Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blog Assignment #14

Teaching Can Be a Profession by Joel Klein

    In the USAToday article Teaching our Children Can be a Profession by Joel Klein, Klein discusses what he believes to be the problems with today's education system. He also proposes solutions to these problems that will definitely leave you pondering his ideas.

Problems/Proposed Solutions
1. Teachers are not prepared for the classroom.
Solution: Have colleges provide more professional development in teaching degrees. According to the information Klein provides in the article, 23 states cannot name a single college or university that trains efficiently in mathematics, and fewer than 20% of schools equip new teachers for teaching basic reading. He proposes to train them more efficiently for the classroom.
2. Teachers are not being recruited effectively.
Solution: Hire only from the top third of the graduating classes.
3. Teachers aren't being rewarded properly.
Solution: Do away with seniority, and reward based on classroom performance. Do away with tenure and make teachers work for their jobs. This will stop making teaching jobs seem interchangeable.

    In the southern parts of the United States, I feel that teachers are better prepared than this article claims. Teacher candidates at several universities are required to learn how to teach reading in every subject area, regardless of grade level. Mathematics is also a requirement at many universities. In other parts of the country, that may not be the case though. I do believe that schools can train teacher candidates more thoroughly so that they can excel in teaching their future students.

    I agree that teachers should only be recruited out of the top third of their graduating classes. At the University of South Alabama, you are only required to have 2.75 GPA in your content area, and 2.5 GPA in your basics courses in order to be eligible for teacher candidacy. Sometimes I feel that you should be required to have a higher GPA than that to be allowed to teach students. If you can't make at least a 3.0 GPA overall then you should probably not be instructing students. 2.5 and 2.75 GPA are average. I believe we should have teachers that perform above average in their courses.

    Tenure, in my opinion, is an excuse for teachers to do less work and still get payed the same as the teacher who works hard for their students to succeed. Now some tenured teachers really work hard in their classrooms, but some teachers do not. Tenure seems to me like a reward for teaching a certain amount of time. What should truly be rewarded is teachers that engage their students in active learning, and produce students who know material, understand why they have learned the material, and enjoy learning new material. Students should be proficient when moved on to the next grade level, rather than just making it by. When teachers make the same money as the teacher that does nothing while they work hard in the classroom, that decreases initiative for teachers to be phenomenal teachers for their students. Rewarding teachers does need to be changed. Teachers should be rewarded based on their classroom performance.

    The education system in America does have places where it lacks in professionalism, initiative, and quality in teachers. Changes do need to be made, and should be made, to better our students' education. We can't produce mediocre teaching and expect phenomenal students to submerge from beneath. It won't happen. Teachers need to perform phenomenally for their students to be engaged and learn in the classroom. Students not only need good teachers, but the deserve good teachers. Teachers need to perform how they would want to be rewarded. If you do minimal work and have few successful students, did you teach or did you babysit? Are you getting paid for quality work or are you just sitting behind a desk for a paycheck? Teachers need to be engaged in their students' learning. Teachers should be inspiring their students to desire a quality education. And for the teachers that are providing as quality education for their students, are they being rewarded justly?

teacher teaching

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Langwitches Blog
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

    For C4Ta#4, I was assigned Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's blog Langwitches Blog. Tolisano is a very cultured individual, born in Germany, raised in Argentina, lived in Brazil, and now currently resides in the United States. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish with a Minor in International Studies and a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology. She has worked as a World Language teacher, Technology Integration Facilitator, 21st Century Learning Specialist, Social Media Coordinator, Professional Development and Educational Consultant. Tolisano is very experienced in the world of technology pertaining to the classroom.

    The first post of Tolisano's that I reviewed was What are the Best Ways a Teacher can Demonstrate Leadership in the Classroom?. This post was done as part of C.M. Rubin's monthly series in the Huffington Post. This is her third contribution to the series. She began the post by defining what leadership means, according to Google. She then did a Google Image search on the word which yielded images with quotes on them. She also conducted a survey on Twitter using the hashtag #leadership, and received other people's definitions of leadership as well. From the information gathered, she then formed a view on "What are the best ways a teacher can demonstrate leadership in the classroom?". In the classroom, demonstrating leadership, according to Tolisano, is a "leadership flow". This "flow" is based off of four different components: model, experience, share, and trust. With modeling, the students learn leadership by watching someone act as a leader. You model the behavior you want your students to exhibit. In experience, you let the students experience learning. You put the leader as a learner alongside the student, allowing them to experience learning alongside the leader, teaching them how leadership is demonstrated. With sharing, the leader shares their class's accomplishments on a classroom, local, national, or even international level through face to face meetings or through technology. For trust, a leader is always developing trust within their classroom students. Trust lubricates the "flow" of leadership in the classroom.
    My comment for Tolisano on this post was "My name is Eva Mareno, and I am a student of EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post about demonstrating leadership in the classroom. Those four components are very important to establishing leadership effectively in the classroom."

demonstrating leadership comic

    Tolisano's second post that I reviewed was Reflection about Anne Frank and Making Blogging Connections. In this blog post, Tolisano is reflecting on a visit to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam from the perspective of an educator who believes in the following: the power of writing via blogging as a teaching and learning tool, documentation for learning of and from our experiences, and the imperative of sharing and connecting to contribute to global perspectives. As she tours the home, she sees quotes from Anne Frank's diary scattered throughout. She states that Anne Frank set the path for journaling and blogging for future generations to come. Her diary inspired millions of people to keep their own diaries, much like it inspired Tolisano. Tolisano urges people to think of writing in several ways. Some that stood out to me were "writing, even when you are in 'hiding', with an audience in mind", "writing as a form of 'surviving'", and "we all know that history was written by the victors. What about the other side to the story?" These are great things to keep in mind when writing either about our personal lives, or writing for an assignment. Blogging has become a new generation's diary. We should use it effectively.
    My comment on this post was "My name is Eva Mareno, and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I love how you viewed blogging through the eyes of Anne Frank. I love hearing about how you were inspired to write and have continued to do so throughout your life. You also asked questions that peaked my curiosity. What really did happen to Anne Frank's sister? What happened to her diary? Interesting questions to ask. Thank you for posting this."

Blog Assignment #5 (Final Post)

My PLN as of Today

   As of today, my PLN is contains several sites. My PLN consists of Twitter, where I follow several teachers, and Youtube, where I often find videos posted by other teachers and education professionals on different ways to approach teaching a certain topic. On Twitter, I follow teachers that we have blogged about, teachers that we were suggested to follow, fellow classmates, and random teaching services and teachers that I just so happened to find while browsing other teacher's Twitter feeds. The amount of information that is available to me through Twitter fails to compare to the amount of information I actually need. What I'm saying is, Twitter is full of limitless amounts of sources to information that can be used to better my teaching. The best part about Twitter is that teachers and other resources usually update Twitter on their blog posts as they publish new ones, so it keeps you on top of what new information comes out.

Personal Learning Network summary web

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blog Assignment #13

What grade-level appropriate tools are there to help your students work collaboratively in-class and online?

1. Go to the source 102 Free (or Free-to-Try) Online Collaborative Learning Tools for Teachers and Educators.
2. Click on the grade level that you will be teaching in the table of contents.
3. Find 3 tools to explore and review in the form of a blog post that answers the question above.
4. Find 2 different tools not mentioned on the website above and review those. Cite your sources.

   The first resource I looked at was Crocodoc. It is a file sharing application that can be used to collaborate on projects using document annotations, commenting, and correcting. This is also referred to as a box filing system. It allows you to share pictures, bookmarks, Google docs and sheets, powerpoints, excel sheets, and word documents. You can access this via mobile phone as well. Students can work together on projects that have multiple files in it all at one time, and be able to access them in one place.
screen capture of

Prezi for Education
   The second resource I reviewed was Prezi. This is a slideshow presentation maker that brings boring powerpoint presentation to life in an innovative way. It allows you to integrate pictures, words, graphs, and much more into a presentation. The best part of this presentation program is that up to ten students can use a presentation as a personal white board. This means that they can access the presentation notes and media at home, and have everything talked about in class in front of them outside of the classroom. These presentations can be created to be interactive, which is always engaging as well. This is a very beneficial tool for the classroom. Teachers can also collaborate with other teachers on presentations. It is also a great tool for networking with other teachers.

   The third resource I looked at was Wunderlist. It is a mobile and web-based to do list for students, teachers, and parents to use to keep up with assignments. It also allows students to collaborate on assignments that they are working on together by giving each other things to do and allowing them to mark off the things they have done in the program where everyone else can see. This is a really cool program to use for project-based learning!

   The fourth source I looked at was Twiddla. Twiddla is an interactive white board program that can be used for classroom collaboration between students. It is a web-based program that they refer to as a "playground". The program has options for chatting, video conferencing, writing, drawing, and sharing documents. To start using this program, all you have to do is type in the email addresses of the people you want to interact with and hit GO. screen capture

   The last resource I reviewed was Cacoo. Cacoo is a site where you can create diagrams and flow charts online. The site allows students to collaborate with one another on their work as well. First, you pick a template for your chart or diagram. Then you customize it. You can chat with other group members while working on the assignment at hand. You collaborate by sharing the file with other group members via email. This is another great program. screen capture

There are many different programs online available for free for teachers and students to use to work collaboratively. The best part is that they are easy to use, and are interesting enough to keep students' attention and keep them engaged in working.

Project 12B

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blog Assignment #11

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

   In this blog post, we were asked to answer the above question. The first source that was reviewed was Brian Crosby's video "Back to the Future". Brian Crosby is a teacher at Agnes Risley Elementary School in Sparks, Nevada. In this video, Crosby discusses the negative effects of having a narrow curriculum. A narrow curriculum, he believes, prevents students from building a world schema, which makes imagining what something could be hard due to the fact that they don't know what it is even about. Crosby also asks, "if you don't have imagination or creativity, then where do you build passion from?" You have to be able to imagine what you want your goals to be in your life in order to build a passion to pursue that goal. Crosby speaks on actively engaging your students to lessons, and how you can take one idea and create several lessons from that one idea (i.e. science can be science and history, and language can be language and reading). He also promotes blogging, which promotes student collaboration.

   The second video we watched was "Blended Learning Cycle" by Paul Anderson, a high school AP biology teacher Bozeman, Montana. In this video, he describes his blended classroom, which consists of a combination of online, mobile, and classroom experiences. He also introduces the five E's: engage, explore, explain, expand, and evaluate. Anderson also explains the blended learning cycle using his QUIVERS acronym: start off with a good Question, investigate/inquire, video, evaluation, review, summary quiz. These are the six components that make up a blended learning cycle.

   The third video was "Making Things Visible" by Mark Church. In this video, Church discusses documenting students' thinking. He believes teachers should focus on connecting, exploring, and moving certain ideas forward so observers can have the opportunity to assess thinking. He continues to talk about how teachers should make thinking more visible. This appeals to the visual learner. Students should be able to not only see, but more ideas forward.

   The fourth video was "Sam Pane 4th Grade". In this video, Sam Pane explains to his students how to use the internet safely. Pane focuses on how he allows his students to discuss answers to questions within a group, and then discuss them aloud. He then explains to his students how they can make their own digital super hero. Pane then allows his students to create their own super heroes, and furthers his lesson by adapting it to an ELA lesson by allowing the students to write their own comic books! How cool is that?! After they are done, students go around and look at one another's work. This merges ELA into technology, and students are fulfilling ELA standards such as writing a narrative to a developed imagined experience or event, analyzing how visual and multimedia elements contribute to text, and asking and answering questions. The students are doing all of this by just having fun with a digital super hero, and probably don't even realize it.

   The fifth video was "Project Based Learning" by Dean Shareski. In this video, Shareski begins by telling how research shows that by using integrated studies by using projects increases students' engagement and provides the opportunity for a student to deeply understand the material, which is harder to do in a segregated learning environment. He focuses on technology being used as a tool to enhance students' learning, and as a tool to bring material to life. Shareski also discusses how project based learning leaves students feeling proud of themselves.

students working together in an engineering class

   The last video was "Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program" by Trish Relly Taylor. In this video, Taylor discusses project based learning, defining it as an in-depth learning that integrates thematic instruction with something that is "real-world" problem solving. It is also research based. Taylor explains how project based learning allows students to think for themselves, and shows that the student really understands the material being taught. She tells of how it is also a great learning environment for students because it is all about student choice, which gives students a feeling of empowerment. Taylor also describes how it promotes 21st century skills that student need in the real world work environment. Project based learning promotes individual and group learning, lesson differentiation, and easy access to incorporating multiple intelligences into a lesson.

   These videos have taught the advantages and enhancing powers of project based learning. It shows how so many different teachers in different areas are able to enhance their students learning and mesh subjects by using project based learning. What we can learn about teaching and learning from these teachers is that learning has evolved into something that is actively involved and ventured beyond the walls of the classroom.

Project #10: Interview Video


The Fischbowl

Goldfish in a fish bowl

   For my C4Ta#3 I was assigned Mr. Karl Fisch's blog "The Fischbowl".

   The first post that I read by Fisch was his blog post Idea #3: Think Differently About Time. This is part of a series of ideas that he believes can better his school. This post is his thoughts on how we should look at the school day schedule differently. The statement that stood out to me and that summarizes his idea within this post is this: "I think there's a huge problem with this view, and it all stems from a simple matter of perspective: we're viewing time from the perspective of the school, of the system, and not from the perspective of the learner." He makes a very good point with this statement. By viewing time like this, we engrave an idea that learning only occurs for students within the school day hours. He goes on to talk about how with this mindset it is not only when the learning takes place, but what subject takes place at which time. We make it seem like a certain subject can only be learned between a certain time frame of the day, which is also not true. This does not motivate the learner to go out and learn on their own. My comment I made on this post was, "I think this is a great thought. Within my own time in the high school classroom, I often thought that learning my subjects only needed to occur during the assigned class time when really learning does occur at any time and in any place."

   The second post I read by Fisch was his blog post Idea #4: Think Differently About Classes. This is also part of the series of ideas he is blogging on that he believes would benefit the learning environment. This entire idea is focused on the idea of the "class". "Class", in this sense, is being used a block of a hierarchy, much like you would consider an atom, as he states. He suggests we pull the focus off the "class" and the system of learning that we are accustomed to, and focus on just the learner. My comment to this post was, "This was very interesting. I see how the "completing a class" can differ from actually learning the material in that class. Students can do everything to "complete the class" and can never really learn what they needed to learn. I am sure these ideas are going to be discussed extensively when you present them."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Special Blog Assignment Due July 1, 2015

   For this special blog assignment, we were asked to review Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs's comments from a workshop at Gulf Shores Elementary School, and to review six things that she has shared on her website in the Clearinghouse section.

head shot of Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs

iPad Learning Studio
   The iPad Learning Studio is a Google Slides presentation on what is possible using iPads in the classroom. This describes the different ways you can organize your apps on your iPad to accommodate specific subject areas. It provided examples for science, math, history, reading, and photography. It basically organized tools that could be utilized to produce a more productive learning environment through a tablet. The benefits for having this device in the classroom is evident with just reading about it. This presentation also listed links to the apps and their prices.

100 People: A World Portrait
   The second source I chose was 100 People: A World Portrait. This is a website source with information on problems people face throughout the world, varying from famine, drought, war, and education. This site provides statistics on all of the world problems that they talk about. It also provides videos and pictures of these things as well. There are ways for schools and individuals to donate to this cause. It also provides lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms to teach their students on global issues. This is a great source for science or social studies to use in project-based learning assignments. It is very enriching.

Visual Thesaurus
   The third source I looked over was Visual Thesaurus. This is a site that provides adjectives to words that you search by providing a word map. Another great source for ELA to use, especially in the elementary and middle school ages. Here is an example of what this program generates.
screen capture of

   The fourth source I checked out was TechnoTales. This is a wiki page on digital story telling in the classroom. The creator Michael Fisher describes digital story telling as this: "Digital Storytelling is a fantastic way to engage students, teachers, and just about anyone else. There are many different definitions of "digital storytelling," but in general, all of them revolve around the idea of combining the longstanding art of telling stories with any of a variety of available multimedia tools, including graphics, audio, video animation, and Web publishing." His page has resources on making book trailers and video tutorials on how to do your own digital story telling. For the teacher looking to engage their students in reading their class reading assignment, this may just be the ticket you've been waiting for.

Tag Galaxy
   The fifth source I looked at was Tag Galaxy. This is a really cool tool. What you do is you type in a word and the program searches related words or tags that are attached to that word most often. Once it does that, you click on the related word or tag, and it shows you pictures from the internet. Basically, it is another image search engine. The graphics are really cool for this one, so I could definitely see kids wanting to use this all of the time. He are the results for the word "beautiful".

screen capture of the tag galaxy website

Atlas Curriculum Management System
   The last source I chose to look at was Atlas Curriculum Management System. This is a system ran by Rubicon that allows teachers to share the curriculum being taught in their class with other teachers in different grade levels, subjects, schools, and regions. This is definitely a useful source. It is great to be aware of what students are doing in their other classes. It is also great to be able to compare your curriculum to other schools' curriculums to see if you are teaching at the same pace or not. All I can think of are benefits to this program being used.

Blog Assignment #10

What can we learn from Mrs. Cassidy?

    In the video "Little Kids...Big Potential" by Mrs. Cassidy, Cassidy emphasizes the students' knowledge and creativity. She makes the video with the children in her classroom narrating it. It is full of pictures and videos of the work they are doing in the classroom. The students even transitioned the video from segment to segment. The students explain the work that they have done as you see the different pictures and videos. It allows you to see the excitement that the students have for using technology in their class.

   The next video was the first of three interviews with Mrs. Cassidy, conducted by Dr. Strange. This one is entitled "Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 1". Cassidy describes what it was like starting out with using technology in her classroom. Cassidy also explains how to use classroom privacy when using the web by posting only students' first name and not last. She also discusses how technology is not going away, but is here to stay. She also tells about how when students blog it gives them an audience, and benefits writing skills; comments that people post make the students want to continue to write, and write better.

   In "Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 2", Cassidy begins by telling teachers to begin using technology in their classrooms by using technology that they like. It helps to develop knowledge of technology and skills. She also speaks highly of Twitter and other social networking sites as a personal learning network.

   In "Interview with Kathy Cassidy Part 3", Cassidy goes into more detail with her class's use of blogging. She says that the class size and the school year decide how much her students blog. She further explains that with a small group of students, she can blog once, sometimes twice a week. She also discusses how she used blogging as a small group break off in previous school years. Cassidy discusses adapting blogging to the physical education class, and issues with plagiarism. She explains that it is the teacher's responsibility to teach his/her students how to use sources creatively and not plagiarize. She also describes safety when using the internet. You can teach your students what is safe and what is not, and you can encourage you students to use the internet in a positive manner.

   I believe that I will encourage personal learning networks in my classroom. I would encourage venturing into the uses of Twitter and Youtube so that students would be able to find more resources outside of the classroom to enrich their math skills. The only thing I think that I would encounter is students possibly getting off topic in the classroom while using these sites. There is endless information and entertainment on the internet. Naturally everyone gets distracted from time to time. I think setting up classroom rules on what is and is not allowed would lead to a decrease in such behavior. I would also use classroom webpages to keep students and parents updated on what is happening in the classroom, and provide resources for homework help. A Facebook page for parents and/or students to be reminded and notified of assignment and assessment dates would be wonderful to use in the classroom. The only problems I would encounter is whether or not the school system would allow me to do such things.

the word technology in an internet browser

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blog Assignment #9

What can Teachers and Students Teach us about Project Based Learning?

   Project-based learning, as we have discovered throughout this course, is about allowing students to take hold of their education, and let them control the method in which they learn course material. It is done in large by students harnessing their technological abilities and diving in to the wide world of information and creativity. The articles and videos that were referenced in this blog post are all about project-based learning.

   The first source we were assigned to review was an article called Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning by John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller. They begin the article by explaining the difference between busy work and project-based learning. They describe a typical science project where the teacher gives specific details and items for the students to use, such as specific books, websites, and project details. In the end, the students are all doing the exact same thing with no ambition to go out and learn more about their subject. Larmer and Mergendoller give seven key ingredients to effective project-based assignments. You should always give students "A Need to Know", "A Driving Question", and a "Student Voice and Choice". These give the students initiative and engage them in the material that they will be learning. In the article, the writers say, "They [the students] are unmotivated by a teacher's suggestion that they should learn something because they'll need it later in life, for the next course, or simply because "it's going to be on the test." With a compelling student project, the reason for learning relevant material becomes clear: I need to know this to meet the challenge I've accepted." This is the point of giving students "A Need to Know". Another point made that stood out to me was, "A project without a driving question is like an essay without a thesis. Without a thesis statement, a reader might be able to pick out the main point a writer is trying to make; but with a thesis statement, the main point is unmistakable. Without a driving question, students may not understand why they are undertaking a project. They know that the series of assigned activities has some connection with a time period, a place, or a concept. But if you asked, "What is the point of all these activities?" they might only be able to offer, 'Because we're making a poster.'" This is why we give students "A Driving Question" and "Student Voice and Choice".
   More things that should be included in project-based learning is "21st Century Skills", "Inquiry and Information", "Feedback and Revision", and "A Publicly Presented Product". The writers state, "A project should give students opportunities to build such 21st century skills as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the use of technology, which will serve them well in the workplace and life. This exposure to authentic skills meets the second criterion for meaningful work—an important purpose". These skills are indeed important. Through project-based learning, students develop these skills through group collaboration and presenting their learned material. "Inquiry and Information" allows students to do more than just search websites and books for information. Instead, they allow students to create their own web of questions they come up with themselves, and go out in search of answers to these questions. All of this is student generated learning. "Feedback and Revision" is a way for the teacher to teach students how to use rubrics, and to help students to see that everyone's work is not perfect before the final presentation. It shows that there is always room for improvement in everyone's work. Lastly, "A Publicly Presented Product" motivates the students to work harder on their project. Instead of just the teacher seeing it, other students and sometimes other people they don't know on the internet, depending on how the project is presented, will be viewing their work, which makes them want to do top notch quality work.

   The second source that we looked at was the video Project-Based Learning for Teachers by Tony Vincent. For the most part, it seems to be an introductory video for a seminar of some sorts. It did give a great three minute summary of what project-based learning is. According to this video, project-based learning is this:
Screen Capture of Youtube Video "Project-Based Learning for Teachers"

Screen Capture of Youtube Video "Project-Based Learning for Teachers"

Screen Capture of Youtube Video "Project-Based Learning for Teachers"

   The third source that I chose to review was High School Teachers Meet the Challenges of PBL Implementation by Edutopia. The video begins with a teacher's opinion of how she would go about creating a school from scratch if she had to. The first thing she asked herself "What kind of world will the students be going into?" and "How will they need to be prepared?". This video is about Sammamish High School, in Bellevue, Washington, which is a high school that is in its third year of a five year transition into a school wide project-based (or problem-based) learning approach. They are currently rearranging 30 courses, changing the teaching styles of over 75 teachers. The people in the video noted that by putting the choice in the teachers' hands, and allowing them to choose their own curriculum to create project-based learning assignments made it easier for teachers to adapt to the new learning style. A teacher stated that English and Math are difficult subjects to approach in a project-based manner. An example of what is being done in their English classes though is the reading of Elie Wiesel's Holocaust memoir Night, and comparing the silence the Jewish people faced to the silence other social groups in the world face today. It is an engaging, real-world application that keeps the students wanting to learn more. All of the teachers enjoy how excited and engaged their students are in project-based learning. The teachers involved in this shift of learning are constantly collaborating with one another, and with people that are more experienced with project-based learning. It involves a week of summer training, along with faculty meetings and even a class period every day of them working together to create the best assignments for their students. The students are also seeing the advantages of project-based learning. Students were interviewed and they shared how with project-based learning, they are able to see the big picture of how what they are learning applies to their future and everyday lives.

   The fourth source I chose was "Project Based Learning PE" by a blogger that goes by the name Pflug. This blog describes a Project-based learning assignment that was created for high school students that has them create a PE lesson for middle school students. The lesson, which applies to the high school students as well as the middle school students, has the students use the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) standards for current physical education. The project addresses the importance of being healthy and physically fit, but also allows students to work with younger students and develop team work skills.

   The last source I chose was "Two Students Solve the Case of the Watery Ketchup by Designing a New Cap" by Lindsey Float, which is a report that was done by PBS Newshour. This is an example of project-based learning that reached the media's attention. It's pretty amazing that the level of work being done by students through project-based learning is reaching new audiences. The two students, Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson, are a part of Project Lead the Way at their school North Liberty High School, in Liberty, Missouri. The question that brought this project to life was to finish the sentence, "It really bugs me when...". The students then took the answer to that questions, and did research on something that was relevant to them. Richards and Thompson just so happened to choose wet bread from water being in the ketchup bottle. The students searched through patents and discovered that they had an idea they could work with. Using 3D printing and other engineering technology, they created a ketchup cap that caught the attention of not only their skeptical teacher, but the news! That is so exciting! The work students are doing in high school classrooms is being recognized in the general public.

student working with engineering software on the ketchup cap

   Teachers and students can teach us many things about project-based learning, especially since they are using it more often than we are. The most important thing I have gotten out of all of these sources that they can teach us is the importance of project-based learning and the impact that it has on students' lives. They are learning. They are excited about learning. They are reaching new depths in their learning that I never did as a high school student. They are taking their learning beyond the reach and beliefs of their teachers. It is a phenomenal thing to see!

Project 12A

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Project 14

The links below bring you to a slides presentation that describes the project based learning assignment we have designed for tenth grade U.S. history. There is also a lesson plan, rubric, and project calendar.

PBL Digital Scrapbook Presentation

Digital Scrapbook Lesson Plan

Digital Scrapbook Rubric

Digital Scrapbook Project Calendar

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Blog Assignment #8

What can we learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch?

In the video, "Randy Pausch's Last Lecture:Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", Pausch makes five major and impactful points of things that we can learn from. The first is “Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things”. As soon to be teachers, we are going to hit many brick walls. These brick walls let us prove how badly we want things by pushing us to our limit to overcome them. They force us to work our hardest to accomplish what we want to accomplish. Whether the brick wall is a pile of paperwork or a working with a struggling student to help them accomplish their educational goals, those brick walls prove how much determination we have and how much we love what we do. The second point is “Have fun while learning-its ok”. Most of the time people think about learning at school and automatically associate it with being bored and sitting in a desk all day. We should encourage students to have fun while learning. We should also bring the fun to the classroom. Using project based learning techniques or hands on manipulatives, we should make learning a lesson fun for the students.

   The third point Pausch mentioned is “Never lose your childlike wonder-it drives us”. No matter what age group you teach, it requires an imagination and childlike wonder to make things happen. You have to be able to think outside of the box to relate to your students and adapt lessons to what encourages them to learn. The fourth point that is mentioned is “Loyalty is a two-way street-Believe in your students adn they will believe in and with you”. All I can say is “wow”. That is such a strong and true point. Anytime someone believes in you, you automatically respect them and believe in them as well. When I was tutoring one of my middle school friends in math, he often would say that he just didn’t know what to do. After showing him how to do the problems and enforcing that I believed in him and that he was able to do these problems he began to do better. Not only did he do better, but every time we met he was more eager to work on his studies, and listened more attentively. I could tell by that change in behavior that he believed in me, and believed that I was capable of teaching him what he needed to know. That is one of the most encouraging feelings I’ve come to know. In the classroom, we have to treat all of our students that way if we want them to succeed and believe in us as their teacher. The last main point that Pausch makes is “Apologize when you screw up, focus on other people”. Often times we mess up. I know I mess up on a regular basis. It is part of being human. However, we have to be able to recognize when we screw up and be able to apologize for our mess ups and continue on our learning walk and our everyday walk. Students often get frustrated when they are working on problems and make mistakes. This can cause them to become discouraged and not want to learn anymore. We, as educators, need to show students that everyone makes mistakes because of the simple fact that we are all human. If we can allow our students to see us accept our flaws and mistakes, then they are more likely to accept theirs as well and be able to move on from their mistakes.

   The amazing thing about this lecture is that it is applicable to our everyday lives, even outside of the classroom. We face many of the things he mentioned on a daily basis, whether we realize it or not. Another thing is that Pausch gave this lecture for his students, not for us. He was focused on bettering his students, not himself. As teachers, we should always focus on our students, rather than ourselves. This was a great lecture that is very beneficial to the classroom learner and the teacher as well.

Randy Pausch


   The person I was assigned for these two C4Ta assignments was Jen Deyenberg, a teacher from Alberta who is an avid blogger of technology in the classroom. Her blog is found at

   The first blog post of hers that I read was SimCity-Teaching local Government and Civics. She used SimCity 3000 with her sixth grade class to compliment their local government unit in social studies. It teaches the students how to “manage decision making, balance wants and needs of citizens, lobby groups, and government responsibilites,” Deyenberg states in her post. She says it brings the unit to life by allowing students to build a virtual city and make all of the decisions for the city. The game provides instant feedback on the decisions the students make. The game also judges the students’ jobs based on Sim happiness. If the students do a terrible job, they could get fired as mayor of their city. If they do a great job, Deyenberg says they create statues in their honor. Deyenberg says she uses the 1999 version of the game because it is the least complex compared to newer versions. The newer versions require more needs and it takes away from the concept of the game. Deyenberg posted a video of the students talking about their experience with SimCity. Click here to watch. In the video, she goes around the classroom asking the students higher order thinking questions that the students are able to answer by reflecting on what is occurring in their city. This is a really neat idea.

students working with nintendo ds

   The second post that I read was My Word Coach-Nintendo DS in the Elementary Classroom. In this post, Deyenberg discusses how she does vocabulary lessons with her students using a game on the Nintendo DS. The game teaches spelling, definitions, and using the words in proper context. It has a variety of games ranging from having missing letters in the words to choosing the correct definition of the word. The good thing about these games is it gives the students instant feedback on whether they were correct or not, and instant feedback helps drive the student to keep trying until they get the answer correct. Deyenberg says she has the students enter the words they got wrong into a Moodle database, and chooses from those words which words she will put on a spelling test. It gives her a way to test what the students know and be able to target what they specifically don’t know. She says that their favorite game is the block letters game, similar to Tetris, where they have to spell a given word as the letters fall from the top of the screen. Another is alphabet soup where the students are given a bowl full of letters and a definition, and the students have to spell the word defined using the letters given in the bowl. The best part is that the students are being tested on their level. The game gives leveling tests to see how much the students know before they start playing. This is another neat way to use interesting things to teach the students. I really enjoyed this idea.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Blog Assignment #7

      How Do We All Become Learners?

   In the video, Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten, Mrs. Bennett discusses how advanced her kindergarteners are with using technology to complete innovative and interesting tasks that keep the students engaged in their learning. Elizabeth Davis is also there from another school to advocate the learning techniques. Mrs. Bennett describes how the kindergarteners take their reading book for the week and create book trailers in iMovie about the book. Mrs. Bennett's school, Gulf Shores Elementary School, uses group stations to reinforce learning. These stations always include an iMovie trailer. Mrs. Davis discusses Alabama Virtual Library, and how they use it at Daphne Elementary School to teach basic researching skills in the kindergarten classroom.

   In the video, We All Become Learners, Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Davis discuss how the dynamics of learning changes with the addition of new technology in the classroom. Basically, they state that everyone teaches each other; students teach teachers, and teachers teach students. Bennett discusses Padlet use in the classroom. She shares a story about how a kindergarten student taught her how to take a selfie in the Padlet program on her iPad. She also shares how teachers just get the students to show them how to use programs that they do not know how to use. It gives students initiative to learn. It was basically all about putting the teacher and student on the same level of knowledge and allowing them to learn together.

   The first video I chose to watch from Mrs. Bennett's Google+ list was Mrs. Lauber Interview, featuring Dr. Strange and Mrs. Lauber from Gulf Shores Elementary School. She states that the better the technological tool available, the better the task at hand is completed by students. She states that her second graders will be given a topic and they go out on their own and create their own projects on iPads. She states that she doesn't teach her class at all. She stands in the front of the class, presents a topic, and guides the students on how to go about learning on their own with peer teaching. The students begin projects with paper and pencil, and go further by taking their written work and creating their own presentations. She emphasizes the use of rubrics as well. According to Lauber, students' test scores have increased tremendously with this new tactic of learning.

   The second video I chose to watch was Interview Rosado How to Get a Job. Dr. Ernie Rosado is a principal at Gulf Shores High School. Rosado discusses how hiring changes every year. They look for more qualities in teachers every year when they hire. He states that he needs a teacher coming out of the university that uses technology, understands technology, is a team player, and does not lecture. You need more than a lesson plan. You have to adapt the lesson to reach different learning styles. At Gulf Shores High School students are working with the community to complete tasks that are useful. Their engineering students were building a boys scout building, working alongside the architect. Marine science students were working with live salt water animals, and working with salt water reefs and fish.

   The third video I watched was CW PBL 1, featuring Christie Whitehead and Michele Bennett. Christie taught at Gulf Shores Elementary School, left, and has returned to teach at the school once more. She is getting to experience the new technological changes to the classroom environment at GSES. She says that it is exciting and refers to it as a new wave of learning. The do a lot of cooperative learning and students get to teach each other and sometimes the teachers as well. It is a very hands-on, nonthreatening, learning environment. The do project based learning that ties in all of the students' subjects. She states that she has never seen studetns so eager to learn, and they are now that they have their own projects working with this new technology. She again states that she is very excited and encouraged by the attitude her students have towards learning.

   The fourth video I watched was Altmyer and Bennett First Practice Session. I chose this video because it shows just what everyone has been talking about. It is a video of two teachers learning how to use the technology that their students will use in the classroom. They are figuring out how to use Google Hangout and its advanced tools. Bennett describes the ability to record these Hangout sessions as a teaching tool. Teachers can get together during the summer and discuss things. The benefits of recording these sessions are also discussed. Basically, with the ability to record Hangout sessions, everyone doesn't have to be present for the session. They can just watch the recorded session later. It is also described as a Personal Learning Network (PLN).

21st century teaching terms

   All of these videos focused on one main thing: technology used to promote project based learning in the classroom. Every level of education is looking for teachers that know how to use today's technology, and use it effectively in the classroom. These videos show how advanced Baldwin County schoools are with technology in their classrooms. These videos also promoted self teaching and peer teaching. Students are teaching other students how to perform tasks on the iPad or computer. Students are sometimes teaching their teachers how to use the technology in the classroom. I feel it puts everyone on a level playing field in the classroom. Kindergarteners are being taught how to use technology that college students were introduced to not too long ago. Students are being born into a technological era and the classroom is adapting to this. In the next few years I have to become more creative and proficient in using technology and adapting it to lessons. I believe that project based approaches are very beneficial to teaching students not just what they are learning, but why they are learning it. Often times, students ask "Why do we need to learn this?". With project based learning, they are being given explanations for why they "need" to know how to do something without a teacher telling them flat out why they are learning it. Students like to see the "big picture" of information on their own. Project based learning is a way for students to do that. The technology that students are using in the classroom is helping students to do so.

Project 13

The Water Cycle

Our group chose to do our PBL on the water cycle. We used ALEX to find course objectives that matched what our students would be learning about. We used Padlet to create a board to guide our students during this project. Our course objectives and a link to ALEX can be found on the Padlet. Click the link below to see our Padlet! Links to our rubric and project calendar are also below.

The Water Cycle Padlet

Lesson Plan


Project Calendar

The Water Cycle

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Project 8: Book Trailer

Miss Nelson is Missing Book Trailer

Click here to watch this trailer on Youtube!

Blog Assignment #6

Characteristics of 21st Century Integrated Learning

   The video conversations between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps were very insightful. Anthony Capps is a third grade teacher in Baldwin County and was a former student of Dr. Strange's, who was very active in EDM310 as a student. The first two videos, Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a Third Grade Teacher and Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a Third Grade Teacher, discuss project based learning and how Capps has implemented this learning style in his classroom. Capps states that most people believe that project based learning is a form of reinforcement of information, used to review what students know from being taught a lesson. He says that project based learning is really creating a project that requires the students learning the material you want them to know in order to complete the project. In other words, it is creating a project where in order for the students to complete the project, they have to go and learn specific materials and use those skills within the project. Capps also stated four criteria to look for when creating a project based learning project. Those are create a project with an authentic audience so that the students are rewarded for their accomplishments, that peaks the students' interests, that involves community interaction to express real life situations and applications, and create a project that is driven by content. He goes on to share several examples where project based learning was not only a beneficial, but an exciting learning experience for the students who participated.

   iCurio and Discovery Education were two sources discussed by Capps and Dr. Strange. In the the video iCurio, we discover what iCurio is. iCurio is a search engine designed to search topics and filter out the unnecessary and off topic sources that typically pop up using regular search engine, making it better for students to research on. iCurio is not only a search engine, but it is a form of the cloud. Students can save and organize information they find on the internet. They simply log in to their account and get to searching. The video Discovery Education goes in depth on the benefits of Discovery Education. It is a website that provides videos for most science and social studies topics. Capps states that students often learn better from seeing and hearing, along with reading. This is another great source to use within project based learning.

From the videos of Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, I have learned how beneficial project based learning is for students. It is proven that elementary school students are benefitting leaps and bounds by this learning method. For more of the videos of Capps and Dr. Strange, click the links below.

The Anthony-Strange List of Tips for Teachers Part 1

Don't Teach Tech-Use It

Additional Thought About Lessons

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Project 3 Presentation

Blog Assignment #5

Personal Learning Networks

word collage of characteristics of personal learning networks    According to Dr. Strange, a personal learning network (PLN) is a network of people, places, activities, and organizations that enable you to learn. He points out in Developing a Personal Learning Network in EDM310 that PLNs are frequently changing as new information arises. He also makes it clear that in order to take advantage of PLNs, we must change our mindsets about teaching and learning, and adapt to the world of information we live in. The easiest way to connect to a network is through social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Michael Fawcett reflects on similar ideas in his video PLN. When he began using a PLN in a short amount of time, he found a connection to dsicuss things that happen in the classroom, and finding tools to use in the classroom. He believes that PLNs are extremely important tools for the classroom teacher. It promotes professional development, and allows you to connect with other teachers around the world.
   PLNs can give you information on new teaching developments you have never heard of before. They are formed by connecting through social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. I began my own PLN using a Twitter account by following other educators that frequently post about their classrooms, and who blog about new ways to use technology in the classroom. The firts person I added to my PLN was my first Comment4Teacher assignment Vicki Davis, who I have found to be very resourceful through posts and tutorials.

This is a very good explanation of how Twitter can be used to develop a Personal Learning Network by Danny Maas.
Managing a Personal Learning Network Using Twitter & Hootsuite

Project 7 Videos

Click here to go to My Sentence Video on Youtube!

Click here to go to My Passion Video on Youtube!

Click here to go to Welcome Parents Video on Youtube!

Click here to go to Welcome Students Video on Youtube!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Project 15: Search Engines

There are many search engines out in the big wide world of the internet, and believe it or not, there are more search engines than just Google! The goal of this project is to expand our searching options and discover different ways to find information than just using Google. Here, I will provide a summary of eight search engines and links to each so that you can explore them and learn more about them for yourself. Click the the search engine name above the review to see it for yourself.
Formerly known as Ask Jeeves, is a search engine that has fallen down in the ranks of search engines with the rise of Google. is about the same as Google, except you can usually find slightly different sources that Google doesn't pull up. Google usually finds the most popular sources when you search for things, and gives you the 100th page Google sources without having to search through 100 pages of sources. When you pull up their website, they usually want you to "ask" something and when you hit the "answer" button, it gives you what it has found. It also has these really cool, and relevant to history and current events, question of the day. logo

Kayak is the travel search engine that any vacationer wants to know about. This search engine takes the destination you are searching for, and "compares hundreds of travel site at once" saving you up to 25% off guaranteed. This is what they advertise on their home page. From searching hotels and "flights on this site just to get an idea of the site, it proves to be more useful than other search engines that show you every travel site, leaving you on your own to navigate the maze of prices on your own. Kayak does all of that work for you.

Picsearch is a search engine similar to Google images, that allows you search the internet for strictly pictures. It allows over 3 billion images to search through, which also provide links to websites they are located on. Again, this is similar to Google images, except it isn't Google images. I particularly am fond of how you don't have to worry about accidentally searching in the non-image web search bar. It's only pictures. logo

WolframAlpha is not only a useful search engine that acts as an updated almanac, but is also a math nerd's best friend. WolframAlpha is my favorite of all the search engines, mainly because it functions as a calculator that can solve a broad spectrum of problems. It derives and integrates functions. It plots lines and planes in 2D and 3D spaces. It will tell you what the temperature is in Toronto (that is, if you want to know the temperature in Toronto). If what your searching has a number attached to it, then there is a good chance that WolframAlpha knows how to give you the answer that you are searching for.
WolframAlpha logo

Yahoo! search engine is the second largest search engine on the world wide web. It is popular for its email services, its simple to use search bar, and its access to the world today. Yahoo! provides articles to Hot Topics in the news, celebrity gossip, and location services. Its operations are similar to Google, where you type in what you want to know and it gives you sources to look for what you are trying to find.
Yahoo! logo

Bing is another search engine that is similar to Yahoo! and Google. Bing is known for being owned by Microsoft, and for filtering search results so that you don't see unrelated information. It provides you with several types of sources such as videos, pictures, articles, and websites when you search a topic. I do not often use Bing; however, it does prove to be useful when meshing sources.

IceRocket is a search engine that I am sure everyone in EDM310 is probably thankful for. It is a search engine that searches blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. It searches the information to bring you the most recent posts related to what you searched. Their homepage shows recent searches, top searches, and trending items.
IceRocket logo

ChaCha is the question answerer. You can access ChaCha via text message, or on the internet. You ask it a question, and a person from ChaCha responds with an answer to your question. It was very popular to use when I was in high school; however, reasons for usage were mainly just to cheat on graded assignments. I think it is cool how it is accessible without getting on the internet. It gives you information by simply just sending the search engine a question.
ChaCha logo


   For my first two C4T assignments, I was assigned to Vicki Davis's blog Cool Cat Teacher. Davis not only writes her own posts, but also provides posts written by others that are also very resourceful.

   For C4Ta#1 I read/watched her post 50+ Ways to Use Technology in the Classroom. In this video post, she introduces her two-step strategy for innovation and change. The first she shares is to "Innovate like a turtle", which means to basically just move forward in adapting the classroom slowly and steadily. You do not have to become a techonology wizard over night. It only takes small steps at a time to progress your classroom into becoming a technology based classroom. The second step is to always have your "Big 3" list, which is a list of three goals or things that you want to learn or accomplish for your classroom. She goes on from there to list many different things you can do in the classroom that will make it more tech savvy.

Vicki Davis headshot

   For C4Ta#2, I read Davis's post "ECM #149 OER: TEACHING WITHOUT TRADITIONAL TEXTBOOKS". This was a review of a show with Amy Pace, a Presidential Award winning science teacher who is on a committee of outstanding teachers that create their own textbooks for their students to use. It is a source to save money, and it is also better tool for the classroom. These textbooks are revised every year by a committee who use the feedback of other teachers that use these textbooks. It allows for teachers to put information that they know students are going to need to know, and what will be taught. It also allows for more emphasis to be put on specific topics that may need it, but do not get it by large publishing companies. These textbooks meet state standards and are widely used in the state of Utah. Davis posts links to listen to this interview on iTunes and online.

Vicki Davis does a phenomenal job on her blog. She used technology to her advantage. She is very tech savvy, and I believe her blog is very resourceful for more topics than just technology in general.

Blog Assignment #4

Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?

   When I've tutored students in the past, I've always wondered why I got so many empty stares from the students when I would ask them simple questions on whether or not they understood the topic we were covering. I have discovered the reason why through trying to find out the answer to this simple question: "What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?"I discovered that I was asking questions the wrong way.
   I have discovered that there is such a thing as a "right way" to ask a question to a class. In the article, The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom, by Ben Johnson, Johnson addresses this point from the very beginning. He begins with pointing out that teachers need to accept the fact that they do not know everything, and when we act as if we do then begin to ask the students silly questions it confuses the students. Students need more than yes or no questions from the teacher. When we ask them yes or no questions, they will usually just answer the question with the majority of the class instead of making themselves look like they don't understand. Johnson addresses these dynamics further in his article, making it seem as if there is a student hierarchy established amongst students. Johnson also states that, "...sometimes the students do not understand, and if they do not know what they do not know, there is no way that they can ask a question about it". That would be a reason to not ask students yes or no questions. He says that the best way to approach asking questions that test for understanding is to ask higher order thinking questions. He also suggests not singling students out to answer questions in class, because it causes the other students to not think about the answer for themselves.
   Joanne Chesley's youtube video Asking better questions in the classroom addresses these same points as Johnson does. Chesley states that professors often find students unresponsive in class, and when it comes to answering questions they are simple answers. According to Chesley, that is caused by teachers asking questions that are close ended questions that require yes or no answers. She states that when teachers ask questions that are close ended, students often give the response that the teacher asks for and teachers do not realize it. She suggests open ended questions that can have personalized answers and require more thinking than just guessing yes or no.
   The article Asking Questions to Improve Learning provides amazing examples of questions to ask in the classroom and why you should ask them. The strategies they share for asking questions are also great. It, too, examines the use of higher order thinking questions in the classroom. A few points that were made in this article that really struck me as things I should know about asking questions to become an effective educator are follow a yes-or-no question with an additional question, create questions that are centered around the coursework that is being presented to the class in that lecture, and ask questions that can have several answers so that the students can think about others answers and provide their own arguments and support. It causes the students to think about the material more in depth, and to form their own ideas on the material being studied.
   The basic things to know about asking questions are to not ask yes or no questions, ask open ended questions that lead to debate or discussion, and ask questions that reflect the course material being covered in that class period. In order to ask questions that are effective for students learning and understanding, we have to find out what makes our students think. We also need to find ways to make sure our questions are making students form their own opinions about the material, and also help the students to realize if they really understand the material or not.

Students Asking Questions Clipart Images & Pictures - Becuo

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blog Assignment #3

How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback to Your Peers?

pencil and paper clipart

   The best way to provide meaningful feedback to your peers is through peer editing. Peer editing is defined as working with someone your own age to improve one anothers' writing skills by the video What is Peer Editing? and the slideshow Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial. These two gave important instructions to peer editing. They both had three rules to follow: stay positive, be specific, and follow the three steps of editing. The three steps of editing are very useful and are usually included in the average writing rubric, which you saw being used by students in the video Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes. The first step is to begin by complimenting the writer. The second step is to give suggestions to the writer; this is where being specific comes into play. You should give suggestions on word choice, details, organization, sentences, and topic (What is Peer Editing?). According to Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial, making suggestions means to "give the author some specific ideas about how to make his or her writing better". The slideshow goes on further, giving examples of how to make suggestions. The third step is to make corrections. When making corrections, it is important to use proofreading symbols such as those shown in What is Peer Editing?. You should also be sure to be specific in what corrections need to be made. Both the video What is Peer Editing? and the slideshow Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial are specific on what important corrections you should look out for: punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, and spelling.

   I was unaware that there were actual rules to proofreading. I knew that you should always proofread in a kind manner, but I definitely learned the rules to peer editing from these sources. The video Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes shows great examples of how peer editing can go wrong. I can honestly say that I am guilty of being a "Mean Margaret" and an "Off-Task Oliver". Watching the students in the video did show me just how unproductive it is when students do not care about the peer editing process, are mean to one another, do not stay on topic, and take advice personally. I also learned that students can use rubrics just as productively as teachers can. In the 10 Mistakes video, the students were referring to a rubric while peer editing each others' work, and it showed to be very productive for improving their writing.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blog Assignment #2

What will teaching in the 21st century be like?
virtual classroom student and teacher clipart

Mr. Dancealot
   The central message of this video is that you should always teach in a way that your students will be able to perform course goals or objectives. In this video, the class was a social dancing class. He presented his students with objectives that included them being able to actually dance the different styles he taught, and getting to know another as fellow students. When the professor began to teach, he taught in a way that was opposite of how you would expect the class to be taught. Every class meeting was a sit down lecture with powerpoints in a dimly-lit auditorium where the students appeared very disinterested and were discouraged from talking to one another. At the end of the video, the students were expected to be able to perform all of the dances he taught them in lecture as their final example. Keep in mind that never once did he have the students stand up and try these dances in class. He never gave them one-on-one personal instruction to help them during class. He taught them in a manner that made their final exam seem like an impossible challenge to complete. A classroom should never be taught in that manner. I believe that was the conclusion he was making in the video when he showed all of the students trying to use their notes and implement those notes for a final grade. The students were very confused, and appeared to not know how to perform any of the dances they were supposed to know for the final exam. I agree that the class was taught incorrectly. The students did not learn to adapt the skills they were given in the classroom lectures, and as we saw were left dumbfounded in a ballroom when the time for their final exam came. It was not fair to the students to be evaluated in that way, given the method of instruction.

Teaching in the 21st Century
Roberts in Teaching in the 21st Century thinks that teaching in the 21st century means to adapt our curriculum and teaching methods to use the technology at hand to assist in the classroom, and to use to our advantage.

Teaching in the 21st Century
I. The role of the teacher is becoming obsolete
  A. Teachers are not the main source of knowledge
  B. Students use technology as a source of information
    1.Students can find information on "anything, anytime, anywhere"
      a. Social media
      b. Google
      c. Youtube
  C. Curriculum shouldn't be focused on facts, content, or skills
II. Technology is not a distraction to the student
  A. It is a resource
  B. It is a way to solve problems
  C. It improves technology skills
  D. Teachers should teach students how to solve problems and develop technology skills in the classroom
  E. Technology is not used to entertain
    1. It is used to engage students
III. Teachers should provide meaningful and powerful engagement
  A. Teachers should encourage teh use of technology in the classroom
  B. Teachers should shape lessons and instructions to fit the new style of learning
IV. Teachers should incorporate technology into the classroom
  A. Use technology to gather and discuss data
  B. Introduce reliable resources
  C. Get studetns to establish and evaluate work
  D. Beneficial to struggling students

   I believe that Roberts views the change to teaching correctly. With the technology of today advancing more everyday, there will soon become a day where teachers are no longer needed for teaching, and will only be used for guidance. For instance, online courses in college have very little instructor interaction. All of the work is done individually online; the only thing the instructor really does is set up what assignments the students will complete, and remind the students when said assignments are due. There are homeschooling programs that are set up for K-12 students that are set up the same way. The role of the classroom teacher is becoming obsolete. As an educator, it is almost intimidating. I may finish my degree work and soon be out of a job due to places such as Khan Academy and professors on Youtube providing instructional videos on how to solve different types of math problems. You can learn an entire level of mathematics on your own if you are able to learn on your own. For the time being, it will only benefit me as an educator. With resources such as those, I will be able to refer them to my students who need additional assistance in learning subjects--especially when students are working on homework and are not in the classroom setting.

The Networked Student

   The video The Networked Student did not surprise me. The skills that the student used contained most of the skills I was required to use myself as a high school student. Some of those skills, such as networking blogs and connecting with other students by means of sharing links and skyping, were not required of me until I was in college. I wasn't aware that iTunes U was actually a way to find lectures from college professors teaching around the country. The answer to "why does the networked student need a teacher?" is that they need a teacher to teach them to become a networked student. They need someone to show them what resources are useful and reliable. The teacher's role is still important to the networked student. The teacher has to initiate the reason for a student to become networked.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

   The thesis to Davis' video is that networking students and allowing them to use technology to learn how to complete tasks on their own is not only fulfilling and encouraging to the student, but it helps the students to learn. Not every student can learn from just paper and pencil work, as she states. Allowing students to go and find their own information and figure out how to perform tasks not only puts students ahead technologically, but also teaches them that knowledge doesn't have to be spoon fed to them. Davis reflects the same ideas as Roberts and the creator of The Networked Student. She promotes group-based learning, which we are seeing more of around South's campus, where a group of students learn one part of a lesson and come back to and teach the rest of the class that part. In some cases, as Davis stated, the students end up educating her on some of the lessons she gives them to learn. I feel it is very empowering to the student.

Who's Ahead in the Learning Race

   Dr. Strange has made it blatantly obvious in his video that elementary school students are ahead in the learning race when it comes to using technology in the classroom. The majority of college level students do not know how to perform the tasks that the elementary students were doing on their own in the video. My position in this race would probably be close to a tie with one of those third graders in the video. I have used almost all of the programs that they were using in the past before joining EDM310. I may not be 100% proficient in using every single program, but I know how to use the programs well enough to perform tasks, and to learn how to use them more proficiently. I am not completely out of the race just yet. The elementary school students just had a headstart is all.

Flipping The Classroom

Flipping a classroom is not new to me. I have discussed this idea for a math class with people who are currently teaching in another state. College math professors like to have students go home and read the lesson in the book and work problems before coming to class the next day prepared with questions the students may have. Seeing how this works in a college setting, I have become a skeptic to how this would prove resourceful in a high school setting. Many students fail to go over the material before coming to class, so the likelihood of having an entire class of students who have actually watched your video lesson, and did the assigned practice problems before coming to class would be very small, in my opinion. I believe that setting it up so that you teach your students the lesson, assign them problems to do, and then post review videos on solving the problems would be more enriching. They would be able to see the lesson taught more than once if need be. Setting up a day for peer review and learning for the more challenging part of the lessons, and individual question answering after they have a chance to learn it from you and work on it by themselves would be more realistic and helpful.