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!