Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final Project - What is a PLN?

This is for all those future EDM 310 students who get half way through the entire semester and still don't have a clue what a PLN is.  An easy concept once you get used to it, in fact you'll question how you ever thought you could be an educator without this knowledge.  But in the beginning, many of us struggled with wrapping our heads around this concept, so I hope this makes it a little easier.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

C4T #4 Summary

Aaron Eyler is a High school history teacher who hopes to engage more members of the educational community in developing a more comprehensive understanding of the type of academic environment we need to develop students' minds.  He is definitely one of the teachers that I will continue to follow long after this class.

Technology As The New Math

Let’s be honest about something. We continue to perpetuate a culture that believes an individual is born with some inherent trait that allows them to be “good” at Math. We even talk to kids about how well they do in some subject areas as opposed to others.  This is all straight bunk. Even worse, we are only expanding on this belief with the infusion of new tools and technologies.  We deem it perfectly acceptable to hear someone say “I’m just not good with technology.”  We need to fight this mentality as a collective unit; not just on the technology front but on ALL fronts. We need to stop allowing kids to convince themselves that they aren’t “good” at certain subject areas and that working hard to learn a new skill, topic, theme, or idea is exactly what we have to do at some point or another with everything.  Face it: technology is the new math.
 I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never thought of it like that, but from now on I know I will. Technology moves so fast. There is really no way that we will ever be able to move fast enough to keep up with it. But it just takes time, just the other day my 75 year old grandmother came in the room and said she didn’t want to waste the gas money driving up to town to pay her bills, so she wanted me to show her how to pay them online. You have no idea how big of a breakthrough this is for her. She used to claim that technology was evil. But even she is starting to get the hang of it, or at least be open to the idea of it. We MUST instill into students that giving up is not the answer. Working hard to overcome our obstacles is how the human race has gotten where it has today, so we should use that mentality each and everyday we are faced with a hardship. Thank you for your post…..I will be blogging about your post with in the next two weeks. Feel free to check it out at

You Get One Shot At This…

I’ve read a bunch of posts and articles about failure recently that discuss the implications that  it has (directly or indirectly) on our education system.  On Education Stormfront, a brief comment about a Seth Godin video titled, “Punishing Curiosity”.  In the New York Times, an article from the Opinionator titled, “The Power of Failure”.  On The Learning Nation a post titled, “Failure Doesn’t Teach Kids, WE Do“.  Educators need to start discussing failure and the need for kids to learn persistence when facing adversity. We live in a time of instant gratification, but more importantly, we live in a time where we don’t value reflection and learning from mistakes. We’re too busy, in school and life, running on to the next task to really think about what we are learning.  We can’t ignore failure as something that needs to be discussed with kids. If they “fail” at an assignment, why do we prevent them from being able to redo it to improve their work? Isn’t a huge component of learning the ability to reflect on what was done and make improvements?  We need to get away from the one-shot deal that makes up 90% of the activities we work on with kids.  It’s the hypocritical mindset that has us telling kids “you need to understand this concept to understand future concepts,” yet we find it perfectly acceptable for them to grasp 70, 80, or 90% simply so we can trudge through an irrelevant curriculum. It’s no wonder so many kids become masters of “doing school.”

Isn’t an understanding of the material superior to the possible inflated grade teachers may be scared of? We need to make sure that these students grasp everything, and if we allow them to fill in A or B and promise them that they won’t have to see it again, we aren’t helping anyone. If the student knows that they must understand the topic before they are able to move on, then that is exactly what they will do!

Special Assignment: Metaphors

Metaphors.  I like to refer to them as educated similes or metaphors.  Metaphors paint a picture of resemblance, association or comparison.  Instead of just hearing the association, the writer allows us to see the association.  Not only does this help us understand what may be a foreign topic, but also allows us as writers to explore our creative side.  And on top of helping us see the topic more clearly, metaphors create a stronger argument.  Using pencils instead of computers in "Tom Johnson's" post let us see how foolish non-21stcentury educators were being.  I often notice metaphors because my creative writing teacher in high school exposed often us to them.   Maybe others in the class didn't have a strong background in metaphors but they can use this class to overcome that.

Final post on PLN

I use the Google's RSS Reader (Google Reader) to organize my favorite blogs and websites. Whether they be technology, science or history based.  Here are just a few of my new favorite blogs/websites.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
At The Teacher's Desk
Free Technology for Teachers
Reflections of a Science Teacher
Ed Tech in the Classroom
The History Teachers Attic
Science For All
Tech the Plunge
Science Education on the Cutting Edge

Before now I had never heard of Nings. What is a ning you ask? Well it is basically a community of people interested in similar topics, with forums and messaging. Classroom 2.0,  Future of Education, and The Educators PLN are a few examples.

If you haven't already heard of The Educators PLN, search it, find it, bookmark it!  Once you've done that, you can put information that you find helpful on there.  It is a community where all educators can come together and help each other.

I recently found #SciChat (on twitter of course) which is great for anything and everything science related! #edchat is also a good one.

Over the past few weeks I have started following blogs, twitters, websites, etc.  Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom and the Langwitches Blog are good sources for up-to-date technology uses in the classroom (like I have said before, if you aren't a fan of technology in the classroom, mosey on over to Langwitches and  I'm sure you'll have a change of heart).  And if you're just in the mood for a dash of inspiration, Moving at the Speed of Creativity or Concrete Classroom are sure to have just the thing.  Educational Technology Guy and The Science and Technology Lady not only pull out all the stops when it comes to technology, but also are great sources for future and current science teachers. 

My grandmother a retired history/english/gifted teacher is always a great resource if I am curious about how a classroom should be ran, etc.  I also started following fellow classmates (interested in secondary education in science and social science) on twitter and blogger in order to see who they were following so I could get on the right track.  Thanks to them I have found many new websites, blogs, nings, etc. 

Delicious helps me keeps track of my ever-growing PLN, and lists (which I just stumbled upon-and loving it!) on twitter help me keep track of my inspirational teachers, 2.0 classroom twitters, science teachers, and history teachers. Delicious helps me bookmark individual blog posts or articles more so than whole blogs like Google Reader

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blog Post 12

During the semester we are all assigned teachers, some some good, some great, some amazing.  Wesley Fryer made more than a few inspirational posts this year but this was one of my favorites. Fryer created a post about Funding The Dreams of Students Through The Generation Project.  The Generation Project allows individuals to fund a certain experience for a deserving low income student or school.  Once the individual post their project on Generation Project's website, educators from around the country can apply for their students to participate in these funded projects.  The video provided gives an overview of what has and is being done.  Fryer points out that teachers are always coming in contact with low income students who have a passion but lack the means to further develop it.

I am so thankful that he posted this.  I have already posted it to my Twitter and Facebook in hopes that someone who can help, will.  I, too, was a low income student that without the help of donations from local businesses I would have never had the opportunity to attend a leadership conference at UCLA.  Hopefully, this program will continue to build so that one day I can help fund the dreams of low-income students, just as others have done for me.

Wesley Fryer has more than a few inspirational posts and he is the second 21st century learner that I intend to follow even after EDM 310.

So watch the video, get inspired, and create your own project to make a difference. 

Project 15 Book Trailer