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

Final Project Progress Report

I will be working with Brent Laforce on the final project and we will be focusing on the education of the future. You may be thinking "Hey, that's pretty generic", but no worries, we plan on putting our own little spin on it.  The most exciting part of the project is that it will closely resemble Dr. Miller multimedia project.  I look forward to putting his format into action with my ideas.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog Post 11

Wow.  I can't believe it is so common for first grade level students to be commenting on and keeping up with their own blogs-somehting I had never done until edm 310 in college.  Their enthusiasm was inspiring, something I wish I had to look forward to with high schoolers but oh well. There will always be those students that will stay motivated no matter what.  It's just crazy to think about the fact that I'm not even teaching yet and all the first graders are already almost as technologically literate as I am.  By the time I'm teaching, it seems like they'll e ahead of me, which makes me think about how advanced the high schoolers I teach will be.... just food for thought.  I just know I need to keep up with technology, because I'm definitely going to need it!

Students do love an audience, as does everyone else.  Everyone does better when they know they have an audience.  Especially when they get good feed back from their audience.  I never really had all of this technology in high school, and I'm probably going to teach in that same school system so I'm hoping they've come a long way by the time I start teaching, because I think that the support system from not only your school system, and principal but also fellow teachers is very important.  I hope that all those teachers like Ms. Cassidy get programs going in their schools (against all odds) so our school systems that are a little slow can catch up, and stop holding our students back.

Teach Someone Something

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Summary Post C4T

Let me just start out by saying that the past few teachers I've been assigned to have been amazing.  Kemp has had some inspirational posts, I hope you check out his blog The Radical Tactical Shift.  

Scott Kemp

A great blog I read, Teach Paperless, issued a challenge today to, “You have been put in charge of creating a brand new education system. … This being the 21st century, you have to explain your entire concept in 21 words or less.” Here is my response:  “Learning – up front and essential. o marks, just feedback. Encouraged inquiry and problem solving. Create something original and meaningful. Be great!”

 I really don’t know if I could sum it up in 21 words, but I’ll be sure to let you know once I find the words. I love that you pointed out that education should involve creating something new and meaningful. That is probably the one definite goal that I have as a teacher. I want my students to learn to create something original and for everything that I teach to be meaningful. I don’t ever want to teach my students something just so they’ll pass a test. I want them to actually learn something.

It is always good when you are acknowledged for doing something well. But so often, we reflect very briefly on those moments. More often, we think about and remember the moments things didn’t go well. We consider learning opportunities to be the moments were we risked and failed and provided ourselves with things to work on. We focus on the failures. We focus on the mistakes. We don’t give time to the things that are successful. We are worried about talking successes for fear it will be bragging. Dan Heath, in an interview on “The Salaried Entrepreneur” says, “rather than focus on why something failed, we should focus on why something was successful. Focus on the elements that made something work.”

I know this is important to do in life, but it’s just something we always forget about. Hopefully as a teacher, I’ll remember to do this often with all of my students. As well as using this in my personal life.

Blog Post 10

Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home

I've never really thought about it but as a future teacher, I do hope that there is plenty of parental involvement. By the time I start teaching I'm sure there won't be much more need for "pencil integration" but if there is I do think that changing the mindset of those who use it only for entertainment will be a challenge. But I like how he tried to do so by showing the benefits of using it for educational reason, yet still accepting the fact that it will more than likely be used as a tool for entertainment at home. But as he said the best way to integrate it is to use it as a fun yet educational tool that can be used for learning but its so interesting that it doesn't even seem like you're learning.

An Open Letter to Educators

South Pole of the Moon

Why do I go to class? Because if I miss more than three classes, I get a B in the class.  I jot down facts as I struggle to keep my eyes open. Do I learn anything in class? No. Everything the teacher says is on the slides. Every question asked by a student is usually quickly answered so the teacher can continue reading the slides to the class. And this is a good system of educating because why? The classes I enjoy the most (and get the most out of) are the ones where we are allowed to go off on a tangent on one specific idea and talk about it for hours.  The teacher who can carry on a CONVERSATION with the students for hours without the students even realizing that class had already ended.  I've had fact-spitting teachers before, and sure they ensured my passing of the grad exams, but thats because the grad exams, ACT, SAT and all other standardized testing involve straight facts-which is a huge problem in itself.  College professors have much more leeway (even though most of them don't even use their freedom for anything more than putting "interesting" picture slides in power points), but as far as k-12 teachers are concerned, they have no choice but to be fact spitters.  They are graded on how well their students do on standardized MULTIPLE CHOICE tests.  So, teachers may have time to add in a little imagination and critical thinking, but for the most part, k-12 education will remain fact-based until our education system as a whole changes. I really dont understand how everything has evolved in our world except for one of the most important things, education. I doubt that my future employer will give me a multiple choice test before hiring me, so why is our world of education so obsessed with facts? My employers will want to know that I can successfully communicate my ideas and motivate others to question and discuss theories, ideas, etc. This is why I also appreciate my EDM 310 class because it allows me too look behind the useless surface of facts and to analyze the ideas behind the figures. So when I do have a class HOPEFULLY I wont be forced to hammer the students with facts just so they can pass a test. Life is about much more than tests.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Project Skype Interview & Screenr

C4K Summary Post

It would be a chef that cooks at a very fancy place. If that was someone that has worked there for a long time, like  five years. Then they would be so good at it. Thats a pro. They would be so good. That’s a pro. They would never get fired. That’s a genius at cooking.  They would be rich.
I agree with you to a point, people who have been trained at what they do are usually very good at their jobs, but then again you must think about the people who have natural talents and choose not to go to school for it and as a result cannot get a job doing what they love. So if you have a talent, start working on it, go to school for it, and become a pro. If you work hard you can be a pro at anything you put your mind to. Good luck! Keep posting

Rayden pack your bags your going to your Cousins house’ Mum screamed from the deck I could just hear Mum say ‘YES’ then I screamed ‘YES’ at the top of my lungs.
As I was waiting for my cousin to come to my house I played Madden (NFL) 2009 with my favourite team, The Steelers. The reason I like them is because of Troy Polamalu, I think hes the best player on the field he is a great interceptor and tackler.
After I played about 5 games my nan got to my house. As quick as I could ran to the door and opened it and my nan ran up to the door and greeted me with a big hug. I waited for about an 1hour while Mum and Nan gossip .
Still waiting to because of all the traffic arrive at my cousin’s house in Glen Field. I finally got to his house I sated for 1 week unfortunately he got sick and went to my nan’s house I was cousin lease for 3 week’s.

I love holidays too! Some people ask me why I think going over to my cousins house is so much fun, but all I have to say to them is that it is better than staying at home by myself. I like the Steelers too! So what do you think you will do next holiday to make it even better?


Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the song “Noah’s Ark.”  As I grew up, I learned “The Hippopotamus Song.”  I learned both of these songs at school.  These songs are like twins!  They both sing about the animals that God has created.  These songs also make me feel very enthusiastic.  I feel this way because they explain how God creates the animals, and later, saves them from the flood.  These songs reminds me of my faith in Jesus Christ.  I’m a church-going, little girl and always will be!

Thank you for posting your inspirational post . It is very interesting to hear your point of view. What other christian songs do you enjoy listening to? What is the hippopotamus song? I’ve never heard of it. Thanks for your post. Keep blogging!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blog Post 9

What I've Learned this Year

No matter how many classes or degrees people may get, they will never fully be prepared for their futures in their field of choice.  So thank you Mr. McClung for pointing out life lessons that I cannot learn inside a classroom.  McClung illustrates seven lessons that may be helpful to other educators.  Although I want my students to drive my lessons, it will not be easy for me to let go of the instruction and throw the plans out the window.  Will I still attempt to construct the most detailed lesson plans ever? Yes.  But do I really want to talk through out the entire class without any interruptions? No.  I want my students to ask questions often.  I want them to start conversations that they will learn from and remember long after they are out of my class.  It isn't that hard for me to imagine beating myself up over lessons going awry.  My biggest obstacle will be learning to go with the flow.  I see that he uses situations like these as an opportunity to better the situation. Which is something I will be able to develop once I am actually in a classroom.  Expectations.  Well, I have many friends and family members in the education field that have told me on several occasions that my expectations of my future classroom and students is extremely too high.  But guess what, I would much rather have too high of expectations than too low.  I want the students to strive to meet my expectations, but if they don't, I will just have to deal with it.  I'll get over it.  What I won't get over is going into a profession where I have to lower my expectations so the children can meet them.  I will never lower them, I will help them reach it.  Most importantly I want to listen to my students.  Not only do I want to hear their needs so I will know the best way to get through to them as far as lessons go, but also I want to build a relationship with my students so I can earn their respect and they will want to reach my lofty expectations.  So once I graduate and go into my own classroom, and eventually forgetting how to be a good teacher, I'll look back at this post to remind myself.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Blog Post 8

Using multimedia to educate is brilliant.  The sheer amount of creative possibilities are limitless.  I remember doing "research" in elementary and middle school and we were only allowed to have one source from the internet.  Teachers thought that the real research came from printed books and interviews.  Now we have the ability to get pictures from books, text from journal articles, interviews from sound bytes, etc.-all on the internet.  So why wouldn't we use that to our advantage and put them altogether? Talk about bombarding the senses.  I would have paid much more attention to multimedia lessons, such as this one shown,  than I did to the monotonous "Dry Eyes" lessons I watched.  On top of the fact that the creative possibilities are endless, and that all media can now be put together easily,  this technique allows for the students to experience the material.  

Like Dr. Miller said, educators must be in the business of sharing ideas freely.  EDM 310 wouldn't exist if those involved in our network didn't agree.  I learn a lot from my professors that are essentially "teaching me how to teach", but I am lucky for the benefits that come with a class like EDM 310 that opened my eyes to a whole new way of learning.  Sure shadowing has been practiced for a long time but this is the strongest form of shadowing that has ever been used.  Educators are now communicating with future educators about the newest techniques and ideas.  I would much rather learn about whats going on in education right now rather than be taught about what techniques worked years ago. I want to learn from the teachers and professors that are learning something new everyday, today!  

Information is always being updated, reviewed, and shared. And it is ours for the taking. A limitless amount of knowledge is out there just for us. We now have the power to add to it, improve it, and release it to the world once again. Wow. He talked about a program that searched the internet for blogs, news sites, etc. and takes all of this information and puts it together instantaneously so you could find out the mood of the world's population for today. That is amazing. There's no other word to describe it. But besides that, he emphasizes the importance of sharing innovative ideas. He's right. It's the only way we will all be able to move forward.

EDM for Dummies & The Chipper Series

Though the videos may seem elementary, they get the point across that EDM 310 is a completely different world.  If I were to make an educational movie about EDM 310 I would probably focus on PLNs.  The idea of PLNs may seem simple to someone who has been exposed to it, but it is a completely new idea to me that I have never heard of before now.  How to get started, where to start, who to talk to....just some of the questions I still had even after I watched videos about PLNs.  Although sometimes cheesy, the videos were entertaining, probably because I've been there before.  Adjusting to the flow of EDM 310 isn't easy for anyone.  I especially have had a hard time with this.  The Sunday night deadline is hard for some people to meet sometimes but it will be nothing compared to the responsibilities we, as educators, will soon take on.  There have been days when I may not have gone to class because of life's many complications, but I didn't worry because I knew the lesson would still go on and the professor probably wouldn't even notice that I was gone...but those days are numbered.  In many professions, work can be done online or sent in, but educators don't have this luxury (at least they won't until education is revolutionized and is not centralized around physical institutions). As a future educator, I know that there will be a an entire class of students depending on me to show up every single day, on time.  And unlike the professors, they will notice if I'm not there.  Without my attendance (physically, mentally, and emotionally), the students will not succeed and that is my job-on top of the fact that I will get fired.  I have been doing a little better with my posts (meaning I haven't waited until Sunday afternoon to start on it).  But, I would like to go even further and attempt to work on my posts on Mondays, and make a habit of it to start on assignment when they are assigned.  That sure would ease the stresses throughout the week.   Just like I plan on showing up for school on time every day, I plan on actually being even earlier with my posts.  I understand that this is something that I should have known for sometime now, and I did.  I just simply re-evaluated the situation and decided that I could improve even more and now I'm taking that chance and running with it.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

"US Department of Commerce ranked 55 industry sectors by their level of IT intensiveness.  Education was ranked 55, the lowest-below coal mining."  Schools should not be used like the factories they were modeled after during the industrial revolution. Yes, students are getting more stimulation outside of the schools, there is so much around them that it would be hard not to-especially when schools don't use technology to its full potential.  One of the speakers said that technology is not here just to help you teach traditional subjects, it has created a whole new world that is yours for the taking.  I would love to have the liberty to take my class around the city, to museums, etc. so they could experience the world around them instead of listen to me preach about it in a classroom with four walls.  Once we transform the teachers' schema of learning then we can soon bring the students into our new unlimited realm of learning.  Schools that teach students how to figure out the problem, solve it, overcome it, and so on, are the ones that are creating our future leaders.  Our future leaders aren't likely to come from schools that teach them how to bubble in Scantrons.  I don't want multiple choice tests in my classroom.  I want to have critical thinking.  I don't want to lecture them about subjects in a book.  I want them to experience these subjects through online programs and museums and our community.  I want to connect my students to the NASA resources and the labs online being created by MIT so that they will be prepared for their futures and realize that they can do anything when they are connected to a world outside of their own.

I sat there and tried to figure out what kind of person I am based on his categories of time.  I still haven't decided, although, I do know what category my brother fits into perfectly.   For someone who stays up until midnight and wake up at 5 to play video games, on top of having football training, and soccer practice, sitting still in front of a blackboard while someone lectures is not going to work.  When speaking about people who have personalities like my brother, which most 15 year olds do, I think that Smartboards like other forms of technology that are being infused into education are perfect.  My brother's attention span isn't meant for a classroom setting with four walls that only requires him to show up and sit in the back while his eyes glaze over in boredom.  In order for schools to transform our youth from present hedonistic students to future oriented citizens, we must bridge the gap for them. We must seek out ways to relate school to their lives, and once we successfully do this, we will motivate them into becoming future oriented people. 

As far as motivation goes, the studies show that high rewards work with high performance only when basic mechanical skills.  When even rudimentary cognitive skills are used, the rewards system just isn't that simple. When tasks require conceptual, creative thinking, much more than money is required to get better results.  Please excuse me if I use my brother as an example too often, but he's the only high school student I'm usually around, and since I plan on teaching high school, I figured he's my target audience.  Anyway, Pink said in order to get personal satisfaction and better results, then the subjects needed autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  I couldn't agree more.  If you put the student in control of the task and also their own future then they will feel empowered and feel the responsibility.  Once again, my brother usually has a problem with authority, but he feels he is in control, then he does exceptionally well at anything he puts his mind to.  He is a very creative person and doesn't relate to hardly anything inside of school unless he's designing, creating, or building something.  When he has free reign, he usually goes above and beyond anyone's expectations, so I can see how this self-direction theory works.  Oh I wish the entire school system would try something similar to the Atlassian Software Company.  It would be amazing to see the results what could come out of a project like this.  Over a 24 hour span, participants are able to work on whatever they please, the only requirement is that they show their work at the end of the allotted amount of time.  The participants had so much fun, they didn't even realize how many innovative ideas they were coming up with.  Fun, which is also involved in the second requirement-mastery.  Those who play music on the weekends, don't do it for the money, they do it because they enjoy it, because they want to master their skill.  The video said that businesses are always looking for some transcendental purpose.  The businesses that are flourishing are those that have a purpose that the entire company believes in and is working for.  If there is a meaning behind what you are doing and you feel a connection to what you are doing, then obviously you will work harder to get the results desired.  And just as Daniel Pink said, once we step back, stop looking at people like numbers, and work horses, and start treating them like people who can do anything they set their minds to then they will exceed everyone's expectations in the business and possibly even change the world.  I know that this is supposed to be about businesses, but if schools would start treating students like this and give them autonomy and purpose, along with helping them master things they enjoy, then they (along with educators) will help revolutionize education.  They will be motivated to learn on their own, and that's the real purpose right?  Studies have shown that this has and will work. So let's put it into action.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Project 11 Short Movie

My Short Movie

Hopefully this link will work, I created this video the Thursday before it was due and immediately published it to YouTube.  After going back to YouTube several times to see if it has actually been posted, I tried to republish my iMovie to YouTube, and all it said was that this video has already been published and can be found at this link (the one I provided).  I hope you can enjoy it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Project 10 PLN Progress Report

Personal Learning Network

I think I am starting to get the hang of this PLN thing...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.

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.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blog Post 7

Randy Pausch

This is the second time I've watched this video and I am still just as inspired as I was the first time.  It is amazing how upbeat he is.  Once he acknowledged the big elephant in the room, I couldn't help but google him.  It just made the next few words I heard from him, mean that much more.  I still can't believe how great of shape he was in, with only a few months left to live.  This healthy looking, upbeat guy, with such a positive outlook on life, passed away a short six months later.  It's crazy how it usually takes someone who was born with a debilitating disease, or someone who knows they only have a few months left, to convince the rest of us to straighten up, look on the bright side, and live for the moment.  They don't sit around and feel sorry for themselves, those of us who are fortunate enough to not have expiration dates do that for them.  The ones that are blessed enough not to have our days numbered are the ones that do nothing with our lives, because we assume that we have a lifetime ahead of us.

He learned from his life experiences.  His football coach, who at the time he thought was being unfair, kept riding him during practice.  I know that everyone feels the same way when teachers and parents are constantly riding their cases.  I am constantly biting my tongue, because I just want to scream, "Why don't you get off my back, because I do ten times as much work as them!"  But like he said (and like I have learned over the past few years), it's never a bad thing, until they stop riding you, because that's when they give up on you.  I will ride my students.  I won't give up on a single one of them. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm. If I could teach my students only one thing, it would be enthusiasm.  For your subject, for your project, for your education, for your life.

The brick wall.  I absolutely love the idea of the brick wall.  Everyone, including me, encounters bricks walls in their lives.  Some, no most, of the brick walls I have encountered, I have just walked away from.  Which let me know that obviously it wasn't that important to me, so I wasn't meant to do it. I like that he didn't tell them at the beginning of the semester that they had already surpassed his expectations, because it would have been an injustice to them.  I think students need to know that they are at least headed in the right direction, but if all they hear is praise, then they'll have no reason to go any further.  I hope that one day a project that I start has an impact as great as his.  That could never have been done with a book and a pencil.  He gave his students limitless possibilities and from that the teacher became the student and they were both able to learn together.  He emphasized the reason that it was so successful was because they had so much freedom.  It was a project-based curriculum, where there were many field trips, hands-on learning, and no reporting to the deans.  Is obvious why it was so successful.  It was exciting.  Who gets excited about a book?   No one.  Who gets excited about a field trip? Everyone.  I hope my class will be similar to this.  OHHH! And the self-reflective bar graphs. Wow. That is just awesome.  I wonder, if there was a bar graph that showed how easy I was to work with, would I be at the top or the bottom?  This whole head-fake thing is also very important. We've learned through this method since we were in little league.  We thought we were simply learning how to  hit a ball, but we were really learning values like perseverance and character.  Learning not to throw the bat down when you got so ticked off because you couldn't hit the ball.  You just kept trying until you could.  So while learning how to hit, throw, and catch a ball, you actually learned many values that you had no idea you were actually learning.  When I teach my students, I want them not only to learn that they must learn the material, but that they must continuously be involved in their learning, and they must be responsible for their learning.  His legacy is learning something hard while having fun. Well I would say that is something worth being proud of.  His parents could be the best teachers ever, especially when it came down to the little things  like letting his imagination run wild by letting him paint his room.  He really is a salesman of education.  And a pretty darn good one.  I want to Be a Tigger! I want to Have Fun! I want to use this in my classroom to headfake my students.  I want their excitement to boil over.  I want them to have so much fun that they have no idea that they are learning anything at all.

C4T #2

Wesley Fryer 

Wesley Fryer is a 21st century digital learner. He gives presentations to students, parents, and teachers about Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship.  He also leads the workshop called Digital Magic Tricks, based on the powerful ingredients for blended learning.

His post about a Conference with Michael Wesch turned on a lightbulb for me.  I know that at the end of the semester I will have the chance to blog about a project that I wish I could have participated in, and I think I found it.  Michael Wesch has encouraged students to create a video of how they view the classroom AVision of Students Today-Call for Submissions (basically a reply to the video A Vision of Students Today, from the students point of view).  This has prompted Wes Fryer to create his own project- Vision for Educational Leadership in 30 Seconds.  This blog post really got some ideas going for me and made me reevaluate what I thought it meant to be a visionary leader in education today.  While I enjoyed all of the videos listed above, I always love watching the one posted below(also found in Fryers post)

He 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.

Summary Post CK 1,2, & 3


Is in Ms. Lugrin's 6th grade class.  She posted about going on a class field trip to Asessippi for a skiing trip.  This was her fourth time to go snowboarding.  I told Nicole that I haven't been as may times as she had, but after reading her exciting story I can't wait to go back.


She is currently in Ms. St Pierre's 5th grade class at Terryville Elementary School in New York.  Sidney updated her blog while she was on her way to Florida for the second time.  She looked forward to laying out and drinking smoothies, while she dealt with being surrounded by loud babies on the plane.  I told her that she should visit Alabama one day.  I also told her that she may have a future in writing because I never had the ability to write a story that exciting when I was in fifth grade.  I was thoroughly impressed with her writing skills and encouraged her to keep blogging in order to improve her talents.


He attends Pt England School and is currently in Ms. Helen Squires Grade 5 class.  He posted about what he did over the holiday. He went swimming at YMCA, spent time with his mom and brother, and watched television.  I told him I had never been to the YMCA but I hope that I have as much fun as he did if I ever get the chance to go.

Timetoast Project

Blog Post 6

The Networked Student

This video gave me a good idea of how to get expand on my PLN.  The networked student and I have done some of the same things as far as researching for certain articles, blogs, and websites that pertain to my future area of expertise.  I still haven't necessarily figured out how to use itunesU to my advantage but I'm working on it, it's still really cool o know that I can take part in a lecture from a professor at Berkeley.  I like how it pointed out why teachers are needed, because I often find myself on the fence when I am reading all of this information on why we don't need the classroom to learn or teach.  When I decided to become a teacher I never dreamed of my self as a guide to the outside world (well to an extent I did but not as much as I have seen lately).  It is still hard to disassociate myself from the schema of 20th century teaching-lecturing in front of the classroom.  Hopefully I will find the right balance, because I know that I, alone, cannot fully prepare them for their world ahead. But, with technology, my guidance, and my enthusiasm, I know I will be able to give them everything they deserve.

A 7th grader's PLN

I like how she pointed out that this way of learning gave her so much freedom that she felt the responsibility.  She can choose how she wants to learn, and when.  Before EDM310, I had never heard of such a thing, but the benefits should be enough to convince the skeptics.  I had forgotten how beneficial evernote, delicious, and symbaloo could be. I plan on using them in the future (I'm sure it will be much better than me taking screen shots of EVERYTHING I like then having my computer screen getting filled up everyday).

Smartboard Debate

student using smart board

Cathie  claimed that students' level of motivation and engagement had increased with the use of smartboards.

Silvia Tolisano shows us how the smartboard can help utilize Bloom's Taxonomy for the 21st century.

Bill Ferriter claims smartboards only:
  • reinforce a teacher-centric model of learning
  • attempt to move digital teacher-dinosaurs into the light. I ask you: Do we really want to spend thousands of dollars on a tool that makes stand-and-deliver instruction easier
  • without time and training, they quickly become nothing more than really expensive overhead projectors.
Michael Staton says that smartboards
  • don’t change the model that’s broken. They just make that model way more expensive.
  • are an administrative cop out. Administrators like Smartboards because when they spend money on technology they need to spend a lot of it and it needs to be on things they can point to and count.
So after reading all of these blogs and articles, I am still not fully convinced of the benefits of smartboards.  I believe they can be used effectively IF the teacher is well trained and constantly looks for innovative ways to use it.  I asked my younger brother about the Smartboards in his classroom (the high school recently put smartboards in every classroom), and he said "they're really cool, they have lots of games and stuff."  But they rarely use them.  I said "so, basically they use them just like overhead projectors," he defensively stated "I said they were cool, OKAY."  He may think they're cool, but he said they don't play any educational games, students don't go up to the smart boards,  and they don't explore the web.  The teacher stands there, touches the screen and talks.  It may have my brother's attention because it's big and shiny, but unless the teacher effectively uses the interactive white board, it is a big waste of time and money for the education system. Hopefully the whiteboard project will change my mind, but at this point in time I remain unconvinced of the benefits of smartboards.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Blog Post 5 Podcasting

    Eagles Nest Radio

    Wow.  I never knew a group of third graders could be so articulate.  They very creatively collaborated a podcast about Ancient Rome.  The students took turns taking part in the podcast which kept it exciting for the viewer (and the students I'm sure).  Not only did they put together an entertaining flow of information, but you better believe they learned a lot on the way.  When it is exciting for the students, then they are more likely to remember the information and the experience, and this is one I'm sure they won't soon forget.


    Silvia Tolisano is a 21st Century Learning Specialist, her blog helps people understand the benefits of blogging, glogging, skyping, wiki-ing, podcasting, and so on.  I found on of her posts to be very helpful, it actually showed the process that the children go through in order to create a podcast.  Until this post I never fully appreciated the amount of creativity and the advanced thought processes students must use in order to make a podcast come to life. The students took turns writing suggestions about the subject of the podcast on the smart board, the image of the list was then uploaded to their class blog where each student was asked to write a paragraph about the possible story lines.  The class then voted on the subject planets, split up into groups, created individual audio segments, collaboratively pieced the audio clips together in Garage Band (after they were able to "play" with the program and learn about tracks, background music, splitting, editing music, etc.), then were finally able to complete their educational journey by producing a podcast.

    Just the sheer amount of creativity these students were able to use in this ONE project amazes me.  Not to mention the many, many, forms of technology they used in oder to do so.  I have never seen such a good example of a use of technology such as this one.  The students fell in love with this process, and learned so many skills along the way.  We can gladly honor their efforts as

    • storytellers
    • collaborative team members
    • creative writers
    • producers
    • directors
    • audio editors
    • podcasters
    The following picture shows the vast amount of skills students can improve through the use of podcasting, and I will admit until this post I wasn't fully convinced of the creative benefits.  But this is just the beginning, new programs are being created everyday,  If we can use them all together in a fun project such as this one, students will learn so many skills as well as use all of their creativity. 


    (If you still aren't convinced, this is a great blog to check out!)

    Joe Dale points out the fact that the group of students being taught today have never been accustomed to a life without technology, so something such as podcasting is familiar to them. Two benefits he points out in the beginning, I believe are especially important to the learning process. Differentiation-if students sit in a classroom day after day copying notes from a lecturing teacher, they will soon lose interest and therefore retain less.  Another great thing he pointed out was the fact that through Project-based learning (like the example from the Langwitches blog), podcasting can become more students centered.  This is by far the best approach!  Students are then able to engage in the process and fully immerse themselves into the podcast.  Before I had always thought the main benefit of podcasting, was for those students who miss school (I know I would have used for that!), but I'm starting to see thats not the most important thing it offers.  By far, I believe that project-based podcasting that is student centered is the best benefit of podcasting.  The higher order learning skills and creativity used through project based podcasting is unbelievable.

    iPods are no longer just used for listening to music.  This site lists the many study guide programs, podcasts and audio books, tutorials, applications, tools, and sites that will help you use your iPod more effectively while learning.

    Is a decent link for teachers just starting to embrace the world of podcasts. If you still aren't convinced about the benefits of podcasting here are just a few:  
    • It’s a cool way to have interactive communication
    • Education can be advanced beyond the classroom
    • Parents can download students’ work
    • Available 24/7
    • Students can make up missed classes
    • Appeals to auditory learners
    • Portable learning
    • Students can enhance their communication skills
    She also gives a list of Tips to Succeed:

    1. Make sure you spend enough time learning Audacity (or the software you use) to feel comfortable with it.
    2. Give students a choice of topics
    3. Let students pick the people they want to work with
    4. Have some exemplary podcasts for them to listen to
    5. Include a list of criteria for research
    6. Allow plenty of time to complete the project.  Everything takes longer than you think it will!
    7. Invite the principal, department chairperson, or some other person to come in and see the presentations.  Students will be very proud of their work.

    These were all very helpful sites, but Langwitches is a great place to start with your podcast education!