Monday, December 3, 2012

Project #13: Report on Collaboration

Dropbox logoGoogle+ and its features

For both projects 15 and 16, my group used Google+, in particular the Hangout feature. We were able to have a voice and video chat. The most useful feature was the screen share. We were able to look at each other's work and input opinions and necessary changes. For project 15, my group members could clearly see the Smart Board presentation and tell me what to change or add. It was a way for us to work on the project together at once. For project 16, we were able to display the videos that my group member had been editing. We also used Dropbox for project 16, with which we were able to share pictures and videos with each other. In addition, emails were a great way to get across information.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blog Assignment 13

Kids with laptops

Back to the Future

This video is a TedX Presentation by Mr. Crosby, who teaches the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. In his classroom, every student has a laptop, and he has an interactive whiteboard. With these tools, he can do activities out of the box. For example, his class conducted an experiment where it sent a balloon over one thousand feet. He got his students to do some reading and engage in experiments. After this, instead of testing his students with multiple-choice questions he got his students to embed the videos they made of the experiments onto their individual blogs and write about what they did in the experiment explaining the phenomenon in the experiment. He split his class into groups to make a wiki page on a topic dealing with balloons. The class also put pictures on Flickr. Mr. Crosby made his students write stories as if they were the balloons taking the trip. After adding pictures to the stories, they put them on their blogs.

The exciting part about what Mr. Crosby has done is that he has made his lessons interactive and active for his students. The students are learning about science, history, and language arts all in such a fun way. The kids get excited by the fact that people are reading their blogs, and that excites them to continue to engage in learning. I think they become more creative and learn more about the world around them. Kids are able to build a learning network. Mr. Crosby pointed out that this way kids can become active learners, who can connect and collaborate with the world. Teachers like Mr. Crosby really inspire me and teach me how to create active learning!

A Vision of Students Today

This video is by Michael Wesch and the students of Introduction to Cultural Anthropology in the class of Spring 2007 at Kansas State University. This video highlights the way students learn and think. Students are forced to purchase expensive books and pay a high tuition for classes. In addition, these classes have such a high student to teacher ratio that teachers do not even know the names of their students and would not even notice if some of their students were absent. So, is this the way to learn?

The video says that a student will write about 40 pages for a class in contrast to the 500 pages of emails and read eight books in contrast to the 2300 webpages. A student spends about one and a half hours watching TV, two and a half hours listening to music, and two hours on a cell phone. Everything in a student's life except education is centered around technology. Since this is the fact, education should also be centered around technology. Students should be able to bring their laptops to school not for Facebook but for learning purposes.

In the video, students questioned whether what they are learning is relevant: how are my classes going to help me with problems in the world? Multiple-choice testing is definitely not the way for solutions to famine, war, and ethnic conflicts. There is a need to apply learning and collaborate with people worldwide to get issues and solutions across. This is not going to happen until the teacher steps down from the chalkboard.

This leads me to asking why educators like to make learning about them. As stated in the video, writing on the chalkboard forces the teacher to become the center of learning, disregarding animations, photos, videos, and most importantly network. If it can be done by Mr. Crosby and his fourth  fifth, and sixth grade English second language students, why not secondary and college students?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

PLN: Final Report

It is remarkable to me that all of those resources and the contributors of those resources that I have been using as a student are now part of my PLN as an educator. Khan Academy and Bozeman Biology are some examples. I have realized that these are all very successful educators, and there is so much to learn from them. Not only have I updated my Symbaloo account, but I have also become a follower of many educators and resources, especially those in the science subject areas, such as NASA and the NSF. However, I still feel like my PLN has a long way to go. I feel that it will start developing more once I begin to teach and start meeting other educators.

A screenshot of part of my PLN on Symbaloo

Project #15: SMART Board Lesson

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Final Project: Progress Report

Round table with people working
My group has chosen to do Option C: Either as an individual or a 2 or 3 person person group, create a video of 1-2 minutes that can be used as a part of the fund raising effort surrounding the University of South Alabama’s 50th anniversary. We have already developed our theme of focus and started working on the project. Since our project requires us to take pictures, we have already taken a few pictures. Also, we have planned out dates that our video will be edited.

C4K Summary for November

Peyton is a student in Mr. Boylen's class in the 8th grade. In his post, "Miracle's Boys," Peyton offers a complete review of the book. He gives a short summary without revealing the ending. In addition, he recommends it to someone who wants a soft read. In my comment, I complimented him for giving such a great review. His review excited me to want to read the story.

A screenshot of Hanna's post on internet safety
Hanna is a student in Mr. Cometti's World History class at Robertsdale High. I her post, Hanna discussed internet safety and summarized what she learned from class and the library about blogging. She says that there are several rules to stay safe. Some include to not put any personal information (last name, phone number, etc.), to not put any personal pictures, to avoid using sarcasm, and to avoid posting hurtful comments. In my comment, I explained that it was great to follow these rule to stay safe. However, it is okay to to include somewhat of a biography so people know something about the blogger and the context of the blog post. It is also okay to include an email address so people can communicate with you and get across ideas and questions.

A picture of Ms. Dietra from the Poarch Creek Indian ReservationMs. Nelson, who teaches the 4th grade at East Elementary in Daphne, posted "Poarch Creek Indian Visit". In this post, she has written that Ms. Dietra from the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation came to speak to their fourth graders. In my reply, I said that it must have been exciting to gain a first-hand experience of a Native American, rather than just reading and looking at their pictures in a textbook. I wish I was able to get such an experience.

C4T Summary for December

A screenshot of Mr. Bernia's blog page with his picture
Mr. Bernia is the Oakview Middle School principal. In his post "Smarter Balanced Assessments, change for the better?," Mr. Bernia makes a list of the key skills that students need to succeed on assessments (make inferences, critical thinking, write, stay focused, and many others) and what educators need to do in order for their students to receive a better education (use technology, provide real world examples, teach note-taking, and many others). In my comment, I wrote how important it is for students to get their hands on technology because of the wide range of tools available on the Internet. I also agreed that it is important that students break tasks and concepts down. Last, I mentioned how educators need to move away from multiple-choice testing to assessments that require more thinking based on the knowledge acquired from technology and the pieces of each concept.

In his post "#EdcampOU, what a way to spend a Saturday," Mr. Bernia discusses the conference held at Oakland University called "EdcampOU". He said that he learned a lot about technology tools and structures but the most important takeaway for him was philosophical  He says that events like edcamps are examples that "there really is better way when it comes to learning for educators". He states that at these meetings "strong learning happens". Mr. Bernia ends by saying that educators walked away with practical tools and networks to keep learning. In response, I said that it is great that he had the opportunity to be in such a positive environment where everyone was working for the one motive of improving education. I think the most important part is to create networks. This enables educators to learn from each other and share tools that they have found valuable.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Assignment 12

Dr. Strange has given us an opportunity to create a assignment for a blog post in our area of specialty. I am double majoring in Secondary General Science Education and Biology. I have always been curious about what other biology teachers are doing with their high school teachers to enhance learning because science is very complex and requires experimentation. I came upon Mr. Paul Anderson on YouTube when trying to find some lectures to use as a study tool for some of my biology classes. After some investigation, I found that Mr. Anderson is an AP Biology teacher who has been teaching at Bozeman High School for 18 years. His passion for teaching science can be reflected by how he uses technology, game mechanics, and the flipped classroom to create engagement. I have learned a lot from him, in terms of teaching strategies and science itself. I am very thankful to him.

Even though this assignment may seem short, I feel like it has given me so much. So, here is my assignment:

Mr. Paul Anderson is a high school AP Biology teacher. (Look around his blog. You may find some helpful tips and tools.) After watching the Blended Learning Cycle, summarize the strategy that Mr. Anderson uses, and explain how you feel about his strategy. Send Mr. Anderson a thank you tweet (@paulandersen). Include #edm310 in the tweet so I will see it.

Mr. Anderson says blended learning is "taking the compelling parts of online, mobile, and classroom learning and blending them together". The learning cycle, which follows the process to engage, explore, explain, and expand, is a great way to evaluate and learn science. When you intermix blended learning and the learning cycle you achieve the blended learning cycle.

Screenshot of part of Dr. Anderson's podcast on blended learning

The steps of the blended learning cycle are as follows:
1. Question: presenting a phenomenon that instigates curiosity and grabs attention
2. Investigation/Inquiry: using experimentation and investigations by hands-on activities
3. Video: using video podcast for teaching instead of classroom lectures
4. Elaboration: reading and solving problems to better understand concepts
5. Review: meeting individually or in small groups to find out the progress and understanding of students, who are not allowed to move on to the next step (the summary quiz) without understanding the material
6. Summary Quiz: testing students about what they learned

I believe that Mr. Anderson utilizes a great method for teaching science. His process enables students to be able to understand what science is and explain phenomenon, which is the motive of a scientist. I can't see a better way to implement technology and promote independent learning. By using the blended learning cycle, a teacher can feel more involved and get more time to reach each student individually. The technology-based learning atmosphere also provokes student attention. I can't wait to implement some version of this strategy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blog Assignment 11

Ms. Cassidy teaches the first grade in Canada. She strongly believes that it is important to integrate technology into a child's education. Educators are handicapping students when technology is not used. Her video showcases her students using technology. They blog, skype, use Nintendo DSs, use wiki, and use videos to share and collaborate.

Connectivity in the world through skypeOne approach that I will most certainly use in my classroom is blogging. As Ms. Cassidy notes, blogs provide a great way to post assignments, changes, announcements, and information. The best part about blogging is that students will enjoy it. It is a fun way to share ideas and also learn a lot. Ms. Cassidy points out that kids are more encouraged to write to an audience rather than to their teacher. I think students will put in more effort if they know that there is an audience. Another benefit is that it can get the quieter students to speak. One problem that I see is with older students considering writing on their blogs "busy work" instead of a learning process. Any solutions? Honestly, I have yet to come up with how to address that issue. As teachers, we are motivated to teach, especially in our subject-area. However, that might not be the case for all students.

I would also consider using Skype for connectivity. My students can connect with other students, teachers, and experts. Ms. Cassidy used Skype in her classroom (as shown in the video) to communicate with a geologist for her students to learn more about rocks and to gain knowledge from a specialist in the field. I would apply a similar technique in my classroom. Students can gain a very different perspective on a topic or concept. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

C4T Summary for November

Screenshot of Mr. Smith's blog
Mr. Smith is a superintendent in Tuscola, Illinois. In his blog post, "Tweeting and Texting", he says that technology is great, but students are often too young or immature to handle it. Since technology is making the world smaller, it brings caution to the parents. Mr. Smith encourages parents to check their kids' twitter accounts and cell phone texts. He even says to follow their facebook and twitter accounts. He says that if they get mad or defensive, then they are onto something. In my reply, I agreed that kids can sometimes be immature or young to handle technology. Despite this, if used positively, social networking can provide a great outlet for education. The diffusion of ideas and creativity can be a great thing. If technology is integrated into education, students will attain a range of skills that will make them better prepared for the jobs that will hold in the future, such as working in teams and problem-solving. I asked him what his thoughts were on this.

In his post, "Searching for Sanity? Turn Off Your Technology," Mr. Smith states that technology is great, but it can also be suffocating. He says that with technology you can be at work for 24 hours because of access to e-mail and social networking. He advocates both a push to use technology and a put not to use technology for administrators. He advises to take some time "off the radar". I agreed that technology can be suffocating at times. There are times when I just want to close my laptop lid because of staring at it all day and instead spend time with my family. As soon as I open my laptop, I am reminded of the tasks still awaiting me. I believe that the potential that technology has is great but I hope it doesn't take the peace from a person. Some time without it is a great stress reliever!

Special Blog Assignment

A World Where Grades Will be Left Behind
By: Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY

Screenshot of the article "A World Where Grades Will be Left Behind"
Sebastian Thrun, a Google vice president and Stanford research professor, has started up his version of learning, which is completely free, available to anyone, and fun. Udacity offers free online courses taught by the top professors of the world. As the article notes, Udacity is not the only revolutionized change in education. Many teachers have adopted the concept of a "flipped classroom," in which videos are watched at night and homework is done in the classroom by students. Charter schools in Chicago and New York City have centered their curriculum around game-playing. Thrun says that technology is giving the opportunity to educators to "personalize education and scale it up". In 30 years, he thinks that classes will include challenging exercises and quizzes directed to gain mastery of a skill or concept. There will be no limits in the number of students in a class. Furthermore, he says that grades will no longer exist and students will be given enough time to master a skill. He believes that "the Internet will democratize education".

I believe that online, free courses are a great way for providing access to education to those who do not receive it or to those that want to learn something out of his or her field. It is also great for those who are struggling. On the flip side, not being able to go to a classroom is a clear loss of learning many skills. Students may not be able to master skills such as time management, being on time, group work (person to person interaction), responsibility, respect, etc. Schools provide a ground in which students can learn such things. In 30 years, I believe that classrooms should still remain. However, in these classrooms, teachers should function as mentors, encouragers, advisors, and motivators. Students, rather than the teacher, should push the instruction forward. The Internet should unquestionably serve as a medium of learning. The article points out that failure is not an option. But, sometimes failure is a good thing. It teaches you what to avoid and how to avoid it. Moreover, it teaches you how to achieve success. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Assignment 10

I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga.
a cartoon mocking a PC and Mac
This is a cartoon by John T. Spencer. The Papermate represents a PC, which is less costly and has several issues compared to the Mac. In contrast, the Ticonderoga represents a Mac, which is more costly but is more efficient, in terms of issues. I own a PC because a Mac is too expensive. Luckily, I have gotten to see several advantages of the Mac due to EDM310.

This is a post by Mr. Spencer based on a conversation between the principal and Mr. Johnson (his characters). The principal asks Mr. Johnson why his class was playing games. Mr. Johnson argues that they were not playing a game, but rather engaging in an advanced simulation. The principal tells him that he needs to focus on rote memorization skills with his class.

I still cannot believe that in this time and age we are still engaging students in pure memorization. When are our educators going to realize that it just does not work. I'm probably more harsh right now because of my frustration from pure sitting at my desk and studying for my nine chapter genetics test. I really want to learn this material. But why do I have to learn it like this? Isn't it unfair to a student who wants to learn to have to sit and memorize instead?

In this post, Mr. Spencer highlights some very important points about this type of technology. He says that they are merely flip charts in front of a projector. They are teacher-centered and still based on the lecture-format. How will they make students smarter? He says, "The technology will drive the instruction rather than the theory driving the implementation of technology..." Teacher-centered tools will not help with student learning. I agree with Mr. Spencer. This technology can be a great tool, but the focus has to be lifted from the teacher to the students. It definitely cannot be said that the use of "Smart Charts" is a revolutionary change, just as Mr. Spencer notes. Changes are still pending before we see this change.

Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please?

Mr. Scott McLeod is currently the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 in Iowa. Also, he is serving as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. Mr. McLeod's blog post is oriented towards parents, teachers, administrators, and board members. In this post, he outlines the methods of technological connectivity. He uses the convincing method of sarcasm to point out that his kids are going to be ahead of everyone in a decade or two because he is using all of these methods. Mr. McLeod addresses the issue of blocking technology and its connectivity from students. Blocking it does not solve the problems. I want to emphasize how important it is for teachers to educate how to use technology. Isn't it easier to teach students to use it for the right reasons rather than watching over them all the time? I think students will be more prone to use it positively if they are taught to use it like that. One thing's for sure, technology will make them more fit and adapted for their futures.

C4K Summary for October

BicycleReilly Thompson is a student in the 4th grade at Union Pleasant Elementary in Hamburg, NY. Reilly posted a descriptive, suspenseful story called "Flying on Wheels" about a bike ride he had with his friend Abby at a campground in New York. I thought the story was amazing. Read it for yourself! In my comments I included how great of a writer he is and how I would enjoy more of his stories. I believe he is naturally good at writing.

Olivia's blogOlivia is a high school student taking a history course called Age of Exploration. In her post, she discusses her first impressions of the course. She had initially signed up for the course because she had heard that it was project based. Now, the course has exceeded her expectations. She is surprised by the teaching method and that she is actually enjoying a history class. Her earlier history classes were boring and tedious, filled with essays, test, and lots of memorization. In contrast, this class is laid-back and lets her work at her own pace. Not only that, it is fun! Olivia says that it has given her a way to show her creativity. She likes the fact that her open-ended assignments have given her and her classmates opportunities to show their skills and apply different ideas. Last, Olivia discusses the great student-teacher cooperation she has in her class. She says, " us the task of being responsible for our learning will help us grow and mature as learners...". In my comment, I discussed how similar EDM 310 is to her class. I also agreed that being responsible for our own learning will help us grow and mature as learners. I wrote about my history courses in high school. It all came down to pure memorization in order to prepare for essay-test and other exams. I wish my class would have been more like hers. By doing projects, you can incorporate so much creativity and a variety of ideas. It is such a great way of learning! I was amazed at the fact that her post hits so many issues that a student, including myself, has with the classical way of teaching, such as stress and late-night homework.

A screenshot of Dylan's blog
Dylan is a 3rd grade student in Gulf Shores. In his post "The Characters of Rows and Piles of Coins", he describes the characters of the story: Saruni (the boy), Yeyo (Saruni's mother), and Murete (Saruni's father). In my reply, I complimented Dylan for such a great description. I asked him to post a summary of the story because his descriptions made me very curious about what happens next. Also, I offered Dylan a tip. I said that by using the spell-check option, he can check his spelling and learn new words. I use spell-check myself!

Anika is a student in elementary school that lives in Alberta. On October 19, 2012, she posted a slideshow:

Make your own slideshow with music at Animoto.
In my comment I wrote that I really liked her slideshow and music. I asked her which place these pictures were representing. I told her that I have been to Ontario several times, but never Alberto.

Clipart of airplane
On Dr. Vitulli and Santoli's blog, I read a post by Dr. Vitulli called Dublin Bound, which was posted on October 24, before flying off to Ireland. In her short post, she says that it is time to turn off her cell phone, which will remained off throughout her trip. In addition, she says, "Listening to the Irish accents on the plane is already music to my ears." I replied by saying that it was good to be able to temporarily put away the phone and be able to tune into another world. I hoped that she had a great trip.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blog Assignment 9

Mr. McClung started teaching in the fall of 2008. For every school-year he has taught, he has written a blog post about what he has learned.


I was really interested in reading the post for his first year of teaching because I was sure that it addressed the issues that I may be having. In his first year of teaching, Mr. McClung says that an important decision he made was to be positive. I believe that there is nothing greater than to remain positive. Face it, very few things go smoothly and as planned, but positivity enables us to see problems in a completely different light.

Kids excited in a classroomHe also says that teachers are more concerned with the delivery of the content rather than student comprehension. It is crucial that you have to "let your audience drive your instruction". Another lesson he had learned was that no lesson is ever perfect, and the lesson you teach and the one you plan are always different. So, when things go wrong, work with the circumstances with a big smile. Wow, for me Mr. McClung just addressed two big issues that I would have had.

In addition, Mr. McClung says that communications is the best way to solve any problem in a workplace. I think communication is very important, especially between students and the teacher. It is very important that the teacher makes the students feel comfortable and builds strong relationships. A teacher should listen to his or her students and take more interest in their lives. I think this is the way that a student can feel close enough to discuss issues and change potential downfalls into successes.

A "Don't Stop" sign
Mr. McClung also states that it is impractical to hold high expectations from students. Instead, a teacher's job is to "simply pick them up after they fail, dust them of, and encourage them to try again". He also says that there is no reason to be afraid of technology. Last, he ends by saying that never stop learning. I really liked when he said that it was never too late to change the way of learning, thinking, or style, and I believe that technology plays a big part in this.


In this post, Mr. McClung starts out by saying that he had been trying to please his peers. In the process, he realized that it was not important. What is important is whether the kids are having fun. I agree that this is the #1 priority for a student. It is actually worth making a difference in your students lives and seeing them happy.

He says if you get too comfortable as a teacher, "you start to get lazy and ultimately your lessons will start to suck, which then in turn means that kids are not enjoying your class". I agree with Mr. McClung that the goal of an educator should be to make sure that the students are enjoying class and do not resent school. A teacher plays a vital role in shaping the future of the students. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Project #10: PLN Progress

Logo of
After a debate between Symbaloo and Netvibes and some research, I have finally chosen to use Symbaloo. Symbaloo provided me with a tab called "EDU Tools," which was great because I did not have to ponder over the numerous tools that I find to be potentially useful. However, there is still more work to be done. Since this is my own PLN, I need to take the "EDU Tools" and build on them. I have already started doing this by adding a few other sites. I have added the class blog and have started to customize "My Webmix". I have been following educators, such as Mr. Chamberlain, on Twitter, and spending more time on it than before (progress!).
Screenshot of my PLN on Symbaloo

Project #12: Book Trailor

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Project #9b (Prezi): How to do a Sciencefair Experiment

Blog Assignment 8

This is How We Dream: Parts 1 and 2

Dr. Miller discusses the difference of incremental changes and fundamentally changes. Incremental changes are simply those things that we work with now on our desktops. We research and put together things stated on the web, solely of text.  Another change is the use of collaboration. Collaborative work makes it possible to produce works with text, images, and sound. Dr. Miller states this is an incremental change too.

Multimedia toolsIn contrast, fundamental changes occur within the scopes of a digital environment. An example would be of how material changes before our eyes. Dr. Miller states, "Ideas do not belong to us individually, but they belong to us as a culture....We as educators must share ideas freely." Such a way is by using iTunes U. He sees a time when students will be using multimedia instead of word processing to compose.

These are great videos for future educators to see. They give a dose about the changes in technology and what lies in the future. Future educators, such as myself, need to become more aware of these fundamental changes, in order to become more prepared for teaching students in the age of multimedia.

I think that without keeping up, we would not be able to effectively teach students the necessary skills. Technology will never stop progressing. It is also important to know that multimedia can be fun. Why not utilize it?

Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

A screenshot of Carly's blog
Carly was a former student in EDM 310 in the Spring of 2011. In her 12th blog post, Carly makes an assignment for future educators, in which she assigns students to make a playlist consisting of various YouTube videos. (Check out her post for more information about her assignment.) In short, she wants us to symbolize our philosophy as a teacher. She combines various aspects that are important to an educator, such as creativity, program tutorials, and improvements in education. By expressing what it means to be a teacher combined in a single playlist, Carly is providing a great tool for other educators. At the end, other teachers can view her playlist and find what they need. They may even become inspired. Carly was able to combine types of material, such as YouTube videos, links, pictures, and text, to almost create multimedia.

EDM310 is Different

The Chipper Series

This series sets out to address the most common issues of students that keep them from success. It is based on a student named Chipper who makes some bad decisions. Her procrastination and bad work ethic lead to her downfall. After dropping out of school, she gets fired numerous times as a teacher and waitress due to her poor skills.

EDM310 for Dummies

This video presents student with the idea of not getting overwhelmed by the class. Instead, they should remain enthusiastic and open to the idea of learning. Tutorials of Blogger, Audacity, Skype, Delicious, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Docs will certainly help in this journey.

Videos for the Future

Other videos can be created similar to these to help students with EDM310. One I would suggest is based on peer critiquing. I have realized that peer editing can be so important when done properly. So, there should be a video made on the step-by-step process and the efficiency of peer editing. Another I would suggest is how to write a blog post. Many students still seem to struggle in putting in links, adding pictures, summarizing, and editing.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

books vs. laptopI think this video accurately attacks our current education system. I agree with all of the points made. Schools are like factories, where students are told to memorize and output information on a standardized test. But, how does this prepare students for their life? It simply doesn't. The only way to prepare them is through technology and the building of community learning. This will give them a sense of creativity, innovation, and teamwork, which is essentially what they will need in their future. In addition, it will teach them how to find, validate, analyze, synthesize, and communicate information. They will learn how to problem-solve with this information. Traditional schooling is ineffective since students are more stimulated outside of school through email, instant messaging, and social networking. Only if these tools are brought into our schools can we create a world of connectivity and learning.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

1. This is a great video tool, especially for educators. Some of its great features include that many student accounts can be created without the use of email addresses. You can organize projects with tags and publicly publish them. These videos can can be customized by your own soundtracks. Transitions effects can also be customized. Last, you can have unlimited videos with no limit on how many pictures per video. This tool puts together pictures, sound, and text to help the student in whichever way he or she learns best.

2. This is a great networking tool for teachers, students, and parents. Teachers can post notes, alerts, assignments, quizzes, and polls. Groups can also be created. In addition, there is access to Google Docs, as well as a calendar and a gradebook. Teachers are able to send notifications and messages to parents. They have access to grades also. Last, teachers can communicate with other teachers.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

C4T Summary for October

The blog screenshot of Ms. Mary Worrell
Ms. Mary Worrell is a teacher at an international school in The Netherlands.  In her post "Embracing the Grey Area", she discusses the changes she has made in her teaching technique. In her first year of teaching the Middle Years Programme, she was very excited that she had the freedom to pick and choose without worrying about state standards. However, as she began gathering material, she found the work to be very labor-intensive, especially because she had not ordered a MYP textbook. The following three reasons accounted for this: she had to write the curriculum, she is not very experienced, and searching for online resources is not easy. So, this year she ordered a textbook and found that she is liking what the textbook has to offer without feeling guilty. I commented by saying that I am a IB diplomat, and found my IB teachers to be very creative in what they taught. The would pick and choose from our textbooks similar to Ms. Worrell. I think that it is not a bad idea to have a textbook. It provides a study tool for students as well as great guiding questions for the teacher. The time saved from searching for resources can now by incorporated into the planning and execution.

In another blog post titled "Finding Time for Tech", Ms. Worrell states that she wants to teach some tech skills to her students. Her students have laptops, but she is asked questions like "how do I change my background?". When faced with these questions she has a plan of action. First, she tries to save some questions for her technology class. Second, by telling her students to google or ask the neighbor, she encourages them to use YouTube tutorials and build the skill of problem-solving. Third, she plans a "Get to Know Your Laptop Day", for which the students are asked to make a list of questions about their laptop. Then, she answers these questions by demonstrating. Fourth, she has tech-tip Fridays, which is when students show the class something "cool", such as keyboard shortcuts. In addition to this, Ms. Worrell discusses how she wants to start a tech help team with students. In my comment, I said that it was great that she was teaching students tech skills because they will surely need it in their future. Since I really liked the idea of Get to Know Your Laptop Day, I may even use it as a teacher. Last, I discussed how I was in some kind of tech team when I was in elementary school and helped with the school website. I suggested that she could use the idea herself.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blog Assignment 7

The Networked Student

In essence, this video uses the example of a student in the 21st century in high school studying American Psychology to show how connectivism can be a vital tool to maintain a learning network. The student's teacher does not lecture but uses the technique portrayed by connectivism, a theory that states that "learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties". It is a tool that can enable students to take control of learning.

A keyboard with a question mark on one of the keys; the internet can be an answer to many questions and a great source of informationThe student in this video practices finding information using Google scholar and his school library database to search for scholarly peer reviewed articles. He uses a social bookmarking site, such as Delicious, to post his own searches and read what others have posted. He finds that he can subscribe to blogs to get updated information, while also make his own blog to post his own reflections on the summation of the new information he is finding. iTunes U can give him access to recorded lectures of some of the best professors, while Skype can give him a communication tool.

So, why does he need a teacher? The video outlines that a student needs a teacher to guide, teach how to communicate, teach how to seek information from experts, show how to differentiate between good and bad material, and teach how to organize information. In the end, the goal of the teacher is for the student to learn how to maintain his or her learning network and use these tools in the future. I agree with the teacher's role in connectivism. Firstly, there is now so much information available on the Internet that a student must be taught how to use this information. Secondly, a student needs to be taught how to use this information in a positive and profitable way for his or her own learning.

I think guiding students in using connectivism can empower them with tools with which they can solve about any problem. On the other hand, I feel that there is a downside to using connectivism for the purpose of learning a subject. Not all students are motivated and dedicated to take control of their learning. Not everyone has the thrive to use communication tools to accumulate information. This may be especially true in subject areas where a student may not have an interest at all. So, I do not see it as a means to facilitate learning in all students. In summary, I believe that there should be an intermix between connectivism and teacher instruction for the purposes of learning about a particular subject.

A Seventh Grader's Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

This video shows the tools a seventh grade student uses for her science class. It is amazing to see how much these tools have helped her in expanding her knowledge. The following is a comparison of her PLE and my PLN:

  • Her PLE: Google Docs, Delicious, Blogger, Evernote, Glogster, Skype, YouTube, and Facebook
  • My PLN: Google Drive (Docs, Presentation, and Spreadsheet), Blogger, Skype, Twitter, YouTube  Google+, Timetoast, and Google Calendar

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blog Assignment 6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Acheiving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch lecturing the Last Lecture

What a wonderful and humorous lecture to hear to get the dose on the potential in life. Mr. Pausch's lecture focused on achieving your childhood dreams and enabling others to fulfill their childhood dreams. However, the main idea behind his lecture was how to lead your life. Through his experiences and ventures, he touched the lessons he learned in his life as well as those that he taught to others. As a future educator, I found his lecture to be very resourceful.

Something that Dr. Pausch said that he had learned earlier in his life is that critics are the ones that will show you that they still care. Others who stop telling you where you are messing up in life are the ones that have given up. Dr. Pausch urged that students become more reflective on criticism. He says that arrogance limits what you are can accomplish; therefore, instead of neglecting your mistakes, accept them and learn from them. This way, you are able to clean up and polish your skills. Peer-criticism is one technique I can use in my teaching. It is a great way for students to learn underlying skills, such as listening to feedback, and wisdom that will always be used latter on in their lives.

In many of the courses he taught, such as Building Virtual Worlds, he used the format of group-work. He wanted to impart that bonding between group members and learning how to work together is very important. It teaches how to work with different people (the class had people from all departments). I believe that group work allows you to learn to make all kinds of adjustments. I can't think of a better way to teach the hidden agenda of cooperation, leadership, membership, effective listening, and positivity. As an educator, it is crucial that students learn such skills, even though they are not found in the curriculum.

Another technique that I found essential was to keep "raising the bar". In the first year he taught Building Virtual Worlds, Dr. Pausch was simply amazed with the excellent first projects that his students had created. They exceeded his expectations. His mentor advised him to tell his class that the projects were good but could have been better. In this way, students worked harder, and he was able to get even more out of the students. I think a little challenge can get students to achieve more than they think they can achieve.

What I found to be the most important technique conveyed by Dr. Pausch was to find a fun way to teach something useful, something he called "edutainment" . He said that "the best way to teach something is to have them think that they are learning something else". For example, in his lifetime, Dr. Pausch used the approach of letting his students create movies and games to learn computer programming. As an educator, it is important that kids have fun while learning something hard. I think it is a great way to get attention and focus as well as dedication.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Blog Assignment 5

The iSchool Initiative

iPhone 5This is a very influential video published by Travis Allen when he was a high school senior. Travis addresses and brings out a solution for the massive budget cuts for schools. The iTouch is easy to use and can serve the needs of students as well as teachers and parents. Applications like Chemical Touch, Star Walk, and Formulae can provide the academic needs of a student. While Recorder can be used to record class lectures, Notes can be used to write lecture notes. These applications can also be used by teachers to send out to their students. Furthermore, iHomework is an application that breaks down courses for the student. Other applications like Calendar and Email can be used to stay up-to-date with assignments and due dates.

An application, such as Classic (which is a book reader that can access textbooks and library books), can have several advantages. Think about the paper, ink, and money it would conserve! With the continuing and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, this would a great way for schools to become environmentally conscious. Travis says that school systems spend about $600 per student. On the other hand, the cost of iSchool would be only $150. Most importantly, iSchool is a great way to prepare children for the technological world. I agree with Travis on all of these points and believe that the iSchool should be adopted by all schools. Not only is it cheaper and environmentally conscious, but it also serves the needs of students in every way by enhancing the learning environment.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Internet browsers
This is an amazing video to see if you want to see the power of the internet. It is unbelievable to see how 185 voices from 12 different countries have been put together to create this great performance! After watching this it is easy to believe that the Internet can provide a basis for so much creativity. It also reminds us of how we are not taking advantage of this great potential. Just image what can be done in the education system. With greater communication between students and teachers around the world, new ideas can spread and grow. Today's learners can become effective problem-solvers and leaders in tomorrow's world.

Teaching in the 21st Century

Computer with Te[a]ch written on it In this video, Kevin Roberts questions whether the school curriculum be focused on facts rather than skills. Since students can find facts anywhere and anytime, teachers are no longer the sources of information. Kevin points out that teachers are the filters of this information and should teach students how to use these resources to attain skills. Some examples that Kevin gives are how to get hired, how to find other routes to avoid traffic, and how to keep up with the latest innovations and ideas. Other skills that Kevin mentions are technological skills, such as podcasting, animation, and blogging, and being able to paraphrase, subscribe, twitter, reflect, and many others. Who will teach these students how to apply these tools in the correct way with accurate knowledge of pirating, plagiarism, copyright, and professionalism?

The availability and advances of technology has called for a change in teaching. I agree with Kevin and believe that these skills can be taught and experienced by the student. It is necessary that the student learn these skills to be successful. By making lessons engaging, educators can create effective learning built with the ability to problem-solve, evaluate, collaborate, and publish. As a future educator, technological resources can be utilized in a positive way to produce successful results. This blending of creativity with the requirements of the curriculum can prove to be a dynamic way to prepare the student for skills needed in the long-term. Similar to a point made by Kevin, as a future educator, I will have to prepare myself by researching new tools, collaborating with others already using these techniques, and taking some risk.

Flipped Classrooms

I believe that the approach of the flipped classroom is a great way to accomplish engaging learning. This technique has been applied by Ms. Gimbar and Ms. Munafo. In summary, the flipped classroom requires students to watch lectures and work corresponding problems at home before coming into the classroom. This gives the teacher time to facilitate learning rather than waste time lecturing. Since the lectures can be re-watched, struggling students can stay caught up.

I can definitively use this approach in my teaching. It is a way to use time wisely and incorporate additional, creative activities since the students will come already prepared. I will get more time to get the students to apply the knowledge rather than memorize.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

C4K Summary for September

Mao's blog
Mao is a fifth grader at Point England School. On September 18, 2012, she posted about her school assembly that gave a farewell to a teacher, Mrs. Verry. Mao was very emotional about the fact that her teacher was leaving. As a honor of her teacher, the groups from her school did dance performances, for which videos were posted by Mao. She described Mrs. Verry as a lovely teacher and the "Queen of Bling". She closed her post by saying that she will miss Mrs. Verry and may god bless her family. In my comment, I replied back to her by complimenting how well she had communicated her feelings. Also, I wrote about the things we had in common. For example, I felt the same way when I had to leave my 11th and 12th grade science teacher when going to college. Also, just like Mrs. Verry is the "Queen of Bling", my fifth grade teacher was the "Queen of Shoes" because of the different sandals she wore everyday. I was able to connect to Mao by saying that some teachers are so memorable.

Dustin's blogDustin attends a middle school in Iowa. His most recent blog post, called "Homecoming Week", was published on September 25, 2012. In this post, Dustin described the different things his school is doing each day of the week for homecoming week. I replied by telling him about the homecomings I had when I was in high school. I wrote that my school had homecoming t-shirts made which could be worn on the day of homecoming. In addition, I commented that Dustin's school seemed unique to me because the students were allowed to dress up as cats and wear 50 different things.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Project #5 Presentation

Blog Assignment 4

Mr. Joe Dale, in his video, lays out the benefits associated with podcasting in the classroom. Podcasting gives students a way to connect to their academics outside of the classroom. Since today's students are technologically-oriented, it is an applicable way to assign projects and listen to lectures. In terms of projects, Mr. Dale says that there is a lot to take away, such as the promotion of creativity. In addition, parents are able to find out what their children are involved in at school. Mr. Dale provides a How to Podcast link at the end of the clip, which will come in handy when I am creating my own podcast.

Skills involved with podcastingMs. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano has done an incredible job integrating podcasting into the learning environment.  For example, in one of her projects, students were assigned an endangered or threatened animal in Florida, where students had to describe the animal's habitat and explain why it is was endangered or threatened. Students not only learned about these animals but also acquired numerous skills. In her Reflections of Podcast Project post, she make it clear that technology tools can be used to sharpen academic skills. In Podcasting with 3rd Grade, Ms. Tolisano provides a summary of skills that students take away, such as research, sound editing software (record, edit, and import files), and copyright issues. 

I found the Producing a Podcast to be very efficient. This process will be very useful to me and my group when creating a podcast. Ms. Tolisano divides the process into several parts.
Steps of creating a podcast
After reading through the different approaches that Ms. Tolisano took with podcasting, I can conclude that podcasting can be an enjoyable way to learn. Furthermore, using technology can motivate and engage students. It is a rewarding method!

Friday, September 21, 2012

C4T Summary for September

Ms. Kolbert published "Are You Riding a Race Car or Horse and Buggy" on September 3, 2012. She used the analogy of the Amish people's use of the buggy and horse for movement when comparing to the education system's lack of use of technology. She says, "The rest of the world is competing in Nascar-like races, and you're hoping to win in your buggy". In her post she made some important points about the education system of today who is retarding the ability of students to learn and communicate in the world. I commented by adding on to Ms. Kolbert's post by saying that the world is moving so fast (race cars) while teachers and the education system are lagging behind without the use of technology (buggies). Since it is a teacher's job to help the student be successful and prepare him or her for the future, if technology is not integrated in the classroom, he or she is not doing his or her job right. Educators should prepare students to stay up to speed with society and its advances.
Screenshot of Ms. Kolbert's blog
Because Ms. Kolbert did not have a newer post, I chose to go back and comment on an older post. Ms. Kolbert published "Some Things I Learned at ISTE" on June 29, 2012, on her blog. Her post mainly discussed what she got out of ISTE. She learned a lot about herself, such as how inspired she was and how she had made new friends. Furthermore, Ms. Kolbert discussed that there was a focus on helping teachers see that they are valued, but there were some people who argued that teachers were alone out there, which she felt was wrong. She was happy about the fact that new people had joined the Bloggers' Cafe. Lastly, she discussed the features of the iPad app, called Soundnote, that she had recently learned. I commented by replying that it was a a good thing that she was able to deepen her relationship with people that she had only previously known. In addition, I agreed with her that it was good that teachers were being valued. Every individual teacher can have a great influence on his or her students for the rest of their lives. So, it is important to help them feel empowered.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Make it Public or Keep it Private?

Clip art of the editing process
When editing a blog post of a classmate, you can choose to comment publicly or privately. I believe that commenting should be done publicly because it can help others find the same mistakes in their own posts. As long as commenting is done positively, there is no reason for comments to be embarrassing. Furthermore, if the peer editing process stated in Blog Assignment 3 is followed (the three-step process of complimenting, suggesting, and correcting), the comment will be very effective in bringing change.   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Assignment 3

Peer Editing

Peer editing can uncover mistakes that may go unnoticed otherwise.

I used to always think that I successfully fulfilled the task of peer editing until I watched What is Peer Editing? and Writing Peer Review: Top 10 Mistakes. In addition, the slideshow Peer Edit with Perfection! outlines how to peer edit. To summarize from these videos, peer editing should be done very positively and specifically. You should start with compliments, such as "I really liked your topic". Then, move on to give suggestions on word choice, details, organization, sentence structure, and topic. Last, show the writer what corrections and improvements can be made in punctuation, spelling, grammar, and sentence structure.

In my opinion, these videos effectively broke down the process of peer editing. I also agree that it is important to be positive in the process. What I learned most in this video is to give specific corrections. The point of peer editing is to show the writer his or her mistakes so he or she does not repeat them. It is almost invaluable to say that "you have a few grammar mistakes". It must be pointed out for the writer to notice.

Technology in Special Education

In this video Ms. Lace Cook explains how incorporating technology in a special education classroom can be rewarding. When she interviews her students, all of them agree that technology has made life easier for them. Ms. Cook believes that technology can facilitate student participation by capturing attention to the extent that they become interested and eager to learn.

Ms. Cook moves around the classroom and shows how each of her students are using technology. One student uses his iPod to listen to his audio book because he needs someone to read the book aloud. This way, reading can be made exciting and independent for these kids. A computer can magnify things for kids who cannot see properly. Also, it can help special children communicate and do their assignments more efficiently.

I believe that technology in a special education classroom can positively impact a child's education. I agree with Ms. Cook that it holds attention. It is a way that creativity can be implanted in education to make learning more interesting.

An iPad App for Special Education
A screenshot of the iPad application Science360.

After watching How the iPad Works with Academics with Autism, I would use the Science360 App in a classroom to improve learning. This application features interactive images and videos gathered from scientist, engineers, and colleges. This would be amazing to use because these special education children would be able to travel the world and look at what science has to offer. They would be able to learn about how things work, which may even open their creativity! Interactive images and videos would make learning about these things more fun and understandable, at the same time expanding a special education child's vocabulary and world.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

Vicki Davis is a teacher and IT Director at a school in rural Georgia. She uses technology to connect her students to the rest of the world. She believes that having a paper and pencil only allows some of her students to succeed. Ms. Davis "accomplishes her curriculum but customizes what happens in the classroom". Her goals include to teach new software, how to learn, using wiki, blogging effectively, and collaborating. At the end, using skills sets of thinking and brainstorming, she wants all of her students to be comfortable with any type of technology.

I believe that Ms. Davis has done a great job implementing technology into her curriculum. It allows her students that live in a rural area to actively share and be a part of bigger projects that other students are taking part in the world. I agree with her when she says that a paper and pencil only allows some to succeed. This verifies that when technology is used in a classroom setting, learning can become more captivating.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog Assignment 2

Did You Know: A John Strange 2012 Version

This is a video created by EDM 310 professor John Strange that outlines an interesting set of statistics about the relationship between the present student and technology. In a very short amount of time, there have been many technology advances, such as laptops and smart phones. What is surprising is that almost every student, including minorities, has one of each! People use these devices, and are able to socially connect through people all around the world, whether it is personally or professionally.

The main message set across the video asks if you are ready to be an educator. It is time that we realize how much technology can impact education. The purpose of education is to prepare students for their future, and if we are not using technology ourselves than there is no way we can help a student progress. It is almost like the world outside of school is advancing while teachers are using the same teaching techniques as 100 years ago. As educators, we need to upgrade our teaching techniques and meet the demands for the upcoming technological world.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

This is a video about Mr. Winkle who has woken up after 100 years. He wakes up to find a world that has changed extremely. He finds offices with telephones, computers, and printers. He sees people communicating with laptops across the world and having meetings. Mr. Winkle is surprised by the technology in hospitals like x-rays and lasers and other things that keep people alive.

However, amid all the changes, there was one place that he found familiar. That place was a school where a teacher lectured his or her students all day and the students took notes. It was this place where the outside world had not influenced. This video also captures a great message: why has the world moved on, while educators have remained where they were 100 years ago? As a student, I had gone through the same kind of teaching technique, which I found torturing. Technology can enhance creativity in the learning environment.

A Day Made of Class 2
This is a very unique video which shows  future technology and how it influences the world ahead of us. The girl in this video wakes up with her tablet and has all of her items stored into it, including her favorite music, her wardrobe, and her educational  needs. The very surprising thing is how it incorporated into the education.

It is amazing for future educators to see and understand that we need to progress or we will never be able to catch up. Technology is moving too fast. If educators do not make the change now, they may never be able to catch up.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson is a creativity expert who challenges the education system and encourages today's system to bring out the creative in children. I agree when Mr. Robinson says that creativity is very important. He says that we get educated out of creativity as we become adults. However, as children, people are creative because they are not scared to be wrong. As we become more conscious and grow older, the creativity slowly disappears.

Mr. Robinson says that "if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original". He is encouraging educators to change and become more creative. He challenges them to use creativity as a device to help children advance.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blog Assignment 1

Who Am I?

The first thing that I can think of when it comes to telling someone about me is the fact that I am Indian. Actually, I was born in the United States in Raleigh, North Carolina, in between almost my entire family, both my mom’s and dad’s side.  So, I grew up in a very family-oriented environment learning Indian values and traditions. In consequence, my parents forgot that I was a child born in the United States and failed to teach me English. Therefore, when I stepped into Kindergarten, I had no idea what the teacher was saying.  Because of the lack of a common language (thanks to my parents) I didn’t have friends for a long time.  However, the values and beliefs that my parents taught me are the core of who I am. There is no one else that I could be more thankful. As a result of the great amount of trust they placed on me and my brother, we learned to have discipline and make sure that we don’t hurt them in any way possible. This leads me to saying that I have a younger brother about two years younger than me. We both do not fight like typical brother and sisters but just get annoyed with each other once in a while. We have learned that the less we expect of each the less we get into fights (try it). Our relationship is built with trust and understanding to the extent that we can read each others’ faces. Basically, he is more of a friend than brother.

My parents bought a business in Mobile, causing us to move 12 hours away from Raleigh when I was 11. I came to a place of which I had not even known existed on the map. The bright side of it was that my dad’s business partner had three kids in the same age group as me and my brother. Their family became family to us, and we all went to school together and with each other. We still do. We all attend South because of the fact that it is close to home.

Other than the fact that I like to teach, I have many hobbies and interests. I love making art and crafting. I enjoy cooking, especially Indian food. I am an outdoor person, who likes to take a trail, bike, river raft, and enjoy scenery, in particular at the mountains. In addition, I enjoy playing sports, such as badminton, cricket, and basketball, even though I am not good at them. Last, I am a very spiritual person.

I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. I used to make my brother and cousins sit and listen to me teach (they almost hated me for it), promising their mothers that I would help them bring up their grades. I went to the extent that I even made lesson plans, worksheets, and had a grade book!  I even had a small white board. When my grandmother came from India to visit, I took the opportunity to teach her English.

As I progressed through school, I found my interest in the sciences. My 11th and 12th grade science teacher from my IB Biology class at Murphy High School, Mrs. Sudeiha, has been my greatest inspiration. What foremost surprised me was the fact that she actually cared about her students. I had never seen such a lively teacher in my life. She sometimes would become enzymes or a body organ. It was simply amazing to me!  Due to her encouragement, I started to take part in the science fair, twice ending up at the state fair. Mrs. Sudeiha is a great role model. It is because of her that I have realized that I want to be able to teach students in such a way that they do not get frightened by science, but rather have fun and find an interest. I want to play an active role in impacting a student’s life positively for his or her present and future.

Dr. Pausch and Time Management

Randy Pausch was a computer science professor who died from pancreatic cancer. He became famous for his very influencing lecture called “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. As a matter of fact, there is a lot to learn from him, ranging from fulfilling dreams, living life to the fullest, and core skills like time management. In his lecture on time management, Dr. Pausch urged students to understand the importance of doing something and realize its goal. He also said that students need to focus on doing the right things rather than doing things right. It is necessary to have a to-do list and some kind of plan. Last, Dr. Pausch encouraged students to break things down and to “do the ugliest things first”. I have always found it tough to apply this last one. I tend to the easiest things first and stress about the hard things I have left to do. I recommend this video for all those out there who have a hard time managing time.