Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Assignment #5

iSchool Initiative

iSchool Initiative Team
In his video "iSchool Initiative," Travis Allen, a 17-year-old high school student at the time, presented the idea of books, paper, and pencils being replaced by the technology of the iPod touch. He made the argument that this technology would help schools "go green" and become an iSchool without destroying natural resources. He said that with the right plan, these iPods could change the face of public education. Travis Allen describes many readily available applications students can use in the classroom to help them with their studies. A few of the ones he mentioned were email, calender, U.S. Constitution, iHomework, and World Wiki. These applications will help students, teachers, and parents stay connected and know what is going on in the classroom from day to day.

Travis Allen goes on to describe how applications will transform tomorrow's iSchool. These custom-made, interactive applications can store and track homework, tests, calenders, and lunch menus, and they will help teachers have all of their class information available at one touch. He says that total teacher and student accountability will be available for the first time, and parents will be able to monitor their child's progress from any phone or computer. The iSchool will be lockable for the individual school, and interactive for the kids. The students will only be able to look up school-related information on the Internet, so education will be the main priority. One of the coolest parts of the iSchool that he described was how much money schools and students will save. They would go from spending $600+ to about $150 per student. I think Travis Allen and the iSchool Initiative have some great ideas on how to get technology more widespread in classrooms everywhere, and it was awesome to see in their video "ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry" how much attention their program as gotten. I wish them the best and look forward to seeing their success in the future.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

I am speechless after watching "Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir." This video portrays a choir ensemble of 185 people performing "Lux Aurumque." The awesome thing is that none of these people have ever met before, and they are performing this beautiful song over the internet. I would never had dreamed something like this would be possible, but it just goes to show you how truly amazing the internet really is. If it is possible for 185 strangers to sing that beautifully over the web, the possibilities and opportunities for technology in the classroom are endless. Eric Whitacre is a musical legend in my book, and I am so glad I was able to watch this wonderful performance.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Teaching in the 21st Century

Technology and computers
After watching Dr. Strange's version of Kevin Roberts' "Teaching in the 21st Century," I am very excited about the future of schools and technology. One of Roberts' main points was that we, as educators, need to rethink the tools we use and the types of problems we ask students to solve. Many people question how to manage laptops, iPods, and cell phones in the classroom, but Roberts points out that you manage them the same way you manage students using paper, pencils, and notebooks. The tools provide temptation, but they are not the source of negative behavior. I completely agree with Roberts when he says no matter what lesson you create and what tools you use, they must be relevant, challenging, and most importantly, engaging. I think this video is a great example of what EDM310 stands for. I have learned more in EDM310 in just a few weeks than I have in full semesters in the past. Why you may ask? Because I am engaged in the work I am doing. The changes in technology described in this video will greatly affect me as a future educator. I want my classroom to be one of engaging lessons and expressive student learning. I am so thankful for Kevin Roberts' video, and I think he has numerous beneficial ideas that will help any teacher use technology to its fullest.

The Flipped Classroom

The idea of flipping the classroom is awesome and so innovative! After watching "Why I Flipped My Classroom," "Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ - Flipping the Classroom," and "Flipping the Classroom - 4th Grade STEM," I was in total awe of how effective this idea is. The notion is that teachers will have an online version of their lessons available to be viewed before the students even come in to the classroom. The students can familiarize themselves with the material and come to class with any problems or questions they may have. The flipped classroom allows for 90% of class time to be spent on application and 10% to be spent on lecturing. This is a complete flip of what a normal classroom used to be.

I wish I had the opportunity to grow up in a flipped classroom like the ones described in these videos. My elementary, middle, and high school years seemed to consist of the same schedule every day in every class: the teacher would stand at the front of the room for 50 minutes teaching us something that we weren't really paying attention to. We would go home and have no idea how to complete our homework because we didn't retain anything we learned. This is where the flipped classroom will help immensely. Not only will students become engaged with the learning process, but parents will also have numerous opportunities to help their children with homework because the lessons from the teacher are available online. The children will become excited about being academically engaged because they won't have to sit and stare at their teacher for an entire class period. Students will be able to work more at their own pace, and their teacher will have more of an opportunity to work with each student individually. I am enlightened by this awesome educational idea, and I will definitely utilize the flipped classroom one day.
Flipped Classroom

Sunday, September 23, 2012

C4T #1

The Principal's Principles: Hope, Opportunity, and Courage

I was assigned to Mr. Bernia for my first C4T assignment. His blog is entitled "The Principal's Principles," which I thought was both catchy and appropriate for the subjects his posts about. When I first viewed his blog, I came across his subtitle which said "I am a middle school principal striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time." I was immediately excited to read what he had to say because I could sense his positivity right off the bat. The first post I read of Mr. Bernia's was "3 words for the year: Hope, Opportunity, and Courage." He spoke about the preparation he and his staff were making for the upcoming school year, and he decided to speak about hope, opportunity, and courage in the first staff meeting he held with his teachers. He began by saying that teachers are sometimes the only source of hope students see on a daily basis, and he said that it is our charge as educators to give our students hope. He then used an example of giving students opportunity. He described how his school took a trip to see the movie The Hunger Games, and in the car on the way there, he discovered one of his students had never been to a movie theater before. He was a source of opportunity for this particular student. He ended by discussing how we should have the courage to focus on our students rather than ourselves.

In my first comment to Mr. Bernia, 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 wished to. I then praised him for the inspirational post he made. I agreed that teachers have the huge task of being a source of hope, opportunity, and courage for students, and I told him that as a future teacher, my goal is to positively impact students' lives. I also told him how important I thought it was that we put aside our own needs to focus on the needs of our students.
Student and teacher

The Principal's Principles: Begin with the end in mind

Mr. Bernia's second post I read was "Begin with the end in mind." He described how important it is for educators to begin each school year with the end results in mind. He wants to focus on the instruction that will lead to students mastering new standards. He listed several common core standards from the Smarter Balanced assessments: students will need to think through the questions, do some analysis, and answer; students will need to take more time for each question; time on task has to increase. He ended by emphasizing that his main goal as a school administrator is greater student achievement.

In my comment to Mr. Bernia, I again praised him for a wonderful post. I told him how I agreed that each of the core standards he listed was relevant to schools today. I then described how I understand now more than ever as a college student how important is is to take your time when it comes to assessment. You must slow down, read the questions, and do the very best you can. I told him how nice it was to see an administrator so focused on student achievement and how it was great that the students were his main priority. I look forward to possibly hearing back from Mr. Bernia, and I will definitely continue reading his blog posts.
Standardized test

Blog Assignment #4

Langwitches is such a great blog! It is so inspiring to see young children learning how to podcast and create blogs. Langwitches emphasizes a truly vital point: it's not the fact that technology is being taught; what's important is that skills are being taught.

1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook

Dinosaurs Before Dark
Ms. Tolisano's blog post 1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook explains such a fun way to integrate podcasting into the classroom. Ms. Tolisano chose the book Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne for the students to read and eventually turn into an audiobook. She pulled students out of class a few at time to let them record their voices chapter by chapter for the script. She also had the classroom teacher create a written script for the students to read along with when they listened to the book. The audio file was about 15 minutes long, and as the class listened to the podcast for the first time, they were so engaged with reading along in their script.

I think creating an audiobook is an awesome way to get students excited about reading. I can remember reading time in my first and second classroom. It was so mundane and felt very repetitive because all we did was get into groups to read the same type of material over and over again. Allowing student to use their own voices to be heard aloud is a fun way for students to practice the inflection in their voices and to truly take on the role of the character in the book. Ms. Tolisano also pointed out a great idea by composing a read-along script for the students. This allows them to see the words they were saying on paper, and it will help them to pair up sounds with actual words and letters. I can't wait to be able to incorporate podcasting into my future classroom!

Flat Stanley Podcast

Flat Stanley
The Flat Stanley Podcast was adorable! Ms. Tolisano had her students read Flat Stanley by Jim Brown. In this story, Stanley gets squished flat by a bulletin board, so he is now able to travel anywhere in the world through mail. Ms. Tolisano and her class brainstormed about the storyline so that each student could have a segment in the recording of the podcast. The children were excited to be squished by the smartboard in their classroom, and they couldn't wait to choose a place to travel to. The students were assigned to check a book out from the library to research more about their destination, and with the help of their parents and the Internet, they had to come up with a story about how they traveled to their chosen place, what they did while they were there, and how they traveled back home to Jacksonville, Florida.

It was so fun to listen to the children's recording about the places they traveled to by mail. They went everywhere, including England, Antarctica, Tokyo, and even outer space. I especially enjoyed listening to Flat Emily's description of her trip to Alabama because she went to a football game in Tuscaloosa, and she traveled to the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores. I think it is a great idea to have the children check out a book and research more about their destination. Not only do the students benefit from making the podcast, they also learn more about geography and what goes on in the world around them. The Flat Stanley Podcast was a cute and effective way to get the children engaged in reading. It also allows them to have fun in the classroom, which is always a major bonus.

Podcasting with First Grade

Students doing a Podcast
Podcasting with First Grade explains how the first graders in Ms. Tolisano's classroom were very eager to learn to podcast when they heard other students' voice recordings. They were so excited to have their voices heard by audiences all over they world, and they wanted "to get their voices into other people's computers" too. Ms. Tolisano had the students read Vacation under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne from the Magic Tree House series, and they had to pretend that they that were interviewing Jack and Annie, the two main characters, about their latest adventure that had taken them to Pompeii. The teacher and students read one chapter at a time, and they then discussed as a class what happened in the story. Each boy and girl in the class took turns interviewing and recording their voice, and by the time the podcast was complete, the class was so excited that they listened to it over 20 times.

Just like the other two podcasts mentioned earlier, I think this podcast is a wonderful way to get students actively involved in reading. It is very easy, even a college student, to simply glaze over a book or story without really comprehending what is actually being said. Recording student voices into a podcast allows the students to truly pay attention to the storyline. The theme, character, and tone of the story will be much easier understood by implementing personal voices and inflections into the story. This first grade podcast serves the awesome purpose of integrating student skills into the classroom.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Assignment #3

Thoughts on Peer Editing

Peer Editors
After watching "What is Peer Editing?" and "Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial," I gained a better understanding of what it means to be an effective peer editor. This video and slideshow presented three main steps in becoming a better peer editor. They are as follows and in this order: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. I've never really thought about the order in which you should approach peer editing and how important the steps are in becoming a successful peer editor. It makes total sense to start your peer edit off on the right foot by beginning with compliments. I know I have had hurtful comments made to me in the past from fellow peers when they were editing my paper, so this information has helped me realize how to show positivity while also substantially editing someone's paper or work. Positivity is extremely important to me in my day-to-day life, so I fully plan on incorporating it into my classroom and into my students' work. Making suggestions and corrections are also very important in the peer editing process, and there are specific ways to help accomplish them in the most effective way possible. The main point in these two steps is to be specific. It is important to point out specifically what errors you may have seen or ways for your peer to improve his or her paper. As we make specific suggestions or comments, it is again most important to do it in a positive manner.

I really enjoyed watching "Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes." I liked how these 4th and 5th grade children used humor to help us learn what the top 10 peer review mistakes are. It always seems to hit home better when you hear something coming from a child, so I thought this video was a very nice way to improve my own peer editing style. As they described different types of peer editors, like "Mean Margaret" and "Picky Patty," I was able to relate to some of them. Unfortunately, I have been a Picky Patty in the past. I always had the best intentions in high school on peer edit day in class, but looking back on it now, I realize that I could have gone a little easier on my peers by not nitpicking tiny things in their papers. Seeing these top ten mistakes has helped me look closer at my own peer editing style where I can become the best educator and encourager possible.

Technology in Special Education

Computer technology
I thought "Technology in Special Education" was truly awesome! This video shows you just how important and vital it is for technology to be used in a special education classroom. In this video, a teacher takes you through a typical day in her classroom. I loved how she explained the old ways of how her students learned versus the new, better way of learning with technology. She gave an example of one student who would have to go out in the hallway with a helper during silent reading time, but with the audio books on his iPod touch, he was able to stay involved with the rest of the class and read independently. Another example the teacher gave was how one of her students had trouble communicating with her and how she struggled with understanding what he was trying to tell her. When this student had the opportunity to use his laptop in the classroom, he was able to use a program to help him communicate better with his teacher.

I am taking a Special Education class this semester, and I am so excited to learn new ways to help my students, especially with incorporating technology into the classroom. We have studied situations that argue that technology in a special education room is not good and that it shows discrimination against regular education students. I disagree with these arguments because I believe technology is a positive tool teachers can use to better their students' education. I know I personally would want to treat each of my students the same, but in my opinion, that means doing whatever is necessary to help each individual learn to their fullest capacity. "Technology in Special Education" has shown me that I want to do whatever I possibly can to help my students in the most effective way possible, and if that means bringing lots of new technology into the classroom, I fully welcome it. I can use technology for numerous things in the classroom. To name a few, I could use it for silent reading time, interactive powerpoints, and as a communication tool for my students.

Special Education and the iPad

Articulation Station app
After watching "How the iPad Works with Academics for Autism," I was very excited to go to Apple.Education to find which app I would use in my classroom to improve my students' learning. Since I am a Secondary Education/English major, I chose "Articulation Station." This app is designed to help students and children to learn how to pronounce and practice the sounds in the English language. It uses colorful pictures and images, sounds, and different levels so that the students can take control of their own learning. Learning words, their meanings, and how to use them in context can be quite difficult, so I think "Articulation Station" can help significantly.

One of the best things about this app is that it is free. Each student and parent can download it onto their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad without having to spend a lot of money on it. If they like the results they see, students and parents can also purchase the "Articulation Station Pro" version of this app to extend their knowledge even more. According to iTunes, "Articulation Station is a full featured articulation application to help children as well as adults learn to speak and pronounce their sounds more clearly. Beautiful high quality images represent target words to be practiced in fun-filled activities with the assistance of a Speech-Language Pathologist, teacher, or parent." I am very excited to be able to incorporate this wonderful app into my classroom one day!

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

Vicki Davis' classroom
Vicki Davis' video "Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts" was awesome to watch. It was so cool to see a teacher focused on bettering students academically through the use of technology in the classroom. Vicki Davis uses blogs, presentations, and all sorts of programs in her classroom to get her students engaged in the learning process. She stated that teachers feel they should know everything before they teach their students. I loved how she responded with saying that it's okay not to know everything because our students can and will teach us many things. When a student is able to figure something out for his or herself, the empowering feeling they get cannot be matched.

I personally wish I grew up in a classroom like Vicki Davis demonstrated in her video. It is so important for students to stay up-to-date with the increases in technology, and it is vital they learn to use it in the classroom. I would have especially loved creating the Avatar world she explained in her video. Allowing her students to have fun while learning was extremely important to her. As a future middle or high school teacher, I want to do my best to capture the attention of students each day in my classroom. By standing at the front of the room lecturing with them taking notes with a pencil and paper on what I say is not the type of classroom environment I want to establish. When students walk out of my classroom, I want them to say, "Wow, I learned so much today in Ms. Langham's class, and I can't wait to see what is in store for tomorrow!"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blog Assignment #2

Did You Know? 3.0

After watching "Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version" and "Did You Know 3.0 by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod", I was amazed at the statistics I saw on these two videos.

The first video was by Dr. Strange. One of the main things that caught my attention was that it is estimated that by 2025 the number of English-speaking Chinese is likely to exceed the number of native English speakers in the rest of the world. This was mind-boggling to me because, as Americans, we tend to think we are educationally, financially, and socially better off than the rest of the world. This is not so though, and if we do not start taking action, we will continue to fall further and further behind other countries. "Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version" also pointed out that it is estimated that 18 million Chinese speak English and 300 million are "learners." In the United States, it seems that we are more concerned with getting non-English speakers out of our country than we are concerned with broadening our knowledge of other languages. When I was in middle and high school, I studied four years of Spanish... FOUR years. How much Spanish do I remember now? Very little. I am not even fluent in two languages; whereas, people my age and younger in other countries can speak several different languages. Dr. Strange's video has helped me open my eyes to how we should probably start focusing on how we can use technology and education to further our knowledge about the world around us.

A few other things that quickly caught my attention were all of the statistics of how rapidly technology is growing and expanding. Along with Dr. Strange's video, "Did You Know 3.0 by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod" described how teachers in 2012 are preparing their students for jobs that do not even exist yet, to use technologies that haven't been invented, to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet. If you think about that last sentence for a while, it will hit you like a ton of bricks. Technology is incredible and can be used for education in ways unimaginable. Most of us have the world literally at our fingertips, and we are able to connect with someone down the street from us or even someone on the other side of the world. I really enjoyed learning this fascinating information from the two "Did You Know? 3.0" videos, and I look forward to witnessing the continual uprising of technology as we dive headfirst into the future.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

Change Ahead
"Mr. Winkle Wakes" is a modern-day version of Rip Van Winkle, who awoke from a 100-year sleep. Mr. Winkle wakes to find that the world had changed drastically from what it was before he fell asleep. He first goes into an office building and then into a hospital, only to find machines and noises that are completely unfamiliar to him. He doesn't like the change around him because it is not what he is comfortable with. There were people using machines to talk with other people halfway across the world, and doctors and nurses had patients hooked up to a variety of different machines. Mr. Winkle finally ends up in a school, and to his delight, it was just like it was over a century before.

Mr. Winkle noticed that the students sat in neat rows with the teacher lecturing at the front of the classroom. The teacher taught reading, writing, and arithmetic all day long without any intrusion from the machines and noises Mr. Winkle didn't like. He found comfort in the fact that even after 100 years, school had remained the same. Though Mr. Winkle did not find much change in the school, I personally believe there has been significant change in the school from 1912 to 2012. Teachers have the opportunity to integrate technology such as computers, smart boards, and the Internet into the classroom. Technology is such a vital part of a student's learning nowadays, and I hope that teachers across the world use it to positively impact their students' lives. Just like Dr. Strange says, I believe teachers should use technology to help eliminate burp-back education.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

In Sir Ken Robinson's video "The Importance of Creativity", he discusses how creativity is as important as literacy in children's lives. I really enjoyed and was inspired by Sir Robinson's video because he used humor and wit to describe a topic that is essential to all of us. He uses stories and examples that we all can relate to. He notes how educators in today's school systems are stifling children's creativity, but he focuses on how we can change that. He goes on to mention how kids are naturally not scared to be wrong, but as they grow older, they stifle their creativity because they have been taught creativeness and uniqueness is just that, wrong.

Sir Robinson describes creativity as a process of having original ideas that have value, and he expresses a need to use different ways to integrate creativity into the lives of our children. For example, creativity can come in the form of dance, music, singing, drawing, writing, etc. He gives an example of a little girl who was extremely hyper in her classroom and who got in trouble frequently for not sitting still. Her parents took her to a doctor who wanted to put her on ADHD medicine. Another doctor suggested taking the little girl to dance class to see how she adapted there. After one class, this child came out saying she loved dance because there were other girls who couldn't sit still too. This story is an example of how that child could use dance as her mode of creativity. Sir Robinson concluded by saying that we, as educators, should see creative capacities for the richness they are, and he emphasizes that our job is to help children make something of their natural creative natures.

Thinking About the Future

Corning's Glass Technology
After watching "A Day Made of Glass 2", I was utterly amazed at the advancement of the glass technology portrayed in this video. It was so innovative that I had a hard time even imagining a time when this type of technology could be available. It wasn't until after I watched "A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning's Vision." that I realized this glass technology could very well be readily produced just around the corner. With the rapidity of advancing technology, it could be within a few years that this technology is accessible. It may not be available quite to this magnitude, but the possibilities are seemingly endless. One of the main things that stuck out to me was the technology used in the classroom and hospital. With these types of innovations, the world as we know it is on its way to an advancement like we have never seen before. It was also very interesting to watch "Project Glass: Live Demo at Google" and see how Apple, along with Corning, is experiencing with glass technology.

After watching "A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked. The Story Behind Corning's Vision.", I was so interested in the technology used in the classroom in this video. It was amazing that each student had their own thin, glass tablet that connected to the teacher's huge glass screen in the front of the classroom. The students seemed so interested and willing to learn because the technology was available to them. I don't think Mr. Winkle would enjoy the craziness of Corning's glass technology, but I think the modern-day student would absolutely love it. Though this type of advanced glass technology isn't quite ready for us to use in the classroom yet, I still believe we should use the technology we have ready for us in 2012. I know I personally enjoy being able to use computers and tablets in my college classroom, so I know that younger students would have more fun learning with the opportunity to use technology in their classrooms as well.