Friday, March 30, 2012
David Wees specializes in mathematics and technology. His blog is called 21st Century Educator. The first post I commented on was titled "Rethinking the standard school schedule." In this post he is advocating the four day school week for schools. His post is based on an article that talks about a 40 hour work week providing the maximum amount of time where productivity occurs. The four day school week has its advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are that it won't drain students as much in one week. The extra day that they have will, in theory, provide the extra time the students need to complete the work they have outside of class. A disadvantage is that they will start their school year earlier to make up for the time lost by taking away the fifth day of school. This takes away from their summer, and some kids are engaging in learning activities with their summer break. However, this includes another advantage. Starting school earlier will lessen the gap where some students aren't learning. Not every student spends their summer engaging in learning activities so this will help the students not lose everything they learned the previous school year.
The second post I commented on was titled "We need social media etiquette." In this post he gave a list of ten rules that he thought should be implemented on Twitter. He mostly discussed rules to make Twitter useful and rules about being respectful. I have to admit that when I first found out I had to have a Twitter account for this class, I was reluctant. However, back then I had a different view about Twitter. I thought it was just a place where people wrote useless information that they thought was important like what their cat ate for breakfast. Through this class, though, the usefulness has become apparent to me. If used correctly, Twitter is an effective tool that promotes the sharing of information and ideas. It's like all technology. If it is used properly, it can be an indispensable tool.
I commented on "My Favourite song by Kaitlyn" on her class blog. It is the 20th blog post down the page. In her post, she talks about her favorite song being "Next to You" by Chris Brown, and how she likes it because it reminds her of how her brother is always there for her. I told her about how I have two older brothers and an older sister so I understand about always being there for your siblings.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
This Is How We Dream
In This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2, Richard Miller talks about how writing has changed in schools as well as the culture. In the beginning, he thought, like most educators probably do, that writing was something that should be a solitary activity. However, now how we write and research and where we work and publish, is changing. A book that used to only take place in print is now available on the web.
Where we work is no longer limited. The web is now our work space. We can explore the materials of the world on the web without being limited to what we have ourselves or to what libraries have. We can now share knowledge without limits. Now, most of the limits and restrictions that we face are the ones that we make for ourselves. Also, it's now possible to compose, not with text only, but with images, films, and whatever you can find on the web. We're now also faced with information that updates instantly, and educators can not only view the materials, but see how they're put together and if desired, produce alternate versions.
He lists these things that we need: "ubiquitous composing technology, pedagogies that foster creativity and collaboration, spaces that foster collaborative learning, and inspiring teachers of new media composing." The goals of this technology are so much bigger than just the technology itself. Technology will allow people to articulate their dreams and share them. It tackles the fundamental problem of making our work visible. I will leave you with a quote from this video. "How could we not be interested in this attempt to make sense of the world we live in?"
Carly Pugh's Blog Post
Carly's Post is definitely an interesting one. She has created an assignment that is useful and incorporates videos as well as text. I like the idea of the playlist because we do find so many great videos in this class and then probably forget about them the next day. Not only is the playlist she suggested useful, but we can use it store the videos we truly enjoy in this class into a useful playlist for our futures as educators. I think she has beautifully written using multi-media, and that her future classroom would be one that lives up to Dr. Miller's hopes.
The Chipper Series and EDM for Dummies
The Chipper Series and EDM for Dummies both address the issue of how to get through EDM 310. It requires time to do and figure everything out. For my video, I would want to show two students in the beginning, middle, and end of EDM 310. One student would start out enthusiastic then feel overwhelmed after seeing the amount of work that has to be done. This student would slowly stop doing their work and eventually fail EDM 310. The other student would use the lab and the lab assistants and all other resources they could think of which will enable them to pass the class. This video would be to show the importance of getting help when you need it, and taking advantage of all resources that are available to you.
Learn to Change, Change to Learn
In Learn to Change, Change to Learn, they attack schooling, as we know it. They call for a more learning based environment. The world around us is changing. Children are living in technology. It's a great place for learning to occur, but in most cases, it isn't. School is just one of the laces where students will be learning. They have a variety of resources at their fingertips, and they should be using them in school as well. This will make them better prepared for the future that lies ahead of them. The video ends with this simple thought and so will I, "It's the death of education, but the dawn of learning."
1. Edmodo is a tool similar to Facebook and Twitter, but it is made for students and teachers. You can make notes, alerts, assignments, quizzes, and polls that are available to your students. There is a calender and a place to store grades, as well. It also gives you the option of connecting with other teachers. I'm still exploring it and getting my account the way I want it, but I think this is an excellent tool for teachers to connect with their students as well as other teachers
4. Photo Peach is a video tool that has many special features. It is actually a slideshow where you can add polls and quizzes. So it not only has text and pictures, but it adds an interactive aspect with polls and quizzes. It allows you to share, create, and embed these slideshows with other people so it would be easy to share the slideshow you used in class with your students.
Friday, March 9, 2012
The Networked Student
The Networked Student is a short video written and directed by Wendy Drexler with artwork by Alex Drexler. It discusses connectivisim, which is the theory that learning happens through having a social network with various connections. This social network is made possible by using the endless tools of technology. However, the tools are nowhere near as important as the connections that are being made. This kind of learning allows students to take their learning experience into their own hands and make connections that will enhance it.
The first thing the 21st century student must do is start to develop their personal learning network. This video uses the topic of the American psyche to demonstrate how this is done. First, the student learns how to find credible websites. Then he post their findings to a social bookmarking site such as delicious, and he also look at what others have bookmarked about the American psyche. Then, he finds blogs about it. However, he realizes that blogs are mostly opinion based, and then based on what he has learned throughout the journey so far, he comments on the blog. He also subscribes to the blog so he can keep up with what is being said. Now, with all of the knowledge he has accumulated, he can create his own blog. This student also realizes the importance of using his mp3 player to listen to things other than music. On his mp3 player, he has audio and video podcasts to enhance his learning experience.
This video, like everything we do in this class, is meant as a starting point. Managing all of the information that is coming at us will be a challenge, but it will be a challenge worth taking on. Now for the question, “Why does the networked student even need a teacher?” The answer is essentially simple. The teacher is needed for guidance. She teaches him how to build his PLN and take advantage of it. She teaches him how to communicate effectively and respectively. She teaches him how to tell good information from bad information. She teaches him how to organize information. She is the start to his learning experience that will continue way after he leaves her class.
PLE vs PLN
In A 7th Grader's PLE, she starts with a picture of her Symbaloo account. I know it is not about how you present your PLN, or PLE in this case, but I am a huge fan of using Symbaloo now. I love being able to organize my PLN so efficiently. However, her PLE seems much more organized and advanced than my PLN, but this is a learning process so I must continue to learn every day. In the video, she mentions how technology gives you freedom, and I agree. It is definitely a change from book work, and a highly desirable one at that, especially to students. Her PLE doesn't really differ too much from our PLN. In both of them, we are using the tools of technology to enhance our learning experience and to connect with like individuals around the world, and I am looking forward to watching my PLN progress.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
To better organize my PLN, I am using Symbaloo. On the top row, I have the tools that I use the most: Facebook, Gmail, Google, YouTube, Blogger, Twitter, Timetoast, and Apple. The next row has the blogs for Arvind S. Grover and Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. I learned about their blogs from C4T, and I have found them very helpful. Then on the third row, I have their Twitter pages. The next two rows come from our C4Cs. There were two peoples blogs that I had that stood out to me, and they were from Lindsey Edwards and Diane Boudreau so their blogs are listed in the fourth row. The fifth row has their Twitter pages. Then the sixth row is full of blogs and Twitter pages that have in some way come from this class. Here I have Sir Ken Robinson's blog and Twitter page, Laura Holifield's blog and Twitter page, Lauren McKenzie's blog and Twitter page, Dr. Strange's blog and Twitter page, and Paige Vitulli's Twitter page.
Here is the PLN I have come up with so far:
Arvind S. Grover - Blog and Twitter
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano - Blog and Twitter
Lindsey Edwards - Blog and Twitter
Diane Boudreau - Blog and Twitter
Sir Ken Robinson - Blog and Twitter
Laura Holifield - Blog and Twitter
Lauren Mckenzie - Blog and Twitter
Dr. Strange - Personal Blog, Professional Blog, and Twitter
Paige Vitulli - Twitter
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Langwitches is a blog run by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. The first post I commented on was titled, "Perspectives and Talking at Cross Purposes." She discusses how, luckily, our perspective is not set in stone so we can change it as we learn new things and meet new people. She asks some very important questions about education and asks the reader to consider them from different perspectives, such as: "What does it mean to be educated? ... Where and how do we learn? ... Where do we go for information? ... What does a classroom look like? ... How do we write? ... What does collaborating mean for you? ... How do we communicate?" All of these are important questions when considering perspective. An older person might say they get their information from books; however, a teenager might say the internet. Then when teenagers think of writing, they might think of text messages, e-mails, and posts on walls. Where older people might think of writing a letter. These a just a few examples, and are by no means saying that all older people and teenagers will respond in this way. Regardless, we can see that perspective is an important, and it is especially important for education. We need to keep our perspective open because we will need to be able to see things from the student's point of view. In this way, we will be able to better relate to our students.
The second post I commented on was titled, "How-To-Guide: Recording Audio Files and Generating QR Codes. In this post, Tolisano has given screenshots with step-by-step directions on how to record audio files in garage band, and then turn them into QR codes. She also has a previous post where she incorporates QR codes in art. I never knew too much about QR codes. I especially didn't know that they could be incorporated into the classroom, but she proved they could. Through this class, I'm learning about a lot of unexpected technology that can be effectively incorporated into the classroom to make learning a richer experience for the students.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Technology has this special way of letting people live on well after they have left this world, and that is what all of Randy Pausch's lectures and such are doing for him. They are helping him live on, and this last lecture was actually a way to talk to his children and live on with them. He may have intended this lecture for his children, but he also reached millions of other people. Technology is definitely phenomenal in this way. In his last lecture, he talks about his childhood dreams, helping other achieve their childhood dreams, and the lessons he learned along the way.
First of all, he talked about his childhood dreams. He achieved some, altered some, and didn't achieve some. With the ones that he didn't achieve, he got something better out of. He said this phrase over and over again, "Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." This is a marvelous saying that we'll have to teach to our students because it's inevitable that they will run into some of these brick walls while learning. Another quote I loved that he said he learned at Electronics Arts was, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." This ties perfectly into the previous quote. Most of what we will be teaching our kids will be learned through something that Randy Pausch likes to call "head fakes." We will have to learn to teach our kids difficult concepts that they wouldn't normally want to learn through making fun so they won't even notice that they are learning.
The next item he discussed was helping others achieve their childhood dreams. He started a course at Carnegie Mellon called Building Virtual Worlds, to achieve this item. This also helped them learn to work as a group, and they were required to do, make, and show something. He, like Dr. Strange, advocates "no book learning," or as Dr. Strange would say, "no burp back education." This is something even we can use in our classroom because learning should be by doing, not memorization. Another thing that we can apply to our classroom is displaying student work. Even these college students got excited to put on a show of their projects for people who were truly interested in what they were doing. One of Randy Pausch's legacies, Alice, is another thing we can apply to our classroom. He "head fakes" them into learning them how to program by making it a fun video game where you tell a story. These type video games will be vital in our classroom because this will engage so many of our students.
Now, the last item he discussed was the lessons he has learned along the way. Parents, mentors, students, friends, and colleagues, have to help with this aspect. Our students will actually be the ones that we will probably learn the most from. One of my favorite things that Randy Pausch quotes is from Andy van Dam, and he told Pausch, "... you might as well be selling something as worthwhile as education." He then lists some tips: never lose what drives you, help other people, be loyal, don't give up, get other people to help you by focusing on others, never bail, listen to feedback, show gratitude, and don't complain. These are things that we should be teaching to our students along the way. We are not only teachers of academics, but life lessons as well. Some more important advice he gives is this: be good at something, find the good in people, and be prepared.
In Pausch's last lecture, he actually "head fakes" the listeners, twice. The first is, his lecture really isn't about how to achieve your dreams, but rather, how to lead you life. By leading your life in the right way, your dreams coming true will follow. Then the second was, this lecture was actually for his children, like I mentioned in the first paragraph. I'm glad that Pausch's memory will be able to live on through his videos. He is such an inspiring man. Nothing can get him down, and I think that's an important lesson that we, as future educators, should embrace with open arms because there will be days when we will just want to give up. We need these inspiring people to push us, and we should strive to be as inspiring as they are to us.
Suzanne is in Mrs. C's 8th grade class. She posted the first paragraph of her creative story for computer class. She makes great use of punctuation, grammar, and word choice, and I really like her use of ellipses at the beginning and end of her paragraph. She used first person to write her creative story. It was kind of a sad story, so I hope it has a happy ending. I'm not sure if she was writing a fictional story or not, but either way, her writing style is exquisite for someone so young.
Cade is a fourth grader. He wrote about his favorite hobby. There were some spelling and grammar issues, but it was not bad for someone of his age. His favorite hobby was football, and a lot of his family is interested in football. I told him about my love for football, and how I am involved in the marching band at South.
Riley is a 4th grader in Mrs. Garcia's class in Manitioba, Canada. In his classroom they used Skype to learn about New Orleans. They learned a little bit about the hurricane and a lot about Mardi Gras. This one was really interesting because it showed how a class was not only making use of blogging, but also of Skype. He lives in Canada so they used Skype to see and learn about another part of the world.
5TG10 VR is a student in Mrs. T. G.'s 5th grade class in Iowa. They student wrote about how his class did a book exchange, and he/she got The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He/she really seemed to enjoy the book exchange, as well as the book, and I think it's great that his/her classroom has a book exchange so the kids will learn about books they may have never heard of before. This also creates a sort of reading and learning network between the students where they can share their love of reading with other students. He/she also asked what the reader of his/her blog what book they thought was the best. I told him/her that my favorite books used to be the Nancy Drew series.