Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blog Post #11

Ms. Cassidy's Approach to Technology In the Classroom

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 

In the series of interviews above, Ms. Cassidy discusses her approach to using technology in her first grade classroom. From these interviews I have come up with some techniques that I will implement in my classroom, impediments I might encounter, and benefits I might anticipate by using Ms. Cassidy's approaches.

One of the things I noticed about Ms. Cassidy, is that she is a pioneer. The interviews were conducted in 2010 and she recalls getting her first set of computers in her classroom ten years ago. The five computers she had were unable to download programs, so all she had was the internet and basic computer functions and she took what she had at-hand and used it. When technology progressed, she progressed with it and now her first graders are making webpages, videos, and blogs. Her approach was just to dive in and make a modern classroom. Ms. Cassidy said: "It is cool because students don't have to 'power down' when they get to school." Which means students are using the same technology inside the classroom that they are using outside but they are using it to learn.

As a future secondary geography and history teacher I will implement blogging into my classroom with an emphasis on writing. I do not think high school students today are writing enough to prepare them for higher education or the professional world. Through blogging, they will have an alternative to pencil and paper and improve typing skills. Ms. Cassidy brought up one aspect about blogging that I had not thought of and that is parents being able to monitor their child's progress and work in class. Communicating with parents this way will cut down on face to face meetings, letters, etc.

The impediments of using this approach to education are the "old school" teacher and technological glitches. Many teachers out there see lecturing and using busy work as the only way to educate and some teachers have a lot of say in board meetings. Not to mention any administrators who might not want to fund such a program. My solution to this would be to make a case in important meetings. Also, when using technology, there are many things that could go wrong such as programs not working, student's not saving work, a glitch in a computer, or wifi being down. To counteract these mishaps, I will always have a back up plan or activity.

Using Ms. Cassidy's approaches will not only benefit me but it will benefit my students. They will benefit by genuinely learning content. Through technology they will explore, create, and write more effectively. These are qualities of a quality education in which everyone benefits from.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Comments4kids - October Comments

C4K #5
My first C4K comment for the month of October was Eli in Ms. Epple's fourth and fifth grade class in British Columbia, Canada. Eli's post was titled "book" where he described a book he had read that told of an educator who re-taught the alphabet to students who already knew how to read and spell. My comment went as follows:


I am another student from South Alabama's EDM310 class. I haven't read the book you are describing but I agree that it would be boring to be taught the alphabet over again if you already know how to read. Keep up the good work!" 

The Pickles Blog

C4K #6
My second C4K comment for the month of October was a student in Ms. Mclean's class with the username YodaheT1. He drew a sketch for a project titled L.A. Project which looked like someone climbing a tree. My comment went as follows:

"That is a great picture! I really like the colors you used. Keep up the great work and keep blogging!"

To see YodaheT1's coloring click HERE!

C4K #7
My third comment for a student this month was for Andrew in Mr. Warren Grieve's fifth grade classroom at Medbury School for Boys in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mr. Grieve's class was focusing on how to write poems then and Andrew's poem was titled Mummy Memories. It was a great poem and my comment went as follows:

"Great post Andrew! To me, poems and writing in general take a lot of imagination and your story was packed full of it! Great post and keep up the good work."

Check out all of the posts at Medbury here.

C4K #8
My fourth and final student to comment of for this month was phenomenal. She attends Oregon Online School for Girls and her post was for the high school civics and government class. The teacher is Mike Gwaltnew. Allison's post was about the implications and consequences of reaching the debt ceiling and is titled Banging Our Heads on the Ceiling. I would encourage you to check out what this class is doing because every student writes really well and the topics are very interesting. My comment went as follows! 

My name is Daniel and I am a EDM310 student at The University of South Alabama. As a future secondary history and geography teacher, I really enjoyed reading this post on our government reaching its debt ceiling! You hit on some great (and scary) points in this well-written post that actually conveys the fact that we are “banging our heads” on the debt ceiling. Whether our government should cut spending on federal programs or raise taxes, I agree that the consequences from meeting the arbitrary debt limit will be felt financially here domestically as well as abroad. It is unfortunate that the outcome of this is out of our hands. Well, for now at least.
Great post! In the meantime, keep exploring, presenting, creating, and writing."

Comments4teachers Post #3

Blogging and the Literacy Curriculum
By: Kathleen Morris

Comment #1

In her latest post, Mrs. Morris ultimately believes that students in today's classroom need to be writing as much as they can. She also believes that students should be doing a portion of this writing through blogging and I agree on both accounts. By blogging ten to twenty minutes a day, students get a break from pencil and paper and get technology experience. By this they are not only improving their literacy skills but they are sharing what they write with the world. There is no doubt that I would have taken my writing a little more serious when I was in grade school if I had an authentic audience! My comment went as follows: 

"Mrs. Morris,
Another EDM310 student here, and great post! It is really inspiring to see teachers actually using technology. It shows me that learning how to teach with technology right now, while I am still in college, is not in vein! I really liked the section on literature. I agree that in today’s world, reading books and writing on paper are not enough, and that in order to prepare students for the 21st century they need to be blogging! I love how you are not over doing it either. With that being said, ten to twenty minutes a day is a great idea! I look forward to reading future posts."

Looking Back, Looking Forward
By: Kathleen Morris

Comment #2

Mrs. Morris shares in this post that she will be on maternity leave and that the length of the leave is unknown. When getting ready for her interim teacher she began to "clean house" so to speak. She was getting rid of items in her classroom that did not fit in the modern classroom and worksheets was one of those items. She stated that busy work use to be the pride of her work but recently it makes her "cringe" and that "hands-on, authentic, collaborative, open-ended tasks have a much bigger impact on students." I agreed with her and my comment went as follows: 

"Mrs. Morris,
I am yet another student from South Alabama’s EDM310 class and I really enjoyed this post! From what I have seen, for some reason, it is very difficult for teachers to let go of “old” teaching ways and I admire that you have chosen to embrace change. I think that learning and growing as an educator is really important in the profession as a whole. As a student who grew up with 'busy work' I agree with you at how frivolous it can be in the 21st century classroom. Thank you for posting your ideas and I look forward to future posts!" 

Check out Integrating Technolohy In The Primary Classroom HERE!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Post #10

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From Randy Pausch?

Dr. Randy Pausch’s lecture was very inspirational to say the least. He hits on amazing points throughout his lecture about achieving dreams, enabling others to achieve their dreams, and mounds of very useful career advice. Putting these things aside, Randy Pausch knows a lot about teaching and learning and conveys this through witty phrases and personal stories from his own career in the field of education.

What we can learn first from Randy Pausch are some words to live by when encountering rough times while educating.  Dr. Pausch says “when you reach a point where you mess up and nobody is correcting you, that is a very bad place to be.” This is important because as teachers, it is possible to become complacent. Complacent in the sense that we stop trying to learn and grow as educators, and the education field should be stock-full of teachers collaborating and critiquing each other on a professional level. Teaching and learning should be a never-ending cycle.

Information from Dr. Pausch can be very useful to new and soon-to-be educators. One phrase that really stuck out was: “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” As a student in the education field, I have illusions of grandeur so to speak. Illusions of my students being engaged, excited, and actually caring about class content and I know I am in for a rude awakening. However, I will know that I got the best experience I could and that I will only learn what I take from that experience and use it to either get me down or make me a better educator year after year.

Dr. Pausch’s beliefs toward education mesh with what EDM310 is all about. These beliefs are derived from years of working with students and are something that any aspiring or present educator will benefit from. When in the classroom, try to implement projects that relate to the real world. A student is more than likely to be more interested in the topic if it relates to him or her or the immediate environment they live in. These projects are also more fun when students work together. Through collaborative assignments students bond, and through this they should produce overall better work. Another thing to remember is to help students have fun while learning something hard. I remember when I was a student that when working on something that did not come easy to me it was no fun at all. If I were able to have fun through a project, I would have learned very hard material without even knowing it. The last thing is to give students a chance to know what it feels like to make other people excited and happy about something. Once students experience this feeling, the possibilities are endless.

Dr. Randy Pausch’s lecture was called Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, and for a good reason. Doctors had discovered a tumor in his brain that didn’t leave him much more time on this earth. His lecture encouraged people to help others, be loyal, to never give up, to not complain, just work harder, to be a Tigger not an Eeyore, and to never lose the “child-like wonder.” If teachers treat every lecture like it is their last lecture, we will have the best school systems in the world.

Watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture HERE!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Braque Collaborative Blog Post #9

Back To The Future

Brian Crosby’s presentation titled Back To The Future had us wanting to re-take the fourth grade all over again. His science class at Agnes Risley Elementary in Sparks, Nevada are doing project-based learning plans infused with technology. Mr. Crosby chooses to teach by the project-based method because his students were “disconnected” and he wanted to build passion in his classroom which consisted of mostly of at-risk students. Needless to say he had his work cut out for him. Mr. Crosby showed us two lessons. One was an experiment on air pressure where the students crushed a soda by just placing it in hot water. The second and biggest experiment the class, with the help of some local professors, built an hot-air balloon rigged with a parachute and cameras to document the entire project. Since no one in the Braque group are science majors, the technical terms and standards taught in these experiments will be spared. However, we do think what the class did post-experiment was the most important. Because the hot-air balloon experiment was well documented, the students were able to write about it. Not typed in an essay, not written with pencil and paper, but blogged about. Through this students were writing to clarify and share, and writing to tell a story in which they get feedback from an authentic audience. Sharing what they have learned in this way promotes creativity, inspiration, and therefore students are able to remember content better. Crosby’s class went further than just blogging. They made wiki pages, and skyped with other classrooms all around the world. Also, through the balloon project, they created “High Hopes,” which was a blog used to connect his class to other classes around the world in order to hear other students’ hopes and life goals. Brian Crosby uses this type of educating in an effort to “quit racing kids through school.” By this approach, maybe students will use the same tools to learn when they leave the classroom.

See Crosby's Blog Here

Blended Learning Cycle

In the second video Mr. Paul Andersen showed us the blended learning cycle and how it works. We believe this could be the best way to teach your class. He combines the blended cycle which consist of online, mobile, and classroom time with the learning cycle which allows students to explore, explain, expand, and be more engaged. Together this makes an amazing combination. This cycle could give the students more opportunities to understand the information and give teachers more time to better explain things in the classroom. Mr. Andersen’s cycle starts with a question. As future teachers we want our students attention. If we start with a question that they really do not know the answer to; they will stay focused longer knowing at the end they will get their answer. The next part is investigate. This is a helpful section because this is when the students can get into groups and work up an hypothesis. After the students investigate there is the video section. Mr. Andersen makes podcasts for his students to view. We believe podcast are very helpful when it comes to time management. The students can watch the podcasts outside of class during down time. This gives them plenty of time in class to comment and share their thoughts  and concerns on the topic. Next, the students have to elaborate on what they have learned. The students can make charts or diagrams on what they believe will happen. Next come reviewing in which we think is the best part of the whole cycle. As future teachers and current students, we understand the importance of individual or group work with the teacher. This gives one on one time to answer any last minute questions that the students may have as well as gets them get ready for the summary quiz. The summary quiz is the last  part of information that can help them get ready for the big test. The blended learning cycle is something that we will incorporate into our classrooms. Mr. Andersen has created something that is both helpful for the teacher and to the students which is what makes a great learning environment.

Making Thinking Visible

This video  discussed Mark Church, Ron Richhart, and Karin Morrison’s book titled: Making Thinking Visible. The video discussed what it means to truly make thinking visible. According to the authors mentioned in this book, what it means to do this is to have students do something that shows progress. An example of this would be to have students put the work they have completed into a portfolio and later reflect back on how much more has been learned over a period of time in order to see how their thinking has changed about the topic being discussed. It can be astonishing to look back and see how much progress has been made after a long period of time, especially when reflecting on your own work.  In other words, Making Thinking Visible means to be creative in your teaching strategies when teaching and let students create through being engaged in the learning process. The simplest way of doing this may be to have the students write down what something means to them now and then think back on the work later when the class comes back to it either in a project or a discussion about what should be changed about their original thought. In this video that is exactly what happened. A teacher told students to attach a thought as groups to a piece of paper, about a topic they were given to address and they would look back at it later on and think about what they think their thought should actually should be after some time of reflection. This is what Dr. Strange asks us to do with our work as students in EDM 310 and we believe this is a very important part of the learning process- reflection. Why is reflection so important? It not only helps students to improve but it also helps them to see how far they have come with their learning. We believe this is real authentic assessment and it shows

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Braque Collaborative Blog Post #8

Google Earth By: Daniel LoVette

Through EDM310, I have discovered that Google provides a lot of useful technology tools. Email, Blogger, Drive, Google Plus, and many other great programs are at our disposal. As a future secondary geography teacher, the technology tool Google Earth will be very useful in this anticipated teaching situation. Geography is the study of earth’s inhabitants, features, and lands and Google Earth is able to explore each of these. With this tool, the average American student is able to take a look at anywhere in the world with the click of a button. From there, the possibilities for learning are great. Let’s say the topic of the week is Haiti. The student is able to see information about Haiti’s climate, human interaction, latitude and longitude coordinates, and even view areas that are subjected to widespread disasters such as the 2010 earthquake. Google has provided this 21st century learning tool and it should be used in the classroom. Students will be able to explore, create, and learn more from Google earth than a story or lecture any day.     
Try out Google Earth here!

Thoughts on Khan Academy and YouTube/education By: Morgan Rushlow

Khan Academy is a wonderful place where students can watch videos anytime, anywhere, about educational topics and even practice the concepts within Khan Academy. Some teachers even use it in their classrooms to let students complete assignments and track progress on their learning. Also, there are new videos all the time on Khan Academy, which means updated information is always readily available. This is a plus because information must always be updated. It also lets students communicate with their classmates and teacher by way of instant message or through email.

YouTube/education is also a wonderful place where students get to watch videos anytime, anywhere, about educational topics and give their review quickly and easily. They can send their review/analysis of what they learned in the video in a comment, video, etc., or they can send it directly to their teacher by way of email/messaging. There is always new fresh updated content  being created  here  just like on Khan Academy.

Both are wonderful 21st century learning tools that provide students with a wealth of information and lots of possibility. There are many ways that these tools can be useful, such as: fast
and easy when finding information, and with students connecting with their classmates and teachers.  Videos can also be used from these tools to teach lessons in the classroom from a video projector. These are tools in which can be used to expand their learning beyond the classroom. Also, these are great tools to use no matter what subject you will teach, because there is content  available on any subject that you are looking for.

Experience them both here now-

Project #9 - Podcast - Braque Group

 I really wish the video start frame wasn't of me wiping my nose... Oh well.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Comments4Teachers Post #2

Blog Title: One Principal's Musings
By: Julie Vincentsen

Capturing Struggling Readers

This post by Principal Vincentsen provides a solution to educators that have students who struggle with reading. Vincentsen tells that during an IEP meeting, a parent has great concerns because her son was frustrated because he was not able to read and talk about the same books that his peers were reading. The principal's solution to this problem was audio books, and at the end of her blog she provides links where audio books are accessible. My comment to this post went as follows:

"Principal Vincentsen,
I am an education major at the University of South Alabama. As you have already heard from previous comments, our class is learning how to implement technology into the classroom, and your blog post addresses the very problems we are learning in this class. I have a feeling that I will encounter a lot of parents like your sister and the one in the IEP meeting. Your post, as well as the audio book sources will be a great help to me in the future. I love the idea that these audio books may allow students who don’t enjoy reading to 'foster a love for literature separately from the mechanics of reading.' This will be a great advancement in motivating students to eventually enjoy reading."

Thank you Dr. King

Another post by Principal Vincentsen falls on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Ms. Vincentsen focuses on how far we have come in public schools since the Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. It did take a while for society to see the "separate but equal" clause in effect but over sixty years later the change is finally apparent. My comment to this post went as follows:

"Principal Vincentsen,
As those before me, I am also a student of EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. Your blog and video were great. I too am astonished at how far we have come as a nation in the past 60 years in civil rights. I have never compared the lyrics of Man In the Mirror to Dr. Kings beliefs, but they are well qualified. 'If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make the change.' This is a great message to our youth when bringing up 'leaders of tomorrow.' Thank you for your post!"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blog Post #7

Project Based Learning Projects 1 & 2 Experiences of a Third Grade Teacher
By: Braque Group
We really learned a lot from these two videos. From the first, we learned vital information on the overall goal of project based learning and how to approach it. The goal of any project based learning plan should obviously be to create a project. This project should have an authentic audience so the students should feel that their work is being noticed. Another way to do this is to involve the community. Once our students see that the content they are learning affects the immediate world around them they will see school work with a greater importance. The way we approach this goal is to realize that these project based learning plans are not created for an easier way to evaluate the student but for better means to get them to learn. Another approach is the ACCRS standards. These state standards are the focal point to base every classroom project around. We took note of the problem that Anthony faced when dealing with a student whose father would not allow him to do the project because of personal reasons. It seems as though Anthony calmly averted the problem by simply changing that particular student’s project. It is very important that teachers be flexible when problems arise and that was an excellent example.

#5 The Anthony - Strange List of Tips For Teachers Part. 1

By: Daniel LoVette

Although we learned a lot from everything on this list, there were a few main points that we perceived as very important. First, we as educators should never get a big head. There will always be more to learn and we should grow every single day. Not only should we learn more but we should want to always be learning. Second, Anthony said “work is not separate from play.” This means that even though teaching is hard work, our work does not stop at the last dismiss bell at the end of the day. We should enjoy researching new education techniques. And lastly, always be flexible and creative. If something does not work, don’t be afraid to change it. Be able to respond to events that are unexpected.

#6 & 7 By Morgan Rushlow

Video 6- Don’t Teach Tech- Use It.

What can be taken away from the conversation in this video is that a teacher doesn’t have to know technology to use it in their classrooms. The students may already know how to use it, so the teacher must step back from teaching technology and just let students create using it. It is important to be a learner yourself, Anthony said. However, it is important for students to learn proper use of technology.

Video 7- Additional Thoughts on Lessons-

What can be taken away from this conversation is that it is important to know how you will plan your lessons and understand what goes into each lesson plan and all the things that must be considered. Yearly content standards, how students will be assessed, what type of lesson you will teach, and how much time you want to spend on each topic should be considered. Anthony said a project-based lesson plan is four layers thick and has to consider the yearly standards, coverage of the unit, the lesson for the week, and what to cover each day. Anthony said you have to make sure you can cover all you want to cover when making the lesson plan.

Project #13 - Braque Group

Coal: A Clean-Burning American Energy Solution, or an Environmental Catastrophe in the Making?

Created by Daniel LoVette and Morgan Rushlow, this project based learning plan is intended for 9th - 12th grade. It covers contemporary issues that impact the global environment.