Sunday, May 8, 2011

Final Post

This is my final post for this blog and EDM 310. I apologize in advance for the volume of my voice. I've had a bit of a sore throat lately. Hope you all enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

PLN Final Update

iGoogle logo

My PLN has not changed much from my last update, but I can honestly say that I use everything on my Symbaloo and iGoogle page at least once a week, and many of them daily. I love the iGoogle system! I have made it my homepage on my laptop and have customized it to house my gmail, news news and weather updates, as well as quote and art of the day, sticky notes, and other applications. And I'm still adding to it because I'm constantly finding new gadgets. My Symbaloo has links to most everything I use on the internet, including links to my blog, the class blog, Carly, The Digital Native blog, and Mr. Karl Fischer's blog. I also have links to Twitter and Facebook, Amazon, and Pandora.

Special Assignment: Metaphors

Man with Knife in back visits doctor, who tells him it is only a metaphor

1. Why did you miss the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, or, if you "hit the nail on the head", why do you think you understood the metaphor and why do you think that others in the class missed the metaphor?

I think that the metaphor could be missed if the reader was taking the story literally, but for me it was sort of obvious that he wasn't really talking about pencils. For one thing, pencils aren't expensive, so why would the teacher need to get the parents to  sign legal waivers for them to be taken home? Another, how is a student going to join the "Pen Pal network" with just a pencil? Like I said, to me it was sort of obvious we weren't really talking about a pencil here, but I guess if someone was just reading through it quickly they could miss the point. 

2. What metaphors have you encountered since I asked you to create a log of them?

Some examples I've heard of metaphors:
Heart of gold
Walking through the darkness to get to the light
Raining cats and dogs
the light of my life
Apple of my eye

3. What other things can we do as educators to help our students to understand and to use metaphors?

I think assignments like this one are good ways to make students consider metaphors. I had never given them much thought until now, but they are really every where. Those in my list above are ones that I've heard today alone, and only the ones that I can remember off the top of my head. Metaphors are all around us whether we realize it or not, so bringing that to students' awareness is a good step to getting them to use them (they probably do it already without realizing it anyway, right?). 

4. Why do we use metaphors?

Metaphors are about creativity, saying what you want to say in a way that is not necessarily obvious. If Mr. Johnson had not posted his metaphor, if he had just said outright what he was trying to say, would we still be talking about it? 

Probably not.

When you have to think about things they tend to stick a little better than if you just read through it quickly. I know that I actually remembered reading this post, out of a sea of posts from the semester in this and other classes, because I read it twice - first when I thought was reading about the literal pencil and got caught halfway going "wait a second..." then I went back to reread.  

Metaphors are there to make us think. 

Project # 16

My final project, a collaborative project with Carly and Chelsea, is the blog How to be a Digital Native. On this blog, we have posted several things we have learned in this class and a few we've figured out on our own for future bloggers to use to create an interesting and useful blog. Check it out!

Summary Post C4T

For this Comments for Teachers assignment, I was assigned The Fisch Bowl, a blog run by Mr. Karl Fischer. Mr. Fischer is currently the Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.

In the first post I commented on, Mr. Fischer was presenting the argument that the Denver Post should no longer print horoscopes in their paper, and instead use that space for other articles, because only 3/4 of the population believe that horoscopes are just for entertainment purposes. To this post, I replied:

"Mr. Fisch,

I am a student of Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama and was assigned to read and post a comment on your blog. I agree with your stance on the horoscopes being posted in the newspaper, to a degree. I mean, like you said, 3/4 of the population see them as nothing more than entertainment and that space that has up to now been taken up by it could be used for educational purposes, like something that is actually scientific. But, don't newspapers also serve to entertain? Yes, they provide news and should therefore be educational in some aspect, but there are also the sections of the paper that are there for entertainment and those are some that many people look forward to - horoscopes, book/movie reviews, lifestyle sections, sports, etc. Now, granted, I do not know a lot about the Denver Post, but if it is like a regular newspaper with all of those other entertainment aspects, why not keep the horoscopes? I'm sure that they generate revenue for the paper and provide some with entertainment."

The second post that I commented on was about an assignment that Mr. Fisher was giving his students. He assigned them to read a book that would be discussed and presented in class, which is pretty standard for a high school class. Then he took it a step further, by requiring that they blog about it and suggesting that the readers of his blog get involved in online discussions, which the times/dates/chapters of which were provided on a wiki link. I replied to this post:

"I think this is a great idea! It takes the group reading of a book to a whole new level. Sharing thoughts, ideas, and perspectives of books with classmates has always been helpful to me in understanding things from others' perspective, so branching even further to include their online community would take that even further."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Post # 13

Alabama Learning Exchange logo

The Alabama learning exchange, or ALEX, is a website designed for educator collaboration on different resources. The site is set up with links to web resources for teachers, administrators, and students and is broken down into different categories, that are then broken down into smaller and smaller categories until they lead you to what you are looking for. For example, I chose to search the visual arts, then clicked grade two to see what they had out their for us elementary education majors, and it brought up a list of objectives for that grade level.  It also has a Personal Workspace, where teachers can save lesson plans and submit new ideas for the ALEX site.

I think that ALEX could be very useful to me as a teacher. The way it is laid out is really simple and easy to use. Everything is very organized, which I appreciate when I'm trying to use a website! I hate trying to sift through piles of posts to look for the one I want, and that is not a problem with ALEX.  Like I said before, there are links to everything here, from lesson plan ideas to information on professional development which makes the site extremely useful. I think that I could definitely find a use for the many resources that ALEX provides online.

C4K Summary Post

For the latest Comments for Kids, we were first assigned to comment on a particular post on the blog of Mr. McClung, an eighth grade teacher in Arkansas. I was assigned the Missouri Compromise post, which included a video made by some of his students to explain the Missouri Compromise. I commented that the video was a great idea, getting the students involved and making sure they really learned the material in a fun and creative way.

For another Comments for Kids, we were assigned Mrs. Yollis's Class blog to check out thoroughly and comment on, as well as a specific student's blog. I was really impressed with Mrs. Yollis' class blog! She obviously puts a lot of effort into it, making it both easy to use and very informative. Not only does she encourage her students to get involved in it - she also encourages her students' families and friends to check out the blog to see what their student is up to in class. I think that this is a really cool idea, because it gets the family involved in what their child is doing. Not only do they get to post their work online, they get to see that their moms and dads, grandparents, brothers or sisters are also looking at what they are doing and commenting on it! This is the first blog I think that I have seen this semester where the teacher really stressed the family's involvement in the blog - she even has a month set aside for it!

My student was a boy named Jaden, who earned his own blog, called Jaden's Awesome Blog, because he left useful comments on other blog posts. The post that I commented on was one that Jaden shared about attending a Los Angeles Clippers basketball game. He wrote in the post the specific stats of the game and then posted later, in a comment to our very own Anthony, that he wanted to be an NBA player someday. In summary,  I wrote to him that I really thought his blog was very good and creative. I also said that I appreciated him giving the details of the game and that I had always liked watching sports, though I've never been any good at them. I encouraged him about becoming a NBA player and told him to keep up the great work on his blog as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blog Post # 12

Assignment watch the following video, discuss its usefulness for you and your classmates as future educators. Explore the educational blog created by the video's speaker, Jose Picardo. Give information on what you have learned from his blog, including a little about Picardo and a few resources he listed.

Mr. Jose Picardo

Video: Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom

This video is useful for future teachers because the things that Picardo suggest for integrating education into the classroom are simple, but very useful. He talks about many things that we have done ourselves in this class, like creating blogs, using social networking, and creating podcasts, but he also has other ideas. He suggests streaming videos and using music to get the students interested and engaged in their education, by relating it to something that interests them. I think that this is a good idea that I hadn't really thought of before. He also suggests tailoring interactive exercises to your students by using free internet resources. He suggests this because you can make theses activities specific to your students' particular strengths and resources rather than just a generic activity designed by someone else. He points out he usefulness of social networking to communicate with students, and the usefulness of blogs and wikis for sharing student work online and giving them a focus. All of his ideas seem like good ones, many of which we have already worked with or read about in this class.

The creator of this blog is Jose Picardo, head of Modern Foreign Languages at Nottingham High School in the United Kingdom, where he teaches German and Spanish. In addition to his own interest and use of technology in the classroom, Picardo also wrote the ICT Outlook 2008 and 2009 for the Languages ICT website, in collaboration with CILT, the National Centre for Languages, and ALL, the Association for Language Learning and currently presents News Time Spanish, a weekly podcast for intermediate to advance learners of Spanish, and continues to lead workshops and talks about the effective use of technology to engage students.

On his blog, Picardo provides an alphabetical list of free online resources for teachers. It is constantly being added to, but right now contains probably hundreds of links with ideas ranging from - a sight for creating text-to-speech animations, to Zooburst, a tool which allows anyone to create their own 3D popup books.

Mr. Picardo's blog is definitely one to check out for those interested in bringing technology into the classroom and I encourage you all to check it out!

Progress Report for the Final Project

For our final project of the semester CarlyChelsea and I will be creating a blog called "How to be a Digital Native". On this blog the three of us will provide students with resources for blogging, future and current teachers with ideas for the implementation of their own blogs into the classroom, and seasoned blogging educators space to comment or contribute some of their own ideas.  The blog will provide information on many of the things that we have learned to do this semester over a series of posts. Our blog as it stands so far can be found here.

Project # 15

Project # 15 is a book trailer, and I chose to do one of my favorite books from my childhood, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog Post # 11

First Grade Bear

For this blog post we were supposed to watch Little Kids, Big Potential, a video by Mrs. Kathy Cassidy, a first grade teacher in Canada who is using technology in her classroom. She has her students online, blogging, creating wikis, skyping - and they're only six! It is really amazing to me what these kids are doing online at that age. It just goes to show that education is changing and that technology can be used in so many different ways in the classroom. These students use online resources for things like learning the alphabet or learning about different traditions, by sharing them on with wikis or in their blogs and getting comments back from all over the world. Considering the age group she teaches, I think that many people would be nervous about allowing their students access to these resources, but Mrs. Cassidy embraces the different availabilities. She even allows the use of Nintendo DSs in her classroom! Not many teachers I know would do that. She is quick to say in her Skype interview that she makes sure to protect the students' safety online and teaches them to do things safely like Mr. McClung, including not using their last names or any other personal information.

If it can be done safely, as these two teachers have proven it can be, I see no reason not to use it in the classroom. The benefits are numerous. Like Mrs. Cassidy says in the interview, not taking advantage of these tools is only handicapping yourselves and your students because the world is changing. Teaching students these things at a young age can only help them in the future, so long as it is done in a safe and supervised fashion. Another benefit that Mrs. Cassidy talks about is that the children in her class will be able to write something not just for her, but for others online. They are able to see that someone is reading and they can get comments from readers and not only know that they are being read, but can get some feedback on what they are doing. I know that must be exciting for them to watch their page views go up and to read comments from others. Teachers like Mrs. Cassidy and Mr. McClung are really preparing their students for the future, because the future is technology.

Project # 14 - Teaching Someone Something

For this project, I taught my younger sister, Emily, how to create her own blog using Blogger. We customized her blog with a theme, but did not put any of her information into it because she is so young and will not actually be using this blog at this time.

Special Assignment

banner of Joe McClung's Class Blog, McClung's World

For our special assignment we were to check out Mr. McClung's World, a blog set up by 8th grade teacher Joe McClung, and answer a few questions about it:

Something I found out about Mr. McClung is that he feels strongly that all children do not benefit from "traditional" education methods, and so he branches out in his own classroom. He says in his blog that he tries to bring high energy to his classroom and works to keep things "fresh and fun" for his students. He also says that he likes to focus on group and partner activities that will keep his students engaged. I think that his methods sound like they would be very successful, because he keeps things interesting for his students rather than giving them the same old same old every day. As an educator, I would expect he is very successful because he cares about keeping things interesting and keeping his students engaged in their education.

Mr. McClung's classroom rules were particularly interesting to read. They really show some of his personality, he seems to enjoy his kids and want to have fun with them while they learn. He also presents future teachers with ideas for how to run their own classrooms someday. For example, his Gestures method of teaching, where he has the class mirror his own hand gestures as he explains something, seems both fun and helpful when learning about a difficult concept. I also liked his scoreboard idea. It seems like something that would make students more apt to listen and follow directions when they are getting points for it!

The first thing under "Everyone needs" is a day planner. I think that this is the first requirement to keep teach his students organization and to keep them on time with their assignments. When comparing Dr. Strange's rules about late work with his, one would see that they are sort of similar, though his are more specific. He lists the amount the grade drops per day, while Dr. Strange's is a bit more vague, only saying that consistently late work can result in a D in the class.

What Mr. McClung hopes to accomplish with his blog is a connection with students, teachers, and parents, that will keep them all informed and involved in class assignments, projects etcetera. He also wants his blog to be a resource for all those involved with his class and hopes it will be the main vehicle for technology in his classroom. This blog is very well set up and something that I could see parents and students alike enjoying. It has tons of helpful information about his class and what is happening in it, something that I'm sure parents of his students appreciate. Mr. McClung's idea to create a blog like this is a good one, and one that future teachers should consider doing for their own blogs, both as a way to keep their kids involved and learning in through technology in their classroom, and for students and other teachers to know what is going on.

Useful links:

Arkansas Framework - Arkansas History 7-8 - This link was to the Arkansas History class curriculum for grades 7 and 8.  It explains what the class' purpose is as well as a tentative schedule for what the class will be covering week to week. This would be very useful for the parents of students in his classroom to know what was being covered at any given time in the classroom, and that is why I think they made Mr. McClung's list.

Biology Corner - This link contains information on all things Biology, including information on dissections and anatomy as well as ecology and evolution and many more. It looks like a great resource for students, other teachers, and parents alike for information on assignments, information from classes they may have missed, or just general biology information.

His rules about Internet Safety are spot on! This is an issue that I was wondering about, with all of the teachers we have seen assign their students to us blogging and other internet resources in their classes, what are they doing to ensure their privacy/safety on the internet? I liked his rules, they seem like good guidelines for students at that age that will still allow them to use their blog but also keep them safe.

When looking at the category of Arkansas history, I found a lot of videos made by his students on whatever topic they were learning about at the time. For instance, When discussing the Civil War, the topic of leadership came up. Mr. McClung has his students draw either a Union or a Confederate soldier and list the characteristics of a good leader, then recorded one group's presentation on the topic. This was a great way to get the kids involved in learning and thinking for themselves. Rather than just telling them what was right, he had them really think about it for themselves and them learn from each other about it. I thought that this was a really good idea.

One thing that I liked about Mr. McClung's blog was that he was able to post music on it. I'm sure that blogger has some way to do that since we are able to post videos and pictures to our blogs, but this is something that I had not explored yet and I think it is a nice touch.

Like I have said, Mr. McClung's blog is useful to teachers, students, and parents alike for many different reasons. He keeps them up to date with in class videos on assignments, which is useful both for students who may have been absent or parents who want to know what their children are up to in class. He has a list of useful links, all of which can be used by parents and other teachers. Everything that is needed for the class is also on the blog, the full syllabus, the rules, the assignments, everything.

I think that the main difference in the other blogs that we have looked at in this class is the sheer amount of information on this blog and how easy it is to navigate. It was not difficult at all to find information on this blog, everything was either on the home page or, for the one thing that I could not find right away, only a quick search away. Mr. McClung also posts a lot more of the class's activity on the blog than I have seen before. Looking through everything on this blog would take ages, which is really good, because that means that his class has been using this technology consistently. I think that Mr. McClung should be applauded for the work that he has obviously put into this class and this blog. It really shows the kind of person that he is and how much he cares for the success of his students!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

C4T #3

For my Comments for Teachers #4, I was assigned Spencer's Scratch Pad, a blog written by John T. Spencer. So far, I have only read one of Mr. Spencer's posts, because of a mix up on my part with Google docs, but I plan to read more and would encourage others to do the same.

The post that I commented on was one about approaching both teaching and parenting (as Mr. Spencer is a parent himself) with love. He goes on to talk about his own doubts about whether or not he is doing the right thing as a parent or a teacher, how he worries sometimes if he's too strict or too lenient, and so on, but makes the point that if one approaches life them with love, even if mistakes are made along the way, things will work out. I left him the following comment:

"Hi, I'm a student at the University of South Alabama, taking EDM 310 with Dr. Strange and was assigned to read your blog. I really enjoyed this post. It was both well written and inspiring. I sometimes find myself wondering about things like this, not because I am a teacher or a parent but because I plan to be in the not so distant future. It is sort of comforting to know that someone who has been doing so for a while still doesn't exactly have the answers, but I think you have the important part down. Love is so important, like you said. I think if you come from a place of love like this you cannot really go wrong. Sure mistakes will be made along the way, no one is perfect, but you will continue to grow and learn and be humbled by what you learn as well. Thank you so much for your post, I look forward to reading more."

Blog Post #10

Google search engine logo

I felt that both the Morgan Bayda and Dan Brown made really good points in their posts. Dan's video was about the way that technology is making education as it was once known change, because where it was once something that had to be studied and memorized, it is now something that someone could easily get from Google, Bing, Yahoo! or whatever one's favorite search engine is. He feels that schooling gets in the way of education, and in many ways I agree with him. In most of my college courses up to now I have been lectured to by professors, taking notes on what they said, and spitting that information back to them as best I could on the tests, but not ever really learning a whole lot that I could use, and certainly nothing I couldn't Google. His point is that education needs to change, to evolve and become something that is actually useful in this age of information at the fingertips. We need more classes like Dr. Strange's, where we actually have to do something, not just get talked at while we take notes. Through this class, we learn to do things that we didn't know how to do before and things that can actually be useful to us, like networking and blogging. This is the point that Bayda makes as well, in her example about how her Twitter post helped her to find volunteer work in another country where she could be of use but still not spend a ton of money. Without Twitter, that may not have been possible, because she may never have known it existed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blog Post # 8

Mr. Miller's two part video different uses and the benefits of using multimedia for education, with the goal of using the internet not only for research but also for collaboration of ideas. He discusses the importance of sharing ideas between educators to help achieve a greater future for all, and gives many examples of ways to do that using the internet. 

Mr. Miller also showed examples of multimedia that he has been using himself as well as those created by others as examples of what can be done for free online. He made a good point in part two, when he talked about the importance of how he created the video for this proposal. He made it appealing, something that basically speaks for itself about the benefits of the internet and multimedia, something he says can easily be seen from his results. This video was placed on YouTube and yielded a huge response in a very short time, as opposed to what probably would have happened if he had published a book on the topic. 

Using multimedia in the classroom is something that I will definitely be thinking of  as a teacher. It is a great way to keep students engaged in what they are doing, and would make the lesson more fun. Creating something like what Mr. Miller and his collaborators did for their Martin Luther King Jr. piece, for example, would be extremely useful for me, since I plan to teach a history class. Presenting information in this format, with pictures, sound, and video will help students to remember it much better than just giving them a reading assignment or something like that.

Both of these videos were pretty funny. Chipper certainly had some interesting ideas about how getting an education should work. She thought that the way that she had always done things, namely procrastination and putting forth minimum effort, would be enough for this class. Wrong! I think a lot of us can sometimes be a bit like Chipper. I know procrastination is something that I have trouble with too. This video is gently reminding students that they need to do the work and do it well, then the class will not be so bad for them. EDM 310 for Dummies was hilarious, and the book is probably a good idea for some people. The class can get overwhelming, especially for those that have trouble with procrastination. I enjoyed both of these videos! The students that put these together did a great job! 

This video really makes a good point! Technology, as one pf the men in the video said, is not really a choice. If schools continue to ignore and push out technology, they will turn off kids. Instead of dissuading them from technology, educators should be finding ways to use it to keep kids interested in school and to help them learn. Like Mr. Miller said in his video, there are so many different things that can be used in the classroom to teach students, things that we can assign for them to do themselves or in groups. Students can, and do, create blogs, videos, podcasts, etc in the classroom and are successfully learning at the same time. School does not have to be a technology free zone, and it should not be! 

The Drive video surprised me. Well, the beginning did not, because I thought it was sort of obvious, if you give a big reward for something of course people will work hard to achieve it. Then when the task became a bit more complex and the reward was great, people failed to achieve the goal and this happened over and over in their studies. His explanation,  "If we treat people like people and not like horses... we can make the world just a little bit better." I think that this quote was so true. People like to be purpose driven, not just motivated by money or other rewards and those who are working toward a purpose are typically happier in their jobs than those who are just in it for the money. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blog Post # 7

The Last Lecture

I would first like to say that Randy Pausch was an incredibly inspirational man. He knows that he is dying from cancer and still has a better attitude than most anyone that I know. Most people in his situation would not be nearly so energetic or generally happy as he is. I love that he was using the time he had left to get out there and inspire people.

The way that he went through his childhood dreams one by one and explained how he managed to acheive them all was inspiring. I liked what he said, "the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it enough". He certainly didn't let anything stop him!

 His "head fake" strategy, teaching someone something while they think that they are learning something else, is an interesting one. I agree with what he says, that most of what we learn is learned indirectly. His program uses this to teach students to use complex computer programing while they think that they are creating a game or a movie. This lecture was sort of a head fake in itself, at least for me. I thought it was going to be another lecture about why technology should be in the classroom or something along those lines. It ended up being more about how to live life and be a better person. He encourages you to be creative and earnest, to dream, to take criticism and cherish it, and to try and find the good side of everyone.

My PLN Progress Report

For my PLN I chose to use Symbaloo because I liked the way that everything was laid out. I like that you can decide where everything goes and have been having some fun playing around with it. I have only scratched the surface for what my PLN page will be so far. Right now, it contains my facebook and twitter accounts, my gmail account, a link to my blog and the class blog as well as google docs. There is still work to be done on it, but I am liking what I have so far!  

C4T # 2 Summary

My blog assigment, Classroom Chronicle, is written by Ms. Henrietta Miller, a fifth grade teacher in Sydney.
The first post that I read of hers was on the generosity of educators and can be found here. My response to this post was:

"Hello, I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned your blog to read for my edm310 class with Dr. Strange. I completely agree with you about the generous nature of teachers. Looking back over my time in school I can think of countless teachers that went above and beyond for their classmates and their co-workers. They were truly an inspiration to see. I also agree about all of the resources that can be shared through social networking and other internet tools. Those who are “too busy” to use these mediums should really look into it."

The next post I read was entitled persistence and can be seen here.
My response to the post was:

"Thank you for this post! I hope that the child you were talking about on the monkey bars and other students like her will keep that persistence and not become discouraged! I also hope that you will persist in your efforts to make the “square pegs” fit into the “round hole” that is school. You’re right, it’s difficult to find ways to do this for some students."

Project # 11

Summary Post of C4K 1,2&3

My C4K was a student named Patrick who was blogging once a week about a different "Monster of the Week". Some of his monsters included Sheldon from the TV show The Big Bang Theory and the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. In these posts, Patrick would give some background information on each "monster" and tell a little bit about each one. I commented on his post about Sheldon, telling Patrick who I was and telling him how much I enjoyed reading what he had to say about Sheldon because I am also a fan of that show and Sheldon is my favorite. I also encouraged him to keep up the good work on his blog.
Patrick also made a post about an earthquake drill that took place at his school. He wrote that it was kind of scary, but it was good because, even though it wasn't real it was good practice for if there every really was an emergency. I commented that I agreed, it is a good idea to practice so we all know what to do in an emergency, and told him I was glad that it wasn't really one.

Blog Post # 6

The Networked Student

This video is a great example of why we are doing what we do in this class. Learning is not just about reading a textbook or about doing assignments in the classroom. It is also about taking some initiative and using resources that some of us might not have realized were available to build up a knowledge base. I did not know about a lot of the programs or sites that were mentioned in this video prior to this class and still have not fully explored each of them, but they are useful tools not only to learn but to help others to learn. Networking with other students and professionals in the field is so useful to education. 

Why does the Networked student need a teacher? I thought it was very good of the video makers to address this question, because it is one that I think a lot of people have. Teachers are not just around to spout off facts for their students to make sure that they can spit it back out on a test. They are there to encourage, to motivate, to help, and to inspire. Not all teachers take on this role, but those that do leave lasting impressions on their students' lives, rather than just a basic knowledge of math or science. Teachers like Ms. Drexler and our own Dr. Strange are actually preparing their students for the future by teaching them to do things for themselves. This is important, because there won't always be someone there to point out to us what to read and how to find things that we may need. Through this class and others like it we are building our own network of knowledge. 

Am I ready to be a teacher of a networked student? I think I had better be! Through a lot of the reading we have done for this class, I have seen that things are really changing in education. From the use of iPods in the classroom to students creating their own podcasts, technology in the classroom has come a long way in the few short years that I have been out of school and it will only continue to do so.

It was really interesting to see the resources that this teacher is using in her seventh grade science class. I enjoy checking out this type of assignment because it gives me ideas of how to use technology in my own classroom. Through her PLE, these students were able to get into contact with scientists around the world as well as read up on things that interested them, like this little girl did with the box jellyfish, and create projects based on their findings. This was a great way to incorporate technology into education! 

The Smart Board Debate

Both of those who were against Smart Boards in the classroom cited that they were basically more expensive versions of equipment that is already available to teachers at a much lower price. Some examples included overhead projectors, transparencies, and scanners. The other site, which is pro-Smart Boards, explains their many uses. One great benefit of the Smart Board is that they seem to get students attention and encourages their involvement as well as makes them more acceptive of technology in the classroom. 

Each of them make good points. When I was doing observations last semester, I was in a school that had a few Smart Boards. As far as I could tell, they were only being used like a regular white board and I really wasn't sure why someone would want to spend so much money on one if that was all that it could do. I suppose it really depends on the teacher and the amount of work put into making the board useful to their lesson plans. 

My sources for the debate : 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blog Post # 5

Eagle's Nest Radio & Class Blog

I am so impressed with these students! They are only in the third grade and already they are creating podcasts! When I was in third grade, those didn't even exist. In fact, until Thursday, I had never created one myself. It is so amazing to see such young students using technology like this to educate others. The podcast I listened to was on Ancient Rome and included several segments lead by different students who each told a different aspect of Anceint Roman life, from gladiators to architecture. I encourage you all to check out the work of these talented kids!

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

Before this week, I had really had no experience with a podcast. I knew what they were, but I had never seen any use for them for me personally, much less considered using them as a tool for education. Since making my own podcast with my group this week, I found that they can be very useful tools to spread information. Mr. Dell further proved his point with this blog post and video, in which he provides several reasons why podcasts are helpful in the classroom that I had not considered, specifically the creativity aspect. Like I said, I just recently worked in a group to make my own podcast. LeeSheena, and I were all sort of unsure of how to go about the project, but we ended up with a piece with a photo and  intro and outro music. This part of the process was really enjoyable, just fiddling with the program and seeing what we could do with it to make our project more special. I could definitely see using these in classes, like the third graders I mentioned above. It seems like a great way to introduce kids to technology as well as encourage their creativity. 

This is a podcast done by two principals, Melinda Miller who is an elementary principal near Springfield, Missouri, and Scott Elias who is an assistant principal at a middle school in northern Colorado. The podcast I listened to was from the summer, and the two of them were discussing the things that they as principals and other principals should be doing in the schools and share information back and forth with each other and others. This is a good example of a use for a podcast. If one was an aspiring principal or was one already, this would be extremely helpful because in this podcast they talked a lot about what they were each personally going to do to approach the start of the year. 

My Timetoast Time Line

This is a timeline of the birth dates and wedding dates of everyone in my family, starting with the weddings of each of my grandparents and ending with the birth of my youngest cousin last month.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Post # 4

To visit the articles/videos to which I refer, please click the titles of each.

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please

The creator of this poem, Dr. Scott McLeod is a professor at Iowa State University and is the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), which is the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. Dr. McLeod is also the co-creator of the video, Did You Know? (Shift Happens), which we were required to watch and write about previously in this class.

Dr. McLeod brings up the importance of teaching children about technology, including the use of Twitter and Facebook. I liked the way that he argued for his points, by asking others to please NOT teach their children these things and then see who is further ahead in the future, the children who learned about technology or those who were sheltered from it because of the possible dangers that can be online. I believe that he is right. If we teach children now about technology, rather than sheltering them from it because they could get into trouble, it will be helpful to them. With the way that technology is always changing and advancing, it is a good idea to go ahead and teach children at least a little about it to set them up for success in the future.

The iSchool Initiative

The student in this video is proposing a major change in the way that schools operate. He and his organization are proposing the use of the iTouch in the classroom, in place of pens, paper, maps, and textbooks. The idea is to save the schools money, since the budgets are constantly being cut, and to employ technology that is already available today through various applications on the iTouch. From reading some of the comments posted on this video, I learned that this organization has moved past talking about their plans. They have actually put iTouches into classrooms and are utilizing them everyday.

My reaction to this video was surprise! When I was in high school (not so long ago, I graduated in '09) we were not allowed to have iPods or cell phones at school. Of course, we did it anyway, we just were not allowed to have them out during class and if they were seen they were taken away. What this organization is proposing is incredible and, I think, a very good idea. I have an iPhone 3G myself, and I know that there are so many applications available in the App Store for whatever you could possibly want or need. Just yesterday I added a dictionary app, run by To make use of these things, many of which are free after the initial cost of the iTouch, is a really great idea!

The Lost Generation

I really enjoyed this video! The way that it first started out seemed really depressing. The poem spoke of the new societal norms, like the divorce rate and the fact that people no longer seem to care about the environment. It talked about this "lost generation" and how there was nothing that she could do about it. Then everything changed. By simply reading her poem backward, the speaker turned a message that was depressing and dull into one of determination to change everything that was wrong with the world.

 I felt that the way that they presented the information was perfect! It not only spoke about reversing the societal norms, it actually did. I probably would not have caught that she was using the exact same words in a different order had they not been playing backward on the screen. Whoever created this video did an amazing job. I would strongly encourage everyone to watch this video. It takes a message of discouragement and makes it uplifting simply by turning everything around. Literally.

Virtual Choir

This project was really cool. Eric Whitacre took 185 people who had never met one another and turned them into a choir through the internet! I would never think to do something like this, but the result was beautiful. Their voices combined so nicely and they were not even together to create this video. Isn't it amazing what you can do through the internet?

Teaching in the Twenty-First Century

This video started out by making a point that I was thinking of while watching the iSchool initative videos. Teaching is not just about teaching kids the facts and figures, the dates or the formulas anymore. They have Google for that. Anything they might ever want to know can be found online very easily, just by clicking on your favorite search engine. This video points out that teachers are not the main sources of information anymore. We are the "filters".

 It is our job to teach students how to use the resources that technology provides for them, and about things like integrity and honesty, because they may not learn them anywhere else.We should also teach them ways to make technology work for them. Twitter does not have to be only about telling the world what you ate for breakfast, after all. It can be, and is, a tool for sharing information beyond that to your entire social network. In short, we need to find ways to use technology in the classroom, because it is becoming more and more important everyday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blog Post # 3

A Vision of Students Today

I think that this video is a pretty accurate portrayal of students' lives and work loads today. I know for me personally the parts about the amount of reading I am supposed to do versus the amount that I actually get done seems pretty close. I have also seen a ton of people in class on their laptops, instead of doing school work, looking at facebook or twitter and not even paying attention. I might be tempted to do the same, but I almost never bring my laptop to class.

Seeing that students have 26 1/2 hours worth of work to do in a given 24 hour period sort of surprised me, but I could see where it might be even more than that for some people. I know that on a typical school day I spend way more than three hours in class, since I take 5 classes this semester. There are probably plenty of students that are going to school full time and working full time as well, so that would put them with quite a bit more to get done in a day than those who do not work or only work part time. Looking at it this way, of course we have to learn to be multi-taskers, otherwise nothing would get done!

It's Not About the Technology

I could not agree more with this article! All of the technology you can have in the classroom really amounts to nothing without a teacher who truly cares about the success and education of his or her students. This includes, as Ms. Hines stated, self-motivation and continued learning beyond the four years or so that is spent in college.

Technology can be brought into the classrooms and then be ignored by teachers who are unwilling or uninterested in spending a little of their time trying to find ways to implement it into their curriculum. While I was in school, I had teachers who had taught my older cousins or even my parents who were still using the same methods that they used with them. For one of my math teachers, even though there were a few computers in the classroom, I never saw them turned on and the students were always forbidden to touch them. She preferred to teach from the board like she had always done. Even though she had the technology in her classroom, she was not willing to make use of it, and that is Ms. Hine's point. Teachers have to be perpetual learners n order for technology to be a success in the classroom.

"Is it Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

Though Mr. Fisch says that this post was written in a moment of frustration and may be a little harsh, I think that it is completely true. Mr. Fisch compares not being technologically literate to not being able to read or to understand math. I had never looked at it this way, but he is absolutely right. At least having some degree of technological literacy is a necessary quality in a teacher, arguably in anyone in this day and age.

Technology cannot be ignored, because it is all around us. Having at least basic technology down is crucial, because things are being incorporated into the classroom that require it. Most classrooms now have computers and many have smart boards. When I was younger, that wasn't the case. Teachers that were teaching before these additions have had to make adjustments, but they are necessary and I would assume worth it in the long run.

Gary's Social Media Counts

This media counter really just proves the points made by the authors above. Times they are a changing. Technology has become a huge part of our lives and teachers should be able to at least have some basic knowledge about it. We need to stay on top of things as much as possible in order to be able to incorporate new things into the classroom.

C4T #1-2 Summary Post

For my C4T I was assigned the blog of Larry Ferlazzo.

I found the first post that I commented on extremely interesting. It was a post of twelve photos of street art, created in areas in which artists could see potential for a scene (For instance, one was the railing for a staircase over which someone had added a young girl sliding down it like a slide). My response to the post was basically thanking him for posting it and being impressed with the creativity of the people who saw the ideas where people would normally just see a street grate or a stairwell.

The second post I commented on was about organizations in California and other areas that move into low income areas and organize people to better education through the means that they, the organizations not the people, feel is best. My response was that I had never really considered the issue, but that I agreed that it seemed these groups were only out to promote their interests.

Mr. Ferlazzo's blog is updated very often and contains a lot of interesting links and blogs, so I would encourage anyone interested to check it out through the link below.

Presentation #5

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blog Post #2

Did You Know 3.0:

I have seen this video before, but it is still shocking to imagine some of the information from it. It is hard to believe all of the technological advances the video predicts, like that there will be a computer in thirty odd years that will have more computation capabilities than the entire human race. It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie or something, but it could happen in our lifetimes.

This video really shows why we as teachers and as human beings should try to keep ourselves as informed as possible with the newest technological advances, because our children will have access to things that we cannot even fathom now. My own parents and grandparents are still trying to figure things out, like cell phones, facebook, and the internet in general, while I've been familiar with these things for years. My mom works on computers, so she knows a bit about them. She and I often get calls from my grandparents asking questions about how to do certain things that seem simple to both of us, whether that be typing up a resume or finding someone's facebook page. The point is, kids know how to do things that many adults do not and this is not going to change, so teachers need to be as technologically literate as possible to keep up and to utilize some of that technology in the classroom.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

This really showed how much things have changed in the world in the past 100 years. Advances in medicine allow people to live through things that would have killed them years ago, business people are able to communicate with each other instantly from across the world, and so on. Ipods, laptops, and cell phones are seen just about anywhere you go and there are constantly new gadgets to figure out.

What the video also points out, though, is how little education has changed. Mr. Winkle walks into a school and is completely comfortable there, because things are not so different than they were a hundred years ago when he fell asleep. In many cases, things are like they were in the school that Mr. Winkle visited, with no real use of technology or exposure to the outside world. It's a shame considering how much technology there is these days. There has to be a way to incorporate some of that into the classroom, right?

The Importance of Creativity

I really enjoyed listening to Ken Robinson talk. He was really funny, but he also made a great point about creativity.

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original".

I completely agree with this quote and his stance on creativity in education. Children can be corrected and told they are wrong so often that they can lose their creativity for fear that they may be wrong again, which is what Mr. Robinson is saying here. I like his ideas about teaching students the arts the same way that we teach mathematics and the humanities. Encouraging the creativity of students should be important too.

Teachers should work to harness students' creativity and encourage them to grow in the things that they are good at instead of, as he said, telling them that they should not work on these areas because they will never get a job in those fields. The story about Jillian was really interesting and what he said, that someone else might have medicated her and told her to calm down, is so true. We should work to be more like that doctor was, encouraging rather than discouraging creativity.

Harness yout Students' Digital Smarts

The work that teachers like Ms. Davis (and our own Dr. Strange) are doing is amazing. When I was in middle school, I had no idea what a blog was nor did I get to use any of the tools that she is putting to use in her classroom. I never really thought about all the options there are to connect students with the world around them, rather than just sitting them down and teaching them facts. This way they are really being educated and are engaged in what they are doing.

It is so important to be able to use a computer now, so it is really smart of her and others like her to use them in the classroom. I also like that she teaches them how to learn and encourages them to figure things out for themselves, because she won't always be there to show them how to do everything. More teachers should be like she is in her classroom!

Can U.S. Students Compete?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project #2 - Wordle

wordle of text from Kristen Whitehurst's first blog

Blog Post #1

Our first blog is supposed to tell a little about ourselves, so here we go: 

My name is Kristen Whitehurst. I was born in Mobile, Alabama and have lived in Grand Bay, Alabama, a small town nearby, ever since. I am the oldest of two girls; my younger sister's name is Emily and is five years younger than me. A few of my interests are reading, particularly historical books, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends. I am a lefty, a neat freak, have never been into sports of any kind, incredibly clumsy and usually very shy until I get to know you. 

I came to USA because I love where I live and being near my family. I really couldn't see myself moving away for college. I am in my second year here at South and am double majoring in secondary education and social sciences. 

Why did I chose to be a teacher? As a kid, I remember telling everyone that I was going to be an artist or a teacher. Turns out I have little artistic skill, but I have always kept the idea of teaching in the back of my head. I first thought of being an elementary teacher, because I love spending time with younger kids, but eventually I decided to go for secondary. When I started here I was planning to teach Literature because I have always loved reading, but I changed it to Social Sciences after my first year when I realized that I was more interested in my history classes than in my English classes. 

So that's a little about me. I look forward getting to know my classmates, professors and our assistant professors this semester. I am sure that I will be bugging you all for help!