Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blog Post #14

Today I watched Jose Picardo's video called Top ten tips for using technology in the classroom. This list uses basically everything that we learned in EDM310. I am going to touch on each one and whether I think it is applicable or not to my being a math teacher.

1) Streaming video
This is an excellent idea to me. My students can go online, whether they missed the lesson completely or just need a review, and they can watch me doing the exact same lesson that I did in class. This is a must-have tool.

2) Music
This is a great thing to use. Putting my lessons on iTunes as well just makes them that much more accessible.

3) Teleconferencing
This could be used as well. I could Skype my kids and give them real-time solutions to their exact problems and questions, which a YouTube video will not do.

4) Interactive Exercises
This could be slightly useful to me. I could set this up, and if my students think that they need extra reinforcement on a subject, they could always do this.

5) Interactive Whiteboard
YESSSSS. Smart boards are amazing, and they can really be used to improve a lesson if you know how to use them.

6) Podcasts
I will not use this. I feel like math students need to see the problems laid out in front of them in a visual form to grasp it. Ever tried to just say a math formula? It gets hard to comprehend.

7) Blogs and Wikis
This is one that I just do not see as being very useful. Maybe it could be used to keep parents interested in what they are doing? If it is math-related, there is already a wiki for it.

8) Social Networks
Maybe post assignments on there for another reference point? I see this as another that parents could watch so they make sure kids do their homework.

9) Internet Tools
These could be used at a limited extent to help my students be motivated, sure. I wish he would have elaborated on this topic more.

10) Gadgets
Make the most of my student's gadgets. Well since iPods and phones are basically banned from high schools then I could see this being an issue. I would mention to them that YouTube is accessible from their phones. Just do not use them in school! Not that I necessarily believe these rules are just, but rules are rules I guess!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Final PLN Progress Report

My PLN has been developing slowly over the semester but developing regardless. I have found a few great sites that have great math ideas when it comes to teaching. Even some of the C4T I have done had useful information, and I added them as well. My PLN really is not as well-developed as some that I have seen, but I think it is okay for what is applicable to me as a math teacher. I'm glad that I have this, so I can use it as a point of reference later when I actually get out into my career. I have not provided a link on this one because it is on my two previous posts. Good day!

C4T #4 - Final C4T

For this C4T, I was assigned to Wisdom Begins with Wonder by Tyler Rice, a high school teacher in Washington.

For his first post that I commented on, he focuses on effective feedback - so applicable to EDM310! He basically says everything that Dr. Strange told us about feedback. It is obviously (if you don't know the answer already, click that little X at one of the top corners of the screen) that we need to compliment the good things first with enthusiasm, but afterwards, make sure to comment on the bad things... Basically trying not to step on any toes because no one likes that apparently.

Of course I agreed with him, and I know I don't like for someone to be so negative when they look at my work. Usually when someone just bashes my work, it sort of pisses me off to be honest, but if they compliment on the good then the bad afterwards, it helps result in less ego damage.

For his second post, he said basically that all new teachers are going to make mistakes. The main thing to take from this is that we need to learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves (duh?). Just "reflect" on your experiences and improve! The main difference between a novice teacher and a master is "intentionality", he says. We need to intend to do good, and apparently the only way you can do that is with experience.

I commented and said that I do agree with him when he says that we need to all learn from our mistakes. Surprisingly, this is not the first time that I have been told that. . . Anyways, I said I also disagree that new teachers can't do good things on purpose. That is just rubbish!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Post #13

For blog post #13, I chose to read the Wall Street Journal article by Stephanie Banchero and Stephanie Simon entitled My Teacher is an App. In this post, they discuss the pros and cons of hybrid courses and fully online courses. Fully online schools are springing up all over the country. Students are flooding into them, and the results have not been great. For some students that are a step ahead of their peers, it can be great. It lets them work past their grade levels, and they can learn at an accelerated rate. However, a learning-impaired student that goes into these classes will almost surely fail. On average, these students are struggling compared to their peers that physically attend class.
The only real advantages I see to this system are as follows:
1) They let advanced students work ahead of their grade levels.
2) High school students that have failed a course can make it up online.
3) Students that have to travel excessively can have a reliable source of education.
4) Home-schooled students can have a more structured curriculum.

The disadvantages that I see are:
1) The average student doesn't score as high on tests as normal students.
2) It takes away any type of social atmosphere,
3) It eliminates "soft learning" such as cooperation, toleration of different types of people and views, and working as a group.
4) Teachers lose their jobs.

I think that the best solution would be a hybrid class. Even in the post, it said that hybrid students are excelling, and they score excellently on the ACT. I can never bring myself to agree with having completely online classes. I have had them, and they are an inferior method of learning.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Final Project Progress Report

For our final project, my group has decided to do our project on how to make good use of the different skills we have learned in EDM310. For example, we want students, parents, and teachers to see the advantages of using programs such as Skype. This class has taught us to put aside our biases, and we want to spread the word to those that have not been fortunate enough to take a class like EDM310. We are planning on each person demonstrating the one thing they found the most useful in EDM310.

Blog Post #12

Read this blog post - Winning Equation: How Technology Can Help Save Math Education. Think about your math learning experiences. Do you think these ideas could have helped you? Write two or more paragraphs in which you discuss whether or not you think these ideas can help save math education.

Experts have concluded that math education in the United States is a broken system. They think that if we do not fix it then we are in danger of falling even farther behind other countries. In the early 20th century, the United States was world renowned for its creativity and and great strides in all fields of mathematics. However, today's statistics are very frightening. Less than one out of four seniors in high school are proficient in math. Higher math scores have been proven to be associated with students that are more successful in college and in the work place.

Introducing technology into the classroom has been proven to help students achieve more and also learn and retain more. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel recommended technology to freshen up an old curriculum, noting that "technology-based drill and practice and tutorials can improve student performance in specific areas of mathematics." There are many programs out there to help teachers educate their kids, and certain programs like "The Assistment System" can even give teachers guidelines for what their students strengths and weaknesses are in certain math subjects. It also frees up the teacher to focus on students that need more help than others. There is definitely room for technology in the classroom, but I do not think that blogging or a PLN will ever have a very great effect on math. I think that the best way to learn math is still practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog Post #11

This week, we had to watch two videos involving Ms. Cassidy. The first was First Graders in Mrs. Cassidy's Class and the second was The Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy. Ms. Cassidy uses an approach that is very close, if not dead on, to what Dr. Strange wants us to be like. She gets her students involved in blogging, and she helps lead them to useful places on the internet where they can learn. She gets them on the computers at least once a week, and her methods emulate greatly what we should strive to be like.

As a high school math teacher, I think it is nearly impossible to implement very much of her methods into my classroom. I mean, the idea of using Facebook to post assignments was pretty great, but a student suggested that. I just do not see an administrator approving very much of using math time to get on the internet and blog. I do think that the internet is a valuable tool to a math student, but I do not see her techniques in my classroom. I could use the internet to post my lessons as videos online, and I could also keep all of my assignments online for ease of access, but she never really mentioned that.

There are definite benefits to her approach to education. It helps get students interested and excited about learning. Her methods help them to be self-learners, and it points them in the right direction in terms of how to find useful information on the web (also how to avoid the bad).

C4K #2 - October Comments

For my first comment, the kid that I was assigned had to read The Frog and the Toad! She said that she thought they were very funny, and she enjoyed reading about them.

I actually read this book when I was a kid, and I told her that. I enjoyed it as well, and I said that I was so glad that she liked them. I suggested that she read the rest of the books in the series because they are good as well.

For my second comment, I watched Krishant read a poem about Steve the Superhero. Steve was a grotesque character who would basically fart and burp his enemies into submission.

I told Krishant that he did an excellent job on his presentation (it was his very first time on camera). I told him that I would never want to meet Steve because he seems like a pretty gross guy, and I congratulated him on having the nerve to even talk about him.

For my third comment, a young girl went on a trip to Alaska. She talked about how she enjoyed it very much. She enjoyed the wilderness, and she liked all of the animals that she got to see. She said she also didn't know that Alaska had such big cities!

I told her that I liked Alaska, and I have been there too! My brother is stationed there in the military, and he enjoys it as well. Alaska really is a beautiful place, and I told her that I would really like to go back one day.

For my fourth comment, I commented on Alana's blog from Leopold Primary School. She talked about how she went to "Little Athletics" which is a program where children go to get involved in physical activity. She then asked if anyone else like athletics and if they wanted to go to the event.

I told her that I enjoy athletics too, and I have always been involved in sports. I told her that I would like to attend, but I am too busy with school. I like to far away, and I'm too old!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C4T #3 - Summary Post

For C4T #3, I'm assigned to comment on Frank Noschese's blog which is called Action-Reaction.

His first post was criticizing math education, which I really enjoyed! He basically said that students just use their calculators way too much. Most people can't even make simple change, and he uploaded a video that educates us on how to make change. He claims that if we could teach kids how to make simple change, or in other words, master the basic processes of arithmetic and mathematics then we will have no problems teaching them the harder stuff.

I definitely agreed with him. There are kids in my higher-level math classes that cannot even get a common denominator with fractions. A lot of the problem is their high school teachers making them mindlessly enter data into calculators without knowing the actual process of what is happening!

For his second post, he talked about why he is a "modeler". A modeler is a teacher that uses an unorthodox approach to teaching Physics. It is a style of education that is more hands-on, and it uses real-life, simple scenarios to help students to learn the fundamentals of Physics. It is a very interesting way to teach!

I told him that I would like to find a way to integrate this type of teaching into my own lessons in lesser maths. If I could get the students to be interested in the subject (most people find math boring) then it would be that much easier to educate them on all the elements of any math class.

Blog Post #10

For the first half of our assignment, we watched Do you Teach or Do you Educate? Man, what a video! I definitely want to be an educator and not just a teacher. Educators do so much more justice for the kids, in my opinion. They actually teach kids how to learn! It seems like the video is trying to say that a teacher just shoves the information into a kid's face, and it is the kid's job to just try and keep up.

I do not want to be that way. I do want to present the information for my students, but I also want to instill a system into my classroom that helps them to be not only self-learners, but also lifelong learners. I also want to give them the tools to find and access information to help them learn. I think that EDM310 has really helped give me the skills to do this for my students!

Next, we read Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home. This blog post is yet another reason why American education is so far behind select other places in the world. So many teachers focus too much on test scores and not enough on if the students are actually learning. So what if they take pencils home? I cannot even believe for a second that this lady was so foolish to think that keeping pencils out of the home would improve test scores. Even farther, try to take pencils out of the home to just try and raise standardized test scores minutely. Education in America needs reform. That is all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Post #9

For this blog post, we were assigned to read Mr. Joe McClung's blog. We needed to read at least two of his posts reflecting on his accomplishments and what he learned over the year. I decided to go with his first two posts, 08-09 and 09-10.

For his first post (08-09), he talks about his first year as a teacher and the lessons that he learned, and there are quite a few! He always got so wrapped up in the material that he sometimes forgot to check whether or not the students even comprehended what he was teaching! It is always important to make sure that the students understand the material before we, as teachers, move on. Secondly, he states that we must always be flexible. Lesson plans almost never turn out the way that we originally planned them, and teachers must be flexible. Next... Communication! It is always important to communicate with fellow teachers to build a great rapport with them. Be reasonable! He makes a good point. As teachers, we set our standards high for our students. I already am, and I am not even in the field yet. We must always make sure to be encouraging and not scold them when they do not meet our expectations. After that, he makes probably the most important statement. Do not be afraid of technology! As teachers, we need to utilize technology. I think that we as EDM310 students understand that by now. Another great thing he states is we just always listen to our students. To build great relationships with students, we must take a vested interest in their lives, and lastly, be a life-long learner.

Mr. McClung really made a great blog post with this one. Everything he said really is the truth. I think that if I can follow the guidelines that he has set out then I will have no problem being an excellent teacher. The thing that sank in the most was the point about expectations. I already want to set high standards for my students, and I definitely want to see them succeed. I have to make sure to keep a positive outlook when my children fall short of my standards from time to time.

For his second post, he is talking about his second year as a teacher obviously. First off, he says we must always adapt to whatever is thrown at us. He had to teach an entirely new subject that he was not comfortable with, but in the end, it helped him grow and become a better teacher. Next, we must encourage students to be independent thinkers - yet another thing we have learned in EDM310! To continue, he suggests that every new teacher find their School Mom. In other words, find a woman who has been at the school for several years that you can lean on for guidance. This next point really stuck with me. We have to always let our students know that we care about what we are teaching. Be enthusiastic! Also, always make sure to spend time on subjects that may be helpful to students and not necessarily ones that we find personally interesting. After this, he makes another great point. No matter what is going on at home or with administration and co-workers, we must always make sure to deliver to our students in the classroom. Lastly, we must always make sure to learn more even if we think we know it all.

I felt like I could connect with his first blog post more, but his second post was still a solid one. He made an abundance of excellent points. I really liked what he said about the School Mom. I'm sort of a momma's boy too, and I know that it would be beneficial to me to find someone, preferably in my department, to look up to for guidance.

Lifelong Learner

Saturday, October 22, 2011

1st PLN Progress Report

This is my first progress report on my PLN. Although it looks very disparaged, I am continuing to build it up as I go along throughout the class. The tiles that I use most are probably and Facebook. I'm always looking up the definitions of words when I do not understand them, and Facebook always has useful information if you know where to look.

This is the link to it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Post #8

For this assignment, I first watched Richard Miller's This Is How We Dream Parts 1 & 2. I think that Dr. Miller is making a very valid point in his videos, albeit his voice is hardly attractive to me. In his videos, he talks about how information resourcing is moving to the internet. A book may be lost or have to be rented by one person at a time, but an internet document is never lost, and it can be used to an infinite number of people.

People can write articles about very important subjects, and they could never even leave their computer desks. We are definitely moving towards web-based knowledge, and libraries are slowly become more and more obsolete (if they aren't completely already). I know that when I research, I find information on the internet to be much easier to locate and use than library books. I do think that libraries can still be a valid source of information, but the internet is still much more expansive and easier to access.

Do I think that I am prepared to write with multimedia? Yes, I really do think I am. I know how to find information on the internet quite easily, and I can discern good info from bad info. I am going to be a secondary math teacher, but I still think I can instill an idea in my students that the answer can usually be found online. Even when I get stuck on a math problem, I can usually find the answer somewhere on the internet.

For Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12, she nailed what Dr. Miller wants to achieve with multimedia. She used videos from all over the place and organized them into one, coherent thought. I also think that her idea of using videos to state your teaching philosophy could be a great assignment. Good job, Carly!

After watching The Chipper Series and EDM310 For Dummies, I would have to say that I would like to participate in a video that helps motivate students to post in-depth blog posts, so they can earn those yellow blocks and not the dreaded red ones!

Concerning the messages that the two videos were trying to send, they both made very valid points about EDM310. Students cannot be lazy and procrastinate (we're all guilty of it sometimes), and there are always resources out there to guide us through EDM310. Also, be a self learner! Don't always bug the lab-assistants, so we can keep the bad mouthing of us to a minimum. . .

Last but not least, I watched Learn to Change, Change to Learn. Basically, it is another video in the extensive list that we have had to watch which says, "We need to change education," and yet again, I'm gonna agree with the video. Students have so many avenues for learning, but we restrict them to a chalkboard. This is an injustice, and it needs to be fixed.

Project #12 - Book Trailer

Saturday, October 8, 2011

C4T #2

For C4T#2, I was assigned What Ed Said by Edna Sackson, who is a PYP teacher in Melbourne, Australia.

Her first blog post that I commented on is "10 Ways Twitter Has Added Value..." I know Dr. Strange would like this one! The basic theme of all ten ways is this - if you follow the right people, there is a virtually limitless amount of useful information being tweeted. Students and teachers are not only making local connections, but they are connecting with others around the entire world. Information is being transported around through Twitter so much, that is a indispensable source in one's PLN.

Obviously I agreed with her points (not just in fear of Dr. Strange murdering me). Even in the small list that Dr. Strange gave us, I have already found multiple tweets that led to very useful and interesting information. Twitter is a must-have for the teachers of today and tomorrow.

In Ed's second blog post entitled "A Collaborative Blog for Inquirers...", she discusses her other blog Inquire Within, and she speaks on how she is trying to resurrect it. Inquire Within is a blog which a science teacher and she discuss PYP teaching which focuses on learning through inquiry. If you do not know what inquiry means, go look it up right now before all hope is lost! Anyways, she is propositioning her blog followers to help collaborate on this blog, and she also discusses how helpful inquiry learning can be.

If you didn't look up inquiry learning, it is learning through asking questions then finding the answers to those questions. I think this is a great way for students to learn. It promotes creativity, and it can definitely be more interesting than sitting in a lecture-style class.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog Post #7

For this assignment, I watched Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams . This literally was his last lecture. Right at the beginning of his speech, he states that he has cancer, and he will only live for maybe another year. He then proceeds to tell the audience about his childhood dreams which are basically the same as any young child's, imaginative and far-fetched, and he elaborates on how he achieved these dreams throughout his life. Also, he explains in detail how these experiences helped him learn and gain experience throughout his life. He puts a great amount of emphasis on "getting past brick walls", and "always bringing something to the table". These dreams really frame how he became such a success. For example, when he was young, he always enjoyed football. His coaches, who were lifetime role-models for Randy, taught him many valuable life lessons such as never give up and always admire the fact that someone may criticize you. They also taught him about the importance of enthusiasm and that fundamentals and hard work are what people primarily need to succeed.

The next section of his speech begins by him asking, "How can I enable the dreams of others?" He tells of how he finally made the move to Carnegie Mellon University and how he implemented a course where students worked in randomly organized groups and made basically whatever type of virtual reality that they want. He was absolutely blown away by the quality of the students' work, but he made sure to always push them farther. The work became so great that they actually had presentations where people from all over the school would attend just to see the final work of these students. He eventually passed the course onto one of his students, which he claimed is one of his greatest accomplishments at CMU.

Next, he speaks about how to made the Dream Fulfillment Factory where the drama department and CS departments would collaborate on projects. Graduating from the program would leave a student with a Masters of Entertainment Technology degree. Not bad. Randy and his co-director of the factory, Don Marinelli, had complete freedom to do whatever they wanted with ETC. This program became so successful that students there are actually guaranteed a job if they graduate. No other college in the world does this, and I found it particularly impressive. CMU has even expanded the ETC to Australia and Singapore. This led to Randy designing a program called Alice. Alice is a program in which students learn to program, but they really think they are just making movies and games. This makes the learning experience much more fun and interactive. Alice has been downloaded over a million times, and it is still expanding and improving. Wow!

Lastly, Randy talks about lessons learned. He puts a great emphasis on the influence of parents, peers and mentors as great sources for learning lessons. He supplements these points by telling about important people that he learned from. Randy tells us that his dad and mom truly inspired him. His dad fought in WWII and even won the Bronze Star for bravery during The Battle of the Bulge. However, his family did not even know this until after he died. His mom was always there for him and gave him wise advice. It isn't hard to see why Randy turned out to be so successful. After that he tells about Andy Van Dam, who was one of his lifelong mentors. Andy actually convinced him to go to graduate school and become a professor. He then briefly mentioned many of his other mentors and close friends who have accomplished great things in life. He proposed the question, "How do you get others to help you?" His answer was simple - tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others instead of yourself. Sounds easy enough! He ends by giving many valuable lessons, the final one being, "Lead a good life. If you are good throughout your life, the dreams will come to you."

I did watch the entire video, and I can honestly say that I would enjoy watching it again. He is truly an inspiring man, and a lot of lessons can be learned from him. It is regrettable that he had gotten cancer and died because I'm sure he would have went on to accomplish even more great things in his life. He exemplifies the fact that a good support system can do wonders in helping a person lead a very successful and great life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blog Post #6

So I watched Networked Student by Wendy Drexler. It is a video about Connectivism, which is a theory that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties. In Connectivism, there is no textbook. A student would simply find many viable resources on the web and organize them into his own textbook, which will eventually develop into his "personal learning network". A student of Connectivism takes advantage of many technological tools such as mp3 players, Google Scholar, RSS feeds, and url-sharing sites such as Delicious.

Nearing the end of the video, we are asked, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" The answer is clear and simple. The student still needs to be led in the right direction. I'm sure that a student that just jumps right into it without being educated about which sites are valid would use many sites that could be unreliable or biased. Students still need to be shown how to find and use the vast supply of technology-based tools, so there is still a strong need for an educated teacher in Connectivism.

Now, do I think this method of learning could work? Sure! This method could be a very efficient method of teaching, in my opinion. The only downside I see is this (again, opinion) - for the most part, students can be incredibly lazy. Connectivism seems to be made for a student that is self-driven and probably didn't need a teacher in the first place to succeed. I can see it being very difficult to get students to add to and develop their PLN outside of the classroom. Also, it seems that it would be absolutely essential for a student to have moderately fast internet access at the home, and some students and their families simply cannot fit it into their budget. Besides, these two drawbacks, I think that Connectivism could be highly successful!

Afterwards, I watched Welcome to my PLE, and it is a video about a young girl's PLN, or personal learning network. I have to say that her PLN is far more advanced than mine. I really have not even heard of most of these internet tools until Dr. Strange's class, and obviously, she is being taught this at an early stage. I still plan to develop my PLN however, and I aspire to have a great PLN like this young girl.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Post #5

Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is one of the most influential voices when it comes to technology in the K-12 grade levels, and he is also a co-creator of several successful internet videos called "Did You Know? Shift Happens." I read his blog post on technology in the classroom. In a very sarcastic way, he pointed out how stiff administrators can be about technology in the classroom. He tried to convey the point that we need to help children by not holding them back and actually educating them fully. That means incorporating technology into the classroom.
I have to say that I agree with the points that he was making. Administrators, for the most part, are just too old fashioned. We need to teach students how to access and operate the many technological tools at their disposal instead of restricting them to just a pencil and loose-leaf paper.
Source -

I watched Travis Allen's The iSchool Initiative and ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry. In his videos, he outlines the values of utilizing the iPad and iPod Touch in the classroom. He touched on several different apps that could be used to help students in their learning, and to be honest, he did not even scratch the surface of useful apps for education. He also pointed out that using these technologies would drastically cut down on the use of natural resources such as paper in the classroom.
Again, I have to agree with the points that he is making. I can truly attest to what he is saying because I have used my iPod touch in the same way that he is describing! It is so easy to find information and useful apps with such a small tool, and I would highly suggest that more students try it.

Next I watched Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir on Jennifer Chamber's blog. This was a really spectacular performance; it was so beautiful! It is especially amazing considering the singers never met or performed with each other. This video is truly a testament to the powers of the internet and how it is capable of producing good.

Last but not least, I watched Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts. In my opinion, Kevin thinks that teaching in the 21st century means getting children engaged in the classroom. He thinks that we should use computer and internet resources to maximize this engagement, and he thinks that it would be beneficial if we taught children how to be independent learners. In other words, a 21st century teacher focuses more on guiding children to the information that is already available and teaching them how to always be able to find the answers to whatever they are seaching for without having it simply handed to them.
Concerning his position in the video, I have to agree (it seems like I do that too much but oh well). As teachers, we need to focus more on helping children to be independent thinkers and learners instead of spoon feeding them the information in a lecture-type classroom. The information is out there, and we need to teach them how to find it! On how it will affect me as an educator, it changes everything. I am so used to just being lectured to that I really do not have a great example of what it feels like to have to find the information for myself. However, I am determined to help children in my classroom succeed in the world of tomorrow.

Project #9a - Timeline

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog Post #4

The first podcast I checked out was Practical Principles by Melinda Miller and Scott Elias. I listened to the first podcast listed, and it was actually quite long! At first, they discussed whether or not teachers should be put on "improvement plans", which are basically guidelines for a teacher to improve his/her performance in the classroom. Then they elaborated on this subject by saying that some teachers just do not cut it in certain environments. Some of them may just not have what it takes to be a teacher, but some may just need to try and teach different grades to find their stride.

Overall, I thought the podcast was not so interesting. They sort of dragged each subject out so long that it really just got sort of boring. It was hard for me to stay very focused on what they were saying, and I felt like their tones were sort of monotonous and unenthusiastic. I think that in my podcasts, I will try to sound more energized and passionate about what I'm talking about.

The next podcast that I listened to was The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale. In this Vodcast, he and his colleagues discussed the advantages to using podcasts to supplement the classroom. Podcasts make it easy for absent students to keep up, they promote creativity, and it also allows for parents to see what their children are doing at school.

The main point that I agreed on is that it makes it extremely easy for absent students to stay on the same page as the rest of the classroom. If a student has to be absent for an extended period of time, he/she has no reason to panic because all of the material is on the web. Overall, I thought this vodcast was interesting. Maybe it was just because this segment actually had video instead of just audio, but the authors made some excellent points, and they were well worded. In my podcasts, I definitely need to make some strong points that I know a good bit about.

The last podcast that I viewed was Eagle Nest Radio and Class Blog by Anthony Baggett and his third grade classroom. In the podcast that I selected, the students went back in time to ancient Rome, and they interviewed many famous people from the era such as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.

For the most part, I think the children did an excellent job. However, it was very easy to tell that they were just reading off of a script, so it made it sort of drag along in an unnatural way. I know they are just third graders, so it is hard for them, but as a college student, I know that I need to know my information well enough that I do not have to read it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Project #5

C4T #1 & #2

So for my first two C4T projects, I was assigned Mr Crosby's Learning is Messy blog.

For the first post in which I commented on, he used a satirical, metaphorical situation in which a panel of completely unqualified individuals decided whether or not national security was in a crisis. These people were all like-minded individuals, and they almost always had thoughts that were contrary to what actual experts believe. The true experts were even in the audience, but they were helpless to prevent the faults of what this board was doing, even though it was just beyond their grasp. They were even able to ask simple questions that may or may not be answered! He used this fictional scenario to point out that many of the people who are deciding the fate of education have no background or investment in the subject at all. These people are typically just people of power or individuals who simply have a strong opinion on the subject, and the true experts just have to sit in their agony and watch as the situation unfolds, helpless to prevent it.

In response to this, I said that I agreed with him when he said that educators or people who have a substantial knowledge on the subject should be the ones deciding where education is going. I also stated that educators were the ones that truly deserved to decide because they are the ones with true experience in the matter.

For the second post, Mr. Crosby outlined how he handles his first week of class. To summarize, he lets the children sit where they want on the first day. On the second day, and every day after that, he has four rules for the children to follow.
1. You may not sit with anyone who you have already sat with.
2. You may not sit at a table in which you have already occupied.
3. All tables must have at least one boy and one girl.
4. You should try to help by being willing to move so things can be worked out if someone is having trouble finding an appropriate seat.
After these first days are finished, he typically keeps the seating arrangement the way it is. During this first week, he also has talks with the children about how it feels to be left out and why they should always try to involve their peers.

I think that what Mr. Crosby does is pure genius, and my comment reflected that. He is doing these kids a wonderful favor because it is helping them for "real-life" scenarios. In the workplace, at any point in time, you may have to cooperate with people that you know nothing about and may not necessarily like.

Blog Post #3

I checked out Gary's Social Media Count, and man, this thing blows my mind! It is a basic counter for all of the expanding media of today, such as Facebook, games, Youtube, and many other technologies. It isn't actually tallying them up, but is based on the statistics of these techs, so that it can estimate about how much they really are increasing.

So what do I think they mean for my professional career as a teacher? I think it has drastic implications! We are moving more and more into a world where technology is needed to succeed, and we, as teachers, need to be able to grasp technology and educate our students so that they will be able to go into this technological world and succeed.

I watched A Vision of Students Today, and it basically points out many facts about the students of today in an attempt to paint a disparaged image of the classroom of today. As a student and teacher, I can see that a lot of work needs to be done on the classroom. I feel like the optimal class size is around 20-30 students, but even I have a class that has over 100 students in it. With smaller class sizes, the classroom becomes more engaging and personal, and also, it is easier for the teacher to monitor students texting and using their computers for personal use. However, we should not eliminate computers from the classroom because this would go against everything I have said about technological literacy. We need computers in the classroom, and not just for use in making word documents! We also need to use technology to make the classroom more green. So much paper is used in classrooms today, and as a teacher, I would like to utilize the computers to cut down on that cost.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blog Post #2

Did You Know? by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod is a video that basically lays out an abundance of statistics focused around how we, as a species, are increasing in population and technology. They point out vital stats that are impressive, but they also point many out that are quite alarming. They shed light on the fact that technology is accelerating so rapidly that what most technical college students are learning concepts that will be outdated by the time they graduate!

They stated at one point that there were at least 300 children born in India just in the time that it took for me to watch the video. That is just India... Now if we think about the whole world, that is just too many people. People can't eat computers, so I find it quite alarming that there are so many new people coming into this world. Where are we going to put them? I agree that we do need to lean on technology to help alleviate some of the problems that the world is going through today. Perhaps with the acceleration of technology, we can find solutions to many of the problems of today.

Mr. Winkle Wakes by Matthew Needleman is a video about an elderly man who wakes from an 100 year slumber to find the world very different from when he had left it. He wanders around the city seeing so many new technologies that he never thought possible. He finally stumbles upon a school, and he finds comfort here because the school has changed little from the time that he is from.

What this video is trying to say is that everything around us is constantly changing, but the schools teaching the children that are going to go into that world are relatively unchanged. I support the point this video is trying to make, and I think that the school systems should make an extra effort to involve technology in the schools. If they do not do this then children will be illprepared to face the world of tomorrow. Children need to be able to adapt to the constantly changing world that is around them, and sitting in a classroom that has remained unchanged for over a hundred years is not the way to do it.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity is the most interesting video in this series to me. Ken brought light upon the fact that schools crush creativity, and creativity is what the children of today need to survive in the world of tomorrow. The public school system was brought about to educate children in the new time of industrialization, and it trained them to be able to succeed in the workplace.

I agree with Ken when he says that the school systems need to help spark creativity in children. The future needs creative people to help facilitate the growth of technology and the safe passage of the human race through time. I agree with him when he says that all children are born creative, but the problem is maintaining that creativity as one grows up. This man is truly enlightened, and I think his opinion is one that should be of great value to the educators of today.

Scholastic Article is an interview in which Cecelia gault interviews Sir Ken Robinson. She asks him about the three myths of creativity which are 1) only certain people are creative, 2) creativity only pertains to certain things, and 3) you're either creative or you're not; people can be taught to be more creative. He is also asked about the definition of intelligence. He responded by saying that there are so many different definitions of intelligence from so many different sources that we really can't know what it truly is.

I have to agree with him when he points out the myths about creativity, and I think that we should install facilities into the schools systems that help to promote creativity in school children. As a society, we only seem to focus on two major points - Math and Reading. I think that we should try to give extra attention to the curriculum that help to promote creativity.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts by Vicki Davis is a video that shows us that teachers don't always have to make children use a pencil and a piece of paper to learn. In her classroom, she uses blogs, wikis, and the internet in general to help facilitate learning. She also helps children to "learn how to learn". She does this by not defining every single complicated word that they come across so that the children can learn that they have the tools to find out what words mean without having to lean on the crutch of another person, and this concept can be applied to countless scenarios.

I like the way that Vicki runs her classroom, and I think that all teachers can learn a lesson or two from her for themselves. To me, it seems like far too many teachers use only the classical approach to teaching students when there are so many other resources out there that it is completely silly to use just a pencil and paper. I also appreciate the fact that she is trying to teach children how to learn for themselves instead of depending on the teacher. If you don't know something, find out yourself!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blog Post #1

My name is Zack Burroughs. I am twenty one years old, and I have lived in Hurley, Mississippi my entire life. My major is Secondary Math Education, and I have always wanted to be a teacher. In high school, I always found enjoyment in tutoring my peers, and I have always helped my little sister with her homework. I know I have a natural talent for explaining things in a way that people can understand them, and I am very socially conscious of others' needs, so obviously I knew right off that teaching would be a career that I could pursue with enjoyment. I'm attending USA because it is the closest university to home, and I'm not quite ready to leave the nest yet. It's all about location, location, location anyways, right?

I have always been a very athletic person. I enjoyed playing multiple sports in high school, and I hope that I can coach football one day! I make sure to weight lift at least once every single day, and I'm very passionate about keeping myself in top physical condition. My other true passion, nerdy as it may be, is online gaming! I try to play at least an hour or two every day, and it is really something that I have always loved to do. I do not see myself ever putting down a video game controller for good, even as I get old.

Family is also a big part of my life. I am basically the middle child of six children. I have three older brothers - Norman, Richard, and Robert who are 32, 31, and 31 respectively, and I also have two younger sisters. Richard and Robert are twins, so that is why I consider myself the middle child. I have a gigantic extended family as well. I have over forty first cousins! My mom has twelve siblings, and my dad has five, and all of them, besides two, have children! I don't even know them all by name, but regardless, I love my family to death, and I really do not know what I would do without them.

I watched Randy Pausch on Time Management, and I agreed with most of the points that he made. He said people must have a to-do list. He didn't actually elaborate on whether or not it could be a mental list, and I feel like if someone has good enough memory then just remembering could be as good as writing it down. He also made a very valid point about procrastination. As students, if we could not put things off until the last minute and study when we need to then we would be virtually unstoppable, and this is really the first I am hearing of Dr. Pausch.