Thursday, December 6, 2012

Collaboration Report

ducks in flight
In projects 15 and 16 our group (Team Yell) used several methods to stay connected and finish our assignments. One of the major ways we stayed connected was by linking everyone to the same dropbox account. This was pivot able in the creation of the IBook. We were able to gather the videos required without having to email them. Email was used to send smaller files like pictures and text. The group text was written in Google docs. This allowed everyone to write on the post without use having to send it back and forth via email. Lastly we used Facebook and group SMS texts to collaborate together.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Final Report on PLN

screen shot of symbaloo page
This is my last report on my PLN. This is not the end of my PLN. My PLN has grown. The major change since my update was that I purchased a Mac. Since I am still unfamiliar with most of the smaller details, I looked up some sites that teach people how to use a Mac. Those sites are now part of my PLN. Some of the other sites I added were using for my personal assignment, and even a few research sites for my hobbies.

Blog assignment #13

view of earth from a weather balloon
Brain Crosby is an elementary teacher at Agnes Risley. In the video “Back to the Future” he shares his teaching techniques with everyone at the Tedx conference. He tells the story of a classroom that in the beginning did not know the name of the country they lived in. He then shows how with just one project he includes an array of different subjects. He starts with science by studying the atmosphere with a weather balloon. As a project he arranged to have a weather balloon carry a camera to the upper levels of the atmosphere. This one activity allowed him to branch out and create many other activities.

The other activities that he incorporated were a writing assignment that required the children to write a story as if they were the balloon, the creation of trading cards that had the hopes of his class on them, and an outreach to the world to ask for their high hopes as well. This shows that each subject has the potential to crossover in the others. The real world is the same way, just because you are a brilliant wordsmith doesn’t mean that you are excused from the sciences or math. Teachers would learn a lot from a video like this.

In the video “If these wall could talk” we are shown a university lecture hall were students are crying out for technological reform. They start by showing us some startling statistics and tell us that it could be better. They discuss the subject material they are learning, and how it doesn’t relate to them. Next the class informs us that they textbooks that they don’t even open, and that is a huge waste of money. Last they drive the message home by saying, “If we learn by doing, then what are we learning?”

I can relate to the students in the video, both as current student and as future educator. I agree that as students we spend a lot more on books than we should have to. I’m not sure I agree with the last question “If we learn by doing, then what are we learning?” The question implies that we are learning to sit at a desk and memorized information. If that is truly what is being implied then it is wrong. In math you do calculations, in science you perform experiments, in English you write papers. This is only true if the students are actually paying attend and doing the assigned work. On the other hand, I do see where the question is coming from. Not all students can learn in this traditional manner and that’s where technology can intervene and keep the students engaged.

Project #15- Smartboard Lesson

C4K November

The first C4K for this month was for a girl named Kylie. Kylie is in Mr. Boylen's eighth grade class. Her blog post was about her recent vacation to visit her cousins. She talks about going to a water park, going horseback riding, and attending a movie party. She goes into great detail about the specifics of her trip. Throughout the entirety of the post she keeps returning back to one central point, she enjoyed spending time with her family.

I responded by telling her that really enjoyed her blog post. I also told her to never forget that family is the most important thing in the world. To boost her confidence about her blog I told her that my favorite part of her post was about the horse riding trip. Next I wanted to set up a conversion with her. I decided the best way to do this was choose one aspect of the post, otherwise she might not have had time to respond. I chose to talk about the horse riding trip. I asked her "what do you recommend to someone who has never been horseback riding?" Lastly I thanked her for sharing her experiences with us.

Next was Charleen from Mr.Cometti's world history class. Her post was about Veteran's Day. She has noticed that some of her peers were not appreciating the significance of the holiday. She also says that she used to be the same way but after seeing the ignorance of her classmates she decided that she would change her ways. She shared the historical context of the holiday and how it came into being.

My response to her was simple Your blog post is very informative. I didn't know that Alabama had such an important role in Veteran's Day. Thank you for sharing this information and supporting our veterans.

The last C4C was for a girl named Amber. Her blog post was about how she likes to express herself. She says that she likes to dress herself to reflect her mood. She also likes to express herself through playing music.

I wrote her back at I think that it is very important to express yourself. I especially enjoy it when people use music to share their feelings. Music has the potential to allow people to express themselves on a very personal level. Every note can be either a shout of joy or a tear of remorse. Thank you for letting me read your post.

C4T #4

people in a circle
My last C4T was for Mr. Marschhausen and Rmcallister. They are contributors to the blog connected principals.

Mr. Mr. Marschhausen wrote a post comparing the postal service to the current education system. He points out that technology such as email has almost replaced the postal service and that they need to drastically transform or they will continue to fail. He says the same is true for the education system as well. If the schools don't start teaching technology the school system will fail.

I wrote him back saying that his blog post is very thought provoking. I'm glad that I am learning how to use new technology. I want my future students to have every possible advantage, and teaching them how to use and respect technology will be the way to ensure this. We all must remember that technology can either harm us or help us. We will either be replaced by it or embrace it. Thank you very much for sharing this information.

I actually received an email response from Mr. Marschhausem. He wrote back saying.


Thanks for dropping me a note. We need courageous, creative leaders in American Education. It is going to take a monumental, collaborative effort to make the necessary changes to our system.

Then there was Rmcallister. He wrote on the effectiveness of presence. He goings into detail how just being there for our fellow coworkers and students can help everyone do there best.

I commented by saying that I may not be a teacher yet but I can still related to the idea of presence. Currently I am a manager at retail store, and the employees come to me and expect me to have all the answers. Other times they want me to be human and understanding. They want a strong leader when things look bleak and a lighthearted one when things are good. Thanks again for the wonderful post.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Final Project Progress Report

screen shot of Ibook
The Ibook is coming along quite well. We have decided to break the book into three chapters: "Making the Team", "Practice", and "Game Day". We have almost finished the first two chapters. The only things we are missing are the book trailers and the lesson plan video. We should be able to finish in the next few days.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog post #12

Xbox 360 logo
The Assignment

Students at Steuart W. Weller Elementary School in Ashburn, VA are playing video games in their classroom. The schools have partnered with Microsoft and are using the Xbox 360 with the kinect attachment to teach their students nearly every subject.
1. Visit the Microsoft in education page. Read the overview of the program and watch the videos (you might have to click watch as wvm link on the bottom).
2. Click the school tab at the top of the page. This shows over 200 activities that can the done with the kinect.
3.Visit their facebook page. This page is filled with even more good ideas and articles on the kinect.
4.Read the article Gesturing to Learn.
Select two or three of the activities under the school tab on the Microsoft in education page. Write a blog post describing what the kinect is and how you would use this technology in your classroom. What are some of the other advantages of using the Xbox in the classroom? The disadvantages? Write the blog post following the quality blog post guidelines.

The blog post

Video games have elolved a long way since the days of the cartridge. Just twenty-five years ago video games were only using eight bits of memory and if you wanted a multiplayer experience that required friends coming together and sitting on the same couch. Today the video game world is filled with 3-D images, and the multiplayer can connect you with anywhere in the world. The games themselves receives too much of the credit when this topic arises. The true evolving element here is the system console. It has been the games that have been forced to keep up with them.

In 2010 Microsoft released the kinect for the Xbox 360 gaming console. The kinect allows players to interact with the game without the use of a controller. It does this by using a camera with motion capture software to recognize the players into front of it. The camera tracks the movement and that movement is the required input to make the game work.

Today Microsoft is partnering with school to bring this technology into the classroom. They even provide some sample activities and lesson plans that will keep the students engaged and excited about learning. The following are three games that have the potential to meet these goals.

Fast Facts Students can increase their fluency by practicing these facts while playing the fast-paced game, "Meter Reader", in "Body and Brain Connection".

1. Teach students mental strategies for quickly adding numbers together into the teens.
2. Students play the game Meter Reader.
3. Students quickly compute sums and lean their bodies to indicate whether the answer is less than, equal to, or greater than 10.
4. While one student plays the game, the rest of the class can practice writing down the sums as quickly as possible to test their own fluency.

Additional activities

Students call out the answer as they lean. The class counts the number of problems that can be solved by using specific math strategies such as “fast nines,” “doubles,” “neighbors ” or “neighbors plus one.” Common Core connections This activity relates to mathematical content 1–5 standards.​

This game will encourage students to become fluent in math. As the instructs states "fluency is key to math success for children." While this can still be seen as a game there is no denying that the proper use of this game will allow students to take a more proactive approach to math.

Exploring the periodic table

If the elements on the periodic table could talk, what would they say? Playing "Googly Eyes", in kinect fun labs, gives students a chance to bring an element from the periodic table to life.

1. Assign each student an element from the periodic table to research.
2. Students document the properties and characteristics of their element.
3. Students construct a simple 3D paper model of their element. Have them color it and add more features (at your discretion).
4. Students render their 3D paper models as 3D animated models in the game. They record clips of themselves “acting” as their assigned elements during the game. They also describe and record their elements’ characteristics.
5. Show all clips to the class, and have students take notes throughout the showing.
6. Students turn in their notes and/or collaborate with their peers to promote knowledge sharing.

Additional activity Explore the effects of combining elements and the new characteristics that would result. Then discuss yielding equations and the mathematical properties governing this process.

Common Core connections This activity relates to mathematical content K–12 standards.

I need to do a little more research on the movie captures on the Xbox. I think this would make for a very interesting movie project for the students. I would tell them that we are making a movie but in reality they would be learning the elements.


​Students dress up as their favorite historical character and transform them into an avatar! Playing Kinect Me in Kinect Fun Labs helps bring historical figures to life and enriches students’ sense and appreciation of history, understanding of historical figures, and awareness of character.

1. Students choose a famous person from history.
2. They research the life of the person.
3. They prepare a costume similar to what the historical figure wore.
4. Wearing their costume, students pose in front of the camera to create their avatar likeness. While posing, they explain why they chose the figure and the clothes.
5. Then they act out their character, moving and talking as their historical figure.
6. Their historical avatar does whatever they do on the screen.

Additional activities

Groups of students reenact a famous situation from the life of the historical figure. Students try to guess who the figure is as the scene is acted out.

Common Core connections This activity relates to speaking and listening 6–12 standards.

This activity would be treated like a movie. Rather than just one student at time, it would be more effective to have several students act out a historical situation. This will influence the student to do research on the chosen person and to be creative will acting out the scene.

The amazing thing about the Xbox 360 is that it is no longer just a gaming system. The console has the power to connect classrooms over the video connect software. This will allow students to see that they are not alone in the world.

The Xbox 360 has so many different apps that I could write a blog post everyday for a year and still not capture the potential of this wonderful device. The world of tomorrow is going to be built on the back of technology, and this will be a good way to introduce technology to our students.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blog Post #11

Using Technology in Ms. Cassidy's Class

Ms. Cassidy's approach to teaching is very refreshing. She allows her first graders to use technology in their classroom to learn. To some people technology is a computer with Microsoft Office installed. She goes above and beyond the word processor to show her students the digital world via blogs, wikis, and other approved websites. She also allows her students to use these tools and become more than just a listener, they know have the power to let their voices be heard around the world.

First graders having power? What's going on here? Ms. Cassidy knows the secret to teaching her students. She keeps them engaged with the technology in her classroom. She doesn't require them to unplug to come to class. Her students are excited to write on their blogs for a global audience rather than just writing something just their teacher. Ms. Cassidy benefits from this as well. She now has an outlet to allow her students demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter. When someone is able to explain something to someone else, it shows knowledge of the subject. Through wikis the students can both learn from other students or they can write pages to educate other students. One wiki project her class created involved her students explaining the alphabet to others with pictures. They worked with another first grade class in Alabama to make a very impressive collection of letters. Another way they use the wikis was to ask people about the holidays they celebrate. It wasn't long before they have a long list of these as well.

The learning goes beyond the computer. The one thing that all this can teach a child is that teamwork is a powerful tool. If students are going to be able to participate in this new global economy, then they must be prepared to work with everyone not just the people next to them. The technology also goes beyond the computer. Ms. Cassidy has a set of Nintendo DSs for her class to use. They can play educational games on the Nintendo DSs, but there's more. Each system comes with a free feature called picochat. Picochat allows the linked systems to become a chat room. This can be used to send messages to each student, or to have the student send messages to the teacher. This could be very useful when asking questions during lectures. The students can just send the answers to the teacher.

Overall Ms. Cassidy has designed a wonderful teaching style. I could see myself taking several pages out her book. I really like the blog post idea. I would use it with the science classes the most. I think a blog about the experiments in the class where the students would post their results along with a short explanation of what happen would be effective. The only problem I see with this is some experiments would be instantaneous. Pictures may or may not be very informative. The way around this is to make a short movie. This will also reinforce the need to use the best tool for the job. I like the wiki idea as well. Math classes would be very interesting if we used the wiki as a virtual textbook. Since math has a lot of rules and strategies, we could use different pages for different topics. We could have one page for the basics, another for fractions and so on.

The problem with my ideas is that I think an older child will benefit more from the lessons. If the subject material is complex enough to be interesting then the child will stay engaged, how if I have them taking pictures of a rock at the bottom of an aquarium and writing about how rocks don't float, then the technology may seem like "busy work" to them. The only way to avoid this is to carefully plan each lesson where the technology will provide not only a more professional option, but also allow the students to be creative as well.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

C4T #3

lisa thurmann

My teacher this time is Ms. Lisa Thurmann. She is a professor at Kean University. Her blog post was a basically a progress report on all of her projects. The most impressive project she is working on is the inaugural mobile learning summit. I told her that I am looking forward to the day that teachers can begin use mobile devices in the classroom. The post also said the summit was on November 2nd. I hope she writes a post about how it goes.

For the second post I had to comment on a pervious post. She sent a tweet saying that the convention was delayed because of hurricane sandy. The pervious post was about her preparing for her EdCamp. She was really nervous that some of her guests where not going to grasp the idea of the "unconvention". During the opening remarks she asked everyone to follow these guidelines.

1. Listen. Everyone has something to contribute.
2. Participate. You have something to add to the conversation.
3. Think with your feet.
4. Have a good time.

I thanked her for sharing her experiences with us. I also told her that I liked the "guidelines" she posted, but not just for the camp but in everyday life as well. In closing I thanked her for all the work she does.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

C4K October

The first post for this month was by Reilly. He is a 4th grader in Mr. Wriths' class at Union Pleasant Elementary in Hamburg, New York. He posted his poem "Morning Greetings." When I read his work I had to double-check that he was a 4th grader. The level of writing demonstrated by Reilly was amazing. The descriptions he used were so believable that one feels as if they are part of his world. I praised him in this regard and asked him to continue writing. I honestly believe has gift, and if he continues to nurture this, he will be a bestselling author one day.

The second post was from a girl named Shannon. She is a student in Mr. Gwaltney's 10th grade class in Portland, Oregon. She is partnering with teachers in order to increase her knowledge of modern history. Shannon also talked about her recent project on the Age of Reformation. She thinks she covered the information part well, however she feared that her presentation was not "fun". I told her that I was interested in the partnering projects. I also told her not to be afraid to be creative, because creativity can inspire us to do amazing things. I hope she continues to learn more through this, not just about history, but about herself as well.

The third post was from Kailin. She is a third grader in Mr. Capp's class. She wrote a poem about a frog that was rooting for the wrong team. Luckily the frog fell out his log and received a mild concussion. When he woke up he was cheering for the wrong team. The second half of the poem was about the cheer he starting saying. This cheer is one of Kailan's softball cheers. After I read this, I told her that I loved her poem. I also told her that it is wonderful that she can find inspiration and humor in everyday life. I asked the following questions. What happens to the frog next? Did his new team win? I ended my reply by telling her to never lose her creativity. I also told her that she has the power to change the world with her words and if she keeps writing people will keep reading.

Next up is Jabari. He is a grade 4 student at the Lochearn School in Alberta, Canada. His latest blog post was a short animoto animation about Parkland in Alberta. His pictures were all very neat and the music was upbeat. I told him that I really liked his animoto and that his pictures have inspired me to vacation there one day. I when asked him what would be the one thing I would have to do when I visited.

Lastly was a special edition C4K, instead of a student the comments revolved around Dr. Vitulli and Santoli. They are currently in Ireland teaching others about how to use visual arts in conjunction with literacy. I told them how proud I was that they were willing to go to such great lengths to help others. I hope they also learn a lot from this experience. According to the program they provided it looks like they will have plenty to do. In closing I told them to have fun.

Special Blog Assignment

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind
An article in the USA Today talks about a world where education is affordable and accessible to anyone. This will be achieved by the expanding use of online learning. To encourage this shift of thinking the author, Mary Marklein, says that in a few years lectures will be fun. The example they give is teaching a psychics lesson with a game similar to angry birds. Sebastian Thrun, Google vice president and researcher, goes on to say that learning should be fun. In his vision teachers wouldn't be just lecturing to twenty or one hundred students, instead he sees reaching thousands and hundreds of thousands of people. He has seen these numbers before. He taught an artificial intelligence class online and had about 160,000 students. He says this experience is like "taking the red pill" with this new power you can teach on such a large scale that it will seem like wonderland, or you can take the "blue pill" and go back to teaching 20 students. Lastly he claims that with this new teaching method education will now answer to the students.

This entire article is flawed. Grades will always be an important part of education. I never understood why grades are seen as a reward punishment system. That is the logic that is flawed. I was raised and taught that if you do your best then you will get the grade you deserve, and if you didn't then you got a lower grade. How is that punishment? I think people are confusing punishment for reflection. This argument is brought up in an age where parents can't even discipline their children without the fear of being accused of child abuse. It is this sort of mentality that will destroy the education system. The article says that failure is no longer an option. Who are they trying to fool? Failure is not only an option; it is an important part of growing up. We learn the most from our mistakes.

Now to further my point from a logical standpoint, we need to say what a "grade" is. Traditionally grades are given a letter with an "A" representing 100% to 90% completion or correctness, "B" from 89% to 80%, "C" from 79% to 70%, "D" from 69% to 60% and "F" from 59% to 0%. The article says,"Classes will involve a sequence of increasingly more challenging exercises and quizzes aimed at helping students master a particular concept or skill." How does the computer program know when it is time to go to the next lesson? The computer will have to see if a certain percentage was reached to see if the student is ready. This percentage is still the very definition of a grade. Does this mean the true argument here is whether we should show the students their grade?

Assuming the computer program can be altered to not rely on a "grade algorithm", can you imagine the torment of being behind a computer screen for hours or days just to have to keep repeating the same lesson over and over? Obviously you do not understand the material. How long will it take the professor to email you back after you ask him a question, seeing that he has 160,000 students in one class? The next argument will be that they can skip the lesson. That will be worse. If lessons are skipped the students will not learn the fundamentals of the skill they are trying to acquire. If there is not a safe guard against laziness then the system will be in serious jeopardy.

Near the end of the article they give themselves a neat little loophole. "Instruction will be free, but related services might involve a fee. Among those are certification and exams, which will be conducted separately from the learning process." That means the only grade that matters to them is the grade you get at the very end of career as a student. How can a student prepare for these types of tests without knowing how they are doing in the classroom?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smart Board Project

Blog post #10

PC Mac Pencil Mock

Does anyone remember the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials? The commercials were basically an older gentleman playing the part of the PC and a younger person the playing part of the Mac. In each commercial the Mac always out performs the PC. So what is this cartoon trying to say? The cartoon is trying to say two different things. First that papermate pencils are poor quality therefor so are PCs. The second is hipster's priorities are not correct. If a ticonderoga (Mac) is the most expensive purchase in their life, then something is wrong.


Adventures in Pencil Integration

stack of pencils
Mr. John Spencer uses a large amount of satire to relay the importance of integrating technology into the classroom. His preferred method is to mock the integration of pencils into a pre-pencil classroom. The idea of this is purposely silly by today's point of view. How can classrooms possibly perform without pencils? How can classrooms perform without new technology? Two of his blogs that demonstrate this are "Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?" and "The Con Academy".

"Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?"

What is the purpose of playing games? Some people claim that games are fun. What is fun? Fun is the act enjoying an activity. What happens when the students start having fun while leaning? Could then learning be adapted to be a game? The easy answer for Mr. Tom's class is no. All learning in his school must be preparing students to pass the rote memorization tests. Mr. Tom argues that soldiers and doctors use games to learn, why can't his students? The students were engaged and learning, so this should have been a productive teaching method. The principal's rebuttal was these are students, not soldiers or doctors, and all efforts are to go toward passing the memorization tests. Mr. Tom concedes his argument and implements a new solution. He will create an algorithm factory and integrate it into the reading and writing projects, thus creating the factory game.

What are the two underlying points in this story? The first one is that learning should be able to be fun. If students are having fun while learning they will retain that knowledge. This will be important after they pass the memorization tests. The second point addresses these memorization tests and the "factory game". It is clear that today's system is designed to produce only one kind of student. The memorization test requirements ensure that this will happen. In the age we live in we need to create a variety of students. No longer can only one type of student be afforded.

"The Con Academy"

The Trojan horse was a free gift, so is the con academy. This view clearly defines Mr. Spencer's thoughts for this new method of teaching. He continues to say that this new method would be useful for those teachers that did not know how to teach and that this would be unhealthy for the students. The "con academy" is similar to a flipped classroom, the difference being that a real flipped classroom is more project based and allows for students to inquire about their studies. Mr. Spencer then tells us that "pencils" are better used for writing essays and solving problems. The students should be able to work together or independently, which would be hard to do with the "con" system. He also says that the role of the teacher will be replaced with this system, and that would be a disaster.


Don't teach your kids this, please

no computers allowed sign
Dr. McLeod is author of the blog "Dangerously Irrelevant". He is the producer of the "Did You Know" series. He is also the director of CASTLE, which is the center dedicated to the technological needs of school administrators. The post is about him telling everyone not to teach kid's about technology. He points out how the world has gotten this far without teaching these things, as well as the potential dangers associated with technology. He continues to say that we need to just rid our kids from this and go back to pencil and paper. Lastly he begs everyone to not expose kids to technology because he is doing that with his own kids, and they will have a competitive edge later on in their lives.

The point he making is that if we want our kids to have the same advantage that the kids have in countries like Japan, then we must begin to teach our kids these new basic fundamentals. It will be these new fundamentals that will propel everyone, not just students into the future.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PLN Progress Report

I decided to use "symbaloo" for the hub for my PLN. To date my PLN mostly consists of links to various blogs and websites that have been recommended to me through twitter. Some of my favorite blogs are: cool cat teacher, dangerously irrelevant, and the science fix. I plan on add more blogs to my symbaloo page by researching the blogs that have been promoted on the blogs I already regularly read. Other than blogs I also have some links to the tools that I often use on there as well. I enjoy learning about new tools and the more tools I have the easier my task will be. I expect this group to grow when I begin seeing the need for different tools. The last group is a personal group. These are the links at I try to check at least a few times week because they are either very informative or encouraging or both.

Here is a picture of my symbaloo page so far. The tools I use are in red, the blogs I check the most often are in purple, and some of the blogs that I check weekly are in green. There are some orange colored tiles at the bottom those are specific blog posts that I have found helpful.

Symbaloo page

Blog post #9

Keep clam and pretend it's on the lesson plan
What I have learned.

The first year at a new school is difficult for anyone, especially the teacher. Mr. Joe McClung was no exception to this rule. He shared his reflection in his blog "At the Teacher's Desk" This blog is invaluable to anyone who is about to begin their teaching career.

The first year

Mr. McClung learned a lot during his first year. One thing he learned was to be able to "read the crowd". The most beneficial part to this lesson is to see that a teacher cannot be focused on themselves. The student is the most important person in the classroom. Teachers must be able to decipher their students' reactions and act without any regard to the lesson plan. This lesson ties in with the next which is "be flexible". He remarks that trying to maintain total control in the classroom is harmful to the students. He also states that:"No lesson is ever perfect. The lesson you teach and the one you plan are always different." Next was "be reasonable". High expectations from students are a common thread among teachers. From time to time students don't perform as well as expected. The most dangerous thing to do at this point is to get upset. Don't allow emotions to ruin a classroom setting. "Don't be afraid of new technology." Technology is a tool that must be used if students are to be successful. "Listen to your students." This will build respect between student and teacher. The last point is "never stop learning". The best thing educators can do for their students is to never stop learning. This will allow for a much more engaging experience.

The fourth year

In the fourth year of his teaching Mr. McClung claimed that he didn't learn as much as had in previous years. He said that he spent a large portion of the year worrying about how his peers were viewing him as an educator. He decided that this was the wrong thing to do. He had built a strong relationship with his students, so why should he sacrifice everything that he had accomplished by trying to change his ways? Next he began to talk about challenging yourself. This will ensure that lessons stay fresh and creative. If the lesson plan goes stale the students will no longer be as engaged by the subject material and grades will surely suffer.

The take home message

Why is this blog an important one for educators? Mr. McClung prepares teachers for what lies ahead. He tells his audience that it is ok to be yourself. In fact if you stay true to yourself, the amount the students will learn will increase. To bring this full circle it is the utmost importance that the teachers remember that the student is most important person in the classroom. It is not the teacher, other educators, or even the administration staff. If teachers can hold on to this principle then the classroom will surely become a better place for learning. The last important thing to remember is to be flexible. Teachers cannot exercise too much control over any classroom setting and expect children to learn. The lesson plan must allow for changes that will ensure the maximum amount of learning is achieved.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blog post # 8

dream world
In the video this is how we dream, the imagination is stretched to its limit when one discovers the possibilities of writing with multimedia in the classroom. The video discusses how blogs, youtube, and other websites are changing by making sure the audio experience is as good as the written one. The underlying question is: How are we going to use this technology to better the future for our students? The ultimate advantages are the amount of time it saves the author by being able to be published instantly, and the published work is stored on the internet for as long as hosting site is still operational. The publication can also be read by anyone at anytime.

How can this be used education? How can teachers convince their students and their parents that this is a useful skill? While creativity is very important in any student's academic career, it is not always the most understood. Relevance must seen by all parties for this to succeed. Relevance is not always the same thing to different people. To the parents will have to be shown how writing with multimedia will help their child. The child will have to be shown how it affects them personally. The teacher will need to see the positive effects of this over time.

The solutions to these problems will have to be simple yet complete. The teacher will have the responsibility of making an assignment that allows for two things. The first is the student will have to use a tool to embed a movie, sound clip, or picture into a report. The second is that some of the assignments must be able to do without just copying and pasting already published videos off of youtube, in other words they will have to make a video. An assignment like this will satisfy all three parties involved. The teacher will see higher test scores, the parents will be amazed at the publications and see that their child is learning, and most importantly the student will have fun doing it.


Carly Pugh's Post #12

children singing
Carly's blog post is a simple post on the surface. It is when one dives into the links that the post becomes alive. The videos contained within speak volumes that the written word could not. Each video shows something either to inspire us, or simply remind us of the "same voice, same song." To someone who has never heard this song they wouldn't understand the significance this reference makes, therefore if the link to the song wouldn't have been created the reader would have lost that nugget of information. Dr. Miller's this is how we dream discusses this writing style in great detail. He explains that future publications must meet additional requirements to be valid in today's world. The main one he stresses is that the article in question must be appealing to not only the eyes but also to the ears. Carly's post does all this plus more.


The Chipper Series and EDM 310 for Dummies

chipper's flight school logo
"Keep me posted." These words were spoken by Dr. Strange multiple times in the Chipper Series. Each time he said these words he was watching a student travel farther down a path that was harder than the one she was avoiding. In the beginning of the video it shows her being late on a blog post. Instead of bucking up and doing the assigned work, she quits school and opens a flight school. Granted that is a little extreme, but the point is normally the easiest way out of an assignment or another commitment is by doing it. If the energy Chipper used was put into her assignments and not towards getting out the assignment, she would have passed EDM 310 with flying colors. Chipper did however learn a very valuable lesson. Responsibility and professionalism will be required no matter what one is doing in their life, and without proper preparation life will be very difficult.

EDM 310 for dummies is basically two messages rolled into one. The first is EDM 310 is hard. The second is that there is help. The beginning of the video show two girls breaking keyboards in frustration. Later they learn of the EDM 310 for dummies book and they ordered it right then, not sure if they got free shipping. The book radically transformed their experience. The class was now easier and they were enjoying it. The end of the video showed the phone number to order one of these magical books. The number is also the number is to the EDM 310 helpline. So ask you help, the resulting experience is worth it.


Learn to Change, Change to Learn

an old light bulb and a new light bulb
School as we know it must change. In today's students are beginning to learn more outside of the classroom than they are inside the classroom. How are students doing this? Where is this fountainhead of knowledge? The answer is online. It is through technology that students are being exposed to the information that they want to learn. How can we as educators afford to ban the tools used to provoke this kind of learning?

This has to stop and it has to stop now. The school systems today need a major overhaul in order to keep with tomorrow's demands. Let's use technology in the classroom so that students will learn how to use technology. Let's reinforce the fundamentals through creative outlets such blogs, or a twitter feed, rather than a pencil and a piece of paper. No more blocking social media sites, especially when student can being following tomorrow's historical figures today. Why not follow other important figures as well? Let's follow Einstein in the science classes, Shakespeare in literature, and Euclid in math. In a world so saturated with technology, teachers must begin teaching responsibility in the digital world as well as the real world. The progress of this will directly relate to effectiveness of the internet outlets that the teachers and the students decide to use. It will be the responsibility of everyone to monitor these outlets. The teacher must teach how to validate sources. The students must use their new knowledge to validate these sites. The future is bright. All that is left is for tomorrow society to reach out and take it.


Scavenger Hunt 2.0

The discovery channel's discovery education website has many valuable tools compiled for students and teachers. Here's a few.

Make Belief Comix

This tool allows one to make their own comic strips. Behold this amazing comic!


This tool is really easy to use. It allow for pictures to be put into a video setting. This is basically a highly entertaining slideshow. It also has the ability to put your pictures to music which can make the dullest pictures suddenly come alive. This is a fine example of what an individual can do with this program in about ten minutes.

Make your own slideshow at Animoto.

Poll Everywhere

This tool allows for anyone to create poll questions for free. Here is an example.

The discovery channel's education page has many more cool tools for classroom use. Remember a blacksmith reputation is based on the number of tools he has. Teachers, see if any of these new "hammers" fit your teaching style.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

C4T #2

Mrs. Cofino's class
The teacher I was assigned to was Mrs. Cofino. She is a teacher in Japan. The work she does with technology in the school system is amazing. In the first post "Orientation 2.0" she explains the process of starting the new school year. She knows that each student will have a laptop to use for the rest of the year. Instead of having the teacher explain the functionally of the computers, she uses student leaders. She continues on to say that the student leaders save an enormous amount of time and ensure that everyone is comfortable with their computer.

I commented that I like the student leader idea. They would also prevent a lot of headaches later in the school year. Think about it. If each student receives individual instruction on specific procedures, then everyone will be prepared when those skills are required.

The second post was an expansion on the first. Mrs. Cofino's tech team has begun making more videos and placing them on their new blog. The blog can be found here. The amount of information in this blog is amazing. The keynote videos are extremely useful. She continues on to say that the team is beginning to take on even more responsibility. They are now making videos for teachers and parents. They are also making more tutorial videos to show during their assemblies.

Mrs. Cofino's tech team deserves a lot of praise. They are going beyond the call of duty to ensure that their fellow students are able understand the technology they need. I told Mrs. Cofino this and I also asked her to thank her tech team for me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog Post #7

The Networked Student

girl downloading files to her brain
The video The Networked Student Wendy Drexler explains to us the function of a personal learning network or PLN. A PLN is a collection of people, websites, and other sources that give information on a subject. The process in which one builds their PLN is simple. First locate a credible source. Next bookmark it on a bookmarking website. Repeat these two step until a fair number of bookmarks are made. Then share the bookmarks with fellow students and see if they have any to offer. Over time this will create a database. This database is only the first part of a student's PLN.

Once the student has spent some time with their database, they can start branching out by blogging. Creating a blog will allow the student to demonstrate their knowledge. They can also subscribe to their classmates blogs or blogs written by experts on the topic of study. This will ensure that they will have the most up to date information available. The student can also post on other blogs. Presenting their findings to others and asking questions will rapidly increase their social skills and knowledge.

Equally powerful is Itunes U. Itunes U is a free service from Apple that provides classes to students via ebooks and podcasts. These classes are recorded by some of the best professors in the world. Students could listen to these lectures anytime. The next question is: where do teachers fit in with all this independent learning? Teachers will be more like tour guides. They will show students how to find credible sources and how to use them. The teacher will also critique the students work and put them back in the right direction.

The networking of a student has the potential to create a learning environment that will surpass even the best classroom. A system that can teach anyone almost anything with such a degree of efficiency is something that is needed today. Why is this system not already in placed in every school today? The tools required are free as long as each student has computer access. The problem is: What happens to the students that are not highly motivated? Networking appears to take an enormous amount of time to setup and maintain. Take a middle school for example. Students go to five or six classes a day. Does the student have to be "networked" into every subject? If not then will they have enough time to attend the other classes and network? Where Itunes U is involved: Will any of these students even be able to understand a college level lecture? Where is the line drawn between being "networked" and being able to be a kid?

The point is the networked student will have to an older student. High school or college students could easily take advantage of this system and excel. If this is introduced to middle school students it may be more effective to have a networked teacher and a class blog. This way the teacher can observe the students more closely to ensure the fundamentals are being learned. The students could still read the blogs the teacher, and other experts have written. Plus they could leave a reply or retell the information on a simpler personal blog.


A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment or PLE

shade tree
The video A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment or PLE shows a how PLE is used daily. The day starts with the student checking their agenda for that day's assignments. Next the student uses various tools such as blogger, google docs, and evernote to begin working. If the students need to work in groups the computers are already connected via google docs. The video also mentions that the students try to have their projects looked over by experts.

The PLE appears to be a sophisticated assignment delivery system. The deliveries go both ways. The teacher sends out assignment via the agenda, and the student sends it back via google docs or a blog post. This is an interesting idea. This form of a PLE is more dilute than the PLN discussed earlier. This means that it will be more effective for younger students. Since the student doesn't have to as much networking; the teacher can begin instructing them on how to begin networking. This will set the stage for more advanced PLEs and PLNs for high school.

There are similarities between this PLE and EDM 310 classes. The checklist used similar to their agenda. Both of these allow the students to decide what they want to do next. The connections to experts both have allow them to learn from the best people possible. Connecting with peers also play an important roles in both classrooms. Even though technology has advanced to point where we can teach ourselves anything, we still need to learn how to play well with others.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blog Assignment #6

Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture.

How can someone describe the importance of Randy Pausch's work, and give due justice? When a man goes as far as using his last days to continue teaching others about life, justice is not obtainable. All we can do is listen to his lessons and take to heart the message he wanted us to hear. The overwhelming theme of his talk was how to live your life by learning from your dreams,helping others achieve theirs, and most importantly have fun doing it.

How did he help others achieve their dreams? He taught them. He allowed them to be creative. He didn't set a bar. He had fun. He taught them by teaching something else that they thought was fun. Dr. Pausch referred to this as a "head fake." No one wants to be forced to learn, the magic happens when students want to learn. This approach will keep the students engaged, and the quality of work they will do will be much better. The Alice program is a perfect example. By allowing students to "play" with this virtual world they will "learn" how to program.

Creativity was also very important to Dr. Pausch. When used correctly, creativity can inspire students to undertake breathtaking feats. In the building virtual worlds class he told his student to make a world. The specifics was completely up to them. After two weeks the students presented their work. The results were so amazing that he had to call his mentor for advice on how to react to this high level of work. The point here is creativity is a force that will drive students to the edge of their limits and beyond. Once students see that they required another piece of the puzzle to complete their picture, they will learn how to acquire it.

The advice Dr. Pausch received from his mentor was "If you set a bar for them, you will be doing them an injustice." This holds true in so many different ways. Setting a bar will allow students to see a finish line. After seeing the results from the first building virtual worlds project, Dr. Pausch told his students "that was good, but you can do better." The projects grew more complex, more puzzle pieces were needed, and most importantly more puzzle pieces were acquired. If the bar had been set as the first project being perfect, would the students have ventured into new territories? Should teachers ever set bars in the classroom? Bars are ceilings, they tell students, this is the top you don't have to go any farther.

What is the easiest thing someone can do to make someone else interested in what they are doing? Have fun doing it. Did Tom Sawyer convince the other kids to paint the fence by saying how hard it was? No, the kids would have left. The point here is find joy in all that you do. Live your life to the fullest and for every second that it has to offer. If your doing good and having fun doing it then the other people in your life: friends, family, and students will follow your lead.

Thank you Dr. Pausch. The life you have led will echo throughout all time. You are an inspiration to millions, and to me. I understand now what it is that I must do. I have to have more fun. I have to stop letting the fear of standing out getting in the way and just do it. I will become a teacher. I will educate the future generations. I will have fun doing it.

Timetoast Project - A Brief History of Computers

Monday, October 1, 2012

C4K September

comment bubble
For my first comments for kids I was introduced to Jacob and Olivia. They are in Mr. Capps' third grade class in Baldwin County. Their post was about the letters they wrote to their friend Tate in Africa. Jacob's letter was more about his hobbies. I decided the best way to get him engaged was to ask him questions about his interests. I asked him about his baseball. He also shared that he had been to Canada and that the weather was hot here because he lives in Alabama. So the logical question to ask him was if it was hot in Canada. Olivia was a little more difficult. She asked Tate a lot of questions. I didn't want answer the questions since didn't feel like it was my place. Instead I focused on the fact she liked chapter books. I asked her to recommend some of her favorites to me. I hope that Mr. Capps can use this information to recommend some books to her. My next post was for Anna. She was sharing her favorite song with the world. Her favorite song was "Strong Enough" by Matthew West. After listening to the song, I was encouraged to do better. If I am going to be a teacher and lead my students I am going to need help. I shared my revelation with Anna. I told her that she was an inspiration. I wanted Anna to see that her words were not falling on deaf ears. I hope this will influence her to continue writing about her passions.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blog post #5

The iSchool Initiative

 I touch
The following video, The iSchool Initiative (5:42), clearly shows the possibilities of a more progressive tomorrow. Using the technology already in existence, the classroom could become a very different place. The main device used in the video is the Itouch. Basically, the Itouch is used to interconnect the classroom through email, blogs, and various forms of social media. The advantages to this would be numerous. Each student would receive a more engaging experience. This can be achieved by utilizing social media and email. The teacher will no longer be limited to boring lectures for the students. Instead, the teacher becomes a person of guidance, leading students along the road to a solid education. Students can also interact with each other. Collaboration with peers is a very important skill to learn. Later in life, students will need skills like this no matter which direction they may go. There are some aspects of the idea that I find interesting. I like the idea of use of technology in the classroom. I do wonder if the Itouch is the best tool to achieve this. I believe laptops would be a better solution. The main problem I see with the Itouch is its size. It's too small. My question is what happens when a student loses one. Does the student have to start over on all the assignments? Will the data be stored in the cloud? Speaking of assignments, how will students complete assignments? Typing on an Ipad is difficult enough, but a smaller Itouch? If the project is set on Apple products then Ipads with bluetooth keyboards or macintosh laptops would be better.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'

Virtual Choir
Can this be the future classroom? I honestly do not know. I see this idea working on some levels. It would be interesting to have a class meet face-to-face in this fashion. A professional class would be most likely to see benefits. As for younger students, this would be apocalyptic. Can you see elementary students sitting in front of their computers for hours? Parents would pull their students out of the school system and begin home schooling. I'm sure some applications for this idea exist. The best idea I can think of would be for scholarly competitions, like scholars bowl, or the national spelling bee. I would be interested in hearing more ideas on this subject.

Teaching in the 21st Century

robot teacher
Mr. Roberts shares some thoughts on the evolution of the teaching field, and our role as teachers in his project. In a world where information is just a click away, where do schools and teachers fit in? According to Mr. Roberts we are to become teachers of skills. All the information the internet has to offer is void if our students do not have the required skills to find the information they seek. Finding the information is not enough; we must insure that our students know how to find correct information. It is a sad truth, but not every website is creditable. So what will we be teaching our students? How to use search engines is an obvious starting point. Upper level classes would have to be instructed on piracy and plagiarism. All levels would have to learn how to use social media safely, and how it can be used to build a support network.

Does this mean in the future all teachers will be technology teachers? No, while technology will have a major impact in every subject, I don't see teachers being replaced by technology. Instead I see a union of advancement and engagement. Does the chalkboard replace the teacher? No, so why should a smart board or a podcast? Technology is, and always will be, a tool. The more advanced the tool you are using, the easier your task is going to be. Just ask any carpenter. Technology is not to be feared, however it must be used responsibly.

Flipped Classroom

flipped classroom
Flipping a classroom is requiring a student to watch a video podcast at home on the subject material that is to be taught the next day. This idea is not new. Students are already required to do daily reading assignments at home. The advantages of video are the student can see how to do something instead of reading about it, and since the video is produced by the teacher the video can be customized to a greater degree.

Would I use this? Yes, flipping has enormous potential. Both of these example videos: Why I Flipped my Classroom by Katie Gimbar and Flipping the Classroom - 4th grade STEM by Ms. Musafo show the flipping being used for math. I would like to try this with science. I would make a short video on a theory or fact. The next day I would demonstrate with a live experiment. I believe if this is done correctly the students will look forward to the demonstration, therefore making them want to learn just to see what happens next.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blog assignment #4

Podcast Preparation

Garage band app demo
For my upcoming podcast in a few weeks, I am doing some research on podcasts and how to do a satisfactory podcast. I was referred to the Langwitches, they are very successful podcasters who work with students. They focus on storytelling, fluency, emotion, and most importantly, comprehension. I was very impressed with the podcast they did about Purim. After they had recorded the story in pieces, they had the students put it back in order. This was a brilliant idea. This introduced the story in a whole new way.

My plan is to incorporate several of their main ideas into my podcast. One key feature that showed up in every blog post was the app garageband. It has the ability to edit recordings, this will be an essential tool later. Next is the focus on emotion. Emotion has the power to bring my podcast to life. This is important because I want my podcast to stand out. Last is a mixture of fluency and comprehension. I want my target audience to be able to understand my message. I also want to make my recording smooth. It is my hope that with practice both of these will be achieved.

C4T post #1

Ms. Cassidy's bulletin board
For my comments for teacher post, I had the opportunity to read Ms. Kathy Cassidy's blog. Ms. Cassidy teaches grade one in Moose Jaw, Canada. From her blog I can clearly see that she is passionate about using technology in the classroom and that is a wonderful thing. I have commented on two of her posts and these are my findings.

The first post I commented on Ms. Cassidy used the ideas of Gail Boushey and Joan Moser to set up a bulletin board that can organize a classroom to have a reading program setup for each child. The original idea is to use the letters in the word cafe to make different categories. The categories are: "comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expand vocabulary". She was worried about the terminology being to difficult to understand, so she used her own base word, read. Her new categories are: " right words, explain what you read, able to read smoothly, and discover new words."

I commented about how I really liked the way she changed the terminology to suit her students. The effectiveness of a reading program is scaled by how well it is received. I'm sure that first grade students could learn the words used in the original model, but it's more important to be sure that each student already understands. How could we expect students to do anything if they can't understand what is being expected from them?

The second post was an earlier post. Ms. Cassidy shared the letters she wrote to her future students that would be joining her when school was back in session. Inside each envelope were two letters, one to the child and one the parents. The child's letter basically introduced herself, told them some things about the class, and said that she was looking forward to meeting them. The parents letter encouraged parents to stay in contact with her and tell her about the child. One of the questions she asked the parents was "What does your child enjoy learning about?." She says that it is easier to teach students when she has this information.

After thinking about my own grade school experiences, I wish my teachers would have sent me a letter. It made me nervous walking into a class not knowing anything about the up coming year. When I begin teaching, I hope that I will be able to use the same approach at the beginning of the school year.