to society.

Flipped Classroom

Flipped classroom is a new approach being used in classrooms across the nation to change from using a large amount of class time for lecture and flipping to recording lectures for students to view before class time. The time that was originally used to give lectures in class is now available for application time. Students are placed in groups according to how they learn. So they're able to learn at the same speed according to each group's ability. I think this is a great way to create the right atmosphere for learning. Students come to class already prepared and ready to apply their knowledge. It's helping students learn to work with others by placing them in groups and in turn helping them to challenge each other to think outside of the box. Now, the teacher is able to help and answer questions during class time instead of leaving the student to struggle at home independently. And as Katie Gimbar discussed in her Flipped Classroom-FAQ videos, students who don't have internet or computer access are able to view lectures during school hours or with a DVD copy. I think this system is definitely transferable to every class in the nation and I'm very interested in using it, or a version in my own classroom.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

C4T #1

C4T #1

Jeff Utecht opens his blog post, You Can't Drive Using Your Rearview Mirror, by sharing what he learned while driving in Saudi Arabia; Look where you're going and don't watch what's going on behind you. He describes how reflecting or "looking behind you" is a great way to learn but if you don't look forward you're going to run into some problems eventually. He ends the post by applying this analogy to education: "We cannot drive education forward by looking in our rearview mirror all the time at what used to work, what used to be good, and what we used to teach. Driving through your rearview mirror is never a good idea."

I commented on Mr. Utecht's blog stating that I enjoyed his way of reflecting, taking the past and the future into consideration. His message is one that is frequently repeated in EDM 310. Teacher can no longer rely on what worked in the past. We must turn our eyes to the future and focus on the new possiblities for education.

C4T #2 second blog post I commented on by Jeff Utecht was What Does it Mean To Disconnect? In his post, Mr. Utecht ponders what it means to disconnect and provides what he believes is the answer. His answer is not that we need to disconnect or limit our use of technology, it is that we should evaluate how we're using technology: Are you a user or creator? Furthermore, he asks readers to think about the amount of time students today are given to create and problem solve compared to the time they consume. "what if we created....creators? He urges readers to think about the their time spend with technology and if they're spending it wisely.

Again, his message is one that keeps popping up in EDM 310. How can we turn away from old methods of teaching a use technology to positively effect a student's education? My comment stated my initial definition of disconnecting as physically turning off technology and spending time to clear my head. However, I also wrote that while being a college student and taking classes like EDM310 it's almost impossible to truly disconnect from technology. I agreed that society should adopt Mr. Utecht's view of "creating" and contributing to society with the help of technology, not just consuming it. I truely believe that every student currently taking EDM 310 should read, not only What Does it Mean To Disconnect? , but also the comments left by other readers.

Project #5 Presentation

Blog Post #4

The benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
In Joe Dale’s blog post “The benefits of podcasting in the classroom” he discusses the benefits of using podcasts for students and teachers. Podcasts not only promote creativity and innovation but keep students involved and interested in the topic at hand. I especially like the opportunities it creates for absent students to stay up to date on what they’ve missed. I think it could also be beneficial for when I am absent. I can record a quick lesson and explain what I would like my students to do in class that day. This way there may be a smaller chance of the substitute or students being confused. I know that I love classes where the professor uses podcast for lectures. It’s wonderful to have my own notes as well as the actual lecture to use while reviewing for a test. I think my future students would benefit if I recorded my own lectures and made them available to them.

In Ms. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog post “Listening-Comprehension-Podcasting” she writes about a second grade class using podcasts to help with learning and comprehending Hebrew and the story of Purim. With the help of Garageband, a SmartBoard, and a microphone each student recorded a part of a script reviewing the story. After recording their script, out of order, the students were given the task of listening to clips and placing them in the right order. Ms. Tolisano discusses the importance of hearing new vocabulary words while learning a new language and how listening to the clips again and again help the students with further comprehension of the material. I think this method is ingenious and I had never thought about using podcast in such a way. I think this method could definitely be easily translated into a science class to help understand and comprehend several key concepts.

Flat Stanley Podcast
First, I would like to say the finished podcast at the end of Ms. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog post titled "Flat Stanley Podcast" is absolutely adorable. Ms. Tolisano’s describes how the first grade class in Jacksonville, Florida brainstormed and created a podcast after reading the book Flat Stanley by Jim Brown. They were all asked to imagine that they were flattened, like Stanley, and had to pick a location to travel to. Each student researched places and described how they arrived, what they did, and how they came back. I believe this is a fantastic way to help promote reading skills and creativity in children. The students are able to hear how they’re pronouncing words and the emotions behind their voices. Because the students were reminded to use their senses to describe their travels, I think this is a great way to help teach students how to begin thinking in a more descriptive manner.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Special Blog Post #1
Misinterpreted Data

In blog post #2 we were assigned several videos to watch and discuss, one of which was “Did You Know?” The video reported on several facts; many looking at the differences between China’s, India’s, and the United States’ populations. After reviewing students’ posts, Dr. Strange found many students misinterpreted the video and the data presented. As a result we were all asked to do a little research of our own on the populations of China, India, and the United States using WolframAlpha search. According the WolframAlpha, there are 1.21 billion people living in India, 1.35 billion people in China, and 309 million people in the United States. So after seeing the results from the WolframAlpha comparison of the countries’ populations, we can better understand the information presented in “Did You Know?” To some the video may seem to place the U.S. below China and India for education and English speakers, but one must adjust the data to cover the differences in our smaller population versus the much larger populations of China and India.


Search- "Compare Mississippi and Alabama college enrollment"
Results- Mississippi-196045 people
Results- Alabama-305547 people

Compare Mississippi and Alabama College graduates
Mississippi 508063 people
Alabama 88708 people

I think WolframAlpha would be extremely helpful for both my students and me. After exploring the site a little, I stumbled upon the examples by topic and found hundreds of topics to choose from. There were quite a few science topics listed and would be great place to find materials for curriculum. I also would love to use it to find interesting facts to keep lectures fun and interested. I definitely would refer students to use WolframAlpha for projects or papers.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

Have you ever wondered how many likes or comments are posted to Facebook daily? How about in the last 30 seconds? Well thanks to Gary Hayes Social Media Count you can watch the increasing number of activities taking place in several different areas of social media. For instance, after just 30 seconds of viewing the counter 1,133,334 likes and comments took place on Facebook, 61,979 tweets were sent to Twitter, and 708,333 videos were watched on YouTube! But what does that mean for educators and students living in this in a world where social media and technology are so prominent?

Well I think there is an obvious need to evolve. No we don’t need to grow two extra arms and hands so we can tweet and grade papers at the same time. We as educators need to start incorporating some of these sites and programs positively into curriculum. There’s a reason the social media counter grows exponentially each second. It’s because people are using them and frequently. Why not incorporate some of these sites and applications into courses to show students that there is more uses to these sites then they may realize. Students are already using a number of these sites, why can't take avandatge of this usage as educators.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Post #3
Peer Editing

Peer editing is a phrase that tends to send shivers throughout a classroom. However, if done properly it can be an extremely useful learning experience for students. Peer editing is defined in the video What is Peer editing as working with someone your own age-usually a class member- to help improve, revise, and edit his or her writing. The Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial breaks down the process into three steps; first compliment the students writing, then make specific suggestions for improvement, and lastly make corrections on the peer’s paper.

The most important thing to remember, while peer editing, is that both students should stay positive. It’s in the interest of both students to take the process seriously in order for it to work effectively. Both parties need to give fair and honest while suggesting improvements and be open to critiques on their work. Peer editing may seem unnecessary to some students but it’s a helpful writing device available to students.


The Mountbatten is a braille keyboard being used in schools as a tool to provide an engaging leaning environment for visually impaired students. It provides the user with both audio and tactile feedback, such as audio readouts as the student types and by producing braille as the student types. Because the Mountbatten is able to interact with a computer by saving, transferring, and receiving files, I feel, it can easily be used in a classroom. Since I personally don’t know how to read braille I would love to use this tool if/when I have a student with a visual impairment. I could send the Mountbatten a file containing lecture notes to print out in braille for the student. The student would also be able to take extra notes on their own during class time. Also, because the Mountbatten can send files to a computer, I can have a file that is viewable on my computer which would be useful when giving a quiz, test, or doing group discussion activities. The Mountbatten allows the student to interact and stay engaged in class like never before.

Assistive Technologies

In this week’s assigned videos, technology for the visually impaired was discussed. In Teaching Math to the Blind, Professor Art Karshmer addresses the problems blind students have when learning math: being unable to read the problem in column form. Prof. Karshmer and his team at the University of San Francisco have developed the technology to help braille-reading students work math problems more simply with the help of an electronic grid system and tiles with numbers in braille. In iPad Usage For the Blind and Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is learning On the iPad the technology available for blind users was demonstrated. Both videos demonstrated how Voice Over is used by a visually impaired person to navigate an iPad, open apps and iBooks, and type using finger shortcuts that accompany the program.

All four videos, including The Mountbatten video, showed new advancements in technology being created to help improve the lives of the visually impaired. Each video is demonstrating how someone saw a need and filled it. It’s teachers like Prof. Karshmer and innovators at Apple who are trying to make a difference in the lives of visually or hearing impaired students. With the help of technology like the iPad, Voice Over, and iBooks blind students now have easier access to a class’s required reading material in a format they can use. Non-braille reading teachers can easily send notes and communicate with a blind student with the help of the Mountbatten. And a student learning math with Professor Karshmer’s system now has a better chance at breaking the barriers against pursuing a career in mathematics or science. Every one of these inventions is helping open new doors to ensuring blind students have many of the same learning experiences and opportunities in life as a seeing student has. As I mentioned in the section above on the Mountbatten, I would definitely be open to using any technology that helps improve a visually impaired student’s time in my class. As a science fanatic and future science teacher, I want to know that every child has the same chance to discover and explore the subject. If technology like professor Karshmer’s grid system and the iPad help a student to learn, then I will, without hesitation, be open to using it in my classroom.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

Vicki Davis is a teacher in rural Georgia using digital media to help her students “learn how to learn.” In the video Harness Your Student’s Digital Smarts, she describes how she uses different media tools to help connect her students to curriculum as well as the world. Ms. Davis understands that very few students will grasp a subject when the teacher uses a pencil and paper only style of teaching. Instead, she provides the platform (a new software program, wikis, or other media) for class lessons and then lets the student take the reins. In doing this, she’s teaching them how to start thinking and learning on their own. In my opinion she’s teaching one of the best lessons ever and they don’t even realize it. She’s teaching them how to be an individual and inquisitive thinker while teaching them about technology.

As a student I used to despise when a teacher assigned a project and didn’t show an example or was very vague on how he or she wanted the project set up. After several years it finally clicked that I clearly lacked my own imagination. I needed an example so I could basically copy it. I now see that these teachers simply had similar methods and intentions to those of Vicki Davis. They were trying to spark student’s creativity and individuality. Thanks to today’s technology, there are now more ways of immersing students into a subject than ever before. All you need to do is spark their interest.