Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Final Blog Post(#16)


As an aspiring mathematics teacher for 9th grade high school algebra, I have some technology tools in mind to use to help me teach and to help my students learn. Blogging, YouTube videos, SMARTboard presentations, and Google searching would be my tech tools of choice. Tablets would be only a perk since I know people do not have them and can be quite expensive, especially for a nice one. I will also of course have the traditional pen/pencil and paper learning for my class, math is hard to grasp without it.

I will blog over the weekend, to give students an idea of what to prepare for over the week. I will make my blogs informative and motivating, filling it with useful tips and ideas from myself, my own students(past and present), and other people from around the world. This will be done in video format, in quotes, or in some other way to get the idea across in a meaningful manner. I will also make sure my students are reading my blog by posting one week a month that we will be having a pop-quiz on a certain day in the beginning of class and for everyone to prepare for it. Those who complain will be the ones I know who do not read what I blog, and I will inform them again the advantages of reading it.

On my blog would be YouTube videos, helpful and insightful. They would be of me, my students, and some helpful TEDtalks videos. I will encourage my students to think of creative math ideas or post about my class and submit the videos to me and I will put them up on my blog after reviewing them. I will also encourage students to use Google searches for YouTube ideas to give me so I can put them up on my blog. My own videos will be sort of a review for the week, giving students a refresher of the week what we have went over and giving students who were out sick an idea of what we have learned throughout the week.

SMARTboard presentations are a must have in almost every education setting. They are useful by bringing the student up to the board and having the board interact with the student in positive ways. I can have students doing math problems up on the board and can go onto the next page of problems. I will have fun contests between students to bring out the best in themselves. SMARTboards will also make my teaching life easier, easy-to-use tools make it that way, and with access to the internet, if I do not know how to explain something efficiently, I can find out with ease. No chalky mess and no marker streaks that are impossible to get rid of, SMARTboards are clean to use too. Overall, technology in the class will improve the ease and fun of the class.

In my first blog post of the semester, I talked about what my ideal school would be like. I talked about the school system as a whole, talking about having specialized schools to cater to students with great potential in certain subjects. I stick by that general idea, but there are some changes I have thought of after taking EDM310. Blogging, YouTube videos, and SMARTboards should be done by teachers. It would be foolish to not incorporate those tools into the 21st century classroom.

We live in a world where being as transparent as possible is a wonderful thing, why can't teachers be the same way? Blogging and YouTube videos with the teacher may require some extra work, but the reward from students' appreciation is more than enough satisfaction to do more and more. Proper use of SMARTboards would be just about required for every classroom. I have seen the advantages of the tech and it can do everything a regular blackboard can do but then so much more, it doesn't change blackboard learning, it enhances it. Teaching in the 21st century has changed away from the traditional way of teaching only by a little bit, but in time it that change will become greater. It is up to teachers and aspiring teachers to make sure we don't fall short in that change from traditional learning to 21st century learning.

PART 2 Video:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15

Blog #15 by: Eric Merryman, Ronald Griffin, and Cameron Hall.
What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher? Select a few and discuss how they may be useful to you.

While trying to be a math teacher, I never realized that the blind would have the issue stated in this video from Professor Art Karshmer. He stated that blind students would have problems visualizing how to set up problems to solve, by unable to see how to line them up. Braille is unable to help as well because it doesn’t line up the problems in the proper way. My personal belief is that anyone can learn math if taught the right way, and in the case of blind students, the right way involves assistive technology.

Professor Art Karshmer in the video uses a talking computer with a matrix grid that has pieces that are registered as numbers. This reminds me of a digital talking chess board, similar layout, it says where you put the piece, just it is with flat pieces that have braille on them to say what number the piece is. This is rather ingenious, it is difficult to tell a blind person what to see on paper, but with assistive technology, it can help them see the concept of math that is on their paper.

Math-to-speech is an important tool for blind students and teachers of blind students alike. However it is limited, according to Design Science and Educational Testing Service
. Does the speech of certain mathematical expressions, in the case of fractions, sound like one-third or one-over-three? Design Science and ETS are both working hard to improve on the tech, which is good, improvements can always be made. Making the lives easier for students that have a hard time learning is important. Everyone, no matter what disability they have, have the right to an education, and we as teachers must do what we can to make it possible.

There are many great assistive technologies available for teachers. Two important aspects of assistive technology are understanding students’ disabilities and selecting the appropriate assistive technology that is available for those students. These two concepts go hand in hand. If a teacher has a solid grasp on the disabilities in his or her classroom, then selecting the right assistive technology becomes much easier. Also, having extensive knowledge on the available assistive technologies leads to accurate pairings between programs and students.

The first assistive technological program I would like to mention is JAWS screen reader.  JAWS screen reader is a computer program that allows students with blindness to use a computer.  The program reads text on a computer screen and allows for easy navigation on the computer.  This program is perfect for any classroom that uses technology.  Throughout this semester many educational technologies have been discussed, and it has become evident how some of these technologies can be a game changer in the classroom. Unfortunately, disabilities can sometimes hinder the use on all available technology.  Programs like JAWS fill the void that certain disabilities create and enable disabled students to benefit from technology.  A simple example would be iCurio. iCurio is an amazing resource for students to research specific topics and gain an abundance of knowledge. Now, insert JAWS and students who are suffering from blindness can immediately benefit from this great resource.

Many schools are now utilizing iPads for their students, so it makes sense to use application programs as a form of assistive technology.  Dragon Dictation is a great application for students with little or no use of their hands. Just like Jaws, Dragon Dictation bridges the gap for students who are not able to use a computer without assistance.  Dragon Dictation allows one to use their voice to type text on a computer.  There are a lot of educational systems that use computer programs as an intricate part of the curriculum.  Dragon Dictation is a great assistive technology that allows schools to integrate more computer related education.  

Having a disability should never be a catalyst to second rate education.  Using programs like JAWS and Dragon Dictation are good ways to put assistive technology to use. As a teacher, one should be aware and have a good understanding of the assistive technologies that are available. Having a solid knowledge of these things can be the difference between a disabled student getting the education they need and rightly deserve and being left out in the cold fighting with their disability.

In an English classroom setting, I feel that direct feedback about understanding is necessary to adapt to every student’s learning capabilities. Using the Mountbatten Braille Writer allows for this feedback in the classroom. It allows for both audio and tactile feedback which I think provides a wide range of ways for the teacher to efficiently meet the needs of that particular student. The program is very advanced, doing things a computer would and being a learning tool itself for those who do not know braille. I love this because it gives the student an opportunity to work in peer groups and not feel excluded or different from others in the classroom. For an English class, I think this could be a very useful tool for both me and the student. For the student, it gives them a way to be on  the same accord with the rest of the class, not having separate less challenging work. For the teacher, I can understand the students needs a bit more and become a more efficient teacher for them.

I also came across the Special 2 Me blog. I really loved this blog because it really hit home for me. I have worked in a lot of low income, inner city schools. People sometimes seem to think that the students who attend these schools are only troublemakers who simply do not care about their education. Well I beg to differ. I love these students and they are the only ones who I would really want to work with. This blog talks about a fairly new teacher taking over a new classroom. She let her students set their physical boundaries and she respected their wishes. She was not scared of her students. She let them know who’s classroom it was and that she sets the tone and rules each and every time they walk in the door. With this attitude she was able to change one student who was starting to cause problems from the start. It seems like instead of walking into this inner city school thinking the kids it possesses are a problem, she walked in with an attitude knowing that they are students who want to learn like everyone else. In my own personal experience, some of these students just want to know that their teachers care.

School has become an outlet for some of the trouble-making students and with them maybe not having the proper support from home, we have to take on the role of supporter, parent, friend and teacher. I loved this blog because it shows us future first year teachers that we can not have attitudes about our students before we even meet them. Also that the classroom period is all about progress: progress of our students, of our classroom and importantly of ourselves as growing teachers.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Final Report on PLN Project #2

Sybaloo, a source of information all bundled together at my finger tips. I have added BloggerDiscovery Ed, social media Twitter and FacebookYouTubeGoogle Docs, and even some thinking music from Pandora. Overall the application has been wonderful, I learned that there is an app on apple/android phones, but I have yet to use it, but I plan on doing so eventually. I have removed icurio from my Symbaloo, since I have lost access to it and am unsure of when I may use it again, however I will add it back(it's easy to do so) when I come across it again. I have plenty of more space, but that will change over the years and looking forward to it. Now that I am thinking about it, I should go ahead and add TEDtalks to my Symbaloo. Take care everyone and thank you for introducing us to Symbaloo Dr. Strange!

Blog Post #14

Watch the following video and answer the following question "What is flipping the classroom and what are your thoughts?"

What is flipping the classroom and what are your thoughts?

Flipping the classroom is essentially having lecture at home and having homework done in school. This is meant to be so that students have more hands on learning on subjects and have help directly available from the teacher. Lecture at home is done in the form of videos and this can be just pure lecture or it can be an interactive lecture.

According to the video is a science teacher who has flipped his classroom and mentions how he has more time with his students this way. This seems like a great way for students to participate in school activities and lessons, since the teacher has the whole class period to help them. Another wonderful thing is that flipping the classroom is open and flexible, where you don't have to flip all of the lessons, you can just do one lesson per chapter, and get the students' voice and opinion in on it.

My concerns though are that this can end up being a lot of work for the teacher, unless planned out really well and everything is double checked. Internet issues can also become awry, students may have something stopping them from watching the video, either on the download side or the upload side. This would ruin the lesson plan made for the next day and can cause a slowdown. Another concern is that students are able to ask questions in the middle of a lecture if they do not understand something, and I can show another way of looking at it or use another example or give emphasis what they need to focus on in the traditional classroom. If they have questions about the lecture, their questions would have to wait until the next day and they may forget what to ask and would slow down the lesson plan.

A lot of time and work is needed by the teacher to make flipping the classroom to be effective, a lot more than normal(as mentioned by this other YouTube video). The results when effective are really good for the teacher and the students(since they wouldn't have homework in the class during the flipped times). As for my concerns, the internet issue could be solved by putting lectures onto a data disc or inexpensive thumb-drive as long as the students don't lose the physical media. I will have to look more into it in the coming years and experiment with it as a teacher to see how well it works.

SMARTboard Lesson Plan Project #12 Part B

The last C4T

In the first blog post Nico Rowinsky made that I commented on was about his students asking, "Is this gonna be on the test?" while he is giving lecture. He mentions that he responds to this saying, "Yes, thinking will be on the test." Slyly not giving the answer students were looking for.
My response was how this is true everywhere, including in classes I attend as a student and that I plan on using these sly remarks as well to my future students.

In the second blog post Nico Rowinsky made that I commented on was a series of YouTube videos of students and math. Nine videos were made, and the videos impressed Mr. Rowinsky. The assignment was if you had 30 seconds to tell the world about math, what would it be? and the results were different and creative.
My response was how publishing on the web through something such as YouTube puts pressure on kids to perform well but not so much pressure that they feel overwhelmed, so it is good for teachers to do this. That students watch YouTube every day and it is also a good idea to have them learn how to use it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Post #13

Blog Post #13
Created by: Eric Merryman, Cameron Hall, and Ronald Griffin

Eric - Mae Jemison: Teach Arts and Sciences Together

Mae Jemison’s video “Teach Arts and Sciences Together” is her saying that, as the title suggests, art and science aren’t two separate subjects. That there is a common misconception between intuitive and analytical. How scientists are ingenious but not creative and how artists are ingenious but not analytical. Mae Jemison says that by separating these two into such dichotomy we force people into a choice of being either analytical but not creative or creative but not analytical. Why can’t we be both?

She also mentions that many scientific advancements came around due to creative thinking, such as fiber optics, compact discs, and flat screen televisions, to name a few. She says by cutting the link between art and science we stunt our growth and hinder further advancement. I agree with her that science and art can be and should be taught together, just as she quoted Einstein on how there is beauty in the mysteries of the universe and how that it is the source of all art and science.

I would say let’s also go further on this. Not only teach the arts and sciences together, but also other subject materials. The basis for her argument was about how subjects are one in the same, specifically art and science, but still there is room to grow. Language and the arts are already taught to be the same as language arts, but what about math and physical education? Many more subjects can be taught to compliment one another, since all subjects are connected with each other. Mae Jemison’s proposal is just the start and I hope educators will go further on it.

Cameron - I have learned a lot from Shane Koyczan’s video, To This Day… for the bullied and the beautiful. Shane Koyczan begins with talking about the popular quote, “Stand Up for Yourself” and how at some point we are all told that. He talks about how that directly relates with definition: we are expected to define ourselves and if we don’t someone will do it for us. Defining ourselves comes from two places: what others have for us (peers) and when we are asked what we want to be (parents/teachers). Agreeing with Shane, I think that unfair question confuses and discourages kids. In a way, I even think it can be a form of bullying from the people they are supposed to look up to. We ask them what they want to be, but shoot down their answers because we do not like them. This affects their own dreams and what they feel like they can do.
“Standing up for yourself doesn’t have to mean embracing violence,” Shane says. I think this is a great thing we should tell our students. Outsmarting can go so much further than violence against another person. He says that we should teach our students and our children that standing up for themselves is being yourself and accepting yourself while making others do so as well.

Shane also talks about how bullying really affects us. The sticks and stones rhyme only goes so far. The way I can best see it, is that the words we are called stick with us forever and hurt like stone. They affect us later on in life: in our jobs, in our relationships, and mainly in all of our interactions. I think Shane’s main point in this is to tell us that we can not tell others how to feel especially when it comes to bullying. The sticks and stones rhyme ending with “...but words will never hurt me” is a prime example of this. Instead of telling them how they should feel or how they should take it we should teach them on how to dea;

Ronald - Several great things can be learned from the video Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education.  In this video Salman talks in detail about Khan Academy, his created educational video series.  The founding ideas for Khan Academy came from YouTube videos Salman made to help tutor his cousins.  He received a lot of positive feedback on his videos from teachers and students alike, and soon realized he had the makings of a major educational breakthrough.  Salman ran with the opportunity and founded Khan Academy, which serves as a great technological tool for classrooms around the world.  It features over twenty two hundred educational videos, subject mastery content for students, and detailed feedback on student progress for teachers.  

The first of two educational things that I would like to talk about from Salman’s Khan Academy is giving students a solid educational foundation.  Khan Academy offers subject specific programs for students to work on that focus on mastery of that specific subject.  Salman stresses that gaining mastery on each subject is the key to students having a solid educational foundation to move forward with.  Salman made a great analogy of this concept to learning how to ride a bicycle.  He said if a student can only ride a bicycle at eighty percent proficiency, then he or she isn’t going to be ready for a unicycle.  The same concept is true of education, students must be proficient in fundamentals of a subject matter before moving on to more difficult areas of that subject.  Having a higher level of mastery can be the difference between future failure in a subject and future success.  

The other educational point that can be learned from this video is about humanizing the classroom.  Salman points out that many people view humanizing the classroom as having a good teacher to student ratio, but he offers a different view.  He thinks humanizing the classroom is more about student to valuable human time with teacher ratios.  Khan Academy offers this alternative classroom humanization technique.  This technique can be accomplished by assigning Khan Academy video lectures as homework and then doing subject mastery homework in the classroom.  Doing this will free up teachers from lecture and allow them to spend valuable face to face time with individual students.  Khan Academy also offers spreadsheets to teachers giving detailed progress for each individual student which helps them to delegate their time with the right students on the right topics.  Also, parents can access this information to play an active role in their child’s education.

Salman’s Khan Academy is a great educational option for classrooms around the world, but maybe even more importantly it can connect classrooms from around the world.  Students who have mastered certain concepts can help other students who are having trouble with those concepts.  Ultimately, it serves as a major aid to teachers giving them more individualized or human face to face time with their students.  At the end of the day, I learned that excellent tools such as Khan Academy can make one a much more effective teacher.  These tools lighten the load on teachers and enable them to give the much needed individual attention to students that can help them better succeed.  

The Last C4K

Darius in Mrs. Lagitupu's class made a blog about his first time playing volleyball. He talks about how he was nervous at first but once he played he got better and better. Darius even gave a YouTube link to give an example of volleyball to those who may have never seen it.
My comment was how volleyball requires coordination and teamwork, which are two very important skills to learn. I mentioned how it was nice of him to include a volleyball link to give a visual example of what volleyball is, and I asked if he played inside or out on a beach and if he hasn't played out on the beach that he should, since it is really fun.

For the second C4K this time around I had the pleasure of commenting on Jaxson's blog twice, from Ms. Cassidy's class. The first blog post was a drawing of a ninja and how he will be one for Halloween.
I commented on how awesome it was for him to be a ninja for Halloween and that I was a ninja for Halloween one year, and I mentioned how good of a drawing he did.
The second blog post Jaxson made that I commented on was a picture of his painting the feeling of mad.
My comment was how he did a good job capturing the feeling of mad by how the darker colors overshadow the lighter colors.

I really enjoyed reading all of the kid's blogs and I hope I gave them encouragement with my comments. It has been a wonderful semester with these blogs and I may have future students do the same when I start teaching.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Post #12

Blog Post #12   
By: Eric Merryman, Ronald Griffin, and Cameron Hall

Eric: Changing Education Paradigms -
What we can learn from Sir Ken Robinson in the video “Changing Education Paradigms” is that the world has changed since when educational institutes were thought up and embedded into our lives. Now that the world has changed since then, so should education. We shouldn't devalue what we see as non-academic, we shouldn't lie to students saying that a college degree guarantees you a job, we shouldn't separate our kids by all of these classifications we have them in right now. Sir Ken Robinson believes we should encourage our students, wake them up and excite them.

Sir Ken Robinson states that there is a consensus that there is an ADHD epidemic, but he believes that there is no epidemic. He states that we live in a world filled with distractions that are meant to distract us, and expect our kids to focus onto something that is boring. So boring in fact, that what we focus onto devalues our divergent thinking. Divergent thinking stated in the video is the ability to think of multiple possibilities for answers, whereas in school we are taught there is only one answer, that it is in the back of the book, and to not look, else we are deemed cheaters. Children in kindergarten are genius level divergent thinkers and as they grow older they become less of a divergent thinker. This is bad because it is an anesthetic experience, shutting our senses off. We need to have aesthetic ways of thinking, where our senses are at their peak, and by being a divergent thinker is a way of telling where we are having an aesthetic experience.

In the video he states that the current education paradigm is a myth, just that we are blind to seeing it that way. He says in the last part of the video that we must think differently about human capacity, and I agree. Education is not something that can be industrialized anymore, but should rather be more individualistic and personal.

Ronald: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley -
Sir Ken Robinson goes over some great learning points in the video How to Escape Education’s Death Valley.  Ken believes the educational system is broken in America and offers several reasons why.  Ken’s first reason is the educational system is about conformity.  He highlights the No Child Left Behind Act as an example of this.  The No Child Left Behind Act focuses on conformity with testing, and Ken says this directly clashes with the human attribute of diversity.  He says education should celebrate all the different kinds of talents and diversity each student brings to the table, and not just shove each student into the tight box of standardized testing.

The next reason Ken gave for the failed educational system is lack of curiosity.  He rightly points out that if students’ curiosity could be better sparked, then learning would skyrocket.  Tapping into the interests and talents of each student is a way to reach their curiosity.Curiosity then leads to self motivated learning, which can be one of the most effective forms of learning.

Ken defined the third reason as a lack of creativity.  He says creativity is the reason humans are so diverse and interesting.  If creativity isn't used in education, we are all selling ourselves short.  Ken says the top educational systems individualize learning and promote creativity among students.  Creativity should never be overlooked.  So many everyday situations hinge on creativity.  For example, if one is half way done cooking dinner and realize they are missing an ingredient, creativity comes into play.  They then have to use some creativity to replace the missing ingredient and still make the meal taste good.  School is the perfect place to facilitate creative growth. 

In the end, Ken relates the American educational system to Death Valley, CA.  Both the educational system and Death Valley are not dead, rather dormant and with the proper nourishment they can be fruitful.  Promoting individualized learning, creativity for both students and teachers, and curiosity is Ken’s formula to bettering a dormant educational system.   

Cameron: The Importance of Creativity -

In the Ted Talks video: How Schools Kill Creativity Ken Robinson talks about how creativity is lacking in our education systems throughout the world for both students and teachers. The first part, he talks about is that education is what is taking us into the future and a lot of people cannot grasp that. The second part he talks about is the unpredictability of education. How are we to teach our students preparing them for the future, when we as teachers do not even know what things are going to be like ourselves? I personally think this is one of the greatest questions we have to ask ourselves when we teach. The third part he talks about is our students capacity for innovation. I think this is mainly where their creativity has the biggest growing point. Robinson explains that schools can take away from the natural talent, innovation and creativity our students possess.

“Creativity is as important in our education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” Robinson says that students are not afraid of being wrong, but teachers can sometimes relate “wrong” to being creative. His statement is that wrong is not always bad. Wrong creates some type of originality. In my opinion, as adults we need that really just for growing pains. Robinson also says that we criticize and critique mistakes instead of building on them. In turn we are educating people out of their creative capacities. When we take the creativity out of our students at a young age, it is removed and typically never gained back as they grow older. We get “educated out of it,” Robinson says.

Robinson says we think about the world visually, kinetically, and sound. Intelligence is dynamic and covers all movements. Acknowledging multiple types of education is apart of the creativity we have as teachers. He says we need to pass that along to our students and cultivate creativity. In order to teach our students we need to rethink our teaching processes. Our education does not need to take away from the individuality, creativity, or originality each student possesses. Stripping our students of their natural talents is not the way to go. As teachers we need to build on those talents, influence originality and let our students be creative in their intelligence. We have to teach for the unpredictable future and by doing so create students and adults that can adapt to any and every situation they can encounter.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blog Post #11

The first graders in Ms. Cassidy's class seem to be very intelligent and seem to have lots of fun with the technology in their classroom. The technology isn't necessarily hardware based, but more software and internet based. The first graders learned to use and make blogs, wikis, videos, and skype calls. They also used a hardware based technology, the Nintendo DS, which a majority of kids enjoy every day. Learning to use these tools are done over the course of one year.

In the first video I noticed that the kids while talking about blogs, mentioned that they were writing better each and every blog post, which is great. Public blogs put pressure on kids to do well, since the whole world can see their work, which helps them improve. Wikis are in a sense project based learning, the kids must learn about what they want to have the wiki be about. They can then get creative with the way the wiki is done, which is great for collaborative work. Making videos is another great learning tool for students, it teaches them the importance of presentation and critical thinking on how to produce the video. These are all tools I would use in the classroom and easy to teach, set up, and do.

A tool I would not specifically use is the Nintendo DS. It isn't that I don't like it, because I enjoy the handheld system, it is that it is getting outdated. Nintendo even stopped making their DS in favor for a newer technology. An alternative to this would be tablets. Tablets would be easier to be school funded to get, since they do not classify as a video game player such as a Nintendo DS. Tablets also perform a lot of the same major tasks, such as touch screen and fun interactive games that are educational.

A tool that I would never, and I mean never, consider is the use of Skype calls while in school. This is something that is unsecured and is easily target able by child predators. If skype or any other type of video call becomes even a semi-standard thing in public schools, the kids will become vulnerable to outside stalkers. The risk is too high for the reward and no amount of security systems in place could be enough for a persistent stalker. Having it be known that elementary schools do skype calls or any type of video chat opens a can of worms that should not be open. Skype calls are not secure and identity is not protected during this either. Video calling is fine when done at home, but not in a public area such as a school. A collection of kids in one building is a much easier target for predators to hack than it is for them to hack individual homes where they do not know they are located. Imagine video calling at home is trying to find a needle in a haystack, whereas video calling in a centralized location is finding a needle with other needles in one convenient needle box, not good.

I do hope to use technology in helping my students learn. I am sure the future will make it easier to make happen as well.

C4K #2

In my first comments for kids post, it was to "Maya Pickle" and she posted how her dream is to become a professional Mogul Skier. She says that she hopes to become one soon and that she will be working hard to become one.
My comment was that she taught me something since I have never heard of Mogul Skiing and her post caused me to look it up and see what it is online and that I do hope she does achieve her dream.

In my second comments for kids post was to "Patrick" talking about fungus, lichen, and moss. He just had a picture of moss growing on the bottom of a tree, but he explained the differences between the three.
My comment to Patrick was how that it was a good example picture he had of moss and how outdoor activities can be fun.

In my third comments for kids post was to "Jun" talking about hornfisk fishing. He mentions what a hornfisk is, even giving its scientific name for it "Belone Belone". Then he mentions a few tips on how to catch one while fishing.
My comment to Jun was how he taught me what a hornfisk was and that the picture was a great addition too(since I wouldn't of known what one would look like). Then I asked where someone could catch one and he actually responded saying that I can catch them near Ireland and Finland.

In my fourth comments for kids post was to "Naomi" with the subject "What could be a different title for a book?" Which she chooses a book her class is currently reading "Out of my mind" which she believes could be better by calling it "Being Melody: I was born this way" who is the main character of the book. Naomi says that she feels that the changed title implies what the book is about and maybe that something is wrong with the character.
My comment to Naomi was how it is good to think outside of the box(or maybe out of your mind) about a subject and that it gives a different perspective on things. I also mentioned how good her spelling is.

C4T #3

In Dave Sladkey's first post that I commented on, it was about a subject I was unfamiliar with: Classroom Flipping. Dave weighs a pros and con list on the matter, since he is on the fence about it. He mentions that flipping the classroom is having students do lecture at home and do homework in school. He ultimately decides to flip the classroom two times per chapter in the math book. Being not completely sold on the idea of it, but so far he is enjoying it.

My comment to his post was how I was unfamiliar with flipping the classroom, but he explained it in an understandable way. That it was also good of him to come up with a reasonable pros and cons list as well. I voiced my concerns about the matter of flipping the classroom, saying, "My concerns on the matter are that the classroom is enclosed and the home is not, activities have a lot more room to grow in my opinion outside of the classroom, another is that the school is where students learn how to apply things(such as mathematics) with testing to make sure they know how to apply the subject and home is where they are actually meant to apply the subject, having it be the other way around has me to believe we are not teaching them to apply what they learn at home and in the world, but have them apply what they learn in a school setting or somewhere structured." I also said that I do not have all the facts on classroom flipping, so I cannot accuratly judge the matter, but I do plan on learning more about it in the future.

In Dave Sladkey's second post that I commented on, it was about how exercise can help students in math. This was achieved by multiple videos of a P.E. teacher doing research from a university and showing that research in the school he is in currently. The most fascinating video in my opinion is the one titled "What happens to your brain after you exercise?" Where it shows brain activity of a person while having been idling and brain activity after a person has been exercising.

My comment to his post is how this interests me and how it is crazy that this is not known everywhere and that it should be. I commented how I will be looking deeper into this and going to be trying this out for myself and if I feel it is personally successful, I plan on doing this throughout my college career.

Project 10, Interview with a Teacher

Project 12 Part A, SMARTboard Presentation

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blog Post #10

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

Watching Randy Pausch's video about achieving your childhood dreams is more than just achieving your childhood dreams. Dr. Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and he has given people a "head-fake" while giving his last lecture. A "head-fake" is a term coined by Dr. Randy Pausch which is used to describe learning something without knowing you are learning it. His speech was titled, "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" but it was much more than that, it was very different in a very meaningful way.

Dr. Randy Pausch talked about not giving up on your childhood dreams and that there will be walls in the way. Those walls aren't there to stop you, they are there to show you your dedication for something you want. Walls are in place to stop people who do not have the dedication to get past. Getting past a wall may be wonderful, but there will always be more walls, so it is important to never give up your dedication.

Getting past a wall in life is never guaranteed, you must receive feedback and listen to it, don't just put the feedback off onto the back burner. To quote his younger self's football coaches' assistant, "When you're screwing up and no one is saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up." meaning the feedback we receive, however harsh it may seem, is there to help us improve, not to bring us down. With the feedback we listen to, we must self-reflect on that feedback. We must learn to improve, because if you want something bad enough, you must be willing to do whatever it takes.

It is important after achieving something, to show gratitude. Dr. Randy Pausch mentioned we never do anything alone and he is right. Those that help us are the ones we owe gratitude towards. A way to show gratitude towards those who helped us, is to help others the same way they helped us. Great learners are great teachers, and when you realize and learn that people helped you, you can give back what you learned by teaching and helping others achieve their goals and dreams.

Dr. Randy Pausch mentioned that loyalty is a two-way street, meaning if you put faith into someone that they are likely to return the favor. I can speak for personal experience that this is true, I did not realize how well I could do in math until one teacher believed in me and gave me feedback which I listened to. I believe I am returning the favor to my math teacher by becoming a teacher myself and doing what he did for me to others. Dr. Randy Pausch upholds that idea by his anecdotal evidence of what he achieved and what he helped his students achieve.

He ended his speech by saying that his lesson isn't about how to achieve your dreams, but is a "head-fake" in how to lead your life. I not only am in agreement, I am also in participation.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post #9

Collaborative Blog by Eric Merryman, Ronald Griffin, and Cameron Hall.

In the video Back to the Future Brian Crosby is doing a TEDtalks video about twenty-four fourth graders that are around the age of nine years old. Brian Crosby starts off his talk, speaking about how his students are in poverty and do not know questions about themselves, due to the students having such a narrowed curriculum since they were born. Brian Crosby teaches us that this shouldn’t stop teachers from teaching, but it should rather motivate us to teach smarter.

Brian Crosby comes up with an idea that sparks the motivation and imagination of the children’s minds after showing them mind blowing projects such as an aluminum can crushing itself in due to air pressure after getting dunked into cold water. Brian Crosby takes project based learning to another level by getting not only all of the students involved, but also the whole world involved. This project had students write to learn content, write to clarify and share, write to tell a story, get feedback from peers, articulate their project orally, connect globally, and have an authentic audience(not just the other students in the classroom).

We must learn from teachers like Brian Crosby to give project based learning to students not just to have them learn about a subject but to empower the students, to motivate them, to collaborate with others, to get active in learning. Active learning is important for students, we as teachers should not teach our students that learning is listening to lecture, if they want to comment or ask a question they must raise their hand and must wait for me to call on them. We as teachers must include our students into the learning experience, have them connect with the subject at hand.

Mr. Paul Anderson is a high school science teacher in Montana.  Many things about teaching and learning can be obtained from Paul.  The first thing is his website Bozemanscience.  This website is a wonderful educational resource for both students and teachers.  The website features ten different categories of scientific instructional videos.  The videos were all done by Paul in a video podcast format.  The videos can be a great reference for a multitude of scientific knowledge.  The resourcefulness of this website is an important thing to learn from Paul.  As a teacher, one could use this to help students all year long.  Students could use the website for current information and even review of topical information.

In the video Blended Learning Cycle Paul talks about the approach he takes in his science classroom.  The first point Paul makes is that he takes a “everything is a remix” approach to teaching.  He constantly researches educational techniques and learns from them.  Paul then integrates what he likes best about these ideas and applies them to his teaching style.  This a great learning point from Paul.  Wanting to learn as a teacher and having a thirst to gain more knowledge shows a true commitment to the art of teaching.   Paul goes on to explain what exactly the blended learning cycle is.  The blended learning cycle is a combination of blended learning and the learning cycle.  Blended learning consists of classroom learning, mobile learning and online learning.  The learning cycle is broken down into engage, explore, explain, expand and evaluate.  Paul molds both of these templates into his own six stage masterpiece of learning.

In the first stage, Paul starts off with a question.  The question needs to be able to draw the student in and capture their attention.  If done properly then the student will have the right amount of motivation to continue on to the second step of investigation.  During investigation, students will be able to make inquiries and experiment on the subject at hand.  The next stage is video.  This stage goes hand in hand with investigation because it can serve as foundational knowledge to the students, enhancing their ability to experiment and quenching their inquiry thirst.  The videos are podcasts made by Paul.   Elaboration is the next stage.  This stage includes critical thinking and reading to elaborate on the subject.  This can be accomplished from the videos and also from the textbook.  The fifth stage is review.  During this stage, Paul meets individually with students / small student groups to ask questions about the subject.  This stage is critical in making sure the students have gained sufficient mastery over the subject.  Until the groups show they have learned enough, Paul doesn’t clear them to proceed to the final step.  Once cleared by Paul, the students can move on to the final stage; the summary quiz.  The summary quiz tests the students on the knowledge they gained from the other five stages.  

Ultimately, Paul represents many great points on teaching and learning.  Learning is not just for students, it is also for the pure teachers who always want to create a better educational environment.  Asking the right questions can lead to student motivation, which in turn will increase the level of learning for the student.  Using resources like a website and podcasts can be informative but also free the teacher up in the classroom to dedicate more individualized time to the students.  Meeting with the students individually / in small groups holds each student accountable for the information, and makes sure no one student is left behind.  Integrating these ideas into one’s classroom will put them one step closer the their own “everything is a remix” style of education.  

In the Making Thinking Visible video, Mark Church talks about documenting student work and making it visible in the classroom. He teaches us that in our curriculum we need to have our students connect with ideas and focus on how their ideas and thinking were extended. Our students need to think of the challenge, puzzle or driving question of the topic in order to expand their ideas and thinking. I think this causes them to relate the topic to the real world ideas they need. I think what Mark Church was saying was that students need deeper understanding to connect real world ideas to the topic they are discussing. How I would implement this in my classroom would be for English, relate the literature to a modern, real world situation they could comprehend and understand. I would let them get into groups as he did and maybe put a story we have read into their own words or create their own story using the same plot and situation, making it more modern. I definitely think the real world relativity gives students a better understanding and comprehension of the work that they are doing.

We all have something to learn with these three teachers, but the important thing isn’t just to learn what these teachers are saying, but also putting what they say to good use. Not putting what they say to good use is not actively learning. To actively learn is the main point all three teachers share, and to not actively learn would be folly.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blog Post 8, The Ocho

Eric: I chose to talk about Ted Talks Education as a 21st century learning and communication tool. Ted Talks is a website filled with videos of professors and business professionals all around the world talking about different subjects that you can search from. These videos can be anywhere from being 3 minutes to 18 minutes long. Ted Talks Education can be found on their  website and can be accessed on any computer all around the world and in many different languages. The website also has an app that can be downloaded on any smartphone or tablet device for an easy to use experience even when not at home, to catch up or to show off any video that may interest you. Not only Ted Talks Education videos can be found on personal computers, smartphones, and tablets, but many other devices as well thanks to all videos being uploaded onto youtube and a few even on services such as netflix. All videos give a date and location of when and where the speech took place, giving context of why the video may of been made and to see if it may be relevant to where you are today or not.

Ted Talks Education has professionals talking about subjects they are familiar with such as technology, business, entertainment, design, science, global issues, and many others. The speakers tend to keep the message short and to the point with plenty of humor and visual aids to keep people entertained and have the videos easy to watch. With each video not being too long, you may find yourself looking for another short video to watch, learning something new every video you click on. These videos aren’t just to educate, but also to invoke questions and thought. Certain videos pose a question and do not give a clear answer, these are meant to give people ideas about a certain subject or to bring awareness to a particular matter.
In my classroom, I plan to teach high school mathematics such as Algebra, and Ted Talks Education has a lot of neat videos on all sorts of math, including the history of certain types of math. Terry Moore, a speaker in this Ted Talks video, speaks about the history of Algebra and specifically the history of the variable “x” and how it came about, in a humorous way. The history of anything can be entertaining with the right speaker and if I cannot come across to some of my students as such, I can direct them to these short videos they can watch at home, and give some context in what they are learning about. Context is very important in when trying to understand something, which goes for mathematics as well. With Ted Talks Education videos being so easily accessible, entertaining, educational, wide ranging, and easy to use, it would be hard to think of a reason why not to use such a valuable tool in the 21st century.

Cameron: For my 21st Century Learning Tool I chose The Teaching Channel

The Teaching Channel is a website filled with videos, Common Core resources and lesson plans for teachers. The videos are for each and every subject, grade and topic and have different time frames from 1 minute to around 20 minutes. The videos give an example of a teacher in his or her classroom addressing the topic at hand. The videos range from addressing different topics like assessment and behavior to teaching specific content like fractions or punctuation. The videos have a brief description of the topic, teacher and where this is located. The Teaching Channel can be accessed from different devices, such as a smartphone, laptop or computer, or ipad/tablet.
The Teaching Channel has different categories for topics, subjects and age groups you can pick from. The teachers in the videos talk about how they have made their classroom a modern more technology based classroom and give examples of how others can do so as well. The videos also address the common core standards and give ways to incorporate them into your everyday classroom activities. What I found interesting is that these examples are in all of the topics such as behavior, assessment, and class culture not just the ones relating to specific concepts like fractions, exponents or grammar.

In my classroom I plan to teach middle school Math and English. Specifically for math, I think the Teaching Channel would be a great tool to use. With Common Core standards becoming the main point in education, collaborative groups in the classroom are a must. In one of the Teaching Channel videos, Lauren Hobbs talks about how she groups her students and why it is important. She says she groups her students sometimes based on interests, grades, projects, and scores. She says that in working with different people each time gives them a better understanding of working with other people, reflect on their own learning and talk within a classroom setting. Collaborative groups can be fun and a different way to learn for all age groups but I have to know how to group the students so that it is enjoyable for them, but also efficient and effective in accomplishing work.

The Teaching Channel videos give a lot of examples and insight to things other teachers have tried in their classroom. Because it is so easily accessible and useful in our own planning, I think it would be a great tool in a 21st century classroom.

Ronald: Twenty first century learning and communication tools can help foster a better educational experience in the classroom.  So how does one find them?  One easy and fast way would be to simply conduct a quick internet search.  Another way is to acquire the help of teachers who have experience with 21st century learning and communication tools.  This assignment is the perfect example of tapping into the resources of an experienced teacher.  Dr. Strange gave a great list  of 21st century learning and communication tools.  I think this highlights the importance of PLN.  The bigger one’s network is the more resources they have to use.

The 21st century learning tool I would like to talk about is SAS Curriculum Pathways.  SAS Curriculum Pathways is a great online resource for both teachers and students.  It provides educational material in five major areas; English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Spanish.  What makes this tool even more useful is the resources are all standard based making it easy to integrate Common Core.  Another amazing quality SAS Curriculum Pathways brings to the table is being free.  Free is always good, and it can help alleviate any financial concerns teachers and students may have.

So now that we have the ground work covered on SAS Curriculum Pathways, lets see how one might use it.  I am going into science, so I will use that subject area as an example.  Lets say I wanted to get lab ideas for the way planets moved in our solar system.  I would go onto the SAS Curriculum Pathways website (link above) and click on the Classroom Use link on the left side.  This would direct me to a page with the many resources including a search engine, a standards link, plan books and even “Tips and Tricks” on content.  Next, I would click on the science link and do a search of “planets moving”.  Within the results an interactive lab is displayed about planetary motion.  Using this resource made finding information on my science lab extremely easy.  Ultimately, SAS Curriculum Pathways is a great 21st century tool that offers standard and subject specific resources designed to deepen critical thinking in students and strengthen the educational arsenal of teachers.