Monday, December 5, 2011

Blog Fjorten

Jose Picardo's Educational Blog
Jose Picardo is a high school foreign language teacher of Spanish and German. Some facts about him that were of interest to me was that he got a Master's Degree at the University of Leeds (in England) and the educational Spanish activity website he runs called Jose's blog is very informative and rich in information, but it all seemed a little much for me. Between his interactive whiteboard, internet resources, modern languages, podcasts and tutorials, social media, and views and opinions categories, all of the resources seemed jumbled and difficult to navigate. I enjoyed a few of his personal blog posts, Chimps and Ants and Students can only ever embrace yesterday's technology.

I think the most useful section of Picardo's website, to me, is his list of resources. It has everything! There are countless image editors, programs for combining different information, even in different types of media, making timelines, screen recording, education lesson plan generators, and many many more. The other link, top ten tips for using technology in the classroom is informational, but common sense for anyone in my generation. The list is (1-10): Streaming video, music, teleconferencing, interactive exercises, interactive whiteboard, podcasts, blogs and wikis, social networks, internet tools, and gadgets.

PLN Progress- End of the Year

I was careful to say that this was not my PLN Final Report because I hope to continue to utilize these resources I have discovered. I have been using Symbaloo, but truthfully, I think the EDM 310 folder I have created in my bookmarks will serve me better in the future for convenience purposes. On it, I have all of the C4T teachers' blogs I have been assigned, even extras! Also, I have a few of the classroom blogs, such as Mrs. Yollis and Mr. McClung. There are many videos I have watched as blog assignments, but also related videos and articles I have found on my own exploring, such as The New York Times Learning Blog and this website, but specifically the article titled "10 Open Education Resources You May Not Know About But Should."
In addition, I have many of the programs we have used in this class saved, such as Screenr, TimeToast, and a new one I just found called Popplet, which is a way to display and intertwine (like a spider web) your ideas. I think all of these resources will be helpful in the future!

Sea for K November

Due 11/6
I commented on Mr. McClung's Class blog. They were learning about Medieval Ages and the Renaissance. I thought it sounded very interesting- almost more interesting than my history class!

Due 11/13
I explored Mrs. Yollis' blog, which is truly amazing. The time and creativity put into every niche is evident and effective! Then, I posted on a student, Matthew's blog who wrote a Halloween story called "The Candy Vampire." I really liked his creativity and humor in the story. It was very simple with characters named Draccy and Scarry (the scarecrow), but it had a good moral as well.

Due 11/20
I commented on Te Rina's blog post, a student in Grade 6 at Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. She likes art and chocolate and has eight siblings! She wrote a story about how she visited the moon, looking for water- which she found!- only to find out it was a dream.
My Comment: Hi Te Rina! My name is Jenna and I am a student at a University in Alabama in the United States. After reading your about me, I think we have a lot of things in common! I love making art as well, but lately I have been trying to be more creative and using old things I have (like cloth and magazines) to make art. It's a lot of fun! It sounds like you have a very large family as well-I only have one sister and brother, but my family has A TON of pets to make up for it.

I really liked your story as well! I can tell you are very creative. I am in an astronomy class right now (where we learn about the solar system and everything you would want to know about stars and space) so I think finding water on the moon would be incredible as well! Keep up the good work on your blog!

See 4 Tee 4

Mr. Bernia: The Principal's Principles
Note: I do not really understand why I have been assigned to Mr. Bernia for C4T 3 & 4. Not that I don't enjoy his posts or disagree with him, I just think variety would have been better.

Post #1
Mr. Bernia's first post begins by pointing out the over-use of the words "innovation" and "data-driven" in education. It emphasizes all teachers' and administrators' desire to make their mark in the classroom and on children's lives. My favorite part is Mr. Bernia's introduction to the idea of intrapreneurs and teacherpreneurs which sounds like an effective way for teachers to lead their classrooms, progress academically, and change lives.
My Comment:
Mr. Bernia,
I definitely agree that, by themselves, the words “innovation” and “data-driven” really have little to no meaning. However, through placing importance on building connections, your conclusion makes perfect sense. You cannot innovate without quality data to use as a base, to present a need for the innovation. However, you cannot have quality data without a core of supporters and collaborators- whether teachers, principals, or lunch ladies- to help realize where change can be made. There is no room for this cycle to end, either. With these strong connections, great minds will always come together to pose the need for innovation and creativity in a different aspect of the school.
I checked out the articles you highlighted about intrapreneurs and teacherpreneurs. I agree! The concept is fascinating and a great way to put words to the idea of progress and change every school yearns for. I will definitely keep those pages and overall concepts bookmarked for the future. Thank you!

Post #2
Mr. Bernia's post explored the idea, in the future, of the possibility of a school without a principal. I thought this was clever and something I had never thought about. It emphasizes the need for teachers to be leaders- "teacherpreneurs" for their classrooms in the future.
My Comment:
Mr. Bernia,
I thought your post was very insightful. The idea of an education system existing without principals was something that has never occurred to me! I think the progression of "teacher-preneurs" that the video incorporates would provide the transition, if it were to happen. However, it seems to me teachers already have enough on their plate, and a system such as this would probably require more schooling and training- not something everyone wants to do. In accordance with you, I believe that there will always be a need for an authority figure. Perhaps this vision will be carried out as a new form of administration instead. All very interesting, worrisome but exciting for the future!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Skype Interview

I am sorry about the glitch in the Introduction.
My interview was with Mr. John Langley, a high school teacher at Pleasant Plains High School, IL.

Blog Trinaest

Sages and Lunatics- Recovering What We Lost in Factory Education
By John Spencer

This was my first time reading anything on a Kindle. Mind you, I don't actually have a Kindle, but I do have a Cloud Reader- basically the same thing. I didn't like it much. I noticed numerous spelling and grammar errors, and there are no page numbers. The reader gives you a percent and number out of 3 thousand and something, but if you go back and forth, the passage you were searching for may be found on a different number. Therefore, any direct quotations from the book cannot be cited correctly, only given by the chapter. Also, I like to note and write on my books. This book, without a doubt would have been covered in thoughts, reactions, doodles, ideas, and whatever else stood out to me. It makes the book easier to read a second time and take home points, well, easier to take out and take home.

Although this project was due 11/20-27, I thought it would be better to actually finish the book (which I did today, 11/28) and turn submit it a day late than complete the analysis yesterday and search for the information on Google.

In the fourteenth chapter, Mr. Spencer gives bulleted points of the main ideas included in the book, mainly what can and should be improved in the current educational system. However, I believe that the points not only cheapen the book, but demonstrate what Mr. Spencer is trying to avoid throughout his stories- a systematic, bottled up, boxed up, bulleted, hamburger helper, "favorites CD," factory, mechanized, assembly line steps to creating a more authentic way to educate students. Authenticity essentially sums up Mr. Spencer's goal for the entire book, along with his approach to education. Sages and Lunatics is a compilation of Mr. Spencer's, a junior high history teacher in Arizona, memories and thoughts throughout his first few years of teaching. The emphasis Mr. Spencer places on relationships with students and other teachers is apparent throughout the book. He gets the majority of the inspiration found in the book from certain students, colleagues: "Brad the Philosopher," "St. John," "Quinn the Business Bohemian," and "Javier the Hippie;" Jesus, and Socrates.

Brad the Philosopher claims in chapter 9 that "Jesus told stories that were exciting and violent and Socrates asked questions that were offensive and off-beat." Mr. Spencer's main approach is metaphors, the same as the public debates and parables told by these past revolutionaries. The title is debunked between the first and third chapters of the book. Mr. Spencer's despair stems from his philosophy rooted in the factory-education metaphor. A factory is uniform, standardized, based on memorization, formulas, and data, a process. It is like the Titanic- a scientific process, isolated from the community, and only focused on the outcome. However, to turn this system around it takes a multi-faceted teacher. A teacher who is both a sage and a lunatic.
The sage is a Ghandi who listens, is rational, and peacefully reforms the system from the inside through relationships. However, Mr. Spencer also points out that it is the pure sages that end up conforming to the system. On the other hand, one cannot be a pure radical for obvious, psychological, surface reasons. The lunatic is the bull horn man, shouting on the street about hell and damnation, God's anger and how no one will ever be good enough, about the need for forgiveness and change. He is "A person who society views as insane, because insanity has become the cultural norm." He is the only hope to see change in the factory, even if it is small, even if it only affects a few people. He takes the road less travelled and it makes all the difference, although it cannot be seen or measured, for students, faculty, parents, and the community alike. A 100% Mr. Spencer Sage would not let his students focus on deep questions, service projects, murals, and documentaries, but a 100% Mr. Spencer Lunatic would not have the reason to still focus on state and test standards- building concrete knowledge to advance in school.

Other meaningful notes and thoughts gathered from Sages and Lunatics:
Ch 1
Spencer's Main Goal: to look beyond facts, steps, and formulas to find what makes educating "successful," engaging, lasting, and authentic.

Ch 2
Silverscreen teachers= fireworks (bright, attention getting, temporary)
Meaningful teachers= campfire ("silent warmth and creating a place where we could share our story together;" "genuinely impacts a small number of people for a longer period of time")
Brad the Philosopher:
-to Americans, our jobs define who we are. why is it not the opposite? focus on teaching as a vocation, not a career
- Professor / Professional: those who share profess their core beliefs in the hope to do something with meaning
Goal of education:" to learn an identity"
St. John: A Special Education teacher. Be like him. Learn not to just hear, but to listen. Not to look, but to see.
Quinn the Business Bohemian: the guitar hero way vs. the authentic way of making music; the fallacy you are doing the real thing

Ch 3
Javier the Hippie- my favorite "character:"
-"they create a model and then they try to fit others into it rather than letting it grow organically. And they do it because they are scared of what might happen if something different fails. It's pride, but it's also good intentions. That's what makes it so hard. Some of the nicest people are involved in ruining education and they don't even know it."

Ch 5
Assertion that gaining students' trust is more important than any reward system

Ch 6
What do you want to be become when you grow up?
Goal of education: to get a better job
- to produce moral citizens to go out and make a difference
> assumes we live in a progressive society that is always improving
-to make one more ethical
> many of al-Qaeda, Nazi Party, Bolshevik Revolutionaries and the Apartheid in S. Africa all had higher education
> many of the greatest revolutions were led by the poor and uneducated

-to lead to a larger world view and help with the acquisition of wisdom
-to become educado
-"to gain wisdom in order to love people well"

Ch 7
Our history and any other textbooks are safe- racially, politically, etc. They all favor the white people, the "heroes"

Ch 9
Did "educate" come from educere: to draw out ("to tap into a person's intrinsic motivation")
or educare: to nurture, provide, and train
or both.

Ch 10
Mr. Spencer listens to Sufjan Stevens! He wants to teach by Sufjan's living philosophy and its manifestation in his music!!

Ch 11
How did text, IM, email, and skype become verbs?
Teachers using technology for the class's entertainment. SO TRUE
Technology is not a tool. A tool denotes physical work, effort, and hands-on problem solving
*Humans shape technology, but it also shapes us*
Utmost, is a loss of community.
In a technology based class, the teacher becomes the facilitator, not an educator.
"We have to go on vacations to see nature." How sad.

Ch 13
comparing students to record- not able to skip over the bad songs, but also not able to repeat the good ones.
- No "favorites CDs"
or American Idol Contestants vying for even the smallest ounce of attention

Metaphorically Speaking

Some things are just too big to understand. Whether it is the meaning of life or explaining a computer program to a grandmother, straightforward explanations do not always suffice. Metaphors are used in everyday conversation, but most commonly recognized in literature. It is using a simple, comprehendible object/ action to represent something more meaningful. Metaphors are like similes, which compare two things using "like" or "as," but in a metaphor, the second of the two things is usually something deeper. An author would not say a house of crystal is "like" the fragility of life and what separates him/her from being a part of the outside world, but leave readers to assume. Imagine. (Example from "Yo en el Fondo del Mar- Alfonsina Storni). Metaphors are essential in poetry because there is no room for eloquence and explanation in poetry. A metaphor can evoke emotions and ideas that describing a situation cannot. Also, even if an author has an intended meaning for a metaphor, readers can interpret it countless different ways, whether for a class assignment or to actually make it relevant to his/her own life and how it should be lived.

Metaphors are also used in history and science to describe events and processes that are no longer relevant in our time. People in the United States are not able to sympathize with victims of the Pakistan Flood unless the comparison is made to a event like Hurricane Katrina. No one actually knows what happened when the Hun's conquered millions of miles and people, so historians must compare it to what they know and see in the world today. Similarly, metaphors are essential for occurrences out of our reach. I just learned about black holes in my astronomy class, but no one or thing has ever been in (and more importantly back out of) a black hole, so astronomers must compare it to what they can measure, like canyons on earth to measure how light acts when an object is falling into a black hole.

Metaphors are also used for events that should or cannot be described, such as death and life. Upon a person's death, 99 out of 100 times someone will say that he/she has gone to a "better place," but what does that actually mean? "Life is like a box of chocolates." Someone's "soul-" if it's there or gone, in life or death, or if it is in 7 different horcruxes. Metaphors give more meaning, feeling, imagination, and creativity to someone/event/thing/idea than any sequence of words.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog OneTwo(ThreeFourFive)

This proposed blog post will propose homework not only for the students, but also for Dr. Strange (current current events, well, won't be current by next year!)

Blog Post 12:

Events and movements are happening in the world that affect the teaching world, but the connection is rarely made between the event and the teachers. Everyone knows what the OccupyWallStreet movement is, but how is it related to you as a teacher?

Read this article about how teachers are getting involved and the movement's influence on education.

Explore this resource from the New York Times learning network.

Write a post about: how current events (in general, but using OccupyWallStreet as an example) are beneficial in the classroom; how you think the OccupyWallStreet movement is actually affecting the education system, if at all; and create a lesson (different than the New York Times example) to teach your students about the movement.

The website where the first link came from is completely and overly fascinating in itself. I would advise everyone, not only for the class, to explore it and add it to your PLN!
For example, this article relates directly to what we have been learning in EDM310!

Mrs. Yollis' Magnificent Blog

Mrs. Yollis has incorporated so many projects and aspects into her blog, it is difficult to find everything! Some of the widgets on the right hand side are interesting. Personally, I like the joke of the day, but also, it was really neat to see myself and my activities come up on her Live Activity Feed. I saw a comment somewhere along the way from one of her past students now in junior high that her Blogging elective class (who would've thought that would ever exist!) use Mrs. Yollis' blog as a template for their own and for ideas of widgets to download.
Mrs. Yollis also seems like a fascinating person. Because of her hard work and diligence toward teaching, she has gotten the opportunity to see and attend some incredible things- like the Google conference. And, she got to talk with National Geographic (obviously my favorite magazine) and their educational programs. Jealous! Also, she shares my love of traveling. I hope to maybe speak with her sometime about her teaching experience in Spain because I, too, hope to teach overseas in a few years. I have taken many Spanish courses, ( I also translated her blog into Spanish for the entire time I was exploring!) and have been curious of the difference of teaching/being in Spain versus South America.
A few things that stood out to me in particular were her 365- A photo a day section. I have always wanted to do that, but I guess it would be a lot easier if you had an entire class to help you out! In addition, her global connections in general are amazing (especially her close relations to the school in Australia) but the collaboration in the Ugandan Global Project stood out the most. Schools from China, Australia, and California got together to raise money for a school in Uganda. I am sure through that project, the students were able to learn an enormous amount about each of the different countries involved ( for example, each school posted about their currency and how it compares to the other countries).

Such interesting ideas. Lots to think about and consider for my own classroom!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Eleven Eleven Eleven

I cannot get over the fact that those students will graduate in 2025. That really truly blows my mind.

Ms. Cassidy definitely sounds like an extremely creative and inspiring teacher. Her kids are cute, which I think would make teaching them easier. Also harder, because with me, they could get by with a lot more with a good puppy face. I still have not really decided how I feel about her ideas for blogs in the classroom. I think that I will try to find something similar in my own classroom, for a few reasons. 1. I think that kids get really excited if they can see that people all over the world get to see what they can do. They get attention, and THEY'RE FAMOUS! 1 1/2. I also think that children would benefit a world if they can give and receive feedback from other students and adults all over the world (using Wiki) to answer their own questions and classroom work. 2. I think that it is so very helpful that the students can check up on their own work and parents can see what is going on in the class if it is all online. No more forgotten flyers, homework, or books left at school. Because I hope to work in a low-income, rural area, Ms. Cassidy has inspired me that grants and federal funding can be earned with a little knowledge and a lot of motivation. She is a neat lady. I think that her students will learn that anything is possible, how to use technology responsibly, and how to find their own resources, through their own learning and exploring.

I am also really glad that Ms. Cassidy said she doesn't use technology much personally. Or something she is particularly interested in for herself. She cares more about the students and preparing them for their own lives. I think this is how it should be.

Cee for Kay- October

October 23 My Comment of Sergio's blog post on "Mood and Setting" in Mrs. C's Grade 8 6th Hour Class:
Hi Sergio! I am a student at the University of South Alabama in a class for future teachers called EDM310. I really like your blog! I think my favorite quote you have posted is the one by Michael Jordan, but the sharks are very neat as well! I thought this post was very suspenseful, even though it was short. I really liked your description of the sky. Keep up the good work!

October 30 My Comment on Vivienne's blog post in Room 17 Year 6 Pt England School's blog about albatrosses' predators.
Vivienne, that was so interesting!
I did not know much about albatrosses before. I am a college student in Alabama, so I have definitely never seen one either! It sounds like rangers have an important role in protecting the birds all throughout their lifecycle. You did a very nice job as well using Google presentations! Keep up the good work!

November 6 I posted on Mr. McClung's Classroom blog. It was a very short post about how his students were finishing learning about the Renaissance and the Age of Great Monarchs. Which is ironic- I just finished learning the same things in my history class! There was also a really neat diagram his students made relating learning and enjoyment. It was just too bad I could not really read it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Si Por Ti Tres.

The Principal's Principles

Post Number 1:

My Comment:
Mr. Bernia,
I am a Student at the University of South Alabama studying to be a Special Education teacher. I really enjoyed your post for that reason, knowing that leadership and addressing bullying in that context will be essential for my students. Also, I was just talking to my 9 and 12 year old cousins yesterday about bullying, so I can see how all of the little different initiatives your school is taking would be very helpful to a lot of students!

Defining the line between stepping back while others incorporate their own ideas and removing yourself from the situation has always been something I need work on as a leader. Sometimes it seems like it's either "all in" or "let them work, and maybe I'll just jump back in at the end." It is definitely an important lesson to remember as I begin teaching, and for any other leadership role in life, so Thank You!

Post Number 2:
Mr. Bernia's post began with a quote, outlining the importance of teachers as the deciding factor of the environment in their classroom. He followed by noting his realized importance to teachers, faculty, and students in his school and how important it is to be an authoritative figure with the ability to correct, but also have compassion- not forgetting their humanity.

My Comment:
Mr. Bernia,
I really enjoyed this post. As I am looking forward to my future career as a teacher, I can imagine that it can be very difficult for you as a principal (and will be for me as a teacher as well) not to get caught up in what you are doing and the whole scheme of things, forgetting the little things, teachers as people, and students as children. The last line in the poem, “a child humanized or de-humanized” stood out to me in particular. My wish is to teach solely special education, so I think this line will have tremendous meaning later to me, my students, and how they are treated by the world (school) around them. Thank you for your inspiring and thought provoking…thoughts? I hope that you keep up your positive outlook and great influence on your school!

Blog Juu (+)

Do you Teach or Do you Educate?
Before watching this video, I had never really thought about the difference between teaching and educating. Truthfully, I had assumed that "teaching" was going to be the better of the two options they presented. But, I guess the dictionary knows best. After watching the video, I still do not really see the flaws in "teaching." The definitions the video presented use the words explain, encourage, induce, and cause learning and understanding. Although they are not as eccentric or action driven as "illuminate, inspire, enlighten, or empower," I believe that the qualities of teaching are an essential basis for educating.

I really liked the quote in the video, "Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave." Although, truthfully, I do not really understand it. So, maybe just because it is thought provoking. As a result of my own thought and experience, I would argue that education makes a people easy to drive, but the rest extremely difficult. I was talking to a friend yesterday about a documentary she had seen involving prostitution and the sex slave trade all over Asia and Europe. She told me about the organizations trying to save these girls, and give them an education, but their current lives have led them to believe that education will not help them or bring them more money or honor. They are easier to lead and govern because they do not know any different.

According to the video, I intend to educate AND teach because I believe that my role is to lead the way for my students to create and be creative ("educate"), but first I must give them the tools to understand and learn how to get there ("teaching").

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home
Mr. Spencer's blog is incredibly, fascinatingly metaphorical. It would prove very difficult to interpret his postings and deem another's analysis wrong. In that context, rather than technology, I believe Mr. Spencer's direction is towards the attitude of learning. In "Don't let them take the pencils home," Gertrude's argument of education is that it should be solely informationally based. After all, better test scores get the schools more funding and the children a better chance of receiving scholarships and getting in to college- the image and indicator of success, right?


I appreciate how Tom emphasizes low-income areas and parents. If the opportunities are not readily available in an area, and classrooms don't have Smartboards and Macs for every student to take home, let alone textbooks from the century, libraries, or science labs, they don't know any different. Tom notes how these students in low-income areas think pencils are for entertainment. If someone has never been shown an effective way to approach learning or use a computer for educational purposes, I do not think a school system could expect any different. I pointed out in an earlier blog post for the iSchool Initiative the likeliness that students would use their iTouches to play games and for entertainment while the teacher is teaching- this is what Tom is talking about.

The parent aspect Tom points out, I believe, is the most important target to changing attitudes about education. If school systems do not teach the parents as well as the students about new initiatives and programs, they are of no help to their students. I remember time again where I would ask my mother for help on a school project, and she would help!, but it would not be on the track the teacher wanted us to take, therefore, it was wrong. Also, if parents were never interested in school, attended college, or were engaged in the idea of learning at all, it is most difficult to pass those traits, in a positive sense, down to their children. I think Tom realizes this.

The passage from Spencer's post, "Are Pencils Making Us Narcissistic?" stood out to me in particular:
""Look, I see your point. Maybe we have that conversation with kids. Maybe we ask them if they feel the pressure to perform when they have a larger audience. And maybe that's the issue. Maybe we keep saying 'audience' rather than 'community,' and so our words are framing our mindset," Mr. Brown adds.

Narcissists aren't always the loudest ones out there and loud people aren't always narcissists. My father had a strong voice. He spoke up loudly in defense of the one-room schoolhouse when the town considered closing it down and letting students walk a few more mile to go the opposite direction. When we moved to the city, he wrote letters to the editor regarding worker's rights and factory conditions. He wrote letters to friends throughout his informal social network, sharing stories about our family. But his voice was humble. It was earthy.

The issue isn't the technology we use, but the tone of voice that matters."

It's all about addressing the children and why they think a certain way, not about what the school is or isn't doing wrong. The people that are going to make change about attitudes towards learning are not necessarily the principals or faculty as a whole. It could take someone as simple as a single teacher, one person from the community, or another student for other students to change themselves. The last line of the passage seems to emphasize my interpretation of Tom addressing attitudes toward learning rather than solely technology. It is not what is being taught, "but the tone of voice that matters."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unlucky Project #13

Blog Nein

Mr. McClung Lessons Learned 2008-2009
It seems quite obvious that anyone's first year of teaching will be a tremendous learning experience and will turn many expectations upside down. However, I think it is a rare teacher that takes the time to realize, put down in writing, and reflect on just what those expectations were and how they've changed. Thus, I really enjoyed Mr. McClung's synapsis of his first year of teaching. I think his first point of being more worried about pleasing administration and meeting requirements is a worry that I, too, will have. Not only his reminder of staying "audience-driven" will be very important, but I think it also connects extremely well with his further point of actually listening to the students. Rather than stressing the importance of using technology or diminishing experienced teachers for not knowing how to use certain computer programs, I am grateful for his suggestion just to try it out, and not be afraid.

An image of the book cover of Freedom Writers, in which McClung's reflections remind me of

Mr. McClung Lessons Learned 2010-2011
McClung's first point, "Know Who Your Boss Is," is almost identical to his first point two years previous. Not a surprise, but it helped me to realize that however meaningful these lessons learned are, they are just as easy to forget and fall back into old ways of doing things. I have experienced McClung's second point of optimism and not expecting others to be as excited and flexible about change in my life. At UAB, my advisors were not willing to help me incorporate my honors program, study abroad, or the possibility; this summer, after canceling the Special Education program, nor advisors, directors, or deans were willing to put in the effort to work anything out so that I could stay in Birmingham. I can also see how McClung's situation is more difficult than it may sound.
It only takes so long for a light in a room of darkness to be dimmed.
However, I really hope that Mr. McClung, myself, and all enthusiastic, unique teachers can retain their confidence and never forget the difference they are making.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Ate

Richard Miller- This is How We Dream
The idea behind Miller's video is fascinating. As a student in Western Civilizations 1500-Present, I cannot help but compare his philosophy to the Enlightenment in the 18th Century. Just perhaps in a little bit different context. The "digital environment."

In the Part 1 I liked how he added sound clips and resources from many different sources all over the website. It makes his point much more reachable to a wider audience. If everything can be found in one location on a certain topic, and interesting, people will be much more likely to read it and look deeper than just pictures. Miller shows how easy it can be to not only bring information together but connect it. The amount of time and research he put into making the video is very evident, showing in the overall quality of the video.

I had never really thought of the whole technology-learning idea of moving from a print based to moving image based learning environment. It kind of makes the plan a little more appealing to me, although I admit I will never let go of my books and paper. And I am one of the biggest environmentalists I know, so the whole saving trees/paper isn't a productive counterpoint. It saves endless electricity, eyesight problems, arthritis, and headaches. However, I do agree with Miller in his philosophy that "ideas don't belong to us individually, but as a culture." And there is no arguing that technology has made our world leagues smaller and learning globally as easy as talking to a neighbor. It is the most popular and quickest way of getting ideas to a greater population. Although I believe that there is no other way to know a different culture/way of life than going to that far off country and living and forming relationships with the people there, I cannot argue that technology has made means of getting there and knowing what/who to see once you get there easier than previous generations could have imagined. I'll close with Miller's quote because I think Enlightenment thinkers from the 18th Century and today know exactly what he means when he says, "how could we not be interested in this attempt to make sense at the world we live in?" Even though reason can only take us so far and our brains can only hold so much knowledge, it is the experience of learning that makes all the difference.

Carly Pugh Blog Post #12
I do not think there is any question that this would be an effective assignment for this class. It allows students to evaluate themselves as future educators but also reflect upon why he/she thinks that way. It focuses on creativity. However, it also causes students to review what we have already seen in the class (#8) and build off of it. It may take a little more time to put together, but if the student does not only google key words and use the #1 match, I think it would be very effective from the viewpoint of the EDM310 syllabus.

The Chipper Series was a video done by an EDM310 student, starring Dr. Strange (as himself, of course) to show the benefits of overcoming challenging course work and sticking with a class, or in Chipper's case, school in general. Procrastinating and taking short cuts left her jobless on multiple occasions, even from jobs anybody should be able to maintain. The plot was a little outrageous and I did not particularly agree with the point of 'stay in school or you'll be jobless, poor, and dumb.' But nevertheless, maybe some people need that reminder, no matter how ridiculous.
EDM for Dummies was a "book" advertisement for people extremely frustrated with the class. I think the idea might be useful, but mainly only for students who give up on trying to learn for themselves, and expect the teacher to show them everything (like Chipper said!).
I really cannot think of any videos I would like to create. I'm truthfully not sure what it is supposed to be about. I think I would like for it to be about exploring, nature, and the faces and beauty in our community. Maybe something like this...

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
I am a complete supporter of the claim made that children learn so much more from their experiences and environment than from a school. Looking at my past, I think I have learned more from community service and what a woman calls a "community system" than from anything in school. Children need to learn what is useful in living in our society, not only traditional school subjects. However, I do not believe that this means we need to get rid of these subjects altogether. I also like how every contributor in the video stresses the need for a new learning environment, namely one that is more globally based, but nearly none use the word "technology" anywhere. Yes! At least referring to technology as only computer-based... but if they did refer to it, it was focused towards changing methods and ideology.
Instead of new computer programs and blah
children need to learn to be creative and really, how to learn and develop a desire for knowledge on their own. In all truth, I guess that's why I hate school (although I love learning more than everyone I know, except my grandpa).
And being on the computer (mostly due to edm)
...but only because I could be out in the world learningggg so much more from real people instead.

Greatest endearing to the man who says the way our schools should be means the "Death of education, but it is the dawn of learning."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PLN Progress

I have chosen to use Symbaloo to organize my PLN. I have kept a few of the default bookmarks, such as Google's mail, translate, maps, and images; a few online shopping bookmarks; sports; news; and the social networking sites I use. Next, I began to add tools we have used in the class: YouTube, Wordle, Delicious, Blogger, and TimeToaster. I have added videos we watched for blog posts: Sir Ken Robinson, 29 Ways to Stay Creative, Learn (both from C4T assignments), and How to Be a Teacher in the 21st Century. I have added related topics from my C4T and K projects, mainly Also, I have added the teachers I was assigned to for C4T: WhatEdSaid, PonderingPaige, and InquireWithin and am beginning to use them to network and find other teachers with similar teaching philosophies.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blog Sheva

Randy Pausch: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
I really admire Pausch's communication skills. He has great ideas and knows how to present them in an intriguing way. His personal stories also add a lot to the lecture. I watched this lecture in my AP Psychology class in high school, but I did not realize how much I had forgotten. I think that Pausch's story, although inspirational, got blown out of proportion. Not everyone who finds out they are going to die is in denial and pessimistic, and Randy Pausch is not the only person who has made a positive impact on the lives of others because of his diagnosis.

Setting aside his pride, I think his ploy of presenting his lecture as a parallel of fulfilling childhood dreams is very relatable. His enthusiasm (an important idea he notes!) also lets listeners realize that dreams don't have to disappear just because we grow up. A similar point I sometimes struggle with is having specific dreams. But then again, following the wind also has its benefits. Especially when you consider the quote he incorporates, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." Oh boy have I learned this moving 700 miles away from my parents to go to college and thought it would be easy.

A photo of street grafitti that says, You may say I'm a dreamer, from the song Imagine by John Lennon

I guess then, it wouldn't be much of a surprise that my favorite suggestion Pausch presents is for freedom. Not only allowing breaking of the mold, but the forming of new molds future generations can learn to break. Freedom is not easy to harness, but the results are always worth it. I spent many, many an afternoon last year looking over Birmingham from the top of Red Mountain wondering where my dreams could take me, why they brought me to a city as ugly as Birmingham (luckily that mindset changed), and just how far freedom could take me. I will admit, running away crossed my mind more than once. Who knows where to. Just away. To be free.

I can't agree more with Pausch's pleading to be full of life. I heard a quote the other day that said "everyone dies, but not everyone lives." I think Pausch understands this, and had role models in his mentors, parents, and students to show him how. I hope the tigger in me is apparent and my inability to be content.
Respecting authority, while being able to question it
and Humility
are also qualities Pausch brought up that are so important to me.

To me, one's ability to be sincere and authentic are the real keys to happiness, success, and sharing life with others.

TimeToaster #2

Short Movie Project #11: Reading a Children's Story

Sea Fore Tea Too

Pondering Paige

Paige Baggett is an assistant professor at USA in the education department. This Blog, entitled "Pondering MOTIVATION: Incentives? Cash Rewards for Learning?" presents a news report on the idea of paying children (anywhere from 1st grade to high school) for passing a standardized test. All to help the school look good through achieving high test scores. Students in the Ohio school mentioned can get up to $100 on one test. However, many of the faculty are only able to work part time, including the principal, and the school cannot afford adequate books, science labs, and more. What an example to use.

My Comment: I will admit, my first reaction to the idea was "how unfair!'; i could have easily gotten thousands of dollars by the time I graduated high school (between standardized tests and AP scores)! However, after watching further, I can not even begin to see the reasoning behind this idea.
The kids are only memorizing what they need for the test. Ask them a week later, and it will be a foreign concept once again. Their scores go down when the money is not dangling in front of their faces, and the school itself does not even have money to pay the faculty or have adequate supplies. Money would not be a necessary go-to if the teachers had materials to effectively engage students to learn.
However, if a wealthy businessman wanted to give all of his money to 9 year old children, why not put it into a college fund, inspiring them to continue to do well. The benefits of teaching elementary school children to expect money for doing well ($100, not even something like $10 or $20!) and become so money-hungry that all motivation disappears when the incentive is no longer offered. I think I can stand waiting to see how these children will expect to be spoon fed even when they grow to be adults.

29 Ways to Stay Creative - July 5, 2011
I think the video and title are quite self-explanatory. I really liked all of the suggestions too; perhaps I will write them down as a reminder!

My Comment: I thought this video was fantastic! I really like that they titled it ways to "stay" creative rather than "be" creative because I believe that you cannot actually teach someone that. Perhaps that is why one of my goals in teaching is to allow my students freedom to be authentic in their learning. I like all of the ideas, but I had never thought of #23 (reading a page of the dictionary)!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blog Seis

Connectivism believes that learning occurs as a result of many social networks and diverse ties. I believe that this idea is beneficial in so many more areas of life than through Delicious and GoogleScholar. These are helpful tools for projects and discovering knowledge for one's own benefit, but should not encompass the entire class. The class described in the video is a high school class. So, I do not even see why the question of needing a teacher is even introduced. Perhaps if it was a college class. It's called an online class. However, I do not know many 15-18 year olds that could make that many connections by themselves. Not in my high school. Not in any other high school I've heard of. My librarian tried introducing us to Delicious, we thought it was a joke (and a good excuse to get out of class to play in the computer lab!) and we used academic journals in my Psychology class to write a 10 page research paper, so it is not as if we were not shown these resources.

I think it would merely be the problem of motivation. Nearly every student, high school or college, will only do the minimum amount of work necessary to finish a project or make an A. Why would someone look into all of these different sites if just one has the answers to the questions you are looking for? Maybe I'm wrong. Lazy. Or just efficient.

A teacher can show how to build the network and differentiate between good/bad information, but it is the job of the student to take that farther. Regardless, the teacher has to be there to keep students on track, provide checkpoints, and answer questions. They could provide side assignments so that the students could use the information they have been finding along the way. Isn't this "research" and "social networking" usually called homework anyway? Sorry to burst any bubbles, but I do not think this would be effective in a middle school classroom. The tools may be helpful in a student's career and future projects, but only if the resources truly interest them. And if they write down the passwords to the million networking sites.

A 7th Graders PLE
It is interesting to see how all of these networking sites are actually put to use. I like the resources Evernote and symbaloo the student suggests. I agree with her assessment that it gives the student more freedom, because as she said, she can do her work how and when she wants. It allows the student to be creative in putting the projects together and to be proud of their work. I think this process could be very beneficial in a classroom. One question, how is this an effective science class if all they do is blog, research, and make online posters? Experiments? Hands-on learning? Maybe in high school I guess....
How to do it, when to do it.

I had a leopard gecko. It bit my finger once.

Comets Fur Students (September)

September 11: Once Upon a Time-blog by Gracie
This brilliant girl's blog is for book-lovers. She has different sections where viewers can pick the ugliest book cover of the month, discuss a book (chosen each month also), or give suggestions for books he/she liked.

My Comment(E-mail to the author) : Hi, my name is Jenna, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama and in a course called EDM 310 (my blog- that focuses on technology teachers should be using in a classroom. Thus, blogging and commenting on other teachers' and students' blogs like yours! I really REALLY like the idea behind your blog. The layout is extremely creative (I couldn't come up with something that innovative!), and I really like the titles for the different sections of the blog. Coming from a college student that would rather spend my (limited) money on books than food, this idea is brilliant. I am always looking for people I can talk to about books or ideas of new books to read, but time after time I end up doing the recommending and loaning of books. It is very well directed and age-appropriate for junior high to high school students. I also liked your suggestion of Is this where you got the idea from or on your own? Either way, I think what you've created is great and you are most definitely doing a great job! Keep it up.

September 18: I responded to the student Gracie about her post Where I Would Like to Visit. She chose Paris because she loves fashion and wants to see the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower. I commented that one of my best friends went to Paris last summer and absolutely loved it. I also heard that the food is very good there and there is a lot of history in the city, which I would think is the most interesting part.

September 25: I watched the teacher's video of each student in his class responding to the question "what makes me different" from everyone else and "why I am the same." My assignment, Kayleigh, said she was the same because she was respectful and different because she was normal. I agreed with her that being "normal" definitely would make someone different. I also told her it was very good to be respectful.

October 2: Link
The student, Zechariah, responded to the question "Where I would love to visit and why?" with Hong Kong and South Africa. He thought he would like to visit the temples and try to speak their language.

My Comment: Hi! I am a student at a university in Alabama, USA, in a class for future teachers, where we have to make a blog just like yours!

Those are both places that I never have thought of visiting. However, after reading your reasons, I think they would be kind of fun too! The only temple I have seen from Hong Kong was on a shirt my friend bought for me when she went there for vacation. Also, I did not know that South Africa is supposed to be like New Zealand. That would be exciting!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Timeline of Me

Blog Fünf

Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please?

Scott McLeod is a professor at the University of Kentucky and is the fellow that created the Did You Know? videos on YouTube that show insane facts about the world's population and percents usually relating to technology.

A man standing on a snow-capped mountain overlooking a valley and text that reads

Sure, I agree with some of the arguments in this post, but it jumbles so many different aspects of the computer that it essentially makes your case invalid. Using technology for educating is something completely different than personal pleasure. Let's face it, blogs and twitter really are self absorbed. How many people get upset when they realize someone has de-friended them on Facebook. Writing online, learning to search the web, and scan are helpful tools that, yes, children should not be sheltered from. However, I see no reason why a ten or fifteen year old child should be allowed to advertise their lives on a social networking site or be exposed to cyberbullying, sexting, and porn. However, I respect McLeod's decision to let his children do what they want. They'll have a leg up in something in the next couple decades.

iSchool Initiative and ZeitgeistYoungMinds Entry

As a high school student, Travis Allen took the initiative to create something larger than himself. The time, effort, and research he put into forming the iSchool Initiative is apparent. His proposition is for schools to save money by throwing ou books, paper, calculators, maps, and anything else tangible. His solution? The limitless applications all found on a Altoid box sized iTouch. He is now in college and travels across the country proposing his idea to schools, trying to make a difference in education and the environment.

I understand and fully support Allen's whole green initiative. However, I believe that taking everything out of a school besides the teachers and desks (don't worry, those will be gone too in a few years) is not the answer. Along with the limitless educational applications, students can download limitless games, books, and etc. so they will never have to be bored sitting through a class again. Schools are already worried about reading, WRITING, and math scores? Say goodbye to governmental funding. How can students learn grammar with spellcheck within the touch of a button and learn math when a graphing calculator can show you how it's done and give you the answer within one second? Good question. Last point, are the schools paying for these? Because it would make perfect sense to force single parent/low-income families to buy one for five children to be able to participate in class.

Eric Whitacres Virtual Choir

Wow! I love this innovative use of technology. Not only are the singers' voices themselves beautiful, but the quality of each separate then put together is phenomenal. I am a huge supporter of music, and I think the opportunity to take part in something like this would be so great. I also give many props to Eric Whitacres! I cannot imagine the time spent contacting the participants, composing the music, and editing the video could have taken. The product was wonderful!

Teaching in the 21st Century

Finally. A video about using technology in the classroom that is relevant. It suggests that teachers should be utilizing technology not only to "keep up with the times," but to prepare children for a life of problem solving and applying knowledge to everyday life. To analyze and create, not just watch, summarize, and duplicate. Not only to use google, presentations, blogs, articles, and YouTube, but to connect information between all of them.

The idea that stood out most to me was
students do not need to be entertained, they need to be engaged

Last fall in UAB's Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, I came to the realization after 12 years of school that I had never learned to connect information. We were doing field work and community service with an organization of our choice, then researching their website, and the social issue it addressed. We then had to collaborate all of the information to determine the organization's role in the community, if it was effective, and how it related to social, economic, political, and humanitarian aspects in the world as a whole. That is what using technology and making one's mark in the world should be about. It is what I, as a teacher can do to not only introduce my students to the world around them, but allow them to become a part of it, and make a difference. Because after all, they really can, and should be connected. Our world is too small to be stuck in your own community and not to explore. I think this is a concept Roberts understands.

An image of nature with text that says

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Sentence Video

Blog Fore

100 Ways to Use your iPod to Learn and Study Better
It is often that you hear about interesting applications and new resources available through Apple, iTunes, and etc., but how are you supposed to remember them? Also, I think this website is helpful in the sense that it has similar programs to the one you know about. These may be even more useful than the program you had been using and can connect you to more people and ideas. I learned kind of what iTunesU is, which sounds very useful. I think I will be able to use it prominently for the pursuit of knowledge, just for the sake of knowing. You know? Especially Number 24, The Philosophy Talk. I also think that Number 22, The Education Podcast Network will be extremely useful once I get into a classroom setting just because it is such a large collaboration from and for educators in all areas.

This is a blog by a teacher who "has worked as a World Language teacher, Technology Integration Facilitator and 21st Century Learning Specialist." Therefore, it would be no surprise that the main areas of her blog include information on podcasting with classes in her school, articles and resources on 21st Century Learning (mainly focusing on new, useful technologies in the classroom), and Global Education (working to connect children and educators around the globe through ideas and articles). Of the many "podcasting" blog posts I read through, I thought the most recent, "1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook" because this is around the age range I would like to teach. I really like her idea to have her class read a book (this happens to be about one of the Magic Treehouse Books- which I have always been in love with), then creating a podcast of an interview to educate other students in the class (and whoever else!) about the book.

The book cover from the Magic Treehouse Series book, Dinosaurs Before Dark

Before, I could not think of any ways podcasting could be relevant to such a young age of students, but the enthusiasm of the kids and teacher were very apparent in her post. I think using an idea similar to this could have a major impact in many areas of the classroom, some including communication skills, getting the kids interested in literature by providing almost an incentive to read (why do kids love technology like this so much?), and improving literacy. All important skills that can be improved through technology, but used in the real world (outside of this "technology age," being "technologically literate," and the idea you can be whoever/do whatever you want as long as you're behind a computer screen. Vomit.)

Podcast Collections
I really liked this resource because 1. it is short and 2. because she did it using Curriki, which is something new, but interesting to me! The part of her project(?) I found most useful was the document on the
"Benefits of Podcasting in Education."
• It’s a cool way to have interactive communication
• Education can be advanced beyond the classroom
• Parents can download students’ work
• Available 24/7
• Students can make up missed classes
• Appeals to auditory learners
• Portable learning
• Students can enhance their communication skills

The points I think are most applicable to my future goals as a teacher are that parents can download their student's work and the appeal to auditory learners. I know when I was growing up, my mom always wanted to know what and how I was doing in every.single.class in school. Through podcasts, parents can actually be brought into the classroom teachings and the outcomes of the students' creativity and problem solving. Although I have been blessed with the ability to be able to easily learn in a variety of ways, it always frustrates me that some teachers do not even try to reach all types of learners. Podcasting is an easy way for students to learn not only by listening, but seeing, too, using the steps to lay out scripts and programs to put the podcast together.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Google Presentation

Blog Sān

It's Not about the Technology

I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Hines' thoughts on technology and her subtle sarcasm to why it is oh so essential in the classroom.I was interested from the beginning of the article with her emphasis on the word "need" in the second paragraph ("What do we need to bring us into the future? What will our children need to know..."). In any situation, I believe that "need" is a strong and usually unnecessary word, especially when talking about technology. If we "need" computers and all of this evolving technology using blogs, twitter, Skype to be effective teachers, isn't it a wonder how anyone survived before computers were invented. Similarly, I agree with Tfry19's (2/2011) comment that said teachers should be more focused on using what they have and making the most of it rather than complaining that they are not provided enough resources/technology.

I really like Mrs. Hines' # 1 and 2 ways in which teachers can effectively impact children (relating to the need to be teachers and learners). I, too, am confused how teachers who were taught how and what to teach 50 years ago and those who finished school 3 months ago teach the same children. It was always a bragging point in school if your teacher didn't assign work dealing with current subjects because obviously the work was always easier. Work that didn't involve analyzing social issues or a news articles impact on society. More so, it was an even better competition to see who could text the most in front of the older teachers. I am not putting down older teachers in the least, just that it is important for all teachers to be on the same learning/teaching level. However, I think this balance of old and new methods is good for a school district. It teaches children to be flexible learners and better problem solvers when the problems can be presented in a variety of ways.

Is It Okay To Be Technologically Illiterate?"

Wow. Mr. Fisch clearly states that he wrote this after a frustrating day of work, but his comments are still extremely extreme. And I guess most people need to be that want their opinions to mean something, get a response. (I would say almost 600 comments and winning an award confirms that.) I think his comparison of being technologically literate and reading literacy makes a strong case for readers. It helps that he backs this with facts and the gradual difficulty in finding a job being illiterate rather than an extreme divide. I also agree with his claim that students will not wait for teachers to catch up with the technology of this day, we only have so much patience and time in a classroom before being sent off to live on our own. However, I think he overlooks the idea that because people my age grew up with it, we could, and should, be the ones teaching our teachers. I know my parents were always amazed when I could do their computer work (sending e-mails, etc.) so quickly. In contrast, I also know my teachers were frustrated when I had finished an online assignment before they explained how to use the program.

I also know there are many reasons why there is this divide between the technological literacy of teachers, old and new, and between teachers and students. In addition, I think Frank (the 1st comment on the post) sums it up quite nicely. Fear. Growing up, children aren't afraid to make mistakes, whatever it is- making un-edible cookies, hitting a tennis ball against the house (and through a window...unfortunately coming from personal experience), and contracting computer viruses. Everything to a child is fixable. However, when you're an adult, and all of your work is expected to be done on a computer, the evident room for error is enormous. You don't know whether making a mistake won't affect the work or cause your whole computer to crash. So, I believe it's not whether teachers need to be technologically literate, but technological experimenters. The difference between giving them a computer and saying "don't break it," or going out on a limb and saying "try to break this, see what it takes, and learn your limits."

A picture from the movie
A picture from the movie Short Circuit. (The cheesiest video, but also quite funny). The robot cannot get enough information, flying through every book in Stephanie's house, and always asking for "Mooooore input Stephanie. INPUT Stephanie." in a typical robot voice. Maybe this is what Fisch expects teachers to say when presented with more and more technology...

Social Media Counter

Double Wow. Aside from the fact that this is probably based off daily/some kind of average, these numbers are unfathomable. Beyond my comprehension. I cannot imagine 300 billion of anything, let alone that many emails sent globally in one day. These numbers (although Facebook and many YouTube videos are blocked in schools) obviously have many implications for educators of any kind. I think the idea as a whole relates well back to the Did You Know 3.0 video and the statement that the information we are learning in college will be irrelevant in the "real world" in 2 years. In one sense, what a waste of thousands of tuition dollars, right?

On the other hand, it is a challenge to teachers of any kind. A challenge to be able to teach young minds in a way they can understand, the same methods society is teaching them. I can just imagine in the next 5-10 years a student saying, "these videos are dumb; nobody uses YouTube anymore, don't you know?" Or, "Facebook? That's for old people...or young kids." Who knows. A better way to accept this challenge is not only to learn the information, but to learn how to teach problem solving so that the students can go out, explore, and learn more about different things that can be contained in a classroom. Cultivate a desire for learning rather than accepting a book-ful of information as true just because the teacher says it is.

A Vision of Students Today

The main message that comes to mind after watching this video is boredom. Kids today have the capability to do so many different things, think different things, and learn different things, but what help is listening to one person speak for over an hour. Call it ADHD or not (I would rather not- one less over diagnosis and one less excuse to do poorly on classwork. Another issue, another time), but I personally cannot keep my mind that focused for even an hour. If I can be reading a book, doodling, or working on other homework while a teacher is lecturing, I retain so much more of the information. If these things are taken away by the teacher, I fall asleep. Amidst all of the television, computers, advertisements, magazines, and etc., society has taught us to embrace stimulation. If our brains are not stimulated and prodded to learn- more importantly to want to learn something- they shut down. It's not worth the time.

Teachers know that college students spend more time looking at Facebook than at the whiteboard in a class period; that's not any secret. I believe the challenge on their part should not be "how do I keep them off Facebook?," but "how can I interest them enough that they would rather look at me than their computer screen?" Hard tests or tests with information coming from only the lecture can certainly do this. So can stimulation and entertainment. Funny teachers or teachers that tell stories certainly catch my attention- really anything that is not classroom material. Finding a way to work useful information into these stories, unbeknownst to the student, is even better. Have a student teach; or have the other students critique someone's work that is shown on the board. Admit it, everyone likes to be a know-it-all and put someone else down every once in a while.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Comments Four Teachers Won

What Ed Said
Exploring Access to Education- August 31, 2011
Although I know nothing about Ed, aside from his occupation as a teacher, I like what he's got going. A lot. Using technology in a fun, not draining, way. Students in sixth grade class are doing a project to explore education and classrooms all over the world. They're learning something beyond facts useless in 10 years. Actually learning, and learning something fun- that's something new, right? He focuses on his friend Bhushan in India that is helping the kids by describing his school and a typical day. This man is also something fascinating. He helped to form Samidha, an organization that has many initiatives to help underprivileged children by "helping to help." I really am looking forward to keeping updated on the kids' class blog.

My Comment: It is kind of fascinating how much we take advantage of the technology available at our fingertips. I am a student at the University of South Alabama, and I know that I get frustrated all of the time at the amount of homework that is only available online, online classes, and the general amount of work that must be done staring at a computer screen hours at a time. In fact, I was assigned to comment on your blog (but also because I think your outlook and ideas are fascinating), and will be posting summaries, along with a copy of my comments on September 11 to my blog. However, it is difficult to imagine no internet access and few resources for learning.
I aspire to be a teacher, and I think what your students are doing truly defines learning. Facts and information are only remembered for so long, but a worldly perspective and an understanding of people on the other side of the Earth, just like ourselves, are matters that can be remembered forever. It is also refreshing to see such great people helping others and serving the world, like your friend Bhushan. We often forget that such great things really are not beyond our reach.

Ignite, Engage, Inspire- September 3, 2011

Edna is a teacher at a PYP school in Australia. I think the idea behind this type of school is fascinating, teaching children to be global learners, in a time when this is nearly as important as general school subjects. Some students in her school (or a different class?) were assigned a filmmaking project. They first had to come up with the idea on a 6 frame storyboard, then filmed it with an iPad. After filming, they edited the video and added music. It is amazing what 12 year old students with little filmmaking experience can envision and make happen!

My Comment: This idea is extremely inspiring! It is amazing how much knowledge and thought can come from such a short video without speech. I think that similar videos may even have more of an impact than those with a lot of action and speech. This is a similar video, from a crew with little more experience, that really emphasizes the same idea. It not only taught the kids more about filmmaking, but I’m hope also taught them more about what it feels like to be hungry or living in poverty. It would be great if they can continue to use these skills in future projects, whether it is directly related to filmmaking or not.
A link to my blog put together for a college course focused on technology in the classroom.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blog Deux

Did You Know?
This video blows my mind every time I watch it. Although I am not interested in technology, especially computer related ideas, I still think it is amazing that we, as the smartest beings on the planet, cannot fully fathom how the internet works and reaches billions. I believe their statement that by 2013 a supercomputer will exceed the abilities of the human brain has already been surpassed. It is almost frightening to try to imagine how much is going on in a computer/information flowing through...the air? and the power it has over our lives. When I was young, there was a movie called Smart House on the Disney Channel (you've got to love those Disney Channel Originals). Although it was not the goal, the movie always scared me to think one day my house could be self-sufficient (cleaning, cooking, etc.) but would try to overrule my family. That is essentially what computers are doing, right? A lack of freedom.

The movie cover from the Disney movie

Some facts from the video that stuck out to me were the enormity of the Indian race. "Smart" or "intelligent" are definitely relative terms, but it is difficult for me to imagine that being at the top of my class in America would essentially put me at the bottom of a class in India. The teacher I have been assigned to follow () posted a blog that included information from a fellow teacher in India and his classroom. He said that there are 50-60 students in a class with one teacher, leaving them no choice but to have the students sit in rows quietly and be completely focused on the lecture the whole day. If schools in America adopted this technique, I feel like our students would be much more advanced (as well as much MUCH fewer children that could actually make it through school). I also thought the fact that there is more information in the New York times than a lifetime of knowledge in the 18th century accurately describes our knowledge hungry culture. The desire to know and have control of our surroundings. Think about the information that is in a newspaper today though; I feel like people in the 18th century knew there were more important things in life that celebrity break-ups and make-ups and police beat. I think that's important to remember.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
Hospitals, business buildings, roadways, schools. I cannot imagine the amount of change in just these 4 common places in the past one hundred years. Sure, we know much more, but is the information we boast about knowing really important or necessary to live a successful life? Even in a cartoon like Mr. Winkle, it is obvious that he did not see the use in it. I really enjoy the company of older people just for this reason. Their lives are simple; there is no competition to know more than your neighbor and stay updated on the latest technologies.
I wish people still had the desire to learn, just for the satisfaction of knowing- not to fit in with society or appear better than those who cannot afford a $1000 computer. I love answering my grandfather's questions about different fads in life today , including but not limited to why everybody likes that "damn rap music," drugs that are popular, and how to smoke/inject them. He does not want to fall behind, but he also wants to know just to know. I guess it's the same reason so many people used to memorize poetry, books in the Bible, and scientific articles.

Sir Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity
The best advice I have ever heard as an avid runner of eight years is "Run like a child." Don't worry about how straight your arms are, how often or hard you breathe, or how you look. Have fun being free and feeling the wind. Children really are brilliant, aren't they. My favorite idea of Robinson's video is that children are not frightened of being wrong. It's not a complicated idea. We can even do that as adults. Sure, it may take more effort to fix, but in the long run it is exponentially more beneficial to everyone. I loved this video. My mother used to be an advocate for the Juvenile Justice Initiative as long as on the school board as long as I can remember. The most important thing she learned from conferences, meetings, senators, and beyond is that children learn better with activity, physical and mental. Who can argue with that in a society that one in three people are overweight and stores sell more L/XL clothing and junk food in a week than third world countries have seen in a lifetime. I have every reason to agree that dance and math should be equally incorporated into school. "Creativity is as important as literacy." What use is being able to read if you cannot imagine the possibilities reading can do for yourself and changing the world. the pinnacle of education- to become university professors
I never knew that the public school system essentially came into being to meet the needs of industrialism, but it makes perfect sense. However, Robinson's terminology that we are currently and since been "engulfed in revolution" does also. How far do we have to advance, and how much control can we superficially have on life before we are content? We are coming to an age that COLLEGE degrees are no longer worth anything, but 8 more years of school and a lifetime of loans might get you somewhere? College, much less high school graduates were rare less than 100 years ago. I totally, 100% agree with Robinson that children today are being carried through school. Let kids be creative, they can teach us more about life and learning than we can teach them in any school subject.

Cecelia Gault Speaks with Sir Ken Robinson
Robinson's 3 Myths of Creativity:
1.Only certain people are creative. Sure, this is true if you look around the world today. People give in to believing they are nothing special and nothing they could create is any different than their neighbor. It's unfortunate.
2. Creative is only about certain things. If so, then how did ideas of electricity, the Pythagorean theorem, the automobile, the planets' orbits around the sun, great Romantic Poetry, and Freud's theories come about. Those are about as different as you can get, right? But they only work because people believed it was doable. No one came before them that showed them the steps to take or extensive research into what had been tried before and what did not work.
3. There is nothing we can do about it. Ha. I would really hate to continue to live in a society that people believed this was true. America is the best country, most advanced and blah blah blah, but it is the lower countries that fascinate me. They are content with their living, however lowly in our eyes, but they still have hope that there is more. Things can get better (anything!) and something new can be found in every day. Can you remember a time when this was common thought for any common American?

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
I applaud this teacher for breaking beyond what is expected of rural school teachers. However, the use of avatars kind of makes me sick, especially for students. Coming from a first-hand Sims ex-addict (before avatars and online role playing), I know how this superficial control over another person's life can skew a child's world view. There are many more ways to connect to the world than meeting avatars that may have someone completely opposite hiding behind the computer screen.
Even in rural Georgia, I feel as if kids can become involved in the world around them, and on a personal level. The computer is extremely efficient, but I would rather be sitting around coffee talking to someone than looking at a million pixels. There are people in our community, every community from different areas of the country or the world that can enlarge one's worldview just as much as anything else.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blog Numero Uno.

Hi! I’m Jenna. I spent my whole life growing up in Pleasant Plains, IL. No, it is not near Chicago, but outside of Springfield (you know, the state capitol?) and surrounded by miles upon miles of corn and soybeans. My family did not live on a farm, but I spent many summers working for corn seed companies and taking care of my neighbor’s cows, goats, pigs, etc. My family did raise rabbits though! My house was 15 miles West from town and 15 miles East of my school. I live with my parents, sister Laura, who is a Junior at Illinois College (about 45 minutes from my parents), and brother Luke, who is a big bad senior in high school. Yes, I am the middle, picked on, rebellious, more fun, and creative sister my siblings wish they never had. I'm a country girl. Why in the world then, am I in Mobile, AL?

My Siblings and I in the mud pit we dug behind my house! Oh yeah, the tall clean boy is Simon, a foreign exchange student my family hosted last school year (of course, as soon as I leave home).

More than anything, I wanted someplace new, a challenge, for college. A chance to get away and experience life while I had the chance. Last year, I attended UAB pursuing a degree in Special Education, was involved in their Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, and worked at the Ronald McDonald House. I greatly enjoyed the city, but in the middle of May (awful planning), the Education department informed me that there would no longer be a undergraduate Special Education program. Wow. After spending my summer working endlessly to figure out what I was supposed to do, I’m now at USA!

I love watching people, helping people, talking to people, being around people- people in general, I guess. More than that, though, I am passionate about people with disabilities, especially kids. Through many camps and school, I have formed many relationships with beautiful people. I guess that’s the main reason I want to be a teacher. Also, I want kids who the world constantly belittles to know they’re wanted and can do anything they think they can.
I also love running, a lot.
Not as much as God.
Nature. Poetry.
Baking cookies.
Eating cookies.
My hammock.
Music is beautiful.
Folk and oldies are my favorite.
Reading anything I can get my hands on. Gardening.
Looking at the stars.
Getting sweaty and dirty. (I’m talking about mud.)
Being awkward.
Thinking and dreaming (I seem to be pretty good at those, maybe too good at times).
I have a great dislike for the indoors.
I can’t sit still. Oh yeah, I don’t wear shoes.
Too many people in this world don’t have shoes to forget about them in our material world. Feet are beautiful, and I’m so very thankful to have them. Besides, jumping in puddles is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to worry walking around in wet shoes the rest of the day.

Randy Pausch on Time Management
The only “real problems” we have are stress and procrastination. Excuse me? A man fighting for his country in the military, a homeless woman trying to take care of children, the president of the United States, or any common man might beg to differ, greatly. From the beginning, I was not engaged in the lecture, simply because of Pausch’s over-generalization of Americans and the difference of handling money and time. Personally, I am not an American focused on who earns how much money or worried about my status as seen by society because of money. In addition, I disagree with Pausch on his comment that Americans do not equate time and money. I am almost positive that is a working person’s focus: the amount of hours he/she works determines the amount of money he/she makes. Simple.

However, criticism will not change Randy Pausch or the millions of people enamored by his “Last Lecture.” (Personally, I think Morrie from Tuesdays with Morrie would be more fascinating any day.) There were a few points in the short duration of the video I think I can use in my daily life. Keeping in mind the difference of doing things right and doing the right things makes what I do more effective in actually making a difference in the lives of people affected by my decisions. Also, I agree with his idea to always do the worst items on a to-do list first. It makes both the easier tasks much more rewarding because the ugly items are no longer looming overhead. Overall, I thought the video was a good reminder to not waste time doing work, but spend enjoying life.

I hope you’re enjoying your day as much as I am=)

Monday, August 22, 2011