Saturday, November 23, 2013

Project #12 - Part B - Braque Group

Last Comments4Teachers

David Truss
Pair-A-Dimes For Your Thoughts 

Click for access to Pair-A-Dimes

Learning and Failure
Comment #1

In this post, Mr. Truss explains how failure can invite learning. He says that children today are not challenged enough and that failure isn't always a bad thing. When we fail, we learn from our mistakes and thus are able to correct them in order to be better in the future. Through this, students as well as educators get more meaning from a project or lesson and are more likely to remember it in the future and I couldn't agree more. 
"Mr. Truss,

"This is a great post and I could not agree with you more. I am a student in EDM310 at The University of South Alabama and I can honesty tell you that I had not been challenged enough to fail really until I started my college career. From challenge and failure, my learning has been more authentic, deeper, and more meaningful. While reading your post, I could not help but think of Dr. Randy Pausch’s quote that says: 'Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.' Even though we might not achieve something at the level we wanted, we are always growing and learning!"

David Truss is very good at giving replies to the comments he gets and that is amazing! He is the first teacher this course to do so. I could tell that he actually read my comment and gave a genuine, heart-felt response which honestly really inspired me. His reply to my comment went as follows: 

"Great quote Daniel, thanks for sharing!
I recently told a friend of a great lesson my sponsor teacher gave me on a lesson during my teaching practicum. I was absolutely bombing a lesson during which she was observing me and taking notes. I looked at her at one point of the lesson, she looked back at me, showed me the observation paper, then ripped it in half. Then she left the room. I had to recover from a very poor lesson I planned on my own.
That was such a powerful lesson that taught me more than her observation of poor lesson ever could. And her trust in me to leave the room was pretty powerful too. She didn’t need to be there watching me struggle, and I needed to learn how to recover. It was a powerful lesson and made for a great debrief when we next spoke."

Networked Chambers Do Not Echo
Comment #2

David Truss discusses how PLN (personal learning networks), and social media in general do not have an echoing effect but in fact are the complete opposite. Social networks allow educators to generate new ideas, challenge thinking, and get him excited about being an educator. He believes that being a "connected educator" is a great tool. My comment went as follows! 

"Mr. Truss,

"South Alabama EDM310 student here. Great post, and I could not agree more, due to the fact that It took me a while to see all of the many professional benefits to social media. From an education standpoint the possibilities of new ideas, challenged thinking, and motivation to be an educator are endless, and as you said they certainly do not 'echo.' By this we have the privilege to be 'connected educators' with people all over the world at the click of a button! It truly is exciting. Thanks for sharing!"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blog Post #13

Nakenya Ntaiya: A Girl Who Demanded School
By: Daniel LoVette - Braque Group

I am sure to not be speaking for myself when I say that this video has the potential to make every American citizen feel like the size of an ant. Hearing Nakenya Ntaiya’s story makes me feel very privileged to live in this country. Ms. Ntaiya is from the Masai tribe in Kenya, and if just being in the tribe isn’t hard enough, being a Masai female is unimaginable. Masai members are tall, jump high, wear red, and hunt lions. As impressive as this sounds, their customs of oppression towards the female race are a tragedy that is happening all over the continent of Africa at this moment. Males are raised to be warriors, and women are raised to be mothers. Girls are engaged by the age of five, and are expected to be a perfect woman by the age of twelve. They have no say in political issues, family issues, career choices, or are even able to own land. By the eighth grade the average Masai female endures a circumcision ceremony by which any outsider would consider mutilation. The practice is unsanitary, and is the cause of many annual deaths of young female tribe members.

Nakenya Ntaiya has experienced this life and has overcome adversity to chase after her dream of being an educator and an activist against said practices. After almost not making it through the circumcision ceremony alive, Nakenya had an ultimatum to either become a wife and mother or to start high school which was very uncommon. After finishing high school, she was accepted to a women’s college in Virginia and had to get the tribe’s approval and support to attend, which was not an easy task. After getting the approval of sixteen male tribe members, she hits American higher education by storm and ultimately earns a masters degree in education. Nakenya has since started a girls school in the village and is making a positive impact in many student lives.  

The biggest obstacle an American student has to face to attend college is finances, and most find a solution. Not attending high school isn’t even an option, and even then we take it for granted. More students, including myself, have to realize that the education we receive is a privilege beyond measure. As a future educator, I hope to instil a sense of urgency to my students so that they might not slip through the cracks like so many do. This testimony is a great one, and it’s top ten TED position is well deserved! 

Arvind Gupta: Turning trash into toys for learning

By: Morgan Rushlow - Braque Group

Arvind Gupta is a toy-maker and he is from India. He has been in the business of toy-making for more than 30 years and is making a revolution in the educational toy industry. Gupta has gone to schools and presented his learning toys; and needless to say they liked them. He began his career as an engineering major in college in the 1970’s and didn’t think about making toys in college but he went to schools and saw that children wanted to make and create things and was inspired to help them by seeing this. He started making toys for them to use to learn. He shows us in this video that you can turn anything into a learning tool. Gupta in this ted talks video takes simple things that seldom would be thought of as having but one use and makes them into something else that can be used as a teaching tool. Gupta made geometric shapes with a flexible material. He also showed how to make the shapes of a ship, a bird and a hat and other things using newspaper. He created many things with simple everyday objects that  wouldn’t thought of as having multiple uses. Gupta shows us that almost anything can be turned into something else and one thing can have many forms. Gupta makes the quote in this ted talks video that “The best thing a child can do with a toy is to break it.” Why would he say this? Because Gupta believes that you can use any resource you have to create what it is you need to use. That means when something is broken it is still useful because you can make something else. An item that is broken can be recycled and can still be put to good use and in this case, it is used for learning.This would teach children to be resourceful and to use what they know to create what they need. These are very useful skills for students they will need. Why does Gupta’s toys teach these things? Because they are simple toys made out of simple things that are familiar to children and when demonstrated by a teacher the students will be able to think of all the uses of the items the teacher used. These toys Gupta created came from his idea that to teach we should love others, use what they know, and what they have, to build on. He believes that when given the chance to actually have the experience with a concept they get excited about learning because they are able to see why and how the concepts they are learning
about works.

Shaned Koyczahis To This Day… For the Bullied and Beautiful 
By: Samantha West

“We are not the only ones who live like this.” This one sentence he repeated, and it is stuck in my mind. It is something to think about. Let us go back. Go back to when you were in upper elementary or middle school. Who was those kids that were picked on, bullied, and disliked? Were they you? Was you the Bully? These are the questions that went through my mind when I was watching this video. It is sad to know that our children will have to go through this. When I was younger I was never the popular kid because my parents were not rich, and I was not the prettiest girl. I did not have many friends, and it really hurt my feelings when I could not figure out why. When I got into High School, I lost a lot of weight, and was actually liked. I became the person who I had hated the most, a bully. I was so mean to some people, and later I realized what I had done. I have now apologized to every single person I was ever mean to. I thought this topic was just right for me, because I will stand up to bullying from now on. Shane spoke about being being adopted, and feeling unloved. He said he went from being sad, depressed, to wanting to kill a kid. It should not be like this. Children should not have to feel like this. Bullying is a subject that we will have to deal with for the rest of our lives. For some people dealing with it is different from others, but we are in some way affected by this terrible act. We are all beautiful in our own little way!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blog Post #12

Changing Education's Paradigms By: Sir Ken Robinson
Summary By: Samantha West - Braque Group

Sir Ken Robinson had many key points in his video. He pointed out a very important key point to me, and that is ADHD. When my brother was little, he was sent to two specialists and one doctor diagnosed him with ADHD. The other said he was just a normal little boy, and he was. There was nothing wrong with him besides he didn’t want to sit in a classroom all day. They wanted to put him on medication that he did not even need. Doctors all over America are doing this now. It’s like we go straight to medication without even looking at what could be causing the problem. I find it interesting that my special education class was just speaking on this same topic Tuesday night. Do I believe our children should be drugged at such a young age? Of course I don’t. Do I think we should try every other thing in the book first? You better believe it! If nothing works,resorting to medication should be the parent's decision. Sir Ken Robinson and my point is how can we expect for every student to pay attention to, and I quote, “boring stuff,” when they could be watching TV, playing on their phones, ect. School is going to be boring at times, and teachers have to understand just because a child finds a subject boring does not mean they have an attention disorder. Which leads me to another key point I would like to point out from the video. Sir Ken Robinson states, “We shouldn’t be putting our kids asleep, we should be waking them up.” This is a wake up call to all of us soon-to-be teachers. He is speaking directly to us in this statement. My educational teacher always talks about how every teacher wants to teach to that perfect circle of students. Not the students that learn to fast, and not the students who learn to slow. Teachers want a class full of students that come in and understand everything on the day it is taught, and it can not be like that. We have to find a way to interest all the students, such as group learning. Group learning can keep all students busy and entertained. If you have not watch Changing Education Paradigms, watch it. Sir Ken Robinson can teach everyone a thing or two about what should change in our educational programs.

How to Escape Education’s Death Valley By: Sir Ken Robinson
Summary By: Daniel LoVette - Braque Group

In this particular lecture, Sir Ken Robinson discusses the problems with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the supposedly Attention Deficiate Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) epidemic. In addition he summarizes what the role of the teacher should be in order to counteract these problems.

Being from Great Britain, Sir Robinson begins his lecture with a joke: “Before I moved to the United States, people told me that Americans didn’t get irony.” He then explains that Americans in fact do get irony and that it is visible through the education program NCLB. He says that NCLB should instead be called, “millions of children left behind.” The American classroom is changing for the worse because our dropout rate continues to rise, and students are disengaged in the classroom. Sir Robinson attributes this to the the natural personality of humans, in that we are naturally diverse and NCLB instead promotes conformity and the two cannot co-exist. I agree with this because NCLB implements standardized testing. Standardized testing should not be the main focus in education and Robinson states that they should instead be used to “support learning and diagnose.”

Sir Ken Robinson also believes that ADHD is not an epidemic. To him, children are not disengaged in the classroom because they are suffering from ADHD, they are “suffering from childhood.” This is a great point because children are not meant to sit and listen for hours at a time. They should be creating, and working through projects that are educationally fun. However, for this to happen, teachers have to change. Robinson says: “Teachers are the lifeblood of society.” Teaching should be a creative profession in which they mentor, stimulate, and engage students to promote life-long learners. Instead of feeding facts to students, teachers should facilitate and let learning happen naturally.  

The Importance of Creativity By: Sir Ken Robinson
Summary By: Morgan Rushlow - Braque Group

In this video, Ken Robinson made a wonderful point about creativity. He said that "we need creativity in order to discover ourselves and to figure out who we are as a person." Creativity is the key to being successful, but as Ken states in this video, creativity is not being encouraged in schools today. Instead students are taking a path toward where the most money is made and what society believes is important to the economy. Ken believes students are not allowed to be creative in schools, and that schools kill creativity because society wants this cookie-cutter image of people. So instead of individualizing learning to each student as we should be doing, education has been designed to produce graduates in this cookie-cutter design in which all students are taught the same way and what is believed to be the “most useful subjects” prioritized in school while creative subjects are not being prioritized. Ken believes in this video that education is teaching students to not be creative because of the idea that creativity isn’t needed in the workforce. Ken believes that students are taught today that it isn’t okay to be wrong and that it’s not ok to be their creative selves in which they have their individual talents and skills which are unique to each person. Ken believes that the education system caters to industry demands but it should be catering to individual student needs and passions/desires. Ken believes that allowing creativity is important to each students’ success and fulfillment in their lives.  Ken believes that by not allowing creativity in school, many students are being left out in the system because some students’ talents are not being recognized because their talents do not lie within the frame of this cookie cutter image that is seen as desirable and important. But instead, in the areas of study that are seen as less important and less desirable.