Friday, December 6, 2013

Final Blog Post - #16

Even though EDM310 has come to an end, the material I learned from it is just beginning. From this class I have learned to blog efficiently, comment properly, use technology, and revise myself and peer work. Through these I will be able to create a project-based learning environment in my classroom and pass on the tools to be a life-long learner to my students. By looking at my Blog Post #1 I can actually say that I would not change much about my classroom! I will however incorporate more projects to facilitate learning rather than just reading and writing. With my major being secondary history and geography, the possibilities are endless. My students will blog, act like travel agents to make brochures, and propose questions about history that is not common to normal high school students. My students will debate, create maps, political cartoons, and study music and paintings in order to create the best possible learning environment. Through tools like blogger, we will share data with other classrooms around the world. 

My method will be to basically let learning happen. Students today have so many things going on and technology has made it easier for them to be "connected." Because of this, education has to change. The same technology students are using outside of the classroom can be used inside for education purposes. Standing in front of a board lecturing will not be my approach because it did not work for me. I want my students to enter my classroom excited about what they are about to learn and leaving wondering what the next class session will hold. Online resources through a personal learning network will allow me to always be learning and growing as an educator. Through teacher collaboration we will work together to see what methods do work and eliminate those that do not. My blog post #1 lacked these things and closely resembled "burp back" education. Hopefully what I learned in EDM310 will change that. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15

Assistive Technologies - Brague Group

By: Morgan Rushlow - Braque Group

I am blessed to have all of my senses that I was suppose to have. As a student I know that a class can be difficult enough even for me. I do not know where I would be if I could not see or hear. I know that it is not only hard on the student, but it is hard on the teacher as well. It is a good thing we have more and more technology to help out these students and teachers understand and perform better. Braille books are very helpful for blind students, if they can read Braille. Also, most schools are going all digital. What do those students do then? How about if each student has an ipad, a student who is legally blind might have one that will read the book to them. If we were listening to a book in class on day, a student who had hearing impairments could follow along on his ipad. There are many ways our students can learn, and most of them have the drive to. On a website I found, they spoke about a student Karen, she was legally blind and they went through her day. She would sit in history class, and listen to the teacher speak about the American Civil War, as she took notes on her personal digital assistant (PDA). She then went to her English class where they were talking about the story To Kill a Mockingbird. Karen had downloaded an electronic copy on her PDA. That way she could read it with her braille. She also switched back and forth between the story, and taking notes. Later she went to the library with her partner for a project, and used the computer there. In the library there is a computer that whatever page she is on it will read it out to her. This makes things more simple for the librarian. She can stay busy doing her work while Karen gets done what ever she needs. Karen is a star student, and is at the top of her class. Karen was taught at a young age to use her resources wisely. There will come a time as a teacher that I might have to teach someone with a disability, and I will be ready for whatever it throws my way because you just have to remember the student is just as excited about learning as you should be to teach them. I got this information from

I viewed the videos about iPad usage and how it can help students with disabilities learn because it has features that help the deaf and blind to navigate the apps and do the tasks they intend to do. It has not only a speaking feature for the blind but a voice-command for the deaf and blind so they know exactly what they are doing and going to- however, i find that while the iPad is great because of these features it is best if someone is there helping the person navigate the iPad, because they may navigate to the wrong app or type the wrong thing. The features the iPad has will be good for use in teaching students with disabilities of any kind as well as those who are not disabled in any way. the iPad is a device that is versatile and can perform so many functions, although it is important to know how to use it best and to make sure that the users of these devices get the help they need in using it. I found some information about iPads on the web and found some pretty interesting things- such as  this website states-, iPads are helping students all across the board in their learning because it is helping with not only hearing and sight impaired students, but it is helping those who are having a hard time with communication skills such as those with autism as well. iPads are indeed having a major impact on learning outcomes and they have a very important role in the future of education, as apple states in its’ very own statement about its’ own creation,the iPad- iPad makes it possible to do so many things now that were not possible even 10 years ago when iPad was not even a thought in Apple’s mind, that it is an understatement to say that it is going to be transformative, as this website states-, iPad lets you express yourself in a variety of ways and this is why students can learn communication skills better with it because there are so many ways for students to participate in class and so many different apps that creatively express yourself it is mind-blowing. Clearly mind-blowing is an understatement in terms of what the iPad can do and will do for not only learning but for everything. iPad is a truly amazing piece of technology and it is worth it for schools to try to see how it improves student learning outcomes. iPad is truly revolutionary. Sure iPad has its issues and is best used with a helper if needed, its benefits outweigh the problems with it. As a collaborative secondary education major I plan to use iPad in my future classroom for these reasons-because it can do so much and can inspire creativity in ALL students.

By: Daniel LoVette

The Mountbatten braillewriter is something that I would definitely use in my classroom if the student had practice using it. There will be a lot of note taking of many things in my classroom so through the braillewriters ability to give audio feedback, the blind student will be able to participate more often in my classroom debates, projects, and even lectures.  

If I were going to be a math teacher, there is no doubt that I would use Art Karshmer’s invention. He discusses how teaching math to the blind is difficult because all braille is linear and a lot of math problems require numbers to be stacked atop one another. Thus, he created a 3D grid that uses blocks with braille numbers on them. This way the bling student is able to work math problems like the rest of the class.

Blog Post #14

What Did I Leave Out? 

Learning How to Learn History

For the first blog post, I would probably have the history/social science majors cover an issue in history by focusing on how to explore historical documents and texts in order to come up with creative questions to ask their future students. In James Loewen's book Lies My Teacher Told Me, he gives five ways to look at an historical text in order to understand history better. By using these five questions to better understand history, EDM310 students will get the creative gears flowing at the beginning of the semester and have a guideline to go by when creating project-based learning plans. (I have underlined a part that will, in my opinion, work well in EDM310.)      

1) First, why was it written (or painted, filmed, etc.)? Locate the audience in the social structure. Consider what the speaker was trying to accomplish. Does the speaker have an agenda? If so, what is it?
2) Whose viewpoint is presented? Where is the speaker located in the social structure? What interests, material or ideological, does the statement serve? Whose viewpoints are omitted? Students may then attempt to rewrite the story from different viewpoints, thus learning that history is inevitably biased.
3) Is the account believable? Does each acting group behave reasonably -- as we might, given the same situation? Are there internal contradictions? Does it cohere? Do some assertions contradict others?
4) Is the account backed-up by other (secondary) sources? Or do other accounts contradict it? This is where you have to do your homework.
5) Finally, after reading the words, seeing the image, etc., how does it make you feel? Emotion is the glue that causes history to stick. By examining the author's choice of words, images, context, etc., we may sense the power of communicative ideas, and understand what they mean, to us as individuals and to society at large.

If you learn, memorize, these five questions, you will have learned how to learn history. Not just for your college education but for the remainder of your natural born life.
Material culled from Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. Used for educational purposes only.

The assignment I have chosen will be to look up five questions about the secession of the southern states. I chose a Facts on File article but most credible articles found on the internet will do. So the following are some questions about the secession that will promote learning by encouraging students to think outside the box so to speak.  

Secession of the Southern States

Many Southerners drew parallels between secession and the colonists' declaration of independence against Great Britain. In what ways were the situations similar? In what ways were they different?

         Many Southerners drew parallels between secession and the colonists’ declaration of independence against Great Britain because of the similar disagreements of taxation, and rights against a seemingly tyrannical government. They were different because the secession was not about these so-called similar reasons. It was undoubtedly about having the right to own slaves, which was an entirely different situation. In a democratic government, capitalism will always spark controversy. How much control should government have of states rights or even the rights of individuals? Southerners that did own slaves (which was around only ten percent) justified their secession by their rights stated in the constitution. When government tried to infringe on that right, secession was top priority and they were even willing to fight for it. In the nineteenth century the United States was growing at an alarming rate due to the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican-American War. With “Manifest Destiny” issuing a guilt free pass to grab up land west of the Mississippi. The main question was would these new territories be considered slave states? When the colonies demanded independence from Great Britain, the reasons were: “no taxation without representation,” and ultimately independence culturally, and financially from Great Britain’s government control. Many will argue that these were the same reasons for the south seceding but the underlining cause of these many problems was slavery. This single underlining problem provided the southerners succession with the justification it needed by drawing parallels with the declaration of independence against Great Britain.

Should the South have been allowed to secede if it decided that remaining in the Union was not in its best interests? Why or why not?

         The South should not have been allowed to secede even if it decided that remaining in the Union was not in its best interest because of the “supremacy clause,” and the main focus on equal rights by the constitution. Even though events that led to the Civil War upset the South by seemingly threating their rights, only a small percent of southerners owned slaves and that small percent were the wealthy and powerful. The rest that followed were blind by pride and ignorance. Article five of the Constitution, considered the “supremacy clause,” stated that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. It rules as supreme law to benefit the people, even slaves.  Although a slave owner himself, Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…” Government has the right to protect natural rights. The tenth amendment is one amendment that is in the favor of the southern states. The tenth amendment says that powers not granted to the federal government will be the rights of the people and the states. Without the southern states the United States cannot stand and both the Confederate States of America and the Union would not be able to stand-alone. Sometimes the federal government has to step in to do what is best for the nation as a whole. There are many different reasons that the South used to justify their decision to secede from the Union but the ultimate reason was slavery and they should not be able to secede just because it is in the best interest of the rich.

What role did slavery play in the Civil War? Do you think that the North and South could have ever reached a compromise on slavery without resorting to bloodshed?

         Despite popular belief, slavery obviously played the main role in the Civil War through the Missouri Compromise of 1820, Wilmot Proviso, Kansas-Nebraska Act, “Bloody Kansas,” and the dependence on slavery in the southern economy. These events aggravated the South, and led to increasing tensions between abolitionists and pro-slavery supporters that would never be able to compromise without bloodshed. With more states being added to the Union, the growing issue between free state supporters and southern sympathizers were: “would these new added territories be free or slave states?” The Missouri Compromise in 1820 was the first attempt to postpone a major conflict and provide a temporary balance of free and slave states by adding Missouri as a slave state. While settlers in Missouri were constantly divided on the slave issue, the land gained during the Mexican-American War would increase controversy when the Wilmot Proviso stated that the new states gained would be free, in an attempt to stop slavery in it’s tracks. Supporters of slavery continued to argue that it was their state and individual right to own slaves and by prohibiting doing so was a power that the government did not have. The Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 soon would give settlers of the new admitted states the right to determine if their state were slave or free through popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty solved nothing, it gave only a legal right to either support or abolish slavery, which increased the hatred and violence between the two groups. One famous abolitionist’s belief led to his conquest of door-to-door visits killing any supporter of slavery known as “Bloody Kansas.” This radical abolitionist was John Brown, and the rivalry him and the “border ruffians” caused was almost a civil war in itself. John Brown stated: “I will take their lives as coolly as I eat my breakfast.” Through John Brown’s religion and tribunal life, many saw him as crazy and many perceived his rash actions to be “just.” Such a belief is up for debate but his actions arguably began the rise in hatred and paranoia within and between states. Frederick Douglass who was an ex slave, writer, and nonviolent abolitionist said this about John Brown: “His zeal in the cause of freedom was infinitely superior to mine... Mine was as the taper light; his was as the burning sun. I could live for the slave; John Brown could die for him.” Although a major part, John Brown’s holy war was just a result of his convictions to end slavery, and bloodshed was the solution. Not only was slavery considered a sin, it was the backbone of the southern economy and many were able to fight for that right to continue. With the election of Lincoln, tariffs, and other acts of war, the Civil War became evident and an end in sight was nowhere to be seen without bloodshed. 

What would the U.S. be like today if the South had won the Civil War?

If the South had won the Civil War, the United States of America would be no more due to divided beliefs, a weak defense, and ruled by overly rich plantation owners through capitalism. As a nation as a whole, the U.S. was powerful, and threatening to any surrounding countries and a country on the rise but without the North, the South would be a slave dependent confederation with only two classes: upper and lower. Without the distribution of wealth, the rich would get richer and the poor poorer. They would be driven by money only and would eventually have a civil war caused by uprisings of their own soon enough. The U.S. would not expand and the North’s industries would eventually suffer bankruptcy. The concept of slavery might even spread to the Pacific Ocean and be a South America ruled by the rich with a “concentration camp” demeanor.

Imagine that you are President James Buchanan; write a speech in which you respond to South Carolina's declaration of secession in 1860.

South Carolina,

You have declared to succeed from this Union for reasons that are in your best interest. Although secession is not legal, I am afraid that neither I, nor the federal government has the constitutional right to stop this treason. Despite your secession I will continue to retain military outfits and forts in your territory. I say with satisfaction that your actions have left an awful taste in my mouth and a sympathy for the future of this this nation that rivals none. I cannot wait for someone to succeed ME! Hopefully it will be that magnificent governor of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.

Thanks a lot,
James Buchanan