Saturday, March 26, 2011

C4K #4-#6 Summary

C4K #4
I was assigned to Samson's Blog.  Samson is a student at Pt. England in New Zealand.  He is a year 7 student.  When I visited this blog I noticed there is only one post here.  It simply stated, in one sentence, who he was and what class he was in.  It was posted last week.  I am not sure if they just started these blogs, but I commented asking Samson why his posts were not more frequent.  I wanted to know this to know how students feel about blogging and what may hold them back.

C4K #5
I was assigned to Ms. Jenny She.  Unfortunately I was late posting my comment for the first time.  I did not have a number by my name to count down, but I just read the most recent post and posted on it.  It was a video made by Lomio-Lee.  He is a student in ms. Jenny She's class.  This is the way she uses her blog.  She had a student make a video every week about what they did during the weekend.  Lomio Lee went to a rugby game and really enjoyed it. 

I read a blog made by Year 4/5 students in Taurange, N.Z.  I really like how interactive the class has made this blog.  There are things to watch, read, and listen to.  The post I was assigned to was a type of powerpoint that focused on what respect was and what it looked like in practice.  I really like the way this is used.  I think that this is a great opportunity to teach character education in a unique way.

Blog Post # 9

For this assignment we read Mr. Mc Clung's post "What I've Learned This Year."  This was his own personal reflection on what he learned throughout his first year of teaching.  I really enjoyed reading this post.  I feel like as teachers (and future teachers) we often forget these very fundamental ideas.  I really liked what he said about being flexible.  Mr. McClung said that in his own intership he would strive to write the perfect lesson-but that perfect lesson is unreachable because inevitably something will go wrong, or a student will ask you a great question which will lead you off topic.  As long as the students are learning though this lesson is as perfect as it gets.  I think what he said about being reasonable is also very important.  I think that as teachers we often want more than what our students are able to give them.  I even see this in college.  We must remember that these students are still kids-they need to be able to spend some of their free time on things other than school work.  And our class is not the only class that they have.  I think that this is where the communication issue comes in.  We need to, not only communicate clearly with our students what is expected of them, but we should also communicate with other teachers.  Teachers almost never colaborate on projects.  It is so easy to combine multiple subjects into one project but teachers don't work together to create these projects.  We must communicate with those we work with in order to make not only the best work environment for ourselves, but also the best learning environment for our students. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blog Assignment #8

google images
This is How We Dream-Parts 1 and 2
I think This is How We Dream brought up a good point: How often do we actually write with pen and paper? It's not often.  I know personally I take notes on my computer during class.  When I have a question about something I rarely look for it in a book, I look online.  We don't write papers anymore, we are expected to type them and turn them in.  There is rarely an instance that we actually use pen and paper anymore.

Typically we see children learn to write with pen and paper in the elementary setting.  This is still something that is used in the early school years, but even as students enter middle and high school they are expected to begin to type their papers and present everything in a professional manner-not with pen and paper.  That means that we need to prepare students for this from an early age.

I believe that is is still important to have good handwriting and to know how to do this in the proper way.  I also believe that we should begin teaching our students as early as possible how to type and to write using multimedia outlets.  The same grammatical rules apply so this could easily be used in a language arts setting.  If we introduce this at an early age we will not have to deal with unprepared students when they reach that higher level.

The Chipper Series & EDM 310 for Dummies
I really enjoyed these two videos.  I think the EDM 310 is something that should be created.  This class is a class like none other and when you sign up for the class there is no way you can possibly be prepared for everything that will be required for you.  I think you should include this as the first blog post for those who do not watch it early on. 
If I was creating a video for EDM 310 I would make a Do's and Don'ts video.  I would include tips like DO read the class blog daily.  And DON'T get behind-you WON'T catch up.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
I think this video brought up a good point-one that has been brought up many times in this class- students can learn through other means than the teacher.  The video points out the excessively stimulating environment students live in in todays world.  The environment that they experience outside of school is much more stimulating than the school environment.  This is partialy due to the fact that we have banned the things that are so stimulating to them outside of school, such as social networks and cell phones, within the schools.  These things are sources of learning that, as teachers, we should be trying to capitalize on in some way.  But, as I have said before, I am not necessarily a supporter of completely relying on these types of sources. 

RSAnimate-The Secret Powers of Time and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
I really thought these videos were entertaining.  They were interesting to watch and they also showed an important message.  The Secret Powers of Time proposes there are six different ways we look at time.  We either look at the past and focus on regret or focus on "the good ole days".  If we are looking at the present times then we either believe we are stuck where we are or we just don't see any point on planning the future.  Those that are focused on the future feel a drive to make them better. 

The second video was equally interesting-it proposed the idea that when a certain amount of cognitive skill is involved in a process rewards do not work.  This shocked me.  I think these two videos and the ideas they propse are linked to the current trends in education.  People are not motivated to succeed.  The types of incentives we are using the motivate these students are no longer working.  We have got to have the students motivating themselves instead of us motivating them.  This motivation must come from within.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Project #11

Project #10-PLN

My Personal Learning Network is something I am beginning to work on.  I have started using blogger to post and share my ideas about many different ideas.  I have also begun to explore the use of Twitter.  During my time in EDM I have also begun to discover the many uses of applications available through Google such as sharing documents.  I have made some connections this semester with current teachers and future teachers.  I will continue to explore these outlets and make more connections. 

C4T #2

I was assigned to Stven Anderson.  His blog can be found at  I found his opinion on matters very interesting.  His first post that I read was about the revolt in Egypt and how it applies to the classroom.  He said that we should be using social media in the classroom in an effective way and creating a revolution in Education in the same way that we saw done in Egypt. (I would like to clarify here that he is not suggesting a violent revolution but a change in the way we use social media.)  I hqave mixed feelings about social networks in the classroom.  I do agree with Mr. Anderson that there are many very effective ways to use social media.  I am however also aware of students and their use of social media.  They do not use it to just make connections or to learn, they use it to gossip and find out what is going on over the weekend.  This leads me to the second post of Mr. Anderson's that I read and posted to.  This second post was about the way people are now using social networks as a veil of annonymity.  People say things on the internet they would never even think of saying outloud to someone.  This is one of the negatives of social media.  One of my favorite parts of this post was the rules a friend of his had prebiously posted and he copied here on his blog.  They were as follows:
What do we tell kids about comments on blogs, online articles, Facebook status updates?
  2. If you disagree, you can do so without attacking another person’s character.
  3. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t type it online.
  4. Remember, there are human beings on the other end.
  5. Remember, you are also a human being.
  6. Rule #1 is really all you need.
I think that this is something all users of social media need to read and apply.  I know that in our own area of Mobile there have been some issues with students bringing weapons to school to settle fights started on Facebook.  Too many people are using these outlets in a negative way.  Overall I really agree with Mr. Anderson's posts and that social media, if used in the correct way, can be a tool but people must apply the rules!

C4K #3

Unfortunately I forgot to post my C4K post last week.  I was assigned to sb 2011 in Mr. Wolf's class.  This student is a student here in Birmingham.  I like that Mr. Wolfe's students do not use their names for their blogs.  I think this is a very good idea for privacy reasons.  This student uses this blog to post about books he or she has read.  I think this is a great way to introduce blogs and to use literature with them. 

Blog Post Assignment #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch gave a lecture at MIT after being diagnosed with cancer. As is customary at MIT, when a professor is about to leave the University he or she gives a "Last Lecture", unfortunately this was actually Randy Pausch's last lecture ever.   In this lecture he tells about how to reach your childhood dreams. Here I will discuss some of the techniques he uses in his teaching.

Randy Pausch's main focus is hands on learning. His ALICE project is totally hands on. He teaches his students by letting them learn from experience. I believe that hands on teaching is the best kind of teaching.  Students can have a visual and kinesthetic representation of what the lesson is about.   You can tell students anything a million times and they may memorize it well enough to pass a test but if they can show you how they have mastered the concept you know they really understand it.

Another focus of Randy Pausch is to push his students to be better. In his lecture he tells about how when he first started the program and the students did much better on a project than they ever expected. He told them "That was good. But I know you can be better." He did this because he didn't know what they were capable of so he didn't know where to set the bar. Because of his lack of knowledge he continued to move the bar higher and higher. By telling them this he showed them they could do better.

He also believes in critiquing his students. He told a story from when he was playing football as a younger child and his football coach had been very hard on him. Another coach came up to him and told him that critiques are a great compliment because when someone stops critiquing you it means they have given up on you. When someone cares enough to critique you it means that they care and they still believe in you. As teachers we should constantly be critiquing our students.  We need to be telling them what they can improve on and making them better people and preparing them to make them to make an impact on the world, not just to pass the test and move onto the next class.