Sunday, April 28, 2013

C4T #4

Google Drive Training Video
For this C4T, I took a look at Dr. Will's blog, Peoplegogy. The purpose of his blog is to enable people to improve their skills in digital media. He posts various articles with the purpose "to empower, educate, and lead discussions about how educators of all types are using digital media". In the first post that I read from Peoplegogy, Dr. Will posted a training video for Google Drive. When I commented on this post, I told him that I have recently become fairly familiar with Google Drive this semester in Dr. Strange's class. I expressed how much I enjoy using this because it allows people to share multiple items amongst each other.

Tanya Smith

In the second look into Dr. Will's blog, I read a post left by Tanya Smith for the 3 Best Practices for Coaches Using Social Media. Mrs. Smith accepted the request to write this article in an attempt to give an insight into a few tricks of the trade in incorporating social media into the business world. Mrs. Taylor expresses that although Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are available for use, we must be smart in using them as marketing purposes. In order to be successful with these outlets, you must engage yourself with your possible clientele as well as allow them to engage themselves in the products or services you offer. It is not merely posting these things on to these social media sites, but reaching out to your audience and allowing them to reach back to you. Furthermore, it is advised to use this social media in order to seek out the resources to effectively maintain the business. In response to Mrs. Taylor's article I had to express my interest in getting to read it. I explained that it is through social media that is the most recent form of reaching out and building a clientele. With it social media gives business entrepreneurs a way to explore each other and collaborate. We are provided with virtually any way to maintain an efficient business if we seek out the tools that are readily available.

Blog Post #14


In Dr. Streitfield's article, Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading, he describes a new software that is being implemented at Texas A&M in which the professors are able view the engagement of their students in the textbook. Professors are given the ability to view how often their students view the text, how long, what they highlight, and other tasks involving the text. One instructor, Adrian Guardia, has taken notice of the different responses given from students if scores are not satisfactory, as well as some possible confounding variables such as notes being taken on paper or other programs. Many responses regarding this new program, supported by some of the major publishers, like Pearson and Mcgraw-Hill, joke that it is the hand of "Big Brother". Institutions are in favor of this new technology. Texas A & M claims that if CourseSmart is offered to all courses, they will willingly accept the offer.

From a teacher's point of view, I find that although it still may be flawed, as is any new technology, CourseSmart could be beneficial to monitoring student interaction with the text. It causes students to be held accountable for their studies, or lack thereof. If they are not experiencing the results they desire, and cannot back up that they are doing the work in other forms if that is the claim, it could be a sort of insurance policy as to the effectiveness of the educator. Along those lines, CourseSmart can allow us to take a look into the interaction of the students and compare these "engagement indexes" with the exams in order to find any places that may require further explanation and attention if a class wide downward slope were to occur. It is not uncommon for students to try and place blame on something else for their lack of organization and dedication to their course. This program will be able to clear up some possible fibs similar to the already quoted "my dog ate my homework" excuse in most cases, especially if a parent became involved.

As a student, I am extremely iffy in regards to my feelings about CourseSmart. On one hand I find that it may be an incentive to ensure that I complete my reading assignments. If I know that someone is keeping track, especially if it were to affect my grade like teachers often use attendance, I will be more driven to read all assignments in a more timely manner. I am a student that benefits from having a set reading schedule, so to speak, that may be followed by an assignment reviewing the material. However, I feel that education has become too reliant on technology when it comes to assignments. I will learn more material if I am assigned a lesson that I must complete physically by hand rather than on a computer. As a college student, I have yet to be in a course that still applies this traditional way of teaching. On the other hand, since we are college students, I feel that we must also hold ourselves to a certain standard in regard to completing our work. We cannot expect our professors to hold our hands and lead us through our courses. This will only continue the dead end that is rote memorization. I continue to struggle with the concept of critical thinking because I was never taught this vital skill. Due to the fact that both sides of my opinion seem to clash with one another, I cannot come to a set conclusion about CourseSmart. It may be a technology that will always remain bittersweet.

If I were able to talk to the instructor, there is really only one question I would like to ask: -Has there been a significant change in the students' success in his course? If the answer is yes, then it may be safe to assume that CourseSmart is a program that is for the better. Regardless of what the occasional "slackers" may complain about. There is no way to appeal to the entire student body, but the proof will lie within if the students' scores are in positive correlation to the amount of interaction they engage themselves in.

In response to the article itself, and after reading some of the comments left by others, I must agree with some that this program would not be required in smaller courses that allow for more physical interaction in the classroom between student and educator. However, these things would be possible in a perfect world in which we do not live. The possible confounding variables are numerous, but we must create a level of intimacy with our students in a way that allows us to pick up on these discrepancies. The sad fact of the matter is that some students could succeed if they spent the same amount of time spent finding a way to cheat applied to actually studying their material. If this technology does become readily available to most major universities, only time will tell whether it is truly effective or not.

Final Report on PLN

My Personal Learning Network has been increased since I began. I have added various tiles from blogs that I have been in contact with the teacher. I also have placed a few education websites that allow me to connect with other teachers and receive various lesson ideas. I have grown to find many of the posts on twitter very informative. Although my twitter account has not grown as swiftly. I really enjoy using Symbaloo to keep up with the few accounts I have been asked to explore. I have discovered various websites using Symbaloo that I will be able to use in the future. LessonPlanet is a search engine geared for teachers. Using Squidoo I found Kindergarten lessons for the SmartBoard. I absolutely feel that Symbaloo is the best choice to maintain and add to my Personal Learning Network. I am certainly still in the beginning stages; however, I feel like I will continue to discover new tools that will be beneficial to my classroom, my students, and myself in the near future.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Post #13

Quivers and the Blended Learning Cycle

A high school teacher in Montana, Mr. Paul Andersen, created his blog that has various videos with a range of topics from biology to physics. I know that I wish that I had found out about his blog sooner when I was struggling with a few topics in my chemistry class. His instructional videos would definitely be worth browsing through if one has a concept that may not be perfectly clear. Mr. Andersen created a video that discusses his approach to the Blending Learning Cycle. His method uses six steps that he has named "QuIVER". The name he created stands for each of the following steps in his technique:
1. Ask Questions 2. Perform an investigation, and inquire the many possibilities 3. Provide a video instruction for the topic in question 4. Elaborate on the meaning of the investigation 5. Review the information given and tested 6. Take a summary quiz to test the students knowledge and understanding
This teaching hybrid must be added to the list of appealing techniques in the classroom. It allows the students to be hands on, and also using various resources to take the topic in question and help connect any loose ends or vague ideas. I have taken a couple classes with required "labs" which turned out to be my professor reading a powerpoint. For the course that it was, it would seem that a hands on approach is more appropriate in order to teach the lesson properly. Mr. Andersen's method allows the students to learn a topic with multiple resources and then test their knowledge to ensure that they understand. I believe that this may also allow for a higher success rate by reaching students who learn differently than just reading or writing the information. Again, I advise anyone who is studying sciences, or has an interest in them, to visit Mr. Andersen's blog and view his videos.

Progress Report for the Final Project

Our group, new and improved, New Kids on the Block, met and went over a tentative outline for our final project. We will be incorporating various ideas to create a Survival Guide type product. We discussed when we will meet to film and edit our project. We should have it completed by the end of the week.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12

1. Since there is a very broad spectrum in the field of education, we may not be able to apply certain skills and techniques universally. Sweet Search is a a scholarly search engine created specifically for students and teachers. Search your specific field in which you are studying (elementary education, special education, math, science, history, etc.).
2. Find a website that is informative and appealing to your field. Describe how the website you have chosen can be beneficial.
3. Read The 8 Characteristics of a 21st Century Teacher. Write a short response about what you have read.
4. Read What 21st Century Learning Means to Me. Write a 1-2 paragraph summary and response of the article. How would you define 21st century learning?

I have always been very engaged in the activities at my church for students from K4 up to 8th grade. The imagination that flows from these children almost radiates from them like an aura. It is because of this infective nature of these young, innocent minds that I chose to enter this level of education. When I search Sweet Search, I found a plethora of helpful and informative websites. Since I have always had a love for the arts and creativity, one post in particular jumped out at me. The Arts in Every Classroom is a post that provides a eight, one hour long video workshops for integrating the arts into classrooms K-5. I find that this gives artistic educators a new possibility to teach their students while preserving and expressing the imagination they so greatly possess.

The 8 Characteristics of a 21st Century Teacher

In this post, we are given several descriptions that make up what it means to be a 21st century educator. In the post, they identify that the example descriptions given do not have to remain present at all times; however, these traits must be able to be called upon as they are needed. These characteristics range from being the adaptor to the visionary to the leader to the risk taker. As educators, we must be able to transform to meet each of these characteristics in order to identify how we must educate our students. Just like each person has a separate personality to that of someone standing next to them, we all learn differently. Possessing these traits allow us to identify our students' potential and adjust into whichever form is necessary. It is important for an educator to be able to evolve and adjust their methods to not only meet the changes in the system, but also the changes amongst each student as they all progress differently.

What 21st Century Learning Means to Me

In this post added by Kim Hendrick, we get a little bit of a deeper look into how educators must be able to evolve. We are no longer being taught by the same means as our grandparents. Education is quickly growing to meet the fast paced world of technology. Kim explains that students must be able to have a say in what they learn, how they learn it, and how they showcase what they learn. Although it is our duty as educators to provide that education, we must take a step further and teach our students how to learn for themselves. We can no longer rely on rote memorization since it has been proven that these methods do not allow the skills and objectives to be obtained properly. Our students must be given a way to learn in order to grasp their attention and drive them to want to seek out more information. Granted we cannot guarantee this result from all students, but that further goes to show how we must be able to adapt to these cases.

Being a 21st century educator gives us the ability to incorporate technology to add to our education methods. We are given the most expansive form of enhancement that allows our students to connect with each other, teachers, and others around the world. We are able to learn together, and also learn from each other. Amongst these things, the technology we are able to incorporate also gives students an outlet to show their creativity in their work. Projects can be presented in more ways than a poster, a PowerPoint presentation, or a simple paper. The possibilities for our students are truly endless. We are being given the opportunity to seek out the unknown in order to push ordinary to extraordinary for ourselves, as well as our students.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blog Post #11

Technology in Ms. Cassidy's Classroom

Ms. Cassidy's classroom in Canada utilizes technology in various ways. Some of the many mediums include blogging, Skype, Nintendo DS, etc.. The students are given so many new approaches to their education. With the way the world continues to grow and evolve, these skills are becoming more vital in order to provide students with the ability to learn and adjust quickly alongside these changes. Ms. Cassidy provides students with the proper usage and safety of these tools in order to be effective and safe with her students work. She incorporates the parents and families of her students so that they may see the works of the children. One of the tools that stood out to me was Ms. Cassidy's application of Wiki-spaces. The reason I am so intrigued by this is because I have just been introduced to a Wiki project in one of my other courses. Ms. Cassidy's students are much younger than I am and they are mastering the newest connective technology that I never had at their age. I have been exposed to blogs and other tools that they are using, but I haven't been as engaged until I began Dr. Strange's EDM 310 course. I continuously find myself amazed by such young children being able to complete online tasks that I am just mastering myself at 20 years old. The amount of possibilities for these children will be much more expansive than I knew for my own generation.

It is almost ironic that she uses these tools with her students in the classroom, but doesn't quite engage in them outside of school. Regardless, I am very grateful for teachers like Ms. Cassidy that use these methods in her classrooms. These teachers are thinking outside of the education box, which is a very important thing in our world. I feel that the tools Ms. Cassidy introduces also creates a different level of intimacy and familiarity between her students and the rest of the world. She gives them the ability to connect with people world wide that may be other students, or professionals in different fields that may apply to a specific lesson, or even instill the beginning thoughts of possible career options. Some may think such things are silly for young children, but we all had some idea of what we wanted to do in the future when we were little. Some may change their mind more than others, but I feel that this gives children the chance to explore their own personalities as they grow. Much like Ms. Cassidy said, "Technology is not going anywhere, it is here to stay". The world is always changing, and so are people and the possibilities that we can seek!

C4K Summary for March

C4K #6

For this assignment, I was given the honor of taking a little peak at quite an exquisite young student in Australia. Henri wrote a post that was a 100 word challenge. In his post he gave his thoughts about the world sharing with each other. He mentions the war in Afghanistan and how people are dying. He explains that we must share some of the small things in addition to the more vital things like food. He goes on to say, "Peace would then allow everyone to be friends". I'm not certain what it was about Henri's words, but he gave me some hope that there are people, despite age, that care about the world coming together. When I left a few words on Henri's post, I did not hesitate to let him know that he was fantastic. I told him that my brother was actually in Afghanistan too. I also told him that he had a compassionate heart and to keep working hard. I feel very blessed to have read his blog post.

C4K #7

Shorya posted on their blog about a presentation and documentary about autism. The information was very funny and educational. Shorya also said that some people might find an autistic person to be weird, and they believed that autistic people were just like us. I could not be more happy to have 2 students in a row with such kind spirits. I told Shorya that I knew many people related to autistic people, but never met any of them personally. I also said that these may be the people who come to appreciate and enjoy life more than the rest of us who live "normal" lives.

C4K #8

In my final blog for the month of March, I read a very creative blog written by Ayla. Ayla is in 8th grade and has an amazing artistic ability with words. Her post was a short story that was filled with interesting detail. She began with what seemed to be a grim confrontation between a drunk father and his daughter. She continues on to take this character, Bridgette, outside into a world that doesn't quite resemble our own. The post she created was an unedited version, and I have to say that I was very impressed with her writing ability. Once I introduced myself, I told her that her work was similar to some of the books that I have found myself buried in for days. I explained how wonderful her creativity and imagination was. I wished Ayla the best of luck with her writing. I will certainly be checking back to see if anything else is added on to her story, or just to see what other things she writes. Her talent is worthy of praise.

C4T #3

For the Love of Teaching

A blog constructed by Diane Dahl, For the Love of Teaching, provides many helpful posts that range from various techniques. Diane's methods use "brain-based" strategies and incorporation of technology. In the first post of Diane's blog that I read, she was explaining a situation in which she observed a few students making decisions through the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors method. After believing that they were solving the problem in what appeared to be a sensible manner, she turned her attention back to her original tasks. Moments later one of the students in the group came to her upset that he was winning fair and square, but another student kept trying to turn the odds in her favor.

She went on to impose a solution to these problems in order to ensure students were engaging themselves in their work in an effective way. She explains how to create stations and duties for the children in each group. In one of her methods, she has each student in the group carry out a specific role, whether it be the problem solver or the answer checker, and then swap places once they complete an assignment and understand the answer they received. She introduced one final method to incorporate technology into the lesson, QR codes. A QR code is similar to a bar code that can be read with an app on an iPad, tablet, or smartphone.

I explained to her that I often fell into many categories when describing students. I also mentioned how often it is that children are curious and like to play with the objects belonging to their parents. The introduction of these QR codes is quite genius because they allow children to explore the very items that fancy their interest at home. The only difference here lies in that they are tinkering with technology in an educational setting.

When I revisited Diane's blog, I decided to delve further into her blog and see what other treasures I could find. Sure enough I didn't have to look very far. In a post that was made prior to my first reading, she was discussing a Reading Thinking Stem Guide, since a similar method for math was successful. Unsure of what the actual math version had been, I decided to go back and read The Math Thinking Stem to get a better idea. Basically, these stem rubrics help students to approach problems and break them down in a logical manner in order to understand how to solve them.

I explained to Diane that this was fascinating because I have always had trouble with math whenever it came to critical thinking skills. I never quite grasped the concept of this important skill, and now that I am in college, it is still a problem. I told her that this could be helpful in preventing students from gaining the problems I have had with critical thinking. This skill is vital, especially now that I see more collegiate educators basing their examinations off of the application of taking more than one concept and finding the link between them. Something that I certainly wish I could figure out! This blog has been yet another interesting read. All of the posts that I have read from her have including links to obtain the materials for her methods. I will be tucking this one away for later use!