Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog Post #10

Mr. John T. Spencer
Above is a cartoon by John T. Spencer, you can find it on his blog Adventures in Pencil Integration. To fully understand the cartoon I highly suggest you look into his posts. The comparison of Papermate vs. Ticonderoga is a reference to the subject of tools used in the classroom. Pencils are the cheap and safe route as opposed to the new resources technology provides us today. I admit new technology can be intimidating but strictly using pencils and paper in the classroom is depriving students knowledge they not only enjoy learning but NEED to learn. This cartoon presents the question many of use are faced with every day, "Should I spend more money for quality product, or should I settle for the cheap, easy to break product in hopes for the best result?" Shouldn't we always go with the better, quality product (i.e. education) for our students? New technologies may seem difficult at first but with the proper guidance you would be surprised how easy and informative the use of inter-web can be.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?
Mr. Spencer also wrote a post titled "Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?". This post is a conversation between Mr. Spencer himself, and his school principal. As we all know our minds run on stimulation; well Mr. Spencer's approach to stimulate the kids while they were learning signaled a red flag to his principal. Mr. Spencer was seen engaging in an exercise that required students to read and draw; this was seen as fun or as a game to the principal. Why? Because, like many other principals in the US, Mr. Spencer's principal is not concerned with stimulating his students. He is more concerned with the standardized test scores. It can be easy to get lost in the importance of test scores when there is pressure from the school board and administrators, but one must take a step back and think about importance of the children. The point of the standardized tests is to make sure the child is up to par in his or her grade level-it is not a competition to see which school has the top scores in the community. We should be more concerned with trying new ways to assist our children in the classroom instead of frowning upon them and continuing the dreadful "memorize, test, brain dump" cycle that the students of this generation are in.

Scott McLeod
Who is Scott McLeod? "Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues." - Scott McLeod's bio
To learn more about Scott McCleod you can read his bio by visiting the link above. One of his posts titled Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please? might make some people raise a few eye brows, but not me. In my opinion Mr. McLeod is mocking the ignorant people in his post, and when I say ignorant I mean ignorant in the sense of refusing to progress with today's world. In our daily life there is a need for children to be technologically savvy, and in this post Mr. McLeod mocks by saying:

"no connecting, now

no social networking

or online chat

or comments

or PLNs

blogs and twitter?

how self-absorbed

what a bunch of crap

and definitely, absolutely, resolutely, no cell phones"

Those statements alone sound ignorant to me, but at the beginning of this semester I too was skeptical about social networks, online chatting etc. Now, thanks to EDM 310, I am aware that all of the things Mr. McLeod said in his post "Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?" are good things for the 21st century student.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Post #9

Joe McClungMr. Joe McClung began his teaching career in 2009 in Noel, Missouri. He has moved to many schools but has kept each memory as a lesson learned by reflecting via blog posts after each school year has ended. The blog posts consist of personal revelations he had throughout each school year, and each of them seem to correlate and grow as his years go on. I decided to read What I Learned This Year 2010-2011 and What I Learned This Year – Volume 4 (2011-12). After reading both of Mr. McClung’s posts I realized he learned very similar lessons to different degrees. In his post from 2010-11 the key points made were: know who your boss is, don’t be afraid to be an outsider, and don’t touch they keyboard. His last point was one that hit close to home with me because I am constantly preaching about how many teachers spoon feed information to their students. In Mr. McClung’s discussion about not touching the keyboard he tells a story about a fellow teacher that is also known as the classroom mom. She explained to him that in her training for airline tech support one of the main points they instilled in their trainers was to never touch the computer of the trainee. She said: “the idea is that if you touch the keyboard and take over the task that they are not trying to learn than they will never learn how to do it on their own and you end up doing all the work.” Often times we hit speed bumps when teaching difficult tasks; it is very easy to take over and basically do the work for them, but is that benefiting the student? No! Another point that was made in this post that I saw laced into What I Learned This Year- Volume 4 is that our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered on pleasing adults.
In What I Learned This Year- Volume 4 Mr. McClung’s main points were about challenging yourself and remembering your place in the learning environment. Like many Mr. McClung struggled with defining himself in his profession. He knew where he stood with his students, but became concerned with his fellow peers. I found his comment “I committed a very junior high like sin and have worried myself with whether or not my peers approve of the way I handle business” to be a very relatable statement. In daily life we can get caught up on how others view us, but that should be your last concern in the classroom. Though it took time to cope with the fact that he need not worry about others- Mr. McClung said “upon further reflection I have decided that I can’t try to change who I am as a teacher based on the perception of my peers and that I need to stay true to what has gotten me this far. The truth is I have gotten to where I am in my career by following one rule, and that is are the kids having fun?” I find myself asking the same question every day when I think about what to do in the classroom when I arrive at the daycare I work at. We must always remember who we are really working for, and that is the kids!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8

imaginative learning
Richard Miller
Children are so much more technologically savvy these days therefore I believe that my students will be prepared to work with multimedia whether I want them to or not. I think that this is a great thing because I am a believer in moving forward and progressing with technology. Like Mr. Miller said "I believe we are living at the moment of the greatest change in human communication in human history." Not only can we search through the information on our computers, but we can search the riches of the world as they are stored on the web. All of the information we could possibly need is virtually available at our fingertips thanks to the inter-web.
Mr. Miller commented in his videos (This is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2) on a project that he worked on; stating that he was able to do the entire presentation without stepping foot in a library. Of course he would come across knowledge and information he did not yet know about, but he was able to pull up information on the subject using the web. All of the information we search for online lives on for good as web based documents and exist exclusively as text. The documents are freely available and when you take them out they are still there for others to look up; unlike the library where someone checks out a book and you have to wait for it.

EDM310 is Different
The first video I watched was called The Chipper Series. This is a video of a student, "Chipper", and Dr. Strange discussing the topic of turning in assignments. Chipper claims that she can foretell the future and see that she has done her work. Dr. Strange then made a proposal to drop all the education talk and spoke about the lottery since Chipper can tell the future. This was an entertaining video but I found the video EDM for Dummies to be even more entertaining! This video began with 2 EDM students complaining about their EDM class and talking about how difficult it was. As the video went on they showed their version of "---- for dummies". The cover of the book looked just like any other "---- for dummies" books which added to the uniqueness of the video. The students told about blogger, twitter, and other resources their "EDM for dummies" book had. I really enjoyed it and made sure to let Jamie Lynn Miller know via Twitter.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
The video Learn to Change, Change to Learn pressed some pretty strong arguments when it comes to learning. Children are having a much more stimulating and rich environment outside of school. They are very rich content developers through their social websites, portable computers, and cell phones yet all of these are banned in school. "Every turned off device is potentially a turned off child." Technology needs to be accepted in the classroom; it is not there to provide information on traditional subjects. It has emerged a completely new environment. Children are living in a new generation that includes texting, twitter, email etc. The student is at the center and school is only one of their outlets for learning. They also learn in the community, home, museums, libraries, and online. We have a classroom system when we could have a community system. This video is powerful, motivational, and ambitious. I feel like everything said in this video should be considered by educators everywhere. This is the 21st century, it's time we push forward with the resources available to our classrooms!

Scavenger Hunt 2.0
1.) Locate a tool that is similar to Twitter/Facebook and provides a social platform for teachers, parents, and students. Create an account as a Teacher and write a paragraph or two about how you could use this site in your classroom.
-In one of my previous blog posts about personal learning networks I mentioned Edmodo as a useful tool for the classroom. This is almost just like Facebook, but it is for students, teachers and parents. You can make posts about quizzes, alerts, notes, polls and assignments. There is also a place to make groups so that sending out information is easier. The homepage is connected to other teachers that post resources, comments, and suggestions. It is a really neat tool that I look forward to using in the future!

2.) Find a tool to make-your-own comic strip. Create a comic. Post a picture of it in your blog.
-I found one of the best tools to use when creating your own comic strip; it is called It is a rather easy website to navigate and it provides you with a link to your comic when you are finished making your comic. Mine can be found here!

3.) Find a tool to create a poll anywhere and at anytime. Create your first poll and post it here.
-For the final stop on my scavenger hunt I found a reliable resource for creating polls. It is called Learn Myself

Do you enjoy blogging?
Create your own poll

C4T #2

Week 1
My C4T assignment this week was to read Josh Stumpenhorst’s Blog. The first week I visited his page I commented on a post about personal learning networks. He provided 3 sets of slides based on PLN and resources available to create a PLN. I found these slides to be very helpful when I began working on project 9. Here is a link to the blog post: #METC13 Session Slides

Week 2
This week when I visited Mr. Stumpenhorst’s blog I read about a project he did with the Pearson Foundation.

The project was to write about “5 Things I Know”. His 5 are:
1 - Kids are humans…and therefore should be treated as such.
2 - Creativity and curiosity are crucial in learning.
3 - We are all on a journey.
4 - Change doesn’t happen when we are comfortable.
5 - Growth happens through failure.
My comment to him was: "I really enjoyed reading about the 5 things you know. "Learning happens in its truest form when students are learning through a genuine sense of curiosity rather than a forced sense of duty." This is a powerful statement that hit me really hard, it is more than inspiring it is motivational to all educators and future educators around the world to want to change the way we teach. Great post! Did you enjoy working with the Pearson Foundation?"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Progress Report on: Project #9 PLN

When I began creating my PLN I am not going to lie, I was very intimidated. After visiting the resources available it became obvious to me that this assignment was created to assist me, not confuse me. Symbaloo is the first website I visited when I began creating my PLN; it has now become one of the most frequently viewed pages on my computer. It is a wonderfully easy outlet to use for organizing all of the helpful links and networks I want to save for my own future reference. I have also created a folder on my iPhone dedicated to educational applications such as: Symbaloo, Pinterest, Flowr, Evernote, Google Drive, Adobe Reader, iBooks, iTunes U, Blogger, Edmodo, and myHomework. I have enjoyed learning about personal learning networks, and I am proud to say mine is growing everyday!

Project #8

Saturday, March 2, 2013

February C4K Summaries

C4K #1 Chas
C4K1My first C4K I looked at a blog created by a student named Chas. His blog post included a presentation on The Great War. The presentation was created using Google presentations which is something we learned about this semester so I was able to use this to my advantage when trying to relate to Chas. I told him he had very good grammar skills and I asked him if he had any pointers as far as using Google presentations. I was very impressed by how well he had his presentation organized.

C4K #2 Jack of Sapia’s Superstars
For my second C4K assignment I visited Jack of Sapia’s Superstars blog, he is a 4th grade student that seems to really enjoy learning. I commented on his post about why he likes homework. I told him I found his opinion on homework to be true; it gives you a little more practice for things you may be having difficulties with. He also made a statement about all homework being on the computer which I thought was a great idea.

C4K #3 Mao
C4K3I really enjoyed reading my third C4K assignment; blogger Mao is a year 6 student at Point England School. I commented on her blog about her first day of school, but I also enjoyed reading her other blog posts; especially her post reflecting the use of Netbooks in the classroom. I told her that I hope the Netbook continues to help her grow and learn throughout the school years to come. I also encouraged her to keep up the good work!

C4K #4 Tammy Jo
For my final C4K of the month I was assigned to look at Tammy Jo’s most recent blog post. Her blog post was about suicide and why people commit it. I told her I agreed with why she thought people may choose to commit suicide and I also told her it is important to always keep in mind that we should be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle. I was sure to compliment her on her other blog posts as well :)

Blog Links:
Tammy Jo

Blog Post #7

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Last Lecture by Randy Pasch; my absolute favorite aspect about it was Randy Pasch’s enthusiasm for life. You could tell throughout the whole thing that he had a genuine love for living life and pursuing dreams. After all, he did accomplish most all of his childhood dreams if I heard correctly. What I took from the video was that we should all pursue the goals we make for ourselves. Achieve the goals you make for yourself at any cost; unless it compromises your morals of course, that would just be absurd.

enduring goalsThere were a few things that stood out to me from Randy Pasch’s discussions in which I believe will be very valuable in my future classroom. The majority of Mr. Pasch’s last lecture was about him achieving his childhood goals, and one of his goals was to become an imaginer for Disney. He ran into many brick walls along the way to achieving this goal; one bump in the road was that he had to get the permission for the project. He went into a meeting with the dean and was immediately welcomed with negative energy about the project; the dean demanded a change in the contract before he gave his permission. It turned out the permission was not the dean’s place to grant, as it was actually the place of the dean of research. When Randy went to propose his idea to this dean he was greeted with a positive open mind which brought success for Randy’s project.

This stood out to me because I don’t know how many times I have witnessed great things come to an end due to a closed mind and negative energy. When I have my own classroom I plan on being open to all of the thoughts and ideas that my students and their parents have. I know I will not be able to pursue all the requests I’m bound to receive throughout the years, but it will be my job as an educator to be there to make my students goals possible for them.

Another aspect of this video that particularly stood out to me was that all of Randy’s goals were achieved by many connections he carried with him, connections that he might have called his very own PLN. We have been learning a lot about personal learning networks in the past few weeks, and with each assignment it is becoming more and more evident that the personal learning networks we build will be extremely useful throughout life. Mr. Pasch also discussed a time in his life in which he created his own course “Building Virtual Worlds”. After he assigned his first project he was blown away by the effort and success of his students. He then called up his mentor for advice as to what to do next? He already set the bar and they flew beyond it, and that is where his mentor told him he went wrong. When you set the bar for your students you are not doing them any good. As future educators we have to remember this, in order to progress we have to be willing to aim beyond the visual limits because what we see as limits others see as opportunities.