Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Post #15

It sometimes feels like I have been in EDM 310 for five years; yet, at the same time, it seems like only yesterday that I sat in the computer lab listening to Dr. Strange on the first day. As I look back on all of my projects, activities, comments, and blog posts that I've published, I can't help but be happy to see the difference in myself from the beginning of this class. In our very first blog post assignment, I was asked to describe how I wanted my future classroom to be set up. Upon rereading this post, I still remain true to some of my earlier values. However, there are a few slight changes that I would make now.

In Blog Post #1, I talked heavily about I wanted to keep my passion for the subject of English and language arts aflame every day that I woke up and headed to my classroom. While I still do wish to be passionate about what I am teaching and hope to engage that same interest from my students, there is a subject that I want my students to be more excited about at the end of the day - learning. Too many students leave school every day and are never seen in the hallways again. Even though there are multiple factors contributing to this epidemic, we are at the point now where educators need to be asking themselves, "What am I missing, here?" If students had the same type of excitement for learning as they do for the latest episode of Awkward or a Justin Bieber concert, schools everywhere would be thriving, and the future generations of this country would not be in the danger that they are in now. It is important that children are excited not only about what they are learning, but that they are learning at all. If I had had classes like EDM 310 throughout junior college and grade school, I would probably be way more advanced in many areas than I am now. It's time to stop expecting students to memorize information; that is not a real educational experience. Getting up excited to see something new and apply it to better your standing in life and to benefit others is the true definition of learning, in my opinion.

Another factor that I originally wrote that I wanted to add to my classroom was forming a bond with my students. I was a youth leader at a church for several years, which I previously said, and I have seen the agony on students' faces when they have no one who believes in them. I still want to form this bond between them and myself, but I now feel like the best way to make this happen is by teaching them in the way that Dr. Strange taught us. By pushing them to learn and work on their own and not allow them to soak in material only to forget it at the end of the year, I will expect to see more from them. Regardless of where they come from or what their backgrounds are like, I want to show them how to open their minds to see possibilities that they otherwise would've never even dreamed of. I think at the end of the semester, they will be more appreciative of me if I help them be prepared for the world after graduation than if I help them "get by" with an easy class.

As I said earlier, my future plan is to become a teacher of English/language arts. With my degree, I will be able to teach students in grades sixth through twelfth. I'm still not sure where exactly I will end up (I don't think anyone really knows until they get there), but I have been interested in the Baldwin County school system for a while. After hearing about how most of the schools there are using project-based learning now, I am even more curious as to what it would be like to be an educator in that school system. I still have a love for English and all of the aspects that are connected to it. I now, however, can power this subject with the usage of effective technological tools and really expand the minds of my students like never before.

One of the greatest components of this class is getting to learn about new technology tools and networks. The tools that I have used throughout this class have been way beyond helpful. I was given an iPad as a gift right before EDM 310 started, and I now know almost everything about it thanks to using it in this class. Without it, making videos, using iMovie, and even following along in the instruction manual would've been quite difficult for me. I have also used my laptop much more frequently thanks to posting blogs. Using the Macs in the lab has also gotten much easier than before. My abilities to use Apple products effectively were almost nonexistent before EDM 310. However, by being forced to use a Mac for several projects, I am much more capable of getting tasks done with their usage and being creative with projects and assignments. I am also thankful for this class for introducing me to the SMARTBoard. Now, I will be able to use one without struggling, which I would not have been able to do if I hadn't been here.

Something that I believe is the backbone of EDM 310 is the usage of many social networks. Blogging has been my main form of communication in this classroom, and I definitely want to incorporate this idea into my own classes in the future. I love being able to expose students to different people, ideas, and cultures from all over the world and helping them broaden their horizons. Using Skype and Pinterest in this class is also a tradition that I would like to carry into my teaching career. After seeing other educators, I think that it is an excellent way for teachers to stay in touch, keep creativity flowing, share ideas, and work together to benefit the children in this world. Edmodo also turned out to be an amazing social network for teachers. I can use this to stay in contact with students, parents, post assignments, and keep a strong form of communication open using technology. These ideas, plus so much more, are aspects that I have learned from Dr. Strange, and I hope that my students are grateful for me and my class one day as I am for Dr. Strange and EDM 310.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Project #13 - Using Collaborative Tools

For Projects 15 and 16, my group, Dream Team, used a variety of tools to help accomplish our goals. We first outlined our projects with the use of Google Docs. With the help of certain aspects, such as Skype, Face Time, Gmail, iPads, and iPhones, our group was able to communicate with each other and share our ideas for each assignment. The usage of iPads and iPhones has been extremely helpful with creating, sending, and editing our videos, along with being able to Face Time each other. The Google + hangout app was a great tool to be introduced to, although we did not use it for the majority of our communication time. Me, Hannah Dickerson, and Alice Wise were able to work very well together with these tools and other aspects of technology and help our projects reach their fullest potentials.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog Post #14

Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading

This article presents an idea that, after reading about it, is something that is a surprisingly new concept to the educational system in America. At the University of Texas A&M in San Antonio, Texas, professors have now incorporated a new device called CourseSmart. This type of technology, which is published through Pearson and McGraw-Hill, is a way for instructors to keep track of the reading their students are accomplishing through digital textbooks. Teachers, along with the distributors, are able to see when students even open their textbooks. This allows instructors to see which students are following along in their reading throughout the course of the class and which ones are cramming their studying the night before an exam. It has been used at the university in San Antonio so far, along with Clemson, Central Carolina Technical College, and Stony Brook University. One professor at Texas A&M, Adrian Guardia, has been able to see many of the pros and cons of this system this semester with his class. Mr. Guardia has been able to take notice of the students who were struggling and which ones needed to develop better studying habits with the assistance of CourseSmart. Although it is still a work in progress, and there are many concerns from students and instructors at the moment, CourseSmart is reevaluating how instructors can keep up with the progress of each student, and intervene when necessary.

I Although I am not yet an educator, I think that this concept would be very beneficial to classrooms everywhere. I think that too many students today are simply doing enough work in school to pass. Students think that opening a book the night before a test and barely passing it is equivalent to getting a full learning experience. This is a huge problem to me because students are going through the motions of school while missing out on the most valuable aspect of it - learning. Even though this type of technology is somewhat of an experiment because it is still so new, I think that this is the perfect way to let instructors know who needs to devote more time to reading and who is ahead of the game. Another thing this will help eliminate is cheating on tests and exams. If a student has not opened his or her book at all and he or she made a perfect score on an exam, this could be a great indication of some cheating activity going on. With a regular text book, things of this nature may never be caught.

While this could be an excellent enhancement to a classroom and a great way to blend learning with technology usage, I can also see this as a negative aspect from the perspective of a student. I understand that this device is supposed to help educators be better focused on the growth track of each individual student, and to encourage them to dig deeper into what they are learning and not just simply "get by". However, I currently have a college student's schedule that is filled with studying, doing projects, reading, and working many days in between. I know how difficult it can be to take time out to fully read every single chapter of every book, especially when it is a subject that a student is familiar with and does not have to spend as much time with. I know that it is meant to benefit us in the long run, but I do not think students who are not reading their books as much should be punished simply because they did not do all of their reading if it is a subject that they are already advanced in. I don't think that students should skim through reading assignments, because it does cause them to miss out on parts of subjects that they need to grow intellectually. However, as a person with a completely full schedule most days of the week, I do know how difficult it can be at times. It is hard for me to really say where I stand on this matter from a student's point of view.

There are several things I would want to investigate about this type of technology in schools. If I could speak with Mr. Guardia, I would want full insight on this idea. I would first ask him what it was like for him to track his students each week. Is it difficult to monitor all of their activity, or do you find it very simple to keep track of their reading? Next, I would ask him how his students have reacted to CourseSmart. Were they very open to this idea at first, or did they act as if the college was "looking over their shoulders" as the article said? Finally, I would ask Mr. Guardia how he personally felt about CourseSmart. I would want to know if he has seen a tremendous increase in the improvement of his students' grades by being able to track their reading. I would also ask if he thought this idea would work for any classroom, particularly grade school classrooms, or is it something that would only be helpful for college students.

If I had the opportunity to ask the students in Mr. Guardia's class questions, I would mainly want to find out if this system has personally helped them. I would want to know if each student, no matter how intelligent he or she was or how much he or she struggled academically, has seen any improvement in grades or studying habits through the application of this system. I would ask them if they felt like they had been more challenged to learn and try on their own rather than just "winging it" before each quiz or test. The ultimate objective of this interview would be to investigate how much of an impact (and in what way) this system was making on the lives of the students.

After reading some of the comments that were left under this article, I was a little shocked at just how condescending some of the critics of CourseSmart truly were. I guess I am just not that cynical in my way of thinking. If I were to leave a comment, I would speak positively about this idea. Although I do see how some students could cheat this system, I see why it would be given a chance. It is just an attempt to help instructors better keep up with how each student is responding to the class and assignments, and it can help teachers reach out more to the ones who need extra attention. I know that educators should be closely watching the progress of each student regardless; however, if an instructor has a classroom with one hundred students enrolled into it, this system would better help them stay focused on each one. Because technology is growing so rapidly in our country and all over the world, the best thing to do is be more open-minded and embrace its assistance in our schools instead of rejecting it and the benefits that are included.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

C4T #4

Post #1

This week's C4T Assignment was posted by Mrs. Denise Krebs, and it is entitled "Vlogging". In this post, Mrs. Krebs discusses how she has recently been introduced to the idea of "vlogging", which is sharing ideas, questions, thoughts, and experiences with other educators through videos on YouTube. Although Mrs. Krebs was not yet claiming to be a vlogger, she is very open to the concept and has joined the Fellowship of Open Spokes. This is a group that meets in a connected YouTube channel each week, and they discuss ideas and reflections in video form. In the video she posted, Mrs. Krebs talks about how she has been an educator for many years, and while she was a blogger, this idea of vlogging was very new and intimidating to her. At first she was unsure of it, but she says that she is always challenging herself. She bases her teaching profession off the idea that the teacher should be the biggest learner in the classroom. She also provides links to additional videos about vlogging and the Fellowship of Open Spokes.

I commented on Mrs. Krebs's blog post by first introducing myself to her, and then I thanked her for sharing these ideas. I let her know that as a future educator, I am always open to new ideas. I also said that because YouTube has so many uses these days, why not use it for something constructive? I wrote that I loved how she based her teaching career off of the idea of being the biggest learner in her classroom herself. I told her that if we as teachers did not have a passion for learning, how could we expect our students to do the same thing? I then thanked her for her post on vlogging, and I let her know that I was looking forward to reading more of her posts soon.

Post #2

The post that I was assigned to read this week was once again written by Mrs. Denise Krebs. The title is "Vincent Van Gogh Pesevering" and contains words in a letter from the artist Vincent Van Gogh to his brother. In the text, Van Gogh writes that his works are not yet what he desires when he is still in the process of creating them. He goes on to basically say that making progress doesn't happen as quickly as one would like for it to happen, but the basic necessities when trying to reach a goal are patience and faithfulness. Van Gogh writes that when he is working on something, he doesn't think much about the difficulties because if he thinks about them too much he would be "stunned and disturbed". Mrs. Krebs describes the words of Van Gogh as having a sense of perseverance. She writes that she hopes she hopes and believes her students learn in the long run.

I commented on Mrs. Krebs's blog post by first letting her know that I loved the quote. I said that I felt like many people wanted to see positive results of whatever they are striving to achieve without dedicating their time or putting forth one hundred percent of their effort. I agreed with the way that she felt about this quote. I wrote that nothing in life worth having is easily obtained, and as a future educator, I hoped to drill this same type of work ethic into the minds and spirits of my students. Hopefully, this will be a fire that I can light inside of my students, one that can never be put out. I told her that, like Van Gogh, I hoped to leave behind a legacy in my classroom that my students can benefit from. I wrote that I not only hoped to help them grown intellectually, but to also challenge them to develop better human qualities. I once again told her how much I enjoyed her post, and that I hoped to hear more from her soon.

Final Report on PLN


My PLN is something that I have become very fond of! At first, the idea of having a Personal Learning Network was a bit of a foreign concept to me. Now, however, I have a better of something that organizes every website, work space, network, and resource I wish to use without having to physically keep up with it on my own. I have added a good amount of tiles to my PLN and have completely filled all of the spaces now. I kept a few of the ones that were already there but have added many more that I felt would be of great use to me in the future. As an English major in secondary education, I searched for sites and networks that would not only help me in the fields of technology, writing, literature, and grammar. I also kept various social networks, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Edmodo, and YouTube that I believe will widely open doors to interactive learning through the world of technology. I added many tiles that deal with essay writing, grammar skills and rules, and access to many pieces of literature. I have not yet found games that I absolutely loved for use in my classroom, but I will continue to search and explore the tiles that I have added and many more as I begin teaching. I have found that Symbaloo is the perfect way to create, use, and edit my Personal Learning Network. It is perfect for me because it is very user friendly, and it allows me to go straight to my PLN with no trouble at all. I am very glad that I was introduced to this concept, and can't wait to see how it unfolds with my students!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

C4K Summary for April

C4K #9

This week's post was written by a boy in Nebraska named Jonathan H. in Mrs. Geldes's class, and the post was entitled "Nebraska is Wickid". In this blog post, Jonathan describes his home state with a sense of pride almost as easily detectable as someone from the south. He is from Bellevue, Nebraska, and he first explains that he loves football. He names some of the teams there, such as Cornhuskers and the Omaha Storm Chasers. He lists some of the tourist attractions there, which include the Henry Doorly Zoo, Mahoney State Park, and Carhengeare. Jonathan was also very knowledgeable about the aspects that his state is represented by. He tells readers that the Western meadowlark is the state bird, the Mammoth is the state fossil, the cottonwood tree is the state tree, and the golden rod is the state flower. He ends this piece of writing with the state motto, which is "Equality before the law".

I first introduced myself to Jonathan H. and told him that I was from Alabama. He wrote at the end of the post that he wanted to know about where his readers were from, so I told him a little about myself. I wrote in my comment that I also loved football, and that one of the best teams down here was the Alabama Crimson Tide (and I threw in a "Roll Tide!" after that!). I told him that one of our biggest attractions here was the beach, and although our weather changed often, it was mostly warm and rainy. I also wrote that because we were southern, most people here were very hospitable and are willing to lend a helping hand to someone in need at any moment. I told him that he seemed like he had much love and pride for his home state, and that he was great at persuading others to want to visit Nebraska. I thanked him for sharing his blog post, and I told him that I was looking forward to reading more from him in the future.

C4K #10

The C4K that I was assigned to read this week was posted by a girl named Sophie from Miss Jordan's 4KJ class in Australia. This post was simply about Sophie introducing herself to the blogging world, and she listed five facts about herself. She wrote that her favorite sport is netball, her favorite animal is a horse, her favorite activity is roller skating with her sister, she loves to eat chocolate (but only sometimes), and she has a dog and a bird. She then wrote then asked her readers what they liked.

I wrote back to Sophie by first introducing myself. I told her that I did not know what netball was but that it sounded like fun. I told her that I used to have a horse and that I loved to ride him, and that I loved roller skating when I was younger. I wrote that chocolate was probably one of my favorite snacks of all time. I also told her that I did not have a bird as a pet but that I did have a dog whose name is Sophie! I told her that I had never been to Australia but that I planned on going there one day. I ended my comment by telling her that I enjoyed learning about new people and what their likes and dislikes are, and I wrote that I was looking forward to reading more of her posts.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Post #13

Blended Learning Cycle

This week's blog assignment was about the teaching strategies of Mr. Paul Anderson, who is an AP Biology teacher from Bozeman, Montana. He is also a technology-driven instructor who understands the value of letting students use interactive learning to help them grow. He calls the foundation of his teaching methods the "Blended Learning Cycle" which combines the components of online, mobile, and classroom learning that a child needs to help him/her be well rounded and gain an education that will benefit him/her much more in the long run. Mr. Anderson explains that in the basic learning cycle for science, there are five E's: engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate. To help keep order to the blended learning cycle, Mr. Anderson has created an acronym that he refers to as Qu.I.V.E.R.S. to show the process of learning and solving problems by using this teaching strategy. In the same way that there are six arrows in a quiver (or, six arrows in the picture of the quiver on the video), Mr. Anderson provides six steps used to demonstrate the process of the blended learning cycle. Qu. stands for Question. Students are to first identify the problem or question that needs to be answered. I. stands for Investigation/Inquiry; this is where students dig deeper and find out more information about the problem and the issue surrounding it. V. stands for Video, which is where the students would invite technology into this method and use video methods to help them. E. is for Elaboration, where an explanation or analysis of the problem is given. R. is for Review, and this is where students will reflect back on what they have learned and how they came to their conclusion. Finally, S. stands for Summary Quiz, which Mr. Anderson saves for the end when students now have a better understanding of the cycle and how they used it to answer a question. If any students do not understanding a part of the cycle, they will then go back and work on it until they fully comprehend how the cycle works.

I really enjoyed learning about this method of teaching. Although I am not majoring in science or have the desire to teach it, I think this is an excellent strategy to follow for that subject. As Mr. Anderson implied in the video, science is about asking questions and using hands-on methods to solve problems. I do also like that he still quizzes students at the end of each cycle to see that they fully understand how it works. I love that this form of teaching gives students the chance to not only use technology in the classroom, but to learn how to be hands-on learners and thinkers for themselves. As a future English/language arts teacher, I'm not sure that this exact method would be perfect for my class, but I definitely want my students to have the importance of "learning how to learn" on their own, and this video has given me a great example to follow.

Back to the Future

For this blog post assignment, I really neglected to read the fine print in the Instruction Manual. I thought at first that the only part of this assignment we needed to respond to was just the Blended Learning Cycle video. However, I was highly mistaken, so here I am now. In the video entitled "Back to the Future", Mr. Brian Crosby, who is a teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School in Sparks, Nevada, shows just how much of an impact technology has made in the lives of his students. He begins the video by giving a list of shocking statistics about how underprivileged the students in his classroom are. Most of them are second language students, and although they are in the fourth grade, most of them live in poverty and have not been able to positively experience the world around them; some did not even know simple information about themselves, such as what city they lived in. Mr. Crosby, however, does not let these conditions be setbacks for the future of his students. He allows them to be opened up to the idea of interactive learning by the use of technology in his classroom through blogging, Wiki, Flickr, Skype, and various aspects of Google. He allows his students the chance to become excited about learning through experiments in his class, too, such as crushing soda cans by intense pressure. One of his biggest projects, the High Hopes balloon, is an idea that I hope more teachers steal for their students in the near future. In this project, the students are to write in their blogs about the things that they are most hopeful for. They are then able to send up their ideas in a "homemade" hot air balloon, which incorporates the use of scientific experimentation. The balloon will burst high in the air, and the students are still able to track the pieces of it through Google earth and the cameras that they have set up with them. Each student gets a notification when a piece lands, how fast it was going, etc. The biggest objective to be grasped in this project is getting the students excited about learning and giving them something to look forward to and be inspired by.

I thought this video was a nearly perfect summary of project-based learning truly is. If you're like me, and you strive to be a teacher who pushes students to reach their fullest potential and light a fire inside their souls with a passion for becoming learners, then this is what it's all about. My absolute favorite part of this video is when the sweet little girl named Celeste is reached out to. When Mr. Crosby was informed that she was joining his classroom but that she would never be at school due to her leukemia diagnosis, Mr. Crosby refused to let her slip through the cracks. Thanks to technology, Celeste is able to engage in the same activities as her classmates in the comfort of her own home, and is just as involved in her work and growth track as the other students. When the video showed her laughing and enjoying everything she was learning with the class, I was almost reduced to tears. If this doesn't show how rewarding a hands-on learning experience is, then I don't know what does. Mr. Crosby concludes his video by pointing out a major flaw in most educational systems today. He says that most schools promote learning basics in classrooms and later adding enrichment. This, unfortunately, is a route filled with rushing students through school without giving them the opportunity to enjoy what they are learning or develop the desire to want to continue to learn. The same students who could not tell you their addresses in the beginning of the school year are now getting an education through the most advanced tools in technology while building relationships with people all around the world. This video is a great example of how this type of teaching strategy not only helps students "learn how to learn" but teaches them a sense of character and promises them better days ahead.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Progress Report on Final Project

My group's Final Project is still a work in progress, but I feel that it really has potential to turn out fantastic. As of right now, we are currently working on a script to film our movie for Option B. We have not filmed anything just yet, but we are in the process of planning and brainstorming for our script. This way, we will have great material to work with next week for filming. We have each shared our ideas and are working very hard to make this final project a complete success.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blog Post #12

Tweeting About Literature

In this week's blog post assignment, I was thrilled to find out that I was supposed to create an assignment that dealt with my particular field of teaching. While we are all learning the fundamentals of technology use in modern classrooms, I do feel that it is important to be getting ideas together NOW that will benefit us in our specialized fields when we are actual educators. After all, we'll be there before we know it, right?

Although this idea may seem small and simple, I thought that it would be great for class discussions. My major is secondary education in English/language arts, and the idea that I'm going to share is about using Twitter to create class discussions and debates on whatever book, poem, short story, or play that we are reading at the moment. This idea came from a YouTube video that I found on Pinterest entitled "Social Media and Technology in the Classroom". In this video, Mr. Cassidy's literature class stay actively engaged in class debates each week thanks to the use of Twitter and the usage of cell phones. Mr. Cassidy not only gives assignments through tweeting and incorporates the usage of hash tags, but he tweets questions regarding each literature assignment via Twitter. In class, he projects the tweets on a SMARTBoard and, by using their cell phones, allows the students to respond to questions and express their interpretations of each piece of writing. This way, all the students are involved in the class discussions and are enjoying themselves while learning about literature.

I do realize that this may appear to be a very elementary idea to some of you, but I thought that it was a great way to incorporate technology, even if it is in a small way, into the classroom and engage the minds of students who would probably otherwise be sleeping in class. Even though we have used Twitter in EDM 310, we never used it in the way that Mr. Cassidy's class did, so here we are with a brand new lesson for this class!

To use this lesson in the future of EDM 310, there are a few steps that Dr. Strange should follow. First of all, after everyone has created their Twitter account, I would pick a familiar piece of literature (Hamlet, The Odyssey, Emily Dickinson poems; it doesn't matter) and have everyone read it by a certain date. I would then go to the EDM 310 Class Blog page and make a post telling everyone that I would be tweeting a list of discussion questions pertaining to whatever we were assigned to read. I would tell them to tweet their responses to the questions using the hash tags #edm 310 and a hashtag of the name of the reading assignment. Afterwards, I would schedule another in-class meeting, and by using the SMARTBoard, I would show the questions along with the replied tweets of each student. I would also allow them to tweet whatever questions or comments they had while in class and we would discuss everything then. This would not only get students interested in the assignments, but it would also help them to become thinkers on their own. I would even have them make a reflection tweet or blog post about the reading assignment when they are finished so that I would know that they participated and fully understood their assignment.

Once again, I know that this is not the most creative idea when it comes to technology in the classroom. However, it does deal with my field of expertise, and it would be fun to see how other EDM 310 students would respond to it. This is an idea that I could see myself doing with my English classes one day, and I hope that Dr. Strange decides to give it a chance one day in his class, as well.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blog Post #11

First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class

After watching this video, as well as Skype Interview With Ms. Cassidy, I have to admit that I was truly fascinated. All semester long we have been opened up to the idea of integrating technology in schools, and I have slowly developed into a huge fan of it. However, actually being able to see elementary school students in action and the positive effects that interactive learning has created, my love for this type of learning has gone to a whole new level. Although I hope to one day teach English/language arts at a high school and eventually college level, I love how blogging in Ms. Cassidy's classroom has brought so much life to her students. Anyone can see how the encouragement of blog post comments and interacting with students and teachers worldwide has given birth to a deeper love of learning to each student. Sadly, these students are more keen on technology at seven years old than I am at age twenty-three! I want my students to one day experience this same type of excitement while in school. I also love that she introduced them to wonderful devices such as Wiki, and are better able to grow and obtain knowledge simply because their horizons have been expanded. Ms. Cassidy mentioned in her Skype interview that the parents of her children have been very supportive, something that she is very lucky to be able to say. Unfortunately, I plan to teach in Alabama, and lack of parental support of this type of technologically-based learning will possibly be one of my biggest obstacles to overcome. I do feel, however, that by exposing parents to the ability to track the progress of their children and see the results throughout the year will help win over their approval. Hopefully, it will make my relationship with them less stressful (maybe). I'm very glad to have had the privilege of seeing project-based learning in action, and I now have a more clear vision of how I wish to set up my own classroom one day. Like Ms. Cassidy said, technology is most likely here to stay. On that note, why not students find a love for the one aspect that could make or break their success?

C4T #3

Post #1

This post was an exceptionally wonderful video of Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is an actress, filmmaker, spokesperson, and advocate, giving a lecture on how the media is spreading a downright evil mentality to males and females alike. This video was posted by Dr. William Deyamport, III, who integrates technology with education through his blog. Mrs. Newsom discusses how the media has brainwashed our world into creating girls who are consumed with beauty and outward appearance, and boys who consume everything in their paths with no emotions. She brings up very interesting facts; for example, the U.S. population is made up of 51% of women, while men completely dominate the corporate world, religion, business, entertainment, and every other area. She gives a further explanation to her theory with the example of her children. When her daughter was born, she was given pink clothing and simple toys. When her daughter was born, however, not only was he showered with more gifts and praise for being a future achiever, but he was also thought of as one day being the president of our country. The point that she is trying to make here is that although her daughter was praised, too, she was not expected to have the same ambition or hold power the way that her son was supposed to. She later compares the media to relationships, stating, "you only get what you put into it." She claims that if we encourage the media to get rid of negative views on women, we will seek positive results not only in the lives of women, but in men, as well.

I commented on this video by letting Dr. Deyamport know how impressed I was with this lecture. Not only was Mrs. Newsom spot on some of the arguments that she made, but had practical solutions for these issues, too. I agree with much of what she is saying here. We now live in a world where wearing five pounds of makeup, throwing modesty out the window, and yelling filthy language at someone on national television gets a woman more recognition and praise than feeding orphaned children in an African village, or completing graduate school. However, I love that she gave examples of men and women doing everything in their power to put an end to the negativity around them, and helping children keep a pure mind in a culture that is so shallow. I thanked Dr. Deyamport for posting this excellent presentation, and told him that I hoped to be able to read more like this one soon.

Post #2

This week's C4T Assignment was once again posted by Dr. William Deyamport, III, and was actually written by Tanya Smith, an online business strategist. In this post, Mrs. Smith writes about using social media for coaching. She explains that although she does not claim to be a social media expert, she has used social media to get the word out about her business over the last few years. In this blog she demonstrates three ways that people can use social media to effectively promote business. The first point that she makes is to use social media, such as Twitter, but don't let the media BECOME the advertisement; there is a difference. It is important to use social media as a vehicle to advertisement, but not to restrict yourself to one advertising method and exclude all others. Another way that Mrs. Smith suggests using social media advertisement is by creating and using service groups with clients. By creating Facebook pages and accounts, you act as the moderator of these groups and allow many clients to have their questions answered. You can also engage in online video group discussions with interested buyers, which serve as a more satisfactory way of gaining more information and connecting with each other. Mrs. Smith concludes her post by encouraging readers to find helpful resources that they can use to help maintain their businesses. She explains that she uses Twitter, LinkedIn, and Referral Key to find resources from people that she trust. She writes that when using social media to help your business expand, you must be smart. Think about how much you currently use online sources, how this usage will fit into the larger plan of your company, and how much time and money you are willing to invest in this. She even shares a link on how to create a social media strategy that fits an individual's schedule.

I introduced myself to Mr. Deyamport and thanked him for sharing Mrs. Smith's social media strategies. I let him know that I enjoyed the advice that she gave in her post, and although I did not plan on becoming a business owner in the future, I still find great importance in the methods that she presents. I told him that in my opinion, running a classroom is much like running a business; whatever effort I put into helping my students is the same type of results that I can expect back. I wrote that I really enjoyed this post, and I will definitely refer back to these ideas in the future.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

C4K Summary for March

C4K #5

The student whose blog I was assigned to read this week is named Dakota H.from Mr. Boylen's 2012-2013 LA class. In this blog, Dakota is answering whether or not he thinks that students gain anything from blogging with other people. He writes in his post that he does believe students have a lot to gain from blogging with others. He explains that by blogging, a person is able to learn about people whose culture, backgrounds, and lifestyles are different than ours. He feels that only personality types and the amount of work a person puts into blogging can affect how an individual feels about it. He admits that the only thing that makes it difficult for him is the way that the website is set up.
I began my comment on his post by first explaining who I was, of course. I strongly agreed with his perspective on the subject. I told him that before this semester, I was not very familiar with different aspects of technology or cultures that differed greatly from my own. I wrote that now I am quickly gaining much knowledge from blogging. I ended by telling him that he was a great writer and seemed to have a very open mind. I explained that this was a good quality in students because they are able to become fast learners this way.

C4K #6
This week, I had the privelege of reading a blog entitled "If We Share" by Jack from Mr. Huebl's classroom in Australia. I enjoyed this blog post the most out of all the ones that I have read so far because it was so simple, yet said so much. In his post, Jack talks about how most people think they can only share their personal items (in his example, toys and books). What they don't realize, however, is that they can also share personal qualities, such as time, knowledge, and skills. He tells readers that while some enjoy sharing, others think that it is boring. He concludes his post by writing that if we all worked together and all shared, we can be happy and make a change.

I commented on Jack's blog and let him know how much I enjoyed this post. I told him that the qualities about ourselves that we can share with others are some of the most valuable things that we can share in the long run. As for people not enjoying sharing, I stated that people do not realize that by reaching out to others and putting their needs before our own, there is more joy to be found. Although we live in a world full of promotion of selfishness, people really will make changes if they shift their focuses to others instead of themselves. I praised him for such a great post, and told him that I am looking forward to reading more from him.

C4K #7

This week's C4K Assignment was from a student named Sarah in Mrs. Lentine's K Harbor 7 class. Sarah's post was entitled "Wretches and Jabbers" and it was a response to a video she watched which taught education on autism. She wrote in her post that before she watched the video, she did not really know about autism. She thanked the creators of the video and asked if they would continue going anywhere else? She said that she hoped that they continue to educate people on autism because it is something people really need to know.

In my comment, I first introduced myself to Sarah. I basically told her that I really enjoyed her post and completely agreed with what she felt about autism. I stated that until recently, I was not very well educated on autism; throughout this semester, however, I am much more understanding of it and have a deeper appreciation for it than I did before. I wrote that I don't think you can truly appreciate something or understand its whole value until you have been educated on it and know about it well. I thanked her for her post, and let her know that I hoped to be able to read more of her posts in the future.

C4K #8

The post that I was able to read this week was written by Aspen H. of Mr. Boylen's Language Arts class. He told about playing basketball and gave a very vivid description of each game and how he felt various emotions in each moment. He also described the fun that he had in between games, and talked about how much he enjoyed being around his friends and family through it all.

I first introduced myself to Aspen H., and let him know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading his post. I told him that I had never played basketball, but I did compete in various school competitions when I was younger, and understood the value of every moment that passed by. I also told him that he seemed to be very passionate and enthusiastic about what he does, which is a key ingredient in all writings. I once again let him know how much I liked his post, and said that I hoped that I could read more from him soon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blog Post #10

Adventures in Pencil Integration

The cartoon in this post gives a good example of how many teachers are adamant about staying in the "traditional" teaching method using pencils, paper, and other items. I believe that Mr. Spencer is simply trying to show the pros and cons of using hand held objects for teaching tools versus the latest developments in technology. From what I can tell, it appears that Mr. Spencer seems to sway closer to the side of anti-technology. On one hand, I do understand how some may feel about old-world teaching strategies and materials. I do agree that are certain aspects of using traditional methods that help each child seem unique, such as their own handwriting. That is something that technology cannot remove from students. However, do we not sometimes have to let go of good things in life in order to get things that are even better? Although new forms of technology in classrooms may seem a bit overwhelming at first, they are easily learned if one looks at it as they would any other challenge - it just takes practice, patience, and dedication. Also, I do realize how expensive some of these items are, such as the iMac. While it costs a great deal of money, doesn't it save money and trees from being wasted in the long run? Aren't we ultimately saving money buying one item only once rather than buying countless packs of paper and pencils over the years? There is a good point to be made in this post arguing the pros of traditional teaching ideas. The fact is, though, that we as educators are here for one purpose, and that is to help children be ready to face the real world in adulthood and be successful in it. If we do not giving them the best tools out there to help them reach their fullest potential, then how can we say that we really want what's best for them? Just like many other times in life, we sometimes have to make sacrifices of mediocrity in order to step into the greater life that is waiting for us. When it comes to the world of education, letting go of old mindsets and embracing new tools in learning may be just the thing to help us move on to the next level.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

This post, which was also created by Mr. John T. Spencer, is a great way of showing the dangers behind slamming creativity in the ground and shutting the door in its face before it even enters the halls of any school. The speaker in this scenario is depicted by the principal to be a foolish man who is letting the children have fun and play games instead of learning the curriculum. The fact is, however, that the teacher is actually demonstrating his care for his students in the best way possible. Instead of boring them to literal death with lectures and memorization methods, he is actually getting their minds engaged in the material that needs to be taught. Therefore, the children are not memorizing anything, but actually learning and retaining knowledge that will be much less likely to depart from them in the future. Although the principal has good intentions (maybe), he has unfortunately been sucked into the vortex of mindless lecturing that rarely ever creates an intimate experience for each student. It is teachers like the one in Mr. Spencer's post here that need to be found throughout more classrooms in this country. While there are many educators and administrators that have the same negative mindset of creativity in schools as this principal, the evidence that project-based learning and promotion of creativity can catapult students into their absolute fullest potential is there. We just need to start shining the light on it.

Remember Pencil Quests?

I found the post entitled "Remember Pencil Quests?" by Mr. Spencer to be a bit humorous. In this article, the students are excited to be able to try something "new and exciting". They are so ready to break out of routine that they are completely oblivious to the fact that they have no real freedom here. The idea of getting to look up random pages and answer unsolved questions about the text is very exciting, that is, until the truth that it is not a real game, they cannot pick any location, and the map is predetermined for them slowly creeps in. The students never fully comprehend this until a much later time. As Mr. Spencer reflects on playing this game as a student himself, he is somewhat embarrassed of the teaching methods that have been used throughout history. The sad point that he is trying to make is that people who created ridiculous games like this one are the ones who are putting forth effort to think outside the box. He also wonders what his students will think as they look back one day on his class and the games he presented to them. As I think about this article, I realize that many teachers are stuck in the traditional rut of learning. Still, there are a few that I believe have come a long way from the pencil quest days, and they have really set the bar for fun and engaging learning environments.

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

Dr. Scott McLeod does an outstanding job at making fun of people who view creative and project-based learning negatively in this post. Throughout my years in grade school, and even some time in college, I have heard every cynical comment that one could make about technology in schools. Cell phones, iPads, and even laptops were prohibited in certain classes. Naturally, you can just imagine the shock that ran through my body when I discovered that there are classes that actually promote the use of such items. Although I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent individual, I had never even imagined that classrooms such as these existed because the tools that they used were looked down upon as an abomination for as long as I can remember. I think it is safe to say that most teachers view students who are consumed with technology and internet use as "failures", believing that they are unintelligent because they do not condone to the traditional teaching methods. In reality, it is the technological children who are the leaders; they are stepping out to learn and grown in ways that some of us have never even heard of. Dr. McLeod is simply pointing out to us that it is students that never strive to learn for themselves who never break through exceptional barriers in the world, and will ultimately remain stagnant because of the simple-mindedness that they have been forced to receive through our basic educational systems.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog Post #9

Version 4 Post (2011-2012)

This blog post by Mr. McClung is a great example of how teachers are humans and easily make mistakes like everyone else. However, only a truly great teacher can recognize their own flaws, admit them, and plan on doing things differently in the future. Mr. McClung shows us in this post how the past school year was able to open his eyes and see things in a different light. In his blog post, Mr. McClung first describes how, for the first time, he became very concerned with his fellow educators thought of him, and whether or not they approved of his teaching methods. This is something that he never had an issue with because he always put the focus of his students having fun in learning above all other responsibilities. He realized that he had fallen victim to a sense of "peer pressure" and knew that it was time to remind himself of why he woke up and came to work everyday: to help children grow in a fun and constructive learning environment. Another problem that Mr. McClung saw in himself is that he finally noticed that he had become complacent with his use of the curriculum he was teaching. Instead of being creative and researching new ways to help keep each lesson fun and exciting so that the students would be engaged, he had become somewhat lazy and started recycling old lesson plans. When he remembered how much he resented school as a child and never enjoyed being a student, he knew that it was time to rekindle his fire for making learning fun and exciting. In the end of this post, Mr. McClung announced that he would be leaving the school at the end of that year to pursue an administrative position at another school. Although he was going to miss his students at his current school terribly, he was extremely excited to be taking on this position and to face new challenges.

Mr. Mclung's post stood out to me because I think that most educators are unable to see what they need to correct in themselves. It's easy to point out how students aren't putting forth their best effort, or how the school system won't invest in things that the classrooms need, but doesn't every great movement in a classroom begin with a great teacher? Just like a captain is the head of a ship, a teacher is the head of a classroom. If he or she is not being the leader in education (and, perhaps, in life) that these students deserve, how can he or she not expect to get results from his or her students that are anything short of terrible? This post has been helpful to me for my classroom in the future by pointing out mistakes that I might easily be tempted to make myself. Of course, it's easy to adapt to the mentality of needing your peers' and co-workers' approval on everything we do. Last time I checked, however, isn't it US who are ultimately rewarded with the joy our individuality and creativity bring our students? Yes, I thought so. Also, do we not see more positive results when we incorporate our schools and talents into our teaching skills? Last time I checked, students always become more engaged and eager to learn when a teacher tries their best to make lessons fun and exciting. These are two mistakes that are the snipers of creative and engaging learning, and I think they are more easily avoided when we turn our minds off of autopilot and fuel them back up with a key ingredient called passion. Unlike Mr. McClung, I do not presently have any desire to become an administrator (I do know that this could change at any time, though). However, I do admire his goals that he has set for himself, and I love that he is always looking forward to new challenges. This is the type of educator and person that I wish to be, and I hope that this same type of ambition will be contagious to my students. This blog post definitely gives some great advice to those hoping to become successful and effective teachers one day. It is something that I will definitely refer back to from time to time.

What I've Learned This Year (2008-09)

Mr. McClung's post here reflects on his first year of teaching, which started the previous fall. He explains how it was a great learning experience that he definitely received many important lessons on. In the beginning, Mr. McClung tells readers that he quickly realized that teaching was not all about him. He explains how he was so focused on himself, the delivery of the content, and what his peers thought of him, that he forgot how crucial it was to maintain student comprehension in his classroom. Flexibility is an aspect that Mr. McClung became very familiar with this year, as well. He explains that the lesson that you plan out and the one you actually demonstrate are always different, and he doesn't beat himself up anymore if a lesson doesn't go exactly the way he plans. The best thing to do, according to Mr. McClung, is to keep moving on, even when a lesson plan doesn't turn out just how you pictured it would. He also writes how communication has proven to be the most effective way to keep things running smoothly with your students and fellow instructors alike. Although this does seem pretty obvious, most people do not fully comprehend how much good communication can maintain order and balance in any working environment. He says that the best way to handle any issue with someone is to go to them and talk about it. Mr. McClung explains that being reasonable with the goals you set for your students is vital to their success in the future. While it is important to set goals for them, it is also important to remember that they are still kids at the end of the day. They can barely remember to do simple things at times, so keeping goals within their reach will be beneficial in helping them to never feel that they are incompetent. One part of this post that ties in greatly with what Dr. Strange is trying to teach us about technology is to never be afraid of it. Mr. McClung writes that while most educators are terrified of it, thinking it is out to make them miserable, it is actually here to help us succeed in the fast-paced world we live in today. He says that we should never knock it until we've at least given it a try. One of my favorite parts of this post is the part about listening to the student. Mr. McClung gives the example of how one of his students praised him at the end of the school year in a survey, writing, "I know my teacher cares about me as a person when he listens to what I say." He tells us that we, as educators, need to be more concerned and knowledgeable about the students that we are teaching, and not just feed them information. Mr. McClung concludes his post by explaining that when we are teachers, we should never stop learning with our students. He explains that we practically beg our students to learn what we are teaching them, but never take the time to soak up what is around us ourselves. He claims that we owe it to our students to become learners along with them.

There was so much truth to be found in what Mr. McClung says in this post that I could not be in more agreement with him. Teachers do, in my opinion, spend entirely too much time worrying about the delivery of the message and impressing their peers that student comprehension of the material ultimately becomes unimportant. To me, being a teacher without caring if the students are receiving anything beneficial from his or her classroom is absolute insanity. Any good educator should always put the needs of the child much higher above the image that they are creating for their peers, although it is good to keep a sense of professionalism without the expense of the child's learning experience. When it comes to being flexible, I feel that I may have some issues in this area more so than others. By nature, I always try to be organized and neat in everything that I do, and always have some form of a plan in mind. I will admit that I have slightly freaked out a little in the past over various things not going at all according to plan, which is why I am thankful for this portion of the post. It serves as a great reminder that things will usually never go the way that I plan them once I am actually in the classroom teaching, but it doesn't mean that I have been a failure. I am still a human, and when I make mistakes, it doesn't have to be the end of the world. If the students have learned and had fun doing so, I have succeeded in some way. Communication is something that can make or break a situation in the long run, and I feel that it is a major element in any successful classroom, school, and any other working environment. Unfortunately, I recently have fallen victim to drama in the workplace myself (I just said I was human and make mistakes, remember?). Because of this, however, I now have a greater appreciation for effective communication, and I know how important it is to try to communicate with someone when there is an issue of any kind. Even if you are the person in the wrong, taking the first step in communicating with someone, and having the right attitude about it, can quickly resolve most issues. Keeping reasonable goals within reach of your students is also something that I feel teachers should keep in mind at all times. Being reasonable with setting goals for your students is very important in allowing them to try hard without as much of a fear of failure. It is easy to forget that students are children; they make messes, forget things, and do not always do things the right way. Let's remember that we were just like this when we were young, so meeting them on their level and setting goals for them that are actually attainable are important when keeping them from feeling that they are not prone to failure. The fear of technology that Mr. McClung discusses is something that is not unfamiliar to me. I always imagined myself as a teacher who would stick to tradition and would never become efficient in technology. Thankfully, however, I now see things in a much brighter light. I have learned so much from this class that will benefit me not only in the world of education, but in many other areas, as well. It has helped me so much in this class, and I cannot wait to help my students develop a love and appreciation for technology like I have found. It will definitely make succeeding in this microwave-fast world very easy. When it comes to listening to students, I love the example that he used of his student's survey answer at the end of the year. Students can tell which teachers truly care about them and which ones are only there to collect a paycheck. Listening and paying attention to the needs of individual students will not only help engage them in the curriculum, but will allow them to have a great leader in their life that they can trust. Some of these children have no one else like this. The conclusion to this post sums up what all instructors should always aim to do, and that is be learners along with their students. I think one major problem a lot of educators encounter is that they try to let their students do all the learning while they sit back and watch them. If we are supposed to lead by example, shouldn't we always demonstrate a willingness to learn so that the students will be encouraged to do the same? I believe we should. It also never hurts to always be in search of knowledge for our personal gain, as well. People are never to old to learn anything, and it can only benefit us in the long run. This post had a wide variety of good lessons to be learned not only for educators, but for people in general. I hope that at the end of my first school year as an educator, I can look back and see how I've grown as a person, as well.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2
After watching both Part 1 and 2 of This Is How We Dream, I feel that Dr. Miller gives great insight as to the road that the careers in English, reading, and writing are steadily traveling on. Although these videos were posted from 2009, I felt that they very much applied to our modern world today, and many of the ideas Dr. Miller shared did not sound very unfamiliar to me. Dr. Miller makes a statement in one of the videos that ideas are not meant for individuals, but to be shared. In my opinion, this could summarize the entire purpose behind both of these videos.

In Part 1, Dr. Miller emphasizes the importance of excellence in reading in writing. He points out that we are now living in what is possibly one of the greatest movements in communication and technology in history, and I could not agree more. I would never in my wildest dreams imagined that elementary school students would be blogging with people halfway across the world if someone had asked me three months ago. Now, however, I realize how far I was hidden in the dark about the growth and purposes in technology. When classes, business meetings, and other professional gatherings can be coordinated through web use, it is now more crucial than ever to become fully knowledgeable in the basics of reading and writing. If a person wants to be highly successful, however, it is almost necessary to become experts in these areas. There is one key element that unites us from all walks of life and all around the world, and that is effective communication. If we do not train ourselves to become skilled in communication using technology, our academic achievements, potential careers, and so much more could be in great danger.

In the aspect of sharing ideas, Dr. Miller shows how much can be accomplished by using network communication over the web. He demonstrates how he was able to write documents for newspaper articles and other projects by communicating with colleagues and students online. The project that told the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fascinating to me. He showed audiences that it is possible to write articles and incorporate text, videos, and sound, and share it with others through blogging and other aspects of technology. He was also able to add music, and other great leaders in education and civil rights were able to add discussions to this piece of work. This reveals just how much life can be brought into projects with the help of the correct technological tools.

In every example that Dr. Miller gave, he showed how he and others were able to work together to not only get projects done, but cause them to be so much more moving in our hearts than if they were just written down in a printed book. This can relate back to Dr. Miller's opinion on sharing ideas. If not for video chatting, blogging, and other forms of communication, these new ways of learning, writing, and educating each other could not happen, and the world we discontinue to progress intellectually. Because Dr. Miller grew up surrounded by books, he has a tremendous amount of appreciation for writing and the change in this world that it can bring when done correctly. After watching these videos, I believe that Dr. Miller is simply trying to empower the fields of creative and effective writing and skillful technology use, and bridge the two worlds together. I now have a better idea for one of the fundamental values of my English class in the future.

Blog Post #12 by Carly Pugh

Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12 is the perfect example of what Dr. Strange is trying to instill in our minds throughout the semester. In this blog, Carly was a tremendous help in giving examples of how using parts of technology, such as YouTube videos, can help students learn. It also is a great way for teachers to set goals for their students, get inspiration for assignments and other class materials, and remind teachers why they get out of bed and come to their classrooms every morning. I could see many similarities between the videos she posted and the ideas that Dr. Miller present to us. He is simply trying to show how technology and using web videos and communication can help shape us into leaders and work together to make differences in this world. Although she did not directly say this, everything that Carly stated in her blog post can be referred back to this principle. I thoroughly enjoyed her post, and will keep her ideas in mind for my future as an educator.

The Chipper Series

The story of Chipper's roller coaster of careers is the perfect example of how students misunderstand the true meaning of procrastination. I cannot lie, I have been this same type of student more times than I can count. I blamed not getting my work done on time and everyone and everything else instead of taking full responsibility for my lack of effort. I like this video because, to me, it shows how students do damage to themselves in the long run by not getting their work done. If Chipper had just completed her work on time, she never would have had to bear the frustration of working dead-end jobs that never brought her success. I think that too many students are focused on their excuses of why they can't do something rather than the ways that they could have. The sad truth is this: the real world doesn't care that you were tired, had your boyfriend over at your house until 11:00 pm, or that you haven't been able to check Facebook all day. The bottom line is, you have to do what you have to do, whether you like it or not. In Chipper's situation, she had to go through many troubles simply to realize that they could have been avoided had she just gotten her work done on time. Although this video was comical, there was much truth behind the lesson Chipper learned in the end. This is good motivation to not procrastinate, and I hope that all students see the importance of submitting their work on time so that they do not have to go through the same situations as Chipper.

EDM310 for Dummies

This video reminded me of myself when I first began this class in January. I was beyond frustrated and thought it was impossible for me to succeed in this class. Thankfully, I consulted people who have taken this class before me and was able to improve with their guidance. EDM310 for Dummies is an excellent way to get the basics of this class down pat for anyone who feels just like I did those first few weeks. Some people may have no one to explain things about this class that might be a little bit confusing, so this video definitely serves a great purpose. Although we are striving individually to become learners on our own, there is comfort in knowing there are those out there who have been stressed by the initial shock of how much EDM 310 requires of students just as I and others like myself have been. I will be sure to refer to this video more often, and I urge those who are struggling in this class to do the same thing.

As a person who grew up laughing hysterically at sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, I have a great sense of appreciation for skits and know how effective they can be in relaying a message while still making people laugh. I have always enjoyed helping with skits every chance that I have gotten, and I would have had a blast working on either one of these videos. If I had a choice, however, I would love to work in a video about the importance of being passionate about education and making it a priority. I think this would be a great way to show the difference between teachers who genuinely care about their students and try with all their strength to help them grow, and those teachers who are there to simply get a paycheck. I would demonstrate this because I had way too many teachers in school who treated students this way, and if not for my 12th grade English teacher, I may never have been inspired to be a passionate educator myself. By creating a video such as this, I feel that it would better help students to avoid becoming half-hearted instructors at all costs.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

This video is a collection of thoughts that are very much in agreement with the way I feel about the future of technology. Every person who spoke was connected to modern technology and education systems, and together they shared an amazing vision of the way education is changing and is becoming centered around bringing out the fullest potential in every student. For those who are completely unaware of how schools everywhere are becoming more involved in project-based learning and in sync with the skills and creativity of children, this video is a great eye-opener. Someone in the video made the statement that our world now has children captivated through devices such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, etc., but the classroom, which should have them engaged the most, is the least up-to-date when it comes to technology. This is a scary thought, considering that it is ulimately teachers who train the entire work force of our world. If we, as educators, do not show students how to be prepared for the jobs and careers of the future, then no one will.


After looking through some of the different aspects of WEB 2.0 Tools, I was highly impressed with the Edmodo site and chose to create an account as a teacher through it. I enjoyed the short video tutorial that demonstrated how teachers are able to create accounts and add groups, much like the ones on Facebook. This device can also be linked to students' and parents' cell phones, which is beyond helpful considering how much texting has become a vital part of our daily communication. Teachers are able to make posts that students and parents can receive through text messages. If there are assignments or projects coming up, teachers are able to create groups for each assignment and then add students to the groups. In this way, communication about individual assignments are much less vague, and students, teachers, and parents alike are better able to all be on the same page. Parents can also be able to know about events coming up for schools, and pictures of field trips, projects, and other school events can also be uploaded through this site. Similarly to Twitter, Edmodo allows teachers to follow subjects as they would individual accounts, and can be updated in the news of each subject and post to these pages. Because I plan on teaching English and language arts, the first subject I followed was, not surprisingly, language arts. I also followed other subjects that could potentially be helpful to me one day, such as social studies, creative arts, and computer technology. This social networking site appears to be so helpful that I am already thinking of ways to incorporate this into my classroom that I don't even have yet! I'm definitely looking forward to taking advantage of this site with my future students.


It took a little more searching than I expected, but the tool that I believed help create the WEB 2.0 Tools introduction video is Animoto. This is an outstanding tool to create videos and enhance them with features such as videos, photos, music, different text styles, and so much more. When I looked up the pricing for this tool, I found several great options. Videos lasting up to thirty seconds are free, with limited video styles and music tracks. The next option that was provided was that for only five dollars each month, full-length videos can be created that can have thirty plus video styles, and all are downloadable. Lastly, for thirty nine dollars per month, students and teachers are able to create twenty minute, multi-song videos, which are unbranded HD, pro-exclusive video styles, and can retain two thousand licensed music tracks. With all of these superb features, this does not seem like a bad deal at all.


One video tool that I discovered while searching through this site is PhotoPeach. This tool, in a nutshell, is a way to create and manage slides and slideshows through the aspect of social networking. This network provides a way for educators to easily create and manage student accounts, organize projects with tags and publish them as public pages to share with parents and the community, and create unlimited photo albums and customize them. In a world as visual as ours, this type of education tool can be helpful in sharing ideas with students in ways that better appeal to them. If they have a clear vision of something, they are more motivated to accomplish the goal, in my opinion. With this device, teachers are also able to download shows, upload music, and customize the transition effects between photos. This is also a very secure feature because students are unable to alter or delete teacher accounts because they will not have access to them. This seems like a fun, free, and easy way to collaborate technology and media into the classroom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

C4T #2

C4T Post #1 We all seem to have trouble with getting things done or remembering things at the time that we need to. This issue was the basis for the article "I Do It When I Think About It (so here's how to think about it at the right time)". In this latest post under Get Organized, Dr. Frank Buck gives readers some very practical but helpful insight as to why we may struggle with this problem. Research shows that much of our forgetfulness and loss of memory develops because of stress. Because we are so busy, it is very difficult to remember things at the exact times that we need to. According to Dr. Buck, this is where technology comes to the rescue. In this post, he recommends using smartphones and other devices to set digital reminders for the things that we need to do/get done, and setting them for the correct deadlines. He explains that he carries a notebook or some type of device with him everywhere he goes. By doing this, he can write down and set reminders for every aspect of his to-do list that comes to his mind and not just let it pass away.
I completely agreed with Dr. Buck in my comment on his post. I openly admitted that I struggled to get things done on times a lot because my mind is always going different directions. By using a smart phone or some type of technology to help me make a more organized agenda and set correct reminders, I can not only get all of my tasks done when I need to, but can take a tremendous amount of stress off of myself, as well.
C4T Post #2
The post that I was assigned to read this week was entitled "Thoughts for 'Music In Our Schools Month'" by Dr. Frank Buck. Dr. Buck opens this post with a quote by John F. Kennedy about hope for the arts in the future. In the quote, Kennedy states, "I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft." Dr. Buck uses this quote to give an example of how crucial it is to encourage students to excel in art as they do in math or science. In this post, Dr. Buck makes a very interesting argument. He says that now more than ever before, schools are being encouraged to graduate students who are better than just memorizing data. This month is "Music In Our Schools Month", and Dr. Buck explains that music is something that is crucial element in helping children grow up well-rounded, and does not need to be overlooked. To give an example of positive feedback from encouraging student and art development, he posts a video at the end of the post of students in an elementary school choir in Staten Island. These students perform "The Star-Spangled Banner", and they weren't anything short of amazing.
I let Dr. Buck know who I was, and let him know that I felt the same way about music and art promotion in school systems today. I wrote that, like sports and intellectual clubs, the arts help students learn very crucial values in life, such as dedication, working as a team, and practicing. I also wrote that it brought a sense of joy in the students, as well. I told Dr. Buck how much I enjoyed watching the video of the elementary school choir, and how wonderfully the children stayed on the correct keys and harmonized. I ended with praising the girl who performed solo parts within the song, and let him know how amazing she was in my opinion. In summary, I let him know that music, to me, was something that I, like him, felt needed to be encouraged and promoted now more than ever.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Project #9 PLN

My Personal Learning Network (PLN) has been very interesting to learn about. So far, I have deleted a few of the bookmarks that were already on my board, such as, MACY'S, and a Horoscope bookmark because I knew I would never use them. I rearranged everything from bottom to top in the order of which ones were most helpful in learning and for future references as a teacher. I added several note-taking and blog bookmarks. I also searched and found a few bookmarks and websites that would be very beneficial to me when looking for materials on literature and language arts. I have not quite gotten my whole profile set up the way that I want it yet, but I am constantly getting new ideas on how I want it set up. It is definitely a useful resource in multiple ways, and I am excited about using it in the future, both as a student and as an educator myself.

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch, one of the most intelligent and phenomenal professors of our time, gave many profound statements during his last lecture at Carnegie-Mellon. In the beginning of his speech when he is telling of his current medical condition, he says, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." In my opinion, this was the setup for the basis of his entire lecture. Many of us have dreams and goals as children, but why do we let so many things stop us from achieving them? Even in a dark time, Randy Pausch explains several key factors that can be played out to help people make even their wildest dreams come true. While all of the elements in his speech were important, I felt that the ones which were most critical to his main focus were being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, being Captain Kirk, and being a Disney Imagineer.
When he speaks of being in zero gravity, Pausch says that it is very important to have a specific dream. This is very important to me because every goal or accomplishment that I have achieved in my own life have been due to being specific in setting my goals. Randy Pausch explains that he did not actually dream of becoming an astronaut, but when some of his students were able to fly in the "Vomit Comet", he was thrilled because he had always wanted to experience floating with no gravity. Naturally, he was devastated when he found out that faculty members were not allowed to fly with the students. Because he was also a web journalist, however, he was able to go with his students, representing a journalist from their hometown. After making negotiations, he was able to go with the students and reach Childhood Goal #1. In this example, he ends by saying how important it is to always bring something to the table. This is something that I feel more students and teachers alike need to learn how to better comprehend. In a world where everyone wants to get something for nothing, it is getting harder to find people who will work on their part to meet someone else halfway. Pausch's story of the zero gravity rocket serves as a great reminder that by holding up our end of the deal, we will receive some type of achievement reached.
Unlike becoming an astronaut, Randy Pausch did dream of playing in the National Football League. Although he did not become a professional football player, he tells us that he probably got more from having that dream and not reaching it than he did from reaching any of his other goals. When he was a boy, his first football coach, Coach Graham, taught him and his team the importance of learning fundamentals. He says that Coach Graham explained that you have to get the fundamentals down before you can do the fancy stuff. This is something that I hope to instill in my students one day, and I feel is very important for their success, regardless of what they do in life. While becoming intelligent, having good grades, and intellectual excellence is wonderful, if students do not learn the basics of my classroom, they will never be able to retain anything else. Another crucial point that Pausch made in this portion of the lecture is about constructive criticism, or "tough love". He tells how Coach Graham was very hard on him during practices. One day in particular he made a comment about it, and someone replied to him explaining that it was because he had not given up on him yet. This stood out to me because I can see how this plays out in classrooms and other scenarios everyday. I tend to be a kind and gentle person by nature, and I used to have a hard time giving constructive criticism to others in fear of hurting their feelings. This video lecture, however, caused me to change my mind. Pausch learned that day at practice that even though his coach was always hard on him, it was only because he cared about him enough to push him to do better. I feel that by giving positive, constructive criticism to my students when needed will let them know that I care and have not given up on them.
Randy Pausch quickly realized that being Captain Kirk would obviously never happen. As a boy, Pausch looked up to Captain Kirk on the television show Star Trek because, not only was he the captain of the ship, but he also had the most interesting equipment and "toys". Years later, the actor who played the role of Captain Kirk, William Shatner, traveled to the virtual reality center at the university where Pausch was employed to see the setup of the inside of Captain Kirk's ship. Pausch explains that, "It's cool to meet your boyhood idol, but it's even cooler when he comes to meet you." I found much value in this statement because I feel that it sends out much encouragement to those children who have idolized certain individuals. Although what they do may be very dangerous, exciting, and/or important, if students are able to live up to their fullest potential, they will be doing something even greater. By working hard and using his skills to the best of his ability, Randy Pausch was able to meet his childhood idol and impress him with his success. Instead of students being impressed by those we raise on a pedestal, I feel that we as teachers should raise up students to the point where their idols are one day impressed by them.
Becoming a Disney Imagineer was one of the hardest challenges Randy Pausch ever had to face. After going on a family trip to Disneyland when he was younger, Pausch knew in his heart that he wanted to help build and design rides and different aspects of technology that he saw there. However, he had more than a few setbacks. When he first sent applications to Disney in hopes of becoming an Imagineer, he was graciously denied acceptance. However, with perseverance, humility, patience, and a large amount of skill and intelligence, he was able to eventually work on a virtual reality project with the Disney Imagineers that turned out to be a huge success. By instilling these practices inside students' minds and helping them find their skills and talents and sharpening them, we are able to qualify them to be the perfect assets to the occupations of their dreams. While working on this project with Disney, Pausch was allowed to work with a man named Jon Snoddy, who was manager of the project. One major concept that Snoddy taught Jon was that everyone has at least a small amount of goodness in them; if we wait long enough, they will show us this good side. Upon hearing this in the video, I now believe that this is something every teacher needs to lectured on. Today's world makes it more than convenient to give up on people when they do not conform to our needs, wants, and mindsets. If teachers hold on to this negative way of thinking, however, who is left to believe in students? I feel that all children, no matter what type of situations they are in or what their personalities are like, have potential and goodness in them. If I keep pushing and believing in these students when everyone else gives up, I feel that I will eventually see positive results and see each child's life changed for the better.
While these are not all of the concepts taught by Randy Pausch in his last lecture video, these are the ones that stood out in my mind when thinking of my future role as an educator. We live in a world now that is very fast-paced, demanding, and can be harsh and confusing when a person is not prepared for it. We may not realize it, but the future of society is ultimately in the hands of teachers. Some instructors have not done their best in educating and encouraging students in the last few years; however, this can change. Randy Pausch was definitely someone who all educators can look up to, but his principles were not designed to end at the end of his last video or after his death. He taught us these things to not only help become better educators, but I believe to also open our minds and hearts, and look more carefully at humanity and how to really help improve students' lives and our own lives, as well.