Monday, April 30, 2012

Report on Collaboration

Google Docs Logo
I am a member of Team Confused and my group consists of myself, Ariel Robinson, Jessica Bonner, and Alex Mayfield.  For our collaboration we decided to use Google Docs as our form of communicating with each other.  We shared a document with each other and each decided on a color we would type in.  Whenever we had an idea or thought, we could write it to the group in our specific color then we knew who was typing.  I enjoyed collaborating this way.  It's a great way to stay organized by being able to see all of our writings in one place instead of tons of separate e-mails.  I plan to use this tool and others in the future for online collaboration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blog Assignment 13

No Cell Phone SignFor this weeks blog assignment we were told not to use any type of technology for 24 hours. This included watching TV, using computers, listening to the radio, using my cell phone, etc. For me, this was painfully tough. I didn't realize how much I rely on technology throughout my day. Without this technology, I was able to read some of my textbooks that I normally don't read because I am so entranced with all of my technology that I use throughout the day. The hardest part of this "media fast" was not being able to use my cell phone. My iPhone has everything that I need on it.  From my apps to text messaging to e-mail, I was lost without it. Since I live in an apartment on campus, I do not have a land line, so getting in touch with my parents was not easy. The BCM (Baptist Campus Ministries) thankfully has a land line that I was able to use to contact my parents. I realized how nice it is to be able to shoot your friend a text message instead of having to locate a land line to make a phone call. I definitely take technology for granted and I am very thankful that I get to use it every day and I plan to continue to use it all the time.

Update on my PLN

As the semester has progressed I have continued to update my PLN.  Whenever I find a website that I think will be helpful one day as a teacher, I will make a space for it on my PLN.  The tiles that are pink are websites that are useful for presentation tools and collaboration.  The green tiles in the bottom right corner are blogs that I think will be useful.  I also have found people on Twitter that I follow who I am able to contact.  The educators that I follow post insightful material and useful resources.  I plan to continue to use Twitter and continue to find new educators to follow.

my PLN

C4T Summary #4

blog title
Comment #1
This month my teacher is Dorothy Burt and she is a teacher in Auckland, New Zealand.  In her post, she blogs about the idea of using computers to take exams.  Each of her students have their own personal netbook that they are able to use for classroom activities.  From her research, she found that the students score higher when using the netbooks for written exams.  I think it's a great idea because I know most students do well typing and they can type faster than they can write with a pen or pencil.  The problem with this idea for our area though is the cost.  Most public schools in Mobile (or should I say all) do not have the money to purchase a netbook for each student.  The students could use the public computers in the schools to take certain exams and see if their scores improve.

Comment #2
This week I commented on Mrs. Burt's post titled, "Student Reflections."  90 students between the grades 5 through 8 chose to respond after using Netbooks in the classroom for 1 year.  There was a lot of positive feedback regarding the use of Netbooks for their school work.  Most of the students seemed to dislike the act of physically writing, but enjoyed doing their work more then they were able to type.  This even applied to the poor typists.  Netbooks allow the students to be able to post more to their blogs and they are doing so because they know others are able to read their work.  Before the use of their Netbooks, the only person reading their work was their teacher which doesn't give them much inspiration.  There were few negatives, mostly dealing with slow internet and battery life.  In my comment, I told Mrs. Burt what a great idea it is to allow the students to reflect on their use of the Netbooks.  I hope that one day the school that I work in will be able to incorporate some type of technology into the classrooms.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Progress Report on Final Project

Work in Progress
This is an update for "Team Confused."  For our final project, we plan to create a video on how to survive EDM 310.  We are still in the process of planning exactly what to do, but so far we know that we need to include:

1. Time management
2. Read the class blog...DAILY!
3. Submit all your work...ON TIME
4. Constantly be creating your PLN (Personal Learning Network)
5. Go to the get more work done when you do!  Plus, people are there to help.

The list is continuing to grow and we hope to maybe incorporate Dr. Strange somewhere in the short video.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts - Special Post #12A

Creativity and Curiosity

This week we were assigned an additional, special blog post.  About a week ago, while in class, Dr. Strange brought up some questions regarding creativity and curiosity in the classroom.

The first question is: Do schools undermine curiosity and/or creativity in students?  Personally, I believe that schools today inhibit the creativity of students.  I know that some teachers try to help their students excel in creativity, but with standardized testing it is difficult to do this.  Teachers are told that their students must pass these tests, otherwise the schools will not receive the proper funding and such.  This puts tremendous pressure on the teachers to "teach the test."  No longer are the days of students being creative and curious, but students are being shoved information down their throats and being forced what to think.  This puts limitations on their creative minds.

The next question asks: Can a curriculum be developed that increases the curiosity of students? If so, what would be the key components of such a curriculum?  I think such a curriculum is possible.  One way that could help stimulate the students curiosity would be to encourage them to ask questions.  I know in the past I've shied away from raising my hand because of what others would think of my question or answer.  Teachers need to make sure the classroom is inviting and let the students know that it's perfectly okay to ask questions.   I feel that when students ask questions, not only are they learning, but others, including the teacher, will learn as well.  In addition to encouraging them to ask questions, we need to allow the students to work together to come up with solutions on their own.  Whether they work in pairs or on their own, brainstorming and problem solving will allow them to open up that curiosity of learning.

Little Girl Painting
Question three asks: Can a teacher's actions increase the curiosity of students?  If so, what would be those actions?  I think we need to allow the students to think on their own.  I've had teachers in the past who expect me to write down their "answer" otherwise it isn't correct.  This may or may not be the right answer, but it's what they (the teacher) think to be true.  As teachers, we need to open up the doors to allow students to use their creativity freely.  One day as a teacher, I don't want to put words into my students mouth.  I want them to think and act on their own.

The last questions asks: What would help you become more curious?  What role would teachers and/or schools have in that process?  I have always struggled with being creative and curious.  I've always wanted to please my teachers so I've always done what I thought they wanted out of me.  I need to not be afraid of trying new things and to not be afraid of being let down.  I think that teachers and schools need to have more projects that allow the students to show their creative side.  Allow their imaginations to run wild!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blog Assignment 12

For this weeks blog post we were asked to come up with our own assignment that deals with our area of specialty.  Since I am going to be a math teacher, I decided to obviously focus on math.  I remember back at the beginning of the semester when we used Google Docs to create a presentation which is a convenient way to create a presentation through the internet and it was free.  I found another place to create free presentations online, called Empressr.  On this website you can find other students presentations and create your own from scratch which you can share publicly or privately with a password.  You're able to embed audio, video, pictures, and much more into the presentation.  From playing around with it for awhile I found that it seemed that you were able to do more than with Google Docs.  So, if I were Dr. Strange, I would make it a requirement for students in EDM 310 to create a presentation that they could use in a classroom setting.  The students would need to create their presentation for the field they are planning to teach, whether it be math, science, history, special ed, elementary education, etc.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

C4K April Summary

C4K #1
New Zealand FlagGeorge is a 12 year old student from New Zealand.  In his post he wrote about his home country of New Zealand.  He included the islands that it is made up of and the population.  I don't know much about New Zealand so it was neat to learn some about it.  Sign Language was first made an official language in New Zealand, which I did not know before reading this post.  In my comment, I let George know that I was interested in learning about his country and I hope to visit there one day.  He also taught us some simple words in one of the main languages, Maori.  I look forward to keeping up with his blog.

C4K #2
This week I was given a new 4th grade student named Noah who is from Vermont.  In his post, he writes about his love for cats.  He inserted a very cute picture of a cat and even put a source to it.  I was amazing by his ability to insert pictures into his blog post since I just learned how to do this recently! In my comment, I praised him for this.  It is so great that these students are able to use this technology and that their teachers' encourage it.  I hope one day to be able to incorporate that into my classroom. 

C4K #3
Rainforest TreesThis week, Noah blogged about his concern about the trees being cut down in the rainforests.  He is worried about the animals that live there.  When the trees are cut down their shelters are taken away from them and they are dying.  In my comment, I let him know that I feel the same way about cutting down the trees in rainforests and in our own communities.  In my 8th grade class we raised money to help the rainforests and got the school involved by building a rainforest in the hallway at school.  I encouraged Noah to continue to blog and to fight for what he believes in.

C4K #4
In this weeks C4K, a student named Latu posted a video collage of photos from a trip to Butterfly Creek which is a butterfly garden.  It was fun to watch the video of the photos of the students in her class.  It looked like they all had a great time!  A video of pictures is a great way to remember a fun event like that.  In my comment, I expressed how much I liked the video and also that I love that there are so many different colors of butterflies.  I'm sure that the students saw many different types and colors of butterflies on their trip to Butterfly Creek.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Assignment 11

Ms. Cassidy's First Grade Class
Student using iPad
A first grade teacher named Ms. Cassidy from Canada made a video which included her students called, "Little Kids...Big Potential."  In this video the students tell us how they use technology to learn in the classroom.  They use an assortment of different tools like: blogs, Wikis, Skype, a classroom webpage, videos, and even a Nintendo DS.  I could not believe how much these first graders knew about technology.  I need them to help me out!

Dr. Strange and some of his students in 2010 recorded a Skype conversation with Ms. Cassidy where they asked her questions about her teaching strategies.  She insisted that we get plugged into something that interests us whether that be blogging, Twitter, videos, etc.  She wanted us to realized how important it is to make contacts with other educators around the world.

I love Ms. Cassidy's enthusiasm for helping her students learn through using technology.  Ms. Cassidy, along with myself, both feel that students will be more interested if technology is incorporated into the classroom.  She mentioned that when the students blog they feel like their work matters when people from around the world are reading and commenting to them.  It gives the students a sense that the work they are doing matters and that other people are interested besides their teacher.  I thought her use of Skype was awesome.  Her class would meet face-to-face with other teachers and professionals to accompany with their lessons.  To me, this definitely makes learning fun and interesting!

Student using Smart Board
I think the technique I would most likely use is blogging or having a webpage for my class.  I could post assignments and links to websites that could help the students learn and be interactive.  Blogs will also allow the students to interact with each other and with others around the world.  When they have questions they can post them on their blog or ask another student.  An issue I can see myself running into is the students taking advantage of their freedom of the internet in the classroom and going on sites which aren't beneficial to their learning.  I want my students to be independent, but I will need to have rules that they must follow and consequences if they break those rules.

With using technology in my classroom, I hope that my students will have a drive to learn.  I hope that I can make learning fun and interesting besides me just lecturing to my students all day.  They will have a sense of freedom that will hopefully allow them to excel in their work.  I plan to implement some of Ms. Cassidy's techniques into my own classroom and I'm really excited to do so!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blog Assignment 10

Do you Teach or Do you Educate?
Education WordleThis video was a great wake up call to the difference between being a teacher and being an educator.  When you "teach" the material you are instructing or explaining how to do something.  When you educate you inspire, enlighten, and empower your students.  I want to strive to be this type of educator one day.  I don't want to drill the information into my students brains so that all they do is memorize it.

I will have interactive activities that will keep them involved in their learning.  I want to be there for my students when they need to be advised.  Questions will be fully welcomed in my classroom.  I don't want any question unanswered.  If I don't know the answer to their questions, I will for sure find an answer.  I want my classroom to be inviting and to be a place that my students will enjoy to learn.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home
This was a very insightful post.  The blog post is an argument about whether or not children should be allowed to take pencils home from school with them.  One argument is that if you let the student bring the pencils home that it will lower their standardized test grades.  The woman, Gertrude, who is against the students bringing pencils home says that they just will play games with the pencils and not learn.  Johnson retaliates by saying even if they are playing games, they can still be learning.  Games like hangman help students writing letters and to spell out words.

This is not just some random blog post about pencils, there was a message behind it.  As teachers we often look at the problem, rather than looking for a solution.  We need to step back and look at the problem because if we don't then it will just keep occurring.  Johnson was optimistic about the pencils.  He knew that even if all the students at home were playing games with their pencils, at least they would be learning something.

As a teacher, I want to be a problem solver.  I want to be able to find solutions to problems in the classroom, like the case of the pencils.  If I have a positive outlook, I feel that I'd be able to find a good solution.  Any way to keep the students motivated to learn is good to me.  I know I will face times that are so tough to get through and frustrating, but I will have faith that my students are willing to learn from what I have to educate them in.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Project #14 Smart Board Instruction Part 1

Blog Assignment 9

Mr. McClungMr. Joe McClung decided that after this first year of teaching that he would reflect on his year by writing a blog post.  During his first year of teaching he was at an elementary school in Noel, Missouri.  

As teachers, we need to make our lessons student centered.  In the end it is not the administration who needs to learn the material, its the students.  The most important concept is that the students need to comprehend the material.  If they are not understanding, we as teachers need to change things up so that the students are able to learn.  Like Mr. McClung said, "In order to be effective you have to let your audience drive your instruction."

I knew coming into the education career that I would need to be flexible.  Throughout my school years, I have always wanted to make sure everything I have planned works out perfectly.  As teachers, we need to make sure that we are flexible and that if what we have planned for the lesson doesn't go over well, that it's okay.    We need to remember that it's okay to make mistakes.  I agree with Mr. McClung 100% on this.  It's a great reminder to know that we don't have to be perfect as teachers.

We need to care about our students lives, not just in the classroom, but outside of the class as well.  As Mr. McClung said, we need to build respect from our students and to do that we must get to know them personally and show them that we care.  In my opinion, when you show a student that you care they will want to learn more from you.  They will be more willing to listen to what you have to say.  

During Mr. McClung's 3rd year of teaching, he was at school in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  In this blog post he reflects on what he's learned throughout his 3rd year and explains how he continues to keep learning from his students. 

CrayonsDon't be afraid to be an outsider.  This really sticks out to me.  I know that when I was growing up I always tried to fit in with my peers.  Throughout college, I have learned that I need to stick up for what I believe to be right, not what others think just so I will fit in.  Mr. McClung wrote about how you don't need to seek approval from the other teachers.  I think it's very important to build relationships with your students.  In the end it's not about being accepted by the other teachers, but that your students are learning.  I hope one day that I'm able to not be hurt by what other teachers think of me if I don't happen to fit in.

Since I am going to be a math teacher it is VERY important that the students are able to work the problems on their own.  The best way to learn math is to practice, practice, practice.  I know from tutoring in the past that it is very easy to help a student who is struggling by basically doing the problem for them.  This is not okay! As Mr. McClung said, "Don't Touch the Keyboard."  Basically meaning, don't do the work for them even if they can't seem to figure it out.  In the long run it will help the student because they are able to do it on their own.  

We cannot get comfortable.  If we choose as teachers to "get comfortable" in our classrooms, then we will stop learning and this will hinder our students' learning.  If we don't seem interested as teachers, how can we expect our students to stay interested?  In my classroom one day I want students to be motivated, but that means I must be motivated as well.  We need to be passionate about what we do because that really does have an effect on the students overall achievement. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

C4K March Summary

C4K #1
Girls SleepoverClair is a 4th grade student at Hotspur School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.  In her post she writes about her birthday.  She had a few of her friends spend the night at her house.  In my comment I told Clair that I remember when I was her age, my parents would let me have sleepovers on my birthday too.  Those memories are some of my fondest.  Clair seemed very excited about her birthday and being able to share her special day with some of her best friends.

C4T Summary #3

Digital Discoveries
Diane Krause's blog is all about her "good finds" on the internet.  In each of her blog posts she writes about a good educational website or a tool that you can use in your classroom.  In this post, she found a website, The National Gallery of Art.   There are more than 20,000 digital images that you are allowed to download for free.  This really can come in handy.  I plan to add this to my PLN in case I ever need to find any images.  The images are designed to help with learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.

SlimeKids LogoIn Mrs. Krause's second post from March 26,2012, she shares another "digital discovery."  The website that she shared this time is called SlimeKids- School Library Media Kids.  This website allows you to search for book trailers that have already been made.  In my comment to wrote how we had just made our own book trailers.  And after making my own book trailer, I know the hard work that goes into making them.  This website can save teachers a lot of time by not having to make their own book trailers.  Mrs. Krause's blog is a great place to find websites that can help you out in your classroom.  I definitely recommend checking out her blog!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blog Assignment 8

This is How We Dream
These videos, part 1 and part 2, by Richard Miller were very interesting. To quickly summarize, Mr. Miller is emphasizing how important it is for technology to be incorporated in the classroom today.  There are many tools available today to use that can enhance the learning experience.

Back a few years ago it was impossible to do research without the use of a library.  You had to check out books and spend hours trying to find what you were looking for in them.  With today's internet capabilities, we don't even need to go to the library to complete a research assignment.  You can find books, journals, and much more at the click of a button.  This makes doing research much more bearable.  For me though, I think it's still important to use the library as a resource for research.  I don't want the library resources to disappear all together.  It's important to be able to find a book in the library.  Also, sources online are not always reliable.  You have to make sure you find a reliable source.  Books at the library tend to be much more reliable than a website that "Joe Schmo" put together.

Skype ConferenceWith things like Google Docs, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, and one I just found called Scribblar.  These tools allow you to interact with others without being together in person.  I could work with someone across the world on a project and never have to meet them face to face.  This collaboration tool, Scribblar, that I came across is a virtual whiteboard.  Since I am going into math, this could be a great tool for tutoring.  Collaborating across the web is a great way to use technology and I think Mr. Miller hit the nail on the head when talking about how useful it is.  I plan to use this technique throughout the rest of my college career and when I begin teaching.

Carly's Blog Assignment
Carly Pugh was given the task of creating her own blog assignment.  She came up with a brilliant idea of creating a YouTube playlist of videos that correspond to your own teaching philosophy.  I think it's a wonderful idea.  For me, being able to watch videos it catches my attention more and I feel that I learn more because of it.  When I'm reading, I tend to lose my train of thought and forget what I'm reading.  YouTube videos can enhance your classroom if used effectively.  I think that Carly also wants what Richard Miller wants - technology in the classroom.  They both want it to be incorporated and used effectively.

Student Produced Videos
The Chipper Series and EDM 310 for Dummies are videos created by previous EDM 310 students.  Making videos are fun and are a great way to learn too.  I think an idea to make a video would be to do something like the Today Show.  You could have different segments about different topics going on in the classroom.  There could be parts for interviews and fun crafts too.  There are so many opportunities when making videos for your classroom.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
We all know that the style of teaching in a classroom is changing everyday.  In this video, different thoughts are thrown out about how the classroom has evolved so much.  Technology is not something we can avoid.  Students need to learn to properly use these resources.  For the most part I agree with this video.  Some of the people in the video, to me, made it seem like the teacher is there to facilitate and that the student would be doing all the work.  I think it's the teachers job to teach the students.  If the teacher is globally connected, they can easily show the students how to be globally connected which can help them in the long run.  There are so many ways a student can learn by using these technologies, but I still think it's the teachers job to teach the students.  The students need more than just the technology.  They need someone to be accountable for them. If they are just on the internet "connecting," who knows what they may be up to.  Overall, a very insightful video.

Scavenger Hunt

Edmondo screenshot
1.) Edmodo is a social networking site that is almost identical to Facebook. On their site there is a preview video of how it works.  You set up your classroom and you're allowed to communicate professionally with students and their parents.  Grades can be posted, tests can be marked on calendars, and students can ask questions and collaborate back and forth.  The teacher can take a poll and give assignments.  This definitely could be a site I see myself using in my classroom one day.

2.) Prezi is a site where you can make a presentation like this one.  This is a free service and after playing around with it, it's kind of fun to do!  This is great for presentations about anything.  You can privately or publicly share your Prezi and you're allowed up to 500mb of presentations, which is quite a lot!

3.) Photo Peach is a great video tool for the classroom.  As a teacher, you are able to create and organize projects for the students to do without having multiple student accounts.  There is a privacy feature that the students work will not be displayed unless otherwise changed.  The prices are reasonable if you plan to use this service regularly.  You are able to add photos, text, and music to the video.  It looks like a great tool for the classroom.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blog Assignment 7

The Networked Student
In today's age it is very important for students to start their networking at an early age.  They need to build up contacts and resources for their learning careers as students then for later in life as adults.  I think it's very important to know how to surf the internet.  There are so many websites out there that you cannot trust.  Google Scholar is a good search engine that gives trustworthy results.

The video we watched this week, The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler, gives a glimpse of what a student can do by creating a personal learning network.  The "student" in the video was able to contact professors from top notch universities and listen to their lectures via podcast.  This allows students to learn from professors that they may not be able to originally.  Many resources were mentioned in the video which helps the students, but in the end why do we still need teachers if there is so much information out there for students to access?

Teachers are still going to be needed!  They are there to help the student build up their network and to take advantage of all of the learning opportunities available on the web.  I think it's very important to be there to help the student find contacts.  Hopefully, as I build my PLN I will be able to find contacts and resources for my future students.  We still need teachers to show the students how there are many untrustworthy websites out there.  We need to teach them how to navigate through sites to find ones that they can trust.  I want to leave a positive impact on my students and hopefully allowing them to created their own personal PLN, they will be successful throughout their time as students and then in their future.

A 7th Grader's PLE (or PLN)
Personal Learning Network
In this short video, a 7th grade girl is explaining her Personal Learning Environment (PLE).  She uses it for her science class, but she also uses it for social networking like Facebook.  I was shocked at how much she knew and she's only in the 7th grade! I hope to by the end of this semester have a good knowledge about how to create an in depth PLN.  It's a great way to continue and explore the vast information of the internet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Project #10 PLN Part 1

This is just a beginning of my PLN.  I have added several websites that I think will be helpful for my future teaching career.  I have websites like Teacher Tube, CNN, TED, and Twitter.  I think it's important to stay connected through Twitter because it is a great way to keep contacts with other teachers from around the world.  I also have added one of the teacher blogs that I have had to comment on this semester.  I found her blog very inspiring with a lot of good information on it that I could possibly use one day in my own classroom.  My PLN will continue to grow as I come across more contacts and more useful websites that will benefit me, as a teacher.


Project #9b Disney Princesses

C4T Summary #2

hand holding heart shaped rock
For this month's teacher blog post I was assigned to the teacher, Angela Maiers.  She has had many years being an educator and I have found her blog to be inspiring.  In this blog post, she encourages teachers to have courage.  The word courage comes from the Latin word heart.  That teaching comes from the heart and that we need to develop courage.  She makes a really good point when she says that most teachings are devoted to the mind.  We need to encourage students to engage and ask questions and to share their views with the world.  For me, I have always be the "shy girl" in class.  More recently I have realized that to be an effective teacher I need to step out of my shell and be courageous.  How can I expect my students to want to learn if I am not setting the right example?  Angela made a good point and I quote,
"In order to teach, we need courage to overcome our fears." 
I am overcoming my fears to be the best teacher I can be.

Dream With Me
Angela Maiers
This week Angela Maiers' post struck me hard this week.  Her blog posts are very inspiring and really get me thinking!  She dreams of a class where skills are taught and where students can articulate their feelings as well as their facts.  Growing up in my schools, we were always worried about the facts, dates, and equations that we were never really asked about our feelings.  I never got the notion that my teachers didn't care, but I would not have been comfortable sharing my feelings with my class.  This is so important for students to be in a learning environment where they can share their feelings.  I recommend that you check our her blog post and read some of the other dreams that she wants for the future.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blog Assignment 6

Photo of Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
The Last Lecture is literally the last lecture that Randy Pausch gave before his life ended due to pancreatic cancer.  Watching this video you would never know that he was told by a doctor that he would die within months.  Pausch had such an amazing outlook on life that I hope to grasp as I continue my goal to become an educator.

Everyone has dreams that they want to live out sometime in their lives.  Pausch had several dreams during his childhood that he discussed in his lecture.  The main point being how being a good person and doing the right things can positively effect you and the people around you.  As a future educator, I want to instill this into the minds of my students.  I want them to have dreams that may be difficult to reach.  They may take your entire life to come true, but why stop trying.  There will be obstacles in the way and these are what Pausch called, "brick walls."  These walls are not physical walls, but tough situations that come in the way of allowing your dreams to become reality.  Brick walls let us prove how badly we want things and they let us show our dedication to our dreams.  I want to help my students break through these brick walls.  I want them to fight for what they believe and what they truly want in their lives.  When students break through these walls, they have overcome an obstacle and have a sense of accomplishment that is worth recognizing.  For me, I want to push my students to keep a positive attitude and a good work ethic to help them realize and achieve their goals.

As teachers, we want to provide knowledge and skills to students, but we also want to help them realize their own dreams.  Teachers will get disappointed with their students.  Students may not meet our expectations, but we cannot get discouraged by that.  We need to help them by allowing them to self-reflect.  Allowing students to realize themselves where they succeed and where they struggle can allow them to find the areas in their lives where they can make the proper adjustments in order to succeed.  Pausch mentioned that there is good in everyone, you just have to give yourself time to find it.  This is another thing as teachers that we need to remember.  There will be days where we want to run out of the classroom, but we need to know that behind the bad day of a student is a good person.

Just like this EDM 310 class teaches us, we need to remember that technology is just going to keep expanding and students want fun ways to learn.  Even since Pausch had this lecture, technology has grown so much since then and it is more readily available now in the classroom than ever before.  We need to use the technology to facilitate our students' learning.  Pausch created a program called Alice, which teaches students how to program computers.  Most people wouldn't want to learn to program computers, especially students, because it is very complex.  Pausch realized that if students have fun, they are willing to learn something hard.  Most of the time they don't even realize what they are doing is technically hard.  As teachers, we need to come up with innovative strategies that allow the students to have fun, but are still learning at the same time.  We need to combine learning and creativity to engage our students.

Tigger and Eeyore
Towards the end of the lecture, Pausch talks about how "fun" needs to be in the classroom.  I 100% agree with him.  There always needs to be that "child-like wonder" in teachers and in students as well.  Am I, as a teacher, going to be Tigger or Eeyore?  To engage my students I can only hope I will be a "Tigger", who is caring, excited to learn, and just an all around fun teacher.  All educators need to ask themselves that same question.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Last Lecture and I would recommend it to not just future teachers, but to others who are in college and about to face the "real world."  Anyone can use what Pausch said if they want to better themselves and the people around them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

C4K February Summary

Comments 4 Kids
C4K #1
My students name is Karla and she attends Noel Elementary School in Noel, MO. She is in Mr. Chamberlain's 6th grade class. Karla wrote a narrative story. I thought she did a great job telling her story. She showed many emotions and I thought for her grade level she did a good job.

I also watched Lauren's video.  I thought she did an incredible job.  What a great thing for a student so young to love so much.  I wish that I had the knowledge to be able to create videos like that.  It is so important for students to show their creativity through blogs, videos, or any other type.  Hopefully by the end of this class I will somewhat know how to make a video.

C4K #2
For my second post, my students name is Dixon.  He is a 4th grade student in Iowa.  Dixon is learning about Eurasia and he said he wants to live there.  I think it's great to keep the imagination of a child strong.  It would be great to live in an "Eurasia."

C4K #3
Jackson is a 4th grade student in Mrs. Garcia's class.  He is from Manitoba, Canada.  In his most recent blog post, he wrote about skyping with a class in New Orleans, LA.  The class told him all about the Mardi Gras celebration.  Jackson learned a lot about the traditions in Louisiana for Mardi Gras.  I told him that in Mobile, AL, we also celebrat Mardi Gras.  I think skyping is a wonderful way of learning for students.  Classrooms in Canada are able to chat with classrooms in Louisiana through video chats.  What a great way of learning!

C4K #4
For this student's blog, the teacher has chosen to keep the students' names anonymous.  He is in 5th grade and lives in Iowa.  I think this is a really good idea to keep the students' names anonymous especially if the students' parents are worried about their child's name being on the internet.  When I was a kid my mom was always worried about my sister and I going on the internet.  This student's post was a letter to a sporting goods company.  He broke his post into paragraphs and ended it with a conclusion that summarized his thoughts.  Students get excited to work on computers and when they can do their school work, like writing a paper, on a blog they will be more interested in writing it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog Assignment 5

Scott McLeod
Dr. Scott McLeod is an educator at the University of Kentucky.  This week we had to read one of his blog posts titled Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?  This is a very sarcastic blog entry.  He criticizes the internet and all of the bad stuff that is out there like, sexting, cyberbulling, and porn.  Dr. McLeod wants educators to use technology as an asset to their classrooms.  I think that students need to be introduced to all the aspects of the internet, the good and bad.  Not allowing our students to be able to use the internet would be detrimental to their learning experience.  The internet can be a great learning tool if used correctly.

Travis Allen's iSchool Initiative
iSchool Initiative LogoTravis Allen is the creator of the iSchool Initiative.  This is a collaboration of students who promote the use of electronics, such as the iTouch, to make education more efficient and less expensive.  In his short video, he outlines how useful these electronics can be in a classroom setting.  He shares how much money can be saved by using these as well.  Books, calculators, calendars, notes, periodic tables, and much more can all be used on an iTouch for students to use in the classroom.  Using these electronics allows easy access for teachers, students and even parents to communicate and stay updated on all of their work.

I think this is a fantastic idea, if it is funded by the schools.  Many families would not be able to afford the software needed to the iSchool Initiative to work.  If more and more schools are becoming aware of this technology, I don't see why it couldn't work.  Just because of the costs alone, I think the iSchool Initiative could really take over.

The Virtual Choir
Eric Whitacre conducts 185 people from around the globe in this "virtual choir," found here.  These people never had to meet together to perform this piece, which is absolutely beautiful.  All of this is possible through technology.  It's incredible how small the world tends to seem when you can use technology.  It was very neat to see the faces of these people from far and wide "come together" to sing in a choir.  Technology is so efficient in bringing things together and sharing information.

Teaching in the 21st Century
In this video, Kevin Roberts explains where he thinks education is headed.  He is worried that there are too many resources out there that the students would rather use that learning from a teacher.  With Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, and many more there is becoming less of a need for a teacher.  Today's teacher is now more of a guide through all the facts.  They are the filter.

I feel that in today's society that the teacher needs to be more involved in the classroom.  That teaching needs to be a two-way street.  Not only do the students need to learn from the teacher, but the teacher needs to learn from the students.  With this being said, I need to be aware of the new technologies to be able to communicate better with my students and keep them interested.  There are so many ways to stay connected these days that this should not be too difficult.  I want to be a good role model for my students and I hope I can learn as much from them as they learn from me.

Reading Rockets
This website has an incredible amount of information about how to help those who struggle with reading.  For me, going into math education sometimes I think, "I'm not going to have to deal with students struggling to read."  I then think again.  This is not the case.  Surprisingly, math involves reading too.  A section on this site that I found helpful is the reading for English Language Learners (ELL).  After taking Education in a Diverse Society here at South Alabama, I realized how many students I will probably have whose first language is not English.  This site gives articles and videos on how to help those ELL's.

math dyslexia
Even math students suffer from dyslexia
Thinking about an activity I did in some of my other education classes, dyslexia is a common learning disability that students may have.  Many students don't realize their disability until they grades are already failing.  This page on this site gives an impressive overview of dyslexia and some strategies teachers can use to help those students who suffer from this.  I found this site to be incredibly helpful!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blog Assignment 4

Langwiches Blog
Ms. Tolisano works with first grade students to create podcasts about books they have recently read.  The students love the idea of working on these projects.  Not only does it allow them to become familiar with that certain technology, but it teaches them many skills as well.  Instead of just reading the book, the students were creative with their voices by changing their speed and inflections throughout the podcast.

First Graders PodcastingThese first graders created their own script in a question/answer format that included the characters from the books they read.  They use skills such as changing their speaking voice, storytelling, fluency, and they are learning new technologies at the same time.  Her blog has many ideas that many teacher can take and use in their own classrooms.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
Joe Dale believes that podcasting should be used in classrooms today.  Today's students have never lived without technology and they tend to want to learn when technology is involved.  He thinks that allowing the students to make their own podcasts will let them to be creative and learn the material at the same time.

Podcasts are great for students who miss an extended amount of class due to illness and they are also good for refreshing the days lesson.  The parents can also be involved in the students lessons because they too can listen.  They enhance a lesson and even pictures or short videos can be shown during a podcast.  Two places where you can create podcasts is through GarageBand and Audacity.

Judy Scharf's Podcast Collection
Podcast LogoMs. Scharf gives a brief definition of what a podcast is.  She gives links to step by step instructions on how to create a podcast using Audacity.  There are several tips she gives on how to succeed in making a podcast.  It's very important to let the student chose their topic and to let them choose the people they wish to work with.  When the students enjoy what they are talking about and who they are working with the end result will be much better.  This blog is very helpful with a lot of suggestions on podcast topics.  There are grading sheets, rubrics, and examples of podcasts.  This will definitely be a blog that I bookmark to be able use in my future!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blog Assignment 3

Technology in Special Educationn
Autistic boy with iPad
iPads work great with children with Autism
I want to give a shout out to Ms. Cook for her desire to want to work with the special needs students.  I know for observing, that it is very challenging, but it can be very rewarding.  She uses a great amount of technology in her special education classroom.  Most of her students are non-verbal and if they don't have a computer it takes a long time for the teachers to be able to know what they are saying.  With the uses of a computer, those students are able to talk more efficiently.  It is easy for the teacher and most importantly it's easier for the students.

For the special needs students that I will have in my classroom one day, I hope to fully incorporate technology in my teaching.  I want the students to be able to fully understand the lessons and I want them to be able to communicate with me and the other students.  With their computers and gadgets, they will be able to be in the classroom and feel like they are a true part of the class.  Not only will it will allow them to communicate with me, but it will allow them to work in groups with the other students in the classroom.  Working with your peers is a huge part of the learning experience and before the age of computers and other technologies it was not very often that those special needs kids were able to work with their school aged peers.

Apps For Special Education
Since I am going to be a math teacher, I searched around on iTunes for awhile trying to find a neat math app for the iPad.  I came across an app called Math Easy HD.  This app teaches kids how to count from 0 to 20 and how to identify even and odd numbers.  There are animations that help them engage in the material and it helps them to have fun at the same time.  I think that using iPads for students with autism or any special needs is a great idea.

I really feel like this would help with learning.  Being able to have something hands on to use really helps students learn the material.  Like in the video we watched with the child with autism, his father said that he had never been more interested to learn.  When kids have fun while learning, they don't even realize they are actually learning! What a great way to get those students with special needs involved by using a technology that they will have fun with while still learning math at the same time!

Google PlusGary Hayes Social Media Count
This absolutely blew my mind that I had to share it on my Facebook right away!  It is vital for us who want to be educators to be aware of how much technology is used every second of every day.  Seeing this makes me want to stay in the "loop" of technology.  I want to be up to date on the latest and greatest that is out there.  There is so much out there that I don't want to miss one minute of it.

For my professional career as a teacher, I want to be able to use these technologies in my classroom.  Just from looking over my kid's blog for our assignments in this class, I think it's a great idea for students to blog.  The sooner they become familiar with technology, the better.  It's scary to think that some of my students one day will be more skilled in these technologies than I am.  This shows me that I need to stay connected and updated!

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
In this video, Michael Wesch makes it clear that students today are more engaged in technology than they are sitting in a lecture hall.  They took a survey of the students about their uses of technology, their time spent doing homework and studying, and they surveyed on money issues as well.  Students lives are filled up so much that it adds up to more than a days time, but when you look at what it's filled with it's mostly things that can be classified as distractions.

Students in crowded lecture hallSchools today need to look at the needs of the students and what will keep their attention.  When classrooms are averaging 115 students it is hard for the teachers to know the students and to teach in a hands on way.  Students are not engaging in lectures because they are bored and most likely not paying attention.  The chalkboard style of teaching is becoming a thing of the past.  Discussions need to be happening in the classroom to employ the students interactions.  Keeping discussions open and free will make the students feel more comfortable.

More technology needs to be added to the experience as well.  Hundreds of dollars are spent by each student on books that are rarely used, according to their research in the video, A Vision of Students Today.  Textbooks are becoming more readily available online and with the world of Google sharing documents throughout the world wide web is easy.  Incorporating just a few hints of technology will automatically catch the eyes of the students.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

C4T Summary #1

In this blog post, Mr. Jo Fothergill is a teacher from New Zealand.  In this post, he discusses the idea of collaborating classrooms.  He doesn't just mean for projects every now and then, he means for every day lessons.  With technology the way it is today, there is a very good chance that the idea of collaborating classrooms is going to become more well known.  He, along with I, believe that we are stronger together and that when we work together everyone will learn a lot more.  I believe that the students shouldn't be the only ones learning in the classroom.  A successful classroom has the students learning, along with the teachers.  When teachers come together to collaborate, they will be learning along with the students.

Students in classroom

In this blog post, Mr. Fothergill blogs about his recent experience at an educamp.  An educamp is a conference that teachers attend to be able to get in smaller groups with teachers from around the country or world.  Mr. Fothergill attended an educamp recently and he greatly benefited from the small group discussions he had.  I agreed with him.  I feel like when you sit in front of a person with thousands of others at a conference it will not be as valuable as if you were to have discussions with a small group.  Small group settings really tend allow you to share your ideas with others which you would not get to otherwise.  I hope one day to be able to attend an educamp!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blog Assignment 2

Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version
Technology WorldIn the video Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version, many eye opening statistics are shown one right after another.  Dr. Strange made this video based on Did You Know 3.0 by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod.   Technology has changed so much over the years and it is could really cause conflict in the classroom.  I thought it was crazy to see the statistics about how advanced technology has become just in the past few years.

I watched Dr. Strange's video with a friend and both of us were saying during the video, "That's much higher now."  We were referring to the high school students who own a cell phone.  I even know some middle school students who carry around a cell phone.  This video made me realize how important it is to pay attention to the new technologies so I will be able to keep up with the younger generations that I will be teaching.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
Mr. Winkle Wakes is a short video about how a man awakens from sleep after 100 years.  He finds everything to be very different, except the school.  Mr. Winkle goes to an office and he sees all these crazy machines that he has never seen before.  When he goes to the hospital he sees x-ray machines and breathing machines that were keeping people alive.  Over the past 100 years the technology had changed so much that Mr. Winkle didn't know what anything was anymore, until he walked into the school.  Nothing had changed in the school.  The teachers lectured and the students took notes all day and the computers were never used. he felt comfortable because the school was how he remembered life 100 years ago.

I thought this video perfectly displayed how technology in most schools is not used to its fullest.  When you walk into an office building or a hospital, you see top of the line technology.  I understand that it's very important for those types of places to have top of the line technology, but what about the schools who are educating the next generation? I feel like the schools need to have the funding to be able to supply schools with things like computers, smart boards, and other new technologies.  These things are going to be vital in the upcoming generation because technology is expanding so rapidly.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
Finger Painting HandKen Robinson in The Importance of Creativity discusses the idea that schools today are stripping the students of their creativity.  He related creativity to being as important as literacy which I agree with.  I think that students need to have a creative mind to be able to express their feelings.  One of his mains points in the discussion was that students are scared to be wrong.  I know I have felt this way in the past.  If I felt like my answer was wrong, I wouldn't want to speak up.  Teachers are looking for the "right" answer, when in the end this is is robbing the child of their creative side.

Student's creativity should be incorporated in their leaning.  They should be able to express themselves whether it be through art, music, or dance.  If you don't allow them to be creative you "educated them out of creativity."  Robinson kept emphasizing how important it is to allow students to be creative and show that side of them and to not penalize them for being themselves.

A Vision for 21st Century Learning
In the video, A Vision for 21st Century Learning, they bring up the idea of fully merging the classroom with technology.  They say that classrooms today are too passive and that children are memorizing facts and reading textbooks and not really "learning" the information.  They want to bring to life a more hands on type of learning in the classroom by creating a type of video game that allows you to play your way through history.  I think this is a great idea because I feel like most students will enjoy doing this without even realize they are learning.  I also, on the other hand, feel like this could take away the real need of a teacher.  If the teacher hands their students a video game and tells them to play it where is the need for the teacher anymore?  I don't think technology should go as far as replacing a teacher because teachers have such an impact on so many students.

Vikki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
In the video, Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts, a teacher in south Georgia is allowing her students to collaborate and learn about all the new technologies there are out there.  They use blogs, create avatars, use twitter, and they connect with the world.  Not only are the students learning, but their teacher is learning as well.  I think that is very important in the classroom when everyone is working together to learn.

For the most part, I agree with this video because to get by in this world you really need to understand technology and how to collaborate with others to solve problems.  I feel like students need to use the technology, but they still need to be learning all of their subjects like math, science, history, etc.  Just having knowledge in technology will not get you very far, but it would be very helpful.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blog Assignment 1

About me
Hey guys! My name is Erika Conn and I am a junior here at South.  I am majoring in mathematics and secondary education.  I originally came to South to get my degree in meteorology, but that changed after my first year.  I switched majors a couple more times before I stuck with math and secondary education.

Sister and I
 Amanda and I at Myrtle Beach, SC
This is where most people would say where they are from.  It's not that simple for me! I was born in Neenah, Wisconsin and since then I have moved 5 times.  I moved to Texas, then back to Wisconsin, then to Connecticut, then back to Wisconsin, and now my family is in Monroe, Louisiana.  I call Wisconsin my home and I always will.  I do not miss the snow or cold weather at all, but I miss the people there! I have lived in the south for 3 and a half years now and I'm really starting to love it.

Family means everything to me.  Growing up, my mom, dad, sister, and I went camping almost every weekend.  I feel like this really kept us close.  My sister, Amanda, is 2 years younger than me and we definitely have our ups and downs, but I love her to death.

The biggest part of my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I was truly confused when my parents told me my junior year of high school that I was moving from Wisconsin to Louisiana.  Yes, I moved for my senior year of high school and yes, it was awful.  But I found something amazing out of it.  I found my love for the Lord that I never had before.  I began to have a relationship with Him and I knew that He moved us to Louisiana for a reason.  I continue to grow and put my trust in Him everyday.

One fun fact about me is that I was a diver in high school.  I started diving when I was in 8th grade.  It's definitely a mental sport and probably some of the scariest moments in my life.  I absolutely loved it though!  Alright, enough about me!

Randy Pausch and Time Management 
I really enjoyed watching this video on time management.  I am a very organized person, but I have to write everything down to keep it straight.  Randy Pausch talked about making to-do lists and this is something I do constantly.  I really liked how he said "failing to plan is planning to fail." This is so true.  It drives me crazy when people who complain not getting their work done because they forgot about it.  If you write it down and plan it out you are less likely to forget about it and to get it turned in on time.  My planner has been my life since I moved to college.  The video also made a really good point in that you can always change your plan.  It's not concrete, but you've got to make that plan first.  I think that's the key for getting through this semester for me.