Sunday, May 8, 2011

Final Reflection Video for EDM 310

This is my final reflection video for EDM 310. It's been a very interesting semester. I have learned so much and I have the great EDM 310 staff to thank! I will do my best to help others who are taking EDM 310 in the future. I think the most valuable things that I have learned are to become a lifelong learner and to always keep an open mind when it comes to technology. I will use the things that I have learned in my future classroom for sure. I hope that I will be an effective teacher who uses technology for the benefit of my students.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My PLN Final Reflection

symbaloo.com



What is the definition of a PLN? A personal learning network is a list of websites and blogs that an individual finds useful for their own learning experience. A person's PLN should always be changing and expanding as they find new resources for learning. My PLN consists mostly of youtube, others teachers' blogs and the EDM 310 website. Of course, I use Google on a regular basis to find out information I need to know. I often look up things on Wikipedia, as well. I wouldn't use Wikipedia as a source for a paper, but it is a good starting point for finding out information. Another great website that I use in my PLN is sparknotes. I am enrolled in a literature class, and sparknotes helps me interpret the things I read. All of these websites can be organized by using websites like Symbaloo. I know that my PLN will expand even more as I continue to learn things as a teacher.

Final Project 16

technology tools for teachers



As my final project, Hoan Nguyen and I decided that we would create a blog to educate other teachers and future teachers on becoming technologically literate. We have learned so much from taking EDM 310 that we wanted to share what we learned with others. Not everyone can benefit from taking a course to guide them through the wide world of technology. We are using this blog to show teachers the need for technology and the benefits that it can have. We have also included several instructional videos for how to get started using technology. We hope that through this blog, many teachers will learn to improve their classrooms through the use of technology. This way, many students will have a brighter educational future. Our blog is called Technology Tools For Teachers. Right now our blog has 10 posts. We will be creating more as we come up with new ideas and videos which we think will be beneficial. Our first post is a podcast in which we discuss why we think that all teachers should use technology. We mention several useful tools for teachers getting started using technology such as Twitter, Audacity and YouTube. We posted several instructional videos which we made about these websites. We have also included interviews with other education majors on thier thoughts about technology and education.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

C4T- #4

Commoncraft



This month I have been reading Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom. This is a blog written by Steven Anderson. Mr. Anderson is an educator who works with schools to help them integrate technology into their classrooms. Mr. Anderson gives presentations at technology conferences, as well. The first blog that I commented on was called "The Connected Administrator". This blog is about the importance of school administrators becoming technologically literate. This is a subject that I had never really considered. I always focused on the importance of technology being in the classroom, but I never thought about how technology could benefit administrators. Administrators can use technology to stay connected with other schools. Mr. Anderson included a Google docs presentation which encouraged administrators to become open to change in the way that schools are run. His oresentation also included information on tools which administratirs might find useful. Some of these tools include Skype, Google docs and Twitter. Here is the comment that I left on Mr. Anderson's post:
"I enjoyed reading your post because it made me think about the importance of administrators being technologically literate. Before I read you post, I hadn't thought about this concept. I enjoyed your presentation as well. The quotes that you included are great because they show how people have always been resistant to new tools in education. This encourages me to push for the use of technology in the classroom for the benefit of my future students. If administrators begin using the tools that you have suggested, then they will be on the path to technological literacy. Then administrators will be even more supportive if teachers who are working with technology in their classrooms."
The second post that I commented on was called "Making Complex Ideas Simple". This post focused on a website called commoncraft.com. This is a website which creates short, informative videos about different programs. The videos were entertaining and interesting. I think they would be useful for instruction in EDM 310. Some of the topics that they cover include Twitter, Wikipedia, Social Media and much more. I left the following comment for Mr. Anderson:
"My name is Rebecca Warnberg and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. These video created by Commoncraft are great! They are so informative and interesting. It's great to see creativity and technology combined in a way that will educate others."
Mr. Anderson has a lot of great ideas to share. I highly recommend his blog.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

C4K- April

a blog with class



I read four different class blogs this month for my comments for kids assignments. I got some really great ideas by exploring these blogs and I will discuss them here.
The Unicorn Blog- This is Miss Pike's Year 6 class blog. The blog I was assigned to read class blog has a list of links to the students personal blogs. I was assigned to comment on a student named Zakee. However, Zakee's blog was not working correctly, so I decided to comment on Shreya's blog instead. Shreya made a post called "Did You Know?" which listed several interesting, obscure facts. I left the following comment:
"I think that this was a very interesting post! I learned many things that I never knew before! Where did you find all of these fascinating facts? I especially liked the last fact that you listed about the elephants and the ants. That was a very shocking fact! Keep up the good work on your blog."
Room 14 Explorers- This is a blog made by a a year 5/6 class from Tauranga, New Zealand. I commented on a post entitled "Unpacking Integrity". This post include a slideshow which two students made using slideshare.com. This slideshow featured pictures of posters that different people made expressing their definition of integrity. I left the following comment:
"I really like this slideshow because it shows many different people's view points. I think this is a great question to ask people because it will cause them to consider if they are a person of integrity. My definition of integrity is always doing the right thing, no matter how difficult it may be." I really like this blog because this teacher makes her students think on a deeper level about many subjects and employs different educational tools.
Mr. McClung's World-The third blog that I read is called Mr. McClung's World. I made a blog post earlier which thoroughly analyzes this site. I commented on one post entitled Lessons Learned: Lesson Three- The Quest for the Perfect T-Shirt. In this post, Mr. McClung discusses a contest that his students were competing in to design a t-shirt for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I left the following comment:
"I think that your class fundraiser is a great cause. It’s good to see that you are encouraging your students to give back to others who are in need. I also think it’s great that you are allowing your students to express their creativity by creating t-shirt designs. I hope that these t-shirts will increase your students morale and dedication to your cause. I also hope that your fundraiser is very successful." If you are interested in learning more about Mr. McClung's blog, you can read my previous post entitled "Special Assignment: Mr. McClung's World".
Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog- Mrs. Yollis is a third grade teacher from California who is dedicated to giving the best education to her students through incorporating technology in her classroom. This blog had been nominated for best runner up for Best Classroom Blog in the 2009 and 2010 Edublogs.
Mrs. Yollis encourages parents to get involved in the learning process, too. Parents are asked to comment on their children's blogs. Mrs. Yollis gives instruction for how parents should leave comments. Here are Mrs. Yollis' rules of thumb for leaving comments:
1) Make a personal connection with the post
2) Add some factual information about the topic in your comment
3) Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct
I think it's great that Mrs. Yollis includes so many informational videos in her blog. Some of these videos include a tutorial on how to comment and a tutorial on how to create a hyperlink. These videos are useful for both Mrs. Yollis' students and the parents of students.
Mrs. Yollis uses her blog to help both her students and their parents get involved. She creates blog posts that discuss topics that she is currently teaching about in class. Her students are able to comment on these, and their parents are, too. All of her students' personal blogs are linked to the class blog, as well.
I commented on one of the students' blogs called "Hannah's Hacienda". Hannah made a post called "Leila Donates Her Hair to Locks of Love". This was an inspiring post in which Hannah described the Locks of Love program. Hannah and her sister Leila take turns donating their hair every other year to this program. I left the following comment for Hannah:
"This is a wonderful post! You have provided a lot of information about the Locks of Love Program. I had heard of this program before, but I didn't know all of the specific details. My sister Caitlyn has donated her hair to this program before. You have inspired me to donate my hair, too! Great job!"
Hannah's post was well written and very informative. I was very impressed with her work.

Blog Assignment 13

ALEX website



This week I explored a website called Alex- Alabama Learning Exchange. This website is connected with the Alabama State Department of Education. This website is a great resource for teachers. The goal of this website is to help teacher find materials for lesson plans. Alex is organized and easy to use. The lessons plans are arranged by subject and grade level. These materials are compiled by board certified educators who have tested them and found them to be effective. There are many more resources than just lesson plans, as well. The website offers podcasts and professional development opportunities. There is also a search engine which allows a person to find lesson plans on specific subjects. ALEX makes it easy for teachers to find the help they need.
This website offers users to create a Personal Workspace which is a personal account. This account allows users to save lessons that they find using Alex. If an educator creates their own account, they can also submit lesson plans which they find useful. This is a great feature because it allows teachers to share their own experiences with one another. I can see myself using this website a lot in the future. If I'm unsure about how I should teach a certain topic in my classroom, I can come to this website to find several ideas. If I happen to change the grade that I am teaching, I can come here to compile new lesson plans for the year.

Access website



Another website that I researched this week is Access- Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators & Students Statewide.This website is also supported by the Alabama State Department of Education. This website was created to facilitate access distance learning. So, what is access distance learning? Distance learning is an online learning opportunity for high schools across the state. This involves video conferencing between teachers and students and web based courses. The purpose of the ACCESS program is to make more courses available for students. This includes Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment courses. I think that this is a great initiative because it expands the educational opportunities for students in Alabama.
ACCESS also offers job opportunities for educators who are interested in teaching these online courses. These educators would have all of the responsibilities of a traditional classroom teacher. There are also resources for teachers who are interested in learning how to effectively teach an online course. This is a great website because it has a lot to offer for both teachers and students!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blog Assignment 14- Special Assignment- Metaphors

mixed metaphor bingo

Recently I read a blog post called "Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home". In this post, pencils were used as a metaphor for computers. Unfortunately, I missed this metaphor. I thought that the author was using pencils to show the folly of one educator's way of thinking. I assumed that the author chose to talk about how pencils could be blamed for problems in the public school system to show how some educators would rather come up with a lame excuse than admit their own shortcomings. The reason that I think I missed this metaphor is that I was not thinking deeply enough about the post. My mind immediately focused on the ridiculous character portrayed in this piece who believed that pencils could be causing the problems in education today. I did not look and the bigger picture and connect the writing with the use of computers and technology. This is surprising since this class is all about technology.
I am used to searching for metaphors while reading literature. This week in my American Literature class, I came across several metaphors. In the poem "Marks" by Linda Pastan, Pastan uses a metaphor to compare the teacher/student relationship and the family/mother relationship. This metaphor is used to show how families can be overcritical of their mothers by giving them harsh "grades" about their performances as mothers. In the short story "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason, the civil war is used as a metaphor for the deteriorating relationship between a husband and wife who are considering a divorce. In "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, the heavy backpacks and supplies that soldiers were required to carry during the Vietnam War are used as a metaphor for the emotional burden of being involved in warfare. In "The White Porch" by Cathy Song, a woman's hair is used as a metaphor for her sexuality. There are many more examples that I could cite of metaphors that I have found in literature. The thing about metaphors is that you have to be on the look out for them. There are some common metaphors which are fairly obvious that people encounter every day. For instance, when you say "That's the pot calling the kettle black" you really mean that a person is being hypocritical. However, extended metaphors used in writing can be a little bit more tricky to spot. In the future, I will try to keep an eye out for metaphors at all times. I hope that I will not miss another obvious metaphor like I did when I read the Johnson assignment.
I think that educators can help their students understand metaphors by discussing the many metaphors that we encounter on a daily basis. Metaphors are everywhere! Metaphors are used in everyday conversation, literature, songs, movies and television shows. If educators can teach children how to look for metaphors, they will be able to understand things on a deeper level. We use metaphors in order to enhance understanding and add meaning to things. For example, saying "he's not the sharpest tool in the shed" conveys more meaning than simply saying "he's not very smart". This metaphor makes the connection to an everyday object. This adds a whole new layer of meaning because people can relate to this analogy. The example I used earlier which compared divorce to a civil war adds deeper meaning to our understanding of the nature of separation between two parties which are so closely connected. I think that metaphors are a great thing and educators should make sure that their students have an understanding of them.

Project 15 Book Trailer

This is the trailer that I created for Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss. I had a great time creating this trailer. I want to say thanks to the EDM 310 lab assistants who helped me create this video. It was a lot of fun!

Progress Report on Final Project

strong bad at the chalkboard



As I reflect on what I have learned from taking EDM 310, I realize how much my perspective on technology has changed. Before I thought that teachers didn't really need to incorporate technology in my classroom. Very few of my teachers used technology. They thought that just sticking to writing notes on the chalkboard was good enough. This mindset has to change. Educators need to realize the importance of technology and the many benefits of using technology. I have decided to create a podcast for my final project with Hoan Nguyen. This podcast will discuss the reasons why all teachers should strive to become technologically literate. The podcast will also include suggestions for how teachers can begin their journey to becoming a technology savvy teacher. We will describe a list of programs that we think all teachers should use and the benefits of these programs. We also plan on creating tutorials which will teach people how to get started using these programs. We will create these tutorials using screen recording. We are excited to begin working on this project and we hope that many teachers will benefit from our suggestions.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blog Assignment 12

I want you to turn off your cell phone



This week I chose my own topic to explore for my blog post. A question that I posed earlier this semester is "Should cell phones be banned in schools?" I created a podcast earlier this semester which discusses this question. Now I have researched and found some great videos which discuss this topic in depth. I have selected the video which I think gives the best analysis of this topic. As you watch this clip, ask yourself whether you would be willing to give educational cell phone use a try in your future classroom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXt_de2-HBE&feature=related

I also found a blog created by an 8th grade teacher from Iowa who wrote a blog about a project that her students completed which explored the topic of cell phone use in school. It's a pretty interesting story about how these students were able to convince the administration at their school to allow cell phones for educational purposes. Also, it's a great example of project based learning which reflects educational progressivism. http://crazy4learning.blogspot.com/

Before I created a podcast about this topic earlier this semester, I had never considered cell phones to be an option for schooling. Obviously, there is a lot of potential for students to be distracted by cell phones. This gives students the ability of to text, take inappropriate photos and videos, and play non-educational games. However, allowing students to use computers also has these risks. Anything can be used as a distraction for students. Pencils and paper allow students to doodle and pass notes during class. Should we ban these tools, as well? I think that educators should take a second look at the possibility of using cell phones. Educators should not view cell phones as obstacles, but rather consider the possibilities they open up for students. This video shows a great example of a school which is harnessing the potential of cell phones in the classroom. I think that more schools should do the same. Students love to use their cell phones, so they would be a great motivator for students to complete assignments. If a school did choose to allow cell phone use, there would have to be strict guidelines in place. My mind has been opened to the great possibilities that cell phones have, and I hope that this post has challenged your thinking, as well.

So for your assignment, read the blog and watch the video that I posted here. Reflect on your reaction to the blog and video. What are your thoughts on using cell phones in the classroom? Did the blog or video change the way that you view cell phones? If you had the ability to allow your students to use cell phones in your class, how would you use them to enhance your curriculum?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Special Assignment- Mr. McClung´s World

Mr. McClung´s World

Mr. McClung is an eighth grade teacher at Woodland Junior High in Fayetteville, AR. Mr. McClung is an exceptional teacher because he does not stick to traditional teaching style in which the students take a passive role. Mr. McClung encourages his students to engage in class with excitement. I have analyzed Mr. McClung´s class website and I have learned a lot through this process.
Mr. McClung seems to be a very positive and encouraging person. From reading his blog, I can tell that he wants his students to have the same cheerful attitude. Obviously, Mr. McClung has a lot of energy because he puts a lot of emphasis on hand gestures. He encourage his students to use hand gestures, as well. This shows me that he likes to be physically engaged in what he is saying and this helps his comprehension in some way. I think that this is a great technique that he employs because children will be encouraged to pay attention because of his high energy level.
As an educator, Mr. McClung has many positive characteristics which I would like to point out. First of all, he seems to be a nontraditional teacher because he is willing to relinquish some control in his classroom. What I mean by this is that Mr. McClung does not seem to teach in a teacher centered model in which the students must remain quiet and listen to him lecture all the time. He encourages his students to collaborate with him. The second attribute which I noticed about Mr. McClung is it seems that Mr. McClung focuses on relating to his students and motivating them. He uses a class scoreboard to show them how well they are behaving that day. I think this is a fun way to keep students focused on following rules. He even posts a band of the week on the class blog for his students. This shows that Mr. McClung is willing to show students a more personal side of himself. This makes his students see him as a normal person that is like them instead of a boring teacher that does not understand them. My third observation about Mr. McClung is that he is very effective at incorporating technology into his classroom. Mr. McClung has a class web page on which he posts information for his students, parents and other educators. He has also created a class facebook page which I think is a very uniqueClung allows his students to post blogs on the class site and he also posts videos of their class projects. All of these characteristics make Mr. McClung stand out as a very exceptional educator.
Mr. McClung has five rules that he lists which he expects his students to follow. These rules include
1) Follow directions quickly
2) Raise your hand for permission to speak
3) Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat
4) Make smart choices
5) Keep your dear teacher happy
I think that these rules are pretty standard. I find them all to be reasonable. It's important for students to stay focussed and have respect for their teacher. Mr. McClung's rule are not harsh or demanding. I think they imply an agreement of mutual respect between the teacher and the students. I will probably have a similar list of rules for my future class.
In his list of class materials, the first thing that the students are required to have is a planner. This teraches the students the importance of keeping track of their assignments. This also encourages them to make a schedule for themselves and allows them to make goals.
Mr. McClung's homework policy seems rather lenient to me. He allows students to turn in their assignments by the end of the day that they are due. If a student turns their assignment in late, then their grade is docked by ten points for every day that they are late. This is similar to Dr. Strange's late work policy. Dr. Strange makes it clear that late work is unacceptable and will result in a lower grade. Mr. McClung is dealing with children, so it makes sense that he is a bit more lenient than Dr. Strange.
Mr. McClung discusses his purpose in creating a blog at the end of his syllabus. He states that the blog will help his students keep up with their homework. His blog also allows parents and other teachers to keep up with his students progress. These seem like great goals to me. I wish to start a class blog in the future for the benefit of my students.
Mr. McClung has a list of useful links on his page which has several good websites. I explored two of these links in depth. One of the links that I explored was ant.com. This is a search engine which allows you to see a description and a picture of each website that it displays. This adds convenience because it allows you to sift through websites more easily.It also has a description of each website to show the amount of traffic that each website receives each month and it provides links and embed codes for the sites. The second website that I explored was guysread.com. This is a website which is dedicated to getting boys interested in reading. This site lists books which many men have recommended for boys. Both of these websites seem very beneficial. Ant.com offers another alternative to google and it seems to give more information so that people can be more careful about the sites that they visit. The second website that I visited has a great purpose so I can see why Mr. McClung would want to share it with others.
Mr. McClung has a great set of rules for internet safety for his students. He instructs his students that they should never use their last name or e-mail address when leaving a comment for someone. He even created a class e-mail account for his students to use for sites that require an address. He also tells his students to never reveal their location or agree to meet with someone they have met online. I think I would use a similar list of rules for my future classes. It's very important for students to remain safe while using the internet. Mr. McClung teaches his students how they can remain safe while learning from the many tools which are available online.
I reviewed and commented on one of the posts that Mr. McClung made under the Lessons Learned category. Mr. McClung discussed the t-shirt design for the fundraiser that his classes are having for teh Susan G. Komen For the Cure fund. Mr. McClung was encouraging his students to submit possible designs for t-shirts which will raise money for and support their cause. I wished Mr. McClung luck with his fundraiser and commended him for encouraging his students to use their creativity.
Mr. McClung uses edublogs for his class blog. There are many advantages to using this site because it seems to offer a lot of great features. I'm not sure if these features can be used on blogger or not. I guess I need to spend more time exploring blogger or perhaps I could start an edublog account for myself. There were two features which I did particularly like about Mr. McClung's blog. The live traffic feed on the side which shows the location of the people who visit his blog. He also has a personalized banner at the top of his page which I though looked very unique. I think it would be really cool to create one of these for my own blog.
Mr. McClung's blog is useful to parents and other educators because it shows the assignments that he gives his students and lists them by subject. This allows parents to keep track of their child's homework. This also allows other educators to get ideas from his assignments. Mr. McClung also posts things which he has learned through his experiences. Other educators can benefit from these experiences. Mr. McClung offers a list of links to useful websites which can help both educators and parents. For example, guysread.com can help parents encourage their children to learn because it offers possible reading material for boys who are generally uninterested in reading.
Mr. McClung's website differs from other 8th grade teacher's websites that I have seen because he posts all of the students assignments for both students and parents to view. Other blogs that I have seen simply list blogs that students have created themselves. Mr. McClung also posts some non educational information in the blog such as the band of the week. This makes the website more fun to view. Mr. McClung's blog also offers the opportunity for people to chat with him directly. I have not seen this feature on any other blog, and I think it is a great addition!
I have enjoyed learning from Mr. McClung's website. I hope that I will be able to create a great website like this that will benefits my future students and their parents. If you would like to visit Mr. McClung's site follow this link:
http://mcclungsworld.com/

Teach Someone Project #14

This is a short lesson on how to use timetoast.com. I really enjoyed using timetoast, so I thought it would be nice to share with everyone!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

Saskatchewan, Canada



This week I had the pleasure of watching a youtube video and a recorded Skype interview featuring Ms. Cassidy and her first grade classroom. Ms. Cassidy is a teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada who has learned to incorporate technology into her classroom in a very effective way. The thing that amazes me most about Ms. Cassidy'd class is that they are able to use technology at such a young age. I used to think that it was unrealistic to incorporate technology in a classroom with such young students. I didn't think that this age group would be able to be productive withc computers. Also, I thought that it was questionable to expose children to the dangers of the internet. However, Ms. Cassidy has proven that all of my previous thoughts were misconceptions.
Some of the tools that Ms. Cassidy uses is a class website, blogs, computer games, video recording, Skype and even Nintendo DS game systems! All of this may seem overwhelming, but Ms. Cassidy has found a way to effectively incorporate all of these tools. Ms. Cassidy allows her students to navigate the internet through following links on her class website. She also allows her students to write their own blogs which their families and friends can comment on. The students create wikis to learn about different topics by getting feedback from other people on the world wide web. The students have conversations on Skype with others about educational topics such as writing and science. The students are also allowed to play with Nintendo DS game systems. This may not seem very educational, but it actually helps them with their reading and their problem solving.
I would love to use these same techniques with my students someday. I can see a lot of benefits to allowing the children to create blogs and navigate the internet. In a traditional classroom that simply uses paper and pencils, students are not as excited to complete their assignments. This is not the case is Ms. Cassidy's classroom. She describes her students joy at being able to post assignments online so they can share their progress with others. The students are motivated because they know that other people are paying attention to their work and they are encouraged by this. In a traditional class, parents would not be able to see their students progress unless they came to the school and viewed their child's personal classwork file. Using blogs makes it a lot easier for parents to keep track of their child's work. Ms. Cassidy does a great job of teaching her students how to use technology and the internet properly, effectively and safely.
The only problem that I could foresee in using the techniques that Ms. Cassidy employs in her class is making sure that students are not goofing off while they are using the computers. Also, a teacher using these techniques would have to make sure that the students do not fight over computers and game systems. Some teacher might think that all of this would take too much extra effort. They might think that it is pointless to allow children to use the internet or make blogs. They would rather stick to assigning problems in workbooks and giving out coloring sheets. I think that the students in Ms. Cassidy's classroom will be much better prepared for their futures than the students in classrooms without technology. If incorporating technology and educational games into the classroom motivates students to learn, then all teachers should be using these tools! I'm sure that parents are pushing to make sure that their child is enrolled in Ms. Cassidy's classroom. I hope that I will be the kind of teacher that is willing to explore new ways to better my classroom so that parents will want me to teach their children. I have learned a lot from watching Ms. Cassidy's teaching style. If you would like to learn more about Ms. Cassidy, you can follow this link to her class website http://staff.prairiesouth.ca/sites/kcassidy/

Sunday, April 3, 2011

C4T- #3





This month I had the privilege of reading Classroom Chronicles by Henrietta Miller. Mrs. Miller is a year 5 teacher at a private school for girls ion Sydney, Australia. Mrs. Miller uses blogging to improve herself as a teacher, and she also has a blog for her class. I read two posts by Mrs. Miller and I enjoyed them both.
The first post that I read by Mrs. Miller was called "Sometimes it is the simplest things". In this post, Mrs. Miller shares a new teaching technique that she has implemented in her classroom. Mrs. Miller gave each of her students their own white board and dry erase marker so that they could answer questions during her lesson. Mrs. Miller found that the use of the white boards really encouraged her students to participate. I left the following comment on Mrs. Miller's post:
"I enjoyed your post because it has inspired me to try using personal white boards in my future classroom. When I was in high school, my math teachers sometimes would allow us to use our own white boards and I always enjoyed it. I think that giving students an opportunity to actively engage in class and share their thoughts is always better than simply lecturing to them Thank you for the tip!"
Mrs. Miller got a lot of positive feedback on this post from other teachers who had tried this idea in their classes before. These teachers talked about ways that she could improve this technique even more.
The second post that I read was called "Sydney Teach-Meet". In this post, Mrs. Miller announced her plan to hold a meeting for teachers across Australia to come and share their experiences and ideas. Apparently, in many countries around the globe teachers have begun to hold these meetings. So Mrs. Miller took the initiative to start this type of conference in her own country. I left the following comment for Mrs. Miller:
"I admire your dedication to learning ways to improve your teaching style. I think that this conference is a wonderful idea. When educators come together and collaborate about their failures and successes, they will certainly leave wiser than they were before. It is also a great opportunity to encourage other teachers to keep on giving their best for the benefit of their students. Unfortunately, I can’t attend your meeting since I’m still attending the University of South Alabama on my journey to becoming a teacher. I wish I could participate though because this sounds like a great opportunity. I hope it all goes well!"
I think it's great that Mrs. Miller was willing to step forward and put her ideas into motion. I hope that all goes well for her!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

Mark Twain



This week I read a blog by Morgan Bayda entitled "An Open Letter To Educators" which featured a vlog made by Dan Brown. This post discusses how education has not adapted with technology. Many educators today either don't know how to change their teaching style to connect with students or they don't care. Dan Brown actually chose to drop out of college because he felt that "his schooling was interfering with his education". I left the following comment on Morgan's blog:
"I share your sentiments that it seems like a lot of classes in both high school and college are not very interesting or useful. It does seem like many professors care very little about preparing students for their future careers. Professors seem to mostly just be focused on getting up in front of the class and forcing students to listen to their lectures. I’ve known students who have been given a “b” or a “c” in a class when they had really earned an “a” simply because they did not attend class regularly. The professors were so upset that these students did not want to attend their classes that they wanted to punish them. They never considered the possibility that there was something wrong with their teaching style. Educators need to realize that they are no longer the only source of information now. The information that they are lecturing about can be found from many different sources. Educators need to start teaching students why this information matters and how their students can utilize this information in real life situations. I agree with you that I do not support Dan’s choice. Although he does have a point that there are a lot of problems with our education system, that does not change the fact that nowadays, you need a degree to get a career."
Dan discusses how in the past, information was only available to wealthy, high class people. The public school system changed this. People could now attend school to attain knowledge. Dan says that now that information is available to the masses, our current system of education is unnecessary. People no longer need to go to school to attain knowledge, so why should they attend? I think Dan has a good point that this system of education needs to change to better serve students and prepare them for their future. Dan seems to forget that it is essential to receive a formal education in order to get a good career. Back when information was not readily available, uneducated people could find decent jobs and work their way to the top. Now, this is almost impossible. You need a degree to prove you are a competent, intelligent person. I'm not saying that I completely agree with this system, but that is the way it is. So until that changes, I don't recommend that anyone quit school. The system does need to change, but I don't think dropping out is the answer.
The second post I read was entitled "Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home". This post is about a conversation between two educators who obviously hold very different views about education. One teacher claims that pencils are the reason that many students do not complete their homework assignments and have low standardized test scores. The other teacher tries to offer alternative solutions to this problem, other than taking away students' pencils. What the first teacher doesn't realize is that pencils are not the problem at all. The problem lies with uninteresting assignments or a poor teaching style which cause students to have a lack of motivation.
This post brings up several good points about flaws with the educational system. Number 1, the first teacher is too focused on standardized test scores. She would rather force students to do tedious assignments which simply repeat the same type of problem over and over again than actually allowing them to do fun and intriguing projects. No wonder these students would rather play games than do their homework! Number 2, the first teacher would rather blame lazy students or inanimate objects than admit that her teacher style is the problem. Just like the professors that I mentioned in my comment to Morgan Bayda, these teachers are unwilling to look within themselves and change their behaviors for the benefit of their students. Maybe teaching kids spelling words by having them play hang man is a good idea!

colored pencils

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skype Interview Project 12

C4K #2

map of New Zealand

Over the past month, I've had the opportunity to comment on some great blogs made by kids from New Zealand. It's always inspiring to see children learning about technology at such a young age. They are learning to do some pretty great things. I don't even know how to do some of the things that they create! I wish that I had learned what these guys are learning when I was in elementary school. I commented on three different blogs and I really enjoyed what I saw.
The first blog that I commented on was a class blog called Room 14 Explorers. This is a blog written by students in years 5 and 6 in Tauranga, New Zealand. The post that I commented on was a slide show that they created about integrity. The students asked several people to make a sign with a sentence that describes their definition of integrity. Some of the definitions that people gave include "treat people how you want to be treated" and "be truthful". I thought that this was a great project for the students because it taught them how to make a slideshow and post it on a blog. This project also taught the students to think deeper about what being a person of integrity means. I commented on this post and told the students that mu definition of integrity is to always do the right thing, even when it is difficult.
The second blog that I commented on was created by a first year class at Pt. England School in New Zealand. This blog is called the Team One Rock Stars. This blog was really fun to look at because it had a lot of posts with pictures that these students made using paint on the computer. Then, they would describe their pictures to their teacher and the teacher would post it for them. It was really cool to see that these five year old students are already learning about blogging. The post that I commented on was a picture of a boat floating on the ocean created by a boy named Bobby-Jon. Bobby-Jon said that he had seen a boat the last time that he went to the beach with his family. I left the following comment:
"My name is Rebecca Warnberg and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I really like the picture that you made. I went to the beach yesterday and I saw a sailboat! It's pretty cool to watch the boats sail on the water! Good job!"
I hope that Bobby-Jon sees my comment and is inspired to keep learning more about blogging.
The third blog that I commented on Mr. Harris' Year 7/8 blog. These students are from Pt. England School, also. The post that I commented on was called "Good bye books, hello NETBOOKS!"was about the new netbooks that the school gave to each student in Mr. Harris' class. I think that it is amazing that this school is so dedicated to incorporating technology into the classroom. I left this comment:
"My name is Rebecca Warnberg and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am also taking a class where we use computers instead of books to do our work. I think it's great that you all are learning about technology. I wish I could have used a netbook when I was your age! Have fun with your netbooks and remember to take good care of them." The students who wrote this post seemed very excited to have their Netbooks. I hope that this will encourage them to study and learn more.
I hope that I will have the opportunity to allow my future students to create great blogs like these!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blog Assignment 9

flow chart about learning how to use technology



This week I read a post by an elementary school teacher named Mr. McClung entitled "What I've Learned This Year". Mr. McClung wrote about his experiences in his first year of teaching. This was a very interesting post for me because Mr. McClung gave some great advice on things that I should be mindful of when I begin teaching. There were seven great tips that Mr. McClung listed in his post. The first tip that Mr. McClung gives is that teacher have to pay attention to their students recations while they are teaching or lecturing. Sometimes teachers become too focused on their own lesson plan and they forget to make sure that students are understanding what they are teaching. I think that this point is very essential for teachers to remember. The whole purpose of being a teacher is to help students learn, so teachers should always pay attention to how well their students are comprehending material. This way, teachers can slow down the pace of the lesson if need be. They can also review old concepts, if necessary. The second point that Mr. McClung makes is that teachers need to remember to be flexible. Sometimes lessons don't turn out the way that a teacher wants them to. When this happens, teachers need to remember to be patient with their students and make modifications to their plan. It's important for teachers to realize that their lessons will not always be perfect, but teachers need to make the best out of every situation so that students can learn. I hope that I will remember to not become frustrated with myself or my students when things do not go exactly as I plan them. Mr. McClung's third point was that communication is very important. Teachers need to learn to work together with their fellow teachers and support each other. If a teacher has an issue, they should be willing ti share this with their fellow teachers so that problems can be resolved quickly. This way, the school will be a better work environmet for teachers and they will be able to be most effective in teaching their students. Mr. mcClung's fourth point was that teachers need to be realistic when setting goals for their students. Sometimes teachers expect too much from their students. They may feel like their students should behave professionally and stay on task at all times. These teachers forget that children are not completely mature and responsible. If teachers have expectations that are too high, then this will just lead to disappointment for themselves and their students. I think that teachers also need to be careful not to have expectations that are too low either. This can also have a negative effect on students because they will not be challenged enough. It's important to find the right balance. The fifth lesson that Mr. McClung mentioned is that teachers need to embrace technology. Many teachers feel threatened or overwhelmed by technology, but Mr. McClung points out that it is all part of a learning process. Teachers don't always automatically understand the best way to incorporate technology into their classrooms. Teachers need to be willing ti experiment and find what does work. This will benefit their students greatly. Mr. McClung also mentioned that it is extremely important to take an interest in the lives of students. Students need to know that their teacher cares about them. This will help the student to feel welcome in the classroom and give them a more positive attitude. This is also very important because students need to be able to feel welcome to share situations they are going through so that teachers can help them. For example, if a student feels depressed they will be more likely to get help and discuss their problems if they know that their teacher cares about them. Finally, Mr. McClung urges teacher to never stop learning. I think this is a great point because teachers need to learn to practice what they preach. Why should students be motivated to learn, if their teachers do not possess a desire to learn? If teachers are unwilling to learn about technology and new techniques that will better their teaching style, then they are hurting both themselves and their students. I hope that I will remember all of this great advice when I become a teacher. I really appreciate Mr. McClung's willingness to share what he learned with other educators. If teachers follow these tips, they will become more caring, inspiring, patient and effective.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blog Assignment 8

cheese cake



This Is How We Dream Part 1 and 2- This presentation by Richard Miller is about the change of how we can gain knowledge now as opposed to fifty years ago. Fifty years ago, people relied on books. The internet had not be invented. Knowledge and information was contained in books, newspapers and magazines. The invention of the Internet changed all of this. Fifty years ago, a student that wanted to write a research paper would spend hours at the library looking through mountains of books. Now students can find all the information they need in half the time by using search engines on the internet. This makes learning more efficient in a number of ways.
Obviously the invention of the internet makes learning a lot faster. There is also a lot more information available to students. Mr. Miller makes a great point that the information found in books is all based on past knowledge. However, information found on the internet can be updates immediately and is therefore a lot more accurate. Educators must teach students to appreciate the power of the internet and technology.
Sources on the internet can appeal to all different types of learners. There can be visual, auditory and interactive elements to the information on these web sources. The potential of this multimedia technology is great. It must be seized by writers and educators for the benefit of their students. Mr. Miller discusses the uniting of the humanities and sciences which is very inspiring. It's important that educators in all fields unite together to develop the potential of multimedia technology. This video can be found at http://techliterateteacher.blogspot.com/2009/07/dr-richard-e-miller-discusses-writing.html
The Chipper Series- This video series has a lot to teach us about how we should approach our class work in EDM310. It also has applications for how we should live our lives. In this video, the audience watches interactions between a student named Chipper and Dr. Strange. Chipper is a lazy student who is resistant to the new form of education used in EDM310. EDM310 is based on networked learning which depends a lot on the work ethic of the students. Students must complete all of their assignments in order to learn instead of following the model of "burp back education" that is used in the traditional classroom. Chipper was unwilling to take responsibility for her own education, so she drops out of school. She thinks that she will be able to succeed in other avenues, but her lack of dedication causes her to fail in everything she tries. This video shows us that as future educators, we should be dedicated to learning and willing to work hard. We should not try to take the easy way out and set the standard high for our future students, too. This video series can be found at http://gallery.me.com/jstrange#101120
EDM310 For Dummies- This video gives us examples of what a student in EDM310 should and should not do. The first thing that a student need to do is get the right attitude. If a student comes into EDM310 with a stubborn and uncooperative attitude, then they are setting them self up to fail. The video then goes on to talk about the benefits of EDM310 and the programs that we are taught about in this class. This video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqhMRj-Ne38&feature=player_embedded
If I were going to make a video about EDM310, I would create a video that discusses how each tool we are taught about in this class can relate to our work as a future teacher, I would create different scenes in a classroom setting where teachers could show the use of tools such as blogging, pod casts, SMART boards, etc. I think this video would benefit the students of EDM 310 because it would help them to make real life connections with what they are learning in this class, I think this would encourage students to work harder and it would make them more likely to use what they have learned in their own class rooms down the road. This video could also be viewed by other educators who do not have the benefit of being enrolled in EDM310 Perhaps these educators would be inspired, too.
Learn to Change, Change to Learn- This video discusses the problem with education and the lack of technology in the classroom. The video starts out with a very shocking statement. Education was ranked lowest in technological advancement. It was ranked under Coal Mining! In today's world, children are being stimulated with technology all the time. This is the kind of learning that they are used to in the outside world. Why not seize this type of 21st Century learning in the classroom? The teaching style in the classroom is not preparing students for their future jobs. So what is their education accomplishing? Very little!This video makes the point that there is a difference between education and learning. This should not be the case. The only way this will change is if individual teachers fight to make a change in their classroom. Someday, if teachers are willing to stand up and make am effective change for the better then other educators will catch on. This is the only way that the system can change. This video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHiby3m_RyM&feature=player_embedded%23!
The Secret Powers of Time- This video is very interesting because it talks about six views on life which are all related to time perspectives. There are two for past, two for present and two for future. These view points can differ between cultures. Cities and cultures have different paces of life, too. There is a difference between children today and children in the past. Since students today are so focused on present time perspective of hedonism. They like control and pleasure. This has been affected by technology such as video games which has taught children this perspective. Schools today are aimed at people who have future oriented time perspectives. Since this time perspective does not align with that of today's children, many of them can't relate and they drop out. I see problem with both education system and the children that are represented in this view point. First off, school should show students how subject matter taught in school can benefit them in their every day lives. This way students will see value in school and education. Secondly, children should not be taught that life is all about instant gratification. This teaches people to be selfish and lazy. They want all pleasure now with no hard work. They want to do everything that they feel like in the present with no consequences in the future. This is the problem with America today and it should be changed. Teachers can do their best, but ultimately this change should start at home. This video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3oIiH7BLmg&feature=channel
Drive: The Surprising Thing About What Motivates Us- This video discusses the idea that money is the best incentive. Studies done at MIT and in India prove that money does not always serve as the best motivation when the task involved cognitive skill. So what serves as the best motivation? People achieve more when they are allowed to create freely with no direction. People do their best work when they are doing things that they enjoy even if they are not getting paid. They enjoy the challenge and they like to master things. They like to have purpose in their life. People are not always motivated by monetary gain. Sometimes there are more personal advantages which can motivate people. This should be kept in mind by educators. Give students a challenge and show them the personal benefits if hard work. This video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&feature=channel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SMART Board Planets Project

Here is the video that my group created using the SMART board. This is a lesson plan aimed at third grade students about the solar system. I hope you enjoy it.


I think that our presentation went very well. The audience was very friendly and willing to participate. The audience consisted of four people who are also enrolled in EDM310. They all took turns answering questions and writing on the board, just as a class of third graders would have. The review session at the end of our presentation shows the effectiveness of the presentation because all of the questions were answered correctly by our audience.
After we gave this presentation to our audience, we sent out a survey to gauge the results of our presentation. We asked the following ten questions:
1) What was your favorite part of the presentation?
2) Out of the following planets, which was the most interesting?
3) Did you think that this presentation would be appropriate for a third grade audience?
4) Did you learn anything that you didn't know before?
5) Is there any topic that we could have covered more clearly?
6) Do you have any questions that we didn't cover?
7) Do you feel that our use of the SMART Board was effective?
8) Was our description of dwarf planets easy to understand?
9) Did you learn anything that you didn't know before?
10) Was the subject well presented?
We got very positive feedback from our audience, although not all audience members responded to our survey. The participants said that their favorite part of the presentation was writing on the SMARTboard. Overall, they felt that the presentation was good and the topic was thoroughly covered. They voted Earth as Saturn as they most interesting planets. Although they said that they did not learn anything new, this was to be expected because the topic was a third grade level subject. The audience agreed that our lesson was appropriate for the target audience.
Overall, I feel that our presentation went very well. I learned many things from completing this project. I learned how to use the SMART notebook program which made the process of creating the presentation quite simple. I got the opportunity to actually use a SMART Board which was very enjoyable. I would like to have the opportunity to use a SMART Board in my future classroom. I have learned that students respond very well to being allowed to participate and interact with the SMART Board. I think that this project was a success and I hope that I get more opportunities to learn about SMART Boards in the future.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Project 11- Short Movie

My PLN

Rebecca and Erin



A PLN also known as Personal Learning Network is basically just a tool which can be used to organize different websites and search engines that a person uses to further expand their knowledge base. Before I started EDM310, my PLN consisted of mainly just Google. Now that I am enrolled in this course, my PLN has expanded greatly. I never realized the possibilities of connecting to an online learning community until I was exposed to it in EDM310. My PLN includes Google, USA Online, the EDM310 Class Blog and blog of teachers that I have discovered through the C4T assignments. I have began using Symbaloo to help me organize all the websites that I use frequently in one place. If I find a website that I like, I can save in in my PLN. I am still working on expanding my PLN even further so that I can learn more!

C4T#2

Mr. Ferlazzo



This month I was assigned to comment on a blog by a teacher named Larry Ferlazzo from Sacramento, CA. Mr. Ferlazzo teaches class for ELL (English Language Learner) students. This blog is called Larry Ferlazzo's websites of the day. Mr. Ferlazzo posts blogs that focus on a particular topic. These blogs have links to good sources that he has researched pertaining to these topics. Most of the topics are related to history, technology, teaching or current events. I commented on two different posts made by Mr. Ferlazzo.
The first post that I commented on was all about the history of Mardi Gras. There were several articles and video clips that were embedded in this post which provided a very extensive history of this holiday. I left a comment and shared my own information that I have learned about the history of Mardi Gras. Many of the articles that Mr. Ferlazzo posted were focussed on the Mardi Gras festivities of New Orleans. However, I informed him that Mardi Gras actually began in Mobile! It was very interesting to learn more about the historical background of this very important southern tradition.
The second post that I commented on was an informational post about a website that Mr. Ferlazzo had discovered called slidebomb.com. Slidebomb.com is a website which can be used to create slideshows with both images and videos. I checked out this website and it looked very easy to use. Here is an escerpt from the comment that I left for Mr. Ferlazzo: "I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strage’s EDM310 class. In this class we learn to use different forms of technology which we can later utilize in a classroom setting. Recently, we were assigned to make a slideshow using Google docs. I think it would be beneficial to use this website, as well. It might be even better! I look forward to checking this site out and seeing what it has to offer. Thanks for the helpful posts!" I appreciate the fact that Mr, Ferlazzo makes an effort to inform his fellow educators about useful tools which can be used in lesson plans.
If you would like to visit Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day follow this link:
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/

Blog Assignment #7



This week I watched a video of Randy Pausch's Last Lecture which is titled "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". Pausch worked as a professor for many years at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch discusses his life, his work and his accomplishments. Pausch gives his audience inspiration that they can accomplish all of their dreams, too. He gives several great tips for people to follow in accomplishing their dreams and he also includes suggestions for teachers who would like to inspire their students. I enjoyed watching this video because I had already read the book written by Pausch that was based on this lecture which is entitled The Last Lecture. I highly recommend the book because it includes more interesting stories and information about Pausch's life.
Pausch states that people should make specific dreams and goals for their life. People will be more motivated to accomplish things if they have a specific direction and purpose in life. Pausch asserts that dreams really can come true. They came true in his life and in the lives of his students. However, there are no magical fairies or genies that will grant these wishes. People have to be willing to work hard for success. Pausch discusses how often people are inhibitted when they reach a "brick wall" that prevents them from attaining their goals. However, Pausch states that "brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough." Pausch proves through his own personal stories that if you push hard enough, you can overcome these brick walls which come between you and your dreams. As a teacher, I will motivate my students to outline specific goals fpr their lives and do my best to give them the skills they need to achieve their goals.
Another piece of advice that Pausch gives to teachers is to stress the fundamentals. In his lecture, Pausch tells a personal story about how his childhood football coach would make his team practice without a football. This coach showed him that he first had to learn the fundamentals of football in each position on the field before he could actually handle the football. The same advice can be applied in an academio setting. It's important for teachers to ensure that students learn all the basics so that they will be fully prepared for more difficult tasks in the future. This will make students more successful in the future and closer to achieving their goals.
Pausch discusses "head fakes" or indirect learning which is a tool that teachers can use to teach kids without them being aware of it. An example of indirect learning is an educational video game. Kids are enthusiastic about participating because they enjoy playing games. However, they may not realize that these gamnes were created with the purp[ose of teaching them reading or math skills. I think that I would be able to incorporate indirect learning projects in my classroom so that the children will have fun while learning. Pausch surprises his audeince by stating his whole lecture was actually a "head fake" because he really gave this lecture in order to teach life lessons to his children.
Pausch encourages educators to remember that they can never giove up on their students. Pausch states that people will come up with astounding results, if they are given enough time and encouragement. Pausch also says that it is important never to set the bar for how much students need to achieve. This will only serve as a limitation for students. Pausch encourages teachers to challenge their students. Pausch gives examples of amazing that students his accomplished when he continued to challenge them to reach their full potential.
Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cancer in July of 2008. His legacy will forever live on as he continues to inspire people to believe in themselves and accomplish their dreams.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Assignment 6

students using a Smart board



“Networked Student”- This video is all about conectivism. Connectivisim is the belief that learning occurs best when a student is connected with the world. This way the student can have access to the many different perspectives that other people have on this topic. This video shows that if a teacher decides to allow students to use tools available on the internet, then they will learn more than the traditional teaching style of lecturing and using textbooks. This is a student centered form of learning instead of teacher centered learning. The student can create their own PLN or Personal Learning Network. This includes websites, blogs, podcasts and other tools that the student has found on the internet and can save on a social bookmarking site such as delicious. This way the student can keep track of all the information that they have gathered and they can share their information with others who are interested in learning about the same topic. Another great thing these students can do is create a blog so that they can record their own thoughts about the material that they have found and get feedback from others about it. A class blog would be a great way to connect all the students in this class together so that they can discuss topics and show what they have learned.
Connectivism opens up a lot more opportunities for the students than the traditional, lecture style teaching that many educators still employ. By allowing students to control their own learning, this makes them feel more involved and therefore more motivated. The students also have access to vast amounts of information that is available on the World Wide Web. They are not limited to only hearing the opinion of their teacher and the author of their textbook. There are so many tools available to students these days because of the invention of technology, but many teachers are still teaching in the exact same manner as teachers did decades ago before this technology was available. Why is this? Perhaps teachers are resistant connectivism and student centered learning because they don’t understand technology and they refuse to learn. Maybe the teacher is worried that if the employ connectivism in their classroom, then their job will be obsolete. However, this is a misconception.
What is the role of the teacher in a classroom that is based on connectivism? The teacher still has an extremely important role in this process. The teacher in a classroom which employs connectivism acts as a guide for his/her students. This is completely different from a teacher is a traditional classroom who acts as the authority and the main source of information in the class. The teacher in the class based on connectivism must teach his students to decipher fact from opinion and good information from falsehood. This teacher must give their student direction on their learning journey and help them to learn to use the proper tools along the way. The teacher must motivate their students and make sure that each student is doing their work. The teacher can’t just sit back and assume that the students are going to teach themselves simply because they are making their own PLN.
I think that more teachers should base their lesson plans on connectivism because it would open up so many opportunities for the students. It would also actively engage the students! Many students would rather learn by researching things fir themselves rather than just listening to a teacher’s opinion. If you would like to watch this video, you can follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwM4ieFOotA&feature=player_embedded
“A Seventh Grader’s Personal Learning Environment”- This is a video made by a student that is involved in a networked science class. In this class, each student has their own social bookmarking account which includes a link to their class website. Their class website has the assignments that the students must complete for that day. It also includes informational articles and videos that the students can learn from. This class is much like EDM310 because the students are in control of when and where they must complete their assignments. The teacher also has incentives for the students to complete projects. For example, if the students want to have the privilege of holding the class pet, they must first write a report about that animal and post it on their blog.
I think that this is a great example of how connectivism can be effective in the classroom. The student that created this video stated that they enjoyed being in a classroom that involved networked learning. They said that the freedom that they had to choose when and how to complete their work gave them a sense of responsibility. It is important to teach students to self-regulate their learning. This will make students more dependable individuals who will know how to keep up with their assignments and use their time effectively. If you would like to view this video, it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEls3tq5wIY.
The Pros and Cons of Smartboards- I read two articles which discussed the negative aspects of interactive white boards. Both of the articles were written by teachers. One of these teachers had used a smartboard in his classroom for a year and decided to give it away because he thought that it was useless. There are two main arguments that both of these teachers mentioned in their articles. The first argument is that interactive white boards do not make classroom instruction more effective or more student-centered. They simply reinforce the traditional style of teaching where teachers lecture and the students are not actively engaged. There are many more effective and interactive forms of technology which involve both teacher and student participation. Also, some teachers that have smartboards in their classrooms never learn to use the m effectively. They simply use the smartboard as a projector which is a very wasteful practice since a smartboard costs thousands of dollars. This leads me to the second argument that the writers gave against smartboards. Smartboards are very expensive. Although smartboards are very cool, there are many other technological tools that teachers can use which cost nothing at all. Overall, these teachers feel that smartboards are not constructive in any way and they do not improve the classroom learning environment. Administrators simply buy them because they are required to spend money on technology and smartboards look impressive. If you would like o read these articles, follow these links
http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-smartboards-are-dumb-initiative.html
http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2010/01/27/tln_ferriter_whiteboards.html?tkn=Q[RFGmQux6XnMebDMl4nddRDutTae13KtmNE
I also read an article which discussed the many benefits of Smartboards. For example, students of all ages are drawn to Smartboards. They encourage class participation because the students enjoy being able to use the Smartboards. They are very colorful and allow teachers to not only project their lesson plans, but also navigate to different webpages or word document while still interacting with the class. The teacher can write on the screen with their finger or the special Smartboard pen and then print out the notes that they have written for the students. Another great point that the writer made was that the Smartboard caters to tactile, auditory and visual learners. The author also points out that these boards are useful when teaching students how to navigate new websites or use tools which are available in the internet. This article can be found at http://teachers.net/gazette/JAN02/mabell.html
These articles make completely opposite claims about Smartboards. The first two articles claim that Smartboards prohibit class participation because it just gives another way for teacher to stand in front of the class and lecture. The third article claims that Smartboards actually encourage classroom participation because students are excited to use Smartboards. I think that whether or not Smartboards encourage or inhibit class participation ultimately depends on the teacher that is using the board. Some teachers may encourage students to come up and use the board while other teachers would just use the board to enhance their own lecture. However, I do question how much benefit the students would get from simply writing on the Smartboard. This can be achieved by a regular white board. I think that it is essential to incorporate technology into the classroom, but I don’t think simply writing on a Smartboard captures the full potential of technology. The writer of the third article did point out that the Smartboard allows more students to interact with the computer if there is only one computer in the classroom. Overall, I’m not sure where I stand on the use of Smartboards in the classroom because I have never used one personally. I think that if a teacher does have a Smartboard in their classroom, it is important that they learn how to properly and effectively utilize the board.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Timetoast Timeline- The Tudor Dynasty

This is my project 9b timetoast timeline. I chose to make my time line on the history of the Tudor Dynasty which reigned in England from 1485 until 1603. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

C4K Post #1

Sherlock Holmes



Comments for kids is a great program because it gives me an opportunity to see what kind of posts my future students might make if I decided to create a class blog. I can see a lot of benefits to creating a class blog. Some of these benefits include students learning to create a blog and other technological tools, students learning safe habits for using the internet, students practicing writing skills and parents being able to view and comment on their child's work. Over the past three weeks, I have commented on three different blogs made by children. I enjoyed reading what these kids had to say!
The first blog that I commented on was made by a sixth grade boy named Marshall who is in Mr. Carmichael's class. The blog that I commented on was titled "Cheesetastic". In his blog, Marshall discussed the many different kinds of cheese that there are. Then he stated that his favorite kind of cheese is cheddar. Finally, Marshall asked his readers to post a comment about their favorite kind of cheese. I posted the following comment:
"I would have to say that colby jack is the best kind of cheese to eat with crackers. However, with nachos I really like queso blanco which is a type of cheese that originates from Spain. Mozzarella cheese and feta are a really good combination on pizza! So I really couldn’t choose one best kind of cheese. I think that they are all good in different recipes. This was a great post! Keep up the good work!" It was good to see that this teacher encouraged his students to write about topics that they are personally interested in.
The second blog that I commented on was made by Sosaia. Sosaia is a year 4 student at Pt. England School in New Zealand. Sosaia has made many interesting posts! The post that I commented on was a video that he made called "My Mighty Mariners". The video included a story that Sosaia narrated and illustrations that he had made. Sosaia also added a soundtrack that played at the beginning and end of his movie. I left the following comment on his blog:
"My name is Rebecca Warnberg. I am a sophomore at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. In this class, we learn to use technology just like you have by making this video. I enjoyed watching your video. I liked the drawings that you had and the music was very entertaining, as well! I think your video was very creative." I think that Sosaia's blog reflected a lot of hard work and great learning experiences.
The final blog that I commented on was written by a student in Mr. Wolfe's Class. This was a very interesting blog to read because this student had written their own short story about Sherlock Holmes. I thought this was a great assignment because the student got to use their imagination, practice writing skills and share their creation on their blog. I left the following comment for the student:
"I think you did a wonderful job writing this story. The ending was very surprising. I never would have guessed that the fish had learned to talk by eating magical fish food. I think your story was very unique and creative! I hope that you continue to write stories."
I think that all of these students did a wonderful job with guidance from their teachers. I;m glad to see that there are many teachers out there who are committed to teaching their students the benefits of using technology.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blog Assignment 5

Ancient Rome


Eagle Nest Radio & Class Blog-
This is an amazing blog which features several class projects and individual projects made by third grade students! Their blog can be found at http://blog.woodward.edu/ps_edmison/?cat=103.Some of these projects include audio podcasts with topics about history and science. The audio podcasts usually involved three or four students discussing different aspects of a subject and a host who guided the discussion. For example, one podcast was about ancient Rome. The children talked about Roman architecture, gladiators and famous Romans who made a significant impact on history such as Julius Caesar. The audio also included great background music and sound effects! There are also videos made by individual students with drawings and audio. In these videos, the children illustrate topics that they have learned about in class and give commentary on them.
I was very impressed with the work of the students in this class and their teacher. I think that this is a very innovative way to get students excited about history. It’s incredible that third graders can accomplish so much with the help of their teacher! These videos and audio podcasts do not only benefit the students that make them. I think that many children would enjoy listening to these podcasts and learning from students their own age. I also think it’s a great way to get parents interested in what their children are learning in school. I would love to implement these kinds of projects in my future classroom because I think it would make learning fun for the students!
Langwitches Blog
This is a great website featuring blogs and podcasts written by Sylvia Tolsiano. This blogs has many great ideas that teachers can implement in their classroom. The great thing about this blog is that these ideas have already been tested in a classroom setting and Ms. Tolsiano posts the results of the projects in videos she takes of her students. The students seem very excited about the projects that they are participating in. The projects incorporate a variety of subjects and challenge the students to use many different skills. The blogs include topics that involve a variety of grade levels, so there are ideas for all teachers! This website can be found at http://langwitches.org/blog/category/podcasting/.
One project that was featured on this page was “The Flat Stanley Podcast” created by a second grade class. Their project was inspired by a book they read called “Flat Stanley” which is about a boy that was flattened in a billboard accident and begins travelling around the world in letters. First, the students sent their own Flat Stanleys in letters to family members and they received letters back. Then the students researched different places that they could send Flat Stanley and wrote a short story about a Flat Stanley adventure. Then, the students created a podcast about all that they had done and learned. I think that this was a great project because it involved many skills such as reading, writing, researching, and geography. Then the students reviewed all they had learned by creating a podcast which they could share with their families and friends. What an amazing idea!
The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
This is a vodcast (podcast with video) that discusses the benefits of allowing students to create podcasts in class which can be found at http://joedale.typepad.com/integrating_ict_into_the_/2009/04/the-benefits-of-podcasting-in-the-classroom.html. It also mentions some benefits of teachers creating podcasts of their lessons. I had heard many of these benefits mentioned before, but they mentioned two reasons that really stood out for me. The first reason that they gave which I found particularly interesting is that if teachers record their lectures on podcasts, students who are sick can listen to their teachers lesson so that they will not get behind. This is a great idea, especially if a student has an extended illness which prevents them from coming to school. Another interesting idea that was mentioned this vodcast was a project that a teacher in this video had implemented in his own classroom. The teacher recorded his students reading portions of a novel that they were assigned to read for class. Then he put this podcast on iTunes so that the students could download it onto their computers or iPods. The students seemed really excited about this project and one girl even said that she and her family enjoyed listening to the podcasts together. Podcasts can be useful in so many ways that I had never thought of before!
Education Podcasting Network
This is a website that is full of podcasts posted by educators which offer ideas for other teachers. The website offers a plethora of podcasts about a huge variety of subjects. All of these podcasts are organized by topic and grade level so that teachers can easily navigate the website to find the information that they are looking for. I listened to one of the podcasts that was posted on this website called Hartbeat Radio Episode #19. This podcast featured students talking about composers such as Beethoven and Mozart. I think this is a wonderful resource. It's great that teachers are posting podcasts made by themselves and their students so that their hard work can benefit others! You can view the Education Podcasting Network for yourself at http://epnweb.org/index.php?openpod=16

Project # 8 Podcast

This is a podcast that I created with Cherish Hamner and Colby-Win Beasley. Our podcast explores the idea of allowing students to use cell phones in the classroom for educational purposes. If you would like to visit Cherish's blog click on this link: http://hamnercherishedm310.blogspot.com/
If you would like to visit Colby-Win's blog, click on this link:
http://beasleycolbywinedm310.blogspot.com/
We hope you enjoy our podcast and that it broadens your understanding of the topic of cell phones in the classroom.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Timetoast Timeline- History of My Immediate Family

Here is my timetoast.com timeline project! It tells the story of my family through the years!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Sentence Video

Blog Assignment 4

My new kitten named Wasabi



“Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?”- This blog post was created by Dr. Scott McLeod. Dr. McLeod is a professor at the University of Iowa. Dr. McLeod is also the director of UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education. Dr. McLeod is dedicated to making educators technologically literate. He also shows an interest in making sure that the future generations are taught to be technologically literate in school. He makes this evident in his post “Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?” This post can be found at http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2009/08/dont-teach-your-kids-this-stuff-please.html.
In this blog post Dr. McLeod addresses a problem that he sees with overprotective teachers and parents who are against students using technology. Dr. McLeod points out misconceptions that these adults have about students and technology. For instance, some teachers may think that it is good enough for students to stick to writing assignments with a pen and paper and that it is not necessary for students to post their thoughts on the web. Teachers who think this way cut their students off from the possibility of getting recognition for their work or feedback from a global audience. Dr. McLeod also brings up the point that some adults may believe that students will only use the internet and technology for inappropriate purposes such as pornography or sexting. Although technology does allow students to do inappropriate things, this does not mean that technology is evil or that all students will do these things.
“The iSchool Initiative”- This is a youtube video posted by a high school student named Travis. This clip can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68KgAcx_9jU. Travis proposes his idea for improving our educational system while solving budget problems as well. Travis believes that schools should equip their students with an iTouch which is a touch screen mp3 player made by Apple. This device is equipped with wireless internet access with which students could access school assignments, email, and many educational applications. Travis believes that incorporating iTouch technology in school will make a more efficient, less expensive and more eco-friendly environment.
The first question that popped in my head was how would giving each student an expensive electronic device improve the school’s budget? However, Travis has done the math and he claims that, by eliminating the need for traditional school materials such as paper, pencils and copy machines, schools could save $600 per student. This point is appealing because it saves both money and trees. Travis claims that the average cost of an iTouch is $150. I did some research and found that the cheapest iTouch which is the 8GB costs $229. Despite this slight underestimate of cost, it sounds like this idea might have the potential to save money. This video leaves me with many questions. I would have liked Travis to expand more on how this idea would play out. I was impressed with his presentation and his innovative idea though.
“The Lost Generation”- This is youtube video which asks it’s viewers to contemplate problems that are rampant in our current society. Some of the issues that it addresses include the high divorce rate, greed and mixed up priorities. The speaker in the video identifies that these are problems which are present in our society today and have the potential to become even worse. I completely agree with this video because I think it is shameful that many people in this country place more importance on their careers than their families. I also think it is very sad that people do not take marriage vows very seriously anymore.
Although these are all very sad and serious problems, the video states that there is hope for the future. The video begins with scrolling text which makes statements such as “My employer will know that my priorities are straight because work is more important than family.” This statement is a satirical portrayal of the American mentality today. The scroll then plays backwards and reads “Family is more important than work. I have my priorities straight because my employer will know that.” I think that this technique is very clever because it shows how many people have a backwards way of thinking by playing the statements backwards first. I think that this is a great video which touches on many truths that Americans have forgotten about or chosen to ignore. If you would like to watch this video it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA&feature=player_embedded.
“Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir”- This youtube video features the song “Lux Aurumque” which translated from Latin into English means light and gold. This choir has 185 people from 12 countries. That description sounds pretty impressive. However, the most impressive thing about this choir is that none of the singers were together when recording. They all recorded separate videos of themselves singing which were later put together by Eric Whitacre. The song sounds so amazing that I could not have known that this choir never practiced together if the video had not indicated that this was the case.
I think that Mr. Whitacre’s virtual choir project is amazing because it shows the power of technology. The use of technology can bring people across the globe together. Complete strangers were united in one purpose to make beautiful music. This idea can be applied not only to making music, but to any collaborative effort. This is the true power of technology that teachers need to make use of in their classrooms. The possibilities are endless. If you would like to hear the virtual choir’s performance of “Lux Aurumque” it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs&feature=player_embedded#at=29.
“Teaching in the 21st Century”- This youtube video asks the viewer to think about how teaching in the 21st century needs to change. Many teachers still rely on old techniques that have been used since the beginning of public educations such as the chalkboard, books, pencils and paper. Now there are many more tools available for teachers, so why do teachers only focus on using the old ways? The old style of teaching is focused on making students memorize facts that could only be found in books. Nowadays, these facts can be found within seconds on the internet. Children don’t need to go to school to learn facts which they can find easily on their home computer, iPod or cell phone. Teachers now need to focus on showing students how to analyze and interpret these facts so they can apply them to real life situations.
I think the creator of this video touches on some great points. Teachers do need to do more than just teach facts and information. However, I don’t think that this style of teaching should totally be thrown out the window. It is still important to know facts and formulas! I think that the main problem is that teachers need to come up with more engaging ways to present this information and more innovative projects where students can use this information. Let’s not forget that although children do have access to important information, they are not always motivated to search for the information. Also, students don’t always understand information that they find. That is where teachers come in. I think that the best message that this video sends is that using technology is not about entertainment. When teachers use technology, they are not trying to just entertain students. They are trying to engage students and show them that learning can be interesting and relevant to their everyday lives. It can even be fun! This video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmskHM0V2Ig&feature=player_embedded%23!.