Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Trailer

Blog Post #VI

Questions, the important thoughts in life come from questions, or do they? That depends on what question we ask and how to ask that question. The great philosophers of Greece and Rome posed questions to initiate the thinking process. I plan on being a teacher, not a philosopher, but both groups have something in common, asking questions. Philosophers ask questions for themselves to think, teachers ask questions for those they are teaching to think. Teachers must know how to ask questions in the correct way to be effective. However, what do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher? That is the philosophical question.
According to Ben Johnson teachers should ask questions to their students by name in a random order, so that students must be thinking and be ready to answer the question if they are called. This is less than ideal when there is a bigger than normal classroom. Mr. Johnson also says that some teachers posing a question there are two groups of students, the group that wont raise their hand to answer a question and a group that does raise their hands to answer the question. In those two groups, the teacher has a choice: let a student that may know how to answer the question to have a good answer or choose a student that hasn't yet thought of how to answer the question. Basically the teacher must ask themselves, "Do I ask questions to get back an answer or do I ask questions for my students to think?". 

Calling students at random may work for some teachers, however I want to take a different approach. Teaching math, not many things are grey, but black and white. It is very easy to discern what a student did right and wrong. However, with math, there are many different routes one can take to get the right answer, not everyone can understand easily just one way to do some math problems, some people may understand taking a different route much easier. Looking at students tests while grading them can help me see how my students are thinking, are they doing the steps they are taught or are they coming up with their own way of doing the problems? I would also see which students are having trouble grasping the subject. Those students that come up with their own way of doing problems, I may ask them how they did it and to show it on the board for other students to see, so that other students may see another way of how to do it. Those students that are having trouble grasping the subject, I will call on them to answer questions so that they may start thinking. I believe teachers must ask questions not for answers, but for students to think. The answer is always going to be there, it wont move away, so take your time thinking about the question. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Life is a journey, not a destination." meaning it is not the answer you get, but how you get to the answer that matters and getting there the right way leads to a right answer.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

C4T #1

For the teacher I had the pleasure of reading their blog and commenting on is Mr. Dan Meyer, a clever teacher who loves math and visual queues. In the first post it was trying to visualize how many pennies can be fit in a circle and of that data, make a quadratic function. The interactivity and visual queues are the key that make this project great. Students don't know why quadratic functions are important, and this project of pennies in a circle help give students the means to an end on what you can find out from quadratic functions. My comment was simple, it was talking about the love I have for math and how much I appreciate new ideas for visual queues, which I find important in teaching.
The second post I had the pleasure of reading, or rather seeing, was about a "magical" octagon. The octagon was shown on one side an arrow pointing straight up, so at noon like on a clock, then the octagon was flipped on its x axis(or horizontally) to show an arrow pointing at 9 o'clock. The "magic" happens when he flips the octagon back over to the 12 o'clock facing arrow and turns it to about 2 o'clock and asks about the other side, where would the arrow be pointing? The assumed expected answer is if you go clockwise from 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock, the other side would go from 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock, however the time on the other side was at 7 o'clock, then again he turned the 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock and the other side instead of going forward in time, went backward in time to 6 o'clock. My comment was about how neat the show was, but also that it was simple to see as long as you understand the trick. The trick to understanding why is that imagine when it is on side A(the 12 o'clock side), that you can see through the shape to see that the arrow on side B is pointing at 3 o'clock, so we know the arrow is 3 hours ahead of side A, now when the octagon is flipped on its x axis, the image you see flips from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock. When the octagon on side A is turned to have the arrow pointing at 2 o'clock, 3 hours ahead is 5 o'clock, then flipped, 7 o'clock, which is what it shows in the video link. Pretty neat, but easy to see if you understand image flipping.

Blog Post Number 4

In Langwitches' blog she has fun with her students, creating podcast after podcast. The students have fun with it, which tells me that it is something that shouldn't be intimidating, but rather inviting and fun. The students made scripts and recited them, sharing their work with the world. Since their work would be shared with the world, they wanted their voices to be just right, which would be the Goldilocks zone of voice control. Children being conscious of how they want to be heard around the world tells me that even children know the gravity of a situation of being heard on the internet, they can be heard around the world! The class even went around the world, speaking Hebrew, without physically going anywhere.
Podcasts are today's radio, but better. Podcasts can be heard around the world, not in just one region. They can be heard while on the go, since you don't need to watch what is going on, it is just audio. Through an RSS feed, they can be updated automatically, not only on your computer but also on your smartphone. As Langwitches mentions here, a Podcast isn't about the tools to make them or about making one either, but it is about " writing a script, listening, comprehension, collaboration, speaking skills, and fluency in the target language." Podcasts are about putting your voice out into the world.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blog Post Assignment #3

    Reading articles and watching videos from the peer review posts and blogs, I learned that it is important to be critical, yet polite. Critical in the sense that you must be specific about the issues the person you review have. Being critical in your review will help them avoid the same issues they had. Polite in the sense to not discourage the person you are reviewing, you do not want them to be insulted to the point they will not listen to you or have them not even try to improve. Being polite also allows room for conversation, which will allow communication. Communication can help determine if they chose how to do something a certain way on purpose or allowing them to defend themselves to a possible mistake of the reviewer.
     Using peer review is important for future teachers, no matter the subject they are pursuing. Peer review also helps in reviewing your own paper, making it easier to look out for common mistakes. Reviewing my team is helpful not only to them, but also to myself. In the 2nd blog post of my team, Ronald started almost his whole first paragraph sentence with the word "The". It isn't technically wrong, just something to avoid and be more creative. Ronald's post was very easy to read and understand, which is important on any blog post or assignment. With Cameron's post, the first sentence had a list without commas or "and" to separate them. To quote the instance is, "such as google youtube facebook twitter." which should have commas between the first three and having the word "and" between facebook and twitter. Another mistake is "It be facts and content and skill based off of that."  which should be rewritten, perhaps the word "should" should be in between "it" and "be", but then it would still be a sentence fragment. Her post as a good introduction and conclusion to the subject at hand. Reviewing my team's blog posts in blog post #2 publicly is because they are not too bad, they should be proud of their posts. I encourage people to bring my mistakes to light as well. I know I am not perfect and the way I convey my thoughts may seem odd at times, so I rely on others to help me improve those occurrences.
    Some mistakes are easy to miss. Those that we do miss could be due to being biased toward our own paper and choose not to see them. Having an outside source to review what we write is a good way to have those mistakes shown in a light that will help improve. Peer review can't work by only being polite and cannot work by only being critical, we need both to help improve papers. People who you peer review are counting on you to help them, so let's not let them down.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog post #2

Group project: I believe in the “Mr. Dancealot” video, it clearly shows that technology is not always the best choice for teaching. Teaching dancing just through use of smartboards and powerpoint presentations isn’t what will have students learn how to dance.  An easy example of how this didn’t work is the amount (about half the class) of students that were asleep in the lecture. Certain subjects require teaching in different ways.  The way this teacher chose to teach may have been ok in learning the history of dance, but not learning how to dance.  The little physical instruction the professor did give was behind a desk where the students couldn’t see anything.  This highlights the inappropriate setting the class was held in.  Most students are hands-on learners so a video showing them what to do wouldn't be effective as an in class instructor.

Disagreements about group project(if any): None

Eric: According to Vicki Davis’ video “Harness your student’s digital smarts”, she taught her students by allowing them to teach themselves and to collaborate with one another and teach others in the classroom. It helps have students think independently and give them the drive to succeed. When she talks about empowering of the students, she is talking about the feeling of when a student figures something out on their own and they feel like they can take on the world and learn anything and everything. When talking about the subject of having students collaborate with other students in the world, I believe generally that is a good idea, introduces students to new cultures and ideas. However, specifically talking about students collaborate with other students in the world, it determines on the subject to see if it is a good idea or not, some subjects it is wonderful, other subjects it is not exactly necessary, so generally good idea, specifically it depends. With the internet, it does not matter if one is in a rural area or not, everyone is connected. With the internet everyone lives in the same neighborhood and can casually skip on over to your blog or twitter or even youtube video. If you give the student the proper tools and with a little push, the student can harness their own digital smarts and impress and teach even the most advanced of educators.

Ronald: The Networked Student was a true story about a 21st century high school student.  The story revolved around a certain class he was taking and the format in which it was being taught.  The format was called Connectivism, which is based on learning from various connections from people mostly from the internet / social media.  The student met with the class three times a week and two other times via the internet.  The class centered mostly on the student going out and finding reputable connections to strengthen his knowledge on the subject matter.  These reputable connections included scholarly articles, college level podcasts of lectures in his subject area, and other information compiled by current and former students.  The teacher of his class was mostly there to help the students along with the process when they got stuck, not for lecture purposes.  

There are several things I like about this kind of education.  The first thing is the acquisition of research skills.  By having to search for connections in his subject area  he will gain a lot of experience in research.  Having a solid foundation in research is important in many factions of life, not only in higher education but future careers as well.  Another positive point about this article is the use of technology.  The class is based on technology and acquiring this skill has advantages.  One advantage is the fact of technology and research going hand in hand.  Using technology in research can yield much more powerful results than not using it.  Another great thing this education style uses is people connections.  Part of the story included the student making a connection with a documentary filmmaker.  This connection led to the filmmaker Skyping with the whole class.  

There are also a few things that I didn’t care for in this educational approach.  The first thing is only meeting three days a week due to holding class online for the other two days.  I think on a high school level students should be in a classroom together the whole time.  At the high school age students are really coming into their own on many levels and I think socialization is a very important one.  Having face to face contact and having personal interactions with other students and teachers is very important.  There is a big difference between sitting behind a computer and interacting with someone compared to doing it in real life.  Getting along with, working with, and even joking around and having fun with other students is better in person.  Another issue I had was the interaction of the teacher with the students.  I don’t have a problem with the interaction as a whole, rather a few minor things.  I think it is great that the teacher encourages the students to be critical thinkers and self motivators, but I feel lectures are a very important part of learning.  Having the skill to listen and pick out important information from lectures is a rewarding skill to have.  In most careers one will have supervisors that lecture in meeting type atmospheres.  Having the discipline to be attentive and learn from those lectures may determine the quality of work one puts out.  Learning these types of skills in the classroom can prepare one for situations like this.  I think this goes hand in hand with the question of why a is teacher needed.  Lecture skills can be provided by the teacher in addition to supporting the students in their own research / connection making.

Cameron: According to Kevin Roberts video Teaching in the 21st Century he believes that it would involve students being able to reach their work anywhere anytime and through every technological port available, such as google youtube facebook twitter. But he also wants them to understand the material, analyze it, communicate and collaborate with information retrieved. The main question he asks is if curriculum should be based off of facts and content or skill? I agree that it be a combination both.  It be facts and content and skill based off of that.  I completely agree with notion that teaching in the 21st century would strongly involve and encourage almost entire use of technology as a greater tool inside and outside of the classrooms.  As an educator I think it would be a asset to everyone in the classroom; teachers,  students and even parents. It give everyone alternative way to understanding interpreting material.  I think it make overall classroom a better learning environment for everyone. It would give teachers a way to evolve into the technological world that our society is towards.  For students,  it allow them to see another aspect of how technology they are so accustomed to presents another aide to them. For parents out just simply another way to become involved in their child' education. I agree with Kevin Robert's position. It says teachers teaching in the 21st century is a better way for classroom evolve the students.