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Monday, December 12, 2011

Final Reflection Blog #15 :EDM 310

I have learned so much this semester. Although this class was daunting for me from the start, I have overcome my fear. The key is taking time and exploring what you find! This is my final blog post, a personal reflection. These are the things I take with me from this class and experience!! Thanks to Dr. Strange and the lab assistants at University of South Alabama! Good luck to my fellow students!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blog Post #14 : Jose Picardo : EDM 310 Class Blog


Box of Tricks

Mr. Picardo has compiled a very useful list of tools and their links for teachers. His top ten list is what teachers should live by; each can be easily incorporated into curriculum and classroom activities and offer advantages in keeping students participating. Streaming video, music, teleconferencing, interactive exercises, better use of IWBs, and podcasts are a few of his suggestions. Used to deepen the educational experience and pique the interest of your students, social networks, blogs, internet tools, and the maximum benefit of their OWN devices can make your direction and guidance in the classroom more effective. I copied his sources into my PLN for later evaluation and organization, and especially appreciated his huge list of tools and how they worked.

Triptico is great for gameshow formatted IWB app for games, quizzes, and text analysis tools. He discusses the iPad's usefulness in "bringing the subject to life in front of your very eyes", which would hold students' attention well.
Quizzin also lets you embed a quiz into a blog post, so it could be used as an informal assessment, or a way to make sure students visit and maintain their blogs regularly. These tools are a teacher's best friend when it comes to teaching technology. All learning types in our students benefit from a daily exposure to these and others. Sharing his research results to help other teachers, Mr. Picardo reminds us to keep our minds open and our students will learn from us and through us. I look forward to visiting each site and exploring the usefulness of each tool, and establishing their places and values in my PLN.

Project #7: C4K November Comments: EDM 310 Class Blog

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My first comment was to Mr. McClung's World Class Blog post in which they were learning about writing professional letters to the community's leaders and businessmen requesting their help with some projects. I pointed out that this skill was particularly valuable in that it is a lot like grant writing, or what some non-profit organizations consider a requirement to foster community and public relations. Some organizations rely heavily on the donations, grants and provisions of the local citizens, and the classroom is the suitable place to hone those skills.
I wished them luck in their endeavor and that I would love to hear about their progress and project updates.

Secondly, I commented on Htawara's Class Blog when I watched her animated videos and listened to her describe her family members' names and what she liked to do at school and home. She went to her father's shop after school, and liked to swim a lot. She had pictures of her swimming on her blog. I complimented her talent for animating short videos and asked her a couple of questions about the yearly temperature in her country, Burma. I commented that I love to swim also and grew up swimming in an Olympic-sized pool when I was little. I encouraged her to make and publish more videos to tell us more about herself.

Final Report on PLN : EDM 310

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Each month I receive bills in the mail, so I pay them, and mark them "paid". Then they go into a holding drawer, until I have time to sort and put them in proper folders. Until my PLN is organized EXACTLY the way I decide it will be to best suit me, I will continue to simply collect and sort its sources! Under general labels, I house many websites and ideas for my classroom. As time allows, I will explore these sites, make decisions, and put them in more specifically organized folders and web mixes. Symbaloo is my choice to compose an ever-changing and growing network. I look forward to perusing my Twitter daily to pull new possible resources from my Tweets to my Symbaloo tiles. There is so much creative freedom in these applications, and the fact that they are free makes them even more enticing! Teachers can easily use these tools to make teaching tech a lot easier and more accessible. Blogs are great sources as well; I have many teachers' blogs in my web resource folders.

Diigo is a great bookmarking app that allows one to add quickly a possible lookover when there is more time.  The library sidebar makes it easy to revisit and filter possible classroom sources; I am constantly adding, editing, deleting and changing tiles. If I take a small amount of time to practice maintaining my PLN, it will provide me and my students with an ongoing source of modern learning material pertinent to students' futures.

Project #14: Skype Interview : EDM 310

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Using Skype, I interviewed Gene Embry, author of my book trailer , Sammy Snail's Tennessee Adventures . He is a local playwright and children's author in my town. He writes the stately adventures of Sammy Snail, a curious snail whose vision is to visit each state and tell his readers about them. A grandfather and former mortician and florist, Embry draws on his real-life experiences to bring to life his plays, which range from parody to Southern Gothic. I was thrilled to speak with him and inquire as to Sammy's future. We look forward to the books, and I cannot wait to begin working as his new illustrator!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Project #16 : The New Teacher's Quest : EDM 310


Our group, Gretchen McPherson, Raven Castleberry and Dominique Spence, made this video to give its viewers a quick synapsis of how technology can benefit students in the classroom. We learned a lot making it, and actually enjoyed ourselves. Each new teacher will face these challenges when given his/her own classroom. We should make our decisions based on how we can best serve our students' needs, not our own. We hope you enjoy and consider this video a starting point of why we became teachers!

Monday, November 28, 2011

C4T #4: EDM 310 Class Blog

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The Power of Educational Technology

Lisa Thumann, a sixth-grade teacher who has taught for 20 years, has decided to join the School for Global Education and Innovation at Kean University, and she is excited about the change. She says she wants to keep on working with others in the educational field to prepare students for five years from now. She mentioned that it is not the device or technology, but the "methodologies that help students meet their objective."
Ready to face the challenge, she looks forward to it, so I congratulated her success and thanked her for her years of service in the public school system, reminding her that her past work and future work will change lives. She will definitely be in her element, and I wished her much success.

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10 Things You Could Be Working On

Lisa Thumann has composed both a list of resources for teachers to augment the funding provided them for their classrooms, and a list of projects or conferences to participate in. I thanked her for taking the time to compile this list, and write a short synopsis of what each opportunity entails how it can be useful to teachers and students. The participating businesses and organizations provide a chance for children to become involved in helping themselves; several of the contributing organizations actually give prize monies for projects, so the students begin to realize how far hard, diligent work can take them, and that someone cares beyond the school, the classroom, and the community. These offerings are a wonderful way to get students motivated and eager to participate.
I commented that I copied her list to my PLN, and plan to utilize it, as well as local business contributions to help my students achieve success. I'm not afraid to beg, demand, insist, and even grovel when it comes to providing success to my students; having such experienced educators as she providing helpful resources makes our tasks less daunting and more achievable.

Why We Use Metaphors : EDM 310 Class Blog

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Metaphors are commonly used in the English language to represent something else, perhaps of a controversial or taboo nature. Political cartoons use a range of metaphors in their humor; they depict situations or viewpoints using simpler elements or images. It may be easier to make a statement that could be offensive by using a less offensive means. Literature and history are rich with metaphors, as we continue to use them to tell the human story in a symbolic or subtle way.
In literature, two classics based on metaphors about change are The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, and Animal Farm by George Orwell. Each delineates the changes or alterations that the human condition offer the main characters, and the slow descent into a deep human abyss. With undertones of insanity, chaos, rebellion, oppression, and the darkness of the human mind, these classics offer a glimpse into the human spirit as it absorbs and rejects its world and society.
The Trojan Horse, a gift given by the Greeks to Troy as a peace symbol to end the war, is a good example of a historical metaphor. The Greeks won the war, but the name "Trojan Horse" implies a secret tactic to sabotage something given in the form of a gift. Even computer language today reflects the lesson learned in the Old World, naming a particularly nasty information-destroying virus that can wreak havoc once opened as a friendly email "Trojan Horse"!
When metaphors are presented to us in a story or an event, our brain must work harder to comprehend what is being told through storyline or text. The obvious can be overwhelming, so metaphors can ease the raw nature of life, and sometimes even soften the proverbial blow. On the other hand, some metaphors are chosen for their ferocity. As a modern statement presented in artistic form, Pink Floyd's Album, "The Wall", is the mother lode of literary metaphorical assignment. It is a modern interpretation of what is wrong with the parental, governmental, and educational systems of today's world, seen and told through the eyes of a young man, and stands as a terrific cinematic example of metaphor. As long as humans write their stories, metaphors will be serve a great purpose in representing them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog Post #13 : EDM 310 Class Blog

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Today's public school system is failing our students. With national reading levels well below average, we face a future of unnecessary illiteracy, and books that discuss explicitly exactly what the problem is can shed some light on a permanent solution. In his book, "There Are No Shortcuts", Rafe Esquith states, "Frankly, you need to be fairly smart to be a good teacher. At the elementary school level, a good teacher not only knows literature, but must also be versed in basic science, history, and the arts, as well as being equipped to play social worker and psychologist"(p. 35). Written in a personal voice, with instances of sheer joy and equal disappointment, he describes his teaching career and the many battles and friendships it has presented him. Sincere, and always one to take the high road, he warns new idealistic teachers about the perils of non-conformity and administrative blockades that await them, but contends that it is a rewarding job if one is willing to do the work and not be intimidated by those in positions of authority.
His story begins with his first error in judgement, which almost cost him his career. Young, and idealistic himself, he learned humility, and reminds us that humility is a good thing. After getting his second chance, he teaches at "Camelot", a school with wealthy students, where he realizes that his passion to excite young minds had decidedly mediocre results. The "Jungle", an overpopulated, inner-city school in Los Angeles becomes his home, where he and his students exceed expectations; reading scores rise dramatically, his students are invited to many prestigious events to perform, and he became the Winner of the American Teacher Award.
Many students have come into his class, and returned to visit, or keep in touch. He tells stories of how they have touched his life, taught him about himself and his strengths and weaknesses, and brought him a sense of purpose and humbled gratitude for his part in their success. The reader can see through his quoted text banter the range of horrible and wonderful moments he has experienced, and he shares these with the jaw-dropping shock or tear-jerking awe he felt as he felt them. I got angry right along with him more than once! His insight into the flaws of our public school system is disheartening and maddening. Some of the characters he describes, "Miss Egghead", "Miss Busy-as-a-Bee", "Mr. Incompetent", "Miss Hummingbird", "Miss Bright Light", "Miss Megabyte", are euphemisms for those they represent. These are a few incompetent players he encounters, and their presence in his book is representative of their presence in the schools. He tells us basically to be kind to all, and fight your battles wisely.
An obviously passionate reader, our author takes us through his discovery that his lifelong hero changes as his experience of teaching grows. Touched by many characters he has read about all his life, such as Huck Finn and Atticus Finch, he awakens in his students the love of reading and science and the arts. The students have experiences in and out of his class and learn how to be well-behaved, disciplined, humbled and kind. They strive because he believes in them; his class economic system allows them some freedom, and confidence. These strategies are aligned with the real-world strategies young people must master to survive, which is the main objective of education itself!
In moments when Mr. Esquith was ready to give up, his students' past and continued success made him fight a sometimes uphill battle. "When all is said and done, a good teacher helps the student to improve the quality of his life. With so many children growing up poor, one of my major goals is to give that child a fighting chance to end the cycle of poverty that paralyzes hopes and dreams,"(p. 149). Setting the bar higher and unafraid to upset administrators, he encourages parents to be heavily involved in classrooms, teachers to think outside the box to use their passion to awaken their students, and readers to never give up hope that the educational system will formulate and produce the correct combination of teacher competence and effective instruction to get children reading and learning.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Project #15 SmartBoard Smarts Part B: EDM 310 Class Blog

This is Part B of my group's SmartBoard Smarts Project #15. It is a little blurry, but Autumn worked very hard to get it uploaded to YouTube. We hope you enjoy!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog Post #12: EDM 310 Class Blog

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Watch these three videos:
1. "Microsoft's Productivity Future Vision" (2009)
2. "David Truss:: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts >> Brave New World-Wide-Web!"
3. "What Are Our Excuses, Again, For Not Putting Computers in the Hands of Our Children?" by Sugata Mitra
You've been asked to host a presentation to the local school board soliciting funds for technology in your school. These three films were given you by your principal, who insisted you use them in your presentation in that order. Explain why he thinks that presenting them in that order will benefit your school and tell me if you agree or disagree and why.


I believe that my principal would have wanted me to present them in that order to
have the strongest impact! Basically, we see a world that encompasses technology in every possible facet of our daily lives, which is a peek into the future. The title of the first video, "Productivity Future Vision," describes what we will encounter as we move into the 21st century and a global economy. The world wide web had opened infinite possibilities to the labor force, and its ability to navigate exchanges of information that are minute and continuous. The first video really emphasizes the immediate need for technological readiness in our students; the future is just around the corner.
The second video is important to why every individual sitting in that auditorium is there-we are the educators that have to be the catalysts who guide students as they, and we, learn the latest technology. Here is where the benefit of funds being sought can be showcased. When parents, administrators, and members of the community see what the school is doing, and why they share in the common goal, they tend to be supportive, especially when explicit ideas and concepts are presented. Goals should be specific and reachable; these statements allow every person to see the benefits of adjusting today's curriculum to meet tomorrow's needs.
The final video, "What Are Our Excuses, Again, For Not Putting Computers in the Hands of Our Children?" by Sugata Mitra, makes an excellent argument about the "harness-able", natural curiosity in children. The experiment of putting foreign-language-speaking computers in the side of a building just to 'see what happens' raised quite a few eyebrows, and expectations! The children's natural curiosity and intrigue sparked a few more in-depth studies about how young people react to a challenge when left to their own devices. The results were surprising, and offered new information regarding children's motivation-even with no guidance.
The order of the videos suggests that:
A. This is the future - inescapable - and coming up quickly!!
B. This is what we can do to teach our students to be (and keep our teaching) effective, innovative and ultimately successful!
C. If this kind of impact comes about accidentally, or without even trying, imagine the possibilities if we teach aggressive comprehension and readiness skills to our students today in preparation for the global market of tomorrow!
I agree that presenting these videos in this order is the best idea. They tell somewhat of a story, one that describes our vision of today and the wonderful possibilities of tomorrow's classroom through the eyes of technology. Hopefully, this presentation would begin a positive exchange of ideas and proposals among the decision-makers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Final Project Progress Report: EDM 310 Class Blog

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Green Screen anyone? Please?!

My group mates and I met recently, and discussed what we thought, collectively, might be a great culminating project to showcase our technological savvy and knowledge of its uses and benefits. We want to make it entertaining, informative and of quality. In keeping with the overall strength of EDM 310 in modern education, we have decided to explore the dichotomy that exists between the use of computers in the classroom and the nonuse of computers in the classrooms. Certainly not a new topic, nor one that is lacking in a host of controversy, we have decided to incorporate several skills and programs we have been introduced to in EDM 310 into our final project.
The problem is that we would love to learn all about green screen manipulation so we can use it in our multimedia movie. I have asked about having a workshop or class to learn this element; it would be most beneficial to our project, and a quality technological skill itself. I suppose we could "adapt", and make do with other clever devices to reach our goal, but I am really hoping that green screen will be available to learn and use! It could be so useful in a classroom-a teacher could manipulate pictures from around the world of places, events in history, and other significant happenings and superimpose the students' likenesses to produce a 'virtual field trip' to share with other classes, or as a group project component. I have been to Rome to the Colosseum, but many of my students may never get the chance. Using green screen would make a wonderful aspect of a science or social studies project come to life for students! And they would have much fun telling about their "trip" and new "virtual experiences"!
These ideas and a host of others can be fun and used in the classroom to get students involved, enthusiastic, and ready to learn more about the world around them. My group hopes to make a video movie that shows our skills, enthusiasm and classroom readiness!! Let's please get Elizabeth Brooks to show us green screen!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

C4K #10: Mrs. Yollis' Class Blog: EDM 310 Class Blog

Mrs. Yollis' Class Blog
Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog

Mrs. Yollis is an example of an extraordinary teacher who uses her and her students' experiences and knowledge to showcase to the world how wonderful the art of using technology in the classroom can be as it benefits all parties involved! She invites and involves the parents, other classrooms and students and the general public into her students' world to see something amazing, on a daily basis. The driving force is the success of her students, and with enthusiasm and detailed guidance, they soar with obvious confidence, independence, and well-earned, well-documented learning at the helm.
As I explored the blog, I took notes, jotting down the benefits of each component, as I saw and watched the videos, looked at pictures, and clicked on the links. There is a multitude of resources that Mrs. Yollis has carefully compiled where she encourages students to look, listen and learn, and take responsibility for their own learning. She has posted detailed tutorials explaining the use and development of computer language, dialogue production, and electronic manipulation. Many of these skills meet state standards, and the students themselves have participated in making videos, teaching their classmates on the benefits of technology by using non-examples and etiquette to further ready their writing and storytelling for publication on their blog. "How To Capture Good Digital Images" actually was generated by a student, where she was able to share her mastery of a skill to benefit her classmates!
The concept of monitoring time zones of their friends around the world lends itself to many applications in the classroom. They explored lunch and recess in other countries, which really show the differences and similarities of life, allowing students to use prior knowledge or experiences to learn about the lives of others in various schools and countries. The video on California; shared facts about its population, history, leaders, wildlife and places, and encouraged those watching to leave comments or questions. One class used the green screen effect to show and tell about local places in their community; what a clever way to get others involved in your students community and explore and share places close to home!
In her welcoming video, Mrs. Yollis mentioned her wonderful trip to Hawaii, and piqued her new students' curiosity by putting some great and quite informative video footage from her trip on the class blog. This brings her experiences to the classroom first hand, and allows the students to relish in her excitement by proxy, as she will use hers and her students' enthusiasm to learn in depth about the ocean and its many offerings in science. She definitely succeeds in making learning fun, and works very hard to make sure that her students are engaged and participating in the teaching process.
I copied into my PLN every website, resource, link and idea that this extraordinary teacher had to offer. Her class blog is one to frequent and model, rich in every kind of helpful component of effective teaching. According to her class blog, "Blogging is....Learning, Reading, and Writing", and the students benefit. As their confidence is raised, they become aware of global consciousness, independence, and the direction of their own learning. The number of visitors their class blog has seen proves that as students become aware of the world around them, so does the world become aware of these 21st century learners! I can only hope that EDM 310 can aspire to raise that much interest in our class's learning!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog #11-Ms. Cassidy Tells All!: EDM 310 Class Blog

Ms. Cassidy's Skype Interview
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Ms. Cassidy is a shining example of an effective teacher! Given the chance to utilize something of which she had little knowledge, she took on the challenge of educating herself AND her students; what we see today is an exemplar pioneer whose wisdom is sought out by educators and pre-service teachers alike. Having formulated a working resource base, Ms. Cassidy had some smart ways for students to use classroom computers to be successful and gain confidence and allow all those involved in a child's education to benefit.
In the beginning, a webpage was her first production. She mentioned the strong support she had, and the importance of involving the parents in the whole process, from online safety issues to flexibility that putting their child's work online afforded parents. I would involve parents of my students by granting them access and involvement, as their willing of permission and understanding is key to its success.
The students feel proud of their work, as it is viewed by other classmates, classes, schools, parents, grandparents, and many more, as they enjoy their virtual audience. They like the encouragement, and it helps them begin their educational portfolio of learning. Since technology is here to stay, as she points out, these kids will continue blogging, tweeting, etc. Having them begin as youngsters keeps their mind actively learning and maybe even start a PLN they can use and improve over time.
Ms. Cassidy encourages us to take opportunities and participate - if not, we possibly handicap ourselves and our students in the classroom. Every teacher should be technologically aware, and students need an online network of their own, so you (as their teacher and tech person!) must keep learning. I want to have my students use twitter to find resources for subjects we are studying; they will have to use them to develop their PLNs. The benefits of twitter are: the students could see how immediate access and information can be delivered and utilized; resources for videos, webcasts, podcasts, webquests, interactive posters and websites, and discussion forums (such as edchat) can be joined in real time; threads of discussion and replies can lead to interesting and useful information and people; projects can be formatted to include tweets, twitter polls, and networking sources.
Focusing on the importance of safety and self-reliance in using the computers, Ms. Cassidy directs the students how to navigate safely and stay on task. Being positive is important, and they model it through their blogs, posts and responses. Time is essential, and the teacher can use it accordingly in class activities. Using it in rotation not only gives every child more time, but it keeps the activity fresh and novel, so that students look forward to what they will write and how they will write it, which makes them spend their time more wisely. With the virtual 'eyes' of the cyber world peering at them closely, children relish the idea of sharing their lives with those who are interested and will give them feedback. These computer websites, used effectively, facilitate confidence, pride, respect and a sense of accountability in students; they also obligate teachers to share in their accountability for students learning.

PROJECT #13 My Book Trailer:Sammy Snail's [State] Adventures:EDM 310 Class Blog

The author of this book, Gene Embry, is a local playwright and friend. He directs many of the plays I participate in, and recently approached me about illustrating the remaining books. Sammy Snail is set to visit every state eventually, and I am proud to be a part of his adventures! Thanks to Mr. Gene Embry! I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011


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I love this video! It shows how using technology to retell an old fairy tale can be fun and interesting! These "Infographics" give Little Red Riding Hood a new look!! Imagine using this to get your older students to think about technology, folklore, and creative storytelling; you could discuss the ways that information is used and why. Enjoy!

SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Project #3-C4T #3: Summary

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The teacher whose post I was commenting on is a principal in Massachussettes, Julie Vincentsen, and this year was her first year. She posted that she had sent out a letter to the parents of 4th and 5th graders at her school announcing the new chorus program that observes Art in Education, and she invited parents to explore the importance of arts in education by visiting the websites. Her excitement was evident, and she outlined the benefits of teacher collaboration during this period. I commented that as an artist, I appreciate the power and creativity that the arts can bring to students, and the impact that their participation will have on their learning; her enthusiasm is well delineated in her open invitation to parents to become involved in their children's schoolwork, and I told her that I hoped to work alongside someone as innovative and inspiring as she. Of course, I wished her and the students good luck!

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Ms. Vincentsen wrote about her first staff meeting to begin her first year as principal, and its postponement due to weather. She went on to say that the meeting did take place, much to her relief, and that she chose to use a concept she became familiar with in her years of camp counseling, called Unpacking My Invisible Backpack . This euphemism she referred to as a way to get to know her staff, their strengths, goals, experience and views, and how she can best use them to make sure that she and her team always communicate to keep their school operating and educating at its optimal level.
I mentioned my years of Girl Scout camp counseling (in the same state as she!) and how it had also left me with strong team-building activities, goal-oriented teaching outcomes, and how to produce the best possible learning atmosphere, given the strengths and contributions of those involved in its success. Many of the camp-oriented concepts she mentioned were second nature to me. I felt that my experience, as well as hers, also gave me an edge that will make my teaching more effective. She certainly is an inspiring leader, and like a good one, goes that extra mile!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog Post #10:EDM 310 Class Blog


The video "Do You Teach or Do You Educate? is a thought-inspiring one for anyone. The definitions of the words themselves give pause; words like show, induce, cause, information, fact, sound lifeless next to words like mentor, guide, and advisor, and should impact our reasoning for entering the education field.
I like the word guide as a description for an educator. You simply do the footwork in finding the most effective, research-based ways of presenting concepts, ideas, questions, projects, explorations, and problems to students, and guide them toward finding the solutions, answers, results and outcomes. You go further, if you are an EFFECTIVE educator, and give them the power and encouragement to follow through with analysis, synthesis, organization, implementation and presentation of their findings. This symbiotic relationship between teacher and students fosters their trust and enthusiasm, and makes the classroom a busy, exciting, productive place where students want to be and succeed.
I am going to let my students make mistakes-big ones, little ones- and then teach them how to figure out why and what to do to correct them. You always need to have that small scientist's voice in the back of your head asking, "How can we solve this problem? How can we get from A to C when B is absent? How do we use what we have to solve B? Where can we find more information that will lead us to a solution?" If you model your problem-solving skills, even choosing wrong answers to show how they can be a non-example to help learning, students will react and respond. Willingness to make mistakes on purpose and always knowing where and how to look to find solutions or paths to an answer are two important characteristics of an effective leader. "A good leader never asks his men to do something he is not himself willing to do", as the saying goes, and I heartily believe that is even more true for a teacher.
This video, with its poignant settings and pictures, uses powerful music and words to make its viewers ask themselves tough questions. The producer got his point across quite well; I think the rhetorical nature of his inquiry is well-placed and serves its purpose well. It's an asset to EDM 310's self-reflective provocation!

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Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home!

After reading Mr. Johnson's posts and blog, Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home! , I realized that he writes using a sense of metaphor, when one thing or concept is used to represent or comment on another. In this case, his "pencils" represent technology, and the different impacts it has had on the classroom, teachers, students, administrators, and the public's opinion of its usability and benefit to the classroom.
His encounter with the long-named 'specialist' (given so to nudge at the antithesis of her 'knowledge') basically represents the administrators and school PR pushers whose career and success is based solely on standardized pencil-and-paper tests, and the resistance that this group holds to change; the teacher is the protagonist and the 'specialist' is the antagonist, each pushing his agenda. In this case, however, our protagonist has the students' best interest at heart, and is willing to do battle and present positives outcomes for his agenda,"We can change the paradigm". His desire to invite and include parents in the use of pencils at home with their children only exemplifies the protagonist's duty to be an effective teacher for his students.
I read Larry Ferlazzo's latest post, My Take on Recent Study Saying Home Computer Usage Can Lead To Lower Test Scores which Mr. Johnson's post was written in response to, and he outlines the results of a study of 150,000 5th-8th graders as the study group, and goes on to summarize the results and his opinion. Even he contends that technology is only as beneficial as the teacher's knowledge makes it. The old adage, "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; TEACH a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime", certainly is comparable to the question of how educators can use computers and the world-wide-web to help our students and future citizens survive and thrive. Mr. Johnson's argument, in MY opinion, is that we must resist the old views, opinions, objections, cliches, and stereotype-addled policies to come up with many shades of gray (HOW can we effectively use technology to make it optimally beneficial?) to answer a black and white question (how can something children and adults have in the past misused, abused, misunderstood, feared, and used for entertainment be beneficial AT ALL??!!) of a somewhat colorblind audience.
There will always be promoters and protesters in the public and private school arenas. The most important factor in the equation is the student, and we must ask ourselves, "WHAT IS GOING TO BENEFIT AND PROMOTE THE INTELLECTUAL HEALTH AND GROWTH OF TODAY'S STUDENTS TO PREPARE THEM FOR TOMORROW'S WORLD?" I believe that Mr. Johnson has taken a serious and controversial subject and, using metaphorical language, presented it to readers as a simple means to a solution from a determined and open-minded writer, educator and thinker!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Post #9 : EDM 310 Class Blog

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Mr. McClung's First Year
Mr. McClung's Third Year

This blog is wonderful reading for pre-service teachers, especially since it is presented in a raw, real context by a peer who is giving his honest, candid history of and discoveries made his first several years spent in the public school.
I read all three posts, and can easily follow the advice he gives as it goes from general statements to more student-oriented practices.
His first post had two important long-standing points, that teachers should always check for student comprehension, and that instruction should be audience driven. The advice he gives after that are in short, sensible, workable sentences that address many of the fears/apprehensions/unknowns to new teachers. He includes examples, events, and the small truths that have delivered him to these epiphanies. The fact that he thanks his "moms" at school who took him under their proverbial wings is a nice touch; they are very important to the comfort and success of novice educators.
As I continued to read the second and third posts, he mentioned that he was involved in many firsts, and that adds to his apprehensions. He was honest about how he taught when he was assigned a subject he was not very familiar with, and the complacency he felt (much to his later chagrin) that eventually made him become more passionate and familiar with the subject to teach it more effectively to his students. I can see that his comments were a lot like Esquith Rafe's experiences in his first years of teaching; a rebel of sorts, he prides himself on being more at ease with his students as he builds a better rapport with them than fellow teachers. Referring to the Scope & Sequence of lessons, he states that the key component is assessment, and goes further in saying that teaching methods and classroom management are essential as a teacher. How true!!
By his third post, there is a refined sense of the tricks of the trade details that he is outlining, and when he comments on the schedules that made his teaching a little easier, mainly due to less time gathering resources, more time using what he has gathered, it gives a moment for pause to the reader that there IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! Building the resources that will become the teachers' tools is a large part of the hard work. He emphasizes not to become stagnant, comfortable, and content, but rather, gives suggestions on how to keep the passion of teaching alive and well. He states apathy is a side effect of routine, and encourages staying motivated through participation and continued involvement.
I think Mr. McClung's blog posts are great reading for education students, and have a nice, bedside "peptalk" quality that makes the reader feel as though he or she is talking to a friend who genuinely wants to impart earned wisdom to those who may otherwise be seeing through rose-colored glasses. There is always an ideal to aspire to, and a real to navigate; I think that his down-to-earth, non sugar-coated way of emphatically stating his advice through experience is invaluable for those contemplating a life in the public school arena!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Project #13: SmartBoard Smarts!! : EDM 310

This is our group making a video for SmartBoard instruction for Project #13. We hope it is enjoyable and informative!

Gretchen McPherson
Dominique Spence
Raven Castleberry
Autumn Bowling

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog Post #8 : EDM 310 Class Blog

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In watching Richard Miller's videos, "This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2", I realized that he is a staunch advocate of connectivism. The concept that a network of professionals, collaborators, novices, educators, and those in search of answers and ideas can share and assess information in ways that enhance our knowledge of life has gained an audience of willing and enthusiastic participants. He makes several important points, and explores the concepts of a "dream" world where shared information is the norm, not the exception.
Using key words like curiosity, creativity and collaboration, he sees a future where students "compose with digital materials", that stun and compel viewers in their composition and presentation; he suggests that these changes are fundamentally different, and belong collectively to those who explore and utilize them. We can use music, pictures and sources of visual and sound documents to make the information we gather, research and present more interesting, telling alternate stories or truths.
These changes are incremental, he says, not fundamental. They are key to the success of academic information , holding our attention and curiosity much more effectively than in times past. Networking via collaboration enriches the usability of the internet itself. From experts to novices, everyone has instant access to the most up-to-date information available. He emphasizes, therefore, that "[its] limits and restrictions are self-paced", so those who want to learn and use it to become better informed, can make the dream of a world wide web-based, shared, collaborative, networking a reality.
The intellectual world of discovery is definitely changing. The ego or self is out, and the team or network is the new way to write, research, assess, organize and share what we find, learn and think. Finally riding one's intellectual coattails is not the taboo it once was in the past, but encouraged when done in the arena of the public and shared domain of the world wide web. Mr. Miller's video makes an excellent argument to compel its viewers to embrace this new shared intellectualism.
I hope to teach all of my students everything that I have learned in EDM 310. These skills are components in becoming technologically savvy. I have come light years in just two months from where I was; I am anxious to introduce students to what I know, and let their creativity and curiosity teach themselves. If I can guide, motivate and share in letting them celebrate their success, they will be driven and not afraid of failure through learning.

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Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

Carly's Post #12

Boy, Carly did set the bar very high! She really put some thought into her teaching philosophies and found a wonderful way to synthesize them into the visually rich blogpost she created! Her use of videos that range from sarcasm ("When I Grow Up") to poignancy ("The Schools Children Deserve" & "Don't Laugh At Me"), appeal to viewers to delve deep and ask those tough questions about not just the future, but their role(s) in it and their ability to change it!
She used her own introspective abilities to outwardly challenge viewers to be aware of what it is that drives us to be teachers; using multimedia creatively, Carly has asked, answered, and set an example for pre-service teachers to follow. She certainly has embraced the concept of utilizing multimedia well to present ideas and tells the story with a variety of viewpoints-that of the teacher, that of the student, and that of the human being. Her willingness to seek out, find, and use so effectively is a shining example of what Dr. Miller implores viewers to take to heart. She composed an informative message by using the creativity of others and her own. This is a true version of networking, sharing information to showcase a viewpoint.
The links were entertaining as well as informative. Some were humorous ("autobiographies"), historical ("Think Different"), and literary (Tom Sawyer, Mr. Darcy, Her post was fun to watch, and made me ask some introspective questions about my desire to teach, and philosophies for doing so. I think that is a sign of good writing and what thought-provoking concepts are all about.

The Chipper Series & EDM 310 For Dummies

The Chipper Series Here

I can certainly sympathize with the frustration and procrastination that were the subjects of these videos! There is a lot of information to learn in this class, and it can be overwhelming! Along with that frustration is the lack of confidence that can perpetuate procrastination; things that we feel are hard or unfamiliar can cause us to put them off until a later time. In fact, time management is the key to being successful, and not falling behind or avoiding the task at hand.
Videos like these, satirical or exaggerated in nature, do make someone viewing them think hard about the choices that we make, and how they affect our lives. The possibilities for success are endless, but they require work, and sometimes failure! Chipper had to experience this failure to see that required work is in place for a reason. Besides opening your eyes and ears, you must open your mind to learn, and figure out your own approach to self-teaching. Her video reminds me of my own propensity to procrastinate, and encourages me to take extra time and make sure my work is not late.
The two students in "EDM For Dummies" transitioned from angry, frustrated students with no patience and understanding to calm, curious, and confident learners, willing to go the extra mile to get it right. Again, I think the point is that if a student in EDM 310 keeps his eyes, ears, and mind open, and is willing to fail to succeed, he or she will stumble, and then stride smoothly, armed with the know-how of a true learner.
When I scroll back to the early blogposts of previous students of EDM 310, I see each post begin to blossom, with richer language, more examples of text fonts and colors, more pictures and images, and even more links and embedded videos. It is a nice testament to what practice and participation can eventually create.
I would like to create or be in a video that follows a student's blog from the sparse beginnings to the more sophisticated, graphically enriched blogs of better development, brought about over the course of the class. It may even be a good assignment, to take a blog from another student and chronicle the development as it blooms and unfolds into a more professionally-developed blog! I hope that we all are 'guilty' of this by December!

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

"This is the death of education, and the dawn of learning", says one of the film's speakers, and he is right! The jobs that children in school today will be doing require one to have different abilities than a modern education teaches. It's not the learning of facts or historical data that comprise the strengths of a 21st century worker; it is knowing how and where to get information, how to best analyze it, and how to use it creatively to solve problems.
It is ironic that students do more creative learning outside the classroom using social networking and techno gadgets than inside the classroom, where these devices are sometimes banned. I think this video has a very strong argument that the school system and education itself needs a major overhaul to be relevant and serve the public like it was developed to. The statistic that education was ranked #55 among the 55 top industry sectors according to their intensity of IT level is indicative that if we don't make changes soon, the gap between those who are seeking jobs and those who are actually employable will widen tremendously. 
As someone who is seeking a teaching position, I can make a difference in the quality of education in my classroom. If I can help students be confident, unafraid of failure in seeking success and enthusiastic to see where their curious minds will take them, I feel that I will be doing my part to make the future a better one for those who may otherwise choose a dismal path. I concur wholeheartedly with the viewpoints of these people in this video. I share their belief in a better world through a better learning platform.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Project 9b : My Timeline : EDM 310 Class Blog

This is my instructional timeline, completed BEFORE I realized that Timetoast "doesn't support B.C. era dates", according to the faq section. If I were to use this timeline in my class, it would be only with strong emphasis that 9/10ths of it is in the B.C. era. Otherwise, the timeline is skewed, and inaccurate. As part of a project in 7th or 8th grade social studies, this timeline would help students gather information to learn about classic civilizations and their contributions to our government; ancient peoples and their way of life; specific time periods in history and their lasting affects on our world; and the impact of war and prosperity on human civilizations.
The inability to create timelines in the B.C. era is the only problem I see with Timetoast. It is a very easy tool to use, but its limitation is unfortunate; there is a lot of history for students to learn about more than 2000+ years ago!
I plan to add to it, and try to find more information, photos, links and websites that will make it more interesting and thorough. There are many other subjects that I could have chosen to chronicle. An architectural buff of sorts, I learned from doing the research to get to this point in this project. I hope more research will help me develop it further, and it will become an important component in my classroom social studies and civics projects. I therefore consider it a work in progress.

PLN Update Progress-Project #10 : EDM 310 Class Blog

My PLN is housed on Symbaloo and Diigo. Diigo bookmarks for me if I see a quick resource, and I go back when I have time and visit the website, explore, and decide if and where I want a resource or not. I like to check closely the tiles I create; I'm still learning how to navigate Symbaloo to get the most use out of it. Building a quality PLN takes much revising, updating, organizing, rearranging, creating, and most importantly, UTILIZING to be effective.
A quick reference guide, Symbaloo allows you to personalize and set up your pages to suit your educational needs. In simpler terms, my idea of establishing an outstanding and useful PLN is to spend a short time every day reviewing bookmarked websites and resources, decide which ones and where to add to my Symbaloo PLN, and organize them accordingly. I like the idea of having two bookmarking systems; I can use one as a filter, and the Symbaloo as my main resource.
I am spending time each day to bookmark resources, explore them, and gauge their employment and value. Not every resource is viable, and the world wide web of information is always in flux. The formidable navigation of our 'cyber resource center' makes it challenging to use effectively. Fortunately, meeting that challenge also lends us an upper hand in being much better educators.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blog Post #7: Randy Pausch's Last Lecture :EDM 310 Class Blog

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The Last Lecture: Randy Pausch 

     Randy Pausch was a prolific orator and pioneering creator who seemed to live a life of profound joy, discovery and success. Even in the face of adversity when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a finite time to have good health, he lived every day to its fullest, and embraced his continuing passion to teach others how to live an exemplar, rewarding life.
     His last lecture was poignant, but certainly not sad-he simply would not allow it. He spoke about his relationship with his students, and the adventures of discovery they all made together in the field of virtual reality. He mentioned that when he gave his first assignment, and the students turned in videos that amazed and awed him, a colleague advised him to not set the bar by letting his students know how well they did; they may become complacent, and not work harder. So he allowed the students to set the bar, by telling them that they could do better. What a great way to get students to challenge themselves, while inspiring them!
     Accepted as his professional legacy, "Alice", the project he was working on at ETC was "millions of kids having fun while learning something hard". He coined this head fake learning, where learning occurs during fun, and he emphasized that he always had fun with his students. Any great teacher understands the importance of keeping learning fun and enjoyable, as much as possible. When it gets tough, he emphasized that "experience is what you get when you don't get what you want". As hard as he worked to get his terminal degree, and have bestowed upon him the many recognitions and awards he had, he understood the discipline and determination he needed to get where he had dreamed of being for so long.
     Encouraging educators to let children do what they are compelled to do to learn, or showcase their interests and intellect, he spoke of a coach who always began with the fundamentals first, and the lessons he learned. It provides a foundation to build on, to improve, using higher skills. Along with a basics first approach, he emphasized that being self-reflective is a good trait, and helps us improve our teaching. He also listened readily to feedback from his colleagues and students. It is an effective way to communicate with your students about their learning and your teaching.
     In his classes, he indicated that he allowed his students freedom, and they participated in project-based field trips when they could. He obviously was a model teacher, caring mentor and a man with an unrivaled passion for creation and technological invention. Many of his students were still in touch with him until the end. He showed several slides of his students, and it was obvious that they had a great time learning. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Project # 8 : The Virgo Podcast : EDM310 Class Blog

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The Virgos - YouTube

This is our project podcast for Rafe Esquith's book, "There Are No Shortcuts". We learned a lot making it, and I cannot wait to introduce my students to such a creative tool our my classroom!

Gretchen M. McPherson
Dominique Spence
Raven Castleberry

Saturday, October 1, 2011

C4K: EDM 310 Class Blog: Summary Post for September Comments

Click here to read Sam's post

Sam's post about his Avatar was short yet descriptive. He used the term "ordinary" to describe his personality traits-friendly, smart and shy. I assured him that he was unique and anything but ordinary; I entreated him to always be himself, and therefore the best version! His writing reflected good grammar and definite proofreading.

Cheni's Adventure in Paris ,
My student, Cheni, wrote about her exciting trip to Paris, France with relatives to see a game of rugby and the Eiffel Tower. A fellow traveler myself, I mentioned my ascension to the top of the tower with my family and how great it was that we both were lucky enough to travel abroad, as many people do not have that opportunity. We visited at different times during the year (she in the warmth, I in the cold!) but we both regaled the excitement of our travels and the memories that they afford us. Cheni writes well, and follows the rules of grammar resolutely. Terrific reading!

Blog #6: EDM 310 Class Blog

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Wendy Drexler's The Networked Student

The video uses simple graphics to demonstrate how effectively one can use a PLN and connectivism to build one's knowledge base and continue to share with others his new learning and experience. Accordingly, the teacher may serve as a guide, helping him to: analyze, validate, and organize information; realize where and how to ask for help; build his network, communicate his findings, and share it with others to continue the idea of connectivism; and finally, how to take advantage of learning opportunities and maintain his learning network. Each student's hard work and research is housed, updated, and made available to others for the benefits of sharing.
Teachers could use this sharing to bring the best professors' lectures into their classrooms. The video referenced this advantage, and suggested finding the top experts the world has to offer. RSS feeds make it possible to stay connected, with virtual textbooks created or chosen by teachers instead of satchels full of books. The PLN can be designed to provide numerous and varied opportunities to see what other individuals have discovered in their pursuits. A 'quilt' of sorts, stitched together with the thread of discovery grows as each person adds to it. In this way, one becomes more adept at recovering, assessing and synthesizing electronic data into his personal network.
Blogs offer us each a chance to comment, and share our point of view. In my classroom, I intend to encourage students to treat their blogs as their personal to professional electronic portfolio. So easily manipulated, blogs can help students manage their intellectual development personally, learning by example, the importance of accountability throughout their school years. Captured as a kind of 'life portfolio', blogs and PLNs offer students a virtual library of their own intellect, and more importantly, of their own making. They must be meticulously maintained and updated; students will benefit from doing so the whole of their
intellectual lives.

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A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

Students today have been given a wonderful gift-the chance at 100% creative control of their personal learning environments! The amount of shared and collaborative information available is staggering; the opportunity to select and gather from such a diverse collective of human experience gives today's students an edge. Glogster replaces the conventional paper poster, incorporating graphics and interactive learning. Skype, used effectively, replaces encyclopedic-style introductions to well-known people, such as scientists, politicians and history-makers. Virtual tours and interactive libraries replace filmstrips and slides, proving invaluable when used as part of a classroom project. Podcasts, audio and video, can enrich the students' familiarity to historical people, places and events. Students who direct their own learning feel confident and curious, and with minimal monitoring, will stay on task, achieve their goals and take pride in their PLEs.
A novice Symbaloo patron, I am familiarizing myself with the nuances of finding, organizing and displaying what will begin my PLN. Mine is far from the organized, creative one presented by the student in the video; I aspire to have a vast network of professional resources, including people, websites, events and opportunities that are available to those looking to expand and enrich their teaching practices and philosophies. Information so quickly retrieved leaves the student more learning time, and the video demonstrated how easily the student navigated through her network tiles. She explained with ease how she used the application to keep her work in order and updated. She used the computer effectively to deepen her understanding of a subject and showcase her research. Peers shared their opinions and work with her, integrating what they had found and commenting on her work.
A PLN or PLE is a great way to gather and sort information to maximize usage. Its inception into the educational system marks the beginning of a shift in worldwide information exchange and sharing, and what better place than a classroom to perpetuate its utmost necessity?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Personal TimeLine : EDM 310 Class Blog

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This is my personal timeline, including picture of my family, friends and adventures. I enjoyed creating it, and hope to continue adding to it in the future. It is a very useful tool for keeping up with events, and the pictures and links only enrich the process and experience!

Click here to see My Personal Timeline

Blog #5: EDM 310 Class Blog

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Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? by Dr. Scott McLeod

Dr. Scott McLeod, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky, begins his post by delineating the 'evils' of teaching students how to use the computer, citing porn, cyberbullies and predators as dangers. He also questions the need for shared online writing, programs and social applications. Towards the end, however, he challenges the reader to consider whose children will benefit most, and have a 'leg up' in a decade or so. I pointed out four concepts to validate making computers available, necessary, and a vital part of the curriculum.
First, there are locks and password systems we can put in place to protect against the 'evils' mentioned above. Secondly, if detailed technological proficiency was made a nation-wide (but state ordered) course of study objective to be met, it would force present unwilling or apprehensive educators to 'get on or get out' of the teaching field. Thirdly, many impoverished children do not have access to 'techno toys' or electronic devices like their friends and classroom peers, so provision of them in a classroom and instruction on their use could allow lower SES students to have a chance in the global labor market and possibly break the 'cycle of poverty' that seems prevalent in certain areas of our nation.
Finally, I complimented his delivery of such an important point in an unconventional manner. Some may be taken aback, and several students' comments reflected even a misunderstanding of his meaning. A highly educated leader, he embodies the sometimes obtuse necessity of making a statement by standing out as an "in-your-face" orator; this can be a very effective way to get peoples' attention!

Don't Teach You Kids This Stuff. Please? 

The iSchool Initiative by Travis Allen 

I took some notes on this video, and looking back over them, I am amazed at this very young man's innovative, pioneering, unbelievably forward thinking and extensive research that went into this project!! These are the kind of students that technologically savvy teachers can produce-young adults with productive, workable, sustainable and oh-so creative ideas for a better environmental future, educational system, and a way to streamline thoughts, learning and sharing in a fast-paced world.
Mr. Allen pointed out that many applications are presently available that would be useful in iSchool implementation, the cost for each student would be $150 versus $600, the students and teachers would hold in their hand (literally) everything that takes place in the classroom (assignments, homework, due dates, attendance, school events, books) and the most important idea of teacher and student accountability. I agree with everything that Mr. Allen stated, and would feel inclined to participate as a teacher in the first 'experimental' classroom or school situation that incorporates iSchool as its curriculum. It is an exciting concept, and as with any new idea, there will be problems. However, with innovative thinkers like this young entrepreneur, they will not be hard to solve!

The iSchool Initiative 

I am amazed....what a wonderful way to synthesize the mellifluous voices of 185 strangers! It is such a beautiful, seemingly effortless harmony. Creative genius is the only term that comes to mind for me. We have news conferences, interviews, reports, meetings, seminars, etc. on the internet, so it is only natural that someone with such vision could compose a unit of many into a voice of one. I think this is a wonderful way to showcase what we can manipulate electronic information into. Numbers and codes digitally maneuvered and captured, become art, a brilliant moment in human history; I think this video demonstrates man's potential quite well, indeed.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 

Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts

The comparisons that Mr. Roberts makes between using technology in the classroom to entertain versus to engage are compelling. His message is one that challenges today's educators to sidestep the conventional classroom ideologies and with a little research, collaboration and sharing, create real-world problems or questions that require students to utilize higher thinking skills to solve or answer. One advantage to a film maker's use of the written word sans the spoken word is that as you are reading it, you are hearing your own voice, instead of that of another person. This technique helps us feel more compelled to seek answers and try new things.
All of the action words he used in this video engage students in higher thinking skills. I imagine it as 'peeling' the layers of an onion; exploring every aspect of a potential problem to commandeer the most plausible solution. Every 'layer' represents a more thorough understanding of the problem or concept, and students who use these tools will have a much better view of the world and their role in it.
New teachers should have this video for quick reference, and view it often. The fresher those ideas stay in our minds, the richer we can make our classroom environments, lessons, interactions and activities. Teachers need a good study guide to keep them focused; I feel this video is a great start.

Teaching in the 21st Century

Friday, September 23, 2011

Project #3-C4T #2: Summary

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Click here to see blog post

     Ms. Davis posted that she and each member of her faculty read a book* this summer that outlined the steps to making change in an organization. Incorporating the three simple concepts that affect behavior, she detailed how she planned to follow through and communicate openly to ensure success. Since everyone was familiar with the steps and willing to embrace them, she challenged her staff to work hard, diligently, and keep her informed on their progress and needs.
     A plan is necessary to be successful, and I emphasized that her plan sounded well-thought out and executed. Her "Plus One Challenge" set the tone for her faculty to strive for positive change; the group as a whole can be more productive when motivated. An organized leader, Ms. Davis models what driven team members seek as their inspiration. I wished her good luck, and a future report on the faculty's success!

*The book she and her staff read was Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip & Dan Heath.

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Click here to read NY Times article

Ms. Davis pointed out that in the article that the single school used as a sample to represent the whole is not a valid measure of success, because one school does not represent a whole district or state, as far as implementing technology to raise test scores. She had a valid point; the strength of research is in its unbiased and group representative nature.
I agreed with her, and stated that an article like this can negatively affect our policy-makers' and parents' view of the benefits of technology in our classrooms. In my opinion, Ms. Davis understands well that the teachers' knowledge and willingness to utilize this new technology is key to its success, and her argument reflects that viewpoint.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Post #4: EDM 310 Class Blog

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Eagle Nest Radio & Class Blog

I listened to three podcasts and was amazed how closely I paid attention to the information being given. The music added depth, and interest, smoothly transitioning from one subject to the next. I really like the fact that each podcast had a "Vocabulary Vault", where a related word was defined and used in sentences for better understanding. The students' voices were excited, and they seemed to really be involved and enjoy what they were doing.
Podcasts are a wonderful useful way for students to showcase their learning, and the fact that they can be accessed from any computer means that parents can access what their children are learning. The people in and facts about history 'come alive' in podcasts; they are a creative way for students to take a subject and make it exciting to research and share with others. I cannot wait to use podcasts in my classroom, and give my students creative freedom in their learning and sharing!

Eagle Nest Radio & Class Blog

Judy Scharf's Podcast Collection
I saved the website "Cirriki" and became a member after listening to the two podcasts on the page. They were entertaining, informative, and allowed students a chance to be creative when studying the digestive system and a safari project, complete with voices (some fuuny), sounds and appropriate music. A virtual field trip idea, these podcasts made learning fun and taught real facts with a touch of humor and silliness (the burp!).
With complete and detailed instructions on making your own podcasts, easy enough to be in handout form (supplied on the Curriki) so that students can become familiar with the creative process, Mrs. Scharf's in-depth analysis on podcast production is a valuable tool in any classroom curriculum. I will use her detailed how-tos in my PLN and share it with as many educators as are willing to listen and learn. I cannot wait to work on my class podcast and then introduce them to my future classroom!

Judy Scharf's Podcast Collection

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale

Joe Dale presented the benefits of using podcasts in the classroom in a very simple and effective way. He pointed out that students no longer have to miss important information when absent, as any computer can be used to listen to a podcast from home. He explained how simply they can be created, showing a group of students actually recording one; and the dramatic affect of making a book reading come alive when used in unison with other teachers' voices, and enhance the drama and interest for the students.
The principal in the video also mentioned that podcasts are a great way for parents to be involved actively in what is going on in the classroom. One student mentioned that she and her family listen to podcasts in their vehicle on family trips! How wonderful that is for her learning experience and confidence in the classroom!
Mr. Dale makes a very convincing argument for the effective use of podcasts in ANY classroom. They are a useful tool to create, inform, review, entertain and dramatize educational material to make it easily accessible and more interesting to students, other classrooms and schools, and parents. I am enthusiastic about using podcasts and teaching my students how to create and use them throughout the school year.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom