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