Sunday, December 9, 2012

C4K Last Summary

Vitulli and Santoli: Eyes on Ireland

I read and commented on Dr. Viitulli and Dr. Santoli's blog post Now For The Conference. Drs. Vitulli and Santoli are visiting Ireland for the Ireland International Conference on Education. This post was an interesting read that included pictures from the conference. Dr. Santoli writes in this blog post how she and Dr. Vitulli have met many people from all over the world. Each day of the conference, there is a keynote speaker. The speakers have raised questions such as, "How has technology and access to information challenged notions of academic integrity? What can we do in our K-12 classrooms to make students aware of academic integrity issues and of our expectations in this area?". The conference they attended seems educational and inspiring.

My Response:

Hello Dr. Santoli,

My name is Elizabeth Mims and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. I really enjoyed reading your post and others that you have penned about your trip to Ireland. I really like how Dr. Cooper asks that we refer to people with learning disabilities as those who learn differently. After all, we all learn differently, so why should some be labeled as having a learning disability? I think attending a conference with the focus on education would be fascinating and so informative! Thank you for sharing your experiences from your trip with us!


The blog post I read was written by a young girl named Bethany. Her post was titled, Napoleon and Josephine. Her post gives readers a brief history lesson on the lives of Napoleon and Josephine. From the time they courted and were married to their divorce, and everything in between. The post included a couple of images to look at while one read.

My Response:

Hello Bethany,

My name is Elizabeth Mims and I am a student at the University of South Alabama, which is in Mobile, Alabama. I was assigned to comment on your blog as part of an assignment in my EDM 310 class.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post about Napoleon and Josephine. I never learned much about Napoleon and Josephine in high school, so I was intrigued when I began reading your post. What a disaster their marriage was! In a way, I feel very badly for Napoleon, however he should of just divorced Josephine. Again, thank you for the history lesson.

Kayla K's Blog

Kayla is a student in Mr. Boylen's class. Her blog post that I commented on is called, Hobbies. In her post, Kayla talks about the different hobbies she has. She plays sports, cooks and bakes, and makes jewelery. The sports she plays are volleyball, basketball, and track. She mentions in her post, how important it is to communicate while playing. She has a very busy life and seems to enjoy every minute of it.

My response:

When I commented on Kayla's blog post, I told her how I used to play soccer and run cross country in high school. I love baking, as well. I told her to keep up with playing sports because it is good to have an active lifestyle. I told her see had a good head on her shoulders and to keep blogging.

Final Reflection

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Project #13 TITLE=
For project #15, we were assigned to create a SmartBoard lesson. This project was to be completed without meeting our group members. At first, I thought this would be challenging and an epic fail; however, we made it work and our lesson was really cute and educational. My partner, Melissa Willis and I, communicated through Skype, email,and text. We only met once, and that was to film us teaching the lesson. This project really taught me that you can work together in a group and complete assignments without meeting to collaborate on them. There are so many tools out there to use. Skype, Google Docs, email, and text are just a few examples of the many forms of tools students can use to communicate while working on projects without meeting in person. Technology makes it possible!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

C4T Last Summary

A Geeky Momma's Blog

I was assigned to read and comment on Lee Kolbert's blog, A Geeky Momma's Blog. I found her blog to be very interesting and I enjoyed reading her blog posts. Her first post that I commented on is titled, "Are You Driving A Race Car Or Horse And Buggy". This post addresses the issue of teachers and schools using technology in the classroom. Many refuse to make use of all the technology out there to teach their students. Mrs. Kolbert refers to these teachers as driving a horse and buggy, instead of a race car. If they want their students to succeed then they need to adopt 21st century teaching methods.

My response:


My name is Elizabeth Mims and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed reading this post. I thought your analogy was clever and interesting. I feel like if teachers and schools do not want to make use of the technology out there, then they do not support giving their students the best education possible. Times are changing and the world is advancing. Our schools need to support 21st century teaching because the future depends on it. Our students depend on it. Thank you for the eye-opening post!

Second Post:

The second post I commented on was titled, Sexist or Silly? and it bright attention to a controversial school assignment on gender bias. The assignment required students to put the list of toys into categories based on whether they are for boys, girls, or both. One little girl forced all of the items in the category labeled "both". In response, her teacher gave her an F on the assignment. The girl's father was outraged by the assignment and grade his daughter received. He took his anger to Twitter, thus gaining media attention. The question Mrs. Kolbert asks are whether the father overreacted, did the teacher do anything wrong, and how could this situation have been handled better? She welcomed comments with reader's own answers and opinions on the matter.

My response:


I felt as though the father should have spoken to the teacher first, before he turned to Twitter. In fact, I hate how people turn to the internet more and more to make a statement or get attention. He didn't know the teacher's full intent for the assignment. The teacher in return, should of given more detailed instructions for the worksheet. Also, I don't see how the student should have failed the assignment when, in her opinion, the toys can be for both boys and girls. There are girls who are tomboys, which means they probably don't play with Barbie dolls. While I don't completely agree with this assignment, I don't think it's something to make a big deal about. Also, the whole situation should have been handled better.

Elizabeth Mims

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Final Report on PLN
Since posting a progress report on my Personal Learning Network in October, I have been busy exploring different websites on the internet and adding to my Symbaloo. I have found and am following several blogs from great educators. One blog, in particular, that I enjoy reading through is called Venspired and it belongs to Krissy Venosdale. Twitter is a great tool to use for finding and following bloggers whose passions are educating and using technology in schools. I also have been exploring Pinterest. This site is great for finding ideas for classroom crafts and activities. I would recommend Pinterest to everyone. I am sure as I continue to explore the web I will find more fascinating websites and tools to use in the classroom.

Progress Report on Final Project
For our final project, my partner and I decided to do the iBook. We met up at school on a Saturday morning to work on our project. My partner, Melissa Willis, has a Mac so we decided to make the iBook on her computer. We gathered all of our individual components and put that part of the iBook together. We have most of our group components completed; however, we are working on it individually and I plan on emailing her my parts of the group component. She is putting the final touches on our iBook and is going to work her magic to make it look awesome!

Project #15

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blog Assignment #13
A Vision of Students Today

The video, A Vision of Students Today was created by Michael Wesch and the students of Introduction to Anthropology, class of 2007, from Kansas State University. This video summarizes some of the characteristics of students today, including how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, dreams, and hopes, and what kind of changes they will experience in a lifetime.

I found this video to be informative and eye-opening. The setting for this video is a classroom full of 200 students. As the video plays on, each student holds up a piece of paper with a fact or statistic about college life and how students must multitask to get everything done in a day. A day that consists of 26.5 hours! The video talks about how students pay hundreds of dollars for textbooks they may use only a couple of times in class. Students don't attend class, even though they are paying for it, and when they are in class they spend their class time on their phones, the internet, or Facebook. Students will be in extreme debt by the time they graduate college. They may have a job that does not even exist today. The video also brings to light how these students are indeed lucky. Over one billion people in the world make less than a dollar a day. A laptop costs more than what some people make in a year!

This video about students in college hits the nail on the head. I am already dreading having to pay back my student loans. I feel like students are cheated when purchasing textbooks. We spend hundreds of dollars each semester on books, and when we try to sell them back to the school, we don't even get half of our money back. Professors have been sympathetic to this problem and inform students if they need to buy the book or not. They even encourage renting books online. I wish I had done that from the beginning. I try not to miss class because I know I am paying for it, but it's astonishing to see the number of students who drop the class or just skip it. They are still paying for it! I enjoy and learn more from classes that require doing homework assignments and projects. Classes that are lecture-based are not only boring but not an effective way to teach and learn. Also, students are more tempted to skip. A class like EDM 310 would absolutely motive students to do their work and prepare them for the future. Furthermore, I personally think the cost for attending college is a bit ridiculous, but who's going to listen to me? Overall, this video is so true and I am glad these issues have been brought into perspective.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Assignment #12

For this blog assignment, Dr. Strange gave his students the opportunity to write their own blog posts. The instructions for this blog assignment are simple. Explore Krissy Venosdale's blog Venspired and read her post, If I Built A School. Who is Krissy Venosdale? Write a quality blog post summarizing the post and describing the type of school you would build given the opportunity. Send Mrs. Venosdale a thank you tweet (@ktvee) and be sure to include #edm310.
If I Built A School

For this blog assignment, I researched and found the blog of Krissy Venosdale. Mrs. Venosdale has been teaching for ten years and is currently a gifted education teacher. She started blogging when she began teaching and hasn't stopped! She draws inspiration from her students and maintains a classroom that is always busy. She believes in teaching STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She is very passionate about space science, as well. Her classroom is a place where students can "imagine, create, dream, and explore." Mrs. Venosdale believes in teaching her students how to think, not what to think. I find Mrs. Venosdale to be an energetic and creative educator who loves teaching and learning.

Mrs. Venosdale's post, "If I Built A School" is a creative article that manages to somehow link Willy Wonka to education. She starts off with the whole, "If I had the golden ticket..." and ends up creating a school that reminds me of sunshine and rainbows. Mrs. Venosdale may go a bit overboard in her dreams for building a school; however, it shows her enthusiasm for teaching and got me thinking about the type of school I would build. Actually, to be more realistic, this post gave me some creative ideas for managing my future classroom.

In Mrs. Venosdale's school, there would be a huge neon sign on the door saying, "Welcome: Now Entering an Innovation Zone." The walls would be colorful and the seats comfortable. There would be endless places for students to collaborate, discuss, and dream. She even puts a tree house in the library! The cafeteria has a coffee house vibe and it is open all day long. Grade levels based on age are nonexistent at this school. The students progress through the grades when they show readiness and ability. Mrs. Venosdale's school supports collaboration and project based learning. Technology integration would be part of a normal school day. All forms of technology would be readily available for students to use. The list of must-haves for this school goes on and on! The point Mrs. Venosdale is trying to get across is that she believes in teaching more than the standard curriculum. Se wants to go further with education and teach her students to have dreams. Big dreams. She wants to build character and promote the concept of thinking for oneself. Nowadays, students do as they are told and have little say in how they learn. Mrs. Venosdale is striving to better education for our students.
I highly doubt I can top Mrs. Venosdale's dream school. However, I will imagine for just a moment what my school would look like. I would want for there to be color on all the walls and art work covering every square inch. There would also be lounge areas throughout the school for students to go and work on school assignments and projects. Collaboration is encouraged and creative thinking is a must. I would have a different classroom for each subject and elective. Students are welcome to explore each classroom as they see fit. This means if they feel like going to art class instead of math, then so be it. Of course, they would eventually get to all their core classes each day. I would like to be able to provide an exuberant supply of laptops, iPads, desktops, and other kinds of technology for the students to check out and use. My school would be a place for students to learn and grow. They will build character and learn how to set goals and accomplish them. I have this desire to shape my students into successful human beings, and in doing so, I need to go beyond teaching only the core curriculum and work on their character and development.

Okay, so maybe my idea of a school is not as detailed or elaborate as Mrs. Venosdale's. She thought of everything! My overall thought of Mrs. Venosdale is that she absolutely loves being an educator and works hard to create a classroom full of promise and energy. I can only dream that I someday am able to replicate her teaching styles. Lucky for me, Mrs. Venosdale encourages dreaming big.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

C4T Teacher #3

This week I was assigned to read and comment on Lara Bishop's blog titled, "Welcome To Ms. Lara's Jungle. The first post I comment on was called, "Reaching Out To The Community, Even In 4-K." In this post, Ms. Bishop explains how important it is to help out in the community, even in preschool. Ms. Bishop says, in her post, how even the younger children can help give to charity. Simply ask the child to pick out some clothes and toys he or she no longer uses. They can also pick out a few grocery items to donate to a food pantry. The children will be learning a valuable lesson that will stick with them the rest of their lives.

The comment I left Ms. Bishop included words of praise for being such a good role model to her students. I agreed with her that it is never too early to start teaching children how to be caring and upstanding citizens. I was surprised to see from the picture Ms. Bishop included, all the grocery items her class collected for the food pantry.

The second post I commented on is called, "In 4-K, We're Always Up To Something! Look to see What We've Been Doing." This post consisted mostly of class pictures of Ms. Bishop's students during holiday programs. They did a fall nursery rhyme program, a Thanksgiving dinner, a pumpkin decorating contest, and a Christmas program. I enjoyed looking at the students in their costumes and at their unique pumpkins. I told Ms. Bishop that I could hardly wait to have my own classroom so I could find fun and educational activities for them to do. I always enjoyed class programs because the planning and practice was always fun and then we got to invite our families to watch. Ms. Bishop seems like a fun and caring teacher who believes in having lots of activity in the classroom. I hope to be a teacher like that, as well.

C4K October

Reilly's Blog

For my first C4K assignment for October, I was required to comment on a post from a student named Reilly. Reilly is in the 4th grade and the post I commented on is a poem called, "Morning Greetings." Reilly's poem was so descriptive and well written. I can picture myself standing in a beautiful garden watching the sun rise. The birds are chirping and it's going to be a beautiful day! I advise everyone to click on the link and read this poem first-hand. I told Reilly his poem put the biggest smile on my face and to continue writing.

Claire's Blog Post

This was by far my favorite post to read and comment on. Claire's post is called "Decreasing Biodiversity And Why You Should Care" and it's about how important biodiversity is because it creates the complex patterns of life that exist on Earth. Claire mentions how global warming is destroying our ecosystem, and why we must step into action and change the way we live or we could face serious consequences. We must protect the endangered plants and animals for they livelihood, as well as ours.

The comment I left Claire on her blog post included me mentioning how passionate I am about the environment. If only people took the time to reduce, reuse, and recycle! Along with her post, Claire has a picture of a couple of polar bears on ice caps. Polar bears are a species on the brink of extinction due to rising temperatures and melting ice caps. If we don't do something now to protect our planet, we will certainly regret it.

Kailin's Blog

This week, I was assigned to read the blog of a young girl named Kailin. Her blog is cleverly called, "Keen Kailin". The post I decided to comment on was called, "Kailin's Poem." Her poem is actually a cheer that her softball team chants during their games. I told Kailin that I remember this particular cheer because my softball team used to chant it too. This was her cheer:

"Once there was a froggy that sat up on a log

he cheered for the other team and had no sense at all

he fell into the water and bumped his little head

and when he got back up this is what he said

go go go go you mighty rebbles fight

fight fight fight you mighty rebbles win

win win win you mighty rebbles go fight

win until the very end."

I told Kailin that it was nice to know the cheer is still being used all over the country because it used to be my all-time favorite.

Miyu's Blog

The final blog post I read for October was by a young girl named, Miyu. Miyu's post was titled, "Whale Shark." In addition to her post, Miyu added a vivid image of a whale shark. In her post, Miyu mentions that the whale shark is the largest fish in the ocean and they can grow larger than a bus! I told Miyu that I didn't realize whale sharks could get bigger than a bus, but it gives me a good idea of how large they are. Although many people are afraid of whale sharks, these sharks are truly magnificent creatures.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog Assignment #11
Little Kids...Big Potential

I must say it's hard to believe that was a first grade classroom in the video, Little Kids...Big Potential. I was really impressed with how much the children know and how interested they seem in their assignments and projects. The students are blogging, Skyping with other classes and experts, and using Wikis. I believe Ms. Cassidy's approach to teaching exemplifies how a 21st century classroom should look. The students were able to explain just how they use all different forms of technology every day.

The students really seemed to enjoy blogging and receiving comments on their blog posts. They are proud of the fact that their writing gets better every time they blog. They understand the proper ways to comment on someone's blog. The main rule for commenting is to never leave a negative comment on someone's blog. Only say kind words! They also use their blogs as an online portfolio for their work, which I think is a neat idea. The students know never to use their last names on the internet, which is a very important safety procedure.

Ms. Cassidy has a class webpage that the students can refer to when they want to look for something on the internet. The webpage is student friendly and set up so the students have no trouble finding what they are looking for. The webpage has places where the children can go to learn. They can practice their math and reading, among other subjects. They can choose to go on the webpage during center time and from home.

In the video, viewers were given an idea of how the students used Wikis. The students wanted to use the Wikis to ask about traditions. They invited people from all over the world to share their family traditions. The students asked what were some family traditions for the holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc). This also gave the students an idea of how different people and cultures celebrate certain holidays.

Overall, I was overly impressed with this video and how Ms. Cassidy uses all forms of technology in her classroom. She even enlisted the help from current and previous students to make the video! Watching this video has given me so many ideas for projects involving technology. I really like the idea of Skyping other classes from all over the United States and even the world. This helps students learn how to communicate with others and become more connected. Blogging is another fun way for students to practice their reading and writing. I plan to have a class blog when I start teaching and require my students to keep their own blogs. They will have weekly blog assignments and be required to comment on a classmate's blog post. I also rather like the idea of having my students comment on student's blogs from around the world. This would be exciting and beneficial for the students. Kudos to Ms. Cassidy for showing viewers just what a 21st century classroom looks like.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Special Blog Assignment
A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind

As USA Today celebrates its 30th anniversary, they interviewed a few of USA's greatest visionaries to talk about the world of tomorrow. In the article, A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind, Sebastian Thrun is shares his vision for education and how it may look in the next thirty years.

Sebastian Thrun is a Google vice president and Stanford research professor who decided to forgo teaching in a traditional classroom for an experience in education he calls Udacity. What is Udacity, you may ask? Udacity is an education company Thrun founded in January of 2012. Here is the link for the website for those who wish to explore: Udacity offers a catalog of free online courses taught by professors from all over the world. After teaching a single course that had over 160,000 students enrolled, Thrun decided that he could not return to teaching in a traditional Stanford classroom. He had seen "Wonderland" and there was no climbing out of the rabbit hole.

Thrun vision for this education company is actually pretty simple. The courses are free but certifications and exams will require a fee. Grades are nonexistent. Thrun believes in allowing students as much time to master a particular skill or concept. As the classes progress, they will offer more challenging exercises and quizzes to help the students with the curriculum. Classes have the potential to hold thousands of students at a time. This ultimately gives more people access to a quality education that they may not be able to afford otherwise.

I find Mr. Thrun's visions to be quite interesting, however, I do have a few reservations. For one, as much as I sometimes complain about grades, I feel like they are important. I like to know how I am progressing throughout the semester in my classes. Another concern I have is whether students will receive a legitimate degree and if so, will jobs view these degrees as they do traditional college degrees? Will they accept them? Aside from these concerns, I rather like Thrun's vision of the future. His company will offer more opportunities to receive an education, with a more flexible schedule. He is helping define education for the future.

Thrun isn't looking to get rid of colleges and universities, he merely has a vision that offers more options for education. His program will not replace traditional schooling, it will offer a different form of education to a larger crowd at low prices. I admire Sebastian Thrun having this vision for a 21st century education, and for seeing that his vision became a reality.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blog Assignment #10
Adventures in Pencil Integration

I must say, it took me a few minutes to figure out the metaphor for this picture. However, I realized John T. Spencer's cartoon, I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga. is comparing a PC to a Mac. The Papermate pen is representing a PC and the Ticonderoga is representing a Mac. Spencer is showing in his cartoon that although a Papermate pen, like a PC, is cheaper, it might not be as reliable as a Mac and have more problems. The Ticonderoga is a more expensive purchase, like a Mac, but people might be unwilling to spend the money on one. The cartoon is saying that buying a Mac is a better choice, because in the long run, it will last longer and buyers will experience fewer problems than with a PC.
Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

In this post, Mr. Spencer has written a dialogue between a principal and himself, as a teacher. In the conversation, the principal makes inquiries about Mr. Spencer's teaching methods. It seems as though Mr. Spencer was playing games with his students to go along with his lessons. The principal does not approve of this teaching method. He mentions that he understands that Mr. Spencer is trying to connect the games to learning, but he says it's a stretch. The principal wants Mr. Spencer to use worksheets and have the students fill out packets of algorithms. Mr. Spencer's solution is to create an algorithm factory and integrate it into a Conflict-Oriented Reading and Writing Project called the "Factory Game".

I think in his post, Mr. Spencer is saying that there is nothing wrong with playing games to get a lesson across to the students. I thought it was clever how he managed to side-step the principal's rule and still find a way to integrate games into his lessons. I think the principal is narrow-minded with his approach to teaching. He is only concerned about the students passing their rote memorization tests, therefore he wanted Mr. Spencer to focus on rote memorization skills. In my opinion, the principal should be more concerned with making sure the students will remember what they are learning. Active, hands-on learning will produce these results, not worksheets.

The second post I read is called, I Banned Pencils Today. In this post, Mr. Spencer talks about how he has fought and continues to fight for the use of technology in his classroom. He says there is a need for media in his classroom. These tools are highly important, as are pencils and paper, but we cannot forget that the most important tool is our brain. Basically, he says that he asked his students to put away their pencils and paper during their math lesson. He asked his students to find the volume of a cylinder that is twenty inches wide and twenty inches tall. His students fidgeted a bit and seemed to be uncomfortable with solving this problem without writing it down. It took awhile for them to answer the problem but eventually, they all reached an answer and then shared how they came up with their answers with a partner.

Mr. Spencer wanted his students to realize that the greatest learning tool they possess is their minds. We rely too much, I believe, on calculators, the internet, and auto correct for learning, especially when it comes to math and spelling. Students need to sharpen their brains and not be afraid to come up with answers without outside help.
Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

Scott McLeod is currently serving as Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 in Iowa. He is also the founding director of UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, or CASTLE. Dr. McLeod's blog Dangerously Irrelevant addresses technology leadership issues.

In the post, Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?, Scott McLeod pens a sarcastic poem to parents, teachers, and school administration telling them not to let children use the internet. Children don't need to learn how to search the web, blog, collaborate, make videos, or PLNs. He basically says that nothing good comes from the internet. Children will look at pornography, hook up with predators,and become victims of cyber bullying. We don't need our children creating, thinking, sharing, and learning. How repulsive! Then Dr. McLeod proceeds to say that he is using technology and the internet to teach his students. He will take his chances and show everyone how well his students turn out.

I found Dr. McLeod's post to be humorous and very true. Children need to be exposed to the technology and tools that the 21st century has to offer. It is impossible to protect our children from all of the bad that happens in the world. We can, however, educate them on how to properly use the internet and monitor their usage. Children deserve to have the best education possible and that includes using all forms of technology.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blog Assignment #9
What I Learned This Year-Volume 4

Mr. McClung is currently an assistant principal in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After exploring his blog, I discovered that he has taught in both Missouri and Arkansas. He is in his sixth year of teaching. In his post, What I Learned This Year-Volume 4, we learn that Mr. McClung got the inspiration to write a reflective blog post recounting his first year teaching from one of his mentors. He liked the idea so much, and received so much positive feedback that he has continued with his end-of-the-year reflections.

For his 4th year reflective post, Mr. McClung made the comment that he couldn't think of anything new to say that he hadn't said a previous year. That he hadn't really learned anything new. He said only two underlining themes stuck out to him. The first, he has titled, "You Gotta Dance With Who You Brought to the Dance". Mr. McClung talks about how he is concerned with how his peers view him as an educator. He says he was never really concerned before with how they view him, that he only cared about how his students and superiors viewed him. After worrying about this matter, he finally realized that he cannot change who he is as a teacher and he needs to stay true to himself. He has, after all, gotten to where he is today by doing just that. He sticks to one simple rule, and that rule is to make sure his students are having fun while learning.

The second theme is "Challenge Yourself". Mr. McClung has taught the same two subjects at the same school for three years and he noticed he was getting too routine with his teachings. He reused old lesson plans and he realized his creativity was slowly leaving him. He says he was becoming too comfortable as a teacher. Luckily for him, he was able to teach a more challenging subject at a different grade level the next year. He wants his students to look forward to coming to class every day and if he is teaching the same material each time, the lessons are going to suck (his word, not mine). So he says, challenge yourself as a teacher and do your students a favor by making the lessons fun and interesting.

After reading Mr. McClung's blog post, I have a better understanding as to the type of teacher I need to be. My main focus needs to be my students and I need to challenge myself constantly as an educator. Both go hand in hand. If I want my students to take away anything from my class at the end of the year, I need to be creative with my lessons and challenge my students. They will appreciate it in the long run.
What I've Learned This Year-Volume One

I decided to read Mr. McClung's blog post reflecting his first year teaching. In his post, What I've Learned This Year, Mr. McClung starts by saying that he did not fully know what to expect from being an elementary school teacher. Over the course of the school year, he matured as both a teacher and a person, and learned a lot from his first year teaching.

The first piece of information is on how to read a crowd. He says throughout college and his teaching internship he focused on himself as a teacher and how his superiors viewed him. He would see teachers deliver lessons that were not student-centered, meaning they didn't focus on student comprehension. Mr. McClung made sure his lessons were driven by his audience.

Mr. McClung says being flexible is also very important. At the beginning of the year, he would try and be overly controlling with his lessons. He realized that his audience is a crowd of elementary school children and he doesn't need to worry if his lessons go off course. How you plan your lesson is always different than how it is actually delivered. Nothing is going to go perfectly so teachers need to be flexible and work with the situation in front of them.

Communication, says Mr. McClung is one of the hardest skills to develop, but it is the most important. He says build strong relationships with the students and other teachers at your school. When there is good communication, issues can be resolved easily and the focus can return to the students and the classroom. Mr. McClung also makes a good point when he says we, as teachers, should remember to be reasonable. Don't hold too high of expectations for your students. Don't be upset when they fail. The teacher's job is to pick them back up, dust them off, and continue to encourage them. Never stop encouraging.

Mr. McClung's next piece of advice is one I find humorous. He says not to be afraid of technology. I couldn't ever see myself being afraid to use technology, but I suppose that's because I am around it constantly. In fact, I'm eager to use technology in my classroom. Mr McClung also says technology is out friend and we shouldn't be overwhelmed before we even begin to use it.

Mr. McClung's last two vital tips are to listen to your students and never stop learning. Both of which are extremely important. Teachers must listen to their students in order to receive respect from them. Professional educators must always continue to learn and grow.

I really enjoyed reading Mr. McClung's post about his first year teaching. He really seems to enjoy teaching and learning new things every year. I plan to remember all of the tips he shared on his post. It's important to stay positive, continue to learn and grow, and remember that the students should always be the center of focus.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PLN Progress Report for Project #10
PLN Progress Report

I decided to use Symbaloo as my Personal Learning Network. I like how every website I use is neatly displayed on my home screen and all I have to do is select the tile for whichever site I want to access. As I find more interesting sites, I can add them to my Symbaloo web mix. Some of the sites I already have are Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Google, Gmail, Huffington Post, and YouTube, to name a few. My PLN will continue to grow, of course, and there are plenty of tiles to fill up. It only took a couple of minutes to set up my account and it's free. I would suggest this site because it's easy to use and it's a fun way to organize your websites.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blog Assignment #8
Richard Miller: This is How we Dream, Parts 1 and 2

In part one of Richard Miller's This is How We Dream, Miller talks about how the writing process has changed in the classroom and in the culture. He starts by saying how he thinks this is the greatest change in human communication in history. Today, we are able to communicate instantly with others from all over the world. We are gradually moving away from only using pen, paper, and textbooks, and beginning to see more use of technology in the classroom. We are no longer restricted to visiting libraries and reading books to find information. We have it at the touch of our fingertips, and, amazingly enough, it is constantly being updated. We can now compose print, film, and sound documents through the internet. Once material has been shared on the internet, it will remain there forever, and can be shared with anyone.

In part two, Miller continues with his lecture about how "writing with multi-media" is important and why teachers should use this method in their classrooms. Dr. Miller is passionate about the change from a reading/writing culture to a listening/watching culture. He mentions iTunes U as a way to compose academic information. One of the things Dr. Miller said that really stood out to me was that ideas do not belong to us individually, rather they belong to us as a culture, and should absolutely be shared.

I firmly believe in having a 21st century classroom where my students have full access to the technology they will need to receive the best education. As I have said before, textbooks are outdated and limited, whereas the internet is full of endless sources and possibilities. My view of a 21st century classroom is one where the students are kept busy with hands on activities that use technology to its fullest, and they actually are enjoying learning.
Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

After reading Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12, I became inspired by Carly's enthusiasm for becoming an educator and all of the dedication she has put into this blog. After exploring this post in particular, it appears that we will soon be creating our own blog post assignment for Dr. Strange to use. I don't know yet what type of assignment I will create but I want it to be different and useful for the classroom. I can see that Carly took a lot of time to think and plan out what her assignment would be. I know students would have fun finding all of the videos she asked for. I will definitely come back to her blog for future reading and guidance.

EDM 310 is Different

In the video, The Chipper Series, Chipper is a college student who was in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama but dropped because she disagreed with Dr. Strange's teaching methods. Her work was never turned in on time, either. Her first plan of action after dropping out was to start her own pilot school. After she failed at that, she got a job teaching. She was fired not long after she was hired for not showing up. After many failed career attempts, Chipper finally comes to the realization that it is in her best interest to return to the University and earn her degree.

The video, EDM 310 for Dummies, is a humorous video about two EDM 310 students who are having a difficult time understanding how to do the required assignments. Viewers can see the students becoming frustrated and on the brink of madness from struggling with this class. They do, however, have the option to buy the book "EDM for Dummies" which gives tutorials on how to use Twitter, Blogger, Skype, Delicious, etc. After the students buy this book, they begin to excel with their assignments and actually enjoy them.

I found both videos to be very educational. I believe I am getting better with procrastinating on my schoolwork but there is always room for improvement. Also, if I don't understand an assignment or I need extra help I will try and utilize the EDM 310 lab more. I think it would be a neat idea to make a video explaining how the lab works and all the ways students can contact the staff for help. That way, students can get the help they need right away instead of stressing out about an assignment.
Learn to Change, Change to Learn

The video, Learn to Change, Change to Learn discusses the need for change in the classroom. The teachers in the video are promoting the use of technology in the classroom and 21st century learning. They are saying that students will be more successful if they are allowed to use technology in school and for assignments and activities. Times are changing so why should students be forced to learn by outdated methods. Who actually enjoys listening to lectures and taking noted everyday? No one! Students are already using all forms of technology every day. They use cell phones and computers to email and explore the internet. They are living in an age of global communication, so we need to adjust our teaching styles to keep up with our ever-changing culture.

I enjoyed watching this video, because I agree with what was being said. I believe that we need to change our teaching methods to accommodate our students. They are thirsty for new and exciting ways of learning. Technology is the answer! There are so many activities and learning exercises students can do using all different types of technology. I personally enjoy Blogger, Timetoast, Skype, and Twitter, to name a few. I almost feel like we are failing our students if we don't adopt a 21st century classroom where they can learn and grow.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

The first tool I discovered is called Edmodo. This site is a great way for teachers and students to communicate. It has a similar layout to Facebook except it is specifically designed for the classroom. It literally took a second to join and it seems like a great tool for the classroom. I would use to keep up with the school calender and upload assignments. There's a wall one can write on if need be, just like Facebook. Students can post comments or questions and others can respond. This would be a safe, effective, and fun way for classroom communication.

A tool I have never used is called Smilebox. This website allows you to organize your pictures into collages, slideshows, or scrapbooks. You can make invitations and cards, as well. I would enjoy using this site in my classroom to organize class pictures or have my students work on their own collages and scrapbooks. How fun!

Poll Everywhere is a great tool that I used to create my very own poll. It literally took less than 30 seconds. I can see myself using this tool in my classroom. I would have my students create their own polls and ask everyone to vote in each one.

Friday, October 19, 2012

C4T #2
Primary Preoccupation

For my second C4T assignment, I was asked to comment on Kathy Cassidy's blog Primary Preoccupation. The first post I commented on was called, "Is There an App for That? Word Work Edition". In this post, Kathy Cassidy shares some useful apps that she uses in her classroom. She says teachers should find apps that focus on a specific area in a subject. Some of the apps she shares are Draw Free, Magic Ink, Skywrite, and Word Wizard. These apps are obviously for spelling.

My response is the following:

Hello Mrs. Cassidy,

My name is Elizabeth Mims and I am a student at the University of South Alabama, which is in Mobile, Alabama. I find your post to be very helpful. I am so excited to become an educator and make use of iPads and other forms of technology in my classroom. I have an iPad and I find myself looking through apps trying to find useful ones for educational purposes. The apps you have displayed for spelling seem to be fun and helpful. I agree that we need to remember to ask the question, “what do we want the app to do?” We have to make sure the app fits the level the students are at and what we want it to do. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

Elizabeth Mims

The second of Mrs. Cassidy's posts I commented on was called, "Making the Cafe Make Sense for Primary Students." In this post, Mrs. Cassidy shares an idea she discovered about how to help her students with literacy by having an individualized reading program. She created a bulletin board called, "Learning to Read" and it included the four reading strategies: comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expand vocabulary. However, she discovered that her students were not understanding this vocabulary. She changed the wording to: right words, explain what you read, able to read smoothly, and discover new words. She credits Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, authors of "The Daily Five" and "The Cafe Book" for the idea. Teachers can modify this idea to fit their own students and curriculum.

My response:

Hello Mrs. Kathy,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea! I especially like the changes you made to your board. I plan to save this idea for when I have my own classroom. I also might like to introduce my students to the more difficult vocabulary in time. Again, Thanks for the idea and I plan to buy the two books you mentioned. They will come in handy.

Elizabeth Mims

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blog Assignment #7
The Networked Student

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler is a very thought provoking video about connectivism. This video replicates our EDM 310 class to a T. We learn by exploring and connecting through technology on our own. Using connectivism in the classroom, we learn more than we would from textbooks. The Internet is full of articles and websites with endless learning material. Blogs, podcasts, Wikis, and Skype are just a few of the learning tools we can access through technology.

I personally like the idea of network learning, however, I have some inquiries. For one, is network learning suitable for elementary students? I can see ways to use this method of teaching in the classroom, but there will have to be some revisions to the original idea. In the video, we learn that the students are learning on their own with little or no help from the teacher. They aren't going to class everyday either. I feel that this age group would need to, or actually, have to attend class every day. They could still focus on network learning but with more assistance than it says in the video. In fact, this concept is probably more suitable for high school and college aged students. Another concern of mine is whether elementary aged students are capable of this type of learning. I suppose with enough training and guidance this age group could master the technique of connectivism, or enough to successfully use for future reference. Overall, I do like this approach for it will offer endless sources of knowledge and it will train students to be "networked students."
"Why does the networked student even need a teacher?", that is the question. Well, it depends, first, on the age group of the students. For elementary students, yes, I believe the networked student needs a teacher. I feel like this age group would show more success with a teacher overseeing the work, but the students trying to learn on their own. This way, the students are being trained to learn independently but with a teacher showing them the ropes and getting them familiar with technology. For high school and college students, the answer to the question is debatable. I believe that these students are absolutely capable of learning on their own without a teacher. Of course, they need a teacher to check their work, if needed, and answer any questions they may have. The ultimate goal would be to rely less and less on a teacher and be able to find the answers through other sources. Any teacher can stand up and lecture in front of a class, it's up to the students to actually want to learn and grasp new material. That's why networked learning is becoming increasingly popular and very successful.
Welcome To My PLE!

This 7th grader did an excellent job on her PLE,or personal learning environment. Her video, Welcome to my PLE! is so organized and engaging. I plan on using some of her tools for my PLN. I will definitely return to her presentation for reference when I do my PLN. I wish network learning was around when I was in middle and high school. I feel so far behind compared to this 7th grader. Overall, she did an excellent job and she has really inspired me to learn more about network learning.

C4K September

Miriam's Magical Moments

For my first C4K assignment, I commented on a post from a girl named Miriam. Her blog is called Miriam's Magical Moments. I commented on one of her posts called, "Visiting the LACMA Museum" which was about her visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Miriam posted pictures and a description of three of her favorite paintings. She even got to see several interesting Egyptian artifacts, including a mummy. Miriam and her family did not get to see all of the exhibits because the museum was so big. After her visit to the museum, she and her family visited family in the area.

After I read Miriam's post about her trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I commented that I liked how she picked three of her favorite paintings to share on her post. In her post, she asked the question, "Which painting is your favorite?" so I told her that I really enjoyed the painting, Two Girls Reading. I enjoyed this painting because it reminded me of when my cousin and I were younger. I also loved the hats the girls were wearing. I enjoyed seeing the photo of the mummy on Miriam's post, as well.

Faaiua @Pt England School

My second C4K assignment was to comment on a post from the blog of a girl named Faaiua. Her blog is called, Faaiua @Pt England School. The post I commented on was called, "My Family" and it was all about Faaiua's family. In return, I told her a little bit about my own family. I told her all about my brother and sister. She is a middle child like I am. I read through some of her other posts, and told her I enjoyed her stories and writings.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blog Assignment #6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

When I noticed that Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams was an hour long, I dreaded watching it. Not because what he had to say would not be interesting, but simply because I can barely sit still that long. I was pleasantly surprised to find the hour quickly go by, and me wanting more! I can be classified as a "dreamer" easily. This video was so fitting to my life, and everyone's, for that matter, because we all have dreams. This blog post assignment is my favorite so far (and the easiest to pen). The only part of the lecture that I didn't like was that I wasn't in the audience!

For those who are not familiar with Randy Pausch, I will fill you in. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who passed away from cancer in 2008. He wrote the book The Last Lecture for his children but it has received worldwide recognition. This lecture is all about Pausch's childhood dreams and how we can achieve our own career and personal goals. At the beginning of the lecture, Pausch addresses the elephant in the room by showing the audience his CAT scan of the ten tumors in his liver. The doctors gave him only roughly 6 months of good health left. He did not, however, want to talk about cancer, spirituality and religion, or his wife and children. He believes that, "we cannot change the cards we are dealt; just how we play the hand." I really admire Pausch for how he lived his life after learning he had only a short time left.

For this lecture, Pausch talks about his childhood dreams and how we can achieve our dreams and enable the dreams of others. The following is a list of Pausch's dreams: being in zero gravity, playing in the NFL, being Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, authoring an article in the World Book encyclopedia, and being a Disney Imagineer. The last one is my favorite for obvious reasons, and I noticed Pausch is wearing a Disney cast member name badge (I have one too!). Pausch did end up achieving many of his childhood dreams, and the ones he didn't quite achieve he says he, in a way, achieved more than what he could have imagined.

Randy Pausch gave me some great ideas for teaching. He believed in project based learning, which I love. I abhor the traditional textbook learning. When he taught at Carnegie, his classes were made up of projects, and only projects. He shows the end results of his students' work, including making a virtual world using technology. I thought it was cute because the bunny went from living in a plain world to a world full of trees and sunshine. Pausch loved the idea that "millions of children can have fun while learning something hard." I want my students to always have fun in my classroom while receiving an excellent education. I want my teaching methods to be fun and memorable!

I took a lot away from this presentation, but the most important thing Pausch said was to always keep the child-like wonder. Some other advice I took away was to have fun every single day of your life, because life is so short and fragile. Be a Tigger, not an Eeyore. Tell the truth. Be earnest. Apologize when wrong. Focus on others, not yourself. Help others. Okay, at this point of the presentation, I am starting to tear up a little. Overall, Pausch's presentation was very inspiring and I got a lot out of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blog Assignment #5

The iSchool Initiative
The iSchool Initiative

After I watched the video, The iSchool Initiative, I was very impressed with Travis Allen's presentation arguing for mobile learning. Allen is striving to promote a digital world that he believes will solve our present educational problems. In his presentation, Allen gives viewers a demonstration on how students can use their iTouches, iPhones, or iPads in a classroom setting. He lists apps students can use for their everyday needs. Some of those apps include Email, Chemical Touch, WorldWiki, U.S.A Presidents, Star Walk, Formulae, Recorder, and the Scientific Calculator. These apps along with several others meet the basic needs of students for any subject. Using only technology in schools supports a "greener" classroom without paper, pencils, and textbooks.

Go Green
I rather like the idea of mobile learning. It kills me to think about how much paper is wasted in classrooms. I strongly support being green and will have a green classroom when I start teaching. Therefore, eliminating paper, pencils, textbooks, etc, sounds like a plan! Plus, students can learn so much more from the internet than they can reading from textbooks. The internet is limitless, textbooks eventually run out of pages. Supporting digital classrooms seems only right if we want our students to gain the skills and knowledge to succeed.

We learn about how Travis Allen started a digital learning revolution with a single YouTube video at the age of 17 in ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry. In this video, Allen promotes mobile learning in the classroom. When he was 18, Allen started the iSchool Initiative, which is a student based non-profit organization with the solid goal of revolutionizing education. He and his team travel the country bringing awareness to mobile learning.

Virtual Choir
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

I think I broke the replay button! The video Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir is amazing, and what makes it so special is that it was put together through the internet. None of the 185 people singing have performed together, or even met. They never practiced together before the performance was recorded. One question I have is, "How in the world did Eric Whitacre manage to align the screens so they look like a choir performing on a stage?" The performance is flawless, but I cannot understand how Whitacre had the patience to organize such an amazing virtual choir. I mean, he had to give detailed instructions to the singers then use editing magic to give viewers the performance of a lifetime. This video proves that the ways to use technology are endless. The possibilities are endless!

Teaching in the 21st Century

Kevin Roberts states some very interesting facts in Teaching in the 21st Century. He makes the statement that teachers are no longer the main source of knowledge. They are the filters between the information and students. Roberts makes a good point, and that is, teachers need to show students how to find information themselves. They shouldn't expect the answers to be given to them. Roberts lists blogs, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, Google, and YouTube as sources to find information. I mean, the internet provides limitless information that students can access in a minute! Roberts believes, and I do as well, that our curriculum should focus on teaching skills rather than just facts and content. After all, I could read about how to change a tire, but unless I practice doing it on my own, I could be stuck in a not-so-fun situation. We need to realize that times are changing and so is the way we teach. We, as educators, need to grasp all of these technological advances and incorporate as much as we can into our teaching methods. After all, who are we to deny students the 21st century education they want and deserve?

Flipping the Classroom
Flipping the Classroom

Again, we see how technology in the classroom benefits both teachers and students. In all three videos, Why I Flipped my Classroom by Katie Gimbar, Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ-Flipping the Classroom, and Flipping the Classroom-4th Grade STEM by Ms. Munafo, we see how these teachers have successfully "flipped" their classrooms. What is flipping the classroom exactly? This simply means that, each week, students are required to watch videos made by their teachers on the lessons and assignments at home, instead of wasting precious class time. That way students can come to class with background knowledge on the material being studied that week and with questions and discussion topics to go over. This makes learning more creative and engaging for students, especially those who tend to fall behind in class. The traditional teaching style involves teachers lecturing for 90% of the class time, with the remaining time spent on application. This method is outdated, ineffective, and just plain boring. Raise your hand if you enjoy sitting in a class that is primarily a lecture based class. I bet you didn't. No one should have to endure that type of boredom. I found these videos to be very useful. Having the students listen to the lectures at home means more fun in the classroom. No more sleepers in the back! No more scratching of the noggins! Students can all be on the same level for once, and a higher level at that.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blog Assignment #4

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

Joe Dale's video, The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom explains the benefits of podcasting in the classroom. I have heard of podcasting before, but I never knew what it really was until this class. I can definitely see how podcasting in the classroom can be fun and rewarding. I especially like the idea of teachers recording lessons for sick students. Whenever I had the miss school because of an illness, I dreaded all of the make up work that would be waiting for me when I got back. I also like the idea of using podcasting for project based learning. Students can make up their own scripts and record role plays with characters to make a more creative learning experience. I will absolutely use podcasting in my classroom once I become a teacher. How fun!

Flat Stanley
Langwitches- Flat Stanley Podcast

I really enjoyed reading this post on Langwitches blog. The post called, Flat Stanley Podcast gives readers a great idea for a creative in class project. My younger brother read Flat Stanley in elementary school and his class sent paper Flat Stanleys to family members all over the country. Cool enough, but add a podcasting project into the mix, and I am sold! This is a creative and collaborative activity that all the students in the class can work on together. Not only do the students get to make Flat Stanleys and send them all over the country, they get to create a podcast, as well.

In order to successfully record their podcast, the students had to pick a storyline that they could each contribute to. They, of course, picked Flat Stanley. Once they had picked the storyline, they each had to choose a location and research that location, as a homework assignment. With their parents, the students wrote a short script including location, transportation, what they did at that location, and how they got home. The students loved the idea of being "flattened" by their SmartBoard and mailed all over the world.

I have always loved the activity involving the book, Flat Stanley and I think this activity is even better! I am learning more and more about podcasting, and how even children are finding it fun and easy to use. I plan on remembering this fun activity to use with my students.

Open Culture
Langwitches 1st Graders Create their Own Read-Along Audiobook

The post, 1st Graders Create their Own Read-Along Audiobook shares a great idea for students creating their own audiobooks. I found this idea to be brilliant. Instead of the traditional read-along in class, the teacher took students out of the classroom to record their own version of the chapters. The students could re record until they were satisfied with how they sound. The teacher observed the students experiment with pitches, emotions, speed, and fluency, to name a few. This method had the students more engaged in what they were reading. They get to decide how the characters in the book will sound. Imagine how creative and unique that audiobook sounds now!

After each student had a turn to record, the whole class got to listen and read-along to the podcast they helped create. So, while the students got to create a more interesting way to read, they also got to experiment with technology and learn how it's used. I will tell you that whenever I had to read-along to an audiobook, I became increasingly distracted, or bored. If I could of helped record an audiobook in class, I would have been more interested and proud of my work.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

C4T #1

Stump the Teacher

Ruth Catchen- Reach for the Stars
For my first C4T assignment, I was asked to comment on Josh Stumpenhorst's blog, Stump the Teacher. The first post I commented on was called, "Is the System Broken?". In this post, Mr. Stumpenhorst takes a look at our education system. He addresses the question, "Is our education system so broken that it needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up?" His answer is no, our education system is not completely irreparable, it just has its issues. Like most everything else. Mr. Stumpenhorst writes that we need to stop complaining about the boxes we have been put in, and rather take a look at how restrictive the box really is. He believes that educators have more control in their classrooms, and the system than they want to admit. If the system is so broken, why does he have students who enter his classroom eager to learn? Children are growing up and doing amazing things with the education they have received. People tend to ignore the good and nitpick at every flaw. He writes that we need to focus on what is working in our education system. Educators should strive to make their classrooms the best they can be.

For this post, I introduced myself as a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. I found Josh Stumpenhorst's post to be a very interesting one. While I agree with everything he wrote, I also think that more can be done to improve our education system. Teachers can control how they teach in their classrooms, and how they can continue to improve their teaching methods. I commented that I look forward to becoming an educator because I want to make a difference in the lives of the children I will teach.

The second of Mr. Stumpenhorst's posts I commented on was called "Passion Projects." In this post Mr. Stumpenhorst shares an idea he has that will inspire his students with a different approach to learning. He calls this approach the Passion Projects. The whole idea of the Passion Projects is to inspire students to work on projects they are passionate about and want to learn more about. In his post is a long list of some of the ideas the students came up with. They include: writing, music, dinosaurs, cooking, marine biology, engineering, dance, building, and website design. Just to name a few. He gave few restrictions on the projects, only he did require the students to keep a journal to reflect on their learning experiences. The students would work on their projects one day (class period) out of the week. They could work individually or in groups. They had to fill out planning sheets that outlined what they would be learning about, what resources they needed, and lastly, the final product. Different working sections were set up based on topics, and there ended up being over 200! As students got more involved, they began helping out with other projects, and learning so much more in the process.

I thought Mr. Stumpenhorst's idea was genius. It is too bad students are not able to experience this type of learning all the time. When I left my comment on Mr. Stumpenhorst's post, I mentioned how I hope to include as many hands-on activities into my lesson plans as possible. I may have to follow state guidelines on what I teach, but I still have control on how I teach. Getting the students more involved in the learning process opens up so many doors and possibilities. Plus, if I can start something similar to Mr. Stumpenhorst's "Passion Projects" with my class, imagine what my students will learn!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blog Assignment #3

Source:Peer Editing is Fun
What is Peer Editing?

The video, What is Peer Editing? gives great advice on how to edit effectively. After watching this video, I understand the proper ways to editing. The number one rule to remember is to always start with compliments. When commenting, start by mentioning what you really liked about what you read. Staying positive when commenting is also important, especially when offering suggestions for improvement. The Peer Edit with Perfection Tutorial offers the same peer editing advice as the "What is Peer Editing?" video, however, it seemed to give more detailed advice. The tutorial starts by saying how much fun peer editing can be. This slideshow, like the video, stated that the first rules of peer editing are compliments and staying positive. Choose your words wisely when offering suggestions and give specific ideas for correction. I personally prefer commenting publicly on someone's post so they and others can have access to any information that could be helpful. I would only comment privately if I feel the need to correct several problems in one's post.

My favorite video was Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes because it shows all the wrong ways for editing. The kids in the video really played their parts well and succeeded in showing the audience how not to act when peer editing. I enjoyed watching how each skit portrayed a mistake that might occur when peer editing.

All Children Can Learn
Technology in Special Education

I found Technology in Special Education to be an insightful video that shows how technology is used in special education classrooms. I believe that every future educator should watch this video, whether they are majoring in special education, or not. Some of the students in the video could not talk. Instead, they used a computer to talk, which was a lot faster than writing everything they wanted to say. One student was listening to a book on his iPod instead of having to go out in the hallway to be read to. The students seemed more at ease and eager to use their computers or other forms of technology for learning.

I am definitely all for the use of technology in my classroom. Seeing how beneficial technology is in a special education classroom just proves that all students benefit from having advanced technology in the classrooms. If I were to have students with special needs in my classroom, I would be sure to give them full access to all forms of useful technology as possible. Each child's specific need would be a factor in determining what form of technology would be most helpful. It really tugged on my heart strings seeing the student in the wheelchair use a keyboard to talk. It makes becoming an educator so much more rewarding!

How the iPad Works with Academics for Autism

How awesome is the iPad? I am discovering more and more fascinating apps every time I play on mine. The video, How the iPad Works with Academics for Autism shows how an autistic child can make use of an iPad for learning counting, sight words, and writing. The caption on the video said that the little boy, Braden, had never seemed so intrigued by learning as he was when an iPad was put in his hands. Braden's father has several apps downloaded so his son can do his academics in a fun and engaging way. One of the apps the father used is called Kids Writing Pad. I would absolutely make use of that app in my classroom, along with my handy iPad Stylus. After looking at several others apps to use in a classroom with special needs students, I chose the Sentence Builder app. This app is under the Literacy and Learning section on iTunes. This app helps elementary age students build grammatically correct sentences in a fun and interactive way! If each student had their own iPad to use, they could practice on their own then share what they accomplished.

Global Learning
Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

I was very impressed with Vicki Davis's teaching methods in Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts. Those students are from a small town in Georgia, yet they are interacting with students from all over the world on a daily basis. Mrs. Davis has created a learning environment for her students that focuses on using technology to establish blogs, podcasts, wikis and other forms of media outlets. What she is teaching her students is very similar to what Dr. Strange is teaching his in EDM 310. I am excited about learning how to include technology into my teaching methods and having my students be able to explore all forms of technology while connecting to the world. I really admire Mrs. Davis for admitting that she does not know how to do every assignment she gives her students. She learns as they learn, and that, to me, is what being a lifelong learner is all about.

Project #2-Wordle

Wordle Elizabeth Mims

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blog Assignment #2

Did You Know?

I have always been aware of the fact that technology continues to grow and become more advanced with time. I can still remember what life was like before the invention of the smartphone- simple. Nowadays, people cannot go from one room in their house to another without their cellphones. I too, am guilty of this. I sometimes act like my iPhone is glued to my hand. I am constantly checking my Facebook, Twitter, and text messages throughout the day. It is no great surprise that the number of text messages sent and received each day exceeds the entire population. I try to stay up to date on the all of the new technological devices. I personally own a laptop, iPad, iPods, and iPhone. I cannot even imagine what sort of devices will be invented in the future.

I was shocked to learn in Did You Know? that China will soon be the number one English speaking country in the world. I was even more shocked to read that the 25% of India's population with the highest IQ's is greater than the whole population of the United States. Both China and India seem to be more advanced that the United States. It is slightly unnerving. To think that India has more K-12 Honors students than the United States has K-12 students! I am interested to know what the top jobs will be ten years from now, considering they do not even exist yet. Both versions of "Did You Know?" are very insightful and eye opening. I have become more aware of how technology plays a key role in our everyday lives. How it will play a key role in the classroom, as well.

Mr. Winkle Wakes:

Mr. Winkle Wakes is a retelling of the story, Rip Van Winkle. In this version, Mr. Winkle awakes from a hundred year slumber in a present day society. A society Mr. Winkle finds rather strange and intimidating. You see, Mr. Winkle has never seen a skyscraper before, or any of the technological devices we are so fond of. He begins to feel sick after seeing how his world has progressed since he has been asleep. He makes his way to a hospital, which seems to do him more harm than good. For poor Mr. Winkle cannot understand how machines are keeping people alive. He leaves the hospital and makes his way to a school. He is delighted to see that school had not changed in the hundred years that he has been asleep. Students still sit in their desks in neat rows while the teacher lectures. He sees an old dusty computer that appears broken. Mr. Winkle is comfortable in school because it is the only thing that has not changed.

Watching this video makes one realize how much the world has changed over the years. To imagine waking up and being unfamiliar with everything you see is scary! I feel for Mr. Winkle. I do not think it necessarily a good thing that schools have not changed, or appear the same as they always have. The world is changing everyday and technology is taking over, so why continue to teach using outdated methods? Bringing technology into the classrooms opens up so many doors to education and learning. Students need to be provided with state of the art technology in the classrooms so they can keep up with our ever changing world.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

In The Importance of Creativity, Sir Ken Robinson makes a good argument for why the education system needs to bring more creativity into school curriculum. He says, and I quote, "We are educating people out of their creativity." I fully agree with what he is saying. Whenever the education system need to cut back on funding, they cut the arts first. The arts are always at the bottom of the curriculum. We need to encourage creativity in children, not discourage it.

As a future educator, I look forward to making lessons plans that include hands-on activities and projects that expand my students' creativity. I do not believe in the traditional method of teaching. Teaching that involves endless lectures and note taking, or busy work. I never enjoyed learning that way so why would I teach like that? I want to be able to incorporate the arts into every subject I teach.

A Day Made of Glass 2:

Whew! And I thought the iPad was an advanced technological device. During the 15-20 minutes I watched both videos, A Day Made of Glass I had an understanding of how Mr. Winkle felt when he woke up from his hundred year nap. How confused would I be if I woke to discover Corning's vision was now a reality? I thought the video was neat and it gave me a look into the future. Possibly the near future. I definitely think that such innovations would take some time to gain momentum and for everyone to understand how to use it. It would enable people from all over the world to be more connected.

I can just imagine how beneficial Corning's glass innovations would be in schools. Each student could have his or her own tablet with endless resources at their fingertips. The teacher's board looks pretty spiffy too, and I already want to explore it. I see students learning more in schools each day with this new technology, however, I am not sure would not want it in my every day life. Call me old fashioned. Regardless of how I feel, I do believe it would shape the future of education.