Saturday, December 3, 2011

C4T Summary for Teacher Tom

Large Wavy American Flag

My first comment on Teacher Tom's blog was on his How to Honor Veterans post. He went over the proper way to honor a veteran in his post and gave some words of wisdom to the readers. I talked about how we have some companies that honor veterans and some companies that basically treat them like the scum of the earth. I explained how my uncle served in the Air Force for 26 years and is still struggling to this day now that he is out and has trouble getting help. Tom also mentioned how this country has been in war for so many years that people don't really realize how long it has been (off and on). I think his blog is awesome and will visit again (even if it is just to read some posts).

Picture of Still Life Apples

My second comment on Teacher Tom's blog is based on his post where he is trying to get the kids to draw pictures of still life. I state that they are doing what a typical 3 - 5 year old kid would do although he knows that. I also mention how they are learning even if they are not doing what we would do and they will remember what they learned when they get older.

Final Progress on PLN

Final PLN Progress Report

My PLN is coming along but not in the way I would that I expected. I truly didn't even realize my PLN was growing. I have got back in touch with old friends that are teachers; I am now following and have several new educators following me on twitter. I have checked out many teachers blogs and continue to visit their blogs when they post new items. I have found a teacher debate site -Education Debate that have several controversial subjects posted on it that I love to comment on. I have commented on students blogs from around the world and will visit these kids’ blogs again. Although I have been on Facebook for some time, I now know how to use it in a group session and will be able to set up an account for my class. I have found several mathematics sites that I will use as resources that I wouldn't have thought of had it not been for this class.

Educational Debate Logo

All of these resources that are and have been at my fingertips for some time are now part of my PLN. So, I guess I would say that my PLN is now much more complete. This is not to say that it can't continue to grow but this is a great start and can only get better from here.

C4K Summary for November

C4K November Summary

Postcard of South AfricaIn C4K #9 Oscar created a short Lego movie of the life story of Nelson Mandela. I told Oscar that I had been to South Africa and had stood in the very cell that Nelson Mandela spent a good part of his life in. I briefly explained to him what the cell was like and told him that if he ever had the chance to visit South Africa it would be worth the trip.

In C4K #10 Jaden wrote about a "Student Blogging Challenge: Game" he was participating in and I commented on how well he was doing in the game. He also has some questions at the end of his post and I answered them. My answers to his questions were as follows:

King James BibleI have an avatar on my kids Wii console. That is the only avatar that I am aware of. Maybe I should check the web just to make sure I don't have any more.

My favorite book is the Holy Bible. I like the King James Version, New King James Version and the Amplified Bible. I read this book almost every day.

I have played several pranks on people. I played a prank on a co-worker not too long ago at work. Unfortunately, this co-worker got a little upset but eventually they got over it.

I am not participating in the game although it sounds like something fun that can be done in our class. I may have my professor look into it for next semester.

I informed Jaden that he had an excellent blog and to keep up the good work.

Australian Fireworks
In C4K #11 Roman wrote about their fireworks day which reminds me a lot of the 4th of July here. He had fun jumping on the trampoline and watching the fireworks and then the smoke after the show. I told him I had never heard of fireworks day and how it reminded me of Independence Day here. It is definitely a sight to see and I let him know that I learned something new that day.

Blog Post # 14

Jose Picardo - The Language Teacher

Jose Picardo's Box of Tricks logoIn Jose Picardo's website he sets it up like a mix of a social media page and a blog page. He provides several links for people to follow (teachers and students) and he also allows for comments on his page and he responds to them so everyone can see them. His webpage reminds me of Mrs. Yollis webpage but hers is set up mainly for her students and their parents and his seems to be set-up more to share with anyone that visits his page. His page of resources is amazing as he lists a lot of resources from A to Z. The time that he has vested in his webpage and the fact that he is constantly updating his page means he is dedicated to the success of his students and wants to help other teachers succeed as well.

Picture of YouTube on an iPhoneBeyond his webpage, he posts a top 10 video on YouTube where he is again attempting to help other teachers by providing a list of helpful tools when working with their students. What I found interesting is that he basically states in his video that teachers should work with the students instead of being stuck in their ways that aren't working. He encourages the use of technology and allows students to use the tools they have to help them learn. What's funny about this is that I have suggested that I would do this with my classroom as long as it didn't take away from what I was trying to accomplish. His students probably like him because he appears to be fun yet effective. His methods make a lot of sense and therefore should be tried and he wants all to be successful. I would suggest that most teachers check out his website and add it to their PLN as a powerful resource. More importantly, I invite them to watch the video and see what ideas they could use in their classrooms.

Final Project # 16

C4K #10 Assignment

Mrs. Yollis' 3rd Grade Class
Picture of Mrs. Yollis and her husband in Hawaii

Mrs. Yollis' 3rd Grade Class in California is different than most 3rd grade classrooms. The main difference is that they are very technologically savvy. As a matter of fact, they probably know more than I do know and definitely more than I did when I was in 3rd grade a long long time ago. Their class sessions consist of more than just learning, reading, writing, and arithmetic. It includes learning how to interact with the world and using resources to help them learn.
Picture of the kids in Mrs. Yollis' class

November is Family Blogging Month in Mrs. Yollis' class and this means that they are able to blog with family members, hold interesting conversations, learn new things and share with the rest of the classroom. I read on the blog that one of the students where blogging with their dad who was in New York on business. Isn't it wonderful to be able to stay in touch with your parents even when they are thousands of miles away? Recently, the kids in Mrs. Yollis' class raised $227.75 for UNICEF and their class goal was $25. I wonder if this has anything to do with their world connection. They also had an interesting Skype session with their friends in Australia where they learned about each others' hometown. Mrs. Yollis' class blog has links to other education class blogs they follow, a cluster map that now shows that over 75,000 visitors have come to their site and it even shows the comments that were left for her students. The class blog is very useful for the students and pretty easy to navigate for visitors.

Capital Building in Sacramento, CAI absolutely love the way Mrs. Yollis has a link that says Meet Mrs. Yollis and she has on there a picture of herself when she was in third grade. She also has pictures of herself out having fun so her students know that she has a life outside of the classroom as well. At the same time, she has a link called Meet the Bloggers! where she introduces her class and some of the things they like to do. This allows the visitors to understand what the kids like and where they come from. On Mrs. Yollis' website she has links to several sources parents and kids alike can use to aid them in their learning. Everything is so easy to get to and all so very useful for anyone that visits the site. There are many more links and fun things on her website but all useful for those trying to learn. There are a lot of things going on in California and teachers are really exploring and trying new things. Mrs. Yollis' class is the class of the future and Mrs. Yollis is building a brighter future.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Project 15 Smart Board Instruction Part II

Blog Post # 13

My Teacher is an App

My Teacher is an App is an article about online education for high school aged and younger students. Students are taking classes in 31 states online and their test scores haven't really been up to par with brick and mortar schools according to the research. The schools are for profit schools that are making money off of the rich and not providing the same quality education that students would receive in a traditional school. For some, these schools are a last ditch effort for students to learn the material and for others, they are just tired of public schools and are looking for something different.

Cass Tech Brick and Mortar High SchoolThe problem is; the students have to be dedicated to their education to benefit from online schools and they have to want to learn. The computer will not make you learn, it is merely there as a helping tool (and a pretty stagnant one at that) that will assist you in your learning. The students enrolled in totally virtual schools have to want to learn in order to be successful and then if they don't truly comprehend what is going on, they need a teacher. The companies that run these online schools are there to make money and don't really care if the students learn or not. As long as their numbers are up, they are profiting and doing what they are out to do. It is obvious Rupert Murdoch is happy with the virtual schools because he cares about making money for his company and it is easy to do with the poor education system in many areas. Persuade the parents and administration that your product works and off you go. The students won't understand why they aren't prepared for college and the parents don't realize that they have wasted money when they were already paying for their child's education through taxes and the public school system.

Picture of Rupert Murdoch at a News Corp ConferenceInstead of sending your child to a totally online school, parents need to take more of an active role in their child's education and make the school boards do what they are supposed to do. We pay taxes so our children can have a quality education. This means getting rid of the riff-raft and getting quality educators in the school system. That is not to say that online learning is not beneficial because students do need additional resources and online learning is definitely a way to supplement the material learned in class. The schools where the students learned online and in the classroom did remarkably better than the totally online schools. And if you were not dedicated to learning (like not going to Algebra because you didn't want to) then you are destined to fail that class and possibly drop-out if things aren't going the way you expected.

There are advantageous and disadvantageous to online learning and the key is to make it work by determining what will work and what won't work. In a brick and mortar school, you can work online and also receive classroom instruction. The teachers are there to guide the students in the right direction and have the knowledge to answer questions that may arise. The students are able to receive the social interaction that is needed and collaborate to get assignments completed and assist each other in their learning objectives. If you work solely online, you can work at your own pace, you may be ahead of your peers and that is OK. You can get help from a teacher or parent or another credible source when they are available and schools don't have all of the overhead costs associated with a traditional school building.

Picture of High School and words Tax PaymentsI enjoy online learning but I also enjoy going to a classroom every once in a while like we do in EDM 310. This set-up is good for college students who are paying for school and are more likely to go to class and complete assignments because it is worth it to them. For high school aged and younger students, the costs associated with going to school at a traditional school or online are not a factor to them; they are not paying for it. I don't see them really expressing any more interest in an online school than they would a traditional school. With all of this said, I believe we should take virtual schools for what they really are, a business, and treat them as such. You will only get out of these schools what effort you put in. There isn't a teacher that really cares if you succeed or not as long as they are making money. In a traditional school if most of their students are failing they get reprimanded for it. According to the statistics, the students in the online schools are failing but it is not the fault of the teacher, it is the fault of the students because they are not dedicated. Online schools have a time and a place but it is not in primary and secondary education. Leave it for colleges and let them test the system. College is already a business but at this point the students' careers depend on what they learn so they will do better.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Got the Metaphor Special Assignment # 1

Peanuts metaphor with LinusLife is too short to be serious all of the time, isn't it? If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I would be rich. But, it's the truth, isn't it? Life is too short for people to be serious all of the time and if we don't know how to step back, relax, and enjoy what life has to offer we will miss the joys of life.

Metaphors are used to help break the ice, put a smile on your face, get you to think a little bit more, or simply because they are funny. If we didn't use metaphors, life would simply be boring (no pun intended). We need to think outside the box, play chess with words, explore the open terrain until those that are confused with the use metaphors really get it. Yes, we could just come out and say what really mean but where's the fun in that? I like to have fun; I like reading things that push the boundaries of one's conscious mind and invites them to go deeper. If I can go to bed thinking about what I read because it contained metaphors that required me to think a little more, the author has done their job.

Bread of Life hands and bread and scripture from bibleOne book (or books depending on how you look at it) has more metaphors than any other book in the world. This book is the Bible. It is filled with them because God’s purpose was that we read, re-read, and read some more so we remember what he has told us. God wants us to think about what he is saying so we really get the message. In the Bible, Jesus gives several parables (metaphorical stories) and some are confused and others are not. The Bible is meant to be interpreted by different people in different ways. The only real meaning is the one God has assigned for you (the reader) at the time you are reading a book, chapter, or verse. So, if God is able to use metaphors with different meanings for different people throughout his book to connect with several billion people, why can’t an author use a metaphor to portray one central meaning to his readers? Metaphors are a way of life and have been for centuries. God has a sense of humor and so should we.

I believe metaphors fail to work with some college students because they are too focused on making sure they get it right. They are not looking for any type of humor in what they read because a lot of them are used to scholarly articles that contain facts and research instead of articles that simply aim to entertain. Also, a lot of scholarly articles could be written with some form of metaphor that would make them more interesting but it is college students writing them and they are stuck on being serious instead of having fun.

Albert Einstein poster quote saying: If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.When we get to college, most professors don't say: "I want you to have fun in this course and you will still learn a lot". They begin by stating what the course is about and the objectives that need to be covered during the semester. This is usually more than what should be crammed into 16 weeks but that is what they require that you learn so the curriculum becomes stressful for college students. Now, it is work, work, work, and play (humor) is not even thought of by those looking to be successful business professionals, teachers, or engineers. What most of the students don't know is that when you get out of college, those extremely successful individuals you will eventually run into will almost always have a great sense of humor and if you are witty enough, you just might land a great job.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Progress on Final Project

For our final project, Group JAM, which consists of KaShondra Rudolph, Ramsey Willis, and Erwin Coleman will be doing a project using the green screen and iMovie.  We will teach a lesson and show some of the benefits of using the green screen and iMovie in education.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blog Post # 12

Is 9 hours really enough for EDM 310?

In the middle of the semester, right around the same time students complete the midterm, they should complete a blog post stating whether 9 hours a week is really enough of a minimal commitment for EDM 310. They should base their decision on the amount of time they spend completing their assignments and the feedback provided by Dr. Strange and the lab assistants. This will allow the students to better prepare for the end of year review and help them see if they need to spend more time working on EDM 310 assignments. They should also answer the question Dr. Strange asked in the class session about why students have trouble commenting on other classmates work. They can cite resources (if they would like) to back up either of their claims (the nine hours a week is/isn't enough or about commenting on other classmate's work) but their posts should still meet the guidelines for writing a quality blog post and should still be substantial. It should provide valuable insight for Dr. Strange and help him understand the students’ point of view when it comes to time management and commenting on another students' work. Remember, we learn every day, the professors and the students.

Three signs on a post, one displaying now, one tomorrow, and the other yesterdayAs for me, I don't feel like 9 hours (even at a minimum) is really enough time to fully understand the material presented and discussed in EDM 310. I spend approximately 20 - 24 hours a week working on EDM 310 weekly assignments. I may be a little excessive but I want to make sure I really understand what is being said or discussed and provide valuable feedback or write a quality blog. Dr. Randy Pausch states in his video on Time Management "good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment". Why is this so important for this class you ask? In the middle of the semester if the students have been making bad judgments and not getting the work turned in on time or have not been spending enough time working on the assignments, they now have the experience and should be able to evaluate themselves and make better decisions. It didn't take me to the middle of the semester to figure this out only because my ultimate goal is to get a 4.0 in all of my classes and if I drop the ball, I realize it is on me. My lack of effort will not result in me achieving this goal so I realized that I must change my behavior sooner rather than later. I did a self-reflection early and realized for me to be successful, I must spend more time on the assignments. I believe it has paid off and the effort I put into each and every assignment is noticed by Dr. Strange and the lab assistants.

Students grading each others' workDr. Strange asked in a class session why it was difficult for students to comment on another students’ work. I provided this response during the class: "Dr. Strange wants to know why it is difficult for students to critique each other in public. The problem is the students fear that they may not be qualified enough to tell someone they are incorrect. Yes, we only wish to help them and make them better but who are we to tell someone their work is not good enough. Most of us will tell someone privately as not to embarrass them in public and potentially end their career before it has even begun. Others just haven’t developed that level of comfort yet and are therefore reluctant to “judge” another students’ work. At this stage we are all working to get a degree but as a teacher you are supposed to know more and are more comfortable telling someone they are incorrect." After that class meeting I am a little bit more comfortable telling someone they are incorrect or they are doing something wrong in public and I will definitely question whether someone really understood what they were supposed to do. I do this because I just don't think that everyone in the class gets what they are truly supposed to be learning in this class. This class is about being an independent learner, learning from your mistakes and understanding the world around you. I don't want someone who couldn't understand how to complete an assignment and didn't bother to find out how to correctly complete that assignment teaching my children. I want the teacher to be well informed and able to go get help if they need it. Sometimes, it seems like some of the students are just lazy. I have 4 children, a wife, and go to school and work. I don't have a lot of extra time but I devote the hours needed to the assignments that need to be completed in all of my classes. Some students don't have half of the responsibility that I have yet they cannot write a quality blog post. To me, this is unacceptable especially for individuals that are typically juniors and seniors in college. We are all going to be teachers, showing children how they should live their life. Shouldn't we live ours as examples for the future?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Summary of C4K Posts for October

Summary of C4K posts for October

Picture of Eiffel Tower at Night

For C4K #4 I commented on Andrea's blog. She wanted to visit and go to the top of the Eiffel tower in Paris. I told her I would like to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris one day but didn't know if I wanted to go to the top. She also mentioned how she wanted to take her extended family with her and I told her it was great that she thought about the rest of her family. I mentioned that it would be an excellent trip for them.

Rugby players getting ready for a big gameFor C4K #5 I commented on Angelo's blog. Angelo described what it was like to be a top notch rugby player and I told him I hoped to be as fit as a race horse one day. I told him that he gave a great description of what type of shape they had to be in when he stated that they were "fit like a race horse and eat healthy food everyday".

For C4K #6 I commented on Tevita and Dartania's post about the Canada vs. Tonga rugby match. The kids created a movie in imovie where they interviewed some people and asked them what they thought about the match. Some of the people were for Canada but they wanted Tonga to win. Tonga didn't win the match but the interviews went well. I told them that I had never seen a live Rugby match before but I would be interested in seeing one someday and I might even cheer for Tonga.

A picture of sedimentary rocks showing superposition

For C4K #7 I commented on Smantie's blog. Smantie taught the class about superposition and since I didn't know much about superposition, I asked Smantie to teach me about superposition as well.

Frog in water on lilly pads
For C4K #8 I commented on Donyae's blog. Donyae did a post on book called Frog Adventure that he was reading. He used the word HIGHGATE to describe the frogs adventure and how they lived in the book. I told him that it shows creativity and helps him better understand what he has been reading. It was excellent work and I let him know that.

Blog Post # 11

Mrs. Cassidy Skype Interview was very interesting because she teaches 1st graders and you wouldn’t think that 1st graders used technology like the rest of the world. The truth is they probably use technology more than any business or “older” person because this is all that they have known in their lifetime. Mrs. Cassidy stated that she did not have a Facebook account until recently but she has used twitter a lot. I, on the other hand, did not have a Twitter account until recently but I have had a Facebook account for years. So, I guess what I am saying is, just as she said, it depends on the individual. Some will be more apt to use a certain type of technology and another person might be more apt to use a different one.

In Mrs. Cassidy first grade class they are able to try several different types of technology and learn the different types of technology. They don’t have to like everything they use, but she does want to introduce them to many different types of technology that may assist them in their learning. She is taking what we are doing in EDM 310 and incorporating it into her 1st grade curriculum. So, not only are they learning how to write, they are learning how to write, post, edit, comment, create videos, create podcasts and interview individuals using Skype and possibly other forms of technology that allows this. They use computers (stand alone programs), they use the internet, they use video games but all in the spirit of learning. They are learning the things a typical 1st grader should learn, but they are also learning how to use technology effectively and safely. Based on what Mrs. Cassidy stated in the interview, I would not be surprised if she were probably teaching them about the effective uses of smart phones although I cannot verify that right now.

Pictures of several different types of smart phonesIn my classroom (which will be high school teenagers) I have a challenge if they have grown up where they were not allowed to use technology in school. I only have this problem because I will be providing them with links that prove useful in trying to help validate a point I have made or a lesson I have taught. I will invite them to bring their smart phones with the understanding that whatever you are doing or have done on that phone you must be willing to share with the entire classroom at any time. This means that whatever is on your phone, if you decide to bring it to class, must be suitable to share with the rest of the class. Because I will be teaching Math, I will look for them to create PLN’s that will assist them in their advancement in the class. I will not hinder them from contacting someone outside of the class if they can provide valuable insight. There are a million and one ways to do one thing and no one person is always right. So I will invite them to share what they have learned from their PLN with the rest of the class.

I may run into some challenges by allowing all of the technology in my class. Like Mrs. Cassidy I will only allow things that are relevant for learning the material I want the students to learn so I may have to keep a close eye on what the students are doing on the phones. I also have to make sure the students are learning what I am teaching them; not only the subject matter but also the responsibility that comes with that freedom. Incorporating the use of technology into the curriculum and making sure I cover everything that should be covered that year may be a little challenging although I believe it is well worth the extra time it may take. I will allow the technology but the students will all be given the opportunity to show what they have learned using the technology they have chosen. If they are not willing to share what they have learned or if it is not appropriate, that student will be dismissed from enjoying the use of that technology in the classroom and the freedom that comes with that opportunity. I will have to think of ways to incorporate the use of technology in the classroom beyond what I have mentioned to allow for PLN use and other things like that but I will get that done as I am creating my lesson plans.

Freedom Students Sign

I may also run into some problems with the administration at the school. Like Mrs. Cassidy, all of the administrators may not be advocates of using technology in the classroom and may try to prohibit me from allowing students to use that side of their creative minds. As I stated in a previous posts, I believe this is because they are not comfortable with the technology because it is unfamiliar territory to them. Hey, I may have been the same way had it not been for this class and me now understanding what is out there and how to use it effectively. Although, this could be an impediment I will do my best to educate those that are not in favor of me using this approach by showing stats of how the students have progressed in the class. I will also show them how it has helped my students and what advantages it has had for them from comments from the students and letters to administrators from the students. Every attempt will be made to ensure that what I have allowed, and is working, will continue in the classroom to make sure my students are effective learners using every tool available to them.

Adolescence to Adulthood picture with baby, teenager, then adult and an arrow pointing upLastly, I believe the students will experience several benefits by this approach. The first and probably least obvious is that they are becoming adults and need to understand how to behave as adults. The freedom they enjoy in my classroom will help them make better informed decisions in the future. They will learn how to find information that will assist them in their development. They will be able to teach someone else how to use the technology to assist them with their education. All of this because I allowed them to be creative, use the technology they were familiar with, encourage PLN’s; learn new ways to do things. I want to reinvent the wheel. It has been around for so long with no changes because people don’t want to change what’s working. Why not change it? Why not try something new? You never know what is out there unless you explore. We limit ourselves too much today and I will not do that with my students. I want them to explore. I want them to change the world and if I can help them do that, I definitely will.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C4T Summary #2

For this C4T I commented on two of Michelle Luce's post. The first post was called "Is Success Really About Failure" and the second post was called "'Leader in Me' Program Gives Jobs to Elem. Students".

Failure poster as seen in Michelle Luce's article
The first article was interesting because Michelle mentioned and explained how failure is what we need to grow and get better. She also spoke about how not letting our children experience failure is not helping them become successful in the future. I told her in my comment that I was almost ready to debate the posting if it had stated that failure was not needed but on the contrary the post stated just about everything I believe to be true. The post stated that we basically need to be tougher on the kids and allow them to experience failure to be better prepared for the world. It's a tough world out there and if we "baby" our kids, they will be ill-prepared for the world to come.

Bar graph with the word Success and a curved arrow pointing upThe second article spoke about a program in Coffeen Elementary school that gave the children responsibility in the schools. They had jobs while they were there and were treated just like they would be in an employment situation where they would be paid. I stated in my comment that I like this program because it teaches the students how to be responsible at a young age. I also stated that with responsibility comes productivity and productivity breeds success. Not just for those companies that will hire these children but for anyone that is fortunate enough to be able to work with these future well-prepared adults.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Post # 10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

While this video is very inspiring it doesn't really change how I feel about education and teaching. I would say that I teach and educate because if you try and separate the two, your end results are probably not as favorable as you would like. I believe it is impossible to educate someone without teaching even if you are not trying to teach. It is your actions that teach when there is no intended educational or learning purpose but those watching are constantly being educated by what you do and say. To teach (as defined by Merriam-Webster Online)is:

1. to cause to know something
2. to cause to know how
3. to accustom some action or attitude
4. to guide the studies of
5. to impart knowledge of.

To educate (as defined by Merriam-Webster Online) is:

1. to provide schooling for
2. to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession
3. to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction
4. to provide with information
5. to persuade or condition to feel, believe, or act in a desired way.

As we teach today and in the future our main purpose should be to educate or develop our students mentally, morally, and aesthetically so they are able to perform in modern society. We want them to know the information we provide to them (educate them mentally) and we want them to know how to find the information if they didn't have a teacher around (condition to act in a desired way). So, you clearly have to teach (the subject matter and by being a role model at the very least) so your students are educated and trying to separate the two is nearly (if not totally) impossible. A teacher's work is never done and that is why teachers must be cognizant of what they do and say even when they leave the "office".

I plan to work around the clock teaching my students and other kids around me even if it is not the subject matter I normally teach. My behavior, my attitude, and my general presence will serve as a guide for those around me. I teach by being who I am and imparting knowledge when I can but educate everyone around me even if it is unintentional.

Picture of a hand holding a glass of pencilsTom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home!

At first glance one may wonder what in the world is Tom Johnson talking about. What do you mean by don't let them take the pencils home? We don't use pencils anymore. Tom Johnson lived in the 19th century and was at the forefront of innovation. So, like Dr. Scott McLeod, author of Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? Johnson argues that if we don't allow our children to embrace and cultivate with the new technology they will be behind in the future. Although different, both McLeod and Johnson warns of the impact the technology (as small as a pencil is today) will have on the future. They also joke about all of the dangers involved with the technology that exists during their times. It is almost like they were born of the same breed.

Test bubble sheet and pencil with bubbles already filled inJohnson reached out to the administrators, challenged the research, and denounced the value of "burp-back" education (drill and kill bubble test) and the way students learned then. He had a good point when he said "I take issue with that research. The only measurement of learning was a drill-and-kill bubble test. How is that measuring authentic learning?" Truly, how is that a measure of authentic learning? When students go out to get jobs today and even then, they are not given a standardized test (most of the time), they are tested on what they know and can do by their performance on the job. So, it is not always about a limitless array of knowledge (unless you are on jeopardy); it is about how valuable you are in the workforce which you can prove by your performance at any job.

Picture of Mark Zuckerberg standing next to a Facebook signTake, for instance, Mark Zuckerberg (founder and CEO of Facebook) and Bill Gates (founder and CEO of Microsoft). They have been able to forego the higher educational system because of what they know and have created based on that knowledge. There was no need for them to take a standardized test to prove they were smart. They let their product do the talking for them. And, when you are hired to work at one of these establishments, they do not test your general knowledge or care how you performed on the ACT or SAT, they want to know if you can program so you create better operating systems. With the onset of the pencil in the 19th century, it was not how well you could fill in a bubble but what you could create with that pencil and paper. What words would come out of that very imaginative mind of a student? What impact can you make with your writings?

Two pencils with ACT or SAT engraved in themJohnson wanted to prove that the pencil was not the bad thing. It was a tool for innovation beyond what one could imagine at that time. Regardless of whether or not the students used the pencils to write poetry or novels, they were creative when they used them at all, even if it was just for Hang Man or the pen pal networks. Johnson tried to "see the light" in this technology and help others understand that "yes" this is unfamiliar territory, but the possibilities are endless with a pencil. The point's not about the pencil at all; it's about how far you are willing to go to explore and except the advancements of the future.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Post # 9

What I Learned This Year (2009-10)

In this blog post, Mr. Joe McClung provides the reader with information about his second full year of teaching and all of the challenges he faced. Although, Joe had taught for a full year, there were still some differences he encountered that made teaching this year a whole new ball game. Mr. McClung had to teach history and social studies with very minimal materials this year after he was accustomed to teaching science and being provided with everything he needed. Can you say adaptation? Well, adapting is something Mr. McClung had to do and had to do quickly if he wanted to remain successful in his career.

Picture of Woodland High Jr. High School

This was a year of many firsts for Mr. McClung. It was his first time teaching 3 different subjects in the same year, first time teaching social studies and history, and his first time working in a large school district. Did I mention it was his first time teaching in a Jr. High setting? Can you say teenager? Well, Mr. McClung can now say the word and understand the difference between 6th graders and 8th graders. I am a parent of an eighth grader and can clearly see the difference from 6th grade to 8th grade and that is just one child. Imagine going from a classroom of kids (literally kids) to teenagers who think they know it all. Just learning how to deal with the different mindset is challenging but when you throw in new subjects like history and social studies, you create an entirely new dynamic that most would just say they can't deal with and "throw in the towel". Add on top of that the animosity you receive from an administrative staff and you have pure chaos. Well, Mr. McClung was able to be triumphant despite all of the challenges he went through and can hopefully say he came out victorious.

Mr. McClung decided to be an innovator. He didn't want to become the "ghost of history teachers past" so he decided to allow the students to have a brain and use it to the best of their abilities. He didn't want the students to rely on him for answers; he wanted to students to use critical thinking and find the solutions on their own or just provide an "educated opinion". He knew that everyone saw events, history, and current actions in their own way so who was he to say that they were wrong. Let the students have a voice. You never know what sound might come out.

Mr. McClung gave three powerful advice statements.
1. Find your school mom
2. Check your ego at the door
3. Don't be a control freak
The reason I say that these are powerful advice statements is because as teachers some want to portray themselves as all mighty and all knowing but the truth of the matter is that we are learning just like the students. Just because we know the subject matter doesn't mean that we have looked at it from every possible point of view. Finding a school mom was basically finding someone that could help you if needed (it didn't have to be a mom or a woman, just someone that wanted the same thing you did, success!). Checking your ego at the door meant that you needed to be open to what the students had to say. Yes, they may be wrong but give them a chance to explain their point of view and explain why they are incorrect or accept their opinion as their point of view. Finally, don't be a control freak meant, give some freedom. As long as the students are learning and will be successful on the exam, give them the opportunity to be themselves as long as they are not hindering others.

Picture that says Know-it-all with question marks in the backgroundFinally, Mr. McClung said "Don't lose sight of what is important" and "It's what you learn after you know it all that matters" and I believe these go together because they both touch on the student as the teacher and the teacher as the student. What I mean by this is that if you are continuing to learn and grow as a teacher you understand more and more, regardless of what you go through, that the students are the most important and you learn when they learn. Also, if you think you know it all, you have a lot to learn because there are so many varying opinions contrary to your beliefs and if you are not open to receive these opinions, you are missing out and your world is very dim. Let the light come out of the students and shine so our world can be brightened.

What I Learned This Year (2010-11)

In Mr. McClung's third year of teaching he learned more about this profession than he probably wanted to. Now, he can see that this is as some would say just a "job" (although I disagree that it is) just like any other and you will have some that are extremely enthusiastic about their career (like him) and others that just want to be done with the day, week, month, and sometimes year. He states "I feel like the teaching landscape is full of individuals that once had a fire and excitement for the profession but somewhere along the way they joined the darkside." Unfortunately, in this scenario and it does exist all over the world, the students are ultimately the ones that suffer because to these teachers it is just a job and they often times don't care if the students learn or not.

Cover of The Outsiders bookMr. McClung also learned who the boss was. Many teachers think that it is the administrators because they are the individuals that sign your paycheck but the children are the reason teachers exist. They are the boss and without their success we have no success. Mr. McClung said "Our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered around pleasing adults." He states this because the other adults in the school system should be looking to see what the students have learned and how they behave and not other teachers. It is all about the student (boss) and making sure they are successful. If our students’ education is first and foremost, everything else will fall into place and teachers have no other choice but to be successful. He also stated that we should not be afraid to be an outsider because being an outsider that is excited about the students learning is what a teacher should be. Mr. McClung eats with his students, jokes with his students, and spends time with them to try and know them better. What better way to gauge a student’s knowledge than spending time with them and learning how they think? If we know how our students think and learn we can test them in a way that is much more effective than the standardized test and perhaps help them become better testers. He is doing this and by doing this has a better handle on the students than the strict teacher that doesn't even know all of his/her students' last name.

Finally, Mr. McClung states that we should not touch the keyboard and not get comfortable. If we "touch the keyboard" or in other words do the work for the students we are not helping them become independent self learners. They are watching us do their work and believe that we will continue to do their work for the rest of their lives. Also, if we get comfortable, the work will become mundane and we will continue to do the ins and outs and forget about the students.

Joe McClung has learned a lot in his first 3 years of teaching and some of it has dealt with the students but a lot has dealt with him as an individual. He has begun to understand the role that a teacher must play and how that role will impact our future and the future of the students. It is not Ok to stay stagnant and have mediocre success. A teacher performing at the highest level has the best interest of every student at the forefront of his/her mind and strives to make sure every student is successful. He will be successful in the long run if he continues to learn, grow, and keep the students first.

Project # 13 Smartboard Instruction Part 1

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Post # 8

This Is How We Dream

Aisle in library full of booksThis is how we dream is a video that introduces us to multi-media capabilities (specifically "the cloud") and helps clear the "blurred line" between the past and our present and future. Interestingly enough the professor started speaking about how he grew up in a paper world, had visions of working in a paper world, and is now working in an electronic world. Not only is he working in an electronic world, he is using the web to perform tasks that would have been done in the past on paper. He also put together some collaborative work using the web that (in the past) would have taken several resources (which would have had to be collected from all over) and would had taken a lot more time to complete. This technology has opened up several avenues where they didn't exist before and is making inventions (virtual) possible anywhere in the world.

Dreamworks Animation logoThe world we live in today allows us to share experiences from anywhere and aides us in teaching ourselves and others. In part 2 of This Is How We Dream he speaks about what should be done in the universities and in the world and how it will impact everyone. This is how we dream today; virtually. We live, build, and work in cyberspace. So, why aren't we teaching in cyberspace? We need to understand that the world will move forward and universities need to help students become better "dreamers" and explore all of their possibilities. Unlock the hidden treasures found in the minds of many great people that have remained locked up for so many years. Invest in the future fundamentals and watch creativity come alive. This is how we dream today but it should no longer be a dream.

Carly's Post

Carly's Post shows what type of person she is and gives you an insight as to how she might teach. Though she writes a lot and very well, her use of creativity and videos only strengthens what she has down on paper or the computer. I am not a reader or writer like Carly but her teaching style might have me reading and writing more than I normally would. She does well with using multi-media and wants her students to use multi-media as well. The good thing is (I hope) that she will be teaching English literature or something like that. She will still run into students that are reluctant to be as excited as she is about writing, reading, and learning but what she wants to do may help them learn. The video I found most useful was the disability means possibility video because it showed that people are people and we all like what we like regardless of what we look like, sound like, or act like. I believe Carly wants to get this out of her students by writing and creativity on their blogs or whatever technological advancement will exist during that time.

EDM310 is Different

Well, the primary message of the videos was you need EDM310 so you are aware of what is out there in the world and are prepared for the many different situations you will face. In the Chipper Series, Chipper tried to do without school and found out she needed school to really be successful with what she wanted to do. In EDM310 for Dummies the girls found out that all of this technology is out there but trying to learn all of it and understand can be overwhelmed. Even trying to understand how to learn these things can be difficult. So, you can see that help is often times needed and is available if you know where to look. Take the time, do what is necessary and you will be successful.

After watching these two videos I believe I would like to participate in a video that is dialogue like the Chipper Series. It doesn't have to be with Dr. Strange but I want people to see and understand why certain things are needed. It doesn't have to be school; it can be a subject I would like to teach like Math. I hear a lot of students say that they don't know why it is needed and a good video that shows how we use mathematics on a daily basis sounds like a good video for people to see. We could also do a video on the benefits of social networking or face to face communication over the web using features like Skype. I could possibly do a video on any of these things or other videos where we are teaching or debating a good topic. They are all good video topics for me.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

Black and White picture of students in a very old classroom

In Learn to Change, Change to Learn the individuals talked about our education system today and the lack of technology in the school system. These individuals understand that technology is needed for students to be successful today. The classroom of yesterday is extinct and the 21st century classroom looks much different. One lady in the video said "If I could remodel a classroom of today, I'm not sure it would be a brick and mortar classroom" and later basically stated that a classroom was more of a meeting place. This means that the classroom would be a supplement but learning will take place in the world "in the cloud".

Picture of woman avatar as a cyber teacher

I, unfortunately for the current school system, agree with what they are saying in the video. It is unfortunate because I will be looking to come in and make changes for the students that will go against the "status quo". I will be the teacher that says "yes" we can try this and "yes" let's check out schools in other parts of the world to see how they solved this problem. The days of the teacher being right all of the time and everyone else needing to listen to the teacher and that is it is gone. Everyone will be challenged and at some point you will be able to defend your decision or accept defeat. Students have too much power in their hand. Why do they need a teacher? It is definitely not to learn the information because they have Cyberteacher for that. They need leaders, guiders, and role models that can help them sift through information and defend their thesis. Teachers and schools are needed but not the way they used to be. It is time for a change and that change is happening now.

Project # 11 Why I want to become a teacher video

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blog Post # 7

Dr. Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Randy Pausch standing at a podium with RIP 1960-2008

First and foremost we need to understand that the last lecture "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" was not just a lecture for the audience that was there. It was a life lesson for his children which is something he wanted to leave with and for his children while he could. He knew they wouldn't understand what he was telling them now, but in the future, it would be something inspiring for them from a dad that loved them deeply.

From Dr. Pausch's last lecture you could see what type of person he was. Why is this important? It is important because a person's teaching style comes from their personality. I believe you can usually quickly assess a person’s personality and from there determine how they will teach. Dr. Pausch said in his lecture, there is good in everybody and you just have to wait to see it. Based on that comment alone, you can see that he was not going to give up on his students and it was proven throughout his career. His lecture was like he said "how to lead your life" because he believed that if you lead your life the right way, your dreams would come to you.

Girl standing in field with Dreams poem above her headDr. Pausch enjoyed having fun with what he was teaching and telling interesting stories. His life was an open book for all of us to see and grow from. He definitely wanted you to learn but he also wanted you to have fun while learning. He taught one very valuable lesson. It was to never give up on your dreams. If you give up on your dreams, you end up settling and happiness is never achieved. Dr. Pausch did what was necessary to make sure his students were successful. He showed gratitude to those that helped him become successful and he was able to use "head fakes" throughout his career to get his students to learn.

Dr. Pausch achieved so much because his students learned and grew from their experiences with him. The ETC masters program he created was an example of this. It is amazing that companies were guaranteeing his students jobs once they finished the program. It is also amazing that the semesters were simply planned with only 5 projects but the end results were priceless. The students wanted to do well for Dr. Pausch and that is a tribute to the way he worked with students. They were like this because he allowed them to be creative with their work and was not quick to tell them they failed. Mistakes are bound to happen; it's what you do after the mistake is made that determines the quality of your work.

ETC Logo from Cargnegie MellonDr. Pausch was a dying man but he did not want anyone to pity him. He had accomplished his dreams and had lived a wonderful life. Yes, he could have lived longer and done even more for the world but it was his time to go. The mere fact that we are still talking about him today and everything he accomplished means his quality of work was excellent. A man should not only be known for what he is doing now but also for the accomplishments he has achieved in the past. If you want your life to speak to others and to be known long after you are gone, you have to make a mark. Dr. Randy Pausch did this in more ways than he could ever think of. Dr. Pausch was a scholar, inspirer, lecturer, learner, and most of all visionary. His vision will continue to live on in all that knew him and especially in his children.

Project #10 My PLN

Kid surrounded by their PLNThis post is about my PLN. It is a beginning PLN with not much to it. So far it contains things like my Facebook account, Twitter, email, and weather. I expect that it will get better with time but for now it is a start. As I move on in EDM 310 I expect to gather more resources and be able to add more to my PLN. Human Resources are not difficult for me to obtain but first I must reach out on the web to gather these resources. My PLN will grow in this information age and I hope that it will be a model PLN for my students to see.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Summary of C4T Posts

C4T on Dianne Krause's Blog

My C4T summary for this month is for Dianne Krause’s Digital Discoveries blog. Her blog is dedicated to providing educators with information on the latest technology “in the cloud” and she invites these educators to check out this new technology and sites.

We video image from home pageIn my first comment, I commented on a post about We Video. This is technology allows individuals to edit their videos online from wherever they are. I told Dianne that I checked out the We Video site and it looked interesting enough that I might sign up to use the free service. It was because of her post that I was able to even find this new technology and I thanked her for the post.

Learning style pentagonIn my second comment, I commented on a post about What’s Your Learning Style and Getting Attention in the Laptop Classroom. I let her know how the post and link to the site about learning styles were useful. I informed her that I took the quiz and found out what type of learner I was. I told her how that will help me as a teacher because I will be dealing with students with several different learning styles and have to adapt to each one. Probably most importantly, I told her how the EDM 310 class was preparing the students how to become 21st century teachers. Because we are learning about all of the tools available on the web and how to use them we can better assist students with their learning. Lastly, I invited her to check out my blog and the class blog. Her site is an excellent resource for educators.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project # 8 Podcast

Blog Post # 6

Networked Students

A networked student is a researcher, self-starter, and disciplined student. Their focus is on learning the material at hand and not waiting for someone to teach them the material. A networked student uses connectivism (defined by Wikipedia as being introduced as a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual). A networked student uses every possible resource they can to find information that pertains to what they are studying at that time. This information can help validate what they are trying to say, strengthening their argument, or contrast a theory of theirs and cause them to rethink what they have believed. A networked student is able to filter through the information they have received to form their own conclusions and therefore create scholarly documents/articles themselves.

Colorful cutout of kids connected around the earth

So now that we know what a networked student is, let's dig into how a networked student affects all of those living in the 21st century. The teacher will be affected the most because they have to now be able to understand that a networked student has the information they were once trying to persuade the student to accept. They need to help the student filter all of this information and even the information that contrasts what the teacher has before proposed as true. There are a lot of varying opinions out there and what one once believed to be a solid fact may not hold true anymore. For example, it was once believed and stated as fact that Pluto was the ninth planet from the sun and now it is classified as a dwarf planet. I believe this is due to an increase in technology and networked students. Students now have the ability to challenge a lot of previous facts which means the teacher has to be open to several points of view and varying opinions unless they can prove that what is being proposed is definitely not true. A teacher must now be more of a guider and someone that is there to assist the student with their learning. The networked student will get the information and varying points of view from several sources. It is up to the teacher to help the students make the best decisions with the information they have received.

21st century learning in connected circles

The rest of the world living in the 21st century will also have to be aware of the networked student. They need to be prepared to bestow information to students at all levels from all over the world. The classroom is now global and just because you are not physically in the same room as the student does not mean that you will impact what they learn. It was once stated that it takes a village to raise a child and now we are experiencing it and can see that the village has grown and is now the world. So the businessmen, teachers, parents, administrators, government employees, and even the so called "blue collar" workers will need to be aware that they are being watched closer than they ever have before. We are all role models to the networked student and as such we need to ensure our future is bright by being morally responsible to everyone around us.

As a future educator I am now taking the steps required to become a "networked instructor". I am making lifelong connections that will help me challenge and justify some of the networked students' questions. They will have a lot of questions relating to what they have found and I have to be able to help them understand and validate or dismiss what they have found. I will need the assistance of those experienced in such areas and those that have researched the concepts the students are presenting. I need to leave the students with the ability to understand what they have learned and the ability to accept or dismiss certain arguments with sound judgment. I am on my way to becoming an excellent "networked instructor" that is able to help a network student learn in this age of abundant information. I am not saying that the information hasn't always been out there but with all of the tools available today, accessing the information is now easier than it has ever been before.

Networked Teacher in the center of a circle with their different types of networks all around them
Wendy Drexler has some very interesting challenges that she listed on her blog post Networked Student Challenges as she is trying to help the students become networked students. Some challenges she found were: Fitting within the framework of required curricular standards and giving students a choice of topics that maintains the learner's freedom yet falls within the life sciences curriculum. These challenges are what I would call “political barriers” and are something the administrators have to change to allow the students to explore their creative abilities. The problem is not that they won't get what is intended to be taught. The problem is the administrators are not ready to accept the challenges the networked student will present and are therefore reluctant to allow such creativity. Wendy states "It's the unknown unknowns that really worry me." and this is because as current educators we don't know what the future holds. We don't know if what we are teaching is what they really need to know. Yes, they need the basics, but what else do they need? The life skills are being taught where? This is what a networked student needs most and is the most challenging to achieve.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

After watching a 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN) I can see that I am really lacking. I can't say that I have a PLN on the internet because I have only been taught in the past to find out information through research and comment on that research. With a PLN I have the ability to research, comment, and make my own conclusions and have this information be justified by an expert. I have my own thoughts and opinions about everything and my opinions might just open up questions about former research. What I have to say or what I know may be useful for other students, researchers, and experts alike. Everybody sees things in their own way and what has been instilled in us are the opinions of others and the way they saw things. It is time to open our minds, create PLN's and show the world what we have to offer. You never know where it will take you but you do know that if no one else knows about your beliefs it is impossible to go anywhere.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summary of C4K Posts

Summary of C4K Posts for September

Picture of Quinn's WordleFor the first C4K assignment, I was assigned to Quinn. Quinn created a very interesting poem and I commented on that poem. He mentioned that he liked football and I added that I enjoyed football as well. He also mentioned that he was a caring, funny, and respectful and I added that I believe that I am as well. It wasn't much but it shows that someone is reading and paying attention to his blog.

Roller Coaster at Alton Towers Theme Park

In C4K #2 I posted to Lauren's blog in response to her posting about Alton Towers. I briefly explained to her how well her posting was written and told her I would like to visit Alton Towers as well one day. She also rated the rides their and now I know which rides to go on at Alton Towers (theme park I believe) because of her post.

I commented on Shiann's post as well for C4K #2 because Shiann's post was really thoughtful and powerful. Shiann did a tribute to those who died and fought for our freedom on 9/11 and asked that we send up prayers for them and their families. I told Shiann I would do as he/she asked and have done so. I also explained to Shiann what I was doing that day and how I remember the tragedy and sadness. Every year around 9/11 I am thankful and blessed that I was not in towers at that time or even in the city. I told Shiann he/she was truly inspirational and thanked Shiann for the courage to post that tribute. It was an excellent post.

Twin Towers wrapped in American Flag

For C4K #3 I posted to Mr. Norman and thanked him for his work with Mr. Capps and Mrs. Yim. I told him that what they are doing for the kids is wonderful. I watched some of his videos and listened to some of the songs he had recorded. I explained to him how his experience would be greatly appreciated by all involved in this initiative. I told him how this seemed to get the kids engaged in learning and they wanted to participate. I explained that if this is a way to get the kids to participate, this initiative will definitely take off and be successful.