Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final Project

How To Be a Digital Native

It's a picture of a child and a teacher standing at the chalkboard. The teacher is telling the child there aren't any icons to push, it's a chalkboard

Carly presented the idea to us and I immediately loved it. It gave us power to not only show what we've learned throughout the semester, but to also condense it into things we got the most out of.

Final PLN Report

I have a few pages in my PLN, so instead of taking a screen shot of the home page, I made a little slide show to show all of the pages.

Home Page

A few of the buttons I have on my Home Webmix are Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Delicious, Youtube, and Gmail. I use these often if not daily.

  • SchoolTube and TeacherTube- These are pretty much like YouTube, but centered around the school and learning environments. I plan on using these to enhance my lessons when I start teaching.
  • Glogster- This site is great. It allows you to make a digital poster of anything you like. You can use videos, sounds/music, pictures, and text. This site is a great way for students to spice up those boring poster board presentations and I definitely intend to use them.
  • Evernote- Instead of writing everything down the old fashioned way, Evernote allows you to type up and store your notes online. You can access it through the computer or via the iphone/ipod app. I think this is a very handy tool for the students who either want to go green or think writing things by hand is too time consuming.
  • iTunes U-This is where you can find podcasts to listen to for school. This is a wonderful thing for students and teachers to use. Not only does it allow for easy access, since most every person these days uses iTunes, but it allows for teachers to peruse what others have created and use them to help with their lessons. Plus, podcasts can be listened to any time, anywhere.
  •  CUE- This is a nonprofit corporation that looks to advance students' education using technology. I figured, their goals are similar to mine, they have got to be useful. They offer workshops and events for educators to attend.
  • Literature Map- This is a website where you can type in the name of an author and a group of other authors that are similar to the one that was typed in appears. I would personally use this, but I'll  encourage my students to use it. It's a great way to expand your reading circle and even possibly your vocabulary.
  • The Writing Center- I'm going into the English field of teaching and this website is going to be absolutely wonderful. It's a handbook on how to avoid plagiarism. 
  • ReadWriteThink- Another useful English/Language Arts tool. The site looks to provide the best materials for students, teachers, and parents to use in their teaching and learning journeys.
Twitter for Teachers

I had ever used Twitter before this class and never intended to use it. I was still even skeptical about its usefulness despite Dr. Strange's speech. However, once I started exploring it and watching the people I was following, my mind started changing. Of course, I was thinking "There are SO many people who use Twitter, how do I know who I should follow, other than the ones Dr. Strange provided?" Well, my next page is all about Twitter for Teachers.

  • Educational Hash Tags- Provides a list of hashtags that are education related.
  • Twitter4Teachers- A Wiki page that lists tons of educators who use Twitter. It's organized by the subject they teach. This helps with the overwhelming feeling of who to follow.
  • EduTwitters Guide- This is a blog that helps educators keep in the loop with technology.
  • Educators on Twitter- Another helpful list of educators that use Twitter.
  • How to use Twitter to grow your PLN- The name is pretty self explanatory. However, this is great. This helps make Twitter seem more useful in my mind.
  • Liveblinder- This is also labeled as "An Educator's Guide to Twitter". Yet another useful tool for those who might find Twitter a little stupid.
  • 30 Newest Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom- Again, self explanatory, but this is exactly what I need. I've mentioned in other posts that I would like to incorporate the distractions like Facebook and Twitter into my lessons. This knocks out Twitter.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Special Metaphor Assignment (Blog Post #14)

    n this post I have asked you to think about several questions:

    1. I'm honestly not completely sure why I missed the metaphor. I think perhaps I was taking it too seriously or didn't think about it as thoroughly as I should have.

    2. Beating around the bush, the bee's knees, as big as a house, burst your bubble, in a nutshell.
    picture of a business meeting and the boss saying I don't suppose I need to remind anyone that when I use the term I bite the bullet, I mean it metaphorically

    3. Well, it's important for us to teach our students about metaphors and the fact that people use them constantly. It's also important for us to point out that some people use metaphors instead of coming straight out with it (perhaps because what they have to say is harsh and offensive).

    4. People use metaphors to spice up conversations. Saying the same thing all the time gets boring after all. Metaphors are good for lessons too (like in this case). And like I said before, some people use them because they can't bring themselves to be blunt about what they need to say.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    C4T #4

    Education Reset

    This particular post was quite interesting. The author, teachernz, brings up the idea of pressing the "RESET" button on education. And frankly, it probably ought to be done. Schools are too focused on numbers and not focused on whether their students are actually learning the material and actually remembering it past the day of the test. Teachernz says that a simple reboot wouldn't be enough. The innards of the education system need to be re-worked completely. And it's true. Simply rebooting wouldn't change the way the system thinks or runs. It'd end up repeating itself.

    Web 3.0

    The second post I was assigned to comment on was a video about the advancement of the internet, how far it's come, and where it could possibly be headed. For example, the interent could lead to our washing machines and dryers being able to determine whether they should run or not and even could be able to send the owner a text saying "Hey, hang out the wet laundry before it starts storming." I think this would be absolutely amazing. Mom and I tend to forget about our laundry. Sometimes we'll load the washer and foreget to turn it on. But, it just goes to show you, that the internet has become more valuable than possibly thought.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Blog Post #13


    ALEX is a project of the Alabama Department of Education. It is a collection of lesson plans, web links, and interactive activities for teachers, students, and parents to access and use.
    picture of a female student telling her male teacher that she is an Abstract-Sequential learner and trusts he'll teach accordingly

    The website is wonderful. It allows you to look up lesson plans by subject and grade level. It even allows you to search for lesson plans by author, title, or school. Plus, you have to option to create your own lesson plan. The web resources are also organized by subject. The offer many different links to websites that can be used to supplement learning. On top of that, the site has a collection of podcasts that span from Art, to Math, to Technology Education.

    I will definitely use ALEX when I begin teaching. It offers so many different options and it's easy to access for everyone. It'll allow parents the opportunity to keep up with what their children are doing.

    ACCESS Distance Learning

    ACCESS is another website that offers resources for students and teachers. It offers a wide variety of links ad programs for download. It offers lessons for the Alabama Graduation Exams and test prep lessons. There is a page of information strictly aimed at educators to help them expand their teaching plans. Students have their own list of resources too. Some of the resources require login information, others are completely open.

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Book Trailer

    The music is Path by Apocalyptica.

    Blog Post #12

    EDM 310 is all about what technologies ought to be used in the classroom and why it's important to use those technologies. However, what we've barely touched on is what impediments we might find along the way.

    Picture of road a detour sign, one way sign, wrong way sign

    I think a full blog post reflecting on these impediments and how to conquer would be a good idea. I think it's important to prepare yourself for anything that can happen and this would be a great way to bring things into perspective.

    Final Project Progress Report

    Sign that says work in progress, check back later

    For my Final Project I'm working in a group with Carly Pugh and Kristen Whitehurst. We've decided that setting up a blog where we explain how to enhance blogs and blog. Our intentions are to be able to teach new bloggers and old bloggers alike how to spice things up.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Special Assignment-Mr. McClung

    McClung's World

    1. His class blog doesn't just include things his students have done, but it includes things that affect his students, his student's parents, and others.

    2. He's well rounded. He doesn't focus on just one area, but seems to strive to incorporate a lot of beneficial things.

    3. His rules are really simple. I think they're a great set of rules that seem to want to teach respect for others, not just the teacher, but also focus on the importance of learning and teaching others.

    4. The first thing listed is a day planner. A day planner allows people to plan their time well. It also allows people to keep up with important dates, such as when a project is due. It's essential for keeping organized and keeping up with work.

    5. They're alike. And frankly, it may seem harsh, but it more than likely motivates students to do the work.

    6. He seems to want to be able to offer a place for students, parents, and teachers to follow along with what he's teaching in class. I think this is a great way to do it. It's easy for everyone to access and easy to follow. I plan on doing the same thing. Besides, it also prevents students from saying "Well, I didn't know, I was absent that day" or something along those lines.

    7. One link I looked through was the Biology Corner. Here there were lists of biologysev worksheets that go along with several textbooks. This is a great way for teachers to oust the "I didn't have it, I was absent" excuse and a great way for parents to prevent it too. The second link was Discovery Education, where students can not just stare at a textbook, but engages them through the use of videos. It also offers resources for teachers. This can be helpful in that it can give teachers new ideas to spice up their lessons and can be a lot more interesting for students. I believe they made the list for these reasons.

    8. Under Internet Safety I asked you to read carefully the rules Mr. McClung sets forth for safely using the internet. Comment on these rules. Are there any you would add or subtract.

    9. The C4K assignment was filed under Main Page, which simply was the main page of his blog. Here he talks about different things like raising money for the Susan G. Komen for the cure.

    10. I like the Mr. McClung has a "song of the week" feature. I also like that he has a mini slide show viewer on the sidebar too.

    11. He posts information that's not only related to his class and their work, but things that would affect people like me and other teachers. For example, one of his posts discusses the unemployment rate. Aside from being interesting to read about, it helps keep things in perspective.

    12. There is so much going on on his blog, but it's all great and useful things. Other blogs have been cleaner and simpler.

    13. He clearly knows what he wants to achieve and what he wants his students to achieve.

    Teach Someone Something Video

    Blog Post #11

    Little Kids...Big Potential & Skype Conversation

    Ms. Cassidy did a great job with what she started out with. She began with only 5 computers that could only be used to access the internet. Instead of writing them off as useless, she took the time to learn about things to teach her students to help them learn. I definitely think that teaching her students how to use wikis and websites to learn is great and it's something I intend on using. I'm in love with the idea of students being able to teach themselves things, with my aid. I don't want to just tell them how to do it. However, I think there will be students who are going to be lazy and expect me to spoon-feed them. I plan to simply encourage them to learn things for themselves and help them realize the benefits of teaching themselves. As for the benefits, I think there are many. One of them being students become more independent. They won't rely so heavily on others for information. They'll have the skills and abilities to research information and learn things by themselves or along with others.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Comments for Kids 7, 8, & 9

    A couple of German gnomes provide some intermission entertainment…or something like that.
    a gnome

    The first C4K assignment I was given, was a video of two students dressed as gnomes performing a song in German. It was quite entertaining for me and the audience seemed to love it too.

    My second assignment talked about learning and performing the jive. She said she was nervous when she had to perform it, but loved it. I told her I experienced the same thing when I was in color guard in high school.

    Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog

    Mrs. Yollis' blog is very organized and easy to navigate. She does a wonderful job of keeping the information simple and easy to understand for everyone. She offers links to other educational blogs. The blog is perfect for students and parents to keep up with the class activities, but it's also a great place for them to expand their learning base, through the educational blogs she follows.

    Hannah's Hacienda

    The last assignment was about the Iranian celebration Seezdah-Bedar. I highly enjoyed reading about this post because I learned a lot. Seezdah-Bedar is a celebration to keep bad luck at bay. Families gather together and enjoy a picnic and games then throw the Sabzeh in a river or stream. The celebration sounds like a lot of fun.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Blog Post #10

    An Open Letter To Educators

    I have to say, in some cases I've felt cheated too, though not enough to where I'd drop out of school. I've had a few too many classes where the teacher doesn't care if they simply read straight from a boring PowerPoint or from the even more boring book. Honestly, I could spend my time alone doing that on my own and not pay you to do it for me. However, there are the occasional teachers who care about what they're throwing out to the masses of students and they care about whether you learn the material or not.

    And like Morgan, I've really gotten more out of EDM310 than I have out of any of my other classes, English included. EDM310 has given me things that I know I can take and WILL take to my classroom and use happily. EDM310 is also the only class that hasn't shoved information in my face and told me to memorize it and then take a test on it and I love it.

    As for Dan Brown's video, yeah, education isn't really keeping up. At least, not all of it. It's time to step it up and make changes if not in the whole system, then at least in the classrooms. I certainly look to be one of the teachers who encourages change.

    Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home

    A star made out of pencils

    This was an interesting post. I for one pretty much giggled at the idea that allowing students to take pencils home would lower their test scores. However, it seems anything is possible. The message of this post is that finding a fix is better than eliminating the problem all together. Johnson devised ways to engage students in activities with their pencils that helped their learning instead of banning pencils. This is exactly what needs to be done. Work with the problem and turn it into a good thing instead of eliminating it. Simply banning something usually makes it more desirable. Plus, not allowing children to take pencils home? That just sounds so odd.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Skype Interview

    While a short interview, I enjoyed it. If you ever get a chance to speak with her, I highly suggest it.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    Blog Post #9

    Post-it note that says Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

    What I've Learned This Year

    I think this post is absolutely amazing. I'm glad to see that Mr. McClung learned these things and within his first year of teaching too.

    While I understand that everyone in the world hopes to have everything perfect, it's really not going to happen. It's impossible. And the sooner you realize that, the better off you are. You won't stress yourself more than you need to. Besides, going with he flow of things is not only easier, but it tends to be a little more interesting and not quite so boring.

    I also think that teachers need to really listen to their students. I've had so many classes where teachers don't want to hear what you have to say. They don't want to listen to anything unless you're answering a question or asking one, sometimes not even then. Too many of them don't allow students to challenge them (respectfully) and explore with their words. Sometimes this can make a teacher scary and unapproachable.

    As for communicating, do it! Communicate in personal relationships like marriages and friendships, but also communicate in professional relationships. There are going to be times when you're going to need help and who better to help you than your co-workers?

    I think a lot of the points Mr. McClung made are common sense, or ought to be anyway.

    Comments for Kids 4, 5, and 6

    The main character from the movie Megamind

    The first blog I commented on belonged to a student named Unaloto. His most recent blog post discussed the movie Megamind and the movie Despicable Me. Unaloto was asking for opinions on which one people thought was better and he used great pictures in the post.

    The second student, a boy named Junior, wrote a blog post on how he wanted to become a doctor. I think it's wonderful that he knows what he wants to do already. I personally changed my mind at least a hundred times by the time I got into college.

    The third student, Shawnee, wrote a post about how to get rid of hiccups and even included a link to a video on the subject. I thought her post was very helpful, since I hate hiccups; they tend to hurt when I get them.

    C4T #3

    The Power of Educational Technology

    For this C4T assignment, I was told to look over Liz B. Davis' blog. Well, the first post I came across was a short one talking briefly about Edcamp Boston. Well, I got curious and Googled Edcamp Boston. What I found out was that Edcamp Boston is an unconference to addresses issues in education and throw around ideas on how to fix them or to just give ideas in general. So, what's an unconference? I had to Google that too. An unconference is a gathering that tries to avoid certain aspects of the normal conference, like high fees, and is participant-driven. It seems Edcamp Boston has succeeded in being a successful unconference. It's free to attend and it's sponsors offer free breakfast and coffee and free lunch, along with free entry. However, what marks it as even more successful is the fact that the limited number of spots filled up within about a week. I think perhaps teachers should attend one of these education unconferences; it's always good to get other opinions.

    The second post I read through and commented on talked about how Belmont Hill School faculty have made amazing progress, but Davis wondered if she should push them even further before the school year lets out. However, she was curious as to whether this was the right choice or not, and frankly, I don't think so. I understand her enthusiasm and her want for the school to improve further when it comes to using technology, but changing everything all at once isn't necessarily the best choice. Sometimes it's better to introduce things slowly and allow people to get accustomed to the changes. But I do have to say that it is great that she is so enthusiastic about making more changes.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Blog Post #8

    This Is How We Dream

    I believe I'm prepared to write with multimedia and I do intend on teaching my students how to do the same. Though I may sound a little redundant, it's important that today's and tomorrow's students are prepared for the future. And that future includes technology.

    I think it's amazing that all the information we could possibly need for anything can be found on the internet and can also be gathered from sources using video conferencing. These two things have made it possible for people to gather all of their information without having to meet with people face-to-face, which is growing increasingly harder as work-loads grow. Not to mention they allow people to access everything from home. The age of using giant, old, and dusty books for research seems to be coming to an end. At least, very slowly.

    I think things like novels and comic books may be around a lot longer, but they too may be going out of style, since things like the Kindle have been created. But my point is, I need to be able to keep up with things like this and I need to be able to use them effectively in order to teach my students how to use them. And I certainly plan on keeping up with technology.

    A girl holding a paper that says we dream

    The Chipper Series and EDM 310 for Dummies

    The Chipper Series was a great video. It really drives home the importance of striving for excellence and not taking shortcuts. As for the EDM 310 for Dummies video, that one was great too. It was very creative and entertaining.

    I would personally love to make a video that is English/ Language Arts related. I think it would be on the importance of reading, or the importance of using proper English. Those are two things I think are the biggest issues when it comes to teaching students English/ Language Arts.

    Learn to Change, Change to Learn

    I agree with the arguments made in this video. People are swept up in exploring the world through cell phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, etc. However, many schools have BANNED these things so students are forced to force themselves to learn by reading their notes and textbooks. The old fashioned way isn't always effective because 1) it's boring and 2) some students learn better through doing or seeing, not reading. Which means, the technologies and the "nuisances" ought to be incorporated into classrooms and lesson plans. Yes, teachers will still struggle with those students who use the devices to play games while in class, but overall it would be beneficial.

    The Secret Powers of Time by Philip

    This video basically breaks down people and time. It says that there are three different types of people, future oriented, past oriented, and present oriented. Future oriented people are those that "work harder" than others. They aren't stuck on what happened in the past.

    I think this particular message pertains to education in that past oriented people are too busy with what happened to pay enough attention to what they -should- be working for, like an education and a better future. And the present oriented people are too consumed with what's happening now to pay attention to what they should be working for too. So, being future oriented would be the better choice. They are the people who work for what they think should happen; they work for the better education and better future.

    Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by David Pink

    This video discusses what motivates people and I found it odd that the more money that's offered as a reward for a complicated task, the poorer the job is done. However, it makes sense. Yes, people like being rewarded for what they do, but people like independence even more and it all ties in perfectly with education. Students do tend to prefer to teach themselves things and just ask for help if and when they need it. There have been plenty of literature classes where my teachers has had the class read things out loud or the teacher does it and I'm silently screaming "Stop!! I want to do the work and the reading on my OWN!" Drove me insane since I usually worked a good deal faster than everyone else. Rewards only go so far, but allow people to work independently and you'll be surprised at what they can accomplish and learn.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    PLN Progress Report

    At first it was a little difficult figuring out what I ought to include in my PLN. However, as I got to thinking, I realized it wasn't that hard. So, the point of EDM 310 is to prepare future teachers for using technology in their classrooms and the point of being in college period is to prepare for being (in our cases) teachers. So, why not create a PLN that has to do with my future job? It might not be useful to the fullest extent, but it does allow me to research things and start at least thinking about my future lesson plans. Not to mention it can help me create connections with other teachers who can in turn help me. One great thing I found to help me connect with other teachers was a list of teachers who use Twitter. It gives their name, their subject, the grade the teach, where they are located, and their Twitter name. Definitely going to make use of this list.

    Short Movie Project

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Blog Post 7

    The Last Lecture

    Napkin with Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted written on it

    When I saw that we were required to watch this lecture and write a blog post on it, I got extremely excited. I've seen bits and pieces of this lecture and even bought the book, which I never got completely through (gotta love school and work taking over your life). I've been meaning and wanting to sit down and watch this video, but had trouble finding the time; this assignment gave me the perfect opportunity. And I'm glad.

    Randy Pausch is an inspirational man and his lecture proves it. Near the beginning of his lecture he says "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand" and it's true. As a teacher you aren't able to pick and choose your students and how they act. You can't and won't have a class full of geniuses and students who actually want to learn. It's not possible. However, you can take what you get and work with it. You can take the students who have trouble with certain materials and help them learn it. You can take the students who despise school and who would rather be out back smoking a cigarette and help them realize learning is important and CAN be fun. As a teacher, you have to take a group of students, the cards you're dealt, and mold them into capable members of society who can think on their own and teach themselves and teach others.

    Pausch also said "You have to get the fundamentals down, or the fancy stuff won't work." Isn't this how learning works? In math, for example, you start with learning numbers, then move to simple addition, then to simple subtraction, simple multiplication, simple division, then on to more complicated things like using the FOIL method and the quadratic equation and so on. And it's the teachers' job to ensure that students get these fundamentals and commit them not only to short term spit-it-out-on-a-test memory, but to long term I-understand-the-concept memory. Like I stated in the previous blog post, teachers need to change their teaching methods and need to teach their students not a set of instructions, but a set of ideas, methods, concepts that they can use throughout their life (and therefore will always remember).

    Now, as a current student studying to become a teacher, I know there are going to be times while I'm new to the field that I'm going to become frustrated and dejected and feel that I'm not doing things right; that I'm not doing everything in my power to teach my students the material and lessons they will keep with them forever. After watching this video, though, I now have one simple sentence to keep me going and keep my spirits up: "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." I'm not always going to get through to students and help them see the importance of literature and good grammar, but I have to remember that I can learn from the experience and use what I learn on the next group of students I'm fortunate enough to have in my classroom. By my standards, I'm not always going to succeed, but that doesn't mean I failed either and I have to remember that, as does every other teacher.

    C4T #2

    What Ed Said

    The first post I encountered spoke of a conversation Mrs. Edna Sackson had with a teacher. According to the post, the teacher preferred to have all of her students doing the same thing at the same time. Mrs. Sackson saw the fault in this and thought to convince the teacher otherwise. She pointed out that the teacher had commented that her children are completely different. One is artistic and gets distracted easily, while the other learns quickly and is a thinker. So, doesn't that mean they learn in different ways? Yes, and Mrs. Sackson managed to get the teacher to realize this. Then, the teacher realized if it's true for her own children, then obviously it's true for all other children. Needless to say, the teacher made haste in changing her teaching plans.

    Change isn't easy...

    The second post I read by Mrs. Sackson was inspirational, to say the least. The whole post was full of great points, but the one that really stood out to me was that many teachers are stuck in their old way of teaching and either find it hard to change it or refuse to. As technology advances and more and more "cool" things are created, the less interesting an old book and chalkboard are going to have trouble keeping students' attention. So instead of fighting with students and yelling at them to pay attention, give them a reason to do so. Make it interesting.

    Aside from that, the blog post made me think about the general method many teachers use to "teach" their students and mainly that it needs to change. Too many teachers simply shove information in their students' brains and think they did an excellent job if the students remember it long enough to take the test and do well. I was subjected to this method my whole middle school and high school career. Except for one teacher. My Algebra III with Statistics teacher was more concerned with his students actually learning and understanding the CONCEPTS of math and not simply memorizing steps on how to solve a certain type of problem. And at first it was frustrating and mind boggling that a teacher would even consider using a method like this. All I wanted to do was memorize steps and formulas to spit back on the tests.

    I still don't have many teachers like my Algebra teacher, but I've had a few. I'm not balking anymore at the idea of learning and understanding concepts and ideas or even teaching myself. It's still slightly difficult for me to adjust to when I do have one of those teachers, though. Anyway, my point is that students shouldn't be in my situation; they shouldn't be having issues adjusting to these two methods at the same time. In fact, they shouldn't be adjusting to methods at all! Every teacher needs to be like my Algebra teacher.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Comments for Kids 1, 2, and 3.


    A man painting many geometrical shapes

    The first C4K post I was instructed to comment on was a post by Skylah about Geometry. In this post, Skylah expressed enthusiasm about Geometry and even included some great facts. I personally dislike math of any type, mainly because I'm horrible at it, but I enjoyed reading this post. It was interesting to read about Euclid and his contributions to Geometry.

    KPE Episode 333: "Trapped"

    The second post I was instructed to comment on was a podcast book report on the book "Trapped". Lola and Dante, the two students who created the podcast, did a wonderful job. Though the book is for a lower reading level, these two still managed to convince me to read it! It was great to see young students making use of something like a podcast.

    Timoteo @ Pt England School

    The third blog I had to comment on belongs to Timoteo form the Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. Timoteo only has a picture of himself up right now. However, I think it's great that he's being taught to use a blog and how to use technology. I'm 19 years old and this is the first time I've ever even seen the publishing/editing side of a blog. I think Timoteo's teacher is on the right track in teaching his students about technology and blogs.

    Blog Post #6

    Wendy Drexler: The Networked Student

    This video is great. It's simple, but highly entertaining and thought provoking. Many teachers and soon-to-be teachers are finding themselves a little fearful of becoming obsolete. Why? Well, because of things like the tons of apps and websites like SparkNotes that allow students to learn on their own.

    However, students needed teachers way back when, they need teachers now, and they'll need teachers in the future. Think about it. Have you ever been in class and your teacher gives you an assignment that is very broad and you have no clue where to begin? What did you do? You probably looked around at your friends and asked if they had any clue what to do and when they shrugged at you, you went to the teacher. Anyway, my point is, is that you have to start somewhere when you begin on the road to becoming a networked student, but the question is "where do you start" and even "how do you start".

    That's where the teachers come in. Teachers are there to help students learn about networking and set up the ties they need. Granted, there are plenty of websites and how-to videos floating around that students can access to help themselves, but even those can be confusing. Teachers are still going to be useful, regardless. It's just a matter of whether we make use of them or not.

    A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

    This video was great. It was a perfect representation of all the things students can use a PLN/PLE for. This is a great way to teach students more responsibility, since lesson plans can be posted online for them to view and for them to complete. It also allows students to use their brains to gather needed information, instead of it being spoon-fed to them.

    Why Smartboards Are A Dumb Initiative and Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards

    When I saw the titles to these two blog posts, I was thinking that the authors might be slightly nuts. Now that I've read the posts, I'm thinking maybe I was the one that was nuts; I was under its spell. You know, the "oooh look it's a pretty, new board that doesn't use markers or keyboards" spell. Well, these two authors sure weren't fooled.

    One point is that it's not any more student friendly than normal white boards, and it's true. They're sparkly and dazzling in that they require no keyboard nor uses markers/chalk, but that's about it. It's nothing but a more expensive, more frustrating white board. Not to mention, only the teachers are given clearance to use them, more often than not. Which means, all the teacher is doing is presenting the same old information, only on a prettier board. Same tricks, new dog.

    Using Electronic Whiteboards in Your Classroom: Benefits

    So, this isn't exactly a blog post that opposes the two above, but it clearly is for the use of SMARTboards. It offers a list of why these interactive white boards are useful. Such as, "The board can accommodate different learning styles...". Well, yes and no. Yes, in that you can incorporate animation and music a little easier. No, in that some people are hands on learners and if teachers are the only ones who have permission to use them, then the hands on learners are kind of left out. The site also provides outside sources, like studies that were conducted. And according to those, SMARTboards are beneficial.

    So, are the boards good or bad? Are they worth all that money or not? I suppose it's a matter of how you use them. It's also a matter of how interesting the lesson is.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Project #8

    It's quite exciting, this is my first podcast ever. And personally, I think my partner, Carly Pugh, and I did a great job.

    Anyway, when we were given the list of topics to browse for our podcasts, Google Lit Trips caught mine and Carly's eyes right away. It just called to my future English teacher heart.
    a chalkboard that says education equals future

    My Google Lit Trips Podcast

    And, here's a link to the wonderful website we had the pleasure of talking about in our podcast: Google Lit Trips

    Blog Post #5

    100 ways to use your iPod to learn and study

    This list is wonderful. It lists apps you can download for learning languages, help you with studying for tests in every subject, it even lists websites for teachers who are looking for ways to incorporate iPods into their lesson plans. I imagine there are a million more ways to use an iPod for education. This list proves that technology is becoming a large part of our daily lives and that there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into learning. Technology doesn't have to be an annoying distraction and teachers can no longer say there is nothing about iPods or iPhones that can help students learn, because that is far from true.

    The benefits of podcasting in the classroom

    This post is helpful in that it gives great reasons for teachers to consider using
    podcasts in the classroom. One benefit this particular podcast describes is that "it
    promotes creativity and innovation" and it does. Podcasts allow student to create
    videos or sound clips that help them and other students understand or study lessons
    in interesting ways. Students know what's "cool" for their generation and what's not, so naturally they would know what would interest their fellow peers. Plus, they might be able to explain something in a way that others understand when the teacher can't.

    This particular podcast has taught me that combining video, pictures, and music can
    make a more interesting podcast. Simply having someone droning on isn't going to keep people's interest. Couple that with a boring video of the person sitting their talking to the camera doesn't help.

    Eagles' Nest Radio

    Children dressed as ancient Romans
    This group of children are great to listen to. I enjoyed journeying through Rome learning about the architecture, Caesar, and gladiators. The background music was perfect too. The information they provided was very interesting.

    I think that when you only have music and speech in a podcast you risk being boring. However, if you keep it simple and easy to understand, it shouldn't be a problem. Plus, if the music fits the topic, that helps a great deal. Again, these students did a wonderful job and I hope they keep it up.

    Personal Timeline

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Blog Post #4

    Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?

    In the post "Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?" by Scott McLeod, you'll find a very witty poem where Dr. McLeod lists things children shouldn't be learning to do on the internet, like Twitter, blogging, making videos, etc. Throughout the poem he holds to the idea that children should have no part of the internet and that it has no good use; only bad comes from using the internet. However, he surprises you. At the end, he says "too bad, I'm already doing it" and even challenges those who actually agree with keeping children from the internet to wait and see who will have "a leg up" in the years to come.

    My response to this poem? At first it was disgust. I hadn't realized Dr. McLeod was being sarcastic until I'd read the poem in its entirety. It was hard to comprehend that he would think that children shouldn't use the internet at all. Of course, after reading the ending, I quickly became pleased with Dr. McLeod. Besides taking the ideas and arguments many people might have and delivering them in a short, simple, and entertaining way, he's also addressed the major reason why children should use technology and the internet. If you have two people competing for a job that uses technology some (what job these days doesn't?), who do you think is going to get the job? The guy who barely knows how to use a mouse, or the guy who can access things on the internet and make presentations on the computer? Exactly, it'll be the second guy. He'd be more useful (as harsh as that might sound). Now, who exactly is this Dr. McLeod I'm praising? Well, according to the biography on his page, he is Associate Professor in the Educational Administration program at Iowa State University and also director of UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. Along with that, he is said to be "one of the nation's leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues." I think he knows what he's talking about.

    The iSchool Initiative

    This video is a wonderful example of what people can think of using technology these days. This high school senior promotes the idea of using iPod touches in schools to help improve the school system. He says using them would increase teacher-student communication and teacher-parent communication. It would also place assignments, due dates, grades, and school events all in one, easy to access place. The iPod touch also allows students to get rid of the pen/pencil and paper method of taking notes, because it has a notes application already on it, not to mention it has a scientific calculator. Not enough? Well, think about all the applications that a student can find and use. A few mentioned in the video were iHomework, which is an application that allows students to keep track of assignments, Formulae, which has mathematical formulas, and even WorldWiki, which is a map application. Obviously these are only a few applications at a students disposal. And for those of you who are thinking it's too expensive, no, not really. The video has an estimate of how much a student spends on books, paper, backpacks, etc. and it came to a lovely total of about $600. The total for the iPod touch? About $150. Plus, for those of you who are environmentally friendly (or at least try to be), using the iPod saves students from using and wasting paper.

    I personally think that this senior is on the right track. This is a great way to incorporate technology into schools. I actually have an iPhone and love it. It's useful for keeping up with dates and assignments and for taking random notes when paper isn't handy. I'm also glad to see that he is traveling and trying to introduce the iSchool Intiative into schools. We need more people who think like him to help incorporate more technology into the school systems.

    Lost Generation

    Unfortunately, it seems that work is starting to become more important than family. I think that is partly because of the rising need, the rising want to be able to live comfortably and to be able to live without the stress of knowing whether there will be food on the table or not. People want to be able to take a trip here and there to relax and spend time with their family, but to get to that point, they need money and you only get it by busting your butt at work. Believe me, I know. My mom does just that, though she doesn't put her work ahead of her family. She never has, and never will. In fact, she's always put me in front of her work and herself. I know there have been times when money is tight and we didn't really have enough to buy many groceries. I also know that there have been times that she has gone without dinner just so I can eat. Even so, she never let work take control of her.

    And it's frightening to think about today's divorce rate. My parents are divorced. My parent's parents are divorced. My step mom's parents are divorced. It seems that money is to blame here too. There are so many people out there who are marrying simply for money, though there are some who are just blinded by what they think is love and marry someone completely wrong. I think this world is slowly tearing apart at the seams, and like the video said, we have to do something about it.

    Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

    Watching this video was amazing. To think that these people had never met, had never practiced together, and yet they made such a beautiful video. Not to mention, that Eric Whitacre thought of doing this is amazing. It was absolutely gorgeous and yet another amazing example of what technology can do for the world. So many people see it as a bad thing because it's a place where their children can access things like porn so easily, but do they realize just how good it can be? It allows people all over the world to come together and communicate. It allows people to share ideas on everything from education, music, and love to whether they think blue is a pretty color. It's just a matter of finding the good and keeping away from the bad.

    Teaching in the 21st Century

    What does "to teach" mean for the 21st century? It certainly doesn't mean plopping a dusty, ragged book in front of students and telling them to read it then spit back the information on a test. Nor does it mean forcing them to memorize a bunch of facts that they think useless. It means showing them ways to find good information from reliable sources, showing them ways to organize information, showing them ways to present information, showing them ways that make them -want- to learn.

    This video is an eye-opener. It makes you really think just what it means to teach and what you need to use in order to help students learn. So, why plop that dusty, ragged book in front of them when they can find the information in more fun, more interesting ways? You can't sit there and wonder why so many students are in trouble for using cell phones, iPods, etc. during class when the methods being used are outdated and boring. The video says teachers need to keep up with the times and "engage" their students, not just entertain them. Yes, make lessons fun, but make them to where they have an impact on the students' minds.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    C4T #1

    Links into Languages logo
    For this project, I was given the task of reading over Joe Dale's blog. The most recent post I came across was a list of people who participated in a program called Links into Languages and near the bottom I cam across some sad news. The UK government has decided to stop providing funds for Links for Languages. After doing a bit of reading on what Links into Languages was exactly, I realized just how horrible it was that the UK government decided to cut funding. Links into Languages strives to improve the field of teaching languages. It looks to improve the curriculum and the quality of teaching.

    Anyway, I find it quite awful that funding has been cut. This program is a wonderful thing and I agree with everything it's about. Knowing more than just your native language these days is very important, but it's hard to find a class that's effective enough to where students actually remember the material. I myself have had three Spanish classes over the course of my high school and college careers. My teachers were pretty good, but there were such huge gaps in between each class, I'd forgotten most of the material. Not to mention, I really had no way of holding onto what I learned. I simply went through the classes and learned what I had to to pass them. I'm sorry that funding was cut, but I hope the program can continue in its efforts in finding better resources and ways of teaching.

    The second post on Mr. Dale's blog consisted of a video and a short explanation of what the video was. I read the explanation and my initial thoughts were "That's neat." After watching the video I was absolutely in love. The video is a group of French teachers who took the "Happy Days" theme song and put their own words to it (in French) in order to help students learn daily routines (like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, etc.).

    I think more teachers should use this method. It makes it more entertaining for students to learn, not to mention it makes it easier. In all my years of school, I've only heard of one teacher in my school (I, unfortunately, was not able to have her as a teacher) used this method. A few of my friends were lucky enough to have her (I think it was our Sophomore year of high school) and to this day, they still remember the songs she taught them. Again, more teachers should use this method.

    Blog Post #3

    A Vision of Students Today

    So far, a lot of my college experience has been exactly this. So much of my time is spent starring at the chalkboard where there are one of three things: 1)Masses of notes, 2)A few words, a few scribbles, and a few circles that make no sense at all, or 3)Nothing at all (except maybe a few leftover scratches from a previous class). I'll also admit that I spent one of my classes last semester texting a friend simply because he was about a million times more interesting than the professor droning on about whatever it was I was supposed to have read the night before. I know some people think that some lessons can only be taught through pages of notes, but it's not true. There is always a way to incorporate pictures, videos, music, and even actions into a lesson. And this is a large reason many students play on Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, etc. during lectures.

    I personally don't watch much tv, though I do spend a lot of time on the internet and listening to music. I often find it hard to force myself to concentrate on studying a piece of paper that is full of boring words and find myself time and again on the internet. I think that pictures, videos, music, etc. need to be used in lessons, but I also think that things like Facebook should be incorporated into homework too. Just a thought, since people are already there hours a day.

    It's Not about the Technology

    I agree with points Mrs. Hines has made. Technology can be useful and ought to be used, but it's not going to help anyone if the teachers either don't know how to use it, or refuse to. Teachers must be willing to learn in order to teach their students more effectively. There are too many teachers who are stuck in their old ways and refuse to at least try to learn new teaching methods.

    As for the list of "core outcomes" Mrs. Hines has given, these ought to be a "no-duh" to any teacher in this day and age and any person affiliated with the education system. However, it seems the only thing that students are being taught is how to learn material long enough to spit it back out on a test and how to take a test well. I think tests are a decent way of testing what students know but they are completely overused. Students retain information long enough to pass a test and then simply get rid of it. The skills Mrs. Hines listed might be touched on, but they aren't continuously used throughout a person's education, at least not in mine, and that's a downright shame.

    Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

    Every point Mr. Fisch made, while possibly harsh sounding to some, are completely correct. Teachers need to step up their game when it comes to technology. Things like iPods, Gameboys, Xbox, etc. are steadily stealing the spotlight from education because they're more interesting and more fun. Seriously though, who doesn't think it's awesome that you can now play video games by using your body as the controller, like for the Kinect? I don't know many people who think it's uninteresting. So, the questions is how do we, as teachers, use technology as effectively as we can to interest our students as much as video games?

    Another point Mr. Fisch made was that he's encountered people who seem proud of being technologically illiterate. Why is this something to be proud of? In a world where technology is steadily taking over, so to speak, no one should be proud of this because you're just going to end up as obsolete as the first wheel has become. It truly astounds me that there are people out there who expect to teach the future what they need to know in this world in order to succeed, but yet aren't up to date on their methods.

    Gary Hayes Social Media Count
    picture of different social media logos

    I know I've said this over and over, and probably will say even more, but teachers and schools seem to be falling behind. Students are more interested in what's happening outside the classroom than what's happening inside, but why? Their interest isn't being captured by the teacher, which is probably because he/she is still using a chalkboard or whiteboard to teach lessons or even the dreaded Power Point (yeah, they're dreaded, mostly because it's nothing but boring words on a boring background about a boring subject that just seems determined to put you to sleep). Instead of learning about Shakespeare, polynomials, or atoms, they're learning about which celeb is getting married now or which classmate is sleeping with another classmate or even when the next best video game comes out.

    It almost scares me to look at that virtual counter. That's what students are doing while sitting in class. They're on Facebook, Twitter, etc. That's what we're losing them to and if we (meaning teachers) don't keep up with technology and how to use it and find better ways to interest our students, we're going to lose them for good. Straight A's are going to become an extinct species and straight B's are going to be endangered.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Blog Post #2

    Did You Know?

    A lot of the information in this video is astonishing. I find it amazing that China, though I can't really say I'm all that surprised, has more English speaking people than the U.S. Nor am I really surprised that a computer that is superior to that of the human brain will be developed. However, you don't really realize that all this is actually happening until you see a video or article about it. It's amazing just how far technology has come and how much further it will advance in the years to come.
    picture of a keyboard with a red question mark button and it says Did you know

    I also found it amazing that students are pretty much being trained for jobs that don't exist yet. It's kind of hard to wrap my mind around that since you usually have to know what a job entails in order to train for it properly. And as for the information learned the first year being outdated by the third year, I believe it, but I don't think this can be so easily fixed. Not right now anyway. We aren't to the point where information can be shoved into your brain without studying or being taught.

    Mr. Winkle Wakes

    Mr. Winkle might have found comfort in the fact that the teaching system hasn't changed, but I don't. All other fields are advancing, but not the education system. Many people wonder why students get into trouble for using their phones and iPods at school, but it's because they're usually more interesting! Education hasn't exactly kept up with the interests of the generations.

    The material being taught isn't necessarily what needs to be changed, it's the way it is being taught. Schools are banning cell phones, iPods, even laptops, but shouldn't we be finding ways to use them instead? Banning things just make them more desirable.

    The Importance of Creativity

    Sir Ken Robinson is completely correct about children being taught to fear mistakes. I can't tell you how many times I've sat in a class in awkward silence after a teachers asks a question because people are afraid to answer because they are afraid of being wrong. It's crazy. Instead of being taught to fear mistakes, children need to be taught that mistakes will be made and it is ok to make them and that all you need to do is pick yourself back up again and try to find the right answer.

    I also agree with him about school squashing creativity. We're forced to focus everything we have on "core" classes (math, science, language arts, etc.). Yes, the core classes are important, but so are arts. The people who generally think outside the box, are the ones who are extremely creative, children being among them. Focus needs to be evenly distributed between the academic classes and the arts.

    Cecelia Gault (Young Student in Finland) Interviews Sir Ken Robinson

    One line in the article preceding the video really stood out to me. Cecelia Gault said that it is important to understand other cultures and I can't agree more. Unfortunately, most of what I know about other cultures (which is very little, sadly) I learned by doing research on my own or because a few of my friends are ESL students from South Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia. I don't think I can remember ever learning about other cultures in any of my classes during high school or middle school and I think that's just awful. We live in a world where racism and hate runs rampant and half the time it's because of ignorance.

    Once again I agree with Sir Robinson. Incorporating technology into an education is important, as well as incorporating more of the arts into an education is important too. I also agree that people are born creative. Children are perfect examples of this. Let them draw or color or paint or even let them tell you a story and they'll prove it. People are creative from the beginning, but the current education system tends to squash that creativity in a lot of people and it shouldn't be that way. It's easier, I believe, to plan a lesson and assignments for students when you can incorporate their creativity, not to mention it makes the work more interesting to them.

    Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

    This exactly what teachers need to be doing. I've said it multiple times in this one post, but I don't think it can be said enough. Teachers need to be incorporating technology into their lessons. Things like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, video games, etc. are what students are into these days and they should be able to use these things as resources for assignments.

    I also think that teachers need to be learning with their students like Vicki Davis was doing. Not one person on this earth knows everything there is to know, so why should teachers be the only ones teaching and students be the only ones learning? It shouldn't be that way. The roles should be flexible. Teachers should be teaching and learning, as should the students.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011


    A small compilation of words describing my life

    Blog Assignment 1

    My name is Chelsea and I am 19 years old. I'm a Secondary English/ Language Arts Education major. I graduated from Fairhope High School in Fairhope, Alabama. However, I'm not originally from Alabama. I was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky to a soldier in the Army and a student at the University of Kentucky. From Fort Knox, we moved to Fort Stewart, Georgia. Here, my parents divorced and my mom and I then moved to Jacksonville, Florida. From there we moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey, then Hillsborough, New Jersey. Our moving finally ended when we left New Jersey and landed in Fairhope.

    I call myself an only child, but that's only partially true. I am my mom's only child. However, my dad got remarried and they had two children, my sister, Ella, and my brother, Kaleb. Ella is currently 9 and Kaleb is 7.

    I originally wanted to become a writer, because I adore writing. It's the stable place I can run away to when the real world is tossing me around and it allows me to say things I might not be able to force myself to speak. However, I didn't just have a passion for writing, I had, and still have, a passion for words and language and creating elaborate images with words. I also loved reading just about everything I could get my hands on. Eventually, I decided I didn't want to be just a writer anymore. I wanted to do more than simply contribute to the masses of books; I wanted to teach people to enjoy literature, or better yet, teach them to love it as much as I do. So, I decided I'd enter the education field and see if I could do just that.

    Aside from being in love with writing, I have a passion for horses and horseback riding, though I'm unable to participate in that particular activity.