Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Post #10

Papermate VS Ticonderoga: War of the Quality

Upon reading this week's blog assignment, I wasn't sure what a Ticonderoga was nor it's purpose. Thank God for Google search. On Teacher Blog Spot, they said that Ticonderoga is a type of pencil and that it is better than the Papermate brand because of it's smooth, smudge-resistant erasers and the quality wood is to make it was better than it's competitor. After reading some of the comments on his post, I realized that the cartoon is not really comparing pencils, but computer brands, PC and Mac to be specific. I love how Mr. Spencer uses satire and metaphors in his analogy. 

 The Papermate represents the PC. PCs are not as costly (like Papermate pencils), so they are affordable. However, they break down constantly and the money you saved by purchasing it is not going into repairs, upgrades and possibly a new computer if the damages are bad enough. Macs ("Ticonderoga pencils") are much more expensive than PCs, but they don't break down as much.

I think the moral of the cartoon is, it's better to go ahead and spend the extra money on a quality piece of equipment than try to save money on a lesser quality piece of equipment that breaks down and need repairs that can cost more than the actual equipment itself. 

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

In another post by John T. Spencer, he brings up a conversation he had with his supervisor about "playing games" in class instead of working on memorization skills, even though the students "had to read various scenarios and describe their solutions in a text. It was real interactive and the kids were engaged". In the end, Mr. Spencer talked his supervisor into  allowing him the play an "algorithm factory" game to prove his methods help instead of hinder. Mr. Spencer was rebuking the traditional "burp-back" method of teaching and trying a new approach. I loved how he pointed out to his supervisor that soldiers and doctors play "games" when they are practicing to become better in their professions. So, why shouldn't

 I was kind of appalled by the supervisor's snarky implications that games are just a waste of time that don't help students learn. I remember learning better when playing games than having my teacher lecture for an hour. We played memory games, simulation games, action games on test mes involving theatre and several other styles of games. I know I did the best on test that we reviewed for with a game of some sort. My favorite was a Jeopardy style game where we could play individually or in teams. I learned, but I also had a lot of fun!

Please Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

In the last post,  by Scott McLeod, he was extremely sarcastic, but hilarious and to the point. In his post, he acts as a person opposing any kind of technology usage in the classroom. No phones, no tablets, laptops, nothing. in his "argument" he states that kids can't be trusted with the technology handed to them because they will not use it appropriately. He points out that they will not do their assignments because the kids will be too busy goofing around, trying to find porn, bully each other and other claims. While he does have a point that kids can be mischievous with technology, I believe with proper training from an early age, they will learn how to use technology for not only entertainment, but for educational and professional use as well. 

I came from a school where we were not allowed to have access to any kind of technology unless we were in typing class or the library. After being in Dr. Strange's class, I feel like I have missed out on a lot! I've learned things that are not only beneficial to me in my education, but things that are and will be beneficial in my classroom one day. 

Scott McLeod is one of the leading experts in K-12 technology leadership issues. He is a professor at Iowa State University in Educational Administration and blogs about issues in technology leadership in his own blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, and occasionally in the Huffington Post. He created Leader Talk  which is the first group blog for school leaders by school leaders, and he co-created Did You Know? (Shift Happens) with Karl Fisch.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Post #9

What I've Learned (2008-2009)

After his first year of teaching, Joe McClung wrote a blog post about his experience. He talks about how he overcame his mistakes and stumbling blocks as a new teacher. Since then, he has continued to write about his academic school years.

In his first blog, he explained the many challenges new teachers are faced with and how to conquer them. As a future teacher, I found that it is important for all educators, young and old, to know how to handle these situations correctly. In the beginning of his video, he talks about how important it is to remain positive when you begin teaching. Not everything is going to go prefect and new teachers shouldn't put that kind of pressure on themselves because they will begin to feel discourages. The situations may not be easy, but they are certainly manageable. How we choose to react to set backs and challenges in life determines our outcome and growth as educators and life as well.

Something interesting that Mr. McClung stated was that teachers don't have to have lesson plans that are solely student focused. In his thoughts, emphasizing too much on making sure the lesson is delivered will not be as effective is the student does not comprehend what is being taught. There's nothing wrong wit striving for perfection, but it's better that the students "get it" than having the perfect lesson. "In order to be effective you have to be able to let your audience drive your instruction". I really like his quote because if you don't let your students influence your lesson plans, then they may be less inclined to listen to what you're trying to teach them. If you take things that they are familiar with and incorporated it into your lessons, they may take more interests in what you're saying and, most of all, have fun while learning.

A few more things that caught my attention is how Mr. McClung talks about how it is important for teachers to be flexible, don't be afraid of technology and listen to your students.

 Teachers need to be prepared to make spontaneous decisions. Personally, I have a hard time being flexible and spontaneous. I need structures to function, but I realize that as a future educator I must be prepared for any situation at any time. If something doesn't go according to plan, there's no need to fret. Be spontaneous, and go from there!

Honestly, I am intimidated by technology. But, with that being said, I have learned more and more about technology in EDM310 and I am growing more comfortable with it. Not every lesson needs to have technology incorporated in it, but it is nice to involve it from time to time. Technology is not going away any time soon, so teachers better just go ahead and start learning how to adapt to it and learn to use it. Not only do they need to know how to use it, they need to know how to use it so they can teach the kids how to use it effectively.

I think it's very important to listen to your students. How else are you going to know what your students are truly struggling with and their concerns in your classroom? I hope that, once I become an educator, I will be able to develop a bond with my students so that they will be comfortable enough with me to express their concerns in the class. Every student is different and unique in their own way and should have their voice be heard.

Mr. McClung encourages other teachers to never stop learning. As teachers, we should not only be "teaching" them, but learning with them as well. Sometime, students are the ones who teach lessons better than we could ever imagine. I know I learn a lot from my four year old class in the afternoons. They've taught me things better than most adults I know could. They are a blessing!

What I've Learned This Year (Volume 4, 2011-2012)

Mr. McClung's most recent blog he wrote this past June, the two main topics he writes about are "You Gotta Dance With Who You Came To The Dance With" and "Challenge Yourself".

He talks about how he struggled with seeing himself as a teacher. He knew where he stood with his students, but to his peer, he didn't feel like he matched up with them, but he had a realization that the only people he needed to be concerned about his reputation with are his students and his supervisors. As teachers, we have to remember that we are not working to please other teachers. What's the point of that? We are in the classroom to make a difference and inspire our students to be the very est we can be. If we are consumed with trying to please our peers, it's the kids who will catch the backlash of our insecurities. It's hard to ignore what our peers say or think about us, especially if it's negative, but we need to make sure that our students are thriving and growing instead of what others think. Not everyone is going to agree with another's beliefs. You got to learn to brush it off and remember why you are there in the first place.

It's easy to get settled in a comfort zone and a routine of doing things, but as teachers, that's something we need to be aware of. While having a routine is a good thing, it never hurts to change things up and be a little spontaneous. Mr. McClung talks about how, as teachers, we shouldn't get in a state of complacence. We need to challenge ourselves and branch out of our comfort zones. If we don't lead by example, how will our students know that its okay to take risks?

Overall, I'm glad Dr. Strange assigned us to ready and reflect on Mr. McClung's blogs. It helps to hear the experiences of new teachers and what they go through and feel in the work place. Thanks, Dr. Strange!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2:

In Richard Miller's video, This Is How We Dream, Mr. Miller talks about writing with multimedia and how it can be used and beneficial to teachers in today's classrooms. He talks about how is loves to read and write and how when he would start writing, he would have three windows up on his computer. One window would be his research, another would be his actual essay and the last would be a document file so he can jot down ideas he had as he was writing his essay. He also talk about books and how they get thrown away after being used. E-books last forever and don't trash the planet! It's also nice that different things can be added to e-books to make them more interesting, like pictures, sounds and animations. He talks about how this is the greatest era for communication and how technology enhances it all. If we do not train our selves to be effective and efficient communicators, we will not succeed to our greatest potential.

In the second video, he talks about how quickly things can change in the digital world. With a click of a mouse, pages can be refreshed and have new information on them and update websites. He also talks about how he can create a document or article and share it with colleges or online students. It's really fascinating how using technology makes these type subjects easier instead of just using them for social media, video chatting or messaging each other.

I really enjoyed this video and learned a lot from it. I really like how technology makes communication more effective and efficient. I hope to take the methods he demonstrated in his videos and use them in my future classroom.

Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

Wow! Carly's post is a great example as to what Dr. Strange is trying to embed in our minds during this semester. Carly was beyond helpful by giving tons of information and advice on how to effective and efficiently use technology, including YouTube. It's a great way to help inspire teachers for unique and fun activities to do in the classroom or make typical lessons more interesting and engaging for the students. I will definitely keep her video in mind when I have my own classroom one day.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies

I really liked both videos. They were funny, but they both had a great meaning behind the humor.

 The Chipper Series is about a girl who is a procrastinator and has no problem being a procrastinator. She even went as far as to change the definition of procrastination on Wikipedia to excuse her tardiness. Dr. Strange let her know straight up that just because you change the definition of a word on a website doesn't mean your procrastination will be accepted. I felt like I can relate to this video because all through high school and most of my college career, I have been a procrastinator. Thankfully, EDM310 has really helped with my time management skills and avoiding my procrastination habit. I really didn't appreciate her statement, "just teach me so I don't have to learn". I felt like it was a tad bit disrespectful and it disregarded the work and preparation Dr. Strange had put into his lessons.

EDM310 for Dummies is a great, creative video that all future EDM310 students should watch before taking the class. I was a nervous wreck before taking this class because I had heard horror stories from previous EDM310er's who said awful things about the class. Yes, the work load can be more than the normal class, but I have learned more in the class than I have any other class in my five years at USA. I thought I was a tech whiz on the first day of class, and I soon found I was terribly mistaken. Through EDM310, I have learned numerous ways to incorporate technology into my classroom and lesson plans, how to use bookmarking sites for resources, and how to communicate effectively with other teachers and students. Even though it is very time consuming and stressful at times, EDM310 is probably my favorite class because of all the valuable information I have learned so far.

Learning to Change, Change to Learn

This video was amazing and shocking at the same time. Technology is no longer an option for our students if we want them to truly excel in school and in there lives outside of school. Technology is always changing and advancing and as a future educator, I need to be able to adapt with the technology that is presented before me so I can teach my students how to use and adapt to it as well. The students also need to learn how to make connections through technology with other students and educators around the world. I really wish technology was emphasized more when I was in high school. I can only imagine how much more interesting learning would and could have been!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

C4T #2

Assignment 1

 Karl Fisch has been an educator for twenty-three years and has taught secondary math. He is currently Directorof Technology at Arapahoe Highschool in Colorado.

He posted a video on his blog about The Independent Project where a select group of students basically taught themselves for a semester. There were no teachers or test. They worked together as a group to teach the main subjects (math, grammar, science and history) in their own unique ways. Each week, the students got together and brainstormed about what they wanted to learn about that week. One proposes a question and at the end of the week, they must have an answer to their question at the end of the week and be able to explain it to the other students. This allows the students to expand their interests. They also do one collaborative project at the end of the semester. This type of program also helps different variations of students to work together and help each other. The Independent Project comes across as each student being independent, but in reality, they are dependent on each other because the all the students have to work together in order to pass the class.

"Every person wants to learn about something, even the kids who barely go to class. They want to learn something, whether its auto mechanics or the physics of skateboarding or how ice cream is made. Everybody is interested in something and this gives you the space and the freedom to learn whatever you want." - Alex, The Independent Project

"The power of a young mind is pretty impressive. One, they are resilient. Two, they are extremely creative. Three, they are fearless and will try anything." - Mike Powell

I really enjoyed watching the video and researching The Independent Project and I think I would love to use this in the classroom one day. Under the right supervision, I think the students could excel greatly.

 My comment:  
 Hello! My name is Brittney and I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. First, I just want to say, WOW! I have never heard of the Independent Project until watching this video and I absolutely love the idea and concept behind it. If I was a secondary education major, I would completely be on board for the Independent Project. I do have a few questions. First, is there a teacher/adult sponsor to supervising the students? Second, how are they graded at the end of the semester? Lastly, how are the students selected for the project?
I'm glad you posted these videos, otherwise, I never would have known about the Independent Project.

Thank you!

Assignment #2

In the second post by Mr. Fisch, he was simply talking about how some of his friends in education have gotten promotions in their careers and while he was very happy for them, his heart was heavy for the students who wouldn't get to experience the teachers who were moving up in the education realm. I agreed that it is sad that these kids wouldn't get the chance to have these awesome teachers, but just because they aren't in the classroom doesn't mean that they won't make an impact on students and other teachers. They will always be educators. 

My comment:

Hi, Mr. Fisch,

I am a EDM310 student in Dr. Strange's class at the University of South Alabama, studying elementary education. I agree with the point you made about how it's sad when amazing teachers are no longer in the classroom working first hand with students, but on the other hand, these teachers who are moving on in their careers will always be educators. They will never stop being educators! It would be nice though if they could have high positions and still stay in the classroom.

- Brittney 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Mr. Pausch's last lecture was beyond inspiring. In the beginning of the lecture, informs the audience that he as terminal cancer, only having maybe three to six months to live. He talked about his childhood dreams, how he achieved many of them, and how he wanted to help others accomplish their dreams, too. He helped many students achieve their dreams and go beyond their wildest expectations. There were times in his live where he had to put some of his dreams on hold and even reduce the size of them, but the on thing he never did was give up. 

He inspired students and teachers to raise the bar of standards and expectation and to bust through the walls in their paths. He didn't set the bar for students to meet because he wanted students to set their own goals to achieve instead of meeting the ones he would set for them. I was inspired to not have a standard bar or goal for my future students. I want them to make their goals and achieve them so they can has the satisfaction of  being successful on their own terms instead of trying to only please my expectations. It should be a desire foe every teacher to want their students to exceed anything they set before the students to learn.

During the lecture, Mr. Pausch says, "the brick walls are there for a reason; they proven to us how badly we want something". I absolutely loved his statement because it is completely true. Think about it: when we encounter obstacles in our way and we just turn around and walk away or just sit there and look at the wall, it's obvious they whatever is on the other side of the wall isn't worth it, or we're just too lazy to bust through  and get it. If we want whatever is on the other side of that wall, we'll find away to bust through. As a future teacher, I really hope to instill this mind set in my students. When they come across an obstacle in the classroom, or in life for that matter, I want them to have the courage to overcome "the wall" instead of being discouraged and backing down from the challenge.

Mr. Pausch was such an inspirational man with some much wisdom for students and educators alike. I have really enjoyed watching his videos and have learned so much from them! They have given me ideas, have challenged me and have inspired me to be the best teacher and role model for my future students as I can be.   Its such a same that he passed away, but in his passing, he has inspired so many people and has encouraged them to pursue there dreams and to never, ever give up under any circumstance.

He is truly a hero. 

Project #9: PLN

Update #1

My PLN is coming along. I really like using it because any time I need to look up something for a project in EDM310 or a paper/project in another class, I don't have to spend hours digging around the internet trying to decide if I have scholarly resources. My favorite title so far on my PLN is Google Scholar, because it filters out all the junk and I can find information so much easier now. I also added a few teachers' and education blogs to look up lesson ideas or see what they are doing in their classrooms.

I use Symbaloo to arrange my PLN and I love the little tiles that display. I really like how it keeps my resources organized and all together in one place.