Monday, December 3, 2012

Final Project #16

Surviving EDM310

Project #13

Final Report on Collaboration

Group Spring Flowers
Using collaborative tools was essential for our group's success for Project #15, the second part of the SMARTboard instruction. Sara Kinney, Jenna Barnes, and I used many of the tools Dr. Strange suggested in order to complete our project. Since we were not allowed to meet face to face to plan our project, we relied heavily on the collaborative tools. The main ones we used were Google Docs, Google Presentation, group texts, and Skype. It was so nice to be able to share a Google doc and presentation with one another because we were able to keep up with the work each member was putting forth towards our project. We were able to add and edit our presentation without ever having to meet face to face. Group text messages were also a life saver because we were able to communicate with each other in a very simple yet vital way. I am so thankful to Dr. Strange and EDM310 for introducing me to these collaborative tools; these tools can completely change and improve the way group projects are conducted. I am also thankful for my awesome group and for all of their hard work and dedication for each project we did this semester!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blog Assignment #13

Back To the Future

Brian Crosby's class
In the video "Back To the Future," Brian Crosby discusses his methods of teaching and exactly what his classroom is all about. He teaches the same students from 4th through 6th grade, so he has the opportunity to truly get to know each and every one of his students. Close to 90% of his class speaks English as a second language, and many of them live in poverty and move around a lot. Mr. Crosby discusses the reason why many, if not the majority of, students in his class have a disconnect. He describes how the narrowed curriculum limits their experiences and inputs that help build their schema for the world. He made an eye-opening statement about what drives him to do the things he does in his classroom. He said, "It's hard to imagine what could be if you don't know anything about what is." His goal for his students is to build passion.

hot air balloon
In Mr. Crosby's classroom, his students have numerous opportunities to use all kinds of technology. Each of them use a laptop, and they are also able to utilize the classroom smartboard and digital cameras. Mr. Crosby describes how each student has a blog, and when they are not test-prepping, they are able to think outside the box. He also talks about some really cool projects his classes are able to do. They use concepts they've studied in their science books, but they are able to take them to a whole new level through their projects. One of the projects Mr. Crosby demonstrates is called "The High Hopes High Altitude Balloon Project." To first prepare for this big project, they do a lot of reading on the topic and perform a few mini projects which get them really fired up and excited for the main project. The students also studied the different layers of the atmosphere, so in the big project, they construct a hot air balloon. Each student puts his or her "high hopes" in the balloon, and when they release the balloon, they are able to watch it through a satellite and see how high it goes until it bursts and sends their "high hopes" into the highest layers of Earth's atmosphere. Instead of giving his students a test about the project, Mr. Crosby allows them to embed the video they made and blog about it. They have to discuss in detail what the project consisted of and why the things happened as they did. They also have a class wiki and Flickr page, so Mr. Crosby uses many ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. This project, along with several of his other projects, is one of the many ways Mr. Crosby's classroom is so innovative.

I really enjoyed watching this video about all of the awesome things Mr. Crosby is doing in his classroom. I especially enjoyed his descriptions of the hot air balloon project because this project allowed the students to learn so many things. Mr. Crosby still covers all of the state standards his class has to meet, but he does so in a much better way, rather than simply testing his students. He is definitely aiming to get rid of burp-back education, just like Dr. Strange. His projects allow the students to read and write to learn content, not just to get in and out of the class by simply passing. Through the projects, the students are able write creatively, receive feedback, connect globally, and have an authentic audience. I definitely hope to utilize many of Mr. Crosby's techniques in my future classroom!

A Vision of Students Today

A vision of students today
The video "A Vision of Students Today" was made by Michael Welch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University. It is a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today: how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. The video also illuminates many of the struggles college students face. The following difficulties are included: large class sizes, professors who do not know the students' names, curriculum irrelevant to students' lives, spending money on textbooks they never use, and being over $20,000 in debt when they finish college. As a college student myself, I can relate to many of the struggles the Kansas State students are having difficulties with. Thankfully, now that I am out of my basic classes, the classes pertaining to my major are fairly small, so most, if not all, of my teachers know my name. I do find that the curriculum we study is not always relevant to our lives, so I can understand how some students struggle with spending money on textbooks they never use, especially if they aren't engaged in the material anyway. I think college, like many things in life, is all about attitude. If you go in to each class with an attitude of success, the classes will go a lot smoother.

Thinking about this video as a teacher was kind of difficult for me since I am still in college, but after pondering on it for a while, I was able to put my teacher hat on and try to understand what this video was really saying. As a future teacher, this video opens my eyes to the strong need for technology in the college classroom. Even in 2012, many teachers still don't utilize the available technology to its fullest. I believe this video helps present and future teachers understand why there is such a need for technology in students' academic lives. Many of the students in the video complained about how boring the classes are and how the professors rarely spoke to anything relevant to the students' lives. One major way we can change the boring, monotonous, and repetitive ways of many college classrooms is by offering more opportunities for online education and education aided by technology in the classroom. Technology is one of the most awesome tools that can engage anyone from toddlers to adults and every age in between. As teachers, we need to realize this need for more technology in the classroom, and we need to form material that actually relates to students' lives.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Final Report on PLN

I am so excited for the progress I have made on my PLN! Let me just say that I love it and that I am so thankful to EDM310 for introducing me to the wonderful world of personal learning networks. When I first started building my PLN, I had a few resources in mind that I wanted to add to it, but as the semester has progressed, the list I have been building has grown so much. I have learned of so many wonderful resources through EDM310, many of which include teachers' blogs we have encountered and countless resources on Twitter. It's so nice to know where I can immediately go to find information on schools, classroom ideas, how to manage the classroom, and so much more. A few of my favorite educational websites that I have added to my PLN include South's homepage, Sakai, the EDM310 homepage, Dr. Strange's website, and blogger.

Though my personal learning network is fabulous for the educational parts of my life, it is also wonderful for the personal sites I visit each day. These sites include: Twitter (though it is educational as well), Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Ebay, Etsy, and Shutterfly. Symbaloo was a great choice for me to set up my PLN because it is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. I love having all of my sites, both educational and personal, so accessible with the simple click of a button. I will most definitely continue adding to my PLN even when I finish EDM310 because this is a tool that will benefit me greatly as an educator.

Here is a picture of my lovely PLN (I added a pretty tropical background too):

Claire's Final PLN

C4T #4

Holiday Card Exchange Project

I was assigned to Mrs. Kelly Hines for my fourth C4T assignment. I originally was assigned to her blog entitled "Keeping Kids First," but the last post she made directed all of her readers to her her new blog, "In the Trenches." Mrs. Hines is in her 14th year of teaching in Piedmont, North Carolina. In the blog post I read, "Holiday Card Exchange Project," Mrs. Hines explained a project that she did with her class. She got the idea for the project from a website called Projects by Jen. Mrs. Hines described how she wanted to celebrate the holidays with her students, while also making a variety of curricular and cultural connections. She included a component of service by having her class send a card to a children’s charity. Along with sending the cards, Mrs. Hines urged teachers to do a few things: pin a Google Map where students can see where their cards are going, have the students research the place where their letters are going, and make Skype calls with the classes you are coordinating with to share about the letters. Along with these suggestions, Mrs. Hines also urged teachers to blog about the experience of sending and exchanging cards.

In my first comment to Mrs. Hines, I began by introducing myself and letting her know that for my EDM310 class I would be commenting on her blog for the next few weeks. I gave her my email address and links to both my personal blog and the class blog. I praised Mrs. Hines for her great post, and I let her know that I really enjoyed learning about the holiday card exchange project. Since I am studying to become a teacher, I told her how much I appreciated hearing present teachers' suggestions on projects. I went on to tell her how vital I thought it was for students to be taught the importance of serving and helping others. I also told her how neat I thought it was that she pinned a Google Map for her kids to see where there cards were going. I concluded by thanking her for her wonderful post and ideas.

Genre Posters & Ideas
Poster ideas

The second post I read of Mrs. Hines's was entitled "Genre Posters & Ideas." I really enjoyed reading all of Mrs. Hines's posts because she always provides fun ideas for the classroom. In this post, she describes how teachers and students can utilize posters in the classroom. She found a really great blog entitled "Think Share Teach" where she discovered an awesome Polka Dot Genre Poster that was completely free to download. She told us how she printed hers and laminated it on 18"x24" construction paper with a large open space at the bottom for her students to add thoughts and ideas to. She said that she would also let her students write the titles of the books they are reading on small sticky notes and leave them on the right genre poster so they can track the types of books they're reading. She concluded her post by asking her readers what ideas they could come up with for these awesome print-outs.

In my second comment to Mrs. Hines, I praised her for another wonderful post full of great ideas. I let her know that I explored the "Think Share Teach" blog like she suggested and that I found many more great ideas for the classroom there as well. I told her that because I am studying to become a future teacher, I always enjoy finding as many resources possible from present teachers. I also told her that I thought posters were a great way for students to become engaged in learning while having a great time doing so. I mentioned that posters were also a great way to add colorful decorations to the classroom, which is always a plus. I let Mrs. Hines know that English was my focus in college, so I really appreciated her reference of the polka dot genre posters. These posters are a great way for students to learn the different types of reading genres. I concluded my comment to Mrs. Hines by thanking her for her wonderful idea of these posters, and I let her know that I looked forward to reading more of her great thoughts and ideas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

C4K Summary for November

C4K #8

Noah's Ark America's Largest Waterpark
For C4K #8, I was assigned to Dakota's blog. Dakota is an 8th grade student in Mr. Boylen's class located in Iowa. I read her post entitled "Noah's Ark," which I learned is deemed as "America's Largest Waterpark." Dakota is a fabulous writer, and she uses very descriptive and vivid language and details. In her post, she took us through her day at Noah's Ark. She talked about how fun all of the different rides were, and she described the feelings she felt as she slid down each slide. She used a lot of dialogue throughout her story, which made it personal and enjoyable to read. She concluded her story by telling us how much she enjoyed her day and how thankful she was for having the opportunity to go. In my comment to Dakota, I began by introducing myself and letting her know I was a student in EDM310. I praised her for how well she writes, and I told her how much I enjoyed her descriptive details. I also told her that I too love going to water parks, and I described how much fun everyone always has riding all of the different slides. I let her know that her story had me so interested in Noah's Ark that I looked it up on Google to see all of the different rides she described. After seeing all of the awesome pictures, I can definitely see why she had such an enjoyable day. I ended my comment by telling her to keep up the great work and that I looked forward to reading more of her posts in the future.

C4K #9

Napoleon Bonaparte
For C4K #9, I was assigned to Aaron's blog. Aaron is in Mr. Cometti's 9th grade IB World History class. I read his post entitled "Napoleon Bonaparte." For this particular assignment, Mr. Cometti's class was required to select one chapter or event from the life of Marie Antoinette or Napoleon Bonaparte and write a minimum of four paragraphs. They were also required to provide at least one picture and link to the chapter or event they were summarizing. Aaron did a great job with his post about Napoleon! He met all of the requirements Mr. Cometti set out before the class. He included many details about Napoleon and events that happened at various ages during his lifetime. He talked about how Napoleon was in the military, how he fought battles, how he was exiled, and about his home life. In my comment to Aaron, I began by introducing myself and letting him know I was a student in EDM310. I then told him how much I enjoyed reading his post about Napoleon. I told him that he included great facts, many of which I had never heard before. I went on to describe how one fact he mentioned, how Napoleon was shipped to a new place where he barely knew the language and was only nine years old, really grabbed my attention. I told Aaron how scary I thought that must have been for Napoleon, especially as such a young age. I concluded by letting him know once again how great of a writer he was and that he included great descriptive details. I told him that since I was studying to become an English teacher, I always enjoy reading a nice piece of writing. I ended by telling him to keep up the great work and that I looked forward to reading more of his posts.

C4K #10

No Cell Phones Allowed Sign
For C4K #10, I was assigned to LaKavia's blog. LaKavia is a student in Mrs. Jamie Lynn Martin's 10th grade English class. I read her post entitled "10 Lies at BCHS" (BCHS stands for Baldwin County High School). Her list read as follows: Bullying Is Not Allowed, No Listening To Music In Mrs. Martin's Class, BCHS Will Win Every Game, No Food Is Allowed In The Building, No Cell Phones, No Gum, In Geometry We Will Be Using Flip The Strip, Don't Be Late To Class, They Will Block Sites,Drug Free. I began my comment to LaKavia by introducing myself as a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I let her know how much I enjoyed reading her post and how interesting I thought her list of ten lies at BCHS was. I then told her that the two lies that stuck out the most to me were "No Cell Phones" and "No Gum." I described to her that many people at my high school struggled with these two rules and that many broke these rules on a daily basis. I told her that the consequence for not following these rules ended with detention after school. In hopes of starting a conversation with LaKavia, I asked her what her school's policy was if someone breaks one of the rules she listed. I concluded my comment by telling her that I look forward to reading more of her posts and to keep up the great work.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Progress Report on Final Project

Teamwork makes the dream work
My group, Spring Flowers, is so excited to start working on the final Project #16. Our group consists of Sara Kinney, Jenna Barnes, and myself. We chose to create a 10-15 minute movie that will help future EDM310 students understand and survive the wonderful world of EDM310. This is a class like no other, and our group wants to demonstrate just what it takes to be successful throughout the entire semester of EDM310. We have all been discussing and throwing around ideas for Project #16, but we have not set in stone exactly what all we want to do yet. We are planning to meet this week to begin filming, and we have been utilizing many of the tools Dr. Strange has suggested to keep in touch with one another. We plan to incorporate many of the different areas of technology we have learned about this semester into our project because we want to illustrate just how vital technology is not only to this class but also to our futures as educators. I am so thankful for my awesome group members and all of their hard work. I can't wait to film our final project and show off just how much we have learned this semester in EDM310!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blog Assignment #12

For this blog post, we were to create an assignment in our area of specialty that Dr. Strange himself should have assigned. After reading Carly's assignment earlier in the semester about how she created a YouTube playlist, I have been trying to brainstorm ideas for my own blog post. I am studying Secondary Education with a focus on English, so I kept going back and forth and around and around on what I wanted to for this assignment. I wanted to come up with something really cool and super fun so that future EDM310 students would look at the instructions and say "Wow Blog Post (insert whatever number) looks really fun, and I think it will help me out a lot as a future teacher!" Okay, maybe everyone won't be quite as excited as I am, but by golly, I'm going to give it my best shot to make it that way.

I finally decided to do my assignment on something I have become quite obsessed with over the past couple of years, and that's Pinterest! Pinterest is not only an awesome website for things such as fashion/clothing, cooking tips/recipes, home ideas, event planning ideas, etc. etc., but it is also a fabulous tool for teachers! Never heard of Pinterest or not quite sure what it's all about? Stay tuned because you are about to find out. So, here goes nothing! With no further adieu, here are my ideas for Blog Assignment #12:
Pinterest in the Classroom

1. To begin with, watch this video: Pinterest for Teachers (5:09)

2. Visit both of these sites: 37 Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest In The Classroom and The 20 Best Pinterest Boards About Education Technology. Pay close attention to these articles and explore them as best you can. They will be very resourceful in utilizing Pinterest to its fullest.

3. If you do not already have one, create your own Pinterest account.

4. Once you have your own account up and running, I want you to locate a minimum of 15 pins that you find useful for your future career as a teacher. They can be anything from classroom organization, to present teachers' blogs, to tips on helping students succeed. Be creative and actually spend some time exploring the thousands of pins out there. I want you to create an "Education" board and pin your findings there.

5. In your blog post, provide a link to your newly created Pinterest account. In two or more paragraphs, describe your experience with Pinterest so far. What are your thoughts? Are you enjoying it? Why is it beneficial for you as a future educator? Answer these questions along with any other thoughts or ideas you may have.

6. Finally, choose one pin from your Education board that you find the most useful and fun. Provide the link to your pin and write one or more paragraphs on why you chose this certain pin and how it can be utilized in the classroom.


Claire's Take on the Assignment...

Since the best teachers teach by example, here is my personal take on the assignment as if I were a new EDM310 student reading it for the first time:

My Experience with Pinterest

First off, I really enjoyed doing this assignment. I thought the video "Pinterest for Teachers" was very pinteresting (hehe), and I thought both "37 Ways Teachers Can Use Pinterest In The Classroom" and "The 20 Best Pinterest Boards About Education Technology" were really helpful. Fortunately, I created a Pinterest account a couple of years ago, so I did not have to go through the process of making a new account. I think Pinterest is wonderful! I use it for so many things from finding new recipes, ideas for a future home, ideas for my future wedding, and probably most important of all, I use it for ideas for teaching and education. Here is a link to my Education board; I call it "Teacher in Training." Pinterest took a little while to get use to just like any other social site would, but after I got the hang of it, I quickly became enthralled with it. I have caught myself looking up pins for hours and hours, and before I know it, it will be 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning.

So far, I have pinned a lot of pins that look very useful for my future classroom. I think Pinterest is a great tool for teachers because it is a social bookmarking site that does a fantastic job of combing the "social" and the "bookmarking" parts. I enjoy Pinterest because it is a single place that I can keep all of my many ideas for the classroom. Instead of finding YouTube videos, classroom ideas, and blogs on Google or another tool and saving them all to my computer, Pinterest provides me with a place that I can quickly find and organize each idea that I come across. I have found ideas for my future classroom that I would've never known existed it if weren't for the wonderful world of Pinterest.

A Useful and Fun Pin

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
One pin I found in particular that is very useful for the classroom was entitled "15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly." Since I am studying to become an English teacher, I thought this pin was very interesting and helpful. It explains different errors students make when writing such as misusing "they're, their, and there," "your and you're," "its and it's," and showing the misuse of apostrophes. I would be able to incorporate these ideas in a grammar lesson in my future classroom because these errors are ones that students make ALL the time. I can't wait to be able to teach my students how to write effectively, and Pinterest is a site that's going to help me do that.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blog Assignment #11

Little Kids, Big Potential

kid hugging computer
I really enjoyed watching "First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class." Ms. Cassidy teaches a first grade class in Moose Jaw, Canada, and in this video, her class shows how they use blogs, a classroom webpage, wikis, Skype, and Nintendo DS players to share, collaborate, and learn in their classroom. One of the very first things the video portrays is the children working on their blogs. They said they enjoy writing on their blogs because people are able to see their work and comment on it; their blogs are an online portfolio of all of their work. They like how their parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends are able to see what they have been working on in class. The students also described in the video how they have learned that you must be nice when commenting on other people's blogs and that you must never say hurtful things. I thought this depiction was the neatest thing because these are first grade kids who are no more six or seven years old, and many of them seem to know more about blogging than many adults do. Through their use of blogging, the students are not only learning how to use important technology in the classroom, but they are also learning life lessons, such as how to treat others and their work.

The students in Ms. Cassidy's class also used Skype and their Nintendo DS players in their classroom, which I thought was awesome. They use Skype to talk with other classrooms and even experts in the subjects they are studying. In the video, they talk with Dr. Gregg, a geologist. Hearing and seeing her answer the questions is a great way for them to truly learn the material. This way is much better than simply reading it in a book; the questions and answers are able to really come alive for the children. The children are also able to play educational games on their Nintendo DS. This allows them to become better problem solvers, and it helps them learn to share and make decisions with other kids in their class.

As a future teacher, I think I will be able to use many of Ms. Cassidy's techniques in my classroom. I especially will implement blogging into my students' work. I think blogging is such a wonderful tool for students, and I think it can really help improve their writing. Since I am studying to become an English teacher, I will use blogging to focus on ways to help students with their own writing and to help them become effective peer editors. Just like Ms. Cassidy's students, my students will need to learn the appropriate and effective ways to comment on their peers' blogs. Though my students will either be in middle or high school, I know they would enjoy other people commenting on their blogs, just like Ms. Cassidy's first graders. It's a fun thing for kids to see that other people are taking the time to read their work, and in return, this will help the students improve their writing because they will want to show off how much they've learned. I really enjoyed watching Ms. Cassidy's video, and I will definitely incorporate some of her teaching methods into my future classroom.

Mrs. Cassidy's class

Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy

In Dr. Strange's skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, they discuss Ms. Cassidy's approach to the use of technology in the classroom. I especially enjoyed Ms. Cassidy's response to Dr. Strange's question of why she finds blogs useful in the classroom. She said that the world would go on without blogs, but she likes blogs because of the audience factor. Her students are able to write on their blogs for the whole world to see, rather than just their teacher. She describes how this is very exciting for a young student because their family, peers, and people from all around the world are able to not only view the students' blogs but comment on them as well. She also discussed how blogging opens doors for her students to make connections with others (such as people from a university about 40 miles from her school), and it helps students learn the importance of collaboration.

Skype interview with Mrs. Cassidy
Dr. Strange went on to ask Ms. Cassidy where she thought a good place was to start with technology in the classroom. She responded by saying that you should start with whatever you are most interested in, whether that is videos, photography, blogging, etc. She said they you should play off of what your interested in because everyone has a different preference. It is important to incorporate as much technology as you effectively can in the classroom, and like Ms. Cassidy said, the easiest place to start is with what you like. For me, that would most likely be blogging. I am very interested in writing, and I want to instill types of writing lessons and examples into my students. Dr. Strange and Ms. Cassidy went on to talk about how Twitter has become an effective part of their personal learning networks and how it has truly changed their views on this specific type of social networking. Twitter is a tool I will certainly try to incorporate into my classroom. Since most teenagers are already engaged in most social networking sites, I will love to show them how they can use these as educational tools. Like Ms. Cassidy said, people you follow on Twitter will leave links to sites you would have never known about otherwise; therefore, she deems it as a highly useful tool for education.

One statement Ms. Cassidy said in the course of the interview was this, "We cannot teach kids in this generation using the tools that worked twenty years ago, ten years ago, and even five years ago. We have to change because the world has changed." It's crazy to think about how rapidly technology is advancing, but she urges present and future teachers to keep up with the progress. She said that teachers are handicapping themselves and their students by not taking advantage of technology and the Internet. After Dr. Strange finished with his questions, he allowed his EDM310 students to ask Mrs. Cassidy a few questions. A few of the questions were: "How often do your students blog?", "Do you think Facebook can be useful in the classroom", and "How do you prevent students from being exposed to things they shouldn't on the Internet?". I enjoyed listening to her answers to the questions, but the question that stuck out to me the most was this, "With blogs being so accessible by the Internet, do you fear cheating will become more of a problem?" She responded by saying, "I don't think it's a problem. I think it's a switch with how we view information. The information is becoming collaborative, so professors should change the way he/she presents it." I enjoyed this answer a lot. I liked how she said it is a shift we all (administration, teachers, students, etc.) need to make to help supply information that becomes personal for each individual student.

Thumbs up
All in all, I really enjoyed learning about Ms. Cassidy's methods for teaching and using technology in the classroom. She helped clear up a few questions I had, such as how to effectively implement blogging in the classroom. Sometimes it may be difficult if others around you haven't jumped on the technological train, but to be an effective teacher, you need to pave your own tracks and keep chugging along. I look forward to keeping up with Ms. Cassidy's blogs and videos, and a huge thanks goes out to all she is doing up there in Moose Jaw!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

C4T #3

It's All About Your Attitude

Positivity is Key
I was assigned to Mr. Justin Tarte for my third C4T assignment. His blog is entitled "Life of an Educator," and in his "about me" section, he describes himself as a passionate educator with a love of learning and technology. He made a great statement that really caught my attention. He said, "I am excited about integrating technology and social media into the educational setting, while increasing collaboration & transparency among all stakeholders." I thought that was very appropriate, especially since I am learning daily how important technology is in the classroom. The first post I looked at of Mr. Tarte's was "It's All About Your Attitude." He posted a picture that said "It's all about you... How do you see the world? Is your glass half empty or half full?" He went on to describe how when your glass is half full, your perspective and attitude unleash a world of possibilities. He also described that when you practice the power of positive attitude and perspective, you are better able to balance the demands of life. He challenged his readers to find the silver lining in every situation, to commit to every situation, and to commit to empowerment and a positive outlook on life.

In my comment to Mr. Tarte, I began by introducing myself and letting him know that for my EDM310 class I would be commenting on his blog for the next few weeks. I gave him my email address and links to both my personal blog and the class blog. Mr. Tarte's post really interested me because I am a strong believer in striving to live a positive life. The message he portrayed is so vital for students and teachers to grasp; not only is it essential in the classroom, but it is also an important part of your everyday life. I told him how much I appreciated his post and how much I enjoyed the pictures and message he gave. As a future educator, positivity is one of my main priorities.

The Importance of Literacy
Children forming the word literacy
The second post of Mr. Tarte's I read was "The Importance of Literacy." His focus was on why literacy is so vital in the classroom. He made a great statement that basically summed up why literacy is so important. He said, "Literacy gives people tools with which to improve their livelihoods, participate in community decision-making, gain access to information about health care, and above all, it enables individuals to realize their rights as citizens and human beings.Literacy is not just about reading and writing; it is about respect, opportunity and development." Mr. Tarte went on to describe how he uses "word walls" to encourage literacy in the classroom; these walls promote student independence, provide visual maps for students, and help students develop a core for reading and writing. He also provided his readers with a few suggestions on how to incorporate literacy into the classroom: encourage students to read more than just books for your class, make reading and writing a priority, and consider allowing students to create a personal blog or reflective journal.

In my second comment to Mr. Tarte, I started off by telling him how much I enjoyed reading his post. The topic he wrote about is so relevant in schools today, so it was very easy to respond to his descriptions. I told him that I thought the word wall was a great idea, and since I am majoring in Secondary Education with a focus on English, it would be a great tool to teach my students different content areas concerning English. I went on to tell him how much I appreciated his suggestions for ways to increase opportunities for literacy in the classroom. I focused in on his suggestion of personal blogs; since I have recently discovered how useful blogging is from EDM310, I let him know that I would certainly incorporate personal blogs into my future classroom. I concluded by thanking him for his inspiring post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, USA TODAY interviewed some of the USA's greatest visionaries to talk about the world of tomorrow. Mary Beth Marklein published the article "A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind" to discuss just what the title implies: what would the world be like if there were no grades? In the article, USA TODAY interviewed Sebastian Thrun, a Google Vice President and Stanford research professor best known for his role in building Google's driverless car. Thrun's idea of an educational reform is described in his version of learning, which he says can be made free and available to anyone who wants it. Thrun is the owner of Udacity, which is an education company based in California that provides a higher education for free. Udacity's goal is to offer a university-level education of high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, they claim to have connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. In Thrun's version of education, he explains a few key concepts: no one will be late for class, failure is not an option, and lessons are made to look like games, such as the popular physics-based puzzle game "Angry Birds."

The whole vision of Udacity came to Thrun after he had the opportunity to teach a free online artificial-intelligence course that drew more than 160,000 students. This experience was so profound to him that he announced he no longer could teach in a traditional Stanford classroom. Thus, Udacity was born, and Thrun began his mission to revolutionize education. He made reference to the concept of "flipping the classroom," which occurs when students watch a video at home and come to class ready with questions to be answered by the teacher. Thrun explains how both online learning and flipping the classroom are made possible through technology, and because of these two concepts, classes will involve a sequence of increasingly more challenging exercises and quizzes aimed at helping students master a particular concept or skill. Thrun calls grades "the failure of the education system," so therefore, he intends to eliminate them completely. Instead, students will take as much or as little time as they need to demonstrate mastery of a particular skill or concept. This type of online education will be free, but related services may involve a fee. All in all, Thrun hopes to democratize education through technology.

Dollar signs
As I was reading this article, the message Mr. Thrun described seemed really cool and much more innovative than the education we see in many classrooms today. As I thought about it and looked at it more closely though, this type of educational reform raises a sense of skepticism. Yes, a free education where you get to play games on the Internet and learn at your own pace sounds great, but in reality, is this concept of education truly possible to the magnitude in which Mr. Thrun described? I have my doubts. The first item on his list that seems out of reach is the free part. If the top, most sought-out professors from all around the world are being called upon to teach these online classes, how does the Udacity team plan on paying them a salary? As a future teacher, I'm all about teaching my students because I truly want them to learn and grow, but in reality, I will be seeking a paycheck as well. I'm sure many of the professors Udacity has confronted feel the same way. I understand the students would be charged fees every once and a while, but simple fees would not be enough to pay for the numerous things this operation would call for: the high-tech computers and software that would be needed, the team working on these computers and programs, and as I mentioned earlier, the professors teaching the courses. "Free" sounds great (especially to myself, a poor college kid), but when it comes down to crunching the numbers, money speaks rather loudly.

Grades in Classes
The next item on the list that raises concerns for me is the fact that "a single class might enroll tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of students." I guess this sounds so bizarre to me because I personally like one-on-one contact and time with my teacher. If there are this many people in a single class, how is an instructor suppose to keep up with everything the students are doing? I understand Mr. Thrun's goal is to create an education that will respond to each individual student, but with that many students, I have my doubts. The third item I'd like to talk about is the "no more grades" idea. As a college student myself, this sounds wonderful. As long as I'm understanding the material and learning at my own pace, what do grades matter anyway? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I think grades, or rather some kind of assessment, is needed. I'm all for students being able to take the time necessary to master concepts and skills, but without some form of assessment, I think students lose some of the responsibility needed to become successful. I don't necessarily think the "A, B, C, D, F" system is the only or best solution for assessment out there, but I do believe teachers should provide students with feedback on how they are progressing in a given class. Normally, that feedback comes through assessment.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Mary Beth Marklein's article in USA TODAY because it brought up some really neat ideas for the future of education. Though I don't totally agree with everything Mr. Sebastian Thrun is advocating with the online learning society created by Udacity, I still think he offered up interesting and innovative ideas. I just believe a few things need to be tweaked to make them more realistic and doable. One thing Mr. Thrun and I most certainly agree on is how important technology is for the future and progression of education and for the way we teach our students.

Monday, November 5, 2012

C4K Summary for October

C4K #3

Squirrel playing in leaves
For C4K #3, I was assigned to "mholmes" blog. Unfortunately, this child had not posted anything, so I chose Sopkos954 blog to comment on instead. Sopkos954 (her name was not provided) attends Union Pleasant Elementary in Hamburg, New York, and she is in Mr. Wirth's 4th grade class. In her post, she had two paragraphs describing her writing; one was before she revised, and the other was after she revised. Her story was entitled "Scared for Nothing," and she described a time when she was picking fruits and vegetables in her garden. She suddenly heard a noise and became frightened. Come to find out, the noise was only a squirrel scampering along in the fall leaves. In my comment to Sopkos954, I began by telling her I was a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I let her know how much I enjoyed reading her post, and I told her she did a great job revising her story. I also let her know how creative of a writer she was and how descriptive her details were. I concluded by telling her that I looked forward to reading more of her posts and to keep up the great work.

C4K #4

Procrastinators unite tomorrow
For C4K #4, I was assigned to Wallen's blog. He is a 12th grade student in a fully online 12th grade AP U.S. & Comparative Government & Politics course at Oregon Episcopal School. In Wallen's post, he discussed how procrastination affects his life. He mentioned how it had been difficult keeping up with all of his assignments since this was the first fully online class he had taken. He played soccer, so he described how it was hard to play a sport and maintain all of his schoolwork. He concluded by saying that he would search for the focus and determination it would take to do well in his classes and on the playing field. Since he is a senior in high school, his post was much longer than the other C4K assignments I've looked at thus far. In my comment to Wallen, I introduced myself as a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I told him I was a junior in college, so procrastination was something I personally dealt with on a daily basis as well. I also told him that I too played a sport in high school, so I could relate to how difficult it is to maintain your academics during a certain sport season. I praised him for his post, and I let him know that I thought he was certainly on the right track to conquering procrastination. I provided him with a few tips that has helped me stay on top of my schoolwork in college, and I encouraged him by telling him that he certainly was not alone in the battle against procrastination.

C4K #5

boy riding bike
For C4K #5, I was assigned to Dylan's Blog, who is a student in Mr. Capps' 3rd grade class in Gulf Shores, Alabama. In his post, Dylan wrote a short story about Saruni, a boy who loved helping his mother and father. Saruni helped his mother go to the market to get pumpkins and bananas, and his father helped him learn to ride a bike. Dylan described how Saruni wanted to buy a bike of his own, but the person selling the bike was mean and laughed at Saruni. In my comment to Dylan, I introduced myself and told him I was a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I praised him for his fantastic post, and I let him know how creative his story was. In hopes of starting a conversation with Dylan, I asked him if he had a bike he liked to ride, and I told him that I love riding my bike around my neighborhood. I concluded by telling him to keep up the awesome work and that I looked forward to reading more of his stories.

C4K #6

For C4K #6, I was assigned to Jake' blog. Jake is in Ms. Mclaughlin's 2nd grade class in Birmingham, Alabama. Jake posted an adorable picture of a monkey on his blog, and he described how monkeys can do many things. They swing from tree to tree, and they can eat all kinds of fruit, especially bananas. He also described how they sometimes even act crazy. In my comment to Jake, I praised him for choosing such a cute monkey for his picture. I let him know I was a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama, and I told him how great his post was. In hopes of getting a response back from Jake, I asked him where he thought the monkey lived and how I bet the monkey loved to eat bananas like he described. I concluded by telling him to keep up the great work and that I looked forward to reading more of his posts.

C4K #7 Special Edition

C4K #7 was a special edition, and for this assignment, we looked at Dr. Vitulli's and Dr. Santoli's blog. Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santoli were in Ireland attending the Ireland International Conference on Education. I was assigned to their post "Attention Getters." In this post, Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santoli described the things they noticed, their attention getters, in Ireland that are both different and similar to that in the United States. One of the things they mentioned was how friendly the people in Dublin are. Though they experience southern hospitality at home, they were so delighted to be greeted with such hospitality there. They talked about how the bus system saved them lots of money and how the people there drive on the left side of the road. They were also very impressed with the food and deemed it as very yummy. They concluded by asking us if we had traveled anywhere internationally, and if so, what our attention getters were. In my comment to Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santoli, I told them how great it was that they were having a wonderful time and how interesting it is to see the differences and similarities between other places and the United States. In response to their question, I explained that I had recently traveled to St. John in the Virgin Islands. I let them know that some of my attention getters were the relaxed "island time" of the locals there, how they also drive on the left side of the road, and how delicious the food was. I was very excited that Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santoli responded to my comment on their post, and they thanked me for sharing my experiences in St. John.
People in Dublin, Ireland

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blog Assignment #10

John Spencer's Cartoon

John Spencer's cartoon
Mr. Spencer provided this picture on his blog post "I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga." which is found on his blog "Adventures in Pencil Integration." When I first looked at this picture, I really wasn't sure what it meant. I knew "Papermate" and "Ticonderoga" were brands of pencils, but I still wasn't positive on the message the picture was trying to portray. After reading the comments on the picture on Mr. Spencer's blog, I noticed that many people were unsure of its meaning, so Mr. Spencer explained what it was. He said, "It's a mock of 'I'm a Mac and I'm a PC' commercials." Once he said that, it all clicked with me. This picture is pointing towards the use of technology in the classroom. By comparing pencils to computers, it seems to have a double meaning. With the rapid increase in technology, computers will soon completely take the place of pencils and papers. The second meaning I got from it was that it pays off in the end to invest in something that will last, whether that is a Ticonderoga pencil or a Mac computer. I don't think the picture is saying "Hey, everyone should buy this kind of pencil or that kind of computer," but I do believe its overall message is a metaphor for the use of technology in the classroom.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

Classroom Games
In Mr. Spencer's post "Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?," he gets in trouble by his principal because he allowed his students to play games in the classroom. The basic message his principal is saying is that games should never be used in the classroom and that Mr. Spencer should focus on teaching content that will be evaluated on the students' tests. I really like Mr. Spencer's writing style in his blog posts; his use of wit and humor to get the point across is very captivating. I agree with Mr. Spencer that games in the classroom can be very educational. I believe teachers need to stop trying to teach simply for the tests and start trying to teach so students can truly learn, retain, and enjoy the material. Mr. Spencer seems to really know how to get his students' attention, and I believe his use of educational games is innovative and creative.

This post by Mr. Spencer relates well to situations that happen frequently in schools. Students sit in class, write down notes on what their teacher is saying, and then regurgitate it back in test form. Teachers are teaching so that the students do well on the standardized test and evaluations. The administration is urging the teachers to do this because the board of education is encouraging the administration to do so. It's a never-ending cycle of what Dr. Strange calls burp-back education. I do not think that all schools and school systems take on this approach, but I feel that many of them do. As a future educator, my goal is to strive to eliminate this type of education. I want to integrate technology, games, and other forms of innovative teaching in my classroom so that students truly learn and enjoy what they are being taught. Just like Mr. Spencer described, I believe we should be incorporating this type of education into our schools.

I Banned Pencils Today

Using your brain in the classroom
For the next part of our assignment, we were to explore more of Mr. Spencer's posts and find one to talk about. I actually was assigned Mr. Spencer's blog for one of my C4T assignments, so I have explored his blog some already. It was hard to choose just one of his posts for this assignment because they were all so good, but I decided to go with "I Banned Pencils Today." Though this was a shorter post, it really struck home with me and has a huge meaning behind it. Mr. Spencer talks about how he banned pencils one day in his math class. He also talks about how he welcomes all forms of media in his classroom, but on this particular day, he wanted to get rid of all pencils, paper, manipulatives, and chalk. He encouraged his students to simply work with their minds; though this concept seems easy enough, it can be more difficult than it appears.

Mr. Spencer wanted his students to do mental math to show them how powerful their brains are in and of themselves. He stated, "Having tools is a part of being human. I never want to deny that. Yet, I also want to recognize that we have the power to abandon our tools and use our highly evolved minds." I really enjoyed this post because I personally sometimes rely too much on the tools around me. For example, I was balancing my checkbook the other day using the calculator on my iPhone. At one point, I caught myself using the calculator to do math as simple as 30 minus 15. (I bet you all have done this at one point as well, so don't judge.) Like Mr. Spencer said though, tools are wonderful to have around, but sometimes we need to drop them and use the brain we were given. We may even surprise ourselves at how much we can accomplish with only the natural tools we have.

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

Dr. Scott McLeod
Dr. Scott McLeod is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. One fact that I found extremely interesting about Dr. McLeod is that he is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. He blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant, which is the awesome blog we looked at for this assignment. I really enjoyed reading Dr. McLeod's post "Don't Teach Your Kids This stuff. Please?. He uses a hint of sarcasm to get a huge point across: he tells parents, teachers, and administrators to go ahead and keep their kids away from new technologies; his students will use technology and have an even greater advantage over their kids.

This truly was a great blog post because it really highlights everything we have been learning in EDM310. There are so many excuses out there to why people avoid technology; Dr. McLeod describes a few of their arguments: kids don't need an audience, they don't need to become self-absorbed, there might be predators out there, and collaboration is cheating. I applaud Dr. McLeod for his strong stance in making sure his students have every opportunity to use technology. He tells everyone else to do as they please, but as for him and his students, they will use technology and be better for it. I completely agree with him, and I hope to be as bold in my future classroom as he is in his classroom.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Project #10 My PLN

My Personal Learning Network

Claire's Personal Learning Network

I chose to use Symbaloo to create my PLN. As I was researching the perfect place to begin my PLN, Symbaloo was definitely the most user-friendly. Dr. Strange provided us with a lot of different examples of how to create a personal learning network. A few of which were: "A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment," Steven Anderson's "Building Your PLN-A Primer For Anyone," and "Personal Learning Networks." I am so impressed by the idea of a PLN, and I am so excited to continue building my own personal learning network. Symbaloo's home webmix provided a lot of the websites I already frequently visit, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, and eBay. I added a few more of my favorites such as Pinterest, University of South Alabama's Homepage, the EDM310 Class Blog, the Nike website, and Etsy. I really like that a PLN can contain both personal items as well as items I will use in my academic and professional life.

Like Dr. Strange said, a PLN is not just a method of presenting and organizing; it is set of people and tools to call upon for help, consultation, collaboration, and other assistance. I have already started a list of people I want to add to my PLN that I have encountered through Twitter, C4T, and C4K assignments from EDM310. I can't wait to continue building and adding to my PLN. I can already tell I'm going to spend a lot of time on it because I love organizing my different websites. I also can't wait to build my list of people who are going to be able to help me in the future. Thanks for introducing me to this awesome thing, Dr. Strange! I'll definitely be using this tool outside of EDM310.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog Assignment #9

Mr. McClung's End of School Year Reflection for 2010-11

Super Grade A+ Teacher
At the end of each year, Mr. McClung writes a blog post reflecting on his adventures, accomplishments and learnings. For the first part of our assignment, I chose to read Mr. McClung's post "What I Learned This Year (2010-11)." He began by talking about all of the changes that had occurred during the year: it was his first year to teach at the same school for more than one year, it was his first experience as a cross country head coach, and it was also his first experience as a computer applications teacher. He made several inspiring points in his post, discussing the impact these changes had on him as an educator. One point he made was knowing who your boss is. As a teacher, he did a lot of people-pleasing on a daily basis, but the people he set out to please were adults (administration) rather than his students. He talked about how important it is not to get consumed with trying to please individuals, especially if you begin neglecting your own students. He made an eye-opening statement that really stuck with me; he said, "Our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered around pleasing adults." As a coach myself, I also find that I try to please the administration of the school and/or the parents of my players. Sometimes, I would get so focused on making sure they liked what I was doing that I lost focus on my main priority: my players. After some soul-searching, I vouched that I would strive to never again lose my main focus. Just as Mr. McClung's duty is to his students, my duty is to my players, their development in volleyball, and their well-being. I was able to really relate to Mr. McClung's description of this topic.

Mr. McClung went on to talk about not being afraid to be an outsider and not getting too comfortable with an everyday routine. He discussed how he enjoyed hanging out and eating lunch with his students more so than he did with his fellow teachers. He described how it's okay if you don't "fit in" as a teacher because there will always be people who don't like what your doing or how your doing it. He stated, "I play my music way too loud, I eat my lunch with students and not in the teacher's lounge, I enjoy being connected to my students through blogging and social media, and I enjoy being immature." I thought that was very admirable of him to say. I think it's important to be an outgoing teacher who can relate to his or her students, while also teaching them information on how to accomplish goals they may have never thought possible. Mr. McClung also talked about how a teacher's biggest fear should be when he or she becomes too comfortable. Though routines are good, we do not need to become so comfortable in our daily routines that we coast through our work. We need to become "movers and shakers" in education according to Mr. McClung, and to do that, we need to be passionate advocates for the changes that need to happen in our schools.

Mr. McClung's End of School Year Reflection for 2011-12

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart
For the second part of our assignment, I read Mr. McClung's post "What I Learned This Year - Volume 4 (2011-12)." This post was Mr. McClung's year four reflection on teaching. It related to his year three reflection because he again talked about pleasing his peers (which are his fellow teachers). He said that this year he was going to make a point to try and see how his peers viewed him and the way he taught. Though he was pleasing his students, he wanted to explore the thoughts of his peers. After further reflection, he realized that he has to "dance with the one who brought him to the dance." His focus has always been on making sure his students have fun, so he decided that is what he needs to stick with. Being a people-pleasing person myself, Mr. McClung's ideas are something I need to keep in mind. The main focus of being an educator should always be the students. Though it is not wrong to please adults, we should continue to focus on making sure the kids are taken care of and are enjoying class.

The second topic Mr. McClung discussed in his post was challenging yourself. This school year was his third consecutive year teaching the same subjects at the same school. He found himself resorting to using the same lesson plans and activities, so his creativity was beginning to vanish. He said, "My goal as an educator is to do everything I can to ensure that students enjoy class and not resent school as I did as a child." I can relate to that because as a kid, I hated when my teachers did the same boring, monotonous thing day in and day out. After a while, I wasn't challenged anymore because the teachers had been doing the same lessons and using the same materials for years and years. When I first began my journey to becoming a future teacher, I made a promise to myself; I would not be "that" teacher that the students did not enjoy going to her class. Though one of my main goals is to ensure my students receive a quality education, I want to impact their lives on more than just an academic level. Just as Mr. McClung described, I want my students to leave my class with a sense that I cared about them personally and that I did everything I could to make their school year awesome.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blog Assignment #8

This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2

Dr. Richard E. Miller's videos, "This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2," discuss the idea of writing in a new multimedia age. Dr. Miller is a professor in the English Department at Rutgers University, and his videos give an awesome glimpse into what the future of writing on the web holds. He begins the first video with a powerful image; he states, "I think we are living at the moment of the greatest change in human communication in human history." I thought that was an extremely valid statement. If you really stop and think about it, the world has never been more technologically advanced as it is today, and it is well on its way to becoming more advanced with each passing day. Dr. Miller discusses how he use to work in a place with pencils, books, and papers and how he would have to go to libraries to gather information and data. He then describes how his workplace now is in word processing on his laptop. He said people everywhere are now able to research the riches of the world as they are stored on the web, and his videos advocate his views on utilizing the web as much as possible when writing.

Student Change
Dr. Miller goes on to discuss a research project he composed about the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. He was able to freely access documents online, and he never had to set foot in a library to research information. Finding articles and data online is not like going to the library anymore; we literally have an academic world at our fingertips. Not only does Dr. Miller stress the importance of the web when writing, but he is very interested in writing text collaborated with images, films, and other archives on the web. This really stuck out to me because I definitely agree that using images and videos mixed with text is one of the best ways to grab students' attention. I am a visual learner, and if I open a book or Internet article that is all text with no pictures/videos, my brain automatically registers a message of "wow, I already do not want to read this material because it is going to be boring." I feel like a lot of students have that same reaction, but just like Dr. Miller describes, the utilization of multimedia can completely change those notions.

Online Learning Community
Part two of Dr. Miller's video confronts how this new kind of material we are able to access on the web changes right before our eyes and is updated instantly and constantly. He notes how important it is for us to collaboratively share the information we access on the web. He says, "People are beginning to understand that ideas don't belong to us individually, but to us as a culture, and we, as educators, must be in the business of sharing ideas freely." I really like how he worded that statement. As educators, we have the opportunity to get behind the material and see how it's put together. We should be willing to help fellow educators and students gain as much information as possible to increase their learning and understanding. It is much better to have a community of learners rather than one single learner who has to do everything by him or herself. Dr. Miller's description of the sharing community reminds me a lot of what Dr. Strange is teaching us in EDM310. I love how we are able to gain all kinds of viewpoints and research on different material from different professors and students. I really enjoyed Dr. Miller's videos, and I am excited for the new information about writing on the web that will soon be available, if it's not already. By the time I have my own classroom with my future students, I cannot even imagine where the world will be when it comes to web learning and writing. I do know though that I will embrace the new technology as it comes and do everything I can to integrate it into my teaching and into my student's lives.

Carly's YouTube Playlist

First off, I would like to say that Carly had a wonderful idea for her Blog Post #12. She presented such a creative idea, and I really enjoyed reading her post because she was such an enthusiastic and cheerful writer. For her assignment (which is an assignment we will have to do fairly soon), she had to brainstorm an idea that she felt was good enough for Dr. Strange himself to assign to the EDM310 class.

YouTube Playlist
Carly decided to create a YouTube playlist, composed of several videos related to the field of teaching. In her assignment directions, she gave several ideas for the students to choose from. For example, students could: describe the kind of teacher you would like to be, show ways you can motivate your students, offer tips on classroom management, offer tutorials on programs you have learned about in this class that you like so much you would like to use (podcast, iPods, PLN's, etc.) I love how she provided a link to her own personal playlist for the students to explore and draw inspiration from. She said, "I even created my own playlist because good teachers teach by example. In my playlist, there's a few that are inspirational because, in a perfect classroom students actually have to think."

Carly's assignment follows Dr. Miller's hopes for writing with multimedia very closely. Her description of the YouTube playlist would allow students to find and store as many videos as possible related to their particular field of teaching and style. This would allow for creativity in multimedia writing, and students would be able to include these videos, images, and texts into their writing, which would benefit them greatly. I believe Dr. Miller would be very proud of Carly's work, and I think she did a wonderful job with coming up with a great assignment. Awesome work, Carly!

EDM310 is Different

In the video "The Chipper Series," Chipper, who is played by Jamie Lynn Miller (a former EDM310 student), talks with Dr. Strange several times about different things going on in her life. She first discusses how she thinks she should be able to turn her work in whenever she gets it done, even if it's late. Even though she procrastinates, she still thinks she should get credit. After confronting Dr. Strange about how she didn't like his teaching practices, she dropped out of school and decided to start her own school, the Timeline Pilot School. In her school, students can choose the time slot of when they want to go to class, and they can decide how long they want to stay in each class. After numerous glitches and failures, the FFA shuts her school down. As a backup plan, Chipper decides to go back to school to become a teacher. Dr. Strange's friend, Ms. Wright, ends up firing Chipper from her job as a teacher because she never showed up to teach her class. After a few more failed attempts of procrastination, Chipper finally comes to the conclusion that she must cleanse her ways, go back to school, and not procrastinate.

EDM310 for Dummies
In the video "EDM310 for Dummies," Poppy Bednorz, Jamie Lynn Miller, and Jennifer Chambers create a book called "EDM310 for Dummies." They express the frustrations they had in EDM310 before they were fully able to understand how great the class was for them. After they read their newly found book, they learned all the tips and tricks to help make EDM310 a wonderful learning experience for them.

These two videos were great in helping me think of videos I hope to create in the future in EDM310. They had such unique and interesting ideas, and they used humor and lots of detailed information to help their viewers understand the message they were trying to portray. I think a video about the transformation EDM310 helps students make would be really cool. For example, it would be neat to show the story of a student's journey through the class, from the very beginning to the end product. You could illuminate problems encountered and most importantly, solutions on how to manage those problems.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

Technology in the Classroom
In the video "Learn to Change, Change to Learn," distinguished individuals in education discuss the need for change in the classroom. These educators talk about how technology should not be a choice anymore in the classroom; it is fundamentally needed to educate our children. I really enjoyed this video, and I definitely agree with the message they are portraying. Kids do not just learn in the classroom; they learn in their communities, libraries, museums, and of course, on the web. It is our job as educators to integrate this kind of learning into the classroom. Teachers should be a window of opportunity for students, and we should be preparing them not only for college but for the real world as well. Like they said in the video, it's not just about checking off standards anymore, it is about truly engaging students in learning. I hope to accomplish what this video lays out when I myself become an educator.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

This assignment was suggested by a former EDM310 student, Justin Cometti Fall 2011. Just like Carly created a YouTube playlist, Justin came up with the Scavenger Hunt 2.0. We were given a list of five items and were told to choose three of the five. We were also given a few resources to help us with this assignment: "Discovery Education Web 2.0 for 2011," "Discovery Education's WEB 20.11," and "WEB 2.0 Tools."

Assignment 1:
The first item that I found was Ning, which is a tool similar to Twitter/Facebook. Ning is your key to an awesome social community. Though Ning, you can create a perfect social website to help bring people from all around the world together. With your own look and feel, and choice of social integration, Ning opens new doors to revenue and involvement. Teachers can use Ning to create a supportive place to enrich their students' learning. Here is a list of a few great things Ning provides for educators:
1) Forums (provide the podium to explore, share, and discuss)
2) Photo Gallery (brings educational projects to life)
3) YouTube Integration (provides a seamless, rich media experience)
4) Social Sign-in (makes sign-in easy for members with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo)

I could easily integrate Ning into my future classroom. Ning provides numerous ways to use technology to help teach students, and I will definitely be using it to teach my future students.

Assignment 2:
For the second item we were assigned, I chose to create a poll on "Poll Everywhere." Polls are a great and fun way to get students involved with answering questions inside and outside of the classroom. Since I am studying to become an English teacher, I chose to create a poll that lets students express which type of writing they like the most: Narrative, Expository, Descriptive, or Persuasive. Students could respond to the poll on their cell phones or computers the day before I teach the lesson so that I can get a feel for which writing they enjoy the most. You can check out my poll here: Claire's Writing Poll.

Assignment 3:
For my third assignment, I chose to make my own comic strip on Make Beliefs Comix. This would be a fun and creative way for students to enjoy a project or assignment. My comic strip describes a day in the life of an EDM310 student. I've included a picture of my comic strip (click to enlarge), but you can also check it out here: Claire's Comic Strip. Claire's Comic Strip

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

C4T #2

Adventures in Pencil Integration: Remember Pencil Quests?

I was assigned to Mr. Spencer for my second C4T assignment. His blog is entitled "Adventures in Pencil Integration," which grabbed my attention immediately. When I was first exploring Mr. Spencer's blog, I saw that he had written this in his biography: "I teach. I write. I live. I want to do all three authentically." I thought that was an awesome and powerful thing to say. Teaching, writing, and living authentically are things I personally want to accomplish as well. The first post I read of Mr. Spencer's was "Remember Pencil Quests?" His entire post was written to describe a story through his use of dialogue. The conversation was between him and his former teacher. The teacher told the class that they were going on a pencil quest. The class immediately got very excited because they thought they were going on a field trip. Little did they know that this quest would be an adventure through imagination and writing with their pencil in the classroom. Mr. Spencer's post focuses on how important imagination is when writing and how vital it is that writing be made fun.

In my first comment to Mr. Spencer, I began by introducing myself and explaining how I would be commenting on his blog for my EDM310 class. I gave him my email address and links to my blog and the class blog where he could get in touch with me if he wanted to. I told him how interesting and captivating his use of dialogue was and how I could relate to his description of pencil quests. I explained how I am studying to become a middle or high school English teacher, and I told him how passionate I am about writing and teaching others about writing. I let him know that I would love to use his idea of the pencil quest in my future classroom to get my students excited about the writing process and about using their imaginations. I concluded by thanking him for his thoughts.

Adventures in Pencil Integration: The Con Academy

The Flipped Classroom
Mr. Spencer's second post I read was "The Con Academy." He again used dialogue to tell his readers a story. The conversation in this post was between him and his boss, the principal of the school where he worked. His principal led him to a classroom to talk with Sam, an advocate of the flipped classroom. The basic idea was that Mr. Spencer felt that a flipped classroom is beneficial in some ways, but he described how he still enjoyed using a simple pencil to accomplish great things in the classroom. He wanted to blend students working individually with students working collectively as a class. He said that the free gift of the flipped classroom should not be taken lightly and should be combined with other teaching methods.

In my second comment to Mr. Spencer, I again told him how clever I thought his use of dialogue to tell a story was. I let him know that I had recently learned about what the flipped classroom was as I was researching in my EDM310 class. I then told him that I thought there should be a happy medium between flipping the classroom and maintaining a healthy student-teacher relationship. Teachers shouldn't get so bogged down with the details of how to flip their classroom that they lose focus of the most important thing: the students. I told him that I thought a blend of technology with "pencil writing," as he described, would help students succeed in the classroom.