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.